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Author Topic: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.  (Read 277959 times)

carson

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Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« on: September 24, 2007, 12:10:41 PM »
Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.


This new topic will feature a series of hints, tricks and gadget/tools that you may have in your kit bag of experience. You are probably proud of some, being the originator.

You are encouraged to post any item that comes to mind. There must be a multitude of  them between us. They should be especially helpful for the Newbies and of course to Old-timers as well.

Many of them are currently buried in old posts as well as in the library, but are hard to find in one place. We will most likely get duplications but your idea may have a twist to it, making it a valid entry. Attaching images will be appreciated to make the point.

It is important to keep it to Ďsmallí items (see below), not engine overhaul, carpet replacement etc.

This is a bit of an experiment, but has been sanctioned by the forum management.

I will make the first post in a format that I think will work easily, below.



Hint: Smoke Alarm: Ė is it really working? Not just by pushing the test button to find out.
      Invite your cigar-smoking neighbor over and have him blow a good whiff of smoke directly into the detector. Thatís called a dynamic test.
The CO (carbon monoxide) and the propane detectors probably can be tested the same way, Iím not sure. Maybe someone can confirm that.

Trick: Low water-flow in galley sink?
Remove the aerator from the spigot, clean the screen and remove/discard the water saver washer. Water usage will stay the same.

Gadget/Tool:  A quick battery and alternator/charger tester.
This little tool features 6 colored LED lamps showing voltages @ 15.0, 14.0, 13.5, 12.5, 12.0 and 11.0 volts DC. Just apply to battery terminals with and without charger/alternator in use.  (RS: 22-112).   Image attached below.

carson FL

P.S.: Is this project gonna fly?   ???
Carson, 
 West Central Florida
Ex RV'er. (1995 Winnebago Adventurer)
2007 Buick Rendezvous, SUV / CROSSOVER

...Logic works like a charm...

John From Detroit

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2007, 06:16:59 PM »
One suggestion on the smoke detector.... Invite the cigar smoking friend OUTSIDE the motor home and remove the detector to the outside for the test... That way the rig don't smell of cigar for the next way too long.

For water spiogts and a few other things as well.  Get a small pump spray bottle (Most drug stores have them, as do dollar stores) and fill with bleach water,  Just a "Cap full" for the small bottle is more than enough.  Spritz the spigiot at the park before you start to get your hoses out. it will be nice and sanatary when you hook up.... No matter what the dog ... Or it's master... Did before you arrived.

Also useful when you need to clean up an unsanatary mess.. Germs consider Bleach to be... Well, let's just bugs like Raid Better.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Tom

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2007, 06:20:32 PM »
Thanks for posting Carson. Hopefully others will jump in with their own tips, tricks and gadgets.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

threeful

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2007, 08:54:16 PM »
I have a 5th wheel and I attached a retractable tape measure to the side of my king pin hitch.  When I uncouple, I measure and write down the distance from the tape measure to the ground, then I level the trailer height.  When I am ready to leave, I pull down the tape measure to the height at which I uncoupled and raise the legs till I reach that distance.  I back the truck in and it is always at the perfect height.  Takes  the guess work out on king pin height and saves lots of time. 

Also, I painted a white strip on my truck mounted hitch and on the top of the king pin.  I am then able to line up my hitch and king pin by using the rearview mirror.  Between the ruler and the painted strip ,I am normally able to connect the truck and unit in one try!!!  That is exceptional for me...prior to these simple additions I would in and out of the truck ensuring correct height and alignment maybe 4-6 times.

I also have hand crank type levelers and I use a portable drill/screwdriver with the proper socket to lower the levelers.  Takes about 30 seconds for each side.

Bill T

Bill T
Central PA
2003 Sierra Fifth Wheel
2004.5 2500 Dodge 4x4

John From Detroit

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2007, 08:58:43 PM »
Just out of coursity.. How much does the king pin height vary from parking spot to parking spot? 
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

threeful

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2007, 09:09:58 PM »
I 've found it does not vary much if the sites are fairly level...1-2 inches.  I had one site that dropped off under the pin and it was 4" over normal. 

I am normally 53-54" from king pin to ground.

Bill
Bill T
Central PA
2003 Sierra Fifth Wheel
2004.5 2500 Dodge 4x4

edjunior

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2007, 07:44:08 AM »
Our method of testing the smoke alarm is to pop a couple of pieces of bread in the toaster without the AC or vents running.  May not work in a larger rig, but it sure works good in ours!!
Ed.....KF5INW
2011 F-250 XLT, 6.7L PSD
2010 Forest River Wildcat 28RKBS
"I thought I was wrong once, but I was wrong!"

John From Detroit

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2007, 09:48:11 AM »
That's my wife's method of testing the smoke alarm too.. Only she does not plan on it :)

As for the kingpin question.. Might make sense to cut a dowel rod to the average length instead of measuring each time.. however tehn you'd have to find your tape when you get one of those "Special" cases.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

BernieD

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2007, 07:38:09 PM »
Our method of testing the smoke alarm is to pop a couple of pieces of bread in the toaster without the AC or vents running.  May not work in a larger rig, but it sure works good in ours!!

That works on a 40 footer ;D
Bernie & Marlene Dobrin
Home is Goodyear, AZ
Missing our Travel Supreme

Gasser

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2007, 07:46:16 PM »
One suggestion on the smoke detector.... Invite the cigar smoking friend OUTSIDE the motor home and remove the detector to the outside for the test... That way the rig don't smell of cigar for the next way too long.

For water spiogts and a few other things as well.  Get a small pump spray bottle (Most drug stores have them, as do dollar stores) and fill with bleach water,  Just a "Cap full" for the small bottle is more than enough.  Spritz the spigiot at the park before you start to get your hoses out. it will be nice and sanatary when you hook up.... No matter what the dog ... Or it's master... Did before you arrived.

Also useful when you need to clean up an unsanatary mess.. Germs consider Bleach to be... Well, let's just bugs like Raid Better.
Or better yet, get a candle and then blow it out.  I hate tobacco.

kafansler

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2007, 09:25:05 AM »
I wanted to have something to hold a trash bag that would keep it open for ease of access and to be able to keep it off the ground away from animals.  I took an old 5 gal bucket and measured down approx. 8" from the top and cut the bottom off.  This leaves you with a handle and an 8" trash bag holder.  I feed the empty bag up from the bottom and fold it around the top of the remaining bucket. I can then hook the handle under the raised portion of the camper near the king pin.  It isn't on the ground and animals can't get it.  Best part is its free if you have an old bucket around.

carson

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2007, 06:37:38 PM »
Here's a little hint for users of roof type A/C units, using rotating type ceiling air vents.

   Ensure that any vent outlet is not pointing at the thermostat. Cold air hitting the thermostat will wreak havoc on your desired indoor temperature. You may even think your A/C is on the fritz.

   Even your heater outlet may sneak warm air up the wall towards the thermostat.

carson FL
Carson, 
 West Central Florida
Ex RV'er. (1995 Winnebago Adventurer)
2007 Buick Rendezvous, SUV / CROSSOVER

...Logic works like a charm...

Tom

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2007, 07:30:14 PM »
Good point Carson. We had the opposite problem at our prior house. The thermostat for the downstairs was in the hallway and it received direct sunlight every morning, so the a/c would kick in and freeze us out. When I eventually figured it out, I put a small shade over the thermostat.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

Sunshein

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2007, 08:58:23 PM »
Tom, speaking of thermostats, I am battling the same problem in our one house, the morning sun has a direct hit on the thermostat through the loft window, and I have a piece of cardboard alongside of it to keep it shaded. It helps, but I need to remove it before company comes.

In a former motor home, our thermostat was mounted on the wall next to the refrigerator. It actually picked up heat from the refrigerator compartment through the wire holes.
Jack in Chocolate Town USA

Tom

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2007, 09:08:47 PM »
....I have a piece of cardboard alongside of it to keep it shaded. It helps, but I need to remove it before company comes.

To heck with the company, I left the cardboard covering our thermostat. If company didn't like it, they could go to a hotel/motel.
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reddogsrunning

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2007, 04:41:21 PM »
Here's one of mine. I have to park under two Oak trees at the residence. The gutters on my TT are always clogged with leaves and what does drain just finds the easiest route out of the gutter. Usually down the side of the TT. I try to keep them cleaned out but ladders and I have a history of disagreements so I came up with a way to clean them with my feet on the ground.
I went through my stash of PVC and came up with a power wand that I can use from the ground. I made it out of 3/4" PVC and long enough for me to reach the gutters easily. Just hook it to the hose. I put the extra slip to hose fittings in so that I can adjust the direction it sprays and it also does the house gutters. No more ladders but the ER guys might miss me.
this is my first try with pictures so please bear with me.

carson

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2007, 10:19:18 AM »
A basic test of coach battery status, in real time:

Note: I have 2-size 27 standard flooded (wet) cell units in parallel.
           Both are now 3 years old. Am using a (recently installed) 3-stage converter/charger. PD.

Measurements were made with a small digital voltmeter. Batteries had been sitting unattended for over one week without any load applied.
I could not detect any parasitic current draw during storage.

Reading 1.    No load - 12.29 VDC

Reading 2.    11.99V - after applying a load for 10 minutes (9 interior lamps turned on)

Reading 3.     11.93 V - after 20 minutes under load.

Reading 4.     13.44 V - after generator started and charger functioning. ( with and without load)

Morale of the story: A NO-Load reading of an inactive battery means little.
      A battery under load will give a true reading at that time.
      (One could do this for each battery, separated, to identify problems with either).

I now know that the batteries were not "fully" charged and that my new PD charger is working per spec.

This test is not intended to be of great significance in the big world of batteries, rather just as a helpful hint for newcomers to the RV world.


carson FL

Carson, 
 West Central Florida
Ex RV'er. (1995 Winnebago Adventurer)
2007 Buick Rendezvous, SUV / CROSSOVER

...Logic works like a charm...

John From Detroit

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2007, 03:48:29 PM »
Actually.. That test is of more significance than most of the tests folks suggest,  Save the hydrometer.

And you are very right... I use a somewhat different load tester on my batteries ... It's up to about 450 lights turned on.

(At 1 amp per lamp) or less, depending on how much I twist it's nose
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

carson

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2007, 03:57:01 PM »
John, now you have me scratching my nose. Translation, please.

carson Fl.
Carson, 
 West Central Florida
Ex RV'er. (1995 Winnebago Adventurer)
2007 Buick Rendezvous, SUV / CROSSOVER

...Logic works like a charm...

John From Detroit

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Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Ned

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2007, 07:01:34 PM »
Carson, you can get a battery load tester from any auto supply store.  I think I paid about $35 for mine.  It puts a large load on the battery and gives an indication of the battery condition on a meter within a few seconds.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Tom

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2007, 10:14:19 PM »
The only problem with load testers is that they tell you how the battery sustained that one load, but don't give you a hint about the next time a load is put on the battery. Something I learned from working with a guy who's entire working life was batteries - lead acid, NiFe, NiCad, and others. That was over 40 years ago though, but the logic still holds today.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

Ned

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2007, 04:34:17 AM »
If the battery fails under the heavy load of the tester, it won't last long in normal service.  I've used mine to detect failing AGM batteries on several occasions and the tests were quite reliable.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

carson

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2007, 04:51:20 AM »
John and Ned, thanks for the info.

     You are probably reading too much into my "basic" test. It was meant for the "un-initiated techs" being able to do a quickie check, without having to buy more tools and test equipment, and get a a fairly accurate reading of the state of charge of the battery, now. I have read many posts where 'newbies' with problems would take a no-load reading and find voltage to be sufficient, only to find that the problem stayed.

   Even a 1 volt drop under load means it may take many hours of charging with a basic charger to get the battery back up to full charge.

   I wasn't talking about a professional analysis of the health of the battery. Simply, is the battery charged or not? Is the charger working or not?

The MO of this topic - keep it SMALL. It's an educational thing.

Excuse my rebuttal if you disagree.

carson FL
Carson, 
 West Central Florida
Ex RV'er. (1995 Winnebago Adventurer)
2007 Buick Rendezvous, SUV / CROSSOVER

...Logic works like a charm...

Tom

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2007, 05:04:01 AM »
Carson,

There's nowt wrong with your test per se. Using voltage under load is one of several tests that, taken in combination, can give some indication of the condition of a battery. I continually monitor/check battery voltage on our coach and our boat, and it's is my primary indicator to determine when to fire up the generator. Making a mental note of how much time elapses between required recharges is my first indicator that my deep cycle wet cell batteries need equalizing. There's nothing scientific about my "tests" either, but they've worked for me for many years.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

Ned

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2007, 05:06:42 AM »
Carson, your test is much more complicated than using a battery load tester.  Connect the tester, press the switch for the specified time (10 seconds or so) and if the meter is in the green, the battery is ok, if in the red, it's not.  The meter reads volts so you can also read the no load voltage both before and after the load test.  It takes longer to describe than to do the test.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Tom

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2007, 05:37:13 AM »
If the battery fails under the heavy load of the tester, it won't last long in normal service.

Very true Ned. The battery guy's point was that passing a load test is no guarantee that a battery will remain "good". He'd had more experience load testing batteries than I will ever have in my lifetime.
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Ron

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2007, 08:39:29 AM »
The load test Ned has described is proably the fastest and most economical way of detecting a faulty battery.  While there are other test that can be done they require much more time. 
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

John From Detroit

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2007, 08:42:17 AM »
Oh, I understood your test was a basic one.. And I agree.. if the voltage drops quickly under a light load. the battery (or something) is wrong.

Also, you need to test the voltage at the lights as well... I've seen many a case where you load the battery with just a couple of lights (most RV light bulbs are right close to 1 amp each) and the voltage at the battery barley flickers

But the voltage at the BULB (or at another 12 volt location in the rig) changes greatly

(This is caused by a bad connection, with the grounds being suspect #1)
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Ned

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Re: Hints, Tricks and Gadgets/Tools --- small ones.
« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2007, 10:32:47 AM »
Tom, a battery that stays in the green under the 100A or so load is more likely to stay usable than one that goes in the red.  The load tester is for finding bad batteries, not predicting future failures.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

 

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