Florida Show - Tampa Jan 2006

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UK-RV

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Hi Guys

We will be visiting the Florida Show in mid-January.

Are there any special items or gadgets we should look out for at the many stalls.

What single gadget would you say was your best ever purchase for your RV (and why) ?

Thanks

Paul
 

Betty Brewer

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UK-RV said:
Are there any special items or gadgets we should look out for at the many stalls.What single gadget would you say was your best ever purchase for your RV (and why) ?

Hi,

For a small purchase, I would not be without the  wire mesh strainer that goes over my kitchen sink drain.  If I happen to  throw out dishwater with bits of food on it , this strainer catches it and I can remove the strainer and bang it on the side of my trash can to remove the contents.  This saves stuff from going into the gray water tank.

I also like my set of  Rapid Chef pans with removable handles .  4 pans nest inside one another and their lids fit so it is easy storage.  I believe I purchased these at an RV show .  Happy gadget hunting.

Betty
 

Ned

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It may exceed your definition of gadget, but our Datastorm internet system allows me to work (and play) on the internet from anywhere in the country.  We just have to avoid trees to the south :)
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Betty suggested two good one - those are among our favorite "everyday gadgets"  as well.

On the more esoteric side, we purchased a portable propane fireplace at a show several years ago and love it. We really enjoy a campfire and when we are in a place that doesn't allow the traditional wood-burning campfire - or we just don't have the logs - we can trot out the LP firepalce and enjoy. Even in somebody's driveway.  There are several brands available now. but ours is the New Frontier Campfire.

 

BruceinFL

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1. Portable propane campfire. Has them at the show at special prices.
2.  Kit to change from internal poop/gray tank sensors to external using present wiring.
 

UK-RV

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Ned

Internet Access whilst on the road is one of my MAJOR requirements.

I found this advert on ebay and am considering ditching the toad in favour of a more reliable internet connection. LOL

http://cgi.ebay.com/MotoSat-DataSto...ryZ61386QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Or do you think Im taking things a little too seriously.

Paul

PS I have seen various adverts on ebay for satellite internet dishes and modems - has anyone purchased these items from ebay ?

 

Tom

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Paul

That ad includes a trailer. You don't need that trailer to carry the DataStorm; Most folks have them mounted right on top of their coach.

Beware of buying used Satellite internet systems; You need to ensure the modem has been decomissioned by the prior owner. We've read of numerous cases where the prior owner hadn't decomissioned the modem and the new owner was faced with the unpaid service bills that had accrued on the account. A simple call to the satellite provider with the serial number of the modem will confirm if all is well - before you buy the system.

IIRC a new Datastorm system will cost you around $5,000 and will require installation by a certified installer.

There are cheaper alternatives for satellite internet, such as these. You also have the option for either hooking your computer up to a cell (mobile) phone or using an air card (the latter is merely a cell phone in a PCMCIA card that plugs into your laptop).

Some folks report good access to WiFi, either free or paid, but I haven't had a lot of luck in that area.
 

UK-RV

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That ad includes a trailer. You don't need that trailer to carry the DataStorm; Most folks have them mounted right on top of their coach.

Tom - I was joking with that ad !!

But, I do need to find a decent way to get online.

I currently spend around 3 hours per day online, so I think cellphone access will be out of the question.

I will give Wi-Fi a try at campgrounds, but I would still prefer something a little more convenient.

I've already been reading the tech board but a lot of the stuff mentioned will be difficult for a non-US person to acquire.

I also need to find something I can use throughout the US (including Alaska) and Canada.

Paul
 

Tom

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UK-RV said:
Tom - I was joking with that ad !!

I think we all knew that  :eek:

I currently spend around 3 hours per day online, so I think cellphone access will be out of the question.

My air card from t-mobile has unlimited internet access and I've had pretty good coverage across the U.S. and in Eastern Canada. I haven't been to Alaska though. It's a bit slow - around dial-up speeds, which is painful compared with the 6MB/s cable service I have at home. Verizon also offers an air card. Their service started out at double the speed of t-mobile, although it's more expensive. But they've been bringing a much faster service online in an increasing number of areas. You'd need to check with Verizon for their coverage.

Satellite is a good way to go, but I think you'll need either a 1-year or 2-year service commitment, which is also true for most cell/air card service providers. Remember that, with satellite, you're assigned to a specific bird and you need to understand its footprint before signing the contract. Also remember that it doesn't work in a campground with trees blocking the view. It's an expensive way to go to be without service. I have the tripod version of satellite service, but I get a lot of groans from my wife if I drag all the stuff out when we're only making a brief overnight stop.

FWIW I've been online daily since before the IBM PC was invented and lugged a "laptop" around the world for many years. I have withdrawal symptoms if I'm offline for 24 hours, which is one reason I have two options available when we're on the road.
 

rhmahoney

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GPS unit, dash mount.
Saved me TNTC...too numerous to count
TomTom makes a unit with EU and N American maps
 

Tom

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rhmahoney said:
TomTom makes a unit with EU and N American maps

NoNo I don'tdon't.

I've heard the ads for that system Russ and keep meaning to go look at it in a store, but I always forget. Does anyone here have one of those systems?
 

rhmahoney

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I have seen the item in passing at a sharper image store but have not taken the time to play with it. The website talks about lower 48 and canada coverage but does not mention alaska. I sent the company a msg with questions but they did not bother to reply.
 

UK-RV

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Hi Guys

I actually have the Tom Tom Navigator 5, which Im running on a XDAIIi PDA (520MHz, 128MB Ram) - it has Blackberry which I understand is common in the US (but Ive never heard of and never used it).

The Tom Tom gives me separate street level maps for every US State and one for the "major roads of the US".

I also have Canada and several European Countries too.

I purchased the PDA as it has WiFi, Cell Phone, Windows and I can store every map listed above on a 1GB SD Card.

I use a bluetooth GPS Receiver, which I find really good as I can slide it across the windscreen area to get the best signal (although I very rarely have to move it at all).

Rather than buy paper maps when I started my truck driving job recently, I took the TomTom with me.

It is great for the most part, but doesnt have a facility to set it to Truck (or RV) option.

This can (has) lead to some very tight roads and a couple of occassions where Ive had to knock on peoples house door to ask them if they could move their car along the road to allow me access.

I also get many occassions that the system directs me along a route with a weight limit and/or a low bridge - no problem for cars/vans but a nightmare for trucks.

Thankfully, I have found POI files that list the locations of all low bridges in the UK, but you only get notified approx 400 yrds prior to hitting them !

One of the potential problems in the US will be when I travel from State to State - I will have to load each map or just use the "major roads" map and then load the new State once there.

As I opted to purchase a copy software from ebay, I got all of my TomTom software and maps for less than $20 - so I cant complain about too much.

I dont know if I would pay the full retail price for the software as it isnt really suitable for larger vehicles.

If anyone can suggest a RV Friendly Sat Nav SOFTWARE ONLY option that I can load onto my SD card, I would then be happy to buy the full retail version of that.

Any ideas ?

Paul


 

Ian H

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Hi Paul
we also bought some mesh strainers for the sink as Betty suggested but i used the over the heater exhaust to stop the mud dauber fly nesting,much cheaper than camping world.I used T mobile pay as you go as they where the cheapest to phone home and another el cheapo pay as you go with better service for USA ,the T mobile has limited coverage.I used Wi Fi all the time i was in the states mostly free and at the most on average ?2 for 24 hrs and even less if you sign up for longer ,I did look into using a cell phone but as Tom stated most want you to sign a 1 yr contract and although it works out very reasonable you couldn't phone home at a decent rate.As for the Sat Nav i think your getting deep into something you probably wont need ,after a few weeks getting used to the USA road signs i found it easier than driving over here ,imho get a good USA road map  plan your route ,write it on a piece of paper and stick it to the dash ,that's all i did and rarely got lost
all the best IAN
 

UK-RV

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Hi Ian

Good to hear from you.

I see the UK site (ww.motorhomefacts.com) is now going subscription-only - a BIG mistake IMO.

i used the over the heater exhaust to stop the mud dauber fly nesting,

Now then, what on earth is that all about. LOL

Re the SatNav - me, paper maps and Ann-Marie don't go well together. We'd be divorced in weeks.

Only a week to go now Ian - I think we are getting those last-minute nerves Doreen spoke about !

Regards
Paul
 

Ian H

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Hi Paul
the nerves come into there own when you come to hand over all that money for the RV.I havent been on motorhome facts for a while but ARVM started a free forum and within weeks turned it into subscription only ,luckily santa brought me a 6 month subscription for the mag.Motorhome facts is a good site although the American RV site is thin on the ground its the best the UK has so i will have to take a look .Wishing you all the best with your adventure and if you have 1/2 the fun we did you will have a good time
 

Tom

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Karl

Paul might be thinking about not having a U.S. address for accounts such as a cell phone or a GPRS card. As we know, there are various ways around that.
 

UK-RV

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Hi Guys

Firstly, HAPPY NEW YEAR !

Karl/Tom - yes the address is one problem, but the lack of a SSN would appear to be the main one for us.

Paul
 

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