Time To Simplify

 Posted by at 12:23 am  Nick's Blog
Jan 202015

I’ve been vexed by technical gremlins the last few days and it’s time to simplify. I’m about to get a map, a compass, and a tire pressure gauge and throw a whole bunch of electronic gadgets away.

When we left the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa I already knew our basic route, north on Interstate 75 to Interstate 10, west to US Highway 231, and then north to Dothan, Alabama. 375 miles, give or take a potty break or two along the way. However, my Rand McNally RV GPS had other ideas. It wanted to route us west into the Tampa area and then north on US Highway 19 for 224 miles to Interstate 10 and then into Georgia and on to Dothan. It would have saved us maybe 30 miles, but a lot of it would be stop and go traffic through endless small towns as we made our way up the west coast of Florida. We like the back roads sometimes, but not at the expense of two or more hours when we’re in “get there” mode.

The inner dual tire on our left side has a nasty habit of losing 20 pounds or so any time we sit in one place for a week or more, and this trip was no exception. Before we left the fairgrounds I checked the pressure in all of our tires on the motorhome and Explorer and aired up all of them that needed it. About 40 miles into our trip, our tire pressure monitor went off saying that the outside left dual was at 125 degrees while the inside was at 71 degrees. That didn’t sound good, so I pulled off at a handy rest area and went to check them out. Using my infrared thermometer it showed that both tires were at 77 and 79 degrees respectively. Then the monitor showed that the inside dual was at 90 pounds and the outside was at 130. I used my regular tire pressure gauge and both were at 110.

And just for fun, the monitor showed that one of the tires on the Explorer was down to 19 pounds. Nope, 40 pounds, just like the rest of them. After checking each tire on the rig and toad with my tire pressure gauge I confirmed that they were all at the correct temperatures, but for the rest of the trip the tire pressure monitor went off every twenty minutes or so. We finally just ignored it.

But wait, there’s more! I use a small Acer netbook to keep track of things with my engine with the Silverleaf engine monitoring system. It’s great when it works, but for the last year it has repeatedly lost power when on the road. I decided that the problem was the small inverter that I plug into a cigarette lighter outlet to provide AC to the laptop. So I bought a new Schumacher inverter to replace it. It’s a great little inverter, but the same thing happened again. The netbook will charge off the inverter when not in use, but going down the road it runs off battery power until the battery is exhausted and then it shuts down. Now I suspect the computer’s power cord may be the culprit. Or maybe not. When we got into Tuscaloosa and were parked, I plugged it back into the inverter and it works fine. Yep, time to haul them all over to the dumpster and be done with it.

Refrigerator update – we were on the road six hours Sunday and about three hours into the trip I turned on the generator for an hour and everything was okay when we got stopped for the night. Yesterday (Monday) was another six hour trip and this time we went the whole distance without using the generator and there was not much change in the interior temps from the day before, 47 degrees in the refrigerator and 10 in the freezer.

After the Escapade rally and medical appointments in Tucson, we plan to run over to Yuma and have Larry Crutcher at Starlight Solar install a Magnum pure sine wave inverter to replace our thirteen year year old Xantrex modified sine wave unit, and I also want to replace our Interstate batteries with Lifeline AGMs. We had them in our MCI bus conversion, and even though we don’t dry camp much anymore I still want them for their long life and ease of maintenance. I can’t seem to get Greg White to follow me around the country checking and servicing my batteries all the time. He came up with some selfish excuse about kids and grandkids and having a life of his own. And he wouldn’t even agree to pick up half the cost of the AGMs I’m forced to buy because of that lack of attention on his part. What a jerk! Smile

Thought For The Day – Sometimes we create our own heartbreaks through expectation.

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Nick Russell

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  13 Responses to “Time To Simplify”

  1. Yeah, and I’m not buying you a boat, either.

  2. Maybe that’s what we need to do is throw out all these electronic gadgets they tell us we can’t live with out and simplify our life.

  3. If you don’t mind paying a bit more, the 3000 watt Magnum hybrid pure sinewave inverter/charger has really been nice. The hybrid part is it will supplement low shore power with inverted power when needed. When we are hooked up to 30AMP, I set the inverter to 10AMP and running the microwave only uses 10AMPs of the 30. This smooths things out.

  4. Looks like the Gremlins have hit U2
    Last year I bought a set of tire trackers at the Tampa show out of the four that I bought three work great one was a gremlin they sent me a new one it was still a gremlin I lived with it for 12,000 miles if you want I’ll send you the three good ones
    Now on my F350 I had a in the dash Kenwood navigation system this was the first addition that uses garmin never had a problem with it work great until somebody decided to steal it right out of the dash in Portland Oregon I replaced it for the new upgraded top-of-the-line model of the Kenwood with the newer better mapping system let me tell you the gremlins struck that first day hypothetically if you go from Tampa to Valdosta Georgia it’s a straight line this garmin would’ve sent me by way of 4 95 to 295 and 10 to 75
    The moral of that story is I downloaded Garman from I tunes apps to my iPad 1
    It was their free edition so it was the old version working like a champ straight-line one shot. So newer is not always better
    As for your inverter you’re going right by the famous Greg White tinkering manipulating repair factory
    By the way we went with a domestic refrigerator neither were outstanding but that was the lesser of the two worst evils
    Enjoy your Day

  5. We have the same Rand McNally RV GPS and found if we were in a hurry to change the setting to the fastest route otherwise you will have the more laidback scenic route.
    As for the Tire Tracker with all the false readings it’s given us over the last couple of years it is now set to the Off mode. We had two blowouts with no advanced warning but lots of false alarms.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It’s about time.

  6. Nick, it is all your fault. Those devices know that it is still winter once you get much north of Tampa and Tuscaloosa is way north of Tampa. You should have stayed another month or two to keep them happy. I think you made the wise choice to meander to Tucson rather than use the “get there” mode. Much nicer and you see more. I’m still trying to learn meander but my “get there” mode seems to keep butting it’s head in the way. I suspect that you have a setting in your Rand McNally that remembers you telling it that you want the meander route and your electronic devices aren’t as smart as Miss Terry who can remind you that you have to change something. It would be interesting what the Tire Minder people have to say about your readings. Also try checking your 12 volt socket with a different device and see if that gets juice when you are driving down the road. Good Luck.

  7. Still using my 6 1/2 yr old Pressure Pro with no problems and all original parts !! Nick you should check into something like Crossfire Dual Tire Pressure Equalization System or Cat Eye Dual Tire Pressure System for those rear duallys.

  8. we also had problems with the pressure pro and constantly getting false reading a couple of year ago we switched to the TireTreker and after a few month the same thing was happening, seems that once he reset the monitor after checking the old fashioned way it was fine. He now just uses the old fashioned way and we are fine.

  9. Nick I have had the same problems with tire monitors.I would suggest to you to take a single monitor off a tire that you know works and registers correctly and put that one on the same tire that you are having problems with and see if it works on that tire. If it ddoesn’twork then send the junk back to the mng . and tell them your problems. MAYBE they will send you a new. If not let them toss it out and then scream at them with your loudest voice which woukd be the Journal. Some tmiimes threats workout.
    As a side note I had problems like you are having. I had the tires taken off and had the rims wire brushed and cleaned all up by a tire dealer. The dealer called after the job was done and made the recommendation that I should throw the sensors out and I would havethese problems. That was 4 years ago. He was right. Since then I have purchased another set of 8MIchelins and stillhave no problems. The trash can does have its place.

  10. Nick I feel your pain. I used the Pressure Pro successfully on our old 5th wheel and tow truck without problems. Decided I didn’t want to pay the price for new sensors in their non-replaceable battery ones, so I switched to Tire Traker. I’ve had a monitor replaced, a sensor replaced, and still I don’t trust it. False temp. and pressure readings. Argh!
    On the refrigerator. Do your house batteries recharge from your engine’s alternator while running down the road? If so, you shouldn’t have to worry with it running off the inverter while traveling. Those temps. in the fridge sound high to me. Our fridge maintains just about the same temps. when traveling or sitting and plugged into shore power. Usually 35 or 36 in the fridge and -2 to 0 degrees in the freezer.

  11. Nick,
    We have had our glass mat batteries (4) since 2000 and we don’t boondock much any more but that is 5 years of full timing and 9 of ½ time and the shop says they’re still good to go.
    Have you thought of the Pacific Northwest this year? You get up there in Les Schwab country and one of them will replace that inside dually stem valve and the next one down the road will replace the other little doohickey inside the stem valve and most likely for free and inspect and air the rig up any old time you stop by.
    Oh, and you won’t need a map or gps . There is 101 or 101 and the ASTORIA BRIDGE. LOL

  12. Steve – Yes, our house batteries charge going down the road, but our modified sine wave inverter is not compatible with the electronics in our Samsung refrigerator. That’s why we’re going to switch to a pure sine wave.

    Mary – We plan to do the Pacific Northwest again this coming summer. We love the Oregon coast.

  13. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for the very instructive post. I notice you didn’t name the misbehaving tire monitoring system (or if you did, I missed it). Would you mind telling us its brand/model so we can scratch it from our list?



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