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Jim Gell

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About Jim Gell

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    We began full timing on December 1st 2014.

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  1. Jim Gell

    smart issue

    UPDATE ON MY REPAIR: The ignition switch part arrived from Germany last week when the Mercedes dealer expected it and they made the repair. Car seems to run perfectly. That is not to say that the car actually needed the part to be repaired. I am just glad to have the car back and not be charged for the repair. I had looked around the manual but missed page 97. I guess I need to spend more time reading through that little manual. With the "stay at home" social distancing in effect, we did not really miss the car all that much. If the part had not come in when they expected it to, or if I really needed the car, I might have explored the yellow tab fix. Everyone stay safe! Jim
  2. Jim Gell

    smart issue

    I did the same thing last month. I drove our 2016 smart up the ramps onto the truck and left in neutral while I installed chocks and strapped the wheels down. It's my normal routine. However, it was dinner time and I forgot to get back in the car, set brake, put it in park and remove key. I got up the next morning to leave Florida for NC and battery was dead. I rolled the car off the truck at a smart dealer near Raleigh, NC. It was something to see as the brakes did not work. Fortunately my wife had suggested we not not roll it off toward the new Mercedes where I had thought would be fine. LOL The dealer has had car since about 3/24/20. They expect the new ignition switch, they seem quite sure is the issue and have seen before, to arrive from Germany around April 21...unless Covid 19 slows that down. They said it was covered by warranty. One thing I want to share is that the dealer was listed on Google as a smart dealer with a photo showing a line of smarts. But after talking to them initially and then unloading car I was told they used to be a smart dealer and still had certified smart mechanics, but they would not be allowed to give me a free loaner because they were no longer an official smart repair facility. I might have tried to find a different dealer to take it to had I realized. I will be following this and come back to share what they do with mine. Jim
  3. First off, thanks to everyone who jumped on this to help me. It is very appreciated. I also want to especially thank “Jan and Tom on the road” for making those fantastic diagrams, photos, and information available on their blog. It sounds like you all have provided good info to tweak my plans, but I ask if anyone else has thoughts to continue to share them. Adjustments and embellishments to my plan with a few more questions: A) I need to buy the DISH Pro Hybrid 42 Switch With Power Inserter (DPH42) to go with the DISHProPlus LNB for the western arc satellites 119/110/129 and I may also want to buy a separate portable dish to get Eastern Arc signals as well as an A/B switch for selecting the one I am using, If I understand the conversion chart linked above, and my Traveler is an SK SWM3 as I suspect because the DirectV power inserter says SWM 3 on it, I may not need need to check the IDU and ODU software versions. Right? C) It sounds like it would not matter which room I put the Hopper 3 or the 4K Joey. We primarily use our living room TV, The Traveler controller needs to stay in bedroom. We can do occasional diagnostics in the bedroom. Is there any other advantages, such as being able see a display, that would make it better to have the Hopper in the living room? D) It sounds like leasing may be a better choice. I will get real current costs to compare and consider how often we will want to suspend service. If they own it and it fails, I assume they would replace it without us being charged...Right? E) I have not talked to any Dish retailers to see if they do RV's because whenever I Googled them they never seem to be close to where I am. Right now the closest is about 80 miles away. Would they need to come to me for an “install”? Will they run new cables across and through my roof to my bedroom entertainment cabinet? Even if they would, I don't think I trust an installer to do that. I want to replace cables for our OTA antenna and WiFi Ranger at the same time I drill a new hole in my roof. F) Now lets talk about cables to the Traveler. As my Traveler is wired for DirecTV, I have ONE multi-conductor “control cable” going the Traveler Control Box and ONE , COAX that is connected to the receiver through a “SWM 3” labeled power inserter. Tom's Hopper 3 Diagram referenced above with a red colored heading, shows THREE cables to the Traveler for DISH. This raises questions. Do I just need to run some additional cables? If so how many, and what specs? Or is my Traveler different from the ones others have converted to Dish service and may not be convertible? Thank you all again for your assistance! Jim
  4. We suspended our DirecTV account while we went to Alaska for the summer of 2017. After we came back to lower 48 we didn't feel the need for it and closed the account. Now we want satellite TV again. There seem to be quite a few permutations of how to go about that. I have been skimming through threads on here and other sites and have a rough plan. Would you look at this outline of my plan and tell me if you see ways I could or should tweak it? 1) Buy a Winegard RP-SK21 Reflector Bracket and LNB Assembly for SK-1000 TRAV'LER Dish 1000 and a Winegard RPSK11 Reflector to convert my DirecTV Traveler to receive Dish. I plan to do this by myself. Other than falling off my roof, any technical reason this would be an issue? 2) Buy or lease a Hopper 3 DVR and 4K Joey. I would prefer to lease, but want to be able to save $ by suspending service when we don't need it. Do we need to own it to suspend service? How do the costs compare for leasing vs buying and for month to month vs annual contract? 3) Install the Hopper 3 in our bedroom near our Traveler controller and the cable(s) from the Traveler. Our living room entertainment center is in a slide that would be difficult to re-route cables to. 4) Install the 4K Joey in the living room with wireless connection to the Hopper 3 in bedroom (about 30 feet away). I assume we will be able to control the Hopper 3 in bedroom from the living room through the Joey. Does that sound right? 5) Call someone and sign up for service. Is https://www.dishformyrv.com/ my best choice? Are there any discounts through affiliations such as Escapees, FMCA, AARP etc? Any thoughts greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance! Jim
  5. Sorry, but I can't answer your question directly. But I have some food for thought. Are you sure you will really need a NYS license? When we left NYS to full time RV, we decided to use SD as our domicile state and I just traded in my NYS licence in for a SD one. Have you decided where you will domicile? In SD a regular license is good to drive any RV. From what I hear, Texas has a fairly simple road test requirement. There is plenty of info on that posted in these forums. You could also save on sales tax depending on where you register the RV. We went to an extreme and formed an LLC in Montana where there is no sales tax. I can't say that I would definitely do that again. At the time, it seemed like our best option. Timing played a role in that for us. Before we left NYS, we were located where state and local sales tax combined was just shy of 9%. We did not want to wait to purchase our RV until after we left NYS, or pay all that tax to a state we were leaving. Another thing that may have helped us deal with the timing issue, was that we had a place outside NY to take the RV (HDT, 5th wheel and smart car) so I never needed to bring them to NYS while we were transitioning to full time. Timing is an issue that you will need to work out. Your situation is no doubt different, but in a nutshell that is what we did.
  6. Carefree Manor Trailer Resort in Apache Junction, a suburb of Phoenix, has a wood shop. I used a table saw briefly to cut some trim when I installed a new fridge while I was there. I didn't look around much or notice if they had a lathe. My guess would be no. HDT'r Daryl of "Daryl and Rita", who are active on this site, spend their winters there and he could tell you much more about the shop. We are at Voyager in Tucson, so if you need more info on their woodshop, I should be able to get it for you.
  7. My wife and I were just gifted a new Apple iPad Mini 4 Wi-Fi model. I went on the Apple website and, as per the specs, it appears to lack a GPS. To get GPS we would need to take it to an Apple Store and pay the difference ($130) to upgrade it for the Wi-Fi and Cellular model. We have a Grandfathered Verizon Unlimited Data plan and the AT&T Unlimited Data Plan on a Mobley, so we don't think we need to sign up for a third cellular data plan just for the iPad. We have no experience using Apple products. We have two Android smart phones and a tablet that is similarly sized to the iPad. We also have two Windows 10 laptops. The tablet and laptops seem to either have built in GPS, or get data from the Wi-Fi connection to enable them to pinpoint our location in Google Maps, etc. I don't feel we need the Apple iPad, but I may not know what we are missing? My questions for those more familiar with the iPad Mini 4 are: 1) As a full time RV'r, given our existing devices that seem to be serving our needs fine, what would we gain by keeping the iPad rather than selling it new in box on eBay? 2) If we keep it, would it be worth $130 to upgrade it to the Cellular version that has GPS? Or should we upgrade to a completely different Apple device? 3) How likely will adding a 3rd operating system to our arsenal of devices just confuse us and/or cause compatibility issues? (We are mediocre in our computer tech skills.) Thank you in advance for your advice. Jim
  8. We installed what was probably one of the last LFP battery systems that Balqon sold before they went out of business in 2015. We have used the 9 kWh battery pack (700 amp hours) for over 3 years. I installed it, out of sight behind drawer fronts, in the bedroom above the Magnum Hybrid Inverter located in our 5th wheel basement. About a year after installation, we had one cell sensor in the BMS go bad. I was able to identify the manufacturer and replace it. Now I carry spares, but have not needed them. Generally, our travels avoid real cold temps and we have rarely been where the outside temps drop below 20 F. I don't have hard data, but I doubt our bedroom, or battery, has ever been below 40 F. When it has been really cold outside, it has been at night when our 1060 watts of solar charging is idle. It may have been stated already, but the advisory is not to CHARGE the battery below 32 F. We have not, but I think we could use the power in the battery overnight if the battery were colder than that. But in our case, we can't imaging our bedroom ever getting below freezing unless there were something really unusual going on, in which case we would not charge the battery. Ask me again in 5, 10, 15 years, if we still like our lithium system, but so far, it seems to have been the right choice for us due to weight, physical space, capacity, charging properties, and probably cost. It's that last one, cost, that time will tell about. If projected life of our battery pack holds true, it should save us money in the long run. We did our research and don't worry about our battery's chemistry "running away" or causing a fire. It may be safer than lead acid. I am very careful with wrenches around the terminals and have developed a method to tighten lugs, once or twice a year, that guards against shorting the battery.
  9. David, would it be just as effective to reset the control panel by removing the other end of the phone cable at the inverter end? I never had to do that, but in my case if I did, that would be easier to get to that taking the display off the wall. Jim
  10. Thanks Kirk! Your answer was better worded than my question. Your algae statement reminds me.... I am thinking that after one fill with bad water, all bets would be off. I didn't want to muddy my original question, so I didn't include this information, but I installed a UV sanitizer under our kitchen sink. I did that because I don't think I would know when I picked up a bad water fill. How would I know when that happens? I have seen real good tasting well water test unsafe to drink with a pretty high count for e. coli /coli-form bacteria. I did not install my UV system to protect all taps and it's not currently wired to our inverted circuits, so it is only powered when we are on shore power. I need to decide what to do with that. It would be nice to have it sanitize all my RV water, but more important to work when we are boondocked. I think it's drawing 25 watts 24/7, rather than just "on demand". As long as the sun was out during the day to recharge my battery with solar, that should be OK, but during those periods when the sun does not shine much, I would need to fire up the generator that much sooner. I may see you at the Escapade in March as we will be "wintering" in Tucson. That would be nice. However, we are thinking of leaving before the Escapade. Jim
  11. We run our fill water through a particulate and a carbon filter. The carbon filter should remove most, if not all, the chlorine when we fill with municipal water. I have two questions that relate to how this might change some answers provided to OP and other readers if they use a carbon filter, and for my own knowledge of course. 1) Assuming potable tank was properly sanitized and flushed with chlorine recently, how long would carbon filtered water be safe to drink? 2) When removing the chlorine every time the tank is filled, how often should the chlorine flush procedure be done to assure the water stays safe?
  12. I think you should be fine with the X-Chocks and your stabilizers.
  13. I am not an engineer or physicist, but I think that your X-Chocks should be adequate to keep your wheels from rolling. Without them rolling, the force on the fine gravel, under the wheels and jacks etc, should be straight down. I don't think you need to worry about it rolling or sliding down that slope.
  14. I would not depend on generalized beliefs on this. I suggest you actually consult the specific States involved. For example, I was a long time resident of NY before we went full time and became domiciled in SD. I had a pickup truck I wanted (and have)to leave at my FIL's in Ohio. I use it a few weeks a year mostly for hunting in Ohio and NY. I thought, based on the advice I had read on this forum that because it was "garaged" in Ohio, I needed to register it in Ohio. Ohio BMV didn't think so. In fact, I went to two different BMV offices in Ohio and tried to register it. Supervisors at each told me that as a non-resident, I was not allowed to register it in Ohio.
  15. Jim Gell


    Cathy and I would be interested in planning to attend on our way to Alaska. A 40 ft. fifth wheel probably would not be considered a "small painting job" for Rita, but what about just the end caps? 😁 Jim
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