Jump to content


Validated Members
  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Smitty77_7

  • Rank
    Major Contributor

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location

Optional Fields

  • Lifetime Member

Recent Profile Visitors

16,896 profile views
  1. Smitty77_7

    Northstar AGM batteries

    I agree with Al's assessment on thin plate vs thick plate. And yes, I was considering them for 'Starter/Chassis' duty - not deep cycle. I believe LY318, in other threads, commented that he too would not recommend them for heavy lifting house battery duty(?). But, that he'd been surprised at how well they were holding up, and was using it for house duty. And I should have stipulated that the reason I went with the Lifeline's 8D Starter battery, was so that I'd have a common set of Lifeline's - all set with the same charging voltages and timeframes. And, I've had good luck with my Lifeline's - and found the company to be a very standup place to do business with. Solid tech support too... (I walked down the first set of X's 4 L16's I had, due to not fully understanding the way Magnum's MS2812 AGM2 Charging Setting worked. I had 'Finish' set to Multi, as we have a Solar Panel bank and MidNite Classic 150 in the mix. Where I blew it, was while in storage, I'd turn off the Classic 150, and let the MS2812 maintain the House Bank (With Smart Battery Combiner also in the mix, maintaining the Chassis.) The MS2812's Finish 'Multi' logic is that once the House Bank has gone into Full Charge condition. It then waits until the bank is down to 12.6V before then going into Float Mode for a maximum of four hours only. With an 800AH bank, and dropping the Lifeline AGM's down to 12.6V - four hours of Float would not bring them back up to full charge. So when stored for say two or three months, the battery would slowly walk down in SOC, and without getting back to full charge, it seems sulfating did occur on my bank of a batteries. (We leave all power on, including the Inverter for in case of power outages, to keep the Samsung Fridge running.) I mentioned great tech support by Lifeline. Their tech walked me thru different attempts to salvage my about 5 1/2 year old Lifeline's. They came back some, but not enough that I wanted to travel with them for boon docking. So even out of warranty, and even though I self inflicted the damage - they offered me a generous discount on a replacement set. (I was close enough to drive up their warehouse and pick them up. Left my old batteries, as the Tech wanted to hit them hard with some of their heavier duty chargers - to see if they would come back more. (Do not know the outcome on that exercise.). Magnum has also been great work with. I now have the MS2812 Finish set to Float. So when the bank has become Fully Charged, they're maintained in Float Mode after that. This new bank has been doing quite well so far. Finally, I set my Classic 150 to 'Ending Amp's' (4A for our battery bank.), and the Controller goes to Float Mode once that value has been met. So the end result is both the Solar and Magnum are rapidly moving into Float Mode maintenance while in storage. I also now do a monthly exercise of the bank while in storage. I run the bank down to about 85% SOC, which then kicks of a full Bulk/Absorb cycle, to keep the juices stirred up:)! (My term, but basically putting some juice thru the bank to avoid sulfating the bank.). Northstar's may be also good for House Duty, but not how I see thin plate application batteries being used. Best to all, Smitty
  2. Smitty77_7

    Northstar AGM batteries

    Poster landyacht318, on RV.Net's Tech forum, has had many positive comments on a Northstar AGM he has. As I recall, they use thin plate tech, vs say Lifeline's use of thicker plates. I considered two Grp 31 Northstar for Starter duty in our coach. But ended up using the Lifeline's 8D Starter battery instead. You might to do a search on RV.Net for either Northstar or landyachts318 threads, and read what he has to say about them. Many cycles of usage, is what I recall, and still holding pretty good on the percentage of output. Best of luck to you:)! Smitty Here's one thread where he talks about his Northstar: https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/29592946/gotomsg/29594869.cfm#29594869
  3. Smitty77_7

    Mounting speakers beside the fireplace

    http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/Speakers/Theatre_Solutions/Mini_Theatre/mt-60d.html#limitlessversatility Perhaps a black pair of M1's mounted to the wood trim? Would not protruded too far from the wall, and relatively decent sound out of a small package. Especially if you add the matching sub, and tuck it somewhere out of the tripping zone of walking:)! Could luck to you, and please let us know what you end up doing, as it could help others down the road too:)! Smitty (I cut into our coaches ceiling, and placed installed Martin Logans EM-R's for L/R Stereo duty. With the 8" drivers, I have not added a sub (98% of the time, these do well without a sub, and for the final 2% - well, we're camping - so I survive:)!). But I had the depth in the ceiling needed to make these work well, in addition to the angled design of the speaker, I offset the mount a bit more too, to add even more angle. (Not needed in home applications with 8' + ceilings, but with the coach ceiling not having that much height, I needed to angle them a bit more to aim them to the primary seating areas. When I tuned the sounds, we set up two zones. Zone 1, is the mentioned listening position being optimized, which in our coach is in the driver's side deeper slide, where we have out two lounge chairs. Zone 2 is optimized tuned/calibrated to the middle of the coach. We use that when entertaining and say preparing dinner, as it provides a more balanced sound thru the front of the coach, galley and dining area. The LM's EM-R's tweeter does a good job on say vocals, strings, piano reproduction. It did take well over 300 hours of playing for the tweeters and driver to finally break in. At first brush, I was very concerned that they were way too harsh in the mid to upper ranges. Talking with LM Tech support, they encouraged me to let them play and burn in for a couple hundred of hours, and then re-tune the two zones one more time. They were right, the sounds did open up quite nice. Of course in a narrow tin can of a 40' coach, many compromises are made in sound quality. The nature of the the beast:)!) (By the way, the LM's ElectoMotion's also have a smaller speaker with a 6" driver. My buddy installed a pair in his Alpine, and they with a sub do a good job too. The depth of the 8" would not fit his desired install location. He snugged the 6" drive EM's were he wanted them. So another option.) https://www.crutchfield.com/p_839EMR/MartinLogan-ElectroMotion-R.html
  4. Very informative thread. Sorry for the issues you've had, but believe threads like this help all of us - either now, or down the road... Best to all, Smitty
  5. Thanks Joel. I knew it had this capability, and admit I'm a junkie for the best picture I can get. Which oddly, seems to not be as crisp as it used to be!! (Why? Well, time for a new lens prescription:)!) WFR GO2 and GOac, are so much more then just 'Wifi and a router.' The provide many useful options, or 'tools in the toolbox' for internet data. A few of the major ones are: -Safe Surf (Almost a VPN like capability.) -Load Balancing where you can share multiple paths to the internet -Strong internal WiFi signal. (Just the GO02 or GOac, broadcast a strong enough WiFI signal cover a large RV, and or the outside of an RV.) -The item you mentioned, the ability to limit data usage to conserve montly data usage. (And I agree, 720 is fine for almost all movies and TV's shows.) Sure, other products can do this. Many times it may take two products to do what WFR an do... But WFR has good tech support. A strong user's base - and dang it, they're truly nice people to work with... Best to you, and all, Smitty
  6. Smitty77_7

    Evergreen Coho Escapee Park, WA

    Thanks again RV, and you too Kirk. Yes, to Hot Rain Forrest... This will be our fourth visit to the region. But, usually we've planned it far enough in advance to make what we call anchor reservations during busy travel times. Funny how things work out. As luck would have it, we've now landed an Electric and Water site only for over the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Regatta. And, then should move to a Full Hook later in September. (I called back to talk with the Office Manager Nancy, and timing was perfect. And, us being on the waiting list for cancellations helped too...) So looks like we're covered for this one:)! It is a great area to explore, and we find we go back to some of our favorite locations - as well as try to always add new hikes, and sites that we have not yet seen, while we work our way South for our annual pilgrimage to Eugene and Junction City areas of Oregon. (We have a Country Coach, and many of the former CC factory members are in various businesses in this region. They know our coach better then we do:)! So, who better for annual maintenance/fix it's and smaller modifications of our coach... Best to you two, and all, Smitty
  7. Smitty77_7

    Evergreen Coho Escapee Park, WA

    Thanks RV. Have been checking a few of these the last few days. And business seems to be good for them all:)! We have two Elk's lodges within the region too, so possibility to land at one of them if nothing comes thru for Evergreen. And then perhaps go to Evergreen a bit later in the month. Appreciate the links:)! Best, Smitty
  8. Was not too sure where to post this. So chose General RV. We've had a change in our travel plans, which will have us going to the Pacific Northwest this year. We enjoy staying at Evergreen, especially during the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, 9/7 9/9 this year. This late in the game, no reservation sites are available thru the office, though we're on a waiting list for in case someone cancels. So the reason for this post, was to ask if anyone knew a lot owner at Evergreen, that may not be planning to be in the park for the month of September? We're looking for four weeks, and can be flexible going into October to make it a full four weeks, if that matters. From our previous visits, we know that not all members put their lots into the pool. Figured it does not hurt to ask, and maybe some Evergreen member will read this, or someone who knows an Evergreen member, and be able to suggest someone who might not be using their lot, and willing to rent it out for a month. (And, my DW loves to garden, so if they want - she can do a maintenance cycle on their garden for them too:)!). TIA for any leads, and best to all, Smitty
  9. Smitty77_7

    Dodge 3500 toad

    If buying a new toad brake assist today, and being pulled behind a DP, I'd go with the Air Force One. Our US Gear, has served us well since 2007, but new ones are hard to locate now a days. (Bought a spare unit off a fell Escapee a few years back, because the brains can sometimes go out, and at the price I got it at - good to have some extra parts:)!) Be sure you get a heavy duty enough Tow Bar system. Was helping a gent (Arm in a sling) hook up his F250 4X4 behind his coach, and noticed he had only a 5K Lbs capacity Stirling. When I pointed out to them, he said he did not realize they came in different size capacity ranges. That the Stirling had come on the coach when he bought it about three months ago. He had a shell on the truck, and lots of gear/weight in the bed of that truck. Suggested he call the manufacturer and discuss his load, and see what they thought. (I knew already, he was over weight, and this was an accident potential waiting to happen.) Best of luck to you, Smitty
  10. We went with tow rooftop Antennas: 1) The RAYZR AUTO (We use this one the most, probably 97%+ of the time. Push a button, and walk away, and the unit scans and locks on available channel signals.) 2) Also have a new crank up Sensar antenna. (I had that installed, as I wanted to have a raisable mount, to add cellular antennas to.) (When in the fringes of coverage, and with digital, you're either on/or pretty much off with a signal now a days. (No longer getting to watch the snowy outlines and try to imagine what the picture is:)!). We've tried A/B testing between the antennas when a good distance from larger city sources. And have found now probably 7-9 times, that the Sensar would pull in a channel that the RAYZR Auto would not. Best of luck to you on the road ahead, Smitty
  11. Smitty77_7

    Problem with slide outs?

    Many coaches have manual closing methods for closing the slides. Reading your coach manual will outline the steps required (If available:)!. The only time we've been delayed from checking out, was caused by rookie mistake on our part. Breckenridge's Tigers Run, the DW and I took a late evening walk with the dog. And noted many people had pulled in their slides, and disconnected their water hoses. We were pretty smug, as we'd been wrapping our water hose in foam pipe insulation. (Maybe our third or fourth time to do so.) Woke up in the AM, the day we were to check out, to a beautiful coating of about 6" of snow. (Being Southern California most of our lives, we find snow intriguing:)!) Out for some pictures, and another walk with the dog. Back for a second cup of coffee, all nice and toasty inside the coach. So cold outside, the coach had several icicles hanging from many areas - another 'first' for us... About an hour before we were to leave, I dumped and unhooked the water hose - no real problems, a bit stiff is all. Disconnected the 50Amp, and wrestled that ice cold/stiff snake back in. Got the toad ready to hook up when we pulled out. Back inside to the coach, and started up the engine. (We'd been preheating the block since around 2:00AM.) Went to bring in the slides, and slowly the front slide started to come in. But, sort of stopped, and got a bit out of alignment too. Strange sounding noise too. So, put the slide back out all the way, and went out to see if perhaps a branched fallen that I had not seen. Nope, but gee, the slide topper had what looked to be about 4" of snow on it! Out came the ladder, got out a broom, and thought I'd knock off that snow. NOPE! Turns out it was more ice, then snow... To speed up my 'slide issue impacting our departure'. Ended up trying to break up the ice with a hammer (Did not enjoy walking on the roof top!), that got some of the ice off. Went ahead and got the extension cord out, and used the DW's Hair Dryer to finish melting off the ice from the Slide Topper... Park was real cool about it, and said to please let them know when we were going to be able to leave. No extra charge, and even asked if I needed to borrow a bigger ladder. About 3 hours late, and we sure learned a good lesson. (We bring out slides 'IN!', when snow or ice rain is forecasted!!!) Oh yeah - our slides have worked pretty dang good over the years, knocking on wood!! Best to all, Smitty (And know you seasoned veterans of colder weather, knew all of what we had to learn from the school of hard knocks - but you know, we'll never forget that lesson:)!)
  12. Smitty77_7

    maxi vs fantastic vent by domestic

    Our coach came with two Fantastic Fans, and they've served us well. We did add the Maxxiar Cover to the FF over the kitchen area, for usage in the rain. Due to concerns with Solar Panel shading, we did not add the Maxxiar cover over the bathroom fan. So about 15 months ago, we swapped the FF out with the Maxxiar fan. When it's closed, the low profile does not shade our panels. When it is up, only in extreme AM or PM, depending upon the angle the coach is parked, do we have a problem. We do like the ability reverse the Maxxiar fan for in the evening in warm, but not hot, weather. It adds just enough air flow to the rear of the coach, to make a difference in comfort. FF installed in 03, with one motor replacement about 6 years ago (Now have the old FF, as a back up unit!). Maxxiar? Time will tell:)! Best to all, Smitty
  13. For years I was on the IT Tech Approval group for a fortune 100 company. Phones & plans provided to employees by the company, was one of the items we took the most 'input' on. In those days, Blackberry's were the Status Symbol of upwardly mobile executives, or executives wannabe's. While the masses in the company still had pager's (Remember them?), boy these people were important! Stopping meetings to 'check an email'.... I digress. Due to the multiple states with facilities, we had plans and phones from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. We typically would opt for Motorola's, because our hands on results with about 30K phones spread across the nation, and the world (Different plans and phones for multiple countries....) - found that Motorola's typically would have better reception (Combo of antenna and chipsets used.) then other phones. Nokia and Erikson were about a tie, but we'd often hear reports from unhappy executives that at the same meeting/conference, that those with Motorola's would have better phone reception then those with Nokia and Erikson, on same carrier. I used Motorola for many, many years. Still feel they're a good phone. But, the playing field added iPhones and Samsung's to mention the top two - and those were game changers. When my Razr M battery bulged, I elected to try a Samsung. I usually buy my wife (ATT iPhone) and my Verizon (Now Samsung) the one level back latest and greatest. As we too buy out of pocket. We then hang onto the phones, adding Mophi's Batter Packs after the second year, for about 3-4 years. Before we start over again. My Samsung S6, is next to be replaced. And will do so in the next few months. I may elect on this one, to go with the S7, because the S8 was more like an '7' upgrade then all knew. And can save some coin by doing so. Still early in the analysis phase. We do use my Verizon's GF Unlimited Data Plan via Hotspot, very often. So, Data handling, is more important to me then Voice is. (DW's iPhone still has Hotspot Capability, but we use Unite Explore and Mobley for ATT Data feeding, more so then her iPhone.) So RV, when you get that free S9, I'll give you $20 for it - and that, is $20 profit, tax free to you!!! Best to all, Smitty
  14. Smitty77_7

    Simple green to clean waste tanks

    For slow drains, traps, and just general cleaning the pipes... Lots of baking powder down the drain, then a slow trickle of white vinegar. The reaction between these two, does a good job braking down built up 'gunk'. Since you mentioned the kitchen, I doing accumulation of hair is a problem (Becoming less and less a problem for one of us in our relationship:)!). Once a year, I use one of those 2' nylon strap with barbs on the end, and fish out as much hair as I can. Remove the shower pans drain screen, and undoing the plunger in the lavatory sink. After I've pulled out all that I can, I then do the yearly baking power and white vinegar cleansing. For the grey/black tanks themselves. We do use Happy Camper after draining the black, each time. Do the HC down the grey about once every two months. And for in case we need it, we always have a bit of HC's Extreme available. About twice a year, we also will use the Calgon water softener down the black and grey, with fresh water filling both two about 2/3 full. We do this when leaving one campground, and on route to the next where we know we'll have full hook up's. The sloshing around breaks down the hard water. We do this to help keep hard water, and other, build up on the side of the tanks. Even with Sea Level II external gauges, the black will from time to time stop accurately reporting, until after a cleaning. Also once a year, we'll drain, flush, drain gray and black. Then pour a gallon of the cheapest vegetable oil we can into the tanks and let them sit for several hours. Then I'll open and close the black and gray valves two or three times rapidly, as the vegetable oil drains out. Most of these techniques, were picked up here on this board, as well as a few other forums. Best to you, Smitty
  15. Have the the Real Estate/CPA's info, and we're doing a conference call tomorrow to wrap things up. A correction to the post I made above, about a strategy of perhaps having the DW be a California Resident, and myself retaining SD Domicile. Above I share this info from the Internet: "If you meet all the requirements for the exclusion, you can take the $250,000/$500,000 exclusion any number of times. But you may not use it more than once every two years." "There are certain additional requirements you must meet to qualify for the $500,000 exclusion. Namely, you must be able to show that all of the following are true: you are married and file a joint return for the year either you or your spouse meets the ownership test both you and your spouse meet the use test, and during the 2-year period ending on the date of the sale, neither you or your spouse excluded gain from the sale of another home." The Attorney/CPA clarified that this is true, but to get the full $500K for the sell of the home, both spouses must meet the 'Use Test". Which I would not, being Domiciled in SD. So only her $250K exemption would apply. (A side note: I educated her, and then she fact checked, the difference between 'Domicile and Resident' (Took her a bit to understand the nuances involved:)!) === As further info sharing, without going into specifics: > Much less of a difference between the 'Walk Away' amounts after taxes for either home, by waiting for 2 out of 5 Exemption to kick in. (The California Taxes, DMV, Higher Insurance, etc. contributed to this being a relatively smaller difference then either myself, or the CPA side of the Attorney had first expected:)!) > She did confirm that the Rental Properties Passive Loss Carryover, offsets as part of the overall AGI. (Not against the Depreciation Recovery, as someone had suggested to me.) (She answered many more of my questions, but more specific to us, so will not bother posting hose here.) My wife and I are waiting until I finish the wrap-up call tomorrow, then we'll sit down and kick things around. No question the selling of the Rental Property would yield the highest Walk Away funds between the two properties. And no questions that we prefer our current Vacation home (Where we raised the family, holidays, 2 weddings and 5 receptions, wife's garden and the kitchen she designed and loved, set up well for aging with a large bedroom to use, etc.). And, I suspect the wrap up call tomorrow will confirm the selling of the Rental Property will have more ripple ramifications and complications between my wife and I, and her Mom as Co-Owner's. (This would cause her aggravation, and concern - because it's her nature.). The Rental house, is also the newer structure, better built insulation wise, and has the separate quarters upstairs that could be used by us as a California Foothold ahead. From a pure financial standpoint, when my MIL 'moves on', the Step-up cost basis to us is also an advantage. And then at that time, we could then again start renting out the lower house (3BR, 2BA, 2 Car Garage) - and that would carry the costs of the property as well as should generate a small amount of positive cash flow too. (The upstairs unit is a 1BR 1BA 1,100 SF place, over a 3 Car Garage which we'd retain for our use too, and has the RV Parking spot beside it as well.) So my current thoughts are we will elect to: -Not Re-Califorinize ourselves -So no need to wait for the 2 out of 5 exemptions (Either $250K if just the DW or $500K if both of us were to return to California Residency.) -Probably sell our current Vacation Home. Give notice to the tenant, our Daughter, of our intent on moving the MIL back into the lower house at the early part of next year. We would no longer have it be a Rental Property, it would become our Vacation Home. So unless after the final review with the Attorney/CPA turns up something I've missed while reviewing her findings. Or, the DW's attachment to our current Vacation Home are too strong - I believe this the direction we'll head. A bit lower Walk Away then I'd have preferred. But the KISS approach on taxes going forward for both us and MIL. And in the future, the Step-up basis is a positive too. For those of you who do not care, sorry for being so long winded. I know reading many posts on this forum, I learned quite a bit from the generous info sharing of others. So, if this helps someone down the road, great! Best to all, Smitty