Jump to content

docj

Validated Members
  • Content count

    1,517
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by docj

  1. WiFiRanger made an announcement yesterday of a whole new product line that builds on our custom software and electronics expertise. The “Hey Ranger” AI Universal Assistant, is an offline, artificial intelligence assistant with a custom vocabulary and skillset that allows voice control of almost any kind of RV component or system (e.g. lights, awnings, slides, generators, pumps, battery life, etc). WiFiRanger is already working with several systems manufacturers and will debut the prototype system next week at the Elkhart RV Open House. The prototype will include showcasing voice control of lights, awnings, pumps, fans, and monitoring of legacy tank systems through a custom hardware bridge. Adding to the convenience of the system, once the Hey Ranger AI Universal Assistant is online via the WiFiRanger, it can be summoned to temporarily act like an AlexaTM or OK GoogleTM device if the owner has accounts for those services, extending usage to those services as well. Although many RVers already own "Alexa"-type devices, those all rely on having an internet connection in order to perform the speech processing needed to respond to verbal commands. The Hey Ranger product line is based on a proprietary speech processing module which is self-contained and doesn't require an internet connection. Initial shipments are scheduled to key RV manufacturers in Q1 2019 with volume deliveries scheduled for model change mid-2019, and skills developed for a variety of system components. Although it's easy to see how Hey Ranger can play a role in new RV production, it's also being designed so that it can be integrated with existing RVs. For example a custom interface has already been developed so it can be used with the See Level series of holding tank monitors. Other interfaces are planned and the device can readily be use to control a variety of 12V switching applications. As the product modules become available next year I'll post specific applications information. Joel (AKA docj)
  2. docj

    Rock chip in front window

    Don't assume that is the case. I have Progressive and it, like many others, covers windshield chip repair with no deductible even though there is a deductible for windshield replacement. In fact, I was told over the phone by a claims person that if, for some reason, my windshield couldn't be repaired or failed subsequent to a repair, the replacement would be subject to the deductible even thought the repair I'm having done this morning is without cost to me.
  3. docj

    Setting up CR-V for TOAD

    IMHO, just as important is making sure that the Honda's key doesn't stay in the ACC overnight while you are parked which would really drain the battery. For me that creates a quandary because if I take the key out of the ignition and leave the car hitched, I run the small, but finite, risk of forgetting to put it back before we leave the next morning. Sure, we need to run the Honda through it's pre-tow procedure, but Murphy's Law says that someday we might forget to do that. My solution to this is to have attached a small piece of industrial Velcro to the MH's steering wheel and to the keyring for the Honda's key (we use the "Valet key" for towing). When I take the key out of the Honda when we stop for the night it is immediately Velcroed to the MH's steering wheel where it is both visible and available the next morning. Maybe I'm overcautious about this, but accidents do happen!
  4. docj

    Setting up CR-V for TOAD

    With all due respect, that's not what the manual for my 2014 CR-V says. The attached screen shot is from the manual. It specifically says that you should go through the procedure "if you tow for more than 8 hours" not "if you have the vehicle hitched and ready to be towed for more than 8 hours". This isn't the first thing in the Honda manual that is ambiguous. There is a statement that transmission fluid should be changed every 30,000 miles if the vehicle is towed behind a motorhome. I've spoken with Honda personnel at length about this and no one knows if the statement means change the fluid after 30,000 miles of towing, or if it means 30,000 miles of driving regardless of how far it's been towed, or what?
  5. docj

    WI FI hotspot info please

    With all due respect, Tracfone is primarily sold as a phone to talk and text on, rather than one to be used as a data connection. The basic plans as shown on its website are for data allowances of 1-2 GB/mo which would probably be insufficient for daily use of your laptop. I think your options would be to get a Verizon phone with a data plan you can live with or to get Spectrum to do its job and get you connected properly. There's absolutely no reason why a Spectrum data line should interfere with the park's free TV. Spectrum ought to be able to give you a wifi router that sits in you storage bay that is totally separate from whatever system connects to your TV. IMO a properly functioning Spectrum internet connection will be faster and less costly than anything you can get from Verizon.
  6. Another reason that it might make sense for RV drivers to have to pass a driving test for a higher license class. To get my Class B CDL I had to be able to parallel park a vehicle as large as my MH, along with a few other maneuvers. That training still comes in handy when backing my MH into an RV site!
  7. If you use your RV and put significant mileage on it then things will wear out and/or break. That's true for cars, as well, but cars are designed and tested at quantities many, many times larger than RVs. So design defects and other repair problems are often found (by others) long before they can affect us--all we ever see is a recall notice or maybe the shop executes a TSB the next time the vehicle is in for service. By comparison, the low volume at which RV's are produced makes it far more likely that you might be the first one to ever experience a problem or report it. The coach we own was a relatively low production-rate model produced by a high quality, but relatively small, manufacturer. We now have ~116k miles on it, more than >6k of which were put on in the past 60 days. We had one breakdown on this trip that required maintenance when a hydraulic hose developed a leak which deprived us of power steering and our cooling fan. It turns out that the hose leaked because a strapping bracket holding it in place had, after ~18 years, cut through the hose wall. No doubt this was caused by vibration, but, it still could be considered a design flaw since a hose bracket shouldn't ever cut through the hose it is securing. If this sort of thing had happened with my CR-V no doubt some other drivers, who put on more miles per year than I do, might well have experienced this and Honda would have circulated a TSB that might have resulted in some extra cushioning be added to the bracket to protect the hose. I might never be aware that a potential problem was averted. That's fine with a vehicle of which ~378k were sold in 2017, but there were probably no more than a couple of hundred coaches similar to ours built during the 3-year production run with quite a few of those, no doubt, having been taken off the road by now. And even among those that are still rolling, the chances are that some significant percentage will have fewer miles on them than we do. As a result we might well be the first owner to ever experience this particular problem. In summary, I could get frustrated and label this as another example of poor RV design and execution or I could just judge it to be another example of the fact that these are complex machines that vibration eventually takes its toll on regardless of how well built they are when new. I've chose to do the latter and, after two days of down time, we were on our way and had a fabulous summer journey to Durango, Crater Lake, Yellowstone and multiple places along the way. Joel (AKA docj)
  8. With all due respect, I think you're making a broad generalization based on a very limited experience base. We've been full-timing for ~8 years in our Class A and we've suffered our share of unexpected problems in our >60,000 miles of travel. Yet I can count on one hand the number of nights we've had to spend in hotels or other accommodations because ours couldn't be occupied. Most of the time we've been able to find repair facilities that could, at least, provide us electrical power overnight; once or twice we simply ran the generator all night while awaiting the shop to open the next day. One CAT dealer said that we couldn't stay in the MH overnight since it was inside its locked security fence, but that was an exception rather than the rule. The MH vs towable debate is one that has no right or wrong answer; each RVer has to decide which is the best choice for him. There are lots of factors that figure into that decision, but, IMHO, this isn't more than an incidental issue.
  9. Regardless of what is stated on the AT&T website about the device, it worked extremely well over the past couple of months on our journey through the Mountain West states. The only places it didn't work were those where AT&T didn't have service. In fact, one park we stayed at actually says in its literature that there is no available AT&T data service. Using a WeBoost amp we were able to stream video every night on our AT&T hotspot. My supposition is that the description on the website is about the prior version of the ZTE hotspot used for this data service. We had one of those a couple of years ago when we tried AT&T's "rural internet" plan. It was a much less satisfactory device; the new one appears to have a MIMO antenna configuration.
  10. docj

    RV Fridge to Samsung RF 18

    If the RF18 thermostat is designed the same way as the RF179's, the temperature in the freezer is tied to the ice maker's demand for ice. If you use a lot of ice the fridge will drop the freezer temp for a while (without changing the display) so that the ice maker can "catch up" and make more ice. I don't think this is a documented design feature, but I did find it on a Samsung website somewhere. One test you can do to determine if this is how your fridge functions is to try to scoop ice cream first thing in the morning, after the ice maker has had all night to fill up. It should be noticeably softer than it in, for example, late afternoon, if people have been using ice for drinks all afternoon. Of course, once you have scooped some ice cream early in the morning, you'll just have to eat it! 😁
  11. docj

    Do any of you have Direct TV?

    No, with the old grandfathered plan hotspot use is an extra cost feature. It's free with the current "unlimited" plan. If you didn't use FoxFi you would have to pay Verizon extra fees for hotspot access.
  12. docj

    RV Fridge to Samsung RF 18

    Out of curiosity, are you sure that the problem is the ice maker not working, or is there any chance that the freezer temperature has gotten too high to make ice even though things seem cold? The reason I ask is that my RF197 has been subject to an issue every year or two which results it losing synchronization with its thermostats. The symptom is that the things in the fridge and/or freezer don't seem as cold as they should be but the temperature display appears normal. The "fix" as explained to me by a Samsung CSR is to unplug the fridge and reboot it after ~15 minutes. When power is re-applied the thermostats will read the actual temps which will be high. After an hour or two everything will go back to normal. I don't know what would happen if I ignored the problem, other than I know the ice maker wouldn't make ice at those temps. Maybe it would go back and start working again by itself--I don't know.
  13. docj

    RV Fridge to Samsung RF 18

    Occasionally, a piece of ice seems to fall into the freezer rather than in the bin. If that's part of #1, I have more significant things to worry about. No the shelves can't be moved and I rarely, if ever, moved them on other fridges I have owned., Can't comment on #3 since the RF197 is totally different from the RF18, but I can hardly hear mine when the compressor is running.
  14. docj

    Do any of you have Direct TV?

    Your FoxFi is creating the wifi for your local LAN, but it is definitely NOT your internet connection. Your phone gets its internet connection through the LTE cellular network. Samsung SmartView sets up a device-to-device wifi link that is different from the regular wifi created using FoxFi. However, it needs to use the phone's wifi radio to do it. That's why it's telling you to turn off FoxFi. When you do that other devices that may have been connected to your LAN will no longer have an internet connection, but the phone will be just fine. FWIW, these days most Verizon plans include hotspot use for no additional cost. Are you using FoxFi for a particular reason rather than the phone's built-in hotspot app?
  15. docj

    RV Fridge to Samsung RF 18

    We've had our Samsung RF197 (predecessor to the RF18) for >7 years and have had no problems. For the first two years it ran off of our MSW inverter and now it is powered by a pure sine wave Magnum. It's never needed any servicing.
  16. docj

    Do any of you have Direct TV?

    FWIW, some (most?) Samsung phones have built-in screen mirroring and don't need a app. I think it's called Smart View. My wife's S7 has it. How good the mirroring works seems to depend very much on what device you are "casting" to. Sometimes it works fine and other times it stalls and the audio and video lose synchronization. Because of these issues, we don't use it unless we have no other option.
  17. docj

    Do any of you have Direct TV?

    With all due respect, I assume you mean the Google Play Store and the app is probably called something more than just "mirror". There are a number of Miracast apps, some of which work better for some people than others.
  18. docj

    I need to renew my Licence

    FWIW if you are one of the former MyDakotaAddress customers and want a license updated with your current address info, you need to supply all of the above as if you were asking for a license renewal and you need to sign another residency affidavit. We did this last week in Sioux Falls and we were in and out of the DPS office in <30 minutes. It costs $15 to get an updated license. We were planning on being in SD anyway, so doing this wasn't a big deal for us. It gave us the opportunity to meet the staff at YourBestAddress where we know have our domicile. it's a much, much larger operation than was MDA.
  19. docj

    Purchase a vehicle out of state

    For both of the vehicles I purchased in TX, the dealer included a good faith estimate of the taxes and other fees that would be required by SD. In the first case, slightly too much money was collected and the balance was refunded to me by SD motor vehicles. In the second case, the dealer underestimated the cost by ~$100 which I paid directly to SD motor vehicles. The dealer was so embarrassed that he reimbursed me for the extra cost. In both cases, the estimated taxes and fees were rolled into the total being financed. As I said in my first post, people in the DC area buy cars in MD, VA and DC regardless of which jurisdiction they live in. In addition, lots of the military stationed in the DC area maintain vehicle registrations in their home states and wish to have any vehicles they purchase carry that registration. Admittedly, those dealers are more familiar with these sorts of things, but it's really not all that complicated.
  20. docj

    Purchase a vehicle out of state

    We've bought two vehicles from dealers in TX and successfully had them registered in SD without any serious problems relative to paying taxes to the correct state. Maybe, because we lived for many years in the Washington DC metro area where lots of people have out-of-state registrations, we''re quite accustomed to this. It's really not rocket science. If your dealership is sharp they will know what to do and you won't have to get involved. Unfortunately, the dealership in TX from which we purchased both our cars claimed they knew what they were doing, but they weren't as competent as they said. For the first vehicle, the registration package took forever to put together to the point where I had to be issued a second set of temporary plates. Eventually, I asked them for the package and I sent it to our mail forwarder in SD to get it processed. For the second vehicle, last year, the dealership sent off the registration package in a timely manner, but managed to underpay the State by ~$100 which I paid in response to a direct request from the local motor vehicle office. Despite these hiccups, there was no significant issue with respect to registering the vehicles. There's no chance of being charged taxes by the state in which you made the purchase. This sort of thing is done all the time by people all over the country, not just RVers.
  21. docj

    Do any of you have Direct TV?

    To illustrate how confused things are, the following link is to a recent post by a DirecTV hardware vendor who ties the cessation of SD programming next year to the end of life of the 119 satellite. The link then goes on to mention the "~32 HD channels that might be available" from the 101 satellite. https://www.signalconnect.com/blog/directv-hd-upgrades-for-rvs/ What makes this post even more confusing to me is that the 119 satellite is, to my knowledge, not necessary for anything other than some "small market" SD local stations which are being changed to "HD-only" status. All the other SD-duplicate channels are available on the 101 bird. So the 119 end of life situation shouldn't automatically affect the SD-duplicates. DirecTV may choose to reduce or eliminate the number of transponders on the 101 bird being used for SD in order to permit some to be used for Ku-band HD transmission but that's a whole different issue.
  22. docj

    Do any of you have Direct TV?

    Dutch: I believe that at one time the 101 satellite had been used for HD broadcasts and I would be surprised if those weren't coded in MPEG4. It's my understanding that the older SD receivers can't be used with MPEG4, not that it's a satellite issue. There's lots of speculation recently that 101 will be used for HD broadcasts next year which would mean that older Ku dishes could, once again, receive HD. It sure would be nice if DTV would let people know what was going to happen. Joel
  23. docj

    Do any of you have Direct TV?

    With all due respect, the only thing that is actually known about what DirecTV will do next year is that MPEG2 SD programming will cease. This doesn't mean that MPEG4 SD programming will cease. MPEG4 programming uses less bandwidth at the price of slightly reduced picture quality. Since there are fewer and fewer SD customers, it is only natural that it would want to reduce the bandwidth devoted to this service. All the rumors of DirecTV changes in 2019 have arisen from a single post by a vendor, Solid Signal, over a year ago. I am not aware of DirecTV having added to or clarified this original post. The DBS forums are full of speculation about what will happen next year, but until DTV makes a public statement it is all nothing but speculation. There are a lot of trucker, marine and RV customers who rely on DTV SD programming; the question is does DTV care about that customer base enough to continue broadcasting SD duplicate channels? Adding to this confusion is the fact that SD local channels have been eliminated in a number of smaller markets. This has resulted in some SD customers in those markets being given HD hardware and access at no charge so they could continue to receive their local broadcasts. To my knowledge, this doesn't represent a large-scale distribution of HD hardware to other SD customers nor do I know if these selected customers were given access to HD channels other than their locals.
  24. Here's an old thread in which this issue is addressed: Idaho Tote
  25. Putting an 800 lb weight on the back of a trailer will produce an enormous moment (torque) that will lift the front of the trailer and will significantly reduce the hitch weight. Having a hitch weight that is an appropriate percentage of the trailer weight is an important aspect of maintaining proper control while towing. I would investigate this carefully before committing to this approach. OTOH a wheeled solution would probably be construed as "triple towing" which, I believe, isn't legal in all states.
×