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About sushidog

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    Senior Member
  • Birthday 07/31/1956

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    Wherver the road takes me.
  • Interests
    1999 National Tropical

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  1. Which area are the campgrounds located in, or are they scattered all across the country? How much are the annual dues, and are they locked in or do they increase over time? If they increase, by how much do they generally go up? Thanks, Chip
  2. LED efficiency is usually determined by the "generation" of LED, or the technology used in manufacture, and by the color temperature of the light produced. A LED that emits a warmer (lower kelvin) or yellower light has a lower efficiency than one emitting a bluer (higher kelvin) light. Older generation LEDs typically produce about 45-55 lumens/watt depending on color temperature. My headlights use one of the newer high efficiency 4w Philips bulbs which produces 167 lumens/watt. Philips now produces LEDs which emit over 200 lumens/watt. Yet I have some of the most efficient LED emitters I have seen in my reading light swivel sockets at 300 lumens/watt. They even have one on a meter in their ad proving the output for the sceptic. The maximum theoretical limit for a 100% efficient emitter is 680 lumens/watt, so there's still lots of room for improvement in LED development. The most efficient fluorescents go up to around 65-70 lumens/watt, but these are industrial bulbs designed for warehouses with an uncomfortably high color temp and a very bluish tint operating off of high line voltage with less ballast heat loss. Your typical warmer, home use fluorescents make around 35-45 lumens/watt. For comparison a typical incandescent bulb only produces 9-13 lumens/watt, maxing out at 17 lumens/watt. Halogen bulbs (which are basically tungsten incandescent bulbs which use a low-pressure halogen gas to allow evaporated tungsten metal to be redeposited back onto the filament) emit up to 24 lumens/watt. The advantage of a halogen (and a normal incandescent) bulb over fluorescent and LED lighting is it produces light with a perfect 100 CRI (Color Rendering Index). Tungsten incandescent lighting emits a full, continuous spectrum light that renders all colors exactly as sunlight does, which is one of the reasons it was used for so many years despite its relatively low efficiency. This gives it a niche market in the film industry and in certain scientific applications where perfect color rendition greatly outweighs its lack of efficiency - just not for general, everyday use. Now you know more facts (not opinions or preferences) about various kinds of lighting than I'm sure you wanted to. Chip
  3. When I first bought my used MH, a 1999 model it still had the old sealed beam type bulbs. They produced so little light for my aging eyes that I would over drive my headlights, often missing turns, running over items in the road that should have been avoided and such, making it unsafe unless I slowed to a crawl at night, which is in itself unsafe. I looked on the internet and found these: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G31B13L/ref=sspa_dk_detail_4?psc=1 They have good color temperature (a little blue but not too bad - more white than blue) and an 80,000 hr life so for about $20 each, (I needed 4) they are super affordable too. BTW they make better ones but at a much higher price. And the amount of light produced is incredible for a DOT approved light (important if you don't want a ticket, as non DOT lights and light bars are for off road use only.) On low beam, only the lower row and one middle emitter on 2 of the 4 lights light up to avoid blinding oncoming traffic and keep them legal. But because they use the new high-efficiency Phillips 4 watt LEDs (most use 3 watt emitters) that's still 8,000 lumens)! For comparison my old sealed beam bulbs produced about 800 lumens each or 1,600 lumens for a pair. That means that the new LED headlights are 5 times brighter than the old ones, yet only draw 1/2 the power. On high beam, they are the brightest headlights I've ever seen - much brighter than even HID bulbs at an incredible 26,000 lumens for all 4. As a boondocker, I replaced all my internal lights with LEDs as well. I learned right away that there is a huge difference between the quality of LEDs. The cheap ones using a multitude of cheap, low output LED emitters are basically junk. Some are bad out the box and others fail quickly. Spend a couple dollars more and get the newer bulbs that have fewer, higher output emitters. They put out more light using less watts and I've haven't had one fail yet. For instance, the light output and overall quality of these are amazing (600 lumens) for 2 watts of power draw. Two color temperatures are available if you prefer a warmer, yellower light, but I find 4,000k perfect for reading. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D9D2VQ6/ref=psdc_11439433011_t2_B01H1S5512 They even sell 3 watt (800 lumen) bulbs like these, but I think that's overkill. Chip
  4. Here's a 60a 48-12v one that goes up to 56v. They claim up to a 95% conversion efficiency. https://www.amazon.com/Cllena-Voltage-Converter-Waterproof-Transformer/dp/B07QVJNQF2/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=power%2Bconverter%2Bdc-dc%2B48v-12v&qid=1575342138&sr=8-6&th=1 It's only $120 too. Chip
  5. Yep, we sure were. Sorry to hear about John. Chip
  6. I think common sense should rule the day, not fear. Yes, anywhere you go is dangerous; some more dangerous than others, but there are things you can do to minimize those dangers. I grew up in New Orleans, a very dangerous place. Heck 13 people were shot there this weekend. There are places there I wouldn't go there at night. Going during the day, especially with a group of people minimizes the risks. I'm wintering over in Los Indios, TX right now. Just last week 3 people were shot, not 2 miles from my RV park just across the border in MX, so yes even this, a relatively "safe" area can be dangerous. But will I let this discourage me from visiting Mexico? No. I will be crossing the border tomorrow, but I will be doing so during the day and with a group who make this trip all the time. Plus I will be choosing a "safer" border crossing. In this area, the locals say that the border crossing into Nuevo Progreso is considered the safest, so that's where we will be visiting. Would I wander through this Mexican border town alone and at night? Certainly not, but I'm sure there are places in Mexico where this is relatively safe to do so, just as they are here - and equally certain there are other places where it is not. I believe in doing whatever I can to minimize my risks wherever I am, as is prudent, but I won't allow unjustified fear to ruin my life. And the best way to eliminate fear is knowledge and planning. If I decided to take my RV deep into Mexico, it would be well planned and I would go with a caravan that has proven to do so safely many times, as I would be wary of corrupt police and authorities as much as MS-13, cartels or random bad guys. I would definitely learn from the experience of others, like Telcoman who I trust, having done so safely for many years, before hazarding to venture out on my own. But isn't that just common sense? Chip
  7. To solve the problem of the large amperage draw of the slide motor I decided to just go with 2 battery banks. I have 620 watts of solar charging a couple GC-2s for my 12v needs. I mounted these panels on the side of my MH leaving the entire roof free for racking 9, 320w solar panels front to rear for my 48v system. This will charge a much larger 48v bank for my big inverter and 48v DC mini-split heat pump. Not only is this setup cheaper than a big 48-12v DC-DC inverter, but it provides additional energy storage as well as not suffering any inefficiency in the conversion process. Plus I have a small (600w) PSW 12v inverter that I use to power my entertainment center, computer and printer. It also serves as a back-up for minor 110v needs should the main 48v inverter go down. Also should the coach battery prove too weak to start my MH one day, these 2 GC-2 house batteries have enough starting amps to help start my coach. The coach manufacturer provided a dash mounted starter boost switch for this very purpose. I wouldn't lose this safety feature by eliminating my 12v house batteries. If I'm just using a limited amp (say 50 amp) DC-DC converter it may be powerful enough to work the slide, and start the generator, but not enough to start the engine in an emergency. Chip
  8. That's a very clean install. You should be proud, as that is a very nice system. Congrats! On your photo hosting site, you stated that your roof air conditioners draw too much power to be run off of batteries. While this may be true for a typical roof mounted RV AC, there are RVers running high efficiency mini-split heat pumps off of large battery/solar systems. I plan on installing just such a system in a couple years. Here's a link to the kind of heat pump I'm talking about: http://www.geinnovations.net/solar-electricity-cost.html I am installing my solar system in 2 phases. The first, small phase was completed in July and consists of 620 watts of tilting solar panels mounted on the side of my MH charging two GC-2 batteries in series. This is being used to power my 12v appliances such as my slide, LED lights, evaporator fridge board and furnace blower (my biggest 12v power hog). I also have a small 600 watt PSW inverter I'm currently using to power my entertainment center and computer which were chosen for their outstanding energy efficiency. I mounted this on the side of my RV to save room on the roof for the second phase of my solar system. I'm planning on racking nine, 320 watt panels on my roof, in a straight line, covering it front to rear. This will charge a 48v battery bank which will do all of the "heavy lifting" powering both the aforementioned 48v, 12,000 btu mini-split and a 3kw inverter. There's one RVer I know who is running two mini-split heat pumps in his when boondocking off grid. Chip
  9. I'm more like Linda and my DW is more like Barb. Imagine the fun time we have - sort of like the odd couple. She leaves everything out while I go behind her putting things up. I don't know if I got that from doing load plans in my Army days, or camping in an Aliner with a designated spot for everything. But I'd rather she leave them out than put them in the wrong place and forget where she put them - which happens more often than not when she attempts to puts things away. We try to find a happy medium, or at least detente. So far we've managed not to kill each other. Hope springs eternal. Chip
  10. Yes I was just there last month. I boondocked near Natural Bridges with a great view of Bears Ears NM. I drove down the Moki Dugway to visit The Valley of the Gods. Unlike Monument Valley, it's free, which is why I skipped Monument Valley this trip and went to see Canyon De Chelly instead - also a must see, IMHO. The road is rather rough, through the Valley of the Gods, though was passable with my Chevy Cobalt which has low ground clearance. The Valley of the Gods road exits near Mexican Hat, which is also an interesting formation. BTW The Muley Point road at the top of the Moki Dugway has some beautiful vistas overlooking the Goosenecks and part of the Valley of the Gods. I saw a few RVs boondocking at various spots right at the rim, by Muley Point, and it reminded me of when we boondocked overlooking the N.Rim of the Grand Canyon a few months back. Both spots have million dollar views - and don't cost a penny. Chip
  11. I'm currently fulltiming in a Class A motorhome with mine. During the day her cage is in the kitchen window, but she is free to fly around the motorhome as her wings are not clipped. During travel we set the cage in the floor of the slide, between 2 recliners for safety. If I had a trailer (like I had for many years with my first Sun Conure,) I'd travel with the bird caged in the tow vehicle, where the temperature is maintained. At night she sleeps in a hall closet (where some folks have their washer/dryer setup) with the door cracked for air and temperature control (both AC and heat.) Because she is free to roam the MH at will, we cover the backs of the driver and passenger chairs as well as the steering wheel to prevent chewing and poop from damaging these items, as parrots can be very destructive. We also travel with a little toy fox terrier. Other than being jealous of each other, each vying for our attention, they leave each other alone. I believe my sun conure, Skittles, thinks our dog is her pet too, as she tries to feed the dog daily, taking a few bites out of a pecan (her favorite treat) and then dropping it on the floor for the dog to eat. After all these years, I continue to be amazed at the intelligence of birds. Chip
  12. The jacks are the first things to drag on my class A, which is an older gasser with a tag axle that I boondock with quite a bit. Gassers are a good bit lighter than diesels, which is a consideration when going through sand washes and such. The rest of the underbelly is out of the way. I did drag my rear bumper while boondocking on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, as I had to go through a little ditch to get into the campsite even though I did it on an angle. I don't think a class C with a long overhang would have made it. If you'd rather a C for boondocking try to look for one with a shorter overhang or one with the overhang cut up for more ground clearance, like an expedition vehicle. I've seen a few of these last month near Moab UT as they were having an expedition vehicle rally. They sound ideal for your purpose, with great ground clearance and AWD, so will go where I can only dream of going. You might want to attend a rally and talk to some owners first about their pros and cons. Even used, they are a little pricey though. Chip
  13. I use a ready stop break-away system. It is simple, reliable and inexpensive. So far so good, but you should check the cables often for rusting as I have heard of them rusting through after several years of exposure to the elements. It is designed to complement the Ready Brake or Brute system. https://www.readybrake.com/store/p5/ReadyStop™_Towed_Vehicle_Emergency_Break_Away_Kit.html Chip
  14. Yes. I agree. But these are two different things - one progressively applies the brakes on a toad to assist with braking and the other aggressively applies the toad's brakes if it separates from the toad vehicle. I believe the latter is required by law everywhere, as it should be. For years I used my under 3,000 lbs Chevrolet Cobalt as a tow vehicle to tow an Aliner that weighed around 1,700 lbs (over 1/2 the weight of the tow vehicle). In many states this light of a trailer would be exempt from a law requiring brakes, however considering the ratio of tow vehicle to towed weight I would have been foolish to tow it without electric brakes and a good proportional brake controller. Now I have a 22,000 lb MH with excellent ABS brakes on 6 braking wheels (the tag axle has brakes too) and am towing my little, under 3,000 lb Cobalt (that was my old tow vehicle) without brakes (other than a safety brake system that pulls a cable to activate its brakes in the unlikely event that the toad breaks free from the MH.) Again, I think it is the ratio of TV vs toad that is important. My toad is about 13% of the weight of the tow vehicle, not 58% as it was when I was previously towing with the car. Would progressive brakes on the toad stop the rig in less distance than not having them? Certainly, by a small amount - about the same as travelling empty as opposed to fully loaded. You can decide to either pay the $1,500 for a good progressive brake system on your toad or drive a little slower and leave a little more stopping distance between the car ahead. I'll choose the latter now that I'm retired and just seeing the sights with no hurry to get anywhere. If I'm doing 55 mph in a 65 mph zone just pass me if I'm too slow for you. If traffic is starting to back up then I'll courteously pull over and let them by. Now, If I were towing a 5,000 lb toad rather than a 2,900 lb one, or I had a significantly lighter TV, or one with marginal brakes or no braking tag axle, then my answer would be completely different. Chip
  15. I just started fulltiming in a low mileage 1999 National Tropical (a gas model) the end of February, but we've already been through 12 states - wow. For comparison, it only has 275 hp and about 1/2 the torque of your cat. Sometimes it slows way down climbing steep grades at high elevations. I am in Utah now, boondocking by Capitol Reef NP. It was a bugger going over the mountains on UT Hwy 12 from Boulder (The Journey Through Time Scenic Byway) getting here, slowing to under 30mph in some places (pulling a toad up 8-10% grades at around 9,000 ft) as it was very twisty and we couldn't get a run at many of the steep inclines. But your turbo cat should do much better under these type of worst case scenario conditions. We chose a gas model because of expensive problems we have had with diesels (Ford) in the past. Though I don't think you will have many problems with a low mileage Cat. We love the build quality of our rig. Older Nationals are very sturdily built with great attention to detail and a high quality interior. Of course you will have things that just age out, despite the low mileage, like the water heater temperature/pressure valve that I replaced couple days ago. If your refrigeration unit and fridge board hasn't been replaced recently (ours had) I would expect to replace it soon, along with rubber parts like sway bar bushings, recaulking, etc. If you are handy repairing things as they break/age out then an older National might be a great value as it has "good bones" as they say. We got ours just under average blue book, but with only 28k miles and garage kept, it was in well above average condition, plus had lots of options, like dual pane windows, and the tag axle provided the load capacity needed needed for full-time use. Many motorhomes we looked at were unsuitable for full-timing because of insufficient carrying capacity alone. It was a good decision for us. In short, we're happy campers. Chip
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