Sunday, June 28, 2015

How do I Know Which LED Lights to Buy for my RV?

It can be confusing sometimes when you decide to begin replacing the lights in your RV with LEDs.  There are so many different types to choose from and so many different price ranges out there. And how do you even know which light to buy? There are wedge bases, single bayonets, double bayonets, pancake styles. So many decisions for just one little light.


To help you with this process, we at TechnoRV have developed a simple guide.  It starts with locating the number of your original light bulb and continues all the way through the process to you locating the correct LED bulb for your needs.  The bulbs we offer are from Eco-LED and are made especially for RVs and the large voltage fluctuations they experience. Not all LED bulbs you find online, especially the cheaper ones, are designed for this and can be damaged easily in an RV.  


The newest generation of Eco-LED lights (G4s) are built with an LED driver and use the constant current mode which means the bulb remains bright regardless of the voltage variation.  They also have an overvoltage protection which preserves the bulb over its lifetime.

Several of the bulbs (G4-PWM) are also dimmable.  They use the Pulse-Width Modulation technology in order to allow the use of the 12-volt light dimmer.  You can also use this bulb in place of a regular G4 bulb in case you are getting interference or noise on the radio or TV with the G4 bulb nearby.

Check out our Guide to Selecting LED Lights.  Hopefully it will make selecting the right LED for your RV a bit simpler.  Once you start making the change to LED, you will conserve energy and create less heat.

Let us know if you have any questions or would like to know more about Eco-LED lights.

Safe travels!










Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Do I need a WiFi Booster or a Cell Booster?

We received a support call the other day and the question was about our Wi-Fi booster products. The customer was saying she needed to boost the Wi-Fi signal in her RV. I proceeded to explain to her about our awesome Wi-Fi products including the Desktop Booster, the External Booster Tube, the Yagi antenna and the Repeater. I was rather proud of my presentation and then she asked if this will help her Verizon MiFi get better signal. OK, I had to back up. Are you needing to boost the Wi-Fi signal from another location into your RV? Or are you trying to get better signal for your Verizon MiFi? These are two totally different issues, and as it turns out, she was wanting to get better signal to her Verizon MiFi. I then explained that her MiFi was a cellular signal, not a Wi-Fi signal, and that a Wi-Fi booster would do absolutely nothing to help her, so much for my great presentation. What she needed is a cell phone signal booster, which of course, TechnoRV sells as well.  I then explained to her that Wi-Fi is always best if you have access to it as it does not eat away at your data plan like the Verizon MiFi will do. 

As we all know, sometimes Wi-Fi is not available and when we must have Internet access, then the Verizon or ATT MiFi may be the way to go. Even then we all know that cell signal can be sketchy at times. You should never leave home on a long trip, to who knows where, without a cell phone booster. Cell phone boosters are a little more pricey than Wi-Fi booster, but when you are struggling to get cell signal you would pay anything in that moment. If you add a cell phone booster to your RV arsenal it will certainly make your trips much more enjoyable, and you will have fewer incidence of lost cell phone signal. We offer a Cell Boosting product from WeBoost that is the top of the line in cell phone boosters. These boosters employ an outside antenna that runs inside to an amplifier and then feeds that boosted signal to an inside antenna. I currently use this model and do not know how I would get along without it since most of my business is run from my RV on the road.

Weboost 4G-M DriveWe offer the Weboost Sleek, which is a single user booster, and the most economical cell booster we carry. This is great to use while driving in the RV or car as the phone needs to rest in the cradle to get the boosted signal. The Weboost 4-GM 5 band booster allows for more freedom as there is an inside antenna that as long as you are within a few feet of it, you get the benefit of the boosted cell signal. This is great for the casual user that wants to always be connected and wants the freedom to move around the RV. Coming soon (June 2015) is the Weboost 4-G X, which will be our most powerful cell booster yet. This is for the serious user that may even run a business from their RV, and want the best assurance for getting the best cell signal for all kinds of uploads and downloads. Check all of our cell phone boosters out at TechnoRV and never be frustrated with low cell signal again.

Safe Travels,

Eric Johnson

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Can I Boost My WiFi Signal from my Jeep's UConnect System?

We recently had a support call come in about the WiFi feature that comes on 2015 Jeep Wranglers. The newer Jeeps come with a WiFi hotspot through its Uconnect system, and this customer was on the Sprint network. The question he was asking was if the WiFi boosters we sell could assist in boosting the signal of the WiFi from the Jeep, and could this booster be plugged directly into the USB port of the Jeep to accomplish this. 

This was a clever thought, however our WiFi boosters are receivers, not broadcasters and therefore would be unable to take the signal from his Jeep and make it stronger. What we were able to do was suggest that he use a booster inside of his RV to assist him in pulling the signal from his Jeep that would be parked just outside. Then he could use our Repeater to take the boosted signal and create another hotspot within his RV. 


Our WiFi boosters increase the distance that a normal computer WiFi receiver could receive by 2-3 times the distance. This is a very powerful accomplishment. Truth is the WiFi receivers inside of a computer is weak because it is designed to pull a signal from the same room, and not 50 yards away. For this reason many RVers have a difficult time pulling signal from the Campgrounds "Free" WiFi signal. By adding a booster you can pull that signal into your RV much easier and it becomes more reliable. 

If you would like more information about WiFi Boosters, you can download a "Guide to Boosting your WiFi."  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

How do I use the Weather and Gas Price Features on a Rand McNally?

In order to utilize the functions of the weather and gas price features of the Rand McNally 7730 GPS**, you must be connected to WiFi; therefore, you must have a WiFi connection available in your RV or vehicle.  This could be achieved through a MiFi card or by turning your cell phone into a mobile hotspot. 

Once you have selected which WiFi you will be using, go to Preferences on your Rand McNally. In the bottom right you'll see the WiFi button (or tap on the WiFi icon in the bottom right of the map). Press Enable WiFi (if it's not enabled already) and the system will look for the available WiFi signals.

Select the name of the WiFi signal you will be using and then enter the password (MiFi passwords can be found on the back of the MiFi card and cell phone hotspot passwords can be found on your phone). Remember that passwords are case sensitive. 


Be aware that you may need to Enable WiFi each time you turn on the unit. You can tell that you are connected because there is a little blue antenna on the left of the WiFi name that you are connected to.   

To check your connection, go to the Main Menu then Go to Map and click on the weather circle on the bottom right just above the heading indicator. If you're connected, it will bring up the weather and allow you to select various options (see the weather overlay below).




If you're having trouble with your WiFi you can always watch the Rand McNally WiFi YouTube video.   

While you are using WiFi, you will have access to the latest weather updates along with the fuel prices along your route.  These options are only available while connected to WiFi.  

For more information on how to use the Rand McNally 7730, get our informative Learning Series



**The Rand McNally Tripmaker 7730 is the

same GPS as the Camping World 7735 unit.



   


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

WiFi Booster Tube Installation

We received a great letter from a customer the other day showing us his WiFi Booster Tube installation and just wanted to share.  Thanks for sharing, Mark!  We appreciate your business.

Eric,
Attached is a picture of my WiFi Booster Tube installation.  I mounted it on a 8ft fiberglass/aluminium pole that extends out to 16ft and locks every 6in. The pole was purchased from Home Depot. It is clamped to the ladder using SS electrical stand-off conduit clamps.

For now I have the Repeater mounted on the rear wall of the linen closet above where the Washer/Dryer was before we removed it. It gives me excellent reception with the height of the pole. I have the female end of the USB extension cable tucked inside the unused dryer vent and also put the connected cables into this vent to protect against weather.  

My final setup will be to find and install a weatherproof bulkhead USB connector in the side of the coach for a permanent setup.

Regards,
Mark Anderson


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Surge Protectors vs. Electrical Protection Systems

Let’s talk electricity. For those that are experienced RVers, you have certainly experienced power problems at various RV parks. We need the power to run our RVs, but the wrong amounts of power can be catastrophic to the components of your RV. It is not optional to have some kind of electrical protection system for your RV. Let’s talk about the different types that are available.


Surge Protection
A lot of people think that they just need to protect themselves against power surges. We will go with that for now. So what is a power surge? A power surge is a temporary power spike that lasts for a short duration, like a second or less. A high voltage spike is generally 330 volts or more.

By comparison, a standard 30 amp and 50 amp rig is operating on 120 volts. Power spikes can be caused by lightning strikes, AC units, heavy equipment, tripped circuit breakers or even grids switching over. A power surge can cause damage to anything connected to it. Components especially sensitive to power surges are computers, TV’s, Mobile devices, and satellite receivers.

Surge protectors can take many different forms.  You may have seen the power strips that you can buy from the dollar store.  I am never going to recommend this as a serious method to protect your devices from power surges. These power surge units are not rated to cover you in the event of a high voltage spike.

There are also surge protectors that are outdoor boxes that use resistors that push high voltage to ground. These surges are rated for a certain amount of energy and if this rating is exceeded then the unit will need to be replaced.

There are a few things that you will need to look out for to ensure you have an acceptable surge unit. There should be indicator lights or a display that lets you know what the unit is doing. Without this you do not know if your surge protector is operational. The second thing is to ensure that the surge protector complies with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. If you choose a unit that does not comply with these standards then you could be at risk.

Of course, TechnoRV carries surge protectors that meet these standards. We carry Surge Guard surge protectors and they are the very best and have the highest joule rating. If you are looking only for a surge protector, then I would not own anything else but a Surge Guard. I have had the opportunity to read through countless testimonials that all confirm that these units do what they say they will do. 


Complete Electrical Protection
So, if you protect yourself from electrical spikes, then that should cover you, right? Nope, that is not correct. Unfortunately spikes are not the only concern that RVers have to worry about. Oddly enough, low voltage is a much more common problem than high voltage. You never know what you are going to get when you pull up to a campground. You can get a different experience at the same campground depending on what pedestal you are on. There can be so many RVs pulling power from a singular park source, and this along with various wiring issues can create voltage problems. When you go to plug your RV into a pedestal, it can be like a game of Russian roulette.

There are also high voltage issues, including accidental 240 volt which can be devastating to your entire RV. There can be open ground issues, reverse polarity (live and neutral are reversed) and open neutral (this can cause 240 volts to hit your RV when connected to a 50 amp pedestal). So, how in the world do you protect against this field of enemies?
You need a complete electrical protection system, not just surge protection.
Surge Guard 34850

Again, TechnoRV and Surge Guard products have you covered. We have a 30 amp and 50 amp complete electrical protection system in both the portable and hardwired version. When you attach to power, the Surge Guard system evaluates the power and tests for all of the enemies like open ground, reverse polarity, and open neutral. In addition, it will evaluate the voltage level. If there are any issues with the power, then the unit will not release the power to your RV. If there is an issue, it will flash a code that will tell you what the problem is. If this happens then you can talk to the campground manager and ask them to move you.

I personally use the 50 amp Progressive electrical protection system. I have had many situations that the park had low power, lower than 104 volts. I know that if I would not have had my Progressive that I could have had damage. I now have full confidence when I pull into a park. There are enough things to worry about when setting up, and for me, power is not one of them.

Conclusion
Surge protectors are definitely better than having nothing. They are less expensive than a full electrical protection system, but just know that you are still exposed to other problems that can occur. My opinion is that everyone that is willing to spend the money on a RV, should spend a few hundred dollars and purchase Surge Guard Total Electrical Protection System in order to protect the RV from electrical issues and not just a surge protector.  

Friday, June 5, 2015

What Size Data Plan do I Need?

When you’re looking for wireless Internet service, you can run into a lot of technical terms and numbers that might not seem very familiar, or intuitive. When we speak of wireless internet service we are talking about your cell phone or even a hot spot device such as a MiFi. Often times RVers will make their cell phone a hotspot and this applies to what we are talking about as well. Whatever provider you may choose, they’re likely to have a variety of service plans available, so how do you know which one best suits your needs? Let’s take a look at some of the information you’ll need to find the right data plan for you.

How much data will I use?
Likely the biggest factor that will go into your decision is how much data you will be using each month. When choosing a plan, this data is likely to be listed in gigabytes, or GBs – this number will be the amount of data you will be allowed to download over the course of the whole month. Netflix, downloading movies and music, playing online games, and even sending and receiving emails will use up data, and you want to pick a plan that will have enough data to last you all month. If you run out of data, you will either have to pay a much more expensive rate for more data, or you will lose Internet access altogether until the next month starts!

What uses the most data on my plan?
So how much data will you be using? That depends on what you will be using it for. The biggest use of data for most users is watching videos. Every Netflix movie, or Hulu show, or YouTube or Facebook video, uses a large amount of data, especially if you’re watching in high definition, which many videos will do automatically. Just one hour of watching high definition video will use roughly 1GB, so if you like watching movies and shows online, you can know right away that you will need a large data plan to accommodate that.

Downloading and streaming music, viewing pictures, sending and receiving emails, and just browsing the web will probably round out the rest of your data usage, but it’s all small potatoes compared to the amount of data that videos eat up. Just 1GB of data can contain 20-40+ hours of music, 500+ pictures, 200+ mobile apps, or 10,000+ emails. Browsing web pages uses data based on what is on the web page, so be careful, because even though text doesn’t take up much space, a page with lots of videos or pictures could use up more data than you expected!

With that information in mind, you should be able to roughly estimate how much data you will need in a month. Here is a chart to show how “Daily” use adds up to a “Monthly” total.

Daily use
1GB
5GB
10GB
25GB
Video
2 minutes
10 minutes
20 minutes
50 minutes
Songs
15 songs
65 songs
130 songs
325 songs
Pictures
16 pictures
80 pictures
160 pics
400 pics
Apps
6 apps
30 apps
60 apps
150 apps

How can I be sure to not run out of data?
It’s important to keep an eye on your data use – most providers will have a way to check online how much data you have used. Some providers will send you a text if you are about to go over on your data. Be careful not to go over, and remember that anything that is using the Internet is using your data! Having movies, TV shows, or music playing in the background using programs like Pandora or iHeartRADIO while you do other things can be relaxing, but it can also be a dangerous use of data. Never forget to turn them off before falling asleep, or before leaving for a long time! Purchasing your favorite TV shows, movies, or albums on disc can be a good alternative to using your data, but uses up precious space in your RV, so you must find a healthy balance.

What about the campground's WiFi?
Something to keep in mind is that if you are connected to a park's WiFi, and you are having problems with the speed of your Internet service, such as choppy videos or songs, or web pages loading too slowly, upgrading your data plan is not the answer (if your cable was messing up, buying more channels wouldn’t fix it!). Instead, a WiFi booster can dramatically help your connection speed, and make sure that your videos, songs, and web pages come through quickly and clearly in and around your RV.

TechnoRV offers many solutions for boosting your devices ability to receive WiFi signal. It can be so frustrating to be at a RV park that offers free WiFi and not be able to connect to it appropriately. TechnoRV can help solve this problem with outside antennas and inside solutions as well. For more information on boosting your WiFi signal, download our WiFi guide.

If you use your cell phone as a hotspot, or if you use a MiFi device, and you find yourself having signal issues, then you can always use a cell phone booster to boost your signal. These devices can solve many signal issues and make you trip less frustrating. TechnoRV also offers cell phone boosters

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

How Can I Improve my RV's Gas/Fuel Mileage?

If you've filled your RV's tank lately, you probably noticed that it ain't cheap - and worse, it doesn't get you as far as you may like. It's not uncommon to see gas mileage as low as single digits, and there's a lot of contributing factors to this poor gas mileage. There's not much that can be done about an RV's large, heavy, un-aerodynamic form, but there's a couple places where you can make improvements to get more miles per gallon. Remember, you can boost your gas mileage by as much as 20% just by getting a fraction of a mile per gallon more.

Weight
Weight will obviously drag your gas mileage down, and RVs have lots of it to go around. It can be tempting to over pack (whether you're on a long trip or a short trip), but that isn't going to help your gas mileage - plus, it's going to clutter up an already small space.
                       
Don't skimp on the essentials like your fire extinguishers or toolkit, but cutting down in other areas could make a difference. Determining what to pack can be trying on even the best of marriages, but if you can come to some compromises it will certainly help your gas mileage. Some tips might be to only pack essential kitchen appliances and cookware, or using an e-reader instead of collecting books. Do you need 15 pairs of socks? Do you need place settings for 10? Do you need 5 screw drivers? Reduce the extra stuff! Also, renting certain outdoor gear instead of hauling it could be more effective and save you valuable space on your vehicle. You can also lose a lot of weight by making sure your tanks are empty or at least to a minimum level that you may need.

While you're setting up your RV, and when you break it down, take the time to examine your tires.
                   
Tire Pressure
Managing your tire pressure is important maintenance, and one of the areas where you can get the biggest increase to your miles per gallon. Keeping your tires at their appropriate pressures requires a lot of attentiveness. You can take the stress out of this chore by using a wireless electronic tire pressure monitoring system. We recommend the TST TPMS.

You simply install individual tire sensors on each tire, and these sensors will then report to a wireless, rechargeable display that is easily mounted inside of your RV. You'll be able to conveniently keep an eye on all your pressures to maximize gas mileage and be one step ahead of tire failure to boot. You can even monitor a tow vehicle simultaneously. Running tires at incorrect pressures can damage more than just your gas mileage; it is a safety hazard, so watch them carefully. Tires that have been run at low pressure should be inspected immediately, even after correcting the pressure. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so consider an electronic monitoring system if you find yourself forgetting to check them before each trip.


Speed and Driving Habits
Driving habits can also be a negative contributor to your gas mileage. Be careful to accelerate at a reasonable rate, and no fast starts. You are not in a Nascar race, so take your time, drive the speed limit, or less if you can do so safely, and watch your gas mileage improve with slower, steady driving habits. Driving at 55-60 will produce better gas mileage than driving at 65-70. What’s the hurry anyway?  We all chose this lifestyle to relax more and enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

Engine Maintenance
Lastly, be sure to get your engine serviced periodically. An engine in need of maintenance is an engine that’s not being as efficient with your fuel as it could be. If you ever notice a change in your RV’s handling, or new sounds while driving, be sure to get them checked as soon as possible. Is your RV trying to suck air through a dirty air filter? Are you due for some new spark plugs and wires? These are all fuel robbing issues if left unresolved. Your RV is more than just a vehicle, so take extra care to keep it in good running shape. Every penny spent maintaining it is potentially a dollar saved in repairs down the road, and that’s a dollar that would be better spent on experiences for you and your family.

Monday, June 1, 2015

TechnoRV's NEW website is finally up and running...go check it out!

TechnoRV Website

We have been very busy the last 30 days. Our biggest accomplishment is getting the new TechnoRV website up and running. Have you seen it yet? Go to www.technorv.com and check it out. We wanted to clean the site up a bit and make it more user friendly. We think that you will find the site easier to navigate and understand. We have the new TechnoRV colors and logos on the site, and while we are working through a few glitches here and there, it is open for business.

One thing we are adding to the new website is a question and answer forum. We have not completed the forum yet, but we saved a spot for it on the front page of the website. We get a lot of technical support calls every month and we thought it would be a good idea to share these inquiries with everyone. By having this available, you may be able to get your questions answered more easily through the forum. If you have a question about something it is probably a question someone else has had and now it will be easily accessible on our website. You will also be able to comment on our responses to questions in case you have a different opinion.  Lastly, you will be able to post your own questions on the forum, and not only can you get answers from TechnoRV, but also from the thousands of experienced RVers that call TechnoRV their friend. We are excited about the forum and will let you know when it is operational!