Friday, February 17, 2017

Boosting Your RV's Wi-Fi: A Guide to Staying Connected on the Road

Staying connected to the internet can be a bit of a challenge when you travel in an RV. It has become a lot easier with better cell phone connectivitybut our need for data seems to grow exponentially, whereas as our budget to pay for expensive data plans doesn't! Connecting to your RV park's Wi-Fi is a good way to help reduce the data load on your cell phone / MiFi card plan, but connecting to that signal can be a real issue. If you get connection drop outs, "cannot connect," "connection timeout," or password issues, then a poor signal strength is most likely the culprit. If that is the case, then boosting that Wi-Fi signal with a Wi-Fi booster is a good solution. However, it is not magic. Keep in mind, the RV park is still responsible for appropriating the correct amount of bandwidth to the users. If the RV park has enough bandwidth for 50 RVs and there are 100 RVs in the park, then that will be a problem no matter what you do. It is a two-way street and utilizing a Wi-Fi booster makes sure you are doing your part. A booster is very useful, and this guide is meant to give you an introduction to how boosting works and choosing the right booster.
How Wi-Fi Works
Wi-Fi is basically like a two-way radio. Instead of speaking English, your computer speaks a language called 802.11.  The radio waves use a frequency band called the 2.4GHz ISM band which is also used by microwave ovens and some cordless telephones. This means that Wi-Fi can sometimes suffer interference from these devices. Also, there are some other frequency variations, but you get the point. It’s important to remember two things about Wi-Fi. First, it is mostly line-of-sight. Radio waves of this frequency do not pass very well through objects, especially metal and objects with a high-water content (this is how a microwave works - water absorbs radio frequencies of this energy and in doing so, heats up). For that reason, fog, rain, wet leaves and our own bodies can also impede the Wi-Fi signal. Secondly, remember that I said that Wi-Fi is two-way. You have to be able to “hear” the signal, but they also have to be able to “hear” you.
This is the root cause of many of the challenges in trying to connect to a RV park’s Wi-Fi. The power output of a typical laptop Wi-Fi is about 0.2W and that from your smartphone or tablet is typically much less. They are designed to communicate to a home or office router that is at the most 15-20 feet away, not 100-200 yards away or further. And remember the square law: the strength of a signal reduces as a square of the distance, meaning that if you double the distance from the source, the signal strength reduces by 4x. So what typically happens is that your laptop can “hear” the Wi-Fi signal (because most parks have large more powerful antennas), but your little old laptop can’t send its signal back which is why you can’t connect or have connection timeout failures.
So enough of the tech talk. Bottom line is that, in order to reliably connect to most campgrounds Wi-Fi, we need some help. Let’s take a look at the various options.
Getting a Better Signal
Based on the previous section and your new-found technical prowess, it’s fairly obvious that there are only three ways to get a better signal. Right?
  • Move closer to the source (not always practical)
  • Reduce any interference (get outside, get high and reduce any obstructions, better line of site)
  • Increase your signal strength
Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.
Closer to the Source
If you’re lucky, you can request to be parked close to the Wi-Fi antenna. However, this doesn’t always work because antennas put out the signal in a three-dimensional lobe shape (the exact shape varies depending upon the antenna design). This means that it’s hard to predict where you will get the best signal - you can actually get too close. You’ve probably noticed this when driving on the freeway with no cell phone signal and you’re like, “What the heck? I can literally see the cell phone tower right there!” That’s my point.
Reduce Interference
Most RVers don’t use cordless phones so that’s not normally a problem. Moving your laptop closer to a window facing the RV park antenna can help, or better still, going outside (more practical with a tablet or smartphone). You may have noticed this before while RVing; small changes to your location can make a big difference. You can experiment with this at your next RVing location.
Increasing the Signal Strength
This is where we can get all techy and gadgety. There are two parts to increasing the signal strength. One is to use a bigger antenna. What an antenna does is listen for the Wi-Fi signal and send out your Wi-Fi signal, just like the dish on your satellite receiver. If you increase your signal strength, then you can hear signals that would otherwise not be possible to hear. Generally, the “bigger” the antenna we can use, the better the signal (like every rule there are always exceptions, but this will do for now).
The second way is to increase the output power. A typical radio station might transmit with 10-20,000W of power (compare that to your little old laptop’s 0.02W). Luckily for us though, there are devices that you can buy called Wi-Fi Boosters that combine a more powerful Wi-Fi transmitter (the “booster”) and a better antenna (to improve the receive side). So a compete WiFi booster should include a transmitter and a antenna, this completes the two way communication necessary for great WiFi.
Connecting to Multiple Devices: The TechnoRV WiFi Repeater
The Wi-Fi boosters that we’re going to talk about connect to your laptop via USB, which also gives them the power they need (no separate AC adapters). However, you need to tell your computer to use the booster and not its own Wi-Fi adapter. That is accomplished using a piece of software called a driver. Some Windows 8/10 computers come with the driver already installed. Others you have to load it from a CD or via the internet.
However, there are some problems with this. What if your device doesn’t have a USB port (e.g. like a smartphone, tablet, Kindle or Roku)? Secondly, what if you want to connect multiple devices such as two laptops or a laptop and a smartphone to the booster? Thirdly, the driver doesn’t run on all laptops (it doesn’t support Mac computers).
TechnoRV Alfa R36 Repeater for use with WiFi Boosters
The solution to all of these issues is a piece of gear called a UBS Repeater. It’s one of my favorite gadgets. Instead of plugging the booster into your laptop, you plug the booster into the Wi-Fi Repeater. The repeater then sets up its own hotspot or Wi-Fi signal which all your devices connect to wirelessly. There’s no need to load any software, and any device that can connect to Wi-Fi can connect to the repeater. You can even connect your wireless printer to the repeater so that all your devices are print-enabled. When you first arrive at an RV park, you have to “tell” the repeater which Wi-Fi to “tune” in to. To do that you configure it by visiting its own webpage. Once done, it will boost the signal that you told it and share it with all the devices connected to it. You can even give your own hotspot a name and protect it with a password to stop those other pesky RVers from jumping on your boosted signal! In addition, the Repeater gives you another level of security as it is completely encrypted.
If you buy the Wi-Fi boosting equipment from TechnoRV, it comes with our very detailed Learning Series which talks you through configuring and using your booster and repeater. TechnoRV will make sure you are successful with setting this system up.

TechnoRV’s Wi-Fi Solutions

Okay, so here’s the run down on the Wi-Fi solutions that we’ve put together (you can also watch this video). There are many Wi-Fi boosters out there and we’ve tested most of them. These are the ones that we’ve found work best and are most reliable while still being affordable. The more expensive WiFi boosters usually incorporate a lot of networking capabilities that 99.9% of RVers will never use. These WiFi boosters give you exactly what you need to get a stronger signal to the Parks WiFi.
Desktop Wi-Fi Booster
TechnoRV Desktop Booster for boosting RV WiFi
Our Desktop Booster combines a 2 watt Wi-Fi booster with a 6” antenna with 5 dB gain (antenna measure their gain in a logarithmic scale called decibels or dBs - 3 dBs represents a doubling of the signal strength). This means that in theory, this booster is 12.5x more powerful than your laptop in terms of power output and at least 2x as powerful due to the antenna (useful on the receive side) giving around a 15x performance gain. It is like replacing a Prius with a Porsche.
The booster can either sit on your desk or ideally suction on to the window facing the campground's Wi-Fi antenna (suction cup mount included). 
Even though it is inside, it can pull in a signal up to half a mile away provided the antenna at the other end is powerful enough to “talk - back.” The big advantage of this solution is that you don't need to run a cable outside. The disadvantage is that because it is inside, there is a signal loss and your signal is more likely to be obstructed. Having said that, it's probably the best solution in terms of “bang-for-the-buck.” We personally use this unit. To buy this solution, and allow multiple users to connect to the boosted signal, you need the Desktop Wi-Fi Booster and the USB Wi-Fi Repeater. TechnoRV sells a Desktop Booster Kit that includes everything you need for multiple users to connect to the boosted signal.
External Wi-Fi Booster Tube

TechnoRV Alfa Tube N WiFi Booster for RVs
This External Wi-Fi Booster Tube has 1 watt power output, but it has a long antenna meaning that it has more gain (8 dB compared to 5 dB of the Desktop Booster i.e. 1.5x its signal strength). Since it is mounted outside and is higher, it generally performs better than the Desktop Booster. It comes with a long (16') USB cable and a couple of nylon ties for mounting. To mount, you can either use the rear ladder, or on the side of the bat wing TV antenna if you have one of the manual crank-up types. The best way to mount this antenna is to use the TechnoRV Suction Cup Antenna Mount. This high powered suction cup mount can affix to any smooth non-porous surface, such as the side of your RV or window. The challenge is getting the cable inside - you can either drill through the roof (Ouch!), pass it through a vent on the roof (e.g. the refrigerator vent) or pass it through an open window or slide. Again, if you use the TechnoRV Suction Cup Antenna Mount then it is easy to run inside of a slide or window because you can mount this right at the entry point. Once inside, the USB cable plugs either into your laptop or better still, into the USB Wi-Fi repeater, just like the Desktop Booster, so you can connect multiple users. TechnoRV has a kit called the WiFi Pro kit with Suction Cup Mount, and this includes the External Booster Tube, Repeater, 24 feet of USB cable, Suction Cup Mount, and an AC and DC power supply.

Super Long-Range Antenna
TechnoRV 16 Db Long Range Yagi WiFi Antenna
The Long-Range Yagi Antenna is like having a super-large dish on your satellite TV. It's really good at pulling in a weaker signal from say a campground's indoor Wi-Fi. We also recommend this for longer distances that you can get a good line of site to. This was the situation that Phil had at a campground in Webster which doesn't have outdoor Wi-Fi, but does have it in the recreation room. Using the Yagi, Phil was able to access this weak indoor signal. There is a video of Phil connecting to a parks WiFi using the Yagi on our YouTube channel.
The downside of the Yagi is that it works best if mounted outside which means that you need a way of getting the cable inside. Secondly, you always need to point it at the source Wi-Fi. The Yagi antenna is a directional antenna, not omni-directional. The Yagi antenna is a antenna only, and does not have a built in transmitter. For this reason we recommend using this with the TechnoRV Desktop Booster Kit. You simply unscrew the small antenna that comes with the Desktop Booster and screw on the Yagi Antenna.  What we do is get to an RV park and connect with our Desktop Booster. If this is good enough, then we are happy. If we find that it needs some additional power, then we add the Yagi to the equation. The Yagi is a good piece of equipment to have in your toolbox. TechnoRV has a kit that includes the Desktop Booster, Repeater, and the Yagi Antenna. This is called the Desktop Booster kit with Long Range Yagi.

TechnoRV WiFi Booster Kits!
Hopefully this guide has given you a better idea about Wi-Fi in general, and in particular, what kind of solution makes most sense. Having free Wi-Fi available is a great alternative to cellular data. If you find yourself needing to boost cellular signal on your cell phone or MiFi jet pack, then TechnoRV also carries several WeBoost (formerly known as Wilson Electronics) CellBoosterThe WeBoost 4G-X is the most powerful cell booster on the market right now and extends your signal range up to 60% farther than similar boosters.
These Wi-Fi and Cell Boosters are meant as tools which you can use when you need a little help. And let’s face it, we all need a little help from time to time when it comes to staying connected on the road.
If you have any more questions about the Wi-Fi boosters or cell boosters, feel free to email your questions to TechnoRV would be happy to assist you!

Alfa Desktop WiFi Booster

The Desktop Booster is one of my favorite Wi-Fi boosting products because of its ease of use. When using this for a single device, it packs some serious results. This unit is good for only Windows operating system computers, and there must be a USB port available. So if you have a laptop that runs Window operating system, then this will work great for you. I personally use this device with my laptop, almost daily.
So what does this device do?
Remember, Wi-Fi is a two way street; you have to have the strength to send your request to the access point, and you also have to have the ability to hear the signal come back to you.

The Desktop Booster accomplishes both of these communications flawlessly with its 2 watt transmitter (sending the signal), and its 5 Db antenna (hearing the signal come back). Compare this to the standard WiFi adaptor in your devices such as laptop, smart phones and tablets. Your internal adaptor in your devices usually have a measly 0.02 watt transmitter and 1 DB gain internal antenna. The TechnoRV WiFi Booster can be as much as 10-15 times more powerful than the internal Wi-Fi adaptor in your laptop. It is not magic, it is all in the numbers. Add more power on the transmit side, and more gain on the receive side, and you will be able to connect to those camp ground access points with ease. Our customers tell us that this unit is easy to use, convenient, and once you use it, you will go nowhere without it.
Is It Easy To Set Up?
This unit will basically replace your internal Wi-Fi adaptor, and the idea here is simple, just plug the Wi-Fi Booster into a USB port, install the provided driver (easy to do), and then tell the computer to use this device instead of your internal adaptor. TechnoRV provides a complete Learning Series with this unit explaining how to set this up. Our Learning Series gives you step by step instructions on how to get this unit up and running, and of course, if you ever need further help, then just call us or email us.
Another important element of setting the booster up is making sure the Desktop Booster is in a window, or near a window, facing the direction of the access point (line of sight is a key component to successful WiFi). The unit comes with a cradle mount that the Booster slips into, and then it can be suction cupped to a window. It has about a 5 foot USB cable, so you can sit in your favorite chair and still have cable to get it to the window.
TechnoRV and the Desktop WiFi Booster
Here I am working in the RV, and as you can see the Desktop Booster is plugged into my USB port on my computer and my Booster is nicely placed at the window (I’m not using the window mount here, but that would even be better).

This desktop booster is the most convenient WiFi booster available. There are no cables to run outside and the set-up is super easy. Check out all of our WiFi products and choose the one that is best for you, including our outside antenna: the Booster Tube.
Is There a Way to Connect Multiple Devices to the Desktop Booster?
If you would like to pair this unit with our USB Repeater, then you can do that. When using a Repeater you will be splitting the signal, so the through put will be diminished a bit, but more people than not do use the Repeater. The way this would work is that instead of plugging the Desktop Booster into your laptop, you would plug it into the Repeater, and then the Repeater would create its own hotspot. Now multiple devices can connect wirelessly to the boosted signal. Here is what this set up would look like:

In closing, I would like to answer the question of, “Do these Boosters work?” The short answer is “YES,” but I leave you with a link to our customer reviews and this will answer it much better than I can:
Booster Reviews
The WiFi Boosters at TechnoRV solve the connection problems that you experience while connecting to the RV parks WiFi. While the RV park is still responsible for providing an appropriate amount of bandwidth for its users, staying connected to park couldn’t be easier.

How Can I Get a Better WiFi Signal in my RV?

The topic of “good” Wi-Fi can be a frustrating topic for RVers and the RV Park owners. Why Can’t RV Park Wi-Fi be better? The number one rated amenity in RV parks now is Wi-Fi. Even though RVing can be seen as a way to get away from normal life, we just can’t seem to totally disconnect from being connected. A lot of what we do is wrapped up in our ability to connect to internet for things like banking, social media, shopping, searching for things to do, and much more. The RV parks get the message loud and clear, and many of them are doing their part to provide us with good Wi-Fi. You might be thinking, where are these RV parks with good Wi-Fi? Well, they are all over the place, and the problem with having a good Wi-Fi experience might just be your problem, and not the RV parks Wi-Fi system. How dare I say that! Let’s look at the Wi-Fi equation and see what I am talking about.
The RV Park is responsible for providing enough bandwidth for its patrons. If the park appropriates correctly, then everyone should have a positive experience. Now I am not letting the parks off the hook completely here, but in their defense, should the park pay for the equipment and bandwidth with the assumption that the park will be full all the time? No business would agree to that. It is like a gym membership, if everyone that was a member of the gym showed up at the same time the Fire Marshall would shut the place down due to overcrowding. The gym is not set up with the assumption that everyone will be there all at once, and parks can’t set their systems up with an assumption of 100% occupancy. Even if a park did set there Wi-Fi system up with a 100% occupancy assumption, then the variable is how much bandwidth is each RVer going to use. If you get a dozen RVers streaming video all night, then that is going to drag the system down. Some parks ask that you do not stream video. Have you ever had bad park Wi-Fi from 5-9 pm at night, and then all of the sudden it got a little better? That is because during peak times there are more people eating up the bandwidth. It is a bit of a moving target for the park owners, and understandable that they struggle with the dialing in on the appropriate Wi-Fi set up for their park.
Truth is that most RVers wouldn’t know it if the park was doing a good job or not with their bandwidth because what you are trying to connect to the access point with is not designed to connect to it effectively. Let me explain, the internal Wi-Fi adaptor in your devices, whether it be smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc., are designed to pick up a Wi-Fi signal from a very short distance. Now we are asking these adaptors to connect to access points from a hundred feet away to hundreds of yards away. In most cases our internal adaptors can’t even hear the signal from these access points much less connect to it. Then, if you can connect to it, you are constantly losing connection or the connection is slow. Here is where the finger pointing begins. The end user blames it on the RV Park, and the park says their system is working fine. The end user goes and writes a bad review on the park, and the park is left frustrated in a no win situation.
TechnoRV WiFi Boosters for RVers
I believe the RV parks get it, we want our Wi-Fi, and if we don’t get it we are not going to be happy. As the end user, we should at least make sure we are doing our part before we start pointing our finger at the RV Park as the problem. Wouldn’t it be horrible if you left a bad review on a park, but really the problem was you and your inadequate Wi-Fi adaptor? There are solutions to taking care of the end users issues, and they are called Wi-Fi boosters. These boosters do not affect the parks performance, but do give you as the end user the ability to effectively connect to the parks Wi-Fi from long distances. Here is how it works. In essence you are replacing your internal Wi-Fi adaptor with an external booster that is much more powerful, and well equipped to meet your needs at the RV Park. To connect to Wi-Fi access points you have to have the power to send your request, and the power to hear the signal come back to you. Your internal Wi-Fi adaptor in your device has about 0.02 - 0.08 of a watt of power to send your request to the access point. 
The Desktop Booster from TechnoRV has a full 2 watts of power; that is 10 times more powerful. To hear the signal come back from the access point, you need an antenna. Your internal device likely has an internal antenna rated at about 1Db of gain. The TechnoRV Desktop booster has 5 Db of gain, and the External WiFi Booster Tube has 8 Db of gain. Your experience in most cases will be improved greatly by adding a Wi-Fi Booster, and the mystery of poor RV Park Wi-Fi will be solved. With a booster, if your experience is still poor, then there is a bandwidth issue at the park.
Learn more about how Wi-Fi works and how to boost Wi-Fi by going to TechnoRV. TechnoRV specializes in technology products for your RV and we are the Wi-Fi boosting specialist.

What is the Range of the Alfa WiFi Boosters?

TechnoRV Desktop Booster for RVersSo the question here is how far can our Wi-Fi boosters pick up a signal from an access point. This is a bit of a loaded question because there are so many variables that can affect this. The short answer is one mile, but I would not expect this routinely as this would be under perfect conditions. Remember, a foggy morning can affect Wi-Fi distance. Wi-Fi is a line of sight signal so if you have trees, other RVs, or really any obstructions, this will diminish the signal. Make sure that when you are connecting to the RVparks access point that you have the best line of site possible. You would be amazed at the difference it can make by just moving from one side of your RV to the other side next to a window in the direction of the access point. If you are considering a Wi-Fi booster then you should understand that you will have varying experiences depending on the park you are connecting to. Overall, our customers tell us that with our Wi-Fi boosters they are now able to connect and surf the internet in places they use to could not even see the access point with their internal Wi-Fi adapters. Learn more about our Wi-Fi boosters here, and remember, our Wi-Fi booster come with our Learning Series. If you are not satisfied, return it within 30 days. Can’t beat that, and with all of the great reviews we get on these products we know you will be happy with it.

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The Tiffin Maiden Voyage ~ Why We Need 2-Way Radios

When we returned to Mobile from buying our brand new 41 foot Tiffin Phaeton from Lazy Days in Tampa, we only had a couple of weeks to get used to it before we took off for Tennessee. Our first real trip led us to the Tannehill Ironworks Historical Park. Now bear in mind, it's my job to book our RV parks, and I love the more remote parks as opposed to the "resort" type, but it is always an interesting moment when we actually pull in to a park and see just where we will be staying. Not every park is set up for a 41 foot RV - especially ones with new drivers. This day was no exception.
The park was beautiful when we pulled in! There were several historical buildings on the path and many trees and rivers, which I love. However, the stay quickly became sketchy when we were directed to our spot. We followed the directions given to us, but it led us to a wooden bridge which we felt couldn't possibly be safe considering we weigh close to 18 tons. We crossed our fingers and floored it and made it across the bridge, but not before seeing a sign that said 6 ton maximum. Not a great moment.
We made it across safely (obviously), but wondered how we would get out of the park if that was indeed the weight limit.
Once we got parked and settled, we walked to the bridge to check out just what we were up against when we departed the following day. Luckily, the 6 ton limit was the lowest on the sign, with 16 tons being the max. Now, that is still below our weight, but we felt a little better about it. The bridge looked wooden, but it had concrete support beams, which made us feel a bit more secure. However, we were not going to be towing the 4Runner when we crossed the bridge again the following day. We didn't feel THAT lucky.
After an enjoyable evening celebrating mine and Tyler's birthdays, we woke to a busy morning of packing up. The cell signal in the park was horrible, and although we used our cell phone booster while parked (which was awesome), we knew the lack of communication might cause a problem when we began to leave. We always use our cell phones to talk to each other while pulling out of tight spots and hooking up the truck. Eric was feeling extra confident this particular morning and decided to "wing it" pulling out of the spot - even though we were parked mighty close to a tree. (Now why in the world he felt so confident after only having this RV for only a few weeks is beyond me.)
I was behind him in the 4Runner watching, and since we didn't have great cell coverage, I'm not sure what my job actually was except to watch everything go down without the ability to do anything about it.
Eric began to pull out of the site, and looked good...for about 15 seconds. From the back, I could clearly see the tree he "thought" he was far away enough from was getting closer and closer. The minute it made contact with the awning, I honked. Twice. Eric says I didn't look like anything was wrong in the rear view mirror (sure, I honk twice for no reason all the worries here!), so he continued to press on. At this point, I was frantic. I imagined the entire awning being ripped off by the tree, and I started honking again. This time, I was waving my hands and anything else I could do so he would see me in the rear view camera. In fear that he would continue driving although I was honking, I jumped out of the truck and headed to the RV door. After assessing the situation, he decided to back up and try a different angle. I was satisfied, and headed back to the truck.
As I approached the back of the RV, I noticed a very strange sight....the 4Runner was rolling toward the RV! I can't even describe the horrible feeling I had. I quickly ran in front of the truck and actually tried to stop it. (Too many Marvel movies for me, I guess). When that didn't work, I got in the driver's seat as quickly as possible,...but not quick enough. Contact was made.
Yes, our 1 month old RV was officially "broken in" by the 4Runner, all while I watched. It was agonizing. It felt like it was in slow motion, but happened so fast at the same time. And it happened on my birthday. Happy Birthday to me.
Luckily the damage wasn't horrible, and there were no dents - only paint scars. There was a tear in the fiberglass on the RV, but nothing a little duct tape couldn't solve. :)
And then, there was the bridge to get our of the park. Gotta love RVing!
Moral(s) of the story: 1) BUY 2-WAY RADIOS! Never pull out of a sketchy site without someone spotting the RV on all sides. 2) Everyone makes dumb mistakes, and don't stress over them; the whole reason to RV full time was to relax and stop sweating the small stuff. 3) If you are going to wreck your new RV, do it on your birthday when your husband can't completely freak out.
And for those of you who are asking, "How in the hell do you get out of a car without it being in park?" I was ridiculously stressed with the idea of our new home being damaged. My number one priority was to get to Eric ASAP. I was also "working the gears" because we have a lube pump we use for towing, and you have to move the car through all the gears before towing it. I have no idea what gear I was in at the time that caused my 4Runner to sit perfectly still for almost 2 minutes while I ran to Eric, had a conversation, and headed back - but it happened. Regardless, let me assure you, it WON'T happen again! We are the proud new owners of 2-way radios and I will never be in that situation again.
Now to get the duct tape off my house....

Spring Cleaning Your RV: Wash Wax All and Norwex

Wash Wax All
At most of the RV rallies we go to we see the Wash Wax All vendors, and I have always wondered if this stuff works. Apparently the draw is to be able to wash your RV without water, which is attractive since some parks frown at you washing the RV in your site. Over the past year we have become friends with Gary and Linda of G&L Services, and I naturally asked him about the Wash Wax All product that he sells. I ended up buying a kit from him that included everything I needed to get going. Once I used it for the first time, I was addicted to this stuff.

Now let me say, just because you have a fancy wash pole and pads does not mean that it is not hard work. I have used the product several times and each time have gotten a good work out when applying the product. The product is great, and it is easy to use, but be prepared to use some muscle when applying. You simply spray the product on the RV and then use the double sided pads on the wash pole to wipe it on, and then dry it off. The results are awesome, and even my front windshield is like brand new. My RV has not been this clean in a long time. It really puts a good shine on the RV, and because it is easy to use, I find myself cleaning the RV more often, even if it is just small portions at a time. I have to really like a product to recommend it, and Wash Wax All gets a thumbs up from me. Contact Gary at G&L Specialties, and he can get you what you need to get started.

Okay, I'll admit it. I was a cleaning product addict. My cabinets overflowed with a variety of window cleaners, furniture polishes, antibacterial kitchen cleaners, stainless steel cleaners…you name it. This wasn’t a huge problem when we lived in a house, but once we moved into an RV where space is limited, it became an issue. I needed to find one product that would clean multiple surfaces well. I tried everything, but no one product seemed to get things as clean as I wanted them. As a matter of fact, nothing I’ve ever used have ever been able to take any of my showers back to “showroom” quality like I wanted them to.
At the FROG Rally, a fellow RVer invited me over to show me something in her RV and I was amazed at how clean it looked – not meaning it wasn’t lived in, but the surfaces in her kitchen and bathroom were spotless, including the shower door. How was that possible? No matter what I use in my bathroom, I always have some type of spot or streak somewhere when the sun shines through. She told me she used Norwex and proceeded to show me how it worked. She took Vaseline and rubbed it all over her mirror (which stressed me out immediately). She wet the Norwex rag and simply wiped the Vaseline off leaving a perfectly clean, streak-free mirror – using only water! I didn’t need to see much more. I was sold.
I immediately bought some Norwex products the following day, and let me tell you – they are fabulous! With a Norwex Antibacterial EnviroCloth / Polishing Cloth and water only, my shower looks like the day we bought the RV. There isn’t a spot on it, and the glass in my RV is the cleanest it has ever been, and all with water only. (There goes about 4-5 cleaning products from under the counter.) The Norwex dusting mittwas also super easy to use and picked up so much additional dust, even after I had cleaned using my usual dusting products. We also purchased the Norwex Microfiber Mop. We had been using the Bona mop and cleaner for tile, and since we have a 65 pound slobbering dog living with us, we use it often. We have shiny tile so I was nervous about not only the Norwex mop being able to clean “Lincoln” up, but also being able to do so without leaving spots. Boy, was I wrong. With water only, the mop cleaned the floors to a shine without any streaks. No more buying $10 Bona cleaner every few weeks, and no more having to store floor cleaners under my sink. Finally, I bought the Antibacterial Washcloths, and as promised, they easily remove my makeup with water only – mascara and all. (I won’t even go into how many facial cleaning products I had in my cabinet before these.)
Okay, so how do they work? The Norwex cloths are a microfiber that is apparently 1/200th of a human hair and if one cloth’s fibers were stretched out, they could reach from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. This allows the cloths to pick up dirt better. Some also have a silver agent inside the fibers which clean up to 99% of the bacteria from the surfaces (using only water) and keep the cloths from getting gross between cleaning. I really don’t care how it works though; I just know it does. I now have more space under my counters, feel great about using less chemicals and products, have a cleaner RV, and will be saving money in the long run in cleaning products. If you haven’t tried them, I highly encourage you to do so. They work really well and save so much space in the RV. (I don't have the name of the vendor I purchased from anymore, but you can get them off Amazon or find a supplier near you online.)

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Propane Station Hazards

Have you ever been to a propane station and seen this:

Well that is there for a reason, and it is all a result of an OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standard called Hazard Communication. The short version of the Hazard Communication OSHA standard is that any company engaging in the manufacture of any type chemical is required to provide detailed information of the possible dangers to the end user, and to employees working with the chemical. The standard requires that the company producing the chemical have a program in place that includes a written safety program, safety data information for each product, proper labeling, and training.
Now, since we do not work at the facility that provides propane, we are not required to know all of this stuff, but it is good to at least know how to read the placards we see at propane stations, and on tankers driving down the road. Once you know how to read this placard then when you see these placards on big trucks you will immediately know the hazards of the cargo. This may be useful if you witness an accident involving a big truck in case you need to protect yourself or call into 911 with the proper information. These placards are an easy indicator for emergency personnel to identify what they are dealing with as they approach an accident involving chemicals.

So, this is all there is to it, the placard has colors that represent a particular hazard, and the number in the color represents the level of the hazard.
Blue = Health
Red = Flammability
Yellow = Reactivity/instability
White = Special Conditions

The ratings are from 0-4, with 4 being the highest level of hazard. So, if the red section has the number 4 in it, you know that this substance is highly flammable. If the red section has a zero in it then this substance does not burn. At a quick glance, you should be able to tell if a substance is dangerous to breathe or get on your skin by the number rating in the blue section (Blue=Health). The yellow section will give you a good indication of how volatile the substance is, for example, a rating of 4 in the yellow section could mean this substance can easily detonate! As for the white section, there may or may not be something listed in this section. If there is something in the white section it will be a symbol, not a number, for example, you may see a radioactive symbol. Here is a chart to help you along:

As RVers we see these placards frequently. I think it is a good idea to at least be familiar with what it means.

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Rand McNally Dash Cams

Rand McNally Dash Cam 300 for RVs and TrucksWe have been road testing the Rand McNally Dash Cams for over a month and they have passed our inspection and are now for sale at TechnoRV. We have been waiting to be able to offer a high quality dash camera with a company that we have a solid relationship with and this is it. We are offering two models of the Rand McNally Dash Cams: the 100 and 300. They both offer a great deal of functionality, and the main difference in the two models is that the 300 model has GPS tracking to give you speed and location for your video.
One of the main things we like about these dash cams is that they are easy to use and come with great instructions right out of the box. In our tests we had no issues with performance; these dash cams worked flawlessly. As I have said before, there are a lot of poorly made dash cams on the market, and it was important to us to sift through the sea of offerings out there and be able to offer a well-made, high quality dash cam to you.
Why do you need a Dash Camera?
There are two main reasons you need a dash camera. First, with all of the places you travel, don’t you want to capture those moments on video? Sometimes the best moments are just around the next corner and before you know it they have come and gone. A good dash cam will capture all of those moments, and with the Rand McNally Dash Cam, transferring the video to your computer is very easy.
The second reason you need a dash camera is to have documentation in case an aggressive driver cuts you off or pulls in front of you and causes an accident. With the Rand McNally you can put your vehicle ID number on the recorded clip along with the date and time stamp. Your insurance company will love you for this. Also, with the Rand McNally dash cam you can set it in park mode, and if it senses a jolt of any kind then it will start recording. Now if you are in the Walmart parking lot for the night and someone hits you the camera will come on and catch the activity.
Dash Cam 100/300 Features: 
  • Screen Size – 1.5 inch (100 model) or 2 inch (300 model)
Rand McNally Dash Cam 100 and 300 for RVs and Trucks
  • Charger – Powered by a 12V adapter which has a USB port included
  • Storage – Comes with a 4GB (100 model) or 16GB (300 model) micro SD card; supports up to a 64GB micro SD card.
  • Automatic Recording - The dash cam will automatically turn on when the vehicle is turned on, but you also can program it to begin recording when the vehicle is turned on.
  • Motion Detection – Activates recording only when the vehicle is in motion
  • Parking Mode – Allows the dash cam to automatically record the moment an impact is detected, even when the vehicle is parked
  • Power On / Power Off Delay – Allows you to adjust how quickly the camera turns on or off after the ignition is turned on/off. Auto Power Offalso allows you to automatically turn the camera off after a specified amount of time.
  • GPS – GPS is an optional feature (300 only) that will stamp the vehicle speed, location, device number, vehicle ID number, date, and time
  • Date and Time stamp – All models allow date, time, and vehicle ID to be stamped on videos
  • Wide Dynamic Range – Allows the dash cam to produce the best video quality when the scene includes a variety of lighting; there are also additional settings for contrast, exposure, sharpness, and white balance, if needed.
  • Quality and Resolution – Allows you to record in SDHR 2304x1296 (300 model only), HDR 1920x1080 or 1280x70. Quality can be changed as well; both quality and resolution will determine how many videos you can record before the camera begins to loop and overwrite videos (if selected).
  • Still Pictures – Allows you to manually capture photos using the dash cam
  • G Sensor – Allows the dash cam to detect impact and start recording video in protected mode where the file can’t be overwritten; the sensitivity of the sensor can be changed from 1-7
  • Forward Collision and Lane Departure Warnings – (available on the 300 only) Notifies you when your vehicle is too close to the vehicle in front of you or when your vehicle gets too close to the dividing lines.
  • Loop Recording – When activated, records in a continual loop when space runs out, unless the video has been marked as protected. In the event of an accident, the previous clip, current clip (accident), and all subsequent video is protected and will not be overwritten.
  • Segmented Recordings – While recording, video can segmented into 1 or 5 minute clips or video can remain in one large clip
  • Night vision LED – Activates the extra LED light to automatically come on at night for extra illumination
  • Mic – Records sound while recording video
  • Video Rotation – When mounted on the dash, rotates display screen upright
  • User-friendly Operation - Simple menu with only 6 function buttons (power, menu, forward, back, record video, and capture photo/delete)

Rand McNally Dash Cam 100 for RVers

We are very confident in this line of dash cams. They are on sale now at To see a sample of the recording in SD, you can view the video below. 

Interesting Image


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