Replacing the mechanical thermostat with a digital programmable one is worth it! I replaced mine and it has kept the temperatures very stable. I also like that it turns way down at night to reduce battery & propane use (we have good sleeping bags), then comes back up in the morning BEFORE I need to get up. Here's a link to how I did my replacement: Thermostat Replacement.
One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet is that the furnace blower needs to run at a fairly high speed (i.e. needs higher voltage) before the safety interlocks allow the gas to turn on and ignite. The furnace not igniting is usually the first sign of a weak battery. It will blow cold air for a little while then shut off. My experience is that it does this a littel before the battery hits 50% SOC. So when the furnace doesn't light, it's time to recharge; unless it's 3AM AND we're in a campground. If boondocking, the generator fires up whenever I need it to!
Bumpy gets my vote. You bought an RV for a reason, and the RV has a fresh water tank for a reason too; USE IT!
If the tank is larger than what you think you will use and you don't want to carry that much weight, fill it with the amount you think you need, plus a little more. It's better to have extra than not enough.
The only time I travel with an empty freshwater tank is when I know I'm going to a place where potable water is available at the site. Otherwise, I fill the tank and the water heater full (26 gallons total).
There is more to off-highway than rock crawling.
Just sold a Chevy truck with 4X4. We rarely used four wheel drive.
Yet it saw so many dirt roads the air conditioner smelled of dirt road when used.
Yes i do intend to take my new two wheel drive car (jeep) off-highway. (dirt roads)
I had a '91 Ford Ranger 2wd with the 4cyl engine. I took that thing off highway all the time. With it's short wheelbase and narrow stance I was able to get in and out of places my friends in their large 4x4 trucks couldn't go. I went through mud holes that those big boys got stuck in! Nothing was funnier than when that lil' Ranger pulled a Chevy Blazer out of a mud hole AFTER going through it! Ok, I admit that I knew where the solid bottom was and he didn't, but it was still a funny sight!
I've also taken my Subaru Outback off-highway several times.
9 out of 10 times the culprit is low voltage. See about plugging into a generator or other AC source for a little bit OR hook up a set of jumper cables to the tow vehicle (running of course) to charge the trailer battery. Try to start the furnace while hooked up to this exterior power source.
As the OP stated, the stove is working. Depending upon the system layout, the furnace may be the farthest appliance from the propane cylinder. Try igniting a few times if the cylinder has been changed recently. My stove is right next to the furnace and it usually takes one or two attempts to get it to light the first time out.
How effective the brakes will be, is entirely dependent on the weight of the trailer. A really light trailer, like "many" popups. Will just bounce, and slide with trailer brakes. Unless you dial them down until they are not working at all. Been there done that.
My self. IF the trailer is under 2500lb , and you are using something other than a minivan. I wouldn't worry about it. But if it makes you feel better, have them put on.
My pop-up weighed in at 2,400lb fully loaded and the brakes make an immense difference. Only once have I locked the trailer brakes and if I hadn't had them, a mom & kid would not be here today. The guy driving a small car with his family pulled out across traffic without looking; their small car mostly disappeared below the hood-line of my truck (and it's not THAT big of a truck!). There was probably less than 6" between the vehicles.
So yes, properly installed & maintained trailer brakes help. If they are locking up when the trailer is empty or lightly loaded, the gain setting is too high on the controller. Really easy to dial it down to the appropriate level for the trailer weight.
We have had smoke from the western fires in our home location. Yosemite is over 1500 miles from here so no where can say they will be in the clear. Now the weather pattern has shifted and its not as hazy.
But 1 year ago we had our own fires to contend with. We had the Region 23 Complex fires to our north and east--4 fires within 100 miles of here, some just 5 miles away. On a few days the sky was just orange but most of the time the southern summer breezes kept the air clear at our house. At no time were we in real danger. Our worst nightmare will be if another lightning strike fire starts to our SW or West. So far this season we've been fire free but until we get more moisture we are all a bit on edge.
Be safe everyone and do me mindful that big fires will send smoke hundreds of miles so try to stay out of the path of that wind!
I grew up in SW Wyoming and had really bad smoke from Yellowstone, then again from Ft. Robinson not much later.
We get several smoke-days a year from both Colorado and New Mexico fires at our sticks & bricks; don't really have the option of packing up and leaving. Something we end up dealing with. We just run the HEPA filter at max during those times.
I read way too many stories of people with RV-shaped objects after they plugged into a dryer outlet or a miswired 30 amp receptacle.
Instead of the master electrician, you need one who just barely has their Journeyman license. That way they have experience but still new enough not to be complacent.
Both of my vehicles (2004 Toyota Tundra and 2003 Subaru Outback H6-3.0) have automatic-off headlights. The Tundra turns off the headlights when the driver's door opens (after ignition is off, of course). The Subaru turns off the headlights when the ignition is off. I never turn the headlight switch off on either vehicle.
We call daytime headlight use our "magic shield", it protects us by making us a little more noticable.
A few years ago, we were camping next to a family who had a Class B and placed the large ice chest for drinks in the shower! They liked that because they could just open the ice chest drain whenever necessary without having to lug it outside.
Like Rebeckah, I also feel that the toilet/shower is wasted space in a small camper, especially a pop-up. A larger rig is another matter...
Several years ago, my brother moved from Oregon to South Dakota. When he went to register his truck (which he originally bought, taxed, titled, and registered in Wyoming), the SD DMV said that since he was bringing the vehicle in from Oregon where there is no sales tax, he would have to pay SD sales tax on it before they would issue a title & registration. He brought back the sales tax receipt from Wyoming and all was good as far as SD was concerned.
I didn't know that states "could" charge sales tax on posessions you already own...
It's easy to have our pup setup in 15 minutes after unhitching, especially if the kids are helping. We often have them crank down the stab jacks (we have 3 handles). They pretend to be doing a NASCAR pit stop and see who can get theirs done first!
We also opted out of the shower/toilet for a couple of reasons, even with young kids. First, I didn't like the thought of those "activities" going on with a few feet of cooking dinner, and second, they take up a lot of floor & storage space. We upgraded from tent camping so the CG showers/toilets were already in the picture. I don't have any issues with vault toilets, and have tought my kids the same.
If you have time, I recommend renting a time or two. It will really help you figure out what you want. It was well worth it to us. By renting, we identified the following:
Water tank & electric pump
Nice to haves:
Hot water heater
We don't often camp where there's lots of heat & humidity so the air conditioner wasn't considered. We did pick up a couple of battery powered fans with AC adapters to help keep air moving inside. Even if it's 90-degrees outside (as long as humidity isn't high), we can keep the inside comfortable.
My wife and I have discussed getting one of the A-liners or similar for our next/retirement trailer. We're in our late 30's so we're going to have this one for a long, long time.
SAFETY WARNING: NEVER, EVER, consider using a double ended male electrical cord! These are commonly called "suicide" cords for a reason. When you plug one end in, the other end has exposed, energized contacts that can and will electrocute anybody or anything who comes in contact with them. Electricity doesn't care who you are or what you are doing. It's an equal-opportunity killer.
Some terminology to keep in mind:
Voltage = the electrical force that makes current flow in a conductor. The unit is Volts (V). Think water pressure in a pipe.
Current = the amount of electrical energy flowing in a conductor. The unit is Ampere Amps or A). Think volume of water flowing through a pipe.
Alternating Current (ac) = With out getting too technical, ac power "flip-flops". If you were to look at the voltage on a graph, it would make a sine-wave at 60Hz (cycles per second). Your house operates on alternating current.
Direct Current (dc) - Electrical current where the voltage remains the same. If you were to look at the voltage on a graph, it would be a straigh, horizontal line. Your car battery is direct current.
Converter = An electrical device that takes 120Vac in and produces 12Vdc out.
Inverter = An electrical device that takes 12Vdc in and produces 120Vac out.
Shore Cable = The power cord that provides power into your trailer from an external source such as the campground power pedistal or household electrical outlet. The term "shore cable" comes from the fact that ships in port will use cable to bring in electrical power from the shore facilities.
Adapter = a device used to adapt one electrical connection to another without changing the type of electrical power utilized.
As previously stated, your trailer has a shore cable somewhere. It will be coiled up inside, but accessible from the exterior through either a round or rectangular hatch. Either hatch will have an inverted "U" door that the cord will pass through with the large hatch closed. See the two following photos:
Your hatch may or may not have the sticker shown. They tend to wear off after a few years.
The end of the shore cable will have a TT-30 plug (for the trailer age/size described). It should look something like this.
This plug operates at 120Vac, same voltage as your household outlets. A difference is that it is rated to carry 30 amps, and as such, it has a different plug. Obviously this won't fit the outlets at home which should be a NEMA 5-15 or 5-20 designation; both are similar and most people don't notice the difference, the 5-20 version has the extra horizontal slot as shown below:
You need an ADAPTER to plug the shore cable into your household outlet. The least expensive option is the stubby adapter that is about 2" long and about the same diameter as the TT-30 plug. It has a household-type male plug rated for 15 amps and a female TT-30 receptacle on the other side. You can see my stubby adapter on the shore cord below. Mine is a 90-degree one, most common is the staight through version with the male plug side opposite of the female side.
The upgraded adapter is basically the same but has a length of cord between the two. This is commonly called a "dog-bone" adapter. The benefit is that the dog-bone adapter separates the two connection points so heat can dissapate better. (I'm actually suprised RoyB didn't include a photo in his post.) I apologize that I don't have a good photo of one of them. With either adapter, you are limited by the household-type plug. This means that you may not be able to run everything in the trailer at the same time such as a microwave, air conditioner, electric water heater, electric space heater, etc.
Inside the trailer, the shore cord goes into a small electrical box with circuit breakers, they are same as the ones in your house. From there, the 120Vac power is fed to the household outlets, the converter, microwave, air conditioner, and other 120Vac powered appliances. The refridgerator often uses two or three sources of energy such as 120Vac, 12Vdc, or propane. The converter may also be located in the same box and you may see automotive type fuses on one side for the 12Vdc outputs.
Power from the converter is at 12Vdc (actually closer to 13.2Vdc-13.4Vdc). This power feeds things such as the water pump, lights, furnace fan. It also connects to your battery so you can use these items when NOT connected to 120Vac power through the shore cable.
Unfortunately, without an inverter and a stout battery bank, you can't use the household electrical outlets without the shore cord plugged into a source. Using an inverter is a whole different set of lessons...
As the OP mentioned, they found the outside receptacle. This is for plugging in lights, radio, or other small 120Vac powered items and not for bringing power into the trailer.
How much fuel depends upon how long the generators run, their size, and the load you put on them.
My lil' 2kW genset will run all day on 1.5 gallons of fuel, however with my pop-up, unless I'm running an electric heater, will never cause the generator to ramp up. Of course I don't have an electric water heater, air conditioner, TV, or even a radio in it!