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RE: Cost For Solar Install Please

As a contractor and as a handyman, I've had too many jobs where "the customer supplies all the parts" go bad, all the parts aren't there, the customer doesn't know what is necessary, and starting a job and having to go on a parts hunt or come back at a later date drives my costs and travel time up. You either know what you are doing, design it yourself, and the laborer, unlicensed provides the grunt work, for cheap, or you don't know what you are doing, hire a licensed professional, pay for their expertise, and do the job right, the first time. 400 watts for a 5th wheel, most of them that I see are 30 feet plus in length, sounds like too little, to me, especially for winter time use. This is a half baked idea. You're gonna get what you paid for. Not much. No one here has seen your 5th wheel, getting pricing over the internet, as such, is a complete joke. As an aside, as a general contractor that has built a few custom homes, and done plenty of remodels, my Travel trailer was built by Amish employees in Michigan. Their work is no better than stuff built by Mexicans by Eclipse in Riverside, CA, or Mexicans at Lance in Lancaster CA, none of which speak English as a first language. The quality of construction by them is junk, mass produced cr@p. Built to a price point, and built to fail within a decade or a bit longer. A few trades they suck at are plumbing, electrical, cabinetry and finish carpentry, IMHO. They have dangerously low standards on electrical in particular. Don't ask me how I know.
NinerBikes 10/09/16 12:34am Tech Issues
RE: AGM Voltage Sag Test Update

Having an AGM that is nothing like what you guys are buying, a surplus Telecom, very thick, very few plates that's about 150ah and weighs a whopping 105 pounds and is designed to last 10 years, the DEKA I run has some different requirements in recharging. 4 or 5 days of 150w 8.5 amps solar panel in a row does not give it what it needs to get things stirred up and fully recharged. On the 5th or 6th day, it sees the Megawatt, set at 14.4V, first thing in the morning, for a couple of hours on the generator. The battery will take a maximum of 20 to 21 amps at 14.4V. It will be slow in dropping the amps down at this voltage, at least an hour. You can't rush recharging it. The battery temp increase is minimal, as in hardly noticeable, when shot with an IR temp gun, maybe 4 or 5 F temp rise. I absolutely love having that RC battery charger meter in line with my MegaWatt, to tell me exactly what is going on, V wise and Ah wise. It takes all the guess work out of what the state of charge is with the battery. 2 or 3 hours on the MegaWatt at 20-21 amps restores the battery. End of trip, it sits on the MegaWatt at home until I see a .75ah draw at 14.4V, then I shut the MegaWatt off, and let it sit, fully top charged. 72 hours after a full recharge, the battery, at around 80F, will show 12.88V The battery chemistry will take what ever amps you can give it, and self limit itself. Watch the heat, don't let it get too hot, and then watch the amp take rate as it finishes recharging. If your battery has it's temperature rising, you need to back off on the voltage a bit, so it doesn't make heat. It's not rocket science here, just take notes on a new battery and what it does, what it's results are, and file them away for reference. I can't and don't run heavy inverter loads on my telecom battery. It wasn't designed for it. It was designed for low and slow amps drawn over long periods of time. It works fine for me, in my 21 ft travel trailer, as a single battery. No toaster or microwave or electric coffee for me, unless it's on the Eu2000i generator. My rig is small, my needs are small, but everything is scaleable, to a certain extent. 40 or 50 amp hours pulled in 24 hours is a huge power hog day for me, I am usually closer to 25-40. I've had the battery a year now, still doing great. Mex tells me 9+ years to go on it.
NinerBikes 10/07/16 11:46am Tech Issues
RE: Your Comments About Brands Of Shock Absorbers?

Can't speak for RV's, but for my cars, when reshod with shock absorbers and going through all new bushings doing a complete suspension R&R when all the rubber has gone bad, I've been most satisfied with Koni's. Bilsteins gas I had on my Jetta were harsh. The dampening valving on the Koni's was just much better. I did not get Sport models, I bought Koni Reds, oil dampening. Very satisfied with the ride.
NinerBikes 10/01/16 10:07am Tech Issues
RE: How to tell bat wing type

https://play.google.com/store/apps?utm_source=na_Med&utm_medium=hasem&utm_content=Nov1215&utm_campaign=Evergreen&pcampaignid=MKT-DR-na-us-all-Med-hasem-ap-Evergreen-May0315-1-SiteLink%7cONSEM_kwid_43700006873862237&gclid=CNDI37O-lM8CFZkdfwodUNgJzA&gclsrc=dsGooIf you are on the road, try "TV Antenna Helper" on your Android, via "Google Play Store"
NinerBikes 09/16/16 12:12pm Technology Corner
RE: Electric heaters

There are 2 circuits in most newer houses, 15 amp and 20 amp. 15 amps x 120 volts = 1800 watts. 20 amps x 120 volts = 2400 watts. They produce heaters with a max of 1800 watts which could run on a 15 amp circuit but it would be maxed out and could trip the breaker. It would be better if you could run it on a 20 amp circuit. How many amps is the wiring/circuit that you plan to run it on? If it's 15 amp I would probably lean more to 1500 watts or less. It's one of those things that you may have to try. If returning the item is a hassle that may matter too. I always placed mine on the open oven door so it might not catch the rig on fire if it goes into melt down as I have had 2 of them do that over the years. Some consider them a temporary solution for heating until a proper heating system can be sized. Some will only use them while awake!!!! Any breaker should NEVER run more than 80% of it's rating, if run in continuous mode, which is what an electric heater pulls. So a 15 amp breaker circuit should be limited to 12 amps continuous, and a 20 amp breaker to 16 amps continuous.
NinerBikes 09/16/16 12:03pm Tech Issues
RE: What Ethanol Does And Doesn't Do (PDF)

1987 Toyota Xtra Cab SR5 4x4 with EFI. 24.2 MPG lifetime average on true gas. 21.8 MPG when E10 arrived everywhere. I know my numbers are correct and fact, as I logged every single fillup, gallons bought, miles traveled, topped off and brimmed to the neck, each and every fillup. E10 sucked... nothing but filler waste, doing nothing but taking away 10% of your MPG's. I hated the stuff, made my fillups more frequent and more expensive. Ethanol is fluff in your fuel tank, a large percentage of alcohol is, by weight, oxygen. Why would you want to carry around oxygen, when you can get it free for ignition from the air intake? Therein lies the fallacy. Splitting hydrocarbons and taking free oxygen from the air makes energy. Providing oxygen in the fuel is just plain stupid, from a chemical reaction point of view. It adds expense, while not providing energy to propel you forward. Dumb, really, really dumb.
NinerBikes 09/11/16 06:18pm Tech Issues
RE: How Big a Gen to Run a Converter? Some Info.

Not everybody runs their generator or PD charge controller at sea level. Or on pure gasoline versus less power producing 10% ethanol with gasoline. Gasoline cut with 10% ethanol definitely cuts back on maximum generator HP and load carrying characteristics.
NinerBikes 09/04/16 09:34pm Tech Issues
RE: Happy Labor Day!

Could be... Years ago I passed a sign on Vancouver Island depicting one carrying off a moose. Distracting signs in Alaska
NinerBikes 09/04/16 03:46pm Tech Issues
RE: Magnum inverter, Yamaha Generator

Are the insides of your magnum guts dust free, or dirty? Pet hair? Lint from your navel, or other stuff collecting inside there? Camping is dirty business.
NinerBikes 09/04/16 10:52am Tech Issues
RE: Diesel Fuel

We started a 6 month work kamper job Mount Pleasant South Carolina. He is going to be in SC, he doesn't need Winter treatment. You are correct 'ish... Winter additives are usually better at dealing with condensation and water in the tank.The "deicing" additives in what could be called "winter formula" are the same additives that keep moisture out of your fuel tank, put it in suspension in the fuel, and allow all of it to go through your fuel system safely and out your tail pipe. Just because it is labeled winter deicing formula does not mean that it is restricted to winter use only. Anyone in hot humid climates should run the stuff with their fuel from time to time to keep their fuel dry. And consider it preventative maintenance with a full tank of fuel if you put your RV into storage. I've never heard of winter deicing formula diesel. It really sounds like you are describing winter blend gasoline. Summer diesel is straight #2. Straight #2 diesel will start to jell when temperatures drop below about 20 degrees. Winter blend diesel is formulated to resist jelling when temps drop below the magic 20 degree mark, which is the point where wax will start to form and clog fuel filters - and stopping you dead in your tracks until your vehicle can be towed into a nice warm garage (ask me how I know). There are two ways to formulate winter blend diesel - either add chemicals that lower the jell point or add a percentage of #1 diesel (#1 resists jelling to much lower temps). The 'mix' changes as the calendar moves farther into the winter season - less chemicals or #1 in Nov/Dec and more in Jan/Feb. In my experience, cutting #2 diesel with #1 works much better then going the chemicals route. #1 diesel has far less lubrication qualities then does #2 and also less BTUs (less power and MPG). Keep in mind that your REALLY expensive engine high pressure fuel pump is lubricated only by diesel fuel and you'll understand why it's not a good idea to run #1 diesel in the summer. ** On edit - I've read this about 3 times and I now see that the above post is more about additives then the fuel itself. I think if the tank is full, then there will be no condensation problem. If there is, it will settle to the bottom and you can then drain it from your filters. Pleasure boaters with large diesel tanks in their boats store fuel over the winter and then go merrily on their way in the spring with no problems. Just not a big deal. If we were discussing ethanol based gasoline (ethanol will attract water). I would definitely recommend some type of additive. My comments regarding summer and winter blend diesel are still valid. Deicing formula does three things... it lowers the gel point and waxing point of D2, which is normally set at around 7F to 10F for waxing. The deicing portion takes any moisture/water in your fuel,that collects on your fuel filter, that below 32f, the water would freeze up and gum up your fuel filter from flowing diesel fuel, with ice particles. It puts the moisture in suspension of the fuel with a much lower freezing point for the water/additive blend held in suspension. This prevents your fuel filter from icing up and clogging with water, below 32F. All diesel fuel holds some water in suspension, it's just that additive allows it to hold more, or a larger %, and allows it to pass through your fuel system in freezing weather without clogging or damaging your fuel system. There's a reason there a heaters in your fuel filter system. Not all diesel fuel systems have water drains in the bottom of them. Most do, but on sedans and SUV versions, there is no drain. Hence when your fuel filter gets changed out, the canister needs to be drained dry with a turkey baster, to suck all the moisture out of the bottom of the fuel filter canister.
NinerBikes 09/04/16 09:14am Tech Issues
RE: Happy Labor Day!

I think those signs originate in Alaska.The Mosquito Festival starts Memorial Day Weekend and ends Labor Day weekend. Tourists are suckers for it.
NinerBikes 09/04/16 08:46am Tech Issues
RE: Magnum inverter, Yamaha Generator

UGH what a pain in the arse it is not being able to use the percent sign. I really need to stop using rv.netX2 Use a different portal or change the URL to https:// and then % signs are happy. 100% thank you for the tip on using https. Seems some of the sites internal links switch me back to http though. I'll try to get in the habit of using a different portal Woodall's works for me. %%% I do run the https version that is secure Add it to your "favorites" or library, on on my smart phone, I think I add a star to it to add it.
NinerBikes 09/03/16 08:50pm Tech Issues
RE: Low water pressure and toilet won't shut off.

We always travel with a full fresh water tank........ Got caught w/o water at one CG and very little water on board ONCE! We only use on board pump and fill tank as needed. That way we are NOT beholden to CG water pressures or issues RVs are 'self-contained' ----use them as such This has been my MO since day 1. It flat out just works, all the time.
NinerBikes 09/03/16 08:43pm Tech Issues
RE: Diesel Fuel

We started a 6 month work kamper job Mount Pleasant South Carolina. He is going to be in SC, he doesn't need Winter treatment. You are correct 'ish... Winter additives are usually better at dealing with condensation and water in the tank.The "deicing" additives in what could be called "winter formula" are the same additives that keep moisture out of your fuel tank, put it in suspension in the fuel, and allow all of it to go through your fuel system safely and out your tail pipe. Just because it is labeled winter deicing formula does not mean that it is restricted to winter use only. Anyone in hot humid climates should run the stuff with their fuel from time to time to keep their fuel dry. And consider it preventative maintenance with a full tank of fuel if you put your RV into storage.
NinerBikes 09/02/16 11:27am Tech Issues
RE: Diesel Fuel

Fill your tank 100% and properly treat the fuel with something like Diesel Kleen White Bottle fuel treatment that will take the moisture out of your fuel, once you start driving again. A full tank allows very, very little breathing of the tank daily due to adiabatic heating and cooling cycles while in storage, which causes your fuel tank to "breathe" more than it should, so less condensation collects in your fuel. Store it full, treat the fuel, and don't worry, one more potential problem solved. Also, keep biodiesel blends out of your fuel tank while in storage, it can turn rancid.
NinerBikes 08/31/16 05:13pm Tech Issues
RE: Absorbed Glass Mat Battery Management Nuggets

I encourage all to read Mexi's ramblings carefully, several times. Have a couple of beers, and re read them several more times. Then distill the wisdom that is within them. Use your deductive reasoning skills to see where he's stretching it and where he's rock solid. In short, I let the battery chemistry and the 14.4 voltage charging setting decide how much current my very unique surplus Telecom battery will take on. My 150 AH telecom takes on 20 to 21 amps when set at 14.4V and below a 70 to 75% SOC. That's it. It's no big deal. Run the generator with the Mega Watt 30 amp switch PSA unit for 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes every 4 to 5 days with the little Honda EU1000i, and things get shaken and stirred up as needed. I don't force anything, it will do what it's going to do in it's sweet MaryAnn time. I strive to top charge it daily. Take a few notes the first few weeks of camping on any new battery and push it just a little bit, and you'll baseline really quickly, for the rest of the life, what the battery will and won't do. Sorry, it just seems like common sense to me.... YMMV... I've met a few great people from this board in person, and a few characters.... it's all good. Y'all know who you are. E'nuff said. One of them know's batteries, but smart phones kick his butt every time he gets a new one. Oh well... ;-) As long as you are good at something and share... Unless you buy a pallet of them and wire them all together to cover surge loads the wifey might incur... these Telecom surplus AGM's are NOT good batteries for the big inverter toting /microwaving/hair dryer 120V amp sucking crowd to employ. I am single, I am solo, I am in a 21 ft travel trailer, and I am frugal with my electrical consumption, so it works great for me, and for me only... YMMV, know the limitations of your power supply when off the grid and dry camping. I have not dipped, dribbled acid, burned holes in any T shirts, Levi 501 blue jeans or underwear since getting my surplus telecom AGM battery. As such, the savings have been HUGE in replacement clothing. ;-) Mexi has indicated to me that I should have no problems getting 10 years of life out of my battery. I don't doubt him... does anyone want to place a wager? My particular AGM just does not seem to drop that much in voltage in storage for 2 or 3 months at a time. Time to cycle it and do another Grand Teton trip or see the Black Hills of SD.
NinerBikes 08/30/16 11:03pm Tech Issues
RE: Absorbed Glass Mat Battery Management Nuggets

There are always "Kibitzers" Don. These people actually -do- nothing but critique and criticize everything. A source of amusement since LBJ was in office. The "I've read where the AGM battery is not good in a vehicle because the charging system voltage is too high" got to me. 5 emails in 3 days. And a PM message early this morning. Besides telling me "You gotta be smarter than the problem", my uncle was also famous for his quip: "Stop and think. If you've the gall to criticize something, you damned sure better come up with an good alternative, right after you criticize". This is old news. I know VW Touaregs, Audi Q7's and Porsche Cayennes ALL come with AGM batteries. In fact, they are mounted underneath the DRIVERS seat. That's correct. If you are the driver, you are sitting on them. Heat is not a factor from the engine, unless the exhaust pipes are mounted under the seats and they aren't. They are nothing new in the automotive industry. The other feature is that the Electronic Control Module or Brain has settings for charging voltage for different batteries, VRLA or regular lead acid batteries. My Touareg will show up with 14.2V right after start up, from running the glow plugs. The Alternator is supposedly 175 amp capable, for a diesel SUV. It does, and it will charge at 14.0 to 14.1V all day long on a cooler 65F day. It is more likely to show 13.9V on a 95 to 105F day to the battery. My Scangauge 2 on the dash does not lie. The 2012 Touareg battery is at least 4 years old now, no signs of abuse or quitting. Usually 2x a year, I give it a 99.5% top charge of a full 14.4V with the terminals disconnected. Once on a cool day in the fall, and once, on a cool day in the spring. I am hoping this helps the battery life a little bit with desulphation. Touareg AGM battery change out.
NinerBikes 08/30/16 01:29am Tech Issues
RE: acceptance charging rate AGM batteries

We had measurements and reports before on here that you could draw far more in amps from AGMs than with Wets (especially 6v Wets) for the voltage drop that would trigger the inverter alarm at 11v. So the idea was (I thought!) :( that if you had a small rig that could only carry say two batts, but wanted to run a 2000w inverter to run the microwave, toaster, etc, you should make those two batts AGMs. Now we are hearing you should not pull high amp draws from AGMs? Which is it? It depends, again, on the construction of the AGM battery. I run a surplus Telecom Battery. It is unique in it's construction. It's designed to run a mild steady state withdrawal, when a power outage occurs at a cell phone site. It is in no way designed to handle high surge loadings. Very few plates. Thick heavy plates that take up a lot of space inside the battery, hence a lot less surface area for chemical reaction with sulfuric acid. Slow and steady as she goes is what at Telecom battery is designed for. 10 years life, because it's expensive to run crew up to remote sites to R&R all the battery packs, so the Telecom co's want batteries that will be warrantied for 8 years, and hope they get 10 years out of them. My situation is unique to MY battery. Ask the manufacturer of your battery. Make the phone call, find out what it will or won't do for surge loading. I'm in a small 21 foot travel trailer, solo. My needs are unique to me, and me only. Everyone's needs are different, I don't have a wife's electrical needs to satisfy daily when dry camping. To me, it's still camping, I like it a little rough.
NinerBikes 08/29/16 08:59pm Tech Issues
RE: acceptance charging rate AGM batteries

actually the chemistry of batteries is tilted in favor of discharge it always has been the amount of power needed can vary, and can be extreme its reversing the chemical process that is harder to do and uses more power yes you can dead short a battery but in all automotive vehicles the intense starter drain, is much higher than the recharge rate the battery is not hurt by this unless the car won't start and you totally drain the battery That's fine with thin plate batteries, where there is a surplus of very thin plates designed to handle that surge capicity for starting. My AGM is very special purpose, being telecom surplus, has few plates, but there are very few of them, they are thick and very heavy and are pretty much 10 year life design batteries. It's the "few Plates" that both limits the charge and discharge rate, not enough surface area for the battery acid chemistry involved to allow more amps in a completed circuit, without voltage drop, which excacerbates the need for more amps drawn. Those more amps drawn to compensate for voltage loss makes expensive parts inside a ham radio overheat, burn up, blue smoke, and fail. I have a workaround already... run the Honda Generator with the Megawatt 30 when I want to run barefoot with 100 Watts on the ham radio. Radio pulls 23 amps tx, Switching power supply unit makes 30. Plenty of surplus, and the battery acts as a buffer when keying the mic.
NinerBikes 08/29/16 06:12pm Tech Issues
RE: acceptance charging rate AGM batteries

Hi Niner, How do you know they don't like high discharge rates? i.e. what are the symptoms you are seeing to make you believe that? They also do NOT like being taxed with high discharge rates, either. I try to keep the draw down to nothing more than 10 amps... try to take my showers in the morning when the sun is beating on the solar panel and the voltage is up a bit, let the solar panel make the electricity to run the water pump at a higher voltage and lower amperage draw. I have a ham radio that at 100w will draw at 23 amps. The Telecom battery does NOT like that, so I usually limit my watts to 75 or 80w Tx. Listening Rx is a whole another matter, 2 to 3 amps listening or idling. These are my observations, YMMV this is what works for me on 2 to 4 week camping trips dry camping. Stop and think about the chemistry involved. If you can recharge at 21 amps, and there is some energy lost in possible heat generation, then you are effectively saying the chemistry with VERY thick lead acid plates might actually take 18 or 19 amp per hour. With that magical number of 18 or 19 amps, how do you expect the chemistry to allow you to discharge it at a faster rate than it will recharge? It flat out just won't. You'll try, but you'll see the voltage drop quickly. That's not good for the radio, the Transmit finals, or the chemistry of the battery or longevity either.... I don't know, it just seems like common sense to me? Blowing Tx finals is a very, very expensive lesson on a ham radio. I've no intention of trying to blue smoke a Yaesu FT-991 on a boon docking trip.
NinerBikes 08/29/16 05:49pm Tech Issues
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