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Old 01-28-2013, 08:31 AM   #3151
team ftb
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Originally Posted by PirateJohn View Post
There are several smaller carriers that will offer a month to month contract on an Internet service. I had a contract with Cricket for a USB device but they don't have any signal out in the desert regions where I have been working so I had to go to AT&T, which is pretty pricey. I think that AT&T also offers a month to month USB device but be careful - some of these services make it difficult to impossible on a short-term basis and they manage to stick you with extra months.

I was chatting with the folks that have the company whose link I sent to you and they told me that satellite service for RVers has practically died this year. Reasons? The US economy has made it difficult for retirees to travel (very sad), and that more and more RV parks are offering wireless. That, and cellular Internet is becoming more and more available.

Personally, I haven't been on a site that didn't have cellular Internet since last Fall, and at that time I was 40 miles down a dirt road from any grocery store, gas station, or anything except maybe a hunting lodge or two.

When I go into town I take my iPhone and iPad and go somewhere that has Internet and download as much as I can.

If you want to watch movies and television consider getting a Dish satellite system. $250 for the receiver, about $100 for an antenna on a tripod. They do offer a month to month service for RVers.

Fantastic information, thank you.

Todays economy has certainly put a strain on a lot of industries. The RV sector is most likely feeling it even worse as it is usually discretionary income that stimulates most RV usage.

Good news about RV sights increasing usage of wireless, unfortunately most of my camping will be dry docking (4 days avg. stay) and not making use of RV sights. I have got now 3 terabytes of movies and TV to keep me occupied but what I'd really like is internet access to pass some time. However it looks like its not really available cost effectively without a yearly cell contract. I'll check into the options you listed and thanks for the insight.

Just missed out on an Ebay Class B by $800 today. So the search continues.

I'm finding most inexpensive Class B's (under $10k) often don't have a generator. Knowing nothing about approximate amperage draw would you be able to power enough LED lights to function inside a B for a few days? Say if its only for lights and computer usage and using deep cycle battery(ies)?
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:02 AM   #3152
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I would suggest that you keep looking; I have a relatively junky Southwind RV that's worth about $5K and it has a good generator. Good enough that I may scrap out this RV rather than sell it simply because the parts are worth more than the whole (with that said if your travels take you to the San Antonio, TX area and you need an occasional RV then drop me a line and we might kick something around).

Good places for RV bargains are eBay (search for repos and no reserve sales - you see some bargains every so often), Craigslist, and www.RVTrader.com

When looking for something in the USA remember that this is a big country (although I am sure that you know that) and even Texas is big enough that some RVs may not be economical if you have to travel across the state to pick it up.

Good luck!


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Old 01-28-2013, 10:32 AM   #3153
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Originally Posted by team ftb View Post
I'm finding most inexpensive Class B's (under $10k) often don't have a generator. Knowing nothing about approximate amperage draw would you be able to power enough LED lights to function inside a B for a few days? Say if its only for lights and computer usage and using deep cycle battery(ies)?
You can also pick up a nice Honda or Yamaha generator for under $1k that would keep you in business for weeks.

Or install deep cycle house battery and a simple charging system. That would get you several days.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:43 AM   #3154
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Or install deep cycle house battery and a simple charging system. That would get you several days.
1 word.......solar
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:23 AM   #3155
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Originally Posted by hppyfngy View Post
You can also pick up a nice Honda or Yamaha generator for under $1k that would keep you in business for weeks.

Or install deep cycle house battery and a simple charging system. That would get you several days.
Someone went around and sold a bunch of Honda generators out here in the oil patch and one thing that I have to say is that most of them start easier than any other generator that I have ever seen.

With that said your aren't going to run air conditioning or electric heat or electric kitchen appliances without a healthy generator or a huge investment in batteries and an inverter.


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Old 01-29-2013, 06:54 AM   #3156
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Mini Winnie Furnace Question

Hi gang, we recently purchased a 1986 Mini Winnie class C on a Ford chassis and although in generally good condition, the furnace will not light up. Have been reading the trouble shooting info and for starters, it looks like I need to test the "sail" switch, but in order to reach this switch, it looks like I will need to pull the furnace out of its cubby. Does that sound correct? If this is not the right thread fort his question, please point me to a correct one. Thanks very much!
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:10 AM   #3157
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Originally Posted by LC Garage View Post
Hi gang, we recently purchased a 1986 Mini Winnie class C on a Ford chassis and although in generally good condition, the furnace will not light up. Have been reading the trouble shooting info and for starters, it looks like I need to test the "sail" switch, but in order to reach this switch, it looks like I will need to pull the furnace out of its cubby. Does that sound correct? If this is not the right thread fort his question, please point me to a correct one. Thanks very much!
i'm not sure about the location of the sail switch, but when you say that it will not light, do you mean that the pilot won't light? does it have a pilot? will the pilot light, but the burner won't light? burner lights, but doesn't stay on?
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:59 AM   #3158
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PirateJohn View Post
Someone went around and sold a bunch of Honda generators out here in the oil patch and one thing that I have to say is that most of them start easier than any other generator that I have ever seen.

With that said your aren't going to run air conditioning or electric heat or electric kitchen appliances without a healthy generator or a huge investment in batteries and an inverter.
I always forget that I go much more minimal when I'm boondocking, or camping in general, than a lot of folks. No kitchen appliances at all except the gas cook top. Battery is fine for occasional fan and lights and laptop.

My little Honda EU 2000i covers any other longer term needs. Would like to get solar going but not a real priority for me...
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:06 AM   #3159
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Originally Posted by seuadr View Post
i'm not sure about the location of the sail switch, but when you say that it will not light, do you mean that the pilot won't light? does it have a pilot? will the pilot light, but the burner won't light? burner lights, but doesn't stay on?
When you turn the furnace "on" at the thermostat, then advance the temp setting until it "clicks", you then wait a second or two and the blower begins to circulate air (cold). Up to this point it is all text book, then what is supposed to happen (according to the manual) is the air pressure from the blower pushes a "sail" switch shut, and this completes the circuit to a micro-switch (overheat switch?) and in turn powers up the module and then furnace ignition is supposed to take place. No matter how long the blower runs, nothing else ever happens. According the trouble shooting guide, the first thing to check after verifying blower is supplying air pressure is to ensure the sail switch is closing and providing a circuit. I can see no way to access the sail switch without removing the furnace from the pocket it is built into under the counter, there does not appear to be any access door or anything,. This is my first attempt at a furnace repair so wanted to make sure I was on the right path here. By the way, it is a Suburban NT34S furnace.

Thanks for any help or guidance you or other ADV'ers can provide!
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:24 AM   #3160
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Originally Posted by LC Garage View Post
When you turn the furnace "on" at the thermostat, then advance the temp setting until it "clicks", you then wait a second or two and the blower begins to circulate air (cold). Up to this point it is all text book, then what is supposed to happen (according to the manual) is the air pressure from the blower pushes a "sail" switch shut, and this completes the circuit to a micro-switch (overheat switch?) and in turn powers up the module and then furnace ignition is supposed to take place. No matter how long the blower runs, nothing else ever happens. According the trouble shooting guide, the first thing to check after verifying blower is supplying air pressure is to ensure the sail switch is closing and providing a circuit. I can see no way to access the sail switch without removing the furnace from the pocket it is built into under the counter, there does not appear to be any access door or anything,. This is my first attempt at a furnace repair so wanted to make sure I was on the right path here. By the way, it is a Suburban NT34S furnace.

Thanks for any help or guidance you or other ADV'ers can provide!
My experience is that "sail switches", which cost about $3 in bulk, are all pieces of shit in a can. I would bypass the sail switch at the controller and see what happens.

PS: if that fixes it, replace the sail switch. It does serve a very useful purpose.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:59 AM   #3161
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Originally Posted by PirateJohn View Post
Someone went around and sold a bunch of Honda generators out here in the oil patch and one thing that I have to say is that most of them start easier than any other generator that I have ever seen.

With that said your aren't going to run air conditioning or electric heat or electric kitchen appliances without a healthy generator or a huge investment in batteries and an inverter.


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I have a Honda 1000 generator that runs a 5500 BTU window unit just fine, Using the rule of thumb that it takes 20 BTUs per square foot of living space that would be plenty for most RVs up to 30 feet or so. It will freeze me out of my class B in 90 degree weather.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:26 PM   #3162
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Originally Posted by Daniii View Post
My experience is that "sail switches", which cost about $3 in bulk, are all pieces of shit in a can. I would bypass the sail switch at the controller and see what happens.

PS: if that fixes it, replace the sail switch. It does serve a very useful purpose.
yep, this. you can jumper it with a patch cable.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:32 PM   #3163
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yep, this. you can jumper it with a patch cable.
Appreciate the answers, does anyone know if there is a clever way to reach this circuit or sail switch without pulling the furnace from the motor home? Thanks again!
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:46 PM   #3164
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LC, those things are a pain and the best (only) way to really service them is to remove them. But, before you get that far here are a few things you can try:

1. Really make sure that you're getting at least 12VDC to the furnace. Sounds obvious - it isn't. Often, the voltage loss from the battery to the furnace is measurable. Even if you're getting 12v, try plugging the RV in to 120VAC or starting the engine. Get as much power to the furnace as you can. I've repeatedly seen issues where a furnace would work fine on the bench but fail to light when installed. Make sure your ground is good. Really.

Edit: The blower motor will probably run down to about 5VDC but the ignition circuit won't fire. That's why I suggest checking voltage.

2. Since the rig is new to you I'll ask a few of the more obvious questions:
2.a Do you actually have propane?
2.b Is the propane getting to the furnace?
2.c Is the propane cut off valve at the furnace actually turned on?
2.d Is the ignitor trying to fire? Do you hear clicking or see sparking from the ignitor? (assuming you have an electronic ignition furnace not a pilot light unit)

3. If you're getting ignition (spark or clicking noise) then troubleshooting takes a different route. If not then try blowing out the furnace vents. Often wasps make happy little homes in the furnace vents and intake/exhaust systems. Take a shop vac or vacuum cleaner (high volume, low pressure), connect the hose so it 'blows' air and force air through each of the furnace vents on the outside of the rig. Do one at a time. Hopefully you'll get tons of crap blowing out and then you can move on to the next issue or maybe it will even just start.

Try that stuff and let us know how it goes. Of course the most expensive risk you run is that your control board is fried. But none of the steps above will cause or prevent that. It's funny that these furnaces need some sort or regular care but no one does that. Then we're all surprised when they don't work.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:22 AM   #3165
LC Garage
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joz View Post
LC, those things are a pain and the best (only) way to really service them is to remove them. But, before you get that far here are a few things you can try:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joz View Post

1. Really make sure that you're getting at least 12VDC to the furnace. Sounds obvious - it isn't. Often, the voltage loss from the battery to the furnace is measurable. Even if you're getting 12v, try plugging the RV in to 120VAC or starting the engine. Get as much power to the furnace as you can. I've repeatedly seen issues where a furnace would work fine on the bench but fail to light when installed. Make sure your ground is good. Really.

Edit: The blower motor will probably run down to about 5VDC but the ignition circuit won't fire. That's why I suggest checking voltage.

2. Since the rig is new to you I'll ask a few of the more obvious questions:
2.a Do you actually have propane?
2.b Is the propane getting to the furnace?
2.c Is the propane cut off valve at the furnace actually turned on?
2.d Is the ignitor trying to fire? Do you hear clicking or see sparking from the ignitor? (assuming you have an electronic ignition furnace not a pilot light unit)

3. If you're getting ignition (spark or clicking noise) then troubleshooting takes a different route. If not then try blowing out the furnace vents. Often wasps make happy little homes in the furnace vents and intake/exhaust systems. Take a shop vac or vacuum cleaner (high volume, low pressure), connect the hose so it 'blows' air and force air through each of the furnace vents on the outside of the rig. Do one at a time. Hopefully you'll get tons of crap blowing out and then you can move on to the next issue or maybe it will even just start.

Try that stuff and let us know how it goes. Of course the most expensive risk you run is that your control board is fried. But none of the steps above will cause or prevent that. It's funny that these furnaces need some sort or regular care but no one does that. Then we're all surprised when they don't work.
Joz, good stuff! Thanks to you and the others for chiming in, this is just the kind of help I was hoping for.

1. Checking voltage, this unit is in storage, will go down this weekend and check the voltage. I see one connector going into the furnace, can I just separate the connector and check the voltage at that point?

2a thru 2d. We have propane, I ran the stove top to verify. I have manipulated the valve at the furnace from an inward position to an outward position (rotated counterclockwise) and am ASS-uming there is propane present. there is no evidence (sight or sound) of the igniter trying to light.

3. Will be taking a shop vac down this weekend and cleaning out all hoses and orifices.

Will do the due dilligence but believe the furace will be coming out, at this point if furnace is removed, I'll just plan on installing a new sail switch and limit switch, no point going that far and then scrimping on a couple of key and relatively inexpensive parts.

Is there a good source (online) to buy the switches?

Thanks again to all of you who weighed in on this, I will update with results as this progresses.
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