Full-time RVers are faced with daily challenges including maintenance and repairs of the RV, getting reliable networking and communications services and finding or navigating to your next destination. Technology can be a great asset when faced with those challenges. Following are several RV tech hacks that a full-time RVer can tap into to make life in the road a little less challenging.
For your devices to work consistently, you have to keep power flowing to them. That means properly maintaining your batteries. The Black and Decker BC15BD 15 Amp Bench Battery Charger is a small, lightweight charger that has a battery reconditioning mode which will regenerate your house batteries to keep them in top operating condition. Like running an equalization charge, the recondition mode de-sulfates the plates in your batteries. This raises the specific gravity in the electrolyte and gives tired batteries more storage capacity. Unlike an equalization charge, it is safe to use in gel or sealed batteries and does not create dangerous boiling conditions or excessive heat in wet lead-acid batteries. The charger can also charge your house or tow vehicle batteries and do alternator checks to make sure your RV is ready to go when you are.
Black and Decker BC15BD 15 Amp Bench Battery Charger
Wi-fi Router and Network Repeater
A Wi-fi router and network repeater combination allows you to create your own internal wireless network within your RV. The repeater feature allows your Wi-fi router to connect to an outside network, like the RV park’s Wi-fi, to gain access to the internet. This has several advantages over simply connecting to the park’s Wi-fi directly. If your park only allows one device to connect to their Wi-fi, the repeater can be that one device. Multiple devices from your internal network can connect to the router and share that single connection to the park Wi-fi. All the devices connected to the Wi-fi router can also share data within your network without having to go through the internet. This is much safer and faster. A good example of this technology is an Alfa R36 USB Wi-fi wireless router coupled with an Alfa AWUS036NH Wi-fi USB Link and antenna.
Full Time Canada Tip: WiFi Ranger is a great addition to your RV to help boost nearby WiFi signals
Alfa R36 USB Wi-fi wireless router
Troubleshooting electrical issues in an RV is extremely difficult without a way to reliably test electrical circuits. A digital multimeter is a must have on the road. When selecting one, make sure it can work in the ranges which your RV runs. Most RVs and tow vehicles have a 12V DC side and RVs generally also have 120V AC side. Some RVs may also have 24V or higher battery banks and may use 6V batteries. If you have a solar system, higher DC voltages may present. Ideally, a digital multimeter for full-time RVing should at least work in those ranges and test both AC and DC voltage, current and continuity
USB Charging Stations
A multiport USB charging station can keep several electronic gadgets charged up and ready to go all from a small, lightweight box that only uses a single 120V outlet. 10 port Unitek or Tripp Lite charging stations are a great choice measuring in at about 3” x 6” x 10.5” and weighing only about 2.5 lbs, these units can hold and charge up to 10 devices simultaneously.
USB Charging Station
RV Surge Protector
RV surge protectors are another necessity to keep the power flowing to your tech gadgets while full-time RVing. It is best to choose a unit that does more than just surge protection. At a minimum, they should also test for common circuit faults at the pedestal like open neutral, open grounds or dropped legs in 50-amp service. Detecting and avoiding these faults will protect both you and your rig from dangerous electrical conditions.
Full Time Canada Tip: Read more about how our surge protector possibly saved our RV from burning to the ground.
Level Your RV With Your Phone
There are many bubble level apps available and even some specifically dedicated to RV levelling available for both iPhones and Android devices. Simply place your phone on a flat surface in your RV with the app running to get a current state of how level your RV is. Make adjustments based on that until the app shows you are all leveled up. Some of the dedicated apps even have Bluetooth functionality that will allow you to use a second phone outside to read the level of the phone inside. This allows you to make quick adjustments.
iHandy Level App
Preload Google Maps
If you use google maps for navigation, make sure you download your map data before venturing out to remote areas. Without a cell signal, Google maps cannot download the necessary data to function on the fly and can leave you stranded. Offline map data is easy to download and can even be stored on an SD card if your phone supports them for later use. Simple instructions can be found by searching the internet for Google Maps Download Map Data or Google Maps Navigate Offline.
With these great tips, the full-time RVer can get those most out of their electronics while on the road. These tips will keep you powered up, connected and travelling safely whether you are working, playing or just hanging out.