It’s been a while so I figured I would post an update. Things have been a bit uninteresting as of late. Highlights include replacing the latching relay that controls our front water pump motor. The one Foretravel included is a solid state job which is supposed to handle like 2 amps. The pump is 7.5 amps so it’s no surprise they go. I’m surprised to see Foretravel made such an oversight. Perhaps the manufacturer told them it’d be fine. I also changed the generator oil, filter, fuel filters and air filter. Couldn’t have been easier (or cheaper). The Foretravel has been well behaved. I’ve run some more wires and fixed the antenna setup so that the DVR can properly record network TV again. This is especially important since we’ll have limited internet again soon and thus can’t be downloading video content willy nilly. We’ve been using Brighthouse cable the last few months (no complaints, great service, great customer service). Since the DVR is dual tuner we can watch the tuner/network/dvr content on the old tube tv in the bedroom. That way we don’t need any of those DTV converter boxes for the bedroom TV. It works very well. I’ve spent a lot of time messing with the King Dome dish we have on the roof and have come to the conclusion that it’s a turd. Basically in order to provide full HD service you need to be able to see 3 satellites. But you can get reasonable service sans locals with just 2 and SOME service with 1. So wouldn’t it make sense that if the dish can see 2 of 3 satellites it should just go with it? Nope. It just shuts down and errors out and won’t even point at any of the satellites it found. Worse, the satellite it can’t see, the receiver can see just fine with acceptable signal. It’s just not enough for the King Dome for whatever reason. The King Dome also has a very dumb (but future proof) search algorithm. It simply scans the entire sky for all satellites. Even after it found the satellites you want, it’ll just keep on searching for like half an hour. That’s fine, but it’s annoying if you’re trying to position your rig in the site to get coverage and you have to wait for it to scan satellites you don’t need even after it found the ones you have. And of course you can watch it find the satellites you are looking for on the reciever, think you are safe, and then find out it’s unhappy with the signal level. I could be wrong about the way this works or what is wrong with my unit and if I am, I’ll update this later on.
A more ideal algorithm would be to perform the scan in stages. First use whatever hints it has as to where you are to find one of the satellites in the trio you are looking for. From there you can easily calculate the elevation/azimuth range you need to move to point to the others. Do so, and if DVB confirms they are the right satellites, done searching. Total search process? Maybe 2 minutes. Now if things change it will fail. Simply increase the search radius slowly and if you still can’t find them, just revert to the whole sky search. This isn’t a ton of programming, especially since the unit costs over $1K to begin with. And wouldn’t it be nice if they sprang for a 30 cent 2 line LCD display to go inside the rig to tell you what is going on, what satellites it has found and what issues it has if a search fails? Kind of optimistic in the performance of their product! They don’t even blink out an error code.
We went to Lazy Days to check out the LivinLite all aluminum camper trailer. Holy cow this place is huge. It’s like a city all by itself. The number of service bays, campground sites, etc was amazing. The trailer was pretty cool. It wasn’t as polished perfect as an Oliver but it had a cool unique industrial look. All of the cabinets and everything were aluminum. It’s clearly the kind of trailer that will last a long (LONG) time. It doesn’t appear to be designed for all season use. One of the things I noticed was an enormous CCC. Kind of uncommon as far as trailers go. The slide really made it feel a lot larger so and the bunk beds were cool for children (or even storage).
Most of my days are spent behind the computer screen. My current workload is very high so I haven’t been able to dedicate time to implement the features I plan for this site (as well as an actual proper design that took more than 5 minutes of effort). We still have one more maintenance item left on the Foretravel. We ordered the 9 gallons of Transynd full synthetic transmission fluid as well as filters. This is a post all of its own but the professionalism of heavy truck shops leaves a lot to be desired. Would you believe that basically nobody has ever called me back with an estimate for any work I’ve done so far which is largely the reason I’ve done the work myself? I just don’t accept incompetence at any point in the cycle. As soon as I encounter it, unless I’m heavily invested, I’ll back out and move on. I tend to avoid things that will cause aggravation as best I can. The worst thing about the truck shops is that they don’t have book rates and refuse to give estimates. Even an Allison dealer can’t quote me a price on a fluid and filter change (which is basically the same process on all Allison transmissions). Instead they just tell me the rate is $130/hr. Are you ready to roll the dice? Or I could buy a $9 tub from Walmart, a $4 fluid transfer pump from Harbor Freight and do it myself. In the case of the transmission fluid, a “conversion” to full synthetic fluid allows you to extend change intervals dramatically. When we converted our F53 transmission to full synthetic the Ford dealer had a machine to pump out all of the old fluid so that a complete change was done. An automatic transmission hangs onto a bunch of fluid in the valve body and torque converter if you just drain it like an oil change. Much to my dismay I found out that even the allison authorized shops do the drain -> fill -> drain -> fill conversion rather than use the machine. Well ok. If there is no machine involved I guess I’ll do it myself. It’s a wasteful process because the old fluid still present in the system causes you to have to drain and fill at the shorter non-synthetic intervals the next time. As a result, you are throwing a 70⁄30 or so mix of good transynd down the drain whenever that shorter interval rolls around.
Going forward we’re going to see my mom in North Carolina, friends in Lewes, DE, then up to Pennsylvania to do some work on the M3 and go racing. Later on in the summer we head out.
Last modified: 21 October, 2014
Created: 15 April, 2014