Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Perfect Document Scanner for an RV: Your Phone!

I was recently asked to send a copy of a form to my doctor, and I wasn’t anywhere near a copy machine/scanner.  The form was time-sensitive, and I really needed to get it to them, so I started looking on my phone for the nearest Kinko’s.  That’s when it hit me.  My phone!  I quickly went to my Google Play Store and put “Document Scanner” in the search bar.  I found several choices, but decided on Tiny Scanner.  After a short download, I opened the program and had two options: take a picture or get a picture from my gallery.  I took a picture of the form using my camera being careful to take it in a well-lit area from above.  It gave me the option to crop it, then it instantly converted it into a PDF.  I had the choice to add another page to the PDF (which I didn’t need to do), or to export it.  I could place it in my Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, or email it.  I chose email and emailed it to my doctor that easily.   I also emailed it to myself so I could have a copy for my records.  I tried out a few more scanner apps and another great one I liked is CamScanner.  It has a lot more options to edit and share your image, which I really liked, and you can save your image as a JPG as well as a PDF. 

As RVers, we are always looking for items with multiple uses in order to save space.  Our phones have so many great uses that we may not even realize.  Add document scanner to that list now!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Bypassing the Ballast and LED Fluorescent Tubes

RV fluorescent tubes come in two standard sizes, 18" and 12". The TechnoRV 18" tubes have two rows of LED's whereas the 12" tubes have a single row. Installing your LED tubes is a very simple process. First, remove the fixture's plastic cover. This is usually done by pushing on one of the sides until it pops clear of the side of the fixture. Next, remove the fluorescent tubes by gently pulling on them. 
The TechnoRV LED tubes are not polarity dependent so you can install them in either orientation. But first you will need to pull off the little plastic covers that are on the pins at each end. Next, push the tubes into the fixture exactly as the previous tubes were installed. Most fixtures have horizontal slots meaning you simply push the tubes up into the fixture. Some have side facing slots meaning that you have to push the LED tube in and then move it to the side to install it in the slots. If you try this you will notice that the LED's would then be facing the wrong way. The fix is to pull the plastic at each end of the tube and twist the mounting by 90 degrees. Your LED tube will then be orientated the correct way in the fixture. 

Directional Lighting

You don't generally think of fluorescent tubes as being directional. However, because their LED replacements have the LED's all on one side, they do tend to throw the light in that direction. 

The TechnoRV LED tubes allow you to go one step further. Even if you don't need to twist the ends because of your fitting, you can do the same thing to point the tube's LED's in a particular direction. Perhaps there is part of a room that needs more light, or you'd like more light over a table or food preparation area. By twisting the ends you can do just that. Just remember to pull the end as you twist (this feature is only available on the 18" tubes, not the 12"). 

Bypassing the Ballast

Almost all fluorescent tubes require some form of ballast to operate. A ballast is usually nowadays electronic and provides a high frequency AC current to the tube to increase its efficiency while limiting the current flow. 

Most LED replacements require you to bypass the ballast (i.e. remove it from the circuit). You will notice from the instructions above that you do not need to bypass the ballast with the Eco-LED tubes. This is a big advantage for people who are concerned about the ease of installation. 

The down side is that having the ballast in the circuit does reduce the brightness of the LED's by approximately 20%. If you want to get the most performance from your LED's you will need to bypass the ballast. It's not hard and we do sell a bypass kit, but it's pretty straightforward. Here's how you do it. 

Remove the Ballast Cover.

There are many different types of fluorescent fixtures. The more modern variety have a shiny ballast cover which needs to be removed by drilling out two of the rivets (or cutting if you have the right tools). 

The older variety is easier as it has a cover which can be removed just by squeezing it together. 

Disconnect the Ballast.

The ballast will generally have 4 wires (two at either end) which need to be disconnected (just snip through them after making sure that the light is turned off!).

Tie each end together.

The connectors at each end of the fitting have 4 wires (one to each slot). All 4 of these at each end need to be tied together using either a twist cap or better still, a terminal block (available from Lowe's or Home Depot).

Run power to each end.

Now all you need to do is to run power to each end. It doesn't really matter which end you take the +ve or -ve to, just choose which ever is easiest. Just remember that at one end the power has to go through the switch first, otherwise your light will be on all the time!

Replace Ballast Cover or Lens

Finally, replace the ballast cover (you don't have to as the LEDs all face downwards, but it does make the installation look "neater" in my opinion. Slide in the LED tubes and replace the lens cover. Switch on and bask in the bright crisp LED light.

For more information on LED Fluorescent lights, visit www.technorv.com or contact us at 866-324-7915.

Friday, November 27, 2015

What is That Smell Coming From my RV Sink?

When I decided to become a fulltime RVer over a year ago, I knew there were things that I was going to have to get used to that I had never had to deal with while living in a house.  Washing dishes to me used to mean loading and unloading them - never actually washing them; the toilets I was used to didn't require me to use my foot to flush them; and I was use to being able to actually walk into my closet instead of barely being able to get my clothes into it.  

I've adjusted to everything and then some, and I absolutely love the RV life, but time and time again, there was one thing about it that I just could not get used to...the odors coming from my sink when I turned my water on!  When you live in such a small place, any smell is pretty serious, and we kept having odors coming from the sink for no reason at all.  We would turn the water on to wash dishes or just to fill Lincoln's water bowl and a horrid smell would come up from the drain that was disgusting.  No woman wants to make effort cleaning her home only to have it stink when the water is turned on!  I started googling and searching for answers because I couldn't take the thought of my home stinking every time I turned the water on.  Something had to give.  I had no experience with the idea of carrying my sink/shower water waste with me everywhere, so I wasn't sure just what I should expect.  Was I wanting too much when I didn't want to smell anything when I turned my water on?

Needless to say, we tried everything.  We bought many grey tank treatments and tried the GEO method when we moved.  The cleaners wouldn't take care of the odor, and although the GEO method  cleaned the tank well (and I love it for cleaning the black tank), it never removed the odor once I started using the sink again. Enter my new favorite product -- Elemonate!   It is not only a grey tank deodorizer but also freshens sink/drain lines, and dissolves grease and organic sludge. Organic sludge is all of the food that comes from plants or animals that is biodegradeable.  As much as we try to keep these things from our sink drains, we all know some ends up there, and boy do they stink once they get in there -- especially in the heat! Even though I know bettter, I am definitely guilty of the lazy move of shoving a corn kernel or spaghetti noodle down the drain after a dish washing session!

Elemonate is a quick-dissolving tablet that smells like fresh lemon. One tablet is good for a 60-gallon grey tank and works for a kitchen sink or a shower drain, though we haven't tried it in the shower drain yet.  From the first time we used it, we have had NO odors coming from the sink drain, and I cook/clean in my kitchen daily.  After emptying the tanks, I just drop one in the sink and spray some water on it and it dissolves in less than a minute (and smells great while dissolving!).  From empty to full, my tank is odor-free!  It may seem like a small thing, but I love to know that the tank has something in it working against all the food and grease that might end up in it while I'm washing dishes.  

If you have been having any issues with odors from your grey tanks, you should give Elemonate a try.  If you are like me, you love to fill your RV with wonderful scents like candles, cleaners (yes, I like the smell of a good cleaner), yummy food, and more.  With Elemonator, you no longer have to work against the not-so-wonderful scent coming from your sink!

Try Elemonate today at TechnoRV.  You won't be disappointed!  While you are there, check out our other tank treatments and cleaners.  We test the majority of our products to be sure we are selling products that work!  If you have a product that you'd like us to consider, please let us know.  For more information, contact us at support@technorv.com or 866-324-7915.  

~ Tami Johnson