Wednesday, March 30, 2016

USB Fans

One of the great things about the Winnebago Fuse is that is has USB ports scattered throughout.  There are ports located over both beds and over the couch up front.   The outlet they use has two ports that are available for use.   One downside of these ports is you can tell there is power to them since they are surrounded by a blue light.  There is a cover but when something is plugged in,  there is nothing that stops the bright light.

Winnebago Fuse USB Port

The Fuse has a nice house fan that helps cool the coach but you don't feel any air moving.   It is not stuffy but I like the feel of air moving while I sleep.  The easy answer was to get a fan over the bed.

The first fan that we got was a Opolar fan.    It had great reviews and in addition to being able to be clipped to the shelfs over the bed, it came with a removal base and then could be used outside on a table (with the appropriate USB AC charger).  The general info is that it twists and tilts in any direction.  It has two speeds and moves large quantities of air.   It is reasonably quiet and works quite well.
Opolar FanOpolar fan

After using it for a while we decided that clipping it to the wire shelf was workable but a better spot was close by.  The valance over the shades provided an even better place and did not take up any shelf space.    The fan idea worked so well that my wife decided that she wanted one as well for her bed.

There is a downside to the fan however.    It is a little large, and it is white.  White makes it stand out and bothers the aesthetics committee.   We are keeping it, but I was told the next fan needed to be black.

The Opolar fan was not available in black so we searched for another one.  Our second fan is Topwell 5 inch fan.  It is a little smaller that the first fan and does not move as much air.   It moves enough air, just not as much as the first one.  I am guessing this is because the fan is 2 inches smaller.   On the other hand, it fits the space much better and blends in and is much less noticeable.

Topwell FanTopwell Fan

This fan we have clipped to the wire shelf.  Not for any reason in particular reason.   As you can see in the pictures, it does blend in much better.

Both fans were around $20.00 each.  I could mount them permanently, but the spring loaded clips that come with them hold really well.  I do want to be able to move them as necessary in the future but if a permanent mount is desired, it is an option.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Ford Stereo

Winnebago Fuse 23a Stereo

The Winnebago Fuse 23a comes with a Ford stereo in the front.   Be aware this is a basic stereo.   AM/FM/CD/auxillary input and Sirus XM are what you get.   It is not fancy.   No Navigation,  No Bluetooth (that I can find), No fancy display,  No Phone integration,  No connections to the speakers in the back.

Now in saying all that, is this bad?  I don't think so!

For me, all I want is a basic system.  Fewer things to go wrong.  I have a Navigation system in one of my cars and it is always more out of date than google maps/iMaps is on my phone.  Once a year they are pestering me to update the maps for a large amount of money.  If you want to do trip planning you have to go out there as opposed to dream up a plan in your living room.   And lastly, if you listen to the View/Navion owners with Navigation they are always complaining and wanting to upgrade to something else.    So no nav is OK with me.

No phone integration.  Probably you should not be distracted talking on the phone when driving something this big.  I know when I talk and drive, even hands free, I seem to be way too distracted than I should be.  Give the phone responsibility to the co-pilot so there are no accidents.

Everything I read on this says it supports Ford Sync.   I am still not sure what that means for this radio.   Sync seems to be a whole system and various radios support it to various levels.  I have yet to figure it out.

I do wish it had the ability to play on the back speakers. This is something I really wish it had so I could listen to the Sirus XM throughout the coach.

The sound is good sitting up front.  Definitely not a Bose experience but that has never been important to me.  I am not an audiophile but to me it is a fine experience.  It is not great but not bad.

The long term question is do I replace/upgrade this radio with something else?  I really think that any of the current Ford radios would be about the same for me.  I would probably replace it with something that supports Apple Carplay if I get to the point that I want something different.  That would have the best integration with my iPhone.   But to be honest, I am going to stay with this until something comes up that causes me to want to move.   I don't see getting there anytime soon.

The Refrigerator

This is not the most exciting post I will ever do, but it was something I was interested in as I was searching for an RV and the Fuse answered my concerns.   The question I had was how the refrigerator would work while I was standing still, plugged in and driving down the road.   One of the best things I thought about the motorhome would be how we could be doing things and just stop for Lunch or a snack and that included cold drinks and sandwiches.   Not that I am overly healthy in my diet but I am not the biggest fan of Subway and McDonalds.

The Fuse 23a comes with a two compartment - three way Norcold refrigerator.  It seems pretty large,  5.3 cubic feet. Much larger than a dorm fridge though not a residential unit by any means.     A separate freezer compartment, a separate crisper drawer and plenty of shelves and door storage.

There are positive latches on the doors so they will not open while traveling.  The shelves are moveable but are in tight and the wire shelves are additionally secured with a screw to keep them from bouncing.

So what does three-way mean? It has three power sources and can automatically switch between them.  So far I have left the refrigerator on auto, but you can override if you want.    The three modes are:

  1. 12v-DC -  This is powered when the engine is on.  Used when going down the road.
  2. 120v-AC  -  This is used when plugged into power or using the generator.
  3. LP -  Burns LP gas to keep the refrigerator going.   Is very efficient.
Again.  I have just put it on Auto and let it do its thing.     You can also set the cold level on the front panel.  I have it set most of the way up and it freezes ice without problems.

I have a couple of notes on this and other RV refrigerators I want to pass on.
  • There is an on/off switch on the front panel.  Make sure it is on.
  • None of the RV refrigerators get super cold fast.  They take a while to get down to temperature.  Turn it on the night before you are going to use it and you will be good.
  • These use ammonia evaporation to operate.  That means they need to be level or close to work. Not absolutely level, but close.  Get a circular bubble level (or app for your phone).  As long as you are mostly in the circle, you are good.   If the tilt is bothering you (or in my case my wife)  it is bothering the refrigerator.
  • As you are going down the road it will be on 12v so don't worry.  Don't run it on LP while underway. Safety first.
  • The movement from vehicle traveling down the road moves the ammonia around so the unit not being level, going up hills, etc. is not a big deal.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A tale of two brooms

Owning a motorhome is fun but it does involve some cleaning.   Going in and out and having the beagle shedding fur constantly means we need a good broom.  There is really not lots of space to store one so we started a search for a collapsible one.

Our first shot was a Camco broom that I found at Walmart.  It was $12.00. It worked very well as a brush.  The handle extended out long enough to be used as a broom.  It has a major problem.  The head will not lock into place.  It locks in the shape below.  It stays locked when straight out.  But it will not stay at 90 degrees so it can't be used very well as a broom.   It is still in the Fuse, the dustpan works well, but a broom,  it is not.

The second try was this $23.00 broom from Amazon:

This is a standard broom with a collapsable handle.  The head stays in one position.  The bristles are soft and pick up fur and everything else.  Seems pretty solid and works well.  Sand, leaves and normal things that get on the floor are not a problem for this broom.  The bristles are not designed for scrubbing since they are soft.  It is not going to get stuck on things off but I probably should not be using a broom for that anyhow. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fuse valve stems

One of the ongoing complaints I read about from owners with a Winnebago View/Navion or other motorhomes based on a Sprinter chassis is difficulty accessing the valve stems on the rear dual wheels.   One of the more popular modifications for Sprinter owners is to add metal valve stem extensions.

Well the Winnebago Fuse does not have this problem.  Metal valve stem extenders are included as a standard option.  They make access really easy.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Winnebago Fuse 23a review - First month

Well we have now had the Fuse for about a month.   So far, so good.  It is working out exactly as we wanted so we are pretty happy.

This month we have spent 3 nights away from home in the Fuse.   One night in Tampa at Lazy Days and 2 nights on 2 separate occasions at Ft. Wilderness at Disney World.

We have used most of the features of the coach.   I can say that the heater works very well down at 30 degrees.  I can say that the water heater works very well on either electricity or propane.  The air conditioner works fine at 85 degrees but it will get a much better workout in the next several months.

I had one repair I had to make to the drain in the rear bathroom.  Nothing major, but I hope Winnebago read my email on the needing overlap in the P-trap.

We have gotten around 15mpg going down the highway at 70mph.  About what I expected.  I have seen even higher going slower speeds.  It drives beautifully.  My wife is saying she will drive it over the F250 Pickup any day.

There are still a few things we are still not so sure of.

  1. I would have rather had a diesel generator as opposed to LP.  We will discover if this really is a problem as time goes on.  
  2. We are still getting noise from around the door at above 60 mph.   This was a complaint when we picked up the unit from lazy Days and they addressed most of it, but at high speeds we are still getting some.   I guess we will bring it in a little bit if I can't find it.

We have still not tried out the shower.  It seems to have accumulated the dog dish and the dirty cloths hamper.

The storage has been great.  To be real honest, for the two of us we still have empty places to store stuff, and I am pretty sure we are overpacking. The drawers under the bed hold our clothes, the drawers in the bath hold the towels and other bath supplies and the cabinets over the beds hold anything the drawers don't.

One of the concerns going into this was the outside storage.  So far, it has been just about right.  The drivers side bay is holding the utility stuff, the wet bay on the passenger side is holding the chairs and patio stuff.  The dry storage above that is holding the tools and other misc stuff and is pretty empty.

So what do we still have to do in future:

  1. Replace one of the USB ports with a 12v port for my wife's CPAP machine.  Looks like a pretty easy changeout.
  2. Get our storage more refined.  We are still making adjustments and probably are carrying things we never will need and not carrying what we will need.
  3. Figure out if there is a way to fill the water tank while connected to city water as opposed to having to move the hose.
  4. Get the bike situation resolved.
  5. Need to figure out a better way to store the privacy screens for the front windows.
  6. Go on more trips

Insect Screens #2

I added another insect screen to the Fuse.  This time over the hot water heater vent.  

Winnebago Fuse 23aWinnebago Fuse 23a

The installation went very easy,. About the same as with the heater vents.   Took less than 5 min.  The best part, that I figured out along the way, is that the door to the water heater opens.  So when I wanted to reposition them, and check how well they were on, I just opened the door and could take the springs off from the rear.

The model screen I used was was a Camco 42145 model WH500   It said it was designed to fit the Atwood 6 gallon water heater on the box and they were right.

The next question is how to add screens to the refrigerator vents?   I have not found any pre-made screens for those openings.   I am conFUSEd, but will figure it out. :-)

Wonder why Winnebago does not do this as part of the base unit.  I guess this might just be a problem in the South.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Jensen Stereo

The Winnebago Fuse 23a has a Jensen stereo mounted behind the front TV.  The information on it is at the Jensen website.

It works fine,  The speakers in the Fuse work pretty well.  It is broken up into 3 zones:
A)  Speakers in the Bed area
B) Speakers in the front area
C) Outside Speakers.
This is not the best in the world, but really not bad at all.

The cool thing is you can control the radio with an iPhone app called jcontrol.  Download it from the iPhone store.

Once you have linked via bluetooth your iPhone to the stereo, you run the app and can control it just like you could from the remote control, except you get a visual status as to what the current setting are.     The app allows you to control the built in CD and DVD player as well.

It really seems nice to be able to change radio stations, pick speakers, change levels from the convince of your iPhone.    This is over bluetooth, so no internet or wifi is required.

You can also play the music from your iPhone through the speakers with the application running.  The only limitation is that it is limited to audio, no video available.     

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Backup camera

A nice aluminum controller box is sitting (ok screwed down) in the AV space in my Fuse 23a.   It has several wires coming out of it but they just disappear into the wall.   This has been bothering me for several weeks and I finally decided to figure out what it was. Curiosity won last night and I figured it out.

Winnebago fuse

Winnebago Fuse 23a Backup Camera

After looking for markings and studying the manuals and then making an educated guess it turned out to be the controller for the backup camera.

It appears Winnebago sources them from Rear View Safety.   Looking at their product list the closest to this that they sell is here .    The web page has all of the parts depicted including the aluminum box.    

Bingo.  I have solved the riddle.   It would be easier if it was in the supplemental documents, but my copy only has instructions on how to use the rearview camera monitor, not  the parts that go into making it all work.

Now I will say that the rearview system is pretty nice.   It looks like a rearview mirror for the most part and is stuck to the middle of the windshield, right were a rearview mirror should be.  When using it, it is pretty natural since it is in the right place for those of us who normally drive a car.
Winnebago Fuse 23a Backup Display
From Rear View Safety Web Site
My photos were big reflections with no detail

Winnebago fuse backup monitor

When turned on the images are really clear.   You can turn on distance lines to make maneuvering even easier.  It helped a lot when I was backing into the spaces at Ft. Wilderness.

The camera, on the back of the coach sits up high and blends right in with the roof. It includes IR lighting and works at night.

Winnebago Fuse backup cameraWinnebago Fuse backup camera

Mine is pointed at an angle to see right behind the unit.  I think it was made for parking the coach and not for use on the road.  It makes backing the unit into a spot pretty easy.  Since it is pointing mostly down, you could also use it to check on a tow vehicle or bikes on a bike rack.   When I was getting briefed on the Fuse, I was told it could be adjusted if necessary.  I was also told there was a microphone and you could hear someone behind you giving directions.

Want the down side.  Since the monitor is mounted on the front window, when you put up the privacy shades you have to work around it.  Not a big deal.

So now the big question.  Since there are two empty inputs, what else can I connect?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Insect screens

I got some advice from a fellow camper.  He told me to get insect screens for the heater intake and exhaust.   He had mud daubers (mud wasps for those not in the South) take up residence in those openings during the summer last year.  He said it was not a trivial task to fix the problem and clean out the mud.   Since I was from Tallahassee, he highly recommended. installing some insect screens.

So for $12.00 I purchased some insurance. Camco 42141 Flying Insect Screens.

Cameo bug screen

They came 2 to a package and included a tool to make the installation very easy.  You can see  in the picture the notch that the spring wire fits in.

Cameo Bug Screen

I installed per the instructions and it took 5 min. or less.   They are held to the vent openings via some included springs.   The key was to read/look at the instructions and put the tool through the center of the spring.  It really did only take 5 min.

When I was finished:
Winnebago fuse 23aWinnebago Fuse 23a

They stick out from the side of the Fuse a little bit and I wonder how well they will survive?  Based on the web reviews everyone seems to ask that question and most people seem to be happy and do not find it to be a problem.  

Now the next question and the conFUSEing question for today:  Do I need the same type of screens for the water heater and the refrigerator vents?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

First Repair

I made the first repair to the Fuse.  We stored the toilet paper under the bathroom sink.  During our first trip to Ft. Wilderness we noticed that the paper was wet.  Just a little, but it needed to be looked at.  I thought there was some condensation on the pipe when we picked up the Fuse, but this seemed a little mort than that.

We had a leak in the plumbing.   It was not big.  Just a few drops.  Nut even dripping. I was not sure where it was coming from so I started looking.  I could not get my shoulders in the cabinet so I had to find it by feel.

 I started by feeling around the faucet.   It was dry.   I felt around the drain.  It was dry.   I felt around the p-trap.   Bingo.  It was wet there.  I found the leak now what to do.

I tried tightening the nut around the p-trap, it had some play.  Problem was when I did that instead of a drip, now I had a stream.  Not exactly what I wanted but now I was committed.

From Winnebago

I took the p-trap apart.  The seal was not around the drain pipe, but was caught between the drain pipe and the trap.  Not making much of a seal and this was the problem. The seal  had a gap, since it was not on straight.  No problem,  just assemble it right and that would be that.    I put it back together and ran into a problem.

Winnebago had cut the drain pipe to length.  Normally the drain pipe has an inch or so of overlap with the trap.  In this case, it was closer to 1/16 of an inch, about the same as the width of the seal.  It took several attempts, but I got it assembled without the seal coming loose from the pipe and no more leak.

We went on the second trip to Ft. Wilderness and it held.  I will call this repair done.   Not a real big deal.  I still think that Winnebago should have allowed more overlap between the trap and the drain pipe.

The moral to the story is that I should have checked for leaks better when we picked up the Fuse.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Pooped Puppy

I think that the dog was more tired that any one else after our quick trip to Ft. Wilderness.

Sleeping Beagle

Sleeping Beagle

Sleeping Beagle

Ft. Wilderness 3/6/16

We went to Ft. Wilderness again.   This time with our son.

Ft. Wilderness Map

We took off on Saturday morning.   Drove I-10 to I-75 to the Turnpike.  Very uneventful drive.  We met a real nice gentleman who was on his way the the DMCA rally in Perry, Ga.  Lilly bayed as we stopped  at the Lake City rest stop and we talked beagles for a little bit before we got back on the road.

The trip down was 276 miles from Tallahassee to Ft. Wilderness.  I set the cruse control to 68mph and went down the road.  The computer said the miles per gallon was averaging 14.9mpg.  When I calculated by hand it after the fill up it came out to 15.1mpg.  Not bad and I am feeling better that the computer is not too far off.

We had a great time at the campground.  My son was interested in how to set up camp with the Fuse and I think it took us all of 20 min to be settled in.  He ran off to Epcot and MGM and Sonya and myself enjoyed the great weather.

Winnebago Fuse 23a

We stayed at site 1808.  This is called a full hookup site as opposed to a premium site like we stayed at on the 500 loop last time.  Though it was further away from the action and required more walking/bus riding, it was really nice.  It had a space at the back of the lot for a tent or other activities so it might have not been ideal for those with a long coach.  It was very close to the canals and we watched the deer and turkeys from under the awning.

Winnebago Fuse 23a

That night we had pizza from P&J takeout at Pioneer Hall.  Last time we had the chicken dinner.   Both were around $20.00 and would feed a family of 4.   Pretty good deals for Disney and both were pretty good tasting as well. We were pretty hungry and I forgot to get the picture until after we ate.  The 3 slices that were left over became lunch on Sunday.

Ft. Wilderness Pizza

We got up Sunday, ate breakfast, broke camp and traveled 281 miles back from Orlando to Tallahassee.  We had a couple of detours.  One, when I made/got stuck making a wrong turn onto the Turnpike and the other when the dog decided she needed to stop right away so we got off of the Turnpike and stopped at the Lake County Welcome Center.  

I stayed between 68-70 miles per hour coming back.   We were going a little faster due to the traffic, but not much more.   Sonya took a turn driving and went from Lake City to Monticello.  She said other than having to learn to use the mirrors, it drove like a large car.  Only being able to see ahead and having to depend on the side mirrors took some getting use to but I think twords the end of the 45 min driving experience she was pretty comfortable.

Coming back to Tallahassee the computer said we got 14.8mpg.  After filling up when we got back the hand calculation worked out to 14.7mpg.   Again, everything seems to be agreeing.  The computer seems to be running close to reality.

We had a great weekend, the weather cooperated and there were no surprises.   Just the way it should be.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

RV iPhone apps

I use an Apple iPhone.  As a matter of fact, I have mostly apple gear.   One of the things I have been looking at are what apps are available for the iPhone/iPad that will make traveling in the Winnebago Fuse easier.  So far I have found two I wanted to pass along.

The first one is a replacement for the bubble level.  There are several out there.  The one I am using is from Lemondo Entertainment called Bubble Level.

It is just a simple replacement for the bubble level needed to make sure the RV is level on the campsite. It is nothing special, but it works.  It is also Free.   It is available at:

The second iPhone app I am finding useful is "RV Parky".  It is another Free app.  It lists and has reviews for campgrounds around the North America.

What it has that I did not see in others is that it lists Walmarts, Camping Worlds, Cracker Barrels, Pilots, Flying Jays and other places you might want to pull off.  Includes the services offered at these locations to help plan your stops.  They seem to have versions for iPhone, Android and web.   The web site is at: and the iPhone app is at:  

I am really not sure that these are the best apps, but for someone starting out like me, the seem to be helpful.

We picked a name

We picked a name for the Fuse.

Beagle Bus