Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Prime Video on the TV Using Just My iPhone

I have Amazon Prime.  Until recently I thought it was just for inexpensive shipping from Amazon.  But a couple of weeks ago I found out you could watch Videos, Movies and the most important part -
a new series called "The Grand Tour" staring Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May.  My favorite folks that were fired from "Top Gear".

I needed to find out how to watch it.  I could watch it on the iPhone, maybe the computer, but that was not the way to watch a fine television program.  As I laugh, I might get stuff all over the screen.  You definitely need distance between you and the screen for this show.  And what is better than to watch a car show than in a motor vehicle.  My Fuse motorhome is the perfect venue.

iPhone HDMI AdpaterHDMI Cable

The simplest solution I found was to connect the iPhone directly to the TV using an HDMI cable.  So what did this take:
iPhone on TV

I connected the HDMI adapter to the iPhone and connected the HDMI cable to the TV.  Then connected the two together and I was in business. Immediately my iPhone screen was replicated on the TV.  

Amazon on TV

I had previously downloaded the Amazon Prime Video app so I started it up.  Picked "The Grand Tour" program and was greeted by a full screen 1080p version of the show on the TV.  It ran fine and it was great to sit in the Fuse and watch the show.

Amazon - The Grand Tour
Amazon - The Grand Tour

I was connected to my house/RV WiFi.  Be very careful watching a show like this using cellular data.  Streaming video is large and could quickly eat up your data allocation.  Also some RV park/public WiFi locations block streaming video so this might not work everywhere.

iPad - Amazon The Grand Tour

Connecting the cable to my iPad worked the same way.  As I get older reading from the small screen of the iPhone is just too hard on the eyes so I have the iPad.

CNN - On TV and iPad

I tried several other streaming video sources as well.  CNN and many of the direct to provider sources ran fine.  The only one that did not was the Comcast/Xfinity streaming app.  It has some programed in limitations that deal with licensing that prevent it from being displayed on anything other than the iPhone/iPad itself.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all fellow FUSErs.  And a happy start to the holiday season.  Sorry this is a little late but we have been busy with family, friends and turkey.  Now that they are gone (all but the turkey at least) I figured it was a good time to talk about how we used our Fuse over Thanksgiving.

Fuse in Fall

Though we stayed at home, our home is the nexus for the clan so the Fuse got used a lot.   It served as a bedroom keeping people from having to sleep on couches.   It served as a refuge for people to escape to when it just got too hectic in the house.  We showed it off to the curious. And lastly it got used as a lab for several projects for future blog posts.

Before everyone showed up we knew we were going to use the Fuse as an overflow bedroom.   No big deal.   All I had to do is plug it into the house power and we were good.   Everything worked fine.  The weather was beautiful and crisp (at least for Tallahassee).   The fan, open windows and the heater kept everything comfortable.  

I was actually surprised it got used as a refuge.  Several times during the weekend, people went out to get away from the confusion.  It provided a calm spot in a turbulent sea called a family get together.   Seeing this, I now I wish I had had a motorhome much earlier.

There were only two first world problems that we ran into camping in the driveway.

First, Internet access was poor.    The WiFi signal from the house made it out to the Fuse but it was not very speedy.  I set up the WiFi repeater and that was solved.   I am working on a description of this for a future post for those technically inclined.

Second, I was concerned about entertainment for those staying in the Fuse.  We get 12 channels over the air on the TV, but I wanted to make it nice for those staying in the Fuse.  So I installed a Roku Streaming Stick and a Amazon Fire TV Stick in the Fuse to improve the experience for our guests.  Ok, so it was more of an opportunity for me to play with streaming video, but you have to take advantage of opportunities as they appear. 

There will be some posts shortly on video streaming options as well.   We have Amazon Prime and streaming video/tv/movies are included in the cost.  We also have Comcast/Xfinity cable TV and with your subscription, you get access to streaming video from most of the content providers with your Comcast login. I am looking for the best way to get video that incurs no additional cost.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Winnebago Fuse 23a vs View 24v comparison

The two closest competitors to the Winnebago Fuse 23a are the Winnebago Trend 23d and the Winnebago View 24v.    These are all twin bed Class-C motorhomes made by Winnebago.

In this family the Fuse is the middle child even though it is the latest model.  The Fuse 23a and Trend 23d are close siblings and the View 24v is the big brother.  We compared the Fuse and the Trend earlier at:

My belief is that the Winnebago Fuse is a motorhome designed for two people and an occasional third as is the Trend.   The View in my opinion is designed for 4 people and not feel like there is much empty space when only two are traveling.  When our two children were smaller we would have had to buy the View 24v.   Now that it is only Sonya and I traveling, the Fuse is perfect even if one of the kids decides to come with us.

I want to clarify that the Winnebago View and the Itasca Navion are the same,  just different branding and some different colors.  Everything else is pretty much  the same between the brands.

Before the Fuse was announced we were about to buy a View 24v.  If there had been one equipped like we wanted we would have it today instead of the Fuse (we did not want the overhead bunk).  When we saw the Fuse we fell in love.  It met our needs better but I am sure we would have been happy with a View 24v.

For fairness,  all images in this comparison are from Winnebago sales literature unless otherwise noted.  That should make all the images the same quality.

Winnebago Fuse Floorplan
Fuse 23a Floorplan (Winnebago Ind)
Winnebago View Floorplan
View 24v Floorplan (Winnebago Ind)

Both of these motorhomes have twin beds.  The layouts are very different.  The Fuse has a large open floorplan with the bathroom in the back.  A slide out up front with a love seat and kitchen.

The View is a split floorplan with the twin beds in the rear.  The kitchen and couch (or sectional) make up the front living space.  This front area has a slide out. There is an optional bed over the cab.  The bathroom in the View splits the coach into two separate living spaces.

  • The bathroom in the View is a bigger/not quite as tight.
  • The Fuse has a window in the bath and the View does not. 
  • The Fuse has a pocket door and the View has a traditional swinging door
  • The View has a porcelain toilet with sprayer and the Fuse toilet is plastic and does not have a sprayer.
Winnebago Fuse Winnebago View

Bedroom area
  • The beds in the Fuse are slightly longer but the same width as in the View
  • Both the Fuse and the View beds can be made into a king sized bed configuration.
  • The bathroom is at the head of the bed in the Fuse and at the foot of the bed in the View
  • There are drawers under both beds in both the Fuse and the View.
  • The cabinets slide open on the Fuse.  The cabinets lift up on the View.  
  • There is more overhead storage in the View.  This is from overhead storage over the heads of the bed.
  • The View has a nice night stand area when the beds are not made into a king configuration.
  • The closet is bigger in the View

Winnebago FuseWinnebago View

Living/kitchen areas
  • The living and kitchen areas are about the same. The Views is slightly larger but the open floorplan of the Fuse evens this out. 
  • The Fuse has a love seat.  The View has a couch which is wider than the love seat on the Fuse.  They both can only fold out into a bed only when the slide is out
  • The microwave, refrigerator, and cooktop are the same.
  • The sink is bigger on the View though is is split.  The Fuse has a nicer faucet.
  • The View has more kitchen storage.
  • There is not a place for a front table in the Fuse when the slide is in.  The View has a place between the front seats.
  • Both units have TVs in the bedroom area.  In the living area the TV in the View is over the kitchen sink, the TV in the Fuse is over the cab.

Winnebago FuseWinnebago View

Cab area
  • Both front seats in the View rotate.  Only the passenger seat in the Fuse does
  • The seats are a little further apart in the View making the cab seem bigger.
  • There is a place for a table between the front seats when rotated in the View. 
  • There is a TV over the Cab in the Fuse.  There is a window or bed over the cab in the View.
  • There is more storage over the cab in the Fuse.  There is only storage along the sides over the cab in the View without the overhead bed.
Winnebago Fuse

Winnebago View

  • The Fuse is built on a Ford Transit Chassis.  The Trend on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis
  • Both are Diesel.  
  • The miles per gallon are about the same between the two units. Both are between 15-20mpg mostly impacted by speed.  There is a slight edge to the Fuse but maybe 1-2 mpg.
  • Both have Dual Rear Wheels.  
  • The Fuse has an LP generator.  The View has either and LP or Diesel generator
  • The Fuse has a traditional water heater.  The View has an option of an on demand water heater
  • Water and sewer capacities are about the same.  The View has the ability to fill the tank by turning a valve when connected to shore water.  The Fuse water tank has to be filled via the fill inlet only.
  • The Fuse is lower to the ground.  There is a concern about low ground clearance on the Fuse that has been addressed slightly in the 2017 1/2 version.
  • The Fuse has three similar sized external storage compartments.  One on the drivers side and 2 on the passenger side for a total of 23.1 cu ft.  The View has one large external storage compartment that is 2/3s the width of the View and 3 other compartments, 2 on the passenger side and one on the drivers side for a total of 43 cu ft.
  • The View can carry more weight.  4220 lbs. vs 3140 lbs. using the GCWR - GWVR method 
  • The 2017 1/2 Fuse has a 5000 lbs hitch which is the same as on the View.
  • The View is 1.5 feet longer and 1 foot taller.
  • The  View uses a pump to empty the gray tank.  The Fuse is all gravity.
  • The generator on the View is bigger than on the Fuse.  3600 (LP) or 3200  (diesel) watts vs 2,500 (LP) watts on the Fuse.  It is also much easier to access on the View through a side access hatch vs from underneath on the Fuse.
  • The View has an inverter.  The Fuse does not.
  • Both come with 2 group 24 batteries for DC power.  Solar is optional on both.
  • The View comes with an installed water filter.  The Fuse does not.
  • The Fuse is $20,000-$30,000 less expensive than the View

So why did I pick the Fuse over the View ?
  • I wanted smaller and even though it is only a 1 1/2' longer, the View seems much larger
  • The Fuse felt smaller and easier to drive during the test drive
  • I felt that the maintenance on the Fuse Ford Transit chassis would be cheaper and easer to find than the Views Mercedes Sprinter maintenance
  • It was easier to get in and out of the Fuse since it was lower to the ground.
  • The Fuse was less expensive by about $20,000
  • The open floorplan in the Fuse made it seem bigger and more open and airier inside.  The floorplan of the View 24j has this same effect when compared to the View 24v.
When would I recommend a View over the Fuse ?
  • If I was traveling with more than 2 people most of the time.
  • If I was a full timer - The extra storage space outside would be nice.
  • If I was going to tow a car.  The Fuse is limited to sub-compacts even with the latest towing improvements.
  • If I did not want the open floor plan of the Fuse and wanted a defined bedroom and living room.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hose Quick Connects

I use hose quick connects. I put them on the ends of the water filter and the hose to make things easier to set up.   Other than the speed of using them to connect there are two other benefits.

The first is that they are easier to screw on and off from the water bib than directly to it.  It seems every time I attach a hose directly to the bib, I wind up twisting the hose all over the place.  With the quick connect this is a non issue.

The second is if you have problems with your hands it is easier to grab hold of the quick connects than the ends of the hose.  I have arthritis in my hands and this really helps.

I do not leave them connected to the water connector on the Fuse.  I am scared I might scrape something and damage the RV.  It only takes a few seconds to take them on and off, and that small penalty not to have to worry is worth it.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Water Hoses

I actually carry 3 water hoses in the Fuse.   Two are for drinking water and one is a general purpose hose.   Drinking water is sometimes labeled Potable which is the official term.  There are many water sources labeled "non-potable" so be careful when filling out water tank, you do not want to get sick.

The two potable water hoses are different sizes.   One is a 10' white drinking water hose.  At a campground this is what I use most of the time if I connect.  I usually park close to where the utilities are located so I really do not need anything longer.

I also carry a Blue Camco 22833 25' hose for drinking water.   It claims to be a heavy duty hose and it does not seem to kink as easy as the white one.  I have to use this one when the utilities are located at the rear of the campsite as opposed to on the side.  I also have to use this one when I fill the water tank since the water fill is on the passenger side of the Fuse.  Being on the opposite side of the Fuse it is much further than the 10' white hose can reach.

The third hose I carry is what I call my general purpose/utility hose.  It is a red 25' collapsible hose.   I use this one for around the campsite and for the black water flush.  You don't want to use your potable hoses to clean out the septic tank using the black water flush.  That would immediately turn your drinking water hose into a non-potable hose until it was sanitized.   Even if you don't drink from the faucet, washing your hands might transfer the bad stuff.  I try not to take chances when dealing with septic stuff, the thought alone might make me sick.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

RV Tips - Hose Storage

Water Hose

When you put up your water hose connect the ends together.   It will keep any water that is left in the in the hose,  in the hose and not in your storage compartment.  It will also keep dirt out and any critters from taking up residence.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Connecting your computer to the web using an iPhone

Most of the Campgrounds we have stayed in have had decent WiFi.  The other day we stayed in a Corp of Engineers campground and WiFi is not one of the amenities.  This is normally not a big deal since I would just use my iPhone to get what I needed to get and life would be good.  This time I needed to upload a file from my Macintosh.   There are several options and it is pretty easy to do.

Now you could go and buy a MiFi personal hotspot.  Pay an additional monthly fee to add to your cellular plan and permanently set it up in your RV.  Some of these have external antennas to get better range, so if you are depending on access for work this is a good idea.  For me, I am too cheap since I would not use it that often  and I like to be more flexible.

The way I am doing this is to turn my phone into a personal hotspot.  Before you do this check your cellular plan.   My plan from Verizon does not charge any extra to do this, but some plans do.  Being cognizant of costs is very important to me.  Using this function counts against your data allocation so you want to be aware of what you are doing.

iPhone Cellular Hotspot

To turn an iPhone into a hotspot you go to the "settings icon".  Three or four selections from the top is a choice for "Personal Hotspot".  You basically turn it on and set a password and you are ready to go on the phone side.  It is ready to allow your computer to connect to it and then be on to the Internet.

You have three different options on how to connect your computer to the iPhone.  WiFi, Bluetooth or via a USB cable.

Connecting over WiFi is probably the simplest and most familiar.  Go to your computers WiFi settings and look for the SSID with the name of your phone.  In this case, "iPhone (2)" (I guess I have never changed from the default) and it will prompt you for the password you selected on the phone.  Just like with the WiFi you see in a campground or hotel.   If you pick this method anyone with the password can share the phones Internet.  This will work for for almost any type of device you want to connect.

The second option is to use Bluetooth.  Connecting via Bluetooth is also pretty simple.  You may want to use this method in a more crowded area.  Why? Because Bluetooth has a much shorter range than the WiFi on your Phone and you can avoid some interference and interfering with others.   It also only allows one computer to be connected to the phone at any time.  So if you want to share you want to use WiFi, but Bluetooth is a little more secure.   To connect this way just go to the Bluetooth settings and connect/pair to the iPhone .

USB Cable
USB Cable - CNet.

The last way is to just use a USB cable between the computer and the phone.  You then go the the computer network settings and pick USB.

If you are going to use either WiFi or Bluetooth for any length of time I recommend that you plug your phone into the wall while you are doing this.  Bluetooth and WiFi hotspot both eat up your battery much faster than normal.

On the Macintosh all of these methods to connect are pretty easy and foolproof.  With other computers I would probably pick the WiFi  method since this is the most standard and will work with almost anything.

The last important part is to make sure you turn off the Hotspot when you are finished.  You don't want to use any more of your data allocation then necessary and you really don't want to be burning up your battery advertising your hotspot walking through the mall and not needing to use it.

And to remind everyone one last time.  Doing this uses your data allocation so be careful.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Smart Cup

Smart Cup

I got a 30 oz Smart Cup Tumbler for my birthday (Thanks Doug).  This is a beautiful piece of engineering.  A double walled, stainless steel insulated vessel to keep your drinks hot or cold all day.  The Yeti folks make one and so do several others.

Smart Cup

If you look at me most of the time I have my drink in a plastic cup from the local sandwich shop.  It works fine, it was the right price (free) but does not keep anything hot or cold and sweats when you have ice in it.   So this is a major upgrade for me.

Smart Cup

The quality is great.  It comes with two lids with gaskets that keeps the contents from coming out.  There is a sipping/straw hole on one so you can drink with the lid on.  There is a sliding cover on the other to keep the contents from spilling.  They give you a choice on what you need for the situation.

I have not tested it with coffee yet.  I have my one cup first thing in the morning so I can't comment on how well it keeps thing hot.

Smart Cup

I can tell you how well it keeps things cool.  I have filled the cup with ice several times and left it in my black truck in 90 degree weather.  After 6-8 hours the ice barely melted.  There was no condensation on the outside of the cup.  Living in Florida, there is alway condensation on the outside of a cup.  Not with the Smart Cup.

It fits fine in the cup holders in the Fuse. The only downside is that there is no give in the metal to grip.  I have arthritis in my hands.  I use a plastic cup since it is easy to hold and some days I need a little give to help hold things, but that is a personal problem.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

I Saw My First Fuse in the Wild

I saw the first Fuse other than mine in the wild and I forgot to take a picture!!!

Norbert Gonzalez posted on Facebook that he was at Ft. Wilderness at Disney World.   Well what would you know that I was at Disney as well.

Unfortunately I was Fuseless.  We had a family emergency and had to cancel our reservations at Ft. Wilderness.  Sonya had to stay in Tallahassee to help her parents and I had arranged to take several days off of work.  My daughter was running in the Disney 5K and had gotten a hotel room before we had arranged our trip.    She invited me to go with her and it would be rude to turn down a trip to Disney :-)  . (Particularly when she was paying.)   So I went.

I was sitting in the lobby of the Contemporary hotel people watching when I saw Norbert's post on Facebook and I decided to take a quick boat ride over to the Fort to see if I could find him.

I walked a couple of blocks and there was the one of the prettiest things I had seen.  No not Norbert, but a beautiful Fuse 23a sitting out in full view.  Sitting underneath the awing was Norbert, his Wife, his Son and his Grandson.    I walked up and Norbert recognized me.  I recognized him and it was like bumping into a long lost friend.

It was great to meet up with a fellow Fuse owner.  We talked for an hour or so.  The Gonzalez's showed me some great hospitality.   I had a great time and it was nice to meet a fellow Fuser.

Hopefully next time I can control my excitement and will remember to take some photos.

Friday, November 4, 2016


Poncho Liner

A woobie generally refers to a child's security blanket.  For people who have been around the military, a woobie is a poncho liner.  And to most people who have had one, they view them and guard them just like their childhood blanket.    The first one I ever had was brought home to me on one of my dad's trips to Vietnam.  It got lost on one of our many moves but I have one that is over 30 years old on the foot of the bed.  It is better today then when it was new.

Why is the infamous poncho liner so prized?  It is just very thin polyester batting quilted into a nylon cover.  But the more you use it, the softer the it gets.  It is very light but is always warm enough to take the perfect nap.  It is 82"x62" so even a large person can wrap up.  And more important, it breaths.

When we got the Fuse, the dealer gave us a thin blanket as part of a promotion they were running.  We used it once or twice but it is not a woobie.  I decided to get a woobie to leave in the Fuse.

Poncho Liner

The one I wound up with was Rothco Government Poncho Liner, Woodland Camo from Amazon.  It came and was brand new.  And stiff.  We crunched it, laid on it, sat on it and after a couple of weeks it was as soft as a beagle ear.   Just like my older one.  And it is perfect for napping.

It still has not made it out permanently to the Fuse.  It is on the couch in the family room.  It is just too perfect not to use it daily.  And my daughter steals it half of the time.  We bring it with us when we go out in the Fuse but it follows us back in.

Get one from Amazon.  Get one from your local surplus store.  Find one in the back of your closet.  But take my recommendation and get one.  Its worth it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Every morning while driving into work I listen to our local talk radio station (100.7 WFLA).  Preston Scott is the personality and he does a great job covering local politics and happenings.  But this is a local station and while we are out of town sometimes I want to hear what is going on back in Tallahassee.

Well there is a way to solve this.  A large number of stations can be listened to on an app called iHeartRADIO.   it is available on iPhones, Androids and over the web on a computer.  You just need an internet link.   Even in a campground with poor wifi, I have not had a problem listening.  Since this is audio only, the amount of bandwidth is pretty small.

I am not sure how many radio stations are covered, but if you are wanting some news or familiar sounds from home while you are out you might want to check this app out.