Sunday, January 29, 2017

NuWave Induction Cooktop for the Fuse

NuWave Induction Cooktop

This Summer we ran into a problem.  Using the gas stovetop in the Fuse during the hot Florida Summer was a fail.  It cooked fine, but the heat generated in 100 degree weather made the inside of the Fuse uncomfortable.   In a previous post, I talked about doing all the cooking in the microwave because of the the heat problem.    One of the readers suggested using an induction cooktop.

NuWave Induction CooktopNuWave Induction Cooktop Carrying Case

Well Santa was nice to us and under the Christmas tree we found a  NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop (PIC) and a carrying case  for it.  I actually helped Santa pick this one out.  It got decent reviews and most importantly it was not in my mind overpowered.  At maximum it only uses 1300 watts.  Some of the other ones can use 1500 watts or more making it cook faster.  But in the Fuse motorhome there is a power budget.  We need to stay cognizant of our power consumption, so bigger is not always better in our case. No use in getting something that could get me in trouble and pop breakers.   And since I am really only cooking for 2, we really don't need huge.

Power budget - When plugged into shore power (30 amps) only 2 big things at a time.  When on the generator 1 big thing at a time.  The A/C, Microwave, a hair dryer, and now the Induction cooktop count as big things.

Full disclosure, I have never before cooked using induction so I was a little apprehensive.

12 inch everyday pan

I had to shift up my style a little since my favorite pots and pans would not work on an induction cooktop.  To work on an induction cooktop they have to steel in them.  Most but not all of my favorite pans are aluminum.  How do you tell if they would work.   Take out your favorite Winnebago kitchen magnet and see if it will stick to the bottom of the pan.  If it does, you are good.

The second thing I had to remember was that it is different.  You get use to your stove and pots and pans.  Just remember how your grandmother cooked.  A little of this,  a dash of that and stick it in the oven until it looks right. Without that particular pan and that oven nothing ever tasted the same.   I knew this would cook different.

Induction Cooking

So far so good.   I had to learn a couple of things.  Once you press the button setting the heat you also have to press start.  I have walked away several times without doing this and found my pan cooler than when I started.  The second thing I have found is that the temperatures are very exact.  So low at 100 degrees is really 100 degrees.   That is not even a low simmer.

So what have we cooked so far?   Our first shot was white rice.  Worked fine.

Induction Cooking PancakesInduction Cooking Pancakes

So the next attempt was something a little more difficult.  Pancakes.  And they came out fine.  This is something I would never have tried on the stove, because I can never get the temperatures right.  With the induction cooktop, no problem.

Publix Yellow RiceInduction Cooking Chicken and Rice

So the next thing I tried was something I do pretty often.  Chicken and rice.  A pretty easy meal to put together.  A bag of yellow rice mix and some cut up chicken.  In this case, leftover Costco rotisserie chicken.    It came out great.

So now that I know that I can cook using the NuWave, the big question is did it solve our problem.  Did it produce the heat the LP burners produce.    Amazingly enough, there is almost no excess heat so long as the top is on the pot so steam stays in.  Even when using a skillet, there is almost no heat felt more than a foot away from the cooktop.

Now you do have to be careful.  The pans get just as hot as on a conventional stove so you can burn yourself if you touch them (don't ask).  Also the induction cooktop gets hot from the pan sitting on it.  You have to take care and let it cool down before you can move it around and put it up.

It only weighs 6 pounds.   Very light and movable.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Fuse Get Together in the Smokies

We are holding our first get together starting the evening of Friday April 21 going through Sunday April 23.

The Fuse "Get Together In The Smokies" is being held at the "Smoky Mountain Premier RV park" in Cosby TN.

Phone number is 1-844-557-6778 or online at Let them know you are with the Winnebago Fuse Group. They are holding a block for us until March 1. The rate is $54.00/nite+tax.

Patsy Stair checked it out and I want to thank her for all of her help. Sonya and I will be getting there late Thursday evening so we can spend as much time as we can with everyone on Friday and Saturday. We will be leaving for home first thing Sunday morning. I know some of the group is planning on arriving earlier and staying later.

We have reserved the indoor meeting room and the outdoor pavilion for our group to use on Saturday.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2017 Tampa RV Show

If you have never gone to a large RV show, go.  But be prepared to get overwhelmed.   We went to the Tampa RV show last week and saw lots of stuff.   You could look at all of the large class A motorhomes and wonder why our Fuse could fit in their bathroom but that would not help much and ruin any sense of perspective.

I limited myself to looking at motorhomes that are close in size and layout to our Fuse 23a or were on the Transit platform.  I am mostly interested in seeing what innovative things the other companies are doing.  I really am interested to see if there are any ideas I can get to improve our Fuse (and what I would want on a custom Fuse when I hit the lotto).

Winnebago Fuse 2017 and 2017.5 motorhomes

There was nothing really new on the Fuse front.  We have already talked about all of the new stuff on the 2017.5 Fuse in earlier posts.  We were able to see explicitly that Winnebago raised the Fuse an inch and a half between the 2017 and the 2017.5 models.  They had both parked next to each other at the show and it was very apparent.

Since we started out at the Winnebago booth, the first new thing I saw was the new Winnebago Paseo.  It is Winnebagos class B motorhome on a Ford Transit chassis.   A nice motorhome, but Sonya and I are still happy with our choice.   We need a little bit more room than a B provides and want twin beds which are not available on the Paseo.

Coach House Motorhome

We stopped by the Coach House booth and saw our first really cool feature.  If you have not heard of them before they build a very upscale coach and are twice the price of the Fuse making it outside of my price range.

Coach House Motorhome recliner/loveseat

What they had in their units that was really cool was a reclining love seat with tray tables.  I had wondered in the past if airliner seats could replace the love seat in the Fuse and this was a refined version of the same idea.   This was a little larger  than the love seat space in the Fuse, but they were over-stuffed, had a divider between the seats and were just super premium.  The good thing for us is that they were made by Flexsteel.  I have bought Flexsteel products in the past for the house and they generally have lots of options.  If nothing else, seeing the tray tables made me wonder if just that would make the love seat we have a whole lot better. (Note from Sonya: We talked to one of the Winnebago folks and mentioned it would be great to have similar recliners in the 23A.  During the discussion I learned Winnebago makes, and is increasing, the production of RV furniture.  Maybe they could custom make one for the Fuse.)

Leisure Travel Van Wonder Motorhome

The next vendor I visited was Leisure Travel Vans.   I got to see the new Wonder.  This is another motorhome built on the Ford Transit chassis.   Leisure makes a real nice motorhome and their cabinets are to die for.  But they are more expensive and you rarely see them on the dealers lots since they are purchased as soon as they are made.

Leisure Travel Van Wonder Motorhome interiorLeisure Travel Van Wonder Motorhome interior

The Wonder has a huge number of interesting features.  It uses a Murphy bed to gain space inside the unit.  The style is extremely clean and is a open euro-style floor plan  with the bathroom in the rear.    It is a 2 person coach but it is really nice.

I took another look at their Unity TB model that is on the Sprinter chassis.   I like this one as well and it is a twin bed unit like the Fuse.   At 6 foot tall, I still don't fit on the beds.  This was confirmed by a person who was looking at the Fuse beds.  They had the same problem being 6' tall and not fitting.   One thing I did like on both the Wonder and the Unity is that they are using a 30amp generator and a diesel generator option is available.   The batteries are also on a slide making servicing them much easier than the Fuse batteries.

Phoenix Cruiser was right next door but was rather disappointing.   Same models that they have had over the last several years.   The features seemed to be the same as well.

Thor Gemini MotorhomeThor Gemini Motorhome

Another B+/C built on the Transit chassis I looked over was the Thor Gemini.  They did not have a twin bed option, but overall it appeared to a fine unit at first glance.  This is probably the closest competitor to the Winnebago Fuse I saw at the show.  Overall quality, features and price were in the same ballpark as the Fuse.  I would call it Hyundai/Kia vs Ford if they were cars.   I would say the Fuse is a step ahead but only a step.  The good thing for both companies right now is that their floor plans don't overlap so they are not going head to head on the Transit chassis.   My quick look at the Gemini was that a plus/minus comparison is needed against the Fuse.   That should be good for a comparison article in the future.

Hymer Aktive Motorhome

The last vendor I looked at was Hymer.  Hymer is a huge RV company in Europe and recently bought Roadtrek. Though they don't have any models they are selling in North America today that would be an alternative to a Fuse (their single US offering is a class B) they have models in Europe that would.   If I was Winnebago, this is the competitor I would be concerned with.

Hymer is bringing some innovation to the market that I am interested in.  They are doing away with the generator and are using the main engine, batteries and an inverter to power the air conditioner and other 110v needs. Based on comments from some of the experts they are a little ahead of the wave with this, but are definitely heading in the right direction.    

Hymer Aktive Motorhome

Hymers euro styling is extremely sleek and makes most of what I see in US motorhomes look dated.  I took immediate note of the faceplates they were using at the entrance.  They also combine the auto and coach entertainment systems which would get my SiriusXM radio to be useful when stopped.

Hymer has missed the mark one one important item.  They use a cartridge toilet.  That is pretty standard in Europe, but is not going to work in the US (at least with my wife).

I also stopped at the Onan/Cummins booth.   I continue to hope that there is something we can do to help with the generator noise.   Walking up I asked if they had something other than the resonator many of us have installed that would quiet the generator.  Unfortunately they have no magic for the QG2500 generator to make it quiet.    The person I talked was very nice and said that most of the noise is mechanical and not exhaust noise.  He did say that Onan was working on a replacement  several years out that would be quieter but there were no quick fixes.   I had to ask.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Winnebago Fuse - Top Questions

We spent a few hours at the Tampa RV show talking with folks about the Winnebago Fuse while sitting in a 2017.5 Fuse 23a.  Sonya and I had a great time doing it.

These were the most common questions we got:

Q: Gas or Diesel ?
A: It is a Diesel -  It is built on a Ford Transit 350HD with the I-5 Power Stroke Diesel engine

Q: What kind of mileage do you get ?
A: 15-17mpg in the flats of Florida running down the Interstate at 70 mph.   You can do better if you drive slower.  Our Fuse did not slow down or have any problems going up and down the mountains in WV, TN, KY, VA, GA this summer.

Q: What about DEF ? 
A: Not an issue.   You can look at the message center and see when you are down to half a tank.  It will put a nag message up when you have to add more.  I got about 3000 miles before it said it was at half.  It adds a penny or two to the cost per mile.   You can go down to Walmart and get more DEF and add it yourself.  The filler is just below where you add diesel fuel so it is very easy to do.

Q: How much can it tow ? 
A: The latest Fuse has a 5000 lbs hitch, but can only tow 3000-3500 pounds safely.  The original Fuse had a 2000 lbs hitch.  Winnebago wanted to make sure there was plenty of margin so that a new/careless user could not break the vehicle.

Q: What kind of car do you tow ? 
A: We don't tow.  We purchased the Fuse since it was small and maneuverable and we would not have to.  There are folks in the Facebook group that do tow.

Q: How easy is it to drive ?
A: It is easier to drive than my F-250 pickup truck.  It is a little narrower than the pickup and just 3 feet longer.   Sonya will drive the Fuse, but not the pickup if that says anything.  She drives a Nissan Pathfinder normally and has no problems.  It can go a little fast, so you need to watch your speed.
(Sonya's added comments - I noticed that many women who were first time buyers were a bit intimidated with the idea of driving a RV.   This was me until a couple of months ago, so it was nice to talk about how easily it handled and fun it was to drive.)

Q: How many people can it sleep ? 
A: I generally tell people the Fuse 23a is a 2 + 1 + dog motorhome.  Meaning it sleeps 2 people + the dog very comfortably.  You can take an extra adult on occasion with you, but it gets a little tight.   4 adults are just too many.

Q: What about storage ? 
A: Take a look, there is lots.   Inside and outside there is plenty of storage.   Don't overlook the storage under the driver's side bed.

Q: How do you use your Fuse ? 
A:  Generally we are on the go.  We don't use the slide unless we are going to be somewhere for a few days.   We generally only use the TV over the bed since when we stop we are ready to start winding down for the day.  We love the twin beds since we can stop at a rest stop and take naps in the middle of the day.  We searched for a twin bed model since we thought that if each of us had a small  private/personal space we would be able to deal with the close quarters better.  The ability to raise the head of the beds makes it comfortable to relax on them anytime of day.

Q: You told me about all of the good parts, so what are the bad parts of the Fuse ? 
A: There are no real bad parts but there are some things that Winnebago needs to improve.  The air conditioner is noisy like a window unit in a house. The generator is noisy.  The USB plugs have a blue light that is too bright.  The good thing is that Winnebago is listening to its customers.  Many early issues have already been corrected on the 2017.5 model which is the Fuse we were sitting in.

Q: What are some of the things the sales folks are not telling us about/pointing out:   
A: Froli sleep system; Storage under the drivers side bed; Solar; USB plugs everywhere; Bike rack.

Q: The Fuse seems a little too big/small 
A: Take a look at the Travato or the View if the Fuse seems too big/small.  Winnebago and the other manufacturers make lots of models so there are lots of options.  You need to decide how you are going to use the motorhome and then find one that fits your needs.  We took two years to figure it out so take your time and make a good decision.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The 2017.5 Fuse Ground Clearance is Higher

Fuse increased road clearance

Winnebago has listened to our concerns and raised the ground clearance on the 2017.5 Fuse.   I now have visual proof that they actually did it.

This week we have been at the Tampa RV show and noticed that the Fuse 23a that we were hanging around at seemed a little higher than our 2017.  There was a 2017 23T parked just behind it and you could see the difference.

The angle of this photo does exaggerate the difference in the model years, but the difference in heights  is really is there and noticeable.  I did not have my tape measure with me or I would have measured.   As best as I could estimate, it was at least a full inch.

My bet is that this should go a long way to address the Fuse scraping bottom or getting rump rash when driveway angles are steep or wonky (The rear scrape I had was when I pulled out onto a crowned road surface).  The skid bars are still there in case the extra height is not enough.   It might not be enough for all cases but it looks like a great improvement.

Update -   Peggy measured her 2017.5 23T and it was 12.5 inches.  My 23a is 11 inches even.

P.S.   I want to thank everyone that I got to meet this week.   There were 4 or 5 members of the Facebook group that I finally got to meet face to face.   I also met a number of new people that are interested in the Fuse that I hope become members of the community in the future.  And lastly, I had a great time with a bunch of Travato owners and WIT Winnie B members that greatly outnumbered Sonya and myself, but put up with us anyhow.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

RV WiFi Book

RV WiFi on the Winnebago Fuse

I started to explain a little about the WiFi setup in my Fuse, but by the time I got started I discovered I had too much to say for a blog post so I decided to create a book.   Well is it more of a pamphlet than a book, but let me think it is a book for my ego.

I created it with iBooks Author  and am making it available to the conFUSED rv blog readers as a pdf so you don't have to get iBooks to read it.

If you want to take a look it can be downloaded at:

Constructive criticism is welcomed since it is definitely a work in progress.  I intend to add some more to this book over time.  Version 2 of this document will include instructions for use of Microtik as well as Ubiquiti WiFi devices.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Fuse Heats Up

I have not gone crazy.  I live in Florida and am writing about the heater in the Winnebago Fuse.   Well unlike what the Division of Tourism would lead you to believe, Florida extends further North than Disney World and the entire state is not just one large beach.

Tallahassee Fl

We actually live in Tallahassee.  Up here in the North Florida Mountains (198' above sea level) it gets cool.  From December until March the lows are normally in the 40s and for 5 to 10 nights a year we will have a freeze.  Two of those nights just occurred.

This is RV winterizing Florida style:

Safety First.  Make sure that your smoke detector and CO detector are working before using any heating system.

Winnebago Fuse partition

Second note.   I took some advice from other Fusers and used a blanket to screen off the driver's area from the rest of the unit.  This reduces the space you are heating and does not let the heat out the big windows up front.  I also closed all of the blinds and shades to keep as much of the heat inside.

The Fuse comes with 2 methods to add heat to the unit.  

Winnebago Fuse furnace

The first is a traditional LP furnace.  It is a manufactured by Suburban.   It has an output of 20,000 BTU.  It is controlled on the Fuse 23a via a thermostat located above the driver's side bed. To turn it on, all you do is move the lever from off to the desired temperature.  Once you do this you can hear the faint sound of a fan and feel some air moving from the heater ducts located on the floor.   In 30 seconds the burner will come on.  You will know because of a different noise and you will feel the air starting to warm up.  It starts putting out hot air very fast  (even faster than a politician.)

The furnace in our Fuse works well.  Really well.  During our last cold spell it brought the temperature up very quickly.  When I entered the Fuse it was 40 degrees inside.  After turning on the furnace by setting the thermostat to 70 degrees I walked back in the house.  When I returned 15 minutes later, the furnace had gotten the temperature inside the Fuse to 65.   It works really well and really fast.

The downside of the Furnace is that it burns your propane.  This might not be your best method if electricity is available.

Winnebago Fuse air conditionerWinnebago Fuse air conditioner

The second method is a heat strip in the Air Conditioner.  The Air Conditioner comes with an 1,800 watt heat strip.  To turn this on,  you turn the rotator switch on the Air Conditioner to low heat.  With the thermostat on the A/C pointing in the red it should start running and you should get some hot air.

My experience is that if you turn it on to low heat all you get is warm air moving.   It is not hot air by any standard.  Although the manual says it is 1,800 watts, I would believe that 800 watts is probably closer to what is coming out of the vents.    I was somewhat concerned about 1,800 watts since I have my Fuse plugged into a 15 amp circuit and running an 1,800 watt appliance puts the electrical close to maximum for that circuit.

Hunter space heater

I had a third approach up my sleeve that was recommended by people in the Fuse Facebook Group.   Use an electric space heater to heat the interior of the motorhome.   So I purchased a medium space heater at Home Depot.   I selected one that would consume 900 watts or 1500 watts depending on the setting you choose.

So how well did that work.   Well it took a while to get the interior up to temperature, but it was able to keep the Fuse at a comfortable 60 degrees while it was in the mid 20s outside.  A 35 degree advantage using the 1500 watt setting.    While the Temperature was in the 30s, I put it on the low settings and it held the interior temperature at 60 degrees.

Winnebago Fuse with hunter space heater

If you want to try and replicate this, the heater was placed on the floor in the doorway to the bathroom.  The temperature readings were taken on the top of the stove.  I had one of our little USB fans running to circulate the air.  And finally the cabinet doors and drawers were all opened slightly to let the heat into some of the dead spaces.

I think the space heater was a great success.  It accomplished what I wanted in that it kept the Fuse at a comfortable temperature.   It did not use my propane.  As a bonus, it was much quieter that if I used the air conditioner heat strip.

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Start on 2017 - Happy New Year

Hi and a Happy New Year to all.

The holidays are over.  Work is back to its normal ebb and flow at the University now that all of the students are back for the Spring semester.   Family duties are just as crazy as normal, but at least they are back to the standard crazy as opposed to Christmas crazy.

I just had a couple of things to let everyone know where we are heading (until we change our minds)

1)  Tampa RV show -   AKA : The Florida RV SuperShow .    Sonya and I are going to be there on Thursday and Friday January 19 and 20 for anyone who wants to meet up face to face.   I will try and find a central spot and post information on the Facebook group for anyone who is interested.

2) The "Get Together in the Smokies" is still on for  Saturday April 22 and 23.   We should have the campground picked out in the next week or two.   Luckily the places we had been looking at all survived the fires and we just need to hammer a stake in the ground.  Sometimes that is easier said than done.

3)  Sorry for the lack of posts.  I have been working on a bigger project for the group.  A pamphlet on how I am doing the WiFi in our coach.  It started out as a couple of blog posts and quickly morphed into 50 pages.   I will be posting the "version 1.0" copy of it in the next week since I am in the last edits and am about ready to turn it loose.   I warn everyone up front that this will be a work in progress so feedback will be welcomed.

4) Santa was really good to us so we will have some reviews on induction cook tops, spice jars and a couple of other things that were left under our Christmas tree.

And maybe just maybe we will have a couple of trip reports including a trip report from Sonya on a girls weekend out in the Winnebago Fuse.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I'm a minivan mom, Can I drive the RV?

Sonya Driving Winnebago Fuse

Let's be honest, when we looked at RVs I sat in the driver's seats and assessed how comfortable they were, easy to adjust and whether they swiveled.  All this was done as they sat safely parked at the dealership or trade show.  Even when we selected the Winnebago Fuse, I did not test drive it and drove it only for a few miles a month after we purchased it on lightly traveled stretch of Interstate.

I was intimidated - I was a minivan mom.  I could easily drive seven boisterous elementary school kids on field trips, load marching band and color guard equipment in until there wasn't an inch left and joyfully transport six drama students (and their luggage) across the state to competition.  But, could I drive a box on wheels?

I was going to have to find out.  The twins have grown up and the minivan has been outgrown.  I have moved on to a Nissan Pathfinder which is a little larger, but gets driven a lot less now the kids are young adults.  Yet, my young adult daughter wants to spend a girl's weekend with me and now I have to drive the RV.  (Okay I do realize there is a financial benefit for mom to supply the accommodations for a trip to Disney.  But hey, I take what I can get.)

Driving Winnebago Fuse

To prepare, I drove the Fuse down to and part way back from Disney's Fort Wilderness on our last trip and even backed it in to our spot.

Well, now I'm an experienced RV driver.  The Fuse handled extremely well and it was easy to get use to driving.

The driver's seat was comfortable and adjustable for my height.  I was concerned about this since I normally store a collapsible storage cube at my feet on the passenger side which lifts my knees approximately 2 inches.  The steering wheel was nicely contoured to reduce stress on your wrist and arms.

The cruise control is located on the the steering column and can be set and adjusted with little effort.  We have found that setting the cruise control to 68 mph results in a good MPG result.  I have to admit that the Fuse drove so well that I had to stop myself from driving faster (to stay with the flow of traffic of course), but stopped myself when I noticed the reduced the MPG.

Winnebago Fuse

Another plus is the Fuse was agile enough to pass and switch lanes as needed.  On a crowded, fast running Interstate like I-75 and I-4 in Central Florida this agility can not only keep you on course, but keep you safe.  The size of the Fuse was easy to get used to driving. Although bigger than my Pathfinder, it is only 3 feet longer than Don's pick-up truck (which I refuse to drive.)  It didn't seem to catch the wind and actually was easier to drive than the old truck.

What was the hardest thing about driving the Fuse?  The hardest part of driving the Fuse was not being able to use the rear view mirror and instead depending on the double side mirrors.  The good news is that the double side mirrors work really well and it just takes time to train yourself to drive that way.  And even this minivan mom was able to comfortably do so very quickly.

So watch in February as my daughter, her friend and I head out on our own.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Winnebago Fuse Options Pricing 2017 - 2017 1/2

I have tried to compile a list of all of the options available on the Fuse and the associated MSRP.     Some are not available in combination with others.  There are some changes with availability and pricing between the two model years.

If you know of any others or changes let me know and I will update the list.

2017 2017 1/2
Winnebago Fuse 23A   $95,991.00    $107,485.00
Winnebago Fuse 23T   $93,880.00    $105,158.00

Winnebago Fuse Options:
Part Description 2017 Price
2017 1/2 price
if changed  
Exterior Colors
26FPaint and Graphics - Lunar Sky N/C
26HPaint and Graphics - Magnetic 1,120.00

Interior Colors
G18Jumper/Brown/Glaze/Driftwood 490.00
H16Blueprint/Blue/Glz Driftwood 490.00
H13Spark/Green/Washed Maple N/C

Misc Options
23TDrainage System - Heated 301.00
240Trailer Hitch 140.00
38EConvenience Package * 2,716.00 2,954.00
384Generator 2.5KW Onan-LP 2,835.00
41MVent - Power Ventilator 224.00
62FSeats Driver/Pass-Primera 644.00 735.00
68XBattery - Second 182.00
22WTV - Bedroom 455.00
64AJacks - Stabilizing - Electric 686.00
13GRange 3 burner with Oven 189.00
159Ford #10,360GVWR DSL NAV 2,492.00
Stylized Chrome Wheels
282Solar Panel 100 Watt 805.00

Dual Pane Acrylic Windows
35JBike Rack 476.00

* Convenience Package =  cab steps, Coleman® Mach® 10 Powersaver low profile roof A/C w/1,800-watt heat strip, slide-out cover, swivel passenger cab seat w/booster cushion, additional coach battery, powered patio awning w/LED lights and Flexguard awning cover, rear ladder