Monday, February 27, 2017

Fuse 23a Flashcards v1.0

While we were at the Tampa RV show we talked with the folks who manage the "Travato Users and Wantabees" Facebook group.  They shared an idea that I thought was one of the greatest ideas I had heard in a long time.  They were thinking of making some quick reference cards to help new owners with their motorhomes.

The problem we are solving is that when you get an RV, the shear amount of information that is presented is overwhelming.  Some people have recorded the dealer walkthrough, but even with that it can get confusing.   The default answer from most is 'read the manual', but that is just overkill.  

What is needed is a supplement to the manual that would provide enough key tips and pointers to remind a user where the important systems are located.  The goal is to provide just enough information to jog the memory of someone who is just unsure of what the next steps are in setting up the motorhome at the campsite.   I also am sure that some visual clues would be ideal for getting a person on the right track.

So I made these flashcards and they were tested when Sonya and Cathy went to Ft. Wilderness this weekend.  They brought them along to see how well they would work.  This was their first time camping in the RV without me.  Like a new owner, they had seen the process once or twice before.  So they tested the cards for us.

Fuse Flashcards

The cards are available for download at: Combined Fuse 23a Flashcards v1.0.pdf

They are designed to be 4x6 cards and can be laminated if you want.   Cathy put them in clear plastic notebook sleeves .  That way she could add her notes as well.   I guess you can let your imagination be your guide.

There is still some work to do.  I need to draw something for the parking card.   Let us know if there are any cards you can think of that we should add or any changes that should be made.   If you like these, we can add cards for the 24T if I can get some help.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Replacing the Break Light

While Sonya was following me the other day she noticed the drivers side break light on the Fuse acting up.   About half of the LEDs were working and about half were not.  Some were blinking on and off as well.

Winnebago Fuse Break Lights

I did not want to wait for a service appointment, so I called Winnebago to see if they would send a replacement LED bar.   Well I tried calling.  I got sent to voice mail and since I actually like email better, I just sent them an email with all of my pertinent information and what I needed.

A day later, I had a response that the part was in the mail and three days later the part was in my hand.  A LED light bar nicely packed in a tube wrapped with bubblewrap.

Winnebago Fuse break light/LED BarWinnebago Fuse break light/LED Bar

When the next nice day came along, and I had some time, I replaced it.   It was not a very hard job.  I am not the greatest with a screwdriver and it only took me 15-20 minutes.  A big chunk of that was trying to figure out how to get the LED bar out of the holder and documenting what I was doing.

The process was fairly straight forward:
  • The LED bar was held in with two screws.  One on each end.   I needed a phillips screwdriver and that was pretty straight forward
    Winnebago Fuse Break Light
  • Then I ran into a problem.  It would not come straight out.  Looking at it closely it needed to be slid over towards the backup light and then tilted out.
  • To get the room needed to slide the LED bar over I had to remove the round backup light.   Three more phillips screws removed and an easy tug or two and and the backup light was out
    Winnebago Fuse Break Light Repair - backup light
  • Now I could slide the LED bar over an inch, tilt the end and lift it out
    Winnebago Fuse Break Light Repair - LED Bar
  • The LED bar is spliced into the wiring so I got some butt splice connectors and the crimp tool.  Another thing to notice is that the LED bar has a red, white and black wire.  The wires coming out of the Fuse were yellow, yellow and white. I really wanted to get this right the first time and I have been to this rodeo before.  I needed to go very slowly.   I cut one wire at a time and spliced on the replacement before I went to the next one.  
    Winnebago Fuse Break Light Repair - splices
    • The procedure was to cut off the old butt splice on the Fuse side as close to the old connector as possible.
    • Strip a 1/4 inch of insulation from the wire coming from the Fuse.  The new LED bar wire was already stripped. 
    • Install the new butt splice connector by putting the ends in the splice and crimping down hard on each end (several times)
  • Sonya then tested the breaks - Success
  • I added some tape (I used silicone rescue tape since I had it handy) to make sure the splices were watertight
    Winnebago Fuse Break Light Repair - waterproofing
  • Then I put it all back together.  I discovered that the LED bar only goes in one way.  The wires on the back of the bar are designed to fit in a slot in the Fuse.  If the bar is upside down, the slot is off and you can't slide it all of the way over for the screws to align with the holes.
  • Once the LED bars were screwed down, I put back in the backup lights. I screwed those three screws back in and  everything was back together.
  • I called Sonya again.  I wanted to test one last time.  That way I would be sure nothing broke while I was putting it back together.
  • Success
    Winnebago Fuse Break Light
If I knew what I was doing this would have been a 10 minute job.   It took me 15-20 minutes since I was learning.

Winnebago Fuse Break Lights

Things I needed:
     Phillips head screwdriver
     Crimp Tool.   (used to crimp, cut and strip the wire)
     3 blue butt splice connectors 
     Waterproof tape.  (this was probably overkill)
     A chair to sit in -  A necessity for the bad back and knees

Monday, February 20, 2017

Protecting His Mobile Man Cave Benefits New Fuse Owners

The children and I have started referring to our Fuse as Don's mobile "man cave."  We have been keeping it plugged in and when Don disappears we know to look out the front window and see if the RV door is open.  Typically, he is inside on his bed using his laptop (as you know from his' blogs he has issued the Fuse has excellent WIFI signal) or often enough has fallen asleep.

He hasn't said much about my daughter and my upcoming trip other than making sure I had driven and set up the Fuse on our last time out.  And, that we had to bring it back in the condition we took it - meaning the grey and black tanks had to be emptied.

The activity of emptying the tanks was assigned to my daughter and her friend.  I told them I didn't care how they got it done - do it themselves or sweet talk some poor fella at the campground - it just had to be done.

Don has walked our daughter through the process on several previous trips.  Neither of the young ladies have actually dumped the tanks in real life.  But to protect his "man cave" and because he has always been a great father, he decided more was required.

So this weekend when our daughter asked once again if he would walk her through what needed to be done to set-up the Fuse, (she apparently wasn't confident that I'd remember my part) including how to empty the tanks, he presented her with "flashcards"that covered the important subjects.

This was an idea that was brought up in discussion with folks in the Travato Group.  I didn't know Don had started them for our Fuse.  But now he had a captive novice to test the flashcards.   After walking through them and some editing,  our daughter is confident she can handle the set-up and emptying of tanks.

Winnebago Fuse Flashcard work product

When we get back next week, we will make revisions based on our experiences and then post them for others to review.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

New Front Tag

After 9,000 miles the front tag gave up the ghost.   It looks more like some sort of desert camouflage than a license plate.    You can no longer make out "The Beagle Bus".  Live and learn.

Old License Tag

This time we are doing a couple of things different.   First we had the tag put on aluminum as opposed to plastic.  (customized through ) It cost a little more but hopefully the paint will hold better.  Maybe less thermal expansion to keep the paint from flaking.  Really don't know what caused the last one's paint to fail.

New Beagle Fuse License Tag

The next thing is we put a plastic cover over it.  If nothing else maybe this will take the abuse as opposed to the tag itself.

New Beagle Fuse License Tag and How it looks

The last thing we did was put a frame around it letting everyone know who we are.  (Customized through Some say you should not do this for privacy reasons.  I have an amateur radio operator license plate so my FCC call sign is the tag number.  It is not like I can hide with that.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

UCO Flat Pack Grill

I really like the FitRV and read their blog and watch their videos daily.  Recently they reviewed a Flat Pack Grill from UCO and after watching the video I decided to buy one.

UCO Flat Pack Grill

The  UCO Flatpack Grill and Fire Pit seemed like it would be perfect for us.   This grill is designed for backpackers so it is very light weight (3.2 lbs), folds flat and occupies almost no space.  This is just right for our Fuse motorhome.  It would be ideal for other space conscious class B and small class C RVs.

UCO Flat Pack Grill

It stores in the box it comes in and is made from stainless steel so it is pretty durable.  When you take it out the box you will find 3 parts.  The main unit, the grill grate and a handle for adjusting the grate.

UCO Flat Pack Grill

It is super easy to set up,  you just fold down the legs.  One set goes inside the other set for stability.  It opens up like a large folding cup.  The grate then goes over the top to add additional rigidity for the system.

UCO Flat Pack Grill behind Winnebago Fuse

So I took it out  and did what everyone always does with a new grill - I made steaks.

UCO Flat Pack Grill with Kingsford Easy Light CharcoalUCO Flat Pack Grill with charcoal burning down

The first thing I did was to get the charcoal ready.   I really like the Kingsford Easy Light charcoal.  All you do is light the corners of the bag and let it burn down.  No lighter fluid or other flammable liquids necessary.  The amount of charcoal is perfect for a 2 person dinner  providing even heat pretty much every where on the grate.

Preparing Steaks

While the charcoal was burning down I prepared the steaks.  I went for a very simple approach.  A little olive oil, salt and pepper.  That was it.

Charcoal in Flat Pack Grill

Once the charcoal had burned down, I made sure the coals were spread out even.  Then I put the grate on.  I waited a few minutes for the grate to get good and hot and then I added the steaks.

Steaks on UCO Flat Pack Grill

This grill was outstanding.    The Easy Light charcoal bag was the perfect amount of charcoal for this grill.   I cooked the steaks for 5-10 minutes on each side and that was all it took.  The Fold Pack grill was just as easy to cook on as on the big grills.

Another good thing that I noticed was that the legs on the grill stayed cool.  You could move the grill around by grabbing the legs with your hands and sliding it around.   I put my hand on the ground under the grill and there was almost no heat.   This made me feel good about the safety of the grill.

Finished steaks from UCO Flat Pack Grill

And the best part - the steaks came out great.  What more can you ask.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Two Sewer Hoses

It still amazes me how much time I spend thinking about the septic system on the Fuse.   When I bought the motorhome it turned into my new obsession.  I probably need some help.  Creating  a web site devoted just to this topic might be in the cards.

Lippert Sewer Hose

When I went to the Tampa RV show one of the folks in the Facebook group asked me to take a look at the Lippert Waste Master System to see how it would work with the septic system on the Fuse.  I had never heard of them but they had a booth.   Well I took a look and it was probably the nicest sewer hose that I had ever seen.   The hose and nozzle are both first class.  The hose is smooth with a wire coil around the outside.  I talked with the representative and he said many high end motorhomes are using their equipment.  This is a high quality piece of kit.

Lippert Waste Master System

You are paying for this quality however.  It is twice the price of the other septic hose systems on the market.  It is probably worth it.  It has a permanently attached nozzle with a valve that allows you to start and stop the flow as necessary.  Right there is a huge upgrade from most of the other systems on the market  including the Rhinoflex system I use.

The second problem is that it is large.  No way for it to fit in the sewer hose compartment since the nozzle is permanently connected.  That nozzle is the size of a football and appeared to be built like a tank.

Lippert CAM lock

My biggest concern of about the Waste Master is that instead of using the bayonet connector that is common on most RVs,  it uses a CAM lock connector.   I have experience with these connectors on large water pumps and they are definitely much better connectors than the twist on bayonet connector.  Unfortunately you would need to modify the sewer drain by cutting  off the nubs and gluing a CAM connector to the pipe.  Not a small change.

So unless you really want the best and are willing to make a permanent modification to your rig, I am not sure this is really for the small RV owner.

Prest-O-Fit Ultimate Sewer Kit - Amazon
Prest-O-Fit Ultimate Sewer Kit - Amazon
The other hose I have been thinking about since the show is the Prest-O-Fit Sewer hose.  The photos  included in the post are from their website or  I forgot to take photos when I saw it.

Prest-O-Fit Sewer Hose - Amazon  Prest-O-Fit Sewer Hose - Amazon

The reason that this hose interest me is that it appears that it could actually fit in the septic hose storage compartment in the Fuse.   How does it do this ?   It uses compression fittings instead of the standard bayonet fittings.   This keeps the width down and makes it slim enough to fit in the compartment.

Prest-O-Fit Sewer Hose - Amazon
Press-O-Fit Sewer Elbow - Amazon
You would still need to keep the elbow in a separate compartment but it would consume much less space.   There are also other connectors available to connect multiple hoses together or to meet other requirements.

I have one major concern about this system.  How well do the compression fittings actually hold?  Will it leak or come apart?   Per their web site you just push the connections together and pull them apart.  Everything is held by friction.    Does this actually work in practice?   How easy can they come apart and cause a spill?    The main thing I look for in the septic hose system is no spills.

If you have a Press-O-Fit, please add a comment on how well it works and how well it fits in the hose storage compartment.   I am very curious.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Getting Help From Winnebago

I am not the most mechanical person, but I have turned a screwdriver once or twice.   Given the long lead times to get any motorhome in for service sometimes it is just easier to fix a problem yourself.

Winnebago Fuse break light

Well I had one of those problems the other day.  Sonya noticed that the drivers side break light was acting funny.  Instead of coming on solid half of the little LED lights were blinking when the breaks were applied.  When the turn signal was turned on the same thing happened.   What was needed was a replacement LED cluster.

I am still under warrantee (for the next week or so).  If I had the part - I could fix it myself.  So how could I get the part?

The Winnebago service site says you can call or email any question you have,  the phone number is (800) 537-1885.

I called and got sent to voice mail.   Not an unexpected problem.  I talked to several people and they said that happened to them, but Winnebago called back pretty fast.   This not being an emergency, I sent an e-mail to     

This is what I sent:

Can you send me a replacement break light for my 2017 Winnebago Fuse 23A.   
The LED rear break light on the Drivers side is flickering when the break or turn signal is used.   The Passenger side break light is solid.

Name:  Don Pace
            Tallahassee, Fl 32309

Don Pace

I got a response to the email in a day.  They said they shipped the part.  I received the part I needed a couple of days later.    I am not sure how it could go better.  I am happy camper.

Winnebago Fuse LED  break light

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Stereo Video

I am still trying to figure out the Jensen stereo on the Fuse.   I have still not been able to get the ARC function to work.  The ARC function allows the TV to play through the speakers just using the HDMI cable.

Well I found this youtube video made by the Dynamax folks.  It is a pretty good overview of the radio.  Did not solve my problem, but I thought it was a good reference.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Induction Pancakes

Pancakes on NuWave

Just a peek at cooking on the NuWave induction cooktop.  We made pancakes again last night.     We continue to experiment and practice so we will be ready when we bring this on the road with us later.   The reason we still are working on pancakes is that it is a good test of how even the cooking surface is heating.  You really can see hot spots and cold spots.   Also, I love pancakes.

There was a question about what is the best way to make pancakes while on the road.  Our traditional recipe tends to be messy.  In addition to Bisquick,  it uses eggs and milk.  This would require refrigeration and use a lot of space.  Not a real problem in the Fuse motorhome.  The refrigerator works well and has plenty of space.  The bigger problem is all of the mess we make mixing the batter.

Shake 'N Pour

We decided to try out  the "Shake 'N Pour" Pancake mix in a bottle.    Though not quite as good as from scratch, the pancakes came out pretty good.  Much better than frozen pancakes.  All you do is add water and shake.   All of the mess stays in the bottle.  How can it get better?  No mess and no refrigeration of any of the ingredients.    This is a big win.

Pancakes on NuWave and Stainless Steel

Using the induction cooktop, we first made pancakes using plain All-Cald stainless steel skillet.  Remember the earlier post about having to get a new pan.  Well this is the type of pan  I had handy and would work on the cooktop.   So we used it.   It did great and made pancakes with no problems.  Ok, there were a couple of problems.


The pancakes were slightly fried.  Not a problem with the equipment, just the method.   We are pancake gourmets so we are a little critical.  But more importantly my daughter (who was cooking) did not like having to butter the pan between each batch.   She whined and complained about wanting to use a non-stick pan.  Spoiled I know, but pancakes are even better when someone else makes them.  It's that ingredient called love (at least I hope that is what it is).

Pancakes on NuWave and Techef everyday pan

The next time we did made pancakes we had the new Techef everyday pan.  Very non-stick.   It made the process of cooking even easier.  It worked great and cleanup was super easy.  Just a quick wipe out of the pan and a quick rinse.   No other cleanup needed either.  There were no pancakes leftover and all the mess was contained in the bottle.

Pancakes on NuWave Induction Cooktop

The pancakes came out great. Real close to perfect. They looked great and tasted as good as they looked.  The flavor was almost as good as from scratch.   Cooking using the induction cooktop and the everyday pan worked out just as good as using an electric griddle. The NuWave keeps the temperature just as constant as the griddle.    Even better, the induction cooktop is much more versatile.

Detailed instructions:

  1. Put non-stick pan on induction cooktop and turn on to 375.   Make sure you hit start or you will be waiting on the pan to heat up for a long time :-)
  2. Add 1 1/2 cups of water to the Shake 'N Pour bottle.
  3. Shake it up baby.  Tap, do not rap, the bottom and top of the bottle several times to make sure it gets well mixed. Get some exercise while mixing.  Sing and dance to "Shake and Shout" while mixing.   The singing and dancing is the secret ingredient.
  4. Make sure the pan is at temperature.  You can tell when a drop of water dances when sprinkled on the pan.  aka: wet your finger and flick a drop onto the pan.  If it bounces around you are good.
  5. Pour 3 to 4 pancakes onto the pan (this is with a 12 inch pan).
  6. They will bubble.  When they stop bubbling, it is time to flip.  So flip.
  7. Cook the other side.  This is where a little bit of experience comes in handy.  Don't worry.  you will get the hang of it quick.
  8. When the pancakes are finished cooking remove from the pan.
  9. Add a little butter to the tops of the pancakes.  This is optional but butter makes everything better.
  10. Sample one.  But only one.  Don't get greedy or you will get caught.
    1. If you do get caught share.   We have eaten batches of pancakes straight from the griddle never getting the serving platter dirty.
  11. Go back to step 5 and repeat until all the batter is gone
  12. Serve to family and complain how it doesn't make as many pancakes as it should.  Divert questions about why you are not hungry smiling while remembering how good the samples were.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Induction Cookware for the Fuse

I carry a several pots and pans in the Fuse so I can cook whatever we want.   When we first bought the motorhome,  I purchased three pieces of cookware for the kitchen.

Circulon Stainless Pans

First, was a Circulon Genesis Stainless Steel Nonstick 3-Quart Covered Straining Saucepan.
Second, was a Circulon Genesis Stainless Steel Nonstick 5-Quart Covered Dutch Oven.
Lastly, I purchased a Calphalon Unison 12 inch Nonstick Everyday Pan.

Motorhome Pan Storage

We have them all stored under the kitchen sink.  They are separated with dishtowels to keep them from rattling.   We also put in some adjustable shelving to maximize the space.

I am rather particular about my pots and pans.  I wanted the pans to be similar to the ones I had at the house so I didn't have to change my cooking style.  Non-stick was important so cleanup would be easy.   With this variety of pots and pans I can cook pretty much anything from rice to hash browns to spaghetti.

I really like a deep 12 inch skillet to cook in.  Unfortunately the long handle for a skillet is not ideal for the small space we set aside under the sink.  I changed it out for an everyday pan since it is the same as a deep skillet but with loop handles.

This collection of pots and pans have worked very well up to now.  But now, I have run into a problem with the everyday pan.   It is not magnetic and will not work with our new NuWave induction cooktop we discussed earlier.   The others work fine.  Since I use the everyday pan often, it had to be replaced.

Everyday pan

Looking around I found an answer - a TECHEF - Onyx Collection, 12-Inch Everyday Pan.   It is not a brand that I have used before, but since it got good reviews so I ordered one.   With non-stick pans I have been pretty happy with Circulon and Calphalon Unison brands.  Going with a brand I am not failure with does have me concerned, but when it arrived it seemed pretty nice.

Chicken and Rice on stove

The pan is a good design and is heavy for good heat distribution.  It has worked well on the induction cooktop with no problems.  The 12 inch size is what I am use to at the house and it comes with a nice glass lid so you can let food simmer.

So we tried it on a couple of things.    The ultimate test was chicken and rice.  Worked out really well and most importantly, cleaned up without any effort.  No sticking.   A big win.

Induction cookware

How do you tell if a pan will work with induction cooking.  You can just believe the manufacturer and that will work.  You can also do a test.  Does a magnet stick to the bottom.  If it does you are in business.   I have checked all of the pans in the Fuse and they are all good.