Obsolescence in the RV World


Most of us full time RV’ers are approaching Geezerhood by some standard or another. There are mornings when we wake up and our joints sound rusty and knock a lot, aches and pains flood our sensors, and then there are other senses that may simply quit functioning.  There may be times when we wonder whether it’s just our possessions that have reached obsolescence or whether we too have passed our sell by date. Obsolescence is the topic of the day and I think it’s worth a mention.

In October I got around to replacing our DISH receiver.  In 2012 we bought a 211K receiver and used it for 4 years. It ran HOT from the day we bought it until something or other fried it; so we replaced the 211K with a 211Z — the current iteration of the 211 DISH receiver.  It seemed to operate the same as the old unit.

Or so I thought until I tried turning off the TV in the lounge and leaving the TV in the bedroom turned on. Mostly it works just fine.  90% of the stations continue to display as normal — but a couple send an error message and refuse to display the station if the front TV is turned off.  Turn it on, and the bedroom TV plays just fine.  2016020314252002

On a practical level I have no idea what HDCP protocol is, and neither do I care.  I wonder whether this is a problem that might become more troublesome as other channels change their broadcast signals — or have they all done so and only these few have delayed? All I know is that this TV was not replaced in ’13 when I pulled out the old analog CRT-TV — the bedroom one having been replaced before we bought the coach. All of which points out the nature of RV obsolescence.

It’s not usually your entire RV that is suddenly obsolete.  More likely a component here, or a component there that wear out, breaks, or finds themselves no longer usable because something has changed.  A couple years ago many of us dealt with TV signals that had been converted from Analog to Digital — suddenly we were all out buying adapter boxes or new TV’s.  We recently tried to replace our Sharp microwave/convection oven and discovered that the model number we had was no longer available.  Other RV’ers have had issues with furnaces and suspensions and control modules — all of which are suddenly no longer around to be found.

Some of you have discovered the bizarre world of USED RV PARTS.  It’s amazing what can be found online if you start looking.  People seem to buy up RV’s to be cannibalized for parts and sometimes those parts are just what a body needs.

Many of us have discovered the world of Internet Research — whereby we learn more about the details of our RV than we ever wanted to know — all because something broke, wore out, or refuses to work with something else that we had to change.

When Peg & I went through the conversion of our refrigerator from Norcold to a household refrigerator it became more power-inverter-sine-waveimportant to know whether we had a modified sine wave inverter or a pure sine wave inverter — it seems that many appliances will not work correctly (or at all) if your inverter puts out a modified sine wave!  I had planned ahead for future problems when we did our solar installation and we upgraded our inverter at that time — but the changeover could have been a very ugly surprise (to the tune of $1000-$1500) had we not been careful the year before.

2014040210284115I mention all of this because I am finding that if I want to deal with that error message from my TV that I need to do something soon.  The 22” tv that lives in the bedroom is an animal that is pretty hard to find right now. It seems that 24” tv’s will soon be the smallest available. 19” TV’s are really hard to find.  22” TV’s are ALMOST as hard to find and the new ‘standard’ for small TV’s seems to be 24”.

Right now I may still be able to find a TV that will fit in the closet opening of the bedroom.  If I can find a 22” screen that I like.  24” is already too wide.  In a house size is rarely the same critical element that it becomes in an RV.  Our RV’s are all built with compactness in mind and finding ways of squeezing all the functionality we RV’ers want in our homes gets harder and harder because consumers seem to keep wanting more and more in their homes.

I don’t really want to spend money on a new TV.  I need to find someone who knows whether this DHCP protocol is going to be more or less of a problem.  If manufacturers are moving away from it, maybe I’ll leave the TV be.  If not, maybe I’ll bit the bullet and update now while I can still (hopefully) find a screen that will fit with minimal modification.

Of course none of these things happen when you want them to happen. They happen when you’re pre-occupied with something else.  Or when you don’t have the money.  Or you just left a site you had been at for 6 months and it has to happen the first day out on a 5 week trip.  There will always be enough annoyance and frustration while RV’ing; that comes with the lifestyle — ‘free of charge.’ 🙂22 inch TV

I’m still researching my options, so I’m not yet sure what my decision will be.  I’d love to spend a couple years when we didn’t have to spend a bunch of money on Serendipity.  But that’s the nature of the beast.  Maintenance is maintenance and a used RV is always a used RV that will have maintenance issues to be tended to.

Thanks for stopping by, and let’s talk again tomorrow.  I’ll be here, for sure.

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8 Comments

  1. I can see that older RVs could be a problem and potentially include many more upgrades. Worth keeping in mind when considering what year to purchase and price difference.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Obviously, if money is no problem, you can do all manner of things. When we visited CCW earlier this week they had a 1980’s-something Wanderlodge that was a complete refit from the walls in, but most of us have to look at renovation with a lot more prudence. But we have been fortunate that none of our repairs have kept us from RV’ing. One of our neighbors here came in, spent a night, and then took their 5th wheel to the shop. They left a bunch of stuff at their site. Returning late that day I didn’t have a conversation with them but heard them telling one of the other neighbors that they had “ruined” something on the inside of their RV and had to have it repaired and they packed up the belongings they left behind not to be seen again….

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    1. The 211K had been notorious for running hot. The new one is doing fine. The glitch is something that seems to only affect a very few channels. How many channels are enough to make me spend +$100 to replace the TV —??? I haven’t got to that point yet.

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  2. I get that error message occasionally. In 2013 I replaced both crt TV’s with a 32″ Vizio, and a 22″ Samsung. This message never seems to happen on the Samsung, it happens on the bigger Vizio.
    Many times I can clear it up by changing channels or turning off the receiver.
    My 211 operates directly from the tailgater. I use none of the RV wiring and have removed the BOMB box. The 211 received, the cheapest thing they offer is the problem. I just put up with it.
    That my aging showing through in the realization of priorities.

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    1. Dave — good points all!

      As I said, MOST of the stations display correctly. And how much I want things to be “right” is a big question. I don’t need to change out TV’s. Is it inconvenient to have 2 tv’s running at the same time? Not big enough to spend $100 on.

      I would like to know whether that is a protocol that is being moved TOWARDS or AWAY from. Could be that other stations start doing the same — or maybe that the problem stations suddenly no longer manifest the error.

      If nothing else it was a topic to talk about for one day.

      I’m with you though… the older I get the less I care about some things, and being “right” according to other people is one of them.

      I don’t know what year the SEIKI TV in the bedroom was installed. We bought this in ’14, it was in there at the time of purchase when the front TV was still an analog CRT box…. — could have been there for a long while.

      >

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