Old Diary, RV Living

Settling In Gradually Just Before Moving Day

You know that I have been grousing about how unorganized we have been in the Ambassador, well, the last few days have seen quantum leaps forward — just before we make another move.

Sunday is moving day. It’s not much of a move — just back to the state park that we left 1 1/2 weeks ago.  But it gives us a cheaper place {at 1/2 the daily rate} to wait for one more shipment to arrive.  I suppose we could have scheduled a shorter stay there but the weather has been nice and we aren’t in any hurry to leave.

But in advance of our departure I have been a madman getting around to chores I have been putting off literally for months.

I talked about a first go at reorganizing the basement storage bays — I’m happy with that.  Saturday I finally got around to organizing my office!

My office, liberated from clutter.

My office, liberated from clutter.

I can finally have my graphics tablet out on the desk and use it.  I found a better solution for wiring my cell phone signal booster that has the inside antenna where it should be instead of where I could manage not to get feedback from the outside antenna.  {Two antennas too close to each other is like having your microphone and your speaker to close to each other.} The ‘window seat’ at the back of the coach is no longer cluttered with papers, my library is at least partially organized, and a lot of electronic clutter has — POOF — disappeared!

2014092713521503Along with organizing the office came finding shorter cords so that I could put the Silverleaf components in place for travel.  I’m really excited to see how this works.  I did discover one downer.  I had ordered adhesive disks so that I could move my GPS a little further to one side, only to discover that the disks are advertised to be one size and in fact they are slightly undersized — enough that the suction cup on the bracket will not seal against the surface.  So — back to the drawing board on that one.

2014092713514601And … as an added bonus… while we were out looking for other things we came across a clearance sale at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  They had computer tables {yup — remember all that work to get a table that would fit over my driver’s seat!} that were the right size to fit over my seat and marked down to 30% of retail.  I bought one and while I may not use it as much as the one I paid to have re-designed I will use it considerably.  So, I’m happy with that too.

We’ll have to kill a little bit of time on our relocation today.  We have to be out of the Fair RV park by noon, but we can’t pull into Bong until 3 p.m. — maybe  a little grocery shopping to stock up on braunschweiger and  and a few other things before we leave town.

Ok — that’s if for today.  Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Old Diary

I’m Silverleaf’d

I wrote a few weeks ago about deciding to add the Silverleaf engine monitoring system to my coach.  Well, I finally got around to installing it and I’m very happy.

The process was longer than it might appear but the system is so incredibly flexible that I’m surprised I finished as soon as I did.

  • The hardware installation is simple.
    • You need a PC computer of some sort.  I opted for the smallest screen Acer notebook I could find — complete with Windows 7 (After dealing with Window 8.1 at the Forest Service I decided I’d prefer the previous iteration of Windows — personal preference)
    • You need an interface from Silverleaf called a JIB.  Basically it’s a 3 x 2 x 1 inch interpreter that takes the place of some pretty expensive testing equipment in a diesel shop.  People are always complaining about specialized tools as being too expensive and if that’s a hang up for you — then don’t even think about this kind of setup.  What I did costs about 1/10 the cost of a factory installed Silverleaf installation — but I know people who think even that is too much.  These can be outsourced from a variety of places.
    • You need a connector from the engine diagnostic plug to the back of the Silverleaf JIB.  These are available from a variety of sources.  (like wherever you get your JIB)
    • You need a USB cable to connect your JIB to your computer.
    • And an installation disk (or compressed file downloadable for free from Silverleaf)
    • Actually making the connections takes… maybe a minute. 🙂
  • The software installation can be simple but there can also be a few little glitches.  If you have any problems do not hesitate to contact Silverleaf by phone and they will talk you through whatever snag there might be.
    • I installed the initial software without any problems.
    • Part of the install process requires you to input the engine in your own coach  — there are current and historic engines and horsepower configurations for almost anything you might be running for power.  In our case we have an ISC rated at 330 hp.
    • When I tried to install the drivers for the JIB I got hung up.  Calling the factory, and a 20 minute conversation had me up and running.

I’m happy with the way it works.

The time consuming part was designing the display screen.  The software comes with a default display screen that is perfectly usable.  But it also allows you to create your own screens, maintenance reminders, and warning messages — completely flexibility.

But complete flexibility also means that you have to understand what you want to accomplish and have the patience to get there.  If your computer is perfect  and your mouse works precisely each and every time it could be quick.  My el cheapo notebook doesn’t have the best touch pad in the world — I think I would have been done sooner with better equipment but it’s good enough for what I expect from the system.

Silverleaf Screen

This is the screen I settled on for NOW. I know I’ll change it but I want to see how I like this one.

A couple hours later I had my own custom screen.

By comparison, Bob, the owner of a very similar Ambassador to ours is also using the Silverleaf system and his screen looks like this:

Flanigan Silverleaf

This is Bob’s screen

You can see that layout and choice of gauges, graphs, and histograms is completely up to the user.   In my case I’m mostly using gauges and histograms.  Bob is using gauges and graphs.  Whatever works for you is the way to set yourself up.

My plan is simple.  We leave here on Sunday, but we only travel about 40 years.  (EDIT:  This was supposed to have said, “we only travel 40 miles” — but as faithful reader Mrs P said, it’s a great mental picture and that also is true. )  This way I will test out how well the notebook travels on the dashboard and precisely where I may want to mount it.  I have not gone through the rigamarole of hiding the wires and screwing things down — I want to make sure that where I put those components will be easily visible while I’m driving and not a safety hazard.

If I can get location figured out during the next short drive I may have time to finish the installation — drilling holes, screwing screws, and hiding wires.  We leave Bong Recreation Area the following Thursday — and face a drive of some 250 miles.  If everything is tied down by then — fine; if not we’ll be there for about 1 week and I hope to have it done by the time we leave our campsite in Shelbyville IL.

When we cranked the engine to test the installation I did learn one thing.  Since the first mile on this coach it’s been pulling in 7.8 mpg over 71,000 miles (there’s always going to be some difference in mileage numbers between electronic computation numbers and rubber on the road odometer miles.

I’ll share info about our coach and engine as we go, but for now I’m still learning about what’s normal for THIS engine/transmission/chassis combination.

So much for today.  Thanks for stopping by an I’ll talk with you tomorrow.