Getting your RV or trailer parked nice and level is key to getting a good night’s sleep. Traditional methods involve bubble levels and trial and error, but [MJCulross] wanted something better. Enter the Teensy RV Leveling Helper.
The device uses an accelerometer to detect the pitch and roll angles of the RV. It then displays these on a small screen, and performs calculations on how much the RV must be raised at each corner to bring it level. The RV’s width and wheelbase can be entered via a simple touchscreen interface to ensure the calculations are correct. There’s also a trailer mode which calculates three-point leveling figures for the wheels and the hitch, as opposed to the four-wheeled RV mode.
The result is that the correct leveling blocks can be selected first time when parking up the RV or trailer. It’s a lot less tedious than the usual method of parking, leveling, checking, and then leveling again.
We don’t see a lot of camper hacks around here, but we’ve noticed a new trend towards lightweight cycle campers in recent years. If you’ve found your own nifty hacks for your home on the open road, don’t hesitate to let us know!
In the world of proprietary protocol darkness, it’s comforting to see that the RV realm (Recreational Vehicle, also known as a motorhome) has mostly settled on RV-C, an open protocol that lets various devices and systems inside an RV talk to each other over CAN. The undeniable openness of RV-C is surprising, but we haven’t seen many hobbyists tinker with it — yet.
Now, [Randy Ubillos] sets an example — his gift to us is an ESP32 firmware called RV-Bridge and it lets you control your RV’s RV-C network from HomeKit. After all, your motorhome could benefit from home automation, too!
The RV-C network in [Randy]’s family RV already had a factory-provided front-end and an iOS app, but naturally, it had a limited set of features. Having looked around online he found that both RV-C and HomeKit had open libraries for them, and set out to join these worlds together.
Now he’s released the first revision of RV-Bridge, fully-featured enough for comfortable day-to-day use, and with a setup guide for those who want to try it out! When it comes to hardware, you’ll want an ESP32 board with CAN support — [Randy] has found a perfect board for sale, and made it even more fitting by designing a 3D printed case for RV use; as usual, files are on GitHub!
Making your stock RV more comfy through hacker methods is exactly what we expect to grace our tips line! The kinds of RV projects we’ve seen so far, are also outstandingly cool, yet of different kind – things like building your own RVs out of something not meant to be an RV, whether it’s an abandoned airliner, a school bus, or a jet engine! Oh, and if your hackerspace owns a RV, you can always convert it to something else, be it a mobile hackerspace or a spaceship simulator.
Many of us have seen an old bus for sale for a tantalizingly low price, and begun thinking about the possibilities. [EpiclyEpicEthan1] is someone who took the next step, bought the bus, and got to work converting it to an RV, with impressive results.
The bus in question is a 2002 International RE3000, which in its former life had helped move school children and barrels of pool chemicals to and fro. The project began, as many do, with a full teardown of the interior. With this done, the floor was treated to remove rust and repainted. Insulation and new plywood boards were then installed, and the fit-out began.
The amount of work involved in the build is immense. There’s a master bedroom, auxiliary bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen area. It’s a fully featured RV in every sense of the word, and yes, there is hot water. There was also significant work done to improve the driving experience, with switches relocated, lights added, and a reversing camera installed for easier parking.
Overall, it’s an impressive project that should serve as great inspiration to anyone wanting to attempt something similar. Then again, if your means are a little more limited, you could always go for a Corolla build.
When you’re living out of a vehicle, or even just traveling out of one, power quickly becomes a big concern. You need it for lights, to charge your various devices, to run your coffee maker and other appliances, and possibly even to store your food if you’ve got an electric refrigerator. You could do what many RV owners do: rely on campgrounds with electrical hookups plus a couple of car batteries to get you from one campground to the next. But, those campgrounds are pricey and often amount to glorified parking lots. Wouldn’t it be better if you had the freedom to camp anywhere, without having to worry about finding somewhere to plug in?
That’s exactly what we’re going to be covering in this article: off-grid power on the road. There are two major methods for doing this: with a portable gas generator, or with solar. Gas generators have long been the preferred method, as they provide a large amount of power reliably. However, they’re also fairly expensive, cumbersome, noisy, and obviously require that you bring along fuel. Luckily, major advances in solar technology over the past decade have made it very practical to use solar energy as your sole source of electricity on the road.
Continue reading “Off-Grid Travel — Setting Up A Solar System”