Browsing "Fridge"
Jul 4, 2009 -

RV Appliances

This post is prompted by a comment left by 1001 Petals in reply to my post last night about my wildly successful pizza. She asked for confirmation that my stove runs on propane, which lead me to conclude that while I’ve hinted at this in the past, I’ve never actually explicitly talked about the RV appliances. So. ūüôā

The Range

I have an Atwood ‘Wedgewood’ three burner 21″ range (stove top with oven). This appears to be the ‘top of the line’ model for this brand. It’s certainly the biggest!¬†A lot of people complain about their teeny RV oven, but I find mine to be plenty large enough as my largest casserole dish fits in it (enough food to feed four to six people!).

The range runs exclusively on propane, so it’s great for boondocking. I’ve never tracked my propane usage in comparison to oven usage, but the amount seems to be¬†negligible. Propane is so cheap for daily use (ie. other than heating) that I don’t ration it.

There is a piezo-type ‘sparker’ to light the range, but mine works¬†intermittently. How it is supposed to work is you turn the burner knob you want to cook with to the ‘lite’ position, then turn the piezo knob to create a spark that will ignite the gas. Since my piezo isn’t reliable, I just turn the burner knob to ‘lite’ and then ignite the propane with a BBQ lighter or a match. The oven has two lighting options. You can keep the knob at ‘pilot’ and always have a flame ready, but I don’t like to do that. I’d always be worried that the flame went out and propane was building up in the rig! Instead, I turn the knob for the stove to the temperature I want and immediately apply a BBQ lighter or match flame to the propane.

The nice thing about baking with propane is that you get instant heat, so you don’t really need to preheat your oven. I’ve also noticed that things bake more evenly. I have a rack above the flames for baking and there is space to put a pan below the flames for broiling.

This model was eventually upgraded to make it practically impossible to drop food under the burners, which is my biggest pet peeve. Otherwise, I have no complaints.¬†Cooking with this range is a joy, even if clean up isn’t!

The Refrigerator

Miranda’s fridge is a Norcold 9182, which also appears to be a higher end model. It’s built in and has decorative oak panels, making it very lovely! It’s also HUGE! I don’t have the specific cubic footage of this model, but it is significantly more than the average RV I’ve visited and much more than any other class C I’ve toured.

The fridge runs on propane or 12V power (ie. on the batteries) or on 120V power (ie. shore power). I find this to be quite misleading as it never runs just on propane. So, when boondocking, there has to be enough battery juice to run the fridge. It doesn’t need a lot of that battery power, but you don’t want to run out in the middle of the night! You also would not want to run the fridge on just the batteries as this would drain them very quickly!

I know a lot of RVers who dream of having a ‘house-style’ fridge in their RV, but I have yet to encounter any problems with mine that would make me have such dreams. Sure, an RV fridge can take a long time to cool (12 to 24 hours), but once it’s cold that’s it. I have not had any problems at all regulating the temperature; maybe I just got lucky with a better than average fridge? My favourite thing about an RV fridge is that it’s QUIET! Also, the fridge has thus far been very¬†low maintenance. I haven’t even had to thaw it out yet! The size is also perfect for me. I was never able to fill a full-size house fridge and I have yet to get this fridge to capacity, but at least I’ve come close!

The Microwave

The microwave is a Dometic brand and operates like any other microwave I’ve had. I didn’t have a microwave for five or six years and since getting my first one I haven’t yet learned to rely on them. I use the microwave mainly to thaw bread, melt butter, make five-minute chocolate cakes, and bake the odd potato. I can only use the microwave when I’m on shore power and I have never missed it when boondocking.

Hopefully, that’s all a bit clearer now.

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Appliances, Fridge, Microwave, Stove, Technical    2 Comments
Oct 4, 2008 -

Evaluating Miranda

I’ve been on the road with this RV exactly a month now. I can’t believe that this day in September was my last day of work! Now that Miranda and I are so well acquainted with each other, I thought I’d share a list of things I like about her and one of the things I don’t.

Let’s get the negative out of the way first!

Things I Don’t Like

Since it has been on my mind lately, I will start with the battery compartment. It’s spacious enough that I could put in eight golf cart-sized batteries if I want, but maintaining the batteries is a pain because of lack of overhead space. I am considering installing a pull out battery shelf, but I need to look into how much reinforcement would be needed.

The storage space under the dinette benches could much easier to get to. The bench behind the driver’s seat is especially a waste of space. There is a tiny, hard to open, drawer, accessible from the aisle. Taking it out would give me a large storage chest. It’s on my to do list.

The wardrobe doors suck. The sliding doors have hard plastic holders to keep the doors from moving when I drive. I have yet to access that closet without striking one of those holders with a wrist or elbow. The doors have a tendency to get off their rails and forget about trying to open them if stuff inside has shifted. If I’m going to live in this coach for any length of time, I need those doors replaced with ones that open out. That’s no longer a luxury item! I had considered a tension rod and curtain solution, then realised that this wouldn’t hold the items in while driving. So, back to real doors I go. All I want for Yule is…

The towel holder on the inside of the bathroom door has got to go. I say this an average of once a day. Early on in my trip, I hit my head so hard on the darn thing that I had a dark purple egg on my forehead from Nipigon all the way through to Regina!!! Yesterday, it almost took an eye out. Yet, it’s still there. I need to remember to bring a screwdriver in there the next time I, erm, go.

The cockpit console. I’m told that there are other ones available, so I’ll have to do a search. I’d like one that could hold my atlas and other guides and which wouldn’t make reaching for the glass of water/a pen/a pad of paper/the camera/my sun glasses/the lip balm/the hand cream/ the Purell/etc. a treasure hunt.

The house door sticks as though it’s not exactly square. Maybe it just needs an adjustment. I’ll have to take a closer look at it.

The cockpit door locks only occasionally open from the outside with the key. I frequently have to reenter from the house and open the doors from inside.

Things I Like

The layout is pitch perfect. The spaces flow well into one another and make the coach seem really spacious. I’ve lived here a month and a bit now and I have yet to feel cramped at all. I really like having to cross a room (the main part of the bathroom) to get to the kitchen and that the entrance to the kitchen isn’t exactly in line with that of the study. I am a lot happier having many small rooms than a few big rooms. The fact that the toilet has its very own room is a bonus. In such a small space, having to open an actual door is a real luxury.

The furnishings are well chosen. The absolute only thing I wish I could change, and I’ve said this before, would be to swap out one of the chairs in the lounge so I could fit in a credenza with shelves and drawers. I was surprised to discover that I like having the other chair. When I’m traveling, I overturn my computer chair in the back room, making that room fairly inaccessible. If I’m just stopping for a few hours for lunch or making a late stop in the evening, I don’t bother ‘making up’ that room and instead I find myself plopping down in one of the chairs at the front to read. Unfortunately, the chair that would be easiest to remove, the one behind the passenger’s side (because the bolts are easily accessible via the battery compartment), is the one I want to keep. The chair by the door tends to be a catch all, so I might as well have a proper surface there.

I’m surprisingly fond of the dinette, too. I usually eat there and it’s where I sit with my laptop and research materials to plan out my day. When traveling, I take the wicker baskets that I placed over the fridge and store them on a dinette bench. Eventually, I’ll get around to creating some sort of securing mechanism so I can leave the baskets above the fridge when traveling, but for now they’re completely out of the way on the dinette bench.

The ‘upstairs bedroom’ is a cozy space that works for me even though some might find it a tad tight up there with my mattress. I like that there is room for overflow storage without cramping my sleeping space. I’m not fond of the fact that I have to climb up on the dinette to get up there, though, since it’s getting the dinette dirty. I supposed I c/should put a towel over it. But climbing up (and down) isn’t a pain at all, not even in the wee hours of the morning when my bladder is screaming at me. There is a conveniently located light above the bed and I really like the curtain on a hospital rail. Closing it at night is the equivalent to shutting the bedroom door and gives me the feeling that I’m cozy and secure in a private little nest.

The kitchen is surprisingly efficient. There is just enough room to work. The only thing I’d change is that I would replace the double sink with a single one. The sink could be deeper, too, but that’s a minor complaint. The stove and oven are fantastic. A couple of weeks back, the piezo (sparker), the one part I was told didn’t work, started to work! So, now I don’t have to use a BBQ lighter to fire up the stove. I absolutely adore cooking on a gas range; it’s so much faster than on an electric one. The oven is excellent, too, and doesn’t require any feats of athleticism or eyebrow risk to light. The size is just right one-person sized casserole dishes. As for the fridge, no complaints there. It’s huge! I can’t even keep it completely filled, but when I have something oversized, there’s room for it.

The bathroom is the best space in the coach that I didn’t design myself. It does not feel like a stereotypical RV bathroom. There is plenty of space to walk around in the main part of it. The vanity is generously proportioned, with a medicine cabinet that offers more usable space than I have need for, plenty of counter space, and an under sink cabinet that is roomy enough for all my cleaning products. Next to the shower, there’s enough place for me to put a storage tower I had at my old house, effectively giving me the exact same amount of storage in the bathroom as I’m used to having! The shower is very luxurious and just the right size for me. There’s no elbow banging involved in it! The only thing I’d change is the shower head since it doesn’t have the adjustment for turning off the water while soaping up. The toilet room is surprisingly pleasant for such a tiny space as its white walls and window make it very bright and airy. This room was also the source of a DOH! moment for me. I was frustrated that the coach doesn’t have a broom closet. Yesterday, I finally clued in as to why there’s a hook behind the toilet. Whadya know, it’s just the right height for hanging a broom. Or a Swiffer stick in my case!

Then, there’s the room I call the study or the living room. Oh, I LOVE this space! My mother really outdid herself with her fine tuning of my design. The two mattresses and pillows make a wonderful place to recline and watch a movie or read. The night table is at just the right height and distance for placing a mug of tea or a glass of water. The useless bar has turned into a very useful place for storing all the cables for my electronic equipment. There’s also just enough room to put a litter box and box of litter out of the way, tucked in the space between the toilet room wall and the edge of the storage box topped with the night table.

Looking up, I have no less than four skylights, two of which have covers enabling me to leave them open even when it’s raining. They add a lot of light to the coach and bring in less noise than do open windows. I do need to think about insulating them for the winter.

Finally, there’s the basement. What else can I say about the basement, but thank goodness for all that usable storage space! I packed the basement in Ottawa and have had to make only a few minor tweaks. There can be a lot of shuffling involved to get at things that are stored in the bowels of the large pass throughs, but it’s not tedious at all.

All of these elements combined make for a very airy and livable coach. I don’t feel cramped in here in the least and I just left a 900 square foot home!

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Appliances, Batteries, Buying Miranda, Electricity, Fridge, Stove, Technical    5 Comments
Aug 20, 2008 -

Electrical Upgrades and Sundries

I brought Miranda tonight to the house of the wonderful gentleman who, with his wonderful son, will install my backup camera and do what needs to be done to make my solar panel and inverter usable. The solar panel is able to charge two house batteries, so Mr. Wonderful (or Mr. Wonderful Jr.) is going to go pick up a second battery for me! I’m therefore covered for 12 volt power, as long as the sun is shining. I’ll still need to run the generator for the 120V power I need to run the microwave, coffeemaker (yes, I need to get a French press), printer, and AC. The way I look at it, a generator needs to be exercised anyway, so I shouldn’t fret about using it for these items (except for the coffeemaker, I know, I know!).

I am so STOKED about all this!!!!!!!! Overwhelmed as I’ve been feeling, I was going to put off having anyone look at the solar panel and inverter until I got to British Columbia. Now, I can boondock my way across the country without worrying about my 12V power. Thinking about it, yes, but worrying no. (this post was edited on June 26th, 2010, with me laughing at that complete novice’s na√Įvet√©!)

Except for my excessive hot water use in the shower (which I won’t be able to do in an RV anyway), I’m very good about reducing my power consumption. I mean, I’m currently sitting in a dark house; nothing’s on except my computer. So, perhaps the adjustment to RV life won’t be that tough, reduction of power consumption-wise.

Finally, I learned that my fridge is not only insanely huge, it’s a three-way model. That is, it can run on 120V shore power, 12V, or propane. In plain English, that means it can run on power provided by a campground, the coach batteries, or… propane. I’ve been advised to pick the ‘auto’ option and the fridge will figure out on its own the best method to run itself.

One thing remains a mystery, however: we can’t find the electrical panel. *cue in twilight zone music*

While we were going over the coach, Mr. Wonderful Jr. made me climb up onto the roof. Eeep. But now that I’ve been up there, I’m fine. I just didn’t know what the ladder was like at the top and now I do. I didn’t even dirty my cream pants clambering up and down. ūüôā

Mr. Wonderful Jr. also MADE ME BACK UP INTO MR. WONDERFUL’S DRIVEWAY. I repeat. HE MADE ME BACK UP INTO THE DRIVEWAY. With his patient guidance, I got Miranda in smoothly! He also informed me that he’d kept an eye on me as he led me back to his father’s house and that I was very good at keeping my coach centred in her lane. I definitely need to do some parking lot practising, but my confidence level rose quite a bit tonight.

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Appliances, Backup Camera, Boondocking/Dry camping, Communications & Electronics, Driving, Electricity, Fridge, Nice Folks, Social, Solar Panels, Technical, Travel    2 Comments