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Well I learned something new today…go figure. I have Verizon as my cell provider. I have “Unlimited” data and it works well. When I use my iPhone XR as a mobile hot spot it will only stream to my laptop at a maximum of 480p, standard definition. But…if I watch stuff only on the phone it streams in HD. So…I ordered a Lightning to HDMI cable that plugs into the iPhone. All I do now is connect the phone to my HD TV in the van with a HDMI cable and now it streams Youtube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and on and on to the TV in HD. Plus, I can still use the phone as a hot spot at the same time and surf the net on the laptop while watching HD TV!!!!!

The cable also has a power input so I can charge the phone at the same time I’m watching TV…Nice.

5 Feb 0800….Today was a bit maintenance on the van. I’d driven through so much dust the past week or so. I always carry basic maintenance stuff when I travel. An extra fuel filter, oil filter, and air filter are always on board. I changed the air filter this morning. The Mercedes is so easy to work on…like it was engineered for easy maintenance. You don’t have to take the whole airbox off to change the filter but I like to check things on top of the motor so I take it off each time.

Undo two plugs, one hose clamp, lift off the remote positive battery lead, and the airbox pops right off.
With the airbox off it gives me a chance to check everything on top of the motor. The towel keeps any dust or dirt out of the turbo inlet while I’m working on the thing.
The airbox comes apart in two pieces. Pretty dusty on the inlet side.
The filter was pretty dirty and full of dust.
The purdy new filter is in place. All I have to do now is bolt the top lid back on and I’m done. It should be noted I couldn’t find a singe tiny bit of dust on the turbo side of the airbox.

Stuff That’s Coming Apart

Not much really…the small entrance rug is starting to fray around the edges…cost $5 so Im pissed… the bolt that clamps the tabletop to the Lagun bracket has worn out…not a problem but the table doesn’t lock in place when I’m moving….just take it off and stash it behind the seat…will have to order a new one soon. That’s it….nice.

Still Refining Stuff

In the continuing saga of making stuff better (for me) I’m in the process of slowly upgrading my solar/battery system.Right now I have two 100 watt Renogy panels on the roof of the van. All is well with those and I’m completely satisfied. The Renogy MPPT charge controller is working ok but I have a feeling it’s not really handling the Lithium batteries that well. Just a gut feeling and the app from them for monitoring the system is really clunky. It disconnects and resets all the time. No good.

I have two Battle Born 100ah Lithium batteries on board now. I’ll be adding one more shortly. That’ll give me almost 300ah of usable storage. The total weight of all three will only be around 95 pounds as compared to the 280 pounds of my original AGM batts. The Battle Born batteries are expensive at $950 each but in the long run they will be a better value than lead batteries.

To replace the Renogy MPPT controller, I ordered, and will install a Victron 100volt 50 amp Smart controller tomorrow . All my research keeps leading back to Victron products so all should be good. Plus if I add more solar panels it will handle them just fine. The controller has a Blueteeth module internally so no external dongle will be needed for monitoring the system.

At the end of an exhausting day waxing, watching the King of the Hammers Trophy truck race, and napping (twice), I whipped up a dinner that will surely make me cut some Force Ten From Navarone farts. No meat because I ate a pound of bacon for breakfast 🙂

Bush’s chilli beans, diced tomatoes, peppers, and rice.

Ahhh…dinner and a movie. I put my iPhone in the stand…it’s not shown because I haven’t figured out how to take a photo of it in the stand.

Some of you might ask “Why didn’t you watch a movie on your laptop or the satellite TV”….I couldn’t fit the satellite or the laptop on the table without spilling my food.

Most everyone’s moved away from me….they know whats coming later tonight hahaha.

6 Feb 2200….Tonight was a gift…no wind…temp around 65…no noise…dinner had been eaten…teeth brushed…and I felt good. I set up my nice recliner chair outside and leaned back enjoying the clean (finally) air with no dust from the recent high winds. I know a lot of people but have very few I call friends. I love being around them and talking. I’m also very comfortable being by myself. Tonight was one of those….maybe I’m a bit selfish but I didn’t want to share it with anyone else. I drifted off to sleep in the chair and didn’t wake up for an hour or so..the temp had dropped and my toes were cold. I settled into my little cocoon in the bedroom of the van. The Espar furnace was humming along and I was breathing slowly…life is good.

7 Feb 1600…picked up and installed my new Victron solar charge controller today…it’s a work of art. Super well made and you can feel the difference between it and the Renogy one I was using. The Blueteeth interface is great looking and stable….just like me 🙂

All nice and tidy. The rotary switch disconnects the solar panels when I work in the system.
Moonrise out my front door…tonight is gonna be wonderful

Wanna venture a guess where they’re from? A clue…the smell of pot was overwhelming…

8 Feb 1500….set up the shower facility this afternoon…easy set up. Had a nice shower and now I feel good. I also uploaded Episode 2 of my travel video series. Youtube changed the resolution to Standard Def so I’ll upload again soon when I get some better internet.

Fired up the genset to run the water heater. Takes exactly 18 minutes to heat the water to the perfect temp.

For a nice shower I figure I use about 4 gallons of water. It works out that when I’m all done the hot water starts to run out. The water heater holds 4 gallons. Perfect.

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