A mixed bag of sophisticated, fun, and just plain “wow” items for technical-minded RVers.
By Jim Brightly, F358406
Thanks to technological innovation, a host of products now on the market make RV travel easier and more enjoyable than ever before. Even the newest motorhomes come out of the factory equipped with gizmos we never would have thought of 20 or 30 years ago. And what motorhomer doesn’t want to reap the benefits of innovation?
This article features more than a dozen items that will assist you in enjoying your motorhome even more than you do now. I’ve included products for maintenance, entertainment, navigation, and just plain “coolness.” If you like to see what’s new, read on.
Delphi MyFi XM2go
In my opinion, satellite radio is a feature that’s one of the top options for RVs, right along with onboard toilets, fridges, and hot water. After all, satellite radio literally allows you to listen to the same station from almost anywhere on the North American continent. XM2go radios are said to be the first and only satellite radios that allow users to listen to live programming or stored content in the car, at home, and on the go. XM2go radios deliver XM satellite radio’s 170 digital channels of commercial-free music and premier sports, news, and talk programming. The wearable radios come with a complete set of accessories, including car and home kits, headphones, belt clip, and other items for listening to XM from coast to coast.
The MyFi can record and play back up to five hours of XM’s digital programming whenever and wherever you choose. It requires a subscription to XM satellite radio ($12.95 per month), but just about everything else you could want for home, outdoor, or RV listening comes in the box.
The Delphi RoadyXT is touted as the smallest and lightest XM satellite radio available. RoadyXT comes with everything you need to enjoy XM satellite radio in your vehicle: Delphi RoadyXT receiver, an XM micro antenna, cassette adapter, wireless FM transmitter, universal mounting bracket, and power adapter. It is also customizable with three interchangeable faceplates and seven different backlit color displays. RoadyXT can be used as a portable unit with its cigarette lighter power plug “” excellent to transfer between motorhome and towable “” or hardwired into place. It also requires a subscription to XM satellite radio ($12.95 per month), and offers XM’s 170 digital channels, which include 67 commercial-free music channels as well as news, sports, talk, traffic, and weather listings.
Delphi XM radios can be viewed at www.xmradio.com and in various electronics stores.
The StreetPilot 7200 and StreetPilot 7500 are part of a new family of high-end automotive units from Garmin that display navigation, entertainment, traffic, and weather information on a 7-inch touch screen.
“The 7000-series was designed for larger vehicles “” such as RVs, conversion vans, semi-trucks, and buses “” because of its 7-inch screen, automotive and entertainment features, and portability,” said Gary Kelley, Garmin’s vice president of marketing. “When designing this new StreetPilot family, we considered possible events that could impede a driver’s progress and then created ways to avoid those delays. By seeing traffic and weather delays in advance, a driver can save time by following a route around the delay.”
The StreetPilot 7200 and 7500 units offer optional traffic management systems that make driving with GPS essential, even if you’re familiar with the route. The unit can notify you of accidents, road construction, and weather-related traffic delays before they are encountered, and then offer an alternative route to avoid the traffic or road hazard. In the United States, traffic data is supplied by XM NavTraffic or Clear Channel’s RDS-TMC Total Traffic Network. With the optional, real-time XM Weather, you can also determine weather conditions on your route. Available weather information includes current conditions; city forecasts; and warnings for tornadoes, thunderstorms, and floods.
You also have several entertainment options to choose from as you drive “” an internal MP3 player, XM radio, and audiobooks. The built-in MP3 player lets you browse music by artist, album, song, or genre. Music can be loaded onto a Secure Digital (SD) card and is “drag-and-drop” easy “” no special software is required. The optional XM radio features 170 digital channels of commercial-free music, sports, news, talk, entertainment, and stock programming. The StreetPilot 7200 and 7500 are also compatible with www.audible.com, a subscription-based audiobook service. All music or speech files can be played over the vehicle’s existing speakers, through the StreetPilot’s built-in FM wireless transmitter, or via the unit’s headphone jack. Entertainment audio is muted when navigation instructions are given.
The face of the StreetPilot 7200 and 7500 has only one button “” an on-off switch. The side and back of the unit houses an integrated internal speaker, a mini USB port, audiovisual input, an SD card slot, and a 3.5-mm stereo output jack. A wireless infrared alphanumeric remote control, which allows easy operation of the device from a distance, is standard equipment. The StreetPilot 7500 differs from the 7200 in that it also contains a dead-reckoning feature. Sensors will track the vehicle’s course should the GPS signal become blocked in urban areas, tunnels, etc.
See all of StreetPilot’s features and other Garmin products at www.garmin.com or call (913) 397-8200.
Street Atlas 2006, Earthmate GPS LT-20
You can turn your laptop computer into a GPS navigator with these two products from DeLorme. Install the Street Atlas USA 2006 software on your laptop (choosing to load the entire second data disc onto your hard drive if you want). Next, plug the Earthmate GPS LT-20 antenna into a USB port (the low-power chipset draws power from your laptop, meaning no GPS batteries are needed). Place the GPS as close to your front windshield as possible, ideally using the enclosed suction cup on the attached cable to hold the GPS against the glass, and you’re good to go.
Click on the software GPS tab and you’ll see your position updated in real time on the maps as you travel. Many custom GPS options are also included within the GPS tab. The software includes more than 4 million places of interest. Route the entire length of your next trip before you leave the campsite or your driveway. Voice commands will then direct you as you travel. Obviously, monitoring the screen itself should be left to a copilot.
Visit www.delorme.com or call (800) 561-5105 to learn more about Street Atlas 2006 and other DeLorme products, and to find a dealer near you.
RaySat’s SpeedRay 3000 offers on-the-move, high-speed Internet access and satellite TV in vehicles using a low-profile (5.7 inches tall) roof-mounted KU-band satellite antenna. The system turns a motorhome into a rolling “hot spot,” enabling two-way high-speed Internet access to laptops, PDAs, and other devices equipped with Wi-Fi wireless networking technology. The SpeedRay 3000 also provides access to live digital satellite TV programming and music channels on the fly.
The SpeedRay 3000 system consists of an outdoor antenna unit for satellite signal reception (data and TV), an indoor antenna controller, a satellite modem (for Internet access), a Wi-Fi router, and a DBS satellite receiver (for live satellite TV). Integrated advanced sensors and a sophisticated tracking system provide access while the vehicle is in motion or stationary. Special mounting brackets are available for RV installations.
The high-speed Internet access can be shared among users in the vehicle. Since the system communicates solely via satellite, the antenna can be used effectively in remote areas where cellular and landline connections are not available.
For prices, dealers, and information, see www.raysat.com or call (800) 561-9280.
Winner of the best new product award at the 2006 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, the Power SideKick is an all-in-one car cleaning device that washes, waxes, polishes, and vacuums. Pieces for each purpose easily attach to the cordless, handheld main unit, which uses rechargeable batteries. Simply charge its battery; attach the car wash, vacuum, or car polish/wax module; and the Power SideKick is ready for use. It’s completely self-contained “” no cords or hoses “” so you’ll be able to clean your entire coach top to bottom, end to end, inside and out, without fear of getting all tangled up in your work.
The Power SideKick can be found online at www.viaworld.com; or call (408) 852-9715 for more information.
It has been said that for the want of a nail, a shoe was lost; for the want of a shoe, a horse was lost; for the want of a horse, a kingdom was lost. Well, for the want of a cleaner, a motorhome sale was lost, and a company called Simply Wow has just the cleaner for you. The company offers a specific cleaning solution for virtually any dirty task motorhomers can think of.
Simply Wow is an all-purpose cleaner-degreaser that may effectively replace the majority of cleaners in your coach. An independent lab recently conducted a test that showed Simply Wow outperforms other leading cleaners as well as various carpet cleaning products. The stains in the test included pen, marker, crayon, and grease on a painted wall as well as carpet stains that included transmission fluid, red wine, and fingernail polish.
Stain Pen is an instant stain remover that can be taken and used anywhere. The proprietary formula is said to safely remove food stains, oil paint (wet or dry), makeup, wine, blood, grass stains, grease, coffee, tea, and toner stains with no harmful fumes or excess liquid. Simply apply a small amount of Stain Pen solution to the stain, press with a damp cloth, and watch the stain disappear. Its convenient size makes it easy to keep at home, in the towable, or in the coach. Stain Pen is said to even take out oil stains more than 2 years old simply by applying the product and running cold water over the stained area.
Odor Annihilator is a pump spray that makes quick work of offensive odors. Odors are caused by organisms that send off molecules that your nose detects. Air fresheners try to overpower odors by covering them up, and fabric refreshers try to remove the odors. Company literature states that Odor Annihilator goes one step further by removing the source of such odors.
Give your coach a beautiful shine with the help of Tuff Buff. This organic product is said to be safe for all paints and surfaces, and to restore the factory shine. It also removes bugs and bird droppings, will not harm aftermarket window tint, and leaves no white residue in seams. Further, Tuff Buff contains no acids, hexane, volatile organic compounds, silicone, or petroleum distillates.
To learn more about these four products, visit www.simplywow.com or call (877) 529-4114.
Movie Edit Pro 11 home video editing software from MAGIX enables users to create home movies that the whole family can watch on TV “” with surround sound and HD-DVD menus. Although easy-to-use with editing wizards, automatic scene recognition, and chapter markers, Movie Edit Pro 11 is also extremely powerful. Camcorder & Computer Video magazine chose MAGIX Movie Edit Pro as its “Top Pick” in June 2005. And Videomaker magazine noted, “No video editing software has ever offered so many features for so little money, period,” in its July 2005 issue.
Movie Edit Pro 11 lets you create your own videos with support for surround sound, HD-TV, 16:9 widescreen, and double-layer DVDs. Utilizing 16 tracks, Movie Edit Pro 11 produces video with amazing cuts, special effects, 3D transitions, animated menus, and overdubbing.
For more information, visit www.magix.com or call (888) 866-2449.
The ShockBox Combo from MotoCam “” which includes a bullet camera, a helmet or hat-mounting system (other mounts are available optionally), a microphone, a digital video recorder, and a wire harness “” captures up to four hours of audio and video on a removable 2-gigabyte SD memory card. Its case is waterproof and shock-resistant, and the system can be wired into your coach’s 12-volt-DC electrical service. Now you can record your trips and conventions without worrying about inclement weather destroying your camera equipment.
To learn more, visit www.motocam.com or phone (877) 668-6226.
Have you lost thingFMCA.com – Administrations off your towable, or are you nervous leaving it hooked up overnight? Do you have a car alarm that you can’t hear? Or are you tired of hearing your alarm and rushing out of the coach only to find it was triggered by a bird or a campground critter? Aftermarket Generation now offers a two-way FM alarm with a 2,400-foot-plus range, a remote with an LCD screen, and remote-control ability. The device’s remote control is carried on your person, and it alerts you if your alarm goes off. The remote can also be used to set the alarm. If you store your coach when not in use, you may want to add an AGA1201 remote-start alarm to your motorhome as well.
For more information, visit www.aftermarketgeneration.com, or phone (800) 317-1788.
Cool Wheel Covers
If you’ve ever traveled or lived in the Southwest, you’ve likely grabbed a very hot steering wheel and come away with singed fingers. Well, now you can protect your fingers or dress up the cockpit of your coach with a Cool Wheel Cover “” you might consider buying one for your RV and another for your towable. Easily stored under the seat or in a glove compartment, the covers are made with a polyester microfiber fabric that shields the steering wheel from sun damage and heat. The covers were previously purchased as a wholesale promotional specialty item by companies intending to silk-screen or embroider marketing messages on the cover’s flexible surface. They are now available for clubs or individuals via www.coolwheelcovers.com on single- or multiple-unit orders. Or contact the company at (866) 407-6746.
No longer do you need to drag out your towable’s jack should you experience a flat. Now you can jack up your towable with a minimal amount of sweat on your part. ARB 4X4 Accessories is marketing the Bushranger X-Jack through its many dealers. This orange air bag, which is filled using your vehicle’s exhaust (either from the towable or your coach), reportedly can lift 8,800 pounds up to 30 inches off the ground and stores away in a small space. The device also has a valve to allow inflation using a 12-volt air compressor.
For more information, visit www.arbusa.com or phone (425) 264-1391.