RV Lifestyle eZine

July 2017  Issue #354

In This Issue

Hot Summer Temps
SmartPlug for Safety
Propane Tank Changes

Medicare Updates


RV Lifestyle Books

by Margo Armstrong


Click cover for Details

















July Updates and Important Changes

Hot Summer Temps Bring Electrical Brownouts and Surges

Managing brownouts and surges when they happen is one of the tasks that interferes with summer fun. There are a few solutions you might want to consider researching before you face that dilemma.

Regardless of the solution you choose, right now...go out and buy a small digital plug-in voltage monitor for the inside. Plug it into the circuit nearest your microwave; take a peek at the voltage before you hit the start button.


Amazon carries a wide variety of these monitors from a simple flat plugin that reads the ever-changing voltage to an energy consumption and cost model ($8-$21).


The best option for complete surge protection is an expensive portable device that plugs into the park post. An example.



Brown out protection is only offered by a few companies (this allows you to boost the power so you still have electricity even when most protectors just shut you down).


I bought a PowerMaster seven years ago that still works well because it has two transformers included that boosts the power in low-power situations. It also includes all the protection of the Progressive product. Unfortunately, they closed up shop last year with a promise to return.

There is still a product available that is similiar to the PowerMaster, but not the same quality, called AutoFormer, sold by Camping World and Amazon.


This type of protection is designed for outdoor use but can be wired into a compartment.


The upside: With the AutoFormer, the power stays on during brownouts transforming the available amps into higher voltage; a surge protector unit just shuts off the electricity.


The downside: After a few hot summers with many hits from surges and brownouts, the unit may need to be repaired with new surge protection. Its warranteed for 2 years, after which you foot the bill for freight and repair.


SmartPlug Instead of
Twist-Type Power Plug


SmartPlug Systems overcomes the weakness of traditional twist-type plugs with its 50-amp or 30-amp Connector & Inlet Combo Kit, minimizing resistance and overheating that leads to onboard fires.




The SmartPlug provides more metal contact than twist-type plugs for maximum electrical transfer. SmartPlug automatically aligns the plug with the inlet, making it easier to use. A multi-point locking system ensures it stays securely attached to the weatherproof inlet for maximum performance and safety.



The system installs in minutes using common household tools. For details, visit www.smartplug.com.


Changes to Propane Tank Regulations

As you know, getting those propane tanks refilled can sometimes be a challenge. With these new regulations, give yourself plenty of time when pursuing this chore. Who knows what time-consuming new procedures are in place at the filling station. Just as a precaution, have your built-in tank checked out at the first opportunity before it runs dry.


Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is taking action to raise awareness of the hazards associated with compressed gas cylinders following a large propane cylinder rupture on a food truck in Philadelphia that resulted in deaths and injuries.


PHMSA focused, in part, on the basics of how to inspect a cylinder for serviceability, and how to identify an out-of-test cylinder. Companies that fill propane cylinders play an important role in ensuring that cylinders are in safe and serviceable condition.


Requalification changes for cylinders were adopted Jan. 21, and PHMSA published a final rule in the Federal Register, titled “Hazardous Materials Adoption of Special Permits (MAP-21)(RRR)” under Docket No. PHMSA-2013-0042(HM-233F).


This final rule incorporated longstanding Department of Transportation special permits into the hazardous materials regulations. As a result, cylinders must be requalified by proof pressure or volumetric expansion testing every 10 years instead of every seven or 12 years.


To aid in increasing awareness, PHMSA also created a short safety video available on YouTube that details the required markings on a cylinder, as well as illustrates how markings indicate when the cylinder must be requalified.


For more information, see the PHMSA website.


Guess what!
Medicare is Finally Changing
THE Number

Coming in April 2018, new Medicare cards are being issued that remove and replace your Taxpayer ID as the identifier. These cards will have a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) number that is randomly generated with “non-intelligent” characters that do not have any hidden or special meaning.


To get on the email list for upcoming news with Medicare, click HERE. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the "Receive Email Updates" option.




1. I have a river, bay, and strait named in my honor. Who am I?
a. Henry Hudson
b. William Baffin
c. Leif Eriksson

Hint: This explorer led ships named Hopewell, Half Moon, and Discovery.

2. I created a fictitious wonderland where children coexist with talking animals, Father Christmas, and an evil witch. Who am I?
a. J.R.R. Tolkien
b. C. S. Lewis
c. J. K. Rowling

Hint: The place is called Narnia.

3. I earned my fame at Wimbledon in 1985 when I became the youngest men’s singles champion ever. Who am I?
a. Bjorn Borg
b. Fred Perry
c. Boris Becker

Hint: This powerful tennis player won again in 1986 and 1989.

4. I settled Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. Who am I?
a. James Cook
b. John Smith
c. King James

Hint: This adventurer/explorer is famously linked with Pocahontas.

5. My place is space. Who am I?
a. Sally Ride
b. Amelia Earhart
c. Geraldine Ferraro

Hint: This Californian became the first American woman in space in 1983.

6. I discovered Florida. Who am I?
a. Vitus Bering
b. Ponce de León
c. Hernando de Soto

Hint: This explorer was Spanish.

7. I was the first to round the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. Who am I?
a. Bartholomeu Dias
b. Marco Polo
c. Vasco da Gama

Hint: This explorer hailed from Portugal.

8. I grew up in De Smet, S.D., and the beloved children’s books I wrote are also set there. Who am I?
a. L. M. Montgomery
b. C. S. Lewis
c. Laura Ingalls Wilder

Hint: In De Smet, you can find a little house on the prairie and a big house in the woods.


1. Henry Hudson. Henry Hudson, along with eight others including his son, was put adrift on a small boat and left to die by mutineers during his fourth voyage in June 1611.
2. C. S. Lewis. C. S. Lewis’s Narnia books have sold more than 100 million copies and are among the most beloved books in classic children's literature.
3. Boris Becker. The young German Becker won the first of his three titles in 1985 at the age of 17 years and 227 days.
4. John Smith. John Smith lived an adventurous life, traveling, fighting in wars against the Turks in Transylvania and Hungary, surviving a period of slavery in Turkey, and travelling to the New World.
5. Sally Ride. American astrophysicist and astronaut, Sally Ride joined NASA in 1978, where she was an astronaut (1979–87) and helped design the robot arm for the space shuttle.
6. Ponce de León. In April 1513, probably because his arrival in Florida occurred at the time of the Easter feast (Pascua Florida), Ponce de León named the land (which he claimed for Spain) La Florida.
7. Bartholomeu Dias. In 1488, Dias became the first European to round what he called Cabo Tormentoso (Cape of Storms), a feat that opened the road to India.
8. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Visitors to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birthplace can tour her family's first Dakota house, their final home in town, and a replica of Laura's school.