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Old 11-24-2008, 02:40 PM   #43
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The investigation commentary kind of slowed down a bit. FYI I am moving ahead on some of the tank level ideas and may have found a excellent, yet reasonable, sensor to use although I need a bit for info before I know it will work in this application. Assuming it does, that will probably be my "entry level" product to demonstrate a KISS product line, where you could "get what you pay for, yet only buy what you need", in keeping with our philisophy.

There is another product I know that almost everyone would want in this market, but need to have a discussion with an existing customer before I could provide such a product. In visiting other chat areas of this site I clearly know the market demand would be huge, and relative to what you guys do now, whould make the existing systems look like "a mystery", thus in keeping with the KISS desires of the majority of comments I have received thus far.

Have a happy turkey day!

Regards,
Don
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Old 11-24-2008, 03:09 PM   #44
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Don,
Don't have any idea what your "other" product is but consider this.
An area that is important to us, when is the coach level? Important for Fridge operation and if your even slightly off after setting up, can get a little uncomfortable when ya hit the sack.. something that would provide a readout in the TV while setting up would be great. Maybe just a five light panel with a green center light.
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Old 11-24-2008, 03:44 PM   #45
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I love the KISS principle when it comes to my trailer. I only open one propane tank at a time. I have a monotoring system inside the trailer as well as gages on the tanks, but do I monotor them on a daily basis when I am camping? No I don't. When the gas goes off I know I have one full tank, I then remove the empty tank and fill it. I can look inside the comode and know the level of the black water and when I hold back wash water I can tell if the tank is full when I stand in shower water. I have put a dc voltmeter in my line so I can tell the condition of the batteries. I do wish I had a amp meter to let me know my ac useage. The electrical gadgets are cute and I do enjoy the electric stabilizer jacks, but to be honest the cordless drill works quicker. The more stuff we have the more that will have to be repaired and then will the repair item be compatible with the old outdated system.
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:13 PM   #46
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Robert,

Looking at the leveling stuff. Many different options here, where providing the command signals to go to level is easy. It's all the mechanical stuff is the more difficult part; electrical screws, hydraulic cylinders and so forth. I actually have the hard parts of the power control pretty much complete, just have no clue what it will connect to yet.

Tarheel,

I have ALL the hard stuff done for your black water tank, have yet to finalize the sensor(s). Got the electronic packaging in today, looks good. On the propane, that is another "sensor issue" as the rest is pretty much the same as for the black water, actually much easier. Obviously with propane you don't need any sparks! This one is again a mechanical sensor issue, where I think I have the answer, but again, I need to create the prototype hardware. So for both these I think you could have at least my solutions available this spring for these two. The power monitoring and control stuff is going to prototype soon, as many commented on the need for "load shedding" kinds of stuff. So look to sensor water and propane stuff first. Current monitoring on a "point solution" is easy, it's having an integrated approach that covers monitoring, load shedding, configuration, fusing, protecton and all of that stuff as well as being solid as a rock is the work. In effect, the system would have fuses but they would never blow as the power would be removed before that could happen. So relative to power stuff, I will have it running as part of the first thing I ship that has an output, but don't know if I will ever ship load shedding stuff unless some vendor wants to take it to market. That may change, but lot's of standards testing required for this kind of stuff.

Good stuff, keep it coming as the majority of the "issues" submitted thus far can be resolved with some pretty basic systems.

Regards,
Don
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Old 11-25-2008, 06:21 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C5Don View Post
Robert,

Looking at the leveling stuff. Many different options here, where providing the command signals to go to level is easy. It's all the mechanical stuff is the more difficult part; electrical screws, hydraulic cylinders and so forth. I actually have the hard parts of the power control pretty much complete, just have no clue what it will connect to yet.

Good stuff, keep it coming as the majority of the "issues" submitted thus far can be resolved with some pretty basic systems.

Regards,
Don
Don,
IMHO The important consideration here is when not how. A simple device that could be zeroed once on any flat surface of the coach and then used to determine when level in all four directions.
Bob.
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Old 11-25-2008, 11:03 PM   #48
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Robert,

Ya, that's exactly what it would do. However, it would get in situations where it hits full extend, no movement, requests for blocks on left rear and so on. I designed a front end alighnment equipment for Snap On tools early in my career and clearly know how to measure anlges, tilt and so on. If I could still locate similar sensors it would be easily done from a "control perspective", but again, it needs someone whom wants to get into the hardware business; brackets, cylinders, pump and so forth. I can handle the controls but really don't have the time to complete the "iron". The other is safety, as can you say lawsuit? Although auto leveling would be possible, can you imagine some kid putting his hand or worse under a cylinder as it is extending? In industrial controls, at punch presses, you have two buttons, one for each hand, both must be pushed for the press to come down, the intent being a hand can not be in the punch press at the time. Buttons have to be release and pushed, so no cheating, and so on. Problem is we live in a country full of lawyers, and my guess is you would need an "Emergency Stop" button at each cylinder. I may be wrong, but these are the "other" types of issues involved, which can be solved, but need to be clearly marked. I think this would be a "really nice" system and, as you say, I think many would really like it due to the convenience. Just need someone whom wants to do "all the other stuff" to get this one done.
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Old 11-26-2008, 06:57 AM   #49
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Don,

I would be satisfied with the cheap version, without all the pumps and cylinders.
The trailer being different than a MH, without a convient place to mount the "jacks." Our stabilizers are just that, meant only to keep from rock'n and roll'n once level. They can be quickly deployed with a cordless drill/driver. There are only a few points under an Airstream that can support the weight of the coach. Most located to close too the axles to be of much use for leveling.
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:29 AM   #50
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cheap version?

Robert,

Excuse me for being dense, but you will be seeing something here I hate in others, but this time it is me! Guess that's why marketing guys call it "market research" which is a nice way to say; "I don't know what I am doing, want to do a product, so tell me what I should do!"

Earlier someone said leveling was a lot of grunt work that people would like to eliminate or reduce; I get that. You said leveling was important for things like refrigerators, I also get that. Someone wanted "auto level", which is the cadillac of a system, and I can understand that. You mentioned these drill operated jacks to stabilize a trailer, which I can understand that also. You and others have mentioned there are only a couple valid "lift points" on an airstream trailer to level it, and I get that, although I have not researched these yet. I did locate an airstream dealer here in the Milwaukee area, and will probably give them a visit this coming weekend to "educate myself" on this topic. When doing systems I am a firm believer in defining the ideal cadillac device at the top of the stairs, the baseline device at the bottom of the stairs, and then define the functionality combinations desired between the top stair and the bottom stair, or the "product line". I then design the top step, strip out stuff for the bottom step, and then eveything looks like it was actaully intended to "plug together" to extend a bottom stair to the top stair device if, and when, such enhancements are desired. Right now I have the "power control" stuff designed, interface to determine "level", various optional "user interfaces", optional network interface and so on.

Your last message stated you would be satisfied with what I generally call the "poor mans version" or "the baseline product". However, I am not certain what functionality that entails, as I may be confusing "lifting" with "stabilizing". What features would you want the "baseline" functionality to include? Your input would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,
Don
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:55 AM   #51
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Baseline= Something to help knowing, when parking alone or when the DW is busy elsewhere, when the coach is level and or which side is off and approx how much. One nice feature would be a portable readout in TV. Once the sender is zeroed anywhere in the coach the same location could be used each time.
Been trying to post photos, but the manage attachments box is not responding, anyone else having trouble?
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:34 AM   #52
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trailer research market research

How is leveling a problem? I have a simple 12" straight edge with a bubble level in my tool bag. I pull my '65 Globetrotter in the spot, open my door and put the level on the floor and bingo. I can level my trailer in a matter of minutes. It is actually kinda fun. Have a great Thanksgiving, Kenny
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Old 11-26-2008, 03:36 PM   #53
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baseline

Robert,

I think my receiver is working. Bottom line is you would love to push a button and it say;
Left Front = 0",
Right Front = 5",
Left Rear = 19",
Right Rear = 21"

You then put stand under the 0" corner first, raise each one by specified amount, and in theory, the trailer would now be level. No running back and forth, making an adjustment here or there, just one setting on each corner and you are done. Who cares what device you use to lift it, blick it or whatever, you just need to know the amount. Is that what you mean?

In reality, rather than the example I gave, the values would probably be "negative" in the front, meaning go down, and less positive in the rear making the value of each adjustment less. Obviously, one adjustment affects the other adjustments, but in the ideal world, before any adjustment is made the above "change by values" would be added/subtacted with the current height at each point before any adjustment is made, and once made, trailer would be level.

If so, that could be done, and kind of separtes the "how much adjustment" from "how it is done", which is kind of nice. Let me know if I "lost it" or this is close to the need.
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Don
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Old 11-26-2008, 04:10 PM   #54
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Don,
It's really only only necessary to level on 4 axis, front, rear, left, right.
If we are low in the street side, estimate amount and move trailer onto leveling blocks, adjust tongue jack to level front to rear. Once level lower stabilizers and install wheel chocks. I think the photos will make it more clear.
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Old 11-28-2008, 08:02 PM   #55
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Robert,

Yep, that's clear. I woud guess that for the refrigerator to work properly this would be necessary. So in effect you currently use a 3 point leveling with tires being two and the front being the third. Then you lower those sizzor jacks to stabilize. So does everyone do this every time they camp? You actually pull the trailer on, and off, the blocks to get close to level from side to side?

Did a quick level/plumb sensor prototype today and it worked very well. I now need to complete the electronic/software interface to actually measure "x" and "y" directions for tilt.

Given the degrees tilt in x and y direction, and if I know the distance between adjustment points I guess I could tell you how much to raise and/or lower each of these three points. Additionally we could obviously do an auto level given four jack points.

I can see where this could sometimes be a bit of a pain to do, probably results in "close enough to level" using the approach shown. Thanks a lot for the pictures as it leaves nothing to the imagination.

Regards,
Don
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Old 11-28-2008, 10:10 PM   #56
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Tarheel mentioned the KISS concept, and I couldn't agree more!

Electric stabalizer jacks are nice...but they are more expensive and heavier than stock, mechanical jacks...there is also additional wiring to power them, adding another 'system' to maintain, etc...

I use a battery powered impact wrench instead of a drill to operate the stock stabalizing jacks...it's quick and it can be used on lug nuts if a wheel/tire needs changing, etc.

Quick, simple, and can be used elsewhere...KISS, indeed!
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