Smart technology is streamlining different aspects of our lives. Why not embrace it in our vacation homes and travel vehicles? For RV owners, there are endless options when it comes to upgrading to a smart RV.
Before we talk about how to make your RV smart, let’s discuss what it takes for a recreational vehicle to be termed as a smart RV?
Smart RV technology involves using smart devices and technology in RVs to add portability, accessibility, and convenience. This includes digital controls, wireless technology, lighting, voice controls, a touchscreen user interface, and much more.
When it comes to upgrading your RV using smart technology, it may seem overwhelming. However, we have put together things you need to add to make your RV smart home.
Let’s discuss some of the must-haves smart gadgets for RV you should consider adding;
You have invested a lot of money and effort into making your RV look great. In fact, calling your RV a big investment is an understatement because you are looking at tens of thousands of dollars rolling around on four tires. Because it is something that is envied by many people, you would want to go the extra mile and protect it from people who would like to take it away from you.
One of the ways to keep your RV secure is by investing in a security system. The fact is that you will encounter different scenarios in the course of your movement. Whether it is a flat tire or break-in, you must be prepared for anything while on the road. This is why you should invest in an RV security system so as to have peace of mind.
There are several security systems you can consider including;
Door and window alarms. These devices will trigger the alarm or send a notification to your smartphone. They can be as simple as drop bars or deadbolts.
Perimeter systems. These work by placing virtual fences around your campsite. They activate your alarm when the perimeter is crossed.
Integrated system. These are the best and most advanced as they combine different elements including motion-triggers, video surveillance, etc.
Overall, having a security system for your RV is a must-have to keep you safe from potential thieves. It will also give you peace of mind.
I am sure you will be asking yourself why you should upgrade your RV speakers. Well, there are a few reasons for this;
- Better sound quality. It’s true that most RVs do not come with great-sounding speakers. That’s why you need to upgrade to better-quality speakers for clearer sound. Most of these top-tier speakers have multiple drivers including midranges, tweeters, etc.
- They come in better-looking and quality materials that withstand harsh weather
- They are affordable
Now that you are convinced to get outdoor speakers, it is important to mention that they are available in different kinds including;
- Coaxial speaker, which is also known as a full-range speaker. They have a woofer for lower sounds and tweeters for higher sounds.
- Component speakers. These give the best audio for the listener as they feature each part of the speaker as an independent part. This means you have full control over the balance of sound you want.
When buying outdoor speakers, consider the type of audio system you want, quality, sensitivity, space in your RV, and features you are interested in, among other factors.
In the end, you should not find it overly challenging to find the best outdoor speaker for your RVs since there are plenty of good options in the market.
If you seriously want to transform your RV into a smart RV or you want to simplify routine tasks, an Echo is the way to go. There are many things an Echo can do to make your life on the go more fun and convenient.
For instance, Amazon Echo is compatible with many smart devices and can operate different smart home RV products. The main protocols are ZigBee, WiFi, Z-Wave, and Bluetooth.
It also makes shopping a breeze as you can order items from vendors like Amazon. You can just ask Alexa to find smart home RV products for you and tell you the price. You can even tell it to order it for you, although there are exclusions.
This smart device can also stream sports and music, and thus keep you entertained. There are many things you can do with Amazon Echo, which makes it another product you cannot afford to miss out on.
With Anova precision cooking equipment, you can cook restaurant-quality foods consistently in your RV. High-end restaurants use these cooking appliances to cook foods and you can do the same. This cooker utilizes precise temperature in a water bath. This is why food comes out delicious as food ingredients do not lose flavor or get overcooked.
With precise temperature control, Anova precision cooking equipment offers the following benefits;
- Consistency. because you cook your food at a precise temperature for a set amount of time, you can expect consistent results
- Delicious taste. Ingredients cook in its juices, which results in food that is tender, juicy, and moist
- Flexibility. Traditional cooking calls for your attention when cooking. Precision cooking doesn’t require you to keep checking your meals as they cannot overcook.
Cooking devices by Anova can help to take your cooking in your RV to another level and makes your cooking easier as you don’t have to monitor your food when cooking.
A WiFi thermostat refers to a thermostat that can connect to internet without the need for a wired connection. It is programmable, and thus you can control it via the internet using your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. In other words, a Wi-Fi thermostat allows you to access and control your cooking and heating system through the internet.
With this smart device in your RV, you can alter the temperature in your RV remotely, which means you can control fans by switching them on or off.
Also, you will be aware of conditions of different systems in your RV such as the HVAC system, even when you are not in your RV. You can arrange for their service to prevent the problems from worsening.
Overall, a Wi-Fi thermostat allows you to monitor and manage multiple devices from your location as if you are on-site. You can also collect data about their health and energy usage.
You may ask, why do I need RV refrigerator fans? Picture this- temperatures are high, and your RV refrigerator fan is working harder than usual to keep your food cold. You reach insider your fridge to take a beer and realize your drink is not as cold as you had hoped. Why is this so?
Your RV refrigerator fan is supposed to keep your fridge at steady temperatures, regardless of temperatures on the outside. However, the RV refrigerator is different from the residential fridge in terms of operation.
A residential fridge uses electric compressors to keep foods and drinks cold. An RV refrigerator uses a unique heat absorption system (convection or air draft) to keep things cool. This means a refrigerator fan is an important addition to your RV to avoid overworking your inbuilt refrigerator fan.
However, while RV refrigerator fans come in different shapes and sizes, you should avoid battery-operated ones as they can be difficult to reach when you want to change batteries.
12-Volt Smart TV
Having entertainment during those long RV trips is a must. It helps you beat monotony and relax in small blocks of time. If you are traveling as a group, you can kill cabin fever by taking a movie or watch your favorite shows in your RV. A smart TV feels like a lifesaver when the weather outside is unfavorable, and you still want to be entertained. That’s why it’s necessary to have a high quality and energy-efficient television on-board.
A 12-volt television is an ideal choice for RVs, and here is why- unlike regular televisions, a 12-volt television uses less power. In fact, these can fit straight into a 12V battery without the need for an inverter.
Moreover, regular TVs may not withstand the vibrations that occur when driving on an open road. On the other hand, an RV TV has been strengthened with internal chassis, which mounts them securely. Apart from withstanding shocks and vibrations, RV televisions can take extreme temperatures as well.
Finally, most decent RV TVs come with high picture quality for better viewing experience. Some have a variety of ports including USB, HDMI, and AC/DC, which allows you to connect to your computer and use it as a monitor.
Another thing to dress your RV is a great showerhead. A recreational vehicle showerhead is useful for directing water spray in a shower. This bathroom fixture provides a full flow and amazing shower experience – like the ones you get in a spa. A modern showerhead saves on water and energy, so it’s a worthy addition.
There are different types of RV showerheads including:
Single spray: These are inexpensive but effective. They contain an adjustable nozzle to enable you to change the water pattern. Very simple to use.
Rain Showerhead: These are flat and large to spray water over a large surface area. They save on water and look elegant in your bathroom.
Handheld Showerhead: Just like the name suggests, these are highly flexible, allowing easy detachment from the wall. It also comes with a long hose that makes bathing enjoyable, quick and easy.
Multiple/Dual showerheads: This type is arguably the most convenient to use. The design allows water to stream from more than one place and usually controlled from a single lever. Some models may have a diverter valve allowing the user to choose between a variety of showers.
If you spend most of your time in remote locations and campgrounds, you probably hook up the local power system and pay the associated fee. Installing a solar panel could be more convenient and end up saving you money. Environment-conscious individuals will find it satisfying harnessing power from sunlight.
Although RV panels may not be used for larger appliances, it provides enough to recharge small devices and kitchen appliances. If you are an RV owner, a solar panel can be a prudent addition to your lifestyle and travel. Although you need to spend some time installing it on your RV, it lessens your energy consumption without demanding anything on your part.
There are various types of RV Solar Panels as below:
Polycrystalline – This type is one of the most common in recreational vehicles mainly because it’s cheap. It contains small solar crystals made of silicon. They harness less than 1% of what monocrystalline solar panels produce. Still, it’s enough to charge small devices and appliances.
Monocrystalline – This is by far the most effective because it yields an impressive amount of power. It is constructed using one block of silicon and can produce enough power even in low light conditions.
Amorphous – these produce the lowest output of power, but costs less. They are usually constructed by spreading silicon on a bed.
Another excellent power source in your RV is a generator. Depending on the wattage of your generator, they can offer enough power for anything from your phone to your kitchen appliances. There are different types of generators based on the fuel they use.
Diesel generators may be noisier and smellier than other types. The major advantage is they burn cleaner, meaning you get more use with one tank compared to gasoline. These are rare to find.
The most common type of fuel is gas. Most RV vehicles use this because it’s relatively inexpensive. Better yet, gas generators offer a dual fuel option that allows you to use both gas and propane.
Nowadays, propane has become a common fuel in RV generators. This is because it’s readily available and cleaner than either gas or diesel.
Backup cameras have lately become a standard for RVs, trucks, and cars. They add a lot of safety as you can easily see anyone behind you and also makes backing up easier. Putting a backup camera on your RV gives you a better rearview mirror. This can be advantageous in the sense that you can check for pets, cars, kids, and obstacles when you are backing up.
Since RVs are not the fastest vehicles on the road, many drivers tailgate them. Unfortunately, when they are too close, you don’t see them. Having a backup camera allows you to see cars behind you and this eliminates the blind spot issues.
Also, if you have belongings outside on a carrier behind your RV, you would want to ensure they are intact and safe, and there is no better way to do that than using your backup camera to check their condition.
Considering backup cameras are becoming standard safety equipment for many drivers, you can find cameras of different sizes and shapes. RV cameras are typically mounted near the roof to offer a larger area of view. Therefore, get one with infrared lights for nighttime as you will not have the benefit of using backup lights of your car.
You can’t be so sure that you will be getting the best cell phone signal in all places you travel. A cellular booster works each time there is a weak phone reception that can be caused by many reasons.
One possible cause is location. Driving in the interior places that are extremely far from the tower can affect the quality of your signal.
Also, there may be obstructions such as trees and mountains. Another reason for weak signal is your recreational vehicle, because some RVs have materials that tend to block your cell phone signal. Regardless of the reason for your weak signal, having a reliable cell phone booster for RV is worth it.
Some of the benefits of having a cellular booster in your RV include:
– It improves the quality of your calls
– May speed up downloads and uploads
– Enables you to connect via text messages
– Offers extended coverage
– Saves on battery life since the antennae is close your device
Investing on the best cell phone booster can save you from many situations and make your life more pleasurable.
Vent Fan (With Rain Sensor)
It’s obvious about what RV roof vent fans do: they ventilate your RV. Just like car windows, the best roof vents allow you to open the lid manually or automatically. If you are using a manual option, you need to initiate an upward swing from the inside of a vehicle. Though you may have to do it time after time, the hassle isn’t really much of a bother.
But some people feel different as they find the automatic Vent lid more appealing. Though you will have to spend a little more, an automatic vent fan will make your life much easier. Some automatic models come with rain sensors that detect rain and close to prevent water from leaking inside.
In case of cold inside the RV, having a high quality vent fan will send hot air through the roof, which dries the air and creates a gentle breeze. During summer days when the heat is unbearable, an RV vent fan pushes the hot air through the room and pulls in air through an open window.
Temperature Monitoring Device
Are you planning to travel with your pets in an RV.? This can be fun, but there will be times when you want to leave them in the RV. One way to protect them from excessive temperatures is using a high-quality temperature monitor to alert you when it’s too cold or hot. You can monitor the temperatures through your smartphone as most of these devices connect to WIFI.
Apart from keeping your pets safe, a temperature monitor protects your RV from extremely high or low temperatures. Note that if your camper is exposed to extreme temperatures some components can fail. For instance, freezing can burst the pipes and cables can overheat. Knowing the temperatures can save you from expensive repairs.
Portable Satellite Dish
Going for outdoor trips in RV camper with your family can be a good way to bond. However, this means there are days when you will lack modern conveniences of technology. You can make things easier by investing in a portable satellite TV dish made for RVs.
A portable satellite dish refers to an antenna that receives internet services and satellite TVs. This is the perfect choice for people who love to travel to interior places, but still want to enjoy some of modern life’s conveniences.
With this satellite dish, you can enjoy a strong internet signal, great TV experience, and much more. You can stream movies in HD and follow your favorite shows. Also, it helps you to stay updated with current events.
When buying a portable satellite dish, keep in mind that there are additional hardware items you will need including satellite receiver, power source, tripod, and service provider.
Indoor Propane Heater
Heating an RV is different from heating a home. While your RV may be insulated, you will still need heaters. A big factor to consider when getting an RV heater is the type of heater you intend to use as well as the electric power supply it uses. An RV gives you the freedom to travel where you want, and this means that there will be times when you find yourself far from electric power supply. That’s why you need an indoor propane heater.
They are cheaper to run than electric heaters and can heat up your RV fast. When buying an indoor propane heater, keep in mind that they come in different styles- portable and permanent. Portable heaters can be moved easily, but they tend to have limited heating capability. On the other hand, permanent propane heaters are installed on the inside wall of your RV and need a larger tank to operate. These may not be ideal for your RV.
Another thing to look into is safety features. Because of the dangers posed by poisonous gases emitted by these heaters, it is important that you go for one with tip protectors, overheat protection, and oxygen depletion sensors.
RV electrical systems and appliances require a consistent level of voltage to operate effectively and safely. Sometimes this doesn’t happen as you will find instances when there is a defective power line, there are interruptions caused by a lightning storm, etc.
When voltage swings too high or drops too low, your RV appliances, TVs, computers, and other devices can be severely damaged, which is why you need RV surge protectors.
When buying surge protectors keep in mind that they are of two types; surge protectors and energy management systems (EMS).
Surge protectors protect your RV from shore power issues at the pedestal and shut down if power supply swings too high or drops too low.
On the other hand, an EMS will do the above in addition to managing how your RV appliances use power to avoid overloading or straining your RVs electrical system.
If you don’t have a lot of appliances, a surge protector is enough for you. However, if your RV has plenty of appliances, an EMS will be ideal.
The above smart devices not only make your vacations or trips convenient but also safe. These devices make it easier for you to relax when on the go so that you can enjoy your holidays. You don’t have to invest in all of them at once; you can do it gradually. With time, you will have a complete RV smart home.