Archive for February, 2017

Portable heater fuel consumption and issues

With 2 disposable propane bottles of 22 kBTU (thousand BTU also sometimes MBU) each, an 18 kBTU/hour heater should run for 2.4 hours. Still going strong after 3 hours made for a puzzle. For the first clue there was the manual noting that the high heat setting with the 18 kBTU/hour rating required 2 bottles. A second clue is seen in taking a look at the propane bottles. (see Amazon for these heaters and accessories)

note the frost on the bottle! The bottle gets cold enough for that frost because the liquid propane evaporates to provide the vapor for the heater and evaporation needs heat. That much frost indicates that the rate of evaporation was quite high for the size of the bottle. That implies that the heater was running a bit starved so its propane use was a bit less than its full specification. That is why it ran for longer than a simple calculation of fuel stored versus fuel use rate would indicate.

One way around this would be to use a larger propane tank like the one on your RV. That has a lot larger surface area for the liquid propane which means a higher evaporation rate and larger vapor flow possible out of the tank. For that, the issue is pipe size and fittings. The Engineering Toolbox has a page on propane gas pipe sizing that can provide a starting point. Note that 3/8 copper tubing is common in RV’s for appliances. The water heater may run at 15 kBTU/hr, a stovetop burner at 5 kBTU/hr, and a furnace at up to 30 kBTU/hr. The propane in your system is low pressure at 11 inches water column or about 0.4 PSI above ambient (i.e. gauge pressure). The heater in the picture has a quick connect fitting for attachment to low pressure propane sources on the other side. 

Mr. Heater advertises a kit for connecting the heater to a low pressure RV system. It has a 3/8 flare one end, a 12′ length of 1/4 inch flexible hose, and a quick connect to attach to the heater (their two larger models have a connector for this this built in) on the other end. The 3/8 is the common fitting on RV systems. The 1/4 hose should be able to deliver sufficient gas for the high heat setting but the quick connect fitting says its rating is 16 kBTU/hr – a bit short. Note also that there are a variety of quick connect fittings for propane and you need to be very careful to use the right ones for a proper gas tight fit. The Mr. Heater fittings have automatic shutoff on disconnect for both ends and not all such fittings do.

You can also get fittings to connect a propane tank to the high pressure fitting on the heater where the bottles usually go. The problem to watch out for when using this method is the aromatic oil they put in propane so you can smell leaks, even small ones. Mr. Heater has a filter to use to keep this from gumming up the heater. 

It is also interesting that the Mr. Heater auxiliary tank kits have warnings that they are for outdoor use only even though the RV kit is advertised for inside the RV heater connections. There are also California Cancer warnings. And there are propane warnings. And there are combustion inside warnings. So many warnings tends to flood the zone and hide what is really important. If you use one of these heaters you need to make sure that there are no leaks. Mr. Heater suggests the soapy solution bubble method on all fittings. Your RV should also have functioning RV rated detectors for combustible gas and carbon monoxide. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of these gases and know what to do if you have any suspicion that you’ve got them or if any detector sounds an alarm. Take care. Stay warm safe.

Comments off

Are you a photographer of just a camera operator?

A.B. Watson at the Photography Blog asks the question. In looking at photo collections he wonders “Where is the photographer’s unique thumbprint, aside from on top of their shutter button?” What makes the picture special?

When people think about photography they think of cameras. They look at a photo and say I could have done that. If they were in that exact moment, they wouldn’t be wrong. That is if they had the technique and knowledge, with a few dedicated days to learn it. Which amazingly anyone can get on the internet, now just a click away. What makes a photo historic is its ability to capture a moment. Photography is mainly used as an archive medium. That’s all well and good if that’s all you use photography for. Many people love photography for this aspect alone. But for me, that just makes you a camera operator, not an artist.

You feel the something when you are there, something that prompted you to pull out your camera. Can you capture any of that feeling when you take a picture for your memory book? 

I feel that the collective group of photographers out there aren’t putting their own brush strokes into their work. We aren’t capturing an idea, rather just a moment. The majority of us are camera operators, obsessed about settings and techniques. Instead of focusing on concepts and our own unique vision. So what’s the meaning behind your work? Where does your camera end, and your idea begin?

Learn more about the craft from studying what you like about the photographs of others. Hit a YouTube video or other resource to improve your knowledge, understanding, and skill. Look for your own pictures that stand out above the others and try to learn what it is that makes it a special picture.

Comments off

Lehto on What You Need to Know Before You Buy an RV

A 19 minute video on YouTube: What You Need to Know Before You Buy an RV – Lehto’s Law Ep. 3.19. Steve Lehto is an attorney in Michigan who has practiced in the fields of Lemon Law and Consumer Protection for 24 years.

I have warned of the problems that come with RV ownership but I know many people are intent on buying them anyway. In that case, here is what you need to know and what you can do BEFORE you buy an RV to protect yourself.”

His basic advice is to make sure to get a prospective purchase inspected whether new or used. If you are not RV familiar, rent one to camp out in an RV park where you can talk to others and find out if an RV is really going to be your thing. He also suggests buying a used RV direct from the owner so you can also get a feel for the character of the person who is selling and find out why it is being sold.

A lot of good advice in the video. Caveat Emptor [wikipedia]

Comments off

An ampitheater out towards Fernley?

From the Road: Talus Stripes and Shorelines along the Truckee River

It was a late fall day, and I stopped along Route 447 to see if I could get close to some of the brilliantly colored trees along the Truckee River a few miles north of Wadsworth. I didn’t end up finding a good spot for pics of fall colors—other than maybe this one taken down near the Numana Hatchery—but I did find lots of wonderful talus stripes and some Lake Lahontan shorelines.

At two stops a little farther to the north, at and near the junction of 447 with Chicken Road and at the Historic Marker 448 pullout, I grabbed a hodgepodge of photos.

A good portion of the river in this area runs parallel or sub-parallel to Walker Lane strike-slip faults. Wadsworth Amphitheater, which shows up in the Google Earth images

Maybe she’ll help you see things you never noticed before when heading east out of Reno on I80.

Between this and that Flyover Country app described earlier there’s no excuse for not knowing about the country you visit.

Comments off

Metropolitan Museum of Art Images resourse

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Makes 375,000 Images of Fine Art Available Under a Creative Commons License: Download, Use & Remix – In partnership with Creative Commons, they’ve released them all under the latter’s CC0, or “no rights reserved” license, which places them “as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.”

Between this and the capabilities of a modern copy shop — maybe Eric Larson’s new shop (see the December 2016 SNU newsletter) – you can get some classy decoration for your RV!

Comments off

Is this you on tour?

It started with a link to a post about young men from Animal House to Zulu that lead to a post from the same author — When Nerds Travel. That has a list, here are some of the items.

  • You hit the museum book-n-stuff shop first, then go to the museum.
  • Modern: your e-reader is loaded with local and regional history. Coming back, your luggage is full of books and maps even though . . .
  • You plan your family trips on a theme, such as the Oregon Trail this year, then the fur trapper rendezvous, then the Mormon Trail, then Civil War battlefields, then US colonial history, and so on.
  • Someone asks you where you got that lovely silk scarf and you say, “The gift shop at the Prado. It was part of an exhibition on pre-Reconquista art and it is based on a pattern from the third main room of the Alhambra.” (True story but not me)
  • You plan your vacation around museums and zoos and planetaria* and botanical gardens.

Check out the full list. Maybe you can add to it?

Comments off

SNU February 2017

SNU Folks,

The February 2017 Newsletter has been posted Links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can also be found there.

Topics in the February newsletter January lunch review -|- February lunch -|- Welcome to Shelly Hargraves -|- R12 ballot -|- Nellie the Airstream -|- Spreading the Word -|- Remembering Dan Randall -|- Airstream Art -|- New Year, New Traditions -|- Trip Diaries, Logs and Blogs -|- 2017 Return of Winter -|- Randy & Vicki’s Creations

February Luncheon in Gardnerville The SNU February lunch will be in a new location – El Aguila Real in Gardnerville. The date is Saturday February 25, 2017 at 11:30 am. El Aguila is located at 1488 hwy 395. Parking is behind the building.  The menu is extensive and includes some American dishes as well as some unique Mexican dishes. Please RSVP via phone: 775 972 9392 or Email: hq@sierranevadaairstreams.org. For more information and pictures check the website

Keep Informed about the SNU

— 

SNU HQ 

Comments off