Power to go camping off grid with no access to electrical power, that is! Over the years in my writing with MotoIQ, there are two vehicles that I constantly refer to. First and most obvious is my NX1600 that is also known as the NX GTi-R. The second vehicle is my 2000 Ford E450 Triple E RV – which has popped up as a cameo in numerous articles like James Houghton’s racing at Buttonwillow to full articles like a tuning update and Air Lift air bag replacement. This vehicle has served us for over ten years now and we have some upgrades that we want to share with you. Things that have improved the RV experience for us and our family. Plus, RV (pronounced ‘arvey if you really want to know) serves as my tow vehicle. It is tough to be at the race track with a full fridge, stove, bathroom, bed and so on. But I can live with it. In fact, maybe I cannot live without it!
The focus of this article is what we have done to extend the RV’s house batteries so that they last longer with heavy usage. And by heavy usage I literally mean that. We go camping with my grandson, Emmett, who you may have met in previous articles “A DIY Toddler’s Wheelchair” and my Off-Grid Battery Power Supply. As my grandson is medically fragile, he requires medical grade equipment to be with him at all times. You may not see it during the daytime, but during quiet time and especially at night all of this equipment needs to be powered. Each of them has a small built-in battery back-up but that is usually only designed for minutes and not hours. It is not easy to get me to do something unless I see the value in doing it; amazingly, everything Emmett wants me to do I see the value! Or anything that I think will be beneficial for Emmett, I drop everything else and do it. In other words, Emmett has his grandpa wrapped about his little finger. I will do anything I can to make him happy and his life more comfortable.
You see, on August 19, 2015 when Emmett was just 5 months old he was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy – and further he was identified as having Type 1 which is the most severe level of this rare disease. From birth his parents watched as movement slipped away from their amazing bundle of joy. The devastation our family felt with this diagnosis was huge, magnified when the specialists informed us that there was no treatment for this genetic disease. That he would never walk. Never again hold things – we literally saw his ability to grasp things slip away from him. Never hold his head up. Lose the ability to swallow so he must be tube fed. Lose the ability to breathe! Yes, there was the potential that he would require equipment to breathe for him. Even now, Emmett uses a bi-pap machine (a more complex version of the more commonly known C-Pap machine adults use for sleep apnea) about 14 hours a day. There was a chance that he would require a tracheotomy but that has never been necessary. Believe me when I say that the devastation that hit our family was real. In automotive terms, his ECU was fine. In fact, his ECU is like a finely tuned stand-alone. His drivetrain was fine. But the engine harness was deteriorating at a pace so rapidly that the prognosis was terrifying. As a result, the drivetrain doesn’t move. Think about it, how do you replace the nervous system inside the spinal column?