February 11, 2024
By Bob Kelly

Information regarding Starlink changes on a weekly basis.  Please visit for the latest technical data, plans and updates.

Starlink 101

Starlink offers a number of antennas, and frequently changes the names of the antennas. One is no longer offered for sale. The  antennas are:

  • Starlink Standard – non actuated antenna with a static mount
  • Starlink Standard Actuated – Actuated antenna with a static mount, allegedly no longer available for purchase (2/11/2024)
  • Starlink Flat high performance with wedge mount – allegedly the only approved antenna for in motion use (2/11/2024)
  • Starlink V2 High Performance – Actuated antenna with stand
  • Starlink V2 Standard antenna with stand –data unavailable (2/11/2024)
  • Starlink round antenna (Unavailable).

The original antenna worked on two channels, the new one works on three. The new antennas provide enhanced performance, additionally, the new satellite dish’s Wi-Fi modem is now waterproof and can operate outside in more varied weather conditions, between -22 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (-30 to 50 degrees Celsius).

The High Performance actuated antenna has a field of view of 140 degrees and the High Performance Antenna is better at dealing with obstructions than the V2 antenna. The High Performance Antenna has a wider field of view, making more satellites visible and able to be communicated with. Power consumption is reported to be from 110W to 150W.

The High Performance flat antenna has a field of view of 140 degrees and is better at dealing with obstructions than the V2 antenna. The High Performance Antenna has a wider field of view, making more satellites visible and able to be communicated with. Power consumption is reported to be from 110W to 150W. It is advertised to be survivable to 175MPH.

Starlink Standard, non actuated antenna with a static mount has a field of view of 110 degrees, vs 100 degrees for the Standard dish, with software assisted manual orienting. Power consumption is reported to be from 70W to 100W.

Starlink Standard, actuated antenna has a field of view of 100 degrees. Power consumption is reported to be from 50W to 75W.

The performance of your connection will depend mainly on your service plan, and the amount of Starlink users in your area, not your hardware choice. The High Performance equipment stands out when it comes to reliability and performance in harsh weather. Since the electronic phased array antenna on the High Performance dish is much larger, and the power supply is more powerful, the dish that can power through rain, snow, and ice better than the Standard version. Priority data has network precedence over Standard and Mobile data, so as a result, users will experience faster and more consistent download and upload speeds.

There are a number of plans.

  • Standard
  • Priority –
  • Mobile
  • Mobile Priority

Standard Plan

The Standard Plan is intended for use in a permanent location. The plan has unlimited data, and the price is currently $120 per month. Starlink recommends the Standard Antenna.

Priority Plan

The Priority Plan is intended for use in a permanent location. The plan has data on a sliding usage scale. A 40 GB per month plan is $140 a month.  A 1TB per month plan is $250 a month. A 2TB per month plan is $550 a month. After the Priority allotment is consumed, Standard Data connectivity will be provided. Priority Data is available at a GB charge.  Starlink recommends the Flat High Performance Antenna with wedge mount.

Roam (Mobile) Plan

The Mobile Plan is intended for portability, and will work when the antenna is in motion. You are allowed to pause service. The plan has unlimited data, and the price is currently $150 per month for regional mobility (The United States). Mobile Priority Data is available by the GB charge. The price is currently $200 per month for global mobility. Starlink recommends the Standard Antenna.

Mobile Priority Plan

The Mobile Priority Plan is intended for in motion Ocean use, Network Priority and Priority Support. The plan will work when the antenna is in motion. The plan has unlimited inland data. The plan has data on a sliding usage scale. A 50 GB per month plan is $250 a month.  A 1TB per month plan is $1,000 a month. A 5TB per month plan is $5,000 a month. Additional Priority is available at a GB charge. Starlink recommends the Flat High Performance Antenna with wedge mount.


The Best Effort tier currently offers advertised download speeds from 5 to 50Mbps. Download speeds are often higher in areas that do not have a concentration of users. In contrast, the standard residential tier offers speeds from 20 to 100Mbps. Users can have download speeds between 25 and 220 Mbps, with a majority of users experiencing speeds over 100 Mbps. Upload speeds are typically between 5 and 20 Mbps.


According to the internet site, for SD quality, 1Mbps will work. However, Netflix notes a faster connection will mean improved video quality. Peacock states that the recommended speed for preminum content is 8 Mbps, and 4K content requires 25Mbps. HD streaming generally requires between 3 Mbps and 5Mbps. Other sources state that for 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) the requirement is between 15Mbps and  25Mbps. The next question is how many RV’s are equipped with 4K televisions?


Starlink Roam costs more (and has slower speeds) than Starlink Standard. However, Starlink Roam allows users to take their internet access on the go, and use the service while the antenna is in motion, while Starlink Residential is assigned to a fixed home address, and reportedly will not work in motion.

Power Usage

The standard Starlink dish is reported to consume roughly 1 kilowatt hour of electricity in 24 hours. That’s just shy of the usable capacity in a 100 amp-hour lithium battery. The larger, in-motion dish is reported to use roughly twice as much power. The popular on line media opines that this can equate to a massive amount of increased power demand for many RVers.

In general, I’ve found the consumption is in the neighborhood of 6AHr., which over 12 Hrs is about 80 AHr.  However, I’ve found that about 400W of solar on the roof covers about 50% of the daily usage and still recharges the batteries. I have a combination of a High performance Flat mount wedge panel and the Mobile plan.  The system is powered by a Bestek 300AHr Pure Sine Inverter. In the same location, the system reconnects to satellites after being turned off and provides Internet service within 5 minutes.

Testing determined that at startup, the system (inverter, router, power supply and antenna) drew about 16Ahr, for a short period of time.  After acquiring satellites, and running nominally, the system drew between 5.5Ahr and 6.5 AHr. For my RV, with 6V GC batteries, this makes it a realistic addition to my camping.  Energy management becomes far more important. Time and several days of dry camping will determine what changes to my energy routine will be required. A week stay in Quartzsite revealed that with the sun low on the horizon, additional energy is needed to run the Starlink all day.  There was about a four hour window during the middle of the day where incoming energy from the solar panels exceeded the consumption of the system.  A 2,400W inverter generator was used to supplement power.

Lithium Batteries

September 5, 2023
By Collin Ray Tate

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries are both types of rechargeable lithium batteries, but they have some differences in terms of chemistry, characteristics, and applications.

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are commonly used in a wide range of devices such as smartphones, laptops, electric vehicles, and more. They offer high energy density, meaning they can store a lot of energy in a relatively small and lightweight package. Li-ion batteries have good energy efficiency and can provide high discharge currents, making them suitable for applications requiring high power output.

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries are a specific type of lithium-ion battery that uses lithium iron phosphate as the cathode material. These batteries are known for their stability, safety, and longer cycle life compared to traditional Li-ion batteries. LiFePO4 batteries are less prone to thermal runaway and overheating, making them a safer option for certain applications. They have a lower energy density compared to standard Li-ion batteries, which can affect their specific energy capacity and size. LiFePO4 batteries are often used in applications that prioritize safety, longevity, and reliability, such as electric vehicles, solar energy storage systems, and some industrial applications.

Standard Li-ion batteries are used in a broader range of devices where energy density and power output are key factors.


RV is not a Large SUV

By Bob Kelly
September 2019

I just realized that a RV is not a large SUV with more space.

The realization occurred upon my return from a 6,800 mile trip that started in mid July 2019. I brought my nieces, who are new to RV’s, with me.

There were a couple of things at the end of the trip, after 30 days of traveling, that provided insight as to why some new RV owners are timid/encounter problems with dry camping or boondocking. It was one of those AHA! moments. I’m sorry that I never saw the component before.

I came to RV’s with a strong backpacking/sailing background. In the late 70’s I owned a Backpacking shop in Upper Montclair, NJ. In the late 80’s I had a friend who owned a 35’ sloop that we moved from NJ to Newport, RI. Both experiences laid the foundation for my later RV trips.

An RV is not just a bigger SUV you can eat and sleep in, with more room for your dogs. The RV is a mobile city of one, and not just a house on wheels. If you only stay at RV parks with full hookups, you can stop reading, as you are essentially still at home, just in a different neighborhood.

At home, there is unlimited energy. Carelessness results in a bigger utility bill. Leaving the water run, or having a leak increases the quarterly water bill or makes your water pump run more. Energy and water at home are endless, and seldom a concern.

The RV, like the backpacker, or boat, must carry all of its water and energy, or find a location where
it’s available. If you have unlimited water, you must have unlimited sewer disposal.

The incidents that brought this to light, is the boost solenoid in my RV, that connects the house batteries to the alternator, broke. This wasn’t a problem prior, since I have 300 W of solar on the roof. Essentially, I was been dry camping for the bulk of the trip, since the alternator did not contribute anything to my energy budget.

My niece asked to plug in her laptop to a small laptop inverter. It was a cloudy and rainy day, but we were doing well on the batteries, so I said OK. Later in the day, when I checked the batteries they were at 40%. She left the charger plugged in. Not her fault, she didn’t understand the system. We had to run the generator.

Days later, it was shower night. I filled the water tank. It took 21 gallons to fill (I have a water meter). We did the standard 11 or 12 minutes of propane hot water heating, and then showered with just the hot water on. I did not realize that we had taken on some really soft water, and when you washed, it felt like the soap hadn’t rinsed off. The standard lather, shut off water, scrub and rinse turned into lather, shut off water, scrub and rinse, and rinse, and rinse. I was the last to shower and found my self standing in an inch of water in the shower basin.

Things were fixed so we had a dry shower pan, but we were essentially out of water. The girls had become very comfortable, and felt at home, but they weren’t at home, and that provided the revelation.

The RV, unlike home, requires you to monitor your energy availability and utility use. You must be aware of the energy you have at your disposal, and how you have been using it. The RV requires judicious use of water, and a conscious evaluation of where you are in your water budget. The RV requires that you monitor your waste tanks. None of these things are complicated or difficult, it’s just that they must be done. If you raise your awareness, and/or plan ahead, there are dump stations everywhere. Dry Camping/boondocking is just as comfortable as being in the most palatial RV resort except there generally is no AC, and the sites are much more open and less crowded.

Being able to manage your utilities provides you with the opportunity to go almost anywhere. It opens up some beautiful uncrowded places and parks. It just requires you to be a little bit in the utility business.

Solar and Batteries

Solar wattage and batteries are completely independent. Solar Panels collect energy (sunlight) convert it into electricity to be used/stored.

Batteries store energy chemically and deliver it as electricity. Lead acid batteries (flooded/AGM) have a particular chemistry and their charging profiles taper (you can’t put in as much electricity at the end as you did in the beginning, when the batteries were in a discharged state). As the flooded/AGM batteries get closer to being fully charged (the term float is applicable) the voltage that they can be charged at decreases. Read more “Solar and Batteries”

Electrical Management

One of the concerns expressed frequently is the occasional lack of plug in power.  Energy management is a good thing to master, regardless of where you camp.

There are two electrical systems in our RV’s.

The first system is a 12V Direct Current (DC) system that powers the interior lights, the refrigerator, the propane furnace, the entertainment center, the water pump, and the exhaust fans, and the energy for that is stored in the batteries. Stock batteries have the lowest energy storage capacity, and lithium batteries have the highest. The batteries are charged by the RV engine alternator, solar panels if installed, and the coach generator. Read more “Electrical Management”

Replacing Chassis Battery

By Don Paul
October 2, 2021

I just replaced our 8 year old original Mercedes (Varta) chassis battery in our 11VK with a $149.76 Platinum EverStart H8 AGM 5-year warranty battery from Walmart and learned a several things… So I’m posting a STEP-BY-STEP installation procedure to save others time & frustration:


  1. Walmart’s website shows “This item does not fit your 2011 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500″… but it is WRONG. It fits perfectly. What’s really wonky is when you click their “Find Items that fit” link it shows their EverStart Maxx LEAD ACID (non-AGM) batteries “fit”… but these lead acid batteries NEED open air venting which our Sprinter’s battery compartments don’t have. DUH. They’ve got it BACKWARDS… Our V/Ns need AGM batteries !!!
  2. SAVE YOUR RECEIPT !!! You’ll need it if you have a warranty claim. I suggest taking a picture of your receipt and saving it on your phone… AND taping the receipt completely covered in clear packing tape to your battery compartment lid where you’ll be able to find it years from now IF you need it.
  3. Extracting the existing battery was a bit tricky since the positive cable/terminal has a bank of fuses attached to it which took some doing to finesse this fuse bank out of the way to get the existing battery out. YouTube video helped
  4. WAIT 10 to 30 minutes after you’ve turned your Sprinter OFF and removed the key to prevent getting a CEL (“Check Engine Light”) after you’ve installed your new battery
  5. Disconnect your chassis battery from the Sprinter chassis by pulling the plug next to the accelerator pedal. ALL your chassis lights should go out.
  6. Remove the (3) T25 bolts holding down the plastic L-shaped piece with a battery icon stamped on top. Don’t drop the bolts on the ground… You may never find them again.
  7. Remove the molded grey rubber floor mat. Yes it can get hung up but it does just pull out
  8. Loosen (no need to remove) the (4) Torx bolts (T25) holding down the metal lid of the battery compartment. Slide it aft to remove the lid.
  9. Remove the Red plastic cover over the Positive (+) battery terminal
  10. Loosen the 10mm nut on the Negative (-) terminal and remove the cable from the terminal. You may need to twist the cable to get is “unstuck” from the battery terminal.
  11. Unplug the existing AGM battery vent from the front of the battery. It just pops right out.
  12. Locate the black plastic handle for the battery hold down at the front of the battery bay. PAY ATTENTION TO WHICH WAY IT IS ORIENTED so you know which way it goes back in. (50% chance of re-inserting it incorrectly = 100% frustration… Think USB plug insertion frustration)
  13. Remove the battery hold down by completely loosening the bolts from their threaded sockets. The bolts should stay in the battery hold down. I needed a ~ 10″ extension on my 10mm socket and task lighting to remove the 2 battery bolts at the bottom front of the dark battery compartment. They came out easily and pulling the handle for the hold down lifts it up and out of the way with the bolts attached.
  14. Remove both the Positive (+) cable from the battery post by loosening the 10mm nut on each hold down, then twisting the battery cables up… and move them out of the way of your battery.
  15. Push the old battery forward FIRST to remove it since there’s a fixed hold down on bottom the aft part of the battery compartment. Again hard to see since this compartment has Black parts on Black compartment with poor natural light (chassis lights are off because the battery is dead / disconnected)
  16. You need to be flexible and strong to remove the ~ 60 lb. battery since the steering wheel is above the battery and the driver’s seat & base are in the way too. I’m 64 years young and fit (thanks mountain biking) so not a problem for me… but others may want to have Walmart or someone else install it for you. Walmart will probably charge since this installation is another Mercedes over-engineered PITA that takes time AND skill. IF you have someone else install it, be SURE they put the Red plastic plug in the aft vent hole (see below)
  17. Remove the new new battery’s Black plastic cap from the Negative (-) terminal and the Red plastic cover from the Positive (+) terminal. DON’T TOSS THE RED COVER AWAY… it has a small Red plastic plug you need to insert in the vent hole in the aft (+) end of the battery. This isn’t obvious unless you RTFM which is a TINY 1″x1″ yellow square taped to the side of the battery with print so tiny you’ll need a magnifier to literally “read the fine print”. LOVE my iPhone’s built-in Magnifier feature for tasks like this!
  18. Lower the new battery into the compartment. Mine wasn’t easy doing it solo since the vent tube kept flopping into the battery compartment in the front BELOW the battery as did the fuse block on the Positive cable in the back. Helpful to have another set of hands or secure these out of the way before inserting the battery… or Yoga move to tip the battery in the hole with one hand then grab the vent tube with the other while lowering the battery in. Who needs a Yoga workout or lift weights when Mercedes provided a Home Workout ??? LOL
  19. Move the battery forward to connect the Positive terminal / fuse bank.
  20. Push the battery aft to insert it under the fixed aft battery hold down.
  21. Reattach the Red Mercedes (not EverStart battery) plastic cover over the Positive (+) terminal / cables
  22. Connect the vent tube to the vent hole at the center of the forward (Negative terminal) side of the battery. Confirm the tiny Red plug is still in place on the aft (Positive terminal) side of the battery.
  23. Reinstall the battery hold down by FIRST finding the 2 battery hold down bolt holes and the centering gizmo at the bottom of the dark battery compartment. Then lower the hold down bracket into the compartment lining up the bolts with the black bolt holes on the floor of the poorly lit black battery compartment. Yoga helps since the driver’s seat base has a sharp corner which loves to poke ribs (I have a bruise to prove it LOL). Hand tighten the hold down bolts… and check your new battery won’t move
  24. Reattach the Negative (-) terminal.
  25. Recheck BOTH the Negative (-) and Positive (+) terminals are securely attached. Re-tighten just to be sure… You’re connecting a powerful 900 CCA diesel battery !!!
  26. Reconnect the Negative battery cable to the terminal by the accelerator pedal. Your Sprinter should lights come on. WINNING !!!
  27. Replace the metal battery cover by sliding the holes over bolts… then pushing it forward so the bolt heads are above the bolt slots. You may need to move the black (+) and red (-) cables to get it to go back on smoothly. Check to make sure none of your battery / chassis cables are going to be crimped when you tighten the Torx bolts to the cover.
  28. Replace the grey rubber floor mat. You may need to push it forward to get it to fit correctly in the back so you can…
  29. Replace the L-shaped piece with a battery icon stamped on top and reinsert the (3) T25 bolts holding it down. Don’t drop the bolts on the ground… You may never find them again.
  30. Celebrate / Medicate for a job well done.

HOPEFULLY I didn’t leave any steps out… and I make no representations that I didn’t AND/OR these are the same steps you need to replace your Sprinter’s chassis battery. YMMV. If you’re not sure have a professional install it for you.


Upper Brake Light Replacement

By Bob Swor
March 31, 2010

My fellow travelers have been complaining about my partially burned out LED upper brake light for two years. An OEM replacement for just one side was $40. I located two lamps on Amazon, and went with the two for $20 route. Thanks for the tips from Bob Kelly and Kent Gardam. The bonus with the new light is that has bright & less bright capability. This means I could add the turn signal function to the lamp. The extra red wire (turn) on the new light gets fished down the aluminum corner channel and connected to the amber turn signal light in the bumper. Read more “Upper Brake Light Replacement”

Compressor Refrigerator

By Leonard Casella – November 2019

Compressor refrigerator owners – DE-0061 and DC-0061.

The DC version only has the 12VDC connection, it does not have the 120AC connection – that appears to be the only difference.

Why doesn’t your refrigerator work when voltage drops to 12.2 volts or lower?

Answer, it’s designed that way! Read more “Compressor Refrigerator”

Generator Choice, Propane or Diesel?

By Bob Kelly, November 2019

“Which generator should I look for when selecting an RV?” is a question often asked. The answer to that question really depends upon the type of camping you do. If you have occasional generator use, the propane generator is cheaper to buy, the cost of the propane is minimal, and availability of propane doesn’t actually matter.


If you boondock, or dry camp all the time, it depends upon what you want to run. Running the generator in the morning for coffee or a skillet, and in the evening for the microwave, you still have low 120V consumption, the propane will be OK.

If you have Solar on the roof to charge the batteries, it will diminish the need to recharge the house batteries if you stay in one place, don’t drive, for an extended period. My 300W of solar kept my batteries charged all summer (The Cole Hershee relay for charging was broken). Read more “Generator Choice, Propane or Diesel?”