Starlink

February 11, 2024
By Bob Kelly

Information regarding Starlink changes on a weekly basis.  Please visit https://www.starlink.com/ 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.

Terms

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.

Streaming

According to the internet site updater.com, 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?

Mobility

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.

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”

2008 to 2010 View Navion’s

December 19, 2021
By Bob Kelly

Introduction

The 2008- 2010 Winnebago View/Navions are built on the NCV3 Mercedes-Benz Chassis. Mercedes-Benz acquired the Chrysler Corporation in 1998 and later divested them in 2007. As a result, the Sprinter chassis was sold by the Dodge division of Chrysler. The chassis was manufactured in Europe as an incomplete chassis, and shipped to the United States, where Winnebago remanufactured it into a motor home.

The vehicle should be registered as a Winnebago, and the year of manufacture should be the year Winnebago completed the motorhome, not the year the incomplete chassis was manufactured in Europe. Due to the economy between 2008 and 2010, there isn’t always a one year separation between manufacture of the incomplete chassis and the manufacture date of the Winnebago motorhome. All Winnebago View/Navions between 2008 and 2010 were produced on a Dodge branded chassis. None of the vehicles require the use of DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) to reduce emissions.

Among owners of the 08 -10’s there is the opinion that they are some of the best Sprinter chassis motorhomes produced. However, as with any machine there are several mechanical issues that are problematic.

Problems

Y Cable

The Y cable is a cable that connects the Starter, Alternator and Battery. It’s called a Y cable because of it’ shape. Due to faulty manufacture, the cable gets hot, occasionally the wire in the cable melts and the chassis battery is no longer charged. This fault often presents itself as a faulty alternator. The key to a successful diagnosis is to measure the voltage of the alternator at the alternator, and then measure the voltage at both the battery and the starter motor. If there is any difference in the voltages between the three locations, the cable is bad.

With the Y Cable, it’s not a case of if the part will go bad; it’s a case of when. Fortunately, there is no reports of a replacement cable failing.

Turbo Hose

There have been several iterations of the Turbo hose, to eliminate the problem of the hose rupturing. The intercooler (Lower) hose has been redesigned so as to eliminate the problem. If you can locate the hole, a temporary fix can be made to assist in making the vehicle operational.

Boost Solenoid

The Boost solenoid, the relay that combines the chassis battery and the coach batteries, to allow both to charged by the alternator. This is another case of when, and not if, the part will fail. When the relay fails, the coach batteries will not charged by the alternator. This is occasionally difficult to diagnose if the motorhome is always plugged into line voltage, the generator is used extensively, or the motorhome is equipped with a solar charging system.

The original relay, a Trombetta, can be identified by the single small gauge electrical post on the front of the relay. The replacement, a Cole Hersee 24213, has two small gauge posts on the body of the relay. The case of the Trombetta’s was used as a ground, and the single small gauge post was used to activate the relay.  The Cole Hersee 24213’s case is not used as a ground, and has two small gauge posts, and a ground wire must be connected to one post for activation. It does not matter which post is used for a ground.

Cabover Bunk

The Cabover bunk is affixed to the RV with two hinges and two gas struts. The hinges are actually hooks that clip over a rod and bracket fixture in the front of the Cabover. The gas struts hold the bed in place by pulling the bed to the rear, and keeping the bed hinge engaged to the rod and bracket fixture.

The original Cabover bunk mattress hinges were not designed properly. The old hinges do not have a welded gusset. The old style hinges are stamped and folded without the weld. As a result, metal fatigue causes the hinge to break and the bunk to come loose from the rod and bracket fixture. If one end of the bunk protrudes more than the other, or the bunk appears crooked, it is likely that the hinge is broken. The redesigned hinges have welds.

Additionally, the gas struts have enough holding power to keep the bunk in a raised position under all circumstances. The bunk need not be affixed to any of the clips in the roof. If the bunk slowly comes down, or comes down after a bump, the struts need to be replaced.

Microwave mounts

The microwave sits on a tray over the stove and is affixed to the RV by two vertical pieces of metal. Metal fatigue causes those vertical pieces, the mount, to fracture, and as a result the microwave is only attached by the bracket on one side. The tray and the trim assists in keeping the microwave from leaping from the cabinet, but the microwave should not be loose at all.

The repair has been made by purchasing nailing plats at a hardware store, and reattaching. Winnebago will also sell you the two mounting brackets.

Solar & Add On’s

It is easy to upgrade the 08 – 10 V/N’s so that they have more of the creature comforts that come standard in later models. It is east to add solar panels to the roof, and run the solar charging wired down the rooftop refrigerator vent. There are a number of articles on the View Navion Motorhomes Facebook Support site at http://www.viewnavionmotorhomes.com  that deal with solar charging systems, materials, and electrical consumption.

Systems

Slide Mechanism

The slide(s) on 08 -10’s are generally a single drive motor that engages a shaft with two drive gears. The motor has a lock that allows the motor to be disengaged from the drive shaft. The fit of the gears on the drive shaft to the track are loose enough, that the assembly requires no lubrication. To move the slide, the parking brake must be on, and it is recommended that the engine be running to supply sufficient energy to the slide motor. Additionally, there is a safety lock, that must be set to on. The safety lock was discontinued in later models.

If the slide cannot be retracted or extended, it is possible to extend or retract the slide by disengaging the slide drive motor, and using a crescent wrench to extend/retract the slide. The drive shaft is a square shaft.

Propane Appliances

It is highly recommended that the coach be fitted with screens over the propane furnace vents to reduce the chance insects will build a home in the orifice or flue. Occasionally either the propane furnace, refrigerator or propane water heater may not light. After checking to make sure that propane is available, the burner should be examined to ensure that nothing is shorting out the igniter, and that there are no cobwebs in the flue. Blowing out the flue with compressed air once a year, or as required is recommended.

Repair, Maintenance & Upgrade

The vehicle is out of warranty both with Winnebago and Dodge. It is not a Mercedes Benz product, although MB will gleefully provide service at great cost. After Mercedes Benz divested Chrysler, most/all of the Mercedes trained techs left Dodge and went to Mercedes Benz or an independent shop. If there were techs left behind at Dodge, it is likely that Mercedes Benz did not want them. Keep that in mind.

Additionally, any service provided by Mercedes Benz is warrantied in a different fashion than other MB products. Sedans and SUV’s have a 2 year, unlimited mile warranty on any work completed. Sprinters fall into the truck warranty of MB and are warrantied for three years or 36,000 miles whichever comes first.

Sprinters have been used in delivery fleets for years, so an alternate repair location would be a good truck repair company. Ask a Fed-Ex driver where they brought their Sprinter for service. A business that provides alignment services for 24’ box delivery trucks is an excellent place to have the vehicle aligned. When you align the RV, make sure that camber bolts have been installed. MB does not provide an incomplete chassis with camber bolts. Additionally the alignment location is an excellent source for recommendations on where to have the vehicle serviced.

Would you still bring your 13 year old Toyota to the dealer for routine service work?

Television

The RV came equipped with a 12V flat panel television. There has been a significant change in televisions in the last 12 to 14 years. Over the air television broadcast still exists, however streaming, in place of cable, is gaining ground. Replacement of the TV with a smart TV is far easier than it seems. 12V televisions are available for anywhere from $275 to $600. An Insignia 1080p 120V television is available for about $160. The original TV came with a VESA mounting panel on the rear, so it’s a simple case of attaching a new TV to the old mounting plate.

The old 12V power cable can be used to attach a small 120V inverter (new TV’s draw an amp or less) that will turn on and off with the old TV power switch under the entertainment radio/DVD/CD device. The connections to the entertainment system are identical (an adapter may have to be used for audio).

To use the antenna, the booster should be on. It’s difficult to see, but there is a small black on black button on the faceplate that has the green LED on signal. A newer King Jack or Wineguard HDTV antenna is suggested as a replacement over the batwing TV antenna.

Towing and being Towed

Winnebago installed frame rail extensions to the chassis. The towing capacity of the coach is 3,500 pounds and the hitch weight is 350 pounds. Please refer to the GV weight when towing a vehicle.

If the RV is to be towed, it should not be placed on a flatbed, as the height of the RV and the distance off the ground combines to make the arrangement an oversized load.  The RV should be towed ONLY from the front, and only after the drive shaft has been disconnected. Towing from the rear has the potential of bending the frame rail extensions and bending/delaminating the coach body.

Capacities and Tankage

Fluid Change Description Part # Specification
Power Steering Fluid PRN Mobil ATF+4
Mopar
05013457AA 236.3
Rear Axle 10Y – 180K BP Energear Hyep DC 80W-90
Mobil Delvac Synthetic Gear Oil 75W-90
Mopar
04874469 235.20
Motor Oil 1Y – 10K There are many compatible oils. Check MB’s fact sheet (use the 229.52 oil)
NB* Torque the oil filter cap to 30Nm, 22 Ft#, and make sure the O ring is properly placed.
  229.51
229.52
Coolant 15Y – 180K; Thereafter
5Y – 90K
Zerex G05 – Valvoline
Zerex G48 – Valvoline
Mopar
05066386AA 325.0
Brake Fluid 2Y Intac B026E
Mopar
MS-9971
04549625AC 331.0
Transmission Fluid 60K Shell ATF 3403
Shell ATF 3403
Mopar
05127382AB 326.10
236.12
Fuel PRN Ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD)

Do not add anything to the fuel, unless the vehicle will be operated at temperatures lower than 14֠ for extended periods of time. The fuel system has a fuel pre-heater.

   
Air Conditioning PRN Refrigerant R-134A    

Parts

Part

Capacity Description
Chassis Battery Cranking Amperage
~ 900A
Group 49 AGM Battery
H-8 AGM Battery
House Battery Total Usable AHr > 100 Type 31
Flooded, AGM, Dual 6V GC, Lithium
Lithium batteries require new converter, conditioning of the battery space, and a DC to DC Charger in place of the Boost Solenoid.
Fuel Tank 100L – 25 Gallons The tank includes a reserve of 20L, or about 5.3 Gallons
Windshield Washer 7.4 Quarts  
Headlamps   H7 Lamps for both high beam and low beam sockets. Current LED H7 lamps will fit in the low bean socket, but will not fit in the high beam space.
Fog lamps   H11 Lamps
Parking Lamps   WY5 Lamps
Turn Signal Mirror PY16
Turn Signal Headlamp Assembly PY21
Espar Heater   The Espar heater is located on the driver’s side of the cab, on the outer portion of the undercarriage, if equipped. The Espar heater burns diesel fuel to rapidly increase the temperature of the engine. There is a button on the left side of the steering wheel that is referred to as “Wavy Gravy” or “Bacon button”.

 

There is a thermocouple on the Espar heater. It will only turn on when the temperature is low.

 

Winterizing Navion 24G

Winterizing Navion 24G
Winterizing Procedure
RV Antifreeze

By Jeff Utschig October 30, 2019

Initial Steps

  • Level the Motorhome so that it drains properly.
  • Drain Fresh Water Tank and Waterlines. Open all waterline drain valves and the fresh water tank drain. These valves are located outside in the “water service center.”
  • Drain Exterior Shower and lay shower head on ground to drain.
  • Place the tip of your finger into the city water inlet and gently press the backflow valve “button” in the center of the inlet to drain any water trapped in the inlet line.

Read more “Winterizing Navion 24G”

View/Navion Power Systems – Major Components

Prepared by Edwin E. Irving (eeirving@gmail.com)

September 2, 2010
Revised 9/19/10
Revised 3/22/12
Revised 5/8/12
Revised 5/27/12

Acknowledgements:

I want to thank Elden DuRand for preparing the CAD drawing which is part of this description and for helping me to better understand operation of the major components. Thanks too to Byron for his patient responses to my questions requiring detailed explanations of the electrical component operations. I also derived editorial information from Capt. “Ed” and Ed Von Gehr; and from others who have added helpful input during the many discussions of this subject over the years. Introduction: Read more “View/Navion Power Systems – Major Components”

Air Conditioning Overview

by Koert DuBois 2015

To make a decision on the practicality of air conditioning, you really need to get a math/physics expert to create a chart that determines a desirable (goal) temperature (mostly based on humidity) and then compute how much cooling energy is required to achieve the goal temperature in different situations (temperature, humidity, sunshine being the main variables) and then how much cooling energy can be provided by the fuel tank. Read more “Air Conditioning Overview”

Utilities for a RV

By Bob Kelly

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

I returned 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. Read more “Utilities for a RV”