• Leisure Lee

Monitor Your RV for the Perfect RVing Experience!

Updated: May 27





I recently did a high end solar install on perhaps one of the nicest pull behind trailers I’ve ever seen. We went with Victron electronics for everything, and a bank of Battle Born LiFePO4 batteries.


Three LiFePO4 Battle Born batteries in parallel

The Victron components we used all have Bluetooth monitoring built-in. After that install, and falling in love with Bluetooth monitoring, I got to thinking, why couldn’t we monitor everything in the RV with Bluetooth? Bluetooth sensors are wireless, so that would make them very easy to install in any kind of RV. Bluetooth can be accessed from almost any smart phone, tablet or computer from a maximum of 100’. So I started searching the internet and discovered RV Whisper

RV Whisper is a very small computer, that is powered from USB, that can read all kinds of Bluetooth sensors and send the data out over WIFI.

RV Whisper Monitor Station

My fifth wheel has lots of RV Whisper sensors, and you can log into the RV Whisper gateway and look at all of my RV data in real time. If you are on a computer or tablet, simply click on the link below, and enter the user id and password. Once in the gateway, click on Go To My RV to see all of the sensors I currently am using.

https://access.rvwhisper.com/

id: leisuredemo

pw: allthingssolar


There are also great Android and iPhone apps that do exactly the same thing. You can download the free apps here, and use the same login and password as above.

CLICK to Install Android Launcher App

CLICK to Install iPhone Launcher App


What a truly amazing device! The variety of wireless sensors available is very broad including:


Temperature and humidity

Battery Voltage

Complete battery monitor (V, A, AH, W, WH, SOC etc.)

Propane Levels

Door Security

Moisture Detection

Shore Power Voltage and wiring errors


Now I admit, I’m a measuring and monitoring geek. Having been involved in RVs for more than 40 years and living full time in my 5er (full-timer lingo for 5th wheel trailer) for the last three, I’ve decided that knowing the status of EVERYTHING in the RV all the time is the best way to reduce worry. This product is perfect for all RV owners, from the casual weekender to the serious RV’er to the full-timer.


Other than adding solar and Lithium batteries to my RV, nothing else I have ever done has more dramatically impacted my RV life than the RV Whisper.


Originally, I was looking for pet safety monitoring. The temperature sensor will let me know if the temperature is too hot or too cold for a dog. The RV Whisper Monitor Station will collect the temperature and humidity data at regular intervals, and send it via WIFI to my phone, tablet or computer. You can set up alarms; for example, it will send you an email or text if the temperature exceeds 75F. It also tracks the date and time, pretty much forever. It has gigs of memory.


I liked the temperature data so much I added temp monitors everywhere. I can even keep an eye on the fridge and freezer temperatures. Many years ago, when I was still a newbie RVer, I ran out of propane and the fridge warmed up. I lost all my food! I also have temperature sensors in the underbelly, near the fresh, black and gray water tanks, with an alarm that texts me if the temp falls below 35F. I have a temp sensor in the 5er pass though storage (wet bay), since I have water lines in there that run to the bathroom.


When I first started looking for Bluetooth sensors, I was focused on a Bluetooth battery meter. I found a great one in the Thornwave Labs BT-DCPM. This small device is truly amazing.

It monitors battery voltage on not only one, but two battery banks. This is important to me because I run a 24V battery bank, and use a 24 to 12V buck converter to provide the 12V for my RV. So I need to monitor two voltages. For measuring battery current, it has a built in 60A shunt, which is plenty for most people. It wasn’t for me, so I added an external 500A/50mv shunt. The BT-DCPM makes it simple to add any kind of shunt. Just tell it the current and voltage of the shunt and it takes care of the rest.

I used the free Thornwave iPhone app to configure the BT-DCPM, then I used the RV Whisper to track all of the battery data and report it to me via WIFI. No more guesswork about tracking my battery status.

My one complaint is I really want two shunts, one for the battery and one for the solar panels. It would be really cool to monitor the voltage coming into the MPPT Solar Charge controller, and see how it converts that voltage to extra current into the batteries. I suppose I’ll just have to buy a second BT-DCPM!



Since I run a large Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) battery bank, I need to keep track of the temperature in the battery compartment. The BT-DCPM has a built in temperature monitor, which RV Whisper logs also. RV Whisper will warn me when my battery compartment gets below 35F, and I can use the relay port on the BT-DCPM to turn on/off my battery heaters.


I often spend the winter in cold country, particularly Colorado, so that I can be near skiing and family. I’ve spent a few seasons prepping my 5er for cold, including skirting and window treatments, but it still takes a lot of propane to be comfortable in the winter. I used to worry about running out of propane, especially after that time I ran out of propane and lost all my food when the fridge warmed up. RV Whisper supports the Mopeka propane monitors. These monitors simply stick to the underside of your propane tanks magnetically, and use an ultrasonic signal to determine the actual level in your tanks. By looking at the trend charts that RV Whisper provides, I can estimate when I’ll need to get the tanks filled. I find I can go several extra days between fills, which is really convenient. Filling propane tanks once a week is a bore!


RV Whisper also supports door open/close sensors. I put one on the front door and the door to my battery compartment. This doesn’t seem totally necessary, since I rarely open the battery compartment, but it gives me some comfort knowing that if someone tries to steal the batteries, I’ll have some warning. What I think would be more interesting is using the door open/close sensors to monitor tilt mounts on solar panels that are installed on the roof. I hesitate to use tilt mounts on RVs, because I’m always worried someone will drive off and forget to tilt the panels down for travel. With the open/close warning, RV Whisper will give you a warning that the panels are still up. I haven’t done this yet, but it seems like an idea worth exploring.

You can log into the RV Whisper gateway and look at all of my RV data in real time. If you are on a computer or tablet, simply click on the link below, and enter the user id and password. Once in the gateway, click on Go To My RV to see all of the sensors I am currently using.

https://access.rvwhisper.com/

id: leisuredemo

pw: allthingssolar


There are also great Android and iPhone apps that do exactly the same thing. You can download the free apps here, and use the same login and password as above.

CLICK to Install Android Launcher App

CLICK to Install iPhone Launcher App


A good battery monitor gives you all the data you need to take really good care of your batteries, thereby extending their life. Adding Bluetooth to the battery monitor makes it much better. By expanding that concept to even more bluetooth sensors and adding WIFI, RV Whisper makes it simple to add all kinds of interesting monitoring to your RV such as temperature, propane levels, shore power, security and more. All of the sensors are wireless, so they are very easy to install. If you want to know more about RV monitoring with the RV Whisper, please click here fill out the form and someone will get back to you shortly.

Lee Stauffer

   717 Castle Creek Road

Grand Junction, CO  81505

(970)216-0701

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