Category Archives: Tech Equipment

“Smartthings in an RV” – Update

I’ve made some changes and additions to my Smartthings installation in the RV.

This is the primary "Things" screen for the Smartthings hub in the RV.  Under each colorful tile lies one or more device (things) tiles.

This is the primary “Things” screen for the Smartthings hub in the RV. Under each colorful tile lies one or more device (things) tiles.

Changes

  • Swapped out the Verizon MiFi Hotspot for a Millenicom Hotspot

Additions

  • Added two Flood Sensors – one in the commode room behind the commode and the other in the utility area near the water heater, water pump and furnace
  • Added a Smoke / CO detector to the main storage bay
Water Leaks Screen - At this time, I have 2 water leak detectors.  One is in the Commode Room behind the commode.  The other is in the Utility Area where the water heater, water pump and furnace are.

Water Leaks Screen – At this time, I have 2 water leak detectors. One is in the Commode Room behind the commode. The other is in the Utility Area where the water heater, water pump and furnace are.

Smoke / CO Detectors Screen - I have a single Smartthings compatible detector at this time.  It's mounted in my main storage bay.  In addition, I'm running 1 Nest Protect Smoke / CO detector and 1 standard RV issue Smoke / CO detector.

Smoke / CO Detectors Screen – I have a single Smartthings compatible detector at this time. It’s mounted in my main storage bay. In addition, I’m running 1 Nest Protect Smoke / CO detector and 1 standard RV issue Smoke / CO detector inside the RV as well.

Satellite TV – Integrating OTA Signals with your Satellite TV System

We have DirecTV satellite TV service at home and in the RV. When we travel, we only get local OTA (over the air) stations via the satellite dish when we are within our home spot-zone (~300 mile radius). Outside our spot-zone, we need to crank up the OTA antenna on the RV roof (aka “the batwing”).

In the past, when wanting to watch OTA TV, we had to select the Antenna input on each TV, then set each TV to auto-tune (perform an OTA signal scan) to gather the local stations and lock them in. A couple years ago, a friend and Heartland Owners Club member, Ken A, showed me his DirecTV AM21. The AM21 is an external ATSC digital TV tuner that connects to several models of DirecTV satellite receivers via USB. The beauty of the AM21 is once it scans and locks in the local OTA stations, it incorporates them into the DirecTV guide. Once in the guide, if you have a DirecTV DVR, you can now record and pause local stations!

And now with the Genie and mini-client system in the RV, I found out something cool. Since the mini-clients (tiny receivers for the rest of the TVs) obtain their signal from the Genie, this also meant that maybe, just maybe, the locals would be present on all TVs with a mini-client. Sure enough, I can watch locals on all TVs in the coach by only having the AM21 scan for locals once. No more scanning for locals by any of the RV TVs. Whoopie!

Is the AM21 right for you? Here’s a link to a Google search for the product. It’s now known as the AM21N. They run $50 to $60 on Amazon and eBay.

AM21 ATSC Digital Tuner on top of a satellite receiver

AM21 ATSC Digital Tuner on top of a satellite receiver