Category Archives: Customizations

Add ons and customizations

How To choose your Newmar Custom Colors – Part 1

I have custom ordered 3 Newmar RV’s, and each of them had a custom paint scheme. Newmar is one of the only manufacturers that will allow you to customize your coach color on a factory build. The only aspect they will not allow you to change is the graphic design. They will allow you to choose any color you want for each component of the graphic.

The process can be very frustrating if you do this with your dealer, as they have to go to Newmar and request prints, and the final print will be a computer representation that is close the the actual, but in some cases very different.

For example, compare the Newmar print of my 2019 DSDP 4369 to the actual here:

2019 DSDP 4369 Newmar Custom Paint Print
Finished Color

From the print, it is not possible to see the metallic or depth of the color. The Marina Black that I chose for pathway C has a lot of depth to it, and can look different with the sun. Here is another closeup of the paint

Understanding the limitations of the print is very important. I spent time looking at coaches that had similar colors when making my decision, which your salesperson can help you with. I based my color scheme off a 2018 London Aire caprice which used the same colors I chose in a different pattern. Here is the image my dealer sent me of the caprice paint scheme

In the Dutch star there are 4 colors you can choose. The Skin, which is the base color of the coach, and then 3 pathways labeled A, B, and C. I have seen some coaches choose to make more than one of the colors the same, and alter the overall appearance of the graphic. There are even a few that choose to go with solid colors, and choose the same color for all 4 paths.

In my next post I will detail how I use Adobe Illustrator to customize the print to help find the perfect color options.

Sanicon hose wetbay exit cover

I purchased my 2019 Newmar Dutch Star without the factory option for the sanicon. The primary reason I did not have the factory install it is their setup was not ideal, and I wanted a better solution.

One of the features that Newmar includes is a solid nylon disk that is pre-fit to the hose. This disk will block the 5 inch exit hole while the system is connected to sewer. Utilizing the factory exit hole allows for the bay door to be securely closed. With the Newmar provided disc, this hole is sealed.

I attempted to purchase the disc directly from Newmar, but after several months of unsuccessfully trying to even get a part number, I gave up.

I recently acquired a 3D printer, and my first design and print was cover that can be used to fill the hole.

I wanted the cover to be easily installed and removed, so I designed a slot that allows the hose to be inserted. Once the hose is installed, a small end cap is inserted that secures the openings, preventing rodents and other bugs from gaining access.

Here is some pictures that show what I came up with.

These are now available to purchase.


Girard Nova Awning Protection Switch

There have been numerous reports of the Girard Nova Awnings deploying on their own. I have never experienced this in the limited time I have owned my 2019 Newmar Dutch Star, but I did receive a call from Newmar specifically advising me to leave the awnings unplugged unless I intend to use them.

The location of the plug is in the bays, and although not hard to access, it is an extra unnecessary step and an inconvenience to have to unplug each time.

The reasons for the deployment given where a possible grounding issue, which has yet to be identified. Since I park my RV in a garage, this could be a real problem if the awnings deployed.

The Girard Nova awning has a Emergency break cutout circuit, that is supposed to retract the slides once the break is released and then after 60 seconds will remove all power to awnings to ensure the awnings will not deploy. In spite of this circuit, numerous claims of awning deployments while driving have been made online, and Newmar has confirmed several warranty repairs for this exact problem. I do not have data as to what years are affected, nor how many models.

My goal is to make certain that the awnings cannot deploy, and since Newmar has stated the only way to do this is to remove power, I decided to go along with that plan, but in an easy fashion. What I have installed is a relay controlled power strip.

The plugs will only be turned on when my switch passes 12 volt DC power to the relay. This was accomplished with minimal effort and cost, and restores the luxury of using the awnings safely and conveniently. The switch is located on my left hand side console, in front of my transmission. Not an ideal place, but this was an unused switch for the tag dump, which was replaced with a function on my HWH Active Air. By using this location, I didn’t have to cut into the dashboard, or do extensive work. I will most likely relocate the window up/down button to this position once I receive the custom switch I have on order. For now, I am using the Tag Dump switch, rewired to only make use of the ON/OFF and not connecting to the momentary (ON).

The parts list for this project:

  1. Controllable Four Outlet Power Relay
  2. Custom Made wiring Harness
  3. Custom L-Series switch
  4. Power Distribution Box
  5. 16 Gauge Wire
  6. 12 Gauge Wire
  7. 10 Gauge Wire

For the custom wiring harness, all that is required is a single 16awg signal wire running to the switch. Since this is a long run going from the bays to the dashboard, I decided to make a custom wiring harness with extra wires for the future. I included 6 different colors of wires in a wire loom, and ran it inside the frame rails to the front of the RV. I then entered the wiring compartment below the drivers seat, and ran it up to the dashboard. This harness is now fully accessible for any future projects.

Making the harness was rather simple, but time consuming. My hands were rather sore after putting all that wire inside the loom. I ended up with a 30 foot harness, which can easily reach the cabinet above the driver, or the center console behind the screens. I also left a pull string in the chase for future wire installation. After taking the time to fish the first wire, it is always wise to leave a pull string behind.

Since I was already running wire from the 12v power bay to the dashboard, I made a secondary harness with 3 10 awg wires (Red/Black/White) and connected to the KIB terminals. These terminate behind my dash into two distribution boxes, one for ignition power, and one for constant power. I will use this to tap in for my Dash Camera, Tablet Power, and other accessory power items in the future.

With the power distribution in place, the switch needs to have a 12v power supplied to one leg, and the positive signal wire connected to the other, so that when the switch is ON, 12v DC power is supplied to the signal wire. I used a common ground for the Negative side of the signal wire. The finished product allows me to now safely cut the power to the Girard awnings with a simple toggle switch, and I no longer have to disconnect and reconnect the power cords.

Girard Awning power connected to switched outlets.


I originally used the tag dump switch, but have since replaced that switch with a custom switch. This is illuminated when it has power, so it is easy to see that it is energized.

Newmar Engine Preheat installation

ITRTouch Remote

The ITR Heat Oasis CH50 is a diesel hydronic heating system that is pre-installed in the 2019 Dutch Star. This provides for domestic hot water, and furnace heating for the whole RV and basement. The oasis is powered by either the diesel burner, or by electrical providing either 5k or 10k BTU. Engine waste heat is also used to provide heat energy to the distribution module, allowing for all system functions while driving without the use of additional heat sources. 

All units are pre-wired for the engine loop pump. The panel will have to be replaced with one that provides the Engine Preheat Pump switch, and the pump will have to be installed inline.

I opted to go with the ITRTouch Remote because I liked the look and it provided the function for preheat. When replacing an existing switch, you will need to order the over sized ITRTouch remote to cover the hole used by the original, which is taller and slightly more narrow than the new one. You can use the new ITRTouch without the pre-heat option. If you want to play with a demo of this switch, ITR has one on their website located here.

The new remote is 1/4″ wider than the standard switch. Once the hole is the proper size, the wiring harness will connect to this switch as a direct replacement.  The pump was $295, and the new remote was $260.00 before any applicable discounts.

To perform the installation of the pump, you will need several items:

  • 4 inches of 3/4″ ID heater hose
  • Qty. 2 – 3/4″ hose clamps
  • Qty. 2 – Hose pinch off pliers
  • A dozen or so absorbent shop towels
  • Qty 1 each – 16 gauge Fully insulated spade Connector Male/Female

When I started the install, I only had 2 sets of hose pinch pliers, and they were too bulky to properly close the hose in the cramped area. I ended up spilling about 2-3 cups of fluid before I gave up and reconnected the hose. I then researched what I could get delivered in 1 day from Amazon, and found these clamp pliers. What I liked about this style is that they are not vice-grip style, using a ratchet style system instead. 

DM12 Distribution
ITR Oasis DM12 Distribution Module

Newmar places the DM12 distribution panel behind a wall in the bay just behind the pass thru bay. Removing the wall will expose the DM12, and provide you with access to perform the full installation.  Looking at the graphic for the DM12, you will see that the left side is where the engine coolant inlet and outlets are located. The pre-heat pump is installed on the outlet side, with the pump oriented to return the coolant to the engine.

Place 1 clamp on the inlet side, about 3 inches above the clamp, and another on the outlet side, about 6 inches from the clamp. I used a 3rd clamp and clamped the line higher up at the frame rails. This allowed me to capture the fluid in the line in a controlled manner, and have more flexibility with working with the hose.

Once the outlet is disconnected, place the pump in the final position and connect the engine side to the pump. There is not enough room to connect the pump and then re-position it to the back wall. The other hoses will not allow for the pump to fit through. Also pay close attention to the routing of the return hose, ensuring that it will not rub or kink. I had to alter how it routed from the frame rail down to get a proper alignment. I personally did not have the proper tools for easily handling the continuous pressure clamp, so I removed this and replaced with a worm-gear hose clamp.

Install the 4″ of 3/4″ heater hose to the outlet side of the DM12 and connect to the pump.

Secure the pump to the back wall, but use caution on the screws length,as the other side is where all of the 12v electrical connections are located. 

The electrical needs to be connected to the pump using the spade connectors. The wires are red and black, and are exiting the DM12 above the outlet connector. They will be crimped together for protection. When doing the final routing of the electrical, make sure it does not rest along the heater.

After cleanup of any spilled fluids, place clean white towels around all connections that have been replaced, and run the engine for 30 seconds. Verify that your towels remain clean white, and that there is no leak. 

Next, bring the ITR up to running temp and turn on the pre-heat option. Verify the pump is operating.

Since I had spilled so much fluid, I was worried about the air in the lines, and the loss of fluid. I ran the pre-heat pump for several hours, which was overkill, and then topped off the reservoir with coolant.

The final step was to take a test drive and bring the engine up to operational temps and let it remain for 30 minutes. This was about an hour total of driving. After that, I was satisfied that there would be no leaks, and closed it up.

For a view of the Remote Control operation of the Oasis, view this video.

For a view of the final pump installation and commentary, view this video.


2019 Dutch Star 4369 – HWH Active Air

When I purchased my 2013 Dutch star, one of the first upgrades I did was install HWH Active Air. This system allows for air leveling of the coach, while retaining the factory hydraulic leveling options. When driving, Active air works proactively to maintain levels of the coach, preventing the lean that occurs when making lane changes, or radius exits.

HWH does the installs at their factory in Moscow, IA. The job is a 5 day job, always starting on Monday and work being complete early Friday. All of the components are manufactured onsite, and custom fit to the coach.

The active air is very noticeable under some extreme test conditions that I did, but the weather was not bad, so I didn’t have a very many times when the Active Air went into fly mode.

Fly mode is when the screen goes to green, and is actively adjusting the level of the coach to counteract conditions. When driving with a strong cross wind, or having a semi meet you on a 2 lane road at 80mph, the Active Air will usually go into fly mode.

I was able to make it go into fly mode by cranking the wheel hard right to left, trying to get the back end to break loose. I also did a sudden 3 lane change (no traffic around me) and quick return 1 lane over, which would normally cause a lot of body roll, but the coach handled great.

Installing a Battery Monitor Kit (BMK)

Thought I would put some more of my modifications up. I have been working on installing the ME-BMK in my coach. If you are not familiar, this is a Battery monitor kit that acts like a fuel gauge for the battery bank. It is a far more reliable way to determine state of charge (SOC).

You can read about it here: ME-BMK Battery Monitor Kit

I attempted to get Newmar to install this as a special, and was told no. Well it turns out that there is good reason for it, and the upgrade is very involved with the 2013 Newmar coaches.

The typical installation of a BMK is to install the battery shunt between the load and battery ground, install the ME-BMK-NS device. Provide 12v power to BMK-NS, connect the network to the inverter, and install a sense cable between the BMK-NS and the shunt.

The 2013 Newmar coaches come with the Magnum ME2812 inverter, the ME-AGS-N (auto genstart network version) and the RC-50 remote.

For the features of the BMK, you need the ARC-50.

This is the easiest part to swap out, remove 4 screws, unplug RC-50, Plug in ARC50 and install 4 screws. At this point you must reprogram all of your settings. Do this now, as it will not be setup for your battery type.

After installing the ARC50, then I installed the shunt. There are 2 ground bundles connected to the coach. Mine is the all electric, with factory AGM batteries. So I have 8 6v Batteries. From the factory there was a main 0-gauge ground going to the inverter, and then a bundle of about 8 smaller wires going to the main electric panel. These were connected at different points on the battery. For the BMK to do its job properly you need to move all ground wires leaving the battery to the load side of the shunt.

In the above picture you will see the shunt installed below the two positive wires. The back side is the load side, and the original wiring from Newmar is attached there. You will see two cables coming off the stud. I had to cut a lot of straps, and then reconfigure the straps so there was no metal rub and the tray could still slide. This wasn’t hard, but took some thought.

The front side of the shunt is where the battery connects. I made a custom 4/0 gauge wire, and soldered the ends instead of crimping. Lots of solder..and then shrink wrap the ends to make it look neat.

The above picture shows the battery tray extended, and the bottom right ground is my cable connecting the battery to the shunt. Just to the left is the temp sensor for the inverter, this came stock.

The BMK-NS module is installed in the bay closest to the battery, as the sense cable can not be cut or spliced. 

On the back wall is the black box with the power connection, data cable, and sense cable. 

So after getting it all hooked up, I tested and things worked great. my SOC read accurate, I was able to drain it down to 80% and have it shutdown the inverter. Plug in power, and it charges back to 100%. 

So then I decided to test AGS. I set the AGS to start at 80% and stop at 90%. Watched it drain down (helped with microwave) and once it hit 80% the generator fired off. After the 60 sec warm up it stopped. Then started again, and this loop kept going.

Frustrated – I double checked everything. In the mean time I had to stop my work, and take the coach to the dealer to get some work done. That was hard..I hate leaving work undone.

When I finally got the coach back I started playing with the settings and discovered that if the ME-BMK-NS is plugged in (either power or network) then the AGS will not function. Even turning it to manual run via the ARC50, it will do the cycle. I could start the generator with the dash switch, my software switch, or from the generator itself, but not from the ARC50.

If I unplug the ME-BMK-NS then it works from the ARC50, but of course now I can’t use SOC to start.

I placed a call to tech support at Magnum Energy, and after 50 minutes of diagnosis the culprit was found. 

The 2013 Newmar coaches include a Power Control Systems EMS. The inverter actually connects into the Power Control module, and then the remote connects to another port on the Power control module.

Here is the diagram and install docs:…structions.pdf

In the mid toilet room, there is a cabinet with all the breakers. This box houses the PCS control. 

This picture shows the box removed. Lighting was poor because I had no 12V or 120V…that would have been dangerous.

3 telephone connections are behind. I had to locate the one with black tape (matches cable connected to magnum inverter remote port) and the one with blue tape labeled “remote”, which matches the cable going into the ARC-50.

Once these were located, I unplugged, and connected them together with a telephone joiner.

As soon as that was complete, and I fired it all up, things worked as I expected.

So my next step was to contact Precision Circuits and find out what I could do to make the BMK compatible, and what I was losing by doing the bypass.

I sent an email, and the response was very fast and informative.

Here is the response:

By bypassing the PCS system will cause you to lose two things.
If you normally plug into 50A service, then this should not be a problem. If you regularly plug into 30A service, then you may want to consider updated the system.

What you lose when PCS is not communicating:
If RV is drawing more current than the Main Circuit Breaker can supply, then PCS first attempts
1. Battery Charge Reduction, (temporarily reducing Battery Charging rather than shedding a load)
2. Inverter Assist, (temporarily allowing Inverter to produce 120V power to run the appliances that are wired to it, like the Microwave)

PCS will continue to operate, and will shed the Appliances, and continue to prevent circuit breaker tripping.

Most people choose to bypass

If you choose to upgrade, you would have to send in the PCS Monitor and PCS Control. We would be willing to upgrade free of charge, and could ship back to you within 24 hours of receipt. 

Just emailed with Magnum, and they state the ME-ARC50 already has the upgrade,

The PCS Control is inside the Circuit Breaker Panel.
It is the Control where you plug in the Magnum Remote and Magnum Inverter data cables.
About 1 to 2 hour job to replace if you have never done one.

PCS Monitor is the Central Monitor Panel

PCS also sent me an upgrade document that outlines the complete install steps, and also gives info on what is gained. The biggest gain I can see is the communications is no longer done ‘man in the middle’, but rather part of the RS-485 bus. So instead of being a relay, it now assigns itself an ID on the network, and takes action that way.

There are a few new features, including the ability to set to 15amp service (30->20->15->30) and the removal of the blinking panel LED light. 

Taken from document:

Additional PCS Features included in new Version:
1. PCS Central Monitor Panel
a. Displays error message during loss of communications with PCS Control rather
than appearing to be running.
b. Displays message when PCS Control is busy communicating with Windows
WinPCS program. (Requires Power Cycle to reset.)
c. When No Service present, does not keep bouncing or forcing back to this
screen; allows troubleshooting of other conditions.
d. Unplugging and re-plugging Monitor during error condition does not mask the
error. (Error message regenerates.)
e. Installation without Magnum Inverter-Assist feature now displays correctly.
2. RV Data Mismatch error will no longer lock up system, but PCS will continue to
retry in cases of poor connections or low battery.
a. During an RV Data Mismatch, Control will continue to operate with RV Data it
has stored, rather than stopping all operation.
b. This error condition will no longer stop Magnum Remote/Inverter
3. Force RV Data from Remote to Control.
a. If Control has been mis-programmed at the factory with the wrong RV Data it no
longer needs to be replaced. Only a new Monitor needs to be shipped to Dealer
to reprogram system.
4. Clearing RV Data in Monitor to restore to Blank condition.
a. Monitor can be restore to original Blank condition, without the need for Windows
software, or the need to send back to Precision Circuits.
6. PCS Control slows down the Load to Load turn on delay.
a. When turning back on loads, wait 5 seconds from one to another load, to assist
Generator recovery when heavy loads are turned on.
7. Add one more Service Type 15amps
a. Now It will step 30amps -> 20amps -> 15amps ->30 amps
8. Remove Central Monitor Panel blinking LED
a. Customers complaining during night
9. Delay Generator Run Signal, so that if Generator is wired to Engine battery, starting
RV engine will not cause PCS to lose Gen Run signal.
10.Turning Inverter Off at Magnum Remote, still allows manual override of Inverter-
Assist Feature, and Battery Charge Reduction Feature.
11.Allowing Inverter-Assist when in Absorb Charge Mode. Previously Inverter-Assist
would only operate in Float Charge Mode. Note: If Low Battery Cut Out threshold
reached, then Float Charge Mode is required.
After I received my upgraded PCS unit, I was able to reinstall it without any trouble. The upgrade fixed the problem I was having with the BMK interfering with the AGS. 

I spoke with the owner of Precision Circuits, and he explained that the big difference in pre-upgrade vs post-upgrade is how communication works. The way the unit is shipped from Newmar, the PCS controller talks to the Magnum Inverter, and the remote talks to the PCS unit. The PCS is doing a ‘relay’ of all messages between the two. Works fine, until you do something silly like upgrade or add a component after market. Then it all falls apart because there is too much communication going on.

Post-Upgrade, the PCS is just another device on the bus, and is able to listen to what is going on, and then send requests. 

So now when you are on 20 amp service and want to run the microwave, and you are 10 amps short, the pcs will call to the inverter to ‘assist’ as well as override the command from the remote for charger, either doing a setback or shutdown temporarily.

PCS is going to be delivering the new units to all manufactures with this upgrade within the next few months. So earliest you would see this factory installed is mid model year 2014, but most likely it will be a 2015 option.

If you want it now, it only took me 30 minutes to remove and another 30 to reinstall. Shipping cost me $25, and the upgrade was free from PCS.

Overall, this was a bigger project than I expected, but one that I am very pleased with. I firmly believe that every coach should have a BMK, no matter how little you use the battery. This is the only true way to protect your batteries.
***UPDATE 2018-July-04****
I have been using this system for over 5 years now. The original batteries are installed, and they are still working! I keep my coach plugged in all the time when storing, and have kept the SOC set to 70% max usage for my normal habits.
Over the past 5 years, I have manually set it to 50% for the few times that I was boon docking, and dealing with Generator restrictions (ie: National parks). The battery life is absolutely amazing. There is now way these would have lasted as long if I had not installed the BMK.

HWH Active Air – First 30 Days

I got to put some real mileage on the coach. I did the drive home from Nappanee, IN to Fort Worth, TX by myself, and really got to enjoy the handling of the coach. With Comfort Steer, and Active Air, there was absolutely no stress passing semi’s or with wind.

The real beauty of the air leveling was when I got to pull into a parking spot where I could run out a slide. The air level was fast, I ran out the full wall slide, and slept for a few hours. Put it back in, and on my way. I know others have leveled with Hydraulic in Wal-Mart’s and Rest stops. The real problem is that in the summer heat, the jacks will sink into the asphalt, and cause damage to the parking lot. In addition, it could cause damage to the coach as it slips into the hole, and causes movement.

My wife drove the coach to Branson while I played with the electronics, and enjoyed being a passenger. She was amazed at how well it drove. After a while she wanted to know how much was because of the “active air” and how much the comfort steer. I had her hit the “stop” button on the active air, and immediately she could tell a difference in the wind. It was blowing a steady 20-25MPH, and for the first time she white knuckled the steering wheel and demanded I turn the system back on.

The reality of what was taking place is the coach was still driving in a straight line, but now the leaning of the house was occurring because of the wind, and you could feel the pressure. Hit the “reset” button and 20 seconds later the active air was taking over, and immediately the stress was gone.

I think that is a demo that should be on a commercial somehow. Sold me yet again!

HWH Active Air – First impressions

The install started at 7:00am on Wednesday in Davenport, IA at Interstate power. There the Allison transmission needed to be coded to send a signal when road speed hit approx 8 MPH. This signal is used by the new computer HWH installs. This process took all of 10 minutes, and I made the short drive to HWH headquarters in Moscow, IA.

My plan was to get the Air leveling system, which allows leveling the coach using either Air or Hydraulic, one or the other, not both. Air leveling has a lot of draw to me, allowing the leveling of the coach on softer grounds without the worry of digging in.
The installation was to take 2 days, so I planned on staying in the coach. They put the coach in their heated garage, on a 5 ft. platform. I had electric, and could open the slides. Perfect setup. They gave me a set of keys so that I could come and go, and offered to let me act like I owned the place. I cannot say enough good things about the company.

I left to do some shopping, letting them work. About an hour after I left, I got a phone call from Paul, the owner of HWH. He asked if I had ever heard of Active Air, which I had, and if I would consider upgrading to that. After answering a few questions, and getting more information about what the system does, I agreed. This meant that the install was going to take 5 days, but in the end I was going to have a very advanced system.
The final result is truly amazing. On the test drive, I decided to see if this 43 foot motorhome could handle the 25MPH corner @ 25MPh, vs. the normal 15. The answer is YES…There was NO LEANING, and no loss of weight distribution.

This next part will cause HWH some problems unless I make it very clear – THIS IS NOT ENDORSED NOR RECOMMENDED BY HWH. THIS IS SOMETHING I DID ON MY OWN FREE WILL. Hopefully that clears up the legal issues.

I took the same corner at 45MPH. Crazy? Yes! Stupid, Yes! I don’t recommend this as an option to drive a motorhome like I drive my BMW, but let me tell you…the coach handled it. What did not was my Residential refrigerator, because I forgot to lock the doors! Lucky for me, HWH’s Engineer, Mitch, was in the coach, and was able to pick up the mayo & butter, so I could try some quick lane shifts. I did a simulated emergency lane change…AND IT WAS SO MUCH FUN…I was giggling.

I don’t think I will ever drive this that way, but there are other things that are of big benefit, and the company actually mentions these on the website.
Sharp turns, the coach doesn’t rock. Going down the highway with a big side wind, the coach doesn’t rock or lean.

In fact, with comfort steer, Active Air, and a Tag axle, I drove 200 miles in a 30MPH wind gusts, and never knew it. My first sign of wind was when I stopped at a Pilot to get fuel. When I opened the door, it almost came off its hinges, the wind was so strong! Up to that point I did not know that there was wind!
Leveling the coach is so easy with the Air level system. I chose to use Air the first night, because the temps were below 18F, and the jacks would be very slow to retract in the morning. Also, they had accumulated a lot of ice. Another good reason to have the air option.

I will post more after I have had some time with the system. Please feel free to post comments or ask questions.

2013 Newmar Dutch Star Multimedia Setup

I am going to describe my media setup. I had this system working in my previous RV (2008 Fleetwood Discovery 40x), but was not as robust as I am describing. The features streaming features where all available, but the source selection was not. Since the Fleetwood was a RF signal, I was limited in how I could wire it. I setup a dedicated media server that ran off the middle television, and did the wireless streaming. Now that I have my 2013 Newmar Dutchstar, there is a lot of improvement. Below I am describing the features, and the planned wiring. The technology works as I describe, and for the most part is working already. What I have not done is the complete re-wiring of the AV Media cabinet. I will continue to update this as I make progress and changes.

Attached is a PDF showing the wiring diagram, and layout of the AV cabinet. I will continue to update this and make revisions as I am doing the work.


  1. Wireless Network available at all times. A single wifi & wired network will provide access via any source including AT&T, Verizon, local wifi. This network connection will be used by all tablets, phones, laptops, media streaming devices, and television(s).
  2. Ability to have entire DVD/Blue ray library available on the road to all TV’s, iPads, iPhones, Android devices. I have 4 kids, and a wife. Kids ages are 2, 5, 12, and 15. All of them have different TV they want to watch. At the home our network PVR has 64TB of storage, so I allocate 250GB per child that will export to the RV system. The older kids can choose their shows, and have it automatically sync unwatched shows to the RV. The younger kids don’t care if they watch the same shows over and over, so we choose their favorites, and have it fill up. The wife and I watch different shows too, so we get 500GB each, and then the final 1TB is assorted DVD’s, and music that we all like.
  3. Ability to stream audio to any TV/device
  4. Ability to stream internet to any TV/device

To accomplish the above, the software is key. At home I use a combination of SageTV (no longer available) and PlexApp. I am starting the move away from SageTV towards XBMC and NextPVR. All of these systems allow recording over the air, and from DirecTV. My home based system records 6 channels OTA, and 6 channels DirecTV simultaneous, and can be viewed anywhere. The family is spoiled by this ability, and on the road, wanted a similar experience.
In order to record OTA and DirecTV, it requires a lot more horsepower, and room for equipment. I don’t want the power drain, heat, nor do I want to give up the space. So I am doing the next best thing. The system in the RV will synchronize when the RV is in the Garage. I have two methods for doing this:

  1. WiFi – the default method that is always running. When the coach is in the garage, it will get access to a dedicated WiFi for the sole purpose of video synch. This takes a long time – 72 hours or so for 3 TB of data, but since it is just updating, this is not a big deal.
  2. When time is pressing, I remove the hard drive from the base, and connect it directly to my home based media server via eSata. This will synchronize in about 3 hours.

Product List
Option GlobeSurfer III+
This is used to provide Wifi Access to the coach using cellular. This uses AT&T GSM, and provides unlimited client connections, as well as the option to attach to another wireless signal (ie: park internet) and toggle between. This is a very advanced router. I chose this because I have a grandfathered Unlimited AT&T Sim. With this device I can also use my Verizon air card, plug it in via the USB ports, and use that internet connection. I can set a limit for the amount of bandwidth to use on the Verizon signal, and also limit which devices get to this source of internet. My laptop, iPad, and iPhone will always have data available, no restrictions. My wife will have the same, but the kids will lose connection to the internet if we fail over to Verizon, as will all of the PC, TV devices. This is because I do not have unlimited. When at a campground, the wifi will connect to the campground wifi, and repeat the signal over my network. It will use this connection to load-balance with the AT&T.
Price: 277.99
Link: Option GlobeSurfer III+ GSM/HSPA Router – 3G+ Wireless Gateway for Voice, Broadband Data, and Wi-Fi – White: Computers & Accessories

Netgear XAVB5004 Powerline Network Adapter
This device will connect all of the components in the front AV cabinet to the Local Area Network and the internet. Internet comes from the GlobeSurfer. Since some of the devices that need the network connection exist in the bedroom and wall slide, this one device will bridge those using powerline adapters. Using this component a single power connection is required, and it is not a wall wart!
Price: $129.48
Link: Netgear XAVB5004 Powerline Network Adapter: Electronics

Netgear XAVB5101 Powerline Nano500
This will provide an Ethernet connection to your device by using the power system. You will need one of these for any location that you want a network jack. Since I intend to stream high def media to my rear, I am choosing not to use Wifi. On the 2013 DSDP, the Sony TV with the Televator has an Ethernet jack, with software that allows the TV to directly connect to Netflix, and other features. This is a great option, and works from the Sony remote, so I chose to add an Ethernet connection to this TV as well. The power adapter above (XAVB5004) includes one of these, so this set may not be necessary. With what I have purchased, I will end up with an extra Ethernet connection, which I plan to put in the bedroom area for the laptop to do high speed transfer to the media PC Storage server. Great for updating!
Price: $72.00
Link: Netgear XAVB5101 Powerline Nano500 Set(XAVB5101): Electronics

Computer System
The computer is a Booksize barebones system. I had to add the storage and memory to it.
The specs are not stellar, but are adequate for the purpose I have. AMD E-350 APU (1.6GHz, dual core), AMD Radeon HD 6310, Ethernet, Wireless, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI Output. The keyboard is one that has a trackpad built in like a laptop computer, and is wireless. I love this, but it may not be for everyone.
Dimensions: 7.48″ x 5.31″ x 0.98″
Power: 65W, 19V, 3.42A
Purchased Parts from NewEgg. – Computer Parts, Laptops, Electronics, and More!

Part Numbers:
PC – N82E16856119072 Price: 164.99
64GB SSD – N82E16820227810 Price: 79.99
4GB Ram – N82E16820231265 Price: 29.99
3TB External USB3 Hard drive – N82E16822178110 Price: 139.99
Wireless Keyboard Mouse Combo – N82E16823126264 Price: 34.99
Windows 7 Home Edition (I already had this)
Additional Software Installed:
Playon Server – $44.99 Lifetime PlayOn lets you watch movies, shows, live sports and more from over 35 channels like Hulu, Netflix, Comedy Central, PBS on your TV with your Wii, PS3, Roku, Xbox, and more. | PlayOn
Plex Media Server – FREE – but I paid for the ability to work with Andiod/iPhone – $79 lifetime. Plex – A Complete Media Solution
Homeseer v2 – $219.95 Home Automation Control Software

AV Receiver
The Sony STRDH520 that came in my 2013 DSDP is a great low end HDMI unit, but I had 2 problems with it. #1 – it was too tall, as I had lots of plans for stuff in here. #2 – It was better than the unit in my s&b bedroom. So I was looking for a replacement. What I want from an AV receiver is the ability to listen to the audio from *any* source I throw at it, but not require it to be on. Nothing like driving the coach while the family is watching the TV, and a police siren or other noise plays in the “surround” speakers which happen to be directly overhead. Gets me every time, and the noise also interferes with my front stereo. I looked all over for a receiver that would handle this, and found only one.

Sherwood R-904N Internet A/V Streaming Receiver

If you read the reviews on this, all of the problems with this unit focus on the fact that it is a terrible internet streaming receiver. I do not plan on using this feature, as the PC I am putting in place will handle all streaming media needs. There are even instructions to completely remove the module and make it the equivalent of the R-904, which is only available in 220V NON-US models.
The big advantage is this is a 7.1 receiver, 2 zone, and is only 2.8 inches high! This saves me almost 4 inches where I really need the savings. I do not plan on using the 2 Zone feature, but do have an idea on how it might work if I were to use it. For now this will solely be used for streaming the 7.1 sound when watching a movie while we are parked.
Link: Walmart Purchase the Sherwood NetBoxx A/V Internet Streaming Receiver, R-904NW, for less at Save money. Live better.
Price: $259.00

4×4 Matrix Switch
The true beauty of a matrix switch is you can choose any of 4 input devices and output to any of the 4 outputs. So if you have 3 TV’s as I do, you can have the outdoor TV connected to the WII, the Televator connected to the Computer for web surfing, and the Kitchen TV playing a DVD movie.
The downside is that it does require a selection of source per device. So switching from DVD to DirectTV requires going to the Matrix switch and choosing “output TV” and “Input Source”. Not a big deal for me, but not exactly user friendly for those that just hit a source button and have 2 devices to choose from. The matrix switch I selected has a serial control interface, and I am running homeseer automation software. I am using Bluetooth events to trigger source selection, on a custom application that I wrote. This is an extension of what I have running at my Stick & Brick. Other options are to create a simple web interface to choose your macro setups. Otherwise, the unit includes a remote control, and is easy to setup. With the way that I wired it, you can still have 2 options available to you at all times, using HDMI 2 via the stereo for a source, and HDMI 1 to be the alternate selected source.
Link: For only $145.80 each when QTY 50+ purchased – 4X4 True Matrix HDMI® Powered Switch w/ Remote (Rev. 3.0)
Price: $156.60

Roku 3
This media player will be located in the rear bedroom, and can stream any of the content from the Media PC. This includes all my movies, recorded TV, audio, as well as Netflix, and other online content.
As a bonus, the audio can be played through the remote control, so when my wife is sleeping, I can still listen to my shows.
Link: Roku 3 Streaming Player: Electronics
Price: 99.99



dsdp-av cabinet-rev-03152013