The electronics in today’s motorhomes have changed greatly over the past 25. No longer can you solve issues with a screwdriver and a roll of electrical tape. Some power awnings that were traditionally 12 volts DC are now 120 volts AC. Simple lamp switches are being replaced by micro-switches that control relays, and transistors as multiplex configurations replace the conventional analogue system.
Looking at the SmartWheel, featured on many coaches today, it is hard to believe that all those wheel-mounted pushbuttons actually send their control messages through the same two light gauge wires, but they do.
Just like the change in automobiles from their legacy, engine repairs and tune-ups are usually more about computer downloads and software today.
So, why are RV’s going to multiplexing and the digital age? Well, there are several advantages for both the makers and the purchaser. Multiplexing reduces the amount of wiring and employs a lighter gauge. This helps reduce the overall weight of the vehicle, which in turn, contributes to fuel savings.
Additionally, it provides the ability to be able to test and troubleshoot issues relatively quickly, and in many cases, may be accomplished remotely from the location of a service provider.
Digital electronics generally consume less electrical power than analogue systems. The use of LED indicators and LED lighting provide excellent illumination at a fraction of the power consumed by incandescent. Lighter, more power efficient LED TV’s are appearing in many new RV’s. As an added bonus, most LED lamps will probably outlive the vehicle, or maybe even the owner.
So, lighter weight, faster to troubleshoot, and requiring less electrical power; all the advantages are a big win-win, for the RV application. I mean, think about it. Some RV’s have virtually miles of wire harnesses. These new multiplex systems result in far more weight savings in an RV compared to any automobile. Fast troubleshooting is also a big asset for an RV. You need it running during your limited holiday time window.
So all in all, the RV industry’s technology advancements each year are helping to make our camping adventures more about enjoying nature and less about dealing with RV’s issues.