The TireMinder kit from Camping World arrived today. I’ve read enough horror stories about Chinese bombs and blow-outs on RV.net, and seen YouTube videos of the foregoing, to have been scared straight into purchasing this product. You think TireMinder seeded those anecdotes on RV.net?
Speaking of RV.net, what a fun forum. I’ll post later about the characters who I’ve met and ribbed good naturedly, of course, and those who have ribbed me. Most of the ribbing revolves around my cheering on all things Camping World. Marcus Lemonis is a Marketing Genius. But man there are some cranky people who do nothing but bash CW. Even one guy whose answer to everything is to file a police report. Bought a defective lawn chair at CW? File a police report.
Back to the issue at hand. I’m going to document the installation of the TireMinder on the ERA 70X. Grab your popcorn. First issue, sliding the inner box out from the outer box. This container is snug.
A plethora of things in the box. This sticker can be placed on the coach to assist transmitter thieves in identifying an easy target. These transmitters are easy on and easy off and cost $70 each. Let’s see how long before they are stolen.
Having succeeded in that initial step: opening the box, I note that the manual is not thin. In the manual, it says YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!! This is not a NO BRAINER product!! Thankfully, I have an engineering degree in Control and Instrumentation Networks, a Masters in Physics and the offspring have degrees in Aerospace Enginnering and Mechanical Engineering. Hopefully, we are covered.
So they also provide a Quick Start Guide. I’m conflicted.
The Quick Start Guide looks too sparse to make sense, unless one has worked through the manual. Maybe once you’ve gone through an initial install with the manual, then the Quick Start might makse sense. Tempting as it was, I did not use the Quick Start guide.
Press and Release the center button.
Pressure and Temp to be in PSI and Fahrenheit. We’re not in Canada, eh.
Next, the Manual yells at me that I must understand the MODES, lest all else will not make sense nor will it work. Monitoring MODE is first. It is most important. The manual rightly notes that when I turn it on initially, I get —PSI at the top and only one tire icon. Tapping the UP key, it moves from PSI to — F. Once the monitors are installed on the tires, I can go up or down to scroll through each tire’s PSI and Temp. Can you sense the thrill of that?
Gotta set the baseline pressures for the tires on the rig. For the two up front, they are 55 PSI and for the Rear Dualies, they are: 61 PSI, cold.
First confusing part of the Manual relates to determining if you are in Pressure Setting Mode by hitting the UP button. Later do they say to get into Pressure Setting Mode, Hold the Center Button for 5-6 seconds. It would have been good to state that earlier. First lesson–if something does not make sense, keep reading, maybe they will get to it later. Note to TM Technical Writer, order is important. For example: Instructions for getting a cola from a Machine: 1. Push “Coke”, 2. Collect Product, 3. Insert Coins, will not work.
Pressure Setting Mode:
Although the TireMinder can monitor 22 tires, the ERA 70X only has 6, so I only need monitor 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 on the display. RF Tire 2. for example:
Left Rear 1 Tire:
Now, it is time to correlate and link each pressure transmitter to each wheel. Revert to Monitoring Mode by holding center button 5-6 seconds.
Insert battery with + side up into each transmitter.
Batteries installed, it’s time to mount them on the valve stems.
The manual says it is better to mount on steel stems, but since they are so light, you can also mount on rubber stems–which is what we will be doing. First, we have to check and make sure the air pressure is properly set:
Then we put the TM receiver in Learning Mode to link each transmitter to each wheel on the receiver.
I have completed the installation, and before I show the pictures, a few comments: Included in the kit are 5, not 6, but 5 brass nuts. I assume these are to lock the transmitters to the valve stem. But nothing in the instructions indicates that. I used 4 of the brass nuts on the outside valve stems. Getting to the stems on the interior back tires was a pain in the ass. I had to move the coach back and forth until they were positioned so that I could contort and flex and screw on the transmitters. In the meantime, Texas fire ants held a buffet on my legs. Anyway, the units are installed, I had to go back and reset the baseline pressures because, for some reason, 3 of the six did not properly set. The Manual also exhorts hardwiring in the Booster. I have not done that since I do not have a trailer–I’ll see if the unit without the booster will work. Using 3 buttons and a temporal counter to indicate Modes and activate functionality is poor user design. This paradigm in user control started about 15 years ago. I hated it then, and I hate it now. Call me old-fashioned, but give me one button or switch for a binary trigger and a knob or pot for control over a continuum. But I fear the future, UI will only become more convoluted and confusing. Check tire pressure first. Yep, looks good.
I assume the brass nuts are to lock the transmitter to the stem. Nothing in the manual about that though. Maybe there are no words for “brass nut” in Chinese, where this is made, so the technical writer there said, “whatever”. Before installation up front and after installation on rear tire:
Finally done. I look forward to many happy years of monitoring the pressure and temperature of my tires.