If you’ve been around the world of recreational vehicles for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed how some things change or evolve over time, typically in a way that enhances the RVing lifestyle. Remember when there was no such thing as a slide-out, or multiple bathrooms, outdoor kitchens, basement storage, synthetic roofs, satellite reception and the like? In no other area has time seemed to have been accelerated more than in the field of electronics and that very science continues to boost our enjoyment level as we pursue our recreational endeavors in an RV.
For years, Lippert Components (LCI®) has been at the forefront of that explosion of electronic evolution, creating and developing a series of products aimed at easing consumer duties previously requiring manual operation (and oftentimes cumbersome dexterity). Enter the LCI OneControl® system, the intelligent, single source location that easily controls many of the functions aboard any RV. Add the ConnectAnywhere™ feature and the user does not even need to be in the same country as the RV!
From a single location inside the RV, (or from any smartphone or tablet), RV owners can now electronically control the operation of a plethora of onboard features such as:
- Leveling the RV
- Deploying frame-mounted stabilizers
- Starting the generator
- Controlling the air conditioner and exhaust fans
- Monitoring the holding tank levels
- Extending or retracting the slide-outs
- Turning on or turning off exterior and interior lamps
- Lowering or raising a bed lift or hideaway television
- Extending or retracting awnings
- ... endless possibilities!
If a motor or 12-volt DC source powers something on an RV, it’s possible now to control and monitor each device remotely or from one single source. And just think, this is barely scratching the surface of the electronic magnitude. I recently had an opportunity to discuss the LCI OneControl Wireless™ and the OneControl ConnectAnywhere™ systems with Aaron McKenzie, the Leader of the OneControl and Electronics team in LCI’s Customer Service Contact Center. Being a special focus of mine, I first brought up the RV aftermarket and asked: “Can RVs that aren’t equipped with the OneControl system now be upgraded to ConnectAnywhere?” Aaron responded that presently an RV owner must have a unit equipped by the manufacturer with the OneControl Wireless system in order to upgrade to ConnectAnywhere, however, LCI is indeed exploring the possibility of adapting the product for aftermarket use.
Because the OneControl system currently utilizes what’s called a CanBus hardwired system, (the same type of system used in the automotive industry for many years), it requires that conductors be routed to each device being controlled. The CanBus protocol has proven itself adept at combating connectivity issues associated with wireless systems.
So how does a smart device (phone or tablet) connect to the OneControl system? Readers have likely heard the phrase, “There’s an app for that!” Well guess what! There’s an app for that! The OneControl app is available for free from the Apple and Google Play stores. From there, it’s easy. Simply connect the Wi-Fi signal in the RV with the wireless device before opening the app. When inputting the password for the Wi-Fi signal, enter in all 8 characters capitalized. Remember, the password for the Wi-Fi is case sensitive. Once you open the app, follow the on-screen prompts and select “LCI remote” when given the option. If you do not have the ConnectAnywhere system, you will not have Internet access through the Wi-Fi signal of the camper.
I asked Aaron to expand on the benefits of an RVer having the OneControl system with the ConnectAnywhere feature. He stated the majority of the benefits listed above but also added the fact that with ConnectAnywhere, users will have their own private hot spot inside their RV. A separate router and a connection to a wireless network within the campground is no longer necessary. Wi-Fi connectivity is high on the list of RVer demands while traveling. And it’s usually the single most area of contention as all residents of that campground fight for bandwidth at the same time each evening.
To be fully functional, an AT&T or T-Mobile cellular plan is required since the ConnectAnywhere system uses a GSM SIM card. Simply supplying the carrier with the IMEI number located on the router will allow them to activate the SIM card and you’ll be off and running with 4G LTE connectivity. As long as you have a cell signal on your phone or tablet, RV owners can control virtually all devices connected to the ConnectAnywhere system on that RV.
Worried about that campsite with uneven terrain? Hit the auto level function icon and watch as that fifth-wheel settles into a perfectly level orientation. Getting back to the rig after dark? Turn on individual or virtually all lamps inside before you even get there. Worried the pets might be getting too hot inside the motorhome? Start the air conditioner from your tablet. I could go on, but I think you get the idea, right? By the way, the next iteration of the OneControl technology will have the ability to perform diagnostics that will alert the owner of potential problems with any of the devices or components on the system, along with advice on how to correct malfunctions should they occur.
It used to be jokingly stated that “roughing it” meant living aboard an RV with less than three televisions. With OneControl and ConnectAnywhere, “roughing it” can now be permanently removed from the lexicon! For more information regarding the LCI OneControl and the ConnectAnywhere systems, please visit www.lci1.com/onecontrol. I urge all readers to bore down deep on that web page. Scrolling to the bottom of the page will reveal which brands of RVs are currently being produced with the Lippert OneControl technology. Just remember, RVing is more than a hobby, it’s a lifestyle! And with OneControl, that lifestyle just got smarter and easier!