RV Awning Use, Care, Maintenance Tips, and Advice

RV awnings are a great feature to have on your RV. There are different types of RV awnings and they serve different purposes. There are window and door awnings that provide shade over your RV windows or entry door. There are slide out awnings that protect the slide out roof from debris and water. And there are patio awnings that provide us with shade when we want to sit and enjoy the outdoors. The awnings on your RV will provide years of reliable trouble free operation, if you take the time to do a little preventive maintenance and cleaning.

The fabric used on awnings is made from vinyl or acrylic. Some awnings have an aluminum or vinyl wrap-around weather guard that protects the awning fabric when it’s in the travel position. When you open the awning for the first time each year, or if it has been stored for a while, you will need to inspect the awning fabric for any signs of mildew or stains. Vinyl awnings will mildew. If the awning fabric is fairly clean, normal cleaning can be accomplished with a soft brush and mild soap and water. Do not use oil based or abrasive cleaners. Clean and thoroughly rinse both sides of the awning. For more difficult stains, or mildew, there are after market commercial cleaners made just for awning fabrics.

Note: Carefully follow all awning and cleaner manufacturer directions.

Inspect the awning fabric for any tears or excessive wear. Do not store the awning when the fabric is wet. Allow it to dry completely on both sides before storing. You can clean the awning hardware with the same cleaner you use to wash the RV. While the awning is out, inspect the awning hardware. The bottom awning brackets support most of the load from the awning. Check that the lag screws in the awning brackets are tight. Inspect the arm pivot holes for any enlarged holes or broken rivets in the handles. Check for a warped roller tube. If the roller tube is warped it will be noticeable when you roll the awning out. Inspect the end caps for secure mounting and broken rivets.

Caution: Do not attempt to remove the awning end caps. Spring tension can result in serious injury.

Make sure the awning rail is securely mounted to the side of the RV. Have any damaged or broken parts repaired before using the awning. In addition to cleaning and inspecting your awning there are a few things to keep in mind when using the awning. Always lower one end of the awning to allow for water run off. The weight from water pooling on the awning fabric can cause extensive and costly damage.

Wind gusts over 20 miles per hour can also cause extensive damage to the awning and to the RV. Never leave the awning out unattended. If everyone is leaving the campsite, store the awning in the travel position. When you go to bed, store the awning. Even when you are at the campsite, you should use awning tie downs to prevent any sudden damage caused by high wind gusts or a sudden storm. You have the option to position the awning arms straight down and stake them to the ground, but you will get better support if they’re attached to the bottom awning brackets on the side of the RV. Remember, it is much easier to prevent damage to your awning than it is to repair it.

Hacked: Who Else Is Using Your Computer?

A friend called me one day and asked if I would stop by to
look at his computer. He said it was running abnormally slow
and he had found something on his hard-drive he could not
explain. I could almost guess what it was he found.
Have I been hacked?

You see, his computer had been hacked. Actually, in his
case, his computer had been tagged. Similar to the image you
see here.

Tag, You’re It!

—————

The file transfer protocol, commonly referred to as “FTP”,
has been around for many years. In the early days of the
Internet, it was one of the few ways to easily upload and
download files from one computer to another. Many
commercial operating systems come with an FTP server
installed. In other cases, the option for FTP services is
selected by a user when they are installing or updating
their operating system. If this service is not setup
properly, or you don’t have an adequately configured
software or hardware firewall, it is an open invitation for
a hacker or intruder.

FTP Tagging – The most common purpose for someone to
compromise your FTP server is for the storage and
distribution of illegally obtained software and files. This
could include cracked software, stolen movies, audio files,
and pornography. Removing this type of contraband from your
computer can be difficult, particularly if you are using a
Microsoft Windows platform. Hackers use sophisticated
scripts to create a maze of directory structures to house
their wares on your computer. They may use a combination of
names with spaces in them, and in some cases use extended
characters (characters outside the normal alpha-numeric
range). Deleting these directories through normal means may
be difficult, if not impossible, for the average user. Many
people wind up wiping their system and re-installing it, and
that is if they’re lucky enough to find out their system has
been compromised.

The above is a perfect example of why the statement, “I’m
not worried about being hacked. What do I have that a
hacker would want?” is not a good position to take. The fact
is, you do have something they want, your computers
resources. Why should a hacker store tons of illegally
obtained files on their systems when they can use yours.