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Old 02-13-2007, 01:02 PM   #1
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I have been following and participating in the thread regarding ˜Suggestions' and ˜Reading Lights'. It is obvious from the responses, that owners of Alpine Coaches are a diverse group of folks that use their units in different ways. Those who own the 40' quads and triples love the creature comforts of king-sized beds, hyrdo-hot systems, electric refers and w/d. On the other hand, you might ask owners of the 34' and 36' coaches and they may say that it is a quality coach with a great floor plan that allows me access to less-populated campgrounds. That is a wide spectrum to cover for any manufacturer.

Dale thinks we should forget about ˜reading lights' and other insignificant items and focus our attention to the big picture. Frankly, I don't fully agree. I do agree, however, that product improvements are important and will, in the final analysis, make or break the company. But, it is the little things that can irritate me. They are the things that make me think that the company is providing a unit for the users and not for the company.

Gary

I once owned a Tradewinds that was just north of proto-type. Little did I know that there was no standardation and when problems arose, no one at the factory could help very much. It was kind of the motor home from H---. Even though it was new, it had features that Alpine has taken 8 years to achieve. Namely, water-pump switches in three locations, 2 furnaces, and 12 volt lights at every 110-volt location, etc.

My car has 3 12-volt outlets on the dash and one in the rear. My Alpine has one in front to power my cell phone, operate my XM radio and power my GPS. Your response might be to add others or use adapters. I have an adapter that my knee hits all of the time. The point is that in this day of electronics, more than one just makes sense.

I fully recognize that Alpine is not a custom coach and that every little convenience item cannot be included. I feel that with all of the input from participants, that the Focus Group should consider developing a survey to establish just what is important to us. If 50 say reading lights are important, consider adding them. If 1 say that an additional water tank gauge is important; well, that might not be a big thing to consider. The point is to get the opinions from as many as will participate. In the IRV forum, we hear from a small minority of the owners.

With the number of ACA owners that are on there 2nd or 3rd coach, that is a wonderful place to start a survey. If it weren't for ACA, I would not be an owner of my 2nd. I am a shopper and 3 weeks after buy one, I am looking at others, again!! There a lot of nice coaches out there with nice features; at a lesser cost. Let's take advantage of all of our suggestions so when you present your list to management, that you have data to back up you requests. Some areas of a survey need to ask leading questions like; do you like the TV system?; what don't you like about it? Or how would you like to see it? You also need the usual laundry list.

With all the problems that I have had with my '06, am looking forward to having a less stressful '07.
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Old 02-13-2007, 01:02 PM   #2
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I have been following and participating in the thread regarding ˜Suggestions' and ˜Reading Lights'. It is obvious from the responses, that owners of Alpine Coaches are a diverse group of folks that use their units in different ways. Those who own the 40' quads and triples love the creature comforts of king-sized beds, hyrdo-hot systems, electric refers and w/d. On the other hand, you might ask owners of the 34' and 36' coaches and they may say that it is a quality coach with a great floor plan that allows me access to less-populated campgrounds. That is a wide spectrum to cover for any manufacturer.

Dale thinks we should forget about ˜reading lights' and other insignificant items and focus our attention to the big picture. Frankly, I don't fully agree. I do agree, however, that product improvements are important and will, in the final analysis, make or break the company. But, it is the little things that can irritate me. They are the things that make me think that the company is providing a unit for the users and not for the company.

Gary

I once owned a Tradewinds that was just north of proto-type. Little did I know that there was no standardation and when problems arose, no one at the factory could help very much. It was kind of the motor home from H---. Even though it was new, it had features that Alpine has taken 8 years to achieve. Namely, water-pump switches in three locations, 2 furnaces, and 12 volt lights at every 110-volt location, etc.

My car has 3 12-volt outlets on the dash and one in the rear. My Alpine has one in front to power my cell phone, operate my XM radio and power my GPS. Your response might be to add others or use adapters. I have an adapter that my knee hits all of the time. The point is that in this day of electronics, more than one just makes sense.

I fully recognize that Alpine is not a custom coach and that every little convenience item cannot be included. I feel that with all of the input from participants, that the Focus Group should consider developing a survey to establish just what is important to us. If 50 say reading lights are important, consider adding them. If 1 say that an additional water tank gauge is important; well, that might not be a big thing to consider. The point is to get the opinions from as many as will participate. In the IRV forum, we hear from a small minority of the owners.

With the number of ACA owners that are on there 2nd or 3rd coach, that is a wonderful place to start a survey. If it weren't for ACA, I would not be an owner of my 2nd. I am a shopper and 3 weeks after buy one, I am looking at others, again!! There a lot of nice coaches out there with nice features; at a lesser cost. Let's take advantage of all of our suggestions so when you present your list to management, that you have data to back up you requests. Some areas of a survey need to ask leading questions like; do you like the TV system?; what don't you like about it? Or how would you like to see it? You also need the usual laundry list.

With all the problems that I have had with my '06, am looking forward to having a less stressful '07.
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Old 02-14-2007, 03:05 AM   #3
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I more than likely was at fault to comment on the large things that should be corrected. I very much stated that incorrectly. I certainly do agree that small items can truly make the difference between a motor coach and a really great motor coach because small detail can make a tremendous difference. I thouroughly agree. I must apologize if I made it appear that only the large items should be addressed first.

I had some correspondence with one of the new owners right after their purchase of WRV and one comment I made was that Alpine had solved most of the big issues. With some womans opinions and more attention to detail and the woman's touch, Alpine would be a 1st class winner. I still think an electric hose reel is an expensive toy. The electric reel is a neccesity. That's my 3 cents.
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Old 02-14-2007, 06:22 AM   #4
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I recognize that my 'epistle' was a bit much, but with all the good suggestions that I have been reading about will merely be that; good suggestions. I know that there is a Focus Group that does get some information but frankly, I see, nor hear very little about what is going on with the group. The survey would quantify those suggestions that owners feel important. The problem is how to get to the next step. I agree that the electric reel is important and the water hose reel is not except that the hose would be in an dedicated location. I would be willing to compile a list of suggestions. They could be emailed to me at gar39deb37@earthlink.net. Keep in mind how much cost is involved in the improvements you suggest. Personally, I am not too interested in a $400,000, 36' Alpine.
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Old 02-14-2007, 02:32 PM   #5
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Hi Lundy,

John and I have been part of the Focus Group since it's inception about 3 years or so ago. Since we were gullible enough to buy yet another new Alpine (only because we love them!), we will continue to participate in this group. I can tell you that of all of the past suggestions filtered through our Focus Group, at least 75% of them have been incorporated into new Alpines. Some items were larger and some smaller. As examples, the change in the ceiling lights from flourescent to halogen and the under counter trash can with outside access both came from the Focus Group. Every time we meet we talk about production quality and customer service, and WRV is working hard on those areas.

As I noted in the "Suggestions" thread, I am tracking all of the ideas that have been put forward in that thread, so there is no need for you to replicate that. However, I do like your idea for a survey to give us a better idea of just how many owners would like to see the different enhancements suggested there. I can't say I'm sure how to make a survey happen, but let's kick it around and see if we can get a good idea for execution.

Thanks, Lundy!
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Old 02-14-2007, 02:43 PM   #6
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I have to say that the only major problem we are still having with our 2005 is with the TV system for the front TV. Everything is supposed to come thru the HD Receiver. We can get satellite fine but have to fight to get any antenna stations and no one has ever gotten us cable. The back TV is fine because it comes thru an old fashioned switchbox. We also can't get surround sound or control the sound with the sat.remote. A pain to have to use so many remotes just to enjoy tv.
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Old 02-14-2007, 06:37 PM   #7
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The easiest solution to the multiple remote problem is to get a "learning" type of universal remote. I got one for myself (a Home Theater MX-500) for <$100, and it is the only remote I need for the coach entertainment system. I can control the Plasma, DVD/sound system, my Tivo, and the DVD recorder I am using to tune the cable and antenna feeds. You can also program it to turn on/off everything with one button. It seems like it would be easy and cheap enough for WRV to consider. Once it is programmed, it is easy to clone it to multiple units.

Only drawback is that WRV seems to change the components so often it would be impossible to get one after the fact. Changing remote programming might be a full time position!
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Old 02-15-2007, 08:47 AM   #8
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I've thanked my wife more than once for making me ordering the 50 amp cord reel but it does take up a lot of space and I don't care for the power out feature.One Alpine owner I know installed his own and it doesn't take up any floor space and you pull out just as much as you need and it is powered in.He mounted it up by the water pump and pulled it out thru a hole in the top fwd corner of the sewer compartment.
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Old 02-15-2007, 10:59 AM   #9
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Jim A,
WRV did come up with a "universal programmable" remote. It is the Harmony 880 (I think thats the correct model). While I personnaly would not recommend it to ANYONE, it is what comes supplied with the new coach. While it does work well when it works, and it is programmable to most any device, it seems to get "lost" at times. By "lost" I mean that for example, if I turn on the satellite, and for some reason the
TV doesnt "see" the signal and doesnt come on and I was last watching a DVD I can not just push "watch sattellite" again because the Harmony doesnt know what you want. Frequently I find myself getting all of the remote out to manually acquiring the programming that I want and then going back to the Harmony. It sounds like your Home Theater mx-500 works better and for considerably less than the Harmony (about $300)
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Old 02-18-2007, 08:50 PM   #10
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Hugh,

I wish I had seen this post while we were in Las Vegas, and I could have shown the MX-500 to you. My only problem is if the TV does not see the signal when I turn everything on, I have to press the main button, then TV button, and then press the TV power button. Not a big deal.

If you pay attention to what you are doing, relatively simple macros can be recorded on it to change inputs to the TV, etc., so that it won't get lost like you said the Harmony remote does.

For example, one macro attached to the DVD button switches the TV input to the DVD input, the DVD player to the DVD mode, and leaves the remote set to control the DVD player. If the TV misses the command for some reason, pressing the DVD button again fixes it.

The MX-500 is not programmable from a computer, but other models from Home Theater are. However I did purchase an USB IR device and software program (IRClone) that allows me to do some programming on the computer. Unfortunately it looks like that program has been discontinued. Their website is gone.
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Old 02-19-2007, 07:53 PM   #11
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Jim,
I am not sure that I would change the Harmony at this point... it may still be "operator error" that will correct when I learn more about it. probably not.
It would be interesting to hear from others that are using the Harmony remote... any one else having the frustrations that I am.. or is it just me?
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Old 02-20-2007, 10:09 AM   #12
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It seems to me that the entire tv system ought to be able to be simplified. I can't believe I'm the only one who finds all this electronic wizardry overwhelming. The entertainment system should be delivered with a single control, and an instruction book or video explaining it's use. If it weren't for the amazing beauty of high-definition lcd/plasma tv's I'd vote for a return of single "click" prehistoric tv's.
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Old 02-20-2007, 10:25 AM   #13
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Rick, I couldn't agree more! I actually do have that on the list already, and hope WRV has read the thread about the TV difficulties. If not, I am going to have a very irate husband when we pick up our new '07. If he can't get the TV working, there will be an explosion inside of our coach!!!
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Old 02-20-2007, 10:40 AM   #14
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Rick- According to those who should be in a position to know, WRV spends more customer help time on TV/sound snafu's than any other single item. Great place to simplify & save some service $$$.
Gail- Surveys are easy as electronic pie with SurveyMonkey and an email list of potential respondants. IIRC, ACA or at least its chapters have the email addresses. I'm willing to bet there would be a large participation percentage. I know I would return the survey even if it took an hour to complete.
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