Hello again, Herb Gingold here with our first installment of stories on how we created our products. Each one was born from the two most powerful forces that spur innovation, necessity and conflict. This is a story that encompasses both topics, results in a very cool product, and has a happy ending!
We first purchased HAHRV (Home away from home RV, the name we gave our camper). We bought HAHRV for the most common RV need, tailgating. We love college football, our team UCF (GO Knights, Charge ON!), and our tailgate crew of more than 20 years. I remember telling Vicky we got RV lot passes. She reminded me that we did not have an RV, so we got HAHRV just a few days later! That started our adventures in camping, and we have been camping ever since.
Now on to the topic of this story, LEVELING. If you have an auto level system and never had to manually level a camper with blocks and hand crank jacks, this story may not have the same impact, but for those who have had the pleasure, this tale should be déjà vu for you.
After watching some YouTube videos on leveling and inspecting my gently used RV, I found the plastic bubble levels attached with foam tape. As an engineer, I was disgusted that someone wasted their time, money, and effort on these. They are not effective. A quick check online for something better to measure level produced the usual suspects, such as a bigger single direction bubble level that I screw in, of which I had little interest. Running from one level to the next to try to get them both centered was so 19th century, and I wanted better. I found some basic electronic level devices: Some showed one direction, some both, but they all had the same problem; they were little more than a green/red LED level, just as ineffective as the bubbles and you could not even tell how close you were to green until it was too late. Only one device had a remote display, so I bought it from a local retail store. When I got it home I sighed in frustration: It looked like something right out of a 1980's catalog and performed even worse. I took it back that same day. AAARGGH, I was speechless in frustration.
Vicky suggested she would take out her smartphone and open the free two-dimensional bubble level app and place it on the floor. We still faced the problem that the smartphone is inside the trailer and I had to go from jack to jack and level the unit. I needed to be able to see the display or I would have to run back and forth to get HAHRV level! Vicky volunteered to be my eyes and tell me where the bubble was and let me know when we were level. We tried to do this in our reasonably flat back yard, and things went well at first. Vicky placed her phone on the floor and looked at the display, which showed the degrees off center in Y (pitch) and X (roll), but this is where things started to fall apart. There is nothing in a trailer that is level to any other spot in the trailer. We could not find a spot to put the phone that would be level for the phone and trailer with any repeatability. We also still had the problem of two-person leveling or running back and forth. The phone app solution was on the right track but did not get it done. It needed the ability to be able to be calibrated to what level feels like for you.
Vicky said, "Why don't you take the sensor out of the phone and make it send the signals back to the phone, then it can stay in the same place, then you can do it by yourself." Of course! She's right! I can do that, so I created our WoBLR level, "The World's Best Level for RVs." I made the level device and wrote a simple app. It was not pretty, but it worked. On our next camping trip while Vicky and our daughter, Alee, walked our dog, I was able to level HAHRV in minutes, by myself, and with good accuracy. Nothing I had seen to that point for an RV level could touch what I had made, and so we named it "The World's Best Level for RVs," The WoBLR.
My next few trips cemented my love for the WoBLR and helped me develop most of the current functionality. On our next camping trips I would travel ahead and set HAHRV up. When Vicky and Alee arrived it was ready, fire going, ahhhh! The ability to level HAHRV by myself, with pinpoint accuracy and repeatability, saved me lots of time. Each time someone would see me using the WoBLR and asked where we got it, they would suggest we sell them.
The WoBLR will save you time and frustration leveling your RV, and it does even more with ARCLENGTHCALC offset algorithm and Hitch Point to help you reconnect with ease.