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Caravaning

Update - Caravan heating mods

Category: Caravanning
10 Sep 2018
Written by Andy Hits: 34

I found the real cause for poor performance on the heat vent in the bedroom.

I did what I should have done first before modifying things.  Traced the duct all the way back between the bedroom, under the caravan, back inside under the oven, beneath the fridge and to the heater.
Under the oven was a plywood plate held in by 2 screws, with the back pipework for the bathroom vent, and the duct that leads to the bedroom.  On a slight whim, I removed this panel to prove where these pipes went, and this is what I found:

Disconnected Heating Duct

Caravan Heating Mods

Category: Caravanning
06 Sep 2018
Written by Andy Hits: 43

Another little mod, that is in progress, but I'll try and walk through what I've done

The 'van has Truma blown air heating, with 4 air vents, as opposed to some slightly more expensive caravans that have Alde based wet heating, much more like a conventional domesting central heating system, with a header tank and radiators.
Being a special edition, one of the upgrades we got was "butterfly" valves on these air vents, allowing shutting off / restricting the flow of certain vents, to encourage hot air out of the others.   This is needed to keep heat roughly balanced, as the air duct to the bedroom is significantly longer than the one to the lounge. This image shows roughly the route the 4 different ducts take.  The blue is to the bedroom and is the coolest.  The dashed portion is where the duct is underneath the van on the outside

Caravan Heating Ducts

Lights and sockets

Category: Caravanning
07 Jun 2018
Written by Andy Hits: 150

Being a caravan based on an entry level model, it hasn't got quite all the bells and whistles that some have.  I know that some 2018 models have usb charging ports in the corner spot lights and stuff.  I fancied having somewhere to charge phones and tablets on the front shelf, so did some investigating.

Sargent Electrical, who make the PSU and control panels for our Swift caravan have some schematics on their website in the support section. Looking through the Swift Group 2016 PDF, it shows that the 12v sockets are connected to the E4 connector on the PSU, with a wire that is Yellow with a white trace / strip.
The caravan handbook suggested that there are some spare outputs on fuse 9 and 10 which also might be possible to use, but no details of what connections they might be on the PSU.
Fortunately, in my efforts to get the Swift Command remote control app to program heating to work with the Truma blown air system, I'd also got a copy of the Sargent Electrical EC600 systems dealer technical guide.  This details all the pins on all the sockets on the PSU, along with their associated fuses.  Fuse 9 & 10 have their outlets on the E1 connector.

Caravan Lights Test Box

Category: Caravanning
12 Jul 2018
Written by Andy Hits: 84

With a motor mover to get the caravan on and off the drive, I got concerned about stopping on the main road through our village and having the caravan moving, but disconnected from the car electrics, so no lights showing.
I know it is a big white box, and should be obvious, but I also know that there are a number of drivers that seem to interpret 30 mph differently to me!

I found online some trailer light test boxes, but they seemed from the descriptions I could find to be more like the network cable testers I've got, and will light up an individual circuit, or perhaps try and measure that there is resistance less than infinity, and more than a short circuit, and light up a status light.  Useful, but not to try and provide some indication of what the caravan in the road is trying to do

After starting this project, I did find some videos on Youtube of others endeavours, like these: Trailer Lights Test Box and DIY Trailer Plug Light Tester Tutorial.  I took some of the ideas on board, but made it my own.

When it all goes wrong

Category: Caravanning
27 Apr 2018
Written by Andy Hits: 152

I really wasn't planning to write this as my next article.  I'd planned on doing something about the awning and things I'd made for it.

Anyhow, what happens when things go wrong.   Let's start by borrowing from Douglas Adams. Don't Panic

For us it was getting our van off our driveway for a weekend away at Easter.
All the normal checks had been done.

  • Towball cleaned
  • Mirrors fitted
  • Noseweight checked
  • All doors / windows closed/locked
  • Legs raised
  • Caravan attached
  • Lights checked
  • ....

But as we started to pull forward, there was a horrible metallic grating sound, like a leg had been forgotten and was dragging on the driveway.
This distracted us from making the tight turn off of our driveway, and without waiting for my wife who was watching, I started the turn about 15 cm too soon. 
The rear drivers side awning rail was caught on a bolt sticking out from the gatepost.  There is the smallest mark on the sidewall from the bolt too
With the awning rail snagged on the bolt, it bent and tore the rear GRP panel, detaching the grab handle and light cluster too.
I stopped as soon as my wife said so, as by then it was on my blind side.
Dropping the caravan where it was, I moved the tow car so we only blocked one lane (the tow ball was at about the white line)
As we wondered about how we were going to shift 1.5 tonnes of caravan out of the road, a passing BMW driver stopped and offered to lend a hand pushing back on the driveway.

 

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