Well we did lots last year but each trip this year really will be checking stuff for the big one towards the end of the year.
We’ve just returned from 10 days taking in East Sussex, Dorset and then on to the Pembrokeshire Coast.
On trial or alterations this time were
- Led lights (Ikea hack seen online but not sure where exactly, I’m just checking out so much at the mo DIODER)
- 100 w flexible solar panel & charge controler (Complus Energy can’t see the exact set up on their website now and I did get it from ebay)
- 225 AH Battery (Alpha Batteries)
- New seating passenger and general seating
- Recently moved gas and water
- The desiel heater got a good run, as it was still chilly in the evenings (Eberspacher D3LC)
Lets start by saying we had a fantastic 10 days the weather was great and so were the places we stopped, we’ll do it in the order I’ve listed above.
The LED lights were fantastic, we did encounter one problem due to the layout of the lights, there are four lights off set to cover the whole vehicle. As the bed was one gave us ample light to read, on one of the sites we camped we swapped ends due to a slight slope (even though we blocked). I’ll ever buy an extra or move one probably the former.
The solar was impressive, its attached to the 225ah battery, we have little power use at the only charging mobiles and a couple of hours of TV in the evening (I know). By the time we got up each morning normally between 9 and 10 the battery was fully charged again. We’ll see how it performs through the rest of the year.
The new seating arrangement seemed to work fine, we are table-less at the moment and the installation of the wood burner will change the layout again, we’ll see what happens with that.
I thought this would have been the one I didn’t really need to worry about but I was proved wrong. The water supply has been moved to under the bed, doubling the capacity to 50l in the form of 2 x 25l containers, that went fine. The gas was the one thing I hadn’t tested other than for leaks. When we rocked up at our first site in East Sussex went to use it and it wouldn’t work. luckily I had a spare regulator and hose so just attached that as a temporary measure. Quickly discovered it was the regulator so that was easily sorted. I’m going to have a look to see if this is unusual, if it’s not I’ll make sure I’m prepared for this one again.
The final one in the list is the heater. Right the power set up is unusual there is the normal starter battery and leisure battery (original) powered from a split charger. The solar and 225ah leisure battery is completely independent. The only things running from the original leisure battery are the door, interior lights and the heater. Although we replaced the battery last year we hammered the 12v cool box, I think this may have done the battery in as it doesn’t seem to hold a full charge properly. I believe the diesel heaters are particularly susceptible to a voltage drop, this proved a problem. I tried several times on various occasions and this I think was the case, our work around was to start the engine then start the heater, once it was up and running it was fine and kept running, it just seems to be the start up procedure that is affected. The starting of the engine wasn’t a major issue for us but I will consider replacing the battery.
Finally and not listed was the cool box, It’s the one thing I’ve been looking in to quite a lot as we will be away for so long. Using the cool box for extended periods will kill the battery there isn’t away round that from what I’ve read. I initially bought a 12v timer to install that would restrict the drain and this maybe one of the solutions. I can’t tell you if it is, as the cool box failed on the way down to East Sussex so at this point I haven’t got an answer to this particular problem, but we have inadvertently stumbled across a sort of solution. The boot, under the bed and behind the cupboards stays amazingly cool but I’ll keep an eye as we move into the warmer weather. I’m going to add a bit of extra insulation this could be really rather good for long term traveling, fingers crossed.