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Messages - Camper_Dan

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Living and travelling... in a van / Re: Newbie
« on: August 20, 2019, 02:01:06 AM »
Bump to  foil spammers!

Van Conversion / Re: Bed in the van
« on: August 20, 2019, 02:00:14 AM »
Bump to  foil spammers!

Van Conversion / Re: wanted to buy
« on: July 26, 2019, 11:28:36 PM »
Bump to foil spammers...

Common Room / Re: insurance conundrum
« on: July 19, 2019, 08:57:44 PM »
bump to foil spammers

Living and travelling... in a van / Re: Health Insurance in Canada
« on: July 19, 2019, 08:56:35 PM »
bump to foil spammers

Van Conversion / Re: Yet another battery/solar question
« on: July 19, 2019, 08:54:12 PM »
Bump to foil spammers

Van Conversion / Re: Yet another battery/solar question
« on: July 15, 2019, 07:58:02 AM »

I'd check the age on the battery.  Many of those expensive batteries have sat on the shelf for years before they get sold. A battery shop should be able to give you a free load test on it too.

If the battery checks out, then it either has to be the load, or the charging.  If the loads check out okay, then it's the solar or the controller.

Both the panels and the controller should be checkable with a multi-meter, and should be checked close to solar noon ( sun at 12 oclock, regardless of time ) on a bright sunny, cloudless day.  Both the panel output and the controller output should be checked at the controller's in and out connections.


Van Conversion / Re: Yet another battery/solar question
« on: July 15, 2019, 12:52:51 AM »

Solar sucks...  Most full timers have scrapped it totally, myself included.

There seems to be a huge discrepancy between the shallow charge that you get with solar, and a normal charge while driving or with a battery charger.  I spent a lot of time without power when I was relying on solar alone.  When I added an isolator to also charge my house battery while driving, my problems soon disappeared.  When my solar panels got stolen, it literally made no difference, I still had plenty of power, just like I did in other rigs that never had solar.

Is your house battery a deep cycle one? And how old is it?  Part of the problem could be your battery.  For that fridge I'd do double your battery capacity, and triple your input power.  My cheaper solution was to replace powered fridges with a simple ice chest that require no power, don't break down, and don't add heat to my interior during the summer. 

Today, I have 2 deep cycle 100ah batteries, one for a house battery, and the other installed as a starting battery, and I can switch between them to power my house.  Each will last roughly a week before the battery protectors will cut them off to prevent over discharging them.  Even after shut off, my starting battery still has plenty of juice to start my rig.

As a backup plan, I have a small $99 gas generator, and combined with a $29 battery charger, so I can fully charge either battery from anywhere.  If I have shore power, that same battery charger can be used there as well.  Relying on the weather for power is a gamble I'm no longer willing to accept, especially since a better solution is also cheaper.  Normally, what little driving I do is totally sufficient for keeping my batteries charged.


Van Conversion / Re: LDV Convoy Fuses
« on: July 04, 2019, 10:23:44 PM »

I did a pretty extensive search, but couldn't come up with a fuse diagram for you, sorry...

If your roof has no holes in it, then it's likely window or door seals.  If your roof does have holes in it, then that's your likely culprit.


Common Room / Re: insurance conundrum
« on: July 01, 2019, 07:59:58 PM »
Greetings & Welcome!

There's a lot of variables involved here that you're not telling us... Like year, make, model, & value of the motorhome, and the value of the contents.

I've never paid over $2500 for a motorhome, and the contents would never be worth over that either, except maybe in sentimental value, which can't be replaced or compensated for anyway.  So a $5000 replacement fund is my insurance policy, along with a $5000 emergency fund.  Plus I have money in the bank if I need it.  So I just have liability insurance, because the insurance company wouldn't pay me diddly anyway.  This choice probably saves me two or three hundred dollars a month, and if I need it, the money is available instantly rather than waiting around for some insurance company to screw me over.


Van Conversion / Re: too light when windy?
« on: June 28, 2019, 08:00:52 PM »

After re-reading your above comment, if you mean a non pop-up trailer by rigid mini, that could also be a viable option.  Just pull in, level, and hook up your power, and maybe your sewer.  Far less work than most pop-ups, and a whole lot better to set-up in the rain or wind.  Pop-ups, or tents can be the pits to put up or take down in the wind or rain.


Van Conversion / Re: too light when windy?
« on: June 28, 2019, 07:50:45 PM »

I'm in the USA, so I'm assuming when you say "caravan" you are referring to what our term is "trailer", either a pop-up, or a fixed one.

The problem with most pop-ups is that if you're only doing short stays, they quickly become very annoying to do all the set-up and tear-down.  Where as something you can just pull into a site, and maybe plug in, and set-up is done, you really come to appreciate.  My camper van doesn't even care whether it is level or not.  My bed, kitchen, bathroom, work area, lounging chair, everything is ready and waiting without any set-up required.  I can literally pull over anywhere and take a nap, use the bathroom, or make a meal without ever stepping out of my van.  That's convenience.  Convenience you don't really have with a pop-up.  "I" prefer camper vans and motor homes for this exact reason. 

Fixed trailers add convenience over pop-ups, but if I'm going to be towing something, I'd prefer it to be a boat.  I guess in some places you can pull a train (multiple trailers), but that only further complicates things.  There's a lot to be said for simple comfort and convenience.

In regards to hard sided vs. soft sided, including tents, all of them require set-up, and all of them are only going to be as comfortable as your heating and cooling equipment.  They will all hopefully keep you out of the wind and rain.  So the biggest differences are in ease of set-up and tear-down, and the amount of storage space they take up when not in use.  Some tents these days will practically set themselves up, and storage space is also minimal.  If you're not there, a thief can get in no matter what you have.  Some wild animals can get into a sturdy vehicle just as easily as they could get into tent.  In my thinking, the best measure of safety is the ability to drive away without getting out of my rig and into danger.

Some people have space for a dedicated camping vehicle or trailer, others don't.  A mini van can be too cramped to be comfortable in if you need to hunker down for a few days due to bad weather.  It's not exactly one size fits all.  So I guess my criteria is comfort, convenience, ease of set-up, and something that will be comfortable to hunker down in for several days if the need arises.

So as you can see, there are many things to consider... 


Common Room / Re: Lwb sprinter vs lwb crafter
« on: June 28, 2019, 06:45:05 PM »

Work/cargo vans make for terrible campers, and there is no cheap or easy way to convert them.  Unlike passenger vans, they're simply not designed to keep people in the back comfortable.

Too many people convert them, only to find how bad they suck as campers, then lose a ton of money on them when they sell them to upgrade to a better choice.

The first choice should always be a cheap factory camper.  That can teach you what you really want or need.  Only your personal experiences can teach you that.  Test drive a bunch of them, each will drive differently.  Pick one that is comfortable for you to drive, and one that has a good floor plan.  In the end, it will be much cheaper than building your own, and the resale value will be higher as well.

Use it as it was designed, and don't add stupid stuff like solar panels.  All the garbage you read is designed to get you to buy stuff, so somebody gets paid.  Don't fall for it, almost all of it is terrible advice.


Van Conversion / Re: too light when windy?
« on: June 27, 2019, 09:47:36 PM »

I'm familiar with both the Rapido's and the Esterelle's, and I like the ease of setup for the Esterelle's much better, even though it's a smaller space.

Hard sides don't really help with heating, cooling, or humidity control, no matter how much insulation is added.  All of those things are contingent on your heating, cooling, and ventilation equipment.  A tent might require slightly more of each, but for me, the ease of set-up & take-down, and minimal amount required for storage, makes a tent a better choice.

I have a 10' x 20' (feet) easy-up type awning that I then purchased party tent side walls for that have many opening windows.  A tarp creates a bathtub floor, then I put a throw rug on top of that.  Cot's keep you off the floor, and there is plenty of room inside for sleeping, cooking, lounging, and even your toilet/shower room.  The tent takes maybe 10 minutes to erect, then another 10-15 minutes to move the furniture in and get it set up.  Everything fits under the bed inside my van with room to spare.

The tent gives me about double the space I have in my van, plus stand up height, and I just move everything I would normally use inside my van into the tent if I'm going to be stationary for a while.  I stake it down good, just like any other tent, and it has held up well for many years, and extreme weather conditions including hot, humid, cold, and windy.  Setting it up in foul weather or high winds is terribly difficult though.  I'm not sure whether your idea would help with that or not...

Normally, I just live inside my van, or motorhome, so no set-up or tear-down are required.  I rarely set up my tent unless I'm having company.  I don't have a high top van at present, so I must do everything while seated, but it is a full sized extended length van.  There's a lot to be said in favor of a live in vehicle that requires no trailer, and no set-up or tear-down. Always ready for all your needs.

None of us are getting any younger.  My brain knows how to do a lot of things, but as we age our bodies make things much more difficult or even impossible.  Looking into the future, I'm leaning heavily towards simpler, easier, less complicated, and more comfortable.  For my next vehicle I'm thinking about a small shuttle bus.  Bigger to drive, less fuel economy, but standing height, lots of windows, and it should make a very comfortable tiny home on wheels.  They're built sturdy, and they usually don't leak as long as you don't put any holes in the roof.  A good gasser will likely outlast me with minimal repairs required.  If traveling becomes problematic, I can find a park to live out my remaining days in.

Good Luck!

Van Conversion / Re: Insulating Floor
« on: June 27, 2019, 06:14:21 PM »

Window covers can definitely come in handy at times.  I usually just use a sleep mask myself, if I don't need privacy.  I really don't care if someone wants to watch me sleep.  My bathroom is private, other than that, not so much...


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