A Few Mods and Updates…


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After our recent trip to Meathop Fell it was time to say goodbye to an old friend. We have had our leisure battery since 2011 and for 11 years it has given us great service. For the last year or so I have thought hard about converting over to Lithium and drew up plans for a high capacity charging link between the tow vehicle and caravan and converting the caravan over to a Victron based system. However I think that for this caravan it would not be worth it.

We had bought a 120Ah Numax battery (left one above) from ABS and it had worked well, even now it still hold a charge and is sitting in my workshop on trickle charge waiting for a project to come along. I went back to Advanced Battery Supplies and opted to go for a 120Ah AGM. It wasn’t too expensive and hopefully it will give us years of service like it’s predecessor. I’ve used ABS for batteries a number of times over the past 12 or so years and can recommend them. I’m not sponsored by them and I paid for the battery but I have found that for me they give sensible advice and great service. That’s why I’m happy to mention them. You can call in personally or they do ship overnight ordering from their website – https://advancedbatterysupplies.co.uk

Battery taken care of now it was time to head into the workshop for a bit of construction….

Henry’s Conveyance Contrivance…

If you have read any of my posts over the last few years you will know that we have Siamese cats…. well sadly Oscar our health and safety officer passed away a while ago leaving us with just his brother Henry. Up to this point we have always had a cat sitter whenever we were away but June has now retired and honestly we could not face the thought of leaving Henry in a cattery or on his own with another cat sitter. So, a couple of exploratory trips up to the caravan for an hour just to let him sit in it and explore round lead us to a two night stay at Burrs Country Park…. only about thirty minutes away from home, that went well and so did the next trip to Meathop Fell. It was now time to build Henry a suitable transport platform for the vehicle.

Henry keeping an eye on the goings on at Meathop Fell

After a bit of head scratching I came up with this….

I built it out of 12mm Ply and painted it grey. I used an off cut of black car carpet to cover the top and sides and a couple of lengths of pipe insulation on the edges where it comes into contact with the car seat and door. To secure it I used the ISO FIX points and it takes less than 30 seconds to remove or install. Without Henrys carrying cage it’s a handy place to put things and the space underneath come in super handy for all my bits that I normally have rolling around on the floor behind the drivers seat. It’s high enough for Henry to be able to see out around in all directions and there is still enough space for two people to sit on the back seat and use the seatbelts if required.

We have used it for two trips now and Henry seems to like it. The rear windows are heavily tinted in our Amarok which will cut the heat from the sun and we can open the rear window for fresh air as required. We are looking round for one of the stick on baby sun screen thingy’s if we think the sun is going to be too strong. Of course we would never leave Henry in the vehicle unattended for more than a couple of minutes… the only time we have done this is while we were hitching up the caravan. If you know Siamese then you know they can be noisy talkative beings…. so far he’s not had anything to say about it. Is that a good sign?

Tempting Fate…

In the eleven years we have been at our storage site we have never had any break-ins but it’s aways in the back of your mind…. and couple that with us sometimes leaving Henry in the caravan while on site I decided a little security upgrade was required (there are others but I’m not going to tell you about them!) I’d looked at the various offerings of additional door locks and after some thinking… and several coffee’s decided to go for the Milenco Door Frame Lock Version 2 offering that allowed us to operate it from inside as well.

I ordered it via Amazon ( https://amzn.to/3sHywnd )and it arrived within two days. It was easy enough to install but I ‘upgraded’ the interior fitting with a custom stainless steel strengthening plate…

The stainless I used was 1.4mm tooled finish, cut to size and drilled using the template provided with the Milenco lock. After measuring the location, I bent the stainless on my sheet bender in the workshop. I chose the location as this was the strongest part of the door frame where the existing door lock was located and would help protect the original lock so a small extent. Ideally I would have liked the arm to have been a bit longer so it covered up the keyhole for the original lock. But I’m happy with it.

Down the drain…

Long time readers will remember that several years ago I wrote a post about how we solved our connection to the drain while on serviced pitches. After ten years of use It was time for an upgrade and I had seen the COLAPZ products and thought it was a rather nifty idea. Having a mooch round the web I ordered directly from the website https://colapz.co.uk/?ref=yjXJSsLdBkh5d and opted for the Flexi waste pipe kit – 8 pipes for £55.

The first use was great and easy to set up. No modification was needed to my original manifold that connects to the caravan and it seems to drain OK….

However you can alway improve on things…. and if you have ever watched any Youtube videos about American RV’s then you will know that for their ‘stinky slinky’s’ they have a few upgrades…. I ordered one from Amazon….

Camco 43041 15′ Sidewinder Plastic Sewer Hose Supporthttps://amzn.to/3Fp2elM it cost £44 and came all the way from the great state of New Jersey. It comes with a carrying handle and honestly is really easy to use. I just stretched it out and lifted the pipe on to it. It is designed for a 4 inch sewer pipe… but as I was using basically a 2 inch version it would allow the hose support to stretch even further… I bought the 15 feet version and I recon it would stretch to 20 feet without any problems.

When we were packing up, I ran all the remaining hot water down the sink to flush the pipework out… including the Colapz pipework and honestly when disconnecting everything it really wasn’t that dirty, but breaking it down into individual lengths makes it easy if it does need a brush through it (which you get by the way in the kit).

Again we are not sponsored by either of these two companies but the links above will earn us a few pennies that will help provide biscuits for Henry. You wouldn’t want Henry to mis out on biscuit treats would you….

After all he can’t survive on just belly rubs…. I know it’s blackmail but EVERYONE said you need a cute kitty to get more views!

A Bit of a Milestone…


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Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a great Christmas and the big guy brought you some wonderful gadgets for the RV… yep I’ve been watching way too much stuff from across the pond.

This month Caravan Chronicles celebrates ten years of irrelevant blogging and I designed an eye catching logo… and you can see from it, that I’m not very good at designing logo’s.

I have been asked if we have any “merch” with the Caravan Chronicles logo and….. no. I really can’t see why anyone would want a mug or tee shirt or even a sticker with Caravan Chronicles emblazoned on it. I can’t see my eye catching 10 years of CC logo being any different so there won’t be any mugs, pens or stickers with that on it either. Sue and I did have a couple of shirts with a logo embroidered on for wearing at the caravan shows… but they are now used as coveralls when we are doing a bit of DIY and they are really good for that.


Well I guess I could tell you that in ten years we have had over 42.3 million page views and been read in almost every country in the world…. the one that amazes me is somone in the Marshall Islands reads it… I had to look that up on a map!

Over 2400 of you have left nearly 4000 comments and I have received over 44,000 emails of which about half weren’t trying to sell me something or asking me to help out a recently deceased Nigerian business man’s widow.

In the ten years I have stuck to my ‘no paid content’ through out and have turned down requests for paid reviews. I have been sent a few things to review… some have been returned and some given away… which reminds me the first person to say “Hi” at the next camp site can have an Eco Camel Shower Head.

I do however have an “Amazon Associates” thingy which is great, Amazon pays me and it doesn’t cost you a penny… it all comes from Big Jeff… and as he can afford to go into space I think he can afford to shell out a few pennies to allow me to pay the wonderful people at WordPress to keep this blog up and running. So if you want to encourage Big Jeff to pay me a bit more… use any of the Amazon links in the Caravan Chronicles shop… and buy anything you like.

What’s planned for the future?

Well I am thinking about some sort of smart Q & A system on the blog. I spend quite a bit of time answering technical emails and quite a few cries for help and maybe a searchable Q & A system would work. Only thing is I don’t know how to do it in WordPress so some research needed along those lines. If you have any thoughts on anything that would improve the blog or would like to see let me know in the comments.

So I’d just like to offer a genuine big thank you all for ten amazing years of support and both Sue and I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year and safe travels.

Finishing Off A Few Jobs…


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I’d got a few little jobs still outstanding from our big clean a week or so ago. The big one was to repair the front window. When we were cleaning the caravan I noticed that the bottom edge of the central window was starting to separate. After some lengthy procrastination I’d have preferred to replace it but given the hefty price tag and the “It will be January next year at the earliest before we can get you one” type answers from suppliers and removing the window and shipping to off to a company for repair would cost almost the same as a replacement.

It can’t be beyond a diy task to repair. I did a bit of searching for information relating to repairs and one name kept popping up as the manufacturer of the product used to bond the two sheets together…Bondrite Adhesives Ltd.

After reading through Bondrite Adhesives Ltd website a couple of times to work out exactly with adhesive I’d need I ordered their WC112 acrylic adhesive. The 50ml size was £12.10 plus shipping and VAT bringing the total to £20.52. It arrived within 24 hours of ordering, was really well packaged and came with a detailed technical sheet and guidance notes.

I’m not going to do a blow by blow account of how to repair a delaminated window… as I don’t know if this is even going to work, but my first step was to support the window as flat as I could. The standard recommendation is to remove the window lay it on a flat surface and go from there. I didn’t want to remove the window as all I had to repair was the lower edge.

Improvising I used two stands with a cross beam clamped between them to hold the window horizontal. This should take any flexing stress caused by the window stays out of the equation…. Hopefully!

To hold the gap between he two sheets I used three long needles from syringes… this allowed me just enough wiggle room to slide some blotting paper with a bit of isopropanol alcohol to clean out any contaminates. I’d already tested this to make sure it was safe and it does evaporate very quickly.

You are advised to lay down a 5mm bead of glue… as this was going to be difficult between the two sheets of partially bonded plastic I opted to use a wide bore syringe needle on the glue bottle which allowed me to squeeze glue into the gap… it was a bit fiddly but I managed to achieve what I thought would be the right amount. Sliding the three previous inserted needles out to allow the sheets to come together I used some fairly light clamps to hold the pieces together while they cured. Bondrite do caution about NOT using an excessive clamping force as it can lead to crazing of the sheets.

The data sheet advice is that handling strength is achieved after about 3 hours at 20 deg C. I covered up the glued area with microfibre cloths to protect it from the sun and had a sit down with an iced coffee and a sammich.

Next Job…

If you read my previous post “Put Your Lights On Mate…” then you might have picked up on my request at the end for any recommendations for a UK supplier of good quality replacement LED bulbs. Well Peter Farnham posted in the comments section and recommended Classic Car LEDS Ltd ( https://www.classiccarleds.co.uk ). A couple of days later I dropped them an email with a few questions and Duncan replied back with some details. A few more exchanges of emails ended up with me ordering replacement LED bulbs for the new fog lights, indicator lights and stop/tail lights. This is not a sponsored post and I paid the required number of beer tokens for these.

Not much to say on changing the bulbs over… what was noticeable was though they did have a bit heft to them… they seem really really well made. No flexing, solid and just had that feel about them that made me go “Mmmm” while nodding slowly…. almost in a Joey Tribbiani moment.

I did try to do before and after photos to compare the light output…. even tried a short video with one side changed over and the other side on conventional filament bulbs… all failed…. not as easy as it looks in strong sunlight even though the caravan rear was in shade. However the photo above is one side converted over. This is showing the indicator, tail light and fog light lit. The indicators are really bright. Having the LEDS the same colour as the lens works well. The tail light is a strong red and bright while the fog light looks washed out and white… it’s down to the fact that it is so bright its over exposed…. the exposure is correct for the indicator and tail light but the fog light is amazingly bright.. and red.

On the VW Amarok I haven’t had any canbus warnings… I even plugged in my reader to check… all good and no strobing or hyper flash.

To say I’m chuffed with these LED bulbs is a bit of an understatement… if you suffer from rear light envy as you follow one of those gloriously illuminated trucks down the motorway, drop Duncan an email at sales@classiccarleds.co.uk and tell him I sent you. Sort out your rear lights and never again have someone with four megawatts of light bars and spots flashing you and shouting “Put Your Lights On Mate” as they simulate a starship going into warp drive passing you.

Another small job next…

I’d had this gadget for a while and I can’t remember where I got it from. I think it was from a caravan shop at a dealer near York that we visited a while ago.

Simply it’s a security head bolt with a hardened shroud that replaces the normal jockey wheel clamp handle. When it’s installed it is flush with the A frame cover and pretty difficult to get to. It comes with a short handle and socket that fits the security bolt head. I did try with a couple of sockets but the shroud makes it almost impossible to even knock a socket on with a hammer. So if anyone want’s to nick the caravan they now also have to contend with the hassle of getting round my jockey wheel clamp. As I always leave the caravan nose high in storage you can’t even pick it up and drop it on to a tow ball. Hey if it makes them try elsewhere… it works for me.

Thinking about the next step…

This is going to be a big one. I’ve been planning this for a few weeks now and it involves two or three drawings… some detailed planning and I’ve been checking equipment specs in detail. The last stage was to sit and stare at the space available in the caravan and work out Tetris style how it is all physically going to fit in and how much of the existing kit will be removed. More to come soon!

Back to the window…

OK I bet you have been wondering how I got on. Well after nearly five hours of curing time I disassembled my contraption holding the window open and it seems to have worked OK. I can see that it has bonded all along the bottom edge. I could have put a bit more glue in at one spot and needs a light clean up all along the bottom edge to remove what has oozed out. I’ll leave that for at least another 48 hours before attempting to gently sand it off.

All in all I’m pleased with the result and hope to see that it will stand up to the test of time.

“Put your lights on mate…..”


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How many of you have driven behind a vehicle in less than ideal conditions… going dark, raining or foggy… and uttered those immortal words “Put you lights on mate” in the vein hope it will do some good only to approach a bit closer to find that the lights are on and are less effective as a couple of Ikea tea lights in jam jars. That is the feeling I get with a lot of caravans. In my opinion a lot for rear lights are less than ideal. In this day and age some of the drivers out there need all the help they can get as they even struggle to notice a big white box in front of them in bright sunshine let alone in inclement weather or in the dark.

Our caravan like a lot of other Swift caravans looks great from the rear with nice big lights and reflectors. Reflectors are good if the following driver has turned his headlights on and not been too busy texting and simply relying on the DRL’s to light the way. The big reversing lights will surly let the driver and anyone else behind know you are reversing… but about as useless as the aforementioned Ikea tea light in a jam jar when reversing at an angle into a pitch at night. The rear fog light however deserves a special mention… the single rear fog light…. can you see it… the tiny Lego brick sized rear fog light… the red thing in the middle down low… difficult to spot on a stationary caravan in daylight let alone from a distance on a road in fog. Mind you when that bit of wire in the bulb warms up it will blind you… honestly it will…. eventually… when you get so close because you didn’t see it from ten metres away.

Its time for a change. An upgrade if you will… to allow me to shine a beacon of light towards all that follow. But… and here’s a the big thing… I have to keep it looking nice. Everyone likes a nice rear don’t they.

OK, I searched for all the replacement options. Swift don’t make it easy. The two panels that the lights are mounted in don’t come out, well not easily and I was cautioned about even attempting to remove them. Changing to smart round LED lights was out. Then it struck me… the reversing lights could become fog lights and I would install new reversing lights. I’d towed a trailer a while ago that had football stadium sized reversing lights and wow what a difference it made. One of the first things I did with the Amarok when we got it was to install LED work lights under the rear bumper as reversing lights and that was a huge improvement so I ordered another set from the same company as I’d fitted to the Amarok.

A bit more searching I found the exact lenses for the existing lights in red to turn the reversing lights into fog lights.. it was actually cheaper to order a pair of complete lights than it was to order two replacement red lenses… I’ll never work that one out.

Ok how was I going to wire this lot up. I made a couple of brackets that fitted under the caravan allowing me to mount the reversing lights up close just inboard of the rear steady jacks. This would offer a modicum of protection from road debris thrown up by the tyres. These could be wired to run off the old fog light which would now become a junction box and the reverse lights would become the fog lights, so simply switching the reverse light and fog light cables over at the road light fuse box in the front of the caravan would have everything working correctly.

I also angled the reversing lights out slightly. I wanted the centre of their light pool to be along an extended side line of the caravan so that looking through my mirrors down each side of the caravan would be the centre of the lit area. This hopefully would provide the best angle of illumination when reversing and performing a reversing turn onto a pitch.

“Hang on lads… I’ve got an idea”

Cue the music… no, no doors were blown off during this mod. Right what if the new rear fog lights could be my brake lights when they weren’t being used as fog lights?

A simple diode blocking bridge using two diodes could do this quite easily. Routing through my electronics spares I found a bag of 10 Amp diodes which would easily cope with the task.

For a quick solution I used two strips of terminal block and built a quick blocking bridge. What happens now is applying the brakes powers up the brake light circuit and the fog lights. The diode in the fog light circuit stops me back feeding current to the tow vehicle fog light circuit.

Turning on the fog lights powers up the fog lights and the diode in the bridge stops it powering the brake lights in either the caravan or back feeding to the tow vehicle. Really simple and when testing I didn’t have any canbus or other errors thrown up by the VW Amarok’s management system. The existing (and original) brake and tail lights work as normal.

I’ll have a look at coming up with a better solution than using two lengths of terminal strip and probably build something in a small electrical project box so it can be mounted securely.

As far as I can tell the changes I’ve made all fall in line with the lighting regs for trailers. While I’m 99% sure, there is always the possibility that I could be corrected and shown the error of my ways and point out I have missed something in my reading of the regs. I’ll let you know.

The next thing…

I’m trying to find some good quality bright LED replacement bulbs for all the rear road lights. I have some, but I suspect they are not correctly marked. If anyone has any recommendations for replacement 25W and 5/25W bulbs that they deem are good options to look at, especially if they are correctly marked, please let me know in the comments. If you are a company that sells LED replacement bulbs and think they are the good enough to pass the Caravan Chronicles testing department (we don’t actually have a testing department… its just me) then challenge me to break them!

Safe travels everyone… and “PUT YOUR LIGHTS ON MATE”

Well that took some cleaning…


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Our first visit to the caravan storage site in quite a while to check on the caravan was undertaken with some apprehension. It had been over twelve months since we had checked on it and we expected that we were going to be in for a shock.

The caravan was very dirty on the outside but it was the inside we most feared. Opening the door….. it didn’t smell musty…. we couldn’t see any mould… and nothing felt damp. In fact inside was in really good shape. Leaving all the cupboard doors open, the bed partly raised and the roof vents cracked open a touch seemed to have worked. OK, now a list of jobs that needed doing. The leisure battery is now 10 years old and given us good service. It needs replacing… more on that later. The tyres also need replacing and the outside needs a good clean and polish.

I removed the leisure battery which was showing as dead… less then 10 volts, put it in the back of the Amarok and we headed back home to come up with a plan of action. A couple of days later we returned with cleaning supplies…

We hitched up the caravan and pulled it forward out of it’s parking spot and set to work. Over the years I’ve tried all the different products for washing the caravan (and cars) ranging from mid priced to the “how bloody much” brands, but in all honesty I have found Morrisons own Wash and Wax Shampoo (It’s bright green) to be really good and it has given me really good results on our 15 year old Freelander, the Amarok and the caravan. A long handled brush for the sides and some small detail brushes for the awning rails and tight places made easy work of the sides. It was all hosed down using one of those pump up pressure washer thingy’s

To rinse I used Car Plan’s Demon Shine (the pink stuff…. also stocked in Morrisons) diluted down in the yellow pump up spray do-hicky. Which works quite effectively. The two products – Morrisons Wash and Wax shampoo and the Demon Shine seem to work together really well and I certainly found that using the two as a shampoo and then as a diluted rinse leave a good water shedding layer on the Amarok that lasts quite a while.

One thing we don’t have at our storage compound is running water. So I have three 25 litre containers that I fill up at home and throw into the back of the Amarok. To save lifting them up to fill buckets…. I fitted a hosepipe connector to one of the lids and all I need to do now is tip the container and open the tap. As there is no venting the sides collapsed inwards a little so tipping it back onto its side from time to time to let air back in means that when the tap is shut nothing can slosh out a vent while travelling.

On this trip we only cleaned and polished the sides… the roof would have to wait for a return visit. Putting the caravan back in it’s spot lead to the next task…. jack it up and remove the wheels. The caravan was fitted with Hankook 185×80 R14 and inspecting them closely revealed no cracks, bulges or damage of any kind. These tyres were now 10 years old it was defiantly time to replace them. We got 8 years use and just over a year standing out of them and I consider that a win. Realistically they should have been replaced at 5 years…. 7 max at a push, so getting 8 out of them with close inspections each trip I’ll consider we got our money’s worth out of them. After much searching on line and checking out the discount with National Tyre via the Caravan and Motorhome Club I called in to my local National Tyre could fit replacements and beat the price even that C & M Club discount gave us with National Tyres on line. As the Hankook’s had given us really good service and long life I replaced them with another set of Hankook’s. National Tyres also fitted new valve stems, valves and balanced the wheels. I know there is a lot of debate about balancing caravan wheels…. well the engineering bit of my brain thinks that anything rotating should be in balance, so I’m going to balance my wheels. We picked the newly re-shod wheels up the following day and returned to the compound to fit them. As it was raining, cleaning the roof was put off until we had better weather.

OK…. I know… you are all saying “Why did he clean the sides before the roof….. that’s bass acwards” OK here is my thinking…. the roof is going to take a few hours to do properly and when you have done that you then have no choice but to do the sides straight away as they are going to be really filthy with all the run off. It’s going to be a really long day to do everything. By doing the sides first, we could get a good layer of wax protection on them and as said earlier, the combination of products give a really good beading coat. So when it comes to washing the roof a simple rinse down would restore the sides back to their pristine finish we had a few days earlier.

As I worked round the roof scrubbing and rinsing, Sue followed me with a squirt bottle and microfibre cloths… using the Car Plan Demon Shine neat finished off the sides and gave another layer of buffed waxy finish.

A few other jobs were completed too. All the window and door rubbers were given a good coating of Sonax Silicon… this stops the windows sticking to the rubber and keeps the rubber seals soft and supple. Some of the aluminium awning rail needed cleaning. Rather than use a metal polish (Solvol-Autosol is my normal preference as a metal polish) I used a simple rubbing compound so as not to polish the aluminium too much but brighten it’s brushed finish. And finally waterproof silicone grease for the moving and interlocking parts of the 13 pin plug.

What next?…

I mentioned earlier that our leisure battery had died… well after some tender loving care in the workshop… It’s alive! Well it’s OK for light duty. So the next project is to go lithium. I have planned out a course of action and the first step is to install on the Amarok a 50 Amp feed to the rear of the vehicle and terminate in an Anderson connector. This will allow me to use the full capability of the Amarok’s large alternator to charge Lithium batteries in the caravan via a dedicated DC to DC charger. Next stage will be installing a solar regulator and panels followed up by an inverter and changing the on board charger for a dedicated lithium charger. I also want to remove the inbuilt charger to save weight and make room as I won’t be installing any lithium batteries in the existing battery box.

I’m still in the process of doing my due diligence on equipment for this so watch this space. I’ll go through my thought processes in a later post.

The other change is going to be the rear lights on the caravan. The reversing lights are not very useful when reversing on to a pitch in the dark so I’m going to install two LED wide beam lights just out board of the rear steadies. That leaves me with the existing reversing lights. A quick search on the internet led me to replacement Hella lenses for the existing reversing lights that would allow me to convert them into fog lights with a simple lens change and a wiring change at the fuse block. Swop the reversing light cable with the fog light cable and use the old fog light as a connection point for the new reversing lights… after removing the bulb of course!

How have you all been doing?


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I guess this is going to be a bit of a catch up! It’s been about 16 months since I posted anything, I kinda guessed that with everything going on my blog was not on the top of peoples reading lists. That said, I have been pleasantly surprised that the daily and weekly page hits have stayed fairly constant all the way through this and the number of comments and emails has over the last few months started to increase as more people are finding the blog and asking techie questions or trying to problem solve issues. While some you-tube channels have struggled producing the usual relevant quality content that the you-tube algorithm demands to keep them in the ratings… we seemed to have faired OK.

…And a big thanks to everyone that has used links in the Caravan Chronicles Amazon Shop page… you have covered last year and this year’s WordPress costs for hosting the blog and also allows me to increase the amount of space I have available for all the drawings and pictures… I was starting to get close to my limit!

While we are on the subject of emails… thanks to everyone just simply checking in to see if we were OK as I hadn’t posted anything. We are both fine, both had our infusion of Pfizer…. twice and have shown no symptoms of anything. We do mask up and probably will continue to do so for the moment.

On a sad note, on the first of March our chief safety officer Oscar (19/10/09-1/3/21) passed away. Oscar was a quiet cat and always happy to let his brother be the one to get into trouble first while he watched on… with those blue eyes.

Henry his brother from the same litter misses him even now. Oscar was always the one to settle down for a nap first and Henry would go and snuggle down with Oscar. Now if you open a door or cupboard Henry is there just to see if Oscar was trapped and we have found him and very vocal when he discovers Oscar isn’t there.

We decided that rather than leave Henry on his own with a cat-sitter (our usual cat sitter has retired too, so that made this decision for us really) when we are away in the caravan we are now going to bring Henry with us. This is going to be a whole new adventure for us all… the only journeys Henry has done in a car have been the usual check-up’s at the V… E… T… so getting him into a carrier for a journey is going to be interesting… along with how he’s going to react to the caravan. We tried him on a harness for the first time today and it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. At least he walked round and went outside and didn’t just collapse as an immovable furry blob on the floor.

Henry (right) and Oscar (left)… inseparable since birth.

A number of people have asked the same thing….

Over the last 12 months a number of people have had similar thoughts but more recently some friends of ours asked the same question…. “What do you know about setting up a storage site?

This has generally gone along the lines of me chipping in a bit of info that generally starts with “Not much really…..” and after passing on my 15 seconds of knowledge remembering much later that I might have missed telling them something vital. So when a friend of ours was asking, I decided to commit my vast knowledge of information on the subject to a web page and you can find it on the drop down menu link above… hover your mouse over “Help Guides” and it should appear… or you can always click on this: Storage Sites and have a read. You won’t need to put the kettle on as it won’t take long but at least now I have somewhere to point people to when they start out with ” I have been thinking of setting up a caravan storage site… what do you know about it?

So what’s next?

Well a major service on the caravan which will include new tyres and probably a new leisure battery. I’m just looking at options for going over to lithium, there are some ‘drop in’ replacements that include battery management and the price is starting to get within reach. One other thing I’d like to look at is maybe replacing the fridge for a compressor type… if we go the lithium route. Not sure if it will be 12 volt or 230 volt via a small inverter. I’m working on the options and costs.

What have I been up to?

Well answering a LOT of emails. There is obviously a lot of new people taking up caravanning, camper vanning and motor homing which is absolutely fantastic for the industry although reports of fully booked sites and on the horizon long delays on new caravans and motorhome delivery…. not so good.

I’ve also been using something called EZ Hot Spot extender from EZ WiFi. Simply calling it a hot spot extender is not doing it justice… it is much much more and allows me to have a full WiFi routing internet, TV and network storage from a simple box that connects to an existing WiFi network or as I have done via a MiFi unit. I can even connect my printer to it and have network printing all from a small box that can be powered directly from a 12 volt socket. It’s that good… you could have a zoom meeting from the back of your motorhome while someone is driving it down the road! Now that is what I call a mobile office! I’m going to do a full review in the next couple of days.

Wrapping up…

We have both been fine and getting a lot of DIY projects completed and hopefully after the school holidays have finished will be back on the road again… this time with a very loud Siamese cat…. apologies now incase you are on a pitch within earshot.

Stay safe and we’ll see you soon!

Copying Content… Again!

Since posting this a number of people have apparently emailed the company and as a result the page has now being removed. Many thanks to everyone that took time out to email them and to Homefit Tow Bars & Roof Racks for responding so promptly.

This is a bit of a letting off steam post.

I had a ping back notification for a page I wrote a while ago. A ping back is basically a notification that someone has embedded a link to one of your pages. Normally not a problem as most are from forums or other blogs saying “go and have a look at this….” and including a link to the article.

However Greg Smith of Homefit Tow Bars & Roof Racks in Sydney, Australia, decided to copy my drawings and reword a lot of my text… (although he did manage to make the effort and add some of his own) and post it in his company web site as their own blog.

Here are the screenshots of the web page…

Now I’m getting a bit hacked off with this. I have given permission to people like Collyn Rivers, the well know Australian author of a number of books on Caravans & Motorhomes and to a couple of Australian magazines to reprint articles and they always link back and include credits to myself/Caravan Chronicles.

Normally I would contact the person or company breaching my copywrite and ask them to either the it down or add a credit or byline with a link to the original article or post. This normally takes a while as they are slow to respond and usually come back with initially “well it’s on the internet so it’s free to use” ……. NO IT’S NOT!

I’m getting tired of chasing people, so I have decided to simply post the infringement/copywrite breach. So if you want to contact them to let them know here’s their details…

  • Central Coast Newcastle & Hunter valley
  • Sydney, Australia
  • +61 418 633 926
    Monday – Friday | 8:00 am to 5.00 pm
  • email address removed

You might want to let them know I nicked their logo…. well everything is free on the internet isn’t it!

Here’s Something I Think You Want To Take a Look At…


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Something that caught my eye a couple of days ago really got me excited…. no not a new caravan ( I wish) but a Kickstarter project that I think is one of those simple ideas that has countless applications in all sorts of areas. In fact I keep thinking of more uses for it… and it’s not even my idea!

OK, so what has got me all worked up then? Well imagine getting messages direct to your email or phone telling you the voltage of your leisure battery, motorhome starter battery, canal boat battery, ATV battery, bike battery, solar powered shed battery, aircraft battery, golf cart battery, horse box battery or trailer winch battery. All from a little device that can simply be clipped on or permanently installed. Got you curious?

The company has recently been at the Scottish Caravan and Motorhome Show where they received lots of interest and loads of positive feedback. Still curious?

OK here the disclaimer thingy bit for Caravan Chronicles: I have no connection to these guys except I decided to back the project on Kickstarter. I have taken all the text and images below from IonOT’s kickstarter project page…

If you want to see the full project, follow the link to Batbot and see what you think.

Invented in Scotland by David Richie, Batbot came about from wearing two hats – one, from a career working in the technology sector, and the other, as a livery yard owner. With horse lorries stored on site in between use, he noticed a regular problem occurring. On the day of an outing, more often than not, there would be an early morning knock at the door from liveries needing help… their vehicle battery was indeed… flat. 

They had walked past their lorry every day, but had no idea that the battery was running low. This sparked an idea. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a device that could avoid this problem?! Batbot was born. After many hours, days, weeks and months  developing the concept and prototypes, here we are today, with a brand new product that will ensure flat batteries (and early morning wake up calls) are a thing of the past. 

Batbot is a device that every equestrian, marine enthusiast, motorhome or vehicle owner has missed… until now. 

This clever product monitors your vehicle’s battery and sends alerts to your mobile device or email when the battery requires charging.

How it works

Batbot simply hooks up via two croc clips (provided) to the battery points under your vehicles bonet and can be secured in place with a cable tie. 

Once installed the device then sends your battery’s data to the cloud where alerts are generated and then sent to your mobile device or email address. Unlike other products, Batbot uses the Sigfox or LoRaWAN radio networks to send this data, so no bluetooth connection is required.

Key Benefits of Batbot:

  • Quick and easy to use
  • Keeps track of your battery state
  • Alerts you when action is required
  • Saves destroying batteries with deep discharge
  • Regular daily “All Ok” status for peace of mind
  • No monthly SIM contract
  • First year subscription included
  • Low further yearly subscription (£7 ~ £10)
  • Chose Sigfox or LoRaWAN version of product
  • LoRaWAN has Home Gateway option to provide cover in remote areas
  • Helps identify when your battery or vehicle has an electrical fault. 
  • Avoids the vehicle not starting when needed for emergency or planned use
  • Save’s garage call out charges to jump start your vehicle
  •  24V lorries can be difficult to find a suitable jump start source for, or require a garage call out. Batbot helps you avoid this problem

For all the details and to see the full project go and visit the Batbot Kickstarter page and maybe you too might want to invest a few beer tokens.

Ticking All The Boxes…


A few days ago we were at the Manchester Caravan & Motorhome show and we think that finally we may have found our next caravan. I posted on Twitter couple of photos and said something along the lines of “Now anyone that reads the blog will know we have been looking for a new caravan for the last couple of years and finally the @CoachmanCaravan Laser 665 ticks nearly all the boxes…

A follower on Twitter – Venomator  @Venomator tweeted back “I would be very interested to know what box/es remain unticked then?…” so this is a bit of a reply really.

My “Lithium Ready” sticker…note the ticked box!

One of the biggest things I have been looking out for on any caravan or motorhome is a sticker announcing that the charging systems installed are suitable for Lithium chemistry batteries. So many people have been asking me recently about changing over to Lithium and what’s involved… well quite a lot actually. There is not that much difference between a motorhome or a caravan when it comes to changing over to Lithium.

The existing shore power charger built in to most motorhomes and caravans is not lithium friendly and will probably result in either damaged lithium cells or a battery that is never really charged. So the inbuilt charger will need to be swopped out.

The solar chargers on most (not all) leisure vehicles can’t be programmed for lithium, so that will need to be replaced. And finally the vehicle charging system, which currently on most production leisure vehicles be it motorhome or caravan is not suitable for lithium batteries so a DC to DC charger will need to be installed.

All this adds up to a bit of a job and a fair chunk of beer (or wine) tokens on top of the price of a Lithium battery. I have seen lithium batteries that are advertised as direct replacements and can be dropped in place of an existing Lead acid wet cell or AGM battery but this would imply that they have charging circuits built into the battery and careful research shows the same battery and part number offered by a different vendor with no such claim to be ‘drop in’ replacements. So beware.

As I really wanted to start off a new van with a lithium set up (I can get around 360Ah of lithium for the same weight as 110Ah of good quality lead acid) but the down side is I’d have to virtually rewire the charing side of a new caravan. I eagerly await one of the big caravan manufactures to offer a “Lithium Ready” product and maybe they would like to use my label!

I don’t think it would be that difficult to achieve and due to production volumes, the additional cost would only be marginal. I expect that (or hope!) that one of the aftermarket companies such as Sterling Power or RedArc would offer something that might be a cost effective ‘box’ to achieve a changeover.

So what else was on our unticked list?

Coachman Laser 665 – Twin Axle, mid bath, twin beds. The chosen one!

I still would like caravan manufacturers to actually go out and look at a site full of caravans being used. I can’t understand why they don’t move the electrical hook up and water at least behind the axle so it would be closer to where the EHU post is. One thing I find is having a VW Amarok which is one of the widest pickups on the UK market, on some pitches if we are using the Aquarol it’s damn near impossible to squeeze down the side. Moving everything to the rear would make it so much easier… well for us it would.

While I’m on the subject of EHU’s & water connections…. Instead of cutting lots of small holes in the sides of our vans for water and 16 amp connections… do what our American cousins do… locate everything in one locker and save on the routing out holes in the sides and adding plastic doohickeys with sliding or hinged covers. I do like the fact that some caravans now have the battery stored in a floor compartment.

240 volt connection, water inlet and valves to switch between internal and external water all neatly located on one locker with access panel for hose and cable through the floor. All located to the rear of the caravan… and in a European caravan too!

The other one that missed the tick box was the lack of being able to sit in front of a mirror…

Not a deal breaker for me… but Sue thought that if they had made the mirror so it could swing round either way to face each bed that would have been ideal. Some of Swifts offerings have got it spot on with a mini dressing table. Coachman however have conveniently located a socket for hair dryer/straightners. I did wonder about having a small stool or seat spanning across the two beds… but think the mirror swivel is a much better idea. Maybe it’s something that could be added as an after market item using a swivel TV bracket maybe”

Now… anyone know where I can buy some cheap lottery tickets…. hello… anyone….