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BillySmart

Approved Member
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    657
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About BillySmart

  • Rank
    Over 500 posts

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    South West
  • Interests
    Travel, hillwalking, politics, reading and photography.
  • Towcar
    LR Freelander 2
  • Caravan
    Swift Corniche

Recent Profile Visitors

1,673 profile views
  1. My 2014 car’s Satnav has been literally leading me astray for ages and updating it would cost about £200 through a dealership. I thought about getting a cheap Garmin or Tomtom until I read about the Waze app which I downloaded free onto my smartphone. I admit to being sceptical at first, it being free, but I have really warmed to it and it has been really reliable during our long trip around the country this Spring/summer. It gives real-time early warnings of traffic holdups, speed cameras and broken down vehicles on the carriageway, etc, as reported by Waze users. And I’ve saved the cost of a separate Tomtom too.
  2. One of the best (caravanning) investments I made was to buy a dealer special in March 2018 with air-con. During the very hot summer last year and this summer at times so far, It has made such a difference to our comfort. Importantly, it means our two dogs, one of which is particularly stressed by heat, are comfortable and indeed can be left in the caravan for a time in safety. I can check the status of the van remotely and be alerted if the temperature changes.
  3. +1. After about 900 miles after the shoes were replaced no more squealing. Aaaahh, relief.
  4. My 2018 Swift Corniche has the two control panels, Swift Command and Truma. Last year it all worked fine. Not being tech savvy, I kept to basic settings and used the Truma app to remotely check/control heating and air-con. I used the Swift command app to control lighting from the bed. This year, on our first outing, it all went wrong. Space heating, and more-so the water heater, played up relentlessly, turning themselves off apparently randomly. Waking up to cold water and having the space heater stop was bad enough but re-starting them only to see them switch off again within seconds was seriously annoying, not to say worrying. This happened when using either the app or the manual controls on the Truma panel. I contacted Truma Service who told me it was a Sargent issue as the Swift command panel was over-riding the Truma panel. This despite the Swift heating control being set to ‘manual’. On to Sargent who said (predictably?) it was not their control panel and I needed Truma to sort it. How often does that happen, eh? I refused to play piggy in the middle and pressed Sargent’s tech ‘advisor’ for more info. After telling me all the other things wrong with my van (see below) from his remote analysis he said he’d speak to ‘someone’. A few minutes later he came back and said he’d done something that might work but no guarantees. It’s worked perfectly since then. My fingers are tightly crossed as I write this. The things, apart from heating, the Sargent advisor warned me about were; The Tracker battery was almost flat My Swift command system required a software update The Swift command comms unit needed changing All of these require another trip to a dealer workshop. I’ve been there three times already for repairs in the last year and another for its first annual service, where curiously they didn’t detect or correct the Swift command issues. I feel almost like one of the staff I see them so often. This is my first and last Swift, I’m afraid, not just because of that. Only a few weeks into a long trip, I already have a sticking bedroom door, a faulty exterior door seal, something’s dropped off the front locker hinge and cooker control knobs fly off while travelling and the ‘securing’ clip has gone missing on one. It’s a comfortable and well laid out van but after several fault free Bailey’s this is not the build quality we expected of a big-name brand. On to something else shortly.
  5. Politicians of all stripes are basically cowards and (more often) opportunists, many both. They pander to the green/eco lobby to make themselves appear ‘concerned’ for their constituents and the public, taxing us as much as they think they’ll get away with to fund schemes that NEVER produce results that satisfy the greenies - they always want more. Politicians are also too afraid (or gullible) to admit present measures will not bring about the Alpine fresh air Utopia they claim as population increases, local and worldwide, are exponentially outpacing energy and food resources. We replace efficient generation methods with inefficient and more expensive technology like windmills and solar panels. There is no avoiding your assertions about population growth but that is too much for the UN and most national leaders as capitalism depends on an economic growth model. Therefore we are spun, openly deceived, exhorted, restricted, taxed to the hilt and all for nought. A case in point in the UK; while politicians and the media ALWAYS spin our NHS’s struggles to meet increased demand on an “ageing population”, we also have “a housing crisis” that requires millions of new homes to be built across the country. As far as I can see older people do not require multiple houses and the pressure of mass immigration is considered off-limits in the chattering class. Unless we see a ground-shift in our political class who finally wake up to reality we will change little except upping our blood pressure in frustration.
  6. What we can all be confident of is that there are companies, individuals and government departments spinning data and “facts” to forward one agenda or another. Manufacturers to gain some commercial or financial advantage; individuals to gain personal advancement and/or financial gain or simply to keep their jobs having received instructions from higher up the chain. Government departments? Does anyone seriously believe ministers (and now even civil servants) are not trying to appease eco-warriors whether or not there is any justification in their demands? sadly it is often difficult to determine truth from spin so truly independent analysis is vital. Wisdom requires critical thinking and scepticism of received thought. If not, Copernicus would be a forgotten man and the Earth would still be considered the centre of the Heavens.
  7. I think Rookesbury Park CMC site might be worth a look. It has ferry pitches with late arrival facilities. We stayed there recently and it’s nice. There may be closer suggestions but this one is not too far out.
  8. Thanks for that info CommanderDave. Any advice on how to get the setup you have would be welcome. Never had any experience of mifi.
  9. I bought the annual subscription to the CMC wifi recently only to find that it operates a “restricted mode”. This means that when browsing YouTube, comments are not allowed. I want to follow the political developments around the EU elections and communicate with others while in an extended trip but that’s not possible because the club won’t allow it. It seems, as adults, we are now being censored by big brother. Thanks CMC.... not.
  10. I use curtain rail rings with the hangers slotted through the little eyes. Worked a treat on my side. My wife opts for two techniques; curtain rings and the pack em in tight routine. At the end of our trips her clothes are still on the rail... but the rail bounced out of the brackets due to the weight so her clothes still ended up at the bottom of the wardrobe. 😂
  11. I knew about this and used it when a couple asked me to take their photograph in Venice recently. Don’t know which phone it was but the volume button I pressed rattled off a fast burst of shots, about a dozen I think. They didn’t mind but wonder if this is a menu setting on other phones. Can be handy eg to avoid blinkies, but a nuisance if unintended as it quickly eats up memory. Ditto re the LUMIX FZ. I do a lot of close-up/macro photography and the Lumix has a useful post-focus feature that allows close ups with everything in focus.
  12. After posting my query I thought about trying it on gas which seemed to work fine. Then on mix 1 which works. I checked the panel and there was no limit set. We've had this problem intermittently on two sites since our trip started last week and now it won’t work at all on electric only. Our current bollard tripped once a few days ago so there may be a low output from it. I didn’t think that would cause the problem though.
  13. There’s a YouTube video from the makers of the Aquaroll showing their recommended cleaning technique. Fill the Aquaroll with water after adding four tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda. Agitate then allow to stand for 24 hours. Empty then rinse with clean water. They say this is all that’s needed and avoids tainting the barrel. I used to use Puriclean but this technique is straightforward and cheaper. Never clean the caravan pipes but we also never drink water from the caravan taps. No problems experienced.
  14. My 2018 Swift was serviced in March and is on its first outing this year. The Truma water heater repeatedly stops working. Pressure in the system seems fine even though there have been a few alerts about low pressures. Heating works fine. The water heater starts then cuts off after a minute or so. As we are now on a long UK road trip it’s mightily inconvenient and we are likely going to have to try getting a dealer look at it somewhere. However I thought the wealth of experience on these forums might spot something simple I have overlooked.
  15. So much terrestrial TV programming can be dire at times and wi-fi connection is patchy, slow or non-existent on many sites so streaming is usually impossible. Therefore, I want to play stuff from our iPad and iPhone on the smart TV in our caravan. There was some discussion of this about 5 years ago on CT but technology changes. We can download loads of TV series and films from Netflix and Amazon Video onto our iPad and iPhones before we leave on a long trip in the caravan. I wonder how successful connecting the iPad to our smart TV with an adapter in the caravan would be. There are many lighting-to-HDMI adapters on the market, some with good and others with bad reviews. Some carry a warning that programmes from Netflix, Amazon Video, etc won't work. Is anyone doing this routinely and how well does it work?
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