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About ericmark

  • Rank
    Over 500 posts
  • Birthday 10/03/1951

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  • Gender
  • Location
    North Wales
  • Interests
    Photography, Radio
  • Towcar
    Kia Sorento XS Year 2007
  • Caravan
    Elddis Odyssey 524 Year 2002

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  1. Years ago Standard Germany vehicle wiring white is negative and black is positive and the wires have numbers, 30 positive and 31 negative for example. British vehicles (are there any left) black was negative and unfused positive was brown, fused was purple, ignition non fused white and fused red. This is for negative earth vehicles. As for today, we have harmonised with Europe but only green/yellow and white are reserved for earth and combined earth/neutral and white has been used for extra low voltage for years so only colour which is really reserved is green/yellow. It does recommend colours for DC however they seem to be ignored. Even AC with split phase as used with site 110 volt supplies the colours should be line 1 brown and line 2 black and earth green/yellow, I have yet to see yellow flex with those colours, it seems blue is always used instead of black and I have failed to find a suppler for cable with correct colours on the cores.
  2. Standard idea with UPS was a coal bunker type lean to with batteries outside but the charger and rest of electronics inside, and it would power an office full of computers so they did not fail with power cut. However it was soon realised there were problems having one large unit, so the UPS was made smaller powering just one computer each, still using lead acid batteries, although much smaller, and although today likely being replaced with NiMh they have been used for years in doors with no problem. With the caravan battery the problem with exploding is due to over charging, and the 25 amp charger used in a caravan can when either charger goes wrong or a cell fails in a battery with the addition of a small spark explode as the rapid burning of the hydrogen gas expands the gas quicker than it can escape. However with some thing like the cheap Lidi 3.8 amp charger this is not really a problem, the charger has 7 stages, however most we are not interested with, so it starts at 3.8 amp, within around 15 minutes it will normally drop to 3 amp, and it can stay at 3 amp for a day, then it drops to 0.8 amp and once this stage is reached it will not auto return to higher charge rates, and at 0.8 amp it will not produce enough hydrogen gas to be a danger. Even at 3.8 amp the danger is low, but one would want an area with air movement. So once at 0.8 amp there are three stages that the battery will cycle between, as the voltage raises it will drop further to 0.1 amp, and if it again raises it will drop to zero, as the volts fall it will restart charging at 0.8 amp, and so it repeats the charging sequence. In real terms the battery sits at 12.8 to 12.9 volt, as soon as it starts to charge the voltage raises to 14.4 volt so it switches off again. So it auto maintains the battery. Other units may be slightly different, I am told the Ctek charger will return to full charge rate if there is a drain on the battery, but as long as you select a low output model there will not be a problem. The Lidi charger will auto switch off with a power cut, you have to press a button to restart it charging, the Ctek I am told does not need a button pressing, however the Ctek is not duel voltage so swings and roundabouts. With an open vented battery there is always some small danger, with VRLA you can send them through the post, does not matter if used upright, or on side or on end, never mind stored, but open vented can spill so some care is required. I for years used a plastic bread bin, it ensured no acid could leak onto floor. Kitchen likely best place to charge in doors as tumble drier, or cooker hood will likely ensure air changes, if you smell bad eggs, then likely the battery is faulty, however when I had one go faulty in caravan it sat over charging for a couple of weeks before I attended and smelt it, in the house you soon realise some thing has gone wrong. Clearly if you ignore the tell tail smell then there may be danger, however I as an auto electrician would not worry about charging a battery in the house using a small automatic charger. What I have realised after monitoring power used by a small charger, a typical battery will charge to 95% within a day or two, but unless 100% charged slowly the capacity will drop as the battery sulphates, and it can take 2 weeks to get that last 5% into the battery. So once my caravan goes into storage, the battery will be removed and it will go into house and be left on charge until next required.
  3. Some stop start systems use a computer to ensure every so often the battery is fully charged but does maintain the battery at below full charge so it can use regenerative braking technology. The way around this when using as a motor caravan is to have the second battery controlled with a DC to DC inverter so the vehicle start battery is independent to the domestic battery, and you can have a valve regulated lead acid for vehicle start but still use a flooded battery as the domestic. See https://sterling-power.com/products/battery-to-battery-charger-caravan as an example.
  4. Been caught twice. First given a warning, was doing 40 MPH on A55 with library wagon and trailer, seems wagon and drag limited to 30 MPH don't know if changed now? but lucky Police only gave me a warning. Seem to remember at that time to tow a caravan at 50 MPH you needed to be within a weight ratio and have 50 sticker? Second just paid up without looking, then noticed it said I was driving a manual car when it was automatic, wrote to complain, told since I had paid, hard luck. around 1990. I find it is often hard to see end of speed limit signs, specially in Flintshire, the car has sign recognition, and shows speed limit on dash, but it often shows 20 MPH when it is 30 MPH where Flintshire have used unofficial signs to lower speed limits past schools, because unofficial they don't have end of speed limit sign, or return to 30 MPH. The unofficial signs have black circle with red 20 some also green. This means one has to ignore what it says on the dash, but any faded 20 MPH sign can be easy mistaken for an unofficial sign. We were told to have 20 MPH you need traffic calming without it then not official, however in other counties I note 20 MPH without calming and with official colour red circle and black 20 so not convinced. I am towing a little camping trailer a lot at the moment, moving house, and keeping to 50 MPH I note how it upsets people on the A5 however towing with geared car it is one time when the cruse control works, as not catching up with other traffic or needing to change gear. I am sure without cruse control on the long reasonable straight roads I would end up speeding. I accept that 33 in a 30 is speeding but to me that's being pedantic, specially on down hill stretches, and when using cruse control it does not apply brakes, so it is easy for one not to notice the speed has crept up when you expect the cruse control to stop speeding. That's how my wife got caught. However my late father-in-law was not fit to drive, his eye sight was simply not good enough, he could see straight ahead OK but to the side he missed seeing things like pedestrians and road signs, we asked the doctor to recommend he stopped driving, but he refused, he said he met the criteria needed to drive, but we all knew he was not safe. He missed a 30 MPH speed limits and got caught, and that in the end resulted in loss of licence, he was looking at what car to buy when licence returned however he died before that happened, so he did not kill anyone. There is no provision for macular degeneration with the driving licence, however it does mean the person can miss seeing things, yet can read the number plate at required distance.
  5. Having just read the instructions they recommend removing battery fuse to test if charger is OK. Clearly removing battery terminal would do the same. It also talks about a green light which will go out when over loaded. Although the instructions show a wiring diagram you don't know if this has been followed, with my caravan I found the fuse box had 12 labels and 14 fuses, as a result the label did not show what the fuse did, and the fault was simply a ruptured fuse. So test all fuses, it could be that simple.
  6. With my caravan no, master switch and isolator can both be off, however that does not mean all caravans are like that. I found the isolator only works the motor mover. I have found I have no intruder alarm, so easy method is remove battery for charging.
  7. I find to enter DPI competitions I need to reduce size of image to between 1 and 2 Mb so my 10 Mb and 16 Mb cameras are ample, in fact today Sony do a range of cameras with up to 64 Mb but most the professorial people use the lowest Mb version as this model will work with lower light levels. So above 4 Mb is OK for most use, only if your producing wall paper for local doctors surgery walls would you need one of the high Mpixal models. So there are two things to look for, the optical zoom and if you have access to the RAW image. And unless you have software to use RAW images then that does not help. Personally I want RAW images. A Jpeg is made by the camera software and it decides how to change the RAW into Jpeg, in the main it works well, but when it goes wrong, one can often recover an image from RAW but not from Jpeg, plus when you require a high dynamic range with RAW you can get away with 2 EV between each image, with Jpeg more like 0.5 EV. I also like a viewfinder as then holding camera to head so more stable than holding at arms length. Having said all that, I use a Lidi traffic cam for pictures as it has such a wide angle lens, also small so wandering through sensitive places no one seems to mind. Seems daft but take a picture with a helmet traffic cam no one says a word, get out a DSLR and one has objections, both are easy to see so not a case of not seen the phone camera taking picture.
  8. It is possible it is designed to switch off when battery drops to stop over discharging the battery. It would seem nothing to do with charging unit, as OK when charging, so either excessive volt drop, or designed to switch off when not being charged. So step one if measure voltage when under load, If above 12 volt then answer is a DC to DC inverter, if below then look for why voltage has dropped. Inverters use power, but one has to consider 12 to 230 volt then the 230 volt to 12 that came with the TV. My inverter switches off at around 11.8 volt.
  9. Is the liquid actually a soap? detergent yes, soap not so sure? But that's a neat job, Full marks.
  10. My Kia Sorento around 2006 I think auto selects 4 wheel drive in high ratio when required, in low ratio always 4 wheel drive, as yet only ever used low ratio to inch caravan onto blocks under one wheel to level it, not needed as yet for steep hill. AustinGipsy yes a lot less power, 12 hardy splicers which forever seemed to need changing, could start bouncing on the rubber suspension so off road had to take it slowly, better ground clearance than LandRover as diff well up off the ground, and you could select front or rear wheel drive as well as 4 wheel drive, In first low enough power to get wheels slipping on tarmac if trailer too heavy so hill climbing limited by weight of vehicle not engine size, was loved as a break down truck as heavier than Landrover and a lower low box ration 2.2 to 1 instead of Landrover 2 to 1. Although BHP 62 with AustinGipsy and 163 PS what ever that is with Kia Sorento the gear ratios are also much higher, and under 2000 RPM the power is really low, so if on a steep hill at over 2000 RPM yes likely it would go up any road hill with caravan, but if you have to stop, or get stuck behind an AustinGipsy towing a caravan then likely would need low ratio or really slip the clutch. Time to work out what to do is before it happens, Not after working out what one did wrong, OK unlikely to end up on Sutton Bank today think caravans now banned, but Harley Hill near Much Wenlock one could easy end up on. If I made a mistake with my 1350 kg caravan and ended up on that hill, unlikely as I know where it is, but would it go up in high range?
  11. After seeing your post I did an internet hunt and found a caravan with MTPLM of only 750kg. Not sure I would want something that light, however it is unlikely you will have a car that can't tow a caravan that light. So there are four considerations. 1) Cost 2) Your licence 3) Your existing car 4) How many in the family Over 3 berth then it is likely you will need a heavier caravan, and clearly wind resistance also slows you down towing and will cause caravan to be affected by passing wagons. Although on the motorway you are allowed up to 60 MPH, I would say take 50 MPH as the limit, over that speed passing vehicles can cause a nasty snake. But I don't know what licence you have, or how leaving the common market will affect it? For non EU even those from Falklands which is still British, there is a one year allowance for getting a UK licence, not a clue how it will affect you?
  12. What is now greenflag did when it started cover recovery of caravan but that was many years ago. Dad had the same in Scotland, I live in North Wales, crash with car and caravan, the caravan was taken undamaged to a local caravan site, and car taken for repair, then car written off, leaving dad in Scotland with caravan and no car. I tried to hire a car to tow it home, the only vehicle I could find for hire with a tow ball was a Landrover lucky bank holiday week end so got a good deal and took my family to join my Mum and Dad for weekend then drove back with caravan. However Landrover was limited to 50 MPH so even light going for caravan stuck at 50, and it used a lot of diesel, at least I got a diesel version. It was after this my dad got the special break down cover, which latter became greenflag, however never again did we need a caravan recovering.
  13. I had an old head light soldered onto a fuse, so with short head lamp lights, and you hunt for likely problem, once found head light dims or goes out.
  14. Although my Kia tows well, I had not considered the law, I let my HGV go, as the medical was expensive and I did not need it, however I have towed some heavy weights before laws changed and also got into trouble with some. Towing on known local roads you can avoid problems, including reversing a trailer a long distance, but new roads to me did cause problems as maps don't show width of road. If it would fit in a van, that would be far better.
  15. I have not said 4x4 as many today don't have a low ratio box, but not seen any 2 wheel drive with low ratio so looking at 4x4s. The problem is when you have the option of low ratio the first gear high ratio seems to be higher, so starting off in first high can be harder with a 4x4 than 2 wheel drive because of the high ratio. The use of the turbo charger has not helped. So Austin 4x4 2.2 litre petrol very low power really after hitching up caravan on Sutton Bank had to stay in 4 wheel drive low ratio all the way up, as not enough power to start in high ratio, OK not so bad on that hill, but new 4x4 like many has 3000 limit so can tow silly sized trailer, but if I need low ratio to start, then stuck in low ratio I think, never tried switching back into high while moving. So I know old landrover very hard to change into high ratio while moving, after getting stuck after trying I would not attempt it. Same with old Austin. So what about the modern vehicle? Kia for example, can it really tow 3000 or would one need to stop to select low ratio, and then be stuck in low ratio?
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