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Caravan

Found 2 results

  1. I have just fitted a Truma iNet and Truma LevelControl device and thought others may be interested to hear what it does and how it was fitted. I searched to try to find out what the iNet actually does before buying but details are scant, even from Truma themselves! With the announcement of the Truma LevelControl (which monitors your gas bottle - see below) Truma has an offer of the iNet control box and LevelControl for £275 for the two until 30th December; the iNet box on its own is currently retailing for somewhere around £430. I contracted three dealers asking about the £275 offer and none were aware of it and those who I asked to get me one haven't come back to me, I therefore contacted Truma Customer Service and they sold me the boxes directly for £275 with no postage charged. The installation. Firstly I installed the iNet box in the cupboard above the Control box in our Coachman 450. The Control Panel is 'iNet Ready' and this is required, older Control panels are not able to use the iNet box. I hoped that this would enable me to pick up the power and data cables from the Control Panel (CP) to feed the iNet box. I had assumed the cabling came in from above - it didn't, it runs under the van and up to the Control Panel. I spliced the live and earth cable supplied with the iNet box into the supply to the CP. It has a 1A in-line fuse that should be positioned as near to the splice as possible, but as access may be required I put this in cupboard too. By using the power from the CP it is constantly live and therefore can be used even when the master switch is off. We have an 80 watt solar panel and so had little worry about using too much power. I think the power usage when idle is very low (Truma state 40mA at 12v average). There is no on/off switch and so removing the fuse could be used to turn off if you don't want to use the system throughout the year The data cable was unplugged from the CP and plugged into the iNet box and the supplied data cable was used to connect the CP to the iNet box. The cable taken from the CP to the iNet box was at full stretch because it had to be taken up around 200mm, I therefore traced it back to the heater where there was spare cable and I gently fed this along the van, under the van and up the ducting to give a less stressed cable. I was consious that if I pulled through the ducting too hard I might damage the cable or pull any connector (if they had been used) apart and very difficult to get at to replug - all was well but if you do this you need to be careful. Once connected up it is necessary to reset the CP so that it 'finds' the iNet box. I had previously installed the Truma app on my phone and it was fairly straight forward to link the Bluetooth. It was not totally clear how to link with Bluetooth but not use a SIM for remote access (I didn't have a SIM at that stage) but somehow it did work on Bluetooth alone (can't say what I did to make this work!). I bought a PAYGO SIM from O2, they have a 'Classic' SIM that is free to supply from their shop and has calls, texts and 1MB data each for 5p per unit. You just need to use the SIM once every six months to keep it live. There is no other timescale set, ie your credit doesn't expire at the end of the month like some other PAYGO accounts. I then put the batteries (two supplied AAA batteries) in the LevelControl and attached it to the bottom of my current gas bottle - it is a magnetic attachment (you can install two, one on each gas bottle, but as we use so little gas it is no problem to move it across when we switch bottles). You then need to reset the CP and it will 'see' the Level Control. In the phone app you need to set the country and gas bottle size and type . So what does iNet and the LevelControl give you? Starting with the Level Control it will tell you the percentage of liquid gas left, the quantity of liquid gas left and an estimate of how long it will last. I'm not sure how the estimate is made. On day one, when I had the gas heating on, it said I had gas for another day, then next day, when I had no gas on, it said I had enough for 30 days. Hopefully it will look at recent usage rather than usage over a long period, otherwise the estimate will be inaccurate due to periods of non-use, anyway it is only a guide and the information on quantity of remaining gas will be enough for most people. The iNet itself is better than I had expected (although based on Truma's information my expectations were low). It allows you to set the temperature on the CP remotely, by Bluetooth when in range and by text when out of Bluetooth range; it allows you to set the fan speed as either ECO or HIGH and select the fuel source to use (gas, electric and combinations as offered at the CP). It will also connect to air con systems though we don't have one. Using Bluetooth, but not when out of Bluetooth range, you can also set the timer for heating and/or water. It will tell you on the app, when using Bluetooth, the battery voltage and gas level etc as described above, and also the state of the batteries in the LevelControl. It will give details of whether there is 230v connected. You can set up 'alarms' which will send you a text if the internal temperature falls below a temperature that you set (between -10 C and +20 C, and another if the battery voltage falls below the set figure (between 10v and 14v). It can also be set to text you if the gas is low and if the LevelControl batteries are low (you cannot set these levels though). Finally, you can ask for 'Status' reports by text for the Truma device status and the Vehicle Status. The former item tells you what devices are running, the latter tells you about the power supply to the heater. The former text has worked fine so far but the latter seems a bit reluctant to talk to me sometimes and my request for information is ignored. In the app (which is offered for Andoid and iPhone) you also have access to user manuals for each iNet appliance connected, tools and settings, as well as dealer search and news. The tools section has a couple of natty mini-apps, one helps you set up on site to get the best position for sunshire and the other helps you adjust you van for level front to back and side to side and tells you how much adjustment is required to be totally level (based on information you provide in the setup). Do I think it is value for money? At the original price of £430 for the iNet alone I would say it is very over-priced. As a package with the LevelControl at £275 I would say that it is worth it. If you store your van remotely it allows you to keep an eye on the battery and be texted when problems are looming, it would also allow you to switch the heating on when it is cold provided you are allowed to leave the gas connected when in storage. As a convenience on site it will be useful to access the controls without having to get up to use the CP but this is a real 'luxury' and really is unnecessary. When you're out touring for the day it does allow you to switch on the heating and hot water ready for your return, but again this is a luxury that we could (and have!) live without. If you like techie things, like me, it is reasonable value. Truma say they will be developing the iNet functionality and so it will be interesting to see what comes along. If only they could make the system and its functionality better known I'm sure it would gain popularity. With Swift introducing Swift Control (which does much the same but more - for example it also controls the lights) I think expectations from buyers will increase. Sorry for the long post but I hope that some will find it of interest.
  2. I just saw an article about Alde heating now has a Truma iNet interface. Its got me thinking, is the ability to remote control things like heating, water heater, aircon etc actually a useful thing or is this another fad?
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