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Andrew H

Different approach to caravan water system

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We took delivery of our new Lunar Clubman just over a month ago and decided not to install the onboard tank system I had developed over several years as our caravanning style has changed, especially as we are now both retired. We found the swapping of barrels annoying as typically it was required half way through a shower so after much thought, I came up with a much simpler solution, although maybe an unusual approach so decided to share it with others. If this technique has been done before I apologise for trying to take the credit.

 

I had our dealer fit a second water inlet next to the one fitted by Lunar and made relatively minor changes to the wiring and pipe work, plus in the short-term a rocker switch located in the locker near the flap. So I fill two barrels and place them next to each other, install two submersible pumps which are plugged into the inlets. Now when one barrel runs out, I just flick the rocker switch and the first pump stops and the second pump takes over. No need to turn the pump off at the control panel and no long delays in supply.

 

In the longer term I intend developing an automatic method (a simpler version of my old system) that detects when the water has run out, then electronically it swaps pumps and makes a beep sound to signify an empty barrel.

 

Andrew

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Seems to be a good solution. For those with onboard pumps it would need a changeover valve in the pipework.

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good idea. Well done

 

macafee2

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We continue to use the old fashioned system of 2 barrels. Swap the pump over to the full one pre shower and we know theres enough for us. We do tend to shower at different times though, so if we do need a shower one after the other, we can both squeeze into the shower cubicle. So much more fun ☺

 

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Why do Brits do this sort of thing but continentals don't? 

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What squeeze into the shower at the same time😜

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Posted (edited)

How easy is it to access that switch whilst in the middle of a shower?

I check we have enough pre a shower, my wife running out mid shower is not something I would dare wish to risk.

We have that same pump selector switch, between the inboard tank and an Aquaroll, that's how the van was delivered.

Edited by JTQ
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1 hour ago, AlwynMike said:

.. we can both squeeze into the shower cubicle. So much more fun ☺

 

To much info. :-)

17 minutes ago, JTQ said:

I check we have enough pre a shower, my wife running out mid shower is not something I would dare wish to risk.

 

We have a 40 ltr. aquaroll full before showers and both of can shower one after the other with plenty left in aquaroll.  

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1 hour ago, AlwynMike said:

We continue to use the old fashioned system of 2 barrels. Swap the pump over to the full one pre shower and we know theres enough for us. We do tend to shower at different times though, so if we do need a shower one after the other, we can both squeeze into the shower cubicle. So much more fun ☺

 

Wears the soap?, as the very old Music Hall joke has it ... :D

Steve

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2 hours ago, marchie1053 said:

Wears the soap?, as the very old Music Hall joke has it ... :D

Steve

If either or both of us were to wear the soap, it would have to be a mighty large bar of soap as neither me nor SWMBO are particularly slim. If soap is dropped, then bending over is not an option. Did I say I am ex-Merchant Navy??

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3 hours ago, AlwynMike said:

If either or both of us were to wear the soap, it would have to be a mighty large bar of soap as neither me nor SWMBO are particularly slim. If soap is dropped, then bending over is not an option. Did I say I am ex-Merchant Navy??

Bending over in the shower ... Like the moon coming up over the mountains. 'Hope we reach that there pass through the Rockies before that pesky snow arrives ...

Steve

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20 hours ago, Stevan said:

Seems to be a good solution. For those with onboard pumps it would need a changeover valve in the pipework.

Yes I think you would need 2 solenoids but still only need the rocker switch.

 

Andrew

18 hours ago, moorgate said:

Why do Brits do this sort of thing but continentals don't? 

We Brits use the shower.

18 hours ago, JTQ said:

How easy is it to access that switch whilst in the middle of a shower?

I check we have enough pre a shower, my wife running out mid shower is not something I would dare wish to risk.

We have that same pump selector switch, between the inboard tank and an Aquaroll, that's how the van was delivered.

You are correct, where the switch is it’s not reachable from the shower which is why I will design the automatic system later this year. Because the Clubman is single axle, Lunar don’t install onboard tank and after sales quote to fit tank was £1,800 I went for the £80 solution.

 

Andrew

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20 hours ago, Stevan said:

Seems to be a good solution. For those with onboard pumps it would need a changeover valve in the pipework.

 

It does not need a physical changeover valve, this function can be done with a non return valve placed in the feeds from each pump's output, prior to these feeds being combined.

Thus, either pump is able to feed into the supply network, whilst each is prevented from being a back flow "short " for the other pump.

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I did the same modification back in the 80's and located the rocker switch where we could just reach it from the shower.....with your toe!  We  use larger Aqua-Rolls these days and we find this is ample for 2 showers. With an in board pump the modification would be completely different.

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Great idea! One of the joys of caravaning for me is stuff like this, finding/adapting kit to make life  easier and better in the van.

 

 

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when you make all these modifications , how long do you keep your 'van for.  I think it's all too much bother, I just go over the shower block , plenty of hot water there :)

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I had it on my old caravan I was living in while working on the building of Sizewell 'B' power station, it worked well, however touring simply don't want the extra weight, with caravan static for over 2 years OK, but also had a caravan wrecked when an aqua role broke loose and rocked back and to between both sides of the caravan, so now always travel with them empty.

 

2 gallons of fresh water tipped out on the grass before leaving one can get away with, 7 gallons is a bit OTT.

 

I also had a 16 volt transformer to work the fridge, at that time it was 12 volt or gas, there was no 230 volt option, but 16 volt was a little too much, so I used a spring as a resistor to drop it down a bit, in an adaptable box, which got warm of course, so I put it under the aqua role and it was enough to stop it freezing.

 

I used an old under sink water heater with the element swapped for 1 kW instead of 3 kW, and swapped the thermostat for one with change over contacts, which feed a thermostat on the wall that in turn fed a socket which had a converted fan heater plugged in 1 kW or 500W instead of standard 1 kW or 2 kW, so when water needed heating it switched off the fan heater.

 

The battery charger was not regulated, and would over charge the battery, so made a unit with head lamp bulb and a 2N3055 power transistor as the voltage went over 13.8 volt it would start switching on the bulb, so stopped over charging by putting a load on the charger, when bulb was glowing I knew battery was charged.

 

They all worked, but today the fridge works direct on 230 volt, the battery charger is regulated, we have a 16A supply not 5A and the built in central heating has 500W, 1kW and 2kW options, so all the tricks no longer required, including the light spring and washer to hold the mantel down, did not stop them breaking but reduced how often, today not even got gas lights.

 

I am thinking what it would have been like pumping the rubber dome in the floor so your wife could have a shower? I think see would be told don't be so lazy go to the shower block.

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3 hours ago, JTQ said:

 

It does not need a physical changeover valve, this function can be done with a non return valve placed in the feeds from each pump's output, prior to these feeds being combined.

Thus, either pump is able to feed into the supply network, whilst each is prevented from being a back flow "short " for the other pump.

Finding space for, and fitting, a second inboard pump is nowhere near as easy as fitting a second submersible  pump.

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6 hours ago, JTQ said:

 

It does not need a physical changeover valve, this function can be done with a non return valve placed in the feeds from each pump's output, prior to these feeds being combined.

Thus, either pump is able to feed into the supply network, whilst each is prevented from being a back flow "short " for the other pump.

I have never seen this twin system so cannot comment with any true knowledge but thought there was only one pump. If there are two, how do you select which pump that draws water?

 

Andrew

5 hours ago, joanie said:

when you make all these modifications , how long do you keep your 'van for.  I think it's all too much bother, I just go over the shower block , plenty of hot water there :)

 Typically we keep our vans for 8 to 9 years and spend 100+ nights per year.

 

Andrew

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Andrew H said:

I have never seen this twin system so cannot comment with any true knowledge but thought there was only one pump. If there are two, how do you select which pump that draws water?

 

Andrew

 

My German van has a twin pump system, an internal tank one and an external submersible for putting in a water container, also that container, 16 litre, being a part of factory supply.  There is a rocker switch for selecting which one is in use for the water supply.

Plus, the system has a separate rocker switch so that submersible and its delivery hose can be deployed simply to transfer water from a container to the inboard tank, rather than as an alternative system supply.

So I can use it in the typical German mode from an inboard tank or the typical UK mode from an Aquaroll or other external container, and I can use it to fill the inboard tank from the container.

The design covers a pump failure, though "touch wood" we have not needed that feature yet in the 17 years of vans designed like this.

 

 

Edited by JTQ

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15 hours ago, JTQ said:

 

My German van has a twin pump system, an internal tank one and an external submersible for putting in a water container, also that container, 16 litre, being a part of factory supply.  There is a rocker switch for selecting which one is in use for the water supply.

Plus, the system has a separate rocker switch so that submersible and its delivery hose can be deployed simply to transfer water from a container to the inboard tank, rather than as an alternative system supply.

So I can use it in the typical German mode from an inboard tank or the typical UK mode from an Aquaroll or other external container, and I can use it to fill the inboard tank from the container.

The design covers a pump failure, though "touch wood" we have not needed that feature yet in the 17 years of vans designed like this.

 

 

The previous system I designed was similar to what you describe but we have less storage space now so decided not to fit it.

 

Both internal and submersible pumps had current sensing and in auto mode automatically refilled the internal tank when tank level dropped below 80%. When barrel ran out of water it beeped and retried the pump again after using the tap 4 times (presuming you had refilled barrel). At night when on mains electricity it circulated water using internal pump from hot tank to water tank for 3 minutes every 2 hours to preheat the water to 32deg and this was all displayed and controlled / adjusted by a  8” touch screen tablet using Bluetooth.

 

Andrew

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Now there’s posh. A handle for each aqua roll!

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Today north bound on the M6 I passed a Swift Elegance with three water inlets.

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