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To drill or not to drill?


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Hi Guys,

 

Well I splashed out a bought a Netgear Nighthawk M5 Mobile Router and a Poynting Puck 2 antenna for our 2021 Bailey Unicorn Cartagena. I've managed to spur off one of the 12v feeds to get a USB socket up and running for the M5 power supply, but now face the dreaded task of fixing the antenna and cutting a hole in the roof. I'm positioning it in the satellite aerial cupboard, so wanted to know if I have any concealed wiring in the roof to factor in, it's a 20mm hole that I need, so pretty small. Any guidance will be much appreciated!

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On the unicorn 5 they have announced that the mifi unit must be dealer fitted to preserve warranty. 
It’s a fair bet that the same clause exists on 2021 models, so you maybe better getting the dealer to do it

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There is no wiring in the roof on recent caravans with composite roof panels.  Just a mad idea but, as the TV antenna is mounted on a hollow tube, could the new cable go inside it? I haven't had a good look at the space inside the tube, but I would consider this first.

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1 hour ago, Lost in the wilderness said:

On the unicorn 5 they have announced that the mifi unit must be dealer fitted to preserve warranty. 
It’s a fair bet that the same clause exists on 2021 models, so you maybe better getting the dealer to do it

Will the UK warranty requirement still apply in New Zealand though?

Edited by Legal Eagle
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2 hours ago, Legal Eagle said:

Will the UK warranty requirement still apply in New Zealand though?

UK manufacturer’s warranty doesn’t apply here, we bought it from a licences motor vehicle dealer so get an automatic short warranty from them.
 

2 hours ago, Ern said:

There is no wiring in the roof on recent caravans with composite roof panels.  Just a mad idea but, as the TV antenna is mounted on a hollow tube, could the new cable go inside it? I haven't had a good look at the space inside the tube, but I would consider this first.

I think there’s more chance of a leak occurring by using this as the Puck only needs a 20mm hole and the antenna is a lot bigger.

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46 minutes ago, Kiwi Mike said:

UK manufacturer’s warranty doesn’t apply here, we bought it from a licences motor vehicle dealer so get an automatic short warranty from them.
 

I think there’s more chance of a leak occurring by using this as the Puck only needs a 20mm hole and the antenna is a lot bigger.

hi i made a aluminium bracket up and stuck the antenna to it and used and existing gland in the roof that a solar panel wiring came through, works well ,,  

antenna.jpg

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1 hour ago, Kiwi Mike said:

UK manufacturer’s warranty doesn’t apply here, we bought it from a licences motor vehicle dealer so get an automatic short warranty from them.

I didn't expect it would but I don't think it may have been realised where you are!

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Using a new solar panel gland if necessary would take away fears of leakage. The type that have the cable entry above the baseline and parallel to the roof.

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The antenna the Op refers to is designed to seal against its own hole so no additional glands or brackets should be required, this video (link here) shows the design and fitting. 

 

It has an adhesive foam seal which requires no silicon, although the above video he chooses to use silicon too. 

 

Here is the data sheet FYI

 

I installed the shark fin on mine (great white) same principle, piece of cake. It is scary drilling your caravan roof tho !

Cheers, Martin

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Seems a lot of trouble to go to when in reality there is little difference in signal or Wi-Fi strength between mobile phone or a Mi-Fi unit - a Mi-Fi will not increase it.

You aren't going to increase the cellular signal, it is what it is in the location you are happen to be in.

It might give a wider range of the Wi-Fi- signal - but how much do you need in a caravan?

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8 hours ago, Ern said:

There is no wiring in the roof on recent caravans with composite roof panels.  

Our new caravan has a conduit fitted into the roof during the composite panel construction for the optional A/C.

Wiring in the roof will be rare in these panels and probably absent from mainstream caravans, but it does exist.

 

On a similar note, if you have underfloor heating I would recommend borrowing an IR camera to pinpoint heating pipes in the floor before drilling there. There will be a plan of where the pipes go, but the tolerances are quite large.

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5 minutes ago, The road toad said:

Seems a lot of trouble to go to when in reality there is little difference in signal or Wi-Fi strength between mobile phone or a Mi-Fi unit - a Mi-Fi will not increase it.

You aren't going to increase the cellular signal, it is what it is in the location you are happen to be in.

It might give a wider range of the Wi-Fi- signal - but how much do you need in a caravan?

An external antenna, as per the OP, will have a significantly better design and characteristics than that of a mobile phone and will give better results particularly so in areas with marginal reception. A key factor is it’s mounted outside. 
 

My take on this is that the primary objective here is improving the mobile reception - perhaps a poor analogy is the old loop rings on a portable TV versus a installed external roof antenna for TV reception. Put simply it just makes better use of what’s there.

 

In my experience it was worth every penny and I’d recommend them. Interesting how some premium vans are now starting to include or offer as optional fit from order. 

Cheers, Martin

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I use a Huawei MiFi device (£54) with a "Smarty" Sim card. It will pick up 3 or 4G depending on signal. It sits inside the front window of my caravan. The only problem is fairly a short battery life. I watched the complete F1 race on 3G. No problems and no buffering.

 

The Smarty Sim has no contract and can be topped up as and when required. £25 for 50gb! More than enough for 2 weeks away. Can take 16 devices although I only use 3. Would I recommend,  Yes!

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1 hour ago, JohnPat said:

I use a Huawei MiFi device (£54) with a "Smarty" Sim card. It will pick up 3 or 4G depending on signal. It sits inside the front window of my caravan. The only problem is fairly a short battery life. I watched the complete F1 race on 3G. No problems and no buffering.

 

 

You can use the Mifi when the charger is plugged in so battery life isn’t a critical factor. 

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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1 hour ago, Mr Plodd said:

 

You can use the Mifi when the charger is plugged in so battery life isn’t a critical factor. 

 

Yes I agree, this is what I now do!

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On 15/11/2021 at 17:07, JohnPat said:

I use a Huawei MiFi device (£54) with a "Smarty" Sim card. It will pick up 3 or 4G depending on signal. It sits inside the front window of my caravan. The only problem is fairly a short battery life. I watched the complete F1 race on 3G. No problems and no buffering.

 

The Smarty Sim has no contract and can be topped up as and when required. £25 for 50gb! More than enough for 2 weeks away. Can take 16 devices although I only use 3. Would I recommend,  Yes!

Out of interest - how much data did watching  the F1 consume?

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On 15/11/2021 at 16:02, The road toad said:

Seems a lot of trouble to go to when in reality there is little difference in signal or Wi-Fi strength between mobile phone or a Mi-Fi unit - a Mi-Fi will not increase it.

You aren't going to increase the cellular signal, it is what it is in the location you are happen to be in.

It might give a wider range of the Wi-Fi- signal - but how much do you need in a caravan?

But as suggested previously the wired external aerial DOES make a difference to picking up any available signal. Also convenient is that the Huawei MiFi unit is always fully charged because its wired into the vans 12v system.

Life is not a rehearsal . . .:)

Porsche Cayenne S Diesel & Knaus StarClass 695. Previously Audi S4 Avant & Elddis Super Sirocco

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Thanks for all the responses. The Netgear Nighthawk M5 is a great unit and I’m hoping coupling it with the Poynting Puck 2 on the roof will help with the signal in some of the weak signal areas of NZ.

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