Trumatic Fire Front keeps falling off!

After you have removed your Trumatic fire front (to replace ignition battery for example) you may find that it keeps “falling off” – I have had this problem with the last few caravans I have had…

I tried various fixes – then I read about this idea. I was away in France at the time with limited workshop, tools and parts – however all I needed was in my vans “maintenance box”.

I took a couple of Steel Angle Brackets and sawed them into 4 short pieces of flat steel with 2 holes on each piece. I then drilled holes in the back of the fire front lip end used short bolts to fit the steel brackets. At home I would have used pop-rivets.

Then I refitted the front “correctly” and used woodscrews to fit the front “properly” in place. It doesn’t look like a “stylish” fix – but it has stopped the front continually falling off between sites – and risking breaking the cables to the controls!

Sorted!

Dometic Fridge (RM8550) will not work on gas!

My Dometic Fridge would NOT work on Gas! – I could hear the ignition sparking and I could hear the flame light (depending on ambient noise!), but the “Flame Gauge” would not operate. If this does NOT operate, the automatic Flame Protection will turn off the gas!

Operating Normally.

From searching the internet, this would appear to be a Common Problem and people have spent lots of money replacing parts to try to fix this fault… Replacing – Indicator Gauge, Flame Sensor, Gas Jet, Selector Switch etc…

It seems that a common cause of this problem is just a dirty micro-switch mounted on the Selector Switch. To get to this switch, you need to REMOVE the fridge. I don’t believe the micro-switch is available separately from Dometic. Instead you have to buy a complete replacement selector switch and replace the existing one. (Expensive!)

In my case, I found that if I switched between Gas and Battery a few times before lighting the gas this fixed it.

Alternatively, I found that once the gas was lit, if I “wobbled” the knob slightly in the Gas position, the needle would rise/fall depending on how good the contact was. It would appear that you don’t need to achieve the needle in the green – just ensure it operates a bit… This works for me!

If one day this work-around fails to get my Fridge running on Gas, I will remove the Fridge and fit a “bypass” switch to the original wiring of the micro-switch Switch. As I have not pulled by fridge out yet (at least not yet for this fault) I can’t tell you how to bypass the microswitch – but you will have to find this yourself.

Bypassing the micro-switch will NOT cause ANY safety issues as this switch is used to enable the Flame Detection Device. Its purpose would seem to be to prevent running the Flame Detection when you are NOT running on gas – so if you fit a By-pass switch – don’t forget to turn it off when you are NOT running on gas – or you will (eventually???) run your battery down…

Dometic RM 8550 Fridge Selection Switch broken!

These “rotary” knobs on the Dometic RM series of Fridges appear to be a bit of a weak spot (based on the adverts for replacement knobs on Ebay).

The “symptom” is that the knob keeps going round and round…

The easy fix is to buy a new one – they cost around £16-18 each – plus delivery. This will last until the next time it breaks.

OR you could try doing what i did. I replaced by “Thermostat knob” when I bought my caravan (it was 10 years old at the time).

Now, 2 years later, the “Selection” knob (Off, Mains, 12v, Fridge) started going “around and around” – So I was planning on buying a replacement. Then I got to thinking:

Firstly, I “Super Glued” the broken end of the shaft back into place (there is a keyway inside – don’t get glue in the keyway!)

Next, I wrapped wire around it. I used MIG welding wire – but you could use copper… I wound several turns of wire around a Screwdriver Shaft to make a tight coil, slightly smaller than the knob shaft. This was so that it fitted snugly when I stretched it over the Knob Shaft.

Next, I coated the wire and the shaft end with Epoxy Resin. I used JB Weld Fast. I let it set fully and then I used a “mouse sander” to polish the end where I had some wire sticking out and to remove any high spots – you could just use a file… The aim was to ensure that the shaft would still fit through the hole on the front of the fridge…

The Shaft needs to be slim enough to fit through the hole in the fridge panel. If yours is now too thick, you could drill (or file) this hole bigger – the Knob will cover the hole anyway.

That’s it – Job done – and not only are you £16 better off – but (hopefully) it will never break again!

Automatic On-board Water Tank fill System (& Tracker) Part 4 (see Sept 2019 for start of this article)

OK, 12 months have passed since I started this article. COVID-19 came along early 2020 and spoilt most the the Seasons camping, so I didn’t get a proper chance to try out the Autofill system. I’ve have just returned from 4 weeks in France – and now at Boris’s command, I have 2 weeks at home to do “whatever I want” – provided I don’t leave home!

VERDICT: The Automatic Water filler system is “Fantastic” – Why didn’t Bailey do this originally? It would not have added much cost to the van, but is a great improvement. No more running out of water, no more flushing airlocks out after running out, no more priming between sites, no more messing about with the lousy Whale Water Inlet with the “dodgy” O rings sealing system!

Basically, having fitted the Crystal 2 water inlet to provide water directly to the on-board tank, the rest was pretty simple (and reasonably cheap). If you want a simple version, just fit a manual switch to the off board pump and off you go. (you also need to arrange a 12v feed to the pump). You can actually find the feed and earth you need on the connectors to the float valves in the tank. This is what I used for my Automatic Filler. As I was not certain that the float valves could handle the current for a pump (I assume Bailey use a relay ???), I used a relay to operate my pump to avoid overloading the existing float contacts. The way I wired the external system draws power from the original bailey supply to the floats. This has the benefit that you can control external & internal pumps from the original Bailey Pump Switch. Position 1 is normal “internal only” pump. Centre is all pumps off, Position 2 is Internal pump as usual and external pump as controlled by the floats and interface box. You could simplify by not having buzzers, not having high/low level options and not having a “local” switch for the external pump. I used a “standard” external “drop in the barrel” pump. It doesn’t need to be super fast as it only keeps the tank filled – the internal pump provides the normal water supply to the taps.

Where I fitted buzzers – these are simple 12v buzzers available for a couple of pounds each on ebay. I used a “warbler” buzzer (2 tone) for the low level alarm (via a switch – I will document this in a separate article). Mine was too loud – I tried reducing the voltage with a resistor – but the best option was “lots of Blu-Tak” over the sounder holes!

Here are photos I took at the time…

You need to buy a new water inlet & connection for an external pump – this is the one I fitted. You will also need buy a standard external filler pump.
Measure this inside wall from the water tank and the floor, to find a suitable location, and then drill a hole through to the outside (as a marker). Then, working from the Outside, put masking tape roughly where you intend to cut…
Place the fitting over the tape with the hole just to the left of the section of “fitting” that sinks into the caravan wall… (see hole through tape – top left) Mark both sides of the fitting…
Use a “Square” to ensure the final fitting looks neat!
.. And again using spirit level (my square has one built in)
Drill the corners to ensure a neat cut-out and using a “Multi tool” (or a pad saw?) cut through the caravan wall (its about 3 cms deep)
Resulting hole…
I used “Mastic Tape” – you could use Mastic from a gun – you could use “Silicon Sealant” – but I went for “traditional” Mastic – but I used tape for convenience… and I already had some!
If you use Mastic Tape – you will need to trim the excess off…
Screw the fitting in and clean off any excess mastic.. White spirit will clean mastic. If you used Silicon – try Meths on a Kitchen towel.
Inside View – NOTE If you have NOT removed your water tank (only reason really to do this is to replace the Tracker Battery) then MAKE SURE you fit the power cable for the pump BEFORE you fit the fitting – otherwise you will find it difficult to access the connector screws!
I bought a small ABS box fitted with screwdown lugs. Inside this I fitted the Relay. I also fitted a sounder internally, (so that I know when the outside pump is running for when it runs out of water). I later moved this outside of the box, because I couldn’t hear it.
I bought one of these boxes from Ebay – Search for “Waterproof ABS Plastic Electronics Project Box Enclosure Hobby Case” or similar. The size I chose was “100 x 70 x 50mm. This size was dictated by the 12v relay I used – and the connector strips.
Relay inside box with slimline sounder – I later fitted an external sounder across the pump connections.
I used a step cutter to cut a hole in the top corner of the water tank.
I used a large cable gland to make a sealed connection into the tank. It needs to be a suitable size to fit the flexible piping to the Water Inlet.
I fitted suitable length cables to the box, before I tried to connect to the existing connections, switches etc. It was easier to make them plenty long enough and have slack, rather than try to cut to size.
Two cables fitted to the original cable connections on the caravan wiring harness. This originally connected to the upper and lower floats in the tank. The float connections will now be taken to the interface box. The connections to the original bailey fitting was made using Crimps to push onto the existing bailey harness.
Note in the photo, the original wiring harness has two BLUE wires on the bottom, a GREY wire top left (in photo) and WHITE wire top right. The new cables: The LEFT cable: Blue=3, Brown=16. The RIGHT cable: Blue=1, Brown-16.
The two control switches I fitted. The top one is On/Off. The lower one is to select “Full Fill” or “Minimum Fill”. I arranged the switch such that pressing the top in for High Fill, and pressing the bottom for “Low” fill. This means mounting the switch “upside down” as switch “open” causes “low” fill only.
Circuit Diagram of Automatic Water Filler System – as installed.

So, I used a Crystal 2 water inlet with filter, and off-board pump (and fittings to fit Crystal 2 connector).

A standard “Automotive” 12v Relay.

A cheap “electronic” buzzer.

A couple of switches – I used the same switches that Bailey used – either buy them from Prima Leisure (official Bailey spares supplier) or get them much cheaper on Ebay!

Why you should have regular Electric Inspections (EICR)

I was called in to carry out an Electrical Inspection for a Landlord. As part of carrying out a full Inspection & Test – I have to remove the covers from the Shower to test the cabling back to the Fusebox (Consumer Unit).
This is what I turned up – The Tenant had not noticed any problems!

This is the result of using a “Plumber” to change your shower and not having the work inspected (or the electrical connection made by) a Qualified Electrician. Also a reason why you should not do this in your own home either – unless you are Electrically Competent!

See “Before” and “After” photos….

Before….
After

First Fit on New Build Malinslee

I carried out First Fit Electrics on a New Build House in Malinslee in 2019.

This was for Michael Jessa (or Michal Jerzy Jezza) who is a Director of:

Jessa Enterprises Limited, Defined Construction Limited, Fox London Limited, Xpression Group Limited

Leave a reply below if you want to know more…..

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020

For those looking for something to read in bed… Here is the Act that has been laid before Parlimement.

Interesting to note that although the Regulations: BS7671, 2019 (18th Edition) says the EICR’s should be carried out after each change of Tenancy – This act avoids saying that… I say “avoids” because its wording is along the lines of ….

… every 5 years – or whenever the tester has stated…. (my paraphrase)

Read it for yourself here:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2020/9780111191934/pdfs/ukdsi_9780111191934_en.pdf?dm_i=5172,4SB5,94CDW,J6NJ,1

Mandatory Electrical Inspections for Rental Property 2020 England.

There is a currently a bill before Parliament that is expected to be “fast tracked” to require ALL “privately rented” homes in England to have Electrical Safety Certificates in place (EICR). (“Council” houses are exempt!)

This is planned to be in force for all NEW Tenancies starting from 1st July 2020!

Update: 23 Jan 2020 – See my next Article for a link to the Act itself.

It is planned that is will be required for all EXISTING Tenancies from 1st April 2021.

See here:

and here:

What is involved in an EICR? See here:

http://www.nccompliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/What-happens-during-an-electrical-installation-condition-report.pdf

“Anyone” can fill an EICR form in – you can find blank ones on the internet.  However, if that person is NOT Qualified to Test ((holds appropriate C&G qualifications) then, any EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) produced by them will “NOT BE WORTH THE PAPER IT IS WRITTEN ON”!.  Moreover, unless they also have “Professional Indemnity Insurance” whilst they may be legally liable for the report, you will be lucky to recover any compensation should someone subsequently be injured (or killed!) by the electrical system they said was “Safe”!

Ensure that whoever you call in to carry out your EICR is a “Registered Electrician”.  That is to say they are a Registered with a “Government approved Scheme”. The scheme ensures that they are regularly inspected to ensure that they can carry out such work.  In my case, I am registered with NAPIT.

See here to check / find a registered electrician in your area:

http://www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk/

An EICR is not “just a quick look around”… In addition to a thorough visual inspection and tests made with Calibrated Test Meter, it requires EVERY circuit in the Consumer Unit (Fuse box) to be disconnected and individually tested.  This involves putting test conditions on the cables and going around to every socket and light fitting to check the circuits are operating correctly and safely. The tester has to complete an extensive checklist of the system and record all electrical results on a 6 page form. Every aspect of the Electrical System has to be examined and he (she) has to confirm by entries on the form that that have done this.

As a guide, to carry out a “proper” EICR on a 3 Bed Semi takes around 4 hours, plus the time to raise the paperwork afterwards.  It is hard to put a fixed time on an inspection as it varies depending on where the Consumer Unit is located, how many circuits there are, how many rooms there are, how many floors there are, how many lights and sockets there are, how much the electrical system has been “modified” over its life (and how well!) – and finally if any faults are found – the extent of the fault has to be investigated enough to ensure that it can be correctly reported (not necessarily find the cause or fix it, just the extent in order to ensure safety.).

Having carried out this EICR and having produced a “Signed, Dated and “Traceable” certificate” which carries a unique serial number including the registration code of the “Tester” – the “Tester” is now “Legally Liable” for that inspection.  If he (or she) passes the Electrical Installation as “Safe” – when they didn’t test it property (take the money and run) – and someone is injured by a fault that they should have identified by “proper” testing… they could be taken to court. Note they are NOT liable for any “Subsequent” modifications someone makes! (or bodges). Like an MOT, it reflects the condition of the system at the time of testing only.

BS 7671 says that “Rental Properties” should be inspected EVERY 5 years or on “Change of Tenant” whichever comes earlier.  Note this is NOT a quick check between change of Tenants – it is a FULL (and legal) EICR.

I am seeing some “nonsense” being reported on the websites at present regarding this new Legislation.  They are saying that ALL rental Property HAS to comply with the Current (18th Edition) Standards, BS7671.   THIS IS NOT TRUE!

All NEW installation work MUST comply with BS7671:2018, 18th Edition.

All TESTING (EICR) is made AGAINST BS7671:2018, 18th Edition, but the installation does NOT have to fully comply with BS7671:2018, 18th Edition!  Anything that does NOT comply with “Current” regulations is given a “Code”. A code C3 (not compliant, but not dangerous) is NOT a failure and a certificate with many C3 Codes is still a PASS.  A C2 code is “Dangerous should a fault occur”.  A single C2 means Failure.  A C1 means “Dangerous NOW!”.  In this event the electrician should isolate the faulty circuit. You may receive an FI (further investigation) – this means the tester was unable to test something for some reason (maybe he can’t find what is connected to a given circuit for example). An FI is a a Failure!

A C3 is similar to an MOT “Advisory”.

An EICR does NOT include “Fixing” anything, but I suggest you discuss this with your Tester before he starts to use his discretion (if simple, fix it and add to the bill before raising the report.)

BE READY for “unscrupulous” (or “mis-guided”) electricians who may well report a C3 as a C2 – hence you fail and NEED to get the work done.  An example of this to be aware of is:

Lighting Circuits:  Prior to 1970’s it was NOT Unusual for lighting circuits to be installed WITHOUT an “earth wire” (a CPC we call it!) to every switch and fitting.  IF there are NO Metal fittings (or all fittings are “double insulated” – this is only a C3! NOT a C1 or C2 !!!  Do NOT get ripped off.  If you DO have metal fittings (lights or switches), then replacing them by plastic is cheaper than a rewire!

If you have a C3 on “no earth on a lighting circuit” a notice to this effect should be placed on the “Fusebox” to warn everybody.  This “fault” is VERY COMMON on older houses, but does NOT require a rewire.

https://www.thelabelpeople.co.uk/user/products/WarningNoProvisionBS7671.jpg
Example Label to put on Consumer Unit

This also applies if you have your “Fusebox” (Consumer Unit) replaced.

Lack of RCD’s on an installation is only a C3! Do NOT be conned.  However, this means that your system is not as safe as it could be and you cannot have ANY changes made to your installed electrical system until this if fixed.  Normally, the advice is to replace the Consumer Unit which makes the house safer and compliant for the future.  However, if it’s just a simple change – another socket for example, provided the NEW wiring and socket is protected by an RCD, this IS compliant.  A “Fused Spur” (FCU) incorporating an RCD can be fitted where the new socket is required.  This device costs around £20 – 25  – Cheaper than replacing the whole fusebox (Consumer Unit) for a simple modification.  However, if you do NOT have RCD protection overall, I would advise a replacement Consumer Unit.

Also be aware of the fact that many older properties are only fitted with ONE RCD.  Sometimes this protects the whole installation (but if it trips – and they do “nuisance trip”) it will turn off the electricity to whole house.  Often on older properties that do have an RCD, it only protects the Power Sockets (and hopefully the shower!).  It is NOT Unusual for the Lighting Circuits in older installations NOT to be protected. Again, this is only a C3!!!!! Do NOT be Conned!  But be aware that you cannot make any alternations to the lighting circuit (fitting an outside light maybe – unless the power is fed from a Socket circuit which is protected by RCD).

If your system does Fail an EICR – read the report and try to understand the faults. Discuss with your Tester (Electrician). If any any doubt call another Electrician and ask his opinion. Advice over the phone may be “free” – but even if you call him out and pay – there is no reason why you should not get a second opinion if you are in any doubt.

A quick explanation about EICR codes:

https://www.procertssoftware.com/blog/how-to-code-observations-on-a-condition-report

A cautionary tale regarding NOT testing between Tenants (even though the original certificate is valid for 5 years):

I recently added some more sockets for a Landlord (who helped me install them). As I had to carry out some testing for the certificate for additional sockets, he asked me to carry out a Full EICR at the same time. My inspection took me into the “downstairs toilet” / outhouse attached to the rear of the house… Unknown to the Landlord – the Tenant had arranged for a “Family member” to add power and lighting into here at some point in the past (property is managed by an Agency!). On inspection I found that it wasn’t “too bad”, but was a little “strange” (obviously a DIY job) and incorrectly fused – meaning that wiring to the lights could have become overloaded and caused a fire. So this took us some more time to investigate, wire the circuits correctly and then test before I could issue the EICR with a “pass”.

If the Landlord had subsequently rented to a new Tenant – and someone was injured or a fire developed because of this electrical work … Whose fault would it be? Who would carry the can for it ? (CLUE: The Landlord!) In fact, if something had happened during the time of the Tenant that carried out unauthorised electrical work – who would carry the can ? (See CLUE above…) It’s the Landlords responsibility to ensure the property is safe – and how can he prove the Tenant carried out “un-authorised work” if they deny it ?

An EICR does NOT detail the installed Electrical System, it only reports circuits tested and inspected and the results. Perhaps a fully documented Electrical System should be added to the Inventory ?

Finally: Reminder that this Electrical Inspection needs to be carried out EVERY 5 years or on CHANGE of Tenant (according to BS7671, because you don’t know what the previous Tenants may have done!) – whichever occurs first! And make sure you ALWAYS give your Tenants a copy of the current certificate (and I advise you get them to sign a document to say they have received it). Maybe even consider getting some “As built” documentation raised by an Electrician for your records in case someone carries out un-authorised changes?

Also – see my later posting 26 February 2020 for example of WHY you should have an EICR at regular intervals….

Wireless Light Switches ? Outside Lights ?

I have had several enquiries recently for people wanting “Outside Lights” – Sometime Automatic – but sometimes “manual” (or Automatic with an over-ride) so they can leave the lights on for security – or on for when they come home (20W LED only costs about £0.003 (yes, 3/10 of a penny!) an hour to run… (3 hours for 1 penny!)

This always poses the 2nd question – How to fit a switch where they want it without making a mess? (The first problem is where to get the power from for the light! – Usually a Fused Spur from a socket and then straight through the wall to outside).

I have NOW found the ANSWER to the 2nd problem – Wireless Light switches – No Alexa, Hive, Nest or other such “Technology” – just a simple rocker switch (same size as a normal light switch – looks like a “designer” light switch) – No batteries – uses the energy of the “Rocker-Click” to generate a 432 Mhz radio pulse which sends a message to the receiver unit (up to 40 Meters away) to turn on (or turn off) the lights. You can even have “multiple” switches (2-way. 3-way etc) operating the same light. You can have switches operating multiple lights simultaneously and you can have a single switch unit with up to 3 Gangs (3 x switches) in it.

Am *I* impressed!

No channelling light switch cables, no ugly trunking to the switch, no lifting floorboards to run the light switch cables.

Whats NOT to like !

Control box for light & two light switches

Automatic On-board Water Tank fill System (& Tracker) Part 3

If you don’t want to remove your tank / access your Tracker Device, then skip to Part – 4

  1. Remove all the cushions from the on-board tank area of the van (front offside).
  2. Unscrew the brown plastic U section strip the runs the length of the locker.
  3. Unscrew the wooden batten the goes across the tank at the front. There are screws in either side, but maybe a little difficult to reach.
  4. Using a “Multi tool” cutter (or a junior hacksaw) cut through the long batten that runs the length of the locker (underneath the plastic U section removed earlier). Cut the bar in the middle of the batten underneath so that both pieces can be secured when you put it back together.
Cut the bar…

5. Persuade these three bars out (there is a vertical on in the far corner attached, that you can’t see!). You will find there are pins holding the batten where you cut it – Persuade these to release! You will find a vertical bar “stapled” to the horizontal piece… it may be reluctant to come out and play… but persuade it if it knows what’s good for it!

Battens removed (upside down)

6. Disconnect the Drain pipe hose from underneath the van (outside drain tube – held in place with a Jubilee clip. Remove this from the tank – otherwise you can’t pull the tank up inside the van!

7. Remove all three screws from the tank – and lift the tank out. Behind/under the tank at the front you will see an MDF panel with your Tracker & Alarm system mounted on it. The tank screws to this piece of MDF. In my case, it had pulled the MDF away from it’s mountings – and split the MDF where the tank screwed into it.

Secret Tracker Device – Battery on the right.
My battery was bulging – I’ve seen worse. The volts were measured at 2.3V having been “on charge” (Van connected to hook-up) for around 8 weeks!

8. Unplug the tracker / alarm unit where it connects to the Caravan harness. Pull the spade connectors off the battery and remove the four nuts holding it to the MDF. You can order a replacement battery from Ebay. 12v 7AH – Type: NP7-12

This cost me £13.50 on Ebay – Delivered

If you don’t want to cut your van up to replace the battery, I read somewhere that you can have a “man” visit you to replace the Tracker Battery – It cost around £180 – but that may have been written a few years ago. But, for this HE will cut your Van up for you!

Goto Part 4… (September 2020)