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…
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!
This article is written around my 2009 Bailey Senator Arizona – but this could probably be done on many other caravans that already have an on-board tank (or you are fitting a tank).
On holiday in France recently, we had problems (yet again), with the O rings of the Whale water inlet (connection to the external barrel), such that I couldn’t even fill the onboard tank properly (which is a pain in itself – messing with manual change-over valves!).
It occurred to me then that if I *could* fill the onboard tank (even by pouring water in the top), I wouldn’t have to bleed the air every time the offboard tank ran out of water! (I have already fitted an Audible alarm to the low level warning light for the onboard tank -which you can’t see on the Bailey, unless you make a point of looking!).
I couldn’t find my spare O rings at the time, but I fixed the external filler using “gas grade” PTFE tape (thicker than the cheap water stuff), that I always keep in the van as part of my “first aid kit” (good to refit worn screws for example). I wrapped it around the damaged / missing O rings.
Anyway – I decided I wanted an “auto-fill” to my on-board tank – similar to a modification I made to my Lunar around 20 years ago.
I looked on the market – there is NOTHING, nothing on Ebay, Nothing on “The Web”, nothing on YouTube, nothing in the Forums on how to do this… No gadgets, no advice, no discussion – maybe I’m the only one that wants this ????
So here is how I did it on my Bailey Senator:
Oh – and BTW if you came here looking for “Tracker” – I will also tell you how to replace the battery in your On-board (hidden) Tracker device. (Bailey Senator Arizona only – Other Bailey’s may be similar!)