European Tour

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Triple7, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. Triple7

    Triple7 Funster

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    hymer51.jpg I bought a Hymer B594 last October to use as a base for a photographic project touring the Continent. I started last March at St Malo, drove down the west coast of France, through Spain and down to Lisbon. I then toured around the Mountains of Spain before heading up to the Italian lakes. The last leg of the journey was spent in the Austrian Alps and Bavaria before driving back through France to Calais.

    As a newbie I expected to have a certain about of grief and the odd breakdown. But apart from a couple of flat tyres and a blown alternator fuse, the Hymer was 100% reliable. Amazing really for a 20 year old vehicle. Sadly my days of motorhome ownership are drawing to a close but its been a fantastic experience and a real pleasure.

    My thanks to those on this forum who provided me with help and advice. It was in part because of this resource that I had such a trouble free time.

    Best wishes,
    Rory HYMER57.jpg aDSC4116.jpg aDJI_0164.2.jpg
     
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  2. Anthea M

    Anthea M Funster

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    Wow the photos look amazing ! Are you not carrying on just for pleasure? If not are you selling , there are a few people after that style of van .
    Such a shame to give it all up when you enjoyed it so much!
     
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  3. Triple7

    Triple7 Funster

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    Thanks Anthea:)

    Having taken 6 months off I've used up all my hols for a year or two so there would not be much opportunity. I will really miss it as the Motorhoming was as much fun as the photography. But I have half an idea I will do it again but this trip was 2 years in the planning so it won't be for a while.

    I've advertised my Hymer in the For Sale section so if you can spread the word that would be great.

    Best wishes
    Rory
     
  4. davanne

    davanne Funster

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    Lovely photographs sounds like you had a fantastic trip
     
  5. Triple7

    Triple7 Funster

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    Thanks Davanne I did. It will be hard readjusting to "normal life"!
     
  6. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    The second one is a nice shot of Jim's house in Wales. :)

    But well done for getting out and doing something worthwhile. The problem is - will you be able to adapt to regular life now? :)
     
  7. Triple7

    Triple7 Funster

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    OK Is Jim related to mad king Ludwig of Bavaria? Grandson possibly ;-)

    I'm guessing it won't be long before I start planning some new adventure. I love planning and I'm not put off by the fact that I never end up following any lol
     
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  8. Triple7

    Triple7 Funster

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    BackUp Solar Panels

    Ive had quite a few questions about my flexible roll up solar panels so I thought it would be worth sharing my experience with them.

    Rather than buy a small genny I decided to get 3x 11ft roll up panels which only weigh a couple of Kgs and fit very neatly in a rear storage locker. I've been really pleased with them, although I have not needed to use them that often; maybe a dozen times in the last 5 months. My primary 100w panel keeps the batteries topped up most of the time but if I've been parked in the same place for a few cloudy days then the voltage of my twin gel leisure batteries can fall below 12v.

    Thats when I roll out the backup. One sunny day will have the batteries back up to 13.5 and two days will have it above 14v. The panels currently kick out 400w because they are new, but are rated at 300w. As I say, Ive been delighted with the set up. The only thing I would change is that I would invest in a better solar controller if I was keeping the van. I don't really trust the basic ones with something as powerful as this, so I keep a close eye on making sure it doesn't overcharge.

    Pros/Cons
    The obvious pros are that once you have invested in the setup (about £400), thats it.... no running costs. And you aren't lugging around 10-20kgs of generator taking up space. Also no noise, which to be honest was the main reason I went this route in my case.

    The downsides, other than the initial cost, is it takes about 10mins to set up and it's more suited to strong sunshine. So either abroad or UK summer only. I wouldn't bother otherwise. The reason these panels are not popular is they kick out 320v and that worries people. But in reality its not much of an issue. The only place the contacts are close enough to shock is at the step down controller, so you make sure its well insulated and out of the way. You can't get a shock from the panels themselves because the terminals are 11ft apart and if you bring them closer, the current collapses because the panel will be at least partially in shade.

    Hope this is food for thought...... won't be to everyones liking but based on my experience over the past 5 months, they are definitely under-rated. As are Gel Batteries. I can fit two gel 80ah batteries in my battery locker which will only fit 1 120ah lead acid. The effective useable power with the twin gels is 128ah compared to only 60ah with the lead acid. hymersolar.jpg
     
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  9. bubble63

    bubble63 Funster

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    As nice suggestion to solve your overcast days, but ......

    I have two 100w panels connected perminantley and bonded to the roof
    Fit and forget.
    Any surplus leccy is diverted to the traction battery or not used.
    Not tried to use it in anger in the winter but it's fine spring summer and Autumn
    Tv lights. Sat and 2 teenagers gadgets

    No faffing involved, fully auto

    An MPPT controller makes a difference, some claim a 30% increase
     
  10. Triple7

    Triple7 Funster

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    I prefer the light flexible unfixed panel which You can locate in the best orientation and also keep clean which makes a big difference. I store my small 100w panel under the sofa cushion and just stick it on the roof while standing in the doorway or if the sun is lower in the sky, lean against the van. You will struggle with winter sun / on the horizontal. It's all pre wired so just needs plugging in, fed through either the side window or door with the fly screen closed.

    You are right about the MPPT controller. My cheap one shuts off at 13.5v on the single 100w panel.....way too soon. I bet I'm easily losing 30%
     
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