Campscout……. First 10 weeks, plus recent Lifos/Inverter addition | MotorhomeFun | The Motorhome Support and Social Network

Campscout……. First 10 weeks, plus recent Lifos/Inverter addition

Feb 12, 2018
266
3,246
South Yorkshire
Funster No
52,385
MH
Globecar Campscout
Exp
Since 2017
Campscout……. First 10 weeks, plus recent Lifos/Inverter addition...…..

In 2017 we bought a 2-year old Autocruise Accent, which had been little used (less than 3000 miles and as new internally) and enjoyed a number of trips in this. We had opted for a PVC for the small footprint and relative ease of town parking etc. It also ticked most of the boxes for just 2 travelling and we always left the rear lounge area made-up for sleeping to suit the frequent moving on style of touring we choose to do. Generally we were well pleased with this vehicle and the 2 years trouble-free use we had...…… but, after a 2-month tour of Spain and Portugal last winter, we decided it was time to change. The two most important reasons for this were the increasing annoyance as we get older of climbing over each other for night time loo trips from the bed across the rear of the van and the desire to have an automatic gearchange because of hip problems which my Wife has (which can only be expected to worsen) and is not helped by the relatively heavy operation of a "van" clutch. (We exchanged our car for a VW Golf with a DSG gearbox a couple of years ago and this has transformed the ease of driving for her.)

So.……. with the restrictions/compromises of wanting to continue with a modest sized PVC for convenience of town parking etc, the desirability of an automatic, the wish to have twin beds permanently made up and facing for/aft and needing to limit ourselves to a 3,500 kg weight limit (because my Wife has a health issue which prevents her re-instating a C1 licence over 70)...…. We set off for the NEC in February.

We had other desirable options in mind and had come to the view that as this would likely be our last MoHo purchase we should fit it out with all of the "extras" (within reason) we would like from the outset, so that we could drive away and enjoy to the full before we get too old to do so! We had also taken the advice of other MoHo friends with more (and often contradictory!) experience, as well as reading the many helpful reports and comments on MHFun….... not least the very encouraging comments about Globecar and the Campscout.

Looking around the NEC options, we were focusing on good dealer support (or as good as it is likely to get) not too far from home, a PVC of 6.3m length to get for/aft twin beds, as good a quality build/fit-out as we could afford on a Fiat Ducato with Comfortmatic. (Yes, I know this gearshift is like "Marmite" - love it or hate it - and it is "clunky" compared to the slick DSG box on our Golf, but moving to a more sophisticated base vehicle would likely be much more expensive and exceed our 3,500 kg weight restriction.)

And...… the winner was a Globecar Campscout in Elegance Finish with Comfortmatic from SMC, Newark.

Ordered 21st Feb, took delivery 13th June with the following Dealer installed extras: Freedom Pack with upgrade to 150 watt solar panel, oven, Winter Pack, Dometic RVS536T twin lens (replacement for upper stop light) reversing/rear view cameras and 7" Dometic HD monitor, safe, awning light, TV aerial/TV point/TV Bracket, Category 2.1 alarm (to satisfy insurance requirement), transfer of twin bottle Gaslow system from part-ex Autocruise Accent, external Gaslow filler and BBQ point. We also bought the 5-year extended Fiat Warranty and a couple of USB blocks to fit the light tracks.

Our first outing was 5 days after delivery (a bit of a rush sorting out bedding and all of the other everyday needs) to the MHFun Edinburgh Rally (a very enjoyable event, as previously reported). Before departure we filled the Diesel, fresh water and Gaslow tanks, stowed all of our gear and a modest amount of food/alcohol, removed the equipment for the 3rd bed (which we will not likely need) and weighed in at a local weighbridge. With both of us onboard, there was no problem with either axle weight, but the overall weight was only 28 kg under the 3,500 kg limit! Knowing that for extended continental touring we are likely to carry more kit, we recognise that some weight reduction may be required...…. the most obvious being less fresh water until arrival, but often not practical when touring and "wild camping". Further, knowing that we have a compressor-only fridge and rarely stay with EHU, we anticipated additional solar capacity and leisure battery needs adding to overall weight. As we have the "maxi" chassis, uprating the weight plate would be fairly easy, but not with the re-instatement problem of the C1 licence to which I have already referred.

Our first trip out to the Edinburgh Rally proved to be a good chance to asses the compressor fridge/single leisure battery/150 watt solar panel situation. After 3 days at home on EHU and the long drive to Edinburgh, it seemed reasonable to assume that the single 95 Ah leisure battery was fully charged on arrival. The first 3 days provided a reasonable amount of sun and as the ambient temperature was not excessive the voltage level of the leisure battery seemed to be reasonably maintained. However, by day 4 the voltage was dropping to a level which I thought too low. We left the Rally and moved to the Edinburgh C&CC site to plug in for a night. (We were committed to staying over in Edinburgh as we were also using the occasion to visit family who live there - but do not have parking space for even our modest size MoHo). Obviously the battery fully recovered on charge overnight, but my conclusion was that in hotter climates (albeit with more sunshine), we would be unlikely to manage more than 2 or 3 nights off grid with the existing set-up. Conclusion...…. cold beer essential...… more solar and battery capacity needed! Also, my Wife was expressing the need for 240v when off grid for hair drying and hair tongs ...… need an inverter as well and need to have appropriate battery capacity...… started again to look seriously at Lithium alternatives (with the perceived bonus of overall weight reduction).

During our first trip out a number of minor snags came to light. These were: Domestic Water leak from Galley sink/rear of cooker; Cab Radio had stopped working, Oven/Grill igniter not working, 12v TV power point wired to washroom light (only working when lights on!), external underfloor leak in joint in pipework to waste water tank, and a small indentation in bodywork when Gaslow Filler and BBQ points fitted (not noticed on delivery, as collected in heavy rain). The first five of these six items were sorted by the SMC Service Department when booked in for the day before the SMC Open Weekend/Rally during the first week of July. (An enjoyable 3 nights away, when we were able to meet a number of Funsters also attending.) The SMC Service Manager also accepted responsibility for the small indentation and agreed to fix it when convenient for me to return. I was very impressed with the helpfulness, enthusiasm and professionalism of the Service Manager and his staff.

On a recent trip to join other MoHo friends in Dorset and Devon, I went ahead with adding a second solar panel, 2 LIFOS batteries and an inverter. One of these MoHo friends has much engineering experience, a well equipped workshop and space to work on a motorhome. Also, a local automotive battery dealer had a promotional offer on LIFOS batteries bundled with a 100 watt Victron solar panel. (A modest further discount was agreed for buying two - with only space on the roof for one further panel, the second panel was donated for my friend's MoHo.)

On the Campscout the leisure battery (Varta 95 Ah) is located under the Driver's Seat, with space for a second identical battery using the same retaining bracket. (The electrical control box and solar regulator are under the Passenger Seat - so no space there for further battery capacity.) The choice, especially if wishing to keep the heavy duty cabling to a small length and minimise any modifications needed to the existing wiring, seemed to be to add a second Varta 95Ah battery with a weight gain of some 30 kg (a problem, as mentioned above) or install a couple of LIFOS batteries with an overall saving in weight of around 16 kg. The further attraction was that these two batteries would fit into the space under the Drivers Seat and leave room for a 1500 watt sine wave inverter to be installed alongside, with very short cable lengths required. Whilst still under warranty, I was also keen not to install any kit which required modification to the supplied specification. (For example, the installed PWM solar controller will be replaced with an MPPT version once outside the warranty period.) The claimed "Plug & Play" technology of the LIFOS inbuilt battery management system to present to the "outside world" as a AGM charging regime lead acid battery will hopefully prove to be correct (fingers crossed!) and discussions I have had by telephone with LIFOS were encouraging, as is the 5-year warranty.

A photo below shows the finished installation. The hardest part was the weight of lifting off the drivers seat. We did not disconnect the electrical wiring to this for fear of upsetting the seat belt alarm systems etc. The 1500 watt sine wave inverter was branded "KISAE" (model SW1210i). Appropriate fuse protection was installed, including 150 amp in the supply to the inverter. The remote on/off switch for the inverter was installed on the rear of panel of the drivers seat and a suitable RCD protected 240v socket nearby. (See photo below.)

So.……. we now have 250 watts of solar input, a worthwhile increase in total useable battery capacity (roughly 50 Ah to 130 Ah), a weight reduction, and an inverter to satisfy my Wife's hair care needs etc. And...… so far we are well pleased with our new MoHo and the support from SMC. A long trip abroad is planned for this Autumn and as we will be predominantly off-grid, this should be a good chance to see if the supplemented solar/battery installation meets our needs, especially with the compressor-only fridge.



The batteries and inverter installed (The black wires trailing across the top of the batteries are for the electrical connections to the seat and prior to replacing the seat suitable insulating sheathing was installed over the battery terminals as a safeguard...……..

Lifos installed 2.jpg



The inverter dimensions (A thin aluminium panel was cut and pop-riveted to the seat metalwork, to which the lugs on the inverter were bolted.)……...

Inverter Dimensions.jpg



The mounting of the inverter remote switch and the 240v socket...……..

240 Socket.jpg
 
Jun 12, 2016
612
619
Scottish Borders
Funster No
43,560
MH
Globecar Revolution
Exp
Since 2006
Nice report

We have the Campscout Revolution which is the same other than extra head room and lifting bed
Really like the layout
So far we have survived on the single battery but have the three way fridge so can run it on gas
We are careful with power use when not on hookup though
 
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