Wildlife Viewing Enhancement

Sitting on top of the cab proved an excellent place from which to watch wildlife - even better than the habitation box escape-hatch / rooflight. In bright sun the top of the box could be a strain on the eyes and if one of us wanted to take a nap it wasn’t so easy if the other was shuffling about perched on the front bed with binoculars. Though we can and do still use the original wildlife viewing platform the addition of a simple, folding marine seat mounted on a swivel base has been an excellent and much-used addition. The seat and base were purchased at a very reasonable price over eBay and the custom-made mounts are simple box-section and flat-bar aluminium. Stainless fasteners complete the job. Because of the bluff shape of the cab the airflow over its roof is minimal so - to my surprise - the chair is utterly untroubled when travelling and even at motorway speeds stays perfectly still.

More About 'The Wretched Fridge'

As previously documented on the Issues and Fixes pages (and ranted about on forums), the Dometic Waeco CR110’s thermostat ‘pod’ failed, but after a bit or argy-bargy Dometic sent me a replacement outside of the warranty period - credit to them - free of charge. Fitting the new unit immediately cured the false-stop situation described. But… after about the same amount of time the second unit failed in exactly the same way. Again, a bit of a battle ensued but Dometic did eventually send an engineer to check the installation and see what was going on. He had no clue why, but concluded the thermostat pod had failed, again. He fitted a third pod and normal service was resumed… until it too failed in exactly the same was as the first two.

By this stage we’d had the CR110 for about seven years but it had been a constant source of stress and disappointment for at least five of those. It took a fair bit of persistence but Dometic conceded that the performance we’d ‘suffered’ was not up to their expectation and so replaced the entire fridge - free of charge - with the updated CRX110 model. So far, this has performed much, much better than the original CR and on our 2019 trip to the Balkans never missed a beat; even though it was exposed to daily temperatures of more than 30 degrees C for five weeks straight. Conclusion? Well, I'm not sure there is one - please take what you will from our experience with the product and manufacturer.

How or whether to filter or purify water is something of a hot topic amongst travellers. Some don’t bother much; others think Howard Hughes was blasé. We probably sit somewhere close to the middle. The ways to treat fresh water are numerous and any internet search will reveal everything from UV treatment to reverse osmosis. As with most of our project, the notions of simplicity, ease of maintenance and reliability drove my own design. I read far and wide and decided that it wasn’t necessary to invest several hundred pounds and have several banks of space-consuming and hard-to-reach filters and shiny contraptions in order to treat almost any water obtained from almost anywhere to a very high standard.

The system comprises of four main stages, each one almost ridiculously simple. Stage 1 comprises a lightly modified inline hosepipe filter with a gauze filter. This stops any visible debris / organisms from reaching the tank in the first instance. Stage 2 involves chemical treating the water in the fresh water tank using Oasis 167mg water purification tablets. These are readily available, widely used by emergency relief organisations and are effective against almost all bacteria, spores, cysts, algae, fungi, protozoa and viruses. Stage 3 comprises the Shurflo water pump's standard-fit mesh bowl filter which is capable of straining any floc or debris that managed or get into - or mysteriously accumulate in the tank (it happens) - before entering the water pump. The final stage comprises a faucet mounted multi-stage 0.5 micron filter to (hopefully) trap anything that survived the chemicals. The particular one I've used includes an activated carbon stage, which does an excellent job of removing any unusual taste or odour, and which has replaceable filters - each good for a claimed 1000 or so litres). When it’s taken into account that this is only activated when drinking / washing salad / brushing teeth etc, 1000 litres is an awful lot of water.

Naturally, if we are really concerned, we also have the time-tested backup of being able to boil and, furthermore, we also carry a ‘Lifesaver’ bottle. The bottle brings the added benefit of filtration away from the truck, should that situation ever arise. The four-stage on-truck system cost the grand total of about £35 with the additional cost of Oasis tablets running at about £1 per 500 litres. The addition of the Lifesaver bottle adds another £40 (bought via a Witham’s auction). The system is ridiculously easy to maintain, takes up no storage space and altogether works really well.

More to follow...

That's all there is for now, other refinements, issues and fixes will be reported as they arise. In the meantime, you may find the Known T244 Faults page of some interest...

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