Stephen Ward Caravan & Boats
We do everything for the touring caravans and static holiday caravan. All repairs from serious damage to small items full caravan servicing to fixing a tap. Floors, ceilings, roofs, all appliances. brakes,chassis,wheels,motor movers,windows,vents etc.
In the UK we have two types of (Bottled) gas. Butane in a blue bottle with a blue regulator which has either a spanner/nut clip-on or screw thread if using Camping Gaz. Propane is the red bottle with a red regulator. Propane has a much lower vapour take-off temperature than Butane and is ideally suited for UK winter usage and is what I recommend. To say that Propane does not freeze is that may have been subject to getting wet ie rained on then this can freeze and can cause problems. A common problem is the silver looking regulator found on newer caravans and motorhomes that the name or GOK on it. This regulator has over several years. One minute it next you either get a little or no gas pressure. This regulator causes blockages and fails totally with a new regulator needed.
Do not attempt to do any work on your gas system if you are not competent to do so. IF YOU SMELL GAS or SUSPECT A GAS LEAK TURN OFF AT CYLINDER IMMEDIATELY. EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY.CONTACT A QUALIFIED ENGINEER TO MAKE SAFE BEFORE USING THE GAS AGAIN. IF YOU HAVE SOOTING OR CAN SEE ANY BLACK STREAKS NEAR A FLUE OR CAN SMELL BURNING OR AN UNPLEASANT ODOUR TURN OFF IMMEDIATELY AND CONTACT A QUALIFIED ENGINEER. THIS MAY BE CAUSING CARBON MONOXIDE AND CAN KILL.
As a GAS we have a duty to inspect all aspects of gas pipework installations and
equipment even if the customer has only specified one part of the installation.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO OR OVERRIDE ANY SAFETY FEATURES THAT COULD ENDANGER
YOU AND OTHER USERS
You have two separate electrical systems. MAINS 230v and 12v Battery Power. They are both separate and
work independently. All spade fuses in your caravan and motorhome are 12volt battery only and have nothing to
do with mains electric power.
Mains Electric Problems
230v or mains electric problems can be a number of items. The first to check is have you mains power coming into your caravan or motorhome. A simple check is to look at the main 230v power box which will have one main trip with a small square button near it called the RCD. This is the main breaker and if you press the square test button then the trip will drop down if power is present and will not drop if is no power. are all in the up position for on and down for off. Next to the RCD are smaller breakers these are the main breakers for appliances usually one for sockets, the other for etc. More complicated systems may be installed.Please refer to handbook.
This picture shows a common Power Delivery Unit by BCA. The top half is the mains electric switches with the RCD on the right and the breakers on the left with the switches showing up. The bottom half is the 12volt fuses from the battery only. These are spade fuses with from 5amp to 15amp. On the very top at the back are some and this is where the battery charger is fitted. The battery charger will feel warm/hot to the touch if charging and the vents must be kept clear.
You may find that you have a different looking power unit than this. Or that the breakers and fuses are in two separate units.
All caravans will have an RCD and breakers somewhere!
There are commonly two power levels of battery that are used in caravans 85A & 110A.They should be designated as leisure batteries, normally sealed. Motor or vehicle batteries are not the same, they charge differently and should not be used. Your battery should have a charge between 12.75v and 13.4v for a fully charged battery. A fully discharged battery has a voltage of 12volts(Twelve). So a battery with 12.5volts is deemed to have 50% power.A battery that has 12volts will still work the appliances but will seem to have dim lights or a slow water pump. Motor movers will drain an insufficiently charged battery very quickly. To know if your battery charger is working make sure you have mains power on, make sure your battery charger is switched on. If you have a voltage reading indicator then this should be showing 13.4v or in the green. If you switch your mains off and the battery indicator drops down to 12volts then switch on the charger again and observe the voltage indicator move higher to show 13.4volts this is a basic indicator of a working charger unit. Most new caravans will supply a 12v feed via to all 12v items even if the battery is flat. Be aware that your charger may be at risk of overheating or failing if you keep using a battery that is flat or not taking a charge. A leisure battery has thicker lead plates that hold the charge, leaving it to go flat will cause sulphate gas and cause the battery to suffer power loss. IF YOUR BATTERY IS VERY HOT OR HAS A STRONG GAS LIKE SMELL DISCONNECT FROM THE CARAVAN AND REMOVE IT, STANDING IT WELL AWAY FROM ANYTHING OR ANYONE AND ALLOW TO COOL. DO NOT USE IT. This battery will need to be replaced.
Water Pump Problems
There are three types of systems. The first uses a micro switch directly at the taps to activate the pump and switch it off when you rotate the tap. A small click will be heard when you rotate a tap and can also be identified by looking in a cupboard where the taps are fitted and seeing small cables attached to the taps.
The second uses a pressure switch which looks like a small white plastic device with a small thumbwheel on the top.
When the tap opens the loss of pressure activates the switch with a click and the pump runs until the tap is turned off. The pressure switch then waits until it sensors pressure and a click is heard and the pump switches off usually a few seconds after the tap is closed. If the pump still runs with all the taps closed then this pressure switch needs to be adjusted and can be done so by turning the small thumb screw on the top until the pump stops.
The third system has a large pump that has a pressure switch built in. Sometimes this type of pump can activate by pumping or just running for a few seconds after long periods of idleness due to a small amount of water back
Surge dampers can stop this and also maintain pressure.
As with any problem reassurance and advice can make a difference and I am more than happy to help over the phone with any technical problem and will advise on the best possible action. We recommend you have a caravan service annually.