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Free Range Camping by Free Range Camping - 7h ago

We have recently been contacted by Colin from the Caravan Council about the increasing number of accidents caused by using jacks to change tyres on caravans and camper trailers.

No doubt, at some stage during your travels, you may have had the need to change the odd flat tyre, and if you haven’t, chances are the time will soon come.  In most cases, your caravan, if purchased new should have the correct jack to suit meet your needs, however in some cases, jacks are replaced with non-compliant jacks.  The other issue, of course, is not using the approved jack in the correct manner.

Colin advised that there have been some reports of jacks having their lifting mechanism unexpectedly fail, causing the jack to instantly collapse.  With some of the main causes of jacking accidents being that either the jack is not completely suitable for the particular caravan or the jack not having its top positive-located so as to prevent it sliding in any horizontal direction.

The warning is simple,

“Every caravan owner should ensure that their caravan jack is appropriately Approved, and has a sufficient Load Rating, along with a sufficient Travel (lifting range). “

The article below by the Caravan Council outlines how to ensure this in more detail, including detailed specifications.

Caravan Jacks must:
• Be Approved to the Australian Standard
• Have the top positively located – by a mating locating recess – to prevent any horizontal slippage
• Be operational for when the caravan is both empty and fully-loaded
• Be positioned on a firm base
• Have a sufficient Load Rating
• Have a sufficient length of Travel

A Caravan Jack must:
• When on a firm base, be low enough to engage a locating recess, when any tyre is fully-deflated
• Have sufficient travel, to enable a fully-inflated tyre to replace that tyre

Allowance must be made for the suspension “droop” when the caravan is raised.

Allowance must be made for the probability that the tyres(s) on one side of the caravan will be loaded greater than on the other side. Typically, this may be around 10%.

A conservative assumption must be made on the actual Ball-Loading. It is of course much more preferable to have had the Ball-Loading measured, for the particular loading of the caravan.
While a typical caravan may have a Ball-Loading of around 10% of the actual mass of the loaded caravan, the actual Ball-Loading may only be around 5%.

Diagram 1 – Normal Condition

The relationship between a jack’s Load (lifting force) and its Travel, is a basic physics topic of Moments… which is Force X Distance.

With the Ball as the pivot, it is a “balance” or a “compromise” – for any given effective Load (M) times its Distance (LM) from the pivot – and the jack’s available Force (J) times its Distance (LJ) from the pivot.

The jack’s available Travel (Extended Length minus Retracted Length) must be sufficient to enable a tyre to be safely replaced.   M  x  LM  =  J  x  LJ

  • Diagram 2 - Deflated Tyres

Diagram 2 – Fully Deflated Tyre

The greater the LJ Distance, the lesser the J Force can be… and vice-versa.

  • Caravan Jacks Inflated Tyres

Diagram 3 – Fully Inflated Tyre

Caution:
Never rely on a jack… tragic accidents have occurred when a jack has failed or has slipped.

It is most important to practise changing a wheel/ tyre before heading off on a trip so that you know exactly what to do if you have the misfortune to have a punctured tyre on your travels.

• Do you know where everything you will need, is stored… and how to use everything?
• Does the Wheel-Brace fit the wheel-nuts, and do you have the strength to loosen tightened nuts?
• Does the top of the jack correctly suit the jacking points on the underside of the chassis rails?
• Does the jack have sufficient lifting capacity (Load Rating)?
• Does the jack have sufficient travel… and is the minimum height low enough?

Always carefully read the Warning Notice and Operating Instructions supplied with the jack.

If something is not clear to you, contact the Manufacturer for clarification.

Typical (Conservative) Example:

“All-Up Mass” of caravan:  2,000 kg

Ball-Loading:  100 kg  (5% of All-Up Mass)

Therefore effective Load = 1,900 kg

Heavier side of caravan M:  1,000 kg

Lighter side of caravan:  900 kg

LM = 2.00 m

Therefore M x LM = 2,000 kg.m

Therefore J x LJ must equal (or exceed) 2,000 kg.m

If LJ is 3.0 m, J must exceed 667 kg

If LJ is 4.0 m, J must exceed 500 kg

  • Locating a caravan jack

Locating a caravan jack

Original article provided courtesy of the CCA – www.caravancouncil.com.au – The CAA is a completely independent, non-profit, non-commercial body that provides free no-obligation compliance and technical advice to all manufacturers, importers, dealers, mechanics, owners and potential buyers of recreational vehicles.

You can contact the CCA direct or visit their website via the links below.
www.caravancouncil.com.au      caravancouncil@optusnet.com.au

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We would like to introduce all our members to Autobahn, not to be confused with Autobarn the automotive spare parts and accessories retailer. Autobahn Mechanical & Electrical Services franchise is established in Western Australia only and specialises in mechanical and auto electrical services.

  • Autobahn Armadale

History

Autobahn Mechanical & Electrical Services commenced trading as a franchise in May 1996, with one outlet in Midland. Following the enormous success of this business, the Franchisor duplicated the system in Morley in August 1997. Now, in a period of twenty-one years from conception, Autobahn Mechanical & Electrical Services has grown to nineteen outlets from Mindarie to Bunbury, with more franchise outlets planned in the near future.   Each centre has in place uniform systems and procedures that the owners have developed over a number of years. As a result, optimum efficiency is consistently achieved and costs contained to a minimum.

  • Autobahn Store Locations

What we like about Autobahn The Autobahn Philosophy

Autobahn recognises the need for today’s motorists to have a dependable, expert approach to vehicle maintenance and repair. Autobahn uses only fully qualified mechanics and auto electricians to ensure they get it right first time and on time.

  • Autobahn mechanic with customer

The Autobahn Promise

Autobahn will at all times take a personal and professional interest in your vehicle.
They will provide you with a superior service and treat you as an important customer.
We will alert you to any extra problems they find but will never undertake any action without your full approval. Autobahn’s price will never exceed the quote.

  • The Autobahn Promise

The Autobahn Guarantee

Autobahn fully guarantees all workmanship and all replacement parts. If you are not fully satisfied they will undertake to remedy the situation free of additional cost.

  • The Autobahn Gaurantee

What we think

At Free Range Camping we are always looking to support local business and after speaking with Jonathon, the founder of Autobahn,  it was evident that his passion lay behind his customer service. We felt this was important, especially for our members who are often travelling in new areas with no way of knowing who can provide a good reliable service and who don’t have the services of their regular mechanics. With Autobahn, we are confident we can offer our members consistent and reliable services, at a great price, as not only do they have their price guarantee in place, but they are also looking after Free Range Camping Premium members with an exclusive offer.

FRC CLUB OFFER
10% Discount on any Service or Repair
*Capped at $100
*Must be a current FRC Premium Club Member and present Membership Card.

  • Free Range Camping & Autobahn Club Membership Discount

You can find all 19 Autobahn outlets on the Free Range Camping free Web directory or the Members Only App.  To find out more about becoming a Free Range Camping Premium Club Member and how to receive your Discount at Autobahn and hundreds of other RV Related Businesses click here:  FRC PREMIUM CLUB MEMBERSHIP

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As we get around the countryside, we see the caravan awning being used for more and more things other than an awning that is!

There are not many caravans that don’t have something hanging from them.

That’s where this product is ideal.  It is from the makers of the Rain Saver Gutter and is a simple little gadget that allows your awning to be utilized for a multitude of things.

The awning hook – 2 Holes & 2 Hanging Lugs

They are small awning hooks that slide into the track of your caravan awning.  Each hook is designed with two holes, a small and a large, as well as two hanging lugs.

They allow you to use it to hang a full range of items inducing

  • Small bags
  • Caps
  • Torches
  • Coat Hangers
  • Towels

Each hook is made from nylon material and being flexible means they will now blow around on the track once you have something hanging on them.

Use them to hang a full range of things

Watch the video to see how easy they are to install and how to use them.

Awning Hooks-Flexible Hooks To Hang Your Stuff for Rv's & Caravans - YouTube

What we thought of them

We love them, they were so easy to put on the awning and great to hang things like the torch on, we never used to be able to find it but now have a regular spot for it.  What we liked is the fact that even with our shade screen up, there are small enough to use either end of it.  They were also good as to put a plastic bag on that acts as a rubbish bin.

Where can you get them?

The hooks come in a pack of 10 and are available in the Free Range Camping Shop.  Follow the link below to find them and receive our special offer if you are a Free Range Camping Premium Club Member.

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As we get around the countryside, we see the caravan awning being used for more and more things other than an awning that is!

There are not many caravans that don’t have something hanging from them.

That’s where this product is ideal.  It is from the makers of the Rain Saver Gutter and is a simple little gadget that allows your awning to be utilized for a multitude of things.

The awning hook – 2 Holes & 2 Hanging Lugs

They are small awning hooks that slide into the track of your caravan awning.  Each hook is designed with two holes, a small and a large, as well as two hanging lugs.

They allow you to use it to hang a full range of items inducing

  • Small bags
  • Caps
  • Torches
  • Coat Hangers
  • Towels

Each hook is made from nylon material and being flexible means they will now blow around on the track once you have something hanging on them.

Use them to hang a full range of things

Watch the video to see how easy they are to install and how to use them.

Awning Hooks-Flexible Hooks To Hang Your Stuff for Rv's & Caravans - YouTube

What we thought of them

We love them, they were so easy to put on the awning and great to hang things like the torch on, we never used to be able to find it but now have a regular spot for it.  What we liked is the fact that even with our shade screen up, there are small enough to use either end of it.  They were also good as to put a plastic bag on that acts as a rubbish bin.

Where can you get them?

The hooks come in a pack of 10 and are available in the Free Range Camping Shop.  Follow the link below to find them and receive our special offer if you are a Free Range Camping Premium Club Member.

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In most cases, simply securing your awning in the right fashion can prevent a whole lot of damage. ‘Roo Paws’ are a specially made product that will allow you to quickly and easily do this.

The unique shape of the hooks has been developed by Peter Morris, an avid camper with a background in Structural engineering. Peter was able to modify and perfect the profile of the ‘Roo Paws’ so they are quick and easy to fit, but still effectively hold down your awning during light to gusty winds to avoid any damage to the awning material, arms or mechanisms.

Peter & Sam came up with the idea while camping

In most cases, just securing your awning back onto the van, or just using pegs to hold it into the ground in just not enough. A strong wind can still pick it up at any time and send it flying. There have been many cases of caravans opening up like a tin of sardines following an unexpected strong gust of wind on an awning that was either not tied down, or tied down incorrectly.

  • aysrv

An awning damaged by wind

According to Peter, it is all about having the correct shape and profile on the hooks which allow them to have the correct load points that will hold the awning down without damaging it.  In many applications, either homemade or otherwise, over-tightening or pulling down your awning from the wrong angle can actually damage the awning.
If the pressure on the apex is too high, it is very easy to over tighten the awning, especially if using ratchet straps which many people do. Some can put up to half a tonne of load on them and distort their brackets.

‘Roo Paws’ have the correct profile to avoid damage to the awning

Peter went thorough about 30 different designs and profiles before finding the right angle and cusp for the Paws, and is always adjusting the design to suit changes in the market.  A recent change has been with the introduction of built in LED lights to some awnings. In this case, Peter has had to adjust the profile so it will not damage the lights.

Will fit awnings with built-in LED Lights

The hooks have a three stage bend in them, which ensures their strength meaning they will sustain much more pressure and prevent them from bending out of shape or failing. The Paws are batch tested by placing them under a high load stress test to identify if there are any defects in material or manufacture.  The load angle has a been adjusted to ensure the tie down points will actually lock the drum in place and prevent over-tightening to occur. This also means you can still use the ratchet straps if you prefer as they will not over tension, but the use of a spring at the anchor point is still recommended to take out the shock.

(Photo of spring to anchor point)

The hooks are also made here in Australia at the Rockin Roos Workshop and manufactured using quality Australian Aluminium and Rockin Roos back the product with a lifetime replacement warranty on the Clips.

‘Roo Paws’ have a Lifetime Warranty

Being aluminium, they are extremely lightweight, yet very durable. They will not be effected by UV and perish over time like ropes or slings.
The hooks are available in two sizes, the wider heavy duty 25mm hook with the black carabiner is suitable for all van types and a 20mm model for customers who have less space between the cap and the awning cloth.

Available in 25mm & 20mm

Easy to fit – Installation

The Roo Paws are so easy to attach. The curved part of the paw fits over the awning and the small lug locks into the slotted sail track of the awning.
Your ropes, straps or tie downs just clip into the pre-fitted carabiners and are secured to whatever method of anchors you choose on the ground. They can also have a second rope attached if you require.

See how the Roo Paws are fitted

The Roo Paws are designed to fit the following awnings
• Dometic 8300, 8500
• A&E,
• Carefree
• Aussie Traveller

Benefits

One of the main benefits of the hooks is that once you pull down on them, because they are at a critical angle they will actually rotate the drum of your awning, slightly more than you can with your hands.  This actually locks and supports the drum mechanism in place and makes the awning material very taunt, preventing it from flapping in the breeze. In fact, although not always encouraged, Peter tells us that if installed correctly, in many cases, once the paws are in place, you may be able to get away without using anti flap kits.

The ‘Roo Paws’ actually lock the drum in place

The other benefit of locking the drum in place is that it prevents rattles, which in turn will reduce wear and tear on the knuckle of the unit and also on the main shaft and spring. Just using ropes, on the other hand, may still allow your drum to rattle and not offer maximum protection.

What we thought

Unfortunately, our own annex is a rooftop mount and not the right shape for the Roo Paws, so we tested them on a few other campers to find out what they thought.
During our research, we found some primitive methods of tie down points out there. From ropes to straps. Whilst most did the trick, we noticed that there was still a fair bit of free play in many of the ones we saw.

We could see there were many different angles being used and in one case we saw an awning that had been bent due to constant over-tightening with ratchet straps.
The biggest comment we got was that the ‘Roo Paws’ were very easy to install. You didn’t need to spend hours undoing and doing up things. They fit into place very easily, which is great, because in most cases, if something takes too long to do, most people just won’t do it.

Most campers we showed loved them with the exception of a few die-hards that still feel that using a simple rope method will do the trick. To them, we leave off with the following thoughts.

Remember
If the wind is too strong, don’t risk anything, Just take the time to wind your awning in.
Awnings are expensive to replace, so is the excess on your insurance.
Roo Paws are only $25 and can save you a whole lot of pain.

Where can you get them?

We are proud to introduce the Roo Paws into the Free Range Camping online store. Follow the link below to the store to get your set and remember, as always, we will look after our Premium Club members with a special offer.

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Free Range Camping by Free Range Camping - 1M ago

This Door Latch extension solves a common problem in many caravans that are unable to open their windows when the door is also open.
The standard configuration in many caravans means that the window of the main living area is in close proximity to the door frame.

The caravan door opens up over the window

Unfortunately, this means that if you have your door open and latched back to the caravan on a hot day, you cannot open your window to let the breeze in, as there is not enough clearance for the window stays to latch in place.

The window hits the door and the stays will not hold it open

Currently, most manufacturers only provide a short latch to fit neatly into the existing door frames. This means that in 90% of cases you cannot latch the door and use the window at the same time, meaning that you either cannot use the window, or have to come up with some way of keeping it open and then only a small amount.

Most common type of door latch

These door latch extensions, however, allow you to extend the length of the door latch, without modifications, meaning you can keep the door open and also have clearance to open your window to its full extent.

Problem Solved – Window can now stay open fully

The latches are strong and durable and made from 30% Fibreglass. There have been designed and made here in Australia.
They are easy to fit with an adjustable easy twist lock nut. They also have a spacer ring which means they will fit both the large and small door latches, meaning they will be suitable for about 90% of caravan doors.

Strong, Durable & Easy to Fit

They fit into the existing wireframe of the door latch so there are no modifications needed. They are fully adjustable so you can get the maximum opening of the door and clearance for your window.

What we thought

Our motorhome does not have this type of latch on the door, so we sought out Tristan.  Tristan has an Option RV and has been struggling to come up with ideas over the last 2 years on how to keep the window open.  We gave him one of the new door latches to try out for us and he was very impressed.   You can watch the video here of how it solved Tristan’s problem.

Door Latch Extender - Solve Your Door Latch Problem In Your Van - YouTube

Where can you get them

Suitably impressed with the Door Latch extenders we have put them into the Free Range Camping shop and as usual, if you are a Premium Member you will save with your member benefits.

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For anyone looking for their first VAST Satellite Set Top Box or wanting to update their outdated version, the new VAST DSD 4921 RV has just been launched and is one of the best set-top boxes on the market, specially designed for Caravans & RV’s.

The UEC DSD 4921 RV is a “Next Generation” VAST™ Certified, Twin Tuner, High Definition, and Digital Satellite Set Top Box packed with new technology, features, and accessories, including a twin tuner configuration which allows for a suitable recording device, (not included) to support PVR functionality.  UEC’s hardware and software ensure the receiver is ‘future proof’ by using the latest technology and over the air software upgrade.

Prepared for the future

The hardware is designed to withstand the harsh Australian environment that recreational vehicles are likely to experience including high temperatures, DC over voltage, reverse polarity, and short circuit protection.

All of these features are housed in the smallest VAST™ receiver on the market, making it the perfect solution for Caravan and RV enthusiasts wanting to watch and record their favourite programs whilst traveling.

The DSD 4921RV Smaller and more compact

The unit is supplied with everything you need to be up and running in no time and also includes a tv EYE™ extender for installation into units or cabinets.
The DSD 4921 RV is Hybrid Broadband TV (HbbTV) Ready, which means it is ready to go with all key software features to support Freeview Plus once available on the VAST™ platform.

What makes it ideal for Caravans & RV’s?
  • Size. The unit is much smaller than it predecessor, making it more suitable for Caravan and RV installations.
  • The remote tvEYE means the main unit can be concealed in cabinetry, but you can still operate it without directly having to access the unit.
  • Built-in 12 volt DC and 240 volt AC operation with short circuit, reverse polarity and over/under voltage protection and indication. Means you can protect the unit from being damaged by any fluctuations in voltage which is common in Caravans & RV’s
  • It is supplied with a 12v DC cigarette lighter cable for easy installation which means you do not have to hard wire it in.
  • It has a 12v DC power available indicator to verify presence of voltage. Supply is protected by a fast blow 3 Amp Fuse.
  • It has Low power consumption, ideal for use when your caravan or RV is off grid.

Easy to install and operate from within cabinetry

What makes it beneficial for travellers?
  • The DSD4921 inbuit help function steps through a travellers guide to set up and point the dish.
  • The first-time installation wizard to guide a new installation: screen resolution, time zone, signal scanning, recording device.Fast, easy navigation and user-friendly operation.
  • Subtitles for hearing impaired.
  • 8 day EPG and easy to use onscreen display.
  • Colour coded rear panel to facilitate easy in DIY installation.
  • Large key, ergonomically optimized high quality remote control.
  • National, proven after sales and support capability with over 20 years market experience for peace of mind when travellers are on the road.

Sample of the User Interface

The Technical Stuff
  • Altech has been in the industry for over 20 years and are VAST certified.
  • Based on cutting-edge technology: 2k Dmips processor, Uni Cable ready and HEVC support with easy to detect LED indicators.
    set up.
  • The DSD4921 help steps through a travellers guide to set up and point the dish.
  • 12 volt power plug pack with LED indicator for easy fault diagnostics.
  • Single input Twin tuner PVR ready functionality – chase play, trick modes, fast forward, rewind etc. Watch one record another and playback a third event simultaneously.
  • Over the air and USB upgrade capability to ensure your unit is up to date with the latest software at all times.
  • VAST smartcard fitted to all units at the time of manufacture.
  • Future support for HBBTV catch up TV once supported by the VAST platform.

Will support new functionality when available

The Extras

The unit comes with everything you need for a fast and easy setup, including

  • RCU/batteries
  • 240V AC power pack
  • 12V DC cigarette cable,
  • HDMI & RCA cables
  • TV eye remote control extender module
  • User manual
  • VAST registration card.

Comes with all you need to setup

Further Information

If you require a complete Satellite Kit for your Caravan or RV, head on over to our full article about SATELLITE TV KITS FOR MOTORHOMES & CARAVANS.  This is a step by step guide on how we selected NAS as our Satellite Distributor and included a breakdown of what is required and also instructional videos on how to set up a complete system.

How to Get One WIN ONE

This month, we are offering one of our Premium Members the chance to win their own VAST Receiver.   Follow the link below to see the details.

*Terms & Conditions: By entering this draw you agree to the full Terms of Use and our Privacy Policy as set out in our website. You further agree that any images submitted may be used by FRC & NAS for future promotions. 

CAN’T WAIT –  BUY ONE NOW WITH THE CHANCE TO GET YOUR MONEY BACK

If you want your unit now, you can purchase the new Altec UEC DSD 4921 RV Separately or as part of a complete SatellitePack from the Free Range Camping Shop, then go in the same draw for the chance to win your money back.

*Terms & Conditions: By entering this draw you agree to the full Terms of Use and our Privacy Policy as set out in our web site. You further agree that any images submitted may be used by FRC & NAS for future promotions. Item Value returned $299

NEED THE WHOLE KIT?

If you need a whole Satellite Kit, including the Dish and Satellite Finder you can use this link instead.  Anyone purchasing a complete kit will still be eligible to go into the draw to win your money back, but only on the Receiver component.  Value of $299

*Terms & Conditions: By entering this draw you agree to the full Terms of Use and our Privacy Policy as set out in our web site. You further agree that any images submitted may be used by FRC & NAS for future promotions. Item Value returned $299

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