Double break: a quiet night

Burnoff near Avon Ascent campsite

Because of our choir commitments we are taking a sort of double break. For the first break we’ve come to York for a few days. We go home Monday night, partly because we have a couple of things to do on Tuesday during the day and partly so that Stephen can attend a men only choir rehearsal at Mackie St Singers. Then we will head to our original destination of Katanning and the surrounding areas for a further 10 days.

We are having a problem with the control for our new Truma heater/hot water system. It appears to have a faulty connection and works sometimes, not others when we press the button. I rang Ken Peachey and they, of course, are very busy in the lead up to Easter. But I persuaded Jason to get the electrician to at least take a quick look at the control panel to see if it is just a loose wire that can easily be reconnected on Tuesday when we are in town.

We’ve just taken the van to an auto electrician to have some more work done and I’m a little tempted to take this to them as well. But, the Truma is still under warranty and it would be better for Ken Peachey to check it, even if we have a bit of a wait for actual work to be done. In the meantime, we have an intermittent problem that started a while ago, but has got much worse. I keep watching Youtube vidos to see if I am missing something. A press and hold for startup was one thing I identified this morning, but there was still an issue with press to select one of the functions and the press and hold isn’t reliable either.

The work we had done at the auto electrician was to install a 40 amp battery to battery charger to allow for better charging whilst the engine is on. We have a split charge relay system that was suitable for the single 100 amphr AGM battery originally in the van. The battery to battery charger also incorporates solar charging, but I prefer the Victron solar controller as it gives me access to a range of information via bluetooth connection to an app. I thought about just using the BtoB, but losing access to the information would leave us always wondering how well our solar panel was working. So we had a higher capacity Victron solar controller installed and have the power from the external panel running through it as well. The Anderson plug for the external panel has been relocated to the outside of the van as we found having it inside was annoying.

I tested out this system by checking the amount of solar being generated by our rooftop solar panel, then plugging in the external panel, which was nicely orientated to the morning sun. The power immediately doubled. Wow! Neither panel was operating at full capacity, but it was quite a leap. I then tested the system of charging by introducing a load, cooking a soup in the Instant Pot. At the end of the experiement the battery charged up to full by the end of the day. We took the external panel off when it became difficult to have it in the sun without blocking our neighbour’s access to their garage.

Yesterday we didn’t try to get away early, but took our time with packing things in the van and trying to make sure we hadn’t forgotten anything. We stopped at the Mundaring Bakery for a pie each and a loaf of bread. We couldn’t get their very high fibre loaf, but the next best thing.

Once in York we went to the RV camping area provided by the town. There is a dump point and fresh water and it’s next to the river near the suspension bridge. By the time we had afternoon tea and a nap it was getting quite busy, so we drove out of town to a camping area called Avon Ascent. It has drinking water and flushing toilets and there was one other van here overnight.

Which is where the quiet night came in. There is a lot of city noise and lighting from the units behind at our house in Victoria Park and we really noticed the difference here overnight. Stars were visible and although we are close to the Great Southern Highway it was silent overnight. When we arrived there was a burnoff on the other side of the dry river, with smoke coming over the campsite. We wondered if we should be here, but checked on the DFES site for confirmation that it wasn’t dangerous. It was worthwhile, despite being smoked out, as this morning the fire was completely out and the air is clear. Fortunately we don’t have any breathing problems.

A friend has invited us to stay on her property in York and after a couple of nights by ourselves we will head there on Friday. There is a motorcycle event in York for a couple of days and a couple of venues will have live music events and which we could attend.