Power Upgrade to my Teardrop Camper

After all the excitement generated by my revelations and testing of my on board microwave oven I thought it was time to up date the 12volt system.

The camper was originally supplied with a 60Ah deep cycle battery and a PWM solar controller.

As you can see I fitted a small charger in case the solar was not sufficient but in practice rarely turned it on. This has actually been fine up until now but no one has ever sat around the campfire (fire bans permitting) complaining that they had too much battery power on board. I therefore replace the 60Ah battery with a 100Ah one.

I also added a 12 volt outlet in the kitchen of the camper

Some extra fuses were added.

However the biggest change apart from the battery was the new MPPT Solar Controller.

A switch was added in the solar panel circuit as it was a dam nuisance getting to the screws at the bottom of the controller in its new position.

It should all get a good test when we visit Cameron Corner (weather permitting) in May

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There have been some minor changes in the kitchen and cabin too.

The state of the battery and the charging system can be seen without having to delve under the bench top.

Already you can see the difference a MPPT charger makes it has boosted the charge current from 1.7A to 1.9A from a solar panel shaded by the car port. Quite pleased with that.

In the cabin I added a rather old WD TV Live Media Player for times when it is raining and there is no TV reception.

Next to the TV are four USB outlets and two 12 Volt outlets. to run this stuff.

The cabin also has a clock and a volt meter just in case.

I nearly forgot… Under the shelf there is a soundbar too. Such luxury! :wink:

Heath Robinson :017:

Absolutely! Amazing fun yet completely practical and functional. Modern technology is wonderful, works in the desert or the backyard.

Puts my metal detector in the shade Bruce, nice work…:023:

This looks great Bruce! Did you build your own camper Bruce? I got my one with all the bells and whistles all set up.

That looks great fun, Bruce.

Are you sure there is nothing you have forgotten? :smiley:

No, I bought the shell ready made from a bloke in Sydney just starting out so it was relatively cheap. It did have the 60Ah battery and a 10watt solar panel with LED lighting in the kitchen and cabin plus one 12 volt outlet in the cabin. I added 240v mains power, a 40watt solar panel, TV aerial etc.

I am pretty happy with it the way it is now, it is easy to tow, less than 750kg, in fact my car seems to hardly notice it. It works great whether you are in a caravan park or free camping in the bush. What I like is that is is immediately usable - there is no setup needed.

It was very bare when I bought it

The battery is in the storage area underneath the counter in the kitchen.

There are a few things I don’t like:

Towing anything restricts where you can park purely because of the length (with the car it is about 10m)

The short wheel base like a 8 by 5 trailer can make it a bugger to reverse. Longer vehicles are much easier to reverse but you do get the knack.

In the rain if you try to leave the outer door open the bedding can get wet but there was a ventilation issue with the doors shut - fortunately that has been overcome. Actually I think in the five years I have been using it it has actually rained on less than 10 occasions but I have slowly overcome all these issues.

More power is always a good thing. I know there will be disappointment and groans all around, but my first question would be whether or not I could operate my hair dryer :lol:.

Just kidding!

Or am I :mrgreen:?

Anyhow, nice addition of the entertainment option; I just hope you never have to use it! I was thinking about the length of pulling something, the advantages of being able to disconnect the camper for an outing from base camp is a good one. I can’t recall, but do you have a fan that ventilates well when the temps climb?

As for the rain, what about a canopy or a large beach umbrella that’s light and folds up? I would think a portable one would give you the advantage of using it either at the door or over the kitchen depending on your needs.

It’s a great setup, Bruce. I know you must be itching to get out there again!

I have a small inverter connected to the battery in my car but I doubt it would run a hair dryer, I only use it for things like the power supply for my laptop. To be honest the TV etc is not used much but it is nice to have available.

The camper has a roof vent and fan and when it rains it can now draw air from vents to the kitchen area the door of which can be left ajar even during the heaviest rain. Generally heat hasn’t been an issue, the camper cools down very quickly one the sun goes down. In summer, even at home, I usually sleep on top of the bed rather than in it.

Previously I used to set up a gazebo for shelter from sun and rain outside but have found the awning on the side of my car more than adequate for me. In future will probably leave the gazebo at home.

On one occasion I did reverse the camper under the gazebo but as I said rain hasn’t really been a major problem more of a rare nuisance. My new rain protection is crude and untested, I might set it up to take a few photos, it only takes a few minutes just for “show and tell” :wink:

My daughter and her husband have an awning on both their 4x4s which extends round three sides of the vehicle and takes only a few minutes to erect. My awning is definitely the economy version that I knocked up myself out of things I already had apart from the C section aluminium piece that holds the tarpaulin.

This long weekend was supposed to be a test run for us to refine what we need to take to avoid duplication for our longer trip in May.

She uses a swag rather than a tent, this sort of thing:

Your homemade canopy looks good to me! Compact and the right price. I have a similar pop-up canopy to your blue one, but I really only like to use it in combination with netting to keep the mosquitos at bay over a picnic table or seating.

What does your daughter think about her swag? They are just now becoming popular over here.

She has been using the swag for a many years now, when she and her girlfriends go bush (4 wheel driving) they all have one. I believe the one she is currently using raises it slightly off the ground because she has had snakes trying to hide underneath (presumably for the warmth). She and her hubby have a double one as well but from what I have observed when they travel together they tend to use one of those 3 second tents rather than the swag.

I have four walls for my gazebo, two solid ones for shade and two mesh ones for mossies. They all zip together but I have rarely use more than the couple of solid walls and usually only one. I always roll hem up at night because they just act like a big sail if the wind gets up.

Wow! You’ve done an awesome job getting it kitted out to suit your needs. Very nice! Did you consider installing a winch on the front of your vehicle to push the Camper around?

Also, does your canvas covers keep out the inclement weather? You’ve done an awesome job! Where do you store your spare tyre?

We have something similar in SA. It’s called a Vagabond made from Fibreglass though- here’s a link

The camper has the same wheels as my car so I can use the spare tyre off the car. Ridiculous really - the wheels are six stud for a 2 tonne car but it means I don’t have to carry a spare and the camper has wheels suitable for the car if things go really bad.

There is provision on the bullbar for a winch and I know some people who put a tow ball on the front usually for their boat but even though I complain about reversing it actually isn’t really that hard.

The price for these teardrops has gone up dramatically to the point I am not sure if they are worth it. The place I bought mine from now has a minimum price of about $14000. I think I if anything happened to mine I would buy a van and put a bed in it.