Does Your Campervan ‘Talk’ to You?

OK, I know that sounds a bit weird but I’m not talking about the van actually saying good morning to you when you wake up (although that would be just brilliant),  I mean communication in subtle ways. Because I swear that our van ‘Big Red’ is telling us what he wants and what he doesn’t want as we continue to convert it. Let me explain…

When Big Red Doesn’t Like it

We have been converting our Vivaro SWB van for some months now and, as this is our first conversion, it has been a steep learning curve. As we don’t want the standard side-kitchen layout it has also been a case of creating as we go along. I have done loads of research and had lots of design ideas but in some strange way, the conversion has taken on a life of its own and I’m not sure that it is actually us who are in charge now. It seems that, when we are trying to install something that isn’t quite right and Big Red doesn’t like it, there are all sorts of complications until we get on track and then all of a sudden the piece of work just goes like a dream!

The Case of the Blue Lights

The latest one is the case of the blue lights.

Last year, before we had started the actual work, we bought some 12v ceiling lights at The Motorhome and Caravan Show at the NEC in October. I had decided that we only needed 4 ceiling lights for our van as we don’t need super-bright general lighting and often, in my opinion, the lighting can be a bit extreme in some vans that have lots of ceiling lights. I prefer to have task lighting in the areas that you need something specific (yes I did do an interior design course many years ago and little did I know that it was going to come in so handy!) I also wanted to have some low lighting for when we are wild camping or just coming back late at night to the campsite.

As I am zoning the van (front half is the kitchen and back half the lounge) I wanted some touch ceiling lights for the rear so that we can turn the lights off/on while we are still in bed (such decadence) and I managed to get a couple of touch spotlights that are also touch-dimmable (my knees go weak). We also bought a couple of small blue spotlights that I was going to install near the floor by the side door for the stealth lighting. I also bought two larger white ceiling lights for the kitchen area which I thought should be brighter.

See Aten Lighting for these lights plus others at a fair price

Why Won’t it Work?

The first fix electrics was done by a professional but we were doing the second fix ourselves i.e. wiring up the light fitting to the wires that the professional had put in. We managed to get the lounge touch lights in really easily but when I came to put the white kitchen lights in the kitchen, all of a sudden that circuit didn’t work. We changed all the 12v fuses but still that section didn’t work although all the other 12v sections – touch lights, water pump, fridge – were working fine.

We tested for current and there was none there but, as we are not electrical techies, we just ran out of ideas as to why this could be happening. So we left it for a while and worked on other parts of the van.

As time went on I became less sure about having the bright kitchen lights and then one morning I woke up and realised that the touch spotlights were actually bright enough for general lighting and that we needed something more subtle for the kitchen/door area. Of course, the blue lights needed to go in the ceiling there!

Yay, the Mystery is Solved!

Once we decided to do this it just suddenly became clear that the problem had to be the fuse which, even though it was a new one, turned out to be faulty. So we changed that fuse and it all worked perfectly!

We love the blue lights as they give a nice night-time lighting and you can’t really see in through the side windows when they are on so they give a bit or privacy as well.

Don’t Worry if it isn’t Working

So when something doesn’t appear to be working now I don’t worry as I know it is just Big Red saying that it isn’t right so I leave it for a while and then eventually he shows us what is right.

At the moment I am trying to find some nice pieces of wood to put around the recess under the side window. I want something that looks great but I can’t seem to find anything quite right at the moment but I’m not going to push the river. We are going to a wood recycling yard tomorrow and hope that we might find something special there and if not, maybe Big Red wants something completely different that I haven’t thought of yet. I will be intrigued to see what he says…

Does your campervan ‘talk’ to you at all? I’d love to hear your stories if it does.