FishyDave

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Everything posted by FishyDave

  1. FishyDave added an answer to a question Caravan spongey floor   

    I've done two now (our original Swift and the current Bailey.) You want to go right the way through the polystyrene, so that you're re-laminating both the upper and lower layers to the polystyrene filling.

    When you start to drill a hole, you will feel the ply resisting. Once through the top layer, you will feel the drill bit cut through the polystyrene pretty much instantly, and then it will hit the bottom layer of ply. That's when you want to stop drilling, as you don't want to go all the way through the bottom layer.

    If the floor isn't one piece, then take the time to go underneath and tape up any joins. I wasted a lot of resin on the Bailey, and ended up with a solid lump of it on my drive under the caravan.

    That's assuming that you're doing it from above (i.e. you are able to lift the carpet, or are planning to re-carpet when done.) If you're doing it from underneath to avoid damaging the carpet, then you'll just need to do the same in reverse (drill through the bottom layer and the polystryrene, but stop drilling as soon as you hit the upper layer.) I expect you will need to plug the holes once you've injected them if filling from the underside. When filling from the topside, I've never bothered with plugs, I've always just filled each hole until resin just begins to ooze out of the adjacent ones. If you're left with any resin protruding from holes, you can chip it off with a chisel once the resin has cured.
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  2. FishyDave added a post in a topic Caravan Vs another HGV   

    Sheer bloodymindeness on the part of both drivers. I think it was pretty obvious that the car driver thought he could intimidate the truck driver into letting him in, and the truck driver was having none of it. The car driver is ultimately to blame, but I wouldn't be surprised if they both end up being prosecuted, based on the evidence.

    I only really feel sorry for anyone else who was trying to use that bit of the M6 and M5 that day.
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  3. FishyDave added a post in a topic Caravan accident thats been doing the rounds on FB   

    Kudos for having the courage to admit it. Most Internet personas never, ever make a mistake on the road. The same ones also religiously hang up their car keys for 24 hours if they so much as have a half of shandy. It's very easy for Internet personas to do this, because Internet personas don't actually drive.

    I've done things I'm not proud of over the years, both with and without the caravan on the back, usually out of frustration at being stuck behind a very slow vehicle for a very long time. It's been a while since I have, and I'm a lot more cautious these days, but when you've been stuck behind a slow vehicle for a long time, the temptation to take a risk is certainly there (it's about having the common sense not to) and this seems to have been a factor in this collision if the DM write-up is anything to go by.

    Looking at this video, I can't see how the Mondeo driver could even have expected to overtake the truck in time. The driver either seriously underestimated the overall length of the outfit, or plain forgot that he was towing.
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  4. FishyDave added a post in a topic HSS r.i.p = Dun Laoghaire   

    They were still running the HSS (Stena Explorer, I think) occasionally from Holyhead when I last went, but I opted for the regular ferry. Apparently the increase in fuel cost (tenfold, since they introduced the HSS craft) has been the killer, and even when they run them, the much boasted 99 minute crossing rose to 2.5 hours because they throttle right back on the engines. So 2.5 hours on a wobbly catamaran feeling seasick or 3.5 on a regular boat, with lots more room, much better stability, and a cabin to yourself if you're prepared to cough the extra. I think this service's fate is sealed.

    Though with the price of crude dropping through the floor right now, you'd think now (if any time) would be the last ditch opportunity to actually get the craft to make the crossing in its original 99 minute time again.

    I believe Irish Ferries have a catamaran on the route that makes the crossing a fair bit quicker than the Stena ferry. I didn't find that out until after I'd booked, unfortunately.
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  5. FishyDave added a post in a topic Forget reversing your caravan - Volkswagen's Trailer Assist   

    Practically every car made in the last 20 years runs 'drive by wire' and has electronic anti-lock brakes You're only a software glitch away from hurtling through the next wall at full throttle, with no way of stopping, whether you like it or not.
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  6. FishyDave added an answer to a question Oversealing?   

    I've DIY resealed a couple of caravans now. This might be a viable approach if the mastic has only begun to dry out at the edges. If it has dried right through, then you're asking for trouble - you could well have a perfect seal along the edges, but be letting water in through the screw holes.

    If I were to consider this, then I'd want to take off at least one small section of rail (perhaps the trim across the top of a window, or one of the roof lights) to get a good idea of the quality of the unexposed mastic. I'd carry out the rest of the resealing based on my findings there.
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  7. FishyDave added a post in a topic Incident at Channel Tunnel   

    4 hours sounds about right if it's a broken down train in one of the tunnels. It happened last time I used the service and I think we were delayed for 4 hours from our scheduled departure, but since we'd turned up nearly 2 hours early (since you normally can, and get an earlier train) we were actually stuck at the terminal for about 6 hours.

    I can't begin to explain the utter incompetence of whoever runs the show. Departures appearing and disappearing off the board. Some listed twice, both as 'please proceed' and 'wait for call.' At one point, there was a bit of a panic amongst some drivers when their departure went straight from 'wait for call' to 'departed.'

    You couldn't swing a cat inside the terminal, and the queue for the information desk was massive. It came close to my definition of 'hell on Earth' and if it ever happens again, I'll turn around at the check-in and come back later.



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  8. FishyDave added a post in a topic Calor Calorlite RECALL   

    Well I've had a look at mine, and noticed some scratches in the paint that are rusting a little. Perhaps that's an issue with the thinner steel. I've also weighed it and discovered that there's still 4.9 kilos of gas left in it. Between that, and the fact that there's going to be an immediate rush on them, I think I'll run the outdoor barbie off it for a bit. The cylinder is outdoors (so gas build up shouldn't be an issue) and I might as well get at least a couple of kilos of free gas for the hassle of having to return it.
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  9. FishyDave added a post in a topic Calor Gas Pricing   

    Agreed: You are getting something for your money: A lighter bottle. Clearly there's a market for it (one introduced by the BP product no doubt) but if they're not going to see any return on investment, where's the incentive to purchase the new cylinders? Furthermore, if they charge the same price as the regular 6Kg bottles, everyone's going to want the new cylinders (which are lighter and have a built in gas level gauge.) As a result, there will be a shortage for the people who actually need them.

    I'm not sure about the really big bottles, but with 13Kg and below, you always pay a lot more for the exchange than you do for the gas anyway. Just look at the price difference between the 6Kg and 13Kg exchanges on their website at present - £20.75 and £27.25 respectively. That's £3.46 per Kg for the 6 and £2.09 for the 13. Or if you look at it as a separate exchange fee and gas charge, 93p/Kg for the gas and £15.16 service charge for exchanging a bottle. (6 x 0.93 + 15.16 = 20.74 and 13 x 0.93 + 15.16 = 27.25)
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  10. FishyDave added a post in a topic Calor Calorlite RECALL   

    Thanks for the heads-up. Shame I didn't know earlier - I'd have done a lot more cooking on gas.

    I'm away for the weekend though, so I'll see how much I can use before getting it swapped out. I might even forego EHU and save myself a couple of quid
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  11. FishyDave added a post in a topic Unusually low towing limit (Mondeo)   

    I've seen this before with my Renaults: Basically, the high GVW works against you, and they calculate the maximum braked trailer by subtracting the GVW from the GTW. When I went through the documents, you could actually tow a heavier caravan with a 2 litre Clio than with a 2 litre Laguna.

    Does it actually stipulate the 800Kg limit in the manual, or have you just calculated it the same way? If it's there in black and white, then you have to adhere to it, though you might be able to get a letter out of Ford stipulating that you can exceed the 800Kg (within reason) provided that the GTW is not exceeded.
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  12. FishyDave added a post in a topic satellite systems for caravans?   

    Mine was a 'B grade' suitcase system from Maplin (I think they're ones that customers return, even though they're not faulty.) The nice thing about it is that it has a set-up mode that produces an audible tone, the pitch of which relates to the signal quality. So set-up is simply a case of turning on the tone and swinging the dish from side to side until you can hear the highest pitch. Once the dish is set up on the tripod, I can align it in a matter of seconds, even if I've absolutely no idea which direction it's supposed to be pointing in.

    The Sky box, on the other hand, has you finding roughly the right spot using a compass, making small adjustments, and then checking the lock, signal strength and quality visually on the set-up screen. The update isn't instant, either, so you have to wait between each adjustment to see if it has improved matters. A signal meter can be useful on the Sky box, but unless you buy a really expensive meter, you'll have to rely on the receiver to tell you that you're pointing at the right satellite cluster.

    Satellite doesn't guarantee you a TV signal. I've been on two pitches (including one seasonal) where satellite wasn't an option due to tall trees in the path of the signal. On a third (also seasonal) pitch, I was able to aim through a hole in the foliage not much bigger than the dish. It took some trial and error, and a clinometer proved very useful.

    So don't bin your TV aerial. Take both and keep your options open.
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  13. FishyDave added a post in a topic WhatsApp - How do you feel about this increased connection   

    I've no concerns with WhatsApp at all. Or at least I didn't, until Facebook paid well over the odds for it. But the app itself isn't at all intrusive. If you set a status message, then all of your friends can see it, but your conversations remain personal and private. If you're not on unlimited texts, then it's a cheap alternative to text messaging. It's definitely a cheap alternative to picture messaging.

    Of course the clever thing about WhatsApp is probably also the thing that makes people uneasy: the fact that it uses your phone number as your ID (as do a few other services now) and automatically searches your phone book for other users. So once you install the app, anyone who also uses it (or has ever used it) is listed, without having to swap user ID's (like you always had to with Blackberry Messenger, for example.) But it begs the question of whether Facebook's interest is to try to interconnect you with more people by hijacking a copy of your phone book. Now that is an invasion of privacy, as far as I'm concerned.
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  14. FishyDave added a post in a topic Lovefilm or Netflix   

    Amazon have owned Lovefilm for several years, without making a song and dance about it, but there's a rebranding going on at present, with the Amazon name splashed all over Lovefilm, and a push to make you move over to using your Amazon sign in details. I fully expect Lovefilm to disappear over the next few years, and for the whole thing to be incorporated under the Amazon brand.

    I have had both Lovefilm and Netflix for about 18 months, and rarely watch either. But when I do, I like the choice of having both, and they're really not that expensive. I think Lovefilm's presentation is better and easier to navigate, though Netflix have finally addressed the main annoyance, by letting you add interesting titles to a 'to watch' list. I reckon Netflix's picture quality is still better than Lovefilm's.

    I'm seriously contemplating ditching Sky, unplugging my aerial and stopping paying my TV licence. You can legally do that with streaming services (as long as you don't watch anything that's simultaneously being broadcast via terrestrial or satellite TV.) Lovefilm + Netflix subscriptions together cost less than the monthly price of a TV licence.
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  15. FishyDave added a post in a topic Bit confused about engine sizes now   

    Clarkson is right. It is all about power. But it's about the power curve, rather than a misleading peak power figure. The thing that makes conventional diesel engines so flexible is their very flat power curve (thanks to maximum torque being produced as soon as the turbo spins up, but tailing off markedly as the revs rise.) This means that there's often no great power advantage to being in a lower gear, whereas the power advantage is much more pronounced in a petrol engine, which needs to be red-lined to achieve the peak figure, and may be producing less than half of it at sensible engine speeds. A 200bhp petrol engine that hits peak power at 8000rpm is likely producing only 100bhp at 4000, and even less at lower engine speeds. A 200bhp old school turbodiesel is probably producing a minimum of 150bhp for the entire range between 2000 and 4000rpm.
    In the absence of a power curve, it's worth looking at both the peak torque and peak power figures, and perhaps even looking at the two as a ratio. An engine with a high peak torque figure relative to its peak power one will be a good, flexible cruiser, capable of delivering the goods without too much hunting through the gears. An engine with a low peak torque figure relative to its peak power figure will need to be thrashed in a low gear to get anything close to maximum potential.

    Power is simply torque with speed factored in. Since you're rarely just 'accelerating', and instead are 'accelerating from 30mph' (as an example) torque without speed is meaningless for anything other than hill start ability in first gear.
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  16. FishyDave added a post in a topic Bit confused about engine sizes now   

    They're now squeezing a lot more out of the top end of modern turbodiesel engines, which inflates the peak power figure that they can quote.

    It isn't a million miles from what happened with petrol engines in the 90s, when manufacturers often doubled the number of valves and reduced the capacity by 200cc to achieve the same quoted peak power figure. It looked good on paper, but you had to thrash the engines so much harder to get the same performance. The gains were in the fact that you could (for example) hit 60 in second, whereas you'd be in third by 50 with the 8v donk. But in-gear acceleration suffered rather badly when you weren't driving like a boy racer, because you had less torque than the larger engine, until you got pretty close to the red-line.
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  17. FishyDave added a post in a topic Top Gear Caravan Special   

    An accusation that you could level at anything that destroyed something in the name of entertainment. Perhaps we should start refusing to watch movies with car chases in them as a matter of principle. On the other hand, that's two caravans taken out of the second-hand market, ultimately leaving people who make new caravans that little bit more secure in their jobs, since they'll have to make two new ones to replace them. Likewise, the cars, unless they were brazen enough to flog them on after the punishment they'd received (I noticed that they weren't brand spankers.)

    The 'caravanists' piece got more laughs out of me than most of their other stunts to date, and my 8 year old son loved it too. Though obviously I couldn't explain to him why the whole 'flashing the headlights and turning the interior lights on and off in the car park' bit was so hilarious.
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  18. FishyDave added a post in a topic £10 Sky box that connects any TV   

    It makes sense for the sports, if there's a one day event that you really want to watch, and you otherwise have no interest in the channel. Though at a tenner for 24 hours, it's still ludicrously overpriced.

    I notice that it has iPlayer, 4oD etc, but no mention of Netflix or Lovefilm. I'm guessing that, while they're prepared to throw in a few freebies to sweeten the deal, Sky won't allow you access to any competing services. I'd rather have a box from an independent manufacturer that left me with the choice.
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  19. FishyDave added a post in a topic Polarity testers £2.99 at Aldi   

    That's an excellent price for retail. I might grab one myself, since I don't know where my last one went.

    They can be had for less - £2.24 each from CPC, though I expect there's delivery on top of that. It might be worth doing if you wanted several to share around, or if you're putting an order in with them anyway.

    http://cpc.farnell.com/pro-elec/t203/mains-tester-plug/dp/PL10052
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  20. FishyDave added a post in a topic So long HSS Stena Voyager......   

    I remember the bad old days of doing Holyhead Dun Laoghaire on the 'normal' ferry - I bought a Sega Game Gear and I could do Sonic the Hedgehog I from start to finish, followed by Sonic the Hedgehog II, followed by Sonic the Hedgehog III, and just about be pulling into the harbour by the end of the third game. I'd kill the internal batteries and the external battery pack in the process.

    The HSS made the journey a lot more bearable, but can be a bit of a chuck bucket at times. Nowhere near as bad as the smaller catamarans, but still pretty nasty on a rough crossing. I remember stuff flying off the shelves in the Duty Free on a number of occasions. My ex went a very funny colour on her first crossing, and that was after bragging "I've been on my dad's boat loads of times. I'll be fine."
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  21. FishyDave added a post in a topic Water operated charger for phones etc etc.   

    A nice demonstration of technology and a fun gadget to have for those with more money than sense, but the pucks are single shot use, and doing the maths, will probably just about half charge a typical phone's built-in LiPo battery. I couldn't find details of the prices of the pucks, but surely it pays to buy a number of spare or external LiPo battery packs, which you can recharge again and again for under a penny a go, rather than having to buy an endless supply of pucks.
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  22. FishyDave added a post in a topic Breath tests in France!   

    £2 each off Amazon last time I looked - I bought five just before Christmas and have used three of them so far to double-check myself the morning after a heavy night.

    My understanding is that you need one, and if it's a reusable (electronic) one, that makes perfect sense. Having two or more is a good idea if you have disposables, since you can actually use one and still have one remaining in order to stay legal.

    Shelf life on the ones I got was about 2 years, I think. At £2 each, it isn't a whole lot of money in the grand scheme of things.
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  23. FishyDave added a post in a topic Hidden costs of motoring convictions   

    I'll grant you, 'technically', yes. And he held his hands up and said as much. It was his oversight. His mistake.

    But there's a world of difference between forgetting to change the address on your insurance (maybe leaving it, knowing that you only have a few weeks left on the policy) and wilfully driving while uninsured. The latter often goes hand in hand with a similar disregard to road safety as it does to the law.

    But the penalties were the same, regardless. Confiscation of the vehicle at the roadside (allowed to remove what he could carry) and the car impounded. He managed to get it back the following day, but at that point, it had already incurred £220 of recovery and storage charges on top of the £180 fixed penalty. Worse still, if we hadn't been able to get things sorted on the Friday, the storage depot was closed for business over the weekend, but would still have expected paying for storage on the Saturday, Sunday and into the Monday.

    In that respect, it's daylight robbery. I can fully understand why the police officer who stopped him couldn't allow him to resume his journey, but perhaps some leeway could be granted to those who plausibly appear to have made a mistake rather than deliberately avoided insuring their vehicle.

    I frequently check my company car on the AskMID database (as mentioned by Beejay) - It's currently insured, but at one point it was coming up as a Renault Scenic rather than a Laguna and I had to ask our fleet manager to get it corrected. I just checked it now, and it's right at the moment
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  24. FishyDave added an answer to a question 12S electrics - ignition switched relay for fridge feed?   

    It's a matter of convenience more than anything. Many cars have a suitable permanent live feed to the boot, but not an ignition switched one. If you don't fancy running a wire all of the way from the front to the rear, then the voltage sensing relays make sense from that point of view.

    I've never had a problem with a properly fitted voltage sensing relay. They can cycle if the feed wiring isn't adequately beefy or if they aren't properly earthed.
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  25. FishyDave added a post in a topic Hidden costs of motoring convictions   

    Well I could ask him, though it's a bit of a touchy subject. But he was in possession of a current cover note. I think one of the reasons he hadn't got around to doing anything was that he was due to renew his policy in January anyway (he was caught by the ANPR car in early December.)

    I'm not sure of the details, though I know he didn't bother getting his post forwarded and didn't part on the best of terms with his landlord. So perhaps something routine came through the door, and the landlord returned it as 'no longer this address.' We'll never know the details of that side of it.
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