Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better! Registration's totally free, of course, and makes snowHeads easier to use and to understand, gives better searching, filtering etc. as well as access to 'members only' forums, discounts and deals that U don't even know exist as a 'guest' user. (btw. 50,000+ snowHeads already know all this, making snowHeads the biggest, most active community of snow-heads in the UK, so you'll be in good company)..... When you register, you get our free weekly(-ish) snow report by email. It's rather good and not made up by tourist offices (or people that love the tourist office and want to marry it either)... We don't share your email address with anyone and we never send out any of those cheesy 'message from our partners' emails either. Anyway, snowHeads really is MUCH better when you're logged in - not least because you get to post your own messages complaining about things that annoy you like perhaps this banner which, incidentally, disappears when you log in :-)
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
durr, I forgot...
Or: Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

Converting a van to a camper to ski (and avoid covid)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
This is a phenomenal price for LiFePO4 batteries. A bit of an opportunity for anyone contemplating a half serious electrical system in a van IMO: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_AOU0Ib

It is from China, rather than Poland (it's all the same kit with different delivery times) but they include cover of customs charges and so 280ah for £370 is the best deal I've seen by over £150.
The price appears to be as a result of some kind of sale they have on giving '40% off' for the next day and a half.
At that price I couldn't help myself so I've doubled up on the ones I got already... haha I'll have watts to spare! Hmm, maybe this would allow me to upgrade the BU5 4 DUB sound system? Twisted Evil
snow conditions
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Whilst I would agree with DIY in general, when you spend more than getting someone else to do it just on the batteries that defeats the object. The purpose of DIY is not as most people think due to cost. It is to do with understanding, control, and maintenance. If you fit it yourself, you find out what goes wrong, and how to fix it. If someone else fits it, you have to get them to repair it.

Quite why you need that level of battery for a van is beyond my comprehension. What are you using the electricity for? When I was using a van, I NEEDED a lamp. Most of my electricity from my battery went on a music system, which took about 30 watts per hour.

When the battery ran out of juice, I turned the battery powered lamp on (a torch) and went to sleep.

The downside of DIY is that you find out you are not good at doing large scale safely. My first attempt at putting a battery in the back of the van, resulted in the connections shaking loose whist driving and with no diode in the connection to the engine battery it shot a spark in reverse through to the security system and blew it.

The next attempt had much more solidity to the holding of the battery, and the connections. It also had a diode, and the battery in the rear was charged via the cigarette lighter.

Scale this up, and it begs the question, do you really need that level of temporary electricity to be stored? (remember that all the metal parts of a vehicle are negatively charged and connected to your engine battery!)
snow conditions
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Bigtipper wrote:
Whilst I would agree with DIY in general, when you spend more than getting someone else to do it just on the batteries that defeats the object.
I don't understand what you mean - someone else to do what? Puzzled
Quote:
The purpose of DIY is not as most people think due to cost. It is to do with understanding, control, and maintanence. If you fit it yourself, you find out what goes wrong, and how to fix it. If someone else fits it, you have to get them to repair it.
Yes, although a proper professionally developed solution shouldn't really require ongoing maintenance IMO. Part of what you're paying for is the reliability of tried and tested methods and components.
For me, the primary reason for DIY is customisation. I have very specific requirements - some based on need and some very much about choice. It is rare, I find, that the world produces solutions that accurately fit the ones I imagine. To be fair, it's rare that my own solutions live up to the standards of their imagined forebears but at least I get the key elements in there.
Quote:


Quite why you need that level of battery for a van is beyond my comprehension.
You think?... Let's give it a shot.
Quote:
What are you using the electricity for?
- Broadband/wifi, in the van in transit but also static, in resort when, inevitably the hotels' bandwidth packs out and traffic grinds to a halt at the time of day I need it most.
- The fan of the diesel heater: I know you like your burny fires but in a Transporter I don't have the space (nor frankly the inclination) for naked flames in that environment.
- LapTop charging. When WFH & home is the BU5 4 DUB, I have 3 laptops on cycle so that, in theory 2 are available for use concurrently at any time. A larger monitor would be hugely beneficial though so that's on the todo list.
- Device charging: tablets and barcode scanners for ski tests, for example.
- Laser Printer.. obviously: who doesn't have a laserprinter in their van?
- Coffee Machine: The French and I simply do not agree wrt what a 'good' cup of coffee is. Whether at service stations or Michelin starred restaurants, what they serve up is just unacceptable to my palate. Tired of the constant disappointment, I bring my own now.
- The Stereo: one worthy of a BU5 4 DUB though Cool
Quote:
When I was using a van, I NEEDED a lamp.
So no modems, routers, laptop[s], tablets, barcode scanners, laserprinters or coffee machines then? How did you get by? Wink
Quote:
Most of my electricity from my battery went on a music system, which took about 30 watts per hour.
Laughing 30w
btw. a watt is a unit of power not energy so you can be drawing 30w and after an hour you would have consumed 30wh(watt-hours). Hence using up 30wh per hour.
This might seem pedantic but when 'messing' with electricity, it's important to understand it.
Laughing Sweet Little Angel

Think 'Daddy bear' in this scene Wink
That's everything up to 80hz taken care of in the BU5 4 DUB.

You played with cakewalk and would plug the audio out of a computer into your amp.
I used to run a studio, and would NEVER consider a laptop output acceptable quality audio.
I'm not saying my way is any more 'right' than yours but just trying to help your comprehension by demonstrating that we are simply approaching things (and particularly sound) with different values to each other.
I really enjoy my music: I lived and breathed it most of my life. Once I'd been in the mountains a few weeks, not even in a row, but just a few over the season, my enthusiasm would wane for the lack of decent music. I wasn't so much homesick as hifi-sick. It's not about the 'pop' they're playing not being to my tastes - frankly I'd rather listen to 'bad' music on a great system than listen to anything on a crappy one. I miss the detail, complexity and space in the sound.
Hence on occasion, during a bash I may be found in the BU5 4 DUB, having a music break - sometimes alone, sometimes with friends - such audio is a rare luxury in an environment where luxuries that pamper every other sense are commonplace.
Quote:

When the battery ran out of juice, I turned the battery powered lamp on (a torch) and went to sleep.
Yeah you see I can relate to this: it's a mode that I refer to as 'electrical austerity' and occurs (to me) when circumstances conspire to deplete reserves eg. a 'little' music break turned into a bit of an extended session/carpark party, to be followed by a few days heavy weather reducing solar panel yield. This could be problematic if something tricky crops up on snowHeads, requiring a day or two's urgent laptop time.
The bumped up battery system is aimed at reducing the risk of these episodes of 'energy poverty'.
Quote:

The downside of DIY is that you find out you are not good at doing large scale safely. My first attempt at putting a battery in the back of the van, resulted in the connections shaking loose whist driving and with no diode in the connection to the engine battery it shot a spark in reverse through to the security system and blew it.
Oh dear! Shocked Just like with naked flames, it's a good idea to know what U are doing with electricity.
Quote:

The next attempt had much more solidity to the holding of the battery, and the connections. It also had a diode, and the battery in the rear was charged via the cigarette lighter.

Scale this up, and it begs the question, do you really need that level of temporary electricity to be stored?
Well, hopefully we've probably established the answer to this Wink
Quote:
(remember that all the metal parts of a vehicle are negatively charged and connected to your engine battery!)
Laughing well yes, that's a rather rudimentary fact of auto electrics - if I didn't remember that, I'd be in pretty big trouble!

In summary, I think the difference here is that you approached staying in your van as, in effect 'Winter glamping'. My requirement is for it to provide infrastructure and facilities that aren't always available in the hotels or friends' places I'm staying in, that make running various aspects of snowHeads more fun, easier or indeed possible while wandering around the mountains.
latest report
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
admin wrote:
I don't understand what you mean - someone else to do what? Puzzled


I was not specifically referring to your van, but a more general summary of buying a "camping van" rather than winterising a van. Someone else doing it, referring to the electrics fitted as part of the "camping van", not particular to your needs or requirements.

The cost of a "camping van" relative to a "van" is significant, particularly in second hand value.

It is clear there is a great more electricity required in your van, particularly the laser printer in monochrome.
snow conditions
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Bigtipper, but this thread is about personally converting a van into a camper. Something that means you can build it to your own custom specs'.
Now to me and I suspect most on here, those specs' would mean a little more than a sticking exposed insulation to the walls, bunging in a paraffin heater, some dexion shelves left over from the shed and throwing a mattress on the floor.
snow conditions
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Quote:
the laser printer in monochrome.
Er... colour actually Cool
latest report
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@adithorp, no, it says "converting a van to a camper to ski (and avoid covid)". It does not say convert a van to a mobile discotheque which prints in colour.

You miss the point of my post, which is to highlight the importance of the basics. Insulation and heat, and sleeping, rather than covering your roof with solar panels to hold all the snow and to power your all night fan extraction system.

Whilst you may wish to sleep in the back of a van without a mattress, I am sure most others on here would class that as fairly essential.
snow conditions
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@admin, Laughing Laughing
latest report
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Bigtipper wrote:
@adithorp, no, it says "converting a van to a camper to ski (and avoid covid)". It does not say convert a van to a mobile discotheque which prints in colour.

You miss the point of my post, which is to highlight the importance of the basics. Insulation and heat, and sleeping, rather than covering your roof with solar panels to hold all the snow and to power your all night fan extraction system.

Whilst you may wish to sleep in the back of a van without a mattress, I am sure most others on here would class that as fairly essential.


Not what I said though is it?

For me a camper requires a bed, seats, safe heating and ventilation, lighting and electrics, storage, cooker and sink (perhaps even a toilet and shower) and a few other bits.
Chucking a mattress in the back of a builders van doesn't make it a camper and @admin describing that as "glamping" if being pretty generous.
snow report
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@adithorp, the legal definition of a camper (for the purpose of a v5) is one which has outward visible elements which the police can identify it as a camper. Such as windows.

Your definition is interesting, but again many elements are non essential for a winterised van which is mobile and can go up steep narrow icy roads with ease. I definately would not suggest using a builders van, as they often are filled with toxic debris from building demolitions. (possible cement, asbestos, etc)

Things like piping, showers, stored water all freeze at extreme temperatures. So a conventional campling van might be a liability rather than an asset. One with lots of windows might cause an insulation issue.

Whether the van is defined as a camper on your v5 or not does not make it particularly important. What is important is if you use it to sleep in.

Safe electrics are sometimes more important when freeze thaws occur with large accumulations of snow and ice on your roof and sometimes seeping in between seals.

Arguably the definition of camper which is most important is the one which your insurance provider (with green card) uses. This will define the price and the exclusion clauses and whether or not you can insure it as a camper or a van. Also, if you make modifications they may affect your insurance cost. You are legally required to have third party insurance as a minimum in the UK, however it is not clear how this will translate post Brexit.
ski holidays
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I'm quite surprised by some of the negativity on here from outdoor folk who (I assume) like to travel.

It seems to me that campervan/motorhome life is like skiing (or for that matter, traditional camping or backpacking). ie you either get it (and enjoy it for the great outdoor/wilderness experience that it can be); or you don't.

Though I appreciate it's each to their own, it still surprises me that many skiers just don't seem to get the campervan thing Confused
ski holidays
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Bergmeister, I think the snowsports community is very broad in how it goes about it. I drive out, self cater, take out a pack lunch. Many would see one, or all of these elements, intolerable.
ski holidays
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Layne wrote:
@Bergmeister, I think the snowsports community is very broad in how it goes about it. I drive out, self cater, take out a pack lunch. Many would see one, or all of these elements, intolerable.


Or, the best of all worlds?
latest report
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Bigtipper wrote:
@adithorp, the legal definition of a camper (for the purpose of a v5) is one which has outward visible elements which the police can identify it as a camper. Such as windows.

A bed, a window to the 'accommodation compartment', a table and a fixed cooker are, I believe, the requirements to make the change on the V5. If you don't change the V5 then the insurance companies will consider it a van (I know this because my van is shy of a side window).

Bigtipper wrote:
Your definition is interesting, but again many elements are non essential for a winterised van which is mobile and can go up steep narrow icy roads with ease. I definately would not suggest using a builders van, as they often are filled with toxic debris from building demolitions. (possible cement, asbestos, etc)


Don't talk sh*te. The number of people happy to transport open asbestos in their van will be a tiny, tiny percentage of builder's vans, such a small percentage that I think it can be pretty much discounted (especially as a chunk of that tiny percentage will have a van in a condition not worth owning anyway). A few more may have cement dust, and some will have carried demo stuff (mostly though this will be in open wagons or these magical things called skips. There is a crazy left field solution to the problem though, it's called a vacuum cleaner or Hoover. They really are fantastic things.
snow report
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Layne wrote:
@Bergmeister, I think the snowsports community is very broad in how it goes about it. I drive out, self cater, take out a pack lunch. Many would see one, or all of these elements, intolerable.


Good point. For some it's all about the skiing, while, for others, it's about an all round holiday.

Like you, we are picnickers, but have friends who steadfastly refuse to even consider (as a one-off) a baguette and a flask of coffee in the most stunning, away from it all location, with the place to ourselves in the sun; but prefer to spend €25 on spaghetti bolognese and a coke in a packed mountain restaurant, as "I'm on holiday..." rolling eyes

The same goes for accommodation, as you say.

Yes, broad - but not very broad minded wink .
ski holidays
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Right. Got me some reading to do.

Toying between buying a van and converting it ourselves or getting one already done. I like the idea of doing it myself and customising it. But then, the cost v time factors into it.

We will use it for not only ski trips but also in the UK for long weekends.
snow conditions
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
[quote="SnoodlesMcFlude"]
Bigtipper wrote:
@adithorp, the legal definition of a camper (for the purpose of a v5) is one which has outward visible elements which the police can identify it as a camper. Such as windows.
A bed, a window to the 'accommodation compartment', a table and a fixed cooker are, I believe, the requirements to make the change on the V5. If you don't change the V5 then the insurance companies will consider it a van (I know this because my van is shy of a side window).


That's not actually true. Our insurers have changed our "van" to a "campervan" without a change to the V5. I rang them and said we'd removed the bulkhead, insulated the van, fitted 2 side windows, had a leisure battery & electrics installed, built a toilet cubicle and were about to construct a bed. Their response was to say that they would immediately change the insurance to a camper and advised me that no further contact was required from me regarding future modifications.
latest report
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Friends have a camper van out here for the winter. A pretty wearing experience by all accounts. Small space, wet gear, frozen external piping, walk to shower/toilet, muddy pitches requiring duck boards. Upgrade to a one room apartment is on the cards!
snow report
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
@colinstone, It's much easier to camp in full on snow than it is to camp at lower levels where the snow often turns into cold rain and water logged pitches. The site at Samoens seemed particularly bad for the latter. So although it`s harder to get higher towing a large caravan along alpine roads we found it was often the best option.
ski holidays
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Bergmeister wrote:
Like you, we are picnickers, but have friends who steadfastly refuse to even consider (as a one-off) a baguette and a flask of coffee in the most stunning, away from it all location, with the place to ourselves in the sun; but prefer to spend €25 on spaghetti bolognese and a coke in a packed mountain restaurant, as "I'm on holiday..." rolling eyes


Then again.... for the foreseeable future we can only dream of a €25 Bolognese and a Coke rolling eyes
ski holidays
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
@Fridge03, I’m part way through a conversion of a brand new Fiat Ducati. I would have bought new from a professional converter but the layouts on offer didn’t suit. One of our requirements was for a segregated full height rear storage area / drying room for sea kayaking as well as skiing. Also the levels of insulation and vapour barrier would have fallen short of hard winter needs, including internal fresh water tank etc. We haven’t skimped on quality of appliances, heater, wet room, electronics etc, another area where pro converters may save a few quid but our van will lack the bling of pop up telly and pretend oak veneer. The total cost will work out £10k to £15k less than a comparable but less suitable pro conversion. Don’t underestimate the time taken for a quality self build (I did) but I’m really enjoying the real engineering work as a refreshing change from my day job spreadsheet engineering and a good way to use lockdown time
ski holidays
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Bergmeister, The Insurance companies are free to treat a vehicle how they see fit - but remember that if the V5 is still as a commercial van, that is what it is legally speaking, and different speed limits apply!
snow report
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@RobinS, we’ve decided it’s not worth the hassle of trying to apply to DVLA for change to campervan, nor the cost of decals and awning when DVLA seem to be rejecting all applications out of hand. I’ll still be able to drive at 70 on motorways, 60 on dual carriageways and 50 on single carriageway where national sped limit applies, which is fine by us
latest report
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Bergmeister,

there seems to be an error in your quotation. You seem to have attributed some other persons words to my text.

Some insurers are flexible, others or not. Sometimes this can come down to which person you speak to, or who is calling. (they may not like your tone of voice)

On the whole, the v5 is what the police use to identify vehicles on the road. If the insurer says it has modifications which make it a campervan, the police are not going to know this. When the police look up their data, they find the registration and a description of the vehicle with a colour. (as per the v5)

The insurers are interested in things which may affect the costs and likelihood of damage/claims. Modifications and use can affect claims. Yes it is best to consult your insurer on modification of the vehicle, as they may not insure campervans.
snow report
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@On the rocks, Ours was changed about 3 years ago, at that time while it had a rock and roll bed, water tank, sink, built in cooker etc it's low roof, and only two rear side window, both of which are limo tints, so pretty "stealth" then. It's a bit more obviously campervan now with massive solar panel and fixed bike rack.
snow report
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Just saw this thought it may be of interest here.

An electric camper makes a lot of sense to me, easy to stop / have a cup of tea or even sleep while you are charging and then be on your way.


http://youtube.com/v/HjGI6lY9GQw

https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/new-cars/nissan-e-nv200-winter-camper-rugged-electric-mobile-home
ski holidays
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Yes, I have thought that with the increasing use and charging points for electric vehicles, it will be easier to park in covered parking with electricity hook ups. Double bonus, no heating required for overnight sleeps, and full electrics. Important therefore, to have low clearance in order to park in covered heated parking.
snow report
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I can see they're the future but think Nissan are being a bit optimistic there.

With the big wheels (not legal sticking out like that anyway), mudflaps, side bars, pop top and rear rack it can't hit the same range figures as the standard van (which was probably tested empty when a camper always has a load). Add on motorway driving, there's little regen' going on so 124-187 range will be bottom end at best and 60min to charge to 80%. That's a 1hr stop every 100ish miles...

And not sure you can claim "...for self-sufficient living in the wild" when it needs plugging into a power source.

Nice idea but just not yet.
snow conditions
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Probably best sticking to hybrid campervans for now. With a hybrid, you could plug in an electric blanket all night and the battery would not go flat.
latest report
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I thought you can't charge the batteries below freezing? Bit of a snag!
snow report
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
BoardieK wrote:
I thought you can't charge the batteries below freezing? Bit of a snag!


I think the battery has to go through a warming cycle before it can go to full charge.
….. otherwise that would mean anybody who didn't have a garage would have to accept having no electric car on cold days.
snow report
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
LiFePO4 shouldn't be charged below 0.
LTO can be charged down to at least -10 (possibly -20? I don't recall exactly).

LiFePO4, which I've been playing with, are OK discharging to about -10 so have been known to have small heat pads in the battery enclosure that activate below freezing.
It's not a common feature, but not tricky for a manufacturer to implement.
snow report
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Batteries can be charged well below zero, However in sub zero temps range will decrease quiet a bit, 10% if memory serves me
snow conditions
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
@dublin2, depends on the specific chemistry.
Yes, lead acid charge increasingly inefficiently as you drop further below zero but their energy density isn't even close to what's needed to run electric vehicles.

LiFePO4 and LTO are the main current contenders in that field and have specific low points below which they get damaged if you charge them.
Each has their own benefits but as I say, LiFePO4 shouldn't be charged below zero while LTO are fine to -10C (not -20C: I checked).
ski holidays
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I recall car batteries have heaters and cooling to ensure that they are at the optimum temp for driving and charging. Even then cold weather knocks off quite a range percentage.
snow conditions
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Interesting
https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/charging_at_high_and_low_temperatures
snow conditions
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Yes, that whole site is interesting. Especially I recall on charge limits for phone batteries.
ski holidays
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
DB wrote:
Interesting
https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/charging_at_high_and_low_temperatures
It is, although a little out of date. That page looks maybe 4-5 years old and battery tech, particularly lithium based, has been moving really fast over the past few years.
snow conditions
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
So those who are charging their Teslas and the like at sub zero temps could be damaging the battery?
snow report
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@DB, I think Teslas have battery warmers.
snow report



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy