Photography life in the motorhome - Katey Jane Photography

Living Life in The Spirit Of Adventure

I hate the 9 to 5 lifestyle, merely unable to live that life, its taken 47 years to get there. You know that feeling when you think, fuck this, my life is shit, wake up each day (groundhog day) and think, why I do bother!!!, living in prison for 47 years (the fens in Cambridgeshire and hard luck if what I say offends you! ) it feels like one to me, I,m too adventurous for this flat dull and lifeless world, so that's where the motorhome comes, in, I fully intend to go full-time off-grid and make up for the lost 47 years, I plan to live life as it comes.

Water water everywhere, but not in our fresh-water tank!

Mum and her sister on the left at Thornham at flood on the 2nd August 2019

Our first ever adventure out in the motorhome, well it was friggin cool!! but not without a few issues and why we picked a place we knew well and wasn't too far from home in case things didn't go to plan.

Being a test run instead of fun on trip out I happened to look at the tide times for Thornham Norfolk and notice it would be a 7.5 mt and almost at dusk a one again at about eight the next morning. The plan was to stop in the carpark and get trapped by the tides for about 2 hours each time. Well, the first attempt failed due to too many people in the chippy in Hunstanton which made us 30 minute too late for the tide, it had already covered the road to the carpark. We parked up with another five campers and motorhomes and spent the night making a total mess of our new house on wheels.

One of the worsed problems we had, I filled the fresh-water tank at home and was looking forward to having a shower after a walk, but only to find we lost most of the water along the road. Well, what a bloody prat, I had not shut the drain tap but thought I had, you live and learn, and that's why the one-night short trip was important.

Thornham saltmarsh at flood North Norfolk.

One of the worsed problems we had, I filled the fresh-water tank at home and was looking forward to having a shower after a walk, but only to find we lost most of the water along the road. Well, what a bloody prat, I had not shut the drain tap but thought I had, you live and learn, and that's why the one-night short trip was important.

Apart from the few problems with the motorhome the nature side of things was second to none, with dead calm conditions, a few light clouds and that 7.5 mt tide, to be trapped for about two hours, to watch a family playing in the flooding and where the rat race of the modern world has to stop for natures unstoppable force is second to none for me.

Now planing to make some changes to the motorhome, two leisure batteries, 2000 watt inverter for the pc, a monitor and tv based system and adding some items in the bathroom.


UPDATES 20/10/2019, So, I have now owned this ford transit 720 sports x tribute motorhome for a good few months now, I know its issues like the back, and my hands so set out to fix them which I did. I then set out to upgrade and add new items, gas bottles, inverter, a twin under van battery box, loads of smaller add ons. Like insulation and fitting a heat venting system that uses lost heat from the gas fire to send heat into the bathroom, this has worked so well I can close the heaters main venter and keep the temperature inside the main living areas.

The last few items to fit is another 150-watt solar panel and a MiFi router with a TS9 booster antenna. This work should be done within the next two weeks as we are off to Scotland from mid-November through to the new year so around two months.

Front seat conversion for a ford tribute 720 motorhome

Converting a tribute 720 motorhome seat for storage.

A straightforward and cheap conversion. The front side seat can be used as a bed, being the motorhome is six birth, but I wanted more storage space and will never use that bed.

As you can see, the seat has left up lid, but you have to remove the cushions, I wanted something quick and painless. After inspecting the unit, I notice the wooden board could be unscrewed, meaning I could use a curtain as a cover.

The board had nine screws and no glue which made for a ten-minute job. On removing the board, the board is part of the bracing for the sides of the seat, so to fix this, I bought a 2x1in blank of wood £2.39 from Wickes, cutting it to be used as a brace, (note its not a load-bearing part), That took just Ten minutes.

Wooden bracing cut for the front seat conversion for the tribute 720 motorhomes. The sliding bed top with its lid, I wanted the bed not to slide so looked at drilling two small holes through the aluminium, but at the back of the sliders, there are holes already in place.

Lastly, I bought a cream carpet remnants to fit under the seat and to fit inside the wardrobe. The carpet does several jobs; It looks more beautiful, it stops items sliding around, cuts down on noise and is great for extra insulation.

This storage unit will also be used to house the power converter plus the second leisure battery.

The cost of this conversion, Wood £2.39 Carpet £24 but has been used elsewhere due to the size of the remnant. Time took about an hour.
Will add some more photos showing how much this storage unit can take.

The Finished Seat

Ford tribute 720 front seat conversion with a curtain cover system.

Ford tribute 720 front seat with large capacity.

The finished seat and storage unit holds the same amount as the stock item but removed the need to remove the cushion and cuts a hell of a lot of effort if you are looking for something, take my camera bag, its far too large for any of the upper lockers and when placed inside the wardrobe it will take up far too much room, so the best place is under the seat, it merely slides out like any other item — been testing it out today and for about £15 its a job well done.

Ford tribute 720 front seat conversion costing just £15 and makes life easier.

Fitting the Gaslow refilable bottles

Fitting gaslow twin refillable gas bottles

After looking at Calor gas bottles and their rip off prices, I wanted something cheaper, and luckily there are a few companies who make refillable bottles. The one I went for is the Gaslow twin set up. After doing some research, there will be a saving of around £40 per refill, and with the cost of the set up at £420, I will get my money back in about 10 refills.

gaslow twin gas bottles

As well most things in life, I like to DIY it, and this set was no exception, it can be hazardous, and gas will kill you, being foolish or cost-cutting will no dought shorten your life.

 gaslow twin bottles-how to fit yourself in a motorhome

I Used professional grade pipping and connections throughout, (no cheap crap). All pipes and bolts should be very tight but not overtight, hanging on a large T-bar is a big no no!!, if pipes have no rubber seals then use tape that is designed for gas and water pipes.

Do a test install first with the bottles, measure the change over the system and make sure the test point in the cut off can be seen and used.

To check for leaks, use a spray or proper old fashioned washing up liquid, if you see bubbles then you have a leak, tighten the bolts up.

Ford tribute 720 motorhome-katey jane andrews-katie photography and UK RV adventures

Issues with petrol stations and refillable gas bottles, There's been a few idiots turning up at petrol stations and almost blowing the petrol stations up, these dickheads have now made it harder for us ordinary folk who wish to fill up with LPG, so here's how you get past the issues.

Morisons have a blanket ban on refillable bottles but if you have a fixed system like me and have the filling tap fixed to the outside of your motorhome, then simply turn up and fill up (never open the gas locker door in the petrol station, don't give them an excuse to get rid of you!,) if they state you can't fill up, they are breaking the law themselves, tell them the motorhome is an LPG conversion, that should work.

There are fewer issues with BP and Jet petrol stations, but these issues are also down the fucking greed of Calor, maybe cut your prices Calor, you are not the Dons of gas!!!

Fitting the 1500 inverter in the 720 sports x motorhome

With my adventures lifestyle comes a hell of a lot of work and running this website takes more than a laptop, I need something that is to get on with, I have never found laptops helpful, so I need to take pc away with me.

As the PC is 240 volts AC I needed to add an inverter to the vans twin battery set up. After some weeks of research and testing how much the pc uses on power, I could have bought a 1000 watt inverter, but I wanted to future proof it so went for the 1500 watt from SunShine Solar, I wanted the inverter under the front seats where it is close to the batteries and easy to get to, I set out and made an all in one bracket for the inverter and its inline fuse. I then screwed the bracket inside under the seat.

To connect the inverter to the batteries, it really can't be simpler; remove the battery cables starting with the negative first then the positive. Bolt the inverter cables to the right battery clamps then connect the positive first, remember, there will be a spark from the neutral negative and don't be bothered about the spark as this is normal.

The inverter then will run household items up to the wattage, never go over the wattage stated on the inverter, so a 1500 watt inverter like mine will run around 1200 watts, give some room for items starting up as they will use more watts.

My twin battery set up is two 130 amp hour AGM batteries from alpha batteries, so they will give 260 amp hours, these batteries can be drained to 60% each without damaged so I,m getting around 150 amp hours from both batteries, this means I can use the PC for 2-3 hours per day, (it runs about 180 watts when editing photos) on an overcast day with the one 150 watts solar panel (fitting another 150 watt panel soon) but if I don't use the pc but use the monitor as a regular tv I can watch tv all day if I wished (mother loves her tv and soaps)

My portable free energy crop 150W XPLORER German Cell Solar Panel

As the motorhome already came with a 150-watt panel, it was ok for regular use but after fitting two large 130 amp hours batteries plus the 1500 watt inverter the whole system needed another 150 watts, also to run my desktop pc I knew I would need more grunt.

Fitting two 150 watt solar panels to the roof of a ford tribute 720 motorhomes 150W XPLORER German Cell Solar Panel supplied by alpha batteries The old panel that came fitted was in the wrong place, the people who installed it didn't allow enough room for another similar sized panel, but I came up with a way around the problem, the three back brackets I cut notches in all three to fit over the vans seam that runs the width.

Because I'm entirely off-grid and never plan to stay in any campsites, I have to gauge the power I use each day. The batteries can be discharged under load to 12 volts which are 60% for the AGM batteries I'm using, and the batteries will charge back to full under 3 hours each so for the two together about 6 hours using the. MTTP charge controller supplied by Photonic Universe.

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