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Welcome to the Swift Owners Club
We are the Club for owners of Swift Group Caravans, Motorhomes and Campervans past or present

Abbey Ace Airstream Autocruise Basecamp Bessacarr Escape Mondial Sprite Sterling Swift
and Swift based dealer specials

How to Join Us

How to Join Us

Joining online is the easiest way. Membership costs just £18 a year and you get a £5 Rally Voucher to use on your first rally with us. Membership is valid until December 31st in the current year or, …
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What We Have to Offer

What We Have to Offer

Membership of the Swift Owners’ Club offers you more opportunities to enjoy the use of your caravan or motorhome, making the most of your precious leisure hours. Whether you are single, a couple, family …
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What is a Rally?

What is a Rally?

A rally is simply another word for a meeting or get-together of like-minded people in a social atmosphere, with friends old and new. It’s a great way to make more use of your leisure vehicle and make new …
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About Us

About Us

The Club was formed in August 1971 when 42 couples responded to an advert placed in Practical Caravan magazine seeking support for the formation of an owners’ club. The inaugural rally was well attended so a second rally arranged and …
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S.O.C News

S.O.C News

The Season Ahead
This year we have 45 rallies planned throughout the year and the programme includes a rally abroad and 2 UK Holiday Rallies – see our Rally Programme

Our rallies enable Members to get out and about in their caravans, motorhomes or campervans and meet other members in a safe social environment.

Why not join us now and get more benefit and pleasure from your Swift touring leisure vehicle?

Charity Donation From Swift Group Rally
Last year’s Swift Group Rally at Driffield held a sponsored Race Night, a raffle and an auction for the benefit of Macmillan Cancer Support. A total of £1874 was raised and was presented to the charity in June last year. The Rally Marshals would like to thank all the ralliers for their generous contributions to this very successful rally. They would also like to give special thanks to all those companies that donated many great prizes for the raffle and auction.

No Hookup - No Problem!

We all love the idea of pitching our outfit in a big open space but today’s seemingly power-hungry vans and motorhomes cause many of us to stick to established sites with mains hook ups. This is a great shame because, with a little care and investment, it’s perfectly possible to manage without a mains hook up for extended periods. How can this be done? – Read on ….

If you’re new to caravanning, you may not realise that space heating, water heating and refrigeration are all designed to be run on gas as well as mains electricity. Indeed, they’re sometimes more effective when they are. Most other caravan and motorhome electrical equipment runs off 12 volts and so can be powered from the on-board battery when there’s no mains hook up. Making that battery last is all about using its power as efficiently and economically as possible and, where necessary, using additional sources of 12-volt power, such as a solar panel.

Before going any further it’s worth say that, if you’re going off grid, it’s well worth investing in a good quality leisure battery, one that is designed for off-gridding. You can expect to pay up £150 for a 100-amp hour ‘wet’ battery and more for one that uses AGM (Absorbed Glass Matt) technology.

Leisure batteries have traditionally been of lead acid construction, but these days, lithium batteries are increasingly making an appearance. They can hold nearly twice the power of a lead acid battery for around half the weight. What’s more, they last much longer before needing replacing, hold their voltage much better, and can be discharged more deeply without damage.

Needless to say, there are some downsides. The first is cost – around six to eight times the price of a lead acid type. Secondly, best performance requires a charger going up to 14.6 volts compared to 14.4 volts for a lead acid battery. The good news is that the charger in your Swift group product may be able to be adjusted. Contact the maker (Sargent) for more details.  Lastly lithium batteries can be irreversibly damaged if charged below 0°C. If you can live with these downsides then go for lithium, you won’t regret it.

For outings of 2-3 days with a good, charged lead acid battery, no additional sources of power should be necessary, even if a 12-volt TV is on for 1-2 hours per day. Beyond this additional power sources (such as a solar panel) may be needed. First though it’s important to understand how much power is consumed by the various 12-volt appliances. As you will see from the table some use a lot more power than others. Power is measured in watts – the more the power the greater the watts.

Item Typical 12-volt power consumed
19″ LED colour TV 25-35 watts (2 – 3 amps)
Satellite receiver / Freeview box 12 watts (1 amp)
TV booster 0.6 (0.05 amps)
LED downlighter 3 – 4 watts (about 0.3 amps)
LED strip light 3 – 4 watts (about 0.3 amps)
Fluorescent strip light 6 – 7 watts (about 0.6 amps)
Fan for blown air heating 10 – 25 watts (1 – 2 amps)
Truma combi heating (on gas) Average 14 watts, 80 watts max, (1.2 – 6.5 amps)
Alde heating 5 watts average (0.5 amps)
Submersible Water pump 25 watts (2 amps)
Diaphragm Water pump 50 – 60 watts (4 – 5 amps)
Caravan mover (singe axle) 360 watts (30 amps)
Caravan mover (quad) 720 watts (60 amps)

Although movers use a lot of power, they are normally used for no more than a minute or two on each outing. The effect of this on a good battery is negligible and nothing to worry about.  Anything much more than this could pose a problem.

Using power efficiently is the first step to managing without a hook up. After that it’s time to consider how we can supplement the power provided by the caravan’s battery. Many people choose to install a solar panel, if one has not already been fitted as standard by the vehicle manufacturer. Roof mounting gives a fit and forget solution, but the horizontal mounting means it cannot make best use of the sun’s rays and it will collect dirt, which will impair its efficiency.  If you can put up with the hassle, then a freestanding panel that you keep pointing towards the sun, should give good results from, a smaller and cheaper panel.

This 50-watt solar panel is hooked up to two large batteries and easily powers the caravan all
through the summer

Another good way of getting more power is to buy a second battery. This can be swapped with the main battery when it runs down or alternatively (for telly addicts) it could just be used to power the TV.

Should you wish to do so it is possible to connect two batteries together. However, there should be a suitable fuse local to each battery and (ideally) the batteries should be identical. This arrangement can work well when used in conjunction with solar panels or wind generators. Installation should be by a competent electrician.

An advantage of having a second battery (for caravanners) is that you can strap it in the car boot and charge it as you drive around. There are various ways this can be done. The simplest is to make up a lead that plugs into the car’s auxiliary power socket (cigar lighter socket in older cars). Such a lead must be fused (max 10 amps) and may need to be unplugged when the engine is not running to avoid flattening the car battery. Some motorhomes have the facility to have a second battery as standard, making this a ‘no brainer’ for off-gridders.

As an alternative to using the car’s auxiliary power socket you could have an auto electrician install a split charge relay and connect the spare battery to the car via that. This ensures that the battery is only connected when the engine is producing enough power. It is also possible to purchase a DC to DC battery charger that will work from the car’s 12-volt system and give a much better charging performance than a direct connection.

There is no need to be afraid of using a caravan or motorhome without a mains hook-up. Once you’ve learned how you can become independent of a hook up, a whole new world of exciting rallies and beautiful sites will open up – you’ll never look back!

Terry Owen, November 2020

Archive of Support Pages

We have now discontinued our support pages as we haven’t been able to maintain them for a long time and a lot of information has become well out of date.
The Swift Group website contains a lot of technical information and manuals. There is also a very helpful FAQs section. (See under LINKS in the top menu).
The archive of our older OEM manuals is available HERE or on the image above.

Advertising Opportunities

If you would like to advertise with us we have a section for Sponsored Links covering Caravan Dealers, Accessories  and Services. (See the Links & Contact Us Menus above).
If you are looking to buy from one of our advertisers, please mention the Swift Owners Club.