Posts by Strider

Originally from West Yorkshire in England, I’m a compulsive writer who enjoys travelling, reading, sports, eating, arguing, sleeping, loving, playing... in fact everything! Oh, and Archery - I love Archery. I’ve worked in engineering, agricultural research, biochemistry, nutritional research, computer development, training, financial management, consultancy, human resource management, government and many other fields.

Water System on Tribute 670

There is an irritating feature on the water system for the Trigano Tribute 670 which may well have been intended to protect the boiler from frost damage but ends up being a severe pain in the you-know-what. I’m talking, of course, about the Truma automatic frost protection device located under the bench seat close to the boiler.   The intention is that, if there is the potential for icy weather, the device activates and empties the boiler of water to save it icing up and breaking.  

The original Truma automatic boiler protection valve

The problems with this are:

  • It is set at too high a temperature so dumps the water well before any danger of frost.  
  • It is difficult to reset – if the temperature doesn’t rise significantly the valve cannot be closed
  • It is bulky, preventing the installation of anything but the smallest leisure battery.
  • If the pump is left on then it empties the whole water system and as the pump keeps on running when empty there is the potential to damage it.
  • It can potentially leak – we found that during the night there was an intermittent burst of the pump running for less than a second.  We think we have traced the problem to this device

I’ve been looking at a remedy for some time.   A number of people have tried to jam the device closed with wedges, clothes pegs and suchlike.   My feeling is that the device itself is unnecessary.   Most competent motorhome users know it’s a good idea to drain the water system when the vehicle is unused over the winter.   If using the motorhome in the winter most of us will probably use some form of heating to keep the vehicle above freezing.   The problem is that this device is situated at the lowest, coldest point in the motorhome and will therefore activate well before frost becomes a problem.   

We found this once when travelling in Holland.   We were comfortably snug on the campsite with mains power providing energy for low level heating.   We were woken in the middle of the night with the pump emptying everything onto the grass.   By the time we had groggily switched off the pump and tried unsuccessfully to reset the device all our water was gone.   It has happened more than once.

The Solution:

If you feel halfway competent there is an easy way to replace this bulky nuisance – fit a manual dump valve.   The part I got was from   It cost around £36.   You may be able to get it cheaper elsewhere.   The Truma part number is 70142-05. It looks like this:

Manual boiler protection dump valve – John Guest fitting

This is the process.


  1. Clear space around the bench seat including removing the table and cushions
  2. Empty the space under the bench seat of all the stuff that you’ve put there since you bought the van – most of which you may never have used.
  3. Remove the battery.  You are working with water next to a powerful electrical supply – you have been warned.


  1. Place an old towel or similar around the valve.   No matter how careful you are water will leak out and you don’t want it sloshing about in that space.   It also helps to stop screws, collets and other small bits rolling away under the boiler or between the wood floor and the van floor.  Believe me they will disappear if you don’t. 
  2. Undo the two screws holding the old unit to the floor.  Put them somewhere safe and remember where you have put them.
  3. Insert a small flat head screwdriver under the horizontal part of the retaining clip and lever out the clip. This releases the actuator from the pipework.  Withdraw the dump valve from its position – you will notice that it either brings with it, or leaves behind, a clear plastic drain tube.   If the tube remains behind then you can fit the new unit straight onto it.

  1. Remove the adaptor joining the pipework.   This is where it gets interesting.   The connectors on the pipework for this motorhome are all ‘John Guest’ fittings.   They are ingenious but not easy to figure out.   Luckily there are videos like this on YouTube to show you how it’s done.   They are essentially push-fit connectors with a locking ring which stops them coming loose.  The locking rings are secured by little red plastic collets.   
Locking ring collet
  1. Remove these little red clips and put them somewhere safe.  I lost one of mine and had to buy a new set of ten from eBay.  If you lose yours I have nine for sale.
  2. Push the locking ring towards the body of the connector while simultaneously pulling on the water pipe you are trying to remove.   It takes a bit of practice but eventually you feel the pipe coming out of the connector.  Do this for both sides and this will release the the adaptor and leave you with two ends of blue 12mm water pipe.


  1. The replacement process is very much the reverse of removal.
  2. Push both pipes into the connectors of the manual valve.  Push them hard.   Then harder.   You may think you have them firmly seated but they seat in two distinct phases.   The second phase – another quarter of an inch – is crucial in sealing the connection.   (I found this out by trial and error.   The first – boiler side – went in easily and I could feel it seat and then grip as I pushed it further.   The second – delivery side – is a short piece of pipe at a ninety degree angle.   I thought I had pushed it in far enough but when I turned on the pump water went everywhere so I had to start again).
  3. Test your connections.   Add some water to the system and start the pump.   Keep your hand on the pump switch until the system gets to full pressure.   If there is any sign of a leak switch off the pump immediately and let the pressure drop away.
  4. Slide the little red plastic collets back onto the locking ring to ensure the connection stays sealed 
  5. Screw the new valve to the floor using the screws you have carefully saved earlier.
  1. Replace the battery if you removed it (RECOMMENDED) and reconnect the power leads.
  2. Put back most of the stuff you took out, replace the bench seat lid,  cushions and table.   Run the system up to pressure and open the taps to remove any air.   Make a strong refreshing cup of tea and congratulate yourself on a job well done.


I would always check the new valve a few times over the next few days. Even the smallest leakage can result in the wood floor rotting or the van floor going rusty.   Check the dump valve works by pushing the yellow lever to the vertical.  Don’t forget to put it back to the horizontal when you have checked it.   All you have to do now is remember when winter is coming, to drain the boiler and leave the yellow lever in the vertical position.  Happy camping!

WARNING:  Whether you replace the valve or not, from our experiences it is ESSENTIAL that you turn off the pump whenever the motorhome is unoccupied – even if going for a walk.  That way you are unlikely to return to the van to find it sitting in a puddle of your discarded water supply.

Bad Weather Stops Play

… or rather starts it again. There are always two ways of looking at things so, when Storm Dudley was followed by the more threatening Storm Eunice I looked at the pros and cons of our day’s plan. Seriously ‘Dudley’? I cannot say the name without adopting a silly Birmingham accent and pretending my nose is blocked. Before we go any further I must point out to all my many readers (both of them) that I’m not suggesting that the Birmingham accent is in any way silly only that my inept portrayal of it is silly.

So the weather closed in, the wind got horizontal and the rain became the English version of ‘torrential’. We had planned on going out for a walk, some shopping and a drink. The first was almost impossible since I was pretty sure that if I stretched my arms wide in this wind then I would achieve wingless flight. The second was really unnecessary as we had most things we needed and could manage until the storm died away. The last was important, our local hostelry was almost certain to have a couple of new real ales for me tp try but…. in this weather, and with a substantial collection of home brewed beers and wines to hand?

As often is the case when I’m at a loss as to what to do I switched on our TV and searched for some YouTube music to entertain me while I sat down to write. There is an á cappella group called Home Free I noticed a few months ago and which impressed me with the fine singing and basso profundo vocals. I had subscribed to their channel and put it on to stream while I sat and contemplated life.

One of the first songs which came up was a delightful rendition of the Crosby, Stills and Nash song ‘Hopelessly Hoping’. The harmonies and presentation were flawless. You can hear it here at

I suddenly realised that I wanted to write about the group and their songs. These guys are all from the USA and from various states including Minnesota, Georgia and Texas. The group was formed in 2001 by two brothers Chris and Adam Rupp and after a succession of changes which included Chris leaving and Adam Chance replacing him. The music is country music with a Deep South influence typified by this rendition of ‘Man of Constant Sorrow’ which featured in the film ‘Oh, Brother Where Art Thou’ starring George Clooney. You can hear it here.

Another favourite is this sparky honkytonk song, ‘Hillbilly Bone’. Enjoy this here:

While I’ve added what I think are the correct links you may need to go to YouTube and search for these songs by Home Free. In any event playing the music loud banished the sound of the wind and the warm sun of their setting warmed my heart against the cold rain.

I hope you enjoy.

It’s About Time

Whether by coincidence or by some mental callisthenics of my own I was drawn to the subject of time in more than a couple of ways this week. First, I had the good fortune to listen to an episode of ‘The Infinite Monkey Cage’ a light-hearted look at scientific and philosophic subjects provided by the BBC. It can currently be located on the BBC Sounds website or app and has the rock star turned scientist Brian Cox in conversation with the Comedian Robin Ince and a panel of invited experts in the subject under discussion. It can be found here. The experts in this case were: Mark Gatiss (actor/comedian), Carlo Rovelli (theoretical physicist) and Fay Dowker (professor of theoretical physics at Imperial College London).

The discussion centred on whether time can be considered a universal constant or whether it is a purely subjective construct used for our convenience to measure or relate events in our consciousness. It was pointed out that time is not universally the same – as they put it, no universal ‘now’. Even on our tiny planet ‘now’ is different in Australia and Aberystwyth. We find it convenient to apportion our solar day into 24 hours of sixty minutes each containing sixty seconds. But if we were on Jupiter… Our ‘day’ would be just over 10 earth hours so we could not keep the same ‘time’ if we were to measure Jovian rotation for the purpose of planting crops there or arranging a dinner party with fellow Jovians.

The same issue arises when we consider travel. Heading to our nearest stellar neighbour Proxima Centauri would take 4.2 years at the speed of light. Bringing back pictures of our holiday on beach on a planet we found there would take another 4.2 years but when we got back our grandchildren’s grandchildren’s grandchildren would be too old to see the photographs while we would still be in our prime. I’ll come back to this ‘problem’ of interstellar travel later.

Carlo introduced the concept of the ‘Block Universe’ where time is not a continuum but all events; past, present and future; co-exist but where only the present is directly available to us experientially. Fay Dowker argued that only the past and present are available – the former through our memories – but that the future is, as yet, unwritten. The Block Universe is the current standard approach to theoretical physics as consistent with the theories of general and specific relativity proposed by Einstein. Generally it meets the needs of theories of quantum mechanics and quantum gravity. It has the advantage of being theoretically provable whereas Fay’s approach is what most people would accept as rational but which is unproved and unprovable at the moment.

That’s enough quantum to be going on with. The interesting question arising from this approach is the question of free will. If you take the Block Universe concept as given then the future is already written and free will doesn’t exist. Mark Gatiss offered the solution of the multiverse concept where all possible events and conclusions exist simultaneously but this didn’t seem to meet the approbation he might have expected. I find it odd to think that at any point I can choose to do one of many things and yet these choices have already been made. So I’m not a committed fan of the Block Universe… yet.

So where am I going with all this? Really, I’m trying to define the concept of time to my own satisfaction – and finding it immensely difficult. I am tempted to fall back on the concept of increasing entropy. Everything in the universe tends to decay into unavailable energy meaning the potential to do work. Perhaps our need to define time is being expressed wrongly. We should be considering measuring entropy as the passage of ‘time’ rather than inventing hours, minutes and seconds to inaccurately define increasing entropy. This, however, gets us into trouble with general relativity. It also brings into question the concept of individual memory. I know that on my seventh birthday I had chicken pox and got a ‘Champion the Wonder Horse’ annual as a present. Both ‘facts’ are concrete in my mind, I’m mentally scratching the sores and reading Champion’s wonderful adventures. But… I am the only person alive who ‘knows’ this. Is it a reality? Is it any more or less real than my belief at age six that I could actually fly? Both ‘facts’ are unprovable but equally fixed in my mind. So are both real in the Block Universe? Conceptually I am aware that the ability to fly is improbable but in the Block Universe it is as much a fact as chickenpox sores and calamine lotion.

I’m leading towards the concept of time travel. Could we create a situation that allows us to travel Terminator-like into the past? And if we could do this then because of the symmetry of physical laws could we not then also travel into the future? And if we could travel temporally then could we also travel to other physical locations in the universe instantaneously? This would allow the trip to Proxima Centauri to take place while still allowing me to show off my beach tan photos to my children. What is to stop us?

After the Six Nations Rugby match had finished and England had disappointingly failed to defeat Scotland at Twickenham, the second brush with temporality yesterday was the film ‘Next’ staring Nick Cage, Jessica Biel and Julianne Moore. Created in 2007, it largely missed the mainstream consciousness but it is an interesting exploration of the concept of time. IMDB gives it score of 6.2 so it isn’t total trash. The concept is simple, the plot more confused. Nick is a man with an unusual ability to see a few minutes into the future but only with regard to events which would affect him. He hides this ability by becoming a stage magician and casino shark. This brings him to the attention of the FBI who are trying to find a nuclear bomb about to explode somewhere in Los Angeles. The plot meanders and his abilities change from seeing two minutes into the future to more than two hours. Despite all this, the idea of being able to see into the future and avoid actions which might inconvenience him is both attractive and thought provoking.

Could it work in practice? In the Block Universe it would be straightforward. Combining it with a multiverse concept offers the ability to explore every possible outcome to an action and then pick the most beneficial. I’m planning my next visit to Ascot now!