RV Books

Proven & Unbiased Information from Collyn Rivers

♦ travel trailers ♦ motorhomes ♦ camper trailers ♦ solar ♦

Important News

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is investigating the Caravan Industry

A media release was issued on 12 November seeking information about the industry in relation to Australian Consumer Law. The ACCC has received over 1300 complaints about the industry over the last 5 year, and they've finally decided to act.  RV Books has been active in pointing out the shortcomings of the industry, particularly in the area of caravan safety, and we applaud their efforts.

The ACCC have set up two surveys - one for purchasers and the other for retailers.  We encourage everyone caravan owner to respond.  The survey is easy to complete and will only take a few minutes.

Click here to read the media release: https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/views-sought-on-caravan-industry

Click here to go straight to the survey: https://consultation.accc.gov.au/accc/new-caravan-survey-consumers/

As information becomes available regarding this investigation we will report it here.  Discussion of the issues raised by this investigation can be found in our forum: https://rvbooks.com.au/forum/

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Search our catalog of exclusive RV articles

Between 1959 and 1961 Collyn Rivers and Antony Fleming drove a Bedford QLR off-road truck twice the length and breadth of Africa studying road surface conditions.

A 43 minute film about their adventure, produced and narrated by Antony Fleming, has been viewed on YouTube more than 1.6 million  times!

Picture from africa journey. Caravan and motorhome electrics by collyn rivers

To view the film, and also read Collyn's telling of the tale, just click the button below.

Africa 

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The Camper Trailer Book.  Free!

Not currently available as an eBook or paperback, RV Books is publishing The Camper Trailer Book on this site.  Every week new sections will be released until the complete, fully revised, version is available.

Read It Here

Solar Success

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Collyn Rivers is the author of Solar Success. Previously only available on a different website (solarbooks.com.au),  you'll now find this book and a large selection of exclusive articles by Collyn Rivers dealing with the intricacies of setting up and using solar power to run your home, cabin, travel trailer or motorhome.  Over the next few weeks all of the content from Collyn's second site will be brought over to RV Books to provide a more comprehensive coverage of a wider range of topics. 

Solar Success

Featured article

Why caravans sway and roll over – how to prevent it

by Collyn Rivers - Updated 2020

Why caravans sway and roll over

Travel Trailers towed by an overhung hitch sway and may overturn. This article explains why caravans sway and roll over - and how to prevent it.

Caravans sway

Why caravans sway and roll over - how to prevent it is that a tow vehicle and travel trailer interact like a double pendulum. The upper pendulum is the tow vehicle. The lower pendulum is the travel trailer. It pivots from the bob (that overhung hitch) of the upper pendulum.

If the tow vehicle sways clockwise, that overhung hitch causes the travel trailer to anti-clockwise. Likewise, if caravans sway clockwise the tow vehicle is caused to sway anticlockwise. If that sway escalates at speed, the rig may jack-knife and roll-over. The interaction's severity has many factors. These include:

A laden travel trailer weighing more than a laden tow vehicle. An excess extension of the tow hitch from the tow vehicle's rear axle. A tow vehicle that is too short (the longer and heavier, the better).

Inadequate tow ball weight is also why caravans sway and roll over

As with an arrow, moving objects need to be front-heavy. Short centre-heavy trailers need 6%-7% of their laden weight. Travel Trailers really need 10%.

External forces trigger instability. Such forces include gusting side winds, wind gusts from overtaking or overtaken trucks. Furthermore, cornering too fast, sudden and major changes in road camber, veering off the side of the road or steering overcompensating - all-cause instability. Excess speed is always an issue.

Why caravans sway and roll over - how to prevent it is that any or all of the above can result in the tow vehicle being triggered into a highly unstable condition. Called over-steer, it's rear tyres lose control. If that happens above a critical speed (unique to each rig and its loading) it results in rapidly escalating snaking that is not driver-controllable. Within a few seconds, that rig jack-knifes and often rolls over.

That rarely understood by caravanners is that their rig may feel ultra-stable in normal driving. Further, most owners never encounter this situation. The issues, however, are escalating as travel trailers become bigger and heavier. Meanwhile, tow vehicles become lighter.

There are some frightening dash-cam videos available online showing the double pendulum effect in operation on towed travel trailers. See our Travel Trailer Rollover page.

Causal factors include the ratio of the tow vehicle to travel trailer weight, the length of hitch overhang, tow ball mass and excess speed. If you tow a travel trailer that is heavier than the tow vehicle you are at far greater risk than if not. This is particularly so when descending any steep gradient at speed. It is even more so if there are also bends or side winds.

The rig's critical speed is also related to tow ball mass. The lower than mass the lower the critical speed.

Our book Why Caravans Roll Over - and how to prevent it is a plain English explanation of not just how and why. It explains what you can do to increase its margin of stability. It includes a section enabling you to assess your own rig's probable stability. And how to fix defects.

Friction sway reducers (ineffective at speed)

Why Caravans Roll Over - and how to prevent it explains that while friction sway reducers work well at low to medium speed, all have a fundamental limitation. That limitation is that frictional damping is constant. The forces they attempt to dampen, however, increase with the square of the rig's speed. Such sway reducers improve ride comfort but at 100 km/h have virtually zero effect. Independent tests have shown that that damping is then less than 1%.

Our book Why Caravans Roll Over - and how to prevent it, explains all. The major part of it is written in totally clear English. It also has a section that explains the issues in more technical detail. This part is primarily for engineers working in the travel trailer industry and technically-minded readers seeking detailed explanations. It includes many references.

In essence, Why Caravans Roll Over - and how to prevent it, explains just why travel trailers may jack-knife and roll over It shows to assess the stability of your own tow vehicle and travel trailer - and how to fix any issues.

The Caravan Council of Australia describes it as 'compulsory reading'.

Recently updated articles

Electric Vehicle Batteries

The market for quickly-rechargeable, light and compact batteries is huge. One or another battery will eventually evolve. When it does, electric-only vehicles are likely to have a range unthinkable using fossil-fuels. Moreover, in the meantime, hybrids are an excellent compromise. Furthermore, see also Electric Vehicles – Hybrids.

read more

Electric Vehicle Home Charging

Many existing home grid-connect solar systems have excess capacity outside peak periods. Solar energy fed in during the day can be re-drawn during off-peak periods, for much the same price, to charge an electric car. This is because many grid networks have excess capacity outside peak periods. Furthermore, such charging extends battery life: all dislike ongoing deep discharges.

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Electric Vehicle Motors

Updated 2020 Electric vehicle motors AC/DC Electric vehicle motors use one or other of the two main kinds of electricity: alternating current and direct current. Both are effective as electric vehicle motors. Alternating Current (AC) is where electric current...

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Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

Globally, there is move to electric vehicles. Apart from minor rubber tyre particles they are virtually emission free.They are also about 80% efficient. If, however, their electricity is from fossil-fuelled power stations, their emissions are similar to year 2020 petrol-fuelled (or hybrid) vehicles.

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Articles by Category

Electrical (general)
Batteries & Battery Charging
Caravan/Tow Vehicle Behaviour & Suspension
General
Travel
The Camper Trailer Book

Want to find out more? Our books cover all these topics and a lot more. 

Cover of how to choose and buy an rv by collyn rivers

Whether you’re buying your first RV or updating to a bigger, more comfortable rig, there are a great many things you need to know and consider. How to Choose and Buy an RV breaks things down so that you can decide what you want and whether or not what you’ve found is right for you.

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Cover of solar that really works by collyn riversSolar That Really Works! explains every detail of designing and installing solar in boats, camper trailers, travel trailers and motorhomes.

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Cover of caravan and motorhome electrics by collyn riversCaravan & Motorhome Electrics covers every aspect of designing, installing and fault finding of the electrics in fifth wheel and conventional travel trailers, camper trailers and motorhomes.

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Cover of the caravan and motorhome book by collyn riversThe Caravan & Motorhome Book covers every conceivable aspect of camper trailer, travel trailer and fifth wheel travel trailer, campervan and motorhome usage.

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Cover of why caravans roll over by collyn riversTravel Trailers and their tow vehicles rarely jack-knife and roll over - but when they do the results are catastrophic. The cause, and how to prevent it, is explained here. Why Caravans Roll Over offers solid advice for keeping yourself safe on the road.
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Cover of solar success by collyn riversSolar Success explains how to design and build home and property systems that ensures affordable solar success first and every time.

 

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Cover of how to choose and buy an rv by collyn riversWhether you're buying your first RV or updating to a bigger, more comfortable rig, there are a great many things you need to know and consider.  This book breaks things down so that you can decide what you want and whether or not what you've found is right for you. It's technically sound and comprehensive so that you can proceed with complete confidence.  How to Choose and Buy an RV is the ultimate guide for those times when you want to, well, choose and buy an RV.

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Cover of why caravans roll over by collyn riversTravel Trailers and their tow vehicles rarely jack-knife and roll over - but when they do the results are catastrophic. The cause, and how to prevent it, is explained here.  Why Caravans Roll Over offers solid advice for keeping yourself safe on the road.

learn more

 

Cover of caravan and motorhome electrics by collyn riversCaravan & Motorhome Electrics is the totally rewritten successor to the original globally selling Motorhome Electrics. The book's content now also covers every aspect of designing, installing and fault finding of the electrics in fifth wheel and conventional travel trailers, camper trailers and motorhomes.

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Cover of solar success by collyn riversSolar Success explains how to design and build home and property systems that ensures affordable solar success first and every time.

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Cover of the caravan and motorhome book by collyn riversThe Caravan & Motorhome Book covers every conceivable aspect of camper trailer, travel trailer and fifth wheel travel trailer, campervan and motorhome usage. Like all of Collyn Rivers' books it is technically sound yet written in plain English.

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Cover of solar that really works by collyn riversSolar That Really Works! explains, in clear English, every detail of designing and installing solar in boats, camper trailers, travel trailers and motorhomes. It is up-to-date, valid globally and technically accurate. It is clear, concise and easy to follow without sacrificing important detail.

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How to Choose and Buy an RV

This is Collyn Rivers' newest book.  Building on his years of experience and extensive knowledge of engineering and all things travel trailer and RV, this is the book you need with you when shopping for an RV.

Caravan & Motorhome Electrics

Collyn Rivers has done it again! – if you need to know anything about motorhome electrics, then this book is for you... Collyn must be, without doubt, the foremost authority in Australia on this subject.

The Wanderer (Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia Ltd)

Why Caravans Roll Over....and How to Prevent It​

Should be compulsory reading for everyone involved with Travel Trailers: Design / Engineering, Marketing, Journalism (print & electronic), Regulations, Inspections, Driver-Training, Travel Trailer Clubs, Towing and Modifications.

Colin Young

Founder and CEO, Caravan Council of Australia

Solar that Really Works!

Collyn is an accomplished engineer who knows how to design and build successful systems. It is refreshing to see practical advice written in plain language when there is so little solar information around. . . this is an essential text . . . you won’t find a better guide.

Alan T. Gray

Earth Garden Magazine

The Caravan & Motorhome Book

Without doubt, this is the best book we have ever read . . . it will be treasured, and read on a regular basis.

The Wanderer (Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia Ltd)