May 22, 2022 – Life goes on. Despite the sadness and the inevitable moments of despair, a new normal must be found. After Marilù’s disappearance, I proceed on sight towards what I consider as a rebirth, a 2.0 version of Paolo, Yoda and Seimetri.it. One of the fundamental steps towards the future is to finally get Falkor back, that is our home, to be able to tear off the roots that have begun to take root. Traveling is important: it enriches, relaxes, and offers ever new points of view. If it was an important goal before, today it has become fundamental.
So, last week I took a day off to visit Gulliver’s Camper friends who are working on the van to take stock of the situation and make some side decisions. I took the opportunity to take some pictures, so you can see what is taking shape. Mind you, every single intervention that has been planned does not have a decisive impact on the livability or functionality of the vehicle, but taken all together the modified or enriched elements will determine an almost completely new Falkor. Let’s go through chapters, because nothing has been overlooked inside the van!
On the technical front, as has happened to us in the past, we resorted (by now I should get used to saying “I have resorted”, but the design phase was jointly carried out by the crew of Seimetri 1.0) for the help of some partners. There are three aspects that we wanted to improve: the electrical management, the kitchen and the gas system.
The electrical system
On the first front, Teleco has enabled us to enrich Falkor with a system for recharging the lithium battery that should allow us to extract the best from this technology. Our TLI Extra will thus be powered by the TBCM PRO 45/30/350 multicharger: it takes up to 45 amps from the alternator thanks to the integrated DC/DC converter, 30 amps from the 230V mains or generator, up to 350 watts from the modules photovoltaic, which are managed by a regulator with MPPT technology.
The compact and easy-to-install TBCM PRO 45/30/350 will go on sale in a few months, as the chip shortage of this period forced the company to switch platforms, forcing them to re-develop the software. In the meantime, Seimetri.it will act as a “beta tester” in the field to verify that everything goes as planned by the technicians.
Alongside the multicharger and the lithium-ion battery, the accumulator monitoring system proposed by ERA Electronics, which we have already talked about in this post, will debut. In this way we should have all of Falkor’s energy management under control.
Kitchen and gas
In the kitchen, on the other hand, the collaboration is with the Airxcel group, from which we already had the spectacular Maxxair Maxxfan Deluxe ventilated skyroof with electric opening last year, which did not betray our expectations. The CAN company has supplied us with a hob with a crystal base from the PV series. With this product, with two burners and piezolectric ignition, we have refurbished the entire kitchen module.
Finally, to better manage the gas system and have more flexibility, the choice fell on a safely refillable Prakto LPG cylinder, given the presence of automotive technologies that allow it to be filled even at petrol stations. Provided by GES International, we have talked about it extensively in this post.
The living area
The changes to this part of Falkor, which are fundamental since we have to spend many hours a day even for work, have seen the adoption of two pull-out drawers in the chests, to avoid removing the cushions every time you need to retrieve something, and the refurbishment of the upholstery. Indeed, the over-upholstery: the original Hymer ones are still in excellent condition and have remained in place to preserve the original appearance of the van. To improve comfort, some “soft” will be added to the front of the cushions at the base. In this way it will be improved the support of the thighs, preventing them from sinking and sliding forward. The back of the side bench will then be reduced in thickness to offer a few more centimeters to the seat.
A major intervention was reserved for the table, completely redone in alveolar aluminum (it guarantees lightness compared to the original Hymer table) and above all with a practical pull-out extension that increases the available surface with a single and practical movement: first it was necessary to move the table away from the wall and insert a wooden extension that was kept in the wardrobe. On the side near the wall, 4 bottle/cup holders will be obtained which will avoid any risk of falling, even in the event of a short movement of the vehicle.
A complete “control center” was installed at the corner between the window above the dinette and the front pillar. This part houses the ERA Electronics panel, inverter remote controls, two 230V, two USB-A, two USB-C for powering laptops and two 12V sockets. The adjustable and removable support for the tablet that replaces the TV will also find its place here.
Here are only three changes, but substantial ones. The first one is the adoption of the Froli bed system, which should greatly increase sleep comfort. The installation was not easy, because the Falkor bed when it rises to the rest position folds into three segments and in the middle there is a space for storing various objects that we did not want to lose. The guys from Gulliver’s have found the solution!
The second one is that the front of the mattress had an irregular shape: wider than the back and rounded on the front. Which made it extremely difficult to use ordinary sleeping bags. The mattress was then shaped to make it regular in shape and more standard sizes, but we are still talking about an enormous bed: 208 centimeters in length and 160 in width.
Finally, both on the right and on the left, two shelves have been created equipped with USB ports to effectively recharge smartphones and smartwatches, and two reading lights will be added.
Here the most immediately visible changes saw the light, with the creation of two new opposing wall units(one above the kitchen and one above the fridge + cabinet column in front) and the replacement of the worktop. The two wall units were equipped with a plastic shutter that avoids bulky doors, while the kitchen top was made of acrylic stone and is deeper than the original.
In this way, you gain workspace and above all a much larger sink. Here, as you can see from the photos, the heat protections and the home-type mixer are still missing. To create the new wall units, the boiler and boiler controls and all the 12V, 230V and USB electrical sockets were moved.
In the end, no substantial changes will be noticed, but the water system (also serving the kitchen sink) will switch from immersion pump to pressure switch pump with expansion tank, the sink will be repainted to make it white again, the mirror replaced and the hand shower with hose changed to a longer one. The housing of the flexible hose will be modified both to avoid any blockages or jams due to Hymer’s original idea, objectively bad with a horizontal space to house it, and to be able to place the shower telephone in the center of the bathroom when needed and not laterally, thus making it more usable.
The addition of weights to the protective curtains should make them more practical, while the shower tray and the support of the Thetford toilet (a single piece in thermoformed) have been removed to repair the inevitable cracks formed over time.
At the end of the works, Falkor will not be revolutionized, since its basic setting is the one that won us over from the first moment we saw it, but certainly more functional. To go back to being a comfortable and welcoming home.
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