Roof Hatches

Submitted: Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 05:45
ThreadID: 121723 Views:9994 Replies:2 FollowUps:3
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Whilst in Darwin today we had a look at some alternative hatches to the Four Seasons..... Result stay with the Four Seasons.

The latter seems to have been around since Moses played scrum-half for the un- godly. We visited a few places and looked an Electrolux model with a sliding mossie screen and shade, also sliding. The last place we talked with a repair workshop who had replaced 8 of these on warranty in the last few month. If the spring on the sliding bit fails - the whole lot has to be replaced. Shade was also subject to failure and 'pinholes' (The moon must shine very brightly up here!)

The other unit looked at was a Fiamma - or some similiar named imported jobbie.
All very plastic and flimsy and not recommended.

So as the Four Seasons now seems to have lifted their game re the 'gaps' between the screens and may be able to offer the 'midgee' screening I guess we will stay.


John and Jean
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Reply By: Keith & Joan - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 18:47

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 18:47
G'Day John & Jean, check this site out...

I know nothing about vents, and do not own a Bushtracker YET (Delivery May).

After reading some of the comments on this forum and others about the 4 seasons vent, I have elected to have the FANTASTIC 12 VOLT VENT WITH SENSOR. 6000RBT installed in our Bushtracker.

The theory is that because it has a fan, which can extract air as well as import air you can leave it open at night with the fan on low / extract, and the midgees can't get in because they get blown away by the fan. The vent has a rain sensor which closes the vent when it rains, or you can set it to manual and leave it open if it is just drizzling and will not get blown in by the wind.
Also when the van is parked and you are away for a while, the automatic thermostat will turn on the fan and keep it ventilated and cool. The fan runs off your batteries, and I am not sure how much current it draws, but I think it should be able to be left on for several hours at a time without depleting your batteries very much. The solar panels will soon boost them back up again anyway. The cost is about double that of the 4 seasons, and you have to have wiring and a circuit breaker installed, but if this is done at point of manufacture, then not too many dramas. If your van is already built you might have a problem, but a quick email to our friend Steve at BTi should give you all the answers you need
Hope this helps, Kind regards, Keith & Joan.
AnswerID: 565664

Reply By: Grumblebum & Dragon - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 23:37

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 23:37
Hi Keith and Joan,

We are in the same delivery month as you - roll on the merry month of May. I have had a look at the site and the Fantastic Hatch. Concept is good - have you had feedback from any other users? - my only concern.... maybe more bits to go wrong with all the vibration and banging around.

Thanks for the feedback - we may see you at the factory in May


John and Jean
AnswerID: 565665

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 00:15

Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 00:15
Hello, Steven Gibbs here,

I think a good question, is why are they not in my van??? Why are they not in the other Directors van?? The answer is that they draw power to do the same job of the natural convection in the Four Seasons Hatch.... Also, a vent open towards the wind brings air in, and a vent open away from the wind creates a bit of a venturi effect and helps suck air out.... People get convinced on some of these bells and whistles, and mind you they do sound good... But overall I would rather do with unpowered natural engineering to do the same job... 12v motors draw power, they make noise, they wear out, they shake to pieces, etcetera. And then even more in the wrong direction is to get the one with a rain sensor than automatically closes when it rains? Great idea until it does not work, or jambs, or breaks down... Get the idea...

My suggestion is always KISS engineering, (Keep it simple stupid)..Ha!
You can have any NASA toy you want, but I will continue guidelines to keeping it simple and unpowered for long term maintenance and ease of living...

Kind Regards, from the Source at Bushtracker
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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 05:06

Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 05:06
We have had our van for 3 1/2 years now and probably have used it for about 6 months each year, in all types of climates. We have a Four season hatch and have never had a problem with it, and if we were buying a new van would have one fitted in that.
I don't believe that there is any need to have a fan to extract or blow air into the van itself. In the toilet/shower is a different matter when you want to get rid of some fumes. The one in Toilet has a manual switch so power use is not a problem.

On a hot night we have the 4 season hatch open on all sides, windows open to get any breeze through and if there isn't any a small 12 volt fan circulating air over the bed works fine. In the cold climates where you are likely to get condensation, on the roof, we also leave one of the Four Season vents partly open so allow some ventilation from our hot bodies (smile).

As Steve said, I would recommend the manual Four Season Hatch over an automated one, that will use power. You have to be very power conscious when using battery power for everything.
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Follow Up By: Keith & Joan - Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 19:10

Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 19:10
What Steve & Brian have said has a lot of merit, and I am now convinced that the KISS principle is always going to be the best.
So we will stick with the Four Seasons Hatch and save ourselves $400
Maybe we will spend it on the spring pack upgrade, as our van will probably be on the threshold of the 3 ton limit if we ever fill all four water tanks. I think the Spring Pack upgrade is around $650 and very worthwhile in an 18ft van with the 4x4x4 setup.
Thank you Steve and Brian for your experience and logical thoughts.
Regards, Keith & Joan.
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