Air awnings - advice please

Thomo61 replied on 15/09/2021 14:24

Posted on 15/09/2021 14:24

Dear all 

In your opinions which is the best Air Awning Manufacturer and why?  And what size would you get for [say] a 6.4m internal length caravan [width and debth please] 

Plus any tips on what to look for and what to avoid.

Cheers

Mark

KeefySher replied on 16/09/2021 21:12

Posted on 16/09/2021 19:40 by harry1000

If you consider the caravan is truly level and vertical, whereas the awning i perpendicular to the ground, then unless the ground is level, there is bound to be an angle between the two. Yes the ladders do allow for some height adjustment, but poles and air 'poles' do not, they are a fixed length, rather they flex and pull the bottom edge of the awning tightly away from the side of the van.

A number of people report the same issue as a problem with porch awnings on a site which is not level side to side/

Posted on 16/09/2021 21:12

We were first adopters of the Bradcot Aspire Air 390.

Like you, we didn't read the destructions. They are quite clear once you read them.  The key is to follow them. Pegging the rear corners under the caravan before inflating solves the side to side issue you have, as per destructions.

The oft mentioned pulling it through the awning rail may not be the perceived weight. In our case it was the liberal use of sealant applied at the circus where the caravan was thrown together, that collects in the awning rail. I can easily pull ours through with one hand once the awning rail was cleared of blobs of sealant. I use the step used to enter the caravan, placing at rear first putting the awning bead in through the top slot in the awning rail, not trying to pull through the bottom up the full vertical section of the awning rail.

The choice of several inflation points allows for different pitch configurations when using the electric pump as it connect to car battery terminals, not cigarette lighter socket, or 12v socket in the caravan due to the current draw. The pump is a 2 stage pump that automatically switches off on correct pressure as in the destructions.

 

richardandros replied on 17/09/2021 05:44

Posted on 17/09/2021 05:44

"Like you, we didn't read the destructions. They are quite clear once you read them. The key is to follow them. Pegging the rear corners under the caravan before inflating solves the side to side issue you have, as per destructions."

Exactly! I have never had a problem with a gap between the awning and the side of the caravan - indeed, I bought a set of those poles which are supposed to hold the side against the van and other than trying them out, have never had the need to bother with them again.

I use a small 40aH battery for our pump which has crocodile clips rather than a plug - more convenient than having to move the car

harry1000 replied on 17/09/2021 11:08

Posted on 16/09/2021 21:12 by KeefySher

We were first adopters of the Bradcot Aspire Air 390.

Like you, we didn't read the destructions. They are quite clear once you read them.  The key is to follow them. Pegging the rear corners under the caravan before inflating solves the side to side issue you have, as per destructions.

The oft mentioned pulling it through the awning rail may not be the perceived weight. In our case it was the liberal use of sealant applied at the circus where the caravan was thrown together, that collects in the awning rail. I can easily pull ours through with one hand once the awning rail was cleared of blobs of sealant. I use the step used to enter the caravan, placing at rear first putting the awning bead in through the top slot in the awning rail, not trying to pull through the bottom up the full vertical section of the awning rail.

The choice of several inflation points allows for different pitch configurations when using the electric pump as it connect to car battery terminals, not cigarette lighter socket, or 12v socket in the caravan due to the current draw. The pump is a 2 stage pump that automatically switches off on correct pressure as in the destructions.

 

Posted on 17/09/2021 11:08

My rails are perfectly clear and occasionally lubricated too. The issue of the weight is rather one of pushing it up from the bottom of the rail and getting it to stay up, whilst I took another bite of the awning at the bottom. It only has the rails widened to fit the awning, at the bottoms - though I suspect pushing from the bottom is no more difficult than trying to haul the awning weight up to a higher slot. That was why I added loops to the awning strip, so a rope could be attached and a beautiful assistant could prevent it from dropping back down under it's own weight.

As said - when I set it up for the first time in my garden, I didn't peg it at all. The whole purpose was one of checking the fit and the condition, as we have no more trips planed for this year. I will have to now wait until next year, to see if the gap really is a problem or not.

The issue with pulling it tight under the wall of the caravan, is that it will become even tighter diagonally, as the air bladder will be forced to assume an position further away at the top - just as my pole awning did.

My battery door is right next to the awning, so the pump will easily reach any of the three valves. One problem I found was that I long ago fitted quick snap connectors for the cables to the battery terminals. The snap connection shroud the entire terminal with plastic, making it awkward to connect the pump. Rather than taking the snap connector off every time, I fitted a short bit of copper strip (copper pyro clip), to one of the clamp screws to clip onto. I am aware the pump can draw 20amps, double the rating of a ciggy lighter socket.   

harry1000 replied on 17/09/2021 12:35

Posted on 17/09/2021 11:38 by EmilysDad

I bought one of these https://www.amazon.co.uk/Streetwize-LWACC398-Inflator-Rechargeable-Accessories/dp/B01I1O692O Not the worlds best compressor but it works.

Posted on 17/09/2021 12:35

The proper Bradcott optional pump is a two stage pump, low pressure high volume, then near the end it switches to a high pressure low volume pump, with automatic cut off. From that, I suspect that Bradcott use higher pressures in the air bladders, which makes them more rigid.

Although I doubt the supplied manual pump can inflate to even close to the pressure of the electric pump, I didn't try it. Perhaps Bradcott could comment?

KeefySher replied on 17/09/2021 17:51

Posted on 17/09/2021 11:08 by harry1000

My rails are perfectly clear and occasionally lubricated too. The issue of the weight is rather one of pushing it up from the bottom of the rail and getting it to stay up, whilst I took another bite of the awning at the bottom. It only has the rails widened to fit the awning, at the bottoms - though I suspect pushing from the bottom is no more difficult than trying to haul the awning weight up to a higher slot. That was why I added loops to the awning strip, so a rope could be attached and a beautiful assistant could prevent it from dropping back down under it's own weight.

As said - when I set it up for the first time in my garden, I didn't peg it at all. The whole purpose was one of checking the fit and the condition, as we have no more trips planed for this year. I will have to now wait until next year, to see if the gap really is a problem or not.

The issue with pulling it tight under the wall of the caravan, is that it will become even tighter diagonally, as the air bladder will be forced to assume an position further away at the top - just as my pole awning did.

My battery door is right next to the awning, so the pump will easily reach any of the three valves. One problem I found was that I long ago fitted quick snap connectors for the cables to the battery terminals. The snap connection shroud the entire terminal with plastic, making it awkward to connect the pump. Rather than taking the snap connector off every time, I fitted a short bit of copper strip (copper pyro clip), to one of the clamp screws to clip onto. I am aware the pump can draw 20amps, double the rating of a ciggy lighter socket.   

Posted on 17/09/2021 17:51

It may be worth getting your awning rail 'spread' at the upper part of the vertical. Its a simple operation that a tool can be bought to undertake or your dealer could do it at next service. Feeding in from the bottom you are contending with gravity and a couple of relatively tight angles that may well add 'stiction'.

The top of the awning is fixed in the awning rail with the beading, by pegging the bottom as per destructions the vertical tubes occupy the available space and form a fit. The bladders form a frame, they are not singular separate bladders as some air awnings. The only time we've had a gap was when allowing daughter to help and the bottom was not pegged as per destructions. 

Give it a go pegging as per destructions in your garden whilst still reasonable weather, it'll set your mind at ease for next time on site.

DaveCyn replied on 18/09/2021 14:22

Posted on 17/09/2021 12:35 by harry1000

The proper Bradcott optional pump is a two stage pump, low pressure high volume, then near the end it switches to a high pressure low volume pump, with automatic cut off. From that, I suspect that Bradcott use higher pressures in the air bladders, which makes them more rigid.

Although I doubt the supplied manual pump can inflate to even close to the pressure of the electric pump, I didn't try it. Perhaps Bradcott could comment?

Posted on 18/09/2021 14:22

We also have the Bradcott Aspire 390. Bought it at the NEC and had the 12 volt pump thrown in.

We were advised that it should be inflated to 36psi but I've seen one go pop at that pressure on a hot day so we normally inflate to 32psi.

 

EmilysDad replied on 18/09/2021 16:14

Posted on 17/09/2021 12:35 by harry1000

The proper Bradcott optional pump is a two stage pump, low pressure high volume, then near the end it switches to a high pressure low volume pump, with automatic cut off. From that, I suspect that Bradcott use higher pressures in the air bladders, which makes them more rigid.

Although I doubt the supplied manual pump can inflate to even close to the pressure of the electric pump, I didn't try it. Perhaps Bradcott could comment?

Posted on 18/09/2021 16:14

I've just looked up the Bradcott pump ..... at around £100 I would hope it's better than the one I linked to, IIRC mine was about £20. But it's a self contained unit with integral battery, so no need to connect to car/caravan battery.

 

EmilysDad replied on 18/09/2021 16:16

Posted on 18/09/2021 14:22 by DaveCyn

We also have the Bradcott Aspire 390. Bought it at the NEC and had the 12 volt pump thrown in.

We were advised that it should be inflated to 36psi but I've seen one go pop at that pressure on a hot day so we normally inflate to 32psi.

 

Posted on 18/09/2021 16:16

Wow! How much pressure? Kampa suggest around 10 psi. & I find that 7 or 8 is plenty enough

RedKite replied on 19/09/2021 12:37

Posted on 19/09/2021 12:37

We have a Dorema all season 260 very well made and fits well which has its own hand pump made by Dorema and it is 7 psi and OH said it was just right, but it came with the caravan and we tried it on the van very easy to go up but the palaver of taking it down and getting it back into its bag it will be up for sale next year when the weather improves 250.00 euros a bargain will advertise it on a friends ex pat forum over here as we do not do facebook, will be using our older Isabella magnum much easier with the sides out to put up, again we have been on sites in UK when they have gone pop just like a gun going off.