Damned leak

The rain has been almost non stop here for nearly 2 weeks now. And I went into the wardrobe for something and there it was, a leak. Really bad too. So bad that my brand new, never used Canon printer was actually so full of water that I had to put it in the sink to drain out before throwing it away.

Spare towels, shirts, coats everything had to be taken out and I found a laundrette to wash them all toute suite. Of course the wardrobe itself was soaked. After an inspection it was clear what had happened. When I was sheltering from the 113 mph winds on Skye I parked in the lee of a tall wall beside some pine trees. I was barely bothered by the wind but I recall a scraping sound as a branch tickled the roof. I think one of them must have hit the gas flue and made it loose and so there was  basically a large hole in the roof for 3 days in pouring rain.
Still, at least I know what it was and it was fixed easily, simply tighten the locknut up and make sure the rubber seal was making a seal on the roof.

That part of the roof has leaked on and off for years now ever since Isatlan messed up when fitting that accursed satellite dish. The last time it was fixed was back in 2012 when I was last in Scotland and I wondered if that was the last I’d know of it lol

Cue that dehumidifier…sometimes things just happen for a reason eh?

Another leak, updated

This time I can’t blame this on Musa and Isatlan lol
I’d noticed with all this wet weather that there was a small amount of water coming from under the fire. I just wrote about it here. Sure enough, it was coming down the flue and ending up on the floor under the carpet. When I repaired the leak from when Musa fitted my satellite dish in 2006, as a precaution I had used some sealant as I knew the flue was leaking then. The sealant comes in a roll about an inch wide and I had used enough to form a base underneath the rubber that the flue pipe sits on. Clearly this sealant is useless because that’s where the leak is.

I went to Canwell Caravans who have had their place revamped and it looks really nice now. They had a flue pipe in for £7.99 and since fitting it it’s rained non-stop but no more leak.

The scary thing was that as I was replacing the pipe, I noted that the wood under the aluminium roof is so sodden that the first 3-4 mm actually falls apart when touched with a finger. 🙁  This will be as a result of the leak that went undetected for years and I hope this doesn’t weaken the roof!

Leak!

No, not the veg, the box on the roof that Isatlan fitted for the satellite cables Grr!

I’ve been trying to get to Scotland for the winter and I’m stuck here sorting problems out and now that has started leaking. It was the devils ow job to get it off but once it was off it was clear it had been leaking for some considerable time. The wood is soft and warped under the aluminum on the roof.

I bought a new box from CES and some water proof sealant. The sealant alone was £15!! Never mind if it works I’m happy.  I also bought a box of sealant which is in a roll. It’s a gooey sort of mastic on a roll, it’s about an inch wide and 3 metres long. It says it’s waterproof so it can’t hurt to add some of that as a bed for the box to lie on, and to seal under the rubber seal of the flue. Just an added precaution. Let’s ope that’s an end of it.

Satellite woes…

Well the Alden satellite is performing OK as long as the wind stays down. It’s almost useless in 10 mph or over winds. The laptop appears fine since I uninstalled that IOBit software, but the batteries still seem to be wearing more quickly than they should. I think eventually I’m going to have to find a decent auto-electrician and find out exactly what the problem is.

Wish me luck tomorrow as it’s Monday, back to work and it’s been windy all weekend. As Blunderfone is still not working I rely exclusively on the satellite now.

Another new hope?

I travelled down to Taunton in Somerset last night to Vanbitz, to get the Alden Netmaster fitted. For £3,500 this is billed as the best commercially available mobile internet you can get without being  a lottery winner. I went off on my bike while they fitted it, it took most of the day for some reason. But they said I could hang around for the night to test it out if I wanted to. Given the history of disappointment I’ve had from Datastorm I said I’d do that.

When I went to pay them the bank would not let me spend the £3, 250 owing, so I phoned Alliance and Leicester, knowing it was an unusual amount.  They said over the phone that they could not fix it cos it was some kind of error lol. It took me four attempts and about 20 minutes to finally pay them. Anyway, I tested it as best I could and it seemed to be quick and work fine. I really like the simplicity but I’d rather get off somewhere and test it properly so I prepared for an early start in the morning.

A new hope?

PCmedix have rewired the entire system and refitted it and say they CAN make it work. They do inspire with confidence,although it also cost me £400.

I drove away from their unit and the satellite dish went up and locked on the first time.  🙂

Lets see how long it works for.

Adios Datastorm

The satellite is clearly not ever going to work properly, and despite all the promises from Barry Lieberman at Ethnet, he has failed to get it to work and the only thing he’s good at is collecting his £70 per month connection fee.

I’ve decided to call it a day and cancel anything to do with Datastorm.  £8,000 totally wasted. I’m gutted but what can you do? Trading Standards don’t want to know as “the case is too complex”, Isatlan are out of the picture and Ethnet simply don’t take my calls anymore. Speaking to Datastorm in the US it’s apparent that Isatlan sold me a second hand mount which was at least 18 months old when I got it, however there’s nothing they can do.

My dongle has always proved reliable anyway so I will stick with that for the time being. Amazing how a £30 piece of kit smaller than a packet of cigarettes can outperform an £8,000 satellite system…

Yawn … satellite not working

Picture of colourfully painted shops in Llanberis
Llanberis

Well I’m having a fantastic time here in Llanberis, it’s a shame that the rig isn’t. It failed to connect yet again and Nick is now not answering his phone most times I call. Barry Lieberman still calls, to ask for his £70 a month connectivity fee.

Thank God for the Vodafone USB modem! It was supposed to be a backup but it’s my main form of communication with the internet and work now!
So much for Ethnet ‘guaranteeing’ to make things work. The fact that they won’t answer the phone anymore kind of says they’ve given up on it.

Anyway, this is a view of Llanberis high street, including the fabulous Pete’s Eats. If you’re hungry this is the place to go: real tasty food at reasonable prices. It get’s crowded in the season but well worth the wait. I can also recommend the Chinese takeaway across the road 🙂

All change!

So, I sold the LNB, the dish, the modem and the controller back to Isatlan for £1,200 and Ethnet replaced them all for just under £1,000.

I now have the F1 mount and new dish, new LNB, DW7000 controller and the HN7000s Modem.

Nick, the engineer for Ethnet got it working straight away.

Fingers crossed.

The truth is out there…

I’ve been doing a bit of digging. No not in the garden…

It turns out after speaking to Tim Gibbs in the US office of Datastorm, that my rig is indeed second hand and was well over a year old when Isatlan sold it to me as brand new.

Isatlan in that case conned me, ripped me off, duped me with false promises and statements. I’ve contacted trading standards to see what can be done.

In the meanwhile I’ve been in discussion with Barry Lieberman from Ethnet. He’s near Royston and is the main UK importer for equipment from Datastorm. He reckons that if I ‘sell’ back parts of the kit to Isatlan and buy new from him, he guarantees to get it working. So I emailed Isatlan and they’re up for it so that’s what’s happening.

Sick of the sight of Stoke now

Nothing personal, just that driving into Sandbach now reminds me of failure and the fact I face a day of listening to motor-whine as the dish goes round and round and round interminably without ever working.

Actually Musa had it working within half an hour of getting here. However he clearly doesn’t know what he’s done to get it working grr!

I wish I’d kept  a record of how much  diesel I’ve used continually coming back here.
Thank God I kept my Vodafone internet card. I’d be buggered without it!

It never rains but it pours

It rained heavily today and it was ages before I sussed that the box Isatlan had fitted to the roof was leaking rain like a fucking torrent into my wardrobe!!

Those bastards!!

OK I’m calm now.

It’s been non-stop issues with Isatlan, I wish I had gone with my instinct and not bought from them. What they did was they drilled a hole about 30mm through the roof, glued a large, plastic junction box over the top of it and fed all the cables through into the wardrobe where the modem, controller and router are.

It did indeed look like a pretty thorough job, however the rain came straight through and soaked everything in the wardrobe.
Musa had me go to the unit where he took the box off, and started from scratch putting it back on.
I hope for his sake it works!

Grrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!

I am heartily sick to my back teeth of Isatlan and Musa. He does not have the faintest idea what he is doing!

I contacted Ned Spencer from Point systems who tried to help and he said Musa is actually well known in the industry for failed installations.

I also spoke to Barry Lieberman from Ethnet. They are the UK reseller for Datastorm bandwidth and equipment so they should know, however a phone call to him proved inconclusive except he also said he knew of Musa and was constantly fixing his mistakes. Bridge internet said the same as did everyone I’ve spoken to!

I almost felt sorry for Musa being so widely known in an industry for being inept, but then I remember my £8,000 and all sympathy goes out of the window!

Merry Christmas!

My first Christmas in the van! I spent it in the peaks as I’d been over in Stoke with that useless shower of fools trying to get the satellite to work. It still doesn’t!

I’ve made a full Christmas dinner though using chicken instead of turkey as I don’t like turkey that much. At least there’s snow here!

The day after the day.

Still at Isatlan. Musa spent the entire day working on the equipment, I even fed him lunch and tea.

After starting at 9:30am he finally left at 5pm after somehow getting the unit to work. I was not elated that he’d got it to work, I knew something was wrong and I knew I’d be back.

Nevertheless he went home and I played for a while on the internet thinking what a wonderful thing technology is.

Later that night I drove up the motorway for a few miles and pulled into a service station and set the dish away to connect to the internet. Heh heh I heard that whirring sound that I’d become accustomed to over the last 2 days but no way was it going to connect.

I phoned Musa who told me a few things to try and somehow we got it working. It feels very much like Musa actually doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing.

I am seriously not happy with this. £8,000 for equipment, it should just work. I have a very bad feeling about this. 🙁

Satellite dayyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!

What a farce.

I met Musa and Chris from Isatlan and drove down to some unit they had in Alsager in Stoke. They spent most of the day fitting the Datastorm to the roof whilst I mooched around a rather small and uninteresting town.

When I returned they had a problem. Although I had specifically asked what power requirements the equipment had and been told 12 volts, what it really needs is 230 volts from a mains inverter!  This is a completely different requirement. Musa after a while went and found an inverter that was laying around and sold it to me for a tenner. Bloody bad show though not being prepared like that.

Not only that, but they had damaged the roof of the van and put a small dent in the side at the top. I never really got to attend to this as the equipment wasn’t working anyway. We finally agreed that I would stay the night outside the unit and Musa would come in tomorrow and resolve whatever problem was there.

Disappointing to say the least.

Delayed.

Damn them! Isatlan who are providing the satellite dish and other equipment, have dropped the date back to 16th December now. I’ll have to change the ferry booking grrr!! I’m still annoyed at them for taking nearly £8,000 out of my account without asking. I got it back within 2 days but even so…

Apparently the delay is due to the late arrival of an expected shipment from America. They have the router and modem and some other stuff, but the base unit hasn’t arrived yet.

Datastorm finally?

After many minor setbacks I have the final date for the Datastorm to be fitted, 9th December. It’s a lot of money but the thing is I have had none stop problems with Vodafone. I upgrade to the latest dongle, I keep my laptop in tiptop shape but, it constantly fails me and their customer service constantly makes mistakes. I was cut off not long ago because for some unknown reason they decided to apply a limit to my account. I rang and some person said it was a mistake and sorry I’ll take it off. Then later they blocked my access to the works website because it has links to gambling! Duh…it’s a bingo company! LOL

The connection is good usually but the constant problems mean it’s just too unreliable. The satellite system is £8,000 but not only do reviews say it’s reliable but the freedom it affords is fantastic as I can connect at broadband speeds anywhere in Europe! I can’t wait!

I don’t have the power!

I’ve got to get some more batteries if I’m to have the power to run the Datastorm satellite system and a laptop, 40 hours a week.

Hadn’t thought about it before but, if the satellite dish takes 4 amps and the laptop 5 that’s 9 amps which is 1 x 100 ahr battery per day.

At the moment I have 1 x 100 ahr battery lol I think I have a lot to learn about this malarkey and I foresee turbulent waters ahead.

Silly me.

Datastorm Freedom!

Well this is exciting. I’ve been using the Vodafone PCMCIA card that allows me to connect to the internet via the mobile phone network. It’s the new style card so I had to buy an adapter which cost £164! Vodafone are full of woes, their customer service is friendly but woefully useless. The service is very patchy, I hope it improves. However I’ve booked the van to get satellite internet fitted in November by a company in Stoke called Isatlan.

Datastorm satellite internet dishThis mobile internet satellite dish can connect to the internet from anywhere in Europe and even North Africa so I will truly be independent and be able to live in and work from the van, but also travel all over Europe too.

£8,000, yeah ridiculous money but you know, you only get one life, you have to make the most of it, so it’s about time I started living.

Exciting times, can’t wait!