Change of caravan

May 24, 2014
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Having had problems with our caravan on every single trip we have had in it, we have finally decided to consign it to history and replace it. I have some comparisons in mind but I would like people opinions and experiences on the following

Alutech vs Smart HT

Blown Air vs Alde.

We have seen two makes of caravan we like, one is a Bailey of course with Alutech, and two from Swift Goup, one of SMART construction and one of SMART HT. We currently have blown air, but all these caravans come with ALDE of which I have zero experience.
One of the main questions is to how good SMART HT really is when you look past the sales talk and personal experiences count a long way for that.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Don't know about Alutech or Smart except what i have read across various forums, but have experience of the ALDE system.
The advantage of the blown air is the during the summer on hot days you can have the air blowing around creating a cooling effect. ALDE eats into your payload by as much as 20 or more kgs due to fittings and weight of liquid. However in the winter nothing to beat the ALDE as no cold spots and it warms up the caravan equally.
I have read that Swift may be dropping the Smart system from Swift and it is being replaced by something else.
 
Mar 24, 2014
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Thingy we have recently changed to a Bailey with Alde heating, and we would not go back to blown air. The Alde gives a better all round heat, including the bathroom which was always cold in our Lunar. Plus the Alde is much quieter when running.
Plus with the Bailey you get the huge front window which you don't realise how good it is until you have had one.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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On our caravan, not a Bailey, we have the large front middle window and we both dislike it. The caravan gets too hot due to the amount of sunlight it lets in. It is a pointless window as it serves no useful purpose or none that we have come across. We would have preferred a caravan without this window. At the moment it is a gimmick and can be a pain to clean.
 
Jun 20, 2017
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Our swift has that construction and so far we have had no issues, yes, there are a few little niggles that have been attended too but from what I’ve read, this seems to be the norm these days unfortunately.
We van all year round and whilst I agree that blown heating is quicker to warm up in the depths of winter (on arrival at site), we find the Alde gives a lovely controlle heat, especially so in the bathroom where the Radiatior and pipesin the wardrobe and vanity unit help dry towels.
With our last van, the blown air heating was good but it really used to trigger my asthma unfortunately (dust in the ducts I’d say), I don’t get that with my current van.

Hope you find your ideal van.

Kevin
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Thingy said:
Having had problems with our caravan on every single trip we have had in it, we have finally decided to consign it to history and replace it. I have some comparisons in mind but I would like people opinions and experiences on the following

Alutech vs Smart HT

Blown Air vs Alde.

We have seen two makes of caravan we like, one is a Bailey of course with Alutech, and two from Swift Goup, one of SMART construction and one of SMART HT. We currently have blown air, but all these caravans come with ALDE of which I have zero experience.
One of the main questions is to how good SMART HT really is when you look past the sales talk and personal experiences count a long way for that.

I cant tell you anything about the comparison between Alutech vs Smart HT not having used either, but despite the manufacturers making big claims about these newer construction techniques, we still get reports of damp problems.

What I can say with authority is that both Blown air and wet systems are very capable of heating a caravan but they do it in different ways.

Wet systems are probably better in longer caravans, as the medium moving the heat (Water) loses less heat over the length of the pipe. The system is only as good as the size and position of the radiators. Most of the radiators placed behind surfaces cutting down teh radiated heat rendering most of it as convection. Convection heat warms from teh top to the bottom, so takes longer to heat the whole caravan,

Blown air systems lose more heat and air velocity as the pipe gets longer, and with the number of bends in the pipe. Systems are often compromised by caravans manufacturers building to a price rather than best performance, and often a few hours spent reworking the route of the ducting to remove bends and fitting junctions the most efficient way round can make a big difference. Also adjusting the air regulators can make a massive difference. The fact the air is moving helps to mix the temperature evenly especially from top to bottom.

Each has pros and cons.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I think most of the current generation body constructions are likely to be an improvement over the old "line of screws" method but inevitably there will be some where quality is not what it should have been. Suggest you have a look at Coachman as, coming late to the game, they should have had a chance to assess strengths and weaknesses of the opposition.

So far as heating is concerned I've stuck with warm air Truma Combi) pn my latest van. To my mind Alde breaks the engineering manta 'what isn't there can't go wrong' and the component count including pupms, header tanks etc is much higher than for blown air, plus the hassle/ expense of draining and refillin and bleeding the system

So far my only criticsm is the location of the thermostat element - directly above an putlet so ot shuts the system down before parts have got warm. This is really down to the makers rather than the heater. Fan noise has not been an issue, indeed a little 'white noise' has actually contributed to sleeping as many sites are less quiet than our home rural retreat.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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thedoog1 said:
Thingy we have recently changed to a Bailey with Alde heating, and we would not go back to blown air. The Alde gives a better all round heat, including the bathroom which was always cold in our Lunar. Plus the Alde is much quieter when running.
Plus with the Bailey you get the huge front window which you don't realise how good it is until you have had one.

Definitely +1.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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Buckman said:
Don't know about Alutech or Smart except what i have read across various forums, but have experience of the ALDE system.
The advantage of the blown air is the during the summer on hot days you can have the air blowing around creating a cooling effect. ALDE eats into your payload by as much as 20 or more kgs due to fittings and weight of liquid. However in the winter nothing to beat the ALDE as no cold spots and it warms up the caravan equally.
I have read that Swift may be dropping the Smart system from Swift and it is being replaced by something else.

How can Alde eat into your payload? It is factory fit so comes under MRO and should not affect you payload at all. Plus you don't have that great lump of cast iron as used in the old warm air heating. Swings and roundabouts?
 
May 24, 2014
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Many thanks all for your inputs into the heating system, still in the dark over the better construction but will have to remain so now, as, in line with common caravanning practice, and I quote "WE ONLY WENT TO LOOK"

We have now done the deed and gone with the Swift offering.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Thingy said:
Many thanks all for your inputs into the heating system, still in the dark over the better construction but will have to remain so now, as, in line with common caravanning practice, and I quote "WE ONLY WENT TO LOOK"

We have now done the deed and gone with the Swift offering.

As long as you keep it serviced in line with makers requirements you will get the makers damp ingress warranty to cover water ingress. So it really makes no difference which one may be better. Either now have materials that are impervious to water, except the floors. My caravan has just had its rear panel replaced under warranty without any quibble. So just keep it serviced.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Woodentop said:
...

How can Alde eat into your payload? It is factory fit so comes under MRO and should not affect you payload at all. Plus you don't have that great lump of cast iron as used in the old warm air heating. Swings and roundabouts?

I'm intrigued, what parts of the blown air system were made of cast iron?
 
Nov 16, 2015
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We have the blown air in our 2013 Coachman, but the fan will not blow cold air, due to the system. As its a combi system. But its very quiet in the winter, our friends Bailey, with the Aldie finds the pump noisey . I will stick with blown air.
 
May 24, 2014
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Either now have materials that are impervious to water, except the floors.

OC, not sure what Bailey have for the floor, but the Swift one now has no timber, its a five layer constuction on the floor, GRP, GRP H/C, Foam, GRP H/C and finally a woven GRP.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Hi there , we have hot blown air heating in our 2o17 Sprite Major 6 , I have never had a wet Aldi central heating system so I couldn't compare but I cannot complain about the blown air system we have either as you can turn the digital stat up to whatever you want and in about 5-10 minutes you'll be in your shorts ,on the other end of the scale it also has an option for cold air blowing , it's not air con it's just cold here but but that is also great .

Craig .
Edit , the one thing i do miss compared to our Bailey's is the split 6o/4o entrance door with window .
 
May 7, 2012
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Hope all goes well with your new caravan. Like the prof we have never had an Alutech or Swift model so have no experience of the construction.
I do agree with him on the heating though in that Alde is just as good on shorter caravans but loses out on longer ones. We have just bought a new caravan with the Alde system though which is longer than the last. Other than the system works though I cannot say if it is up to the job if it gets really cold though but it was Ok with a 5.6 m body.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Never had Alde heating so can’t comment.
As Prof and Ray say the blown air works. Not only does it work but as Craig pointed out it cools you too in the hot summer.
We tour all year. We spend many New Years and Christmas away in sub zero. Never been cold at all although we have used the gas for short periods to boost the electric side.
My future choice of a new caravan will exclude the heating system as a prime mover as I know both work and my blown air over many years has served me very well!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Woodentop said:
How can Alde eat into your payload? It is factory fit so comes under MRO and should not affect you payload at all. Plus you don't have that great lump of cast iron as used in the old warm air heating. Swings and roundabouts?

I'm still waiting to be told what parts of a blownair system have a great lump of determining iron? On the presumption that blown air system was a Carver or Truman, then categorically no cast iron components were used. Brass copper, and aluminium, with some steel, carefully chosen for effectiveness and lightness.

As for the payload capacity, it's unlikely to arise as in not aware of any current manufacturer offering a model of caravan with a choice of heaters, but if there was, there could be difference depending on which heating system were lighter. But it's a difficult one to call, as the Alde is a space and water heater, where as most blown air systems are spaceheaters only, and require a separate water heater.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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EH52ARH said:
Truma, combi heater , water and blown air in one unit. Its great.

Doesn’t that seem to be a lack of resilience if it should go down. At least with separate systems you still get some functionality. Truma blown air and separate water still give heat even if you are down on gas and 12v.
My problem is clearly that I’ve spent time with systems where lives depend on functionality and it’s hard not to transpose it to every day things :)
 

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