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How to get the most out of your Coleman Hot Water on Demand™

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Coleman Hot Water on Demand™

One of the most revolutionary products to hit to camping product market in the last 10 years is the hot water system manufactured by the Coleman Company, called the Hot Water on Demand™.

Hundreds of thousands have been sold since its introduction with millions of hot showers being enjoyed by campers throughout the world. There are quite a few competitor products on the market and some are quite good, but not one is as easy to use as Coleman’s ‘HWOD’. The ‘secret’ of the HWOD is its’ ease of use. The term ‘plug & play’ is liberally used in today’s word of electronics but few products qualify more for this tag than Coleman’s Hot Water on Demand™.

To run it, all you have to do is screw in a propane gas canister, drop the pump in a bucket and turn the control knob. Five seconds later a hot stream of water comes out of the faucet.

Of course, to keep your HWOD in good shape, you have to give it a tiny bit of maintenance once in a while.

1. Keep the Battery Charged.

2. Keep the Hose Free of Kinks

3. Rinse the System Periodically

4. Maintain the Pump

5. Buy From a Retailer that Knows the Product

 

Keep the Battery Charged. One of the most simple maintenance tasks you can perform is charging the battery as frequently as possible. Since the HWOD uses a common 6 volt sealed lead acid battery you can charge the battery without having to completely discharge the unit. Most HWOD owners believe you have to ‘flatten’ the battery before you can recharge it. Nothing is further from the truth. The battery unit loves being charged, even after one minute of use. If the battery is left on a low charge (less than 6 volt) for an extended period, the battery unit will slowly deteriorate to a stage where the HWOD won’t run properly. If you’re in doubt about the state of your battery ask your camping gear store to test the battery.

Keep the Hose Free of Kinks. The hose must be kept free of kinks as a kink restricts or slows down the water flow. This causes the internal flow sensors to believe there is a lack of water supply, therefore shutting off the gas supply. Some owners think their HWOD unit is faulty when this occurs, however the flow sensors are designed to protect users from scalding hot water.

When you store your HWOD, remove the pump hose and hang it vertically so it can’t kink. Only wrap the hose around the base of the HWOD when you’re transporting the unit to your camp site or home. Don’t store it that way!

Rinse the System Periodically. As the HWOD does not have a constant flow of water running through it, calcium and scale deposits don’t take long to appear on the walls of the internal pipes. This is easily prevented by pumping CLR (calcium, lime, rust) cleaner through the system, a few times a year. Some HWOD owners claim that by running a vinegar solution through the system you will get similar results but this has not been proven. Afterwards pump clean water through the unit for 5 – 10 minutes to remove any residue. You can do this at a low temperature, or without the propane can installed but don’t recycle the waste water.

Maintain the Pump. The pump runs both plastic and metal parts. The metal parts can rust if left dry for a period of time. This in turn can cause the impeller to seize which will stop the water flow. The easiest way to prevent this is to remove the bladder adapter (the thing with the filter gauze built-in) from the pump with a wrench and spray a small amount of silicone spray into the pump.

Buy From a Retailer that Knows the Product. Every year lots of HWOD units end up as landfill, even though with a small amount of maintenance or simple repairs these units can give many more years of good service.

This is where a good retailer comes in. A retailer that knows the HWOD can help keep your unit in good shape and also repair the HWOD where the warranty period has run out. Good retailers do not only sell products, they should also be able to service and repair their product.

Chinese renege on orders for Australia

An article in the ‘Australian’ newspaper on Monday November 22nd 2010 indicated that prices of some lines of camping equipment are about to be substantially increased:

“CHINESE textile factories are tearing up orders from Australian retailers.

This unprecedented production strike will empty shelves and increase prices for consumers after Christmas.

China’s manufacturers are shunting Australia to the bottom of the customer queue as they prioritise production for retail giants in the US and Europe as well as their own surging domestic market.

The stock shortage has worsened in the past fortnight as Chinese speculators hoard supplies of raw materials such as cotton, which has doubled in price over the past year.

Manchester brand Pillow Talk, which imports most of its stock from China, has revealed that long-term suppliers in the country had begun reneging on orders in the past week.

“It’s individual mills taking the view they will supply their largest customers first, and we’re way down in the pecking order,” general manager Neil Dellaca told The Australian yesterday.

“It’s Chinese demand that’s driving it all, and we’re being severely penalised in the Australian market in terms of price and availability.”

Wholesaler Killarney Linen, which supplies manchester to David Jones, Harris Scarfe, hotel chains and hospitals, said Chinese factories were demanding price rises of up to 26 per cent on contracts signed months ago.

Killarney Linen’s owner, John Mutton, said delivery times were being extended from six weeks to six months.

“Getting supplies can be difficult because the big orders get serviced first. I think you’re going to see stock shortages in the near future,” he said.

Linen House — which wholesales Chinese-made manchester to major Australian retail chains including Myer, Kmart, Target and Big W — said the Chinese factories were demanding 10 per cent surcharges on existing orders, citing the stronger Australian dollar.

“If you don’t pay the going rate, they won’t accept the order,” said Linen House director John Huggins. “The mainstream domestic market in China is becoming wealthier and is taking a lot of the products that are available.”

OzTrail, a wholesaler of Chinese-made camping supplies, said the factories were cancelling longstanding orders and selling to the highest bidder, and predicted retail price rises of 20 per cent early next year.

China’s cabinet, the State Council, announced last week it would crack down on hoarding or speculation in major agricultural products, in an admission of price speculation on raw materials, including cotton.

Pillow Talk’s owner, Heath Goddard, said yesterday that one Chinese factory had cancelled his order for quilt covers, which it could manufacture at a $20,000 profit, because a speculator had offered to pay $60,000 for the cotton in the factory’s warehouse.

Mr Goddard is now offering to pay factories upfront for their fabric to try to secure supplies.

The president of the Australia-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry of NSW, Michael Jones, said that when he visited China’s biggest textile expo in Shaoxing at the end of last month, “they were saying they were operating at full capacity”.

“There’s a big push by the Chinese government to push domestic consumption and not be so reliant on exports, because of what happened in the global financial crisis when 25 million to 30 million people were retrenched from the factories,” Mr Jones said.

“Obviously Australia would be one of the countries that suffer first, because the Chinese are trying to maintain orders to Europe and the US, and Australian orders are relatively small.”

END OF STORY

Australian camping goods importers have already shown a willingness to move away from China

Why rechargeable lanterns are often the worst things to take camping………..

coleman rechargeable lantern

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Battery operated lighting is often the most popular form of illuminating camp sites there is. It’s safe, does not have naked flames and when knocked over can’t ignite tent materials or worse… Battery operated lanterns are available in a number of varieties. Fluorescent lanterns are usually the brightest with a good light spread. During the last few years LED lanterns have really taken off. Because of their reduced power consumption battery life has been extended. Unfortunately the spread of LED light is much less when comparing to fluorescent lanterns. Last of all, lanterns running on the old fashioned light bulbs are still available, although they are harder to find in camping stores.
Another feature seen more and more on lanterns is the use of rechargeable batteries. Most campers favour rechargeable lights because “if you use less ‘normal’ batteries, you’ll save more money”.
Unfortunately, in most cases they’re wrong!
Most rechargeable lanterns are fitted with a 6 volt sealed lead acid battery with 3 little lead plates (cells), each cell providing 2 volt. Basically this battery is a scaled down version of a car battery. These batteries do not like to be drained ‘flat’ and left in a state of discharge. Unfortunately that’s how most campers treat their rechargeable lanterns. The lanterns are used until the light goes dim. In order to avoid damage, these lanterns should be re-charged for a period of at least 12 hours, either on 240 volt or 12 volt. Yet when you’re camping, 240 volt power is usually not available (if it was, you wouldn’t use rechargeable appliances, would you?). To take the car for a drive for 12 hours in order to re-charge the lantern is also not an option.
So the lantern is put aside, taken home and left in the garage waiting to be recharged (and usually forgotten about) and that’s where the damage occurs. If the battery is left flat, layers of sulphur will adhere to the little lead plates inside making it harder for electrons to stick to the plates. The other problem that will occur is that sometimes the lead plates bend if the battery is left flat. If they bend far enough, one plate will touch another and a cell has been dropped, reducing the voltage by 2 volts. So now the battery can only put out 4 volt, instead of 6. This is not enough to start fluorescent lanterns, and will also cause LED lanterns to malfunction.
What happens then?
Every year tens of thousands of rechargeable lanterns are purchased only to be thrown away after a year because of dead batteries. Many dollars are also wasted because some people believe the problem lies with the fluorescent tubes and purchase replacement tubes which still won’t work on a dead battery. The 6 volt lead acid batteries can be replaced on most models of lanterns at a cost, sometimes more than what the lantern cost in the first place.
Why don’t manufacturers put better rechargeable batteries in their lanterns?
Manufacturers put lead acid batteries in their lanterns because they’re CHEAP. In China, where most of these lanterns are made, these batteries cost less than one dollar, therefore keeping the price low which is what most consumers want in camping equipment. The alternatives are far more expensive. A suitable NiMH battery system inside rechargeable lanterns would increase the retail price 2 or 3 fold. Unfortunately most campers would baulk at paying $150 to $300 for an appliance they’d only use a few times a year.
So, what is the most practical solution to this problem?
If you are not sure whether you’re able to recharge your lantern in a timely manner, you’re probably far better off purchasing a lantern which will run on alkaline batteries. You can always carry a spare set with you and once you’ve returned home you can remove these batteries in order to extend their life. You will spend some money on batteries but will probably save more money in the end getting much more life out of your lantern and it’s far less frustrating.