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Location: More than Off-road: Independence and Comfort -> Smart Washing Machine

Water Smart Washing: an Essential Piece of Luxury in the bush that can use recycled shower water,
is powered by solar and dumps to a separate grey water tank!

Kruiser update on Features and Specifications Bulletin No 8

When Bart and Liz Vaneray returned from a 10,000 Km Trip recently in their Kimberley Karavan, Liz told us of meeting a fellow traveller with a Karavan who had a washing machine fitted to the back of their 4WD. She declared “next trip, I want one of those!” She explained that during their trip they pulled into caravan parks solely to use a washing machine. More research with other customers gave similar replies. So getting a washing machine into the Kruiser became a priority.
But there is a major problem with using a washing machine in out of the way places, and that is the difficulty of getting water to it. The experience of most travellers is that water really is the challenge to manage, even more so than power. In most caravans, the water consumption can be significant and difficult to top up in the bush when not in a caravan park.
We set a goal with the Kruiser to have an innovative “water smart system” that gives people the most choice in sources of water for use with the washing machine.

Water Storage and Source: unique management system of 5 sources
You may think that the more water a caravan can carry the better. This is only partly true. Water is heavy, so you only want to carry just enough water that you may need, with a safety quantity of drinking water. Having 500 litre tanks filled with water would cost you a fortune in fuel alone!

The Water sources on most Kimberley RV’s are:

1. 70 Litre Tank for pure drinking water
2. 120 litre tank for other accessible water (fill up from petrol station, bore, creek)
3. Connection to pressured water source (standard water connection) with pressure reducer
4. Connection to suction hose for lifting water from stream or billabong

Together with those above, the Kimberley Kruiser Limited Edition has a new feature as standard:

5. Connection to Shower grey water tank for use with Washing Machine and or Toilet.

In this case you get 2 Grey Water tanks in the Limited Edition Model, one filling up with exit shower water and the other with kitchen sink and washing machine water. These exit volumes may give more balance in the 2 separate and unconnected grey water tanks. One in the front, one in the rear!

When washing clothes with the front-loading washing machine selected, the water required is 42 to 45 litres per wash.
If you are in a National park, you have to hold all your dirty water so the grey water tank fills with shower water, sink water and washing machine water. Within a day, the grey water is full, and your fresh water water tanks low. We therefore have developed a re-cycled water approach:

There is a separate pump from the recycled grey shower water tank so that the lines and the pump are independent to the on-board 70 and 120 Litre tanks. If there is no grey water left, you simply switch to another water source and the grey water pump will stop.

If you don’t wish to use the recycled water, you don’t have to. There is an on-board valve that you switch to select.
If you prefer to use plentiful outside water for washing clothes:
Use the on-board Visi-flow™ water system:

Just drop the inlet hose into the billabong or stream and select that source.
If you have pressured water available:
Just connect that to the pressure-reducing inlet.
Then, start the washing machine and you will hear it start to fill and the large water pump will automatically start to pump water (up to 4m of head) from the stream or billabong.

To save energy, we have connected the hot supply to the washing machine so that the water going in will rise in temperature to around 50 degrees C, if you have the hot water system enabled. If you don’t want to use hot water, then just turn off the hot water system.
If there is no stream or billabong, then the main water tank will hold nearly 120 Litres and one wash will use over a third of this water. Again, if the hot water system is enabled, the water is pre-heated en route to the washing machine to save energy.
If the water in the stream or billabong is not very clean, then use this water for the washing cycle and simple switch over to the main tank for rinsing. Very easy to do!

Energy and water consumption on the selected cycles that are probably most popular:

Load Size in Kgs and Type

Temp in Degrees C

No of rinses

Spin speed

Battery power consumed in Amp Hrs

IT will be less with the pre-heated hot water

Can run on 12V Lithium Batteries and inverter that is standard in Kruiser Limited Edition

Water used in Litres

Time in Minues

1kg Woolens



900 rpm

16 A hrs

Yes when at least 25% charged



1.5kg synthetics



900 rpm

21 A hrs

Yes when at least 25% charged



3 kg Coloureds

up to 60c


1000 rpm

62 A hrs

When at least 75% charged



3 kgs Whites



1000 rpm

113 A hrs

Yes when fully charged



So what is the energy saving with the washing machine?
If you are using the Solar array that is standard in the Kruiser Limited edition, then you should need no generator. Pre-heating the water with the diesel system will reduce the battery consumption.
The maximum size 540W Panel array weighs 15kgs. If this array was conventional glass based solar, it would weigh 65 Kgs. The saving is 50kgs. There is an added benefit that this saving is on the roof!

Limescale deposits on components such as the machine's heating element will reduce their service life so you have to de-scale if your water supply is hard. In this case, you should de­ scale your washing machine at least once every three months by using approx. 150 ml of citric acid instead of detergent. Secondly, the less you use the electric water heater, and Kimberley’s diesel water heat exchanger system, the better.
Washing machine The washing machine we chose is the Dometic WMD 1050 Front Loading Washing machine for the Kruiser Limited Edition? It has all the modern requirements for effective treatment of laundry with low water, energy, and detergent consumption.
• The Program selector combines the function of Program and temperature selection, making it easier to set the Program.
• Program progress display shows current phase of the selected Program.
• The automatic cooling of the washing water from 90°C to 60°C before draining will reduce thermal shock to fabrics, helping to prevent creasing.
• The special wool Program with it's new delicate wash system treats your woolens with extreme care.
• The unbalance detection system discovers and prevents vibrations caused by incorrect distribution of the laundry during the spin cycle.
• The eco-valve makes the full use of detergent possible and saves energy by lower water consumption.

To power the washing machine:
The Kimberley Kruiser Limited Edition has an 1800W Pure sinewave inverter with auto cut-over as standard. Auto cut-over means the 240V outlets operate from either the external 240V input power or the inverter whichever is active, automatically.
The limiting factor on energy is the size and type of battery and how they are charged. Batteries are also heavy. So selecting the right type of battery in combination with solar capacity is key to energy capacity.


The Smart weight saving for customers in the Kruiser when the Super-Thin Solar is combined with Lithium Batteries is:


Solar and Batteries

Difference in Weight


Older Technology for comparison

If it Was 180W and 240Ahrs AGM Batteries

Combined weight of

gives 120AHrs usable capacity

If it was 360W and 480Ahrs of AGM

Combined weight of 195Kgs

Very difficult to get this capacity on the roof.

If it was 540W and 480Ahrs AGM

Combined weight of 220Kgs

Kimberley Kruiser

Battery and Solar Specification

180W Solar and 120Ahrs Lithium Batteries

Combined weight of 21kgs

76 Kg Lighter

Includes 20A MPPT controller

Kimberley Kruiser
Limited Edition

Battery and Solar Specification

360W Solar and 240 Ahrs of lithium Batteries

Combined weight of 41kgs

154 Kg Lighter

No need to modify car for charging Includes large 30A MPPT controller

Option to either model

540W Solar and 240 Ahrs of lithium Batteries

Combined weight of 46kgs

174 Kg Lighter

No need to modify car for charging Includes large 30A MPPT controller

Our principles of water storage:

• Dual Water Sources, dual water fillers, dual hoses, dual pumps
• Lockable and secure water access
• Separate town water or stream water inlet that can bypass the main water tanks
• Water for hot water tank to pass through a stainless steel heat exchanger to minimize scaling and so that the tanks can be rinsed with town water if they become contaminated.
• Must be able to pump water out of a stream at 3-4m head
• Easy to use valves on shower/inside sink drains
• Re-cycle shower water for washing clothes and or for the electric flush toilet
• The recycle pump and lines are independent to the other 2 water pumps

Your typical water use pattern may be:

• With dual tanks: Keep the 70 litre water tank with good drinking water as full as possible otherwise keep at least 2 x 20 litre Jerry cans full.
• Carry only enough water in the second 120 litre tank as you need from filling point to filling point (this may be bore water)
• Always carry an emergency Jerry Can of water on the front even if you have dual tanks.
• Use the hot shower and washing machine generously when bore water is available
• Use “shower” drain grey water for washing clothes when bore water is scarce.
• Check water meter levels daily

How easy is it to operate the Hot Water System?
There is a single pushbutton to turn on the hot water system. You press it and that is all you do.
The diesel hot water will come on for a maximum of a pre-selected 30 or 60 minutes.

Where is the hot water tank?
There is no hot water tank. We use a stainless steel heat exchanger that produces instant hot water after about 4-5 minutes. We also use a stainless steel (maintenance free) glycol tank. The diesel device is the size of a large packet of Tissues and it heats the glycol which heats the water through the heat exchanger. With this configuration, the water becomes hot in 5 mins and will flow constantly at about 45-55 degrees c. This is great for a shower and most washing up. By taking this approach, we eliminate a separate tank and allow you to pass bore water through the heat exchanger.
If there was a “hot water tank”, it would be dead weight, as such systems stop operating when the tank is not full. So a 20 litre hot water tank does not give you another 20 litres of water, just 20 kgs of weight!

Are the tanks plumbed independently? Why?
Yes. There are 3 electric water pumps, one for each water tank and in the Kruiser Ltd Edition, one for the rear shower grey water tank. The tanks are plumbed with separate water fillers and separate lines.

Can I pump out of a stream?
Yes, we have tested the unit pumping 3.5m out of a stream through the hot water system. The hose was a 20mm standard hose with a foot valve fitted in the end in the stream.
You can also get reasonable pressure from the Visi-flow system if you are immediately adjacent to abundant water and use the external shower hose.

Can I connect to Mains town water?
Yes, there is a mains pressure reducing inlet. (This is also used when pumping out of a stream.)

How can I fill up the large tank from a local stream?
There are 3 steps:

1. Attach a long enough hose (we recommend a 20mm hose with a small in-line foot valve) with the valve in the stream
2. Turn valves to by-pass the water tank and take the stream water into the pump.
3. Connect an external hose to the external water outlet.
4. Fill the selected water tank.

The water pressure and flow may reduce. At a 3.5m lift, we found the pressure and water flow to be approx half that from the tank. It was still quite acceptable at around 3 litres/min

What if I suddenly discover the stream water is unclean or non-potable?
You have to flush the heat exchanger and the lines but do not have to worry about the tank. You have to flush the lines before turning the valves back to the tank to prevent backwash into the tank.

What if I want to flush and clean the shower grey water tank?
This tank has a manual inlet on the side for an external water source to flush and clean.

Ballina March 29