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Motorised Levelling for Less Than R10,000? Really?

  • Fyko van der Molen
    Fyko van der Molen on

    Yes really.

    In fact, probably for less than R8000. Check this out:

    4 x Electric Scissors Jacks from Makro @ R1400 = R5600

    1 x Control Unit @                                                           R1600

    Sundries – wiring, brackets etc @                                   R700

    Total                                                                                    R7900

    A couple of years ago you were looking at near enough R100,000 to have motorised levelling on your RV. Then we figured out how to attach gearmotors to the corner steadies and the price came down to less than R25,000.

    Now, with these super-efficient electric jacks the job is a whole lot easier to DIY, and the very modest current requirements of the jack motors means the wiring and switchgear never needs to carry more than 7 Amps. That means that 1mm wiring is enough and the switchgear is also a whole lot cheaper.

    Also the adaption of the jacks requires only hand tools found in any suburban garage.

    Fyko van der Molen
    Fyko van der Molen on

    This is Levelation Lite.

    A complete control unit optimised for implementing Electric Scissors Jacks. You connect 12VDC power at the top, and 4 electric jacks at the bottom, and you’re ready to level.

    It has a 10A max current capacity but is current-limited to 8 Amperes on Extension, and 5 Amps on retraction, enough to stow it without stress.


    Fyko van der Molen
    Fyko van der Molen on

    This is the quick-release bracket that bolts onto the underside of the chassis using the same bolt holes as the corner steady. Therefore no drilling is required on the trailer and the steadies can be restored to original should the trailer be sold. Only mild steel flat bar is used to make the bracket.

    Cost: approximately R50

    Fyko van der Molen
    Fyko van der Molen on

    This is the Android phone app in action:

    The phone is lying flat on its back on a table.

    The initial situation is ideal – the nose is low and there is not too much lateral tilt.

    As a first step extend the 2 front jacks so they both touch the ground. Then extend them alternately until the Y axis ball is centred.  Then extend both rear jacks until they just touch the ground.

    Now extend the left side jacks alternately until the X axis ball is centred.


    Close the app.

    Josef Konrad
    Josef Konrad on

    My phone won’t lie flat on a table because it has a proud little island on the back where the camera lenses are located.

    Fyko van der Molen
    Fyko van der Molen on

    The problem of the elevated camera area can be solved by hanging that corner beyond the edge of the table.

    But here are more serious difficulties that are not so easily solved associated with these protective covers that people put their pones into. The backs of these covers have all sorts of lumps and bumps which interfere with the phone lying parallel to a horizontal surface.

    For this we have a simple calibrator – you place the phone as flat as possible on a surface trusted to be horizontal and double tap the top Title. This takes only a few seconds and zeroes the crosshairs of the spirit level axes removing any levelling error. The phone can now be places on the trailer’s table top and the deck can be levelled with perfect accuracy.

    This calibration offset is cancelled when the app is terminated so the next time it starts up with a clean slate.

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