Getting rid of the foxing on Rosinante’s Airtex tent fabric and saving my solar controller

It was end of May 2022 and sometimes things just go wrong…

Back in Germany, Rosinante’s tent fabric got some foxing. Maybe the impregnation of the fabric had been worn out or it was just the humid and cold Autumn and Winter in Hamburg/ Germany and me working most of the day in the cabin that caused the foxing. I always had an airflow going through the cabin, but I think, if the tent fabric is humid, I pop down the roof and have no opportunity to pop it up or dry it, the foxing is nearly inevitable. At least if the impregnation doesn’t prevent the water from going into the fabric.

The Fernweh Mobil cabin has an Airtex tent fabric. This Airtex material is the same very often used for the tarpaulin of boats. I googled a lot about how to get rid of the foxing but nothing I’ve found was really convincing. I tried my luck and just asked one random Fernweh Mobil owner on Instagram if he had to get rid of foxing from his tent fabric. I was really lucky. The friendly guy from Germany had bought his cabin used and had foxing problems until he contacted a webshop specialized in cleaning, molt, and foxing, got the necessary stuff from them and got completely rid of it. He forwarded me an email with the instructions and a list of products I would need to clean the fabric.

Still back in Germany, I ordered the detergents and tried them on a very small area of the fabric. It’s been like magic! This stuff eliminates all the foxing. Easily. The foxing just disappears. I made the plan to clean the whole fabric once I would be in Greece at a nice beach with super nice weather and here I was at my dream cove and soon the dream will be over.

I took everything from the cabin on the beach and started the cleaning procedure:

  1. Put on fiber protection
  2. Put on Schimmalgin special until the foxing disappeared but hurry because the fiber protection doesn’t last very long
  3. Washing-up with water
  4. Put on new impregnation

As I was halfway through the second step, I suddenly realized, that all the electricity in the cabin went down. No cooling box, no input from the solar panel, nothing. Quickly I realized, that my solar charging controller didn’t show any status anymore. I got a little nervous because I didn’t want to organize and buy a new one and for a short while my mind started to come up with all sorts of shitty consequences that apply when there is no electricity: no charging of devices, no cooling box, no lights, spending money, less time of free nomad living.

I thought about all the nomads and campers that don’t have crazy electricity stuff with them. In a way, that made me calm down. And because the fiber protection lasts not very long, I focused on the cleaning job I had started. And while continuing the cleaning, my calming mind realized, that having no charge controller only means no solar energy. When I would bypass the controller, the batteries would deliver energy as usual. And what is more, I even would have several other options including the usage of my voltage transformer, etc. So this was no hopeless or stressful situation and even living without electricity may be a good chance for a forced digital detox.

The cleaning went super easy and the result is still pure magic! This Schimmalgin cleaner is awesome. You can get all the stuff at (no, it’s not an affiliate link). I guess every automatic oxidation cleaner with active chlorine would work but depending on the color of your fabric, it’s important to use the fiber protection in advance of the Schimmalgin. Otherwise, the color of the fabric is about to change irreversible.

After I finished the cleaning, I bypassed the solar charging controller and got back the precious electricity for the cooling box and all the digital devices. I started relaxing and thought about how the cleaning may have affected the controller. I realized, that the liquids I had used may have got into the controller. And so I put it in the sun to dry. I googled a lot about shops selling these controllers in Greece and how to get one without a big detour and having no residential address. My friend Tino (the master of camper electricity) helped me to identify and discuss which controller I should order. Thanks again, Tino.

The next day I tried the dried controller and it worked! It was awesome! But after two hours it stopped working again. Every few hours the electricity had been interrupted. I investigated the device and found that it always measured and displayed about one volt more than my heater and power outlet box. I had a closer look at the controller and found a mini area of what looked like salt on its circuits. After I removed this very carefully, I put the controller back in again. It worked! And months later, right now, it is still working perfectly!

That day I repaired my first electronic device and it felt great. It’s been a great experience and I often thought if I would have tried so hard to get it to work again if I could just have ordered a new one on Amazon and have it delivered the next day. I’m quite sure that back in Germany, I would just have ordered the new one. But having repaired the broken one feels so much better. And I learned the last bits about the electronics in my cabin that I didn’t have known before.