2007 Mercedes Sprinter 311 CDI – Service Indicator Reset – This One Works!

September 5, 2013

Just changed the oil on my Sprinter and needed to reset the service indicator. I tried several ways to  do the reset from searches on Google and only this one worked on my van –

Service Reset instruction for 2006+ Sprinter (NCV3)

with NO steering wheel buttons.

1. Put the key in the ignition and switch it on without starting the engine.
(Wait for LCD to return to the vehicle mileage)

2. Hold the “O” button down till you hear a beep (could take a while, 30 sec.)

3. Press the M button repeatedly and a number of reset menus will appear, (If you have used oil according to quality sheet 229.31 or 228/229.51 you can scroll to Reset.31 or Reset.51 respectively.) Select “reset 51”

4. Now, when appropriate oil type is selected press “O” for 6 seconds until ”2” is displayed.

5. Press “O” once again briefly and the ” reset done” message will confirm that the job is done.

6. Pull the Key out

One tip for the oil filter change – get the right filter wrench – 74mm diameter, 14 flats. Makes the job very easy to do.

New Mobicarte Top Up for Orange France Lets Go Data Sim

July 13, 2013

Orange France PAYG Data Sim Top Up  –  3 Gig Valid for 6 Months

Great for travellers and intermittent users in France this new top up gives 3 gigabytes of data and is valid for 6 months. The latest data Sims include 500mb of data and free access to Orange France wifi while there is credit on the Sim.

The latest 3G Data Sim and a six month top up with wifi to reduce 3G data usage could offer great value for owners of  holiday homes or campervans. The 3 gig top ups are available from Orange France boutiques for 35 euros. Maybe also from tabacs.

Ask david@brownbear.it for details  – the new Sims and top ups are  in stock. If your French is not up to a visit to an Orange France Boutique or if you might need help and support to get your 3G up and running this is the place to go.

Update 23 August 2013

The Orange Wifi offer needs credit in the main account on the Sim.  Data top ups do not count so additional Mobicarte top ups are required. Still good value wifi.

Update 14 December 2013

The 3 gig Lets Go Top Up has not been available in Tabacs and Orange France Boutiques recently and is probably discontinued.

27 December 2013

3 gig top ups available in Tabacs in France but not in Orange France Boutiques.


Update 27 July 2015

New rates for prepay/pay as you go data on Orange France Lets Go and Pret a Surfer Sim Cards –  10 euros for 1 gig valid 14 days,  25 euros for 3 gig valid one month and 40 euros for 5  gig valid 6 months. Available online and in Orange France Boutiques.

Simyo France 3G Sim PAYG – Low Cost Calls in France

March 19, 2013



Simyo France – Low Cost PrePay 3G Sim

Simyo France 3G Mobile Phone Sim French PAYG – Low cost calls in France and Europe

Simyo offers low cost calls in France and good rates for calls to Europe and Worldwide. Rates start at 10 eurocents a minute for local calls. No charge to receive calls in France. Good online support from the Simyo website. Ready for immediate use in France – just needs a call to Simyo to activate the Sim. The operators are French but mostly good with English. During the call you are asked for your name, date of birth and address. UK or other home address will be fine or you can use your temporary address in France.The Sim is activated immediately after this call and the telehpone number comes in a text message. This first call is free of charge. The Sim has to be registered with Simyo to add further credit. Registration is very easy to do. Complete form supplied with the Sim – telephone number, name and address. Post  the form plus a copy of your ID in the envelope supplied with the Sim.  No stamp needed when posted in France.

This is an easy to use Sim. Calls are at low rates with no need to purchase special offers or other options to get the low rates. Top up can be done online with a bank card. UK and International cards are accepted. For travellers in France this is the Sim of choice for phone calls. 

9 June  – Just topped up my Simyo France account. 30 euros for 450 minutes of calls valid for 3 months  AND done with a UK bank card. Usually 10 eurocents a minute but special offer just now gives calls at around 7 eurocents a minute. Good rates for International Calls too.

22 August 2013

Lost my  phone in France. Suspended the Sim on the Simyo website. Called Simyo who have sent me a new Sim with my original number. No charge.

10 December 2013

Current rates for Simyo

Calls :       0,10€/ min
SMS :       0,05€/ SMS
Internet :  0,05€/ Mb

How can I get Simyo? Ask david@brownbear.it

Update 28 July 2015

Simyo are ceasing operations in November 2015.

Mobile 3G Broadband in Spain

February 18, 2013

Just looking into internet and mobile phone in Spain. Last year in Barcelona it was a problem to get the profile settings for Orange Spain. These are the settings that worked for Orange Internet Everywhere on a 3G USB Dongle –

Orange Internet Everywhere   APN  internet  USER  orange   PASSWORD  orange

Vodafone Spain settings  for 3G USB Modem (dongle), Mifi or 3G Router

Vodafone Spain  APN  ac.vodafone.es  USER   vodafone  PASSWORD  vodafone

Dial Number  if required to set up a new profile Orange or Vodafone is *99#

March 2013 – Vodafone Spain PAYG Data Sim with 1 Gig Included


Vodafone Spain has a good offer on a Data Sim with one gigabyte of data valid for 3 months  included.  This offer is listed on the Vodafone website and in the brochures.  I have visited Vodafone shops in La Seu d’Urgell, Puigcerda and Barcelona but these Sims are not available at the moment. This is a great offer for international visitors as the Sim is ready for immediate use with one gig of data and easy to top up with Vodafone vouchers.

The Canigou

January 15, 2013

There is a nice parking spot just outside Prades which gives a good view of the Canigou. The Catalan sacred mountain can be seen from here in France and also from over the border in Spain and is a symbol of the Catalan nations desire for independence.

This image of the One Eyed Dog howling with the Canigou in the background brings to mind The Little Red Rooster …….

Dogs begin to bark, the hounds begin to howl Dogs begin to bark and the hounds begin to howl Look out strange cat people, the rooster’s on the prowl


Dogs begin to bark, the hounds begin to howl
Dogs begin to bark and the hounds begin to howl
Look out strange cat people, the rooster’s on the prowl

gold rooster

SFR France PAYG Mobile Phone and Data Sims

November 28, 2012

SFR offer mobile phone and data Sims with reasonable prepaid rates for phone calls and data. The mobile phone Sim is La Carte. The Data Sim for tablets, iPads, Mifi and 3G Routers is Pret a Surfer. Top up online with a bank card issued in France or with vouchers from supermarkets and tabacs in France. In France all Sim cards must be registered with the network.SFR Sims can be registered  in the following ways –

1. By visiting the following address: www.sfr.fr / identification
2. By  sending your personal details and a photocopy of your identification:
– By e-mail at: identificationlacarte @ sfr.fr
– By fax to 0811 70 70 71
– By post  to the following address: SFR La Carte Form – Authorization 42048-57059 Metz Cedex 2

12 February 2014

SFR have doubled the data on the vouchers. Not sure how long this promotion will last. Vouchers are long dated so buy now for use later is possible option.

  • 1 day       3 euros     200mb
  • 1 week     9 euros      1 gig
  • 1 month  30 euros     4 gig

May 5 2014  – Latest SFR Rates for PAYG /PrePay 3G Data in France

SFR Data Sim – Pret a Surfer

  • Includes 15 days connection (limit 200mb)
  • 1 Day            3  Euros     200mb
  • 7 Days          9  Euros     1 gig
  • 30 days      30  Euros   4  gig

Check available SFR International and Roaming  top ups using this -link- http://www.sfr.fr/telephonie-mobile/services-options/international/

Check SFR signal at your location in France here – http://assistance.sfr.fr/mobile_forfait/mobile/couverture-reseau/en-48-62267

June 2014

SFR 4G Sims are available now in SFR Boutiques, for online purchase from SFR with a bank card issued in France or at http://www.thewifishop.net

Share Long Range Wifi with Laptop, Tablet, PC, iPad or iPhone

March 1, 2012

For yachts, boats, garden office, caravan  or campervan 

Alfa Networks R36 Mini Wifi Router

Many users wifi enabled  devices find they have weak or unusable wifi connections. Because of limitations in the operating systems often found in  mobile devices it is not possible to use long range wifi adaptors to connect to distant wifi routers or hotspots. There is a solution to this problem using the Alfa Networks R36 mini Wifi Router. This litle router broadcasts a fast 11n wireless network and when connected to the Alfa Network AWUS036H wifi adaptor can make a long range connection to a distant wireless network. The Alfa AWUS036H will operate at up to 500 metres with good clear line of sight, less with obstructions such as buildings and trees.

Easy to set up and use this mini sized wifi and 3g router works with the Alfa AWUS036H long range wifi adaptor to give a fast 11n wireless network. Great for sharing the wifi hotspot connection with iPhone, iPad Laptop etc. Can also take a 3g dongle and share the 3g broadband by wifi. Ideal for use in a boat, or a campervan, or in a garden office where a longer range wifi connection is needed.

I have tried one and it does exactly what is intended. Connects at long range to a wifi hotspot through the Alfa 036H and broadcasts the signal by a secondary wireless network. Management of the Alfa 036H is by wireless and allows a search for wireless networks in the area and connect with the relevant settings. All this by wifi from a laptop, tablet or pc.

Update : Long Range Wireless  Wifi for Mac Users

This set up is ideal for Mac users as it is independent of the operating system on the laptop or pc.  Many wifi devices are not supported with Mac drivers and using the R36 with the Alfa AWUS 036H completely avoids this problem.

The R36 Router will also operate with the Alfa Networks AWUS036NHR. The specification for the 036NHR looks good. Should offer good range and the faster 11n speeds.  I will test this combination very soon and post the results but for now the 036H is the favourite.

June 2012

R36 is great with 3G using a plug in USB dongle. One limitation of the set up with the Alfa 036H is that the Alfa searches for its drivers on the connected devices. One of these devices must have Alfa drivers loaded so must be running Windows 98/2000/ XP/Vista/7, Linux Kernel 2.6 (x) or Mac 10.4 to 10.6

September 2012

My fixed line broadband at home is really slow but down the road, about 200 metres away, there is a free wifi hotspot. The Alfa R36 used with the outdoor wifi adaptor mentioned in another post here connects to this hotspot and gives me free internet24/7.  This could also be done with the R36 with Alfa AWUS036H but the outdoor unit with its higher gain aerial gives longer range and better signal.

This set up of Alfa R36 plus outdoor wifi adaptor would be great for boats, caravans, campervans, garden office etc. In fact anywhere a longer distance wifi connection which can be shared locally with any wifi enabled device is needed. One new fact has emerged which needs further investigation. My new tablet connects to the wifi hotspot via R36 and outdoor wifi unit when no other device is running. In theory this should not happen!

Check out this link for more information  –



English Couple offer house sitting in France or Spain

January 13, 2012

Just spent a really nice month in the centre of Barcelona courtesy of John and Siobahn Ward of www. barcelonaflats.net Clear blue skies and brilliant sun almost every day. Great fresh food market just down the road.

Now…… maybe there are people out there who need a house sitter for a week or two or longer . Perhaps to look after valued pets or do a little maintenance work. Dog sitting in France or Spain would be good or maybe look after the cats We like SW France, also the Limousin and Normandy. Northern Spain too. If there was a nice log fire that would be very welcome. We love the remote areas in the French and Spanish Pyrenees and the coastal area around Collioure. No problem with isolated rural houses or city centre.

We have our own Samoyed dog. He is a bit ancient now and gets on well with other animals. especially cats. We have experience of animal care having kept pigs, sheep, turkeys, chickens on a small holding in the UK and good DIY skills.

Rachel is an experienced UK nurse and former NHS Senior Manager and could offer nursing or home care for Granny or Grandad or other adults. Registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council in the UK and a member of the Royal College of Nursing Rachel works independently too  and is available or short or long time contracts at reasonable rates.

If you have need of reliable house sitters or home nursing care  send  an email to me, David,  and we can discuss possibilities.

Low Cost Mobile Broadband in France – French Orange Mobicarte 3G SIM

August 7, 2011

After some years of using McDonalds Wifi and local Wifi hotstpots I have finally found a solution to the problem of getting low cost mobile broadband internet while travelling in France. Orange Mobicarte 3G Pay As You Go SIM. This is for mobile phone use but works well with a 3G USB dongle. Internet is available for 3 euros a day, 7 euros a week or 9 euros for a month. The internet package can be purchased from your mobile phone from a simple menu using existing phone credit.

I am using an unlocked Vodafone K3565 usb modem with a high gain 3g aerial. The modem has a connector for an aerial but it is hidden within the case. A little surgery is required to get access to the connector.  Unlocking the 3G USB dongle is straightforward and there is software available to manage the 3G connection which is independent of manufacturer or 3G network.  More details to follow.

Update – February 2012

Mobicarte Sim is working fine. Good coverage in the  South of France and along the Pyrenees. Sometimes need to use an aerial to boost the signal but never without a connection so far. Useful  information  –  the Orange France Mobicarte 3G settings.    APN : orange  User :  orange  Password : orange.  Seems easy enough but connection to the 3G service needs these exact settings  and much time can be wasted guessing the settings or following advice on Google!

Lets Go is the Sim for laptops and usb dongles. There is now an email service to register ID details with Orange France. This is faster and more reliable than the postal system. Usually takes two days to complete. Registration  must be completed before the top up can be added to the Sim.  Lets Go APN : orange.fr  User : orange  Password : orange

Mobicarte and Lets Go Sims can be purchased at Orange Boutiques all over France but if your French is not too good or you are overseas or just need to do it the easy way you can make a purchase here – http://www.thewifishop.net  The Sims ship direct  from France by Lettre Prioritaire. Orange France data top ups are available too.

Orange France 3G Network Coverage

SFR France 3G Network Coverage

Update June 2012

Lets Go Sims are great for travellers wanting 3G on the move in iPads and Tablet PCs, Mifi, USB Dongles and 3G Routers. Top up with Mobicarte vouchers is easy but does not give the best rate for data.

Orange France Lets Go Data Sim top up vouchers. 

One gig valid 7 days, two gig valid 30 days and 3 gig valid 6 months. Prices 10 euros, 20 euros and 35 euros. On sale in most tabacs in France or can be purchased online or by phone with a bank card issued in France.

Full details for Mobicarte vouchers  here

September 2012

With a big trip to France to follow the 2012 Tour de France, we needed to sim cards for two iphones and an ipad. I had lots of questions and David from thewifishop.net was there to answer each one in great detail. Our sim cards arrived in Australia after only 4 days of ordering online. We chose to have them activated and registered so we would be ready to hit the ground running in France.
During our trip we had difficulty in a remote location getting a top up. David was quick to answer our cry for help on email and had us a new mobicarte code within hours.  When we had issues with a borrowed usb sim, even though we didn’t buy from thewifishop.net, David was there to help us out.
If you are considering traveling in France and need anything from  thewifishop.net then you would be mad to buy anywhere else. The service is exceptional.

Tony Laughton

Big thank you to Tony Laughton for this information.

Using  Microsoft Outlook with Orange France

All webmail eg gmail, hotmail is fine with Orange France 3G   but there is some set up needed to use Outlook.  It is necessary to to change your SMTP server to smtp.orange.fr  and use SMTP port 25 to be able to send emails.

April 2013  Top up Orange France Mobicarte Sim

Top up for the Mobicarte Sim is with vouchers from Supermarkets ,Tabacs and other outlets in France.   In Supermarkets the top up vouchers are usually on racks near the tills as you leave the store. Values run from 5 euros up to 100 euros. Each voucher has a 14 digit code – this iis the code to enter into the top up menu on your phone or with a call to 224. There are several codes and numbers on the voucher which looks like a till receipt. The one you need is 14 digits long and usually a little bigger font than the others.  You can use an International Bank Card in Supermarkets, Tabacs and other outlets in France but not to top up online with Orange France. For online top up you need a Bank Card issued in France.

There are three ways to add the top up credit to your Mobicarte Sim  –

1. Call #123# from your phone. This gets into the Orange France menu system. Look for recharge and put in the 14 digit voucher code. This is the easiest way to top up. No need to be in France – the menu system works worldwide.

2. Call 224 from your phone choose Option 2 Mobicarte and enter the 14 digti top up code. The phone call is in French but topping up is easy to do.

3. Online top on the orange.fr website. This needs a Bank Card issued in France. International Cards will not work. The website is not easy to use even for native French speakers.

Orange France Online Top Up for Mobicarte and Lets Go Sims

Top up  Orange France Mobicarte and Lets Go Sims  online with a bank card issued in France using this link – http://mobile-shop.orange.fr/rechargement

Orange France Lets Go Top Up Vouchers.

Currently there are 3 values – 10 euros gives 1 gig valid 7 days,  20 euros for 2 gig valid for one month and 35 euros for 3 gig valid for 6 months. The vouchers are long dated – well into 2015.

Orange France Lets Go top up vouchers are on sale in most Tabacs in France. The credit goes on with a phone call to Orange France from a French landline or mobile.

Easy Top Up for  Orange France Lets Go Sims  here

Use this code   sim125  for 25% off Sim cards and top ups from The Wifi Shop. Next 5 purchases only so be quick!

June 2014

Rates for Data on Orange France  Mobicarte Mobile Phone Sim 

Purchase from phone menu –

  • 1 day   0.90 Euros  10mb
  • 1 day   2.00 Euros  50mb

Buy Vouchers

  •  7 days     5 Euros    150mb
  • 14 days  10 Euros   500mb

 Update 27 July 2015

New rates for data for prepay/pay as you go on Orange France Lets Go and Pret a Surfer Sim cards – 10 euros for 1 gig valid 14 days, 25 euros for 3 gig valid one month and 40 euros for 5 gig valid 6 months. The new top ups are available online and at Orange France boutiques.

Long Range Wireless Wifi Signal Problems

July 20, 2011

One of the perennial problems of Wireless Wifi is achieving good signal at longer  range or in situations where there are obstructions such as walls , buildings and trees.  A belief has developed among consumers that high rf output is the solution to this problem and this has produced a number of Wifi devices which have high power and offer long range. Among the very best of these longer range devices is the Alfa Networks AWUS036h USB adaptor. The latest version is rated at 1000mw and there is no doubt that it outperforms built in laptop Wifi.

A couple of days ago I had a few minutes to spare and decided to make a simple test using a laptop, Alfa AWUS036H and a new outdoor USB Wifi Adaptor. From the same outdoor position each device was tried in turn and a measure was taken of how many Access  Points were detected. This trial was carried out quite high on the side of a mountain valley in Andorra. There were lots of flats and houses on the far side of the valley and some nearby on the same side of the valley. Across the valley conditions were ideal for long range – good clear line of sight.


Device                Laptop Wifi  Alfa 036H   Outdoor USB device

No.  of APs              18                      127                       138

These are interesting results with the Alfa 036H showing a massive increase in APs detected over the built in laptop wifi.

Alfa AWUS036H. This is the 500mw versions with 2dBi detachable antenna. I used the 1000mw unit which is identical but has a 5dBi antenna to give the rated output.

The outdoor usb wifi adaptor was also good. Here is a photograph of the outdoor unit. This comes with a high gain antenna – 8dBi and  5 metre USB cable. The long USB cable allows for positioning of the unit for best signal.

The Alfa 036H is the obvious choice for indoors and dry days outdoors. It is small, lightweight and the performance is good. The outdoor unit  offers better range and signal ( more APs detected) but is bulky. As with the Alfa 036H it is very easy to set up and use and offers good possibilities for yachts, boats, garden offices, campervans etc where portability is not a big consideration but the extra range and signal would be useful.


Next day I repeated the tests in a supermarket carpark. This was in an urban situation with buildings all round so less than ideal for long range. I tried each device in turn on the dashboard of my van. Here are the results –


Device                Laptop Wifi  Alfa 036H   Outdoor USB device

No.  of APs              7                     16                         29

Clear gain in number of APs detected with the Alfa 036H and big gain with the Outdoor USB device.

September 2012

Outdoor wifi adaptor with Alfa R36 Router is giving a good long range connection to a local wifi hotspot. The hotspot is about 200 metres away and not in view. This set up – Outdoor Wifi Adaptor with Alfa R36 – just needs a power supply to give good long range wifi connection which can be used locally by several wifi enabled devices. Good set up for boat, caravan or campervan, shed or garden office! Free internet all day with the connection managed by the R36.

More details of the Outdoor Wifi Adaptor here –  http://thewifishop.net/wifi-wireless-network/long-range-usb/500mw-alfa-networks-11g-high-power-outdoor-usb-wifi-adapter/prod_123.html

And R36 router here –  http://thewifishop.net/3g-broadband/3g-and-mifi-routers/share-your-wifi-hotspot-connection-over-fast-11n-wireless-network-alfa-r36/prod_201.html