“When Collyn Rivers speaks, even original equipment manufacturers take notice” – Automobile, Electrical and Air Conditioning News.
Collyn Rivers’ early technical training was in ultra-high voltage electrics and electronics. He was trained as a Ground Radar Engineer in Britain’s Royal Air Force. Following some years studying mechanical engineering he was employed by Vauxhall/Bedford Research Division.
There, his then rare knowledge of electronics proved mutually useful, particularly in suspension development. In 1960/61 he drove a Bedford QLR off-road truck twice the length and breadth of Africa studying road surface conditions. (This included two Sahara crossings.)
Africa back then was in political turmoil. That vehicle is the last known to have completed that journey through Africa’s centre. See Driving Across Africa.
After a further three years in North Africa, Collyn Rivers moved to Australia. There, he initially designed and built specialised scientific equipment. These included huge concrete testing presses to X-ray coal scanning machines.6A change in career
In 1971, Collyn changed careers completely. He founded and edited a global chain of electronics and other technical magazines. His best known (Electronics Today International ) was awarded the title of ‘The World’s Best Electronics Journal’ (by the IPREE). ETI had editions in Australia, UK, Canada, Germany, Holland and Indonesia (and later India). It became the world’s largest within six years. Many still exist but under different names.
During the later 1980s Collyn was technical editor of (the now sadly defunct) The Bulletin and also Australian Business magazine. During that time he also wrote the Australian Federal Government’s Guide to Information Technology . He also founded the ultra-successful Australian Telecommunications.
Collyn also became interested in the newly evolving area of solar. He was one of the first to use it with an RV: a 1974 VW Kombi. In early 2000 he designed and built a big stand-alone solar array outside Broome (in remote North Western Australia). He and his wife used the output to assist self-build their own environmentally friendly all-solar house.
The Broome house – the 3.4 kW standalone solar array is at bottom left. Pic: successfulsolarbooks.com
In 2002, he completed and published Motorhome Electrics (now Caravan & Motorhome Electrics). This book sells in over 50 countries, and is used by auto-electricians as a main text.
Collyn’s 2003 Solar That Really Works! (for cabins and RVs) was followed by Solar Success. This book is a complete guide to home and property systems. It has buyers worldwide. During all of these years, Collyn assisted countless others to build their own successful solar systems. He saves them thousands of dollar whilst so doing. That knowledge is now in his books – for all to share.
All of Collyn Rivers’ books are totally free of advertising and industry pressure. Writing about this, one commentator noted: ‘Whether it is a fault or a strength, Collyn will tell you exactly what you want to know, like what any supplier or manufacturer is doing right or wrong – and then back his statement with the facts.’ The sales of his books speak volumes . . .
Collyn and his child psychologist wife (Maarit) moved back to Sydney in 2010 – to live in what they rapidly converted into another all-solar house.
By Chrissy Eustace.