Getting powered back up

in South Australia2 months ago

With international travel most likely off the agenda for the foreseeable future, the rest of 2021 at least judging by what the government are mumbling about here, Faith and I have shifted focus to more local travel; For us that means camping usually as we like to get away from populated areas.

My pick up parked in the Flinders Rangers, South Australia. You can just see the massive mountain range in the background. This is one of our favourite places to be; It's some 600 kilometres north of Adelaide and one is unlikely to see anyone else out there.

With this local travel in mind I pulled the cover off my off-road camper trailer to give it a once-over a couple days ago. I was more interested in the batteries that power the on-board electrical items: Fridge/freezer, LED lighting, water pumps and my accessories when plugged in. We purchased the camper in 2015 and since then the batteries have not been changed so before we tow it anywhere they need checking.

When the camper is stored I have it plugged into power which feeds the smart charger to keep the batteries topped up. Once they reach capacity the charger floats them, meaning the power-input ceases until the batteries deplete a little then throws in some more charge on a repeating cycle. It keeps the batteries conditioned and the camper ready for use.

The battery compartment which is at the rear passenger (left) side of the camper trailer. You can see hot tightly packed it is which make it a little challenging to work on.

Considering the six years the batteries have been installed, two 65 amp hour batteries to total 130 amp hours of supply, I suspected that they might be less than perfect in condition, and so I had to find out.

What I wanted to test was their ability to hold charge and the lifespan in days that the batteries would last when loaded; Being used. It's a fairly simple task really and here's what I did.

First I turned on the fridge and set it for 2°C which is the temperature I operate it on when we're travelling with the camper. I had it plugged into power to bring the temperature down initially and once at the desired temperature I unplugged the mains power to let the fully-charged batteries take the load.

Of course, I needed to track the temperature to make sure the batteries were supplying the power to keep it constant and the time it took for the batteries to deplete so I needed to employ a weather meter called a Kestrel Drop 3, or simply D3, which is something I use as part of my long range shooting process. It would work perfectly to track the fridge.

It's a small device that registers all sorts of environmental factors and reports them back to the App on my phone via Bluetooth. It creates a log which is what I would use to track temperature and time. It's quite simple really; Just drop the Drop 3 into the fridge and close the lid.

I was hoping for about five days of power and constant temperature. The time tends to change along with ambient temperatures and how often the fridge is opened plus how much product it holds; It will be longer if loaded as the cold products actually make the cooling process more efficient.

When camping I plug in a solar panel to the trailer which feeds the batteries keeping them topped up but they need to be able to supply enough power for five to six days in the advent of bad weather which means less solar collection. When new I was getting a solid six days, so I would have been happy with five.

But that wasn't to be on this occasion as you can see from the images below.

  • Left is 0800 (8am) 18 January at 0.3°C.
  • Middle is 2330 (11:30pm) 18 January at 2.5°C (Where the batteries depleted).
  • Right is where the temperature is at 1600 (4pm) 19 January at the time of writing this post. 20.4C°

The batteries held the temperature, which sort of fluctuates just over and under the set temperature, from 0800 to 2330 and then failed altogether; Clearly they are buggered and need to be replaced.

I'm going to do the job myself when I get some spare time. The plan is to remove them, determine exactly what type I need, they need to fit into a tight space, buy replacements and re-fit them. I'm not expecting any difficulties although they are in a fairly tight compartment and getting access will be a pain in the ass! I'll make it work though. From there we'll be good to go!

Below are some images of the fridge and camper for a little perspective as I assume some of you may have asked. If you want to see a full post about it just scroll back down my feed about 15 months or so.

The fridge on board - 85L capacity and the ability to be fridge, freezer or both. The image bottom left shows the freezer compartment with the black lid. The centre panel removes completely for all fridge or all freezer configuration. This slides out inside the tent when set up and is accessible from outside when packed up to allow access whilst on the road.

Above are a few images of the camper set up. It has a big annexe off the back which isn't show in the images and that can be totally enclosed with walls if required. We rarely do that. It has a gas cooktop and BBQ grill in-built into the kitchen.

We are planning to head to the west coast of our State of South Australia. It's a massive State and our destination is probably going to be Port Lincoln some 650 kilometres away, seven hours when driving at 110kp/h. It means we don't have to cross any State borders which could be covid-closed at any point and our trip will be safe, more likely to happen I mean. We're looking forward to it...But I have this job to do before we can think about packing up and leaving.

So, that's about it y'all...The old G-dog has some electrical work to do and whilst it's not really my expertise I reckon I'll be able to get it done. What self-maintenance involving electricity have you done lately, if any, or what DIY have you been working on? Drop your comments below and let me know!

Design and create your ideal life, don't live it by default - Tomorrow isn't promised.

Be well
Discord: galenkp#9209


Yeh probably safer to not jump any borders at this stage just in case XD

Yep, agreed although we're planning Cairns in July to see my brother, his wife and my nephew. We'll fly. Hoping that can happen. The rest...Staying fairly close to home. I'm thinking the Great Ocean Road in VIC later in the year. Maybe over to visit @riverflows for some pumpkin scones and a cuppa. We'll see.

It looks like a pretty nice trailer system, can certainly go more places than a full sized trailer and I would imagine it is easier to park. Battery Tech has changed a lot over the last several years with the increase use of electric cars, so you should be able to find a pretty good battery system, though it may be somewhat pricey.

It's a nice rig, and when set up is very comfortable...Queen-sized bed and all...Very civilised, but tough as hell - It'll go anywhere I would take the 4x4.

I'd like to get those light-weight lithium batteries but the cost will prevent it. Maybe next time. To be honest I could probably get away without changing them out as I can plug in my solar panel but I'm not that guy...I want (need) things to work as intended.

Nothing but the best adventures. You're lucky as SA is relatively empty outside the city. Makes camping interesting but also harder if you don't pack enough supplies.

Make sure you keep us updated on all the awesome trips Faith and you do. I'd love to see some of the wonderful land scapes of SA.

I'll do posts as we travel for sure! This Port Lincoln trip is just a short 5-6 day jaunt to the west...We'll not camp remotely I think, probably at a park I guess. Still, it's a nice part of the State and I'm hoping to get some decent pictures to share.

Sounds marvellous and can't wait to see the pictures.

Let me get you started with a !BEER

Beer...Don't mind if I do, thank you good sir!

Sorry, out of BEER, please retry later...

It's a fairly simple task really and here's what I did.

Quite a big experiment 🙂

Yes, it'll keep me busy for a couple hours.

I realized that I miss camping. :(

I love camping...So awesome. Have you done it much and if so, where?

I had my first camping adventure with my aunt and cousins. This adventure was pretty scary for me. Because one night I woke up with an ugly ebony frog on me!


Now we go camping with my husband and friends. Our camping area Datça. There is a camping site called “Aktur Camping” in Datça. A great place.

Frogs are a hazard of camping I guess...Here it's snakes, spiders, scorpions and the like...But they don't eat much, usually. 😊

I think camping is great fun though and I always feel more alive when I'm out there camping, closer to nature and centred.

I've never seen such an ugly frog before! Tt was dangerous for me yeah! I cried until morning and I remember refusing to go inside the tent. I guess I was a coy city girl back then! :D

I know so many people who have had a bad first camping experience and have never done it again and so it speaks highly of you that you went back for more even after your frog incident. ✅ 🐸

You will sort mate👍

I'll use The Force man, Star Wars has to come in handy for something! 🙄


If you lived close by you'd be doing it! I'd supply the beers and steak sandwiches.

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Damn, those batteries sure are nearly dead at this point. I guess that happens to any electrical thingy which is not used constantly. Poor thing. I hope the replacement goes smoothly.

About electrical projects, I have a pending task to make a rib bender for the cuatros. I already have a can to make. Basically, it is yellow bulb inside a can to make it hot and be able to bend that part. People who have money can by the iron cylinder. But a bulb and a can works just fine. I need to get wire, bulb and the socket, but also do some woodworking so it has a solid base since I will be applying pressure on the can when using it.

That sounds interesting and adds another new element to the crafting process; Having to craft the tools to make the cuatro. That's how it wold have been done in the old days though right? They'd get stuck with a problem and have to work a way around it. Nice work. I'm sure we'll see it on hive.

Well, I guess they devised different kinds of gadgets to complete the task at hand. I don't really know what guitar makers did in the past about it because I'm not that much into the history of the craft, but I know that here people used to do it with a kerosene lamp burning under a can. That way the metal would keep a constant heat and after hydrating the wood it would be easier to bend. The problem with this is that kerosene fumes are pretty damn toxic and I'm sure some of these people might have contracted respiratory diseases.

The bulb alternative is eco-friendly and safer. I will make sure I take some good pictures of that to post it when I finish it.

I like the bulb idea as respiratory problems are overrated. :)

Yes, it's a better way to do. When I have money, I can join the iron club. For now, the bulb will do. :D

What a cool idea! It's a great opportunity to get to know more of Australia's outback places. Your car is awesome for this. Camping and travelling with your loved one, what else could you wish more?

I could wish for a gazillion dollars but that's not going to happen so I wish, and actively pursue, time instead, making the best of it. How? Living well, being healthy, educating myself (I dropped out of high school), trying to be the sort of person others can look up to and can rely on, being an amazing lover, good brother and working towards liking what I see in the mirror when I look (although that's rare).

Yeah, I wish for time...Although a gazillion dollars would be nice too!

We've travelled Australia extensively but still feel we've not seen enough...It's vast and full of wonder so...Yep, off we go!

That's so cool! Actually self education is more important than the amount of years spent in a school. I value education a lot but I feel that it is often misunderstood what being an educated person really means. In the same time, there is no financial education being done in the traditional system so the kids actually come out quite unprepared for life when finishing school.
Looking in the mirror and seeing something that you like is priceless G. More should learn from the wisdom of those who lived a little longer and experienced life more

Not finishing school hasn't seemed to impede my life too much. I'm not a millionaire, but comfortable. I'm not a scientist, but inquisitive. I'm not an intellectual, but far from stupid...I don't think my life has suffered too greatly due to not completing high school. I know what I need to know, learn what I don't know if it's relevant and build my wisdom and understanding through the life itself. Meh, I'm ok...And for those who do not agree...That's their trip, not mine. 😊

Building your vision while in the process is the most important thing. I guess that we all grow every day to the best of our ability to adapt.
The school of life is the hardest to graduate from.

The school of life is the hardest to graduate from.

This is true...Maybe because it never ends? Well, until one dies at least.

Death ends it up pretty much for everybody

Yeah, but I'm coming back to haunt some people for a while.

Looks like you're in for a nice break! Good thing you checked those, or may have been returning early!

True, although I have a fridge freezer mounted on board my Landcruiser also so there's always a back up. You know what they say:

One is none and two is one.

Be prepared is my motto, amongst others. 😉

Amazing how that huge space resumes to a trailer when packed. What I liked the most was that sturdy drawer--I'm planning something similar if I ever get a pick-up to live in. The plan would be to replace the rear box with a living-capable capsule.

Unfortunately Ford is leaving Brazil this year, so Ranger will be imported from Argentina. Thinking about going Toyota for the business, or in a far far far dream a Land Rover.

Yeah, it's a nifty thing for sure. There's a room inside as you can see and the bed sits on the top of the trailer with storage underneath. The annex is enclosable with Velcro and zip on canvas walls but we only do that in bad weather as we're happy to see the views...We go to some amazing places.

I loved my Ranger; A capable and tough truck. I've got a Toyota LandCruiser now, the twin turbo V8 diesel one. Its glorious. I'll do a post on it someday. I think you can't go wrong with the Hilux or Ranger and the D-Max is also good, the Izusu. I'm not sure if you have that there but they've just released a new one which is pretty sweet. Of course, the Land Rover is always a good choice.

It sounds like you like the outdoors and camping? There's loads of those rear-tub replacement capsules here, they custom make them. There's even ones that can be easily removed by dropping legs and lifting it slightly so the vehicle can be driven out from underneath it. Pretty cool. I hope you make it happen.

I do enjoy the outdoors, mostly hitchhiking and bikepachaking. We don't have LandCruisers nor Izusu here. I believe a Toyota Hilux would suit well since it has parts everywhere, and are not expensive too. My idea is to build something to live inside for months on, either a sail boat or a van. Your setup seems well-capable for that, but hard to hide in a bush or street \o\

That would be cool, the boat/van thing. My brother want to live on a sail boat and is actively working towards making that happen. Of course he will have to decide what's the best course of action when he has the money but it's one of his options. He lives on coastline along the Great Barrier Reef too so I'm sure it'll be a beautiful lifestyle.

but hard to hide in a bush or street

Lol...In Australia it's never difficult to hide. 95% of the population lives on only 5% of the land and considering how vast the country is...Hiding isn't ever an issue. I mostly go camping in remote areas where we don't see anyone for the whole time. I'm talking several hundred kilometres from the nearest town...That's how we like it...Less people.

Awesome job! I recently installed "Smart Switches" in my house. I feel like I'm an electrician now!! (Not really, but maybe).. I feel accomplished, and love that I can set timers and turn the lights on/off from anywhere. Life is good 👍

The feeling of accomplishment applies whether one is a professional or home handyman or DIY-er I think...It's all the same, although maybe greater for the person who doesn't normally do a particular job I guess. I get great satisfaction out of getting a task done that I might normally hand out to a professional or more qualified person. It's just satisfying right? Nice work on your electrical work mate, I'd say yep, you're a licensed electrician now for sure! 😆

I struggled through it, and phoned a friend or two, but when that 3-way light switch worked in both locations, I felt great! DIY is nice when you can find the time to do it. And I'm happy that I don't need to think about these darn lights anymore 🙂

Nothing wrong with friend-phoning when DIYing. Better than having to undo the work, head back to the hardware store to re-purchase the stuff and starting over...Although that can be a good lesson a friend. 😂

Haha, what about phoning a friend, then having to go to the store to buy stuff, then phoning a friend again to make sure you got the right stuff? ... I'm asking for a friend...