Wednesday, 12 June 2019

How to Power Your 12 Volt Fridge For Longer

12v fridge power adapter
How to Power Your 12 Volt Fridge For Longer.

Annoyed of having to find ice to keep your Esky cool.

Fortunately the 12 Volt Camping Fridge are a great invention and help keep our food cool for longer.

But like everything in life, there are pros and cons.

There is different way to go about this:

1. You can use the battery from your car where can add a lead to your battery to quickly connect your 12V fridge.
Depending how long you will use the battery this method is not recommended as you can flattened your battery and reduced it's life span.
These battery are not design for this type of usage.

2.Instal a Dual battery system (a 2nd auxiliary battery) in your car with a Deep Cycle batteries which are designed to consistently deliver power, for much longer.
These type of Battery allow a much deeper discharge and limit damage.

The auxiliary battery can be used to power your 12 volt camping fridge and also other 12 volt accessories.

It will depend on how much you want to spend as you need a few accessories to set it all up:

  • Battery connections
  • Battery cables
  • Battery isolator
  • Battery charger
It also depend on how much room you have available in your car.

3.If you are after a simple plug and play and stand alone solution to power your fridge you can use a portable power pack rechargeable with solar.

Overall you can you use different options and common sense that suit you best at time of your trip like using ice bag, protect you fridge from the heat.

And if during the trip you have access to a 240 AC power point you might want to be able to use a: 

12VDC 12.5 Amp Switchmode Power Supply - Mains to Cigarette Lighter Socket 

Fridge Power Supply Adapter

Monday, 13 May 2019

Preparing Your Battery For The Colder Days

Most of the time car batteries fail when the temperature outside are getting lower or are fluctuating more during the day.

The reason for this is colder temperature affect the chemical reaction inside the battery that produce the charge to the terminals.
The battery become less effecient.

If your battery is more than 3 years old you can listen for the signs.

When you start in the morning if it sound more slugish than usual you might want to do the following checks:

  • Make sure the connection are tight
  • Make sure that the cable are in good condition
  • Unsure that the terminals are clean no sulphation
  • Check it's voltage more than 12.5 Volt
  • Check that the liquid is 5 mm above the plate for refillable batteries
  • Check battery external protection

To prevent this to happen you can first test it with a battery load tester to know how healthy it is.

Following this you can charge it with an external battery charger to make sure it's topped up.

Also you can check that your alternator is charging properly, for this use a voltmeter connected to the battery terminal when the engine is running you should get more than 14 Volts if not you might have a problem with your alternator.

Further to this if you want to give more life to your battery you might want to add some battery conditioner to extend it's life.

Monday, 21 March 2016

How To Wire New Car Equipment

Before adding any equipment to your car it’s important to know how much extra power or Amperage you will need.
This will help you determine what cable size you need and if you need an extra battery.
 Depending  on what equipment you add on and how often it’s used you need to check your battery capacity to make sure you won’t be running out of power.

Circuit protection
Always add some protection to you Circuit.
Protection devices include fuses, circuit breakers, switches.
The inline fuse, the least expensive means of protection. If connected close to the power source provides protection for both the wiring and the connected device 

Cable Size
It’s essential to use a cable size that will deliver adequate voltage to the equipment installed. You need to calculate voltage drop using the maximum current that the equipment draws - not the average. But if the same cable is used to feed other loads or charge batteries, then you need to add this additional current when calculating the cable size needed.
The best way to know how much Amp you are already using is to your cable with a clampmeter .
In the case the cable feels warm when running at full load, then you are losing significant power due to the cable being too thin.
Common wire gauge conversion
Gauge ref:            Section:
     8B&S                           7.91mm2
     6B&S                          13.56 mm2
     3B&S                          25.72 mm2
     2B&S                          32.15 mm2
     1B&S                          39.55 mm2

To choose a wire gauge the need to know the cable length and the current draw or wattage.

The term wire gauge refers to the thickness of a wire. Wire gauge can be used to determine electrical resistance and the current handling capability of the wire.
B&S is a commonly used measure of wire gauge, B&S means Brown & Sharpe and B&S is equal to AWG American Wire Gauge.

Battery size
To calculate how much battery capacity (in Amp hours) you will need, you need to know the current consumption of  equipment (in Amp hours ) under the conditions that you will be using it, plus the time before you can recharge the batteries.
For long battery life, you need to plan to use only 50% of the battery capacity and to recharge them within a few days. You would only use up the full battery capacity if there was no other option available.

Solar Charging
To avoid damage to your batteries you should always plan to recharge batteries fully in one day, although in winter this may mean the equivalent of 2 hours of peak charge current from a panel.
"Amps aren't amp hours"

Amps are used for Instantaneous current flow  for a compressor fridge this could be 6 amps when working hard, reducing to 2 amps when the contents have cooled down, then zero when the thermostat cuts out.

Average current - amps - for a fridge you need to average out over 24 hours, because the instantaneous current consumption varies with operations.

Total Current Consumption - Amp hours – mean you multiply amps by hours, so if your fridge uses 2 amps average, then over 24 hours it will use 48 amp hours.

The daily amp hour usage of a fridge is comparable with battery capacity in amp hours.
Also you can add amp hour usage for different loads - e.g. if your Tent light uses 1 amp and you use it for 4 hours a night i.e. 4 amp hours per day, then your total draw from the battery per day will be 48 + 4 amp hours.

Better Connectors
Make sure all your wire connection are tight and properly secured.
Use appropriate connectors :
- Cigarette Lighter Plug (Cigarette Lighter plugs can be a hazard because they were never designed for drawing power continuously)
Anderson Powerpole 30 - these Red and Black connectors with silver contacts are rated at 30 amps. They can take cable up to 10 Gauge or 5mmsq.
Anderson SB50 - these are the smallest of the grey Anderson connectors, they have silver contacts, rated to 50 amps. They can take cable up to 6 Gauge or 13mmsq.


Make sure you use correct size cable.
Make sure the cable are properly attached and locate in protected area where they won’t physical damage.
Make sure the cables have good insulation.
Wiring are source of shortcut which could lead to fire.

If more power is required for your project you can add either a jumstarter  a deep cycle battery and use a solar panel to keep them charged.

Monday, 8 February 2016

SUV Below 65K Review

It’s not always easy to choose which car to buy considering the number of Brand available.
It really come down to what  is your budget and what feature do you want with it and how new do you want it.

 Something to know is that a car loose a lot of it’s value in the first 2 years. Sometime It's worth considering a second hand car ... it won't cost you so much ! and they are more negociable. 

A few things to consider are what Brand do you like, diesel or petrol engine, how many seat, the look !
A point also important to check is what the yearly maintenance cost and what is the fuel consumption.

We have selected a few car to review:

Mercedes GLC

Starting price: $64,490
Mercedes-Benz puts a premium on comfort rather than sportiness.
The refinement and features of the new medium-size luxury SUV are quite welcoming.
Lots of boot space at the back with the hands-free tailgate system and there’s a rear 12-volt socket for a portable fridge. The back seats fold to had more space.
The leather seating is standard in the GLC 250, as are the 20-inch rims, keyless entry, tinted windows and a Driver Assistance Package.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine produces 155kW and 350Nm; it’s bookended in the GLC range by a 2.1-litre turbo-diesel in two ratings: 125kW/400Nm (GLC 220 d) and 150kW/500Nm (GLC 250 d).
The power is fed to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission, which flicks smoothly and rapidly through its ratios either automatically, or via paddle shifters on the leather steering wheel.
Overall this car inspire safety and performance.

Lexus NX200t,
Starting with the entry-level Luxury model $52,500 plus on-roads.

Lot’s of option are on offer:
- reversing camera
- front and rear parking sensors
- powered tailgate,
auto wipers,
cruise control, tyre
pressure monitoring system,
 smart key entry and start,
heated and electrically-operated front seats
satellite navigation.
Attention to detail and finish in the cabin are brilliant quite compact for easier access for the driver.

The NX debuts a new 2.0-litre turbocharged engine – the first turbo engine for Lexus.

The resultant outputs - 175kW of power and 350Nm of torque – are on par with prime rivals.
It has fewer ratios than most rivals (6 which typically have between seven and nine)
Fuel claim average consumption of 7.7 litres per 100km, something which is in a mix of predominantly urban driving.

The car feel more sporty as the suspension are firm.

Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI

Price: $63,600
In the same range as the previous cars.
The Q5 has a strong athletic look, while maintaining a nice air of pomp, too. Its well-proportioned body sits on 18-inch aluminium wheels, standard. 
High gloss blacks, carbon-fibre reinforced plastics, chrome, wood and leather finishes are tastefully combined to create a luxurious finish.
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol; 155kW/300Nm; 7-speed auto; Pros: Strong engine teams nicely with slick auto; spacious and functional cabin; classy inside and out; confident through corners.
Cons: Firm ride; storage light-on up front; reversing camera optional
This models is equipped with idle stop-start technology.
The 2.0-litre models turbo-petrol (TFSI) and (turbo-diesel) TDI guise. The diesel engine develops 130kW at 4200rpm and 380Nm from 1750rpm, with the petrol engine delivering 165kW at 4500rpm and 350Nm from 1500rpm.
Claimed fuel economy (L/100km): 7.9 

Toyota Kluger
Price from: $40,990
Engine: 3.5-litre V6, 201kW/337Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto, FWD
Thirst: 10.2L/100km

The car its spacious and has plenty of power just a quality car.
Durable, capped price servicing is cheap, the engine is responsive and breaking power top shelf. Very safe and reliable vehicle!
 Highway driving gets around 9.3ltrs per 100k.
The car looks impressive and sounds really good when you put the foot down. Vision is excellent.
Rear camera has good vision and sensors are placed well.
Toyota Kluger retains its trusty 3.5 litre petrol engine, however unlike most of its competitors there is no diesel engine.  
The engine produces 201kW and 337Nm of torque, the engine is matched to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Overall the size of the car, with engine and the six-speed transmission affect the fuel consumption.

As a mechanic point of view these car are really good value the Mercedes being the more expensive I believe it would also last longer.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Car Battery Guide

Choosing a battery for your car is not always easy considering the amount of information you can find and the different types of battery available.

It's important to be well informed on the type of batteries that you can use.
Car battery don't last for ever !

First thing to consider is what is your budget.

For the same car a battery could cost between $70 to $300.
In relation with the price is the quality of your battery.
Your car battery could last between 3 to 8 years.

Once you have decided what price, feature and quality you are considering you can start looking.

The different criteria to check when buying a car battery are:

  • Are you living in a hot or cold environment.

Hot climates damage car batteries faster due to water loss, heat distortion and an increase in corrosion. If you have a low maintenance battery, it is important to ensure it is topped up with electrolyte and batteries are kept in full state of charge.

For this reason calcium battery are better they last longer and shelf life, greater overcharge acceptance and an increase in available power. 

Wet-cell lead acid batteries plate were made of Antimony now manufacturer start to use more and more calcium .

Calcium batteries can be used with any cars.

  • Another parameter to check is the Battery CHARGE Codes In the absence of a valid purchase receipt, an assessment of the batteries age can be concluded by checking the charge code. 

This code is a combination of a letter and number located on the top of the battery lid.
Battery date code explained:  1st Digit = Month A to M (January to December) 2nd Digit = Year 7= 2007, 8=2008 etc)

Dont buy a battery from shop like Super cheap, Autobarn as you don't know how long the batteries have been sitting there.

Find a battery shop that buys them on a regular basis. That way the batteries are fresh.

  • Battery feature to consider: 

-          Maintenance free battery
-          Traditional, wet-cell lead acid batteries
-          Charge indicator
-          Mounting flexibility 
-          Vibration resistance temperature tolerant

  • Manufacturer   
Most manufacturer are in China (Century are Yuasa ), Odyssey is a quality brand made in the US.
  • Check battery warranty 24 month should be the minimum.

The two main types of Batteries compared

 If we compare Maintenance free batteries and Traditional, wet-cell lead acid batteries

 The advantages of a wet-cell lead acid batteries are : 


  • Longer life
  • Lower initial cost
  • Less sensitive to higher temperatures
  • Perform better in heavy-duty applications

- Disadvantages:
  • Require adding water, specific gravity checks
  • Electrolyte can spill and corrode
Cool-down time needed after charging

The advantage of a Maintenance free batteries are:

  • No watering required
  • Reduced maintenance
  • Opportunity charging is acceptable
  • Little to no cool-down time necessary after charging
  • Sealed design prevents electrolyte spills, corrosion

  • Higher initial cost
  • Must be charged on approved, voltage-controlled charger
  • Full cycle charging time is longer

In shops you might come across deep cycle batteries they are not design for Automotive purpose. 

Automotive batteries are designed to be fully charged when starting the car; after starting the vehicle, the alternator charge the battery and keep it fully charged.
Deep cycling an automotive battery will cause damage to the plates and shorten battery life.

What make the quality of the battery is the Material used.

The main 2 used for Automotive batteries are:

1. Lead Antimony ( Most commonly used ).
1. Longer service life than Calcium batteries. When well maintain.
2. Easier to recharge when completely discharged.
3. Lower cost.

2. Lead Calcium ( AC Delco maintenance free batteries ).
Is a maintenance free lead acid battery which uses lead calcium cell plates.
1. Larger electrolyte reserve area above the plates.
2. Higher Cold Cranking Amp ratings.
3. Little or No maintenance.

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Saturday, 2 May 2015

Restarting a flooded car

After a flood you car might not be recoverable depending on how high the water level has been around your vehicle and for how long it’s been flooded you might have to carry out different checks and do the right assessment to evaluate if your is worth repairing.
If your car has been flooded as a general rule never attempt to start or drive it until a thorough inspection and
cleaning has been performed and any necessary repairs have been carried out.

So before attempting to start or drive a flooded vehicle there is a minimum of checks to perform :
·          Always check for debris in the engine compartment, radiator area and under body, even if the water doesn’t appear to have been very high.
·          Check oil level in engines, transmissions, gearbox and differential s if it’s over Max level this mean some water has entered.
·          It’s important to ensure key safety components, such as steering and brakes, are functioning correctly after any water exposure. Contaminated fluids will cause damage to components.
·          If there is a risk that water has entered the engine bay do not attempt to start the engine. Water entry into the engine can lead to severe and expensive damage. Water could be inside the cylinder depending on the car you can remove the spark plug or injector for further inspections.
·          Starters, alternators, wiper, window and other motors will rarely work immediately after being submerged. Sometimes they  will begin working after they have dried out, however dismantling and cleaning or replacement may be necessary. Also your battery could have been affected it's preferable to check it
·          In floods, fuel tanks can be contaminated by water. This can cause the vehicle to stop running. Diesel fuel systems are particularly sensitive to water contamination.
·          Electronic component are usually sealed so they shouldn’t be affected. But on old car the ignition system would prevent you to start the car if water was involved.          
If the engine can safely be started, let the engine run at idle for a short time and check that the cooling system is regulating properly. Stop the engine and let it cool down for a few hours. Check all the level again engine oil, coolant, brake fluid make sure there is no water presence.

If everything seems OK try to take a short drive, test the brakes (at low speed first) and look and listen for any abnormalities. If nothing is evident, it’s probably okay to drive, however we recommend that you have it checked over by a mechanic.