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Browsing: Technical

As a tour operator with Fly Africa Safaris, I have led more than a thousand vehicles over the border, and guided countless tours as far as Uganda in my 18 years in the business. In that time, I have experienced a lot of changes and developments in the field of dual-battery systems, deep-cycle batteries and charging systems. I’ve seen technology evolve from a cooler box packed with dry ice to fridges connected directly to the vehicle’s main battery. Then solenoid systems took over the market. Today things have moved on with vehicle manufacturers opting for smart alternators, while charging technology…

Somebody gets stuck; you take out the snatch strap, connect it to the stuck vehicle with a pair of rated steel bow shackles and complete the recovery. It’s the way it’s been done since the first Datsun 1300 was still proudly displayed on showroom floors. On Track: Vehicle recovery tools and techniquesThe problem comes in when a recovery point fails or the shackle was incorrectly attached, and now you’ve got a heavy piece of metal flying through the air at speed similar to a bullet. People have tragically lost their lives or sustained horrific injuries this way. It’s why we…

Why your dual-battery system is incomplete With the Easter holidays just weeks behind us, there’s a good chance that your auxiliary battery is in desperate need of maintenance, and an even better chance that permanent damage is happening to the battery as we speak. But don’t fret; there’s still time to save your battery and prolong its life. This is what you need to do … A lot can be said about battery life and how it relates to recharge rates, but in the interests of simplicity, here’s the gist of it: a deeply discharged battery must have enough TIME…

Auxiliary batteries are used to operate appliances while you are away from mains 240V power, without running the risk of compromising your vehicle’s main starting battery. People have been using and charging auxiliary batteries in their cars and caravans with varying degrees of success for over a century. For most of us, the days are long gone when all we needed from our auxiliary battery was a small amount of power for a bit of lighting, and maybe a radio. These days, we expect much more. We like to run lights, TVs, DVDs, pumps, fridges, and winches, charge camera batteries…

Special thanks to Branden Austen of Deltec Energy Solutions Batteries are the core storage units of any solar or multi-battery system, so it’s worth knowing how to choose the right type for your application. This quick look at a complicated topic outlines key differences between cranking and deep-cycle batteries, and how to prolong their service life. Starting Batteries Starting batteries, most commonly referred to as automotive batteries, are required to provide a high current output for a relatively short period of time with immediate recharge from the vehicle’s alternator. This type of application typically uses a very small amount of…

With thanks to Branden Austen of Deltec Energy Solutions There are three types of wiring configurations that are relatively easy to learn. Once these are mastered, the wiring of batteries or solar modules becomes easy as pie. The three configurations are: Series Wiring Parallel Wiring A combination of the two known as series/parallel wiring In any DC-generating device such as a battery or solar module, you will always have a negative (-) terminal and a positive (+) terminal. Electrons (or current) flow from the negative terminal through a load to the positive terminal. For ease of explanation, we shall refer…

With thanks to Branden Austen of Deltec Energy Solutions We have discussed how photovoltaics produce power, and how to calculate power draw, but there is more than that to a solar system. Apart from the batteries (more on that next month), you will need a charge controller. This is because the brighter the sunlight, the more voltage the solar cells produce, and excessive voltage could damage the batteries. A charge controller is used to maintain the proper charging voltage on the batteries. As the input voltage from the solar array rises, the charge controller regulates the charge to the batteries,…

Words & Images Branden Austen A typical shopping list for a solar system consists of an 85 Watt solar panel, cabling, a regulator (to prevent the panel from overcharging the battery), a deep cycle battery (100 Ah rated at 20 hours) and a battery box. An average 85 Watt solar panel will collect an average annual daily high of 5.5 peak sun hours. Camping in summer will increase that average daily collection. 85 Watts x 5.5 hours, divided by the voltage (the nominal output specified by the panel manufacturer), will give you less than 38 Ah per day. This is…

Words Freddi Stafford In this, our seventh and concluding article on how automotive lubricant technology has changed forever, we will discuss brake fluid − which is not something you can use until you notice deterioration. With old fluid, one minute you have perfect brakes; and the next you have none. Many people are complacent about their brake fluid, assuming that it will always do the job. It is a “safety critical item”, but how many motorists ever ask to have their brake fluid checked, or when it was last changed? Approximately 70% of vehicles on the road have brake fluid…

Words Freddi Stafford In the past five articles, we have discussed how automotive technology has changed forever. In recent years, the number of different motor oils available to consumers has multiplied exponentially, in order to keep up with the lubrication requirements of all the different vehicle manufacturers. Oil specifications can also vary; not only from one car manufacturer to another, but also by the year, make, model and engine of the vehicle. And, no matter whether we are referring to engine oils, manual and automatic transmission oils, differential and transfer case lubricants, power steering fluids, coolants or brake fluids, the…

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