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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

Monitoring the State of Charge (SOC) of the battery is a most important task with a solar system, but is difficult to assess accurately. Here are the main methods. Voltage: The voltage must be measured when the battery is ‘at rest’. This means that there is no charge going into the battery and no load going out. Ideally, the battery should be ‘at rest’ for 20-30 minutes before you measure the voltage. The voltage range is narrow, so you need to use a good digital multimeter. Approximate values for a 12 Volt battery are: Voltage SOC 12.57 100% 12.36 80%

Words & Images Jacques Marais Okay, so I used to like clubbing. Not seals, mind you, more the sort of thing where you hang out inside a dodgy building with a crowded bar, waiting for the fifth Black label to kick in while Taxi Man blares in the background. These days, it’s probably some Bieber or Beyoncé remix, so I’m gladly over that. Now, when I want to get all psychedelic, I go hang with the stars. Nope, not Hollywood, or Bollywood, but the real thing – preferably somewhere as far from civilisation as one can get. The reason for

Words Freddi Stafford I hope that this series of articles on what seems to be the simple subject of oil has proved that when it comes to technology, our world has changed forever. This final article on the subject of automotive lubricants aims to summarise how to read and understand the label on an oil can. That’s because brand and specification, if chosen correctly, will affect our vehicle’s service life, reliability, ongoing maintenance costs and fuel consumption, and help ensure the safety of all those whom we transport. In other words, make our lives more convenient. One of my favourite

Anyone who’s watched Jurassic Park will remember the first scene, in which a convoy of 4x4s drive together through the undulating terrain, autonomously following a rail in the ground. This great system allowed the excited passengers to observe dinosaurs on their pre-historic safari without worrying about the pesky task of controlling a vehicle. Autonomous vehicles have been around for ages – in fact, it was in 1912 that the mechanical gyroscopic autopilot was invented. This device was able to keep an aeroplane on the straight and level for as long as the pilot deemed necessary. Later, autopilots became a necessary

Words & Images Angus Boswell There are thousands of ‘chipped’ Hiluxes out there, many with over 200 000km on their odometers and still going strong, so the extra power can’t be all that dangerous. As long as that ‘extra power’ is kept strictly capped. Toyota has built a reputation on vehicles that “keep going right” and they’ve done it by building a generous margin of safety into their engines. And the 3.0-litre D-4D turbodiesel (which powers my Hilux Vigo 2010 vintage) is a tough, slugger of a motor, which clearly does have the potential for a little more woema. It’s

Words Anton Willemse, Images Anton Willemse JNR I have now had my Hilux for just over a year, and have completed a few trails of varying difficulty in what has become known as The Red Devil. But, with a major trip to Botswana on the horizon, I wanted some professional advice on 4×4 driving and recovery techniques. This advice is offered by the Toyota Advanced Driving team, and all it took was an email to get booked onto the next available course. Then it was off to the Gerotek training facilities in PretoriaWest − where I met Jo Holtzhausen, our

Words Freddi Stafford To kick off where this series of articles started, it’s a simple truth that using OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) approved lubricants for your vehicle will substantially reduce maintenancecosts over the long term, protect exhaust emission equipment (DPF/TWC/DeNox/ SCR), and, with energy conserving lubricants, reduce fuel consumption and thereby minimise emission of thefour main pollutants – CO, HC, NOx & particles. So, not only are OEM-approved lubricants environmentally friendly, but are more convenient as they offer a longer service life and less frequent maintenance/service intervals. Over the past 20 years, kilometres between oil-draining operations have been multiplied by

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