Losing Our Cool

One of the problems we came across during our trip was the current draw of our chest freezer and the upright fridge in hot weather. We were finding that we were drawing more power than we ever had before. A temporary solution was to cryovac all our meat then freeze it in the chest freezer along with a bag of ice. It worked well enough but it showed that something wasn’t right because we had never run out of power overnight before.

When we got home I ran a few experiments to see if I could track down the problem. I was able to use a temperature logger to see how the freezer was working and compared it to the ambient temperature. It was from that experiment that I discovered that the freezer was not turning off when it reached the correct temperature. We decided to bite the bullet and buy a replacement freezer as the old one was seven years old. When the new freezer arrived we were able to run it on one of the auxiliary batteries for three days without flattening the battery completely. Similarly the fridge ran for a couple of days without problems on just one battery.  We had struck a problem earlier in the trip when our solar panels weren’t charging properly because of a dirty connection. Once that was cleaned the system then worked properly again. With this in mind we purchased a blanket type solar panel that will allow us to add extra charging to the system when we pull in of a night. I also added some computer fans that turn on when the compressor of the fridge or freezer is running so that we get better air movement over the compressors and the cooling coils. I also ran new 240V wiring so that when we are plugged into mains power the fridge and freezer run directly off the mains power and allows our batteries to fully charge while connected to the power.

I’ll wait till after Christmas to experiment on  how the system now works off grid in hot weather.

The Usual Housekeeping

Having returned home its time for our usual review of the motorhome’s performance. We’ve reached the conclusion that we probably won’t be doing any more of the real rugged off road tracks in the future so we are going to alter our setup to suit.

This means removing the things we are unlikely to need in future (like the Max Trax used to get out sandy or muddy situations). We are also removing the second spare wheel, the tyre is blown anyway and as we will probably spend the majority of our time on bitumen we don’t really need the second wheel. We  are also removing the hand winch and the bungee straps. I’ve disconnected the HF Radio so no VKS737 rescues anymore.

In addition to these changes I have to go through all the little equipment failures and some of the more important ones (both rear shock absorbers are stuffed). Then I’ll rethink the layout of the under bed storage.

And Then We’re Home

Well all good things must come to an end and so it is with our holiday. After 13,050 kilometres, 1686 litres of fuel at an average cost of $1.49 litre, 20 nights at caravan parks and 28 free camps we have returned home. We saw some amazing stuff including the light show at Uluru, got eaten by mosquitoes at Kakadu, ate fresh fish at Karumba and partied most nights (well as much as old people party).

Thanks to our fellow travellers for their company, to Bronny for looking after our Molly so well and for Lyn for keeping an eye on the house.

Until next year …