The place that I am staying at does not have any Internet wireless signal, so I have to drive to the top of a nearby hill, which I do most days. On the hill, I prop my laptop in front of the steering wheel, and it is not really conducive to settling down for long sessions. So, I read my blog, email, and a few other things, and maybe download some things for working off-line later.
In a few days I hope to be at another place that will have a Telstra 3G signal -- in fact, that will be my main criterion for choosing where to pitch my tent next. The South West corner of Western Australia has forests of giant trees, very pleasant, and there is one lovely campsite where only a nominal fee is charged, set deep in a valley of giant Karri trees, but I have to rule that out for the next stop as there is no wi-fi signal (I think they are Karri's will have to confirm that).
The last few days have been overcast, with a bit of rain, so I have put away the solar panel and just using the large deep cycle battery to run light and laptop without recharging the battery -- probably would be good to get an isolator thingy so can charge the battery via the car alternator, but probably not committed enough to this camping scene to do that. With fairly light drain, the battery should hold out for several days, but I expect the sun to return soon.
But, perhaps if there was a simple isolator that just plugs into the cigarette lighter socket? -- um no, I think that I read somewhere that the wiring to the socket might not be able to handle the current.
Darn, the only downside to this camping is my back is having trouble with the camp bed -- will pickup another layer of mattress in the next big town. Camped next to me are a group of young French girls and boys, and I see them jumping around and crawling in and out of their tents with no trouble at all. Ah, to be young and flexible!
Comments:Posted on 2 Jan 2012, 22:33 by Sage
...although you're a way off the Murray River Encephalitis outbreak in NSW.
Watch out that some of those precocious French girls don't creep into your tent.
Posted on 2 Jan 2012, 24:40 by Zeke-baby
You an get something called an inverter, which plugs into your car's lighter socket, that converts your car battery's 12V DC into household AC. They're cheap and common, and work really well. Your lighter socket will typically be fused at 20A, which is way more than your laptop can use, so no danger there. Don't get the cheapest one you can find; look for something that says "modified sine wave", the regular ones (square wave) tend to be inefficient and run hot.
Posted on 3 Jan 2012, 4:06 by Dougal
I say forget about the wireless, go where the Karri trees are. The internet isn't going to run away. Get a few books to read and go have a good rest.
I'm not much for modern SF, but Cory Doctorow is considered good and a lot of his novels and stories are available for download under a CC license:
Another is Charles Stross, whose latest book is supposed to be very good:
and there's also an Aussie that the Linux nerds seems to be fond of:
Young French girls, eh?
Posted on 3 Jan 2012, 8:16 by dogle
Agree with Dougal - Puppy is robust and will keep for now, and I'm sure be all the better henceforward if you can take a really good break.
Not surprised by trouble with campbed - I avoid using unless I have to - and when I have a tent which is zippable to keep out those unwelcome reptiles and arthropods I always sleep on the ground. Bliss! - we were built that way! - if you have such tent, give it a go and get ready to be pleasantly surprised.
Hoping that you will be able to recharge your batteries on many more trips, hmm, the wind blows in WA, yes? Bear in mind that the permanent magnet motors now fitted to all manner of battery-op consumer 'stuff' are handy little generators, you just need the right fan to hang on the end, that's the problem. (I'm just about to dismember a scrap B&D battery-op strimmer to get myself an aeolian battery charger with view to staying connected in circumstances like yours just now).
Tender regards to les Francoises
Posted on 3 Jan 2012, 8:30 by Zeke-baby
Re: Internet Schminternet
Great choices for free commercial grade sci-fi. Peter Watts' Blindsight is also available for free in many formats from http://www.rifters.com/real/Blindsight.htm. For top-shelf vintage free sci-fi, check out Murray Leinster's free downloads from http://www.manybooks.net.
Barry, consider getting an eInk eReader for those long camping trips. They go weeks on a single charge, and are perfect for reading outdoors (unlike color LCDs which are horrible).
Posted on 3 Jan 2012, 9:53 by bigpup
What mankind has evolved into!
A primitive race that lived in caves and you know what in the woods.
Now they go camping, to get back to nature, and go through withdrawal, because they can not get internet access.
What was life like before internet?
I bet those young French girls could make you forget internet access problems.
Are you sure your diving up to the top of that hill just to hookup to the internet?
Posted on 8 Jan 2012, 20:33 by BarryK
You can get something called an inverter, which plugs into your car's lighter socket, that converts your car battery's 12V DC into household AC
That's not what I need. I already have a little 150W inverter. What I am interested in getting is an isolator for charging the deep-cycle battery off the car alternator.
The simplest isolator is just a rectifier diode, that allows charging, but prevents the starter motor from drawing current from the deep-cycle battery -- most important as they aren't built to take such heavy current drain.
Posted on 9 Jan 2012, 8:51 by scsijon
sounds like what you want is a simple switching isolator.
Simplest is just a relay with high current switching contacts and either a 120A or 80A inline diode to protect against pulling down your car battery. If the engine is on it's connected through, engine off contacts are open. Easiest wired off the accessories rail, better wired off the engine-on rail if you can find a spare tab.
Check if your car has a rear demister, if it's not there, there is usually a fuse point and a matching relay socket you can populate and pickoff for your high current relay wiring. DON'T use the harness demister wiring for constant high current battery charging, run your own 100amp.
You can ask your local car wrecker of he has a starting solanoid relay from a stuffed starter motor available as these are best, but sometimes they want too much for them, even secondhand. Otherwise, the best relays have screw tabs on the top for the high current contacts and on end for the relay coil.