Saturday, 30 June 2018

Plastering and new bedroom lights

The holes in the kitchen and pantry ceilings have been filled and sanded back once.  They will get a second coat and final sanding tomorrow.  This wasn’t a particularly long job so I moved onto replacing the three bedroom ceiling lights.  Jan had chosen two slightly different style of round LED lights at the Lighting Warehouse. 

I suspect the existing lights were installed when the house was built in 1984 and I don’t believe my parents ever changed them.  Actually they look quite ugly and dated.


Replacing the existing lights wasn’t as simple as I had anticipated.  The wiring had been installed in a way that minimized the required amount of cable and whilst this is an acceptable method, it does result in the light fitting always having a “live” cable.  I prefer to use another method which uses slightly more cable but means the light fitting is “dead” when the switch is in the off position.

Anyway, after a couple of hours all three lights had been replaced.


These LED light fittings have a function where you can obtain three different levels of brightness by repeatedly flicking the wall switch on and off.


Jan is happy with the amount of light and the fittings only consume 15 Watts of electricity which is a significant reduction on the old fittings. 

Tomorrow I plan to do more of the modifications to the 4x4.  Hopefully the last modifications before the arrival of the trailer.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Let there be light

Yesterday we went to the local Lighting warehouse where Jan selected three down lights, a four light panel, three circular bedroom ceiling lights and a strip light; all LED.  This morning I made a start on modifying the kitchen wiring.  Now that the kitchen is wider the light that was in the centre of the ceiling is offset.  I needed to move it and also fit the three down lights which will go above the bench tops.


You might be able to see the hole in the ceiling behind the light in the centre of the above photo.  This is where the sole kitchen light used to be.  I’ve moved the cable to the left.  It has a small piece of red tape around it.  The plastic wrapping has been left on the down lights as the ceiling needs to be painted.

The position of the light in the pantry also needed moving.  This left me with two hole requiring filling.  There are various methods for doing this and I used two.  In the pantry I cut an oversized piece of plasterboard  down in size but bigger than the hole.  The scrap came from one of the round down light holes I’d cut.  I threaded a piece for string through a hole in the centre of the patch tying it to a small nail on the opposite side.  After smearing glue on one side I slipped it up through the hole pulling it into place with the string.


Hole I had to cut to remove the original light fitting and the new cable behind.


My piece of scrap plasterboard


Pulled into place and waiting for the glue to set.  I’ll then cut off the string and either fit in another patch or just plaster over the hole.

With the second hole I used the original circular piece of plasterboard holding it in place with a couple of nails whilst the glue cured.


The plumbers has completed the water/waste/gas first fit.  He will return after the cabinets are installed.  I’m very reluctant to attempt any plumbing or gas work, which is quite funny and my brother-in-law is a plumber and will have nothing to do with that “invisible electricity”.

More components have arrived for the 4x4 and trailer.  It only took five days for the UltraGauge to arrive from Oregon USA.  FedEx was very quick.  The route was Oregon to California and on to Singapore.  Then down to Perth.  The GME Two way radio and windscreen aerial have also been delivered along with the Batwing Awning for the trailer.  Earlier today another courier delivered the exhaust lift jack.  So there is plenty to keep me busy!

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

A cracked tile and another project

Jan was looking up through the hole in the kitchen ceiling when she noticed blue sky…. which isn’t unusual for Perth (the blue sky I mean!).  However seeing it through the roof is unusual.


We have a cracked concrete roof tile.  Another task for me to do!

Meanwhile the LED lights for the camper trailer were begging for attention.  We have two 5 metre lengths of flexible and waterproof LED’s which cost $12 each from a Hong Kong seller.  I decided to test them using the trailer AGM battery.  The first task was to make a pigtail lead using some bullet connects which connects to a 12V cigarette plug.  The bullet connector allow for one or two set of lights to be used.  It also allows for the lights to be rolled and stowed when not required.


Pigtail Lead

Each length of lights came with it’s own controller box which reduces the 12V down to 5V and also has an infra-red remote sensor.  There’s also a remote control which enables various colours to be selected along with mood lighting (strobe, flashing, dimming, etc).  There are 15 colours to select but we are only likely to use white or red.  Red is good in the outback as it doesn’t tend to attract insects.


Hey…… we could hold a disco out in the Never Never.  that would scare the camels, dingos and kangaroos.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Not hungry and its gone!

Yesterday the camping solar panels were placed out in full sun this morning only to discover no power going into the battery.  That was a shock….. until I realised the battery was already 100% charged.

By the end of the day the next project had started and the kitchen was gone.


The area looks larger without the alcoves for the fridge and pantry.  Jan was pleased to discover the high load bearing beam parallel to the outer wall is a steel beam with brick infill above.  She will have somewhere strong to mount her canal plates.

The removed block wall was load bearing, holding up a row of roof joists.  The load is now being carried by a strongback made of Douglas Fir.  It’s the large lighter coloured beam on the photo below.  The rest of the roof timber is Jarrah which is an Australian hardwood and very strong.


The back wall of the pantry has been framed out in pine 4x4.  The original window in the pantry will be replaced with a smaller one which will be installed tomorrow by the glazier.


This morning the wall between the pantry and kitchen areas was framed out and partially clad in plasterboard.


Jan has placed a piece of plasterboard across the doorway to the pantry to stop Molly from entering.  The alcove to the left of the doorway is for the fridge and the one to the right will house the wall oven and cupboards.

We have been looking at flooring options and decided on vinyl planks.  They look like natural timber but are more hardwearing.  Moreover if one gets damaged it’s a reasonably simple task to lift and replace the damaged strip.

Late this afternoon Courier Ranji delivered the 4x4 recovery tracks (bright green) and the two burner camp stove.


I’m not planning on getting the 4x4 bogged so hopefully I won’t be forced to use the recovery tracks.  The gas stove wasn’t the cheapest (despite Jan finding a discount code).  however the cheaper stoves don’t put out as much heat (8000BTU –vs- 25,000BTU).  I think i’ve already mentioned I plan to make the trailer kitchen from plywood.

Oh…. we’re not starving without a kitchen.  Jan is using the laundry…. and it’s not the first time she has done that!

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Testing the trailer solar setup

This should have been done in the morning, but I became distracted.  Anyway, with the arrival of the Projecta DC-DC Charger I decided to test the solar system for the camper trailer.  Apart from the solar panels, all the connections were temporary.

In this next photo you can see the Projecta IC25 Charger at the lower left.  The wiring connects from the MPPT solar input to the solar panels on the lawn.  On the other side of the charger the wires go through a cheap Watt Meter and then a circuit breaker to the 150A AGM battery terminals.

In this next photo you can see why I shouldn’t have done this test in the afternoon.  Sunlight is only striking the top left corner of one panel with the rest in shade from the house.  The cable wasn’t long enough to move the panels into the sunshine.

However the panels were producing just enough electricity for the charger to work. 

The Projecta automatically recognised the battery as AGM and then identified the solar panel connection.  This resulted in the “charging” and “Solar” LEDs illuminating.

The Watt Meter gave an indication of the charge

0.22 amps at 13.19 Volts going into the battery.  The battery is already fully charged which meant it was never going to take much even if the panels had been in full sunlight (well I’ll test that comment tomorrow morning).  

I’m rather pleased with the result.  The panels should produce a maximum of 20 Amps which should be sufficient for the battery ‘Absorption’ and ‘Float’ charging stages, plus run things like the two fridges, lights and water pump.  Most of the time the “Bulk Charge” will be provided by the vehicle alternator whilst I’m travelling.    

Saturday, 23 June 2018

I think I’ve fixed the Blogger Comments issue

I may just have discovered how to fix the problem of Blogger not sending me an email when a reader send me a comment for moderation and publication.  After implementing my “fix” yesterday I received my first email notification today.

These are the steps I took

  1. Load the Blogger Template
  2. Go to ‘Settings
  3. Click on ‘Post, comments and sharing’
  4. Delete your email address in the ‘Comment moderation’ box and then the ‘Save’ button
  5. Re-enter your email address and save it again
  6. Click on the “Email’ setting below the ‘Post, comments and sharing’ option
  7. Repeat the process of deleting, saving, re-entering and saving your email address

My guess is Google “lost” your email address when they did some recent changes to Blogger and their “fix” didn’t recover the address.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Air compressor modifications and a discovery

With the borrowed gas torch still in my possession it seemed like a good idea to complete some planned modifications to the 12 volt air compressor.  It came with a 12V power lead that had spring loaded battery clips on the end.  I want to be able to connect the air compressor to the vehicle at the rear where I have fitted a 175A Anderson Plug that will supply power to the trailer battery.  Doing this will mean the compressor air hose will reach 4x4 and trailer tyres.  It also means I won’t have to raise the bonnet to connect to the starter battery.

So I cut off the battery clips and fitted a 50A Anderson plug instead.  However the Anderson Plug at the rear of the 4x4 is 175A which is bigger.  So I made an adapter lead.  I didn’t want the throw away the battery clips and connected another 50A Anderson Plug to that end.  The end result looks like this…


A – Adapter lead with battery clips

B – Anderson Plug on the air compressor

C – 175A to 50A adapter lead

Everything appeared to have gone well until I decided to test the setup by connecting the air compressor to the rear plug using the adapter lead [C].  The compressor would run for 5 second and stop… wait 10 second and run for another 5 seconds.  Then it permanently stopped.  After some fault finding I discovered the 100 Amp circuit breaker located by the started battery which protects the cable running to the back of the 4x4 was tripping out.  It has a ‘self reset’ function but was obviously overheating.  This is rather annoying as the vehicle alternator is only rated at 70 Amps and the air compressor doesn’t draw nearly that amount of current.  This means the cheap Chinese 100A circuit breaker is useless.  To confirm my conclusion I used the other adapter lead and connected the air compressor directly to the starter battery where it ran without any issue.  I’ve now ordered a different circuit breaker.  It’s probably better to discover this problem now rather than being somewhere out in the desert.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

More on the solar panels

Yesterday I visited my retired, wealthy brother (he has two wives both still working) and borrowed his portable gas torch and a pot rivet gun.  He had three rivet guns to select from.  I guess you can own three if you are wealthy!  Whilst he’s wealthy I think he’s also foolish.  Years ago an Iranian acquaintance told me you should have an odd number of wives.  Apparently even numbers gang up on you! 

Now to the solar panels.

I realised it wasn’t going to be a simple job to pot rivet the hinges when I noticed the solar panel extruded aluminium frame was double skinned.  This was rectified by drilling larger diameter holes in the inside face.  The hinges were then fitted without much difficulty.


On the reverse side you can see the larger diameter holes


I had marked out the new locations for the catches on the opposite edge of the panels and then realised the screw holes in the catches exactly lined up with the edge of the solar cells.  Had I proceeded the holes and/or screws would probably have short circuited the cells destroying my panels.  I need to purchase different securing catches.


These two original catches will be kept for a future project

The panels now fold in the opposite direction with the cells facing each other when closed for storage.


I needed to relocate the cable that connects the two panels.  This was done by drilling holes in the top corner of each panel.  (arrow A below).  I also disconnect the solar controller (arrow B) as it’s as useful as a chocolate teapot.  The wires were re-joined with crimped spade connectors and then covered with heat shrink to prevent them loosening.


This following photo shows how I made the cable connection between the two panels.  The rough edges of the holes were smoothed and I also added two layers of heat shrink in an effort to prevent the cable being damaged.


The next task was to solder Anderson Plugs to the end of the extension cable and the bulldog clips.  I think it’s better to have the 5 metres of cable separate to the panels.


This morning another courier driver delivered two more packages.  The first is the Projecta DC to DC charger which also has an integral MPPT solar controller.  It’s a three stage charger with a maximum output of 25 amps.  That output is insignificant compared to the charging system on Waiouru.  But then our battery bank was 900ah on Waiouru and the trailer will only have 150ah of capacity.  However the Projecta does have the MPPT solar controller function.  I’d identified three suitable chargers, RedArc, CTek and Projecta.  They all had similar specifications so I purchased the cheapest.


The second package contained the Projecta Low Voltage Disconnect unit.  The Projecta Charger is fitted before the battery (obviously) whilst the low voltage disconnect fits between the battery and the load.  It’s name describes its function.  The unit monitors the battery state of charge and disconnects the load from the battery before the battery can be drained to a damaging level.


There are two things that can now be done.  Using my wealthy brother’s gas torch I can modify the 12V portable air compressor so it can be plugged into the 4x4.  I can also do a temporary connection between the solar panels, Projecta charger and the 150ah AGM battery to test everything works.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

No email advice of Blog Comments

Thank you to reader who left a test blog comment.  Unfortunately my work-around appears to have been unsuccessful.

Google have been aware of the email problem since late May <link here> and advised users they were working on a fix.  Obviously that has still to occur!  My assumption is the problem doesn’t affect revenue and therefore isn’t a priority.

One other thing I’ve noticed with Blogger is a requirement on some blogs to create a Google+ account before I can leave a comment.  I refuse to join Google+ as I believe Google already has enough of my personal data.  I’ve done some further research into the link between Google+ and Blogger.  This is what I found

Some time ago Google announced it was creating a Google plus commenting system, and by 2016 it was made available for BlogSpot blogs. Google said “Compare to default blogger commenting system, Google plus commenting system gives you more power to go social, and will help you to build a better community around your BlogSpot blog. If you have a blogger enabled blog, you should consider enabling Google plus comment system on your blog.” 

Google is suggesting integrating Google+ with Blogger will increase your blog traffic.  My understanding is Google+ was Google’s attempt to provide a product similar to Facebook.  Of course both Google and Facebook want your data for marketing purposes.  But that’s not high on the list of information they provide.

Here’s another fact buried in the detail

If your blog readers don’t have a Google plus profile, he will not be able to comment. Though, he will be prompted to create one.

So if you link you Blog to Google+ any reader who wants to leave comment has to also have a Google+ account. 

Monday, 18 June 2018

First name basis and the solar panels

Postman Wee has now made so many deliveries our relationship is on first name basis.  I think we might get an invitation to next year’s Chinese New Year.  Obviously we are securing his employment!

Today he delivered the solar panels I ordered for the trailer.  To my surprise they actually came in a bag, although the carry straps are too long.


When I opened the bag I immediately realised there was a potential problem.


There’s a strong aluminium handle and securing clips on one edge with hinges on the opposite edge.  That’s not the problem.  I don’t like the fact that the solar cellss and glass are on the outside surface where they are possibility going to be damaged.

On the inside are two adjustable legs, two connector boxes, a small solar controller and 5 metres of cable with an Anderson Plug.


The first thing I did was test the panels by placing them out on the lawn in the sun with the multimeter connected to the Anderson Plug to check the voltage.


The small solar controller is regulating the voltage to 20 Volts which is far too high for a 12V battery.  That’s not an issue because the trailer DC to DC charger also has an integral MPPT solar controller.  I can probably bypass the small panel controller.

The cap on the terminal box clips on.  Inside are pos and neg soldered terminals.  I used the soldering iron and disconnected the wires as part of my project to reverse the panel folding system.


The hinges were pot riveted to the frame and were easily removed by drilling off their heads.  This separated the panels allowing me to place them with the solar cells facing towards each other.

In the photo below you can see the original hinge holes at A.  I’ve marked out the new holes at B and drilled the middle hole.  The cable joining the two panels is at C and I’ve secured the cable with the last of my Sikaflex at D.


Then I realised I’d made a mistake erred in my judgement.  Can you see the problem?  When the panels open the connecting cable isn’t going to move freely through the two holes.  I may have to relocate them.

This next photo is a better demonstration of the problem.   The grey duct tape is holding down the cables whilst the Sikaflex sets.  Note I have shortened the 5 metre extension cable by cutting it and fitting an Anderson Plug.  I’ll fit a second Anderson Plug on the other cut end.


It was at this point work came to an unplanned end when I couldn’t find my pot riveting pliers.  After several hours of unsuccessful searching I gave up for the day.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Blog Comments

Having read a couple of other blog owners recent posts regarding unpublished comments I thought I’d better check to see if there were any ‘pending’ on our blog account.  Hell, there was a page of them!  What’s going one?
I wonder if this advice from Google is the culprit
“Blogger no longer supports OpenID. Existing OpenID comments and your OpenID settings may have changed.”
And this from Google
To make room for some exciting updates coming soon to Blogger, we’re simplifying the platform to enhance the blogging experience for all of our users.
Updates include:
- Changes to features: G+ widget integrations, OpenID, and Localization & Blogspot ccTLDS.
- Retiring features: Third Party Gadgets, Next Blog, Polls Widget, and Textcube.
- Introducing new features: HTTPS for Custom Domains, Multilogin, Spanner, Google Takeout, and Video Management
I always get suspicious when a company writes advising you they are doing something to simplify and enhance your experience.  For years blogging has been in steady decline, initially Facebook was it’s successor but now young users are leaving Facebook for other social media platforms.  I suspect the majority of blog writers and reads are like me…… a grey wrinkly Smile  We are a source of marketing data; but nowhere as lucrative as young singles with plenty of money and all the confidence in the world.  So blogger gets a make-over to increase data collection and reduce resource requirements.
Do any of our readers use OpenID?
Because I’ve missed so many comments I’ll reply to the questions raise here.
2 Apr – Tom, seems your preparations are going on a pace, what is your proposed trek?  You probably know of Magnus from Living aboard nutshell you tube channel once Narrowboat now sailing his company do motorbike treks across Australia wondered if your doing something similar?  Ade
Ade, I’m hoping to fit in numerous trips.  The first will be rather fast and cover the bottom left corner of Australia.  It’s a trail of the trailer to see what I need to rectify.  Subsequent trips will hopefully be slower (and less expensive)
3 Jun – Jan said she wanted a dog when you returned to Perth.  It’s only taken a year.  Tilly would like to know what you call your four legged friend.  Pip
Pip, Jenny & Robin, it’s Jan who has set the pace on acquiring the third member of the Jones pack.  I’d have settled for a dog but Jan was adamant males are grubby slobs (she should know after 46 years of marriage) so I’m outnumbered.  After one name change Jan has settled on Molly.  
3 Jun – Don’t keep it a secret what is the name of the new female in your life?  Jenny & Robin
8 Jun – Looks an interesting bit of kit Tom, like the idea of filming your journey, need a drone to be at NB Life in a Nutshell level.  Ade
Ade a drone would be an excellent addition and I’ve done my research.  Unfortunately it’s an expense I can’t quite justify.  There are a number of You Tube films with drone footage of outback Australia and I’d like to join them.  However I’m mindful that I’m a poor photographer.
Apparently Google are aware of the Comment problem and are working on a solution.   I have my own thoughts on a work-around whilst Google designs a permanent solution.  If readers could leave a test comment on this post it will enable me to confirm my work–around actual works.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

More deliveries

Yesterday Postman Gary delivered a small package which turned out to be the $2.52 ‘selfie stick’ I’d ordered from China.  Neither of us are ‘selfie’ people so the stick was a new addition to our every expanding list of ‘possessions’.  My idea was the base of the new 4K action camera gimbal would be attached to the end of the selfie stick and I’d be able to walk around taking footage with me in the photo.  Well that’s been delayed because when I attempted to attached the head of the selfie stick to the gimbal I managed to damage the very small threaded holes that secures the head on the stick.

Here it is in pieces


Looks like I’ll have to mix up some Araldite and see if I can repair it and perhaps make the component stronger.

At 7pm the same day there was a knock at the front door.  Mohammed the courier driver was making the last of his daily deliveries.  He had a large package for us which rather puzzled Jan and me as neither of us had ordered anything large.  In the dim light of the moon Jan could read “collapsible mattress” on the side of the cardboard box.  It took us a good 30 seconds to convince Mohammed the package wasn’t for us. 

He took the package back to the van returning with something much smaller on a sack trolley.  After struggling to get it into the house he departed to find a bed in need of a collapsible mattress.

The package turned out to be the slimline 150ah AGM deep cycle battery I’d ordered for the trailer.


It’s too heavy for me to lift so I asked Jan to move it into the spare bedroom.  Smile

Why a slimline battery?  I’m thinking of having a steel carry frame made for it so the battery can be mounted flat under the trailer.  The battery would fit underneath the floor immediately in front of the suspension.  Being sealed AGM it can be mounted either vertically or horizontally and I’m think horizontal.  It’s sealed, so I don’t have to consider access for maintenance and being under the trailer will assist in lowing the trailer centre of gravity.  However I do need to ensure it’s protected from stones and other objects.

Of course since deciding on a slimline battery I’ve realised I have a second spare wheel which will need a home.  Actually I have a second spare wheel for both the 4x4 and the trailer.  Maybe the second spare wheel should go where I was thinking of locating the battery?

Having now raised the subject of tyres I should mention we are now poorer after I purchased six Kumho 265/75R16 MT51 tyres for the 4x4.  If my memory is correct, I’ve earlier described how I intended to reduce the standard wheel rim size from 18” to 16” but also increase the overall diameter of the tyre.  Having a tyre with a higher sidewall means I can deflate it further thus increasing the tyre ‘footprint’ and traction on soft or rough ground.


Trailer tyre on the left and one of the new 4x4 tyres on the right.   I opted for a MT rather than an AT tread.  AT is “All Terrain” and is predominantly a road tyre (bitumen) with the ability to go off-road.  MT usually means Mud Terrain and has an open tread which is supposed to provide more gripe in wet (muddy) conditions.  However Kumho classify their MT as ‘Mixed Terrain’ and rate it 50/50 on and off road.


These tyres are heavy and I want to avoid having to carry a spare on top of the trailer.  Not only would this raise the trailer centre of gravity but I’d struggle to load and unload it.  There is a disadvantage to opting for a heavy and larger diameter tyre.  Larger tyres create more rolling resistance and fuel consumption will increase accordingly. 

Finally, I’d like to thank blog reader Alan for his advice regarding the Xiaomi 4K Action Camera.  He has suggested I try 1080p resolution rather than 4K.  This will increase the storage capacity of the micro SD card with little appreciable loss in image quality.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Trip Planning–Overview

Our oldest grandson has written to advise he and his girlfriend will arrive in Perth on 8 August.  This provides us with a start date for the planned trip around some of the western half of the continent.  The route will take us north to Meekatharra and then east to Wiluna.  Halfway between Meekatharra and Wiluna we will leave the bitumen and won’t see any again until we reach Ularu (Ayers Rock) in the ‘Red Centre’. 

The Gunbarrel Highway starts at Wiluna and end in Ularu (1350km).  Wiluna Shire runs a grader over the first 180km once every couple of years, but after that there’s been no maintenance since it was first constructed in 1958.

From Ularu we will again leave the bitumen heading roughly north-east visiting Kings Canyon and Ormiston Gorge before arriving at Alice Springs for a rest, vehicle maintenance/repairs and restocking of supply.  Then we will head north-west along the Tanami Track to Halls Creek stopping at Wolfe Creek Crater for a look.  The Tanami is notorious for its ‘Bull Dust’,  A very fine red dust which manages to find its way into everything.  My brother has very recently returned from a trip in that part of Australia and now can’t open the rear doors of his Toyota Landcruiser.  The Bulldust has managed to work it’s way behind the rubber pinch seals of the doors forcing them to expand to the point where they have frozen the door closed.  It’s almost as if the doors has been welded shut.

From Halls Creek we will be back on bitumen and heading west to Broome where Monique wants to do the sunset camel ride on beautiful Cable Beach.  After that it’s south on the coast road with stops at Port Hedland and Karratha before pressing on to Monkey Mia where we will see the dolphins and possibly swim with them.

The final stretch will be to Cevantes where we hope to sample their world renown crayfish (lobster) and visit the ‘Pinnacles’.

As you will see from the map below, we are covering less than a quarter of the country.  However I estimate we will travel almost 10,000km using in excess of 1000 litres of fuel.


Bulldust is just one of the many hazards we will need to manage.  Others include huge road trains on the Tanami Track and Goldfield Highway.  Then there is the remoteness of the Gunbarrel.  We may not see another vehicle during this part of the trip.  Some of the wildlife is potentially hazardous from a vehicle accident perspective (camels, kangaroos, wombats, cattle).  Then there are the snakes (Australia has the six most deadliest in the world), crocodiles and jellyfish.  That’s before considering the billions of flies, ants and mozzies!

Should be fun!

Sunday, 10 June 2018

The Return of Mr Wee

You may (or may not) be delighted to read the replacement USB port in the Samsung tablet has worked a treat.  It now takes only 2.5 hours to recharge, rather than the original 24 hours.  Moreover the tablet appears to hold its charge much better…. success!

Friday morning saw the unexpected return of Mr Wee (Postman Pat) who delivered the camera gimbal ordered directly from China.  What a surprise.  I’d been expecting it to arrive in early July.  Of course it’s a direct (parallel) import and; like the camera; the included instructions were in Chinese.  That meant several hours of fun attempting to understand how to make the darned thing operate.


I’ve got it sorted and can now move my hand in any direction whilst the camera remains stable.  If you walk around holding the camera the recorded video tends to bounce around.  The gimbal effectively solves this problem. 

Having worked that out I decided to make a start on the camera mounting brackets for the front and rear of the trailer.  The bracket will secure the gimbal to the trailer and (hopefully) remove some of the trailer vibration whilst 4x4 driving in the outback.


I’ve also downloads the Xiaomi Camera App to my Samsung phone and worked out how to wirelessly link the camera to the phone using the App.  This enables me to remotely control the camera from the phone.  If I get this right I should be able to operate the camera when it’s mounted on the trailer from inside the vehicle.

I’m now thinking “Wouldn’t this have been great on Waiouru.  The camera could have been mounted on the cratch board and we would have 360° remote control video recording.”

Thursday, 7 June 2018

The speed of change

It seems like only yesterday we were planning our first canal holiday, a week on the Llangollen.  As part of the preparations we went into the city and purchased the latest camcorder which would replace our first camcorder purchased in Singapore back in 1981 for $3800. 

This first camcorder consisted of two large components.  One part was the actual camera with a pistol grip and a long cable that connected to the very heavy recorder which was approximately the size and weight of three house bricks.  That original recorder lasted until 1990 and we still have some of the original ‘grainy’ footage.  I remember getting a very sore shoulder carrying around the equipment whilst also attempting to record footage.

The new camcorder was much lighter, but not much cheaper at $3200.  It still used tapes, but they were smaller.  The image recorded was much better although it was still the 4:3 box shape,  By now the children had left home and after the UK canal holiday there wasn’t much need for the camcorder.  It was consigned to the storage cupboard.  Actually the camcorder was quickly made obsolete with the introduction of 16:9 sized screens and solid state technology.

With the planned outback road trip around Australia road in August I’ve again become enthusiastic about recording the experience.  This time I’m using a solid state digital camera which Postman Pat (well actually postman Hong Fat Wee) delivered today.

The camera is an Xiaomi Mijia 4K Action Camera.  Despite being tiny it has a recording resolution 8 times better than the last camcorder and it’s storage capacity vastly exceeds its predecessor.  The price was also vastly reduced at $185.



From China I’ve ordered a camera stabilizing gimbal, underwater case and ‘selfie’ stick.  This should enable me to be on the lens side of the camera rather than behind.  I’m also planning to make a couple of mounting brackets which will enable me to mount the camera on the trailer and capture some footage whilst on the move.  Hopefully some great outback scenery and wildlife.