The following is Blog 1 of an exclusive series by Shauno from 4WD Action Magazine.
As I write this column I'm sitting on Cable Beach, Broome having just driven the Savannah Way from Cairns, right across the country. Of course there were many detours along the way that saw me head down lesser know tracks in Arnhem Land and into the more remote parts of the Kimberley. For those that don't know, I drive an old 1988, 60 Series Land Cruiser that I have chopped in half to make into a ute that has close to half a million kilometers on the clock. I refer to that old beast as the Dirty 30, you know, half a 60 and all that. While the Dirty 30 might be a little rough up close, it has taken me to some of the most stunning locations to 4WD, fish and roll out a swag.
While I'm sitting here on Cable Beach, I'm slowly organising the canopy on the back of the 30 for my next adventure that will take me north up to Cape Leveque and the back across the Gibb into the Kimberley. Yeah, I know what you're probably thinking, this bloke hardly does any work. But somebody has to visit the best camping and 4WD destinations and be able to report back on them. Maybe I should ask about overtime? Still to this day, I'm not really sure that living the off-road dream can be classified as a 'real' job, but it does beat working for a living!
While the Dirty 30 has been rolled, drowned, busted and squeaks and groans like a second hand bed, I have a 12V system in that rig that would rival most caravans! It's nothing too complicated but it works a treat for allowing me to travel off the grid and run all matter of 12V goodies from fridges to camp lights for up to a week without starting the old girl up. Of course if I add solar to my system I can stay at a campsite for as long as I choose, being completely self-sufficient. In my travels I see way too many people skimping on their 12V system only to have it let them down when they need it the most.
I have 2 good quality auxiliary batteries that are charged via a 40amp BCDC charger that sorts out most of my 12V needs. Large cable is run from my starter battery (alternator) to feed this system and cut down on any voltage drop to the rear of the vehicle.
I am such a big advocate for a quality 12V setup in your 4WD that I would go as far to say it should be the first mod you do, before lift, tyres, lockers and all of those other goodies. Many people I meet on the tracks have taken the old 'she'll be right' attitude when it comes to their wiring. Of course their fridge doesn’t work properly and keeps cutting out unless their vehicle is running and they cross their fingers and toes when they go to bed, hoping their 4WD will start the next morning.
I think the biggest tip I can give is make sure you go overboard with the gauge of wiring you use so there is minimum voltage drop across your system. The other is to understand the rough terrain us 4WDers tend to travel on and make sure your system is bush proof and able to handle the 800,000 corrugations across the Gibb without falling apart. Your 12V system is one area on your 4WD where the poor man really does pay twice. Pay once and get yourself a quality system that is going to give you peace of mind knowing that your beers are going to be icy cold out of your 12V fridge each and every time!
Over the course of this blog I hope to cover all matter of topics from 4WDs, tracks, campsites, gear and fishing. In fact, if you have a request or question, please feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
See you on the track less travelled,
Check out the range of 12V and other power solutions HERE.