Imotorhome Australia - June 2018

(Barré) #1


wo not-so-funny things happened to
me with my around-town transport and
another vehicle recently. I’d been away
for an extended period and when I returned
home, the starter battery in my SUV was flat.
I can’t actually remember the last time that
happened. Consequently I dug out the jump
start cables and phoned a buddy to get him
to drive around for a brief visit.

It turned out to be longer than expected
because we had difficulty with starting my
vehicle. My jump start cables did not have
a good enough current rating to handle
the starting current and were getting very
warm. The problem was solved by attaching
a second set of cables in parallel with the
original set, thus doubling the cable diameter.

Not two days later Mrs Malcolm’s Mother was
on the phone, also with a flat car battery. It
was only after considerable persuasion and
re-clamping onto battery terminals that the
car was started. A further complication was
that the car was parked facing away from the
street, therefore making it difficult to get to
the battery under the bonnet. You know the
moral of that story.

My point is that I had taken my little-used
jump start cables for granted and when
required for serious action, they weren’t up
to the job. I’m now attending to that little

I mention this little matter because NZ winter
time is not good for starter batteries. Any that

are already in decline might fail sooner than
usual because of cold temperatures.

Just as a side issue for Fiat owners, if trying
to jump start a Ducato there are connection
points both positive and earth under the
bonnet. It’s not recommended to make
connections on the actual battery at all (same
as my Ford Transit - Ed).

Still on electricity, but moving up to mains
240-volt power supply, I have been doing
a little reading up on U.S. electrics recently
because of Mr iM Publisher’s move into U.S.
RV publishing with #RV Magazine. U.S.
electrics are very different to NZ’s – and
Australia’s for that matter. The most obvious
one being that Americans and Canadians
use 110-volts AC, which means apart from
anything else that both electrical current and
therefore cable diameters roughly double.
Sold in RV accessory shops in the U.S. is a
very impressive range of electrical accessories

  • anyone for a 50 amp power lead? It’s very
    heavy lifting...

Also different is the suggestion by one clearly
well-versed U.S. technical expert that before
plugging into a campground power outlet
pedestal, an RVer should test it to make sure
it’s safe. It’s a thought I must confess would
not really have crossed my mind in either NZ
or Australia, unless there was an obvious
problem (in which case I usually have a digital
multimeter in my camera bag). It seems U.S.
campground maintenance might be a bit
shoddy and so it’s a case of RVer beware.

Haera Mai!

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