Friday, October 23rd, 2009 by Simon Hackett
Thursday this week saw us able to rest a little. We did some shopping for stuff we needed at a local shopping mall in Casurina. Supplies were obtained, things like sunscreen, insect repellant, cloth tape, batteries, that sort of thing.
We bought a small 12v in-car cooler so we can store drinks in the support vehicle and keep them cool – to allow us to have access to cold water if we are stuck ‘out somewhere’. We are aiming to set up in-stage recharge points at roadhouses or townships along the way, but we obviously need to be provisioned to cope with having to do it at the side of the road if we have to.
One thing we also purchased is an item that we think may turn out to be very useful indeed… a big electric fan!
The aim with this fan is to put it in front of the car and push air over the vehicle (and most importantly into the cooling radiators in the front of the car that, in turn, cool the battery systems in the rear of the car). We had decided this might help with our charging challenges experienced earlier, and we were happy to receive precisely the same suggestion from Tesla when we got home in the evening.
Its a sensible notion – and commonly done when vehicles are run on ‘dynos’ to performance test them. In this case, when charging under high power, its about trying to clear the humid hot air from the cooling system on the car to give it an even break in a tough situation.
Most people using the Tesla high power charger (HPC) will do so in sane temperatures, in the shade, in their garage. We’re doing it outside, on a bitumen surface, having sat out there long enough for the car to become quite heat soaked first, under the blazing Territory sun. Hardly laboratory conditions…
And we found what looks like a good one – a nice big fan designed to be ground mounted – so we really push some air through the front grille. We’re going to find out if it helps on Saturday, the first stage day, when our plan is to use the genset to top up the car before the first event stage begins. Powering the fan is no problem, of course. Not when you’ve got a massive genset on the back of a truck :)
During a search for other necessary supplies on such a hot day – specifically ice creams – we came across the Darwin Wave Pool – a big swimming pool with a massive wave generator in it, simulating waves at a beach (complete with sand).
You might think this is a silly thing, given that it was situated in the middle of a new apartment development near the water (and ‘real’ waves). Until you remember that some of the wildlife in the Top End has, literally, got nasty pointed teeth and likes tourists…for lunch.
Seeing our Internode shirts, the man behind the counter at the kiosk immediately proceeded to engage me in a conversation about our wireless broadband offerings! Another happy customer-to-be :)
Finally, we found a rather strange sight on the coast. A pier at the wharf area which looks to have lost its outer half to a severe storm at some point, leaving only one remaining pylon in isolation, a few hundred metres offshore. That isn’t strange. Whats strange is how its being dealt with (see picture).
Thats an earthmoving vehicle, fitted with a jackhammer attachment. The operator is jackhammering the huge concrete slab he’s sitting on, sloughing chunks of it off into the sea. Around and around himself. None of us can figure out what he’ll do once there’s no concrete left except for the bit right under his treads… will he swim for it? Will he sit there and wait for some…thing… to levitate him back to shore?
An interesting end to another day in paradise :)