Pleasant and successful BT factory visit this week

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 08:10
ThreadID: 124455 Views:26511 Replies:6 FollowUps:10
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I drove up from Sydney last week and dropped in Elvis , my 16 footer , to have three new batteries and a fourth solar panel fitted .

While I was booking it in , I asked about fitting a newer type of hitch and decided to upgrade that too.

All though I have been hearing bad tales about the place , everyone was very friendly and very helpful. I did not get to meet the boss , but made friends with his his dogs .

I hope the three new batteries do not leak like some others they have sold . Ballina Tracker came up with me to show them his overflowing batteries and they said it was misuse , so not covered by warranty ! He was a tad peed off . If you have met him , you would know that it was not misuse .

I had a quick look in the hatch today and noticed that there was six screws in the lid of my new wooden battery box - I am not sure if these have to be taken out to check the battery or if this is part of the lid which just lifts off . I hope it's the latter , as it would be a bit hard to monitor the batteries by removing six screws every time .

Maroochydore ( spelt ? ) to Sydney took 12 hours and that included twiddling my thumbs on the Gateway "Expressway" for 40 minutes .

I checked out the three wall charts showing the BTs to be built . There was only two 16 footers in amongst the 50 or so 18 ft plus models on the lists . Is Elvis part a dying breed ?

Willie .

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Reply By: CD & JW - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 08:33

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 08:33
There are about 20 on the members list and about 6 of those built since 2003. A couple last year. Draw your own conclusions. I guess we build or buy what suits our needs.
AnswerID: 574413

Follow Up By: Willie - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 17:31

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 17:31
There is also a couple of 14 footers listed , one which has a picture . I think that would be the perfect BT for me , as I travel by myself on out of the way tracks. I wonder if the factory would still accept orders for them .
FollowupID: 849348

Reply By: Bushtracker Buck & Babe - Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 00:08

Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 00:08
Willie, I remember Ivan had to undo the screws on the lid of the box to inspect the batteries so can't imagine it will be any different. Have you thought of having a perspex lid made?

AnswerID: 574414

Follow Up By: Willie - Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 00:17

Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 00:17
Angie ,
A cunning idea and I will do that .
Thanks ,
Willie .
FollowupID: 849349

Reply By: Balkos450 - Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 02:12

Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 02:12
Did the same thing Willie flew up from Sydney to inspect the making of them heard a few tales about the cowboy owner. But on meeting him found him a bit strange looking (yep like a cowboy out of a old western) but gave me a great tour with no presure selling. Would count him as a fair dinkum bloke that tells it as he see,s it. Thats why some folk dont like him but i did. Cheers Tony
AnswerID: 574415

Follow Up By: Bow & Nan - Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 17:39

Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 17:39
I wish all people were as good to deal with as Steve. He tells you what you need to know not what you want to hear.
FollowupID: 849350

Reply By: Silver Fox - Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 06:56

Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 06:56
The screws in my battery box containing three of the four were a nuisance to remove and were enlarging the holes in the end grain of the ply. So I have installed quick release toggles. Two from a boat hardware outlet and the rear two camming style I made up myself. Ten seconds now to check. Such a good idea I may alter the other single battery too. cheers.
AnswerID: 574416

Follow Up By: The BrakeAways - Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 18:09

Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 18:09
any chance of posting some photos of these?
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Reply By: Tellem Bugrem - Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 20:24

Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 20:24
Yes Willie,

You have to take the screws out. I got sick of taking them out to wipe the muck off leaking batteries (Still leaking after two years since BT replaced the previous leaking batteries at no cost). There are many posts that this has been discussed on before, and the last post where Bob (Turist) asked for others to post if they had the leaking battery problem, had totalled 35 the last time I counted. That's 35 out of about 350 BOG Members, and that's 1 in 10 by my calcs. That's a bit different to The Ranger's "Maybe 1 in 100 !!

Regarding the lid, I used 2 slide-out hinges on one side and 2 latches which Steve had given me for the fridge door, on the other side. They have a knurled nut for tightening the latch down.- Makes for quick access to the batteries for checking and wiping.

Good luck..............Rob

AnswerID: 574417

Follow Up By: Willie - Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 22:59

Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 22:59
Rob ,

It seems you and the Silver Fox have solved the problem . I will go down to the hardware store and Whitworth's , to see what they have that would suit .

I gather the box is screwed to the floor . It is going to be hard to work on , without taking it out of the hatch .

Thanks to all for the info and thanks Angie for the idea of the perspex lid .

Cheers ,

Willie .

PS I am off now to look at the Archives for some posts on battery faults . I was given no information regarding the batteries at the factory . I do not know what the warranty is or what my duty is in maintaining them . I will email Steven Gibbs and ask him for this information .
FollowupID: 849352

Follow Up By: Mobi Condo - Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 23:08

Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 23:08
Yes - Like the idea of the catches! Nice one Silver Fox!
We are at the final stage of rebuilding the box due to leakage problems. Have resin coated the inside of the rebuilt box, then painted it and will put in a black Forticon (builders Plastic) lining before re- installing.
The screws holding the box to the floor had ceased being effective and so we need to fill the large wear holes left by them and then because we do not have a water tank directly under the batteries etc we will be using 1/4" BSW "T" nuts under the floor and C/S head screws through box & floor to hold the box in place!
Need then to re-seal the under floor (which is due any way). Been a long job, but should be better! Cheers - Ian & Sally
FollowupID: 849353

Follow Up By: schommys - Monday, Feb 18, 2008 at 06:37

Monday, Feb 18, 2008 at 06:37
After driving the Gibb River Road the 4 x8g screws securing the battery box had jig -sawed their way along the ply floor by 50 mm . I replaced them with 8 x 12g screws and 4 x 8mm c/s bolts and nyloc nuts. This should keep the 120kg of batteries in place.
Regards AL
FollowupID: 849354

Reply By: The BrakeAways - Monday, Feb 18, 2008 at 03:45

Monday, Feb 18, 2008 at 03:45
This web site also seems to have a lot of good (Australian) information and experience on batteries, regulators, etc. Check out the "technical information" link on it.
AnswerID: 574418

Follow Up By: Turist - Monday, Feb 18, 2008 at 04:32

Monday, Feb 18, 2008 at 04:32
Did you also check the battery prices on that site?

FULLRIVER or ALCO DC SLA 100 A/H AGM Battery $410.00

Makes our BOG deal of $267 88 (+ GST) look even better.

"Do It While You Can"
Nobody is getting any younger.

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FollowupID: 849355

Follow Up By: Willie - Monday, Feb 18, 2008 at 22:26

Monday, Feb 18, 2008 at 22:26
Rick ,

I bought this website to the notice of all the electrical gurus on Exploroz and was laughed at . They said he was pushing his own barrow and that some of his articles were not fair comment .

As an electrical idiot myself , I thought it all looked and sounded rather good though .

Cheers ,

Willie .
FollowupID: 849356

Follow Up By: The BrakeAways - Monday, Feb 18, 2008 at 23:03

Monday, Feb 18, 2008 at 23:03
It sounded fair enough to me as well. Some of it no doubt is true, such as the issues of inadequate cable sizes and that deep discharging reduces battery life.
Can the "electrical gurus" give us a technical rebuttal of what they believe are the key porkpies? That's what forums are about. It's a bit like the Sci-Fi movies or the X-files where the line went "The truth is out there". It's out there somewhere but zeroing in on it can be a problem!
Some of the key points this fellow has made (and which should be corrected if wrong) include:
* AGM batteries don't vent (i.e. are spillproof) and can be laid on their side etc
* Car alternators (or ordinary battery chargers) only recharge the car batteries or wet deep cycle (WDC) batteries to 70% to 80% of actual full charge
* A car alternator will take 8 to 12 hours to recharge a deeply discharged deep-cycle battery
* Deep cycle batteries are only designed to be discharged to 50%, i.e. the "useful" amp-hours is only about 50% of the nameplate values. "Deep discharges" (i.e. below 50%) reduce the life of the battery dramatically
* AGM batteries will handle "deep discharges" better than WDC batteries
* For maximum (indefinite) life out of any deep cycle battery (AGM or WDC), there should be sufficient batteries that the "daily discharge depth is only about 20% to 25% [This implies a trade-off to me; more batteries means less discharge so a much longer life, but at the expense of higher up-front cost and lugging more batteries around all the time]
* A standard Honday generator does a poor job of charging batteries, but the "specific purpose" Honda petrol battery charger does a good job, achieving 100% charge of the batteries (the same as a well-designed solar panel/regulator system or a 240 volt "smart 3 stage" charger)
* If using a standard Honda generator, it is better to charge batteries using a smart-charger on the 240 volt output then to the batteries
* AGM batteries can be charged in 2.5 to 3 hours
* AGM batteries (unlike WDC batteries) can be left idle for 12 months and then be fully charged, without ill effect

I do know some other specialists in this area, so I'll put these questions to them myself also.

FollowupID: 849357

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