Week 7 Special Feature - Our Electronic Equipment Set Up
The setup we will describe fits our needs, but will not necessarily fit
everybody, so please take our information as a suggestion only.
Vehicle Setup Electronic Equipment
- GME UHF Radio - 40 channel. We find this useful for
talking to everyone from road maintenance graders through to trucks and
other fellow travellers. (Also great to hear the location of "Flash for
Cash" units ie Police radars.) This unit has a limited transmission range which is
determined by many factors, including the quality of you antenna through to
geographical obstacles and repeater stations.
- GME UHF Radio 40 channel hand held. This is used for
a range of functions to enabling clear communication in a recovery situation
through to when one of us would like to go wandering by themselves and may
need help (eg when stuck up to her ankles in mud and unable to move!)
- Ericcson R290 Satellite Phone on the Globalstar and
Vodafone networks. Satellite uses Globalstar for when you're in the bush (and
you can find a signal - sorry for venting some frustration here) and
Vodafone for large centres where Vodafone GSM exits.
- Battery charger AA & AAA for small torches and other
- IRiver MP3 Player - just like an Ipod but not made
by Apple. This stores some of our music collection for when you on the road
and away from radio. An FM transmitter plays this back through our vehicle
- Triple Battery System combining the traditional dual
battery under bonnet system with a AGM in the rear storage compartment of
the vehicle. Importantly these batteries are individually isolated by dash
mounted switches which enables us to control charging and discharging.
- Driver side hard wired, dash mounted multi meter to
enable monitoring of all batteries with ease and a minimum of hassle. This
meter is hard wired directly to each of the batteries through a rotatory
switch, which also dash mounted.
- 300 watt pure sine wave inverter. Pure sine wave
produces electrical current which is suitable for sensitive electronic
equipment like our laptop. We also now have a 150 watt modified sine wave
inverter as a backup. We would be lost if we didn't have our inverter.
A sad indictment on our society I guess, but that's the way it is. Without
an inverter you would not be getting updates as regularly, if at all.
- Garmin Map60c GPS which is mounted on the dash and
swivels to enable access by driver and co driver. This unit is also hard
wired to the vehicles electrical system and has USB cable for connection to
- 3 lights including, 1 x 2' fluro with yellow tube
that runs on its own internal battery and is charged up during the day on
the inverter, 1 x torpedo 12v light from Evakool and the equivalent in a
240v version for caravan parks etc.
- Battery charger 240v hard wired to vehicle batteries
for those nights in caravan parks.
- 60 Litre Evakool fridge with 12 and 240v connections
- HP nc8230 laptop
- Nikon D70 SLR digital camera with standard and
- Canon A620 digital camera
- USB cables for connection of both cameras to laptop
Laptop Hewlett Packard nc8320
Our laptop is the central nervous system for our whole
setup. It performs many tasks as we will detail below and can be seen most days
on our stable table on our lap as we drive or around the dinner table recording
/ showing the days events. We use the laptop for so many tasks that we could not
imagine doing a trip such as this without it. So what do we do with it?
- A mapping assistant. The Garmin connects to our
laptop via USB cable and gives us real time mapping ability using
Oziexplorer software and Natmaps. Real time mapping (also called "moving
map") ability is a good addition to our bag of tricks. To
know where you are and how far you need to travel to get there is handy. We never
have arguments over if we are heading the right direction! The track
recording function allows us to re trace our steps to past sites we have
visited or even share with other people. We still carry paper maps as these
are still easier to look over and make decisions from; these also are backup
in case of electronic failure.
- Photo storage assistant. Each day we down load our
photos to our hard drive and view the efforts of our days labour. This gives
us both immediate feedback on the quality of our work and if a particular
style / setting works. The laptop allows us to burn copies of our photos for
safe storage as well they can be sent to friends.
- ACDSee Version 7.0 software for transferring photos
from storage cards to laptop. and for file organisation. Also allows us to fix contrasts and manipulate
photographs to be used in our web page.
- Canon Stitch Software - this is used by Alison to
produce her panoramas from individual photographs she takes.
- Outlook Email - to keep in contact with everyone and
to let the people / family know what's happening
- Music Jukebox - much of our music is held on DVD and
can be played through the laptop (Windows Media Player) or transferred to the IRiver
- Microsoft Front Page 2003 for producing our web page
- CuteFTP to transfer our web page to our URL for you
- Movie player - our laptop plays our DVDs for those
nights where we just want to chill in front of the box
- Diary - Where we store important aspects of our trip
in the written form.
- Research assistant - our laptop has 2 ways of
connecting to the internet, a network card and a wireless connection. Some
facilities like the Howard Springs Caravan Park offer free wireless internet
to all their customers and other times some internet cafes allow direct
network connections. The resources of the internet help us in many decisions
on what to see and road conditions.
- Reference Library - we carry a lot of information
like 4WD magazine articles on areas we wish to visit in PDF format for
review on the track.
This is our little setup which we hope will give you
ideas on how to build your setup for your adventure. Remember it is what suits
your budget and skill base. There are many alternatives available, and the best
ideas come from your research and talking with other travellers.
Steve & Alison