Toyota Hilux Under Bonnet Dual Battery System

Toyota Hilux Under Bonnet Dual Battery System

Hi guys, Andrew here from Accelerate Auto Electrics & Air Conditioning with Josh, one of our dual battery experts.

One of the questions we get asked a lot is where should I put my dual battery or my auxiliary battery? Should it go under the bonnet or in a box in the back?

This is actually Josh’s Toyota Hilux. We’re here looking at it and he’s put his under the bonnet. We’re gonna let him tell us why he thinks it’s better under the bonnet, in his vehicle. Take it away Josh.

Josh: So, I went under the bonnet mainly to save space in my tub. A lot of the battery boxes are big and bulky and take up a lot of room.

The Toyota Hilux’s are good for that because you can get an under bonnet battery tray that still fits nice and tidy out of the way. You can get a 105 amp hour battery under the bonnet. This is ample to run your fridges and accessories for a couple of days. In conjunction with that, with the Toyota Hilux’s, you have to use a DCDC charger.

I have used the Redarc BCDC1225D, which is solar capable, and also maintains my battery to a hundred percent. A lot of these new cars have computer controlled alternators and smart alternators, so they need a correct charging profile. Otherwise your battery will never charge correctly and the computers don’t agree with it.

Andrew: So, how many days do you get outta your fridge Josh?

Josh: I get about three days without solar, before I have to start my vehicle and run and charge my battery back up.

Andrew:  Good, and what size solar panel have you got?

Josh: I use a 120 watt portable, little solar panel that I throw out in the sun. That way I can keep my car parked in the shade.

Andrew: Okay, cool. Anything else you’ve put on it for us, just quickly?

Josh: So, I’ve done LED upgrades in my headlights. I’ve got a slim line light bar mounted in my grill, because I haven’t got to the point where I want a bull bar.  I quite like the look of the slim factory body lines. I’ve got built in work lights in the back, that again run off my auxiliary battery. I also run my UHF and all that, which is all inside the cab as well.

Andrew: So any regrets putting it under the bonnet?

Josh: No, I don’t regret putting it under the bonnet. Mainly because, if it’s possible to go under the bonnet, I think it’s the best, most easiest way to do a dual battery system. As yeah, you save a lot of space.

Andrew: What we’ll do is we’ll take you inside and will give you a quick look at Josh’s dash. He’s used the factory switches that we use on our light bars and so on, so you can get a good look at that.

Inside The Cab

Josh: So inside my cab, I run the factory fit Toyota style blanks, so they replace the factory blanks. In this one here, I have a voltmeter and USB, which runs off my second battery to keep all my devices and phones, and tablets charged on the move.

Next to it I run the factory fit UHF plug. In a lot of these vehicles there is nowhere to mount the hand pieces. I didn’t wanna drill holes all through my dash to mount a hand piece. So I run the Uniden unit with all the controls and speaker, built into the hand piece. And when I don’t want it in use, I can just unplug that and put it away in my glove box. That way I don’t have cables and things dangling all over the place.

On the driver side of my vehicle I have the factory fit Toyota switches, that runs my auxiliary work lights, my fog lights, and my driving lights on the front. Now, we’re gonna go to the back and I’ll show you my work lights and the set up I have in my tray.

In The Ute Tub

So in the back of my Ute, I run just an Anderson plug in the side, which mainly runs my fridge. If I need to when I’m out camping, I then plug in a junction box. On this I run another voltmeter, some USB Chargers, and some cig sockets to run camp lights and stuff like that.

Also, I have my UHF aerial mounted in the back here. It’s a 6.5 DBI Uniden aerial. Once again, I didn’t have a bull bar, so I found an alternative place to mount it, and it’s quite tidy in the back.

At the top I run two LED work lights. These mostly come in use when I’m backing my boat down the boat ramps at night. Just to give me a bit more light and also when I’m camping, to find those campsites.

Andrew: So that was a quick run through of Josh’s Toyota Hilux, with his under bonnet dual battery system and a few other mods he’s done. If you have any questions give us a call on 1300 227 353 Email us at [email protected] or feel free to comment below.

Campsite Review: Imbil Camping Retreat

Campsite Review: Imbil Camping Retreat

Imbil Camping Retreat formerly known as Island Reach Camping Resort is located right in the township of Imbil on the banks of Yabba Creek. View their website here: https://www.imbilcampingretreat.com.au/

It’s the first time we’d been to this campgrounds and it is now an absolute favourite.

 

Getting There:

It takes just under 1 hour to get to Imbil Camping Retreat from Maroochydore. Best to head North on the Bruce and take exit 224, follow the signs to Imbil. Just as you hit Imbil you will see the signs for Imbil Camping Retreat.

Accommodation Options:

These guys keep it simple with camping sites currently they have these options available:

  • Powered
  • Un-Powered
  • Premium Waterfront Unpowered

We were there for an event (Adventure Bash) that had hired out the entire place – we were waterfront above the day use area – so assuming this would be premium, but in my opinion well worth the extra money as I got to sit in my comfy chair and watch Andrew & the kids kayak up and down the creek.

What we loved:

  • Imbil Camping Retreat offers free camping but with a few perks – toilets, hot showers, close to town, coffee shop and power if you need.
  • Location Location Location. Right on the banks of Yabba Creek – you can camp literally 5metres from the creek.
  • We had a mulberry tree between our site and the creek. Taking me on a trip down memory lane, the kids faces and hands were always stained red, I was tempted to head home and plant one in our backyard.
  • Open fires allowed – it’s not camping if there is no fire!!
  • In the middle of Yabba Creek there is a mud island, not a favourite of mine personally but the kids spent hours climbing up it and sliding right back down
  • Kayaks for hire
  • Close to town – it was about a 5min walk into town if you needed supplies
  • Bike Tracks for the kids to ride on

Room for improvement:

  • It is a basic campgrounds the camp kitchen and toilet blocks were basic – but honestly all you need

Things To Do:

  • Hire a kayak and paddle up and down the creek
  • Climb mud island
  • Jump off the cliffs – if you dare
  • Imbil markets are on 8am – 2pm Sunday
  • Drive into Kenilworth and explore the town
  • Visit Kenilworth Bakery for the 1kg donut challenge
  • Take a walk or 4WD in Imbil State Forest

Final Thoughts:

We loved it.  This is our new favourite campground on Yabba Creek, and believe me, we have been to a few.  Great for a weekend away but within an hour of the Sunshine Coast.

Have you stayed at Imbil Camping Retreat? If so, let us know what you thought.

View our Top 10 Places to Camp Within 1hr of the Sunshine Coast

Must-Visit Camping Spots in South East Queensland

Must-Visit Camping Spots in South East Queensland

How lucky are we? We get to live in such a beautiful part of the world with so many hidden gems to discover and stunning places to explore. To celebrate this beautiful part of the world we have put together some of our picks for the must-visit camping spots in South East Queensland.

Now full disclosure, we haven’t stayed at all these locations. Most of these suggestions are based on the reviews and recommendations of other travellers in addition to our own experience.

 

Most Frequently Recommended:

Bigriggen Park – Scenic Rim – https://www.bigriggen.com.au/

While doing research for this post, Bigriggen Park was one of the most consistently recommended locations on the list. After looking into this campground a little more its easy to see why. Situated just under 3 hours from the coast (90 mins South of Brisbane) this stunning location has plenty to offer visitors.

With heaps of open space to explore, a river to swim or fish in and easy access to nearby hiking tracks there is plenty to enjoy. There are powered and non-powered sites, toilets and hot showers (coin operated) on site. The park is also pet-friendly so you can bring your furry family members along with you too.

From all accounts, this is a fantastic place to camp, so it’s definitely one that we’ve added to our list of must-visit camping spots.

 

Now with so many incredible places to choose from, we thought it best to break up the camping spots into a few different categories. Hopefully, you can find one to suit your camping style.
 

Fraser Island

Springbrook National Park

Cobb & Co Nine Mile Campgrounds

Beach Camping:

Cooloola Recreation Area  – https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/cooloola/

Take your pick from some of the best beachside camping spots this region has to offer. Teewah Beach is our pick of the bunch. If you want to take your pets with you, check out Inskip Peninsula a little further north.

Fraser Islandhttps://www.visitfrasercoast.com/Stay/Caravan-Camping

There are so many options on Fraser Island so its best to do plenty of research when planning your trip. We love Cathedrals on Fraser because it is fully fenced and family friendly.

Honourable Mentions: Stradbroke Island, Noosa North Shore, Bribie Island 

Rainforest Camping: 

Conondale National Parkhttps://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/conondale/

This is one you will want to come back to time and time again. With crystal clear swiming holes, stunning waterfalls and an abundance of walking tracks there is plenty to enjoy.

Springbrook National Parkhttps://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/springbrook/camping.html 

Another fantastic location. There are 9 different walking tracks to choose from and gorgeous waterfalls (including the Natural Bridge) to see along the way.

Honourable Mentions: D’Aguilar National Park, Lamington National Park, Main Range National Park

Farm Style Camping:

Bestbrook Mountain Resorthttps://www.bestbrook.com.au/

If you a wanting an authentic farm experience, look no further than Bestbrook. Offering traditional farm stay experiences including milking cows, billy tea, damper, wagon riding, whip cracking and heaps more.

Cobb & Co Nine Mile Campgroundshttp://www.cobb-and-co-nine-mile-camping-grounds.com/

Another one of our absolute favourites. This is the ideal spot for an escape the whole family will enjoy. There is a fantastic playground for the kids, an animal farm and horse riding all on site.

Honourable Mentions: Coleyville Lodge, Neurum Creek Bush Retreat, Kenilworth Camping

 

Lake Somerset

Rivershore Resort

Bunya Mountains National Park

For Watersports:

Lake Somersethttps://www.nrmaparksandresorts.com.au/lake-somerset/

One of the favourites when it comes to watersports and camping lakeside. With plenty of space to enjoy, free kids activities and a wide range of accommodation options available, there is sure to be something to suit everyone. 

Borumba Damhttps://campborumba.com.au/

Another great spot for taking the boat or jet ski for a spin. The campgrounds are ideally located with easy access to the dam and well looked after facilities. 

Honourable Mentions: Lake Moogerah, Maroon Dam, Lake Wivenhoe Campgrounds

For Glampers:

Alure Stanthorpehttps://www.alurestanthorpe.com.au/ 

Now this place takes glamping to a whole new level with one of the most glamorous safari tents we’ve seen (yep, there is even a chandelier). It is truly a lavish glamping experience sure to delight even the most reluctant campers. 

Rivershore Resorthttps://www.rivershore.com.au 

This one is an absolute gem of a spot. The luxurious Safari Tents are kitted out with everything you need (can anyone say claw-foot bathtub). The wide range of facilities onsite are sure to keep the whole crew entertained. 

Honourable Mentions: Murphy’s Creek Hideaway, Ketchups Bank Glamping, Nightfall (Must See!)

 

For Adventurers:

Mount Barney National Park https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/mount-barney/ or https://www.mtbarneyretreat.com.au/mtbarney-camping.html

All camping areas within the National Park are only accessible by foot so be prepared to carry everything in and out for those. If you are up for it though, there are some incredible lookouts, waterfalls, swimming holes and forests to see while you’re there. Rest assured, there are also some other accommodation options nearby if carrying your gear isn’t your style.

Bunya Mountains National Park https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/bunya-mountains/ 

Another long time crowd favourite. With three camping options, each with different levels of accessibility, there is something to suit all types of campers. The rainforest in this park is spectacular with ancient bunya pines towering overhead. With over 9 walking tracks to choose from there is plenty to explore. 

Honourable Mentions: Jimna State Forest, Mapleton National Park, Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk

What Size Inverter Do I Need to Run 240V Appliances?

What Size Inverter Do I Need to Run 240V Appliances?

Don’t want to give up life’s little luxuries on your next caravan trip? If you are accustomed to the creature comforts of home and would to take them on the road with you when you travel, you should look at installing an inverter on your Caravan. But with so many options out there how do you know what size inverter you need to keep all your 240V appliances powered? 

We’re here to offer some suggestions. 

In this post, we are assuming you already have solar panels or battery system installed in your caravan or vehicle. If you haven’t, we suggest also checking out some of our other blog posts and videos here: 4WD & Caravan Electrics Posts

The size of the inverter you will need is dependent on a few factors:
  • The number of appliances you will be powering
  • The type of devices you will be powering
  • The size of your batteries

If you are wanting to run low-draw 240V devices like TVs, laptops and lights, a 300W – 600W size inverter should be enough.

However, if you are looking to run higher powered devices such as kettles, toasters, coffee machines or even Air Conditioning there are a few more things to consider. 

So what are you going to need if you are committed to being completely self-sufficient and avoiding mains power entirely? 

To power these high draw appliances, you will need to ensure you have a large inverter. You will also need a large bank of batteries that have enough capacity to power these devices. A decent set of solar panels is also recommended to keep the batteries charged.

As a minimum for running these high draw appliances, we would suggest a 250Ah 12V battery bank with a 2000W inverter. This would be enough to run most pod coffee machines and some microwaves for a short burst.

If you were wanting to power anything more than this (for example an AC system), you would need to look at a battery bank of at LEAST 300-600Ah and a 3000W inverter.

As you can probably understand the more you want to run on 240V power the bigger, and more expensive, the system gets.

Space and weight are often obstacles when it comes to installing these larger systems in caravans. However, new technologies are constantly being developed to combat this issue. Alternate battery options such as lithium becoming increasingly popular for this reason. There are more options than ever on the market for anyone wanting to be more self-sufficient when travelling. It is important to do plenty of research or consult a professional when considering what is the best solution for you. 

If you are looking at setting up your caravan to run 240V appliances, or if you just want to give yourself more options to free camp, give us a call on 1300 227 353, contact us online or comment below.

How to Maintain Your Car’s AC System

Most people don’t appreciate their Car’s AC System, until the day it stops running of course! To keep your AC running at peak performance for longer, there are a few things you can do to maintain your car’s AC system. 

It is important to note, that although there are some things you can do yourself to look after your AC, we always recommend that any work on your AC system should be carried out by a licenced technician with the correct AC equipment. 

Regular Use

Switching on your car’s AC for a few minutes every week will help keep the system lubricated. We recommend running your air conditioning for at least 10 minutes at full power (on cold). This is especially important to do in Winter. If the system sits for long periods of time without use, this increases the risk of seals and hoses hardening or breaking, potentially causing leaks in the system. 

Keep It Clean

A simple way to help prolong the performance of your AC System is to regularly replace your cabin filter. This seemingly minor part is your evaporator’s first line of defence against the elements. It filters out the dust, dirt, leaves and other debris from outside, preventing it from entering the AC system and clogging up major components. Due to the nature of their function, they can become breeding grounds for bacteria and mildew. This is why we recommend getting them replaced every few years. 

It is important to note that in many vehicles, the cabin filter will only be filtering the air that is entering the vehicle from outside. If your AC System is on re-circulate is it pulling air from the cabin straight through to the evaporator. For this reason, we also recommend keeping the inside of your car free of pet hair, dirt and other debris (in particular the front seats).  

Should your system start to present some unusual smells or restricted airflow, this could be a sign of bacteria or mould in the system. Thankfully there are inexpensive Anti-Bacterial treatments that can be used to eliminate these contaminants. These treatments are great for keeping your AC system smelling fresh and free of allergens and other nasties. 

Dry the Evaporator

If you’ve been running the AC system non-stop this can cause moisture build up in the evaporator core. This can lead to a build-up of bacteria, mould or mildew. To prevent this, we recommend drying out the evaporator regularly by running the AC in defrost mode for 5-10 minutes. Another option is to turn the AC off (with the fan still running) a few minutes before you reach your destination. This gives the evaporator time to dry off excess moisture using the hot air from the engine.

Monitor for Changes

It is important to monitor your AC system for any changes in performance. This could be a change in how the system sounds when its running, or a strange smell coming from the vents, or a change in the air flow temperature. Noises can be a sign of mechanical fault, smells can be caused by bacteria build up and air flow can be affected by any number of things.

In almost all cases, the sooner the fault is identified the easier (and often cheaper) it is to repair. If faulty or damages components are left unattended to, they run the risk of damaging more components down the track. Consequential damage is all too common in AC systems. This is why we always recommend getting your vehicle assessed by a qualified technician as soon as you notice any changes in the performance of your AC system.   

Regular Servicing

Just like your car’s engine, the best way to keep your AC system at peak performance is to have it serviced regularly. Having your system thoroughly tested and inspected by qualified and licenced technicians is the best way to ensure its longevity. Regular servicing also helps to catch any issues or faults early, usually making it cheaper and easier to fix. 

Here at Accelerate Auto Electrics and Air Conditioning we offer a vide range of vehicle Air Conditioning services and repairs. Whether you are due for your next service, or have an existing problem with your car’s AC system, our licenced technicians can help. Give our team a call on 07 5479 6652 or contact us online here.