« back       further »

Technical Problems

Coolgardie — 1999-09-14

For the first time today we come to test our technical equipment. I begin with laying out our solar paddle and testing it with and without sun. Then I connect a battery charging unit and I’m pleased with the positive results of the charge. The accumulators for our forehead lamps, cameras and walkmen are supplied with energy this way. We charge the accumulators for our camcorders with two special charging units that have so far worked without difficulty. Also the 12 V stand-by battery for emergencies that we use for our satellite phone and for the laptop work faultlessly. The extension cable from the solar paddle to the laptop is perfect. So I have no problems working on the computer at our big, oval table. Unfortunately, one of the four accumulators for the Smile is failing already, but this is not a dangerous situation.

It is really hard to imagine how many cables, adapters, plugs, operating instructions, tools and other accessories are necessary to be independent of socket-outlet electricity.

About a week ago, when I was sure to have everything under control, the power supply for our laptop failed hopelessly. This was a regular shock for me, because for our reporting I need this tool more than anything else. Fortunately, we are only in the preparation stage of our expedition and can still afford such a failure. Much to our regret, there was nobody here at Kalgoorlie able to repair our computer and so I had to send it to Germany. If we’re lucky, we’ll have it back by next week, we’ll just have to wait and see. For the time being, I go the recently opened telecommunications centre every day where the staff is nice enough to let me use their equipment for my writing. Once again, it is the Australian helpfulness that saves us. Tanja and I are full of gratitude.

We are happy about comments!