Darron Mark Photography | #VanLife: Blog #010 Battery Problem Resolved

#VanLife: Blog #010 Battery Problem Resolved

August 29, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Yey..! YouTube videos have given me enough knowledge to understand battery technology to such a degree that I've resolved the dead battery problem Having a leisure battery directly connected to your starter battery is never ever a good idea. Which is what I've discovered with this vehicle, and why it kept flattening the battery to the point I couldn't even get a dashboard light. I'd only had it running 3 days earlier too, but it was as dead as a dead thing at it's funeral.

I've now got a battery switch relay on order from my good friends over at Amazon, however I've had to bin the existing leisure battery, because if a leisure battery falls below 12v it has serious consequences for it's longevity. It's safe to say to say, that this one is fooked. I'll replace it as part of the re-build at some point up ahead.

The van in the past few weeks has just been sitting at the side of the house, as funds for the build are on hold whilst we get my wife's new business established. Her beautician had decided to move to the US and start a new life out there as a Nanny. This has provided an opportunity too good for the other half to pass up on. We've bought the business from her, well, when I say "the business", we've bought everything that the business has, and re-purposed what was my studio office to 'Kitty's Parlour'. The van has been sitting full of products and furniture from the previous owner, until I got all of my gear out.

Iveco & The MournesIveco & The Mournes It made sense to turn it in to something more productive, as my plan to strip back everything to the basics has meant that all I need is a laptop and some cameras. The upgrade from my previous laptop has also allowed me to work in 4K in a more travel friendly environment. Added to the fact that I don't need a mini-server farm anymore to host all my many years work of photography, I can simply store them on Amazon's vast cloud infrastructure once I've finished working on them.

During the move, I've also been able clear out the roof space. I had nearly £600 worth of photography books up there. I read everything when I first started out. Learning from the pro's and industry leaders who had bothered to publish their knowledge to print for people like me to pour over. The books unfortunately went for pennies. Hopefully someone will benefit in the future. I'm now adopting a very strict rule of;

"If I haven't touched it in 6 months, I obviously don't need it, so sell it or bin it, or donate it to charity."

A lot of gear has gone the way of 'Cash Makers', which is a local pawn shop here in Derry. I spied a lovely little iPad Mini 2 the other day as I walked past the other day on my way home.

Sitting neatly in the shop window on a Friday afternoon, I thought if it's still there on Monday, then it's meant for me. Sure enough, come Monday morning as I walked up past it again, it's still sitting there. There was a very decent iPad Air next to it, but I feel that's probably too big for my needs, the iPad Mini will be perfect for my drone work, offering much better views that I'm getting from my iPhone 6s (can't wait for the 8 to come out).

So, the last tech clear out commenced. First to go was the Google Nexus 7 Tablet. This was supposed to be the tablet of choice for my drone, but it was just half and inch too small for any bracket to actually hold it, even with the bigger case surrounding it. Plus, it had problems connecting to my GoPro's when I really needed to see what the camera could see, like at the wedding I did in Portugal. So I wasn't a fan. I'd only had the damn thing 2 months (bought in the same way as the iPad I'm hoping to get), and the way this trade-in thing works, you lose 50% of what you could sell it for if you were prepared to wait. So £90 quickly turned to £50. 

The next to go was the last Dell Monitor I had left. The plan was to keep it as a second screen, but that wouldn't have made sense inside the van, I'd need something more multi-purpose. Something I could HDMI into with the laptop. So no longer fit for purpose, £15.

Hard Drives, cleaned and ready to go. I'm always wary of letting hard drives leave the house without some sort of hammer being their last experience, but these are still great 1TB Wester Digital Drives, someone could use them. I'd scoured the web for a way of overwriting them to the point that no data would ever be recovered. Found this great Windows program called Eraser, which does a Department of Defence level wipe. It took nearly 9 hours to perform on each of the three I was selling, but it did the job. Gone, £20 each.

Last to go was a great video tripod with dolly wheels. People where offering to buy them from across the country, with free shipping and discount. Jokers. Sold it to a guy who flies drones professionally and runs a security company too. He asked if I'd be so kind as to drop it up to a friend's of his locally, which I obliged. Money in to the auld PayPal account, and the iPad was mine. Not a penny spent from out the bank, and more space cleared.

I've done some walking back and forth up that Shipquay Street in Derry (those that live here will know it's some hill) I can tell ya! Even the staff know me by name I was in it that much recently. This laptop I'm working on right now came from there! It's an Aladdin's Cave of stuff. Picked up a cheeky little stereo for the missus too.

My wife asked me the other day was there anything else I wanted for the photography business, and I can honestly say, for the first time in a very long time; No. Nothing. I have everything I need to do what I love doing, which needs less of it.

Just a few jobs left to do with my wife's beauty parlour, which reminds me, must put the tool's batteries on charge, as I've a bench to cut to size.

The site is going to be going through a revamp too, as I'm cutting back on the things I'm going to be photographing professionally focussing more on just Music and Weddings. I'll be doing a lot more on the filming front too. First band booked in already, expect some 'Summer House Sessions' coming down the pike. Also, the van build is going to be designed to host some 'post gig' interview sessions with bands across the country, so I need to have great lighting options and plenty of seating space to allow for a few guitars and singers (sorry drummers, you'll have to slap the walls).


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