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  1. #1
    1000+ Posts silverexec's Avatar
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    Default Car batteries and electrical stuff

    Hey guys, the other day I finally got around to installing an electric cooling fan for the radiator in my 505, to replace my stuffed water-pump-driven viscous fan. The morning after, my battery was flat enough to prevent me from starting the car. After a jump-start and a trip to the shops and back, the battery was good for the rest of the day.

    I checked the voltage across the battery while the car was running and I was getting around 13.8V when idling, and 13.1V once the fan kicked in. Is this OK or is the fan too much for the system?

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    After charging the battery overnight, it's once again fine in the mornings, but I'm worried that it will get weak again over time. What are people's thoughts?

    Cheers,
    Richard
    - Richard

    Now: 405 SRI D70 '93
    - 2.0L manual
    Earlier: 505 GTi Executive '85
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  2. #2
    1000+ Posts HONG KONG PUGGY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverexec
    Hey guys, the other day I finally got around to installing an electric cooling fan for the radiator in my 505, to replace my stuffed water-pump-driven viscous fan. The morning after, my battery was flat enough to prevent me from starting the car. After a jump-start and a trip to the shops and back, the battery was good for the rest of the day.

    I checked the voltage across the battery while the car was running and I was getting around 13.8V when idling, and 13.1V once the fan kicked in. Is this OK or is the fan too much for the system?

    After charging the battery overnight, it's once again fine in the mornings, but I'm worried that it will get weak again over time. What are people's thoughts?

    Cheers,
    Richard
    Richard,
    First check the warning light for the charge system (dashboard) and make sure it is working. Sounds like the fan belt may-be loose, did you slacken it off to remove the fan?? I am only guessing, because if the alternator isn't charging properly the light should be on .

    just a thought.
    Good luck,
    Chris

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    Budding Architect ???? pugrambo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverexec
    Hey guys, the other day I finally got around to installing an electric cooling fan for the radiator in my 505, to replace my stuffed water-pump-driven viscous fan. The morning after, my battery was flat enough to prevent me from starting the car. After a jump-start and a trip to the shops and back, the battery was good for the rest of the day.

    I checked the voltage across the battery while the car was running and I was getting around 13.8V when idling, and 13.1V once the fan kicked in. Is this OK or is the fan too much for the system?

    After charging the battery overnight, it's once again fine in the mornings, but I'm worried that it will get weak again over time. What are people's thoughts?

    Cheers,
    Richard
    what was the voltage reading at high idle like around 1500 rpm ?
    the voltage drop seems normal enough to me at idle
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    1000+ Posts HONG KONG PUGGY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by orange17
    Richard,
    First check the warning light for the charge system (dashboard) and make sure it is working. Sounds like the fan belt may-be loose, did you slacken it off to remove the fan?? I am only guessing, because if the alternator isn't charging properly the light should be on .

    just a thought.
    Good luck,
    Chris
    FURTHER THOUGHTS,
    Also check connections at alternator, for tighrness and at the battery for corrosion. On a R17 I once had, the terminals became real dirty almost overnight when we had heaps of rain for a few days, and all the corrosion became moist, and the battery connection bacame that poor the car wouldn't start.
    Sounds corny I know, but you never know.
    Chris

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    Richard, a couple of thoughts to add to those above.

    Although unlikely, check that something you've done isn't causing a constant drain on the battery even when everything's switched off. Disconnect the positive lead of the battery and connect the meter, set to amps, across this. Try the largest amp (usually 10A) setting first, then reduce it until you get a reading...but you shouldn't get a reading (unless you've got an electric clock or some other minor drain, in which case it'll be pretty small like 0.1A).

    Also, is the fan wired into the ignition or battery (always on) circuit? If you've got it wired to the battery circuit so it can run even when the ignition's off, it might help to wire it through the ignition and have it running that bit less.

    Otherwise, your battery could have been almost U/S and this extra drain has shown this up.

    Stuey

  6. #6
    1000+ Posts silverexec's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies, sorry I haven't been around to reply sooner.
    First check the warning light for the charge system (dashboard) and make sure it is working. Sounds like the fan belt may-be loose, did you slacken it off to remove the fan?? I am only guessing, because if the alternator isn't charging properly the light should be on .
    The light definitely works as it comes on with the other warning lights when I switch the ignition on. I don't know if this might be related, but sometimes when I start the car, the charge light doesn't immediately go out after it starts. Revving the engine to about 2000rpm for a few seconds makes the globe go out and then everything's fine. Usually only happens when the engine is cold in the morning.
    what was the voltage reading at high idle like around 1500 rpm ?
    the voltage drop seems normal enough to me at idle
    About the same as when idling normally around 1000rpm - 13.8V with the fan off and 13.1V with the fan on.
    FURTHER THOUGHTS,
    Also check connections at alternator, for tighrness and at the battery for corrosion.
    Haven't had a chance to check the connections at the alternator, but I know the battery terminals are tight since I tightened them when I put them back on after I finished charging the battery.
    Although unlikely, check that something you've done isn't causing a constant drain on the battery even when everything's switched off. Disconnect the positive lead of the battery and connect the meter, set to amps, across this. Try the largest amp (usually 10A) setting first, then reduce it until you get a reading...but you shouldn't get a reading (unless you've got an electric clock or some other minor drain, in which case it'll be pretty small like 0.1A).

    Also, is the fan wired into the ignition or battery (always on) circuit? If you've got it wired to the battery circuit so it can run even when the ignition's off, it might help to wire it through the ignition and have it running that bit less.

    Otherwise, your battery could have been almost U/S and this extra drain has shown this up.
    I'll try checking for current drain this weekend. I've got an lcd clock so I'll try to take that into account.

    The fan is wired into the ignition so it only comes on when the ignition is on.

    The battery probably is getting a bit old. It's a fairly ordinary Exide and I don't know how long ago before I bought the car it was installed.

    The battery is still coping at this point in time so maybe I had just drained it a little too far when doing my "testing". I'll try the tests that you guys have mentioned and get back to you.

    Cheers,
    Richard
    - Richard

    Now: 405 SRI D70 '93
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    Earlier: 505 GTi Executive '85
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  7. #7
    1000+ Posts silverexec's Avatar
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    Bad news - I couldn't start the car again today.

    It started fine in the morning, but it was fairly grey and showery today so I had my headlights on, wipers going, blower fan on low to keep me cool (it was humid with the windows closed...) and CD player on for some entertainment.

    The first impression I got that something was wrong was that the wipers would work really slowly on occasions. It turns out they struggled whenever the radiator cooling fan was going - looks like the fan draws a fair amount of current. The tacho stopped working when idling at lights, and the CD player kept switching on and off. My mum was freaking out...

    Anyway I got to the city and switched off. When I returned to the car 5 hours later, it wouldn't start. Luckily I got a jump start from - of all people - a guy driving a Peugeot 307. I thanked him by slapping him with an Aussiefrogs sticker! Justin, it turns out he knows about your 307 mailing list and he'd checked out your website and thought it was very informative. Maybe he'll come around here and check us out soon.

    Back on my problem - I measured the current being drawn from the battery with everything off, and it's only about 8mA (0.08A) from the clock I guess. So nothing is seriously draining the battery overnight.

    I'm charging the battery up again tonight, to keep me going for a while, but what do you guys think is the problem? Is the battery losing it's ability to keep charge, or is the charging system not doing it's thing? How can I find out which one is the problem?

    I guess I should start looking into getting a new battery just in case.

    Thanks guys and gals.

    Richard
    - Richard

    Now: 405 SRI D70 '93
    - 2.0L manual
    Earlier: 505 GTi Executive '85
    - hence "Silver Exec"...
    25 GTX '86
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  8. #8
    1000+ Posts Haakon's Avatar
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    check the alternator output with everything on - as it sounds like it wasnt supplying enough today and the car had to dip into its battery reserve to keep everything going. If the battery isnt too flash, its not much of a reserve and quick to flatten.

    If you still have the original Paris Rhone alternator, it may be better to put a brand new Oz made Bosch one in - can be had for ~$180 for something around 75 amp output. Someone I know got charged $350 + labour for a reco Paris Rhone 505 alternator, when a brand new Bosch was half the price and twice the capacity.
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    Pretty obvious, but also check the battery terminals where the thick wires terminate to make sure there's a really good connection and no corrosion. Resistance here would cause problems.

  10. #10
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    Not the voltage regulator doing a dummy spit under load?
    Also, have you got a relay to those fans and how good/bad is the wiring to them?

    Alan S
    If it ain't broke, use a 12" shifter.....that usually does the trick!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverexec
    Luckily I got a jump start from - of all people - a guy driving a Peugeot 307. I thanked him by slapping him with an Aussiefrogs sticker! Justin, it turns out he knows about your 307 mailing list and he'd checked out your website and thought it was very informative. Maybe he'll come around here and check us out soon.
    Good to hear fellow Pug drivers helping each other out. Do you remember his name and what colour his car was?

    We've got around 30 odd Melbourne based members, some are a little quiet though.

    Hope the car starts behaving again.

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  12. #12
    1000+ Posts silverexec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haakon
    check the alternator output with everything on - as it sounds like it wasnt supplying enough today and the car had to dip into its battery reserve to keep everything going. If the battery isnt too flash, its not much of a reserve and quick to flatten.

    If you still have the original Paris Rhone alternator, it may be better to put a brand new Oz made Bosch one in - can be had for ~$180 for something around 75 amp output. Someone I know got charged $350 + labour for a reco Paris Rhone 505 alternator, when a brand new Bosch was half the price and twice the capacity.
    Thanks for the replies again, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas - I certainly had a very busy one.

    Yeah, I believe the alternator can't handle situations when everything's going, like the cooling fan, lights wipers, rear demister, etc all on at the same time. When I last tested the voltage with just the cooling fan going, it was reading 13.1V. According to the Haynes manual, the output voltage should be no less than 13.3V when all accessories are on. Anything less indicates a tired regulator, so I'm tending to believe I'm up for a new regulator.

    Alan, the fans are running off individual relays being driven by the one thermoswitch at the base of the radiator. The wiring was crimped together but done fairly well - I was in a rush to get the fan installed so I didn't have time to solder everything properly.

    Stuey, the wires seem fairly solid and clean where they attach to the battery.

    So does anyone know roughly how much a new regulator would cost? Or would I be better off just getting a new Bosch alternator anyway? Where would I get a Bosch alternator and do they bolt straight on?

    The saga continues...

    Cheers,
    Richard

    Oh, and Justin, I'm terrible with names but the guy's 307 was black and he had a personalised number plate - that's all I can remember.
    Last edited by silverexec; 26th December 2003 at 03:08 PM.
    - Richard

    Now: 405 SRI D70 '93
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    Earlier: 505 GTi Executive '85
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    25 GTX '86
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  13. #13
    1000+ Posts Haakon's Avatar
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    I would be inclined to go out to Pick a part in Bayswater and grab the aftermarket Bosch alternator on the really nice STi out there (that no one looks like being able to rescue ) Its worth the gamble it wont behave for the $30 odd they charge, and a cheap way out if it does
    Or have a look at the early Commodes and the like, as they sometimes have obviously new units on them that generally fit (but check it against the one in the Pug first for dimensions)

    Or if you have an original Paris Rhone one and want to keep it, get a new regulator from Carrevelle, and get the windings tested and new bearings installed by an auto electrical place (this should cost ~$60) unless they feel really good.
    If its a Bosch one and bearings feel good, a regulator is quite cheap.
    All easy to do.
    Last edited by Haakon; 26th December 2003 at 04:56 PM.
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  14. #14
    1000+ Posts silverexec's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip, I'll head out to Pick-a-part tomorrow. Hopefully it will get me around for a while, and then I could get my Paris-Rhone alternator sorted out.

    Many many thanks! I'll let you know how it goes.


    Richard
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    1000+ Posts Haakon's Avatar
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    You might see me out there I'm off to get brakes and injection stuff off it tomorrow. What time you heading out (always up for a chinwag over the engine bay of froggy )?
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    1000+ Posts silverexec's Avatar
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    I'll probably be there around 11am-12pm, most likely with my dad (who knows almost nothing about Pugs and doesn't understand why I put up with it...). I've got to get all my tools ready in the morning and I might take out my old alternator and bring it along to compare with the Bosch.

    I guess I might see you tomorrow then.

    Richard
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  17. #17
    1000+ Posts silverexec's Avatar
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    Hey Haakon, it was good to chat with you again the other day. Quite a reasonable range of Pugs and Renaults there, much more than the Pick-a-part near me at Campbellfield.

    Anyway, just thought I'd post an update. I took out my old alternator and it turned out to be a 14V/55A MOTOROLA (!?!), not a Paris-Rhone. I cleaned up the 60A Bosch and installed it, and found that it didn't spin quite as freely as the Motorola and actually got very hot after a few minutes of being run. When I turned on most of the accessories, the voltage dropped to 13.0V, below the 13.3V specified by the Haynes manual, so the regulator is not much better than my old one.

    So I now have a new range of choices -

    1 - Get a new regulator for my original 55A Motorola, probably won't need full reconditioning.

    2 - Fully recondition the 60A Bosch.

    3 - Try and find a brand-new higher rated Bosch alternator.

    Would the 55/60A of the old alternators be enough or should I try getting something new around 75A or more to be on the safe side?

    Thanks heaps,
    Richard
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    Budding Architect ???? pugrambo's Avatar
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    i always work by wattage
    i know it's slightly backwards but it works for me
    work out what wattage everything is in total
    to work out what wattage an alternator pumps out use voltsXamps
    14X55=770w
    make sure your regulator is set right and bobs your uncle
    get your local sparkie to test your alternator on his bench
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  19. #19
    1000+ Posts silverexec's Avatar
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    Ok, well a VERY rough calculation gives me around 1000W which becomes about 75A. Looks like I'm up for a new alternator.

    Looking on the Bosch website, their alternator information is pathetic - very confusing and they don't give a nice list of what they've got. I'll be giving Bursons a call tomorrow to try to get some more info on what's available and prices.

    Cheers guys,
    Richard
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    Now: 405 SRI D70 '93
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    25 GTX '86
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  20. #20
    1000+ Posts Haakon's Avatar
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    I'm surprised 60 amps wont be enough unless you are running extra driving lights or something - my last fuego had 100 watt headlights, twin radiator fans, very loud stereo, etc etc, and even on rainy dark nights it always coped with a 60 amp Bosch, even though the factory Paris Rhone one was 75 amps.

    I would have thought 13 volts with everything on was OK, but the Bosch will be cheap to put new brushs/bearings and reg in. Brand newbies can be had for ~$150 - 180 depending on from where and what amperage.

    If the battery is around 4 years or older (easy to get tested be a auto elec) consider a new one (K mart is a cheap place for good new ones )
    A sad battery will stress the alternator as it tries to charge a battery that doesnt want to be charged
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  21. #21
    1000+ Posts silverexec's Avatar
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    Yeah, I might have to settle for the 60A anyway, I've been having a hard time trying to find a 75A version. Most of the auto electricians are closed until mid January, and the one guy I did go to couldn't match up any of the alternators he had with the way mine fitted. I was going to give him the part no. of the 60A Bosch so he can know how a Bosch unit is supposed to fit my Pug.

    So you reckon the 60A might be fine? Maybe I should just get that reconditioned for the time being, and if it doesn't keep up then sell it.

    I don't know how old the battery is, but its only about 280cc so I'll be buying a new one anyway. I could just get an ordinary heavy duty battery, but I've read on past threads around here about Delkor ceramic batteries and Optima's spiral types. Would it be worth my while getting one of these?

    Cheers again,
    Richard
    - Richard

    Now: 405 SRI D70 '93
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    Earlier: 505 GTi Executive '85
    - hence "Silver Exec"...
    25 GTX '86
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  22. #22
    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    Richard, If you're running a 505 with a 280CCA battery then it isn't any surprise that the battery is going flat. The minimum rating for a battery for a 505 is 380CCA (440CCA preferred) and higher rated batteries are needed is you have a diesel or turbo types. The 280CCA battery might have been able to cope (just) when new but as the battery ages it loses some capacity and your adding the cooling fan has taken your current requirements beyond where the battery can cope. Try a new battery (of the correct rating) first before you change your alternator, it's going to be cheaper and easier and you will probably find your existing alternator is okay. Your current battery is probably knackered anyway if you've been overloading it for any lenght of time.



    but I've read on past threads around here about Delkor ceramic batteries and Optima's spiral types. Would it be worth my while getting one of these?
    Not really worth it. They allegedly last twice as long as a 'normal' heavy duty battery but then they cost twice as much so it's no better value. The biggest advantage these Optima etc. types have is that they are physically smaller than the equivalent lead acid types.


    Ren
    Last edited by REN TIN TIN; 31st December 2003 at 09:44 AM.
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  23. #23
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    Not really worth it. They allegedly last twice as long as a 'normal' heavy duty battery but then they cost twice as much so it's no better value. The biggest advantage these Optima etc. types have is that they are physically smaller than the equivalent lead acid types.


    Ren
    [/QUOTE]

    With all respect I beg to differ. I have used Delkor batteries for the past 3 or so years in commercial power generation situations with no problem whatsoever. I have approximately 340 in operation at the moment. These things can sit for months on end attached to a float charger, then when asked to start a 30ltr diesel, do so with little effort.
    The added benefit of these batteries besides the longer warranty is the fact they are 'maintenance free'. A generator sized Delkor costs me between $70 and $110 depending on the size. I'm sure a 500cca sized unit would be on the lower side of this scale also. When comparing with a traditional wet cell type battery you're going to pay the same if not more for the wet cell unit.

    If you wanted to go really flash and tiny, have a look at the Odyssey brand. These are not Calcium batteries, they are what is referred to starved electrolyte batteries, sometimes also called 'dry cell' which is a little inaccurate. These batteries are about 1/4 of the size of an equivalent wet cell battery, they are fully sealed and can be mounted in any configuration except upside down.

    However these puppies cost $200 + and have a estimated life of 5 to 8 years with a 3 year replacement warranty.

    Hope this info is of some use.

    John
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  24. #24
    1000+ Posts Haakon's Avatar
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    Lots of good whiz bang batteries about, but for the Pug (which is not a showpony, but a loved workhorse) I would just go into K Mart and get an Exide Evolution. The built in carry handle and charge indicator is very handy, and believe them to be good value - not the cheapest but a good quality unit.

    http://www.exide.com.au/products/index.lasso

    My friend has a 550 cca one in his STi which cost ~$100, and we have one in the R21 that is nearly 5 years old and going strong.
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  25. #25
    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    John, Delkor batteries are fine for the purpose for which they were designed, which is not to go in a car. I would not recommend to anyone that they use a battery desined for static applications in a car. Car batteries are designed to withstand high underbonnet temperatures, vibration, and high rates of charge and discharge (eg. when starting, etc).

    Standby batteries, if and when they are called on to provide power, are usually required to deliver power slowly over a longer period than a automotive battery. They are also designed to be charged slowly (trickle charged) so would not take kindly to the charging rates of an automotive alternator. Also, many standby batteries are dry (no liquid acid present) which, like you say means the batteries can be mounted almost any way but the problem with dry batteries is that they do not have the heat tolerance of flooded batteries. The liquid acid in a flooded battery (e.g. automotive battery), apart from the primary function of acting as the electrolyte, assists in cooling.

    Put an automotive battery in a car unless you have no other choice.
    Sure a battery designed for standby, deepcycle, etc. applications will work. But putting a standby battery in a car will kill it just quicker than an automotive battery.

    Anyway, there's hardly any shortage of automotive batteries around so why would you bother with a battery not designed for a car. Look for a low maintenance automotive battery if you can't be bothered topping up the water and want one that will last a reasonably long time.

    Ren
    Last edited by REN TIN TIN; 31st December 2003 at 11:37 AM.
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