Lately I've been smelling something burning. At first I thought it was the dust on my heater core, since I've been using it a little bit lately. But no, the smell persists even with the heater off.

Then I realized that the smell started when I opened the rear battery box. Sure enough, some of my homemade coroplast terminal protectors are melting.

Melting. Not only is the smell just terrible, I'm afraid it may have some health effects. I've been checking for a couple of days, and it seems that two or three of my wires are causing the entire problem. They get hot -- obviously not just warm -- even with my sedate driving.

It's possible that a battery or two has gone bad, but I'm betting it's just that these wires have a greater resistance than they should. (I mean, c'mon! It's 2/0 gauge wire, it shouldn't be getting hot!) I intend to check them with my multimeter at my first opportunity.

Of course, I've been really busy lately. It seems that the hour and a half I spend working out in the mornings is having a much greater impact on my time than I expected.

This is not the first time that strange smells have troubled Silent E, either. Earlier this week we left E-chan at home charging. When we came back, we smelled rotten eggs. This is a sign of gassing batteries; obviously, the sulfur in the sulfuric acid can easily create the rotten-egg smell.

We opened all the battery boxes and smelled closely, but none of the batteries had the odor. I think maybe the city uses sulfur water for irrigation.

All told, perhaps I ought to be paying a little more attention to my batteries.

Update 2009-01-13: I measured the battery voltages after discharge, and they're all within 0.1V. I tried to check the resistance of the cable, but it came up negative. I assume I'll have to check the resistance with the cable disconnected from the battery, which will take at least until the weekend.