• I've been lazy long enough. Today is Silent E's birthday; time to replace that wire and get her back on the road!

    This is a very simple operation. Remove the old wire, cut a new wire to length, attach new terminal clamps, and put on the finished wire. Why have I been putting it off so long?

    The wire in question was getting so hot it melted its plastic terminal covers. Rather than fixing the problem, I removed the terminal covers. Eventually it got so hot it literally melted the terminal clamps. That's right. Drops of solidified lead on my battery tops. Yikes. They must have made a conduction path somewhere, because the terminals started sparking under load. That's when I stopped driving.

    The operation went pretty smoothly, except for one disturbing problem: There's a ground somewhere. Even with the main power switch off, putting the wire back on caused sparks. I washed the tops of the batteries with a baking soda solution, as best as I could. (One of my regulators got wet; I hope I didn't break it.)

    Including a dead-end wire that was too short, forgetting to turn off the main power switch, and spraying the nearby wasps (not in my car, thank RNG), the whole thing took me an hour. I used only the tools in my emergency kit, just to be sure I could replace a wire in an emergency.

    Happy Birthday, Silent E! Tuesday, it's back to work!

  • I must be doing something right: my eldest daughter went to a sleepover at a friend's house. They wanted to play Sims 3, but the computer wasn't working.

    We had discussed this earlier, so she knew it didn't have the appropriate drivers. She and her friend took the computer apart to figure out what model of motherboard they were dealing with, then put it back together, downloaded the appropriate drivers, and got everything running.

    Alright, it took them 3 hours. But that's not bad for a first time. And they treated a difficult problem with perseverance and initiative.

    Alpha Geek approves. Well done, Grasshopper!

  • I've been living with a hot wire for a while now. (No, not my wife. ;-) ) Fixing it is just a matter of replacing the wire, but I've been putting it off. A few days ago, on the way home from work, I could actually hear it sparking.

    It's not the first time it's done that, but this time it was really loud and sustained. I saw the voltage go down at the same time; it must really have been pulling some current out of the other batteries.

    The odd thing is... this means there's a path to ground somewhere. Luckily, it didn't short out the 12V system, or even blow any fuses. That means the short is probably among the batteries themselves. I'm betting it's splattered lead and/or dust.

    In any case, I'm not moving the car until I replace the wire. With everything else going on, that could take a while.

    I really need a vacation.

  • I'm still here. Just nothing interesting to report. It's been hectic, in a family-personal kind of way. The car still works, nothing new or interesting on that front. The family is still together, the job is still paying. Exercise wasn't going as well as I'd like, but I'm improving.

    Further news as events unfold.

  • People just love Silent E

    Thanks to my good friend Clark, today I attended the RubeLab RubeRally alternative fuel vehicle rally. Rather like a scavenger hunt, really. Silent E took second place! Well, the first place car ran on CNG -- a fossil fuel -- so I contend it should've been disqualified, but hey... ;)

    I also pushed my car beyond its limits, saw some other neat vehicles, and enjoyed hanging out with my brother. Read on for details and more pictures.

    Continue reading "Judebert's EV Conversion Diary: RubeRally"