• I spent extra money making sure I wouldn't overcharge my batteries and kill them. That's the most common cause of battery death among EV owners, after all.

    Meanwhile, my YellowTops have self-discharged over the long period I've been ignoring the car. When I finished wiring them up today, everything looked fine; but when I turned on the charger, all the regulator warning lights came on.

    A quick check of the most accessible batteries (the four under the hood) showed voltages around 6V each. That's dead, dead, dead: 10V is regular dead. 6V is irreversible damage.

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


  • I've been volunteering at the elementary school my Kindergartener and 4th grader attend. I serve on the School Advisory Committee, and I dress up as a wizard to teach Math Superstars. (I use an old Halloween hat and my graduation robe).

    Volunteers in Seminole County are called "Dividends". Today they held the Dividend Luncheon. I was my school's Dividend of the Year, which is one of the Jefferson Awards! (I got a pin and a certificate signed by four Senators!)

    They also honored the Dividends who have contributed 500, 1000, and 5000 hours. Next to them, I felt like a phony: I've done less than 100 hours. They actually earned the free lunch; I just put on a silly costume and got noticed.

    Even more humbling, several of the Dividends who won the Dividend of the Year for their schools were students -- not just high school students, but middle school students! To volunteer while keeping a busy school schedule demonstrates great dedication.

    I was truly honored to be among such remarkable citizens and inspiring people.

  • Last weekend we had the family get-together, so Nathan and I couldn't work on the car. He came over on his other day off, Monday, to get some work done.

    He discovered that the passenger-side axle AutoZone sold us was the wrong one. Unfortunately, he didn't figure it out until after it was in the car. And by that time, the lower ball joint nut was stuck. Of course that's a pain, because there's nothing to grab hold of: the axle just spins instead of holding still so the nut will come off.

    It wasn't all bad news, though: he also got the motor mounted, retapped the transmission mount hole, mounted the transmission, made a little bracket to hold the accessory tray in place, and finally, cut and mounted the tray, too.

    This week we actually got together while Eri and the kids went to Daytona to celebrate Memorial Day with her parents and the rest of the seniors. I figure building an EV is a fitting memorial: the more of us who do it, the less oil will be a "strategic resource" that needs to be defended with soldier's lives.

    Continue reading "Judebert's EV Conversion Diary: BrushWhacked, part 8"

  • Make your way to a memorable birthday party

    Melissa has a family reputation of picking neat birthday parties. For instance, her 6th birthday was held at the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. (Cheap, easy, and memorable -- and all I had to do was escort a bunch of kids up the stairs!)

    This year, she wanted a birthday based on The Amazing Race. That was quite a bit harder than the lighthouse birthday; Eri and I spent more than a week putting everything together, and visited the park three times to make sure we got it all right.

    Everyone had loads of fun, and I doubt anyone will forget this birthday.

    Of course I used OpenOffice to create the clues and such. I based them off the clues from TV and the Internet. You're welcome to use my documents as a template if you like. Of course, my clues are one full page each, not one-third page like the real race. And they're a little plain, as I didn't have time to put in all the swooshy overlay stuff. But everybody loved them anyway.

    I'll add party pictures once we get them developed.


  • No, she's doing that to herself!

    My semi-anonymous donor did it again. I really don't think I deserve this, but how can I refuse? If there's anything better than taking the whole family out to a movie, it's taking the family out to a movie on somebody else's dime.

    We went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Since it's not appropriate for Kayla, we arranged a sleepover for her. There was also an odd group-date thing going on with one of my eldest daughter's friends, and she was along as a pseudo-chaperon, so we put all the parents together, too.

    It was a lot of fun. The opening puts a gigantic strain on the suspension of disbelief, but we didn't go for the realism. The adventure, on the other hand, was everything Indy promises with each new movie.

    Continue reading "Thanks for Crystal Skull"