29 December 2010

Sophia wants a motorcycle

just because she's so cute

A bunk bed

I'm making progress on the bunk bed. It's beating me up too. I'm sore all over. Here are some pics, there are more here.
This first one is a rough layout after I cut everything to  length.
 The head/foot boards are held together by glue and dowel pins.
 I made the headboards slightly fancy and hand planed them smooth and flat. I hand planed all the rounded edges on the bed. I could borrow a router from someone and make it easy, but I like doing it the hard way.
 laying out and aligning the boards. I made an alignment jig.
 headboard glued up and strapped tightly together!

23 December 2010

one display case

Here it is, almost finished. I need to add a clear dust door. Otherwise it is done! It's not very fancy, but looks decent. Jen ordered a second one slightly taller.

21 December 2010

A little change

Well, I finally decided what do do with this now that the EV is gone. I'll just post bit of whatever I do! Of course anything with my electric lawn tractor will be on that blog.
Lately I've not been actively doing much. I got a Blade mCX from a friend because it was "broken". I "fixed" it (ok, I put it together correctly) and have been flying it at least twice a day! My kids love it, and I even let my 3 year old fly it a little bit. I finally got the glass shelves for the display cases I'm building. I'll get a photo someday. Jen is super happy to have a display case for her figurines. I'm looking into building a bunk bed for Sophia (and Lilly when she gets old enough). She's outgrowing her toddler bed quickly. I'm most likely going to build this. Though we want the ladder at the foot of the bed and rails all the way around the top. I think I can build it for about $70 in wood.

24 October 2010

What next?

I'm trying to decide what to do with my blog next. Since I have no idea if anyone even reads this, it may be pointless. However I have my name on a blog, so I could continue with some other subject of interest if only for my own benefit.
I could talk about the mini-steam engines I build from time to time. Or gardening, or my 150cc scooter. I just dont know yet. So, if anyone reads this... any comments?

11 October 2010

my EV is dead

All good things must end right? With all the problems, I decided it would be financially wise to end this project. I tore apart my EV, gutting the EV bits. I was surprised it only took me 2 hours to take out everything! Motor, batteries, boxes, controller, meters, wiring. All out. It made a rather un-impressive pile on my garage floor.



Ready to be towed away for scrap. I'm kinda sad about it after all the work I've personally put into it. Eventually some day later I'll put these parts into another car and again enjoy my EV.

05 August 2010

Working again

After facing the doom of a broken charger I resolved to fix it myself. I considered all my options. Repair my 10 year old charger for a couple hundred. Buy a new charger for several hundred. Buy a new vehicle for 1-2 thousand. Knowing this car wont last much into winter, and I expect the coupler to give out sometime, and the rear suspension is aggravating I didnt want to put more of my limited money into a dying beast. But neither could I afford the new vehicle route! What to do..

I opened it up to see what kind of magic was inside. After an examination I was amazed. It's a bad boy charger with a voltage cutoff and some kind of current limit on the AC line. But it is a very well made and nicely packaged bad boy with bells and whistles. Surely I could fix the basic circuit. After poking and testing I found a bridge rectifier (there are 2) which was shorted. I checked my junk box and found one in the same package. I couldn't find a datasheet for it, but I remember it came from a similar application and looked sturdy enough. I plugged it in and woo-hoo, it worked!
The old fan had destroyed its bearings and didn't move much air anymore. I also happened to have a salvaged fan that was the same size and voltage rating. I installed that. The fuse for the voltage cutoff was blown as well, and I likewise found a fuse in my junk box to replace it.
Now it at least charges my battery pack. The current control doesn't work. I removed the GFI switch from the charger because it had welded itself on long ago. Using the buck transformer results in relatively low charging current so I removed it. BUT I CAN STILL DRIVE!! so, the lesson I learned here is I need to seriously start saving for a new vehicle. I will need one in a matter of months.
I'm thinking mini-truck. But I'm torn because a small car would be more efficient and can carry both my kids, which I sometimes (ok, never yet.. but situations have come up) need to do. On the other hand, with a truck I can move my lawn mower and start a small green lawn care company. I guess I have a few months to decide!

29 July 2010

It's dead, Jim

My EV is out of commission. Yesterday when I plugged it in to charge the breaker tripped. After playing around with it, I've decided the charger has quit. I guess it's about time as it's over 10 years old! So, now I have to decide which is a better value to me: get a new charger for $700 or put $700 toward an ICE vehicle.
My EV is going down hill anyway. Batteries wont be useful this winter. The rear suspension is shot, the motor coupler will wear through literally any time. I've rather enjoyed driving electric, but at this time it will take a bunch of money to keep it going or replace it. Money that I could put into something with significantly more range and reliability.
It may be the end of the road for me and EVs until I can afford to convert another one!

16 February 2010

Battery suckage

This actually started several months ago. My batteries are getting very bad. I can't charge them correctly anymore. I cannot get the 96V pack above 113V (should get to 115-120V to charge correctly). I've done a little poking around and I believe it's simply my entire pack, not just one or two bad batteries. My range is suffering a bit as well, getting about 13 miles before becoming dangerously sluggish. Granted the temperature has an effect on my range currently.

I've been simply letting the charger run at 10 battery amps and 113V until all the Wh have been restored (plus some), or approximately the same amount of time it used to take to charge it. The pack is only a year and a half old. I wanted to get 4 years out of it. Severe disappointment? yeah. I'm not prepared to buy another battery pack, and may abandon my EV when this pack becomes useless. For the cost of a cheap pack I can get an efficient ICE that will last longer.

I'd love to get a lithium pack, but at $7k, it's more up-front cost than the lead pack. Though in the long run it's cheaper as it should last longer and would give me a 70-100 mile range (verses my current 13-20 mile range).