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!