Friday, June 21, 2013

My gorilla moment

The speaker was talking about magic and how people see things (you can look this up on You Tube to see the video). The audience of 50 people are to count how many times in 1 minute they bounce pass several balls between them.

The passing begins. At the end of 1 minute the speaker calls on the audience to tell him how many passes they counted. Number range all over the place from 35 to 50. Then the speaker asks, "How many of you saw the gorilla?." What? No hands go up. The group is puzzled and he says watch the playback of the video on the big screen. Sure enough, about 30 seconds into the passing a guy in a gorilla suit walks across the stage right through the group as the balls bounce! No one saw the gorilla.

Well the job at hand was to put some steel siding on my garage. No gorilla moment here.
This should be easy because I learned my lesson about the unequal roof pitch last year doing the other end. I mean who builds a garage using 12 foot rafters on one side and 13 foot rafters on the other side? Have to give them credit for making good use of used material I guess. Anyway I was ready this year. Measuring 128.5 at the peak and 112 on the short side (I wrote the numbers down on a scrap so as not to forget them) I cut my first sheet and put it up. Nice fit.

Now for the second piece. I knew the peak distance would be the same and the short side would be a bit longer. Yep, 115. So I took out my scrap and wrote this number down and than circled the two numbers I would be using this time. Pretty clear to me. No gorilla moment for me.
I dutifully follow the old adage, "measure twice, cut once" and cut the piece.

Dang! Sure enough I had measured out 112" not the 115 that was in the circle. How could I not see the (gorilla) 115 in the circle? (The extra lines show my struggle as I tried to correct my "gorilla moment"!)
Or maybe it was sun stroke?

But I got'er  now and can proceed... as soon as it stops raining. Dang those pesky gorillas.

Monday, June 3, 2013

DC to DC converter

One last touch and that is the addition of a new DC to DC converter. This unit will tap the full 96 volt battery pack and convert that voltage down to 13.4 volts to charge the 12 volt battery that is still required to run the original 12 volt circuits in the van. In my first Omni conversion since I did little or no night driving and the other 12 volt loads were small I just ran a "total loss" system. When I noticed the battery needed charging I hooked up my 12 volt charger to it. This was required about once every two weeks. The 2001 Caravan is a different story. It has power brakes and the 9.5 amp vacuum pump is a bit more of a load. I found the battery needed charging almost every other day. So after learning my $100 lesson from buying a cheep converter I now have that problem resolved for a mere $350.

Another problem that needed to be solved was a way to monitor the temperature of the motor. Since the original sensor wires for this on the motor had been pinched off inside the motor housing I went with an indoor/outdoor thermometer. Must stay below 120 degrees or damage could result to the field windings.

With the readout mounted on the dash and the outdoor sensor tapped to the motor housing I will get the information I need to see if the motor is over heating. Not likely but good insurance. 

Have about test 30 miles on the vehicle to date and seems to be doing well. Looks like top speed will be about 45 mph. Although I have not tested this out yet I believe the range will be about 15 miles. This is a tricky one because I don't want to find out the range the hard way and get stranded! I am "opportunity" charging the pack after almost every trip to keep the 8 year old batteries happy. Note: For every 8 minutes of run time it takes 120 minutes of re-charging time. That is about one trip to town and back. Will continue to collect data and  post more feedback as I get more experience with it this summer.