Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Whew! Happy Ending To Pre-Show Prep, & Miata update

As I mentioned in a pre-EV-ent blogpost, just a couple of days before the Macungie show our rebuilt & upgraded controller was still winging its way back from Iowa (burning LOTSA fossil fuel on its special hurry-up airplane ride). I was trying to play it cool but I was sweating a little bit!  Fortunately Dave Mosher of Custom Electronics came through like a champ so the controller arrived in a timely fashion. On Thursday Saint Bill & Adam the Intern wired up a SUPER-NIFTY new cooling fan that looks a lot like a flux capacitor, and on Friday I moseyed on down to assist Bill in the last stages of the install.

Naturally things did not go quite as smoothly as we hoped; there were still a few obstacles to overcome. For one thing, Bill had carefully photographed the original set-up prior to disassembly, but then his camera went on a trip with relatives and never returned so we had to wing it! It took us a long time (turn key, hmmm, this contactor opens, that contactor doesn't, rewire, rewire, now both contactors open but motor doesn't spin, rewire, rewire) to figure out from the wiring diagram that 1 of the high-voltage cables had been hooked up wrong. Whew, no smoke got out of our newly-upgraded controller during the testing process!

For another thing, we dropped a whole box of tiny electrical connectors into the engine bay while we were working and of course one fell into the motor and it took me 20 minutes to extricate it, which is absolutely par for the course when time is short and you are sweating to get your vehicle ready for a show.

I have now learned that tiny electrical connectors are aluminum & thus scattered ones (thank goodness they didn't ALL fall into the motor) cannot be cleaned up with handy magnets. I did sort them all once more by color, size & gender; Bill had to drag me away from that engrossing task to take our triumphant test-ride around the block in the re-rolling e-Van!

Sadly, pressure on my personal schedule made it impossible to bring the e-Van out to State College this coming weekend for the 21st Century Automotive Challenge or even attend sans vehicle. I am sad that I won't be able to document this year's event, but looking forward to hearing and posting about the gathering.

Meanwhile the Miata scheduled to be converted during our July 25-30 hands-on workshop (registration open now, 5 of 16 slots filled, get yours in soon!) is over at North Montco Technical Career Center getting enthusiastically de-ICEd (or "de-fossilized" as Bill sometimes says) by a team of eager automotive technology students. He's sent me lots of photos and it's so great to see how it is coming along -- here are a few, possibly not in accurate chronological order. Remember, this blog is not a to-do manual, more like an impressionistic painting or um maybe a comic strip with lots of words by ME accompanied by photographs of cars, sometimes in the act of having their insides taken out.

So yay St Bill & the kids from NMTCC who are helping move the Miata on to a new LiFe (stole that joke from Brandon Hollinger of BH Electrics) as a quiet, clean, efficient, no-blood-for-oil, who-cares-what-gas-costs-let's-get-off-the-junk, you-can-do-it-yourself-in-your-own-garage-if-you-want-to-bad-enough converted EV.  ¡Viva la rEVoluciĆ³n!  

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