Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I can now plug it in and walk away

I have been using my new accessory battery charger for a couple of weeks and I am proud to say that I can finally plug the car in and walk away.

My old accessory battery charger was a Schumacher SC-1200A. 12A/8A/2A. I had to turn it on manually every time I plugged in the car. Annoying. And it wouldn't [I]quite[/I] keep up with the traction pack chargers, meaning that if I did too many short charges or didn't do a long float charge once in a while, my accessory battery would fall slowly behind after a few days.

If you are going to charge an accessory battery with its own charger instead of using a DC-DC convertor (like most sane people do!), the trick is to give it a charger that chargers slightly quicker than the traction pack chargers.

So I tested the Schumacher. It turns out that the "2A" mode really outputs 1.3A. EEP. What a piece of junk. I tested my new $18.99 2A ATV/motorcycle maintainer (immediately after testing the Schumacher) and it outputs 2.3A. Much much better. This 2A maintainer does not require switching anything on, which is the real bonus and the main reason i bought this charger. Plus, once the battery is fully charged (14.4V) it switches to a float of 13.5V. Not even the Schumacher did that.

Needless to say my accessory battery has been much happier lately. I can tell by the tone of my vacuum pump and the normal speed of my windshield wipers.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Plug it in, walk away.

There is only ONE thing stopping me from doing this right now, and that is my accessory battery charger. It is a Schumacher charger that keeps the 12V accessory battery (the one that powers stuff like headlights, contactor, stereo, vacuum pump, heater fan, etc.) charged. Every time I plug my car in for charging, all the traction pack chargers turn on and hum away on their own, but I always have to go inside the car and push a button on this charger.

This bugs me. I want to be able to plug it in and walk away. So for weeks I have been [lightly] searching for a nice 2A microprocessor type charger and turns on by itself. I finally found one yesterday on eBay that fits the bill:
It is actually sold by a powersports retailer and it's meant for maintaining batteries in snowmobiles, motorcycles and ATVs. $18.99 with free shipping to my US mailbox. Not bad.

I just hope it actually outputs 2 amps all the way up to voltage cutoff. That's really all I need to keep my accessory battery charged. And if it doesn't put out enough current I guess I will end up with a nice charger to keep my motorcycle's battery happy all winter long.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mazda Engines

I have been meaning to haul the engine that came out of the Electric Booger to the scrap bin at work for quite some time now. It has been on Craigslist since I removed it from the car but as soon as people know that it has 281,000 km on it, they quickly hang up.

I don't have a pickup truck and though I could easily borrow one from work, coordinating a helper to lift the engine into the back has proven to be a challenge. So I decided to draw some inspiration from the old Johnny Cash song, "One Piece At A Time":
I have been stripping down the 1.6L SOHC high-miler down and taking pieces to the scrap bin every day. And I am extremely impressed by how everything looks in this engine. The bearings are all like new and the bores all have lots of crosshatch.
I could have easily lifted it into the back of the Electric Booger without removing the oil pan, stiffener plate, crankshaft, rods and pistons, but what fun would that have been? Plus, I might hang a piston from my rear view mirror as sort of a gesture of cruel irony.

I had lots of fun dismantling this tiny tiny engine - probably because I am used to doing 15L diesels at work. Car engines are so cute in comparison!