Sunday, January 29, 2017

The mechanic

As I work for a school district as a school bus driver, I've made the acquaintance of a mechanic. This helpful and friendly fellow has agreed to look at my bus. Really and truly there's very little left to do that needs doing though as with every home, there are always upgrades.

Aside from an all points check over which might or might not include replacing the bottom gasket on the engine, I've asked him to adjust my brake pedal. It's currently several inches higher than the acellerator and I bang my knee on the steering wheel when I switch from one to the other. I've also asked him to sort out my right windscreen motor, switch the alternator belt, check on the hillbilly underbus wiring and check my barrel hangers for security.
The bus batteries seem not to be holding any charge at the moment. I had them on a charger for 8 hours yesterday and probably 4 hours so far today. They have about 200AH each so at a nominal 4A charging rate, they would be filled from zero in 50 hours. If they were truly at zero, they'd be ruined. They could well be utterly dead.

A few months ago, I noticed they were going down and assumed there was a current drain so I used the kill switch that somebody had installed. The other day, the batteries were at zero. I charged them for a few hours then operated a few accessories for a minute or two and they were totally dead again.

I rather suspect the batteries are beyond redemption. Having said that, new batteries are quite reasonably priced. They're special order though as I need two group 31 batteries with studded connectors.

I would have liked to have done more this weekend but as the batteries have been on charge most of the weekend, it hasn't been possible to use power tools inside the bus and has been too cold to work underneath.

The weekend was not without excitement though. On Saturday I went to get a drop test meter from Harbor Freight but they'd sold out. I ended up with another multimeter and a fuse tester. That will also test circuits to see what the draw is though with flat batteries,nothing could be achieved. The good news is batteries with a 36 month warranty are available for $150.

Today's excitement was one of milady's chickens escaped. As there was one of the next door neighbors multitude of cats hanging around I grabbed my gun just in case the cat took an unhealthy interest in the hapless chicken. As it turned out, a future confrontation with mad cat woman was avoided after two of us managed to trap and capture the chicken before returning it to its pen.

I'm probably going to need new batteries for the bus. I'll wait though to see whether I can start it tomorrow after charging them today. If I order tomorrow then I'll probably have them by Wednesday. As you can tell, I do t hold much hope for those batteries. They look old. Age is what kills lead acid batteries rather than usage.

Of immediate urgency, I want to build and install an underbody mount for my ventilation battery, install security panels over the back two windows. These as mentioned before will be plywood for speed and ease. Then there's the main breaker that needs to be installed. Once that's all done, it'll be tidying and upgrades. One possible upgrade would be to tie the ventilation battery into the door unlocking mechanism. That would ensure I would never be out of charge.

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