Sunday, January 22, 2017

Uh oh.... another frustration

Today was supposed to be highly productive but started poorly. After installing the new wiper switch and flipping the breaker to power the batteries on, there was no power. Nothing worked after a brief sounding of the bus horn. Then the idea came to flip the fag lighter socket on as there was a volt meter plugged in. Oops... 9.7V.

The breaker definitely works so it looks as though the problem could be a bad battery or maybe both are bad. That's rather unwelcome at $300 each! It is possible, of course, that I could get away with cheaper batteries. So, the charger was plugged in and charging the batteries began. What I really need to do is to drop test the batteries. That involves a meter that I don't possess.

As the power cord was now in use, there was little else to do other than use manual labor and a hand saw to cut the final strip that will go over the driver's window. Drilling the holes had to wait. Meanwhile I got on an put a 97 cent thermometer in the bedroom and one in the bathroom, using manual tools. These will tell the current temperature just like the fancy atomic clock that used to hang in the bedroom. Costing the earth, that clock lasted a maximum of 5 years and quite probably as few as 3 years before conking out. Like most electronics, it just wasn't good value.
Speaking of electronics, I'm now on my 2nd month of having a flip phone and no smart phone. It must sound really strange to all  my readers that have smartphones but I do not notice any lack from using a flip phone. Indeed, with 217 minutes remaining from 300 and with 10 days left of my 30, I don't think I'm doing badly at all. It works out that I use an average of 4 minutes a day though days can go by when I don't use my phone. Thus far my expenditure has been...
  • $1 on a Trafcone SIM 
  • $20 on Tracfone air time
  • $13 on a Verizon flip phone
  • $15 on Verizon air time.
  • That's all over two months (less ten days). A grand total of $49 or around what I'd have paid Straight Talk for a single month of smartphone service. Thus far I've saved far more than I actually spent. I've supplemented my lack of a smartphone camera by using my tablet camera.
I took down and spray painted two of the bars that go over the driver's window since nothing else was happening today. The bus batteries continued to be on charge. After a while, one bar was dry so another was painted. The first bar was reinstalled. Then out of an abundance of curiosity I checked the batter voltage and it read 2.6v. That wasn't promising.

The bus batteries are humongous things. 950CCA with a 150AH reserve. They seem to go for $300 each which is a big hit. On the other hand, they should last a few years. I have no idea if it's just one battery or both that's bad. In the end though, they were charged enough for me to test my new wiper switch which worked brilliantly. Now there will be no fiddling with it to get the wiper to switch off. The other wiper switch could be at fault. Some of that wiring looks a bit odd. The other wiper switch looks as if it could well have been replaced and replaced with muddled wiring. That might be the problem.

Rain came down and soaked my nicely painted bars. I had to bring them inside the bus to dry before reinstalling them. Basically, not much got done because of the weather.

Speaking back about electronics, milady desired to hear an audio CD. Windows 8 refused to play it or any other audio CD. Milady really wanted Windows 7 but her PC came loaded with the garbage that is Windows 8. As my bus is a silent bus I had to nip out to buy a CD player. Incredible... almost all that was available was multifunction electronics that had built in radios. Milady had already thrown out one CD radio unit that refused to play her CD despite various buttons being poked, switches flipped and knobs twiddled. Her statement echoed my thoughts that she could do without crap electronics that didn't work. Indeed that's my experience of electronics. Half of them just don't work and those that do, work during the guarantee period only. Far better to avoid electronics as much as possible! Indeed, at least one lady I work with has no electronics bar a flip phone. And you wonder, dear reader, why I like my electronics simple and uncomplicated.

For those that know my other passion, I truly enjoy photography. These days that means a digital camera and a computer. In the case of the computer, it doesn't actually work as of now, needing a new battery that reportedly costs a third of the price of a new computer. That just doesn't seem financially worthwhile. Meanwhile, cameras have been getting ever more complicated. I had a Canon 580EX flash at one point. I used it solely as a manual flash and as an automatic flash. I never used the 15 trillion other modes. They were just there making the menu so complicated I needed to carry the blessed manual all the time. In the end I sold it at a massive loss just to get rid of the frustration. It comes to something when the technical advancement of the tools spoils enjoyment of the craft! I look at more modern cameras and hate everything I see. Far too complicated with touch screens and the options to do things nobody in their right mind ever wants to do.

My bus is simple. I had intended it to be all electric but I'm leaning now more toward putting in a gas cooktop and a small gas bottle. Indeed I already have a small gas cooker. All I need is some way of charging my phone. Perhaps there's some kind of portable wind generator I could use since solar seems to be so awful.

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