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March

March 30th I was looking at the Jeep Wrangler on the interwebs, and it seems that next year's model will have the new Pentastar engine - it's supposedly 40lbs lighter, 30% more powerful and 20% more economical than the current V6, so we'll wait and see what happens when that's released (supposedly August).


March 29th The ignition control unit came in for the van, so after work I went out and installed it, only to find that the thing still won't start. I've managed to find the workshop manual for the conversion, so I now know what resistances and voltages to expect so I can test things - probably at the weekend.


March 28th I couldn't sleep, so ended up getting out of bed really early and fiddled around with the computers. Vic's PC won't print from Excel, so I fiddled with that for a while, loading drivers, the program and everything until I found that it was set to print to FILE rather than PORT. Non-Office programs have been printing just fine, so I'd assumed it was the program. Oh well.

I played some World of Warcraft, getting my hunter up to level 68. I'm not playing so much, as I have other things to do, so I'll probably stop playing again for the summer after this card runs out.



March 27th I wasted the morning doing chores and suchlike waiting for the postman to show up, hoping he was carrying the ignition control unit for the van, but he wasn't :o(

After looking at the mount I'd made for the GPS, it wasn't going to work (I couldn't get the locking thumbwheel to work). I drilled a few holes in the old tach mount until that looked like it could be pressed into service, and we headed to the airfield and dinked around with mounting it to the Flightstar. It's perhaps a little flimsy, but it's OK when you're flying. Taxiing, however, it bounced around a lot. The guys were all there, so when Vic in his Kolb managed to get Jack's Drifter out of the way, we all started leaving one at a time. I taxied up after Sid in his Quicksilver, but he had us go first. We flew over to see the Roseville Cosmos sculpture, then over by the SPCA and the house before heading back North. We were headed back to Athens, to see if the guys were over there when we saw the guys coming towards us, led by Ken in the finally registered Rans. We also saw Vince in his Rans, at an uncharacteristic 700' - we didn't think it was him at first :o) We fleetingly saw Mike in his Coyote, then headed back to Lincoln before the mad rush began. Everything was going fine on the approach, but we hit the wake of the Cherokee infront of us, so we went around. The actual landing wasn't too bad, but the guys had seen the go-around thinking we'd actually landed - we were at about 5' :o) We put everything away, then headed home to watch Zombieland, which was very funny.



March 26th Vic went and got sorted out to rent DVDs from Redbox, it's like an ATM for DVD rentals. So, we watched the execrable 2012.


March 25th The battery showed up for the DRZ, and I did the "it pours in the acid" thing, then installed it, then waited before charging it all the way up. The bike now starts, which is nice to have.


March 24th I spoke to Sara at Stephan's Autohaus, and I need the 191 ignition control unit, which is contrary to what I'd expected, but it's the one with the heat sink, like mine. I've bought a supposedly working one on Ebay, so I'm only out a few $$s if it doesn't work. If it does work, I'll order a new one and have a spare - apparently a lot of people carry spares as they've been burned before.

I received a parcel including Lift from Deepah, so at least I've managed to have a few cups of tea to calm my nerves :o)



March 23rd I called Stephan's Autohaus and spoke to Sara about the ignition control unit for the van. She's not sure which one I need, so she'll get Stephan to call me back. I've been looking around, and it seems like the only listed difference is the heat sink (mine has one), but from the wiring diagram, there's a different pin input. Getting the wrong one won't work properly - reportedly it'll run, just really badly.


March 22nd The coil arrived for the van, so I went out and fitted it. And the van still doesn't start, and still has no spark. The next thing is the ignition control unit. I went over to the nearest breaker's yard, to try and get one. Sadly the Vanagon they had there seems to have been crushed - looks like I'll have to order (and wait for) a new one. When I figure out which one (there are 2) to get.


March 21st I got up early and played with the computer for a bit, then went and tinkered with the DRZ. I've removed the dead battery, and done the "free power mod". Basically the regulator runs through a tiny little connector, and the main fuse before getting to the battery. This loses about 0.5v right there. I've soldered some 12ga wire straight from the regulator to terminals that I'll screw onto the new battery.

As I was finishing up, Vince flew over the house in his new to him Rans S-12, which he bought to fix up and sell on. It's fixed up, so it's for sale now.

We went out to try and find a new battery and failed - it's a YTX-7, rather than the much more common YTX-10, so nobody has them. When we got home, I ordered one.

On the way back from dinner we decided to stop in and look at the new Jeep Wrangler as the old one was such a disappointment. Vic drove it, and it's actually a lot better with the new V6 engine. Of course, it's still awful on fuel economy, but it's got us thinking that it'd work for going up hills when she's hang gliding.



March 20th Vic got up early and went to Richmond for a bunny conference. Tilly and I stayed in bed.

I started the day an hour or so later by getting a World of Warcraft game card... I've not done much yet, as I need to decide what I want to do with my hunter.

I went out to cut the grass, and got waylaid by Fred - we ended up having lunch and chatting until I realised that I hadn't achieved anything, so I went and cut the grass. Woo hoo.

I decided to go to the airfield and play with the Flightstar, riding the DRZ over. Despite the fact that the battery was on the charger, it won't start. The digital dash pulls power all the time, so if you don't ride it, it kills the battery stone dead. New battery time :o(

I fiddled around in the garage with the mount I'm hoping will hold the GPS in the Flightstar, I've drilled a lot of holes, now I just need to get it all finished up and hope it fits :o)



March 19th As the TED-5000 has been doing some odd things, like the dishwasher reducing the load, I called the support people. They suggested that one of the CTs was inverted, so I swapped one over. That reduced the background load, and didn't fix the problem. After work I went into the panel and rerouted some stuff, and shortened some cables that were looped around. It's a lot tidier in there, and I swapped the solar sensors for the power sensors.
When I looked at it, it all seems to be working better, but then I got to thinking - if it just measures power running down that line, how does it know the difference between the load and the excess solar power being passed back - that would explain everything I'm seeing. A little searching on the Google found other people who've had the same problem - you set the power MTU to "adjusted load" rather than "load" (the manual is wrong) :o). We'll see how that works.


March 18th We went out to dinner, and on the way back we drove around the Automall just to see what's out there. One of the dealers had a Smart car, and Vic's always liked those, so we pulled over and she took a test drive in it. She liked it, but we both agree that it's totally impractical :o)


March 17th After work, we went out to look at the TED-5000 again. This time I've wired both MTUs to the same circuit that the gateway's plugged in on, and taped up the red wires. After turning on just that circuit, I configured it for 120v input on just the black wire, and it worked. I spent a little time switching circuits on and off, and it seemed like there were a couple that caused problems. I said "screw it" and turned everything on, and Bazinga!, him work. I spent the rest of the evening watching the display - enough to notice the 5Kw spike when the hot tub heater kicked on when it shouldn't - restarting it had set it to standard (heat whenever you want) mode rather than economy (heat when you're running) mode. All done. Now I just need to call them again because the little portable display doesn't seem to work, I've been using the web browser to gateway functionality the whole time.


March 16th After work, we went out to look at the TED-5000. When I spoke to the guy in support there, he said it was interference, and to try a different circuit. As I have the MTUs on different circuits, I moved them up further, then tried with just the bare minimum turned on. Still no dice. We buttoned it up for the evening so I could think some more.


March 15th Vic's off this week, so she spent the day in the garden with Tilly getting under her feet while I worked. Now that the clocks have changed, it gets dark later, so after work we headed over to the airfield and took the Flightstar up for about 45 minutes. There was nobody at home to wave at us, so we didn't go over there. After we landed and packed everything away, we went to dinner with some of the aviators.


March 14th I started the day changing over the few clocks that haven't been updated to summer time already (I did a bunch last night). The interesting thing is that the phone can go back to using callerid to set itself - it seems that the local telephone company never did catch up with the PDT/PST change. I found that the battery on the DRZ is almost dead again. Either the battery is on it's way out, or the digital clock setup draws more power than I'd thought. Bugger.

In the afternoon, I went to the airfield tinkered for a while then took the Flightstar out for a while. I flew over the house, and Vic was in the garden, so she waved at me :o). I flew over Freedom Field and Lucky ran out to see me, then I headed back to Lincoln via Athens Road, where I watched a powered paraglider playing for a while. When I got back, I helped goad Jack into flying his Drifter, as he'd been fast taxiing it for a while. That all went off uneventfully.



March 13th I started the day by looking at the TED-5000 stuff, just to find out that nothing seems to be wrong with anything. The devices in the circuit breaker panel are powered up, and seem to be transmitting. The gateway unit is powered up, and seems to be receiving. They suggest that you swap the wires over, as the black wire gets a stronger signal. Did that. They suggest that you swap one of the power taps. Did that. I've moved the gateway all over the house and it's not working. Bugger.

I started playing around with the YSR, and after bumping it down the driveway it ran just fine. Great. Then, having run it up and down the road, the ignition control unit went "pop" and started belching smoke. Bugger. And now it's leaking oil again. Double bugger.

After tidying up after Tilly for a while, I went back into the garage and bent up a GPS mount for the Flightstar, and dug around in my junk boxes and found another ignition control unit in my spare box. Looking at my wiring against the wiring diagram, I'd attached the brown positive wire to the other brown positive wires, where it should run to the unrectified black and red positive line from the engine. Obvious, really :o| So, the YSR's been upgraded to a simple bugger for the oil leak.



March 12th I was all set to look at the TED-5000, but it was raining all bloody evening. I ended up cooking spaghetti, and Vince came over and ate with us.


March 11th On the Vanagon mailing list, this was pointed out. Basically, it's a guy with a different engine conversion, who had his gearbox rebuilt at the same time. He's been having seal and torque converter failures ever since, just like me. I called Jim at Bostig, and had a long chat with him. The upshot is that he's calling Stephan's Autohaus and hopefully everybody wins.

The next phase of my instrumented house, the TED-5000 arrived. After work, I shut down the house and installed the pickups in the circuit breaker panel. It's bloody tight in there. After I zipped that all up, I installed the gateway and hooked it up to the router, then configured it all via a web browser. Nothing. Nada. It says that we're using no power (which would be great, but I don't think that's correct). Still, there are things I can check, when it's light out.



March 8th It was a busy day at work, so I didn't get around to calling Stephan's Autohaus until late. As I'd thought by the look of the thing, the coil's the stock one, rather than a new one for the Tiico engine. So after work I ordered a new coil, along with a new speedo cable that'll hopefully be quieter than the one that's on there at the moment. Hopefully it won't take too long to get here, but it's not like we have any camping trips planned at the moment.

Just as well.



March 7th I started the day looking at the van, the tests on the coil showed that it's fine, which was annoying - I have no idea how I'll check the next thing in the line - the distributor. I started working on finishing up the wiring on the YSR, and was just making my last connector when Fred came over for a chat - he suggested I try just plugging a spark plug directly into the coil. I did this, and sure enough, no spark. So, it looks like that's the problem. Great.

I went off to the airfield (in the Subaru, of course) and tinkered around with the guys until I pulled the Flightstar out and took it for a flight. Ken took off right after me, but I lost him with no idea where he was going. I headed over to the house and did a orbit there before heading back to the airfield - nobody came out and waved at me. Or shot at me, so it's all good. As I got back to Lincoln, it was busy, what with parachutists, pilots practicing ILS and GPS approaches, and Ken in the circuit infront of me. We landed and put the planes away as it was getting dark. He asked me if there was anything I was aiming to do to the plane, and I said that I'd been thinking about getting a GPS. He pulled out a GPS III Pilot that he'd recently bought, so we agreed the purchase of that on the spot :o)



March 6th I started the day watching the last of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report on Hulu - Comedy Central has decided to stop passing them over. I'll still be able to watch the shows on the interwebs, just through a browser rather than Hulu Desktop. This means I'll have to watch them on the PC rather than the big screen. Bastards.

It wasn't a bad day at all, so I went out and cut the grass, then took a look at the van. I've decided that the problem's nothing to do with the alarm / fuel pump circuit, so it's back to basics. I pulled a spark plug, and it was wet, so it's been getting fuel. Vic turned the engine over, and there's no spark. I decided that the problem could be the battery, as the engine's lugging, rather than spinning over, despite being on the trickle charger almost constantly. A test showed it dropping to 10v when trying to start, so I took the battery out and went to the FLAPS (Friendly Local Auto Parts Store) to have them test it. It seemed OK, but was quite low, so they said to leave it with them to charge up (they know me in there). Later, they called to say it was now fully charged, and looks fine. I tried the engine again, and no spark, so I called it a day and decided to think about it. I've decided the coil could well be the problem, as it looks to be the original VW one.



March 4th In the morning I went to the dentist for the first time in a few years - I now have healthcare that covers it. They did the usual scraping and poking and stabbing, then told my teeth are in great condition. I'm hoping my gums'll stop bleeding in the next few days.

In the evening I spent some time looking at the van, as it won't start. I thought that maybe it's the alarm system's fuel pump cut out, but I took the dash out and removed that connection, and it's definitely not the alarm. I've pulled the ignition switch out, and it looks OK. I haven't touched anything else since it was last working, so I'll have to do some basic troubleshooting over the weekend to try and figure out where the problem lies. I have a feeling that it's related to the fuel system, as it's behaving just as it does when the alarm's cut out the fuel pump.



March 3rd I tinkered with the YSR some more, it's getting closer to being a runner again. I actually got out the soldering iron and lengthened a few lines, and hooked up most of the ignition system electrics. Now it's just the charging system, and finishing stuff, and it'll be time to see if it works in the slightest.


March 2nd I finally got around to filing the edge off the guest bathroom door - it's been sticking since I moved in here almost 9 years ago, so it's nice to finally look at it. Of course, I have yet to paint it again, as at that point I'll want to paint the whole door, and that'll lead to painting the frame, and that'll lead to painting all the woodwork :o(

I also took a look at the YSR flasher relay - it says it wants 6.4v, and it's definitely below that at the moment, so I'm telling myself it'll start to work when everything gets hooked up.



March 1st After work, I tinkered with the YSR, and now the turn signals are wired up. They still won't flash, and I'm not sure what's going on there - I've tried another flasher relay before, so it could be a wattage thing, which new bulbs will fix. We'll see.

I got the electrickery bill, and we're having to pay for electrickery again. Stupid rain.