174: Wednesday 19th January 2011

Yesterday I took the Probatron for its first dip test. This was not intentional, but I am glad it happened so now I know what happens when the motor and controller etc. get covered with water. I was giving my daughter a lift to the local college where she was doing some football training and as I approached the entrance from the roundabout I did not notice that the junction was completely flooded. As I went through the flood, a bow wave came over the hood and I kept it going to get through and out the other side. I only got a few yards before the controls all died. My daughter walked the last few yards and I put on my hazard lights and called the rescue service (RAC). I waited about 10 minutes then tried the main start and it came on, but the contactors were cycling and that means that the controller was detecting short circuits. This was a good sign as the controller was working. I could see the 1000A fuse was still intact, so this was also a good sign. The programmer was working, and showing the voltage and current levels, so that was another good indicator. I had my daughters phone as I had left mine at home on charge and after a few minutes it was locked out on a password. My wife had called me back to tell me that the rescue service said they would be about 40 minutes getting to me, so I knew I could take incoming calls. I tried it again about 20 minutes later and I got a bit of forward drive before it cut out. This at least allowed me to get over to the edge of the road. Another 5 minutes and I tried again, and this time I could keep driving, so I drove round to the college sports hall entrance so I could get the password for my daughters phone. At this time I had no reverse gear. When I set out I did not have much charge and this swim had eaten a bit more from the batteries. The rescue van came and we disconnected the batteries at the Anderson connector and dabbed the contactors etc. with tissue paper to take up the water laying on top. I still didn't have reverse, but we decided to give it a try to drive home. my daughter already had a lift home arranged, so that was no problem. I got half way up a steep hill and ran out of battery power. The rescue man towed me to the top of the hill and from there it was all downhill. So with gravity on my side and the small charge that had re-established I drove home. There was another slight rise in the road that got me down to 15MPH, but I got home, still no reverse and we pushed it backwards up the drive and plugged in. Had quite a nice chat with the rescue man and then just left it on charge. The next day I came out to a dry car and everything worked fine again. So endeth the dip test. I believe that if I got the speed right then I could have got through the flooded area without much issue, it was mainly the water getting into the electronics on the controller that stopped the drive. As the controller is mounted on top under the hood, I just need to prevent water getting up that high. Hitting a flooded area at speed is not the right approach either! Another mini adventure over.

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