263: Saturday 30th November 2013

Friday I Connected the ends of the rows of batteries in the rear. These were the parallel links so there were 3 rows of 5 and 3 rows of 2, this effectively makes 3 rows of 7 batteries. Today I completed the links in each row with the copper straps I made from plumbing pipe. I ordered some M4 bolts, but it was actually M5 that I wanted, so I was bitterly disappointed when I realised my mistake as I could not get replacements quickly. My neighbour had a stock of short countersunk M5 screws, so I used them for now and I shall replace them when my order comes through. The disadvantage is that they are as tight as I can tighten with a screwdriver. This would probably be o.k. for all time, but to be sure I have order hex head screws so I can put a spanner on and get them good and tight. While I was doing this I had a guy come round to install a free type 2 charge point, cool. The picture below shows the charger beside the garage door. My neighbour asked for his house to have one fitted too, so I get a £20 Marks and Spencer voucher for the referral. I got a couple more neighbours to sign up and get theirs installed too, so more vouchers for me. I sold it on improvements to the house value.

262: Sunday 24th November 2013

Before I started working today, I borrowed some lengths of construction timber from my neighbour and set up a long bench with 2 trestles. This was so that I didn't have to keep bending right down with the  and avoid hurting my back (I have my chiropractor on speed dial).
I bought a pack of wooden battens to construct the racks and I also used Some metal L section to go over the spare wheel well. I had several fixings in the trunk as I have had several different battery types in the past, so I made use of them to fix the new frame down. So back to wood shop class. Fortunately I have quite a good snip saw and and power screwdrivers and a pillar drill etc.
Just chucked the batteries in next. Caught my fingers a few times. The air was blue, and my finger nail is now going black.
My wife Mary came out and helped by fixing the rear bumper.She made up the fibre glass, applied it and clamped the bumper. She then wiped off a couple of spots where it had gone on the paint, and then left it to dry.
Later I took the clamp off the rear bumper and it was stuck good and proper, so hopefully it will stay that way. I shall give it a little touch up on the paint when the weather is good. It looks good now, but there are a few minor chips along the edge.
The next step is to make the connections, then put the hold downs across the top to stop the batteries jumping up. Once they are connected it becomes like one huge battery, so it doesn't move.

261: Saturday 23rd November 2013

I took all the batteries out of the trunk and then placed the 21 batteries in ready to be connected and mounted. Sunday I shall make up wooden racking to mount the batteries properly. I am not going to do metal racking this time as I know I shall get Lithium batteries at some point, then it will be like permanent. This is just another set of recycled batteries that I managed to acquire. I went to all my local hardware stores and could not get 30 x 4mm hex bolts and some washers. Each shop had nearly the right one, but not quite. I had some in my hand then I thought about the price (£15) and they weren't what I wanted and too expensive as well. I came home and got some from eBay for £2.36, then some split washers and flat washers, exactly what I wanted and all for about £6. Only problem is that Sparkie is going to be out of action until they arrive as I won't be able to make the connections. Good job I still have my little Fiat. My daughter Sydney has her driving test coming up and I am sure I will lose the Fiat when she passes. So I have my wife Mary's car to use too, but I need Sparkie to get me to work.  I still need to finish my charge cable, but I have all the bits now, just need time. I am having an operation on my left knee on 13th December and I am trying to get everything done and back on the road before then too so I can drive as I only need my right foot to drive.
With all the batteries loaded I checked the rear suspension and there is still a fair travel even with all the extra weight. At 14.2kg each for 21 batteries that's just under 300kg. I had a set some time ago that weighed in at 400kg in the trunk, so I know it works o.k. Also the ride height still looks good, so I am happy all round. Now to get them all mounted and the connectors made. I am also going to fix the side of my rear bumber where it popped off. I shall just fibre glass it and clamp it. If it pops off again I shall screw it too, but that involves drilling and filling and rubbing and painting etc. It might not be necessary, so see how this holds up.

260: Thursday 14th November 2013

My Friend came round last night to take my car to the garage for the MOT test. I gave him a lift to work today and on the way home we stopped at the garage to pick up Sparkie. MOT passed with a couple of very minor issues. I had reached 10 miles range when I got home and this was good to start with. I put him on charge and went out for a drive later, but it didn't have a full charge so I got only 8 miles before the levels dropped. It felt like a single battery was failing. I need to rejig the batteries now to get more of the fresh ones I have on board. I probably could have stretched it to 10 miles, but there was no point. He shall get a full charge overnight and be ready for another test tomorrow. It takes a few charge / discharge cycles to wake the batteries up. and I hope to be on a happy 10 miles or more to do the trip to work. I also got a circuit diagram for the charge cable so I can make my cable and use the level 2 charge points at work again. It is inconvenient having the charge points changed, but at least now I will have more options for charging up at other places once I have made the cable.

259: Sunday 10th November 2013

Spent time today putting all the interior trim back in where I had been working on the inside of the body panels. I also made a hold down strap for the new batteries. I took it for a little drive and found the battery level had drop a lot after just a few miles. I had my tester on the new batteries, so I could see it was not them that were dropping the whole pack voltage. I checked all the batteries and found they were 12.6v except one that was 8v. I swapped it with the spare I had in the back and it seems better now. I took the key round to my friend so he can get it MOT tested this week, then I can do some more testing. Looking forward to having him back on the road again.