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-   -   What is happening (http://forums.srellim.org/showthread.php?t=8098)

Zelandeth May 26 2021 06:42 PM

Re: What is happening
Ever since I got it there has been something slightly funky with the control system on this one air conditioner. Never bothered too much about it at the time given the price of it and being a unit from the early 90s and that it was clearly an electronic issue rather than mechanical issues with the refrigeration side of things.


The issue has always been with that fancy pants soft touch control panel - which obviously has an unnecessarily complicated layer of electronics behind it for a device of this type. This sort of control system seemed to be the late 80s/early 90s version of the obsession with everything having to have a touch screen these days.


As Montgomery Scott said, "The more they overcomplicate the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain."

If switched on without pressing anything it should just run in fan mode - cooling or heating modes are enabled by pressing the buttons under the striped grey areas first or second from the left. Next one cycles through fan speeds, then turns on/off an ioniser, then the timer.

What it had taken to doing however was after a completely random period of time between zero seconds and about six hours is that it would drop out of cooling mode and then refuse to acknowledge any keypad presses aside from the power button or timer button (or the ioniser - but that's a completely independent subsystem which is live whenever the AC supply is on). Sometimes power cycling the unit would kick it back on into cooling mode, but not always. Day before yesterday it decided to play up once too often so I started investigating. Back right when this first started I checked out the keypad itself and ruled it out as a possible culprit. A sticking button could give similar symptoms but would also knock out the power button functionality. Plus they all checked out individually anyway. The issue was clearly with the brains of the machine.

This is the control PCB.


For something that needs to turn on/off a compressor, a heating element and switch between three fan speeds this really is unnecessarily complicated. The timer functionality is a totally separate physical unit so that's not even on this board. Likewise there's no need to run the condensate pump off the board...the switch contacts on the float are more than rated for the full load of the whole unit, so just let it handle itself and use the overflow one to cut power to everything aside from the warning light. Initial checks didn't reveal anything visibly showing signs of distress or any bulging caps. The wire you can see hanging off down by the transformer was the receiver for the remote control - I pulled that off first in the off chance something was interfering with it. Second step was to obviously pull and reseat that large socketed chip.

Here's a close up of the markings for those of you playing along at home.


Given this chip is basically running the whole show it was an obvious first port of call - sadly didn't make any difference. I also went over the board with a good magnifying glass to look for any dry joints or possibly cracked traces...Zip turned up. In fact the quality of the soldering and the traces on the board is really very good and I can't fault it at all.

Helpfully there is a simplified system schematic on the inside of the rear cover. As none of the connectors on the PCB are labelled this is appreciated.


Given the unit is thirty years old, my obvious next port of call was the DC smoothing capacitors. Looking at the voltage rails (5V and 24V) they were both slightly on the low side.


Smoothing capacitors are 1000uF 35V...and of course I didn't have any of those in stock. I did have two 470uF ones in a suitable voltage rating though so in the spirit of experimentation I tacked those on in parallel with the existing ones to see if a bit of extra capacitance would make any difference...if they'd just gone low value it probably would have gone a long way to help. Not tidy by any stretch of the imagination, but for testing purposes it'll do just fine.


It fooled me into thinking I'd fixed it as after doing this it behaved itself for about six hours...before doing exactly the same thing again.

Fair enough. My intention is basically to do away with this overcomplicated "brain" and stick a proper temperature controller in. I've got one in a box somewhere which can handle heating/cooling (this thing could only be set to one or the other - and just has a 0-9 numbered thermostat) and has proper adjustments for hysteresis, anti-cycle timers etc...I just need to figure out where the heck it is. The original PCB will stick around to handle the evaporator fan speed control, but that will basically be it. Control over the compressor, condenser fan and heating elements will be handed over to the new controller.

I wanted it back up and running today though...and I'm not one to be beaten by something like this.

The thermostat on this thing is just a mechanical make/break switch, and that quickly got me to thinking that I could very easily bypass the brain. I'd lose the anti-cycle timer, but to be honest there's a decent deadband on the thermostat I don't see that being an issue.

A little bit of poking around with a meter found that there's an always on 24V feed to all of the relay coils, and it's the earthy end that's switched by the control logic. Sure enough, if I earthed the low side of the compressor relay coil it and the condenser fan motor both kicked in, even though the unit wasn't in cooling mode.

Didn't take long for a plan to form. Even though this unit doesn't (and as far as I can see never has had) an ioniser unit fitted, the button and relay are there for it. This function being "always on" seemed to escape from the lockup issue...with the relay clicking away merrily when the button was toggled. This meant that I had an easily accessible switchable ground available to me.

That's us halfway there. I then pulled the thermostat connector off the board and spliced a couple of wires into that - wiring it in series with a wire to the switched ground I mentioned above.



Result is that the ioniser button is now a "compressor enable" button, and when that's turned on the thermostat makes it cut in/out as originally intended.

Only other thing I had to do was to physically unplug the heating element power supply as if it jumps into heating mode it will turn the element on (as in heating mode it interprets the stat being open as a cool for heat - whereas it's the other way around for cooling) because the thermostat is no longer hooked up to the PCB. Dead easy to do as it's got a socket up front.

I've not gone any further by way of making it pretty or securing the wires to the PCB with hot glue or anything as this only needs to last until I track down the proper controller, then quite a bit of re-engineering will happen. Hopefully see it going for a good while yet, and actually with better functionality as I'll be able to dial in an actual desired temperature rather than just picking a number. Plus overnight I'd really prefer the room to be a degree or two cooler than the inbuilt stat allows for...new control will resolve that. Worth noting that the wiring on there is just 24V, nothing on the mains side has been touched, and I've been careful to keep the tape from bridging the isolation gap.

Still not sure what the original problem is, and there's very little on these units on the web that I've been able to find. As best I can tell though there's something amiss with that big IC...Without another unit on hand I can rob one out of to test it's pretty hard to tell really.

It's a total bodge, but it's doing what I bought it to again, and soon will be upgraded rather than bodged.

Also in fairness to the unit...It's 30 years old and has spent a good portion of its life on an equipment rental company's books...so it's not done bad at all really! May 1991 is the date on the QC sticker on the inside of the back panel.

P'ter May 27 2021 06:04 AM

Re: What is happening
I was taught that GOOD engineering consisted of utilising the minimum of resources to do the job.

Years ago I had dealings with a record player that made up its own mind as to the size of record and speed regardless of what I told it. A bit expensive on records!

mawra May 27 2021 03:03 PM

Re: What is happening

Originally Posted by Priscilla (Post 210724)
I wish I could send you some gasoline. I've seen pictures of people hoarding it in plastic bags and all sorts of other dangerous containers. Then, there have been the vehicles full of "containers" that have caught on fire. Is the supply getting any better?

How is Kibby's job? Does she still like it?

Gas hoarding has stopped, & gas prices are high, but not ridiculously high.

They have moved Kibby to appetizers, she loves it. Most days she'll do apps, but will do salads when needed.

Priscilla May 27 2021 04:22 PM

Re: What is happening
Gas is about $3.09 a gallon here. We were lucky that the hoarding never got this far north.

I am so glad Libby is still enjoying the job. Every new task she learns is one more item to go on her resume and makes her that much more useful to any restaurant! :good:

I guess I will never know what happened to Linda Eicher if no one here is in contact with her. I just hope she is well!

Zelandeth May 27 2021 11:13 PM

Re: What is happening
My bodged air conditioner control setup worked perfectly overnight and through most of the afternoon when I was back in the room. Right up to where the compressor made an unpleasant noise then stopped. Fear not, I'd just not done a good enough job of soldering one of the wires to the PCB so it had cracked the joint and come adrift. You remember me talking about how I wasn't a fan of it and the testing setup needing to be beefed up long term? Yep, there's why! Vibration has a tendency of finding any weak spots for you in settings like this in a hurry.

A bit of hot glue is now providing mechanical support in addition to me having remade the two solder joints. I actually took the PCB out to do that this time rather than soldering it while working left handed half buried in the back of an air conditioner like last time. Correct operation was restored.

After a thorough search only requiring me to upend around 80% of the north wing loft I tracked down the little temperature controller I remembered still having leftover from another project a few years ago.


Between the size of it and the fact that I was absolutely positive that the box was almost entirely blue it's quite surprising that I found it at all - assuming that there isn't another one up there of course!

Just a cheap generic little unit I've seen badged under about a dozen different brands, but it does what it says on the tin. These are all of about £15 on eBay/Amazon so even if they don't last forever it's not the end of the world really. Honestly I'd struggle to build one for less...and that's assuming I already have a suitable enclosure and LED display in stock.


Very simple to wire up, four sets of two terminals on the back: Mains in, temperature probe, then two pairs of relay contacts for the heating and cooling loads.


The internal relays are rated for up to 10A at mains voltage, though precisely how far you want to trust the relays in a control this cheap is up to you. For this application I'll be using the existing relays in the air conditioner to do the heavy lifting, this will just be the brains of the operation.

Couple of advantages in using this control over the original setup on this unit/or my bodge currently in operation.

The first is that it will be able to seamlessly handle both the heating and cooling side of things from one control. The original control system allowed the unit to run either as an air conditioner or a heater (it's just a 1.5kW resistive heater rather than a heat pump sadly), but required the user to manually switch modes. In this application I'm not likely to ever really call on the heating side but this feels like a more elegant solution.

Secondly is being able to dial in an exact temperature. The existing thermostat has an arbitrary 0-9 numeric scale, just being able to dial in whatever temperature I want is definitely my preference. Especially as the coolest setting on the existing stat is only just cool enough for me to be comfortable overnight.

Being a dedicated temperature controller it also has properly configurable hysteresis and anti-cycle timer settings - both things that I really wish the fancy pants wireless thermostat for the household central heating system had!

The existing PCB will basically just be relegated to being a source of the 24V relay control voltage and fan speed control once I'm finished.

Just need to figure out a tidy way to fit this. It's a shame the existing thermostat cutout isn't a tiny bit bigger or it could just slot in behind the front panel there.


May still be able to get away with it - not particularly worried about losing a bit of the left side of the display, but big question will be whether I can fit it back there and still properly access the buttons.

Might be a nice little evening project for next week if I have time. At least the AC is working properly again now though so some of the heat (pun entirely intended) has been taken off the job.

mawra Jun 3 2021 04:23 AM

Re: What is happening
Gas is down to $2.79. Only reason it got as high it did is because people got stupid, which led to there being more of a shortage than there should have been. Then businesses got greedy.

P'ter Jun 3 2021 06:33 AM

Re: What is happening

so some of the heat (pun entirely intended) has been taken off the job.
Cool man!

Priscilla Jun 3 2021 08:12 AM

Re: What is happening
Good to hear that, mawra. Our price seems to be steady at 3.09.

We had a very nice, quiet Memorial Day with our "kids" and Mike's family at his and Jenn's house. Mike's dad got the virus and was in the hospital and rehab for 77 days. It was good to see him!

Dragon Fan Jun 3 2021 07:42 PM

Re: What is happening
Gas here is still high, $3.19 Gallon. But we do have the second highest gas tax in the nation ! And we still have the worst roads in the country !

Zelandeth Jun 3 2021 07:55 PM

Re: What is happening
Actually got a decent run out in the van today over to Basildon and back to collect some more air conditioning units.


Definitely easier than trying to shoe horn them into the Xantia.

Nice to get out for a proper run with the old girl even if the M25 was precisely as busy as expected.

mawra Jun 4 2021 03:14 PM

Re: What is happening

Originally Posted by Dragon Fan (Post 210749)
Gas here is still high, $3.19 Gallon. But we do have the second highest gas tax in the nation ! And we still have the worst roads in the country !

Where are you?
Gas prices in Lynchburg never got to the ridiculous prices that some places had. In Richmond VA one place was 6.99 a gal.

Dragon Fan Jun 4 2021 08:17 PM

Re: What is happening

Originally Posted by mawra (Post 210751)
Where are you?
Gas prices in Lynchburg never got to the ridiculous prices that some places had. In Richmond VA one place was 6.99 a gal.

I am in Central Pennsylvania, we were not impacted by the Colonial Pipeline shut down. Gas prices are always higher here. I have heard of prices as high as you mentioned. Some stations in Eastern Pa. raised their prices until they were told they were price gouging and if they did not stop, they would be prosecuted.

Zelandeth Jun 4 2021 09:45 PM

Re: What is happening

Originally Posted by mawra (Post 210751)
Where are you?
Gas prices in Lynchburg never got to the ridiculous prices that some places had. In Richmond VA one place was 6.99 a gal.

Wow... that's getting close to our prices...$7.89/gallon as of my last fill up.

Let the Jag get below 1/4 a tank last week and filling it up cost £104! Good for about 170 miles!

granath Jun 5 2021 12:07 AM

Re: What is happening
Oh well, our prices are fast approaching 2 euros per liter.

P'ter Jun 5 2021 10:33 AM

Re: What is happening
U.K.'s about the same.

Zelandeth Jun 5 2021 05:02 PM

Re: What is happening
Was wandering around out back today just moving a couple of things around when my eye was drawn to something on the ground. Where has this come from?


Oh oh. That doesn't look good.


Ah balls...yep, that's going to need sorting sooner rather than later.


Temporary bodge to keep the weather out for now.


Looking around the house quite a few of the soffit boards haven't weathered this last winter well.


Worryingly it looks to me like the horizontal box section on the underside may well be asbestos...which I'm sure will multiply the costs involved in sorting things out by about ten times.


Great! Just had the first quote in this afternoon from a landscaper to sort out the back garden and driveway, and that's more than we'd hoped - by about five times. Very much hoping they just didn't want the job, but braced for the news from the one coming tomorrow to be similar. Can see this easily eating up half the budget for the garden in one hit. Either way it looks like the plans we had to improve the driveway layout will have to be canned for the time being. Which is a shame as I was really hoping we might be able to arrange things so I could get out of the garage without major car Tetris. Given the school traffic around here it basically means I often can't get out of the garage between 9 and 4 as there's nowhere to move the cars I have to shift to.

P'ter Jun 6 2021 06:42 AM

Re: What is happening
You could leave the soffits and claim they're bird boxes?

Zelandeth Jun 7 2021 12:07 AM

Re: What is happening

Originally Posted by P'ter (Post 210763)
You could leave the soffits and claim they're bird boxes?

Sadly leaving a gaping hole into the attic sounds like a recipe for disaster! We've enough issues with water ingress in this house as it is. It'll need to be sorted...just really could have done without yet another £5-7000 bill this year.

-- -- --

After over two months thanks to problems with shipping due to Brexit related nonsense the new oil pressure switch for the Invacar arrived last week. This afternoon I figured I'd get that fitted in the hope that it cures the minor oil leak from the rear of the engine... I'm not holding my breath as I reckon it's only half the issue, the other source being the crankshaft oil seal. Which is a pain as that's an engine out job to change. If it is the crankshaft oil seal though I'm not going to lose too much sleep over it given the leakage is very slight - one or two drops when the car is parked up. If it was losing any appreciable amount while driving it would have shown up given how small the sump capacity is, but she's never used any between changes so I'm not too worried. Knowing that the pressure switch was visibly weeping though I wanted that changed. That's the sort of leak which can go from very minor to catastrophic with little or no warning.

Getting the old one out is actually deceptively awkward due to the proximity of the distributor and oil filter. Not enough to be a problem, but just enough to be moderately annoying.


Eventually managed to get a spanner onto it (24mm) with the oil filter removed. Then discovered quite how tight it was. When I started to pull the car over the wheel chocks I instead opted to remove the boss that the pressure switch is threaded into, allowing me to separate the two off the car.


That let go with an almighty crack which rammed my arm against the engine cover slam panel. This car has drawn blood surprisingly few times during the restoration project but she managed today!


Didn't actually realise I'd done that at the time, it was about ten minutes later when I had that "wait...where is this blood coming from?" moment.

Annoyingly it then quickly became apparent that my new pressure switch is completely wrong, despite having been bought from a Steyr-Puch specialist. The different case style is immaterial - however the thread and threaded length of the body are also totally different.


The length is actually important as the oil pressure relief valve spring sits against the underside of the pressure switch body so the depth it screws in is critical to the preload being right.

At least since I ordered that the actual Bosch part number (0986344041) has been tracked down so I have now got one on the way. Just annoying that I've wasted a lot of time on this - and that the £7 sensor ended up being north of thirty quid by the time shipping and all the tarriffs and fees were paid...only for it to be the wrong thing.

On a slightly lighter note though I had a nice addition that had been on my wish list for a while arrive for the calculator collection a couple of days ago. This was spotted by someone over on UKSaabs who kindly offered to collect it and post it on to me.

I'd been after one of these for a while but refused to pay the frankly ridiculous sums of money they generally seem to change hands for.



This is a HP 12C Calculator - a specialised model intended for the financial market - and a fascinating case of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach. You'd think looking at this that it's a late 70s, maybe very early 80s model, even then a really late example of a calculator that uses RPN (note the large enter key and the lack of a separate equals key).


The 12C was launched in 1981, the RPN input scheme being maintained because it's particularly well suited to financial calculations, despite the rest of the world having moved on by that point. It gets even more surprising though...you can STILL buy the 12C today, in 2021! Yes there have been numerous changes "under the hood" over the years, but the fact that a piece of electronics (even quite a specialist one) equipment has a model run of forty years and counting is frankly remarkable if you ask me.

This example appears to date from early 2001 judging from the serial number.

Quite how specialised this really is though is made most apparent by the manual.


You'd think to look at that it would be about thirty pages in English and then repeated in about 357 other languages...nope. That is all English, all 246 pages of it.

It feels like a proper quality instrument in a way that calculators just generally didn't by the time the 21st century rolled in. The keypad action in particular is lovely, you can tell that exactly the weight required to press the keys was designed in, it did not just happen because those were the switches they had in stock.

Being such an anachronistic oddball it's definitely one I'm really glad to have in the collection. Surprisingly enough it's actually the first pure RPN calculator I own! Not quite sure how it's taken me so long to get hold of one.

Allen Jun 9 2021 10:37 AM

Re: What is happening
I'm sad to say that after all this time it looks like Simon hasn't gotten the NKT back online, at least as near as I can tell. If anyone knows anything, I'd appreciate you sharing. I heard he's on facebook, but I don't know his full name to search for him. I have had no luck finding his version of the NKT since it went down about a month ago.

Looks like it might finally be gone, sad to say.

Priscilla Jun 10 2021 03:53 PM

Re: What is happening
The KT/NKT had a good long run. I am sure Simon would like it to continue. Do I remember he just recently paid for another year?

I was in our son's old bedroom where he has left a bunch of stuff he did not want (sound familiar?) I happened upon his old high school calculator so I thought I'd tell Zelandeth, since he seems to love these things! :) I have no way to post pictures here but I took a picture of it so I can read off for you what it is.

Texas Instruments

I pushed a button and it still works! :lol:

R'zil Jun 10 2021 06:34 PM

Re: What is happening

Originally Posted by Priscilla (Post 210777)
The KT/NKT had a good long run. I am sure Simon would like it to continue. Do I remember he just recently paid for another year?

I was in our son's old bedroom where he has left a bunch of stuff he did not want (sound familiar?) I happened upon his old high school calculator so I thought I'd tell Zelandeth, since he seems to love these things! :) I have no way to post pictures here but I took a picture of it so I can read off for you what it is.

Texas Instruments

I pushed a button and it still works! :lol:

Yes Priscilla, he recently had posted that he had paid for two more years. Hopefully he's not given up on it yet, I still keep checking it to see.

vyon Jun 11 2021 08:13 AM

Re: What is happening
So when I tried the host website to see if it was just the NKT I get this

You don't have permission to access / on this server.

Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Wasn't that what we were getting last time Simon had troubles with the website?

Allen Jun 11 2021 11:16 AM

Re: What is happening

Originally Posted by vyon (Post 210779)
So when I tried the host website to see if it was just the NKT I get this

You don't have permission to access / on this server.

Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Wasn't that what we were getting last time Simon had troubles with the website?

Something like that...
I got the same thing when I tried that same approach. That was quite a while ago. I don't think that it would be a server issue, since Simon said when everyone agreed to let him move the NKT to his server, the same one he uses for his business, I think he said. But it took him a long time to get things set up, and "joining" his version has never been like it should. The way we have been getting on has been a sort of back door or bypass entry. That's what might have changed, and no one that has been going in that way has any other access available any more, I'll bet. Space Cowboy remained a moderator, but he said here that he can't get in and the only way he has to contact Simon is through the NKT. Someone (Mawra??) said he was on facebook, but I don't have his last name so I can't look him up to try to talk to him there.

A google search for "Anne McCaffrey Fans - The New Kitchen Table, the name I have on my favorites link that's not working, proved fruitless. I'm about ready to just give it all up. Unless I can get in touch with Simon, that is.

Zelandeth Jun 11 2021 06:58 PM

Re: What is happening
Had a few errands to run today and decided it was a good excuse to take out my nice sensible, compact city runaround.


I never signed up for normal.

Also picked up something for the Invacar which had been at the back of my mind for a while. Someone mentioned it a couple of days ago elsewhere and reminded me of it.


Not what you think. I'm not just bolting a fog light to the bumper. I'm going to be fitting a hidden auxiliary brake light as I've nearly been rear ended in the car twice so far and I know that the original brake lights weren't great in 1973, never mind compared to what dozy Milton Keynes drivers are used to in 2021. This will be tucked away in the cooling intake plenum behind the grill on the engine cover so it'll be essentially totally invisible except for when it's lit.

The thought occurred to me that while I'm there I may as well add a reversing light as well - not because I want it to provide me with light to see by - but as an indication to other drivers that I'm reversing. Not having one means that nobody will ever let you back out of a space in a car park and things...It's just something that it's nice to have. For the sake of £3 of light, a switch and a bit of wiring it just makes sense. I'm using (and enjoying using) the car a lot more these days so little creature comforts like that are the sort of things which just make day to day life more pleasant as she's obviously not going to be leaving the fleet any time soon. Does mean I'll need to track down another period appropriate looking switch and indicator light for the dash though.

Seriously...Did you guys really think I was just going to tack something that ugly thing straight on the back of TPA?

granath Jun 12 2021 01:20 AM

Re: What is happening

Originally Posted by Allen (Post 210787)
Something like that...
I got the same thing when I tried that same approach. That was quite a while ago. I don't think that it would be a server issue, since Simon said when everyone agreed to let him move the NKT to his server, the same one he uses for his business, I think he said. But it took him a long time to get things set up, and "joining" his version has never been like it should. The way we have been getting on has been a sort of back door or bypass entry. That's what might have changed, and no one that has been going in that way has any other access available any more, I'll bet. Space Cowboy remained a moderator, but he said here that he can't get in and the only way he has to contact Simon is through the NKT. Someone (Mawra??) said he was on facebook, but I don't have his last name so I can't look him up to try to talk to him there.

A google search for "Anne McCaffrey Fans - The New Kitchen Table, the name I have on my favorites link that's not working, proved fruitless. I'm about ready to just give it all up. Unless I can get in touch with Simon, that is.

Simon's Bobbsy's son and I think they have/had the same surname, but now I've forgotten Bobbsy's as well... It's a shame Simon doesn't post here.

P'ter Jun 12 2021 02:39 AM

Re: What is happening
There WAS a Simon on here years back (2014 - 2018). I've sent him a private message on the off chance it's the same guy.

Priscilla Jun 12 2021 06:29 AM

Re: What is happening
I think I remember the last name is Howes?

Zelandeth Jun 12 2021 01:32 PM

Re: What is happening
That was pretty painless.

Spot the difference?


Cue CSI style "Zoom, enhance..." sequence.




Yes, I fouled up the first time round and fitted it way to high up.

Then how it looks from average sort of driver head height when lit.


The photo doesn't do justice to how much brighter it is than the factory brake lights.

Will need to epoxy on a couple of lugs to the underside of the engine cover to hold the wiring in place to tidy things up but that's not massively urgent.

I don't *like* it, but just feel that it's kind of necessary with the standard of driving I see around here. It should be a good deal more conspicuous to anyone following than the somewhat weedy original brake lights. At least it's barely visible when it's unlit and you really wouldn't spot it unless you knew it was there.

mawra Jun 12 2021 03:59 PM

Re: What is happening

Originally Posted by Priscilla (Post 210791)
I think I remember the last name is Howes?

That's it

Allen Jun 14 2021 10:31 AM

Re: What is happening
Thanks for Simon's last name. Found him on Facebook, sent a friend request & message, and he accepted and answered. He is aware of the problem, but Real Life is keeping him from doing an in-depth analysis of the problem. He said it will probably be another reload thing... again.

So the wait goes on.

Meanwhile, I saw Hans replied to one of Simon's posts, and said hello to him, asked if he'd accept a friend request from me... no answer.

Zelandeth Jun 16 2021 08:30 PM

Re: What is happening
I had TPA out for a run yesterday to drop some decent but redundant clothing off at a charity shop and can confirm that the improvement to the brake light setup seems to have worked.

There's definitely been an impact on the behaviour of drivers following me, in that they now visibly back off when I apply the brakes, whereas before drivers often seemed oblivious until it became visibly obvious I was slowing down. So mission accomplished there I reckon.

Wasn't a journey without incident though. The door (I always use the nearside one as the offside one binds on the runners) needs a pretty decent slam to close. For reasons unknown I didn't put my hand in the usual spot when doing this and managed to slam the door with my thumb "locked" for want of a better term. Cue moment of "That was a really dumb thing I just did there...OW!" followed by much swearing as it felt like I'd just karate chopped a block of steel reinforced concrete.

This of course was my right hand. I was on the opposite side of town, and was in a car with a right handed twist grip throttle and effectively couldn't close my right hand. That was a really uncomfortable drive home.

The degree of pain and way the ball of my hand swelled up to the size of a golf ball actually made me honestly wonder if I'd broken something, though today it's a lot better, so reckon I've just badly sprained it...has turned a wonderful colour of purple though!


Tell you one thing, I won't make that mistake again!

Having had my first dose of the COVID vaccine today I'll be interested to see how it hits me tomorrow. The flu jab usually knocks me flat for the best part of a week, so given this seems to be one that makes people feel rough in general I'm not holding out much hope for any real productivity over the next few days!

Priscilla Jun 17 2021 01:15 PM

Re: What is happening
Ouch! I had a similar huge black and blue on my foot/ankle a couple years ago. The colors can be quite spectacular.

mawra Jun 17 2021 11:02 PM

Re: What is happening
Hand looks painful

Zelandeth Jun 18 2021 08:58 PM

Re: What is happening
I've been having a bit of a think about the medium to long term future for my little automotive fleet lately.

The fact is that I have too many cars. That's a simple fact and is meaning that none of them are really getting as much TLC as they deserve. I also am utterly out of space! We were hoping to address that soon but have been getting absolutely nowhere with trying to get quotes to get the back garden and driveway sorted out. Out of half a dozen contractors who were meant to be visiting only one turned up and exuded the distinct aura of "I really don't want this job" and wanted somewhere in the region of £50K for the work. Our target was less than half that! Having so many cars on the drive results in me suffering a lot of decision paralysis when trying to pick which jobs to do day to day...which then results in nothing getting done.

The Xantia is a wonderful car and unquestionably the most universally capable motors I've ever owned. I think only my blue Saab has come close. She isn't getting any younger now, and is getting to the point where she deserves to be pulled back from front line daily duties I feel and be actually preserved. It's really hard to keep on top of little jobs when a car is in use all the time and she's had a growing to do list for years now.

I just worry that being in daily use in all traffic and weather conditions is going to wind up running the car into the ground. The last winter definitely hasn't done any favours where rust is concerned, the underside in general needs a really good clean and blasting with Dinitrol (or similar...other brands are available, that's just what I use by default).

She's such a well known car I'd love to see her properly tidied up cosmetically and be enjoyed as a weekend toy and to start making appearances at shows again...but I don't see either of those things happening in my ownership unless my circumstances changed a lot. Showing the car is trickier for me as if I'm at most shows I'd tend to be wanting to take the Invacar/Jag/van instead of as well...and I don't have a second driver these days!

The Jag...well it's lovely. However as far as an actual car goes makes about as much sense as an ashtray on a motorbike. If I had somewhere under cover to store it I could see me keeping it longer term...but living outside I can already visibly see the bodywork deteriorating since I bought it. Plus my parts supply situation has become far more of a pain since Brexit as somewhat ironically the best source of many parts for it seems to be the US.

I love it...but unless we were to move into a house with a large double (or bigger) garage I just can't justify it really...if I do there are going to be Substantial bills down the line for remedial bodywork repairs, and that's a rabbit hole I just don't want to fall down. It's also a pig awkward enough car to work on that a lot of what would normally be simple driveway jobs really want to be done under cover. Changing the alternator belt for example ended up taking me a whole afternoon, and ended up with half an ant colony having crawled under my shirt.

Van: This is pretty safe. It fills an obvious niche, is genuinely useful, especially if we want to travel with the dogs for any distance, and isn't something I could replace for anywhere near what I paid for it. So long as I keep on top of things the value should only go one way. It may be replaced with something a bit bigger one day, but until then is safe enough.

Invacar: Obviously a long term fleet member that's going nowhere. Having resurrected the car from so near scrap status I'm quite attached to it. Plus I know that since I picked it up that demand for them has soared and that demand is massively outstripping supply...so I'd really struggle to get another. Being tax exempt and costing me something daft like £50 a year to insure while doing 40-ish mpg means she's about as close to free motoring as you get.

BX: I'm reserving judgement on this until I've at least driven the car a bit. Really do need to get my finger out and get the poor thing on the road...really not much needed to get there either. See my earlier point about having too many cars.

Long term I really want to bring something modern into the fleet. While I don't commute, I really do want to have something which I can just rely on to serve the duty of being "an car" from day to day. It would also be wonderful to have something modern enough that if we're on a longer trip that I can actually share driving duties with Chris or Abby. They're both modern car only people who really aren't comfortable driving anything in my fleet. Abby will just about stand for the Xantia, but is clearly worried about every noise it makes - and them not being at ease means I can't relax as a passenger, so defeats the purpose of trying to share the load while on longer trips.

So while the Invacar and Van would be sticking around to fill the classic car niche, the Jag, Xantia and maybe BX would move on and be replaced by something newer.

The question though is what? The list of things I want is pretty simple:

[] Ability to seat four adults comfortably, a fifth seat for occasional use would be a bonus too.
[] Big boot. Ideally big enough the dogs can travel there if needed.
[] Climate control. Hadn't realised now nice to be able to dial in a temperature and just leave things set to auto was until I had that on the Xantia.
[] Heated seats.
[] Decent stereo with proper modern connectivity to my phone etc.
[] Good amount of poke. The Xantia and the Jag have made me realise that while I'm not Jeremey Clarkson, I do like having a decent amount of grunt available. The torque available from a standing start in the Jag is particularly addictive.
[] Light coloured interior.
[] Panoramic roof is one of the common features on quite a few modern cars I really like.
[] ULEZ compliant. I have two friends who live within the London ULEZ as it stands now, and several more within the expanded one that's being brought in later this year. My nan lives within the one they're bringing in Birmingham soon...and there's talk of one in Aberdeen too. So let's just tick that box so it's something else I don't need to worry about.

The biggest sticking point though is that it needs to be something I actually find interesting and would actually still feel proud to see on the driveway and enjoy driving. Otherwise I'd just use my sensible head and probably go pick up something like a couple of year old Skoda Superb Estate. Well if I didn't find every seat that VAG have produced since about 2003 to be catastrophically uncomfortable because I'm a totally different shape to the Industry Standard Human they seem to be modelled after anyway. You get the idea though...if I didn't actually care what the car was, there are any number of options for White Goods like cars out there which would tick the options on my list. As it is though, I'm a car person so do want something interesting.

After a lot of thought, head scratching and idly poking Autotrader hoping something interesting would fall out I eventually came to a conclusion. It surprised me so the exercise was re-run a bunch of times, and I kept coming back to the same result. The modern car that I actually want to put on my driveway is a Tesla Model S. It's just the only truly modern car I've been in in the last ten years which really left a positive impression on me and wasn't at best utterly forgettable or falls foul of one of my requirements above. There were a few Volvos in there, but none of the ones I'd be interested in are ULEZ complaint, and cost about a million pounds a year to tax.

Not a new one obviously...lottery win nonwistanding. Probably five years or so old is where I'd be aiming. This isn't something I'm going to be pulling the trigger on for a while anyway, so I've got time to keep an eye on used prices. I'm just hoping that the growing popularity of the Model X and 3 and them being more common will see the prices drop a bit...rather than the growth of low emission zones push them up. Just have to wait and see I guess! Either way it'll be quite a protracted shopping exercise...if I'm spending that much on a car you absolutely bet I'm going to be picky about spec!

[] Dual motor version...because if we're doing this we may as well do it properly. Do I really need north of 400bhp? Absolutely not. Do I *want* it? Absolutely. I can't see the launch ability in those cars ever getting old. I'm not actually too fussed about what battery size it has, even the P70D has more than enough range for me to live with comfortably, and I think the 90 and 100 are likely to be the most common by the time I start shopping anyway. 99% of the places I go that are far enough away for it to matter are on the Supercharger network too which helps... I'm not someone who tends to run down to the wire range wise even in a petrol car so don't thing range anxiety is something I'll really suffer with.
[] It must be a colour. Absolutely NOT silver or white. Preferred colour is the deep metallic blue, though I'd happily live with red if it otherwise ticked all the boxes.
[] Light coloured upholstery. I like that Tesla offer that option but still with dark carpets which I'm sure makes it way easier to live with.
[] Probably the biggest headache to find as it seems to be a rare option in the UK is that I want the trim inlays to be the more traditional looking wood effect. I just really like the contrast that gives against the otherwise very modernist design. I'd not consider a car with the silver or piano black trim. I know that sounds like a silly detail to discount a car over...but the interior is the bit of a car as a driver I see the most of, so it's an area I'm going to be picky about.

I know they're not cars without their faults, and I'm definitely going to make sure I get some proper time behind the wheel before I actually put a deposit down on anything. I've spent about an hour driving one to date, but that was quite a while ago. My overwhelming memory though was that it felt like I was driving the car of the future done right. I know the interior fit and finish isn't up to Audi standards and that a lot of people find the seats a bit hard and it sounds like if you get one with electronic gremlins you can be in for a world of pain (which is why I'll definitely be buying from a dealer and making sure there is a warranty provided!). They're Marmite cars and I fully accept that, I think people love them or hate them and there's not much middle ground.

I just like them though, and I think one would really fit my needs (especially given that a lot of my journeys are pretty short) down to a T. The fact that Tesla took the whole idea of a car and tried to do something new with the way everything was packaged and how it all works gets points from me in today's world where cars in general are getting more and more samey by the day. Chris' work will contribute a substantial chunk towards installation of a home charging point too which would be a nice bonus, as it's an expensive enough thing to be thinking about as it is!

It's been an interesting thought exercise to be honest even if nothing comes from it for a long while.

In the meantime there are some things I really want to try. I really need to own a Volvo, having been a die hard Saab fan since I was about five, I just feel duty bound to sample their most obvious competitor. I've also never been in a Volvo I didn't like. I also really want my Jeep. I've wanted a Cherokee since I first saw one on their UK debut in 1993 however have utterly failed to buy one so far. Nearly bought a lovely looking one in Limited SE spec back just before I got the Lada back in 2016, right up till the point where the seller discovered that the carpet was basically holding the underbody together! Finding an early one at all now is getting really hard, much less a decent one that's not been off-roaded to death and at a vaguely sane price. I'd love a Citroen CX or XM too... though this needs to be something I can treat more or less as a daily driver so lower maintenance is kinda a priority, so that rules those out really...Otherwise I'm just going to end up with *another* car on the driveway!

P'ter Jun 19 2021 06:05 AM

Re: What is happening
A lot of your description sounds like a newish Nissan Micra.

Priscilla Jun 19 2021 08:19 AM

Re: What is happening
We currently have 3 cars. But, we have a 3 car garage. We have a 14 year old Mazda6, a 7 year old Mazda3 and a brand new Honda Accord. The 6 will "stay" until next spring. It is in good shape, has good snow tires and will be this winter's "sloppy weather" car - saving the other 2 from road salt on the undersides.

Zelandeth Jun 21 2021 06:41 PM

Re: What is happening
Not been much to report on the fleet really. My Covid jab left me feeling pretty well wiped out for a few days - nothing really to write home about, just absolutely dead tired. Having hurt my hand also largely put me off doing much in the way of practical work.

Feeling more myself today though and my hand is pretty much sorted (though it still looks an interesting colour of purple), so took TPA out for a run today to get some errands run.



Seemed to dodge the worst of the weather too, given that it rained quite heavily just before I went out and just after I got home. Was a little breezy for her on the A5, but nothing too drastic. Just meant made a point of keeping the speed down a bit and being ready to counter the inevitable wobble at a couple of points.

Zelandeth Jun 22 2021 06:00 PM

Re: What is happening
Really would be nice to get out somewhere to grab some more interesting photos one day...


Though she did tick over 13K miles today.


Quite astonishing how much more quickly that has rolled round than 12K took! 350 plus change miles to go and that will be two thousand miles she's covered under my ownership.

Once we get there it will be time for a proper service again. Oil, filter, check plugs, check points, clean fuel filter & carb inlet screen, check and adjust valve clearances, change gearbox and final drive oils, grease driveshaft slip joints, inspect CVT belt, check front wheel bearing, grease all the grease points, adjust brake shoe free play...and probably half a dozen other things I've forgotten. Aside from the obvious "have a good crawl around in, around and under the car and address anything which seems amiss."

To be fair the thing on there which probably takes the longest is actually removing the service hatch in the back of the cabin to get to the gearbox/CVT/final drive assembly as it's a bit fiddly. Well, aside from the valve clearances anyway. Though at least I have new rocker cover gaskets this time so not trying to save those will save me a few minutes.

SpaceCowboy Jun 25 2021 12:15 AM

Re: What is happening
As of Wednesday 6/23/2021 SpaceCowboy better known in real life as Uncle Jeff is Great Uncle Jeff for the 7th time with the birth of my Grand Niece Alice Elizabeth Rose Miller. Mom and baby are doing well with mom still exhausted after 20 hours of labor. Six pounds 2 ounces in weight and 20 inches long.

granath Jun 25 2021 12:19 AM

Re: What is happening
Congratulations SpaceCowboy!

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