Fun at the Movies…Chris Paine meets White Zombie!

Hello to All, I had written:

…a few photos from last night’s fun with Chris Paine are up at the Plasma Boy web page. Look for a detailed post later tonight….

Then this from Jim Husted:

I’m so pleased that you got to pull it off last night…I’m not going to ruin the plot for EVeryone and I can’t wait to read the full post.

OK, here’s ‘the rest of the story’……As is typical, this all started bad, very bad. In Portland, Oregon, once we get past July 4th or so, you can count on Summer weather, we’re talking little to no rain and 85-95 degree temps the norm through August. So, anyone wanna guess where I’m going with this? Yup, that damn anti-EV vortex is still after me! I’m not kidding. After 20+ days of sun and warm weather, and with Chris and his crew arriving in town for the big film debut (and a scheduled Zombie ride), a weird July cold front was forecast for mid-week, most likely Wednesday. Geesh! In fact, you just couldn’t get a more deliberate conspiracy from the weather man, with his 7 day forecast showing 85-90 degrees Monday and Tuesday, then plummeting temps and rain ‘only’ on Wednesday, then Thursday and Friday rebounding into the 80s with Saturday and Sunday heading into the 90s again. It seems at every possibility for an EVent this year, weird weather has done it’s best to kill it!

Yesterday morning as I awoke early to start my forklift wrenching day, the smell of fresh wet air wafted through the bedroom window. Right on queue, on the exact day that of the movie debut, the rare for July cold front has rolled in off the Pacific and it’s raining! All day long, it rained. I’m in the back of my service truck doing this and that, and all I can hear is the sound of rain beating down on the aluminum roof…damn! To make matters worse, my planned ‘easy’ day (so I could get off work early at 3:00) is anything but easy and is rapidly going south on me, with one customer freaking out because five, count ‘em, five lift trucks are down all at the same time and I’ve got to get them back on line before I can go home. I call for backup to get an extra tech to help out, but it seems all the techs were slammed on this day…nice! I’m building here, so bear with me……

By noon, it’s still raining, and as I get something repaired and back in service, operators keep stopping by on forklifts carrying more dead pallet jacks over to me. By two, it’s raining even harder and the skies are getting darker. By three, it’s still raining. Work continued to get more insane and each time I got caught up, another repair would show up. The grand total of dead lift trucks came to eight. At near 4:00 however, the rain stopped, the clouds began to go away, and patches of blue showed up as the roads began to dry. Man, was I going to get a break?

I arrived at my house and hour and a half later than planned at 4:30. My wife’s work day had also went crazy and though she had planned to meet me at the house at around 3:30, she didn’t get home until after 4:00. The plan was, that she and I would take Blue Meanie, and Tim would drive White Zombie. The rain thing had just tweaked with me all day, work had gone to hell in a hand basket, and I had cars waiting at home to prep for a show that I really needed a couple of hours for. Now it was getting late and there was little time left to get the cars spiffed up. I had also wanted to take both out for a 4-5 mile ‘wake-up run’ with subsequent recharges to get their juices flowing. Blue Meanie in particular, with its 6+ year old Optimas, would never make a 12 mile round trip to the show and back unless I exercised the old pack before hand. Yeah, things had certainly not gone as I had hoped for. I was tired and dirty with a combination of sweat and hydraulic fluid, I stunk…I was stressed out over everything. Nothing like a shower though, to wash away problems, and by 5-ish I emerged a refreshed Plasma Boy. Tim too, had one of those days but in perfect timing fashion, he was at my door as I was ready to go out it.

We had wanted to be at the theater by 5:30 or so to get both of my EVs in the lineup near the theater entrance with other EVs from the OEVA group, and, we wanted meet up with Chris before show time. Instead, we hadn’t left my house, it was already after 5:00, and nothing had been done yet. My wife isn’t a real happy camper when things go this way. All three of us were hungry, too. I’m still building here……

Blue Meanie gets put on charge to top its pack off…White Zombie, too. At full charge (445V), Zombie’s charger is shut down and the pack rests at 404V right after. The Chris Brune DC-DC is put on line as the 12V system jumps to 14.4V and the packs settles in at 391 volts.

Time for Tim to take the car out for a spin. He goes up the shop driveway and is almost to the road, when the car suddenly looses power and coasts to a stop. WHAT???? Nooo-oooh, not now! A second press-down on the throttle allows the car to make it onto the street, then it dies again. This is definitely bad timing! What’s up with this? We got the car back into the shop, hooked up the Mac, and pulled all these Zilla codes: 1124 (Main contactor stuck on), 1141 (main contactor high resistance), 1221 (Major Overspeed Either Motor Beyond red line by X), 1224 (SLI Battery too low and caused shutdown of controller), 1231 (Propulsion pack open, no contactor drop, and controller is not responding). Geez, what the heck?

So now, it’s 5:30, we’re still in the driveway working on a broken car that’s expected to be at the show as one of the attractions, Blue Meanie ‘really’ needs to be taken out for pack warm-up (or we’ll never make the round trip), and we’re starving. Cheryl comes out with ice cream treats and though she knows things aren’t going well, she says nothing as she hands them to us. This is ‘not’ what I needed after the day I’d had! Tim and I tried to figure out the codes. I hadn’t cleared them since I had raced a few weekends ago, so the older 1224 code made sense…that was when I was driving home pre DC-DC and the 12V battery had lost its will (7-6-06 Electrics Wow the PIR Crowd Friday Night!). So did the 1141, because the contactor had dropped out due to the low 12V problem on that night. The 1231 code happens often, as both Tim and I occasionally forget to insert the interior emergency disconnect handle before atempting to boot up the Zilla. That left us with the freshly imprinted codes 1124 and 1221. Tim was all over it, and within a few minutes, had discovered the rpm sensor’s input lead to the Hairball had come loose…no input from that sensor while flag ‘a’ is on, and you’ll get that 1221 code! The 1124 then made sense, because when the car died due to the tach drive thing, the contactor did not drop out, thus the Zilla said the contactor was ‘stuck on’ because it was still on when the controller had shut itself down.

After reinserting the sensor’s wire at the Hairball and cinching it up with a small screw driver, all was well and the Zombie was ready to roll. Time now, nearly 5:45 pm. Tim takes the car out for the drive, while I take Blue Meanie for a short 1/2 mile cruise through the neighborhood, then return and put it back on charge. That would be all the time I had to freshen up the Meanie’s pack. Tim got back, the car was charged up again, and after quick wipe-downs and vacuum jobs, we were finally ready to leave for the show…it’s now 6:10 pm.

We drove conservatively to the theater, about 6 miles from the Wayland home. Blue Meanie’s tired old 156V pack of Optimas hung in there fairly well, but make no mistake, the days of seeing 165 volts while cruising at 40 mph are gone, replaced these days with 149-152 volts and lots of sag under any type of acceleration. At the theater, as I had assumed, there were no charging outlets to help the Meanie’s pack out. White Zombie’s pack laughed at the drive and still registered 185 volts on the Emeter!

The presentation of EVs was great. Going from memory, there was Gary Graunke’s silver AC powered Insight, Ralph Merwin’s super clean teal Geo Prism EV, a white electric Chevy S10 pickup, Myles Twete’s show stopper dark navy 1921 Milburn EV, Blue Meanie and White Zombie, and a couple other EVs I can’t clearly recall (sorry to those I’ve forgotten). There were lots of people gathering to see the electric cars, lots of video cameras, lots of digital cameras, lots of excitement! As I’m doing my typical show and tell of Blue Meanie (as always, the remote controlled motorized rear battery tray was a big hit), Tim is working a group of folks curious about White Zombie. I had talked with quite few people, but there was this one guy who was very intrigued with the under-hood area of Blue Meanie, and so we chatted for perhaps 10 minutes before he said to me, “Oh, by the way, I’m Chris” (as he gives me a firm hand shake). I was pretty embarrassed that I had not recognized him. We migrated over to White Zombie, where his face erupted into a very big EV grin as he took in its ‘racing attitude’. I told him Rod Wilde had asked me to present him with a pair of rubber shorts to prepare him for his Zombie ride, but Chris’ wit was readily apparent when he instantly quipped back, “Oh that’s OK, I’ve already got them on…wear them all the time.” I knew I’d like this guy! We decided to wait until after the show for his ride experience.

At a little before 7:00 the line formed to go into the theater, so show and tell was over and the real show was about to begin. To be continued…

See Ya….
John Wayland

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One Response to Fun at the Movies…Chris Paine meets White Zombie!

  1. Hey, I like your blog. Hello to everyone here. I’m a little shy about comments but your posts were interesting ..