Saturday, July 14, 2007

Does any one read this?

Well I was tagged by the sassy lime and Edge, so thought I would post something and see if anyone actually reads this. I also finally cleaned up all the spam comments, what a joke.

7 things about me:

1: I'm training for the St George Marathon, this takes up a lot of my time, but is pretty fun. I have run almost 230 miles so far this year (not all at once) to get ready for the St George Marathon in September. 26.2 Miles, why do we do these things?

2: My sweat bleaches out my clothes and hats. I'm not sure if this happens to anyone else, but my running clothes and hat I wear in the sun get bleached out when I sweat in them.

3: I love to fix things, I think everything who knows me knows this, so its not a revelation or anything, but I like to find things that can be fixed, and work on them. Plus I'm dang good at it!!

4: I hate most shopping (sorry Sassy). I do my Christmas shopping on line or the day before Christmas. It totally depresses me to walk around the stores and see all the people buying things they don't need. I have not bought clothes for myself (except a few pieces of technical running gear) for YEARS. My job keeps me in an endless supply of shirts, and my wife buys me socks and pants, as my old ones begin to embarrass her. I think my belt is 15 years old.

5: I want to compete in a triathlon, but I am not a good swimmer. I have committed to practicing once a week at the gym. I am a good runner and biker, I just need to get the swimming thing down. If any of you readers are great swimmers (read "able to swim") come with me to the pool and give me some pointers.

6: My favorite type of food is oriental inspired cuisine. Hmm... fried noodles and rice.

7: I can solve a rubix cube, without taking it apart.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

New shoes!!, and one less car

Yes, I got me some new shoes, I feel like Homer Simpson in his new Assassins. Now I rule the road. Actually they were pretty inexpensive running shoes.

But they feel great. Now if I can just get some new knees, and a hip I'll be all set.

Yesterday I walked/jogged 3 more miles, I'm up to 15 miles total now on my new Computer (in less then one week).

On a sadder note, someone hit our car saterday night, and I think pretty much totaled it. It was parked on the street and they took off. We filed a police report and I'm trying to see if insurance will help us any. I'll let you know.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Cool Shirt Mod.

I've been looking at running and jogging clothes for winter weather, and they all have cool pockets in them now for MP3 players. Well they also cost upwards of $100. More then I have to spend. So I took my not quite as cool, older, half zip pullover, and took scissors to it. I think the result is quite cool. I added a zipper pocket to the left shoulder with a passage on the inside for the headphone jacks.

Check out the results

Quite cool if you ask me, and of course nobody did.

I'l also add last nights jog for those that care. Here is the map.

And here is a graph of the speed and altitude.

Another 2.3 miles to the total.

Friday, November 24, 2006

My New goal.

As my close friends know, I am trying to get into better shape. I have set a goal to run a half marathon in 1 years time. So for the last two weeks I have been walking in the evenings to build up some strength. I have an office job, and basically get very little exercise, except for chasing kids and working in the garage or lawn. To help me on my new goal I got a cool new

GPS jogging companion.

This will track my progress and let me show you all where I am running, and such.

Last nights jog.

Total Time (h:m:s)0:40:4213:58 pace
Moving Time (h:m:s)0:39:1113:26 pace
Distance (mi )2.91
Moving Speed (mph)4.5 avg.11.4 max.
Elevation Gain (ft) +567 / -550

See my speed chart below.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Jog Blog test

I've got me a cool new GPS based jogging assistant. So now as I train for my marathon I will have a record of all the cool routes I have taken. I plan to post my running progress here for my friends to see.

Last nights jog

Cool chart of the jog!

My walk with the kids

I want to see if these links will work.

I plan on working to see if I can embed the maps into this page, if anyone knows how, let me know.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I reign supreme

Well I took this quiz since my wife had done it. She scored a 52. Well, here's what I got...
I am nerdier than 92% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

AC/DC, to rock or not to rock?

Well, today I have spent most of my time contemplating the ultimate question AC or DC. For those of you not electrically savvy. AC is alternating current, this is what you get in your house and what runs down the electrical wires on the street. DC is direct current, this is what you find in batteries and solar panels. No matter what, the batteries in the car will store DC electricity. (AC is nearly impossible to store by a chemical means). The question is what type of power should I use to run the electric motor. Either solution will require a controller, that interprets the throttle pedals position and accordingly powers the motor. They both have advantages and disadvantages. I'll take a minute to explain, then maybe we can have a vote and see what you all think.

DC: Direct Current. The electricity only flows in one direction, out of the negative pole of the battery and into the positive. This is very easy to store chemically, picture a battery that is just extra packed with electrons, these electrons flow out and thus create electricity. However if there is no place for the electrons to go, they simply stay in the battery. This is how the car will store electricity, in batteries. The DC motor always runs on the same voltage. In order to make it go faster or slower, you simple turn the power on and off in a pattern. Example if you put the power on full time the motor will turn with maximum speed and torque. However if you quickly turn the power on and off, the motor will turn with half power. If you turn the power on for 1/10 of each second the motor will turn at 1/10 power, see the pattern. The controller simply turns the power on and off very fast depending on the demand you ask for. This type of controller is fairly simple, and small. These controllers are also fairly inexpensive (maybe $800 for one I could use in the car). The disadvantages are that these are not as efficient at using the energy, typically only 85-90% of the energy gets turned into motion (compare that to 20% for an ICE) Also the engine wants to run within specific speed ranges. At 0 RPM you get maximum torque, but it drops off as the engine speeds up. At high speeds the engine gets inefficient as the contacts start to arc.

pro's: cheap, light, simple, used in about 95% of personal EV conversions

Cons: inefficient, simple controller cannot do much except run motor

AC: Alternating Current. The current flows back and forth rapidly. In AC the actual electrons never move anywhere, they just move back and forth, this is why you cannot store AC power. An AC power curve looks like a sine wave (going up and down over and over). This type of electricity is easy to generate (simply put a magnet on a spinning wheel with wires wrapped around it all, and there you go, AC current). Its also easy to distribute and travels across great distances. This is why we use it in our houses. An AC motor turns at a speed that is related to the speed the current alternates. So with a 60 hertz AC current (what we use in the USA), picture the motor turning at 60 RPM's (this in not how it converts, but you get the idea). To get the motor to speed up simply increase the frequency of the current. (trick question: what happens if you apply DC current to an AC motor?? First one to answer gets the prize). The controller in this case takes the DC current from the batteries, converts it to AC and changes the frequency to match the power demands of the driver. The electronics to do this are much more complicated then a DC controller. This does give you several advantages though. AC motors are more efficient (think 95-98%). Also if you spin an AC motor it will generate current. Thus if you are driving along and take your foot off the gas and need to slow down, you can use the spinning motor to generate current and recharge the battery's with this current (regenerative breaking). The AC motor has no touching parts except the bearings, thus it can spin a lot faster (12,000 RPM's), and has a constant torque curve all the way up to this high speed. You basically never have to shift. AC controllers are much more expensive ($3000 for a good one for my car). And the AC motors are also more expensive.

Pros: More efficient, regen breaking, no shifting, no brushes to wear out, controller is more complex and can do lots of cool programmable things to make the car more fun to drive. (all commercially available electric cars had AC Drives, EV1, Prius, exc....) All these things give you better power and range while driving.

Cons: EXPENSIVE, would be nice to have a PhD in electrical engineering to program it.

So this is my quandary. Go the inexpensive route and have a typical, less efficient, EV that is simple. Or spend a little more money and get one that is more efficient, more complicated, but gets better power and range, and I will have the nice controller I can hook up to a PPC and do lots of cool stuff with. I may have some contacts that can get me the AC motor and controller for a great price, if this is the case I will probably pursue this option. What do you guys think?? Of course since I'm a man, I instinctively say MORE POWER, MORE COOL STUFF! But I must control my urge to blow all my savings, and think realistically. hmm, but if I......

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

More progress

I did a little more work on getting the ICE out of the Geo. Here's the latest picture. Took the hood off and all the AC components. Removed the rest of the wiring and shifting linkages. The engine is now sitting there with nothing holding it in but the bolts on the mounts. Tomorrow I will see if I can borrow an engine hoist from somewhere to get it pulled out. Then its cleaning time.
I'm not sure what to do with all the original wiring. Most of it I will not need, and is just added weight. Do I cut it all out, or un-tape it all and pull out the wires I don't need? Maybe I should rewire the whole car? Probably not. I will have to give that more thought.

When people say an electric car is complicated, just think...
EV's don't need:
Gasoline (toxic)
Oil Changes (toxic)
Tune ups
spark plugs
cap and rotor
valve adjustments
air filters
oil filters
fuel filters
fuel injection
plug wires
fan belts
timing belts
water pumps
fuel pumps
head gaskets
valve grinding
engine overhauls
Catalytic converters
emission tests

Theres only a handful of moving parts, and those are mostly in the original transmission.

Monday, May 08, 2006

"Do, or do not. There is no try."

So I've committed myself to this now. I took the car down to the car wash, and power washed the engine compartment as clean as I could get it. Then I pulled it into the garage (where it will probably sit for the next several months). I then started the process of pulling all the old ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) parts out. I think this is the first time I have pulled a car apart where I have not been concentrating on how things fit together so that I can reassemble everything. I usually have a very good mind for seeing how it all fits together, and rarely have trouble putting things together, but this was quite relaxing. All these old greasy parts, and leaky hoses and rotting radiators that I will not have to clean and put back in The car will look quite empty when I get through with this.

This is as far as I got tonight - I removed the following:
  • original battery (held in by a wire twisted around it)
  • battery tray
  • radiator fan
  • radiator
  • radiator overflow and hoses
  • clutch cable and bracket
  • exhaust manifold (still on in picture)
  • air filter and associated plastic tubing
  • coil and a few odd sensors

There are only three mounts that hold the engine and transmission. I will probably pull them both out together. I'll let you know how that goes.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Used engine for sale!!

Now that I have made up my mind, the trouble is deciding where to begin this project. I'm in a pretty good position to get started, all of my cars currently work, and nothing is all taken apart in my garage (ask my wife, that's a rare thing). The Geo's registration expires this month, so that is also convenient. The first part I think is the most fun, pulling all the no longer needed parts out of the car (ie, engine, exhaust, radiator, gas tank, and all related parts.) I'm going to put most of these up for sale on e-bay and the local papers and see if I can get rid of the them and make a little money on the side. (anyone need a used Geo Metro Engine?? Still runs). Then I plan to do a thorough cleaning on the engine compartment, and car, before I start doing anything. That will probably take the rest of the month for me to do.

Friday, May 05, 2006

That's it, Everyone, out of the pool!

Well, driving my brother's Hybrid Toyota Prius for the last few days has ignited my long repressed desire to have an electric car. So, being an engineer, and a generally smart guy, I have decided to go ahead and build one. I started by thinking, where can I get a car to convert? Then, looking out at my drive way with three cars and two motorcycles the answer came to me. I have a 1992 Geo Metro 4 door sedan, with 160,000 miles and a pretty rust free body. The engine runs a little rough, and the transmission is in great shape. At only 1600 lbs, its the perfect choice for a conversion. And its already paid for! So that's it. I'm going in. I'm sure it will be a ton of work, but I love working on cars, and I have lots of family members with special interests and skills to help me. The wife decided I needed a blog to log the progress, and my general rants, so we set up this one. I'm sure it will only be my family and friends that read it, but hey, saves me from telling the stories over and over again. So... See ya tomorrow, I need to go drive all the $3/gallon gas out of this car for the last time :) Actually I will probably spend the next week or two figuring out what components I want to use. Being a young father with three kids means I don't have a big budget, but if I spread it out over the next year, I figure I can put together a pretty good EV. Send me your ideas, your advice, you crack comments. I'll try to take lots of pictures.

Name: Homer-cles

Age: 21, as far as you know!

Gender: Male

Location: My house, or garage, sometimes in the back yard.

Likes: Cars, rock climbing, motorcycles, fish tanks, generaly cool outdoor manly stuff

Dislikes: whining, bills, Big Oil, dogs

This chick I know

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