Friday, 21 October 2016

Aux Switches change - Savage out

All Change,
the savage switches are no more, replaced with some robust stainless halo illuminated ones.

These have a 12v illumination, and two single pole switches - one normally open (NO) and one normally closed (NC), requiring a slightly different dimmer circuit.

The illumination in the switches was a little odd - no sign of polarity but they do appear (as advertised) to be LEDS, drawing around 15ma at 12v, must have some sort of rectifier built in.

Illumination takes the side light feed via 20k resistor this time (size selected by trial and error to provide a good dim), and when on a feed from the load itself. The load side now also needs a diode to prevent it being driven from the side light side of the circuit but letting it power the LED when on.

When off
  Side lights will light the switches dimly via the resistor
  Load is isolated from any illumination due to the diode

When on
  Side lights are disconnected from the switch on the NC side
  Load takes power from +ve
  Load feeds bright Illumination direct through the diode

(Assuming the switch is open before close)

The diode and resistor incorporated in these inline bundles attached to the load wire, all wrapped with shrink tubing once installed.

Before - nothing wrong with the looks, just fell out with the switches themselves..

After - The downside being no logo on the switch buttons, so in due course these will get some retro labels on dymo tape like the map switch guard. The lighter socket is also gone, replaced with a 2x 5v USB unit.

It was dark in the garage, meaning flash, meaning the colours where somewhat skewed - the switches illuminate blue dimly when lights are turned on, and brightly when the switch itself is turned on.

Before the Aux panel goes back in the radio needs a modification so it also transmits on bluetooth..

Monday, 10 October 2016

Mystery part for next little project

Tool and mystery part ordered for the next job...

This marine clamshell vent part I'm hoping will look better than a grommet. The sort of thing that looks potentially easy to make; but not sure if I could get that clean a component shape/finish for under £3 DIY.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Brushed finish clock surround & Shift light

The glare from the clock surround just has to go, and while I'm there installing a couple of warning lamps in the space between the speedo and tacho.

Before for reference:

Brushed Stainless

Temporary tool created from scrap to ensure the sandpaper runs square on each pass:

The process: clamp one end of the dash surround and then straight passes with the tool using the edge of the bench as a guide. Just have to be careful to always drop the sandpaper on to the piece completely vertically for each stroke.

Reflections from my garage lighting now looking suitably reduced which is the effect I am after.

Offered up with clocks re-installed.

The red LED will be a shift light, and the blue  a secondary brighter turn-indicator tel-tale. There is an indicator lamp in the tachometer - its just too small and dim to see when driving and really easy to leave indicators on.

Happy with that - relatively simple process and hopefully prevents or at least reduces spot/sun reflections with the diffused finish. I'm undecided over lacquering the panel - now it is brushed and notwithstanding it's stainless steel it  is probably more susceptible to rusting - I may just leave it and see what it does through weathering.

Loom additions for new warning LEDs

Adjusted the stock GBS plug and play loom to drive the new warning lamps - spliced in the needed 4x lines. The shift light signal switches on ground and the indicators on 12v. The indicator feed is already joined with diodes to prevent crosstalk - so spliced into the loom after the diodes to get a single 12v feed for whichever indicator is lit.

Clocks loom is a bit of a spider - opened up - adjusted - and re-bound as neatly as I can.

No dropper resistors for my LEDS since they have them built in - their current draw at 12v checked at 15ma.

New loom branches:
     Shift light:  Red = 12v, Blue = Shift
     Indicator light: Yellow = Indicator, Black = GND

Tested the indicator circuit which works fine, it will need a daylight test to check on brightness need to tweak the ECU shift light setting to test that.

Update -
Initially set the shift light on a conservative 5,000 revs, well short of the 7,000 redline/cutoff.

During one acceleration test I lit the shift light, and checking on return (Emerald ECU has a max revs memory feature) the tacho showed about 6,200 max rpm. So shift light on somewhere between 5,000-5,500 is probably about right for my road driving.

Has to light in time for me to shift up before hitting the redline otherwise its pointless.

Monday, 19 September 2016

End of season - To-Do list

Getting towards the end of the good weather and driving season with a certain autumn feel now in the air. I'm starting to compile the winter to-do list. Some are already started with parts ordered and just waiting for enough bad-weather that dash/off is unlikely to remove any driving opportunity:

1. Intercom II
The new intercom approach, financed by a little selling on eBay, is a combined shooting ear-muff + motorcycle bluetooth intercom hack. Intended to avoid shouting between driver and passenger. The radio will also have a simple Bluetooth transmitter added.

2. USB Power
Replacing the existing single 'lighter socket' with a couple of purpose built twin USB power outlets
The front socket is permanently used for camera and sat-nav anyway.

3. Aux Panel buttons upgrade
The savage switches will be coming out to be replaced by something more robust.

4. Suspension height + brake disc paint.
That feeling when the seat bolts bottom out on roads with a high camber needs correcting with a turn on the rear adjustable coil-overs to stiffen things up a little. It's probably a combination of the springs settling and me getting heavier - or driving faster :) . I think I'll paint the slightly rusty/visible parts of the brake discs while the wheels are off.

5. Wideband Lambda
Some discussion on Facebook + identification of a new (to me) piece of Wideband lambda kit. It can null out some inaccuracies caused by installation, loom driven voltage variances, and looks interesting. Intending to swap out the narrowband (parts not yet purchased for this one)

6. Clocks surround + Shift light
I must get around to removing the stainless clocks surround and changing the mirror finish. I think just a brushed one will do the trick and stop it reflecting the sun right into my eyes. This post on Mitch's Blog reminded me. Installing a combination shift light and indicator tale-tale while the dash is apart.

None are must haves - just tinkering/upgrading.

That should keep me busy!

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Silencer refurbished, re-installed and back to nominal performance

GBS did a good job on the silencer.

Keith confirmed over the phone they could sort it out so I took it up last weekend, had a chat with Richard, handed over the offending item and meandered back through Lincolnshire. 

Got to have a wander around my namesake City - Lincoln, it's Cathedral and medieval quarter.

The refurbished silencer was back on my doorstep by Wednesday!

The silencer rear end cap had been removed, interior pipe re-worked, wadding re-packed, re-assembled and cleaned into the bargain.

Re installed on the car today: new exhaust gasket, manifold, lambda probe re-installed and then the silencer. This time no exhaust jointing compound - 1. because it was so hard to part last time 2. the old tube of the stuff had gone off.

I replaced the rear bracket padding - the old pad was made from fuel pipe offcut which must have lasted 10k miles now - a little worse for wear but seems to work so replaced it with the same thing.

Quick run to my parents - around 70 mile round trip to test.
Everything back as it should be - engine and exhaust sounds & no rattle at any rev range, power or idling.

15100 miles on the clock - lets see how long she stays like it this time.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Running repairs - Silencer

The silencer has developed a nasty rattle around 2,000-2,300rpm, and on overrun, first noticed it on the Barcelona run last year.

Finally got to the point where I have had enough and it needs to be resolved permanently.

Spot the missing item from the left hand side of my Zero:

The manifold had to come off too - there was just no budging the manifold/silencer joint on the car, or even off the car.

After lots of advice from the RhoCar club on possibly approaches - '2b cruising'  helped out. Application of two pairs of hands, rubber mallets, gravity, heat and brute force did the trick - silencer now separated from the manifold and no damage done.

Next step is to return the silencer to the supplier to see what they can do.

Monday, 29 August 2016

15k miles & 7k rpm

Out for a bit of a run today, left her in 2nd a little too long and found out the ECU rev limiter is working fine! A puff of white smoke from the exhaust and no more power as the engine saves itself from over revving.

Once home the ECU memory feature indicates the 7,000 max revs from its previous run.
I suppose thats one way to know the tachometer is correctly calibrated!

Milestone 15,001 miles on the clock now.

The red tape pointers on the speedo are typical continental European speeds 50, 90 & 120kph, to save me trying to read the tiny kph font on the clock when driving.

The digit decals on my smiths clocks lifting from their black backgrounds after too much hot weather running over the years.

Update - re revs, looks like no harm done, subsequent 80mile run shows no problems and everything running as normal, I guess put it down to driver error, thinking about installing an in my face shift light...

Thursday, 21 July 2016


Nothing to do with the car itself.

A spin-off use for some left overs from the cooling system.
An off cut of silicone tubing, section cut out, makes a perfect sprung heat proof 'pot handle grabber' for the kitchen...

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Adaptive feedback update

Approx 1,500 miles on the clock now since shifting to fully adaptive.

I get a larger spread of feedback adjustments and the start of some changes in the higher rev range - car doesn't stay there for long on normal driving though so not yet a smooth graph.

0-500 rev range is excluded from the feedback process.

There is the expected top-left to bottom-right diagonal of feedbacks - consistent with relatively flat running and smooth acceleration in high gear, and the top row of values at zero throttle when lifting off and coasting. Not many hills on the Berlin run so only a little feedback on the left vertical - high throttle/low revs.

The original powermap high inputs at low revs are not great, I presume they are to stop the engine stalling, the car tends to bog down at low revs when pulling away and I suspect it's moving into this area. I may let adaptive adjust the 500 column in around 10% throttle and see if that helps.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Berlin and Back - Home!

The final leg,
Across Belgium and towards the ferry at Dunkirk.

An interesting lifting bridge along the way.

Nothing really more to tell other thank losing my debit card to an automated petrol garage in France somewhere. Luckily had enough cash for the final fill up. Rang up the bank to cancel my card and they asked me where I was:
   "er, not really sure, somewhere in Belgium or France..."
   Made the bank assistant laugh anyway.

Arrived at Dunkirk just in time to catch the 16:00 ferry.

The boat was reasonably full, and somewhat shock to the system with so much noise, people and genral hubub.  It was nice to have a complete english conversation with the lady behind the coffee counter - I mean just full sentences rather than broken english and signs, then a little people watching while I supped my hot coffee and ate a warm danish pastry.

Its only a 2 hour crossing, the route first running west along the French coast then north into Dover. 
I spent a fair amount of time on deck in the wind - the wind just makes me feel alive!

All parked up at home, car needs a wash.
Time for a proper cup of tea (in my experience tea is just not the same outside the UK), feet up and then a long bath.

All done.

One European road trip: complete.
Countries visited: UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany.
Languages: English, please/thank-you in local language, smiles and pointing.
Weather: roasting heat to torrential rain
Miles Travelled: ~1,578
Car issues: None

Thank you to all the locals, petrol station owners, restauranteurs waiters and hoteliers for being patient with communications. The waves and nods from general public also appreciated.

Hood down all the way while driving, used a couple of times for overnight waterproofing.

Roads - no mountains, but plenty to see, lots of places I have never been to before and a few on a shortlist to re-visit.