Although the body on the CitiCar has many cracks, it’s in excellent condition compared to its siblings. The ABS Plastic is susceptible to daily and seasonal temperature changes. The vibration of the car on the road and poor suspension makes it easier for the cracks to get out of control.
One of CiticarTom’s videos goes over repairing large cracks on the body of his CitiCar. He used PlastiFix and Super Prep. I was able to find the products and start my repairs.
I located just over 20 cracks. It took about an hour to go over the various cracks. I was finding even more as I went along.
It was a pretty sloppy job. Some cracks are difficult to apply the PlastiFix. Vertical cracks that are tapered up towards me are nearly impossible to fix inside the passenger door. I found that sometimes it was easier to smudge the plastic into the cracks with the gloves I was wearing.
I need to go back and fill a few more cracks that were found after cleaning up. I’ll also need to sand and cleanup the cracks that I fixed up today.
Today was National Taco day. Teddy and I headed over to Riverton Commons and picked up a few crunchy tacos. Teddy hung out by the charging station while sharing a few tacos.
We also had a walk around Rockland Park and Crooked Run Plaza. Teddy stopped by to check out some of the wild flowers.
It feels like every day is getting a little bit more chillier than the last. I took a look at my backyard garden to see what was left.
The Marigold bush is blooming all over. I’ve planted over 200 seeds, and only one was able to survive to product flowers. I didn’t realize they were such late bloomers. I’ve got a few ideas for what I’ll do next year.
In Other News
My first order on AliExpress was for an AiLi Voltage/Current meter with a 350A shunt. I had ordered it over two months ago, and it has yet to leave Hangzhou, China. When I contacted the seller two weeks ago, they claimed that it had already been delivered.
I sent all of the shipping logs that I had as evidence for my refund request, including the screenshot the seller sent me – as it verified that the shipping company sent the package back to them. My order was refunded within a day.
I found the same product on Amazon for $10 more and it’s arriving tomorrow. It may be a 28% markup, but there is a guarantee that it is arriving.
Things are fairly cheap on AliExpress compared to Amazon. The main differences are time to ship, trust that you get what you think you paid for, and language barriers. You are often inundated with coupons, but they are for specific stores. Searching for a product may end up showing fifty different listings, pictures, and prices for the same product across different stores. It feels like an online flea market.
I noticed that the end of the antenna that slides into a radio had broken off and is just bare wire. I’m curious how to came off. I’ve been taking too long to move along on various projects.
Teddy and I hopped into the CitiCar for some night driving on a pizza run Friday night. With 30 minutes to spare, we headed to the town square to kill some time, only to find it was packed for a major event. Apparently we stumbled upon a political rally. I decided to execute operation “Outlaw of the Squeeze”.
The two spots in front of the portable toilets where open. I was able to park the car far enough away so that everyone still had plenty of room.
I took the door windows to Dixie Plate Glass & Mirror. They recommended popping out the panes. They had 50 contract orders, and wouldn’t be able to get to it until after Christmas. I went home and popped out the window panes. Unfortunately the aluminum frames cracked. There was a lot of glue on the panes, and it was difficult removing them.
I continued on and traced everything. I took a few measurements and brought everything back. Unfortunately they don’t carry anything that is 3/16″ thick. They order the materials in bulk for large contracts. If I could find the material myself, they could cut the parts for me. I’m having a tough time finding acrylic with safety glazing.
The car is much quieter driving without windows. It feels like I’m driving slower. All of the noise seemed to have been amplified with those windows.
I’ll need windows soon. It’s getting colder and I can’t drive in the rain anymore. Locking the vehicle while parked is pointless.
Drive-through restaurants weren’t really that big in the 70’s. McDonald’s opened it’s first drive-through in the year prior to my CitiCar being built. That’s why the creature comforts in my car are an ash tray and a cigarette lighter.
I went ahead and ordered some cup holders. I didn’t’ realize how oversized they were. They hang perfectly onto the defroster vents, but I’m often tilting the drink against the window to slide it down into the holder.
Jack Evans Chevrolet
I went back to Jack Evans Chevrolet while it was staffed during my lunch break. I talked with one of the service men by the other charger to see what the guidelines were on using the charger. They just said pull up and charge.
Being in front of the garage door, it feels like the car is in the way. The charging station is in a fairly odd spot. I pushed the car as close to the wall as I could to keep it out of the way.
A hotel was just built outside of the city this year. It has a public charging station – but it has a fee. I was curious to walk through the process. I tried it out and was able to test charging. In my four minute experiment, I was charged a penny. I thought it would bill me for the full hour. For now, I’ll stick to the free charging station across the street from it.
I liked how the charger had a screen giving you the current status and statistics during the charging processes.
Being charged by time, rather than the amount of energy consumed seems a bit off. I’m consuming about 20% of the rate that other vehicles can consume – which means I’m paying five times more than everyone else.
100~240 Car Battery Charger
A 12v battery charger arrived that can run on between 100 and 240 volts. At this point, all of my CitiCar onboard chargers now support both standard house power and the voltages found at public chargers. Using the ST-3000 EV charger power converter, I was able to confirm that both chargers were able to charge the car when supplied with 240 volts. At this point, only the J1772 adapter is needed on the converter.
Most of the day was spent installing the motor controller and switches. I continued to evaluate multiple aspects of where everything would be located once the powertrain was fully replaced.
Fabricating the mounting hardware was fairly simple. A while back, I picked up four strong-tie A311 A Angles that are usually meant for fastening posts down to concrete. Part of the fun was tracing parts and drilling a mirror image by clamping two fasteners opposing each other.
The contactor switches and motor controller were fairly heavy, and caused the angles to wobble. I settled on having two separate mounts.
National Night Out is next Tuesday. After picking up lunch at Popeyes, Teddy and I headed over to the new Front Royal police department in our CitiCar to pick up a little “Thin Blue Line” flag and a 3 watt blue light. Afterwards, we headed over to Chimney Field park.
I need to pick up a little inverter so I can use my bedside lamp with my car to power the light during their cruise for the event. I tried to see how to affix the flag to the car, or just put the flag itself on the radio antenna, but I wasn’t having much luck.
In the movie, Spaceballs, Barf switched the Eagle 5 to use Secret Hyperjets on the Eagle 5 to go into hyperactive. Men in Black had a hyperdrive on their car. Hyperdrive mode was activated by a red button that allows you to drive on the ceiling of a tunnel to bypass traffic.
With a recommendation from the C-Car owners group, I swapped out the trip odometer button for a red one. It’s already been catching peoples attention quicker.
I talked a bit with my neighbor regarding the various windows on the vehicle. He repairs automotive glass, but nothing like what the CitiCar has. He had some insight regarding the blue tint on most vehicles, having a company get measurements in case the back window breaks, and what could be done about the side windows.
I called up a company he recommended. Their first response was that they don’t do curved auto-glass. They seemed pleased that I am able to pop out the side windows and bring them in. I’ll take them over later in the week. Hopefully they can pop out the acrylic panels from the frames.
Contactor Mounting Bracket
The wrong mounting hardware came with the Albright SW180 main contactor switch. The bolts were too long and could not tighten any further once they pressed against the solenoid. I found a bracket kit from Arc Components Limited located in West Yorkshire, England and had the parts imported.
Albright Bracket Kit Part No 2159-047
The mounting hardware was perfect and looked fairly similar to the hardware used on the SW202 Forward/Reverse contactor switch.
Now that the contactor switch is secured, I can start modifying some steel brackets to affix the motor controller and FNR switches onto.
As a bonus, I got a little magnet from the company to put on my refrigerator.
I’ve been talking with tech support for the Lester Summit Series II charger regarding the egg smell, high voltage, large jump in SoC, and odd estimates being off by hours.
So far, things seem like it might be normal. Problems may be due to the age of the batteries, and that the batteries should wear in after a few charge cycles. I think the estimates being off by a factor of four may be due to the low number of amp hours the batteries have. The range that I have on the CitiCar also seems to be about a quarter of what it should have if it came with the proper batteries.
Here is the data from a charging cycle along with some visual graphs.
Teddy and I slept in today and woke up late. After grabbing a meal, we headed out to Eastham park in the CitiCar.
Another great day. We grabbed a bench and watched a few people float by on canoes. Front Royal was designated as the “Canoe Capital of Virginia” in 1999. We are often seeing people in canoes when we walk along the river. One couple had a dog with them, but Teddy wasn’t paying much attention to its parking.
We headed down the trail and I let Teddy loose for a little bit in the dog park. Afterwards we continued down the path until we reached an area that comes down to the river itself. Teddy drank a bit of water and dipped his toes in, walking around for a bit. Afterwards, we head back to the car.
Oddly enough, the GPS speedometer couldn’t get a clear signal. We drove for roughly a half mile before the speedometer started working. With a clear sky, this is a bit concerning. I may have to move the antenna to the outside of the car.
I had a goal this weekend to see if I could find and use the level 2 charger downtown. It is in a certified pre-owned Chevy dealership. On a Sunday in rural America, the place was fairly empty. I found the DC fast charger, but I didn’t see any compatible plug to charge the car.
I looked at a few photos and reviews and found that they have three separate charging stations scattered between two buildings. I found the one I needed with the J1772 plug was by the main entrance. I plugged in, heard a click, and saw that the CitiCar was charging away.
I decided to take a walk over to Main Street while the car was charging.
Confederate Monument Controversy
I took a look at the Confederate monument in front of the court house. I saw it was on the ballot last week when I showed up to the registrars office for early voting in the presidential election. There is a vote to move it to another location. I hadn’t paid much attention to it before, or even knew of its existence. It appears that it isn’t of any specifically recognizable general.
I Want Candy
I saw that a new shop was opening up on Main Street yesterday. The storefront is fairly unique compared to other buildings in Front Royal in that it has a curve to it that wraps around the corner. Teddy and I went in today to have a look around.
They have a bunch of bins where you can pick a variety of candy and pay by the pound. I kept seeing different candy that I had long forgotten about when growing up. I had to stop myself and consider that I could leave some candy for next time.
C&C Frozen Treats
We went into C&C Frozen Treats next. There are many murals around Front Royal, and the owner of the shop had someone decorate their entry way with the carousel horse theme found inside their shop.
There were only two dairy-free flavors left, and the only one that was safe for Teddy was the spiced cake. I ordered a scope for both Teddy and myself.
Teddy and I headed across the street to the town square. Teddy was looking up at me on the whole trip over to find a seat. He knew he was going to get a treat at any minute.
I poured out some of the candies on the checkerboard table and started having a meal fit for two kids at the ripe age of seven.
Teddy will do anything for a treat, and he put on a really good show for everyone watching. The comments I most often hear is how people wish their dog could do what he does. People are often surprised that he knows the difference between his right and left. One of my favorite tricks is to trop a spoon full of ice cream, and then look away and start eating. Teddy will keep focused on me until I say “release”.
After having our desert, we headed back to the CitiCar. We were almost up to a full charge, so I decided we could continue our little joy ride and cruise on up to South Street. We were stuck in the Burger King drive-through for about twenty minutes. By time we got our food, I was ready for a change of scenery and eat somewhere else.
Burrell Brooks Park
The charge from the dealership gave us a lot of battery to run around town with. I decided that we could take the CitiCar to Burrell Brooks Park. I hadn’t taken it there before because it’s simply too far.
The park has a small walking path with fitness stations peppered along it. There is also a playground, music playground, and basket ball court. It looked like a Childs birthday party was going on at the pavilion. Teddy and I found a bench at the far end of the park away from everyone else. The meal was satisfying. I took Teddy on the path around the park before we started heading for home.
It was starting to get into the twilight hours and I was debating if we should go home, or stop by Gertrude Miller Park. I didn’t’ have an accurate reading on the batteries state of charge, and I knew I could recharge at a pavilion. Along the way, I turned on the lights and after a brief moment, they went out.
I was debating if I should go strait home without any lights, since it wasn’t too dark out yet. I pulled off into the Advance Auto Parts parking lot and decided to play it safe rather than be sorry. I pulled out the voltage meter and looked for a 30 amp fuse. I already knew which fuse to check, and how many amps it should allow. After two minutes, we were back on our way.
Rather than stopping at Gertrude Miller or Lions Park, I decided to go for the parking lot in between the two parks. I parked the CitiCar under a large tree next to Fantasyland Park.
We didn’t stay long. I took Teddy over to Happy Creek and let him wade a bit in the water. We walked around for a little bit before hopping back into the car.
Just as we were almost home, one of our neighbors walking their dog waved at us. I turned around and zipped on over. Although he was stuck in the car, Teddy and his friend were super excited to see each other. Although the car sounds fairly noisy to me, my neighbor commented that it sounded like someone on a bicycle. This revelation came as a bit of a shock to me.
We said our good byes and I zipped back to the house and guided the CitiCar into the driveway. Teddy was a bit exhausted. We had been to one park after another, and a few stores the entire day. When I see him twitching in his sleep, I imagine he is having wild dreams chasing squirrels and rabbits through the woods.
In Other News
From the advice of other C-Car owners, I’m considering changing the button for Secret Hyperjets to be red.
A 12 volt charger arrived that works on both 120 and 240 volts AC power
I didn’t make any progress on the window this weekend…
A trip to Rockland Park is (or was) the next major milestone travel destination. Although the round trip is within the range of the CitiCar, there are many hills along the way, making the trip impossible.
There are two things going for me that make the trip possible. First is that there is a public level 2 charging station on the way. The second thing that helps is that the new Lester charger recharges batteries four times faster than what I was previously using. I had the day planned out earlier in the week.
The weather was a bit cool and looked like it may rain soon. A quick look at a local weather forecast indicated that it had rained in the morning, and that it should be clear for the remainder of the day.
A CitiCar with Spunk
On our way over to the charging station, I noticed rite away that the CitiCar had a bit more pep to it. I was getting speeds up to 35 mph under its own power. I’ve not seen that before in this little car. It’s almost like she is showing off, up for the challenge ahead of us. I’ve got a bit of a hunch that maybe the batteries were overcharged last night while I changed over to the new extension cords, restarting the charging cycles.
As I was about to plug the CitiCar into the charging station, someone stopped their car in front of us and asked how it does on gas. I replied that I don’t buy gas, and pointed to a sign on the building behind me that said Electric Vehicle Charging Station. They looked a bit shocked. I don’t think they realized that charging stations existed.
Teddy and I headed over to the walk-up window at checkers and got a small order of fries. With bits of French fries as a reward, Teddy gave people going through the drive-through lanes a show.
Pushing the Limits
This was it, we were about to go off further out of town than we had ever been in the little CitiCar with more hills to conquer and a small trek through a 55mph zone. Thankfully it was a two lane highway, so I wasn’t holding anyone up. The road to turn off towards the park felt further away than I had expected. Every hill and valley feels like a challenge. Turning onto the road, I went up a hill that just kept going on and on.
I hadn’t driven over railroad tracks before. I was getting a bit anxious about how well the car would take it. I think the car behind me was getting a bit of a kick watching us slow down and take the rails at a slow speed. It was worth it. The suspension and small tires on the CitiCar don’t do well crossing tracks.
Once we crossed over, we turned down the road into the park and everything was easy going after that. Although the limit was only 25 mph, we coasted as much as possible to preserve battery power since no one was behind us. There is a bit of a hill once you enter the park that wasn’t all too bad.
We parked by the fitness equipment with a clear view of the mountains along the horizon. I led Teddy over to walk past the pavilions and a playground to get to the walking path.
One of the things that I like about Rockland Park is the blacktop walking path. You’ve got a hard, flat, and level surface that even strollers could be pushed along without any obstructions (except getting to it). There is a Disc Golf course peppered throughout the woods. Smaller dirt paths through the course cross over the main path, and often have benches at various crossings.
The park has one major detriment to its serene atmosphere. Although Rockland park is large, you’ll always hear the humming and crunching sounds of the power plant nearby. The sound of children playing at a music park often brings more peace to the park, overcoming this background noise.
I was in such an adventurous spirit that I decided to take a path that I have always avoided. It goes under some high power electric lines. Listening to the air heat up around the electric lines gives me a fright with thoughts of being struck by a bolt of electrons, or having a device malfunction. I figured if everyone can walk through without damaging their phones, I should be fine. I just kept my focus on Teddy and we kept going.
The path had some nice views of the Shenandoah river. It went down to a fork and a little bench where the asphalt ended. Teddy and I headed left, as it looked like it would take us closer to the river. Sure enough, we got to the end with a little spot where we could sit on some old concrete blocks. The area could use a bench to sit back and enjoy the view.
We watched a few boats pass and wave at us. Teddy would get a bit focused when each boats wake would reach the shore, making sloshing sounds in various places around us.
We headed back on up to the fork. Teddy seemed to be leading the way, excited to come back the way we came. We continued down in the other direction. I could hear golf balls being hit. It eventually brought us to a golf course where the path becomes shared with golf carts. I looked on a satellite map and couldn’t see if any of the paths would lead around, back to the park. Instead, Teddy and I headed back to where we came from.
On the way back under the power lines, I felt more confident walking under them. We continued on our original path on the main loop and walked up onto a white tailed doe on the path. The deer just looked at us. After Teddy started barking, she took off.
We got back to the CitiCar and headed back to the charging station. The battery was down to 70%. A person came up to ask about the car just as I was about to get Teddy out. We are getting stopped often to talk about this car. I went over some details of how I am able to charge an antique car from the 70’s at a public charging station. I got a combo meal at Checkers while we waited for the car to recharge.
It was time to go back home – or was it? There wasn’t much else to do today and the battery meter was reporting a 100% charge. I decided to head over to Gertrude. Along the way, I made another split decision to run on up to the town square instead. While walking around, I noticed a new store is opening called, I want candy. I also grabbed a photo of some painted garden poles outside The Studio – A Place for Learning.
After walking around for a bit, I decided to stop into Lions park and let Teddy have a little walk and quick drink out of Happy Creek. We were shortly on our way back home.
The total cruise was a whopping 15.7 miles – 41% further than the CitiCar’s previous record! With free charging, the average price per mile was brought town to 2.1¢.
In Other News
Moving the GPS receiver from the dashboard to the front, under the CitiCars’ “hood” area has greatly reduced the time it takes to acquire a signal. It appears that the aluminum frame does play a big part of disrupting GPS signals.
Today is Tesla battery investor day. A vacation day was in order. A quick trip to the registrar for some early voting was followed with a relaxing vacation day with Teddy.
Gertrude, as with most trips, was first on our list of destinations. Teddy slowly made his way around the park. We hung out on the side of happy creek by the wooden overlook. Small fish were swimming about, and Teddy found an old mangled baseball in the creek.
We were soon on our way over to KFC. I made sure to ask for a cup holder since the CitiCar doesn’t have a place to hold drinks.
One of the great things about a CitiCar is that you can back into a space half-way, and have quite a bit of room to sit on the curb and lay out your meal on the ground behind the car. In Teddy’s case, I’m able to put a cup of water and some ice cubes on a lid that he can’t knock over and spill.
The next stop was at B&L Custard. The owner asked us where our little red car was. I pointed, but a larger car was obstructing her view. Teddy had his usual “Pup Cup” and got a bit messy with it. I had a strawberry shortcake sundae in a waffle bowl.
Next on our little trip was a visit to Bowman park. It’s a small park that I rarely visit, and we hadn’t driven to the the park with the CitiCar yet. A few picnic tables and benches are scattered throughout about an acre of land on a gradual incline. The park has very old and thick trees. Acorns were falling fairly often, but I didn’t see any squirrels.
Laying against a tree for awhile, I had started to lose track of time until the church bell rang at half past four. It was time to be on our way back home.
The Lester Summit Series II charger arrived while we were out on our little trip through town. I plugged the car into the regular battery chargers and started to look over the instructions for the new charger, attaching wires and screwing the cover on. Tesla Battery Investor Day started while I was going over the details and I had a live stream playing while I continued to work on the charger.
The ring terminals that came with the charger were too small for the battery terminals that came in the CitiCar. I created a pair of wires with ring terminals large enough to connect to the battery terminals and connected them to bus bar terminals. The charger powered up and I was able to connect to it via Bluetooth.
The default battery profile was for 22001. It wasn’t all that descriptive. I went to the battery profile selector, choose battery manufacturer as “Interstate”. After being unable to find my battery model number, the app told me to contact Lester Electrical by phone. The office was closed. I left a message with technical support.
I looked into what 22001 was about. The profile information said it was for a 48v flooded/wet lead-acid battery pack with a 20-hour rating of 225-260 Ah. I don’t know what effect amp hour capacity has on the charging process. I didn’t know what kind of Amp Hours my batteries had.
Reserve Capacity (RC)
190 @ 25 amps
Guessing: 190 minutes / 60 minutes
3.166 hours @ 25 amps
Guessing: 3.166 hours * 25 amps
79.166 Amp Hours
79 Amp Hours
I decided to give the default setting a go. I immediately noticed a difference in the amount of watts used to charge the battery. When using the five individual battery chargers in the past, they used a combined wattage of about 333 watts. The charger was using 1165!
The CitiCar batteries were charging up fairly quickly. It was great being able to see the current state of charge, phase, and predicted time for the charging process to complete. With the other chargers, I would have been waiting 11 hours to recharge at a rate of 0.8 miles per hour,
Towards the end of the charging cycle, I noticed that the voltage was fairly high for charging batteries at 64.1 volts (16.0 volts per battery). In the past, my other chargers would only go up to 14.5 volts on an individual battery. I went to check on the car and it sounded like the batteries were boiling. I opened the garage door as a precautionary measure to ventilate. I didn’t smell anything, but I wanted to be safe. I reached out to other C-Car owners. One confirmed that they had this issue as well and were told the batteries were okay.
The last phase seemed to drop the estimate drastically, stating 13 minutes, but was off by almost two hours. I thought maybe the temperature drop outside was having an effect on the chargers thoughts on how much the voltage needed to increase as the weather got colder. At least I now know that my batteries can hold 50 amp hours.
A review of the first charge cycle
The end result was a charge that would normally take 11 hours was done in five and a half. I was charging at 1.63 miles per hour! Unfortunately it looks like the quick charge rate also increases the watt hours per mile. I’m often averaging around 280 watt hours, but the recharge from this trip was 391 watt hours per mile.
Due to the quick charge rate, I could potentially take two trips in the CitiCar per day. I could take off with Teddy to the dog park in the mornings and go for a second ride in the evenings.
One thing to consider is that the batteries were being charged for a little over an hour on the old chargers before switching over. I may have been able to shave an hour off of the charge time if they started out on this charger from the beginning. The results from the next trip may give a better baseline of what to expect in future charge times and costs.
I’m hoping that the over-charge voltage was a one-time conditioning of some kind. I don’t like the idea of degrading the batteries from overcharging. When looking at the logs, I suspect that this will happen every time. I’m hoping that it will consider the time from prior charges to improve the accuracy of estimated time remaining on a charge.
If everything works out well, and there is a profile for the Chevy Volt batteries, I’d like to use this charger for the lithium ion batteries as well since it has quite a lot of features through its app, and it also has extra wires to give it the ability to prevent the car from going anywhere when connected to AC power.
After the batteries were charged to 100%, the charger wasn’t registering any power on the Kill a watt meter at all. Not even a watt. It’s powered by the battery pack alone. The other chargers that I had would always draw about two watts each after the batteries were fully charged – adding to the overall cost of maintaining the battery pack that that I don’t record in my logs. They would also draw more power every now and then in the “float” phase to maintain the battery voltage over time.
In Other News
Battery investor day went well. I just wish I could get ahold of some of those new batteries for the CitiCar. It’s an interesting concept to use the batteries as structural support as part of the frame. The whole car frame of the CitiCar is already used as ground. I went ahead and put in an order for another $500 of TSLA shares in the morning.
The speedometer has trouble getting a GPS signal sometimes, resulting in unaccounted miles if I take off before it acquires its position. In addition, the speedometer does not report speed until it has a signal. The sky was clear today and I would be waiting for a minute or two waiting for the timer to catch the signal.