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.
Todays trip was a quick visit to the town square. We hadn’t taken the CitiCar to Main street for a while. I saw that the store next to the ice cream shop had an eight and a half foot cruise ship made out of K’NEX called K’nector of the Seas, made by Glenn Mikulak. It’s just impressive with how large and detailed it is.
With yesterdays notice of warm wires, I headed off to the hardware store tonight and picked up the thickest gauge extension cord that I could find. I found a 50 foot heavy duty extension cord that was made of 12 gauge wires. Technically, it’s thick enough for 20 amps. As for the power strip itself, I found a three foot extension cord that was also made of 12 gauge wire, but also had a three plug splitter on the end. I am no longer worried about that wire heating up.
The driver and passenger windows have quite a bit of pitting that’s noticeable in the right light. It’s difficult to see, but it’s something that keeps bugging me ever since I purchased the car. I’ve started looking at how to fixe the problem.
The 1976 1/2 CitiCar has four thumb-screw knobs keeping the window held in. Once they are removed, the window can be removed by pushing it out from the inside. After pushing the window out, I noticed the crack on the passenger door wraps around under the window.
I unscrewed the window handle and laid the window on the garage floor. I cleaned up the window with a towel and tried to buff it with some polishing cleaner. Although the window looked cleaner, the pits and scratches remained.
One of the things I noticed in one corner of the non-movable pane was a label indicating the material was made of Swedcast 300 Acrylic Safety Glazing M 7 AS4. I found that SWEDCAST 300 was registered by Swedlow Inc. in Garden Grove, California
Half of me is thinking it would be better to replace the panes with real glass or something similar to what is there now. It’s late. This repair job will continue tomorrow…
A few things are moving forward with the car. I’ve been taking little trips to parks around town fairly often.
Traffic Light Sensor
On my way to Chimney Field park, I was stranded at the light. The light cycled through its traffic pattern eleven times before it turned green for me during fairly busy traffic. I’m under the impression that the CitiCars aluminum frame isn’t able to trip traffic light induction sensors in the pavement. Someone mentioned in the C-Car forums that motorcyclists with this problem will get strong earth magnets to attach to the bottom of the frame.
I took a look at what I had to work with to find an appropriate spot to place the pot box. I prefer to keep the existing throttle switch so that I can swap between and original 3 speed and new gradual controlled driving styles.
Looking around, I found it difficult to find a spot to bolt the pot box. The floor is made of plastic, and even if I removed the original speed switch, I’m uncertain where I could bolt the pot box. I have an idea of using a bicycle cable for brakes/gear shifting so that I can put the pot box anywhere, but the cable itself still needs a place to secure it.
I unbolted the charge controller, disconnected all the wires, and removed it from the car. The thing is heavy, weighing in at 26.8 pounds. Inside is a giant winding of copper and a little circuit board with an interlock switch to prevent the motor from operating when charging.
On the back, I saw the previous owners name, company, address and a note:
Please Fix Low Voltage about 36v Book says should be 57½v
It’s comforting to know it wasn’t just me having a hard time getting the charger to work properly.
I had a bit of trouble determining how to wire the car back up to operate without it. Once I figured out what wires connect where, I crimped some spade terminals that fit very loosely into two of the original female connectors.
One unintentional side effect is that my cabin light now works. Apparently it wasn’t hooked up to the charge controller properly. The connector looks a bit… melted or deteriorated.
My primary usage of the car it to take Teddy for walks at various parks and events around town. My ultimate goal was to make it to Eastham Park because it has a Dog Park. The Royal Shenandoah Greenway runs through the park along the South Fork Shenandoah River. Not only is it far compared to my limited range, but there is a long and large hill to go back up a half mile on the way home.
Either due to my weight loss, driving style, 24/7 battery floating charge, “breaking in” the batteries, or a combination there of, the cars range appears to be improving. I decided that since I had free time this weekend, I’d give it a go and push the car to its limit.
It’s been a misty day with light rain at times. My shoes got fairly wet. There weren’t many people out, so Teddy had the whole dog park to himself. We also walked up to the end of the path at the high school before heading back. I let Teddy walk around in the South Fork Shenandoah river as well. On the way back, I could see people walking around and peering inside the CitiCar.
Loss of Power
The last part of the trip home today was an adventure in itself. As I made a hard left at a traffic light, the two loose spade terminals disconnected. The main contactor switch disengaged, and I lost power to the motor and lights – including the hazard lights. Fortunately I was in the slow lane, rarely used, highly visible, and pulled as close to the rail as I could before the car stopped.
I leaned over, connected the spade terminals, and was back on my way. I rewired a more secure connection after I arrived home. Eventually I need to rewire the whole car.
Although I’m going to upgrade the car to have a DC-2-DC system on board for my 12 volt power supply, I’m also considering using the small 12v battery I have now as a fail-safe backup for the hazard lights, signals lights, and flash relay. I feel that out of everything else on the car, I absolutely need the lights to signal that I’m having a problem if power is lost.
I made it home without any other issues. This felt like one of the longest trips I’ve been on. The GPS speedometer is accurate compared to my prior one, so the trips appear shorter compared to prior trips. My old speedometer often registered 4 miles faster than my actual speed.
My trips to the town square are 0.8 miles less with the new speedometer (8.7 miles is now 6.9 miles). In all, my trip via GPS was only 8.6 miles, but I suspect the original speedometer would have registered just under 10 miles for the maximum distance on one charge. I arrived home with 48.3 volts at 54% charge.
As of this morning, I’ve lost 100 pounds this year. I started losing weight so that I could increase range and fit in the CitiCar easier. I couldn’t even get the seat belt to buckle when I first got it.
Ice Cream Run
I really wanted to get some local ice cream yesterday. I enjoy training Teddy with ice cream at the park. It was time for another adventure. Teddy and I arrived downtown to find that main street was blocked off again. I took a detour and parked behind the buildings on Main street.
Teddy and I walked over to the town square and meandered through the park. While we were there, a small band was playing some music on the side of the road. One of the guys had a harmonica. We sat down on the curb and listened for awhile. I kept giving Teddy back scratches and massages.
It was time that we headed over to C & C Frozen Treats for ice cream. In front of the shop, there was a dunking booth with a giant teddy bear setting on the seat, and some pie throwing cut-outs for people to stand behind. The little shop was packed with kids. We waited for people to leave before going inside. The dairy-free choices are often limited, but good. I got a quart of brownie ice cream to take home. Teddy got a scoop of strawberry mango.
It was getting late and I wanted to get home before dark. I decided to stop at the post office on the way back. I hadn’t been there to pick up my mail for roughly eight months. When I opened my PO box, I found that it was packed tight.
Arriving home, I started working on an idea to utilize the empty space in the CitiCar a bit better. I wanted a place to install some car speakers, a camera, lights, and a few other things. Nothing really seemed to be ideal to do anything.
I can’t get anything around the roll bars to mount things onto. There isn’t anything to clip onto. Nothing is magnetic, and I’ve had trouble getting adhesives to stick. It’s difficult to mount anything.
I got some inspiration when thinking about how my camping trailers had been built in the past. Almost every spot available is made into cabinets or made available in some clever way for storage.
I made a template of the area between the roll bars in the back. I decided to work on making an area that can have doors, drawers, hooks, and some magnetic metal bits to clamp, affix, or hook things onto. I’m mocking everything out using cardboard for now. I’ll upgrade to the final materials once I’ve got it all worked out.
I purchased an Alltrax SR-72500 Series Motor Controller (SR72500) and a Albright SW180 48 volt Solenoid Kit with a resistor and diode. I missed a call from D & D Motor Systems regarding the solenoid kit. I called back and left a voice mail and later followed up in an email with details for what I was using it for.
A few magazines arrived.
Hope on Wheels: New Cars for the Gasless Era, Douglas Bartholomew, New York Magazine, May 21, 1979, pages 38 – 42
The Electric Tropica, Frank Markus, Car and Driver, March 1994, pages 95-97
A Shocking Discovery, Pat Foster, Hemmings Classic Car, September 2018, page 38
I’ve been trying to flush the differential fluid in my cars axle. It’s been more than six months since the car came off of the production line in 1976. I’ve been unable to do it without the proper tools to open the fill plug.
My Allen wrenches arrived today. I opened the drain plug and removed all of the differential fluid. After cleaning the plug, I tightened it back on and started pouring gear lubricant into the fill plugs hole. A quart was not enough. I put in an order for some more and filled the old bottle back up with the fluid that just came out.
75W-90, 1½ quarts Gear Lubricant
SIX MONTHS AFTER PURCHASE AND EVERY SIX MONTHS THEREAFTER
* Check differential fluid level. Use 90 weight Hypoid gear oil. Fill to top. In cold weather lighter weight fluid may be used. It is not advisable to mix different weights. When changing types of oil, flush system. Use no lighter than 30 weight oil.
Teddy and I hopped into the car with a destination of Gertrude Miller Community Park. I positioned the dash cam so that it had both Teddy and myself in full view, as well as the dashboard. I heard something wearing a bit along the way. I wasn’t sure if it was the rear driver breaks, the motor, or something to do with the differential.
We spent some time at the park and then headed to Advance Auto Parts to pickup the gear lube. I brought the old bottle back with the 45 year old oil that came out of the car. They had me follow them into the back of the store and dump it into a large metal bin with a mesh over the opening. They wouldn’t take the container itself.
With that, we headed over to the town square, only to find a large event with live music playing. It was the big summer season finale of the towns summer concert series. Vinyl Tracks was playing Beatles songs in the gazebo.
While looking for parking, I saw a big ICE truck parked at an EV Charging space. I got a little annoyed that this vehicle was ICEing an EV charging spot. Although the CitiCar that I was driving is an EV, I wouldn’t park there unless I was using the charger. No parking was available at the town square, so we went to another parking lot nearby and came back to enjoy the park.
The concert was enjoyable to listen to as we walked through the park. Everyone was spread out and practicing social distancing. A few people wore masks. We walked past someone enjoying the music from their car.
Teddy and I went across the street to get some ice cream at C & C Frozen Treats. The little shop was packed with people due to the concert across the street. We didn’t bother going inside.
On the way home, I saw an ice cream truck in my community. I stopped the CitiCar on the side of the street and waved the truck down. I purchased an ice cream sandwich that looked like a big Oreo cookie. I got my ice cream after all!
We arrived home at last. I checked the mileage, voltage, reset the kilowatt meter, and plugged in the battery chargers. The axle was a bit hot. I gave it some time to cool down. I came back and topped off the gear lubricant in the differential pan through the flow plug.
Advance Auto Parts
The motor bumper arrived today as well as a torque wrench.
I had made about 15% profit in my dividend portfolio that I started out late last year. I sold off everything I had invested in it, so that it only consists of profit now. I’m investing the majority of the money into my other portfolio consisting of disruptive tech and a couple EV companies that I follow almost daily.
It’s still raining today. The weather forecast is calling for thunder and showers over the next few days. The house was getting stuffy and my brain needed some fresh air. Teddy hopped in our car during my lunch break.
I wanted to go somewhere new. We hadn’t been over to the Skyline Soccerplex in months, and so our fate was set. This little car doesn’t do well in rain. I’m not sure if it’s the tires or the breaks, but I suspect it’s the breaks. They are either off, or on too hard without a smooth transition. I want to see if I can replace them with something easier to use.
We arrived at the Skyline Soccerplex. Hardly anyone was there. The parking lot was empty. I grabbed my umbrella out of the back and we were off.
The Skyline Soccerplex has a skate-park and a playground with eight soccer fields. It’s built on top of the Avtex Fibers Superfund site in Front Royal, Virginia.
There wasn’t much to our little adventure. Teddy and a couple deer were having a staring contest until he started barking. They didn’t stick around for long and ran across a few soccer fields.
In all, our little walk around the loop was just under a mile. I was about to leave when I noticed the lights weren’t coming on. It was the fuse that I had just replaced last night. That task to investigate the cause is going to get a little more priority now.
On the ride home, I started noticing a sound. I wasn’t sure if it was the tire, motor, or something in between. It was definitely something that was spinning, or being hit by said spiny thing. I also saw the hot motor indicator lamp finally, FINALLY! went out. I’m a bit curious as to why.
I heard the police behind me and saw some lights flashing. I pulled over, blood rushing, nervous, and relieved to see him rush past going after someone else.
Teddy and I got out of the car and made a new record of 9.2 miles. At 48.2v, I believe that’s about a 44% state of charge, and around 1.03 miles remaining. We may actually get this little car up to 10 miles one day. Perhaps one day we will make it all the way to the dog park. One can only dream.
I’ve been talking with a few people in CitiCar and Comuta-Car groups and to someone at D&D Motor Systems to replace the motor that I’ve got. The model numbers of the motor and axle that I have do not provide enough information alone.
For anyone going down the same route, here are the numbers that I see, that you can use for reference. The motor has some details on its plate, but some of the details are worn. I am unable to see the serial number at the moment:
5BC 49 JB 327 C
Motor plate information
Numbers 820178-4, 5, and 20 appear on the axle. Another number appears as 815107X, but it may also be 8/5/07X or 8/5107X or 8/5107X.
The number five appears in the center of a circle, tilted on its side, with eight dots around it in odd positions filling eight of ten spaces.
There is also a letter “D” with a letter “W” inside of it.
I need to pull the motor off of the Dana spider axle to see inside and identify the motor coupler, spline, or shaft it will need. I’m not at all a car guy, but that’s the lingo I keep hearing. I’ll just pull it off, snap a few pictures, count things, and make some measurements with my calipers. How hard can it be? After all, I’ve watched David Brunson install a motor on his Comuta Car, so I’m certain that I am an expert mechanic now.
I wasn’t sure if removing the motor involved axle oil spilling out. I was told no, but then a few people chimed in and started offering tips on how to replace the axle geese. I figured while I’m working in that area on a 40 year old car, what bad could come from fixing something that ain’t broke? It felt like general maintenance that should be done every X-thousand miles or X-years, whichever came first. Sure enough, the owners manual had something to say about it:
SIX MONTHS AFTER PURCHASE AND EVERY SIX MONTHS THEREAFTER
Check differential fluid level. Use 90 weight Hypoid gear oil. Fill to top. In cold weather lighter weight fluid may be used. It is not advisable to mix different weights. When changing types of oil, flush system. Use no lighter than 30 weight oil.
I’m under the impression that the “every six months” is just topping off what’s already there, but this thing is so old, I’m wondering what I’ll find inside. I think I can just drain the fluid and fill it back in. If I need to crack it open, I’ll have everything on hand, just in case.
Mobil 1 Synthetic Gear Lubricant LS 75W-90, 1 Quart
Permatex Ultra Black Maximum Oil Resistance RTV Silicone Gasket Maker (3.35 oz)
Performance Tool Multi Use Pump
CRC Brakleen® Break Parts Cleaner Non-Chlorinated (14 wt. oz.)
FloTool Standard Duty 7 Quart Drain Pan
TEQ Correct 2 Ton Hydraulic Trolley Jack
Order from Advance Auto Parts
DC to DC
The other night, I had a few supplies come in. One was a DC-DC Buck converter from 24/36/48v to 12v. I was hoping I could hook it up so that it would work in both the 48 and 24v mode that the car runs in.
I had two sets of wired 12v sockets. I cut one of them in half and spliced the buck converter into the middle. I ran down to the car, hooked everything up and saw/heard an unexpected spark as the wire made contact. Nothing blew up.
I also got one of the cheapest 12v car devices I could find that was still a little useful, but I wouldn’t mind having it blow up if something I did would destroy it. I found a volt meter with 2 usb ports. I plugged it in and it showed 12.7 volts. Everything worked in both the 24 and 48 volt configuration.
Given that I saw the spark, I knew this would always be on, even when nothing was plugged into it. I went ahead and placed an order for a fancy latching switch button that lights up when the power is on. It comes with a pre-wired socket, and I believe I can setup the LED to run off of the 12v supply while the 48v power only flows through the switch itself.
In the mean time, I installed the other socket onto my accessory battery.
Dual USB Car Charger 4.8A Output Cigarette Lighter Voltage Meter
19mm 3/4″ Metal Latching Pushbutton Switch 12V Power Symbol LED
I purchased a little T600 Universal GPS Smart HUD. This thing is more of a curiosity to play around with, but I got it because I needed a battery monitor, and I like some of the features it came with.
This thing feels and looks cheap. It simply gives you the bare bones of features it advertises. The most fancy display has a round swoosh below your current speed.
I had to configure it first to bring the speed adjustments down to 100% and offset to 0 mph. I also played around with the three colors that it shows text in.
The features I like of the T600 Universal GPS Smart HUD
Teddy and I started our trip to pickup some supplies to change the cars axle oil, and to pull the motor off to take a closer look at the spline for the shaft of a new motor. As we pulled into the parking lot, there was a police car strait in front of us. Sometimes I think they are going to make up an excuse to pull me over just so they can have a closer look.
We wern’t at the store for too long, as it was an online order for pickup. It started to rain a little when we took off. I took Teddy over to Gertrude Miller community park on the way home. It got really dark, windy, and rainy very quick. I started wondering if the wind was strong enough to blow the car over.
The trip home was… interesting. The roads were wet. The rain was pretty hard. I had the wiper running along with the lights. I saw my voltage on the accessory battery was down to 12.0v. I even tried the defroster to see if I could defog the window. When I turned on the fan, I didn’t feel any air coming through the window vents. The simple fix was to use my hand to wipe down the window. I’ll have to look into what I can do to defog the windows later.
Dead after arrival
As we pulled into the garage, I turned off the lights. Since I was playing with the GPS HUD, I flipped the switch for the lights back on and see how much they impact the accessory battery.
I suspected that a fuse had blown. I grabbed my multi-meter and tested all seven for continuity. I found the bad apple. When I matched the position up to the cover plate, it was labeled as a fuse for the break, turn signal, and horn. I turned on my turn signal and it worked. I pulled out the fuse… still works. I’ll need to re-label these fuses later. Even if I was reading the panel upside down, the other label indicated it would have been the controller.
Luckily for me, one of my first investments in the car was to purchase a variety of fuses and throw them in the back of my car. The cover plate indicated a 20 amp fuse would be adequate for the lights. I replaced the fuse, and all was well with the world.
I took a look at the burnt out fuse and noticed it was rated for 30 amps! My speculation is that the previous owner put that in there because they got tired of replacing 20 amp fuses. Since this happened at the tail end of the trip, I’m guessing that the wiper motor had too much trouble as I entered the garage. Since it wiped away all of the rain, there was a great deal of friction to continue.
In the meantime, I have a DC fuse block on order with sticky labels and LED’s that light up when a fuse is blown. I’ll add the lights and windshield motor to my list of things to upgrade later.
Regarding the GPS HUD, there were a few things enlightening about it. The speedometer on the car was reporting 4 miles faster than what I was actually traveling at. I was able to set my phone next to the GPS monitor and confirm its accuracy. I thought I was going amazingly fast the other day pushing the car to 33.5 mph, only to realize now that I was going under 30.
On a related note is that the distance I have driven on the odometer is much higher than this new gadget is reporting. There seems to be a large discrepancy in just a few short miles. When I punch my routes into Google Maps, It’s sitting in the middle of the other two.
Advanced Auto Parts
Gertrude Miller Park
With the battery voltage meter, I felt better to see how the lights and a wiper affected the voltage with a general idea of the batteries health. I would still prefer to see a capacity meter of some kind with a percent, colors of red/yellow/green, and a bar showing how much is left.
I used the altitude feature to get an idea about how high the hill is to get out of my little neighborhood. The top of the hill is at 648 feet above sea level, and the lowest point is at 508 feet. Every time I go on a little trip, I’m starting out with a 140 foot tall hill.
I know it’s super cheap, but here are some other things I wish it had
A separate set of leads to connect to your battery – monitor 48v battery voltage while connected to a dc-to-dc 12v converter
A switch to turn it on
Buttons on the front
Better sticky pad. It keeps pulling up from the dash
After having the extra set of tires that came with the car mounted, I noticed the CitiCar had a much smoother ride with radial tires. Unfortunately, I could hear them rub as I turned into my driveway while the car experienced a little bump.
It was time that I get serious and invest in the stock size that the car was intended to operate with. The consumer information 1976 CitiCar sheet that the original dealer provided with the CitiCar had recommended tire sizes of 4.80×12 inches and 125-SR12-ZX. My current tires (155/80R12 77T) are an inch too wide. They are a bit larger in diameter as well. One of the members on a CitiCar and Comuta-Car group had just gotten some tires for his car recently, and I went ahead and ordered the same set for myself.
It didn’t take long before I noticed they arrived at my doorstep while I was leaving the house. It felt like Christmas looking at those wreaths. I stored them in the garage for a few days until I was ready to get them mounted.
The big day came. The tires were small enough that I was able to fit all of them in the back of the cheese mobile. I drove over to Advanced New & Used Tires and they were able to work on the car as soon as I got there.
We talked a bit about the car regarding its history, maintenance, and its value regarding costs as a hobby versus the actual value someone would pay. I think he may have been considering purchasing the CitiCar, but I made it clear that it wasn’t for sale.
It wasn’t long before they were done mounting the new tires, and they knocked $20 off for coming back so soon. My garage is now storing two sets of unused tires.
I no longer hear rubbing when turning into my driveway, and the tires are still smoother than the original tires that came on the car.
One thing I noticed is that the maximum load weight is lower than the original tires, and previous set of tires. I had some concerns until I checked for the vehicles gross vehicle weight rating, and the calculated the sum of all tires.
Since the vehicles gross vehicle weight is less than the four tires combined. The sticker on the side of the dash indicates the front axle can support 750 lbs, and the rear supports 1000 lbs. My new tires can support both axles at their maximum weight load.
I’m assuming it’s fine. Also related to the weight of the car, lead acid batteries weight a lot. I believe around 600 lbs. I’m only using roughly half the battery capacity as the ones that originally came with the car. I’ll later be replacing the lead acid batteries with some lithium batteries I’ve purchased as well, which is even more lighter.
Total Max Load
B: 31 mph
T: 118 mph
S: 112 mph
Gross Vehicle Weight
Each set of tire statistics against the vehicle itself for comparison
I had started keeping a better track of charging time and voltages on the last trip. Based on the number of miles driven, I estimated that it would take eight hours to charge, and set an alarm for an hour earlier. Much to my surprise, the batteries were fully charged when the alarm went off.
Advanced New & Used Tires
CitiCar odometer readings for a round trip to Advanced New & Used Tires
Today is Sunday. It’s another beautiful day. We’ve been having brief showers throughout the weekend. The air is fresh, and it felt like a great day to go on another adventure.
I got some tape and put up a little fact sheet on the back window. I also added a QR tag and the URL to this blog so people could learn more about the car, my adventures, and the history behind the car.
Afterwards, we drove over to the Front Royal town square.
Teddy and I took a walk along the Royal Shenandoah Greenway. Its a little path that goes around the whole town. It runs along Happy Creek, down to the Bing Crosby stadium. It also goes through a few parks and along various roads. We took our time casually strolling along the trail. I let Teddy sniff around at his own pace. He would often lead me down toward the creek.
We walked through the Happy Creek Arboretum on a side path with more shade. It’s made up of a few trees, various plants, a side path of mulch, a picnic table, and a few plaques. There is a water fountain for both people and dogs, but it was out of service. The bench looking out over the creek was also occupied, so we continued on.
We made our way towards the footbridge nearby to cross the creek. The two of us often like to watch and listen to the water below. Once we crossed, Teddy made a beeline for another open area leading to the river and startled a group of butterflies.
I let him wade in the creek for a little bit. He was thumping the water with his paw, as if he wanted to swim, but it’s just not deep enough for him. After a few minutes, he came back up the bank and we were off onto the Royal Greenway again.
We made it to our final destination for B & L’s Custard. Teddy got a “Pup Cup”, and I went with a small cup for myself. It was the perfect weather for setting outside in some partial shade along with a light breeze. As always, I had him do a few tricks for a treat beyond his wildest dreams. After he licked his cup clean, I let him lick mine clean as well.
Teddy found something stinky on the way back and had to stop to rub it all over himself. After bringing the side of his face down onto the spot, he rolls onto his back and wiggles around.
We saw the butterflies again on our way back, and I was able to stop and grab some photos before letting Teddy wade in the creek again. They appear to be Canadian tiger swallowtail butterflies.
When we got back to the town square, I took a closer look at the public charger. It offered both CHAdeMO (DC) and CCS Combo (DC). In other words – DC fast charging only. I’ve been starting to take an interest in public charging stations while researching how I can modernize the car.
On the way home, we had a couple people honk their horns and wave at us, and I would honk back. We can’t go far, but it’s been a blast driving through town again.
Charging Time & Voltage
I love making spreadsheets. I measured the voltage and kept a closer eye on the chargers as they topped off the batteries. I now have a few extra metrics to keep track of.
On an 11 hour 41 minute charge back to full, a 7.2 mile trip charged at 1 hour and 37 minutes per mile (0.66 mph). For reference, I can casually walk about 1-2 miles an hour. I suspect this is a low rate of charge for a sealed lead acid battery. It is either due to the batteries themselves, the quality of the chargers I am using, or the fact that I’m using four chargers on separate batteries that are still wired in series.
In addition, the 2.6 voltage drop from my trip comes in at about 0.36v/mile. This gives me a general idea about how much range the car has in its current configuration. Forgetting temperatures, accuracy, resting time, calculating parabolic curves, amps, hills, etc. We are working with ballpark numbers here.
Returning home with a voltage of 48.5 is almost on the nose of a 50% SoC. Ideally, I don’t want to go below a 30% charge at 47.84v. So…
(48.5v SoC – 47.84v minimum)/0.36v per mile = 1.83 miles
From this, it seems the car can go a total of 9 miles (7.2 + 1.8) before the batteries get down to 30%. A dead battery sits at around 46.04v. From the same calculations, I would have 6.81 miles left for a total range of 14 miles. I doubt I would be able to get that far unless it was all downhill.
I’ll continue to monitor the charging time and voltages to see if the total miles has an effect on the average volts per mile and charging duration. For now, I can set a timer to turn the chargers off based on each trips total miles driven.
miles driven * 1 hour 37 min
If the car isn’t charged fully by the next morning, I can simply turn the chargers back on.
Front Royal Town Square
CitiCar odometer readings for a tip to the town square and back
It’s been a long week. The weekend is upon us. Although it’s mostly cloudy, it’s a beautiful day out with warm weather. After finding my keys buried in the couch, Teddy and I hopped into the cheese and ran off to the park. Our first stop, like always, was to our local park, Gertrude Miller Community Park.
It’s fun being in such a tiny car. We were able to maneuver into a small area that isn’t wide enough for most cars to park. It was also at a convenient spot where we had enough area to do a U-turn and be on our way.
Teddy will often find his way to the Happy Creek river that runs in between Lions Park and Gertrude Miller Community Park. I let him wade around in a low spot and watch him drink some of the water to help keep him cool.
On the other side of Happy Creek river, there is a little observation deck that he likes to hop up on as well.
We walked around Lions Park, sat in the shade, and then walked past Fantasy Land playground on the way back to the car. Just looking at the castle made me want to be a kid again.
As noon approached, it was time to cool down with a nice cup of ice cream. We drove over to the Front Royal town square. Our favorite ice cream man at C & C Frozen Treats across the street was happy as always to see us visit his establishment for “essential supplies”. I purchased a quart of Diary Free Blueberry Cheesecake to bring home, and Teddy got a scoop for himself.
Teddy and I went back over to the town square to find some shade and to do a few tricks. He’ll do anything for a treat, and ice cream is one of his favorites.
Afterwards we walked around the town square a little bit. The Front Royal visitors center is an old train station, and a Norfolk & Western Cupola Caboose sets in the park. It’s locked off, so you can’t go inside. Usually kids like to play around it, climbing the steps and pretending to ride. It’s been inoperable for a long time, and grass has grown up over the tracks.
One of the main attractions in the park is the town center gazebo. Many bands have sat within the gazebo performing for the local community.
The center of the gazebo has a plaque with an inscription about a time capsule buried beneath. Who knows what treasures it contains?
We found a new mural on the side of one of the buildings. I decided it was time to continue our adventure and have a closer look.
This mural lets you become a part of it. If someone takes your picture standing in front of the wings, you can see what you look like with wings. It’s always a treasure to find these murals around Front Royal. One day we’ll find them all. This one also had bee’s flying around.
As we took a walk down main street, Teddy and I found an interesting little pet friendly shop called “Inklings“. It used to be occupied by an art gallery. We went inside to have a look around. The woman inside offered Teddy a treat. I had him do a little performance for her. I grabbed a bar of soap to remove elbow grease with Rosie the Riveter saying “We Can Wash It!”. In addition, a cup with Lewis Carol on it and quotes from Alice In Wonderland caught my eye.
Main street was closed to traffic so that establishments could use the area to help keep people spread apart. We crossed over and headed towards a hiking store called Mountain Trails. The Appalachia Trail runs through our little city, and many hikers and locals stop by for supplies. A mural of the Appalachia Trail is painted on the side of the building next to its entrance.
The staff were already familiar with Teddy. We hadn’t been there in such a long time, and they were asking to see him do a few tricks. I mentioned he wasn’t going to do them without a reward. A woman offered a treat, but he would only sit. He wouldn’t do the trick to play dead when she asked. I asked for one of the treats and had him doing a bunch of tricks to everyone’s admiration.
Time was moving fast. Even though we parked in the shade, I felt that our ice cream back in the car was going to melt if we took too long. We returned home and I got to unpack all of my loot for the day.