The Lester summit series II charger has been tucked into the back of the car. I talked with the Lester tech support and found that the default charging profile is fine for the batteries that I have, and that the “bubbling” is a very important part of the charging process. I also asked about the battery state of charge remaining at 100% after driving around. The response was that the SoC will not update until you connect to AC power. I don’t like the idea of it reporting outdated SoC information, but sure enough, it updated once I plugged the charger in.
I broke my previous record, pushing the limit to 11.1 miles on one charge. The speed at which the Lester charger can replenish the batteries is phenomenal. It was charging at 3.11 miles per hour compared. This is four times faster than the average 0.8 mph charging rate. The watt per hour has come down 25% from the first charge on the Lester, but it’s still a bit high.
The increased recharge rate is giving new life into the car. I really want to get the new lithium batteries installed. I took a second trip today just because I could. I’ve driven 16.3 miles in the CitiCar today.
I went ahead and soldered wires to one of the replacement buttons I got for the GPS speedometer. I removed the broken one, wired everything together, and confirmed that it now resets the odometer. I no longer need to bend over and ground a loose wire on the cigarette adapter to reset it.
Just for extra fun, I used my Dynmo 1550 tapewriter. I labeled it “Secret Hyperjets”, a reference to the Spaceballs Eagle 5 going into hyperactive. I’m not bold enough to claim that my CitiCar has a plaid mode.
I also spent a little bit more time aligning the steering wheel again.
A large part of Sunday was spent walking throughout Eastham park. Although they have a large dog park, the one for large dogs is currently closed. It was a clear day and very enjoyable to walk along the Shenandoah River. With a large number of squirrels darting around, Teddy was alert and ready for the chase.
The next stop was at McDonald’s. Meals are eaten outside, often setting on the curve next to the CitiCar. Teddy is learning not to beg during meals, but he earns a nice reward at the end.
The trip home from the dog park on Sunday was a bit of a fright. Although there was power, the CitiCar would not supply power to the motor. In town, it’s fairly easy to find a spot to pull over and park to diagnose the issue. It was suspected that the contactor fuse may have blown.
Upon inspection, the main fuse looked fine. The wires from the 12 volt battery were made more secure the other day after a loss of power disconnecting wires from a hard turn. The main power wires from the 12 volt accessory battery looked fine as well. The repairs were holding it in place.
A quick hop into the car to confirm the issue was still present revealed that it went away on its own. As the key turned, the main contactor click could be heard. It is thought that maybe the switch on the brake was stuck in position, preventing the main contactor to be activated when braking.
It’s now known that the CitiCar starts to get exhausted around ten miles. Rather than setting destinations to push the limits, rides have become more casual. It’s great knowing that certain destinations are within range. There are many parks, restaurants, and events on main street accessible within just a few miles. Having success at a charging station adds to the freedom to go anywhere… within an extra mile.
The battery chargers have been left connected to the batteries while driving around in the CitiCar. The time to setup for charging has been simplified to connecting the power strip to the main power in a house, or to the J1772 power converter.
Steering Wheel Adjustments
There have been a few problems with the steering wheel alignment since the turn signal switch has been replaced. Each time that it appears to have been fixed, the next trip reveals a little more fine tuning is required. It’s now to the point that the steering wheel is rotated by one or two splines after each trip.
In the middle of adjusting the steering wheel, Teddy finally caught a squirrel in his own yard at home. It was difficult to break his concentration. He finally had to be pulled off and go inside to calm down with a treat and let the squirrel get away.
The next goal is to get the contactor switch, motor controller, and forward/reverse switches installed under the seat. They don’t need to be wired up just yet. A mounting bracket arrived this morning, and there were a few metal angles purchased at the hardware store to help fasten things into an area in front of the motor. Each step is being worked through and planned out. One of the problems that has popped up is that the bolts with the solenoid mounting hardware are too long.
Tomorrow is Battery Investor Day for Tesla. It was an excuse to take the day off of work. An extra $500 was invested into the company this morning. The unrealized value is roughly half of what is needed for a Cybertruck reservation.
After two repairs by a tow truck driver and a neighbor, the SUV shifter cable has been replaced by the professionals. It was noticed that the rear passenger window is unable to be opened from the front driver-side buttons.
The buttons arrived for the GPS speedometer. Installation continues tomorrow.
There is an issue arising from a battery monitor that I purchased in China at the beginning of August that hasn’t arrived yet. The seller claims it has already been delivered, but the post office claims they haven’t received the package yet.
I suspected the last time I went to the charger, it stopped supplying power because I may have turned off the power strip. It was time to give it another go.
I moved the battery chargers into the back of the CitiCar. I zip tied wires going to the outlets, and made sure I could see them all face up. Everything is setup for a quick change between J1772 charging, and charging from a standard house outlet.
Teddy and I hopped into the CitiCar and took off for the charging station. Driving around with the new turn signal switch, things felt much simpler. Who would have imagined how much luxury a fully operational turn signal switch would add to a car?
The thing that got to me was that after all of the care I went through to align the steering wheel correctly yesterday, it still wasn’t aligned. I couldn’t wrap my hands at the 10 and 2 positions, and my mind kept wanting to level it off. The car pulls to the side when hitting the breaks, making the problem worse.
Just like the last time, we saw the red Tesla and parked next to it. I connected to the charging station and confirmed everything had power before we headed over to Checkers for some lunch.
After picking up our food, Teddy and I sat on the grass in the shade of a tree. It was a great day. Nice weather, light breeze, with sounds of people and nature in the background.
The CitiCar was still charging afterwards, which confirmed my guess as to why the charger stopped supplying power the last time. It wasn’t due to a low power draw – but rather, I bumped the power strip to the off position.
I proceeded to take Teddy for a little walk. When we headed back to the car, the Kill A Watt meter showed that we got 0.2 kWh in 47 minutes. That is almost a mile added to the car. I now have a baseline to improve charging speed.
We drove over to Lowe’s and picked up some stud fasteners as a possible solution to bolt our switches and the motor controller into the car.
When I got home, I made sure the car was driving in a strait direction. I took a look at the steering wheel. I found an easier way to remove the cap without any tools. Once I took off the wheel, I rotated a plastic ring on the switch to line up with the steering wheels bolt, and placed the wheel back onto the steering column in the correct position.
The speedometer that I installed in the CitiCar came with a button to switch between the trip and lifetime odometer. I hadn’t installed the button yet. Instead, I’ve been resetting the trip odometer by grounding the end of the external button wire with the edge of the cigarette lighter. It looks like I’m trying to hot-wire the car when I bend down to grab the wire and line it up.
I decided it was time to make life simpler on myself and install the button that came with it.
Now that the charger is no longer bolted inside the car, I can stick my head in the area and look back up at the dashboard from behind. I was able to confirm that there weren’t any wires on the bottom right of the speedometer. I drilled out a 15/32″ hole, fairly slowly. The aluminum dashboard panel in the CitiCar is fairly thick.
The tricky part now was to connect the button up. The metal tabs are small. The spade connectors that I have are too large. My goal was to solder some wires onto the switch and put spade terminals on those wires.
Not every goal is met. I’ve been out of my thin soldering wire for some time. The terminal melted off when I began to heat it up with the tip of my soldering iron. I looked at a few videos online and found that I should have threaded the wire through the hole first, then twist it tight, and proceed to heat up the wire instead.
I found the same exact 12mm waterproof momentary push button switch and ordered aa pack of 15 with five colors. I’ll be able to make 14 more mistakes before I order more.
For now, I plugged up the hole with the defunct button. I’ll continue to use the cigarette lighter to reset the trip odometer.
On our lunchbreak, we started to take off in the CitiCar. There was an odor and a whining noise. It suddenly changed its pitch to be a bit more frantic. Since I removed the speedometer cable last night, I had a hunch that it was the speedometer gear housing that was still on the motor. It was probably a combination of spinning the metal shaft, the entire gear housing, or a combination of the two. After removing it, Teddy and I were zipping off to the park without any more whining.
We were followed into the park and asked about the car. A brief conversation ensured before Teddy interrupted with “Nature’s Call”. After our little walk, we then got custard where someone chimed that they had a Tesla, and thought a CitiCar wouldn’t be useful in Miami, Florida. After learning that the cars were manufactured in Florida, they clarified that they couldn’t use it on the highways.
I was able to clock in a new record at 10.3 miles on the trip odometer as we arrived back home.
My high beams continue to turn on while driving, and sometimes on their own while parked. One of the C-Car owners shared an image of a turn signal switch that might be compatible. I found an imported after-market turn signal switch for a Triumph Spitfire 1977-1980.
I was able to take off the steering wheel cap using a wrench. The nut underneath was not tight at all. I suspect I was following in the prior owners footsteps. The steering wheel lifted off without any effort. The turn signal switch had a screw underneath that kept it secure to the steering wheel column. After loosening the screw, the switch lifted up most of the way, but was held back by the wires. I was able to have enough room to slide it off of the steering wheel spline.
The switch was missing a piece of plastic that was later found setting inside the steering wheel columns cover. The original CitiCar turn signal switch could not be repaired.
I cut it free of its wires and matched them up to the new signals wires. The new switch had separate wires for the high beams, and the flash. I was able to join the two wires so that they both operated the high beams.
Once the wires were connected, I discovered that the high beams would no longer work unless the regular lights were on. I’m used to the high beams always coming on regardless if the lights are on, so it feels a little odd.
When assembling the steering wheel, I paid close attention to the self-canceling signals. This has been a problem that I’ve had in the past where the signals don’t seem cancel – or at least, not always. Now they do. I believe the prior owner didn’t pay attention to the correct orientation when putting the wheel back on the steering column. When placed upside down, you would have to turn further left/right before the signal could be canceled. Merging into lanes without much turning of the wheel would have no chance of being canceled.
In one sense, it almost feels like I have a new car. The turn signal was a constant problem where I would have to actively check often if the high beams came on, and verify that the signals switched off. I would previously go for a walk in the park and come back to see that my high beams came on, draining the battery.
I really wish I could have fixed the original switch, or at least use its stalk on the new signal switch.
In Other News
The Tucson EV J1772 to Zero adapter arrived. It had the correct plug for my charger and my EVSE was able to communicate and supply power through it.
I got a phone call this morning that the part for my SUV didn’t arrive at the dealership. Saturday will be very busy, so it may not be repaired until Monday.