Work Starts on Repairing the Car

As we now had a place to secure the car, it was just waiting to be fixed and be back on the road! We were determined to get it repaired as soon as possible, so by 8am on Sunday morning we were up and ready to get going! Nik and Toby went for the morning to clean the car, as this has to he done for us to even be able to see the problems, while the rest of us were working on emails and the like. However, at 12.30 they returned and we loaded up all our stuff and moved over to the apartment we would be staying in.

In order to keep costs down, we are only staying in this apartment for one night before we move into a different one, but fortunately they are all in pretty much the same location so it’s not such a big hassle. The main thing is that we are out of the hotel that was absolutely ripping us off (we did complain and fortunately we got a discount, but still, we needed a cheaper option). After sorting out the deal with the apartment and bolting down a quick lunch, Andy, Nik, Toby and myself went to the garage in the university to carry on work on the car.

With the car clean, we started dismantling the right side pod in order to remove the right hand battery pack. Despite the whole fire situation clearly setting us back, it was in fact a chance for us to do a major overhaul on the car, and to check that the rest of our engineering was holding up. Very quickly we saw that, at least this battery pack, was exactly how we had left it all those months ago. All the terminals were still clean, not corroded, and there was no evidence of dust or water anywhere. All the battery terminals were still screwed down tightly, and we were impressed with the way that it had held up over the last 20,000km of wear and tear.

With this inspection complete, we moved onto looking at the BMS for signs of wear and tear. The BMS is comprised of a number of individual boxes each containing a specialised circuit board designed to control and monitor a string of 12 cells. However, apart from the box ruined by fire damage, all the other boxes and the internals were in excellent condition.

With all this good news being revealed as we peeled away layers of the car, we were beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. The car was, from what we had seen so far, in a much better condition than we thought, and the whole task of getting the car back to working condition was seeming to be getting a little smaller.

However, we still needed to overcome the very pressing problem of the BMS master board. If it were broken, we would be delayed by at least a week as we waited for a spare to be shipped in from the UK, so the whole schedule of when we would be able to finally get on with the trip was hanging on this outcome. After a lot of discussion followed by even more poking and prodding with the voltmeter, it wasn’t looking good; things just did not seem to be working right!

There was still one theory that we had; we suspected that some of the damaged wire may be causing a problem in the signalling between the slaves and the master, and so the next thing was to remove these wires, and to test the board again. VoilĂ ! It worked! As soon as we had removed the damaged wires, the car started up perfectly and it was clear the master board was fine. This was a major relief and got the team bouncing around like excited school boys! All we needed to do now was to fix the fire damage, repair any other areas of wear and tear on the car, and we should be good to go!

As I right this on Sunday night, there are still things that we could discover which could potentially set us back. But from the information we have right now and the testing we have done so far, the prospects of getting this car working again have never looked brighter! So determined are we to get back on the road, that we have vowed to leave Cartagena with the car in better shape than how we had it when we left London. We cannot wait to get back on the car to get it working again!

One Response to “Work Starts on Repairing the Car”

  • Charles H Schulmann says:

    Dear RGET ,
    We are also jumping for joy and dancing a jig at the
    great news . Thank heavens , it seems superficial !

    So the sacrificial cables are easily replaceable .
    Question for the future , since fire can be a hazard ,
    those pesky little thermistors which caused a minor
    failure earlier in the Test Trip , were they reincorporated
    in the monitoring system and can they play an active role
    in case of a fire to shut down the system completely with
    total disconnection , in order to minimize damage ? ? ?
    ( We designed a similar system to protect our 24 hour
    PU plant which proved itself invaluable by minimizing
    the damages , in a previous fire incident ) .

    All the incidences which have occurred on this Trip have
    tested the SRzero further than we could have imagined and
    we hope that a technical log book has meticulously been
    recorded , for the very important debriefing session
    which presumably will take place , after the dust has
    settled on the Pan American Highway .

    We wish you all , the very best and look forward to seeing
    some new distant horizons as the call of the Pan American
    Highway becomes irresistible , from Ladysmith ( Kwazulu Natal )
    in sunny South Africa , Charles and friends .

Leave a Reply