Saturday, 31 October 2009

Testing times

I've now finished all the power supply wiring on the van except for actually connecting the leisure batteries in the back. Two new 113Ah batteries are currently on order and I'm waiting until they arrive to check the cable lengths before finalising the fitting.

In the meantime, I connected a battery I bought for the purpose about five years ago and started testing the circuits. Apart from a couple of minor issues, everything seems to work fine. The battery charger supplies charge to all three batteries from the mains supply. The mains supply itself powers the sockets and if I disconnect the external supply, the inverter starts up and maintains the mains supply from the battery.

So that's a result then!

All the internal wiring has now been tested too. There are still a few lights to fit but they have to wait until I finish the remaining trim. Also the main amplifier has no speakers attached at the moment for the same reason so I can't test that (although the power light comes on so that's a good sign).

Today's job was to replace the sidelights. A previous owner had fitted a couple of interior light units to the front grill to make the van legal in the UK (the original specification wouldn't have had them at all). They never did look right so I've bought some LED units and fitted them. Unfortunately the new lights only look bright if you look directly at them, from any angle other than directly ahead they appear very dim. I'll see whether they are good enough to pass an MOT test. If not, I'll have to think again.

Whilst I was ordering LED lights, I also got some to replace the faulty marker lights on the front panel and some others to replace the existing "mood lights" in the interior. Some of the LEDs have stopped working on the existing mood lights.

All the LEDs were obtained from Superbright LEDs over in the USA. I ordered them on a Thursday evening and the letter to say I had a customs charge to pay arrived with me the following Thursday. Once that was paid, the parcel arrived with me on the Friday. From order to delivery in a week. Sometimes I can't get things delivered that quickly from UK companies! Importing stuff this way turns out to be quite easy if you select a supplier that is set up for it. The Parcelforce "handling charge" of £13.50 does seem a bit steep though.

I was hoping to finish fitting the new LED lights tomorrow but the weather forecast is for rain all day so I might not get much done. Once these lights, and the new batteries are fitted, the next target will be to get the van to a local garage for an MOT test. Whilst it's there, I'll ask them to try and fix the useless parking brake (it won't pass the test in its current state anyway) and also to do a couple of other jobs that I either don't have facilities, time or patience to fix myself.

On a different topic, I'm looking for a cylinder head for a Triumph Spitfire 1500. Condition is not important, in fact a scrapped one would be ideal as it is to be used for some rather destructive testing (in aid of exploring tuning options). If anyone has an old cylinder head lying about that's due to be thrown away and you fancy donating it to science, let me know! Either leave a comment here or contact me through the CT or TSSC web sites.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Getting things done

So let's see. Where was I last time I remembered to post an update here?

Quite a lot of progress has been made over the last few weeks. The van now has a new fusebox in the engine bay, new wiring from the battery and a whole new switch panel in the cab that actually makes things work when you operate the switches! (something of a novelty for my van).

I've also got the new cabinet fitted in the back ready for the other fusebox and the connections for the leisure batteries. The inverter is in and almost all the cabling is in place and just needs connecting. One slight issue to overcome in that I seem to have failed to allow for anywhere to put the two large main fuses and a junction box. When you're dealing with 300amp cabling, they take up quite a bit of space. I think I've found room below the rear seat but I need to re-route some of the cabling I already laid in to sort it all out.

Once that's done, I can hopefully finish wiring up the remainder of the electrical circuits.

The back of the van is still leaking water in at quite a rate. This is despite some concerted effort to seal the useless rear rain gutter. I have no idea where the rain is getting in but there seems to be a lot of it behind the trim panels. I can apply more sealant to everywhere that looks likely but since the van has to live outdoors I need it to stop raining long enough to get everything dried out first and that seems to be a problem at the moment.

The race car is currently stored in the dry but isn't likely to get any more use this year as I'm spending the money on other projects (mostly the van!). Nothing happening with the white spitfire either at the moment.

Here's a picture of the space above the cab in the van, with all the equipment now fitted and the new switch panel in the cab. Just to prove I'm not making all this up as I go along!