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Smoke Test · 26 November 05
The dash wiring project was finished off this week. After a nice Thanksgiving dinner and a day off I headed into the garage to do a smoke test.
A guy I worked with once explained that electronic devices all work on smoke. At the factory they put smoke into all of the components and as long as you don’t let the smoke out everything is happy. Screw up and let the smoke out and your electronics quit working.
After removing what seems like a few miles of wire from Eve it was time to see if anything works.
And if any smoke comes out…
The image is an Inertia switch from First Technology out of the UK. They have some cool products: mini crash sensors, accelerometers, occupant thermal imaging, solar and twilight sensors, and of course fuel cut-off switches like this.
An inertia or fuel cut-off switch has something like a weighted ball inside. If you slam it hard enough it unlatches the switch, turning it off. You push the red button to reset it. These guys also made the inertia switch I bought for the first EV.
Ok, back to wiring. First let’s set the stage.
Once again we’ll use our standard issue ZMU as a reference of scale.
I’ve also added a glowing magnifying glass to images that can be clicked on for a larger version. Be sure to click them, as the small pics often only show part of the full image.
This is most of the electrical tape that has been removed. There’s a few odd insulators and connectors in the pile but for the most part that is all tape.
Most nights working on the car would find me pulling stray lengths of tape from my boots and cursing. Now that I’ve documented the mess I get to throw it out for good.
Here’s the real story folks…
If I were really motivated I’d measure all of this wire so we could say something like:
Removed enough wire to reach 1/1000th of the way to the moon!
The total wire length is equal to 20 small intestines stretched to full length!
Instead I’ll borrow the office scale and update the tally in pounds later on.
Percentage wise I’d say at least 50% of the wire is engine and engine control related. Another large chunk came from the factory stereo gear and the passive restrain stuff.
While cleaning up the dash wiring I ran across another interesting connector and added it to the Car Connections page.
You are probably biting your nails in anticipation of what happened when I applied power, right?
Here you go: it worked!
To get ready for the smoke test I checked all of the wires, plugged in the cables and connectors and double checked that no power wires were laying on the chassis. Also went around and connected the various ground harnesses to the frame.
Hauled the battery back into the engine compartment, hooked up ground, and then briefly touched the positive lead to the battery.
The front of the car started moving and I nearly peed my pants!
Seems that the motor-driven headlights have a safety feature to automatically cycle if they aren’t closed all of the way. I had played around with it a while ago, moving the gear by hand to see the light lift up. When the battery was hooked up the motor swung into life, opened the light the whole way and then promptly motored it shut with a slam.
Heh, heh, no problem. I have health insurance…
So, headlamps worked right off the bat. Nothing else though.
This is because I removed the ignition switch, which means that three huge wires need to be connected to the battery by hand in order to power the other circuits. The next article will go into ignition setup a little more.
Once those wires were hooked up the turn signals started working. The adjustable instrument lighting also works. Speedometer and tach will need to be hooked up later, but I’m not too worried about them.
The wiper was the only thing left to figure out. Turns out the relay in the engine compartment had lost a ground wire in a zeal of wire snipping. Wired that back up, hook up the big blue wire up front and we have happy flappy wipers.
Now to start taping the wire bundles back together and thinking about putting some of the dash back. Before doing that I’ll need to get the heater core wired up and figure out some kind of on/off switch.