Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Vanagon Factory Repair Manual

I bought "VW Vanagon - Factory Repair Manual, 1980/1981". The front page looks the following:

From Volkswagen Transporter T3

It's supposed to be the complete (idiot's) guide to:
  • maintaining Vanagon,
  • replacing parts,
  • diagnosing problems,
  • repair like a pro
, as it's fully illustrated.

Inside one can find A LOT OF exploded views, which show what goes where and when. Such views are important for inexperienced mechanics like myself. Here's an example of page from the book:

Where did I buy this book

In Hawaii. And to be more precise -- on eBay from a guy living there. I paid for the book $19.99 and extra $34.95 for p&p. A lot of money, but I think the book is worth every penny I paid!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Solar battery charging

Everyone knows what happens to car batteries if the temperature is below freezing (0°C, 32°F). They don't give any power to the starter. From the scientific point of view their capacity drops a lot when it gets colder. For the driver it means one -- he can't start his engine and has to walk in the cold. It is especially difficult for diesel engines as they need to be warmed by glowplugs before they can be started and need a lot of torque in the starter (as they have high compression ratio).

Since I have my camping solar set, I wanted it to charge the battery that's used to start the engine.

My solar set consists of the solar photovoltaic panel, auxillary battery (under the passenger's seat) and a charge controller. This controller has three sets of connectors: source of power (to charge the battery), the battery and the devices to be powered from the battery. If the voltage in the battery is high enough, it allows the devices to use electricity. If not, the devices are disconnected.

I used the third set of connectors and attached a plug that's compatible with cigarette lighter sockets. If sun is shining, it charges the auxillary battery along with the standard one.

That's why when I leave my camper on the guarded parking near my apartment, I leave the solar panel under the windscreen. And why I chose a parking space with a lot of free sunlight.

From Volkswagen Transporter T3

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gettin ready for X-mas

The Christmas is on it's way, so I decided to add some christmas spirit to my VW T3.

I used the camping battery, the DC/AC inverter and a timeswitch. Ans a set of 50 lightbulbs. I connected the inverter to the battery and turned it on. Then I plugged the timeswitch and the lights to the switch. I set the switch to turn the lights on for half an hour between 8 PM and 8.30 PM. I set the whole thing at 1 PM.

I came back to the camper later, around 8 PM, to make a photo of the christmas decoration. But it wasn't lit. Why? Because the inverter drained the battery by just powering the time switch. So I connected the solar charge controller to the engine battery (just like the camping battery was charged by solar panel) and turned the lights on.

From Volkswagen Transporter T3