Archive for June, 2008

Cheezbrgr update

June 30th, 2008

Update on the cheezbrgr lights.   I had some flaky behaviour with the right turn signal not flashing when the running lights were on.  It flashes fine when they are off, and the left turn signal works fine.    The old Bosch mechanical flasher expects a certain current to flash.   Apparently, it’s right on the edge of oscillating, and (guessing) the internal switchmode power supply of the new cheezbrgers draws less flash current when the running lights are on.     The fix for this was relatively simple.   I added a 16 ohm 10 watt resistor from the flasher terminal to ground on the back of the cheezbrgr light.   I added a resistor to the left signal as well, even though it isn’t needed right now.

These 10 ohm resistors from Radio Shack will also work

For 24V systems, you want to use a 50 ohm resistor

The next problem was the interior dashboard indicator lamps failed to flash, even though the external lamps were fine.    This must be some sort of “dead bulb” detector in the Bosch flasher, for which the LEDs, even with the resistors, didn’t draw enough current.    It could be an inrush current thing.   Incandescnt bubls have a very low resistance when first turned on.  As the filament heats the resistance increases.

The fix was relatively easy.    I put each indicator lamp in the same circuit as the external flashers.    There are three three-way connectors behind the dash which distribute the flasher circuit.   They are the only three way connectors behind the dash.     On Trög one feeds two green wires, another feeds two red wires and a third feeds two yellow wires.    The yellow wires are the input to the flasher circuit (it unions the flasher and the hazard lights).   The other two, red and green ones are the ones you want to hijack.   For each of the red and green, I removed the female spade terminal from the feed wire to the three-way connector and crimped on a new connector to the old wire, along with a new wire.   That new wire was then fed to the indicator lamp.    On the electrical diagram I have, I connected the two three way connectors below Item 49 to Items 36 and 38 (red, green lines), and disconnected the original feed wires to 36 and 38 (orange slash).

It all works great now!

Another fix would be to source a modern electronic flasher which is pin-compatible with the old Bosch flasher.   I couldn’t find one in my searches and the surgery above wasn’t difficult at all.


Rotolight repair

June 25th, 2008

Trög has really nice Pinttsch Bamag rotolights on the top.    These lights feature 3 aspheric glass lenses which rotate around the central light.     This yeilds a nice flash pattern, better than the rotating reflector design of most other lights.

The left light rotates fine, but was failing to shine.   What I thought was going to be a simple change of bulb ended up being a several hour repair.   It turns out the ground connection at the bottom was a pieces of galvanized steel crimped against a galvanized nut.   Over time, the crimp loosened and corrosion degraded this connection.    The “fix” was to weld the crimp to the nut.   Easier than disassembling further and cleaning everything up, especially since it’d soon corrode again.

Oh, and another Tollarp rant.   What goofball thought it a good idea to make the ground wire red and the power wire black???!??!?


Can Haz Cheezburger

June 23rd, 2008

Today I installed the “Cheeseburger” style LED tail and backup lights.

Rather than pay outlandish prices and shipping for them via a British vendor, my friend Colby imported a bunch from China.   He’s selling them here.   They are quite nicely made and seem to be robust with quality gasketing and weep holes.  They are exact fits into the existing mount and grommet holes.   Mounting hardware is stainless steel.  My only complaint was 2 of them did not include mounting hardware (2 4mm nuts and some washers, as well as the screws that hold the lens on).   I could have very well lost them when transporting the lights to the shop.  Update:  Colby found the screw packets on his workbench.    They must have fallen out while we were bench testing the lights.

Here’s a shot comparing the old and new.    I have the brake pedal pressed.

It’s a little hard to objectively compare brightness with a photo, but this shot pretty much captures the difference in brightness.    The old one was a dim glow while the new LED light was almost too bright to look at.   I took these pictures off the centerline, behind the LED light, so it may be an slightly unfair comparison.   In person, the new LED lights are noticeably brighter.

It’s a bit less about half as bright when just the running lights are on.

The turn signals also work, with the existing stock blinker module.

Update:   Oddly, the right turn turn signal doesn’t flash when the running lights are on.   The current draw of the cheeseburgers must be right on the edge of what will work with the stock mechanical blinker module.    A 10W ballast resistor of 10 ohms connected from the flasher terminal to ground should fix this.   For 24V systems you’d want to use a ~40 ohm resistor.   I need to verify the appropriate resistor values  next time I go to the shop.

I didn’t get a photo of the backup light, but it is pretty good.   The old light was a reflector light (like a headlight), so it was fairly bright.

Getting everything to blink correctly was a challenge.   Trög is a mess of crappy wiring done by the Tollarp folks who did the fire truck conversion.  Crap such as lots of unsoldered/uncrimped connections barely held together with electrical tape or wires run willy nilly with extra lengths of wire woven thru the existing Volvo wiring.     Add various modifications and equipment removals over the day and it’s really hairy.   I spent a fair bit of time tracking down a completely incorrectly wired front indicator light which caused the right brake light to blink when the left turn signal was on!


Rear bumper installed!

June 23rd, 2008

Rear bumper installed, with flip-down step flipped down


You can’t handle the booth!*

June 14th, 2008

I rigged up a paint booth in the shop, using a pop-up shade structure I got at Costco as the frame. This frame makes a nice, easy to set up and take down booth.

Unfortunately, the shop is pretty dirty and is actively being used by a few people right now, including some woodwork, so it still wasn’t enough to keep all the nits out of paint. This meant I had to do quite a few paint/sand cycles to get an acceptable finish. It’s definitely not “show quality”, but it’s also better than “military quality”. It ended up a bit more glossy than I would have preferred. Here’s some parts waiting to dry hanging from an A-frame I made.

I used automotive 2 part catalyzed polyurethane paint. Polyurethane paints are significantly more durable than single part enamels or lacquers. The catalyst is pretty nasty stuff, so I dressed up in a bunny suit and used a respirator. I also invested in a good quality SATA HVLP gun, which was much nicer to work with than the suction fed gun I used on the wheels.

This takes care of nearly all of the exterior black parts, so the next task is to bolt everything back on. Then I get to tackle the interior rust and actually begin the systems installation.

* You Can’t Handle the Truth


Black and White Quadrant Origin?

June 13th, 2008

A note from Willem about the black/white sectors on the rims

The black/white pattern of the rims is not just to spot a moving vehicle, at
night and/or in smoke/fog/water-spray; the story I was told when I purchased
mine, from a fire-chief annex castle-owner annex military naval officer annex
car-museum owner (his entire (semi-royal) family owned 200 oldtimers total!),
and confirmed by the intermediator, is that many decades ago, someone in Sweden
studied the safety regulations for dangerous devices & substances a bit too
anally, and concluded that *if* any high-pressure device must be marked with a
black/white cross label, than surely tires too, especially high-pressure truck
tires….so with that regulation in hand, he started ordering that all rims be
painted black/white….:))
The regulation might have never be intended that way, nor even be valid today,
but the paint culture was never changed afterwards….:))

Sounds a bit apocryphal to me, fire chiefs having lots of time in the station to spin yarns, but it’s a good story.

Check out the rear pimp wheel. Colby came down to the shop the other day to fabricate 4 low-rider wheels for his Volvo out of the lil’ donut spare tires from modern cars. His garage has a low ceiling/entrance, so he has to put these baby wheels on to roll it out of his garage!