Daily Archives: January 18, 2017

It’s just a dinky piece of brass that’s keeping me off the bike now

All I need to ride my bike now is to pump up the tires. All I need to pump up the tires is a small brass adapter that lets a Schrader pump fit a presta valve stem. All I need to get the presta adapter is to be able to walk the two miles to get to and from DART.

That’s it. All that is keeping me off my bike is the two miles separating origin from destination before/after using transit. And that I can barely get from the front door to the mailbox at the moment. Just walking to the kitchen from my office is A Pain. I’m not doing a “poor, pitiful me” here. I’m angry. What I’m angry about is the fact that a trip to the store is a 2 mile walk or more pretty much wherever I’m going, because this entire town is built around everyone driving everywhere in a car, for everything, and transit is kinda stuck wherever it will fit, not where it’s needed.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is some retail about 0.6 miles (1 km) from the house as the worm flies. There’s a Dollar General at that distance and also a C-Store slash gas station going a different route right next to a laundromat and donut shop, and about 0.8 miles to 2 more C-Stores/Gas Stations, a Family Dollar, and a couple of restaurants. But the round trip is still over a mile to anything. And that’s bad. Especially if the trip was to buy something heavy or bulky. That’s one reason why I have kept my ALICE ruck in good condition in case I need to grocery shopping and there’s nobody available to haul the stuff back while I can’t use Francis/es.

On to the Other Subject, the hot rod and talking to the computer after I do a Dr. Frankenstein and swap it out of the minivan and into the hot rod, where it will lose its mind. I did some googling and found there are many devices that will connect a cell phone to the computer to read and clear the codes and software that I can load to change the fuel/spark maps. I will need to add the SD card to my phone to load the software because it is a monster app, but that’s tons cheaper than the dedicated reader/writer hardware at the parts store. This part of the project just started looking a lot more do-able than it did at the beginning of the week. Now whether I’m going to be able to tell the computer just once that it is in a 1500 pound hot rod instead of a 3900 pound minivan, or if I will have to do that every time I have to start the car is a question yet to be answered. But the existence of the hardware and software at a price in my budget makes me feel better about the project.

I mean, 15 years ago whodathunkit? Connecting your phone to your car to fix the car? It would have been science fiction. But today it’s just hooking one computer to another computer to fix things that are controlled by the one computer. The facts that one computer is sometimes your phone and the other computer runs your car are incidental.

So, a rant about walkability and transit, and looking at the DIY wonder of diagnosing and repairing your car by using your cell phone. Lot of ground between those two subjects.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

While I was stuck in the house I did some reading

I was reading actual dead-tree format books on installing and calibrating a stand-alone EFI system. Now I’m bummed out. It is starting to look like my best bet is getting a scan tool and figuring out how to bypass the error codes that will pop up when the factory controller finds out it is no longer sitting in a 1996 Chrysler Town and Country minivan but something a lot less in terms of mass and systems. There is already one minor system down that’s causing the Check Engine light to come on, what is going to happen when almost everything in the car is disconnected? I mean seriously my car will have no climate control, no doors or windows to check to see if they are closed and locked, no alarms on the seatbelts, and pretty much no anything else that doesn’t directly contribute to making the car go or stop, and on the stop side none of the hardware used in controlling the antilock brakes either. I might have to use the factory dash to get working instruments on this thing (but I still want to use the fake AM radio for starting the engine).

Now why would I be all bent out of shape on this after reading some books? Because the books pointed out I’m going to be going into this with no baseline fuel or spark maps to load into my standalone engine controller and no information about the injector flow. They do say how to create those maps the way the OEMs do, there is just one stumbling block: I would need to rent a chassis dyno for as long as it would take to create those maps, which could easily cost as much as the rest of the car, one place advertises $179/hr, another $100/hr, and a third place advertises $150/hr. The place with the $179 rate has a flat rate $700 tune for a speed-density system (like the Megasquirt) and I don’t know if any of them could program a flex-fuel map that would let me refuel with 93 octane if E85 wasn’t available.

There are piggyback controllers that would let me remap the fuel and spark for E85 and also leave the original maps in place for fallback when E85 was not available. But I would still need to use a dyno to tune it accurately. I could just multiply by the difference in Stoichiometric ratios to get a ballpark figure for E85 and get pretty good performance, but that would still be leaving horsepower and fuel economy in the engine.

Well, it is late and I may have things to do in the morning. so bye! Opus the Unkillable