About Scott

I'm a computer guy with a new house and a love of DIY projects. I like ranting, and long drives on your lawn. I don't post everything I do, but when I do, I post it here. Maybe.

Chevy Volt Charge Cord – Hot During Charge

I thought I’d throw this one out there because it seems I’m not the only one observing this problem.  My Volt’s 120V charge cord and the short plug lead are running hot during charging. You can see some other people’s input here, on this archived forum thread (I was not involved in the thread, but it came up first in a related Google search): http://gm-volt.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-6581.html This is my charging setup (still waiting on the 240V Voltec Charging Station): To connect to the Volt, about half the length of the charge cord has to be unwound. I noticed yesterday that the plug (the NEMA 5-15R) was very warm.  The plug lead was warmer still.  I went on to feel the charge … Continue reading

Why I hate FedEx (Particularly FedEx Ground)

I shop online a lot.  I mean a lot. I mostly have things shipped to my office, which saves me the dreaded door tag at home.  Granted, the door tag isn’t my problem with FedEx, though I would never ever ever ever have them deliver to my house (ever) again. Home Delivery “You want that thing crushed, and in two weeks, right?” Out of maybe 8 FedEx home deliveries I’ve had in my life, 2 were crushed so badly that the boxes split open, 3 took more than nine days to arrive, and in one godforsaken incident we received a door tag.  Right before we left for vacation.  And it was a gift. That’s right.  Since you can’t re-route or … Continue reading

Chevy Volt Metered Charging (Phase I)

Chevy Volt 120V Charger Mounted on the Wall

My wife and I recently brought home a brand new Chevy Volt (named “Sparky“), the plug-in electric hybrid vehicle (PHEV) from Chevrolet.  It’s a really cool car, and you can read about our first experiences with it here. Of course, the whole point point behind a PHEV is the actual plugging in.  The Volt comes with a 120V charger that plugs into your average 15A receptacle, and can fully charge the car in about 10 hours. Chevrolet’s charging station partner, SPX, sells a variety of Level 2 charging stations compatible with the Volt (and most plug-in electric vehicles, including the Nissan Leaf).  The Level 2 charging stations use 240V, and can charge the Volt in about 4 hours.  We’re going to be … Continue reading

Stupid, Angering Garage Door Opener Project

“An automatic garage door opener makes you feel like you’re working in a futuristic wonderworld”.  – Frank Ormand, Pretzel Magnate With the purchase of Amanda’s new Volt, I had to get the garage ready for a permanent resident.  She had kept her old Saab in the driveway, so I pretty much had the run of the place until now.  Protection from the elements aside, the garage is just a logical place to stick an electric car whilst it’s charging. And my father raised me on automatic garage door openers, so I figured installing one would be the right thing to do. Here’s a before picture of the garage: Nothing to laugh at, I suppose.  But the stupid door would just … Continue reading

Sparky, Amanda’s Brand New Chevy Volt

We have a new baby in the house, and not the pooping/barfing kind of baby. It’s a brand-spankin’-new Chevrolet Volt, purchased from Arnold Chevrolet in West Babylon, NY.  They had the last black Volt in all of Long Island. First Impression I didn’t really have any pre-conceived notions about Chevys, and have never owned one.  But we did have a 2005 Acura TL for a few years, and that’s the closest vehicle to which I can compare the Volt in overall build quality, fit, finish and features.  The Volt is comparable in price to a TL (discounting the $7,500 tax credit), and in my opinion is in the same class.  Hell, the front end of the Volt even looks similar to the … Continue reading

The Mac vs. PC Debate (Makes No Sense, and PCs are Better)

I grew up on the Mac vs. PC debate.  Hell, I before that I grew up on Apples.  But “Mac or PC” was the first decisive computer issue on which I can remember taking a side. The first computer I ever programmed was an Apple IIe.  I guess I’m dating myself here, but at the time that computer was the greatest thing since .. sliced apples?  Not only was I programming on a IIe, but I was programming robots, using a Fischertechnik robotics kit.  (Oh, and I was doing it at summer camp, putting me that much higher in the nerd-hierarchy).  5.25″ floppies, CATALOG, LIST, GOTO 10;  The whole deal. At some point we got our first computer at home:  A 386SX … Continue reading

Garage Subpanel with EMT

I have a 1 car attached garage (about 25×12) that I’ve been using for various projects. I’ve been wanting to upgrade the electrical since I moved in about 7 months ago, and I figured I’d do it in EMT. It’s rather stupid because the wall I’m installing most of the conduit on is adjacent to the house — however it’s framed separately, and there is a ~2″ gap between the back of the framing and the side of the house. It would make a perfect wiring chase for NM-B, making the job a hell of a lot cheaper and easier. But I wanted EMT because, well, for fun. It looks cool too. This is the first project I’ve ever piped … Continue reading

Basement Update

We’ve been in the house for about 3 months, and I’ve made some progress in the basement. Here are a few pictures just for posterity: The server rack (well, shelving unit) isn’t pretty, but it gets the job done.  I’m not exactly the computer version of Scrooge McDuck over here, so I stick with desktops.  The UPS on the right is a real old beater — I’ve replaced the batteries 3 times so far.  It’s a nice double-conversion full sine wave model, so I keep it around.   My workstation setup.  My primary machine needs upgrading badly:  A Dell GX280, P4 3.0Ghz, 3GB RAM.  It works for now.  All the monitors are hooked up to something or other, but I … Continue reading

Rotor Puller Kludge

Background I’ve only recently begun doing my own maintainance and repairs on my Jeep XJ 2000. I’ve hit a few snags and problems along the way, and this page details a solution for the most frustrating I’ve encountered so far. I went to replace both my front rotors, and they were both well beyond stuck to the hub. I’d been hammering, pushing, pulling, and spraying the old rotors on one fine Saturday for over 3 hours (4 hours if you count the time I took to go to the auto parts store and stop for a beer). Finally it was close to getting dark when one of my neighbors came along and advised that I should rent a rotor puller … Continue reading