Installing Our New 240V/Level 2 Voltec Charge Station (Phase II)

This is a follow-up to my previous post, Chevy Volt Metered Charging (Phase I). In the first phase, I ran a new dedicated circuit from the subpanel in my garage to the opposite wall to connect a 120V charging station.  In this phase, I removed the existing receptacle, rewired for 240V, installed the Voltec Level 2 charging station, and wired the kWh meter inline. It’s not my intent to write a full set of instructions for installation here.  The purpose of this post is to illustrate some of the installation steps with real-world pictures, which are somewhat hard to come by online (the pictures are rather small, but you can click on any of them for a larger version). As … 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

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