A little post night post

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So, after some delightfully 30 degree heat night shifts (our department is currently running a daily average temperature between 29-30°C (that would be 86°F)) I came home to our positively cool house (running in the high 20s) to an e-mail from the first company I’ve mailed trying to get free solar panels saying ‘No’. The irritating thing is it’s the same as the previous e-mail that said ‘no’. It doesn’t say “We acknowledge your comment about the garage but it’s not enough space/we don’t install out outbuildings/we are morally opposed to banana based installations”; which would be useful in trying to determine if the answer really is ‘no’ or if it’s “we can only be bothered to look at google maps, and since that picture doesn’t show a building, we’re assuming there’s no building there”.

Now I know that I’m trying to get a thing for free that’s costly, but it would be useful to know. With this in mind I’ve asked another company, and been a little more explicit about what’s there and that it’s wired with a 40A supply (not a 13A bit of electric string like a lot of people’s garages).

So I’m waiting on that.

ETA: They rang back and said ‘we can pop around tomorrow at 11 and look at the site’ which is pretty nifty. It’ll be an answer, at any rate.

I’ve also spent a little time on the electrics situation. So, we’re switching to Economy 7 for our electricity (apparently not a thing outside the UK). This is because charging the car on our 100% green tariff is pricier than I/we’d like. Of course, it does allow us to drive along on waves of smug, but given that our income doesn’t really match our lifestyle, a cost saving seemed wise. It’s still 100% green, but now it’s pricer during the day and cheaper at night. To this end I’ve bought a DIN rail timer switch and a separate circuit breaker – this is either for the car charger (if Polar ever get back to me) or for a timed socket (if they don’t)**.

Of course, the thing about a timed socket or car charger is that we then need to persuade the CABLED iMiev to talk to a Level 2 charger. There are a couple of ways this might happen. First, and most desirable as far as I’m concerned, is that Mitsubishi might fix it. However, Mitsubishi seem to be as recalcitrant about answering tweets or providing direct online support as most other car manufacturers. They don’t seem to realise that twitter is an excellent tool* for building a fan base. Basically, I’m hoping that it’s actually a firmware issue – and the car can be upgraded to talk to a Level 2 charger. I suspect however, that this is not the case. The car’s old enough that the standard for the L2 charger wasn’t ratified, so it may not even have the wiring in place to work.

In that instance, there’s another two options. Fix one is to install an aftermarket level-2 charger controller. This is probably the most desirable and not terribly expensive at only $40. Second is a much cheaper fix, which is a bodge that lies to the charger using a little switch that makes the charger *think* it’s getting the information it’s meant to get (basically, you drop the voltage enough and it’ll turn on the charger).

Option 2 is about 5 quid in parts and potting compound, but is very much a bodge and slightly worries me in the sense of ‘well, yes, but what if they update the firmware in the chargers and make it more intelligent’.

As I’m still waiting to hear from Mitsubishi – well no decision so far. If I haven’t heard by tomorrow I guess I’ll book the car in at the dealer and say ‘oi, tell me what’s up’.

[ETA: So I heard from Mitsubishi who very nicely said ‘e-mail us and we’ll see what we can do’ or words to that effect. Now waiting to hear a reply to my e-mail]

However, I’ve been driving said wee beastie around and it is quite lovely, if slightly disconcerting to a long-time ICE driver. It’s the quiet. Having had so many slightly ropey cars – silence is the ‘something is very wrong’ indicator – but I’m getting over it. I’m getting to enjoy the fact it’s the gentle sound of the wind and little else. It’s listening to the chugga-chugga of everyone else around you and feeling like you’re sat in the near-future. It’s knowing that you don’t have to fill up at a petrol station.

It’s also sometimes resisting the temptation to go ‘Whoosh’ away from the lights in a terribly childish, ‘ooh, it’s quite quick’ way.

And it turns out that with a bit of practice I’m not nearly as awful at putting the (as yet unnamed) car in the garage as I was the first time. Nor is it nearly as snug as it seemed to me the first time I did it. Although I’ll be happier when we’ve moved the central line of boxes.

* Kyocera, in contrast, answered (helpfully) my tweet about a 10 year old printer. Also said if their suggestion doesn’t work to get back to them…which I must (a)try and (b)almost certainly get back to them.

** I also need to sort out a timer for the dishwasher, because it’s old enough to be a totally mechanical timer.


Kate is lord and mistress of all she surveys at pyoor.org...