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I moved some wires in my basement. Ended up increasing my download speed from 11 Mbps to what you see here. Now, if only I could get my upload running faster…

Side note: I also happen to like Paul Oakenfold. 🙂


As a big fan of XKCD, I have to share this with everyone else out there. I don’t have the coding experience to do this kind of thing for myself, so here is a fellow XKCD lover’s take on it.'s Blog

Today’s xkcd comic has probably the largest comic frame ever drawn. You can explore it via clicking and dragging, as the title suggests. It is so large, that it takes a really long time to go through it. So I decided to create an overview map, to aid you in navigation.

This is what I did:
I figured out, that the map pieces follow the URL pattern[n|s]Y[e|w].png,

where n, s, e, w are characters to select the quadrant, and X and Y are positive integers (>=1) with no zero padding. The images are each 2048×2048 pixels in size and are arranged in an orthogonal grid.

The bounds can be found in the JavaScript file

var size=[14, 48, 25, 33];

These are the bounds of [n, e, s, w] respectively, however, I did only find images for [13, 48, 19, 33], a little bit less in the n-s…

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Forklift-Powered Go-Cart?

So I had a commenter earlier (Hi Ben, o wizard of DIY EVs!) say that I should put a forklift motor on my go-kart. Well, Ben…it’s been done. Now this guy has a “race cart,” which is different from what I’ve got. However, he did just what you suggested – and the results are pretty crazy.



Side note: 70,000 Watts is ~94 HP. With driver, that cart probably weighs about 400 lbs. That’s roughly 4.255 lbs/hp, if you’re into power-to-weight ratios.

I’m alive! I’m here! Welcome back all. Not much has happened due to new jobs, home remodeling, and paying bills. The Jetta has been re-arranged in the garage, and the go-kart has been moved to a more accessible location. Hopefully from here on things will pick up – albeit slowly.

The current (heh) situation of the go-kart is this: The controller from the mobility scooter is strapped up and working. It’s 24V, 50 amp continuous, with a 30 second 75 amp peak. The motor is rated for 1.25 HP at 120VDC. Drive sprocket was 14 tooth, connected to a 60 tooth axle sprocket. This gave a drive ratio of ~4.286:1, and no usable speed (kart moved, but only if no one was sitting in it.

I’ve found a 10-tooth drive sprocket, but have to get the center bore enlarged. That’ll increase the ratio to 6:1, which will boost torque by 40%, even though it’ll reduce our top speed by 27%.

With any luck, I’ll be able to get the 10 tooth sprocket machined this weekend and maybe be able to test it out on Monday or Tuesday.

The throttle needs some sort of permanent mounting, but I haven’t figured that out yet.

So I was sitting at work one day during April, and realized that it was getting to be springtime. I remembered that Macungie, PA had their little EV-Event about that time of year, so I went looking to see if I had missed it yet this year. Lo and behold, it was on May 5th – I hadn’t missed it yet! Not only had I not missed it, but I also had no plans for that weekend! Talked to my wife, made some phone calls, and was ready to go. Of the three of us working together, only Jason was able to go along – which is too bad for Scott.

We both had a GREAT time. It was excellent to see what everyone did the same, and what everyone did differently in their conversions. Jay and I both learned a lot from everyone we talked to – our thanks go out to everyone for being patient with us as we asked all sorts of questions. My only regrets are that we couldn’t bring an EV with us ourselves, and that we had to leave all too soon.

I tried to do a better job of taking pictures this year than I did last year. I didn’t get everything, but I did get quite a fair bit. I think the turnout was really strong – and I hope that interest was sparked in other folks that came to look at everything.

Without further ado, pictures!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I haven’t captioned everything (anything); but I hope to eventually have that done. If your vehicle is here, and you have a web page all about it, contact me and I’ll make up a post “spotlighting” you/your EV! If you’d rather not have that, I can just add in any information about your conversion to the comments on the photos (link to a blog about it, evalbum page, or whatnot).

Special thanks should go out to the following:

  • Chris Freyman for helping facilitate the design of the Open Revolt DC motor controller (which we’re building a version of for the Jetta)
  • Brandon Hollinger for answering nine million questions and helping to get us “charged up” again to work on/finish our conversion
  • Jenny Issacs for helping to plan the EV-Events and for creating Bucks County Renewables
My only regret is that I couldn’t spend more time learning and talking to you all and that I live so far away!

I know it’s been a long time since there have been any updates, but fear not! I and my compatriots that are working on the project are still here. I’ve changed jobs and have a smaller commute, so hopefully I’ll have more time to not only post updates about our progress, but also time to make progress as well.

We’re going to keep going with the Jetta, even though it needs some body work. I’ve got easy access to a shop with all the necessary utilities to make easy work of the needed repairs, so that’s not something I’m concerning myself with very hard. It does mean that we need to totally strip the interior however – seats, carpet, and all.

At least it appears to be easy work to start with that can be done in small pieces! One seat here, one seat there, feels like progress – even if it is small progress.
We’ll be in touch!

Last night, a large portion of the United States was granted the opportunity to see a sight that is quite rare, unless you live somewhere very North and very cold. Due to Earth being right in the path of a major Coronal Mass Ejection from the Sun, the magnetic field of our planet was bombarded with radiation and particulates, compressing it to a high degree. As it ‘rebounded’ from this compressed state, the magnetic flux interacted with the atmosphere and its contents – leading to a spectacularly large display of the Aurora Borealis – Northern lights.

This particular even was so strong and so large that these “Northern” lights were visible across a large part of the globe – and as far south as Atlanta, Georgia! It wasn’t very strong in my area compared to others, but it was quite a sight to see the sky lit up all red across a large expanse.

I don’t have the equipment or a good location to get pictures of them myself, but here are links to some good collections:

Popular Science on the October 24th Northern Lights

The United Nations Day Aurora Borealis of 10/24/11 (Facebook)
I feel quite privileged to have been able to see such a spectacular display of God’s wonder. Not only that, but this is actually the second time that I have had the opportunity to see the Aurora Borealis from my hometown in Pennsylvania. Several years ago was my first experience with seeing them. This time, what we could see was a large, amorphous, shape-shifting splotch of red moving and shifting in the sky. The first time I got to see the lights was an orange ribbon-like streak across the sky that looked as if it was waving in the breeze.

It’s a pretty amazing world we live in, isn’t it?

I drove a Volt!

So I ended  up running to the grocery store on Friday. It so happens that the local GM dealer is across the street – and I was shocked to see the following sight:

A Volt! Here, in little old Berwick, population ~12,000. GM must be really trying to get them out, if a small town like mine has a demo unit, either they’ve got lots of spares running around, or they’re really hurting for sales.

So Saturday I get some free time, and take it for a spin. WAHOO! It was great to feel the rush of EV power. Very quiet, just a few “spaceship noises” – gentle electric whines and a few whirrs. The center console is a little odd – it was gloss white; seemed a little out of place.

I tried to use mountain mode to force the gas engine to fire up, but no luck – I must not have driven it far/hard enough. Just a little jaunt around town, I did 3.2 miles on 0.8 kWh. That works out to 4.0 miles/kWh even; 250 Wh/mile. I could have done a little better had I taken more time or if I had been gentler on it – but where’s the fun in that on a test drive? 😀

I think that with some time and experience, it can EASILY be pushed far beyond the 40 miles quoted EV range. I’ve heard from folks that have done 60-70 miles electric range. I think that $32,000 would be a better price point, but I’m just one guy. If you live in the Berwick area, I suggest you go check it out if for no other reason than to get the “EV Grin” – there’s no feeling like stepping on the accelerator and feeling all that power coming on instantly – with no roar of exhaust to go along with it.

Over the weekend I managed to find time to get out to the garage for some EV time. The other week my cousin brought the 1997 VW Jetta donor car up to my garage to get it out of the way where it was as well as get it stored for working on.

A little worse for wear from sitting, but not really beat to pieces. I pop the hood and what do I find but some of those gremlins that everyone talks of!

It was getting dark when I took the photos and didn’t have my real camera with me. The girls had fun seeing what the car was like in its current condition. I wanted to open the sunroof and take some pictures that way, but I ran into a problem: I knew the battery had been removed, but the battery cables were gone too!

That was mid-week. Saturday I found some time to get out there with Jay and Scott, my buddies that are also in on this project. After a bit of contemplation and shop talk, we decided to quick-rig some wires with a small battery I had so that we could open a window or two as well as the roof. It’s hard to communicate easily from inside the car to outside with all the doors shut and windows all the way up.

Well, we get everything wired up, and get it all ready to plug in. Connect the last wire, and


Jay and I both jumped (Scott hadn’t gotten there yet). So we unplug the horn and try again. BREEEEEEP! Sound is coming from under the fender near the firewall! Oh joy, it’s got a car alarm! Scott shows up, we ponder what to do, and decide to pull the fuse for it. I grab a flashlight, stick my head under the dash, and there’s nothing. The fuse box was empty! Read the manual, not really of much help. It does say that the sunroof is not part of the alarm. So we put a fuse in #21 for “body electrical, interior lights” and re-connect the battery. One beep! and then just the door chime. Yes! However, new problem: Sunroof still won’t open.

We move on to getting the car lifted to pull the rest of the exhaust off. Got the front end up on stands no problem. Crawl under the middle to see about taking the exhaust pipe apart, and I see a sight I didn’t expect that makes my heart drop:

The Rust Fairy came and visited the car while it was parked. I’ve heard mention of the Rust Fairy, and I’ve seen little bits of what happens when her fairy dust falls or her pet Tin Worm comes through, but nothing like this before.

A two-foot long gash in the floorpan, as well as a 5 inch diameter hole where you can reach up and touch the carpeting from underneath the car. Not sure what to do, and the mood ruined for all of us, we called it a night and closed up shop.

Top Gear and the EV1

Just got cross-linked to this post  from elsewhere on the web. Even back then, Top Gear wasn’t a fan of EVs. However, it definitely IS fun to see him torch the Volvo.