Spend some time with Grandma

Jon came over after work for a little boat tripOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Unfortunately this is as far as we got.

Heath found a great crib on Criagslist yesterday and paid about 15% of what we thought we may spend on a new one.


We are kind of excited to put it together but don’t really have anywhere to put it until the nursery is done and before it will be done we need to get started.

So like I mentioned Jon came over after work with the plan being to do a little work on the boat and then take it out. The first problem was that my Ranger was gone and with it was my ability to hook up trailer


lights to a vehicle. So Jon and I headed to Car Quest and asked about wires for a Nissan. They didn’t have anything in stock (just like Wal-Mart and O’Reillys) but they offered to order a $60 part for me. I passed figuring if it was not going to get the trailer on the Frontier tonight I could order the part online myself.

We headed home and Jon backed the bronco up and we tried out his untested wire light connection. I think at first we got nothing but we spent 2 and a half hours working on the wires between the bronco and the lights at the end of the trailer that it’s hard to remember what the initial problem was. There was times when the lights would do the opposite of what


they were supposed to like the right blinker flashed when the left should or the lights would stop working if the headlights were on or one would come on and the other would not when the brakes were pressed. I think we started out with nothing working right so it made it hard to diagnose. Jon’s bronco connection was really corroded so we cleaned it up. We did this with some coke and by rubbing off the rust and stuff with a screw. We also took out the light bulbs and cleaned them up and made sure they were getting contact where they should. We had a volt meter and tested everything everywhere and it was really tough figuring out where the problem was. Jon was fairly sure it was a ground problem and this made sense and that is what we focused our search on and eventually it turned out to be correct.

Before I describe the problem I’ll give you a little information on the ground as far as I understand. So the power on a trailer lights comes from the battery so it is direct current (DC). You have seen a battery and it has 2 sides with a + and a – on each side. So for the lights to light up the power has to come out from one side on the battery pass through the light bulb then return to the battery on the opposite side. It’s that simple even on the trailer but they do things in an interesting way.

So wires from Jon’s battery run to plug at the back of his car then plug into my trailer at the plug they split into 2 groups. 1 group runs back to the lights and the other group is just one wire that gets screwed down to the metal trailer.

So the power from the battery goes along the wires in the first group and follows the wires to the light bulb and pass through it then the other side of the light bulb is directly connected to the other side of my trailer and the power goes into the trailer and uses the trailer as a big wire to take it back to the battery. In the diagram above you can imagine the trailer wires as the left side of the connection and my whole trailer as the right side of the connection.

This worked great for years and years I’m sure but lately it has been a bit problematic and last night it was really messed up and we finally figured out why. There is a spot where the trailer splits and connects the back to the front. This spot is rusty and there is not a good path for the power to flow from the back of the trailer to the front so it does unpredictable things.


Once we discovered this it made a huge amount of sense. That’s why the lights seem bad  sometimes and fine at others. After sitting all winter it had gotten all rusty and had a bad connection but if we had just driven around a bit it may have broken off some rust and made a good connection again. Instead of driving around we attached this yellow wire from the back part of the trailer to the ground part of the plug up front so the current does not need to go through the front of the trailer and once that was in place everything worked fantastically.

That is until we tried to start the boat motor. It was late and we were starving so we hopped in the van and cruised over to BK with Heath for some Whoppers before getting to work on the next project.

Side Story: I like the Angry Whopper and feel it is a good deal. It’s only a $1 more then the normal one but comes with cheese bacon, onion rings and jalapenos. Also it tastes great.

Ok back to the boat

We had the motor running a few weeks ago and really have not changed much since but we could not get it to start last night. I had a new battery and we got it connected and had gas to it and was in neutral and when I turned the key the starter would spin and the motor would spin but it never fired. Jon and I have worked on this thing a few times so we know what to test and how to test it but strangely completely confusing situations like this still come up where we have no idea what is causing the problem.  We worked well past dark before giving up and closing up for the night. Amanda had shown up a while earlier to hang with Heath and we all visited in the driveway a bit before heading to bed.

As you all probably assumed this morning I got out the duck tape and crawled back under the van I found the electrical tape to be doing a good job but when ahead and coated everything in a good layer of duct tape for good measure.


Then I took her to the gas station and put 20 gallons in the 35 gallon tank. It sprinkled a bit from the tape spot but not too bad at all. However at 20 gallons it started leaking from the tank way up front in a totally different spot. So Yikes we may have more gas issues. None the less I drove it to work and it’s been doing good.

FYI – My google reader let me know this morning that my wife has updated her blog at http://mysideofthings.wordpress.com/2009/05/27/monkeys-the-professional-photo-shoot/ I have not read it yet but I’m sure it’s got some good updates in it.

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