Winter defibrillators

Winter seems to have arrived.

I’m not talking about the temperature, though it has gone a little chillier over the last couple of days.

I’m not talking about the rain, even though it has become a little damper of late.

The leaves are still on the trees and are barely turning colour, though there are more leaves on the grass.

No.  The first real sign of Winter was yesterday when I went out to drive to the village – the fucking car battery was dead.

I don’t know what it is about my car but the battery never works in Winter.  I have tried changing the battery but that made no difference.  I just means that after every couple of journeys I have to plug the car into the mains and charge the battery which, to put it mildly is a pain in the hole.

About a year ago I bought myself a defibrillator.

JumpStarter

It is fucking brilliant.

Now when I have an urgent need to go somewhere and the battery is in its usual Winter state of morbidity I open the bonnet, shout at the top of my voice “Charging to 12 volts…. CLEAR!”, hook the leads up and just start the car.  It works every time.  I give myself a high five [whatever the fuck that is] and go my merry way.

I did that yesterday.  When I first got into the car, turning the key produced a series of frantic clicking noises and fuck all else.  I did my routine of hooking up the defibrillator, and I swear I barely got the key into the ignition before the engine was purring happily.

I left the car hooked up to the mains overnight though I doubt that will do much good.  It will be dead again in a few days.

I also hooked the defibrillator up to the mains though it didn’t need charging [I think the last time I charged it was around last March], and from now on will carry it permanently in the car.  I usually put it behind the driver’s seat so every time I slam on the brakes, it shoots forward and digs into the small of my back with a thump.  It’s a small price to pay.

Maybe I should just put it in the boot?

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Comments

Winter defibrillators — 11 Comments

  1. I have a feeling that after a month the ol' VW won't crank.  I'll have to give it a jolt first thing.  Those things are a life saver.  I have a bad habit of leaving the lights on in the beetle.  🙂

    • Leaving the lights on is a curse.  Another modern innovation I like is that the car squeals at me if I open the driver's door with the lights on!

  2. Ah, the joys of owning an old Ford.  I hadn't thought of a defibrillator but I carry an entire tool kit in the back of my Explorer.  For me it's been the passenger side window that is giving me grief.  First it stopped working and I traced it to a bad switch so I replaced the switch and all was well for a few months.  Then it stopped working again and now I've figured out that it is a bad motor in the door.  I refuse to pay the $300 they want for a new one so I'm looking at finding a used one but until then the only working power window is the drivers side.

    • I haven't checked lately but the last time I looked the boot was bone dry.  Fingers crossed that I finally cracked that one.

  3. Methinks you need to do some investigation as to why it won't start without a little help. Is the "fan" belt properly tensioned? Very few people realise how much power a car alternator takes to drive, and it's this time of year when it gets called on to do most work. Mid 80's Vauxhalls used to be a favourite for squealing belts the first day the clocks went back. The other thing to check is whether you have something on that shouldn't be – a courtesy light in the boot is one possibility. If it's modern, and has an alarm \ imobiliser, they will draw a small current all the time. If you use the car daily, and do a reasonable distance, this won't be a problem, but short journeys, and long periods of standing will take just enough out of the battery to prevent it turning the engine over. 

    What you really need to do is measure the current (if any) flowing through one of the main battery cables with everything turned off. This requires a digital multimeter set to a low current range. Ideally there shouldn't be anything readable, but much more than 10 milliamps is likely to cause problems. You can also measure the voltage with the engine running – the majority of alternators are set at between 14.3 & 14.5 volts, and should be able to maintain that with lights and heater fan switched on. Anything below 13.5 volts is not really good enough. 

     

     

     

     

    • My theory is that I tend to take shorter journeys in Winter which reduces the charging period.  Add to that the fact that a colder engine generates a greater drain and there is the problem – I'm taking more out than I'm putting in.  It's a bugger, but short of taking a tour around the mountain just to charge the battery, there isn't much I can do about it.

    • Nothing like a good jolt first thing in the morning.  Time the light to come on too.  It's bright enough to take the eye out of you.

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