July 15, 2005

Yet another unfruitful blogging day.

Meeting minutes from Wednesday to work on, then a meeting at 9, and another at 10, then my lunch with J&J, then have to go to Leeds, and then have ANOTHER one of the architects who's coming by to the church building at 2:00, all of which means that THIS pitiful post is going to be pretty much it for the day. And there's so much mindless yammering left to do!

Like, for instance, my Volvo's mysterious electrical ground connection problem corrected itself on the way home yesterday! As you recall, after I installed the new tachometer, when I would turn on the light switch, there was a short somewhere that caused the tach to die. (Now, why such a slow beast, with an automatic transmission needs a tachometer, much less a big 'un, is unknown. But it certainly looks nicer than a big clock. Which is actually more useful for measuring acceleration.)

ANYway, I drove it to work yesterday just to keep it limber, and was hoping to be able to get home without having to use the headlights. But, as is the usual case, our normal afternoon drive-time deluge began when I was almost to home. Wipers on, and lights on, annnnd, yep--the tach died. But, not to be outdone, I started fidgeting with the rheostat that controls the light level of the dashboard (and one of the components I thought might be causing the problems) and after a few twists, suddenly the tach was working again!


Of course, I no longer have any dashboard lights now.

But no matter--it was light enough outside to see them. I just hope I don't have to go anywhere at night. And frankly, even when the dashboard lights WERE working, they put out about as much light as a dead lightning bug, so it's really not a big loss. Of course, I WILL fix the rheostat sometime, but my biggest relief is that I don't have to pull the instrument panel and try to figure out if there's a break in the lines of solder on the printed circuit board. Talk about a quick way to screw things up!

SEE? All kinds of inconsequential blather, just heaped all up in the corner of my brain waiting to be let out! But not today. And actually, not Monday, either. I have a continuing education seminar at UAB on Monday that lasts all day (8 credit hours--WOOHOO!), so you won't see any stupidity then, either. At least not on here.

One of these days, things will hopefully level out a bit and we'll be able to play a bit more. UNTIL THEN, be sure to visit all the folks in the blogroll up top and over to the right, and be nice to each other, and eat your vegetables, and if you have an operable dashboard rheostat for a mid-80s Volvo 240, I need to talk to you, and all of you have a good weekend, and Lord willing, I'll see you first thing on Tuesday.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at July 15, 2005 08:06 AM

Hey, that dashlight rheostat problem sounds reminds me of a similar problem with an old AMC Hornet hatchback. The rheostat in that thing controlled the gas gauge pointer! I never did fix it and I never knew how much gas was in it.

Posted by: Nate at July 15, 2005 08:34 AM

Don't feel bad Terry, I haven't had dashboard lights on my (old) F-150 for 15 years. You get used to it after a while.

Posted by: DaveH at July 15, 2005 08:55 AM

I suspect that you mis-directed a ground during your tinkering. Sounds like the tach is grounding through the light dimmer. If the other gauges were affected, I would be almost certain.

Posted by: Larry Anderson at July 15, 2005 08:59 AM

Nate, I hope you didn't light a match to look down the gas filler. I hear that's not a good thing to do.

And Dave, since I don't drive it much, or at night, it's really not a problem.

AND FORMER VOLVO MECHANIC LARRY--the clock that was in the slot originally often didn't run--it would work, then not, then come back on. When I redid the speedometer, I did manage to get BOTH tiny illumination bulbs on the dashboard to come on after fiddling with the rheostat, and then I bumped it and ALL the illumination went away, even on the accessory gauges. After I replaced the clock with the tachometer, everything worked fine until the lights went on. The other guages kept working, only the tach died. I figured there must be a break in the ground circuit on the PCB, and was preparing myself for the crappy task of hunting it down. But it appears there's a fault in the rheostat, or a loose wire, or something, but thankfully not in the main light switch or in the circuit board. At least, not yet.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at July 15, 2005 09:35 AM

Hotwire across the rheostat contacts. Tach works, bad rheostat. It doesn't, call the NPR Carguys.

Posted by: Larry Anderson at July 15, 2005 10:34 AM

Thank goodness. I already have too much to catch up on. Spending a week with only dial-up will do that to you.

Posted by: Lenise at July 19, 2005 11:09 AM

I wonder what Jim's talking about?!

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at July 19, 2005 11:22 AM