Friday, 12 February 2016

Being a Dollop

I've had a bit of a dollopy day.

Out reatively early to go and see to the allotment chooks; there was a chance their water might have frozen lightly overnight, so I wanted to see to them before I had my own breakfast. And my own cup of coffee.
I had defrosted some home grown corn on the cob to take with me to cheer them up.  I realised, as I got in the car, that I didn't have my phone.   I hesitated.  Nope, I'd better get it. If I didn't take it, today would be the day I needed it.

I went back into the house, remembering to disable the alarm, found said phone, and popped it in my bag.  Re-locked the house, and tried again.

My car wouldn't start. Not at all.  Not even an attempt at a turnover.

I waited for a moment - in case I'd done some over-rapid combination of key/pedal/steering wheel/putting it in Drive combination.  I tried again.  Nothing. Just a faint cclick click click

I swore a little, mainly because DH wasn't here and I wasn't sure what to do next.  I went in the house and tried texting DB2 (couldn't remember if he was working today).   I made a coffee.   I googled.


Lots of results on the brand forum.  Starter motor, solenoid,  someone even suggested it might be a problem when the battery is going in the remote.   No reply from DB2, so nothing else for it, let's start with the easiest.

Sure enough, the remote wasn't working.  I couldn't use it (remotely anyway) to lock the car.   Right, new battery. Googled again,  watched someone open their key and put in a battery, noted the type of battery required. As luck would have it, I had some of those in a drawer.   Yay me.

I couldn't open the fob.  I tried two screwdrivers, and it just wasn't happening.  I could see that I was going to trash the head, I couldn't find any other screwdrivers (I think DH hides them from me, actually).    Feeling a right girly, I knocked at next door to see if the chap there could help me out.    No answer.

Right.  There is a local service place at the other end of our village, and they have a good reputation for being helpful.   I locked up the house again, and walked over there.    The chap was really kind and helpful.  He expressed doubt (which I already had) that my key fob was at fault, he changed the fob battery anyway.  He suggested it was most likely a dead car battery, and recommended I try charging it for  a reasonable length of time. If I could get the car to start, I could bring it in and he would take a look for me.   I asked what a reasonable length of time was and, armed with this info, I went home.

I texted Other Chap (OC) to ask if he would do the chickens for me.   I dug out the battery charger and an extension lead.  I started by feeding the extension lead out of a window, and then realised it would just be easier to shut Wash in a bedroom.

I then tried to find the bonnet release catch.

First, I had to climb in the back of the car to get in the boot to retrieve the manual.  I found the info on the bonnet release catch. Drivers side, under instrument panel by door.  The diagram was rubbish.  It showed the release lever, but it didn't show any context (like where it was). I felt about under the instrument panel.  I knelt outside on the driveway, and used a torch.  I cou;dn't find it.  I looked at the edge of the door (knowing it wasn't there, but it had mentioned the door so I looked).  I sat in the car and drew a deep breath,.

I'd done this before.  Where was it?  I remembered that it was in a really stupid place.  I looked at the foot pedals  And then I glanced over at the passenger side, and saw it.

Bonnet uncatched.

The manual was not very helpful when it came to explaining how the bonnet catch worked.  Again, kneeling on the floor and feeling rather dollopy, I worked it out.    Good. Bonnet open.  Right.  No way on earth I was getting the battery out, I'd have to do it in situ.  Back indoors.

Googled charging a car battery in situ. Lots of heated debate about whether to remove the earth lead.  OK, I'd remove it just in case.  Back outside, earth lead removed,   cap thing on the positive thing removed.  The jaws on the crocodile clips wouldn't fit.   Back inside, more googling.  I tried again.  Both terminals connected,  Battery appeared to be charrging (we've got quite a sophisticated charger).   I really wasn't at all happy that I'd connected it properly, so back inside, googled the charger,  back outside, made some adjustments,  charger now said FULL.

It was 11.30. I tried phoning DB1 on his mobile.   I was thinking he might be able to pop over at lunchtime and look at it for me so at least I would know what to do. No answer. It was a long shot anyway, not even sure he has his mobile on him at work.

I messaged DB2 via Facebook.  No luck, he must be at work.

At this point I decided I'd better give up and call the RAC (I hadn't done this initially because I didn't want to lose my no-claims discount). . Can you call them out for this sort of thing?   I checked that our membership would cover home call out, it did.  I called.  I had a discussion with the lady about whether I was actually on the policy.  We agreed that I was, and she gave me a call out time of about an hour.

I went in, and decided to try and sort out my sewing machine (I'll explain about thats saga separately.  Suffice to say that it's not been a good few days for me in respect of electronics).  

Richard phoned me to say he was on his way,  and he arrived about 20 minutes? after my initial call.  I explained what had happened, and he said he'd start by testing the battery. I went off to make coffee. Shortly afterwards,  he told me the battery was dead (I have the Dead Parrot sketch playing in my head now). I was a little embarrassed, as I'd been sure the battery had said full.  I told him of my embarrassement.

Anyway, I arranged for him to get and fit a new battery.  I wasn't really too fussed about whether I was paying a premium for this service - the alternative was that I would have to arrange transport somewhere to get a battery,  bring it back, remove the old one, fit the new one... and, given that I couldn't even get a proper reading on a battery charger (and other stuff), it just wasn't worth facing the hassle.

He went off,  I went back to trying to fix my sewing/embroidery machine.

Some time later he returned, fitted the battery, and then did various tests.   All was well.    I like to be self sufficient, so I asked him to show me where I had gone wrong with the battery charger.   I'd done OK with the positive thingummy.  I'd removed the earth thingummy, he said not to.  But the thing I'd got wrong was that I should NOT have connected the negative lead to the negatie post thing, because this battery has...what did it have? Can't remember? Management system? Something like that. Anyway,  I should have put the negative clip on to a suitable point elsewhere in the car (he showed me where to clip it).

I felt a bit better, not quite so stupid. I was relieved that the car was working, I've got quite a few things to do over the next few days,

It was 2.30.  I sat down at my PC and started this blog entry and out of the corner of my eye I spotted a calendar entry. Reflexologist, 3.30.  I'd forgotten all about it,  the house was a mess,  I was stressed.... probably a good thing she was coming.









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