kerrye
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2019 6:54 am

How dangerous to work on?

Wed May 01, 2019 7:18 am

I've always worked on my own cars and my Imiev is my first EV. How dangerous are they to work on and what steps should be taken to avoid the electrical dangers? When I was a teenager I was working on an early 60's Falcon with a friend who was wearing an expandable metal watch band. The band contacted the positive post of the battery and the car. The result was ugly with him having a permanent scar in the shape of the watch band on his wrist. I wouldn't like to see the same thing with 330 volts.

Don
Site Moderator
Posts: 2872
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 3:55 pm
Location: Biloxi MS

Re: How dangerous to work on?

Wed May 01, 2019 8:04 am

I hear you and I'm in about the same boat - Cars from the '60's and '70's were pretty easy for us 'shade tree' mechanics to service, maintain and repair - All you needed was a Chiltons manual and a decent set of tools and you could fix most things

EV's are a horse of a different color though. Even if your background is in 'shade tree electronics' like me - I spent 20 years in the USAF installing Instrument Landing Systems, TACAN's, VHF Omni Ranges and other items of pretty complicated electronics, but even all that '80's and '90's electronics training doesn't do me a lick of good when it comes to repairing much of anything in any of my 3 EV's

Most systems in the cars 'talk' to one another over an information bus and are pre programmed to only 'speak' to one another if they are the same serial numbered pieces which were originally installed by the factory, so even changing out a known faulty part for a known good part doesn't necessarily mean the car is going to run when you're done. Now, if your 21st century electronics training is also backed up with some computer programming experience and you have the equipment to reprogram the car to accept your new modules, then you might be able to get something done . . . . hopefully without damaging anything else

But - Where a shade tree mechanic could install the wrong bolt in the wrong place and then come back later after the error was discovered, no harm done, with an EV if you don't know for sure what you're doing, you can and likely would do more harm than good - You can destroy something else while you're trying to fix what you're working on if you don't know exactly what you're doing

For the shade tree mechanics among us - Myself included - It's better to take the car to someone who knows what they're doing rather than making a bad situation worse by trying to tackle it yourself. I'm reminded of the sign I once saw in a garage:

All labor $50 per hour
$75 per hour if you watch
$100 per hour if you want to help
$150 per hour if you tried to fix it first

Don
2012 iMiEV SE Premium, White
2012 iMiEV SE, White
2017 Chevy Volt Premier
2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT SWB wagon, 14,000 miles
1979 Honda CBX six into six

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