Adventures in Filmmaking!

by Ben N on June 3, 2010

Just recently, I announced that I am making an instructional video on how to BUILD YOUR OWN ELECTRIC CAR.

No sooner had I started than Murphy’s Law reared its ugly head.

To start with, I already had the Open ReVolt controller out of the car, so I thought I would film that as the very first bit of the video. Once done with that, I wash the car, and reinstall the controller. I went outside and started washing the car, only to realize there was A GIANT CRACK THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD! RIGHT BEFORE FILMING ALL THE BEAUTY SHOTS OF THE CAR! All I can figure is that the windshield must have had a chip in it I hadn’t seen. Hot sun, and cold wash water just made the tiny crack bigger.

I started shooting all the various sections of the video, explaining how the motor works, how to build an adapter plate and coupler, and rig up batteries and chargers.

Then, I had an idea for a cool shot for the beginning of the video – I would film the car in an empty parking lot, where I could rotate the camera around the car on a small wheeled cart. I threw the cart and camera in the back of the car, and zipped down the street to the local mega-church (they have a GREAT parking lot!)

I made a couple of takes of my rotational cart shot, until I got one I was happy with. Also, the sky was threatening rain, so I was quick to pack up.

Back to my house is up a big hill, on a fast section of road. Now keep in mind that in an electric car, you actually want to be in a HIGHER gear for greater power. The higher gear creates more resistance, which allows for you to draw more energy from the batteries. “What the heck, I’ll use 4th gear….”

So, just as I turn from the church parking lot to the main road, I see a car coming up quick behind me, just over the other smaller hill right there. So, I accelerate… In 4th gear – drawing 500 amps sustained for about 5 seconds…..

Pop! I instantly realized what happened, and cursed myself for it.

Now keep in mind that about a half-hour earlier, I was recording instructional video on the various EV components under my hood. When I pointed out the main fuse, it was pretty obvious that it was only 175 amps. ( Hard to miss the way I marked it with a Sharpie.) In the video, I mentioned that the smaller fuse is fine, as long as I am not sustaining a big heavy draw on the batteries.

So there I am on the side of the road, with a blown main fuse. Now I’m no fool. Of COURSE I have a spare fuse with me. What I don’t have is the right wrench to remove the old fuse and install the new one. Fortunately, I’m only a ten minute walk from home. I walked back to my house, got my wrench, socket wrench, a packing blanket, and threw it all on my cargo bike, so I could quickly bike back to the car.

That’s when it starts raining.

I think it’s safe to say that “You might be an Ecomodder if….” you have ever changed a 200 amp fuse in a rainstorm on the side of the road. When I was done, the car ran fine again. I padded the back of the car with the packing blanket and threw my Murray Santa Cruz in the back.

Everything was right as rain again. (And as wet!)

I’m hoping the rest of filming the instructional video is a little less adventurous.

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