for want of 12 volts
Monday, October 16 2023
This afternoon I went to paint the ceiling in the entranceway and dining room, the surface from which I'd scrubbed away mold back on Tuesday, only to discover that there were no roller paint roller trays, the things where paint is put on roller brushes. I found a plastic bin that might've been one of the biohazards I salvaged from Gretchen's hospital room six years ago, and it was about the right size, so I tried using it. But it lacked the little ridges at the bottom that the roller trays have, so the roller just dragged back and forth across the bottom without rotating much. Then when I went to roll the roller across the ceiling, it left a pattern of bars. With repeated rollings, an even paint job could be produced, but when I exhausted the partial bucket of paint, I stopped for the day, waiting for Gretchen to bring me a paint roller tray from Woodstock.
But then when I was in the bathtub, Gretchen messaged me to say the Bolt wouldn't start. I called her, and from what she said it sounded like maybe the battery in the key fob had died. I should've explained how to buy and replace that battery, but instead I said I'd be right there. When I arrived though, the other key fob with a known good battery didn't work either. Then I realized the problem was more fundamental. When there's no key fob, the dashboard lights up and tells you as much. But the dashboard was as dead as if it had been disabled by the kind of electromagnetic pulse that preppers build bunkers in anticipation of. What the fuck was going on? Gretchen said maybe I should try jumping the car using the Forester, which seemed like something worth trying. It may sound absurd to jump an electric car from a gas-powered car, especially one with 100 miles of range still in its battery. But if an electric car's 12 volt lead-acid battery dies, it really does need a jump. It needs that battery to run various startup and high-current circuits. Strangely, though, when I went to jump the Bolt, all I got was smoke from wires, as if there was a serious short somewhere in the 12 volt system. We were puzzled and did some Google searches, all of which suggested that jumping the Bolt was the right thing to do to. This time when I did it, the Bolt came to life and even proved driveable. I suspect that what had happened in my first attempt was that I got confused and mixed up the positive and negative wires and tried to jump the Bolt with reverse polarity. That could've destroyed it, but all it seemed to do (at least for now) is leave a nasty OBD-II code in the car's computer (which I was able to clear later).
But then back at the house, the Bolt suddenly stopped recognizing either of the key fobs, which could no longer be used to remotely unlock the doors or start the car. Some Googling led me to information about a little nook in the rearmost compartment of the center console. If the fob is placed in that, even with a dead battery, it will start the car. But why was the remote's RF technology no longer working? The battery was sound!
Meanwhile Gretchen had cooked up a yummy meal of tube pasta in a white cream sauce with kale (I think) and tempeh, which we ate while watching the whites of three white men (he even plays La Crosse!) win Jeopardy!. When I went back out to the Bolt to figure out what was up with the key fobs, I found that they were once more working. Hopefully now the car will go back to being the reliable car it had been. In celebration, I drained out some of the now-lukewarm water in the tub, climbed in, and resumed my bath with new hot water burbling in onto my feet.
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