Archive for February, 2022

Rally Fire Suppression

27 February 2022 at 7:32 pm
by Berck

My fire suppression system finally arrived! I went with a Stroud 10lb F-36 (halogen replacement) system. Pricey at $800 shipped. I could have gone cheaper with one of the foam systems, but I didn’t want to for several reasons.

(1) The foam systems have a minimum temperature limit. They can freeze, and I live in Colorado at 9,200ft. The car lives outside when I’m not working on it, and for instance, it was -12F a few nights ago. I don’t want to have to deal with taking the bottle in and out of the car.

(2) Foam makes a mess. I accidentally discharged the fire system in my Vee once. It was an unfortunate $500 accident, but at least I didn’t have a giant mess to clean up. I’m not actually sure what happened–I’m not sure it was correctly installed. I noticed that the fire handle looked like it was about 1/8 an inch out from where it should be. With the pin in the bottle, I pushed the handle back in. To make sure it was fine, I pulled the pin on the bottle. It wasn’t fine.

(3) Gas systems require fewer nozzles. My 10lb system only has 3 nozzles. Easier install.

I also could have legally gotten away with a 5lb system. But I think that something the size of a rally car is probably more properly equipped with a 10lb system.

Thankfully, the fire bottle (barely!) fits behind a seat. Unfortunately, Stroud sent the wrong bracket/clamps. I’m pretty sure they sent me the bracket/clamps for a 5lb bottle, which means that they won’t secure my 10lb bottle. I assume this is an easy thing for them to make right, so I sent them an email.

So, I got the system about halfway installed. This system requires bending and flaring 1/4″ steel tubing, which does take a little time. It also has 2 outputs from the bottle. This works great for, say, my Formula Vee where you want one tube to go to the engine bay and another to go to the cockpit, but less good for a rally car where I’m just running both of them forward.

ARA rules say to install according to the instructions. The instructions are vague. Dragsters should install one nozzle on the driver, and one each over each exhaust header. Circle track racers should “blanket the driver”. I’m going to to install one nozzle from the driver, one for the codriver, and one for the engine compartment.

Thus far I’ve managed the co-driver and engine compartment nozzles.

The fuel comes in on the intake side and that seemed the more likely place for a fire, so I put the nozzle on that side. Presumably with a gas system the location isn’t super critical. A little annoyed that while they supplied steel lines, they went with aluminum fittings. But I guess if the aluminum fittings have melted, I’m dead anyway.

On the wheel hunt. Facebook marketplace only has 3 15″ MINI wheels in the Denver area. They are phone dials, but they’re painted black, which isn’t the right color for a rally car and look pretty rough. $75/each is a more reasonable price than ebay, at least. Of course, getting them requires driving 1.5 hours each way. I’ll see if they’re available next time I drive to Denver.

I went ahead and bought a Stilo Trophy DES. The yellow one, because it’s cheaper. I was initially just going to buy coms for my full face helmet, but I realized that even with the visor up, I’m never going to be able to keep my glasses from fogging with that thing in a closed car, and I’d just be much happier with an open faced helmet if I could wear one. Annoyed that there are no FIA/SA2020 Stilo rally helmets, but whatever.

In the cloud, finally.

20 February 2022 at 12:48 pm
by Berck

It had gotten silly that now that I work for a cloud network services company that the blog was sitting on my home DSL. I’m probably going to cancel the DSL and rely solely on Starlink for home internet. Starlink does not come with a public-facing IPV4 address, and its IPV6 implementation only appears to work for 10 minutes at a time. This means that even though I have Starlink, the blog is still being served by the same 768kbit/s DSL uplink that it’s been on for the last decade. A decade ago, your own internet was slow enough you only sort of noticed, but it’s gotten silly.

So, now the blog (and the N45HX blog) are hosted on AWS’s Lightsail behind Cloudflare’s free service. It should be noticeably better.

Maybe I’ll even start posting here more often.

The gallery has not yet been migrated. I’m going to try, even though gallery3 is mostly abandonware at this point, so keeping it chugging along continues to prove to be work.

Booster update

15 February 2022 at 5:57 pm
by Jonah

The husband is also a trial participant in the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trial, and he got his booster after I got mine. The night he said, “I don’t feel good.”

The next day he woke up and declared his whole body hurt. “Even my toes hurt!” His head was pounding. “I think,” he decided, “that my body has had a good enough reaction to this,” and took some Aleve. He spent the whole day horizontal except for the three work meetings that he dragged himself to his computer to attend. He wrapped himself in a blanket in front of the wood pellet stove and while his teeth chattered.

The next morning he was feeling a little better, and by the time we left home to drive to Denver for a concert, he felt pretty much back to normal.

We saw Samia, and it was a great concert!

Samia with opener Charlie Hickey

This is the third concert we’ve been to in the last few months. At each one, the venue has required proof of vaccination to get in the door. At the one in November, the person checking the husband’s card scrutinized it carefully; did she notice that it said “Vaccine Trial Participant”? The first two concerts, I got a notification on my Colorado Exposure app later saying I had been potentially exposed to someone who had tested positive. This time the husband did. It’s interesting that only one of us has gotten the notification. Was it in the bathrooms?

Adventures at City Market

13 February 2022 at 9:23 pm
by Jonah

I hurried out of the Woodland Park City Market and jumped into the car. “Nobody,” I exclaimed in exasperation, “is in a hurry up here! It took me forever to check out!”

Fast forward nearly 10 years. I think I’m getting accustomed to the slower pace of mountain living.

Berck asked if I had errands to run in town because he needed some Rust-Oleum for the rally car. I had just gotten my monthly envelope of Kroger coupons, and they were proverbially burning a proverbial hole in my proverbial pocket. So off went on the 15 minute drive to City Market.

We were about out of onions, so I found the special big plastic bags in the produce department for corn on the cob, except there’s no corn, but the roll of bags is still there, and I filled up one with sweet onions. Pretty much anything we cook starts with slicing an onion, and we go through a lot of them. I got a bunch of other things on my mental list, as well as forgetting a bunch of things, and tore apart the relevant coupons (40 cents off eggs, 2 dollars off dishwasher detergent, a free o.j.). I also got some chicken because it was on sale. I even managed to get some Horizon whole milk, which has been out of stock the last several times I’ve been shopping, supply-line issues, you know. As I was trying to decide what other kind of milk to buy, I saw a hand behind the cooler door insert a Horizon carton onto the shelf, and then another one! They stock the store on Saturdays, so that’s when you’ve got to go if you want to get what you want.

By the time I got to the check-out, my little buggy was overflowing. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I decided I’d wait in line for a cashier instead of using the self-check-out. And miraculously, there was one manned with no customers. The cashier and I exchanged greetings, and I began loading up the conveyor belt. “What are you going to do with all of those onions?” asked the cashier. “Oh, cook stuff,” I answered.

The bagger chimed in. “I’ve got a place in my house where I keep things like onions. It’s not as cold as the refrigeratah but it’s colder than the rest of the house. It’s like a root cellah. My aunt used to have a root cellah, a real root cellah! She had a real garden, you know, even on her tiny lot on Long Island. And she’d cook this delicious dish. She’d take a chicken and put it in a Dutch oven. You remember Dutch ovens? And she’d cover it with onions and cook it for hours. And the meat would just fall off the chicken.”

And instead of rushing off with my groceries, I said, “That sounds delicious!”

“It was! It was so good. I wish I had the recipe! Well, it was nice talkin’ to ya!”

I thanked the cashier and I thanked the bagger and pushed the buggy out to my car.