Ford C-Max Energi Part 2

A full week on the ticker. Remember the very important point presented in part 1. That point was Ford says to wait at least 1000miles before making any mileage calculations. This implies there may be some break in mixture settings that prevent it from reaching it’s potential for a while. That being said, here are my shots of the data thus far.

Life Time Summary 01/06/13
Life Time Summary 01/06/13

Over 20 miles of driving on engergy generated from braking. 200 miles exactly in pure electric driving. The brakes are interesting. When you lightly press on the peddle, you get a braking action, however it’s really the generator robbing your inertia for energy to charge the battery. As you move down on the peddle you can feel there are about 3 steps in this level of braking (or level of power generation) which each step increasing in rate of power generation and braking force. If you don’t move your foot at all, you’ll come to a complete stop. Obviously, when you are barely moving (moment before you stop) there can be no electronic braking (or little) yet it feels just like the brake pads are stopping you. Some super-brain programming must be managing this and it works perfectly!

Ford C-Max Energi MPG & Miles 01/06/13
Ford C-Max Energi MPG & Miles 01/06/13

Shown here are total miles, state of battery charge and what remains of our first tank of fuel given to us by the dealer. Not bad, close to 500 miles and we have about a 1/4 tank left. Notice, I have changed the mileage calculation. It was at first combined with with electric power. I wasn’t interested in that figure. I wanted to know what we were getting per gallon of gasoline. So, that is now represented. It’s continued to climb all week and as you can see, it’s over 40mpg at this time.

Overall my impression of this car is a “fine ride”. Really enjoying the gizmo factor of playing around with an electric car. It’s as fine a ride as any luxury automobile I’ve ever driven. Comfortable, handles nice, great on the highway. Can’t wait for an excuse to take a long trip in it.

I did run into a couple of irritations this past week. When it comes to any kind of product manual or help file, it seems not to include “my” answer. While switching it from MPGe to MPG I encountered a wrench icon. A retangular yellow light with a wrench in it. Going to the bible like (thin pages and thick!) manual to look over the two pages full of warning icons, I could not find a wrench. Going to the glossary and looking up words like “icon”, “wrench” and “symbol” produced a big fat zero. I’ve come to expect that when I look into any kind of help file or manual. Is a black cloud following me? Probably not. Once I got the setting to what I wanted, the wrench never appeared again. Not sure what it was trying to communicate to me.

The second item is the foot actuated lift gate. It seemed to work iratically, opening partially then stopping at times. I discovered we were using it wrong, wiggling your foot back and forth under the bumper can start it opening and also toggle it to stop. Just sticking your foot under the bumper and pulling it out gets a reliable full open every time.

More to learn: You’ll notice in one photo, a full battery stating it has 12 miles range. We had read this car has about 20-22 miles on battery alone. I’ve still to figure out if this is part of a break in or what the reality is on final full electric range.


Our 1963 Airstream Ambassador Project

Bev & Dave, Happy new owners of the project from he…… Er, Uh, a beautiful 63 Airstream.
Here it is, 1963 Airstream Ambassador 28′ picked up in June 2012 and we’ve begun work on it. This photo is from the day we picked it up in Michigan. We are replacing all systems. It now has a new Coleman Power Saver AC capable of running on a Honda 2000 generator like we use on the Radical RC “Daves Inn”. We installed a new remote control Fantastic Fan in the bathroom skylight. The remote version of this fan is costly. However, no difficult to route wiring for the controls is required with a remote version. Also, the remote control version is capable of running at much slower speeds. I’ve found the Fantastic Fan in Dave’s Inn is quite a whirlwind producer even on it’s lowest setting. I’m working on installing a new power panel on the drivers side. Also, we’ll be moving the 30 amp cable to the left side. It has more breakers. I was able to put the AC on it’s on breaker this way.

Future projects include a new water tank, water pump and water heater. I think the existing black tank is serviceable, however, we need to do a conversion on the outlet to modern fittings. Not sure how I’m going to do the gray tank yet. Might have a tank made for under the bathroom sink to drain gray into. Only issue there is figuring some tricky way to get the shower water into it since the bottom of the gray tank would be level with the bottom of the tub/shower. Might have to raise up the tub a few inches (don’t want to) or use a pump to move the shower water up into the tank. I’m sure I’ll arrive at something interesting to solve the physics of uphill water flow.

Fabrics and Upholstery by Mary Spangenberg
Textile: Atomic STARBURST

We’ve not buffed it yet so it looks about the same on the outside. However, on spare weekends here and there I’ve been picking on it. Bev has purchased the material for upholstery and also some cool special foam mattresses. We’re going with Mid-Century Modern or “Atomic Age” for decor. It will probably be camp-able some time next summer but as you might imagine, a multiple year project to fully complete.

After all the systems are replaced, I might start to go through it cabinet by cabinet and build replacements. It’s pretty simply constructed really. The existing units are mostly sound however the the veneer is loose and falling off in many places.

Thinking of making a fold up panel arrangement for the passenger side bed so I can have a computer desk and chair. Might raise the bed surface up so I can retain clothing storage that is currently there. Not decided yet.

This is a primer for the project. I might stick some photo’s in of the progress and welcome any reader comment.

Airstream Wiki page.

Vintage Trailer Supply Our restoration and parts supplier.

Where we got out Coleman Mach Power Saver AC unit: PPL RV Parts

Airstream Inc’s help page for: Floor Plans

The active forum site for Airstream campers: Air Forums


Lipo Battery Disposal

Lipo Discharging
Warren Behymer asks and interesting question:

I need to know how to dispose of LiPo battery that has swollen due to an overcurrent.

There are two issues.

1. We want to discharge the battery in such a way as there is minimal risk of fire during the discharge and later when the battery is in the recycle or trash bin.

2. We want to dispose of the depleted pack in a recycling container.

The first thing to do is remove all potential from the battery. We do this with an 1157 light bulb (Brake/Marker type bulb). It’s handy to use because it gives an indication of ongoing discharge by emmitting light and doesn’t tie up one of my ever working chargers. We have our bulb wired with alligator clips and a switch to choose between one or both filaments. I don’t remember what the draw is per filament, but we considered that a small cell would be more safely discharged at a lower rate than a larger cell. When discharging a large cell, we set the switch so both filaments burn. We use an ammo box as an oxygen poor fire safe to do this, since we are indoors and we’re working with a suspect pack in the first place.

Lipo Discharged

This is allowed to burn until the bulb is out, then allowed to set connected to the bulb until the following day. This way we are 100% certain the pack is completely exhausted.

Lipo Leads Soldered Together

Next we solder together the leads on the pack. Just in case any recovery or bounce back of capacity in the pack were possible, it is constantly discharged through the short. There should now be no chance of any kind of arc or spark starting a fire in the recycling container. Being that the pack is completely empty, there should not be any energy present of any kind.

Battery Recycling Box
It’s now okay to discard /recycle the pack properly. We won’t have to worry about the pack accidentally being shorted and causing a fire in any container. It’s electronically inert.

Federal law (49 CFR 173.185) states lithium type batteries must be individually packaged in non-conductive material and transported to a “permitted” recycler. In our shop, we use Call2Recycle (also known as RBRC 1-877-723-1297). They provide free recycling materials and processing. A bag is provided for each pack, we wrap the back in the pack, seal it, drop it in the box. When the box is full, we contact UPS for a free pickup and delivery to the recycling station. Any local battery seller should have this capability on site. We accept lipos for recycling at Radical RC.

Help finding a Call2Recycle RBRC Recycling Location near you.

There may be other safe and accepted ways of doing this, the above is how we handle it at Radical RC.


$400 Flash Bulb Seen At SEFF 2012, Cool Video

Tanken By WildBill at SEFF 2012. Get a load of how big this event is and the 5 flight lines. A large portion of the field was locked out due to Mac leveling the grade of the runway and building the pond. Still plenty of room for 5 flight lines. Will there be 6 next year? Yikes! Oh yea, did I say carbon is conductive?

And the Aftermath Video includes a closer shot of the perps:


RadicalCast #007

We discuss New Battery Lasts 1500 Cycles, Avoiding Miracle of Flight Enamorment, Thinking Through a Power System – a continuation of our power system theory series started in Radical Cast #002. We discuss an actual model I fly, the GWS Sky Hero. You’ll want to have the Setup and Performance Chart below in view to follow along.


Thinking Through a Power System product link at

“Hi, my name is Nick. I’m from Prop Buster’s R/C club in Richmond, IN. I recently bought a brushless motor from you for my GWS P-51 Mustang. Thanks to your help. My plane flies a lot better than it ever has before
(in spite of my poor piloting skills).

The software you used to determine the proper set up for my airplane was very helpful…thanks for all your help. I look forward to doing more business with you in the future.

Nick Edward Jones”

October 2004