240 volt Leaf charging
Tuesday, May 19 2020
Gretchen and Powerful went across the Hudson to Rhinebeck get falafel hang out with Cathy (the vendor of said falafel). They'd taken the Nissan Leaf, which was down to about 50 miles in the battery when they set out. But after thinking they'd been charging it for two hours at the Rhinebeck Town Hall charging station, it turned out they hadn't. Later we would figure out that the problem was that Gretchen hadn't pushed the power connector in quite far enough (it has to make a click).
The plan was that I would meet Gretchen and Powerful with the dogs at the Hurley veterinarian so they could get their shots and health checkups and I could take Powerful back home. So about 45 minutes before that rendezvous, I drove out to 9W to get provisions. I'd taken 100 milligrams of recreational pseudoephedrine, which made me aware that our household supply of that stimulant was depleted. I thought I'd try to get some at the 9W Hannaford, hoping they had real pseuodephedrine and not that ridiculous Nexafed stuff (which is more expensive and consists of larger pills, all so that they cannot be made into methamphetamine). But no, it turned out they didn't have any, and even if they did, it would've been Nexafed. Evidently the boundary between Hannafords that sell real pseuodephedrine and those that sell Nexafed is the Hudson River. I'll have to see if I can still get real pseudoephedrine from drug stores like CVS and Walgreens in Ulster County. Wait, maybe I never actually tried to get pseudoephedrine at the Red Hook Hannaford.
I should mention that before I found out that the Hannaford had no pseudoephedrine, I'd been waiting behind a small thin blond woman who looked to be in her 30s. As she talked endlessly with two pharmacists over a number of prescription bottles, a teenage boy walked back and forth behind her while repeatedly glancing at a phone and muttering to himself. This looked to be the behavior of an autistic person with marginal, and I soon realized the woman must've been his mother and the bottles must've been the drugs designed to make him behave as close to normal as chemically possible. Though the young man was wearing a mask, I considered him to be a particular coronavirus threat, since he was of the right age to be a symptom-free superspreader, and his agitation and muttering were probably producing more than the normal amount of ærosolized droplets. I stayed a good ten or fifteen feet away, which had the effect on lowering the social pressure on the mother and the pharmacists to speed things along. I wouldn't've been so impatient, but my schedule was tight if I was going to meet Gretchen at the appointed time. It was looking like I would have very little time to spare at my next destination.
Next I went to Lowes to buy a one-piece outdoor NEMA 14-50R box, since it was seeming too complicated to use the indoor NEMA 14-50R outlet I'd already bought.
In the parking lot at the Hurley vet, I took the dogs out to walk them on leashes, ducking behind a parked truck in the back so I could piss. Eventually Gretchen and Powerful arrived in the Leaf, which I would be driving home in with Powerful. It only had 14 miles left in the battery, which would be cutting it close. This is because to go the mile and a quarter up Dug Hill Road from Hurley Mountain Road to our house takes about ten miles' worth of battery power, and we were more than four miles from there. But I went through Old Hurley, I decided not to stop for a time to charge at the free charging station near the General Store. We had about nine miles left in the battery at the bottom of Dug Hill Road. But there's probably a little reserve in the design, and we ended up having no trouble getting home.
Meanwhile, the UPS man had dropped off a 7.6 kilowatt 240 volt Level-2 charger for the Leaf, and I resumed work building a charging station (which, aside from this new charger, mostly consists of a new 240 volt outlet on the outside of the garage). Installing that outlet was a fairly easy task, and it went so well that I moved on to hooking up the other end of that fat eight-gauge cable to a 40 amp circuit breaker in the circuit breaker box. I'm always nervous working in that box, since I always leave it live. (I could turn off the main breaker, but that would leave two hot lugs in that same box while killing all the power in the house, so I just leave it on.) There wasn't any room in the box for a big 240 amp breaker, so I had to install two duplex "cheater" breakers to make room. Nothing bad happened, and before long I had switched to charging the Leaf with the new charger. When I next checked only a half hour later, 12 miles had been added to the battery. With the ability to charge at that rate, it means we will now have a lot of "second errand" opportunities with the Leaf that would've been foreclosed by the slow rate of the 120 volt charger (which charges at only about four miles per hour).
Tonight's dinner, again out on the east deck, was some manicotti Gretchen had made a long time ago and frozen in the freezer. We had that with asparagus, a vegetable Powerful was unfamiliar with (since identifiable vegetables are rare in prison mess-hall food and perennials aren't common in prison garden plots).
It seems coronavirus deaths per day in the United States are down to about 1200 from a peak of about 2000. But, since all the states are eagerly "opening up" well before their peaks, I expect to see an uptick in deaths about a month from now. Meanwhile on the Johns Hopkins "confirmed cases" map, the last county in Connecticut, Windham (in the northeast) turned deepest red, making it the third state to to turn all-red. I've revised my prediction of what the next state to do this will be. It would be Massachusetts if its two island counties (Dukes and Nantucket) had some cases. But since they're unlikely to ever have 300 hundred cases, the next state I predict to turn all-red is Arizona, since its counties are so big and a third of them are already deepest-red.
The new charging station. Note the unfinished 120 volt outlet beneath the 240 volt box. Click for a wider view.
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