On Saturday, February 25, Dwight Maxey, Colin Mellin and Paul Brown braved the warm temps and pleasant conditions to troubleshoot the electrical system on our Hi-Rail tool truck. We grabbed one of the batteries and made some connections to the truck battery cables, and to our amazement, we found no load showing on the circuit. We got a multi-meter reading of .005 amps. We scratched our heads because we thought we were going to find some kind of short, but nothing. We spent another hour or so turning on items such as lights to check what was working. The turn signals and emergency flashers stopped working as we checked things, but every other light and small load we could find worked well.
So we took a lunch break and came back to install all three batteries and started the truck. While running, the batteries read 14.9 volts, letting us know that the alternator was working. We did a bit more investigation work while the engine was running, and checked more light operations. In the end, we decided that we will remove the negative battery cables from each battery, to save us from dealing with whatever may be draining the batteries. We will be looking into simple battery disconnects in the future to further protect us from battery drain.
After finishing with the truck, we did a small archeological dig in the shop yard. We noticed what looked like a concrete foundation buried in the dirt where we have moved away all the stored material. After shoveling and sweeping off the dirt, we found quarried stone blocks that were probably a foundation for a very old structure that sat in this spot. We uncovered about 40 linear feet of block today. May have to keep cleaning this off on future work days!
I have included a few photos to show you today’s work.