new inverter vs instant pot, dodged a bullet, Muffins sore foot

Stealthing in the city at 7,200ft is going well so far. There’s only one Planet Fitness in town, but it’s next to a real grocery store, a gas station with water spigot, and several choice street parking spots. There’s also a Vietnamese restaurant in the same strip mall, and there’s only so long a man can resist. It will be the first discretionary funds I’ve spent since arrival so I am doing good on that front.

inverter and instant pot

I mentioned earlier that I had swapped out both inverters for one larger one. I stress-tested it with the Instant Pot today.

Before the old inverter was struggling under the load, falling to 107v and only passing 560w. This one is 119VAC idle and 114VAC under the load. Wattage was increased to 630w and the time to pressure was noticeably decreased.

I cooked some frozen Orange Chicken nuggets, 30mins at pressure. 120Wh.

dodged a van bullet

I don’t always monitor my engine metrics, but last month I loaded up Torque to see what the OBDii had to say. Engine coolant temps were fluctuating and higher than I would like. I immediately worried about what the ground squirrels might have done while they were in there. Then I realized I hadn’t heard the radiator cooling fans come on in recent memory. They used to sound like a 747 taking off when they cycled on.

Oh, oh.

I planned my next few trips to be highway-only with no stop-and-go driving while I tried to diagnose.

the answer

The answer has a few parts

  • my driving patterns were conducive to passive cooling (air from forward motion)
  • passive cooling varies with ambients, engine loads, etc
  • the weather was cool in winter, duh
  • most importantly, the Pentastar engine runs warm by design for emissions reasons. The cooling fans turn on at ~220F and back off at ~208F. If I had just looked it up I could have saved a few weeks of stress.

I must have known that temp range before since I had that gauge set up since 2018. A couple things inspired me to, you know, look up the factual info

  1. my eyeballs bugged out when I saw >210F, but curiously never observed >220F
  2. the van was behaving normally, no signs of distress
  3. I thought I heard the fans come on once but couldn’t be sure if it was from a nearby vehicle

So next time I moved the van I parked in a quiet spot, rolled down the windows and let it idle. I watched the temps climb over a few minutes. When the temps hit 220F WHOOOOOOOSH the fans came on and temps quickly dropped back to ~208F. Life just got better.

Muffin’s paw

Muffin is limping a bit; there’s something bothering her front right paw but I can see or feel it. Maybe a broken off sticker in a pad that will work itself out so I can get it with tweezers.


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