Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Gibbo2286 »

We have one here on Monday Zel, I hope it's dry, spoiled last year by the weather but I think that's the only time.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

The show was a bit of a mixed bag. Few interesting cars there, but a bit of a modern and modified leaning for my personal tastes for the most part. Was still fun though, and good to catch up with a couple of folks. We also managed to make a Volvo 480 look like a big car.

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I'd noticed that the tail lights on the P6 were full of condensation again over the last couple of weeks. I'm not entirely sure if it's just got in since I changed the seals or if there was still moisture in when that was done. So I took them apart again, blew everything out with the air line, left them apart in the sun for a couple of hours before putting them back together.

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Lenses need a really good clean, but that's a job for further down the to do list.

On the Trabant the patchy, rusty headlight surrounds have been tidied up.

This was bugging me as I could see the rusty bit from the driver's seat so I needed to do something about it.

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I do need to do something about that hole in the wing, that sorted and a bit of paint on the front panel would make the car look a lot less scruffy at a quick glance.

I had a shot at changing the gearbox oil, however the drain plug is stupidly tight and defied all my attempts at shifting it. There is enough oil in there as I checked the level plug first and oil came out, it is definitely due a change though as what came out looked awful. Did wonder about using the Pela and draining it through the filler but there doesn't look to be a clear shot to get far enough down into the box to do that. I'll need to get the car up on axle stands so I can get the big driver bar and some decent leverage onto it. Hopefully the plug just comes out rather than it taking the threads out with it. The oil definitely needs to be changed though, so it needs to come out one way or another.
Current fleet:
06 Peugeot Partner Escapade 1.6HDi, 88 Renault 25 Monaco, 85 Sinclair C5, 84 Trabant 601S, 75 Rover 3500, 73 AC Model 70.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

In spite of my having picked it up basically as a bit of fun, not really expecting to do a huge amount with it, the Trabant as of yesterday has formally clicked over a thousand miles since it arrived with me at just before Christmas. I hadn't expected to find it getting so much use. I honestly can't see that changing either...

Not a huge amount to report today, just had a couple of half hour chunks free.

The tail light backing plates now both match (and also match the headlight surrounds which were painted yesterday).

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My intention is to use that slightly lighter cream colour for the bumpers in due course as well. They're just in white primer at the moment. Though I'm torn on the bumpers somewhat anyway. This car would have originally had the chunkier, square profile type fitted originally which I personally think suits the car a bit better. There should also be an air dam behind the front one which is designed to keep road spray off the carb and alternator (also hides the heat exchanger a bit). That in particular just looks a bit odd with the older style bumpers. It's a low priority job though and would basically be something I looked at if a set turned up cheaply and within collection distance. Paying several hundred quid for a new set just makes no sense. It would be nice, but it's nowhere near that important to me, not worth spending actual money on.

Have been to the post office today to see whether we could get the tax changed to historic, but as I had pretty much expected it looks like I'll need to contact the DVLA directly regarding that. The only date which their computer brings up is the 1999 import date, and there's no option available to them to change the tax class. Sure that will be a barrel of laughs to sort. Will need to wait until a day where I'm feeling particularly patient.

Later on in the day (right before the rain reappeared) I got the front mud flaps fitted. Not least because I was fed up of them getting in the way in the garage. If they're on the car they can't be contributing to clutter!

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They will come back off so I can rust proof the wheel arches properly, but it's just four bolts.

I did find some crispiness on the offside front sill bottom which will want sorting at least before next winter. I'm sure that holes could have been poked in it if Steve had really tried, but it's localised, isn't in any danger of making the car fall apart, and about as easy a repair as you could ever ask for. Especially as removing the adjacent carpets and such is a 30 seconds job in this car - and removing interior trim is usually about 90% of the time sink on jobs like this. I'm not really bothered about this, it's just par for the course on a car this age which hasn't seen major work before. This actually looks like an old patch which has reached the end of its life. It will all be sorted properly in due course. Driver's side in the same area is pretty much spotless at least.

Having had a bit of a better crawl under the front/middle of the car, it does by and large look really clean. The frame itself is also way chunkier than I'd have expected on a car of this size. I meant to grab a couple of photos but apparently forgot. If the weather cooperates tomorrow I'll try to grab a couple.

Speaking of photographs, I've caved. As a few relations sent gift vouchers for my birthday, I used that as an excuse to order a proper film scanner, so a Plustek 8200I SE is now on the way. This seems to get very good reviews, pretty much all the criticisms I've seen in reviews is actually pointing at the bundled software (a pretty old version of Silver fast) which I won't be using anyway as I'm already set up with VueScan. Hopefully should be here on Friday.

I took quite a few photos at the show on Sunday using the new (to me) EOS 40D - and discovered that the CF card slot in my card reader doesn't work as one of the pins is broken...I imagine somewhere in my room there is a card with a pin stuck in it! So I'm now waiting on a new one of those to arrive, as I don't have a USB cable for this camera. Curious to see properly how those came out though - there's definitely a learning curve involved in learning to drive that though. It's quite different to any other cameras I've used regularly.
Current fleet:
06 Peugeot Partner Escapade 1.6HDi, 88 Renault 25 Monaco, 85 Sinclair C5, 84 Trabant 601S, 75 Rover 3500, 73 AC Model 70.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

With more than a slight feeling of déjà vu, I found myself here again this afternoon.

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Managed to end up with two cars with their MOT due within a couple of weeks. Not the best planning on my part.

I need not have worried.

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Advisory for some rust on the offside outer sill, which is absolutely fair I reckon. It does need to be attended to now to prevent this becoming an actual problem.

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Think there's a couple of nicks in the stone chip there which have let water get in behind it and lift the paint. There's nothing which seemed at all crunchy when I poked it today, so now the weather's (in theory) getting better I'll get it all sanded back, rust treated and repainted soon. Now we've got a clean MOT pass under our belt I feel a bit more free to throw some time and resources at the long term future of this vehicle. I've heard a few people speaking highly of Lanoguard for underbody protection recently, so might be time to give it a shot on this one.

As an immediate reward for the MOT pass I made the front end look at least 50% less shabby in less than ten minutes.

Before:

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After:

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That delaminated and rust stained number plate had been bugging me since the day I bought the car. The rear one will involve taking the tailgate interior trim off to secure properly so that will wait till tomorrow. Said trim also rattles so I want to pull it anyway.

Other small and utterly pointless job which will make it look massively disproportionately better will be cleaning up and re-painting the light guards, though I don't think they look as rough in photos as they do in person. Hasn't quite got to the top of the list yet, but it's one I'm looking forward to doing.

The original plate I removed of course didn't get binned, it was added to the ever growing number of them on the walls in the garage.

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Funny...from that very specific angle you could almost believe that my garage wasn't an utter disaster area.


The Rover's new washer pump arrived today and was fitted. Not exactly a difficult or exciting job, but it's another box ticked on the to do list at the end of the day.

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Thankfully this did restore reliable screen washing every time the control was pressed.

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It's nice when a job doesn't snowball for a change.

The fuel pump service kit has also arrived, so hopefully I can now make one good mechanical pump out of 1 3/4 bad ones. We'll see how that goes in due course.
Current fleet:
06 Peugeot Partner Escapade 1.6HDi, 88 Renault 25 Monaco, 85 Sinclair C5, 84 Trabant 601S, 75 Rover 3500, 73 AC Model 70.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by CitroJim »

Great news on the MoT Zel :D
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by mickthemaverick »

One for you to keep an eye on Zel: :-D
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

Actually had a bit of a hiccup in the Trabant couple of days back. Was about a mile from home, came to a stop at a junction and found it bogged down when I applied throttle. Was able to coax things back into motion by adding choke, suggesting to me a fuelling issue. I immediately headed for home (which thankfully was mostly downhill so little engine power was needed) with the revs and throttle kept as low as possible. Knowing how quickly a lean condition can become catastrophic in an air cooled two stroke, this wasn't something I was taking chances with. Car was parked up and I grabbed the Partner to continue the tasks I was heading out for. I was working around other appointments at the time so didn't have time to immediately investigate.

Later on I checked the screen in the fuel outlet at the tank (pretty clean), and confirmed there was good fuel flow to the carb. Next step was to pull the cover off the float bowl (which you can *just* do in situ), to confirm the needle and seat were working properly and to see if there was any crud in there.

There was a little bit of sediment in the bottom of the bowl but nothing particularly major. What I don't know (and this does make me kind of wish I'd pulled the carb) was whether there was possibly a bit of water in there as that could definitely have explained it prior to me cleaning it out.

With everything put back together normal service appears to have been resumed. I do need to actually look up a proper diagram for this carb anyway as I'd really like to turn the idle speed up a touch, it has always felt like it's a little on the slow side. Especially if you've got the lights on.

Yesterday I had another crack at changing the gearbox oil. I jacked the car up a bit this time to give me better access to the drain plug, and thankfully successful in getting it freed off this time.

What came out both looked and smelled like absolutely ancient EP90. Which given that the correct HLP68 fluid is a light golden colour isn't great. Definitely well overdue a change either way. A little bit of swarf on the drain plug magnet, but nothing unexpected really (especially given the oil has clearly been in there for a long while) and certainly no chunks.

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Here's the magnet once it was wiped off.

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Area around the filler was cleaned up to ensure no chunks of anything fell in during refilling.

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This filler is normally pretty well buried under the cold and hot air feeds for the heater, though that's no huge hardship given it takes about 90 seconds to pull this lot out of the way.

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Given these gearboxes have a freewheel mechanism on 4th, you do really want to keep an eye on the oil quality. Also all the more reason to use the right oil (which while it's a little oddball over here in 2024, HLP68 was apparently a common type in the home market back in the day).

Definitely seems like it's made a worthwhile difference. The synchro on 2nd and 3rd definitely feels like it's having an easier time of things and I *think* it's a bit quieter. All things are relative there though and it still sounds like a tumble drier full of marbles falling down a flight of stairs at idle compared to most modern cars. That's true of pretty much everything on this car in terms of mechanical noise though!
Current fleet:
06 Peugeot Partner Escapade 1.6HDi, 88 Renault 25 Monaco, 85 Sinclair C5, 84 Trabant 601S, 75 Rover 3500, 73 AC Model 70.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by CitroJim »

You were right to be cautious with a potential lean mixture Zel. I've seen so many kart and motorbike engines damaged as a result and delighted all is now good on that front.

Well done on the gearbox! Ancient EP90 is just nasty :evil: HLP68 is a new one on me. I must look it up ;)
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

CitroJim wrote: 16 Apr 2024, 07:42 You were right to be cautious with a potential lean mixture Zel. I've seen so many kart and motorbike engines damaged as a result and delighted all is now good on that front.

Well done on the gearbox! Ancient EP90 is just nasty :evil: HLP68 is a new one on me. I must look it up ;)
Think fuelling issues like this, just like on a two stroke bike you need to keep an eye out for. As it's a purely gravity fed system there's only a couple of screen filters in line, so there's always a chance something might sneak through. Think pulling the lid and cleaning any sediment from the carb float bowl should become a routine maintenance item.

If memory serves, HLP68 is technically actually a hydraulic fluid rather than a purpose made gear oil. However it's what the factory specified and I have to assume they knew what they were doing.

One place I do know it's also used is in the hydraulic system on late 70s/early 80s David Brown tractors - random nonsense I remember from when I was about 10!
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

We suffered a major technical failure today.

Okay that might be overselling it a bit. We lost a tail light bulb.

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Though admittedly on plenty of modern cars that is a pretty major headache! Takes much more than the five minutes and a flat blade screwdriver needed to replace both on the Trabant.

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Really do need to get some paint on that rear panel.

Also, aren't Nissan Qashqais huge?

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This car is still very much making me smile every time I see it.
Current fleet:
06 Peugeot Partner Escapade 1.6HDi, 88 Renault 25 Monaco, 85 Sinclair C5, 84 Trabant 601S, 75 Rover 3500, 73 AC Model 70.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by MattBLancs »

Just for you, "live from Germany"....
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

Been very little going on lately. Life has been busy leaving little time for car things.

A bit of numeric symmetry arrived today.

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We ended up switching to a different brand of oil with the last tank of fuel on the Trabant, and it definitely doesn't like it as much as what I'd been using before. It's far more grumpy about idling - so I'll definitely be returning to the Castrol 2T that I had been. Only wound up with this one (think it's a Comma oil) as a target of opportunity while it was picking some other parts up. Will switch back with the next tank.

In old tech news, there was only one model left I had set up as a saved search set up for on eBay. The Toshiba T3100SX. With that I'll have completed the lineup of machines that my father used to bring back from work in the 90s.

This is a machine though which has been on the list for a while and I expected it to stay there as they generally fetch really strong money nowadays. Until one popped up with a £25 buy it now price. I'd barely even read the listing before grabbing it. Even if it turned out to be nothing but a parts machine at that price it was cheap.

It also turned out to be shipped by one of those people that think a couple of layers of the thinnest bubble wrap you can imagine and some brown packing paper are going to provide any meaningful protection going through the post.

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I really don't quite understand what goes through people's heads when they post things like this.

Nevertheless it seems to have made it unscathed.

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Normally I'd have been worried about the plasma display - however in this case I knew it was already broken.

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I am 97% certain that I have a spare display panel for one of these in The Pile of Bits of Dead Toshibas in the loft from one I scrapped back in the very early 00s.

Have to wonder what stories this might have to tell. Definitely seems to have done a few miles.

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I'm thoroughly expecting this to need a bunch of recapping to get the power supply up and running again. On the plus side if my memory serves me rightly, the HT supply for the display on these is derived by a pretty conventional inverter actually on the display driver board. This is good as it means that the main system power supply doesn't have anything awkward to emulate like a +295V DC rail for the display to handle. Unlike for instance the IBM P70 which is waiting patiently for me to deal with, with a dead PSU which does include the HT supply for the display.

Then like buses...hey look, another one!

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This wasn't as cheap as the last one, but was still right at the bottom of the usual price curve of these machines, so I grabbed it. While it's significantly less beat up than the last one there are immediate signs that this is likely to be a parts machine.

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Corrosion that appears to be leaking out from inside the machine doesn't generally bode well.

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Crossing my fingers that the hard drive (which is just behind that rectangular cover) hasn't been wrecked. As seemed to be Toshiba's fashion around this period, these machines use a drive with an oddball interface rather than a normal IDE/SCSI or ST506/MFM setup. Equally annoyingly, they seemed to love using *different* oddball interfaces on each model. The T1200, T1600, T3200 and this all use totally different arrangements. The T1200/1600 at least do use the same actual interface, but the drives aren't interchangable as they're 20/40Mb versions respectively, and there isn't any way to configure things so the right drive needs to go in the right machine. I can kind of give them a pass when the T1200 was being designed in 1987, as 3.5" drives were still pretty cutting edge then, never mind something suited to stuffing in a laptop with automatic head parking and ability to spin up/down the spindle under power management control. However by 1990 when the T3100SX launched 3.5" IDE drives were pretty commonplace, so the logic seems more questionable.

While it may well be in far worse shape internally, one thing this has over the first one is an intact display.

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Given the cover on the mounting screws is missing I do wonder if this has at some point had a replacement display. Either way there's no visible screen burn I can see at least.

It also has a UK rather than US keyboard layout.

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I know I definitely have a spare one of these up in the loft, but not having to go spelunking to find it would be a bonus. Plus this one is far less worn than that one in the loft.

This one also came with all the original documentation and software which is always nice to have.

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Only thing I'm missing is the external power supply. Which I'm not too surprised by to be honest given that they had a bit of a reputation for randomly going bang (loudly) and dying even back when these machines weren't all that old.

When I'll actually get time to get stuck into reviving this I'm not sure. Though I'd rather do it sooner than later as if the innards are being slowly eaten by capacitor and battery goo I'd rather put a stop to that. We'll see I guess.
Current fleet:
06 Peugeot Partner Escapade 1.6HDi, 88 Renault 25 Monaco, 85 Sinclair C5, 84 Trabant 601S, 75 Rover 3500, 73 AC Model 70.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Gibbo2286 »

I've actually been a customer in your Singapore laptop shop Zel, when I first went there I had my Kodak DC120 camera and the guy there converted my pics from KDC format to JPG and loaded them onto a CD for me.
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Armidillo »

On our way to the UK in 1990, I bought a laptop in Singapore. It was a 286 with a monochrome screen & a 5 1/4" hard drive, and probably would be classed as a luggable (as distinct from "portable"). Am pretty sure it was not a Toshiba (or any other known brand).

It came with a bag with a shoulder strap, & I remember the pain in my shoulder while waiting in the immigration/customs queue at Heathrow with our hand luggage and 3 kids. It must have been reliable, as I can remember selling it some years later (back in Australia).

Sadly I probably don't still have the purchase invoice - what a coincidence if it was the same shop!!
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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D & 230TE, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

Gibbo2286 wrote: 08 May 2024, 09:54 I've actually been a customer in your Singapore laptop shop Zel, when I first went there I had my Kodak DC120 camera and the guy there converted my pics from KDC format to JPG and loaded them onto a CD for me.
It's a small world sometimes isn't it! Looking up the address it seems to be a T-Mobile shop these days.

Today in Real World MacGuyver: I fixed an air conditioner using three household tap washers and some Rover P4 shock absorber bush locating cup washers.

I knew these looked far too useful when I changed the shocks on the P4 to bin them.

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So those were stashed in the drawer in the garage which is full of miscellaneous nuts, bolts, washers, springs and adjacent items. Sure enough they proved handy today.

The unit in question actually worked fine, however was *incredibly* noisy, sounding like it was trying to drill its way to the centre of the earth whenever the compressor was running. This was simply because the vibration dampers had become a bit soggy so needed a bit of the free play taken up. Can't really complain after 33 years.

Wish I'd done this years ago! Even without the sound dampening jacket reinstalled (it's an absolute swine to fit or remove), you can barely tell when the compressor is running now.

Before I put the whole thing fully back together I've got a couple of upgrades to do. The control logic on this thing has gone hopelessly senile and as a result I've had things rather jury rigged for several years.

This unit has three independent systems. A large fan, an air conditioner rated if memory serves to somewhere around 15K BTU, and a 1.6kW electric heater (just resistive, no fancy reversible heat pump going on here - we're talking a portable unit from 1991 after all). The control logic in theory should in theory allow you to choose which mode things were to be used in, set the temperature and it would handle things. However this one has gone haywire and would just randomly decide to engage both heating and cooling at the same time irrespective of whether it was actually in heating mode, or drop out cooling mode. I did try recapping the power supply and investigating the control board but the issues appear to be deep within the logic somewhere on here - as far as I can tell the custom IC itself has just lost its marbles.

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So I've had the heating section essentially abandoned in place. The original control logic for the cooling side has been disabled on the board, instead nicking the power supply originally from the ioniser, feeding that directly via the (mechanical) thermostat directly to operate the contactor for the compressor. This works. Has done for the last five or so years. However it's far from ideal. For a start, it's entirely possible to turn the cooling on without the fan, which will ice up the evaporator in a few minutes. This will also cause liquid refrigerant to flood back to the compressor which really isn't good for it. Additionally there's no protection against short cycling.

The thermostat has started chattering a bit lately, which has finally kicked me into doing something about this jury rigged mess. There's now a proper industrial temperature control ready to be fitted. These things are really handy to have in the parts store.

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This will allow an exact temperature to be dialled in, rather than the crude 1-9 dial that's currently there. This will be wired in with another relay to interlock things so that neither the compressor or heater contractors can be closed unless the fan is powered. While I don't really *need* the heating feature, having a proper controller which can handle it there's no real reason not to hook it back up.

Just going to do away with the original control board and components I think, stick a bit of DIN rail in there and use proper discreet industrial style relays and contractors and a motor starter for the control, and a couple of switches on the front panel. Keep it simple. I need to sketch out what I'll need and put together a shopping list.
Current fleet:
06 Peugeot Partner Escapade 1.6HDi, 88 Renault 25 Monaco, 85 Sinclair C5, 84 Trabant 601S, 75 Rover 3500, 73 AC Model 70.