Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Thursday, April 12, 2007 - 5:37PM

Raleigh vehicle work day #3: Wiring

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
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Last night's storms in Raleigh produced plenty of tower lightning discharges while we watched, but the cloud bases were so low that the tops of the towers (and the lightning channels) were completely obscured. We gave up on the storms around 4AM.

After the day of rain, perfect weather returned on Thursday for our third day of chase vehicle prep work.


Raleigh spring weather

Today's task was to complete the wiring of the newly installed power/communications console. We installed the console so that it can be swiveled up to gain access to the back side.


Power console, swung up in service position

Wires needed to be run back to the rear of the car for the lightbar/warning strobes, and the main power connection to the front dash terminal needed to be redone. I started by installing a terminal block for the rear lights.


Rear warning light terminal

Wiring from the rear terminal to the power console was next.


Completed console wiring

After the console connections were finished, it was flipped back down into its normal position.


Finished console with seats upright

Next was the new connection to the main power panel under the dashboard, and the installation of a main power switch for the console. Since we'd moved the console back out of reach of the driver, a switch was needed so that the inverter and cooling fans could be shut off from up front. This switch was installed next to the existing switch panel for the warning lights.


Main power switch (on the left)


Buffy supervising the vehicle work

Although there are still a few car-related items to be completed before our storm chase expedition, we've finished all of the work that we needed Raleigh's warm weather and space to complete. The fine tuning and additional items can be taken care of in the coming weeks. All in all, this week's improvements to the car ran around $50 - not too bad.

Forecast update
Late April is looking less and less favorable for an active severe weather pattern in the Plains, so we're reducing the chances of a departure during that time.

Based on the current outlook, this probability table charts the chance of our trip starting on a particular date:

2007 Storm Chasing & Photography Expedition - Departure Date Probability as of April 12
April 21-306%
May 1-1023%
May 11-2023%
May 21-3123%
June 1-1523%
No trip2%

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