You Know You're Having A Bad Day When...
This happened many years ago when the Invincible was my first effort in the hobby. Clueless beyond comprehension, I was using NiCads which I had custom made which cost $160 for one set. The results, as Brian Eliassen who witnessed the first I-boat sea trials will attest, were really comical -- incredibly slow speed combined with extreme tenderness resulting from a lot of pot metal very high in the superstructure (life boats, secondary armament, etc.) which made the thing quite a sight.
Anyway, I had the batteries in the front seat of my BMW M Roadster along with a bunch of papers and other stuff and was going to Hobby Shack (about 9 miles from my house) on some probably fruitless mission. At the intersection of Hawthorne Blvd. and Artesia Blvd. (about a mile shy of Hobby Shack) the car began filling with smoke. Had I been driving the Jaguar this wouldn't have gotten any notice, but it was unusual behavior for the Beemer. Panic-stricken, I glanced around and noticed that the wires to my jury-rigged NiCad were glowing white hot and the papers in the passenger seat were shooting flames up to the bottom of the window. The choice came down to abandonment of either battery or car. Light turned green. I grabbed the offending cells and flung them towards the median. If I did that today they'd probably scramble jets. Do you know how effectively white hot wire cuts through flesh? My appreciation for it was cut short when blood began spurting from my thumb and I quickly learned how to drive a 5-speed with only my left hand.
Arrived at Hobby Shack bleeding profusely. Hobby Shack is in a rather bad section of town, so people running in the door bleeding isn't that unusual, but they kinda knew me there and weren't used to seeing me in that state, so they did look up. Talked them out of gauze in which I wrapped my right hand, finished my business, stopped at Hawthorne and Artesia on the way back and relieved the median of my battery. I arrived home to the uproarious laughter of my cats. I found out about Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries at the next SCRAP meeting.
Copyright © 2003 Dana Graham