Monday, September 23, 2013

Back to the Corvette - The Steering Column

I started trying to re-assemble the steering column, but didn't get anywhere.  Well, maybe I did.  I started checking the wiper switch, found that it wasn't working as the wiring diagram said it should, and started looking for new ones.  I failed to find one I could buy.

Over the weekend, I was chatting with my father, who asked me, "well, why not just rebuild your switch?  You've just about rebuilt everything else without knowing how it was engineered!"

It took a few days for that to fully sink in, and this morning, I asked myself, "why not?"

I took the switch completely out of the housing (just down to the plastic/contact pieces), and grabbed a drill bit (had to be the right size).  I started to drill the rivets (where you don't drill all the way through, you simply drill far enough into the rivet for it to separate), and used a pocket knife (great edge, not flimsy like an x-acto knife, perfect for prying apart without breaking the surrounding plastics).  That got my contacts off of the plastic frame for the switch.  Other than paint that had gotten into the switch and a wire that someone had cut, my switch was actually in great shape.

I used a wire brush to clean the contacts.

Before installing things, I thought it would be easier to solder in a new chunk of wire in the one that had been clipped.  I broke out the soldering iron, solder, heat shrink tubing, and slapped that puppy back together.  I added the contacts back to the switch frame, placed the eyelets, grabbed the rivets, and popped it all back together.

I needed to test it, but, since my voltmeter was not working (translation: I was too lazy to go buy a new 9v battery), I opted to get a better visual test for this.  I ran down and grabbed my Arduino Nano, connected the common point for the switch connector to ground, and slapped a modified button code onto it that defaulted with a pull-up resistor on three inputs, and three outputs to LED's.  This way, if the wire wasn't connected to ground, the LED would light up.  If it was connected to ground, the LED would turn off.

It gave me a great visual way to ensure that it was connected properly.  Now I can start to figure out the entire reassembly.  It will take some time, but once I get it, I'll have the steering column put back together fairly quickly, and then I can finally do the electrical test before connecting the battery to adjust the windows.  Getting one small step closer!

No comments:

Post a Comment