Monday, 22 August 2011

Day 1, in which I am a genius

Day 1 looked promising.

We were out of bed, showered and breakfasted and we'd packing things in the car before I'd even remembered the first thing I'd forgotten.

Then I remembered Ethan hadn't written a Thank you card for his great Granny's birthday present, I remembered he hadn't done the one piece of homework he'd been given over the holidays (drawing a picture of our house), and I remembered I was going to try and find some architectural drawings, sign a contract and write a cheque.  It was all going so well.

One by one the items on the to-do list were eliminated (although frankly Ethan's effort at drawing our house was extremely pathetic and didn't even have a front door, but I was past caring) and we left on time, or would have done were it not for the fly in the ointment.

In preparation for driving across France (which, if you've not done it, is a long way) I'd bought a super duper DVD thing that attached to headrests and allows children to watch different DVDs.

We had one of these previously but it only played one DVD across two screens and we found the age and gender difference meant there were only two films Hannah and Ethan could ever agree on.  Then I mashed one of the leads in a Galaxy front seat height mechanism which was kindly replaced by Mr Argos without charge.  After some sterling service the 12V power lead lost it's metal end which, for the technically-minded among you, signals a problem as it's the metal bit that carries the electricity.   It still worked when plugged into the mains however which was a boon when Ford started producing cars with 3-pin sockets for rear seat passengers.  But eventually the discs stopped playing and we figured the player was destined for the great scrapheap in the sky, or at least the tip on Coxtie Green Road.

I'd tested the super duper player before our departure day because I knew there would be nothing more frustrating than the cries from the second row of seat "Mum, it won't play." or "Mum, how do I turn it on?" or "I can't hear anything." etc.  I knew how to attach it to the headrests using the stanchion mounts (even though I have no idea what stanchion means).  I could insert discs, get the audio coming through on the infra red speakers and adjust volume, pause the disc and anything else you could mention.  So it was a surprise on D-Day when it didn't work.

I married an engineer and, whilst I'm not an engineer, I do have a mind that works in a similar way.  We started the diagnosis and quickly hit upon issue with the 12V socket and suspected a fuse malfunction.

Five minutes late for our self-imposed departure target we headed off, mindful of the need to fix the fuse issue.  Dave drove and I assaulted the Owner's Handbook.

I suggested switching the instrument panel fuse for the faulty one as they shared the same current rating.  Dave thought we might need an instrument panel so I proffered the sunroof as an alternative swap.  The car didn't have a sunroof but I guessed the handbook was referring to the panoramic roof which is nice but not exactly essential. We opted for trying to find a new fuse.

A new fuse could come from a dealership except they all close on Sunday.  A quick tweet asking for advice resulted in several suggestions of Halfords but Dave was on a mission to make it to Eurotunnel.

In the AA shop at Eurotunnel Dave found fuses galore, both full-sized and mini.  At the same time I discovered the S-MAX had a rear power socket and plugged the DVD player into that.

So we had a temporary fix and the materials for a permanent fix. Or so we thought.

We drove to our overnight stop at OrlĂ©ans and, while I cooked, Dave went to fix the car.  He'd seen and thought he'd bought mini fuses but had instead bought two sets of normal fuses and it was the mini ones he needed.  After much huffing and puffing and maybe a word or two in French, he swapped the sunroof and 12V power socket fuses.  Which I think is what I suggested earlier in the day.





Rana said...

Why is using the three pin socket a temporary as opposed to preferred solution?

Ann Cardus said...

The socket at the back of the car was 12V and involved leads trailing from screens across second row of seats and luggage. Much neater to have lead going into front power socket. Less likelihood of child decapitation when front socket used.