We are just now starting to recover from an ice storm in central Oklahoma. In the middle of all the problems we were having with loss of electricity for 20 miles in every direction, trying to keep the house warm, trying to keep our animals warm, cooking food on the outside propane grill, and not being able to buy gasoline for cars or groceries.
During all of this, my daughter needed to go pickup her teenage daughter at a friend's house. When she tried to start her car, the starter didn't respond.
Step 1: THE REASON FOR MAKING THIS
Candles & kerosene lamps don't help a lot. On top of all that, I missed watching the Oklahoma University vs. Oklahoma State University football game.
Step 2: MORE DAMAGE
It's like a war zone with all the noise of big limbs breaking under the load of the ice. Some of the limbs are over a foot in diameter and sound like a shotgun blast when they break. My daughter and I were kept busy with a lopper on a pole trimming off some small branches extending over the electric service line coming to my house. Luckily, we got them trimmed before the main part of the limb bent from 12 feet high to the ground.
Step 3: MAKING THE SWITCH
When my daughter tried to start her car, the starter didn't respond. After a little investigating, I found that either the ignition switch was not making contact in the "Start" position or the wire coming from the switch to the starter solenoid was bad. I checked voltage from the switch wire going to the solenoid and found it was not showing any voltage. I shorted across the solenoid and that activated the starter. It would have been nice if I could have run to the nearest auto parts store and bought a push button switch, but they were closed because of the electric outage and in addition, the roads were iced over.
Since I didn't want to send my daughter out driving and depending on shorting two wires together to start it, I thought it was time to make an "Normally Off / Momentary On" push button switch. Here's what I made.
Step 4: PARTS I USED:
1 - WOODEN CLOTHES PIN (to make the emergency switch. Hereafter known as the "switch" )
1 - 1" X 2" X 6" PINE BOARD (to make the "switch" easier to handle, AKA the handle)
LOCTITE GO2 Glue (to secure the "switch" to the board. (That's good stuff; very strong after it has dried)
2 - 9 FOOT STRANDS OF 16 GAUGE INSULATED WIRE (to run from "switch" to solenoid)
3 - #8 BOLTS, NUTS & FLAT WASHERS (2 to make the "switch's" contacts & to attach "switch" to board)
1 - 5/16" NUT (to secure wire to solenoid without really disturbing anything.
1 - Antique hand driven drill (because of no electricity or compressed air since power was off)
Step 5: RUNNING THE WIRE
I didn't want to try to punch a hole through the fire wall, since I couldn't use an electric or air drill, so I ran the wire from the solenoid, across the engine, out into the passenger's door jam, into the car's interior, across the dash, and over to the center console.
Step 6: VIDEO OF OPERATION
It works great. My daughter had no trouble operating it after I drew a diagram of the battery, the solenoid, the starter, the "switch", and the low amp wire activating the solenoid. She can have a mechanic replace the OEM switch or the wiring when the weather clears up. Until then, she's back in business