A guide to common problems.


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How to disassemble and reassemble the battery

The voltage I'm reading is too low!

How to disassemble and reassemble the battery

Caution! The battery contains a spring that can store a lot of energy. Disassembling the battery can result in serious injury. Open it at your own risk. If you take the battery apart, take care to follow step #1 below to stop the battery from releasing its energy as soon as the cover is removed.


Step #1: Engage the circuit breaker. Pull the string back just a little bit and release it so that the circuit breaker trips while the battery is almost completely discharged.

Step #2: Unscrew all 9 screws. There are six screws in the top cover, two over the big gears, and one inside the sprockets.

Step #3: Remove the cover.

Step #4: Remove several parts. In order, remove the (1) the top-most gear, (2) the gear on top of the stack, (3) the small spacer on top of the spool, (4) the spool and string, (5) the disc with the copper-colored flyweight, and (6) the silver-colored cam (it can just be moved aside to avoid having to remove the spring).

Step #5: Release the remaining energy in the spring. First, hold the silver-colored ratchet gear tightly while moving the gold-colored pawl aside. Continue to hold the ratchet gear tightly while turning it clockwise until you can't feel it pull anymore. Once that happens, you can let go of it.

Step #6: First, remove the gold-colored spacer on top of the spring spool. The ratchet gear and the spring spool can now be removed by pulling them both up and off their axles. Lastly, the gold-colored pawl may be removed by first rotating it clockwise, then lifting it up.


Step #7: Begin by placing the pawl onto its axle (the thick one). Be sure to line up the tabs before sliding it on. Then slide the spring spool and the ratchet gear onto their axles, just as shown in the video.

Step #8: Holding the ratchet gear tightly, wind it three full turns counterclockwise. Then engage the pawl to keep it locked in place. It should stay locked in place throughout the remainder of the assembly.

Step #9: Stack parts on the axle with the ratchet gear. First, place the silver-colored cam on top of the ratchet gear, making sure to put the axle on its end into the groove of the pawl. Next, stack the disc with the copper-colored flyweight. Also, add the gold-colored spacer back on top of the spring spool.

Step #10: Wrap any extra string around the spool in a counterclockwise direction (as viewed from the top). Then place the spool on top of the stack, taking care to line up the groove in its underside with the flyweight below it. Finally, unwind just enough string to put the two metal grommets in place with the nut in between.

Step #11: Place the following parts: (1) the small spacer on top of the spool, (2) the larger gear on top of the spacer, (3) the smaller gear on the nearby axle.

Step #12: Put on the covers, starting with the transparent cover, then the larger gold cover.

Step #13: Screw in all nine screws. First, place the gold spanner on top of the two gears. Make sure that the taller end is on the side with the larger (and lower) gear. Then put a screw in on either side. Next, secure the gold cover with six screws. Finally, put a screw through the small plastic washer and use it to secure the sprockets in place.

The voltage I'm reading is too low!

Sometimes, you'll measure the voltage in your circuit and it is less than you expect. There can be a few reasons for that:

First, try giving your chain connections a little slack. If the chains are too tight, they generate a lot of friction, which causes the voltages to be different than what you'd expect.

Second, try tapping on the capacitor (voltmeter). There's often a small amount of stiction that causes the circuit to stick in place before it gets to the correct reading. Tapping it jogs it out of those "sticky" positions.

Finally, if nothing else works, it may just be that the stray resistance and stiction in the system is enough to cause the voltage to be different than what you'd expect. This is always the case with analog circuits: small imperfections can add up to unexpected behaviors!