Electric Alfa Romeo GTV Conversion

Alfa Romeo GTV History

The Alfa Romeo (916) GTV was produced between 1995 – 2004, with only around 40,000 GTV models, and a similar amount of the open top Spiders, being manufactured during the whole period. They did not produce an electric Alfa Romeo GTV.

Alfa Romeo GTV

Reasons For Electric Alfa Romeo GTV

Reasons to convert a petrol Alfa Romeo GTV, or any Alfa Romeo to electric are both environmental and performance.


The smaller engined Alfa Romeo GTV, that was available to the Uk market, still emits 220 grams of CO2.


The smaller two litre ‘twin spark’ engine produces around 155 BHP.

Its possible to create a higher performing electric powered car.

The decision to re-engineer my own Alfa GTV, to run on an electric motor, rather than the original petrol engine, which emits a high CO2 level of 220.

I will be improving and updating this blog post on a regular basis, so check back regularly.

Why am I doing this? – Well for starters there is the high CO2 level.

The car failed its MOT in December 2012 on emissions and a small hole on the underside inner sill.

The car was put into my garage shortly after, and almost forgotten about, until recently.

Although I have successfully managed to get the engine going, the car would need a new rear exhaust silencer, radiator (as in poor condition), and new cambelt and balancer belts (not a cheap job).

The last items, are the main reason I took the car off the road after it failed its MOT in 2012.

The belts need replacing every three years, or 36,000 miles according to Alfa Specialists, and mine were way over due (time wise).

A second reason for wanting to convert my Alfa Romeo GTV to be powered by an electric motor is performance, yes you did read that correctly.

The Alfa Romeo GTV came in two basic variants, four cylinder, and six cylinder (V6) petrol variants.

The original 2 litre four cylinder version that I have, is a fantastic high revving motor, with a unique Alfa Romeo 8 spark plug design.

However it gets overshadowed (unfairly in my opinion), by the tyre shredding V6 version.

My objective is to create an Electric Alfa Romeo GTV that has faster acceleration, than the V6 versions.

But aren’t electric cars those off looking slow things, that oddball eccentrics drive? Electric cars have come a long way in recent years, due to advances in technology.

Just look at the acceleration figures for a Tesla Car, if you have any doubts.

The second part of this blog post on the Electric Alfa GTV project will appear soon.

My other project the Electric Morris Minor

Superyacht Radio New Competitor

The New Radio from Entel, could be the perfect Superyacht Radio.

Expecting the best from all areas of life is something that owners of Superyachts expect, and demand.

This not only encompasses yacht decor and culinary standards, but also the more subtle things too.

There are literally thousands of radio communications suppliers globally, from a ‘one man band’, to large corporate suppliers.

Most of these companies are unfortunately not experienced in the Marine  & yachting Industry.

A few years ago we had an unusual phone call from a man who was calling from a vessel located off the eastern coast of the UK.

Click here to read more, at Yesway.co.uk website.


Tips for Replacing Car Brake Pads

Tips for Replacing Car Brake Pads

My car recently failed its annual MOT inspection on worn front brake pads.

Being an experienced engineer, and having even taught GCSE Motor Vehicle studies, I decided to do the work myself.

Brake caliper resting on brake disc to avoid strain on brake hose

The first issue was getting the locking wheel nuts off, as the key was slipping.

A tip for doing this is to use youtube, and search for removal of locking wheel nuts for your particular car.

Once you have removed the wheel nuts, you may come up against the next challenge, wheel stuck on hub.

If you have jacked up the car (and used axle stands to support) removed the wheel nuts, and the wheel wont come off, this is my tip.

Loosely screw the wheel nuts back on about half way. Then (after removing the axle stand) slowly lower the car jack down.

The weight of the car being put onto the wheel, should help loosen the wheel from the hub. You can gently rock the wheel, which may help.

Remember it is vitally important (for safety) that the wheel nuts are screwed on enough to hold the wheel in place, but not so tight that the wheel is tightened against the hub.

So now hopefully you have managed to remove the front wheel, and have the car supported on suitable axle stands.

The next job is to remove the brake caliper, which is held in place with two 13mm (on my car) bolts.

On a previous car I owned, the bolts had been rounded and damaged, and would not come out using a normal spanner or socket.

A tip for removing the bolts, is to use reverse thread ‘bolt grips’. These are special sockets, that ‘bite’ into the rounded bolt, and grip tighter the more torque is applied to them.

Manufacturers of these are Irwin and Ebauer, and they are available from tool supplier, such as Toolstation & Screwfix, among others.

A car manual will be useful if you are not familiar with fitting brake pads, and I accept no liability if you do it incorrectly.

Once you have removed the brake caliper, be careful not to stretch the brake hose, which could cause damage to it.

In the picture below, I rested the brake caliper on top of the brake disc, but you could also tie it up to suspend it, to avoid strain to the brake hose.

Brake pad replacement

The existing brake pads should push out of their slots, but you may need to use a large flat blade screwdriver, or similar to prise them out.

Before you can fit the new brake pads, you will need to move the part of the brake caliper that pushes against the brake pad, back fully inside the caliper.

This is because the new brake pads are thicker than the old worn pads, and the caliper has moved outwards to remain in contact with the brake pad, as it wears.

A tip for pushing the caliper ‘piston’ back inside the caliper casing, is to use a ‘G-Clamp’ as shown in the picture.

By screwing in the clamp, the piston will be compressed back into the caliper body.

Be careful to do it slowly and gently, and ensure that the piston is going back inside evenly. If it start to go at an angle, you can move the G-Clamp to the other side, to compensate.

Once the caliper piston is back level with the caliper casing, you are ready to fit the new brake pads. Use a little brake grease on the contact metal edges, to avoid brake squeal, but never get it onto the brake pad, or brake disc surfaces.

Refer to your car workshop manual, if needed, and fit them in place.

Connect any wear sensor connection wiring, if your car has these.

You should then be able to replace the brake caliper over the new pads, and back into place.

Put a bit of ‘thread lock’ onto the threads of the caliper bolts, and tighten to the manufacturers torque settings (you will need a torque wrench for this).

Spin the brake disc to ensure that it turns freely, and then refit wheel.

Job done!!!

It should be noted that the above instructions are only for replacing the brake pads.

Brake pads should always be replaced in axle pairs, in other words don’t just fit one on the front near side (UK kerb side), but not do the other front wheel side.

Brake discs, which are the round part that the brake pad squeezes against, also wear, and may also need replacing.

You should check the manufacturers brake disc data, and replace if they have worn thinner that acceptable, or are badly weakened or scored.

You can use a tool called a micrometer to measure brake disc thickness.

Car Brake Disc



This article is for information only, and the author accepts not responsibility for injury, damage or loss caused by following its instructions.

The article and photos are also copyright  2018 (C) Craig Miles



Photo of industrial history at papplewick Pumping Station, Nottinghamshire

Victorian Technology

Papplewick Pumping Station

Papplewick Pumping station is located near the City of Nottingham, in the east of England.

Papplewick was built in the late Victorian era to supply fresh water to the nearby city of Nottingham.

The site includes an underground brick built reservoir, that visitors can go down, with a guide.

The main site is beautiful in a way that the Victorians often made their buildings.

Despite being a public utility, that few people would see, they incorporated beautiful design features into the building and grounds.

On bank holidays, the boilers are fired up, and the pumping station can be seen operating, which is well worth a visit.


Flying Transmitters – Part 1

Increasing radio coverage range

Radio communications at frequencies above 30 Mhz normally travel between transmitter and receiver, in what is known as ‘line of sight’.

In other words they don’t bounce off the atmospheric layers, or the ground, as they can do below 30 Mhz.

You may have noticed that if you are listening to an old radio receiver that has Medium  Wave (MW) & Long Wave (LW) wavebands, that you can hear ‘foreign’ radio stations at night.

This is because despite being called medium and long wave, both frequencies are below 30 Mhz. This means that the radio waves between transmitter and receiver can ‘bounce’, which increases range.

So why don’t we use frequencies below 30 Mhz to achieve long range?

Well for a start the antenna length would be too long.

This is because the the lower the frequency, the longer the antenna needs to be, to be ‘resonant’.

It would therefore be impractical for handheld or vehicle communications systems, to use low frequencies.

Why do ‘Line of Sight’ communications only go a short distance?

The simple answer is that the earth is round, and there are objects such as buildings and hill in the way.

If two people were talking on handheld ‘walkie talkies’ and started walking away from each other, gradually the curvature of the earth would come between them, and stop communication.

Buildings and other objects can also either reduce or prevent radio signals from getting between the transmitter and a receiver.

Therefore to overcome the reduction or complete blocking of the radio signal, antennas are often put on high masts, or high buildings.

This increase in height helps overcome the curvature of the earth, and also objects in the line of sight, between the transmitter and the receiver.

This principle is used effectively by space satellites.

Space Satellites receive a radio signal from a Satellite ground station, and rebroadcast the transmission back down to earth over a large coverage area, known as the satellites ‘footprint’.


What happens when you pour water on an induction motor

Pouring water on an Induction Motor may stop it working, due to the lowering of the insulation resistance of the internal motor coil windings.

The coil windings are located inside the metal case of the induction motor, and are what generates a magnetic field, which makes the motor turn.

This article will focus on what are known as ‘three phase’ Induction Motors, which have three sets of coil windings inside the motor.

The internal motor windings are wound together in a component known as a ‘Stator’.

Each winding is electrically separated by an insulation layer on the copper wire that makes up a stator winding.

Therefore there should be a high level of electrical resistance between each of the three coils.

This ‘Insulation Resistance’ is typically above 2 Mega Ohms in a correctly operating Induction Motor.

However if the coil windings became wet, then the insulation resistance would drop to a low level, which would prevent the motor from operating, due to a short circuit between the coil windings.

The good news is that induction motors can usually be dried out, and therefore returned to having a high insulation resistance between the Stator coils.

Drying out the stator coils can be done with gentle heating methods.

It is of course vital that the motor is disconnected from the electricity supply, and that only a qualified person carries out the work.


Motivation – What Motivates You?

What Motivates You (Passions)

I regularly ask myself the question ‘what motivates me in life’.

So far have always ‘heard’ back the same voice in my head, telling me the answer.

The answer that the voice in my head tells me, is three things:-

  1. Property
  2. Adventure
  3. Travel

I am happy and motivated when at least one of the three above motivations are present.

My main long term career has been in teaching technical subjects.

On the face of it that may not sound like it fits in with any of my three motivations (passions), but teaching can provide both adventure and travel. This is why my teaching career has been so successful.

I have also been involved in Bulgarian property investment, which ticks all three motivations, as there was the buying and selling of property.

There was also the adventure of traveling to a new country, and experiencing a new culture, including staying in ordinary Bulgarians houses.

Successfully Buying and selling property, setting up bank accounts and learning the language were also amazing experiences.

What Motivates You Then?

Have you asked yourself what motivates you?

In this culture, we are told in radio adverts and the media, that we are busy.

I know people who actually feel guilty if they aren’t constantly busy and doing things.

Its true that we are always doing something, but taking time to relax and listen to your inner quiet voice is surely worthwhile.

As I previously said, I asked myself what motivates me, and got the answer back, from my quiet inner voice.

Why not try it for yourself.

Just ask yourself the question over a few weeks, and listen to the answer.

For me it has been worthwhile, as I now have a decision template, that I can check new potential decisions against.

These are my ideas, and you may have other (even better) ideas, so get in touch and share.




  • Developed by Zigbee Alliance
  • IEEE 802.15.4 based specification
  • High level communication protocols
  • Used to create Personal Area Networks (PAN)
  • Uses small low power digital radios
  • Typically used for home automation, medical device data collection, other projects requiring low power & low bandwidth
  • Conceived in 1995, standardised in 2003, revised in 2006

Features of Zigbee

  • Low power
  • Low data rate
  • Close proximity data communications
  • Wireless ‘ad hoc’ network (WANET), which is a decentralised type of wireless network.

Zigbee Advantages (compared with other WPANS, such as Bluetooth & WIFI)

  • Simpler
  • Less expenditure

Zigbee Applications (typical uses)

  • Wireless light switches
  • Home energy monitors
  • Traffic management systems
  • Other consumer & industrial equipment, requiring short communication range & low wireless data transmission rate
Typical Zigbee Performance
  • 10 – 100 meters range (per device), based on line of sight
  • Range dependent on both power output & environmental characteristics
  • Long distance communication possible by passing data through a ‘mesh network’, which allows the data to transfer through ‘intermediate’ devices between zigbee nodes
  • Long battery life, due to low power consumption
  • Secure communication using 128 bit symmetric encryption keys
  • 250 kbit/s, which is suited to intermittent data transmissions, such as from a sensor or other input device.