Making of the Numan battery commercial

Gary Numan plays "Cars" with cars

We realized that 1/0 welding cable, carrying thousands of joules from the battery to the cars, was running alongside unshielded CAT5-USB cable. EM coupling between the two not only fouled the signal, but had already burned out a USB port on Gradman's laptop. Gradman solved this by connecting the relay boards to an additional laptop behind the cars. He connected the laptops via Ethernet---which is less susceptible to interference---and frantically rewrote his software lying on his belly on the desert playa.
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7 Responses:

  1. ch says:

    i love numan, but please shoot the author.

    wires do not carry joules in any normal sense of the language or physics.

    a wire can have a potential (to some other reference) and it can "carry" current.

    a current flowing through a load at a given potential can be converted into power in terms of watts. a watt of course is a joule per second.

  2. takeapeek says:

    That....just made my night :-)

  3. lionsphil says:

    That's pretty dang neat, even if it does sound dreadful.

    I'm reminded of Top Gear playing their theme tune using car engines. (Just the audio, no banter.)

  4. adolf says:

    Neat, I guess. They powered some fluorescent tubes, intermittently-operated headlamps and cars horns, and - I guess - a keyboard.

    From a car battery. A big one, from the looks of it. One that proclaims to be better than all others....

    And they did all of this for *several minutes*!!!

    I'm positively aghast that anyone might ever think this is impressive in any particular way -- as if nobody has ever used their car's headlights to brighten a dark work area, or the stereo for long hours playing tunes, and then successfully gotten into the vehicle, started it, and driven off.

    And the whole "let's start 24 cars from one battery" game? Feh. Starting the first car starting might be difficult. The second much less so. And not long after this point, the cars are all effectively jump-starting eachother from the spinning alternators of those that are already running, and the battery needn't exist at all except to smooth things out.

    Each of these modern sedans, with all of their "standard" luxury items, will be equipped with at least a 90A alternator, measured at peak. Of course at idle, they might only have 40 to 60 amps available, but by the time a few of these easy-to-start new-ish cars are running, it's no trouble for them to start the entire rest of the fleet.

    It was a lovely tale about hacking to save the day in the middle of the desert, until one realizes that any fool should know not to stake such a production on the behavior of a Really Fucking Long USB cable.

    And, well, Gary Numan.