So I tried -- for the second time -- to have my instrument flight test today, but I was stymied by an uncooperative aircraft. Last night I tried to start the plane and it wouldn't turn over (dead battery), so I pulled the battery, bought a battery charger at AutoZone, and hooked it up to the charger overnight. This morning I went out to the airfield early to reinstall the battery and prep the aircraft. After filling up the tires with air, I got in the plane and tried to start it. The battery was nice and healthy, but the engine wouldn't go.
It would catch and turn a few times and then stop, which I couldn't figure out. Eventually I tapped one of the mechanics on the shoulder and had him try; he couldn't get it started, either.
So I called up the inspector and cancelled the test, and pulled (literally) the plane over to the hanger of another mechanic. I gave him the keys and headed into work, and just about the time I got to the office, the mechanic gave me a call. Apparently he looked at the magnetos, which were fine, tried starting the plane and it started right up.
Will try again next week.