All Bottom Balanced… mmmmm

Posted in Batteries, High Voltage System at 9:38 pm by Administrator

My 50 CAL Bottom Balancer worked quite well. I could take a 3V 180Ah LiFePo4 cell and bottom balance it in about 1 hr. I used all of the components I ordered and laid them out on a table. After I determined that the logic was good I mounted everything in a wooden box (one of EV1E’s old battery boxes) I tried to arrange the components to provide the best cooling scenario for the 0.1 Ohm, 500 Watt power resister. The 50 CAL BBM successfully put a load of 20 Amps on the battery and the JLD404 meter successfully activated the relays to stop the depletion at 2.6 volts shutting off the load until the battery “grew volts” and reached 2.8 volts then activated the load, repeating the process until the bouncing stopped and settled at about 2.78 volts. After I did this with all 42 Cells I went back and did a final check. The highest cell I found was 2.98 volts. When all of the batteries were finely tuned (bottom balanced once more) I put them back in the vehicle and charged them up. I got my Zivon NG3 charger from Elcon. I brought it to them to re-program for LiFePo4 cells. They said they had a better Zivon charger which will give me 15 Amps charge and would I like to trade for the charger which I had brought in. I said yes as long as it works better then the one I brought in. They assured me it would when they reprogrammed it for LiFePo4. I have been trying to get a hold of them by phone and email. The one time I got through by phone I was told by Mark that I needed to email my concerns and the service dept will get back to me. I have done so 3 times since Aug 21 2012 and as of this posting I have not heard squat from them. The charger they traded me only charges at a max of 10 Amps, NOT the 15 Amps they said it would. I am using a 20 amp outlet. So much for integrity. It takes 8 min/1 Ah to charge my car now that it has been bottom balanced. That is 20 hrs to go from 2.78 V – 3.35 V. “Wait a minute! 3.35V? Shouldn’t it be 3.50V? Lets see 42 X 3.35V = 140.7V aren’t these batteries supposed to have more voltage then that?” “Shouldn’t your charger be charging at 147V?” you ask. And my answer, “Why yes they can hold 3.50V and still only be at 80% capacity.” “So why”; you say, “are they only charging to 3.35?” The answer is simple when Elcon “traded me” their “15 Amp” charger for the one I brought them they set the voltage at it’s max (which is 142V) Not enough to gain the 147 Volts I need for this car. Is there a decent company out there which doesn’t take advantage of the up and coming tinkerers and innovators? Are we stuck having to depend on companies like this one to do a simple thing like change a charge curve? We entrust them with the responsibility to be fair and honest and this is how they treat the future of electric transportation. Shame on you Elcon!!! Enough of this…
I made some movies and took some pictures of the bottom balancer in action. To an EV guy this is better then “the game”… If your not into EV’s this’ll be a lot like watching paint dry… enjoy
“Keep On Pluggin”


The 50 CAL Bottom Balancing Machine

Posted in Batteries, High Voltage System, Lets All Plug In, Tuning at 12:17 pm by Administrator

After frying my Revolectrix Cellpro PL6 twice, trying to bottom balance my 42 cell 180Ah pack (one battery at a time on the second go round) I have come to the conclusion that there is a need for a heavy duty bottom balancer. The first time I Fried it Revoelectrix sent me an RA (return authorization) and I paid the shipping to send it back for repair, they paid the shipping to return it to me. the second time Revoelectix quit answering my emails and won’t return my calls. So I am stuck with another piece of $250.00 junk which I have to replace some MOSFET’s on someday. That being the case and me not being one to give up easily, I seem to be in the unique place of having to come up with a tool which will bottom balance higher Ah LiFePo4 cells, and since no tool seems to be available, I am also in the precarious place of having to build one, which I have done and am testing it as I write this. So far it works quite well discharging one 180Ah cell (CALB SE) at a time. I am starting at 3.28Volts and it takes about 4 hours per cell. If the batteries were discharged down to 3 Volts ea it would only take about 45min per cell. I plan to make this bullet proof and send it to the master of product testing, Jack Rickard at EVTV (if he’ll have it) to see if he can fry it. If it passes the test and gets the EVTV stamp of approval, I will build and sell these. But not until the prototypes have been thoroughly tested. Who knows, I may even get these confounded batteries fully bottom balanced. I know I have been living on the razors edge and taking a real chance with my pack by not having the whole thing bottom balanced. I bottom balanced some and top balanced the rest to make the charges equal right before Laguna Seca. This is the wrong way to go about it. Fortunately these batteries are amazingly resilient and I have not observed that any damage was done. But now that I have a proper heavy duty bottom balancer I am confident that this pack will be balanced well.


EVIE The Movie

Posted in AC 24, Batteries, DMOC, High Voltage System, Lets All Plug In, Low Voltage System, Restore, Sub Frame, Teardown at 10:21 am by Administrator

This is the trailer for the little movie I am making… enjoy
This is The Movie “Gettin The Lead Out”


Renewed Hope

Posted in Batteries, High Voltage System at 6:54 pm by Administrator

I spoke with two representatives from FMA and sent my portable battery lab back to Maryland for repair (or exchange) so that I may finish bottom balancing my pack. I also had the charging algorithm changed from Gel to LiFePo4 in my Zivon charger. The folks at Elcon were most accommodating.


Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway, Monterey CA 07-01-2012

Posted in AC 24, Batteries, DMOC, Design, Drive Train, Gauges, High Voltage System, Lets All Plug In, Low Voltage System, Road Test, Tuning at 10:08 pm by Administrator

EV1E’s Debut as an LiFePo4 powered vehicle proved to be a success. We placed third in the “electric vehicle conversion” division (now ask me how many vehicles were in our division.) Not bad considering I have never driven on a race track. The event was wonderful and enlightening. There were more production cars then conversions. Representatives from Tesla, BMW, Coda, Nissan, as well as the Kleen Speed race team were present. This says something very positive about the future of electric vehicles and hopefully the future of our environment as well.


Yippee! We’re Ready to Go Dad!

Posted in AC 24, Assembly, Batteries, DMOC, Design, Drive Train, Gauges, High Voltage System, Lets All Plug In, Lights, Low Voltage System, Relay Board, Road Test, Seats, Sub Frame at 4:22 pm by Administrator

C'mon lets go!
These are my helpers. They were protesting that I couldn’t take them to Laguna Seca with me. This is an old fashioned “Sit In” They actually slept in the car last night and would not come in (the car was parked in the garage) the house.
We are ready for the big event at Laguna Seca tomorrow. Robert has volunteered his time and car trailer to the cause and we will be loading EV1E on the trailer eeearly in the morning. The Electric Automobile Association California Central Valley Chapter will be represented tomorrow!
I drove EV1E today and she “feels like a different car.” Jack Rickard of EVTV made this statement to me in one of our correspondences about the differences between lead and Lithium. He said when I change from lead to Lithium that my car will “feel like a different car” I wasn’t sure what he meant by it, I mean how could the same car feel completely different? Now I know what he meant EV1E feels more solid more responsive … tighter. Don’t know how else to explain it. Tomorrow is going to be a great way to see just what she can do.


Long Week, 121 Gigawatts! what was thinking!

Posted in AC 24, Accessories, Assembly, Batteries, DMOC, High Voltage System, Low Voltage System, Relay Board, Road Test, Seats at 10:49 pm by Administrator

Ok here is the scoop. Today, The Day on the calendar wherein, in 1955 Marty McFly first went back to the future in Doc’s Delorean, EV1E received her first jolt of Lithium Power. A very historic day.
As I said it was a long week. I took Monday off thanks to the graciousness and understanding of my fabulous program manager. So what did I do with it? I finished wiring the Low Voltage system. I tested all the relays and made sure they all functioned properly. I re-read the instruction manual for my PL6 which is supposed to be able to discharge a battery at 40Amps. I went through all of the steps and the only thing I got was a message that said “Bad Cell Count” and no matter what I do that is all I can get. I called Revo and sent several emails but alas a good product is only as good as the support behind it. Given that rule I have to say that the PL6 is a bad product… only because of the lack of support, that and it wont do anything useful. Did I mention I called them… this started about three weeks ago and I have yet to hear from them.
That said and done I had to figure another way to balance my pack. This took some thought…
On Tuesday I hooked up the DC to DC converter and Willie the welder came over and we welded the new seat brackets in so that I could use the 914 seats… The seats were too high, 914 seats too high! We revisited the old bradley seats and made some modifications to them and that is what I am using. On Tuesday I we also put in the locking mechanism for the aft battery boxes. On Tues night I Started placing batteries in the boxes in the proper configuration. I also fitted the connecting cables which connect the front box to the aft boxes. Wed I spent most of the day trying to configure the PL6 to discharge more then 7.99Amps. Then Willie came over again and he took the seat brackets out so that the Old Bradley seats would fit. I also pulled the three point seatbelt system out of the Porsche 914 and installed it in EV1E. I used the roll bar for the harness attachment and the other two points are where I had the lap belt. Today was great! I decided I was going to hook up all of the main pack and check all the systems. They are working. I drove the car down the block and thought this car is sluggish… I drove back home and parked EV1E in the garage and went to apply the E Brake, it was already applied. I took off the E Brake and drove to the end of the block again this time with much more pep.
About balancing. I am going to charge the pack until the most charged battery reach’s 3.5 volts then, I am going to measure the lowest voltages and take the high voltage batts out of the string and charge everything up to 3.5Volts. Then reintroduce the charged batts which were removed and have a balanced pack. I can then run the car normally until the batteries are discharged to almost 2.75V then I can hand balance them. For Now I have just a little more to do and I am ready for Laguna Seca.


OK Say’s Autopilot

Posted in AC 24, Accessories, Assembly, Batteries, DMOC, Design, Drive Train, Gauges, High Voltage System, Low Voltage System, Relay Board at 6:32 pm by Administrator

I have connected 4 batteries in parallel and am bottom balancing them all at the same time. Since I have to be away for a few days I thought I would Let the machines take over and when I called to check up on it I was told that they had already finished… I guess I will see soon enough, but if that is the case I will be able to do these much faster. Only a few days left and all I have to do is finish bottom balancing, hook up the main pack, hook up the DC to DC converter, weld in the seat brackets, seat belts and shoulder harnesses, adjust rear brakes, and hook up the instrumentation. Piece of cake! (gulp) Then I have to charge the pack and I will be ready to roll.


Just a Little Short On One End

Posted in AC 24, Accessories, Batteries, Body and Fender, Bradley GT II Electrical Diagrams, DMOC, Design, High Voltage System, Sub Frame at 11:33 am by Administrator

While I was perusing the website I noticed that for some reason I got it in my head that I would only need 7 cells on each side in the back. I can only fit 27 cells in the front rack. A quick calculation and I come up with 41 Batteries total. So we (Willie the Welder and I) are putting 8 batteries in the back on the drivers side and 7 on the passenger side giving us a total of 15 batteries in the back approx 180lbs plus the 130lbs of motor and the 40 or so lbs of Controller and the 9 lbs DC to DC converter approx 350lbs in the back and 324lbs in the front. Let me see…
Thats 684 lbs say 700 lbs which includes the motor, controller, dc to dc converter, charger and all of the batteries and battery boxes. the body with the windows and accessories weighs in at 600lbs and I dont know what a 74 VW chassis weighs so I am up to 1300lbs not including the weight of the chassis. Does anyone out there know the weight of a 74 VW chassis? The weight of the Lead acid gel batteries I am replacing was 840 lbs and only 1/3rd the energy. I think this car will weigh in at approx 2100lbs fully energized.

These photos show the passenger side battery box with the batteries in it (not final) to show how they will fit in the box. Obviously they are not ready to be hooked up. Note the pos and neg terminal placement…not correct. The second pic shows the bat box placement in relationship with the controller.


Right Idea… Wrong Execution

Posted in Batteries, Design, High Voltage System at 12:55 am by Administrator

So there I was putting together these aquarium looking battery box liners when suddenly they just fell apart. One whole day wasted. So today I did some research and discovered on youtube that there is a better way. I then found some wonderful glue and a tube of another type for about $17.00. I brought them home and within 1 hour I constructed two aquariums. I dropped one of them off at Willy the welders house so he can construct an aluminum frame for them. These will be my two battery boxes for the 14 batteries in the aft section of the car.

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