A Break in the Rain, An Update

Aloha! It has been quite rainy here in Kailua, HI. Yesterday we got a reprieve in the weather. I took advantage of it by cleaning my car and doing some minor repairs. The driver side door panel needed some attention. I also used the bright sunshine too charge the car while I was working on it. And of course I had a load of laundry going. I made a video, a short walk around to show all who are interested what the car looks like now. This is my daily driver. With the exception of the two times I had a rental car, (one while I was waiting for my car to arrive when I first moved here, and Two when my insurance company let me have a rental while my car was having some bodywork done, don’t ask) I have not purchased gasoline since I’ve been here.

Anyway here is the video… Video is too big so here are some photos.

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Blue Planet Electric Vehicle Drive

image-9-13-16-at-9-02-amOn Saturday Sept 10 2016 Martine and I participated in the Blue Planet Electric Vehicle Drive from Kailua to downtown Honolulu where we met up with more EV’s to form an amazingly long parade two abreast four blocks long. As a group we drove all the way out to KCC near Diamond head. It was awesome.
There was a short ceremony where we learned that the governor of Hawaii declared Sept 10 Electric Vehicle day.  After the announcements a luncheon was provided by Whole Foods.

There were many Leafs and Teslas but interestingly I had the only 1973 Porsche 914 Electric… In fact I had the only conversion vehicle in the drive. My car did summon a lot of curiosity and interest. Some people thought I had found one of the Blue Planet window flags and was infiltrating the parade. Once we parked and I opened up my vehicle for all to see, that rumor was abandoned. I answered many questions I hadn’t heard in a few years. Questions like: “What kind of batteries are those?” ( 37, SE 180 Ahr LiFePo4 cells), “How long did it take you to do?” (About two years, keep in mind this is a prototype so I had to design and manufacture or have manufactured all of the brackets, battery boxes, motor mount, etc. I made CAD drawings of every component I designed so that the next one could be done for much less time and money) , “How much does it cost to do one?” (about $17,000 batteries included, you have to find your own vehicle and be willing to do it yourself.)
We met many EV enthusiast and Martine said she had fun. I came away with a profound feeling that our (the early adaptors) efforts are paying off. I realize the movement is in its infancy but If Hawaii is any kind of sample, we are off to a very good start.

Ghost Busters!

I can hardly believe this but it happened. I have been corresponding with a gentleman who was on the board of regents for the The Hydrogen Highway project. He is now part of a renewable energy board and on the board of directors for a water company. I do know the names of all of these entities, I am leaving them out on purpose much the way I did when I was punished for plugging in my electric car in Merced County while I was working for California Forensic Medical Group, but to a completely different end. The water company soon to be a power company is embarking on a project to create a renewable community. They have asked me to to take charge of the electric car and renewable transportation side of the project with an emphasis on electric car conversions. Already I have been asked to spec out and write proposals for the following:
1969 Porsche 911, Austin Healey Bug eye, and a Ford Lightening (pickup). I have also been told that the company owns an abandoned firehouse which we can use for a conversion shop.

On a completely different note I replaced a ground wire with a much more suitable one and repaired and hooked up the license plate lights.

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Whoa! It’s Been That Long?

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Click and See

Ok, First I must say much has happened since my last post. Second I must also say I have been posting on Facebook but, to all you loyal fans of this site I both apologize and will now explain what happened.

The project is moving along fine. After waiting for two weeks for my powder coated front brake calipers I finally received a box. No calipers, just a box with big tear in the side. I was away from home at the imd and my 84 year old mother accepted the package. She was elated because it was so light. When I got home I discovered that she had accepted an empty box. I put in a claim and eventually got reimbursed for my purchase. So at that point I was at the same point I had started with two weeks prior.  This was not going well. While I was waiting I decided to get the motor to spin. I finally wound up ordering a used caliper from a wrecking yard and rebuilding the front brake system myself.  Greg came over and while he was finishing up on the battery rack bracing system, I installed the brakes. Once they were installed we pressurized the system, checked for leaks and bled the system. Then I was time for the first test drive. If you clicked and saw already then you know what hat was all about. If not go to the top of this post and see what you missed! After the test we put Otto on the trailer and brought him home.

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The next step is to get those batteries charged fully so that we can do some preliminary road test. I ordered a battery charger and programmer from EVTV this week and I am supposed to receive it on Tue. Greg is coming down on Wed and we are supposed to show the car at a renewable energy show on Friday June 6th. This is so worth doing and I highly recommend to anyone. Go out to your garage or parking pad, sweep off a spot big enough for whatever your favorite car is, do your research, find a car with a blown engine, convert it and be part of the building of the future. Where clean renewable energy becomes the norm and fossil fuels and all of the greed, war, corruption and filth behind it becomes… perhaps a thing you’ll read about in a history text book.

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Waiting On Parts

As Tom Petty said “The waiting is the hardest part” I am waiting for parts to arrive. I have a pair of front calipers coming and a rebuild kit for my rear calipers. The front ones I ordered on Tues and they were just sent out today. Since there was a note that said if you pay by a certain time we will get them out today (Tue) so already I am leary of these “powder coated” rebuilt brakes but we will see. Just got a message from the guy he said “he didn’t powder coat these” I sent one back stating He advertised Powdercoated and that I would never pay as much as he was asking if they were only painted… I am waiting for a response. I will let you know.

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Second Go Round and BRAKES!

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OK, I have been researching 914 brake rebuilding and found a really good video on the subject… at least for the rear brakes. If you have never rebuilt a brake caliper and are inclined to mechanical projects, this is one you can really sink your whatever into. I thought it was going to be relly hard and complicated. Granted I am not finished yet but as near as I can tell the whole premis of rebuilding is replacing old seals and a lot of cleaning. Then if you put it back together and dont have any leftover parts you have done it right. Word of caution, If you have leftover hardware besides the seals and clips and things you have replaced, do not install the brakes on the car.  I have not had this experience but, it makes sense. The first link is to the you tube video I have showing the 5500 RPM in second gear. My friend Michelle of Dave & Michell fame filmed it after we recovered her daughter’s 65 Mustang from the side of the road were she ran out of gas.  She filmed the second trial run of the car. The photo is of all of two rear break calipers torn down and all of the tools necessary to do it. I only have to assemble and adjust them and I will have a just like new set of brakes. Wow! that is great. Today I also had to restructure an adapter from 8mm 32 to 3/8 24, which as you can see I accomplished… or maybe you can’t, I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it. The question is how will it perform in a function test. THAT is a huge question and one I will definetely be doing over and over again. We are talking about a brake system here. I don’t forsee any problems in that I have conformed to specs and have not taken any shortcuts. I don’t take chances when it comes to brakes. The safety of all in the car and in my path depends of that fact.

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This Is Only a Test…

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Good evening all whoever you may be, I have so much to say! I better take a deep breath and start from the beginning. Two weeks ago I had fished some wires through to the console and was waiting for Dave to come over to help me with the brakes. Well he did. We soon came to the conclusion that we weren’t going to be able to do them comfortably in my garage. Dave suggested going to his house, getting the trailer and taking the car up there so we could put it on the lift. Smashing idea, and we did just that. Ah but I get ahead of myself. Back in my garage we moved the cars that needed to be moved and cleared a space for the trailer and the 914. The plan was the 914 would roll off the ramps and down the drivewayand up onto the trailer. We pulled the chaulks and Dave pushed and I got in and steered. When the car only rooled halfway down the ramps and stopped, we realized the brakes were locked up and now it was a really good idea to get the car to Daves. One we finally did get the car up there I pulled all of the brakes and checked all of the wheel bearings.  I dismantled all of the calipers and put all four of them  in my car. I figured I could work on them at home. This turned out to be a good idea because of what happened next.

I had to order brake parts and while I was waiting my DC/DC converter arrived in the post. I installed it and wow did that work out  great. So now I have Tunes, Bluetooth, lights, horn (for blind people), and my cooling pump. At this point I decided to hook up the necessary wires to make the darn thing go.  The schematic says if your car normally goes in a clockwise direction use the white Fwd wire, conversely if it goes counter clockwise use the yellow Rev wire. I hooked up the white wire and turned on the ignitionengaged the clutch, put is in gear (remember its up on the rack). My wheels were turning at about 8 rpm and backwards. I figured OK 50/50 shot and tried it with the yellow Rev wire. This time the wheels went the right direction. I then gave it some throttle and it stopped. Let go of the throttle … It goes 8 rpm. I consulted the manuel to make sure I had the throttle hooked up correctly. None of the schematics matched my type of throttle. I found the programming section in the manuel and sat down to program my car. Since I had ordered a DC/DC converter from EV West I thought I would give Matt Haurber a call and let him know how things were going. I told him about my throttle problem and he gave me a pointer similar to the one Jack Rickard at EVTV had given me. This time though I was sitting with the manuel (ipad) and programming through the Spyglass program.

With a series of commands executed by pushing a little red button I could go through the seven different parameters and progam specifics within each one. I started with the throttle. The manuel said there were three types of throttles. Type two and Type three and Type one for electronic throttles. When I got to the first question it was Throttle Type… the choice were Type1, Type2, Type3 hmmm I chose Type1 because niether of the other two worked. Now I could get 31 rpm. Then after a ittle more programming my contacter quit. It never occured to me that I could have shut it off with a program setting, so I wrote an email to Jack Rickard and asked him what he thought might be the problem. To my suprise he called me the very next morning, mind you he had no idea at what stage I am in my build. He asked me some questions like did I use the relay they sent with the motor controller kit, I said what relay? (I hadn’t had my coffee yet.) I used one from the Porsche, I just rewired the rear relay panel to work for my needs. Then I told him that the car is not here and I could call him back in a few minutes from the car. He said ok call me back and I did. Once we were troubleshooting on the car in real time I think he was pleasently suprised to discover that I had the spyglass hooked up and could do programming and diagnostics. My relay idea made more sense as we went along. We spent a fair amount of time on trying to figure out what was wrong with the contacter until finally we both had to go. Jack sent me an email and told me that he would contact HPEVS in the morning and that there was a possibility that I may have gotten a bad program. I braced myself for the worst having to trailer my car to Onterio CA for a reprogram. I went home and made spagetti with a mushroom wine sauce and just tried to relax.

The next morning Jack called and had great news. He said there  are two parameters which can turn on and off the contactor. Wow! We talked a little more and I finished my coffee and drove up to Daves place. I checked both parameters reprogrammed one and tried it again. This time the contactor engaged, although I could still only get 31rpm. I called HPEVS myself and spoke with Brian. I told him about the parameter I changed and said he had spoken with Jack earlier, then I told him the rpm problem and without missing a beat he said “Oh your controller thinks the motor is going backwards!”; “Huh?” I said. ” Yeah, your motor is out of phase, just pick any two of the phase wires on the motor to the controller and swap them, and if you changed the Fwd wire to Rev change that back to Fwd as well” I did, it worked I have a car… without brakes, well without three anyway I just finished rebuilding one… Funny,  I can go but I can’t stop.

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A Very Productive Day

Yesterday I started by battening down the crossmember which supports the front of the batt boxes. The I had to figure out a way to get five wires from the engine comaprtment to the center console. I did this by pushing the wire loom wrap over the two wires I had already fished through, then I pushed a wire through. It was somewhat difficult but it went through. A brilliant Idea occured to me that I could tie a string on the next wire I fished through and use it to pull the rest through. Uhhhh… so I already had one in there, now I was going to fish another through with a string… OK it was early, I was still working on my coffee, long story short I did tie a string to the wire that was already fished and pull it back out. Tied all of the wires i needed in the console and pulled them through the loom wrap. Worked like a charm. Then I hooked up the brake transducer… let me explain… An AC setup has built in regenerative braking ie: when you take your foot off the accellerator pedal the controller tells the motor it is now a genarator and pushes some current back into the pack, sounds great except I found while driving EV1E that I did not use Regen most of the time (EV1E has a switch to shut it off) because it slowed me down instead of allowing me to coast and regen really didnt give that much back to the batteries compared to the amount of inertia I was losing. So through trial and error I discovered that I had more range if I could allow the car to coast when I took my foot off the pedal. I still see the value in regen but only when your applying the brake. Solution: use a brake transducer so that when you press the brake pedal it activates regen, that is when you actually want to slow down anyway. Then by programming the Curtis1238 controller I can adjust the amount of regen I use. So that being the principle I set to work. I’ve installed a brake transducer in the brake line right before the proportioning valve. All I had left to do was connect the three wires coming off of the transducer. Since I am not the first to come up with this idea, I only had to look at the schematic to see how to accomplish this. So now I just have to Install the DC/DC converter when it arrives (hopefully tomorrow) and the beast will come to life and breath electrons. That and adjust and bleed the brakes, so when I drive her off of the blocks I hopefully will not wipe out a 59 T-Bird, 95 Jaguar XJS, and a 73 Porsche 914 all in one whack!

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Success! She’s Percolating! Click the Percolatin’ hyperlink for a movie

 

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After four long agonizing days of trial and error… er mostly error, I have accomplished full circuation of the cooling system. My friend Green came over while I was working on this problem and we solved it together. Percolatin’ I started this post last weekend let me get you caught up. On Monday I put the battery boxes back in the vehicle for hopefully the last time. I then filled them with batteries. Once that was done I carefully connnected the batteries to one another. I removed the DC/DC converter from EV1E and built a shelf for it and mounted it carefully running the wires and making sure everything was neat and tidy. At last the time came to test the low voltage system. I connected the last battery strap connector and heard the thing come to life, however it was not a sound I had ever heard was expecting. It was a click, click, click…etc. It sounded like a relay had gone bananas but it turned out to be coming from the DC converter. After careful examination I discovered that this converter was calibrated to be used on a vehicle with a Pack from 132-168V. I called elcon and they wanted to put me off until Monday so I called Matthew Hauber at EV West and he put one in the mail that day (yesterday). So I am in limbo with operations checking until I recieve it…probably Mon they are in CA like me. So while I’m waiting I hooked up the throttle last night and today I am hooking up the brake transducer and running the last of the wires which need to go up front into the console. I am installing a junction box in the console so that I have easy access to some of the controller wiring, this will also keep it out of the weather.  I still have to figure out an emergency shut off switch. So close yet so far away…

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Got Battery Box Back

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Thanks to Manuel and all the good folks down at West Steel and Plastics I got my beautiful battery box back today. It fits perfectly and as you can see… holds all 12 SE 180Ah batteries. Yesterday and today have been the most frustrating since I’ve started this project. To start I changed some hoses on my cooling system because I needed to clean it up. That being done I decided to test it, good thing too. It is not functioning, by that I mean the pump turns but no fluid is circulating. After agonizing over it and trying different configurations I have decided to shorten the whole system. I am mounting the cooler fan under the plate where the muffler used to be. that will shorten the system by about 10 feet. It will also put the cooler right in the slip stream under the car. Next I will be mounting the pump higher and just below the vent on the right hand side. This will put the pump where it doesnt have to pump uphill. It will also provide easier access to the pump. This must be done before I put the rest of the car together because, without cooling there is no car… not one I want to drive anyway.

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