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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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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Inspite of Myself or Re-purposing an octapus or It Works!


Today Started out with the idea in mind to continue working on the cooling system. I was mearly going to find the pin on the relay board which turns on and off with the ignition key and somehow use it to turn on and off the cooling system with the ignition switch. Then I saw the hookup I did yesterday and realized that the hose might get in the way of the battery racks and I did not like it. Then as I was trying think of a different configuration I suddenly saw the old fuel pump on the bench…hmmm more re-purposing? YES! I swapped out the two pumps with each other and immediately saw and felt the difference, this pump was made for this car. It is quiet and pushes about 35# pressure. I was still faced with the problem that the fuel pump was part of a fuel injection system and was origianally activated by a signal coming from the pressure regulator to the fuel pump relay. I didn’t need any of that stuff. All I needed was 12 volt signal to the fuel pump relay which was activated by the ignition switch. So I started troubleshooting with a multimeter. For those of you who may be new to troubleshooting, it is basically a process of elimination. In my case I had a 14 pin connector, a multimeter, and an ignition switch. The objective was to…

a) Measure all 14 pins with an ohmmeter Locate all the ground terminals

b) Measure all 14 pins with a voltmeter with ignition off

c) Measure all 14 pins with a votmeter with ignition on

I made a little chart to keep track and discovered the following.


Pin 8 and Pin 3 had a 12 volt signal with the ignition on. My Haynes manual has a great drawing of the relay mother board so by following where the ignition acivtated pins led I was able to jump from the power supply relay which comes on with the ignition switch, to the fuel pump relay. So now when I turn the key the car comes to life, the fuel pump relay activates, and the re-purposed to cooling pump comes on. Simple…it only took me all day…

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Hello… hello….Hello…Is there anybody out there?

Just curious… Today I finished hooking up the cooling loop minus the chill plate to see if there are any leaks and if there is adequate circulation. I am happy to report all systems go! It was necessary to figure out how to turn on the fuel pump circuit as it was activated by the fuel injection computer which I did remove and sold with the motor. I got out the schematic and thought “hey I can reinstall the circuit board and have pleanty of hot wires for hooking up the electronics later ie controller etc.” I found the relay that activates the fuel pump and using a jumper sent a signal to the circuit… worked like a champ. So I am going to keep yet another part I thought I would not be using. This is getting good… re-purposing is very much like recycling… its fun when you get creative.

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Re-Purposing an Old System

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I want to plumb the cooling system for the controller prior to putting in the battery racks. I have been thinking about this for quite some time. One thing I learned from building EV1E is the importance of keeping the cars wiring, vents, fuel lines, air injection system, intact as one might find a use for these seemingly nonsensical  extras later down the road. By nonsense I mean for example,  what on earth do you need a fuel system for in an electric car?  You don’t but you can use the fuel lines which are already plumbed from where the gas tank used to be to where the engine used to be which is perfect for my re-purposing project. I am putting the Radiator and fan in the front of the car which ironically is where the gas tank used to be then I am running my hoses to the back of the car which again ironically is where the the fuel pump and engine used to reside. In between these two places are two beautiful fuel lines which run the length of the car. when I saved them I thought they might make a good conduit or something… this is even better. The pump I purchased from EVTV MotorVerks is about 2mm bigger in diameter then the original fuel pump I only had to swap the bracket and it mounts in the same place the fuel pump did. The wiring harness has the connector for the fuel pump right there I only have to plug it in.

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I Heard it through the Bluetooth

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Last night after setting up and testing my Blaupunkt on the bench, I decided to install it. As you can see I did just that. After installing it I tested it by shaking wires and simulating bumps in the road and discovered a bad power connection. On this particular model there is a 12V constant and one that is controlled by the ignition switch. I hooked up the one which is controlled by the ignition switch  so it is sharing with the stock voltmeter mounted in the console. The meter wasnt fluctuating so I went back to my solder connection and sure enough that is were I found the fault. Easy fix and nothing complicated. I tested the bluetooth by pairing with my ipod and a cell phone. It has a very difficult time being able to stream when two devices are competing, it will only latch onto one of them. That however is minor as, one can use one of the two usb ports for say an iPod and stream their other device… say a phone for acclomplishing these task. This radio is so good and so much more then a radio. It can load and save a phonebook. It can be used for hands free dial up, it can stream audio, play disk, mp3, it has two USB ports… AND it looks and sounds really cool.

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Fog Lights and a Horn

After many months of consideration the fog has lifted thanks to my good friend Dave. Yesterday I had to drive to Livingston to pick up a fax sent to me from Rancho Performance Transaxles in Fullerton. I asked my friend Dave if he wanted to come along with me and then we could get some lunch. He agreed so I drove out to his house, picked him up, and then we drove to Livingston. I got the fax (a bill of laden) and we picked up lunch and then drove back to my house. We went out to the garage and and divied up the food and waited for the truck to arrive.  While we were waiting we decided to tackle the fog light problem. I hooked a battery up to the system and we “commenced a troubleshootin”. Of course we started at the fuse, good fuse. We checked the voltages on either side of the fuse 12 volts. We pulled the relay and exchanged it for another one we used a jumper to bypass the relay and got the lights to come on then we removed the switch for closer observation. It never occured to either of us that it could possibly be the switch as the switch itself has a light built into it which indicates the switch is on, this light also indicates there is power to the switch. Everytime, without fail the switch would light up when pulled. Anyway we found a loose connection switched two of the wires around and the fog lights came on, The fog had been lifted! Having such success we next tackled the horn. This was much easier as it was a bad relay. I must say that troubleshooting with a friend is so much easier then trying to do it alone. Dave was reading the schematic and I was taking measurements. That is two different sides of the brain. So because we didn’t have to stop and measure then go back to the cognitive we were able to unscramble the mess in fairly short order. Just a tip if you have a good friend… use them. Don’t worry! If they are truly a good friend, one day they will use you too.

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A Dash Of Fun

Today started out with a plan (as most days do) Go to Napa get some paint, go the grocery store get some milk etc… I started out thinking I would paint the dash panel today and that would be the end of it. Well as John Steinbeck said The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry” and that is precisley what happened to this man. I did get the paint and I did paint the dash panel. I then decided to see if it would fit… it did. So far so good but, now the launch sequence had been activated and I new what I had to do. Knowing I had taken many photos of the wiring and that everything works I decided to put it all back together. I started by disconnecting every gauge so I could fish the harnesses to the proper locations. then I remembered the windshield washer hoses were pulled off waaay back when and were rotton and needed to be replaced. So back to Napa I go. Once back home I needed to install the hoses and feed them through the firewall. I reached around the column but could not locate the little connectors which protrude from the back of the column. That is when I decided to take the column off and make it easier on myself. This is were “oft go awry” comes in. When I pulled the steering column the spline steering shaft which connects the steering coumn to the front wheels, fell onto the floorboard. CLUNK I examined the situation and saw that the shaft was not even bolted in… on either end. Good thing I pulled it. The hoses went on fine and by poking a screwdriver through the gromet from the other side and slipping the rubber tubing onto the the blade (from the inside) I was able to pull the tubing through the grommet and the rest was easy. I started with the speedometer and worked my way toward the fuel gauge. it went back together surprisingly easily and I felt confident it would work. It does.