Thursday, June 4, 2015

Amost finished!

Jun 4, 2015 - Ive completed much work on the vehicle since my last entry.  The car is now officially drivable now that I have a working dc/dc converter (recharges utility battery from traction pack).  However, I do admit to some apprehension about making it a daily driver.  I took it for a half-way to work drive (~10mi) about a month ago and while I did return safely, I did learn a number of things. The most important being is that while having great oomph! off the line, it gets spongy on the top end. If I want to get better acceleration, I need to upshift.

I've completed the following on the vehicle to date:
  • Moved controller from bottom of the rear firewall to top of the same
  • Added gauges to the console
  • Replaced dc/dc converter; old one never worked
Besides being road-worthy, it needs to be weather-worthy.  Even though I have new seals all the way around, there is much weather-proofing to be completed to make this a daily drivable car here in central Florida.  My biggest concern is with the engine cover that is partially grille and slightly exposes the batteries.

The pictures below were taken back on March 8th.

The silver object is the dc/dc converter.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Distributed Charger and First Pack Charge

Jan 15, 2013 - Its been 8 months since my last post. My job at JPMorgan has kept me pretty busy the last 6 months leaving me drained when I got home. I was able to get a good bit accomplished over Christmas vacation though.

One of the major accomplishments was getting the batteries wired up to the charging socket. Soldering twenty 16gauge wires onto an area about a square inch was fairly challenging and using a lighted magnifying glass was extremely helpful.

Another challenge was the actual placement of the socket. I had initially considered placing it on the left front fender well but felt uncomfortable placing it there with the twenty wires exposed even in some sort of box. Since the gas tank and filler were in the front trunk area and to fill the tank, one had to actually open it up, I figured why not open it up to charge her up as well. So here's the socket attached to one of the crosswall supports:

Here's another shot:

Another one with a three-quarter perspective view:

And yet another one even further out, so you can get a better idea of how its mounted where:

Here's another one with the pigtail:

And yet another one with the pigtail mated to the socket:

An explanation of the concept of the distributed charger is probably warranted here. As I had originally intended to use lead-acid deep-cycle golf-cart batteries, I had always intended on using some form of distributed charging, meaning each pair of 6V batteries would have their own 12V charger. The concept of individual chargers would keep the batteries better balanced. But as Lithium-Ion batteries were coming into the mainstream, I decided to pop for them and forgo the weight of the lead acids. Mark Hazen of LLC was, at the time, manufacturing his own patent-pending controllers and distributed chargers.

Mark used TK-Lambda SWS300-15 single output general purpose power supplies to power his charger. The SWS300-15 is about $142/supply from digikey and he incorporated 10 of them into my charger with room for 2 more if I need to add them. Here's a shot of the charger mounted on the wall near the car and the breaker panel. Notice the electrical outlet on the left dedicated to the charger. Each pair of outlets is wired to its own 30A breaker as each bank of 5 chargers will initially draw about 2000W.

Here's a shot of the charger with the panel door open exposing the 10 individual power supplies:

Here's a closeup shot of the 5th charger with the current sensing circuit attached:

Now the current sensing circuit is needed for the Lithium batteries as the manufacturer recommends cutting off the charger once the current in the constant voltage phase of the charging profile reaches 0.05C of the 200AH batteries, which is 10A.

I charged the batteries for the first time Sunday nite for about 6 hours before I shut it off and went to bed. Not that I don't trust the charger, I'd just rather err on the side of caution. I adjusted the initial charge voltage to 14.6V (3.65 * 4) while the batteries were charging. I also e-mailed Mark and asked how the charger knew when to switch from CC to CV. Each battery is comprised of 4 lithuium cells.

The next day I received an e-mail from Mark instructing me to adjust the charging voltage with the batteries disconnected. When I turned the charger on, I noticed that the no-load voltages were around 15.1V or 3.8V/cell well under Thundersky's recommended 4.25V/cell charging voltage. I then adjusted the no-load voltage to around 14.6V on each power supply or about 3.65V/cell. I then turned the charger off, connected it to the vehicle, and turned it back on. Within 5 minutes, the charger then automatically shut off as it had reached the 10A constant voltage current. Apparently, the batteries were only at about 50% depth of discharge and only needed 4-6 hours of charging to get them back to full charge. This was their first charging since I acquired them almost two years ago. Here's an even closer shot of the current sensing circuit. I would post the the actual circuit diagram but Mark requested that I didn't as it his proprietary design.

The charger also comes equppied with a built-in voltmeter/ammeter and a rotary selector switch with 12 positions. The voltmeter is wired directly to one of the AC plugs so I can plug in the connector and use the voltmeter without powering on the charger.

All in all a very cool setup. Mark did an outstanding job on the design and construction of the charger. The cutoff circuit was my idea but his design.

In my next post, I'll show some of the progress I've made on my battery monitoring system. Until then, caio.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A/C Components

May 22, 2012 - I know it's been way too long since my last post and I really have no excuse for such a long lapse. However about 6 weeks ago, I cut my left index finger working on the Targa top seals requiring 11 stitches and it's just now to the point where I can start using it again. Also, about 4 weeks I had laprascopic surgery on my left shoulder and am just getting to the point where I can starting working back on the car.

Now, onto more on-topic and seasonal news. I got a call today from my A/C guy in Texas, Jerry West of European Cooler Air, and he's just about finished with my A/C system for my 914. Now, just an A/C is no big news, an A/C system for a 914 might raise eyebrows, but an A/C system for an EV that has a heat pump for heating is just way too cool. Apologies for the pun but couldn't resist.

Jerry's been working on the system for me for a couple of years now, at least that's when I commissioned him to start work on it. I told him at the time that I wasn't in a big hurry for it. That's also about the time I ordered my Fuel Gauge Driver Plus from Ian Hooper at EVWorks in Australia. As I was ordering, I also came across a 4-way reversing valve cost $175 for A/C systems that can effectively turn your A/C system into a heat pump. So I ordered one of those too and sent it to Jerry in Texas. Big note here for enthusiasts who may want to do this too, you need more than this reversing valve to complete the system. But here's a pic of the reversing valve from Ian's web site:

Near the same time as commissioning Jerry for the A/C system, I ordered the Sierra 05-0434Y3 electric compressor kit from Revolt Electric Vehicle Components for about $1200 including the controller and wiring harness. Here's a pic of the compressor from the side and top:

After talking to Jerry recently, it would appear that the Sierra 05-0434Y3 compressor with a max 6500 BTUs is too small for the rear condenser rated at 19000 BTUs. Am going to try and see if Revolt won't take it back and replace it with the SIERRA 05-0982Y3 rated at 14300 BTUs. Anyhow, here's a shot of the entire system as it sits in Jerry's A/C lab:

Here's a three-quarter perspective:

Here's a close-up of the 4-way reversing valve from EVWorks downunder:

Yet another close-up but also showing another valve needed for the heat pump:

And finally, a close-up shot of the rear A/C condenser with two fans:

Jerry has also indicated that another condenser is needed for the evaporator (for heat mode) when the pressure/heat builds up and needs to be cooled down. I'm thinking this condenser can be placed in the gas tank cavity up in the front trunk and then we'll need to suck some outside air via a ducted fan to blow over the condenser.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Wiring Up Fuel Gauge Driver Plus

Hi all, I know its been 2 months since my last blog. I guess apathy is setting in. Last week was Halloween and the 3rd anniversary of starting my restoration/conversion.

I have finally installed the Fuel Gauge Driver Plus from EVWorks in Australia. The Fuel Gauge Driver Plus or FGDP is a State of Charge device. SOC is the EV equivalent of a fuel gauge. What's really nice about this one is that it can actually drive the existing fuel gauge. It also has a couple of other nice features: 1) it can drive the tachometer as an ammeter and 2) it has a low State of Charge warning indicator.

Here's a picture of the Fuel Gauge Driver Plus from the EVWorks web site:

Here's a drawing of the device showing the inputs and outputs:

Here's the wiring diagram that I put together for the FGDP. The 914 fuel gauge has a low fuel warning light that I decided to use as the indicator for the low SOC warning indicator. The problem is that the FGDP only puts out a +5V 5mA output signal only capable of driving an LED. To drive the existing 12V lamp in the fuel gauge, I used the +5V 5mA output to drive a 2N2222 transistor and a 2.2KOhm resistor to switch on the lamp. I decided not to use the low SOC warning ind as a means to switch to a "limp-home" mode as I will be the only driver of this EV. I can also switch from the ammeter from the FGDP to a real tachometer of the motor speeed from a RechargeCar WarP Speed Sensor on the WarP 9 motor.

Here's the FDGP, low SOC warning ind circuit, and 12V power momentary switch in a plastic enclosure. The enclosure is located in the front trunk and the device is on the most positive leg of the traction pack cable just before it connects to the emergency breaker and positive contactor.

Here's a closeup of the fuel gauge. You can clearly see the low fuel light is lit up as the orange ind.

And another closeup of of both fuel gauge and tachometer:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Targa Top Vinyl and Front Trunk relay Wiring

September 6, 2011 - It has been a busy week and I wanted to make sure I blogged about all of it. It took me a while to obtain most of the polished aluminum trim pieces for the targa sail but I finally got the last piece from AutoAtlanta last week.

I tried to obtain some better rear sail trim pieces but haven't been successful. These are the curved pieces that are very expensive at $200 or better a piece so I've ve decided to make do with the ones that I have. Apparently the previous owners of the two pair that I do have didn't know about the inner clip with a bolt that goes thru the wheel well and a nut that screws on from underneath. They used screws thru the aluminum into the frame. Ouch!

I also ordered the sail vinyl from 914 Appearance and Performance. They have the sail vinyl for $25. I received the vinyl a couple of weeks ago and the pieces fit perfectly.

Here's a very detailed writeup of how to install the vinyl sail on forum.

I started with the sail top and used 3M spray glue and sprayed criss-cross both top and vinyl. My neighbor Gene helped me to hold the long vinyl piece while I slowly pressed it onto the sail top. It went on fairly easily.

I then went on to one of the sails. Sprayed it and the vinyl with glue and then slowly pressed on the vinyl. Like i said before, the cut vinyl fit perfectly. I only had to cut slits to get it to lay down flat in the curve.

Here's a shot of the right side sail. There are actually four trims pieces that outline the sail. The one on the left is the expensive curved piece. The one on the top is a short piece. The one on the right also holds the vertical targa to window seal. And finally the one on the bottom is a thin piece that can also be expensive.

Here's a shot of the sail top. The trim piece on the left runs the entire length of the sail or roll bar. Its held in place by three very unusual loking clips that I also had to purchase from AutoAtlantaut was very necessary.

Here's the left side sail. You can actually make out the texture of the vinyl in this shot. If you look closely enough, you can see the rust bubbling in the lower left part of the sail. It the same story on the right side sail too. Apparently, the previous owner did not kill the rust on the inside of the sails priot to painting them. In an effort to get the car on the road as soon as possible I have decided not to remediate this rust issue at this time.

Here's a better shot showing both left side sail and sail top. If the sails didn't have the rust, I wouldn't have covered them in vinyl.

Here's a nice shot of newly installed windshield and covered sail.

And a final shot of the rear showing how the curved trim pieces cover up the ends of the long rear trim piece.

Now onto the front trunk relay board wiring. The relay board consists of five relays, terminal block, and six fuse gang block. The relays consist of: 1) Off-board charger interlock, 2) On-board charger interlock, 3) Key Switch relay, 4) Windshield washer pump relay, and 5) Electric Antenna motor relay. The components were mounted onto a clear lucite panel that mounts onto the front battery box.

Here's a shot of the nearly completely wired:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Windshield Install

September 5, 2011 - It's been a month since my last blog entry but not for lack of activity. Wednesday of last week, I had Frank Fountas of C Thru Glass and Security Films, a classic/custom car installation specialist referred by the Glass Doctor, come and install the teener's windshield and rear window.

I was quite anxious about the install due to great difficulty I incurred in acquiring the windshield. This was the fourth windshield that I had shipped. The first three were broken in transit. But Frank reassured me that the install would be routine given a fairly straight frame. It turned out the frame was about perfect.

Once Frank and his assistant arrived and introductions made, it was stricly business. They both went to work on the car. They started out by taping off the windshield frame:

Here's a shot of the rear window frame prior to installation.

Here's Frank cleaning up the windshield:

The windshield frame totally taped off:

Here they are applying the black urethane prep to the frame:

Continuing to apply the black urethane prep:

Installing the foam rubber seal:

Continuing to install the foam rubber seal:

More foam rubbber seal:

Close up of left top corner:

Closeup of left bottom corner; you can see the lower windshield to dash seal sitting on top of the foam rubber windshield seal:

Test fitting the windshield:

Checking for a good seating all the way around:

Plugging the holes from the plastic blocks that secured the original chrome trim in place:

Continuing to the plug the chrome trim plastic block holes:

Fitting the new windshield chrome replacemen​t rubber seal:

Continuing to fit the new windshield chrome replacemen​t rubber seal:

Cutting off the new windshield chrome replacemen​t rubber seal excess:

Perfect fitment of the new windshield chrome replacemen​t rubber seal:

Adding a fine bead of urethane to the rubber seal:

More fine beads of urethane to rubber seal:

Adding urethane to the windshield frame. Frank told me that urethane has an adhesive strength of 400 lbs/sq in. This is how the windshield frame of new cars is the part of the structural intregrity of the frame.

Finally mounting the windshield:

In she goes:

Light tapping to ensure a good seating:

More pressure to squeeze the urethane into places it ought to go:

Now a final inspection to ensure a tight seal:

Checking the inside for excess urethane. Looking pretty good.

Prepping the rear window frame:

Installing the rear window:

Pressing the window into the urethane for a good seal:

Cleanup work:

The front windshield looks awesome:

Rear window looks great too:

Closeup of rear window showing the engine deck lid seal. This was installed prior to the window install.

Isn't she awesome?

I am very glad I had a pro install the windshield and rear window. Not only did they come to me but their prices were more than reasonable, $95 for the first hour and $55 for every hour after that. The total install time was less than one and a half hours and under $120. Wow!!! Here's Frank's business card.