Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lots of Pieces

I have been working on so many things at the same time, and that means nothing actually gets done. I am waiting for my new headlights, I am building the battery boxes, I got a power strip and working on the main car plug for charging, building the blower mounts, modifying the transmission shift points and I have ordered a PakTrakr.

The PakTrakr is a device that monitors each battery and displays the info. It displays each battery's Voltage, State of Charge, any warnings or problems. It will also state the total State of Charge of the entire pack becoming a fuel gauge for the EV.

Hopefully I will get more done this week and be able to post pictures and more EV driving test results.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's Legal, Sort Of

I called the Massachusetts Vehicle Check program on Saturday to find these mysterious EPA/DEP/RMV forms. The rep took down my information, VIN number and said he needed to give this to his supervisor and I would be called back. On Monday I did get a call back and I found out that there are no such forms. All the information about the conversion is listed in the database and all the inspector has to do is input my VIN and under EMISSIONs it will say EXEMPT. So I did all my paper work properly.

I also ordered new headlights and once I get those in I will get the EV inspected. I didn't get anything fancy since most of the aftermarket headlights use HID lamps and I have been told those are not legal in MA. So I just got brand new JDM Crystal Headlights, which are essentially OEM replacements and will use the existing bulbs.

Friday, December 19, 2008

What I Learned Today...

Was the following:
1- I hate politics
2- I need new headlights
3- I need to install my blower
4- I really hate politics

Well this is how my day went. First I wake up to find my finals are postponed till next week due to weather, so I get out and throw the chargers on the EV for a freshen up charge. Then after 2 hours, I pulled the plug on the chargers and plugged in a ceramic heater to preheat/defrost the EV. It worked wonderfully. I had the car defrosted and heated in 15 minutes and then I went off to the inspection station.

I first took my time getting there. I choose the roads that were the most flat and kept to the speed limit of 25 MPH. Then was the stretch of 40 MPH state road that I feared, and actually forgot about (I was going to avoid it, but forgot until I got there) and decided, what the hell, I floored it down the hill and the EV got up to 32 MPH, I wanted more juice, so I threw it into third gear and it went up to 35 MPH, I went back to 2nd gear and it held there. After 2,000 ft of this 35 MPH stretch was a hill that the speed limit drops to 30 MPH and the EV dropped down to 30 MPH going up.

So I finally get to the station and I check the battery levels and motor temp. Now the batteries read 104.1 volts surface charge when I left (they were definitely not fully charged)and read 97.4 volts when I got there. Now, you are supposed to wait an hour before measuring the voltage to determine the actual capacity left. The motor itself was barely warm, due to the high RPM and the internal fan actually working at 30-35 MPH.

I go up to the inspection guy and tell him about my EV and I need an inspection. He right away tells me that I will not pass because of the glazed headlights. Great, just another $150 expense. Then he goes on to tell me that he can't inspect it without a special form from the EPA or the RMV stating the conversion is inspection-worthy. So now I have to hunt down this mystical form and who ever needs to sign it.

Then I made my trek home. I decided to take the back roads to limit the AMP draw. That was a mistake. The back roads are really hilly and the low speeds mean low RPM, which means the internal motor fan is pretty useless. When I got home, that motor was hot and smelled funny. While I stayed in the motors temperature range, performance dropped like crazy once the motor got hot. My AMP draw went from 180 AMPS of accelerating to 120 AMPs and it was awful.

My total travel for this trip was 6.2 miles, in 20F weather and my batteries read 97.9 after I let them sit for an hour. So I had 63% power left in the pack, but it is my guess that the pack itself was really only 80-85% capacity to start with due to the cold and that I didn't let the chargers fully charge the pack.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Adjusting Settings

So today was a day of road testing. It took me three different controller configurations to get the EV to even get past 10 MPH, and I finally got it working up to 25 MPH before I ran out of road. I still have a few more configurations to try and the motor and batteries need a good break in, but my latest configuration was working like it should in a neighborhood.

Tomorrow I will do another charge and do some more driving. I need the motor brushes to be fully worn in before I attempt anything drastic and they look like they are 65% worn in, so they have a way to go. Hopefully I will gain more power once the brushes and batteries are fully broken in. I am itching to take the EV on the flat stretch and see if it will go up to 40 MPH like it should. Depending on the traffic I might just do that tomorrow after charging the batteries.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pictures for Your Entertainment

This week has been awful when it came to weather and actually getting things done. Finals have started so that's been taking up most of my time, but I took today off to get as much done as possible. And I have pictures.I tested the power brake system and it works great, except for the leak on the connection that connects the tank to the car. Some Teflon Tape should fix that right up, I just need to find where it's hiding. And I need to secure the pump down, probably with tie wraps. This is just a temporary tray until I get the car inspected and have time to hunt down a sold piece of metal or shelf to mount the components too.

This the my PB5 finally properly connected to the throttle cable. I spent more time than I care to admit figuring out how to mount the cable to the PB5, but I finally found two little car pieces with the proper width and hole pattern, and it looks really good too!
And here are all the batteries nice and snug and they got another full charge today. The only thing stopping me from driving it again is that vacuum leak.

Most of this EV is proof of concept. Some things that I want to do is build a stronger motor mount, buy proper cable and lugs for the best connections, install proper gauges and insulate the batteries. Hopefully today or tomorrow I will get in a test drive and see if it will do up to 35-40 MPH in 2nd gear like the calculations say it should.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Vacuum Switch Setup

This is my little box that houses the vacuum switch and relay for the vacuum brakes. This weekend was filled with getting ready for the holidays and finals, but I did manage to glue up the PVC vacuum canister and strap in all the batteries and build this little box. Tomorrow I am installing the vacuum system and test it out. Once installed and tested, I am going to connect the main cables back up and check the controller settings again before another test drive. If all goes well, I'll drive it around for a few miles to break the motor in more. This week I need to bring it into the inspection station, so my in my next test run I will try to get it to 35-40 MPH.

Oh, and today was the first day of snow so the nice weather has pretty much ran out. Tomorrow it will be cold, but sunny so I can hook up everything before it gets too dark.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Paper Work Part III

So this morning I went to the RMV and came prepared to the long battle. Well, it was a freaking joke. It took me longer to find the RMV hidden in the maze of buildings and poorly labeled streets. So I walked in, went to the desk and said I am converting my car from gas too electric, got a "Good for you." and a number to wait in line. I got called, went to the desk and it took a minute for them to do the paperwork and print out a new registration. That was it. Nothing special, no special RMV inspection or increased paper work. I am told I can go to a normal inspection station and everything should be fine. Now it's time to get this EV to an inspection worthy state and get that process done.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Paper Work, Part II

Yesterday I ordered a Vacuum Switch for the power brakes. I was going to rig up a normal on/off switch, but decided against it and forked over the $35 for the specialized switch. When the EV is on, it will keep the vacuum tank topped off as it were, and will only operate when needed. This will keep the power consumption down and the noise. The switch comes in on Friday and I plan to install it this weekend.

Now back to the paper work. Today I went to the insurance company to talk about the EV and they had never done one before. In there books, they didn't need any information on if it was gas powered or electric, as long as it was still the same Honda Civic and VIN number. BUT I needed to get the title changed to ELECTRIC in order to get the inspection done. So I have filled out the paperwork and on Friday I go into the RMV and start the annoying process of waiting in line. That should be fun.

So after that adventure I have to finish up the EV and figure out the inspection process. The RMV might require a special first time inspection. We'll see what happens, but I do plan on getting everything done for an inspection and joy ride. I still have to make the mount for the smaller accessories motor, A/C and P/S before I can go for the inspection. It doesn't have to function, but it should be installed so I don't show up with rope holding things together.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Doing the Paper Work

I did not get to drive the EV this past Thanksgiving. I was sooooo close but two things stood in my way: Vacuum Brakes weren't done and ACE did not have enough straps for my batteries. It was a unanimous decision not to drive it because it just isn't in the safest state. I spent all day Wednesday cleaning up the wiring and securing down the batteries and mounts. I am now working on controls for the Vacuum Brakes, Cooling System and A/C + P/S motor.

But I have a new set of problems. My inspection sticker has expired and now I have to talk to the insurance company about the EV and getting the title changed. I hope they will work with me, or I will have to shop around for EV insurance.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Final Testing Stages

We have already determined that this EV will never be "done". My dad an I are always finding ways to make it better, stronger and whatever else. So my goal of being "done" is actually the goal of being able to safely operate the car. And I am almost there!

Today we got most of the battery racks mounted, and tomorrow the last rack goes in. I redid the main cables and tomorrow I also drill in the holes and mount them to the breaker. Then I get a couple of S hooks from ACE to mount the control tray and straps for the batteries.

It's amazing on how many little things you can do and have just about nothing to show about it. But a lot of that those little things got done today. My dad worked on the bolting down the battery racks while I worked on the control tray and main wiring. Right now I am estimating an hour left to strap the batteries down and install the control tray and test the low voltage system. By tomorrow night the only thing I want left to do is the vacuum brakes and blower cooling. Then on Wednesday I am going on a couple mile trek around town to test the EV before my Thanksgiving day voyage.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bits and Pieces

Today was one of those days where I worked a lot but got nothing done. Well, I did get most of the control tray done and started on the blower cooling. I did my shopping at the local ACE Hardware today and got the plumbing I needed for the vacuum system, my blower cooler and the nut for bolting down the motor mount.

This is the battery tray for the lower three batteries in the trunk.

This is my control tray setup with just about everything wired up.

Here is 12 volt blower and the plumbing components I have to force the air into the motor.

This the the blower assembled for the most part. I couldn't find any decent sheet metal to make the grill attachment for the motor so that's next on the scavenging list.

Now this it my 12 volt Thomas Vacuum Pump and the insanely large vacuum chamber I have. I will be cutting down the pipe so it actually fits in the car. It's about 4 inched too long at the moment but I wont be modifying it until the control tray is installed and I see what room I have to work with.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Controller Tray

I started making tray for the control box and controller from the shelving piece. I did a test fit last night and today I made it sturdier and trimmed it down. Tomorrow it goes in, then I get to work on finishing the little things like making the cables shorter from the controller to the motor, and modifying the main positive cable so it can hook up to the circuit breaker.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Frozen in Time

So today was FREEZING!! It was so cold that my hood release froze. Before I set to work on the front of the EV I setup my chargers and started a charge cycle. As of right now, 6 batteries are fully charged and the first two in the string are still charging. It's been less than 4 hours, but I expect that those two batteries to be the stragglers until the entire pack has a dozen or so cycles on them.

Once the chargers were activated, I went back to the hood section and started to layout the control box and vacuum brakes. Well my mind must have been frozen too because I just stood there and could not think of what to do. I was "thinking" for about an hour before I called it quits and went in to check on the DIY Electric Car forums for some motivation. And to warm up.

I must say I do my best thinking when I am driving. I was coming home from dinner and I had the most brilliant idea for mounting my control systems. A shelf. We have a boat load white metal grate shelving that has been sitting in the basement for years. I can take one of the shelf trays and cut it to fit the engine compartment. I can then mount anything too it and it won't impact the controller heatsink or weigh too much.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Playing with Steel

I finally cut up the metal for the final battery rack and tomorrow it's going to the welder. This smaller rack will hold three batteries and will be bolted down to the car.

On Wednesday I am going to try out my new chargers that arrived today and I am going to work on the front control box and controller setup. I have to shorten the wires on the motor and make new connections on them. I also have to make new connections for the cables that will connect to the circuit breaker. Then I will install the vacuum brake system and set it up with a temporary ON/OFF switch until a get a real vacuum switch. I am literally scraping up the pennies to get the EV to a driving state.

I have also ordered a 12 volt blower to help cool my motor. My K99-4007 will be much happier with the blower and should take those hill much better once the brushes wear in for 100 or so miles.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Circuit Breaker

The weather has been really lousy lately. It rained all day, but I setup my tarp and went to work on installing my circuit breaker into the car. It took all day to find the proper place, and then cut out the holes for the switch and screws to hold it in. I had to align the breaker so it wouldn't interfere with the emergency brake or the gear shifter. What really did was take a wild guess and had at it and got really lucky. The circuit breaker fits great in there and it doesn't look awkward.

I measured out the material needed for the last battery rack and tomorrow I am going to go buy 4 feet of angle iron.

List of What I must do before the Thanksgiving joyride:

- Connect main cables to circuit breaker
- Build brackets for controller and control box
- Install vacuum pump system
- Secure Batteries

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Control Box

I have the Control Box 99% done. The only thing left is to label the connections and add a "High Voltage" warning sign.

In this box I have the low voltage system (12 volts) and the main contactors for the high voltage system (96 volts). This box is essentially the hub for the EV electrical system. The barrier strip has connections for the ignition wire, controller power, contactor power and throttle. The PB5 Throttle box is also built onto the box. I want to make the front compartment look as simple as possible, which was the purpose of this control box.

I am still trying to keep my EV deadline of Thanksgiving and my list of things to complete is shrinking. Tomorrow I am going to setup my tarp over the car and finish installing the circuit breaker. Then I will work on securing the batteries and making the front tray that will hold the control box, controller and vacuum brake components.

Also, I ordered two more chargers, one to replace my bad charger, and one as a spare. They should arrive on Monday and hopefully I will have most of the EV completed so I can work on insulating the batteries, venting them and installing the chargers into the trunk.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Little Things

I have about five little projects going on at the same time. I have the control box about 90% finished, the center console removed and ready to install the circuit breaker, measurements for a beefed up motor mount, bolting down rear batteries and the vacuum brakes.

Tomorrow I am going to finish the control box and try to get the circuit breaker installed in the car. It's amazing how much the control box has cleaned up the wiring. I even mounted the PB5 Throttle to the side of the box and I think it looks really great. I hope to mount this control box and the controller on a modular board so I can move them for working on the EV or put them into another EV if a make one with similar specs later down the road.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lesson's Learned

So I found out quite a few things this weekend. First, my little 6.7 inch ADC K99-4007 does not like hills at all. There are a few hills around that I purposefully avoid, but today my dad wanted me to try one. The motor cried the whole way up and barely maintained 10 MPH. It didn't help that I had no running start, and the transmission computer decided to shift down to first, essentially making me lose what power I had. It did go up the hill, but the motor got quite warm, so I half to avoid these hills and make a forced air cooling system. I was probably pulling over 250 AMPs at the motor, which it did not like.

Here's a summary of changes I need to make and what I need to do before Thanksgiving:
- Bolt down all the batteries
- Make better cables and get lugs for the controller and motor
- Create a forced air cooling system for the motor
- Beef up the motor mount and bolt it down
- Complete control box
- Mount breaker into cabin
- Finish Vacuum Brakes and PVC tank

One of my chargers also died today, I think one of the internal relays gave out. It makes thing ticking sound and then displays "Check Error" and shuts off. So I will buy another bunch of chargers on eBay.

I have this Tuesday off from classes so I am going to make my small part shopping list and get as many things down as possible.

I would like to be able to drive this to my cousins house for Thanksgiving, which is 12 miles away, and then plug it into charge when I arrive.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Full Power Test

Today I planned on putting in another battery for a test drive. So I added another battery and saw a more room in the trunk. So I decided just to dump in all the batteries and give it a run for my money. Well, it was GREAT! Nothing neck-breaking, but the low speed acceleration was acceptable.

I never took it past 25 MPH because of lack of power brakes, but it still had power left AND I was going up hill slightly. I am also almost done with the vacuum brake setup, and once that is installed I will attempt a drive outside of my dead end neighborhood. There is this really nice 1/2 mile patch of relativity flat road that has a 40 MPH speed limit and it's just outside my neighborhood that I might try out tomorrow morning since there will be little to no traffic at all.

Then I tried out the chargers again and only got an hour or so of charge because rain came back. So here is a few pics of my 8 batteries in the trunk and my charger setup. Surprisingly all 8 chargers are only pulling 4-5 AMPs from the wall, but I think that has to do with the fact the chargers have different charging schemes.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Charger Matching

It's raining today so I decided to take the chargers and see why three charge differently than the others. Well I found out. The charger I have are labeled Schumacher SC-600A, and I have three different generations of them. Great, so that means that each generation has a different charging scheme and that leaves me to find out how long each charger takes to charge. They should all be the same though because they are each 6 AMP smart chargers.

And I have a plan on how to do that: I know that three chargers have the same exact charging scheme, so I will use those on the front three batteries. The other 5 chargers will be used on the rear batteries.

This weekend I plan on taking the control board out, build the front battery rack, install the vacuum brakes, and what ever else humanly possibly I can do. But before that I will take the EV out for another drive to drain the rear batteries down and then settle in for a nice full charge and hope it doesn't take eternity.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Low Batteries

So I setup my chargers today and took a look at the voltages and compared them to my runs and such. And then I took at look at my Depth of Charge chart and realixed the batteries were at 65% when I started my runs this weekend, and were 60% today when I went to charge. It has been really cold this past week and that along will kill off 25+% of power, and I did a few runs with the driveway before this weekend.

So lesson of the day: Always keep these suckers charged! I knew I should have done a charge on Friday, but didn't really get around to it. I hoped to drive it again this afternoon thinking I would have a 2 hour charge, and I even pumped the tires back up. I bet this low state didn't help my tests out at all too.

I spent about 4 hours charging the batteries and I think I need to do some modifications to some of my chargers. Three batteries charged fine but the other 2 were taking their sweet time. They were also the lowest of the batteries when I bought them. I took them off the charger and later this week I will go back and setup those 2 batteries again and let them do an equalize charge and let them gas a bit.
This is what the battery voltages looked like when I unplugged them and then drove back up the driveway:

Battery 1 - 12.78v
Battery 2 - 12.66v
Battery 3 - 12.83v
Battery 4 - 12.83v
Battery 5 - 12.82v

When I have time I am going to take apart a "good" charger and a "bad" charger to see what settings are different. I believe there are potentiometers than can be adjusted, so I want to make sure all the chargers have the same settings.

Motor Math

So while I was taking my lunch break I decided to do some math to get a clear picture on why the performance was so low, mainly the acceleration. Acceleration is determined by the peak HP of the motor. So here is a table of the peak and continuous HP ratings for my motor with the controller I have:

ADC K99-4007 on Kelly Controls KDH09401
60 Volts || Peak = 14 HP || Cont = 6.7 HP
72 Volts || Peak = 22 HP || Cont = 8.5 HP
96 Volts || Peak = 29 HP || Cont = 10.0 HP

So running at 60 volts is just about the same as a really oversized golf cart. Up a slight hill really stunk and it took a while to accelerate to 25 MPH with an open road. But once I got up there, the momentum and extra weight of the batteries kept the car moving nicely. My hope is that the performance at 96 volts will be decent up to 30 or 35 MPH.

If I just throw another 12 volt battery in the trunk I should get a serious increase in performance. I may do that because my front battery rack isn't even close to being done, but I still have the huge urge to drive it around. When complete, I should be getting at least 2x the performance I am getting right now, which should be great.

This afternoon I am going to pump up the tires and put the chargers on for a fresh charge since I haven't down it in a week or too.

I also have to start to think about an electric heater or defroster because the mornings have been cold and the car windows have been frozen.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Nice Little Joy Ride

So I got the plates machined on Friday! It was great, I went over there and planned on leaving it for the day, but one of the machinists was free and did it for me right on the spot. Took about 20 minutes and they didn't even charge me! I had each of the bolt each counter-sunk 1/8 inch and now the ticking sound is completely gone. There are excellent people at the R.J. Moran Machine Shop and I will be doing business with them again, I know that.

I also decided to take a pic of my control board before I get to neatening it up. I was going to work on the box this weekend, but I decided to put the motor back in and drive it around.

Now for the goods. I reinstalled the motor and control board back into the EV and I adjusted the low voltage setting on the controller and drove it. I left the controller at 75% maximum output, and man was it sluggish. It drove like an oversized golf cart and i could barely hit 10 MPH up a mild hill and I could get to 15-20 MPH with a slight down hill and a long runway of road. So here is my video of that test:

Then I had a few things to do, came back and decided to set the controller to 100%. What a difference! Not only was is much peppier, I was hitting 15 MPH easily and got up to 25 MPH before slamming on the brakes to avoid the little kiddies playing in the road. Sadly, I didn't get a video of this run. I have clocked about 2+ miles so far in my EV!!!

The performance seems rather low at the moment because of four factors.
1) I am only running at 60 volts, and the torque for my motor is rather low at this voltage. So essentially it is an oversized golf car.
2) I had sticky front brakes that need some attentions and this is definitely created more drag. 3) My PB5 throttle control doesn't go all the way because of the limited throttle cable, and the actual design of the PB5. I haven't measure how far it actually go, but I think I only get 75-85% of total throttle output.
4) the tires are really low on pressure. I mean really LOW, and this is adding unwanted rolling resistance.

So on Monday I plan on pumping up the tires and giving it another go and see if there are any performance increases.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Status Update

Well, the plate went to the shops today to get the bolts counter-sunk which should eliminate the ticking. It may actually be down, but I haven't been home yet to find out.

I have found a nice water proof box that I will use and install the contactors, low voltage control system, fuses and precharge resistor in. My goal is that the only exposed electrical system will be this control box and the Kelly Controller. I will get a decent heatsink for the controller and have it mounted securely and make a clear casing for it out of plexiglass so you can see if, but the elements stay away from it.

I also recieved my vacuum pump! I now have to make a vacuum tank, get a pressure switch and some tubing. It was somewhat difficult to use the brakes without the power assist, and with the extra weight of the battery pack, it is a must.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Once Upon A Time...

There was a cranky powertrain control module. It refused to shift, function or even tell the ones around it why it's so cranky. After many hours of being poked, prodded, checked, yelled at and so nearly beaten, someone had the bright idea of looking up "Cranky PCMs" in the Big Book of Errors and found that the PCM needed to be grounded, indefinitely. Once the PCM was ground, it came out and told everyone why it was so cranky, and then things went back to normal.

Ok, done with story telling, back to reality.

After spending most of Saturday trying to figure out why the car wouldn't engage into gear, I had the bright idea of going down to AutoZone and getting a OBDII Scanner to check the car's computer. BTW, the scanner costs $152, but it is considered a rentable item, so you get your money back when you return it. (Making AutoZone the most epic car parts store around)

So I get back and plug this into the car to get some readings, and it said it couldn't find the ECU/PCM. Just peachy.

I found out that I never replaced a fuse I took out back in July (For the Fuel Pump) was also the main fuse for the ECU/PCM. Once that weas replaced, I was welcomes with ticking sounds from the PCM and blinking dash board. After another hour of going through the manual, I found that the wire labled "Engine Ground" is actually the ground for the PCM, so I needed to ground it. All was happy and no more blinking dash and I was able to get some error codes. This also fixed the shifter not letting me move out of Park without using the override key. Now it works just fine.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Then this picture is worth 3,720,000 words!

Yes it moves! Ok, you will hear a few noises. One noised is a ticking that is from the motor coupler that I haven't fixed yet, and the other was a quick grinding sound, which is entirely my fault because I am used to driving a stick and not an Automatic. I pushed the shifter forward to go into neutral like I would in my car, but the Park is forward and neutral is pushing the shifter down! AAHH!

The initial tests seems rather underpowered, but I believe that was because of the settings I used on the controller. I was using a 60 volt pack, but I have the Low Voltage setting to 56 volts. The pack will sag under load, and it probably sagged past the 56 volts and then the controller kicked in the current limting. It really should be around 52 volts. I have had the controller limited to 75% output, but I will reprogram it when I reinstall everything.

Wednesday the Vacuum Pump should arrive and I am glad because those brakes needed A LOT of forced to slow the car down. This afternoon I am removing the motor again to get the bolts countersunk and to clean up a bit. So many things left to do - make a control box, front battery rack, bolt down rear battery rack, make new cables, create vacuum setup, and setup the charging system.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Ticking is Back

I finally got the control board back in and did a another test spin on the jacks. It was great for 5 minutes, and then the stupid ticking came back. AAHHHHH!!

I called it quits for the day and went back to my school work. This weekend I will take everything apart again (I will have this motor decoupling down to an art soon) and on Monday try to get the holes on the motor plate countersunk. The torque converter bolts and one of the motor bolts is a heck of a lot closer than I originally thought, so even with a slight pressure the bolts hit each other.

I may try a test drive up and down the drive way again and record it to have something to post, and to show off the annoying ticking sound. That and I want to test out the drive train to make sure it actually works and hope I don't have to solve more problems.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Vacuum Pump

I am still putting the motor back into the car, but I also ordered a Thomas Vacuum pump for the brakes. I found one on eBay for a steal at $98, so I bought it and hopefully it will be here end of the week. I will make up a vacuum chamber and get a vacuum switch so it's not running all the time. The pump only draws 4 amps, so it's a real minimal load, and runs on the 12 volt system so won't impact my traction pack.

This afternoon I am putting the motor back in. It's already lined up hanging on rope, but I was busy cleaning up the compartment and went off to visit relatives.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another Look

Today I tried to contact the machine shop, but they were closed for the weekend. So I decided to take another look and my coupling and see what needs to be done.
The problem was that there was a ticking sound coming from the adapter system. That turned out to be the bolts from the torque converter and the motor skimming off each other. And that occured because the coupling was slightly loose and pushing back when the torque converter was pumping and forced back.
My dad and I came to the conclusion that the coupling was not gripping the shaft like it should have. Well after a few hours of looking over everything, I went to put the coupling back on the motor and realized what was really wrong!
When I first recieved the coupling, I pressed the support pins in and bolted it together and then placced it onto the shaft. When I did this, I didn't actually get the taper piece in all the way and there was enough give to allow it to slide up and down the motor shaft. When I went to place it back on the shaft, I had used a wrench to tighten the bolts and it pressed in all the way. So it wouldn't go onto the motor shaft because it was tightened! Then when I loosened the bolts, it slipped on like it did the first time I installed it! So this was a user error and not a machining error. Which is good, because I spent months getting that design right and a total of $600 for the whole adapter system.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Damage Report- Or Lack of It

I finally got the motor out and I found nothing wrong with the coupler. It was just the way I installed it, no broken key no slipping metal or busted components. The ticking was what I originally thought, the bolts of the torque converter and the motor bolts hitting each other.

I will call up the machine shop tomorrow to see if I can get the coupler adjusted so it grips the shaft better and to get a few holes counter-sunk so the bolts won't hit each other.

So here is my problem. My transmission won't engage into gear and I have to figure out why. It's the curst of the Automatic transmission, but I can't put in a stick so I need to figure out how to fool the PCM to function. I am searching online for any information of the Auto not engaging, and I think it won't because of a throttle position sensor missing.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

And We're Walking.....

50 points to the first person who figures out what the qoute is from. And here is the relevance to the qoute:

I figured out what the ticking sound is, for the most part. It's my coupler. I think the key broke and because the tapered coupling didn't hold the shaft tight enough. I found this out when I drove the car down the drive, and when to drive back up and it wouldn't go forward. I could feel the car going, and then slip and that's when the ticking sound appeared. My driveway is on a very slight incline, but enough that I needed three people to push the car back up.

Now I have to remove the motor and adapter to check the coupling. I have removed the board that housed the controller and high power electrical components and either Thursday or Friday I will remove the motor and figure out what to do. I will most likely bring it back to the machine shop to fix it and my dad will be coming along since he is the mechanical engineer and make sure that the taper will be tight.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wish List

I am putting together a wish list of tools or parts that I either want or need over the next few months.

As it stands right now, I really can't complete my PIC controller without an oscilliscope. I have found one I like on eBay for $325, so that is at the top of my list, right next to vacuum assist When doing my trial I found the brakes a little hard, but I haven't really tried them out yet on the road. I do know that I need to install the vacuum assist if anyone else in the famly is going to drive it. I am searching onlie for decent deals of the 12 volt vacuum pump, but I am also going to find out what cars used them and check out the local junk yards. Then I want some backlit large LCD display volt meters, which seem to go for $11 on eBay. I have also found schematics for making my own pack monitoring device that I am going to try and build eventually.
So instead of boring everyone with the story behind the rest of the items, here is the list:

-Vacuum Assist Pump
-Volt Meters
-Homemade Pack Monitor
-Small solar panel for AUX battery charging
-PicKit2 USB Programmer so I can use the high end 16MHz PICs for my controller

The First Run!

Last night I got in my first little test run! I just went up and down the driveway because it was rather dark out, but it works! There is a minor problem that I have to work on. There is a ticking sound coming from the motor adapter, and I believe it to be where the Torque Converter bolts hit the motor bolts. There was a little more than a 1/8 inch gap and it must have slipped back and now hits a little. Later this week I will dismantle the electrical system and fix up the adapter plates. I want to try a quick fix before I dismantle everything, and I will take a video to post.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Launch Prep

I have everything installed and I am ready to test this thing out! No, the car's not done, but I have enough strapped down and plugged in to try a 60 volt test again! I have to wait until someone else is home for safety reasons, but I went over the wiring about 20 times, tested the low voltage setup, got the Kelly Controller programmed and I am topping off the batteries before the first run.

This is the Kelly Controls KHD09401 almost installed and on a scrap piece of aluminum. It's not the best solution, but should suffice for a trip down the street. I am going to get a proper heatsink before I attempt any real road rage.
And this picture is of the batteries and their top off charge before the run. I measured all the voltages and they were pretty close except for battery #2, and it was 0.7 volts lower than the rest. The other batteries finished their top off charge in 30 minutes, but this battery is still going and it's almost been an hour and the charger says its 25% complete. So this battery is either my weakest link, or it hasn't been charged, and I actually don't remember actually fully charging this one battery EVER. It's only a month old, and has an August date on it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Unexpected Surprises!

There are unexpected events and there are surprises. Then there are things that are unexpected surprises. Today was one of those days filled with unexpected surprises.

My plan for the day was to reorganize the hood and create battery trays. Instead I got a call from my old Audio Visual teacher from High School and spent the day in the high school's auditorium setting up for the school's fall play. I hadn't done any AV work since I graduated in 2007, so it was like old times. Usually the AV students hang the lights, focus and setup the stage, sound systems and set, but this time all the upper classman were not around and I was called in to help teach the new freshman and to get things going since they were a day behind. It was actually quite good (and free food!) so I didn't feel bad about not working on the EV.

And when I got home, I found my controller sitting there on the table! Not only was it here a week earlier than expected, it was the next model up than what I had ordered! So I now have the Kelly Controls 24-96 Volt 400 AMP with REGEN, worth about $200 more than what I paid. I had about 30 minutes of "Oh crap will this even work" and then I found on the EV Album that a few people have used the regen models on their series wound motor to no ill effect. Except regen doesn't work. I am perfectly fine with this since this is only a temporary controller until my PIC controller is done.

Now I have changed my plans for the rest of the weekend. I am now going to rewire the car and setup the Kelly Controller and try out a 60 volt test run. I hope to try it out tomorrow since it should take too long to reinstall my temporary chunk of plywood and control circuits. Once I have done a test run (or attempted it) I will go back to finish my battery racks. I know I am jumping around a lot, but I really want to see this thing move! (And so does my family and half the neighborhood!)

Tray Troubles

These are my template trays in the front compartment. There is a lot of clutter in the front and that is making the trays hard to implement.
So for this weekend my goal is to rearrange the wiring and try to make the battery rack as simple as possible. I am going to pull out the 12 volt aux battery, cut out that last gas line and adjust the trays some more.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Battery Trays

I have almost completed the template for the front battery trays. I have to buy the real materials, but I will post a picture once I have finished making the mounts that hold the trays to the sides of the engine compartment.

The engine compartment isn't organized too great. I can only get three batteries in the front, which is all I need. I was hoping to get four in, but the batteries were too large and the brake lines, motor adapter and transmission got in the way.When I post the picture tomorrow you can see the crazy battery setup I have. And in order to get the three batteries in the front, I might have to change the location of the 12 volt aux battery.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Controller Purchased!

I finally ordered up the controller! Instead of trying to get the bank/debit this sorted out (which they couldn't do anyways...) I used PayPal to purchase the controller. So now I just need to wait for it!

I started to plan out my front battery tray this afternoon. I have to clean up the engine compartment more, rearrange the wire harness and motor cables. It's going to be a tight fit, but I found a picture of another 95 Civic with 5 group 31 deep cycles batteries in the front, so it is definately possible. My card board battery model is taller than the real battery, so that is throwing my off a bit.

This weekend I am going to a family yard sale to sell off old stuff in the name of my EV. Hopefully I will make a few bucks to start paying back the cost of the controller. Then I will be getting to work modeling the front battery rack.

Small Snag

I finally get enough money to order the controller (from family donations) and I find out my freaking debit has a limit and the controller price is $15 over it because of shipping. So I head on down to the bank to get it lifted. I fill out the forms, sign away my soul and then I am told it might not be implemented until Saturday. And I wanted to order it today. Just peachy.

So while I wait for the forms to go through, I am going to get to work on the front battery rack. My dad found some old L metal peices I can use to create the template for the front rack. I am going to try and get 4 batteries in the front, but three will suffice. If I can get 4, I will replace the small car battery with another deep cycle.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Motor/Battery Pictures

It finally stopped raining long enough for me to get a few pictures of the motor mount and the rear battery rack. The rear battery rack isn't finished yet, but the you can see five of the batteries installed for testing. I was pleasantly surprised how easily the batteries fit, and there is plenty of wiggle room on both sides for the stiff foam box I am going to build around it.

I haven't worked on the EV at all since last week, mainly because I was trying to figure out the controller deal. Now that I have decided to buy a controller, I can start to find the money for it and then get back to finishing the battery racks.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Some Changes

I have decided to add a PayPal Donations button to my blog. I thought about doing it months ago, but had no real need until recently. My search for a decent temporary controller has been a bust, and my homemade controller is running into supply problems. That, and college classes take up most of my time and I have been draining away what cash I had left for the temporary controller to gas. :(

So I have decided to start to save up for a 96 volt controller that will meet my needs until my homemade controller is complete. I need about $600 for a Kelly KDH096400 96 Volt 400 AMP controller, so I am hoping anyone out there willing to spare a few bucks will.

I am also long overdue for come pictures of the rear battery rack and the front motor mount, so I will try and take some if the rain ever stops.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Quick Update

So I am feeling the pressure from my family to get this EV going soon, and my custom controller is taking way too long so I have started searching Craigslist for a cheap 48 volt controller just to get the EV moving. I have had a few hits, and the lastest sound promising so we will see.

As for my own controller design, I have my current sensors arriving today and I am still working out a few problems in my design. The design itself looks fine, but the 15 volt source I need doesn't. I was going to use a LM317T adjustable voltage regulator, but it is only 1.5 AMPs max and my math says I need at least 4.5 AMPS for the IGBT driver.

I have a computer gig to do this afternoon, so hopefully that will pay for the temporary controller.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Controller Autopsy

After many hours or analyzing, the problem ended up being the flywheel diode. It was way undersized and because of that, a large voltage spike went through the controller, blasting parts away as it went.

The second generation controller has many new features and fixes, such as a microprocessor, 16KHz freguency, IGBT driver, Hall Effect current sensor and a large freewheel diode. Eventually I will hook up an LCD display to it and add some more feaures. This controller is still early in it's development, with parts being ordered this week. I have lots of work to do on this software for it, creating IDLE control, Performance/Range settings and what ever else I can thing of. I have gone through this particular design a few times, and showed to some professionals and it should work perfectly fine. Ideally I would want to make this as customizable as possible, and maybe make a small side business in the EV controller market, but that is probably a few years off.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!

Well, I moved the car today! But not all went as planned. My basic controller had a problem with the driver for the IGBT and cooked it, so the motor went racing full on as I backed down the driveway. I was actually made aware of this the day before, but we were unsure how much of a problem it would be. Now we know.

But the car did move under it's own power! Tomorrow I am going to make sure nothing happend to the coupling because there were some loud sounds from that area when I jammed the car into park and shutdown the motor.

The second gen controller has a true IGBT driver, and should be ready to test this weekend. It will be getting a go over from a few professors and IGBT experts tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Test Drive...Or Not

On Sunday I had everything ready to go for a test drive. That morning I had adjusted my current limit to a lower value for safety reasons, installed all the cabling, wired up the starting ciruit, contactors and put the rear battery pack in. Then went off to visit grandparents and came back that night for the test run.

So there I am, camera rolling, everything connected. I start up the car, contactors close, cooling fan comes on, put it into reverse and hit the pedal. NOTHING HAPPENS.

After 5 minutes of taking measurements, it hits me. I modified the current limiting wrong, so it forced on, prevent the car from moving. (Well at least that worked!)

It gets better. So I go to remove the controller, shut everything off, flick the breaker and proceed to remove the controller. In an act of complete stupidity, I drop the wrench across the B- and M- terminals, and it sparks blowing the logic board away. The capacitors were still charged, and found their way to there desitnation by toasting the controller.

I had breakers and fuses for every other part of the system except dropping a fraking wrench across the terminals. Now I have to repair it, which should be as simple as replacing the three chips and some bench testing. I also am almost done laying out the microprocessor controller and hope to have that is some sort of a testing phase in the next week or so. I just have to order a hall effect current sensor and plan on having it completed before it gets cold out. (It's water cooled, and that will provide my heat for the cabin.)

Friday, September 12, 2008


So yesterday I got the wheel unstuck but pushing the car down the driveway. It worked really well, but the brakes still stick a little. I also designed and cut out the front motor mount and it went to the welder this morning and I hope to get it back tonight.

The rear battery rack has both coats of paint on it and is all dry and ready to be installed. I also made a test cable yesterday, and will make the rest up today. Before I mount the rear battery rack, I am going to do a test fit to make sure all 5 batteries fit.

I also have to adjust my controller battery current limiting from 500 amps to 250 amps for many reasons, but one is that if I don't, the controller can be called the EgoBuster. Set at 500 amps and you step on the pedal, the 250 amp breaker would blow before the current limiting kicked in, and that would make anyone's ego bust up. I can just picture going for my test run and stepping on the throttle to see what my controller can do, and blowing the breaker before I go anywhere!

So what's left:
-Install motor mount
-Make cables
-Install Rear Battery tray
-design and install front battery tray
-Make one last modification to my controller

Drive it. If I can get the front motor mount welded today, I can wire up the rear batteries and do a 60 volt street test!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

More Batteries

OK, so now I have a total of 6 of my batteries. Yesterday I also did quite a bit of useful testing, and one of those test told me that I need the motor mount before I can even think of a road test. I had to jack the transmisson and motor up so that it was level, or else it wouldn't spin up at all. I then did some useful motor/controller tests and came to the conclusion that the transmission uses 480 watts to idle. I also painted my rear rack, and tomorrow I will put another coat of paint to finish it off.

Today is a wasted day because 1)- It's raining and 2)- I am in classes until 9:00 tonight.

Tomorrow I plan on painting the rear rack, buy the materials for the front motor mount, and mount two 12 volt fans to the controller. During my test, it got warm to the touch pulling 25-45 AMPs, so more cooling would be nice.

And on the topic of controllers, my second gen microproccessor controller is in the works with so many nice features. I have an IGBT driver on the way that is compatible with it, and I also am going to order an isolated current sensor. And I have also solve my heat problem in the EV. I have a water cooling system for my IGBT, and I am going to use it on the second gen controller, and route the water through the exsiting heating system. It should be up in the 90-150F range, so plenty of warmth for defrosting the windows. I also am trying to integrate the status display into this edition of the controller.

My hope is that I can build a successful, powerful controller that I could put into production in a few years, after gathering data and abusing it to the best of my ability. My hope is to eventually have a controller that can be programmed for specific motors and battery sizes, as to maximize range and performance.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Motor is In!

It took most of the afternoon, but the motor is finally in! Everything appears to be aligned and I can spin the motor, so I think it is looking good. I have also bought 2 more batteries and hope to do a quick test spin up this afternoon after classes.
The motor looks so small in the compartment, but it should be able to move the car around since it's a 10 HP continuous motor and I don't plan on taking it past 55 at all. (30-45 MPH is the desired speed)

So here is what I have left:

-Paint rear battery rack and install it

-Design and build motor mount for extra strength

-Design and build front battery rack

-Wire everything up

I am really hoping for a short street test this week, up and down the road on the 36 volts I have.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Plates Drilled

So I have all the holes for the plates done, and all that is left is a few cuts for the transmission mount and one of the drive axles. The plates are bolted to my transmission template and I had an alignment problem, but I fix it by adjusting one of my spacer pieces.
Tomorrow it is supposed to rain and storm like crazy, so I am going to get my batteries and build my EPS grid (electric power system) that contains the starting relays, precharge resistor, circuit breaker and other low power + saftey features. And get the plates completely cut would be great so that part is done.
My rear battery rack has also been welded and I hope to mount it soon. This storm (Hanna) really ruins my installation weekend. I was hoping to get in a test drive on 60 volts on Sunday afternoon. (With the rear rack installed and 5 batteries)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Controller Guts

A few people wanted to see the guts of my 555 timer controller, so here is a picture of it I took a while ago before I cased it all up.

As the plates go, I should have the spacer plate cut out and cleaned up tonight! I hope to have the motor and transmission assembled tonight and make the last cut outs for the drive shaft and the engine mounts because the plate covers them at the moment.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Big One

So this is the last major cutting part of the project. And is a real pain. The hole is about 8 inches in diameter and the only thing that seems to work for a nice cut is the tiny jig saw. The real problem is that it is slow, and the battery runs out rather quickly. Tomorrow I have to buy some more blades and find all the good DeWalt batteries I can and charge them up. College starts up again tomorrow, but I have a goal of getting that motor in the car this weekend. Once it is in, I estimate a day for all the wiring and ignition system, and then another 2-3 days of finishing up the AC/PS bracket and the front battery rack.

Friday, August 29, 2008


So here are the chargers I bought for my EV. They were $100 off eBay for all eight of them, including shipping. The are Schumacher SC-600A SpeedCharger 6 AMP smart chargers. While 6 AMPs isn't a whole lot, I am worried about plugging in every where and not blowing circuits or fuses. If these do not provide enough charge, I will build a high amp quick charger for the extra boost in power.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Plate Cutting

OK, so I have LOTS of progress. I have spent most of the week working on my part checklist on the plates. I have about half of the entire plate system done and still hoping to get the rest done this weekend. I was hoping to get the car moving this weekend, but I dont have my batteries or battery racks yet.

Now this hole isn't perfectly round because we used a sawz-all on it. A machine shop would have been the best way, but the reality is it would probably take a few weeks to get it machined, and it would cost money that I don't have.

Oh, and I also bought eight Schumacher SC-600A chargers and tomorrow I will post pictures of them. I have one for each battery, and they will charge at 6 AMPS.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Plate Progress

I finally got out the blasted drill bit! I ended up buying a new bit to continue the drilling while figuring out the removal of the bit. I will be away this weekend so I won't be able to do anything until Monday. My hope is to get the car moving by next weekend, but there is a lot to do before that will happen.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It's all in the Details

Just when you think you solved all the hard parts, something else comes along and reminds you of why not many people attempt these kind of projects. Last night we drilled four holes and today I planned on drilling out the spacers. Well, about 1 inch into the spacer the bit got stuck. That was 6 hours ago. It's still stuck in there.
So my options are: 1) wait for my dad to get home and find a way to get it out, 2) Bring it to the machine shop with my pride jammed in a little tic-tac box, 3) blast it out with a model rocket engine (well, might not work but would be sweet to watch) and 4) scrap both of them and get a new bit and a new spacer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I bought 8 Schumacher SC-600A chargers on eBay today. They are 6 amp smart chargers, while not the fastest thing in the world, it will get me started. My budget (pocket mulah) is getting low, and I picked these up nice and cheap at $100 for all 8 inlcuding shipping.

Today I also build another controller circuit, this time using a PIC processor and a 16 KHz frequency so it can't be heard. My other controller used a discrete hardware setup, but had an audible 2 KHz frequency. I will keep the old board in the gloved compartment as a backup in case anything goes awry...

Tonight my dad and I drilled a few 1/2 inch holes in the motor adapter plate to see how easy it is, and it was a breeze. Tomorrow I will mark up all the bolt holes on the larger plates and drill those, and also drill the holes in the spacers. It's coming together really fast and I might just have the motor in on Monday since I will be going away this weekend.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Metal Mayhem

I admit, I have been slacking in my updating of this site in the past weeks. I have significant progress tho! The gas tank is out, I have the rear battery rack designed on it's at the welder and I have gotten my coupler and small plate!

Here I have the motor mounted to the small plate and the couper attached to the motor and flex plate. The plate and the spacers are having 1/2 inch holes drilled in them and then I have to work on the larger plates.

And here is the rear battery rack laid out in the driveway. It will be going over the spare tire compartment, as close to the rear wheels as possible for the best weight distrobution. The rack will hold 5 batteries, and I will have three maybe, four in the front depending on what fits once the motor is in. When I get it back from the welder, I am going to paint it so it won't rust and so i t will look decent when I show off the car to people.
Now I am doing the final cleaning out of the car, removing excess small plates/heat shields, gas lines and a basic washing on the interior. I removed the rear seats to get to the gas tank, so I have to put those back in.
I am hoping to have the motor mounted into the car this week, but we will see. Once the motor is in, I can have everything wired in a day. Then all I will need is the batteries, chargers and front battery rack.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I stopped by the machine shop today and the coupler looks great! All that is left is two alignment/strength pins and the bolts to be bought. It should be done soon, then I can get going on the final plates.

I also have been working on th electrical system for the EV. All the normal electrical systems are working and I am figuring out which wires I will use to the contactor/ignition setup.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Destruction Day Four

The ICE is out!!! There were quite a few stubborn bolts, but none broke and the engine came out with little fuss. On it's way out it got stuck on the air conditioning pipes so it took a little wiggling to get it out completely.
Tonight I am posting the left over ICE on craigslist and hope I get something. If not, I will be stripping some stuff off and junking the rest.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Destruction Day Three

The engine block is ready to be removed! Yesterday I removed all the tubing in the engine compartment and took off part of the tail pipe system. I didn't get to remove the engine block yet because of the lack of a chain, and then rain again.

Here is my setup. I have the car parked under a large tree branch that I will use to remove the engine, and I also put my canopy over the car to work in the rain. I have a stack of wood that I am using as a bench for the junk ICE parts and the soda bottles are full of oil and antifreeze.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Destruction Day Two

The weather cooperated today, but I spent most of it shopping for home construction materials and sockets for my conversion. But I did take out a few more small items and drained the oil and most of the antifreeze. The main reason for the slow progress is because I was trying to take things apart slowly and carefully so I can put them back together after the left the engine compartment. The keyword is WAS. After about 4 hours of slow progress I realized that these ICE components probably wouldn't sell anyways because they have 243,000 miles on them! The engine needs a timing belt, oil pan gasket and a general tune up, but who knows how long it will actually last, so I decided to just rip out the engine and related components and sell them as a pile of Civic Parts. And if they don't sell, I will just junk them.

Tomorrow I will drain the last antifreeze bolt and rip out the engine tubing and hoist out the engine. It should go much faster now that I have decided to just junk the engine and tear it out.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Destruction Day One

Today was another lousy, rainy day, but I did get a few things done in between down pours. I set up my canopy and started destruction. Here is the engine compartment before I started:

And now this is what it looks like now:

I only had about an hour of usable time due to rain and removed the 12 volt battery, air intake and unplugged most of the wiring on the engine. Tomorrow, weather permitting, I plan to drain the oil and antifreeze and remove the engine. I am quite surprised how little I am actually removing because I am keeping the A/C, power steering and power brakes. I also am keeping the radiator because the automatic transmission needs it. It's my esitmate that this whole process would only take 2-3 hours assuming everything was setup and the weather cooperated.

I am still awaiting my coupler and it's final cost. Depending on the final cost of the coupler, I may order up a vacuum pump for the power brakes. Hopefully tomorrow I will get some inclination on the status of my coupler. I am also working on the aluminum plates for the motor to transmission adapter.

Silent Enemy

Yesterday I spent the morning getting ready to start gutting the Civic, then it started to rain so I went inside to work on some programming. I spent a few hours creating a program from scratch and testing it, and I was so involved what I was doing that I didn't see the water collecting around me! Ever since the yard was landscaped water finds it's way through one of the basement windows and floods the place.

Hopefully today I can start some gutting in between rain storms and I might even set up my 10' x 10' canopy.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Another Update

My coupler should be done midweek, which is great news. I also hope to start gutting the Civic, but the weather is not cooperating. Today I cleaned the car out and there is a very small amount of gas left, so I am ready.

I have also took the time to go back and learn some more PIC Programming. I have found a few tools to help me along, and I will be able to make a decent programmable controller. I am thinking of getting an LCD display to use with it and have a monitoring system. One feature I plan on making is an Economy/Performance button. The Economy mode will have a low current limit to lower battery consumption and the Performance will raise the current limit to increase acceleration. The Ecomony Mode will probably have a current limit of 100 AMPS from the batteries, limiting the motor to about 10 HP, and the Performance Mode will limit the current to 300 AMPs, or 35 HP.

I am going to have to design this on paper to make programming easier. I have been doing some programming, but a visual drawing with the features, ports and limits would make it quicker. And maybe a larger protoboard for testing.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Worst Part...

I have come to the worst part of my EV project. Waiting. I have to wait for the coupler to be machined, the Civic to have an empty gas tank and a paycheck so I can purchase my batteries.

It's driving me crazy that I have run out of things to do on this project. I am actually grateful that I took a summer class because the optional homework keeps me from going crazy just sitting around. I have even gone back and redid all my motor, battery and range calculations from scratch just to make sure and keep me busy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Coupler Progress

The coupler is at the machine shop and with any luck it will be done by the end of the week! I also gave them the small plate that will mount to the motor so they can CNC machine it to be exactly what the motor is.

Now that the coupling is finally being made, this weekend looks like the start of the destruction of the ICE. Nearly nine months of planning and collecting components has come down to a 3 inch chunk of steel, the smallest, yet most complicated part of the whole project!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Back From Vaca!

During my vacation I came to a realization that I have designed every aspect of my conversion, from the controller to the adpater plates and I overlooked the most important thing: The on switch.

So I have designed up a circuit that will use relays to turn on the 24 volts to the controller, the 48 volts to the contactors, a few fuses for them and an interlock relay so when the car is plugged in it can't be turned on and driven away.

On Monday I am going to call the machine shop again to see if they can make the coupler this week. They were busy before I went on vacation and I never got around to calling them and dropping off the components before I left.

As for the car gutting, there is still 3/4 of a tank left so we are going to drive it until its empty, try to find a place to steam clean the engine compartment and hopefully start the gutting on Saturday.

And finally I have gotten my controller test video up! It's running off the DeWalt batteries for a total of 66 volts (some cells are shot), and using a tiny weed whacker motor that was made for a much lower voltage, but serves it's purpose of a low-amp tester.

Monday, June 30, 2008


Very good news, I finally found a machine shop to machine my coupler! I am going over the finer detials with them and got a really good price. I hope to be able to drop off the components before I leave on vacation so they can work on it when they get the time. Tomorrow I am going to call them and see if that works for them.

My circuit breaker came in today. It's an AirPax 250 AMP 125 Volts DC breaker that is massive. It came in a huge packing box, but it great condition. I bought it off eBay for $20, which is a steal. It was brand new, surplus and measures 10.5 inched in length.

I have also done a nice high voltage test with my controller using DeWalt batteries in series. I had 66 volts and it worked great. I used a weed whacker motor and took a video of it, but for some reason it is having a hard time uploading.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Contactor Trials

I spent most of the afternoon in the nice cold basement watching Star Trek: Enterprise and making my starting system for my EV. I am using the casing from an ATX power supply and I have placed both contactors in it and I am considering painting it a nice color.

I am still trying to get the coupler machined. I am going to call another local company tomorrow, but if that doesn't go through it may have to wait two weeks because I will be on vacation. I may also be getting some more batteries and chargers tomorrow, but we will see.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Getting Ready!

Ok, so I have the accesories motor, which is a 1.5 HP @96 volt motor that will be used to run the power steering and the air conditioning. I also have my two contactors that will be the main power switch for the EV. I have some 10 gauge wire that will be used to provide the logic power to my controller (24volts) and also to be used for the contactors.

My coupler is almost ready to be machined. I had to go back and make the drawings more detailed, and to make things go quickly the machine shop will only do the coupler and I will drill the plates myself. Tomorrow they should get the new drawings and it shouldn't take them too long to machine it up. If I am lucky, they can do it tomorrow and Friday.
Oh, yes I almost forgot. I have also ordered my last important part, the circuit breaker. I have a 125 volt 250 AMP circuit breaker on the way that will be my main safety feature and will also be my second cut-off switch next to my contactors. I chose a circuit breaker over fuses because my controller is expermiental and I really can't afford to be cooking fuses like crazy if anything goes crazy.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Motor Fun

So I finally decided to cut the motor shaft myself. I have been debating this part for 6 months, and I really have no idea why I didn't do it earlier. It was so easy to do. A brand new hax saw blade and I was set. It took about 10 minutes of slowly cutting and turning the shaft for the best cut. I did it all by hand so reduces the chances of any accidents, and it went great.

This week we are going to contact a few machine shops and hopefully get the coupler machined.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Major Milestones

Well I have accomplished three major milestones in my quest toward an EV. The first was that I finally fixed the power windows! The ground wire is shot somewhere between the door and the G551 ground section on the car. So I jumpered the Power Window Ground to the Power Lock ground, which ends up at the G551 anyways and now they work.

This is the door with the interior taken off and the wiring cables exposed. Honda was actually nice enough to leave two junctions opened on the power windows ground and the power locks ground so all I had to do was remove the electrical tape, add a new wire and solder it. Then I taped it all up, put the car back together and it worked once again.

The next major milestone is that I received my plates, spacers and couplet materials for my adapter system. This weekend I plan on making exact templated from poster board for each plate for easy drilling. I believe I can drill the plates myself and next week my dad is taking the coupler pieces and drawings to a machinist and see if he can do it.

And my third milestone is that I finally have a Destruction Day. July 14 is day after we get back from a family vacation and when my dad is giving up the Civic. So I have a month to get my coupler machined and plates all drilled and now that I have a actual start date I hope to get a machinist working on my coupler next week.