Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holiday Season

I have been busy enjoying the holidays, so I have done much EV related. I did order up a new suspension system, a Skunk2 Race package off eBay that should be arriving January 4th. In the mean time, I have been designing my heater setup and here is the start of it:

Basically I have gutted the AC heater core and have is waiting for a new casing, designed to sit a top the dash. I have it mostly designed, I am just searching to the parts to build it. I received some great Christmas presents such as a Radio Shack gift card for parts and a new Canon PowerShot SD780 IS that can take HD video, so sometime this week I will get getting some EV video in HD!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Just Chillin

Now that finals are over, I can get back to EVing!

Today I finally fixed my Shift Adjuster. I installed it backwards when I put the Zilla in, so when I went to use it the transmission thought I was flooring it and would drop into 1st for acceleration.

Now my heater is going to be interesting. I can't build it into the dash until Spring because it's so darn cold out and I don't have a garage. I was going to get one of those 12 volt heater/defrosters, but apparently those do absolutely nothing for heat. So I am working on creating a 96 volt edition of one of the Windshield defrosters and only use half off the heating element, so ~750 watts to save on batteries. I will have a switch so it can go between 750 watts and 1500 watts just in case, and all the proper fuses and wiring. I am working on my design tonight and hope to do something with it tomorrow.

Another thing that has been eating at me, besides the heater, has been my suspension system. The rear rides so low that I can hear the shocks bottom out when I got over bumps, and I am estimating that they will fail in the next 2-300 miles. The stock rear suspension wasn't designed to take 520+lbs in the trunk, let alone have it permanent. And if I ever update to a different lead acid pack, it will weigh even more.

I currently have my eyes set on a Skunk2 Sports suspension system on eBay and I may scoop it up if the price it right.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Little Kinks

Today I reassembled the splash guard for the motor and drove around some more. I have a problem with my Shifting Adjustment potentiometer, either a wire is loose or the pot is defective. I was driving today and had my shift adjustment to its usually spot and then after 15 MPH the transmission would jump between 1st and 2nd and it did that until I turned off my adjustment pot. I will check the connections tomorrow as it's raining like crazy now, and I will check the resistance, etc. I was having a "WTF" moment when crusing and all of a sudden it would drop a gear, then a few seconds later it would jump back up. Ugh.

I also buttoned up my batteries nicely and found something interesting. While my batteries are charging, the AMP gauge back light powers up! I found it interesting, and I first thought I had a problem with my 12 volt system, but further investigation shows it was just the construction of the meter and current going through the shunt can activate the backlight.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Heating Things Up

So after doing a few more Zilla runs, including the worst hill in my commute and ripping up it like nobody's business, I decided to take a good look at my heating.

So these past few days I have used my AC ceramic heater and tested out the capability of them.

It was 27F outside and with the Heater set to MAX, the car was fully defrosted in 8 minutes and 42F, in 15 minutes it was 50F and after 20 minutes it was a nice 58F inside!

I have decided to do the heating right and get the AC drained so I can install my ceramic heater core into the old heater core socket. I still have an AC heater for preheating/defrosting, but I full 1500 watt heater in the EV would be a wise thing. It will use about 15 AMPs, which isn't really that bad. I just need to find a shop to drain my AC so I can work on the installation.

I have also decided that I want to get Lithium batteries for my next set, so I have already started to save up. I am looking at 30 cell of TS-LFP100 from Thundersky, and it should give me 35 miles of range. It looks like that will cost about $3,300 which does sound like a lot, but when I looked at a higher quality/power lead acid pack, I found it would cost about $2500 for that kind of range and twice the weight with 1/10 the cycle life. I have lots of saving and research ahead of me to do.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Zilla Performance

I was able to drive the EV again today, and log the drive with the DAQ feature of the Zilla.

In this graph there is motor amps all over the place because here are a number of inclines, starts and stops and small amount of constant cruising during the run. I am estimating a top speed of about 55MPH with the new setup, which is pretty good. I need to fix my shift point adjustment, but the EV was pretty nice to drive. I just need to break in the batteries mode, and deal with the heater issues.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Zilla

I got the EV running! After I adjusted the Torque Converter I reinstalled the control tray with the Kelly and took it for a few mile joy ride. The new transmission has a very smooth shift to it and my batteries are going to need to be broken in. They have only 3 miles on them and I want at least 50 miles before I try driving back to school with the EV.

Now for the awesome greenness:
On Saturday I took the EV for a few little runs around the block, then removed the control tray and called it a day. We had to decorate for Christmas, get the tree, setup the lights, all before the snow storm coming that afternoon. Then last night I removed the Kelly and started to install the Zilla 1K-LV. Ok, here are the specs of the Zilla 1K-LV compared to the Kelly

Zilla 1K-LV Kelly KDH09401
Peak AMPs: 1,000 400
Cont. AMPs 350 160
Voltage 72-156 24-96

The Zilla also weights 15 lbs compared to the Kelly 6 lbs. The picture is of the Zilla fully wired up, but not installed in the EV yet. The snow got in my way, but tomorrow I plan on installing the tray and programming the Zilla up. I am going to be started relatively low for my settings, using only 450 motor AMPs and 180 battery AMPs to get started. 450 motor AMPs gives me 95 ft-lbs of torque, just about on par with the original ICE motor. Too much more and I risk destroying the automatic transmission. Besides, I don't need high torque as much as continuously available torque.

I don't have a water cooling kit for the Zilla yet, but I have installed the Zilla on my large finned heatsink and it should suffice for now. I just can't wait to see how the EV drives with this sucker!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lots of Frustration

I have been holding off posting because I have been frustrated with the transmission. Last week I finished assembling everything Thanksgiving morning, and then on Friday I went to test drive and nothing happened. The motor spun up, but nothing engaged into any gear.

Since then I have spent every bit of free time checking the transmission electronics, sensors, etc and make a conclusion that the transmission was defective and went to remove it today. I was just about to remove it, when I had one last burst of idea about the Torque Converter. I had my old transmission sitting behind me and I decided to measure the distance from the TC to the hole where the starter used to be. It turns out the TC was too far out of the transmission, buy 5/8 of an inch! It turns out that is also the same distance as the teeth on the TC that connects to the ATF pump gears! So all my frustration for the past week has been caused by me not installing the coupling properly!

This afternoon I reinstalled the motor, this time with the TC properly set (I hope) and did a spin up and I could now hear fluid flowing through the transmission. Tomorrow I will reinstall my control systems and give it a drive around. I still haven't spent any time with the Zilla, but if tomorrow goes alright, I can start on the Zilla this weekend.