Monday, September 28, 2009

Brake Install

Here are some pictures from the new brakes installation. The top picture is comparing the old rotor on the left to the new one on the right. The Second picture is the old rotor and pads, which look awful. And the last picture is the final result with the new rotor installed and new pads. The entire EV got this treament, but the rear had drums so those got replace along with the shoes. It took about 4 hours to do the whole process, including bleeding the brakes, which was not too bad.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September Update

I have been EV less for over a week now and I am still working on the brakes. I have installed all the new rotors, pads, drums and shoes, but I had to fix the front left caliper as it was sticking badly. It had shave 1/8 of an inch off the rotor due to it being all gummed up and not releasing. Next I have to get more brake fluid and bleed the lines and I should be all set in that area.

I have also sold my old K99-4007 to another EV'er this past weekend, so I have recollected a good chunk of the money I spent on this conversion. I am making a spreadsheet of all my costs, but at the moment the total money spent on the EV, including money reclaimed by selling parts, is about $3,100. Pretty darn good, but that doesn't include the $2,000 Zilla 1K-LV I just ordered up.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Brake Time

I was driving home on Tuesday and half way home I smelled something odd, but wrote it off thinking it was the construction truck that pulled in front of me. Then about 2 minutes later I was cruising at 35 MPH @ 80 AMP draw and all of a sudden my speed plummeted to 25 MPH. My brakes were dragging quite badly that I ended up using all my battery getting home and I really could glide.

The brakes have never been decent since I started the EV. I attributed it to rust from sitting for the 4 months of conversion, but yesterday I finally had time to take a look at them. The rotors are warped, pads are rusted, drums shot and all the pads are scraping. Today I bought a new entire set of rotors, brake pads, drums and shoes and tomorrow I will install them.

I have no idea how old these brakes were to begin with, but there has always been a ratting sound that supposedly means warped rotors, but I never did anything about it because I thought new brakes would cost loads of money. I was wrong, these new sets of brakes all came to under $150 in parts.

I may see an serious improvement in performance and range with a new set of brakes that don't drag. I guess I will find out this weekend once I get the new set installed.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Out of Reach

I have waiting for my Synkro for while now, so I decided to contact EV Components to see what was going on. It turns out that getting the Synkro is getting pretty hard and production seems to be behind for the moment, so arrival was up in the air.

So I went with another option: Order a Zilla 1K-LV. More powerful than a Synkro and will be shipping within a month or so, and it's under complete control of the folks at EV Components. For the past year EV controllers have been hard to get a hold of, and the Zilla was basically untouchable because it had been out of production since 2008. I have always wanted a Zilla, but it does cost quite a bit, more than I have ever planned, but in the end it wasn't much more than a Synkro.

I should be able to zip around with a Zilla, seeing as they are the most popular for drag racing, a small commuting car so have nice zip with a power house under the hood.

I have also been driving the EV better, figuring out when I should glide, accelerate or pull over when the hills get too bad for the controller and I start to hold up traffic. I am hoping for a 2-3 mile increase in range with the Zilla because it won't be wasting AMPs going up hills, and I should be able to stick in 2nd for longer for way more efficiency.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Temperature Effects

Last winter I attempted to insulate my batteries, but didn't finish because I wasn't seeing a noticeable difference when driving less than 10 miles doing my around town driving.

Now I am starting to see the difference between 58F, 63F, 74F, 81F, etc in my morning drives. The past few days it has been about 48-60F outside and my batteries has been about 58-63 depending on the day. So last night my dad an I quickly whipped up a temporary insulated box for the batteries. It is made from 1" foam board that has been cut out and duck taped together, just to see if it works before really trying to make it nice.

Well it WORKED. Last night it was 78F on both temp sensors when we installed it, then I plugged the car into the charger and after 30 minutes the trunk was down to 72F but the batteries were at 92F! This morning, after the batteries had been charged for a few hours and just floating, the box was 81F while the trunk was 63F. The drive to school was much improved from the previous drives and I even had power left when I parked vs yesterday's limping onto campus into my spot.

This website has good basic info on deep cycle batteries, including a section on Temperature Effect:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

EV Update

I have a few EV-related updates:

First Paul and Sabrina's Open Source EV Controller is now available as a kit for purchase. Here is the Wiki:

And here is the main purchasing website:

I am considering making this controller this winter if the funds allow it. It has the potential to be a great contender to the EV world, not to mention having a spare controller around.

I have also been working on my BMS system slowly. I have been changing up the design a bit and adding a few features. I am going to make up a design and have prototype boards made by PCB Express. $51 + $9.85 shipping for 3 professionally made boards is a decent deal.

I think this design has the potential to be a sell able product and I am also going to design a charger system and LCD status screen also. Possibly create a charger/bms kit with a few interesting twists, like real battery/cell management and a computer programmable system.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Can You Pick Out The EV?

Can you pick out the EV? Wait- they're all EVs! Well, after about 5 months of trying to get a spot, there I am smack in the middle charging away. Today was the last bit of rearranging needed to squeeze me in, but now that's over, just in time for the semester to start tomorrow.

The school year started today for the public schools, which is good for me. All my high speeds hills that I have left to contend with are now 20 MPH school zone, which means good EV driving for me. The arrival of my new Synkromotive controller is still up in the air, but I really hope its soon. When I do get it, I am going to start off with the motor AMPs @ 500 and the battery AMPs @ 200 to save on battery power. According to the calculator I should need anymore than 175 battery AMPs to climb these hills, and anything higher is just wasted AMPs.

I also decided to do the math savings. It costs $2.86 a day to drive my ICE to school and back, which ends up being $57.37 a month at current gas prices of $2.70 a gallon. Now my EV takes 6.5 hours to charge, and at the 7.5 cents/KWh that is $0.49 a charge up, or $9.80 a month in electricity. The $0.075 is the cost of electricity at night, when I charge my EV. So it's basically a 6x savings in costs!

Now the trick is figuring out how long I can drive it before weather become a range limiting factor. BTW, it was 48 F when I left this morning and now its 86F where my EV is parked. This New England weather is just screwed up.

Little Tricks

Today was the first, real, Official full time EV use to work and back. I was welcomed on this September first with 48 F weather! It was in the 90s last week, and all of a sudden it was cold and brisk. On the way in, I did notice the cold had an effect on the batteries, and I messed with the charger yesterday didn't help.

First, the charger. I was reading that I should set the float on my charger to 14.4 volts, so I did. Well, some batteries didn't get fully charged because of that, so it went right back to 14.8 volts this morning when I got it.

Now the temp. According to this: the batteries were down to about 87% capacity due to the weather, and that was dead on. I usually have 40-50% left, but I was closer to 25% left and did my best to slow down. I did a few trial last winter and found that betteries were much warmer when left charging over night and range was quite decent compared to cold batteries, so tomorrow I will get to see if it still true since I will have the EV charger most of the night.

It's time to start thinking about installing the ceramic heater and get down to insulating the batteries, for real this time. I am looking into sheet metal or some type of cheap plastic to house the foam insulation.