Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Front Suspension

I have finished installing the new struts and springs today. I didn't get any pictures, but they were easier to install than the rear. However, it was over 90F today and humid but I still worked on the EV!

Tomorrow my Zilla should be back and I can try out full power with this new pack. I have to clean up my EV and wash off a weeks worth's of pollen just to see out the windows. I have installed the vacuum switch and I am going to install a few more straps on the batteries. I plan on doing all this tomorrow morning before the mail arrives, usually around 1:00 PM, hopefully with my Z1K-LV all ready to go. It should take 5 minutes to install the Zilla as it's four mounting bolts then four power cables.

I also found out today that all the student parking lots will be closed down this summer, but I can still get to my EV parking spot! I have to test my range this week, try and get up to at least 17-18 miles before I go to work next week.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

ZIlla Update

I sent my Zilla 1K-LV back to Cafe Electric this morning to get the firmware updated. I was experiencing a problem where my controller would shutdown when it hit 95% or higher duty cycle. I had a temporary fix where I set the MAX motor voltage to 84 volts which stopped the shutdown, but I lost a lot of power and top speed, and forget about hill climbing. When I drive around time I see no real difference in performance, mainly because I poke around while I break in my pack.

Now that my EV is basically ready for full time use, I decided to send my controller back while I finish installing my front suspension system and clean up a few things. I should have my Zilla back next week then I can start longer trips. I had planned to take my EV out this weekend to my cousin's house but decided to wait until I get the new firmware so I can easily traverse the highway and hills.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Loading Up the Mileage

I have been slowly adding up the mileage on my EV over the past few weeks, but not as much as I would have liked. End of semester work and finals have consumed most of my time, but every so often I have gone out for a few mile run. The furthest I have gone out was 12.1 miles and I had plenty of power left.

I have started to use my battery heaters again, but I have no insulation on them. I learned that I need about 150 miles and the batteries to be above 75F for the best performance, based on my previous pack. I have about 80 miles on my pack now, so I have a ways to go before I challenge any large hills that need high AMPs. I also want to add a few more battery tie downs just to be safe.

I also want to drive my EV over to my cousin's house this weekend, assuming I have enough time to fully charge and I add at least another 20 miles in the next few days.

Friday, May 7, 2010

EV Tank

I have a total of 32 miles on the new pack so far, with my last trip being a 12.1 mile run. I am going to do as many trips as possible to pile on the cycles this week, with hopes of commuting next week.

I will say my EV drives like a tank! It must weight about 3,000 lbs, and feels crazy sturdy. I still need to replace my front suspension and had hopes to do it tomorrow but it's going to rain like crazy. Oh well.

I have also found out why I can zapped while my EV is charging! My isolated volt meter for my shunt is actually not so isolated! I will purchase a small isolated DC/DC for the meter and in the mean time I will use a 9 volt battery.

I have also noticed these batteries are way more efficient than my MAXX29 and charging times have decreased greatly. I will start to hook my laptop up again and start taking data on more runs and compare to my other batteries.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Batteries are In!

I spent all weekend bolting down the rack, making new cables and installing the battery pack. The first picture is of my home made cable crimp. Basically, it is a scrap price of aluminum from my adapter plates that I drilled/cut out to form the appropriate shape for crimping. I place in the cable and lug on the crimp and proceed to smash it with a hammer until satisfied. It makes a strong crimp with the top getting flattened by the hammer and the bottom/sides getting indented to make a good crimp, which I then finish it off with electrical tape.

The actual battery installation wasn't bad. The batteries are 63 lbs, but not a problem to place into the trunk. I strapped the suckers down using four carrier straps from the old pack, and I have four left over so I am going to get creative on where I should use them. The longest part was by far the wiring. I spent about two hours planning out the best wiring pattern, then I went to it and spent another 30 minutes setting up the PakTrakr.

The first thing most people would do would to go out and drive the EV. But you can't! The batteries do not come fully charged, and they spent about 3 hours charging the afternoon before I went on my first test tun. 1 mile loop, keeping the current under 75 AMPs and then return home to check the connections and recharge. I also needed to play with my brake vacuum, it was harder to stop with the extra weight.

This week I will be breaking in my batteries, and testing the range out as a go. I have been reading through EV America's docs, and they have a great section on battery care and use, so I will follow those with this pack.