Sunday, December 23, 2012

SWEEPING OUT A SPACE IN THE GARAGE

Over the last month I have been selling and trashing much of the clutter that seems to collect in garages. Today I finally was able to clean out a space and actually get the Electric Fiero inside the garage.

video

 The money from the items I sold on Craigslist went into my fund for lithium batteries and hopefully by Spring, enough funds will be available to make the purchase. Currently there are about six battery manufactures or vendors emailing me on a regular basis offering to sell me batteries and I believe competition is good. It was a common perception that as volumes grew that battery prices would come down but that does not seem to have transpired. They have come down from where they were when first introduced but seem to kind of hit a plateau and just stayed there.

The lead acid batteries currently in the car are a couple years old but may be good enough to use as a solar storage bank. They will be pulled and individually tested to see if they can be used to fast charge the lithium batteries in the event the car was needed quicker that a regular charge would allow.

The interior of the Fiero needs work and after pulling the batteries, is where I am going to start. I have a set of seats that are better than those currently in the car but I kind of have my heart set on leather. They would really set off the interior and lend some class to the Fiero. The headliner is also in poor condition but I have been able to put headliners in myself so that shouldn't cost much. While doing the interior, I am going to work on the instrumentation and heater. The speedometer works but not the tachometer. Also, my JLD404 is not reading current correctly either from not being hooked close enough to the controller or noise on the line. I have good voltage indication but am not able to count amps. The JLD404 has a common ground and I am thinking that the shunt and voltage grounds have to be at the same potential for the meter to read amps properly.

After the interior is finished, the rear drive cradle is going to have to be dropped. The last time I drove the car there was some pretty severe clunking back there and it seemed the car would not move for a few seconds after the noise. I originally thought the cradle bushings were worn but am thinking it may be a transmission problem. While I have the cradle out I am going to check the clutch and motor coupler to make sure they are still good. Also the transmission and motor mounts need gone over. The previous owner recommended I go with solid mounts as the electric motor does not have the vibration an ICE would. This will also be a good time to put the Helwig H60 split brushes in and rebuild the brakes. There are currently 900 lbs of batteries, so I may need to do some suspension modifications as there will be less weight now. Also, the tachometer sensor will need to be mounted and some kind of hall effect rotor added to the motor shaft.

With any luck by early summer I should be ready to start building the battery boxes and installing the batteries. 

Looks like I have my work cut out for me so better get out to the garage and get started.

Until next time,

Randy


Monday, December 3, 2012

EV VW

Saturday I went to Lancaster, OH about 30 minutes from my house to meet with a fellow EV builder who converted a convertible Volkswagen. Joe showed me the details of the car and then took me a ride. The car looks and runs great.










Joe has been building and driving EVs for quite some time now and has a rather nice collection. I am going to have him make up some cables for me when I remove the lead acid batteries from the Fiero and hook them up in the garage to load test. If there is anything left in them them, they may be good for either a solar storage bank or to fast charge  the LiFePo4's when I get them installed in the Fiero.

It's good to finally get together with a fellow EVer in in the area and look forward to working with Joe on our EV projects in the future.


Randy


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

RANGE ANXIETY

I had been driving the electric Fiero on short errands close to home since the last charge and thought I had plenty of juice left, so I decided to drive to the Hardware Store about 8 miles away to pick up some screws I needed to remount the breaker box I installed in the garage to charge the car.


After going a couple miles, the car felt a little sluggish and I almost turned around, but decided I could probably make the trip. Most of the roads are country with a 35 mile per hour speed limit but there are about 3 miles on main roads with a 55 mph speed limit. I pulled out on the state route and had to accelerate pretty briskly to keep with the flow of traffic and by the time I reached the Hardware Store, it was obvious I should have turned around and gone back home after the first couple of miles but I got my hardware and headed back home. The car would barely go 35 mph and the voltage was dropping so low the main contactor kept kicking out. Fortunately after coasting for a few seconds, it would make back up. There are a couple of small hills and I was barely able creep up them but some how made it. When I was a couple miles from home my wife called and I told her to meet me by an old school house and bring a strap to pull me home. 


Somehow the car kept going and I met her on the road about a mile from the house. One more small hill and I was able to coast the remainder of the way into my driveway. 



The old lead acids are probably really toast now but it doesn't really matter as I am going to be pulling it into the garage soon to start the rebuild and lithium battery install over the winter.

Friday, September 28, 2012

EVCCON DAY 2

This year there was a marked improvement of the build quality of the cars that were brought to EVCCON, with most cars looking like they had been professionally converted. Next year when my Fiero is completed, I am sure the bar will be even higher, so I really have my work cut out for me. 

Last year I met several converters from Ohio, so it was good seeing them again this year and meeting up with some folks who did not attend last year. I think it is important for converters to build a good support network for each other, as many times a fresh set of eyes on a problem are really needed to come up with a good solution.














EVCCON DAY !


Arrived at EVCCON on Wednesday and visited with everyone at the garage.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

JD 110 PROJECT & LEAVING FOR EVCCON

The John Deere 110 project is nearing completion, so hopefully this will allow me to kick the Fiero rebuild into high gear. Hoping to sell the John Deere to put in the LiFePo4 battery fund for the Fiero but then again, I may just keep it to mow the grass. They don't make garden tractors like this anymore, as they are now basically just stamped sheet metal with a lot of plastic.


It's time to get the lead out of the Fiero. With the New CALB CA cells, I am hoping to find a good set of used cells up for sale for a good price when another builder is upgrading.



Just a little more packing and then off to EVCCON. Next year the Fiero will be rebuilt with new batteries, and will be at the show.


 See everyone at EVCCON this evening!

Randy

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Meter Problems


Over the summer I have been working on the batteries and have been using the EV Fiero for local errands. The car now has close to a 25 to 30 mile range and I am feeling more comfortable driving it
.
I hooked up the JLD404 but am having problems getting the amps to read accurately. It seems like it is multiplying the amps as the controller is only 500 amps but the jld404 is reading -650 amps at full throttle, then displaying an error. The JLD404 is pretty easy to set up and I am fairly certain it is configured correctly but although Jack Rickard at EVTV says that you can use a 500 volt/50mv shunt, if you set the maximum range to 750, Marco at Light Object, where I purchased the meter said it would not work unless I put in a 75mv shunt.  Even though I believe Marko is incorrect, I purchased a 500V/75mv shunt and set the maximum range to 500 with the same results, high amperage readings. The mV reading from the shunt on a volt meter never exceeded 52.5 mv, so the JLD404 should be reading around -350 amps at 52.5 mv. Needless to say, the amp hour counter is not going to be accurate until I get this problem figured out so I just have to keep track of my miles when driving. The EV accelerates quite a bit slower when the batteries start getting low, but will still operate, so you do have some indication that you need to head for home before it actually runs out of power.
The 1970 John Deere 110 Garden Tractor that I have been restoring is almost completed, so I should be able to spend more time on the Fiero EV real soon. Hoping I can sell the garden tractor to help pay for LiPo4 batteries but my next investment is going to be a video camera so I can start posting some video. My son has offered to be my videographer and editor, so I am looking forward to getting him involved with the project. 
It is getting close to EVTV’s EVCCON and I am getting excited. I came home from the convention last excited about getting started on a conversion, so hopefully by next years EVCCON, I will have the Fiero converted to Lithium and be able to take it to the show. For anyone interested in attending you can check out the following link.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

SWEET EDDIE

The 48 Hour Film Project movie by Post House is finally out featuring my Electric Fiero. I even got mentioned in the credits.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

EV Fiero's First Movie Appearance

The EV Fiero was used in a movie last night for a 48 Hour Movie Project team, Posthouse Productions. Early Saturday Morning my doorbell rang and a gentleman filled me in on the 48 Hour Movie Project entry they were shooting at a motel near my house. The movie was going to have a 1980's theme and they asked if they could use the Fiero to park in the lot to lend some period flavor to the shoot. They also had a 1980's Cadillac and Chevy truck to use for period props. I took the Fiero to the hotel and they were supposed to call me to move it into position around 3 pm, but at 8 pm, still no call. Around 8:30 I received a call and was asked if the actors could actually be in the car used in shots of them arriving and leaving the motel, so I drove to the motel and got a real lesson on movie making. I got to watch the camera set-up and how the lighting is used to make a stationary car appear to be moving. When the dialog part was finished, I was asked to drive the car for the arrival and departure scenes. It was pretty cool driving the car for the shoot and had to make sure to hit certain spots in the parking lot and stop in the same place each time optimize the camera angle for the shot. I met a lot of great people, learned a lot about how movies are created, and got to show case the EV Fiero. Even though the car was just portrayed as a regular car, there was a lot of interest in it being electric and I had to open up the hood and trunk several times to show everyone the electric components. 48 Hour Filmmaker: Columbus 2012

Thursday, July 5, 2012

CHRISTMAS IN JULY

The JLD404 Intelligent DC Power Meter and AM1-AP-3A Inductive Proximity Switch arrived last week but my power was out at the house and I had to spend all of my time feeding gas to the generator. It was also really hot in Ohio so I didn't feel like spending much time in a black Fiero. Hopefully I can get the tach working and some kind of indication of amps and volts on the lead acid batteries. One cell is pretty much toast and I am taking odometer readings to try and figure the range. Currently I have traveled around 12 miles but the car is starting to get sluggish and I fear that probably 15 miles or so is going to be about the max for now. Hopefully by sometime this fall I will be able to put the LiPo4 cells in and correct the range problem but for now my focus will be to work on the interior and getting some instrumentation hooked up.

www.automationdirect.com

http://www.lightobject.com

Until Next Time, Randy

Monday, June 25, 2012

Slow Progress on the Fiero EV



I have been working on getting some instrumentation hooked up, as currently there is no RPM, Voltage, Current, or battery capacity indications. Also, there is no fuse or disconnect in the EV, so I am working to get these components added.
My wife's ice broke down so I am going to have to spend some of the funds that I was saving for the LiPo4 upgrade to get her back on the road.

Just finishing up the restoration of a 1970'2 John Deere 110 garden tractor, so hopefully by the end of July, I will be able to focus a little more on the Fiero EV and post some pictures and video.
If there are any Fiero EV owners out there, or EV owners in the Columbus, Ohio region, I would love to hear from you. If you have experience with any of the issues listed above, I am also looking for advice, so don't be afraid to post.

 Below is the link to the original converter's blog on the building of this Fiero.
http://fiero-ev.blogspot.com/

 Until next time, thanks for checking out my Fiero EV blog.

Regards,



Randy




Saturday, June 16, 2012

POWER TO THE EV

Well, I finally got 220 hooked up to my garage, so I can finally charge up the batteries. Tomorrow I am going to the title office to transfer the title and get a 30 day tag.  Hopefully will be able to take the Fiero out for a drive. There are no gauges so it is going to probably be an adventure until I figure out how far the car will go with 2 year old lead acid batteries.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fiero EV

Over the last year, I have been watching EBAY and Craigs List looking for a completed EV to jump into the EV hobby. Finally a Fiero EV was listed on Craigs List in my area, so I scheduled an appointment to look at the car. It was a 120 volt led acid conversions that was completely done and drove great. After a bit of negotiations, I we were able to come to agreement and the Seller even tailored the car to my house. (I live just a little outside the current range of the EV) In appreciation of all the hard work, technical support, and great deal that the seller has given me, I am going to nick name the EV "LARRY."

This blog will be to chronicle the upgrade of a 1985 Fiero EV to J1772 charge connector and the additon of lithium batteries. The goal is to be able to drive this car to work everyday, 22 miles each way.