Sunday, June 30, 2013

TESTING... TESTING... 1... 2... 3...

After receiving my CellPro8 last week I started testing the HiPower 100AH cells that I am going to use to power the Fiero until I can raise the funds to purchase better cells. It is going to take awhile to cycle test and bottom balance them but the CellPro8 is working great at automating the process..

As I am using the lead acid battery out of my garden tractor as the regen battery for the CellPro8, I decided to see if the Ballastic 12 volt battery would actually start a 14 horse Briggs engine. I installed the battery and turnd the key, resulting in a click, but the starter did not engage. On the second try, the starter turned and the engine came to life. I am going to leave it in the tractor for awhile and monitor, to see if the voltage regulator will keep it between 12 volts & 13.6 or so volts. 

To complicate the week, my air conditioner compressor finally gave out. This was after I had a service man come out and was going to come back with a part to fix it. After several quotes, no one wants to install a compressor and they all want to sell me a whole new heat pump and heat exchanger. I was telling my next door neighbor and as chance has it, he tests air conditioner and heat pump efficiencies for a company that provides independent reports for large companies that are purchasing systems. He offered to get me the parts for cost and help me install them. At least it has been unseasonably cool in Ohio and a couple of window fans have kept the house pretty comfortable. 

After trying different locations, I finally was able to mount the Zivan charger to the fire wall side of the motor compartment. There is an Ace Hardware store that I found in Baltimore, Ohio that has a great selection of chrome and stainless steel fasteners and I was able to pick up some SS flat head, 1/4 -  20 screws that had an Allen instead of slotted head. I also picked up some shelf brackets that should work to mount the DC-DC converter a little above where the battery was originally mounted. Because of the taper in the firewall and the fender well, moving the converter up will allow more room to make sure the fan is getting proper airflow.

My wife went to California to visit her nephew and when I dropped her off at the airport, was close to Royce Wood's shop; So decided to stop in and see the "Bad Cat" Cougar build. As luck would have it, Bob Salem, with his 1987 TVR was there also. I had seen Bob's build at EVCCON last year but it was good get to see it again.

The Cougar turned out great and what I like about his builds is how clean everything is when you open the hood.  The giant GE motor just pops out at you! The motor mounts he fabricated are race quality and you just gaze in amazement at how good all of the fabrication is. The interior looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor and the new wheels and tires he installed really set off the exterior of the car, which has a brand new maroon paint job. We have at least 5 builders in Central Ohio now, so we talked about getting a club going. You spend a lot of time alone in the garage when doing an EV conversion and it is really good to get together with people who understand and talk the EV language. Royce and Bob are going to run their cars out at National Trail later this summer and I will post when they are going to be there. It would be great to get everyone out there to show support. You can see the "BAD CAT" at Royce's EV on a Shoestring blog.

Thanks for viewing,


Monday, June 24, 2013


The cables for the Powerlab 8 are made up so I started playing with it to get the setting figured out. I have some HiPower 100 ah cells and hooked one up. I started by topping it off at 3.65 volts and then did a 10 amp discharge to 2.56. The IOTA DC-DC converter worked great as a power supply for the Powerlab 8.




 While the battery was discharging, I started getting the mounting for the charger ready. The charger will go on the engine compartment side of the trunk wall, should be pretty much hidden, and easily accessible, should I need to get to it. The picture isn't very good but I installed the thread rivets in the brackets. 


I kind of got side tracked with the 12 volt Ballistic battery and the CellPro 8 but hope to get back to finishing up the engine compartment. The locations for the remainder of the components need to be decided upon before the wiring can be run so I am going to try and focus on that next week.

Thanks for visiting.


Monday, June 17, 2013


With threats of a derecho hitting Ohio, I lifted the motor cradle onto the legs of the lift and pushed it into the garage when I got home from work last Wednesday. The storm never developed but we did get some wind, rain, and a pretty good thunder storm. My garage is small so now I have to push the cradle into the driveway every time I go out to work on the car. I guess the solution for that is to get the cradle back in the car.

Last week the Cellpro Powerlab8 that I ordered from Revolectrix arrived, so I am almost ready to start balancing cells. They had a refurbished one, with full warranty, listed for a good price and now it is in my garage. I didn't order the USB interface module but found one on ebay from a hobby shop for a better price than the ones on the REVO website, and with shipping included in the auction price..


I also took the cover off of the IOTA DC-DC converter to check and clean the fan. When I was charging the Ballistic Battery, the fan did not turn on and I was a little concerned it was not working. I was surprised to find it is a 24 volt fan but it ran when I hooked up 12 volts to it, so after a good cleaning, I put the converter back together. 

 The weekend was spent sorting out the 12 volt system before putting loom over the wires and mounting to the fire wall. When the car is completed, I want to put together a manual with schematics and information about how the car is constructed, so want to gather as much information as possible while I can still climb around in the engine bay and get to all of the wiring.



I have been placing components in different places to try to find the right placement for them and ordered some thread nut rivet inserts that I saw on Damian McGuire's Youtube video. They should work well and make getting to the charger & DC-DC converter a lot easier, should I ever need to service them.


My son came over Saturday and we went to a couple boat and hardware stores looking for a connector to make up the power leads on the Powerlab8 but ended up ordering some off of EBAY. We cooked out and had a couple mugs of Buckeye Lake Dark Stout, so really didn't get much done on the car. Then went to my Dad's house for Father's day on Sunday. My Dad watches a lot of Fox News, so he isn't much of an electric car fan but always asks how the build is going. I would love to have my Son and Dad to go to EVCCON with me when the build is done.

It is surprising how much little items add up during a build. Fasteners, loom, hook up wire, power cable for the 220 volt charging, and the list goes on. I have all the receipts, so  will add them all up and post on the blog after the engine compartment is back together but think the number will be surprising.  It's also become apparent that even though you can get a pretty good deal on an original lead acid conversion, you want to make sure what ever you buy has the components you want. There is a lot better equipment out there compared to what was available for a build done in 2008.  

Hopefully the pace will start picking up soon. 


Sunday, June 9, 2013


This week I started by trying to take inventory of all the loose ends that need tied up before the motor cradle can be installed and tried to start finishing them off one at a time.

The Motor controller mounting bracket was finished and installed on the motor. There is a gap above the motor air intake so it shouldn't affect the cooling.


 The right side transaxle seal was leaking and as the oil level is above the seals, this must be fixed. I went to Advance Auto and picked up a new seal and a removal tool. After getting the old seal out I found it had a small chunk out of the outer lip, probably from having to pull the transaxle out a couple times when I was installing the motor. There was also some roughness on the part of the shaft where the seal rides, so I cleaned it up real good with some fine emery. Originally I just used Scotch Brite as it will usually clean up any rust or scale without cutting the shaft, but in this case, I probably should have used some emery to begin with.



The wire loom arrived on Tuesday, so I started tidying up the AVC2 wires. I ordered some different color hook up wire off of EBAY and will hook up the AVC2 relays before putting wire loom on the wires that will run across the firewall. The DC-DC Converter placement still needs to be figured out before putting the wire loom on the wires going to the 12 volt terminal.

The 12 volt Ballistic Battery only took a couple of days to be delivered and I was surprised how small it is. I took the picture below with a pair of glasses and on top of some HiPower 100AH Cells to try to show the size.


The specifications are shown below:

4 Cell EVO2 $109.95
Ballistic Perforamnce Components Part Number: 100-010
Parts Unlimited Part Number: 2113-0258
  • Dimensions (Metric): 61mm (L) x 61mm (W) x 112mm (H)
  • Dimensions (Standard): 2.5" (L) x 2.5" (W) x 4.25" (H)
  • Negative Terminal Location: Right
  • Weight: 444 grams (.979 lbs.)
  • Voltage (Charged): 13.6V
  • Amperage: 2.3 Amp/Hour
  • Lead Acid Equivalent Amperage: 8 Pb-eq/Ah
  • Burst Cranking Amps: 135amps
  • Operating Environment: -18°C (0°°F) to 60°C (140°F)

There is a rubber cap covering 5 pins and I found that individual cell voltages can be measured from them. All of the cells were in the 3.35 range except 1 and it was around 2.98 volts. I charged the low cell up to 3.3 volts and then hooked up the JLD404 to bottom balance the cells.



 After the cells were all balanced, I started charging them with a 3 amp trickle charger. The cells are all close to 3.2 volts but I am going to charge them to 3.4 volts for each cell to 13.4 volts total. The IOTA DC-DC converter is rated at 50 amps, so I am hoping that the battery will take 37% of it's burst cranking amps continuously. I got a pretty good deal on the battery on EBAY and wanted to test one out before spending more on a bigger Ballistic Battery. The IOTA DC-DC converter is actually an AC 12 volt battery charger, so I am going to plug it in and hook it to the battery to see what happens. The the IOTA charger/dc-dc converter is supposed to turn off at 13.6 volts but I will need to keep an eye on it to make sure.

I'm getting closer to putting the cradle back in the car but there is still quite a bit of small tasks that need completed and I have kind of taken a step back to think about where to place the dc-dc converter, battery, charger, and box that will contain the contactor, fuse, and shunt. I want them to be out of the way but accessible. 

Thanks for visiting,


Sunday, June 2, 2013


This week I finishing cleaning up and painting the engine compartment. I tried to use the MIG to fill the holes that had been drilled in the trunk to mount the lead acid battery trays but do not have enough adjustment to get the current low enough to not blow through the thin sheet metal used on the trunk, so I just filled them with fiberglass resin filler. I also mounted some new clamps to hold the brake line to the rear wall of the engine compartment. The entire motor compartment has been coated with truck bed liner and new split loom tubing has been ordered, to clean up all of the wiring. The DC-DC converter was painted red to match the Warp9 motor and Synkromotive controller, so now I am looking for a place to mount it. A diode will be added to make sure the caps do not try to back feed to the main battery pack.


I also ordered a Ballastic EV02 12 volt Battery. I have not heard of anyone trying one of these but it was inexpensive so hopefully I can bottom balance it and set the DC-DC converter to kick on and off to keep it in the middle of it's range. When I drove the car with lead acid batteries, there were times if the pack voltage went too low, the main contact would kick out because the DC-DC convertor was under 12 Volts. The battery should give me a little bit of a cushion.


 Then the J1772 AVC2 control board was installed and wired. Additionally, two wires will be run from the normally closed contacts in the AVC2, in series with the main battery contact 12 volt control circuit, to disable power when the car is being charged. 


 Finally, on Sunday evening I was able to start working on the mounting brackets for the Synkromotive Controller to mount on top of the Warp 9 Motor.


 There are so many little things to do while the motor cradle is out and I can get to everything, I want to make sure to not get in a hurry and miss something that will be hard to get to after it is installed.Quite a bit of time this weak was spent working on the yard and I had to do some repair work on my weed eater before I could trim. Then my wife wanted some bushes planted requiring a trip to the garden center to pick up landscape materials, so I didn't get as much done on the car as I would have liked to. Also, my air conditioner is acting up and I had to mess with it to try to find the problem but I did find a solution, call a repairman. Anyway, the bottom line is there just aren't enough hours in a day and days in a week to get everything done that needs done. Hopefully I will be able to make more progress on the car next week.

Until next time,