Sunday, September 29, 2013


I have been working on the Fiero several nights a week and almost every weekend since March, so I kind of slacked this weekend.

We took my wife's sister to the airport for her return flight to Florida after a weeks visit, then I picked up my son and his girl friend and we went to National Plug In Day Columbus.

They had the Tesla Model S, and Roadster, Nissan Leaf, and Chevy Volt well represented but none of the local converters brought their builds. They also were not giving any rides when we were there but I guess they did give rides later in the day. As you can see in the picture below, there were quite a few people showing interest in electric cars.






After about an hour at the car show, we decided to get something to eat. I work in Columbus every day but never just walk around the city, so my son suggested we to to Dirty Franks on 4th St. Our plan was to get something to eat and go back to the car show but when we got there, we ended up having to wait almost 45 minutes to be seated, had to walk a block to where the car was parked to feed the meter, and by the time we were done eating, the show was over.


 When we got back to the car, we had over an hour left on the meter and noticed Uncle Sam Pawn Shop across the street from where we were parked, so decided to go in. (Been watching too much Pawn Stars on the History Channel)

One of my coworkers, Tony,  moved to Columbus from a small Ohio town and the first year he was here, his friends in his hometown put on a surprise "Martini Party" in his front yard, to commemorate his move to the big city. It became an annual party and the second year Tony decided to burn down a pine tree that he no longer wanted in his front yard. The tree is gone but burning something is his front yard has become a Tradition of the Martini Party. Tony even had a projector and large screen for all the Buckeye fans to watch the football game.


Sunday morning I got my weekly fix of EVTV and it was a pretty interesting show. They are fixing rust an a Karmann Ghia that sold for a premium price on EBAY because it was supposed to be in great condition, only to find out the under body was very rusted. Then Jack introduced a new golf car project, and a new concept of bottom balancing and not worrying about how low the batteries are discharged. There has been many documented cases of the batteries going to nearly zero and coming back to full capacity when charged. All of the OEM charging equipment will be used and the battery pack will be adjusted to keep the pack from going too high. This is a neat concept, as when I sold the lead acid batteries out of the original Fiero build, I had a bunch of interest from golf cart owners and I believe that the HiPower batteries I have now would be of great interest to them when I am ready to put in the CALB pack. I have always thought that it would be fork lifts and golf carts that will help increase volumes battery sales to the point the prices will start to come down for EV converters. I don't think there is much motivation for traditional battery companies to change to a lithium chemistry because they like the business model of a battery going bad in a few years, so they can sell new ones. It will take a shift in consumer demand to change that.

Hope to have more EV stuff next week.



Sunday, September 22, 2013


Last week ended with problems getting my old laptop to connect to the Synkromotive Controller. I kept getting errors telling me the program could not launch. I went to the event viewer and there was a message that .net framework 2 was not starting, so I tried to remove it from the program menu so I could reinstall it. Both the uninstall and Repair would not work so I decided to just load it again. The Synkromotive control panel still would not work. I tried several procedures from the Microsoft site with no luck. I even tried to restore the computer back to an earlier date and just managed to wipe out the drivers for my wireless internet connection and the link to the Synkromotive Control panel, so I restored it back to the most recent restore point and got everything back, including the inability to open the controller control pane. When I got home from work on Tuesday, the updates ready icon was there and sure enough, it was a .net update. I ran the update and to my surprise, the control panel came up. I had other things to do and was not able to try and connect to the controller, but when I got home Wednesday, 12 volts was hooked up to the controller, control panel was opened, but I still was not able to connect.. After reading the manual and adjusting the port and baud rate, it finally did connect. Still no word on my connectors from CALIB but one menu shows 24 volts as the minimum voltage for the controller, so I may hook up two 12 volt batteries just to test the set-up and make sure everything works when connected to the motor.


 Saturday a new platform was fabricated to mount the controller on top of the Warp9 motor. Two of the three stator bolt holes were used  Two counter sunk bolts were drilled out to 11/32 and the threads cut off to make a counter sunk washer, then a 1/4 inch spacer was made. A plate was made to go on top of the spacers that the controller will bolt to. Button head 5/16 inch stainless steel bolts were used to fasten it all together and hold the stator windings in place. The fan on the Synkromotive Controller was turned to the cabin side of the engine bay, so the wires will be visible from the rear of the car making them a little easier to get to.


My wife went with her sister to a class reunion, so after getting the controller mounted, it was off to J.Gumbo's in Baltimore, OH for a bowl of gumbo and a glass of Southern Tier Pumking 2013. Both were very tasty and it was nice talking to Fred and Heather Baughman, the owners.


Sunday, I kind of took a break from the Fiero and went to get a hair cut, them watched the NASCAR NAPCAR, race. I saw the beginning and end but felt pretty refreshed after it was over, so I went out and spliced in the speedometer connector I purchased on EBAY. The old one got tangled when I dropped the cradle and ripped off. The wires on the new connector were a different color so I had to find the diagram to make sure I hooked it up correctly.





Until next post,



A couple videos of the shop during EVCCON.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


My wife's sister is coming for a visit next week, so I have been busy cleaning carpets, weed eating, and doing maintenance around the house, Needless to say, not much work was done on the Fiero. My sister in law lives in Florida and they don't get to see each other that often, so a little delay in working on the car is a small sacrifice. My wife has been pretty understanding with all the work and money I have put into the Fiero and a little payback is in order.


The night before I left for EVCCON, I tightened the bolts holding down the toilet and when I opened the valve back up, the packing was leaking. When I tried to tighten the packing, the nipple broke and I had to rip out some tile to get to the fitting, so most of Saturday was spent cutting and mortaring tile to fix the hole. The flange was also broken on the toilet hold down screw, so off to Home Depot to get a new 2 piece flange to tighten everything down.  When I got done, I decided to get a growler of Buckeye Lake Brewery's new Autumn Ale to try during the Buckeyes game. The beer was good and the Buckeyes did not disappoint in the game against CAL.

I was able to manage to hook up the shifter and it feels pretty smooth. Probably after I am able to drive the car, there may need to be some final tweaking, but it shifts good just sitting there.


Also, the pot box was painted red and I have started to plan how to mount it in the motor compartment. This is another  item that would have been much easier to do with the motor cradle out of the car but I wanted to have the cradle in so I could see where the wires had to go.

I don't like the way the controller looks on the mount I originally made, so am working on something different to get the controller in the middle of the motor and away from the motor cooling air intake. I am also working on communicating with the Synkromotive Controller so I can set some initial settings.


Ratcheting straps were ordered from EBAY and will be used to hold the batteries in place until I get around to making the battery boxes.



An email was sent to Keegan at CALIB inquiring when the 51mm connectors will arrive from China. I am ready charge the batteries and am just waiting on the connectors and bolts. The car is getting close to a test drive and I am getting a little anxious.

My son came over Sunday and helped mow the grass, so that freed up some time to work on the car. After he left, I noticed he left the driver's side door partially open and was afraid the 12 volt battery ran down but after checking the voltage, it was sill over 13 volts. He just landed a job at Nationwide Insurance in Columbus, OH and I am excited for him, as the economy still has not recovered and even with a college degree, good jobs are hard to find.

Ok, I was almost done with this week's blog and decided to go out and work on the pot box. I cut a piece of flat iron and laid out the bolt holes for the pot box and bracket. Then I drilled and tapped the holes to 1/4 20 and drilled two holes to mount the plate to the side of the frame. I marked the holes on the frame and drilled holes to install nut rivets. Once everything was painted and the paint had dried, I bolted the plate with the pot box and bracket to the frame. It turned out pretty good and will be out of the way.


Still trying to get the gui for the Synkromotive controller to load on the old laptop I have in the garage and believe it  is a .net issue. I am trying to repair the .net set up but the old laptop is so slow, thought I would just come in the house and finish this week's post.

Until next week,


Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I just ran across the Plug In America National Plug in day and found there is going to be an event in Columbus, OH; so I registered. . There are at least 7 EV builders in Central Ohio, who are in different stages of conversions, from getting components together,  to having fully operational EVs. This may be a good place for everyone to get together and possibly meet some new folks interested in electric transportation.

Event: Columbus, OH
Day: Saturday, September 28th, 2013
Time: 1-4 PM
Location: Columbus College of Art and Design Parking Lot (MAP)
               44 Cleveland Ave
               Columbus, OH, United States

Hope to see you there.


Saturday, September 7, 2013


With the cradle back in the Fiero, Labor Day was spent installing the struts, brake lines, and parking brake cables. After cleaning the bolts and coating them with never seize, the struts were bolted up. I could see the marks where the bolts were riding originally and made sure to tighten them down in the same position, so my alignment should be pretty close to where it was..

Next the brake lines were installed but I wanted to use new bleeders and banjo bolt washers, so off to Advance Auto. I thought maybe they carried a vacuum pump brake line bleeder but said they did not carry anything like that. Advance is really high on bleeders & copper gaskets and I probably should have just gone to NAPA to get them. The brake line goes up across the top of the rear engine compartment and with the car jacked up, am afraid that is where all of the air is going to collect. I thought if I could pull a vacuum and get a little brake fluid flow going, maybe it would pull the air out the drivers side bleeder, that is the furthest away from the master cylinder. I pumped the brakes all day but still do not have any pedal. I did use the power brake vacuum pump to get the fluid to start moving but had it hooked up directly to the bleeder, so once the fluid filled the tube, it started going into the pump. I plugged the IOTA DC-DC converter into AC and used the 12 volt battery to run the pump. This also gave me a chance to monitor the voltage which seemed to go as low as 12 volts and as high as 13.9 volts.


Also I hooked up the parking brake cables and had to spend quite a bit of time getting the adjusting screw freed up, so the final adjustment could be made. I spent a little time on the internet reading a couple articles on how to adjust the parking brake, as I have been told it can be a little tricky to get it working correctly.

 Tuesday I took a half day off work and continued to work on bleeding the brakes. The new bleeder valves did not seem to tighten correctly and I ended up twisting one off. They had Teflon tape on the threads and you could not feel when they seated. After drilling out the broken bleeder I tapped the threads back out with a 3/8 nc tap and just used the old bleeder valve, that was still like new.

I did not work on the car Wednesday night but went back out Thursday and was able to finally get the brakes to bleed. Then I started adjusting the parking brake. I got the leaver to tighten but will need to get the wheels back on the car and drive it in reverse a couple times to do the final adjustment, so on to hooking up the clutch slave cylinder. I painted the bracket and will put the wheels back on the car and lower it before installing the bracket, painting the slave cylinder, cleaning up the slave cylinder rubber and reinstalling it. The car shifted hard when I bought it but I moved the flywheel closer to the transaxle which should give me a little more clutch travel. Hopefully I can get the shifter adjusted so it shifts better than it used to..


Once the car is off the jack stands, I will be able to reach everything to finish the wiring. I am going to install all of the batteries in the front bay for now to get them all charged and find out if the charger can be adjusted down far enough without having to install the new chip. I am going to remove the charger from where it is mounted now and just use it from the bench to do the first charge on the batteries. Once everything is set up, I will install the rear battery boxes and mount the charger back in the rear of the car.  

Every time I cycled the HiPower batteries, I seemed to get a little more capacity, so hopefully after the full pack is put together and cycled a couple of times, they will come a little closer to their 100 ah rating. My plan was to drive the car back and forth to work at AEP in Columbus, OH and with 40 100 AH batteries, may have been close to making the 44 mile round trip. With the batteries in their current condition, I may make it the 22 miles to work but will need to charge there to get back  home. A co-worker with a Volt was finally able to get a parking place with a charger for $10 extra/month, so that would be a pretty good deal if there are any more spaces available.

I took another 1/2 day off Friday and cleaned up and put away tools. After getting the garage back in order, the rear wheels were mounted and the car lowered off of the jack stands. I cleaned up the front bay and did some measuring to make sure the 38 batteries would all fit in the front, and they will.  

Work continues on hooking up the clutch slave cylinder and shifter cable brackets and by the end of the weekend, should have them mounted.



I still have the remainder of the weekend to get some more work done but am going to go ahead and post, since I started writing it on Memorial Day. The car is getting closer to testing but I still do not have battery connectors from CALB yet. To help keep the build under $10,000, I am going with the solid copper connectors but will use zinc terminal paste, Nord Lock Washers, and SS bolts. I have a company in China that says they can make the flat braided copper connectors but need to send them a detailed print before they will give me pricing.

Thanks for reading and hope to see you back for next week's post.


Sunday, September 1, 2013


Over the last week I have been cleaning up under the car and preparing to lift the motor and transaxle cradle back into the Fiero. I purchased some solid cradle mounts from Rodney Dickman but when I tried to hammer out the old mounts, found that they were not going to just pop out.


I got on the internet and started looking for information on how to remove the front cradle bushings and on Pennock's Fiero Forum, found a post from a guy who had made a simple tool to remove them.


I had a tail pipe adapter but did not have any all-thread that would work so stopped at Home Depot on my way home from work to pick up all-thread, washers & and nuts and Saturday morning I started the bushing removal. After applying  tension, a little heat was added to the center of the bushing bore with a propane torch and the bushing started sliding out. Ok, getting the bushing out was one thing but cleaning all of the rubber stuck to the inside of the bore was another! I had to heat and scrape, and heat and scrape, (of course being careful not to breath any of the smoke coming off of the burning rubber.) The solid bushing kit came with a flapper wheel to put on a drill, so after most of the rubber was scrapped off, was able to get it down to metal. The new aluminum bushing were machined perfectly and went right into the bore with a few light taps from a rubber mallet.

It was in the upper 80's with high humidity in Ohio on Saturday, so after getting the bushings installed in the cradle, went into the house to cool off and get a dry shirt. When I got on the computer to check  my email, my hands started cramping, I guess too much work in too much heat and not enough water caught up with me! After resting and watching a little of the Ohio State football, I went back out and started rigging up the jacks to lift the cradle. My wife wanted to go to the Millersport Sweet Corn Festival, so I wrapped up work on the car, got cleaned up, and we put the top down on the Miata. After walking around the festival for several hours, we had a very nice top down night ride through the country on the way home.


Sunday morning, I slept a little later that normal and watched part of EVTV's Weekly Show before heading out to the garage.around 10:00. The transmission jack that I planned to use to lift the front of the cradle would not lift it, so I had to use a floor jack on the front of the cradle, the transmission jack on one rear corner, and a scissor jack on a dolly to support the other rear corner. It would have been nice to have had someone (my son) to operate the jacks while I was aligning the bushing holes but I was able to lift it into place and get it bolted up by myself. Having the cradle back in ROCKS!


The cradle went in fairly easy but now the brake bleeding, adjusting the the parking brake, and getting the shifter linkage adjusted begins. I am going to put batteries in front of the motor and maybe a few to the rear of the motor so the motor and transaxle will be visible. During  the 24 hour film festival shoot last year, the movie crew wanted to see the car but all they could see were batteries and a table with the controller and a bunch of relays. When the Fiero is done, I want people to be able to see the electric motor.

Stop back,