Sunday, October 27, 2013


Since my Zivan NG3 charger is down and will not be back in service until next weekend, at the soonest, I continued with the controller wiring. The basic wiring was done with the motor/transaxle cradle out of the car, to make it easier to drill holes and clamp down the wiring but knew I would need to disassemble some of it when hooking up the controller. I have the wires grouped fairly well even though the picture looks like a spider web. Once it is in split loom and in hangers,  it should look pretty decent.


  Also an aluminum nut rivet was installed for all of the controller grounds and NOALOX anti-oxidant compound was applied on the fit, before setting it and the terminal when the wires were connected.

 Noalox Anti-Oxidant Compound

Noalox Anti-Oxidant Compound

Friday, I ran across the blog of a couple of converters,  using the Synkromotive Controller, and they sent me the schematics and instructions to hook the Controller up as a charger, using batteries or an inverter with an AC supply. The problem is, I am only running a 120 volt pack and this set up can only be used if your battery pack is higher voltage than the AC source you are using. More batteries will need to be added to be able to use the Synkromotive Controller as a charger.

The RPM sensor is also hooked up and I am hoping it will be able to drive the original tach. I am using a reluctor ring with 6 protrusions, to try to mimic the original V6 that was in the car but may need to pick up an original filter that was used on the ICE to make it work.


 To keep busy until the charger gets back, I removed eight of the ten batteries from the first row of cells in the front of the car. A bracket will be fabricated to mount the main contactor and shunt and a cable will be run from the negative terminal to the positive terminal where the charger was originally connected. This will allow me to connect the cables that run to the rear of the car without having to splice an extension on them.


While the front battery bank is out, I need to clean up some wiring and find a switched 12 volt source to operate the contactor. As all of the batteries are in the front, I will probably hook the heater up off of the battery pack instead of off of the controller. The original build had a switch installed but I am going to look for a way to use the heater button on the console to turn it on. 

The closer I get to finishing, the more I find that needs done. The re-build was started on December 23, 2012 and with any luck, it will be running by this December 23rd. This is my 50th post since I bought the car so thanks to those of you who check in from time to time.

Until next week,


Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Last week started out good as my 8mm SS bolts and wedge lock washers arrived on Thursday, so that evening, I started connecting the terminals. I continued on Friday night and also started strapping the packs to keep them from moving. 

Saturday we went with my family on the Coshocton County Fall Foliage Tour that features stops at local points of interest. This year, most of the leaves had not changed yet and the weather was chilly and rainy but it was good spending time with my mother, sister, nephew and niece. Upon returning home, I continued hooking up the batteries and by late evening had them all connected and strapped.


Sunday I removed the charger from the rear of the Fiero and put it on a a work bench in front of the car. I wanted to monitor the voltage during the first charge as the Zivan NG3 charger was going to need to be manually shut off, so I thought the Powerlab 8 could be hooked up just to monitor voltage. This would give me a nice graph of the voltage when finished. Seemed like a great idea until I plugged in the positive lead and heard a loud POP, right before the Powerlab 8 went dead. I emailed the manufacturer to inquire about the warranty but am not very hopeful the damage will be covered.

So on to hooking up the JLD404 to monitor the voltage. I had not used it for awhile, so had to go inside and read the manual but finally got it working and the voltage reading the 108 volts my volt meter was reading. When I had it hooked up in the Fiero when it still had the lead acid batteries, I could not get the amps to read correctly. The negative lead on the JLD404 is common and the shunt was on the front battery pack and the voltage wires were off of the controller terminals, so there were two leads on the negative terminal on the JLD404. There was a long 2/0 cable between the two negative leads and I believe it was acting like a parallel circuit, throwing off the amp readings. This time I hooked the shunt on the negative battery pack terminal using the negative shunt lead as the only ground. Then hooked up the positive side of the shunt to the 75 mv terminal of the JLD404 for the amp reading and the 500 volt terminal was connected to the positive terminal on the battery pack. That must have been my problem before because when the Zivan NG3 was connected the amps came right up to the 17.5 volts I was expecting and the voltage was at 108 volts and then started climbing.


I monitored individual cells several times and when I felt comfortable everything was working correctly, went out and mowed the lawn. When I got back into the garage, the voltage was 130 volts, or about 3.4 volts/cell for the 38 cells and the pack had taken about 30AH. I noticed that the heat sinks on the diodes were getting pretty warm and thought if I put a piece of copper bar on top of the hottest ones, they would help dissipate some of the heat. With the cover off of the charger, the air was not being pulled through the heat sinks very well, so was afraid they were overheating. I put a bus bar on one of the heat sinks and when I put one on the other hot heat sink, kind of dropped it onto the top. It bounced and made contact with the one beside it, then a loud POP! This sound is getting too familiar and I am going to have to start being more careful. Two pieces of equipment blown in one day is not good. NOBODY TOLD ME THERE WOULD BE DAYS LIKE THIS!

I met Mark Weisheimer at EVCCON a few years back and have been told he is really good at repairing electronic components, so shot him an email. Mark agreed to look at the NG3 and CellPro, so I am taking them over to his house tomorrow night, with my fingers crossed that I did not do too much damage.

Monday evening after work, I took the blown components over to Mark's and got to see his 1975 Honda Civic Wagon . It  was a very clean build, there was no rust, and is a very solid car. Behind it was a crate of CALB CA 60 AH cells to be installed, so it is going to be a really great EV when it is done.

You spend so much time alone in the garage when building an EV that it is really great to talk to a fellow converter and always come away with many new ideas to use on your build.


Monday, October 14, 2013


Finding battery connectors at a reasonable price has proven to be quite a challenge. When I purchased new used batteries from a guy in California, they were supposed to be included but never arrived in any of the shipments, as he promised.

I made a 12V battery using #10 wire and crimp connectors to operate the Powerlab Cellpro 8, while bottom balancing the batteries but then, did not have any way to give the batteries the initial charge.

The flexible connectors range any where from au$2.80 ea for order of 100, from a company in Austraila (freight is $160 to get them to the US,) to $7 , to $9 for the connector with SS bolts and Nordlock washers. In a previous post, one of you commented that the solid copper connectors could be purchased from a battery manufacturer, so I contacted a battery company and indeed,  was quoted a price, including the ss hex head bolt and regular split lock washer for delivery in September. I never heard from them again and do not receive a reply when emailing them, so I guess that was a dead end.

Just so I can go ahead and get an initial charge on the batteries, I contacted a local metal distributor and purchased 1" x 1/8" in bus bar and a bolt distributor to purchase SS M8 x 1.25 socket button head cap screws and wedge lock washers (The button head cap screws will look great and give a nice streamlined look to the battery connection.) Originally, I thought the washers were only made by Nord-Lock but found they are also made by a company named HEICO-LOCK. Heico-Lock would not supply them to me directly but the distributor I contacted could supply either brand.



As a reality check, I contacted a company in China that makes ground straps and electrical hardware for the electric utility industry and got a quote. The disadvantage with ordering straps from a manufacturer in China is the minimum quantity required to place an order is significant. The advantage is the price per connector is not. As I only need 38, the cost for the minimum order would be way over what I would pay if I bought them for $9 each with bolts and Nord-Locks included.

Back in the late 80's and early 90's, my wife and I collected antique glassware. We would get up early every weekend to get to flea markets before sunrise to be the first to get to the good glassware as the vendors were putting it on their tables. Then we would bring it home to add to our collection, list it on our website, or put it on ebay to sell. So just as selling glassware was part of our collecting hobby, maybe selling EV components could go nicely with an EV building hobby.

The 51mm center to center connectors will work on HiPower 100AH cells possibly others. Would any of you be interested in 51MM center to center flexible connectors with SS M8 socket button head cap screws and wedge-lock washers for say, $5.50 each? You would need to pay shipping from Ohio to your location. I have an EBAY account with a 100% positive feedback rating, dating back 10 years, so you could purchase with confidence and it wouldn't be a group buy, where you would need to put money up front.





So, the quest to do a quality build for under $10,000 continues and maybe if a builder could off set come of the cost by selling surpluses from the project while still giving other converters a better deal that available otherwise, would be a good deal all the way around. Any thoughts?

Until next time,


Monday, October 7, 2013


The Synkromotive controller comes with a pre-wired unterminated assembly that plugs into a 23 position AMPSEAL Connector on the side of the case. It looks like spaghetti and has wires for forward and reversing contactors that are not needed in my build. I considered removing the unused wires but was afraid I would break the connector, so will just hide them in split loom. The placement of wires in the connector do not group the wires going to different components very well causing them to tangle but I believe I finally got all of them straightened out pretty well. 



Hopefully, next weekend I will be able to install the main battery connectors and charge the pack. I have also been working on contactor and fuse placement and am looking for a place to put the shunt, so I can measure pack current. I don't want to cut the battery cables in the engine compartment as battery packs will eventually be installed there and I don't want to have to splice them, so may leave them a little long for now. With the transaxle and motor cradle installed, it is a bit awkward getting to the motor compartment wiring.

Reading the controller manual and prearranging the wires has slowed me down quite a bit but I hope to pick up the pace in the coming weeks.

Until next week,