Thursday, November 28, 2013


Easton to get Ohio's first Tesla store

By The Columbus Dispatch Dan Gearino 

Tesla Motors has chosen Easton for its first store in Ohio, opening on Dec. 6. A week later, the company will open its second Ohio store at Kenwood Towne Centre in Cincinnati. 

The California-based automaker will sell its all-electric Model S, which has a base price of $62,400 after a federal tax credit. “We put stores in locations where people are educated and interested about technology, and where there is already a strong market for Model S.” said Alexis Georgeson, a Tesla spokeswoman. The Easton store will be 2,600 square feet and have seven employees. “It’s more like an Apple Store than a traditional dealership,” Georgeson said. It will be located at Gramercy Street and the Strand, with a public grand opening scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Dec. 6. Last year, the automaker opened its first service center in the state at 4140 Tuller Rd. in Dublin. That center will remain open. The company is adding stores in the Midwest and preparing to release a less-expensive model, all part of an attempt to reach more of a mainstream audience, said Michelle Krebs, an auto analyst for Most of the initial stores were clustered on the coasts. “They’re trying to change the game by being a Silicon Valley company instead of a Detroit or Japan company,” she said. Tesla has about 40 stores in 19 states and the District of Columbia, plus several stores in Canada. The Model S recently got 99 out of 100 points in a Consumer Reports owner-satisfaction survey, which was the highest score in years. It was also the Motor Trend 2013 Car of the Year, Time’s Best Invention of the Year for 2012, and Automobile magazine’s 2013 Automobile of the Year. At the same time, Tesla has faced several reports of car fires and concerns about the lack of an infrastructure to charge the vehicles. The Model S is designed to go 265 miles on a single charge.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


The bottom balancing continues with 20 of the cells rebalanced to 2.6 volts. News came on Friday that my Powerlab 8 would not be covered under warranty and in fact, was so fired, they would not even repair it for the standard service fee. I asked them if they had a program for replacing a damaged charger at a reduced rate and their only offer was a 10% Black Friday discount, so I will wait and try to pick up another refurbished one. I am going to have the old one shipped back so I can take a look at the inside.


The DC-DC converter and battery was reinstalled but I had to flip a couple wires as the controller came to life as soon as the battery was connected. With the wires connected correctly, the controller now comes to life when the key is switched. on.


  The cooling fan relay wires were pulled through the division and the grommet was reinstalled on the front lighting wires. Then the cooling fan relay wires connected to a Bosh relay, the vacuum pump and main battery pack contactor. When the ignition switch was turned to run, the vacuum pump roared to life, and the contactor showed continuity when checked with an ohm meter.



All that is left to do is make up the leads from the batteries to the contactor and shunt, then when the battery balance is done, it should be ready to test drive.

I was on a couple weeks ago and read Ben Nelson's review of the book INGENIOUS, by Jason Fagone, so purchased the electronic version on Amazon. The book is about four of the XPrize entrants, and one of them was Kevin Smith. If any of you have ever met Kevin, he is quite a character and kept me laughing during EVCCON. For those of you converting cars, you can really relate to what the teams went through to get their entries ready. It is a bit sad that no vehicle from the XPrize has ever gone into  production but with a couple of the teams, the dream is still alive.

Thanks for stopping by,


Sunday, November 17, 2013


This week I continued working on getting ignition power for the vacuum pump and main contactor. The cooling fan was removed during the original conversion but the relay is still in the left front corner of the car, so that looks like the best place to get power.


The left headlamp assembly was removed and the wiring to the cooling fan relay was exposed. It would be nice to run fan wires back through the division into the the area where the vacuum pump and contactor are but the lighting wires need to stay in the front, so separating them could be a little tricky. I may just use one of the extra Bosh relays I have since the circuit is going to need to be rewired anyway.


 As the batteries are all in the front of the car, I decided to move the charger until the rear battery boxes are installed. The connections to the motor were made up and loom was installed over the wiring. Orange shrink tubing was put on all of the high voltage cable, and all that is left to do back there is to anchor the loom and install the battery and DC-DC converter..


 During the original second bottom balance, a couple of the batteries that initially tested bad, seemed to come back to life. During my first two full charges of the pack, I had been spot checking the pack as it approached full discharge and when the pack reached 2.9 volts/cell on the second discharge, took readings on all of the batteries. To my surprise, they were varying mostly from 2.7 to 2.9 volts per cell, with one at 2.0 and one that had reversed polarity. Actually it was the one that had originally tested bad then checked good after I cycled it a couple time and since it was on the end, I just eliminated it from the pack. Because of this, I decided to give the cells another bottom balance with the JLD404 and a small flashlight bulb.


The bottom balance is going to take awhile, as it would be quicker to put a little charge in a few cells but my Powerlab8 is still back at the factory for repair, so my only option is to discharge all of them until they settle at 2.6 volts. It takes a couple hours for each cell to finally settle out where it does not drift back up to 2.7.

It has been a good week, as I have been able to finish the little odd and ends and find there are fewer and fewer things that need finished before testing the motor and controller. The interior, gauges, and heater still need finished but that can be done after I test the motor and controller. There will also be brake and possibly clutch adjustments after the car is rolling.

Until next week,


Monday, November 11, 2013


My charger is back (Thanks Mark) and functioning as it was programed to by Zivan. It permits me to adjust the voltage for the end of the CC part of the curve, but on the CV part of the curve, seems to hold the voltage for a brief period, then allows the voltage to start creeping up. The charger seems to be shutting down, based on a predetermined time, that was programmed for 225 ah flooded cell batteries originally used. Turning the current down effects the CC stage of the original charge, as well as the CV phase. The batteries are being drained back down so I can check the bottom balance, then will be charged again and the pots adjusted to charge at 18 amps CC and go into the CV phase around 3.25 volts/cell. This will give me some room when the voltage starts drifting up and should allow me to stay in the CV stage until the charger shuts down.


The second option is the programmable chip I purchased awhile back, that will allow me to set the CC and CV levels in the software. This is my last resort as I don't want to smoke the charger again.

Currently I am using 2 flood lights to drain the pack at 2.5 amps, so it is taking a long time to get back down to where I am approaching 2.6 volts. A couple cells were shorted for a couple seconds when I was connecting the pack back up, so I hope I didn't take enough out to effect the balance. Those cells are reading a little less than the ones around them.

The 12 volt system needs hooked up this weekend so I can hook up the heater. That should give me a much better way to drain the pack if I need to do it again. Then all that will need done is to hook up the contactor and motor leads before testing the controller. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Last weekend I made some progress on wiring the controller but had to remove 10 batteries to start figuring out how to mount the contactor and shunt. I went into work Monday, wasn't that busy, and couldn't keep my mind off of the Fiero build, so took vacation Tuesday and Wendesday.

Tuesday morning I walked around the front of the car while drinking a cup of coffee, trying to come up with a plan to clean up and connect all of the components in the front trunk. Currently, there is no air conditioning but the tubes were just sticking out in space and it doesn't look very good, so I removed the evaporator/blower cover and removed the evaporator. There is also a rectangular hole where the heater cable goes into the interior and the original builder just stuffed red rags to fill the space, so I am going to need to make a cover. The positive control lead of the blower relay has a wire spliced on it that runs back into the interior but I am not sure if it is to energize the heater relay or power the vacuum pump, so will need to trace it out.


The vacuum pump was originally mounted on the fender well of the car and I think that amplified the vibration, so am going to try to mount it under the battery pack on the more solid frame. This will also hide it under the batteries and clean up the front battery compartment.

A bracket will be mounted on the front battery tray to mount the contactor and shunt and should make a  pretty clean platform for the component connections to the batteries. There was a metal plate left over from the original build that I cut to size and bent a right angle on the top to mount the contactor and  shunt. There will need to be some trimming and adjustments in the placement to clear the heater blower cover,  as when it is reinstalled, will cause some clearance issues.

All of the wires on the controller have been connected except the pack leads, so I am going to need to get the 12 volt system connected to test the the vacuum pump and main contactor power. I should be able to power both of them off of a switched 12 volt source from the fuse panel inside the car.

I picked up some stands that I could use to mount the shunt but they are really too tall, so am considering picking up some rubber expansion nuts to mount to the bracket I am making. I would use copper studs and  nuts to mount the shunt.


 Friday I stopped at Ace Hardware and picked up fasteners to connect the power cables to the controller and the rubber expansion nuts to hook up the shunt. Then mixed up some body putty to fill the holes in the evaporator cover where the tubes exited. While the putty was drying, I fabricated a cover for the heater power cable where it comes out of the interior and painted it. To make sure the paint and putty were fully dried, I called it a night.

Saturday morning I started by mounting the heater power cable cover and cleaning up the evaporator and heater blower cover.


 Before installing the heater blower/evaporator cover I painted the vacuum pump black and ran a black rubber hose from the vacuum tank to the power brake assist chamber to make them dissapear.



 Recently we cut back our satellite  package as we only watch about 10 of the 210 channels on our previous plan. As luck would have it the Buckeye's game was on the Big 10 Network and that was a channel not included on our new package, so I changed cloths and went to Biggs Bar to watch part of the game against Purdue. When I got there it was almost halftime so I had a sandwich and a couple beers then went home at the end of the third quarter. 

Upon returning home I filled the holes in the heater blower cover where the evaporator tubes went into the duct and after applying a coat of body putty over the holes, went inside to watch football while the putty dried over night. Sunday morning I painted the putty filling the holes in the cover and after the paint dried, bolted the it back onto the heating duct. Then on to fabricating the bracket and platform for the shunt and contactor. 

I had a piece of sheet metal that was used to mount the controller in the original build and cut it down to size with a cutoff tool. Then an angle was bent on the top to mount the components. The platform was test fitted and some trimming was done to one corner so it would clear the heater fan relay bracket. After that the shunt and contractor holes were laid out on the platform and holes were drilled, before drilling the holes in the battery racks to mount the whole assembly. Some final adjustments were made, then everything was disassembled to paint the bracket. After the paint dried, the shunt and contactor were bolted back to the platform and the whole assembly was bolted onto the battery rack for the last time. Then orange heat shrink was put over the exposed parts of the cables going to the controller in the rear of the car and the terminals were connected to the shunt and contactor.


Some black terminal boots would be nice to help identify the polarity of the connections, so I will probably order some and change the red one on the negative terminal out. 

My charger is fixed but has not been tested, so it looks like I got done with connecting the contactor and shunt, just in time.

Thanks for reading,