Saturday, December 28, 2013


After testing the Fiero last week and and looking at the log files to try and determine why it was tripping, I discovered that I had the battery pack voltage reading to the controller coming off of the positive controller terminal, after the contactor instead of at the battery, so used the extra lead that was running under the car to take the reading from the battery pack.



Synkromotive told me to check the negative battery leads and sure enough, I had not fully tightened the one going into the negative terminal of the controller properly, so tightened it up.

Then the battery Low voltage fault and Low voltage limit settings were lowered to 60 volts and several throttle ramp ups were done. With the battery pack lower voltage limit settings lowered, I could not get the controller to trip when just revving the motor, even with some quick accelerations. 

The car was taken for another test drive and it did much better but still tripped when going from third to fourth under moderate acceleration. I have the battery low fault and low limit both set at 60 volts, so am going to try to raise the battery low level limit to 80 and the low level fault at 30 volts. The controller may be set up to back off when the voltage gets down to the low level limit and if I set the fault voltage quite a bit lower, should not get down far enough to trip.The voltages have never been that low in the log files but there may be some noise under heavy acceleration that is making the controller think it did.

Below is the video of the first test drive last week that my son edited for me.

There is still much to do on the car but on the One Year Anniversary of starting the rebuild, I have made one small step!

More next week,


Monday, December 23, 2013


The temperature has been in the high 50's the last few days and all of the snow has melted but it has been constantly raining, so I was glued to the weather channel watching for a break in the weather. I had the charger hooked into the batteries in front of the shunt, so the amp hours on discharged were counted but not when charging. This was a good time to change the connection, so now the amp hours are counted on both the charge and discharge cycles.

Finally around 4:30 pm, the rain stopped and it was time to test drive the car. I tried to set up a video camera but should have taken the time to charge it earlier in the day because it just kept shutting off with a low battery warning. I climbed in the car, switched on the power, pulled up the Synkromotive user interface, and carefully backed out of the garage. So far so good! Pulling out of the driveway onto the street, the Fiero seemed to accelerate nicely in second gear so I depressed the clutch to go to third. That was pretty much when the wheels fell off of the test drive. The motor was no longer responding to the throttle request but I coasted down the road to a motel, just up the street, and pushed the car into a parking spot. This was not good because the hood was not on the car and all of the batteries in the front were exposed. It had been raining all day and the weather radar was showing another line moving in within the next hour. Fortunately, my neighbor was home and brought his truck to pull me home. Once back in the garage, I calibrated the throttle again, and the motor started turning.

I pulled up the log file but could not see what fault shut down the controller, so will need to make sure I have the log settings configured properly before the next test drive.

Sunday, the rain had stopped and the temperature was in the low 60s, so I decided to try again. The car seems to work fine as long as the throttle is slowly depressed and released but trips the controller when it is depressed quickly. I sent the log files to a fellow builder in California and after looking at it, he sent it to Synkromotive. I believe the throttle upper fault limit just needs raised and may try that next week.


Sunday, December 15, 2013


This week I had a minor surgical procedure done and was a bit sore for a couple days, so did not get much done on the Fiero.My wife has also been having back problems, so my son came over to help me clean the house before we put out the Christmas decorations. After we were done cleaning, we all went to J Gumbos in Baltimore, OH for my Son's Birthday Dinner. They have one of the best craft beer selections in this part of Ohio, so we had a very nice time eating Cajun food and sampling different draft beers. Heather and Fred Baughman, the owners were both there and it is always very enjoyable spending time with them. If you are ever in the area, make sure and stop in!


 My son's girl friend Vanessa was the designated driver, so she drove us all home and we started a fire in the fireplace to put up the Christmas decorations. A perfect ending to a great day.


I did get the JLD404 moved inside the car and temporarily wired. Once the car is tested and the motor and controller check out, I am going to take the dash out to mount and run permanent wires to all of the gauges.


The cigarette lighter socket was also wired back up so I can move the laptop inside the car to monitor the controller while testing. I emailed Synkromotive to ask if there were any mobile apps to run the user interface and was told that the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT would run the program, so am also trying to figure out where I could mount one on the dash.


There used to be a couple of 12 volt DC to 120 Volt AC adapters around the house but when one is needed, they were nowhere to be found, so for now, the IOTA DC-DC converter was plugged into AC and the laptop is still connected to the controller in the back of the car.


The weather has still been very cold with snow every few days, so I am hoping for a couple of days when it will warm up a little, so the Fiero can be tested. If something happens, I just don't want to be stuck out on the street in low 20 degree weather.

Until next week,


Monday, December 9, 2013


We had snow in Ohio this week and the temperature was in the 20s so I decided to take my time and try to wait for a little warmer weather before taking the Fiero out on the street for a test drive.


A regular 110 volt plug was used in the original conversion for the DC-DC converter and I really do not like the way it looks but decided to keep it for now, so wired a 110 volt female plug to pack voltage. This way I can plug the IOTA DC-DC (AC-DC) charger into an outlet to keep the battery charged. There is a drain, probably from the radio, and  the Synkromotive controller has a lead that is hooked to 12 volts all the time.


 I am going to email Synkromotive to find out if I can just have the hot lead energizedwhen the ignition is turned on or if it is needed to save the settings.

The charger cover was still hanging below the car, so I removed the grommet so the wires could be pulled free of the cover. I am going to leave the charger out of the car until I get the voltage set properly and am certain it will shut off without overcharging any of the batteries.

I started moving the JLD404 inside the cabin so I can monitor voltage and current while testing the car. There wires are hooked up the the traction pack and run inside of the car, so all that is left is to hook up the meter.

The last items that need done is to put the seat back in and hook up the cigarette lighter socket so I can plug in  a 12 volt dc to 120 volt ac inverter to run my laptop. I want to be able to monitor the motor and controller during the test drive.

The weather report is calling for more snow tomorrow so it may be a few days before I am able to take it on the road for a test drive.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013


The wiring for the vacuum pump and contactor is completed and the left headlight has been reinstalled. I am going to need to get a new wiring clamp to hold the main bundle out of the way, as the old one broke and the bundle tends to get in the way of the headlight bracket retracting.

An AC-DC adapter was used to bring up the voltage on a couple of cells that had to be charged before bottom balancing to 2.6 volts with the JLD404 but all of the batteries are now balanced. The JLD404 was hooked up to the pack and another charge was started.With only 37 cells in the pack now, the voltage was a little too high and one of the cells was approaching 4 volts before the charger shut down. The voltage pot has been lowered a little so I will just have to wait and see what happens on the next charge.

The power leads were made up from the contactor and shunt, to the battery pack, so I was able to enter the settings in the controller, calibrate the throttle,  and test spin  the motor. The motor spun up great and everything is looking good but the stock tachometer did not work, so I will need to do more work on it.

All that is left to test drive the car is to hook the DC-DC converter to the pack, run wires to move the JLD404 inside the car and put the driver's seat back in. Until I get the voltage set so the charger shuts off correctly, I am going to leave it outside of the car. Once I am sure it will not overcharge the batteries, it will be mounted back in the rear of the car.