Friday, February 28, 2014


This week started with getting the gauges for the 12 volt system arranged better in the instrument pod. Instead of recessing, I moved them onto the outside cover. The holes for the meters were close but needed opened  up a little with a burr grinder. Everything is lined up very good now so I am going to disassemble the panel, straighten and true it up a little, drill 4 holes, repaint, put the gauges back in and it will be ready to go.


Later in the week I started removing the main instrument panel and by the end of the week, had it laying on the bench. 


The original builder had two meters mounted, that he said did not work but I am going to check them out just to make sure. They are red but I believe the actual leds are white with a red lense filter, so if that i the case, I can just put in a blue filter. If I can't get them working, I will need to order a couple more for the main pack amps and volts.


 I am going to do a little research and see if I can rewire and reuse any of the warning lights. I may be able to have plastic filters made up with new labels that could light up when the controller is enabled, the motor overheats, the heater is on, and such.


Also, a Dell Venue 8 Pro, 8 inch, Windows 8.1 touch tablet was ordered so I can display the Synkromotive Controller GUI and gauges. There is not that much room in the interior so I am going to have to be creative to get the JLD404 and tablet mounted but am confident I can make it happen.


With the instrument panel out I am going to start removing the center console so I can get to the heater controls. I want to add a micro switch to the temperature slider so the blower can be operated without the heat being on. I am also going to try to wire the relay so the blower has be be on before the heater will turn on to make sure it doesn't overheat.

Hopefully more this weekend.


Sunday, February 23, 2014


Last week the weather turned with temperatures in the 40 - 60 degree range and Saturday is supposed to get up to 50 degrees; So I am going to use this opportunity to get some more cleaning done on the garage and work done on the car.

My garage had become cluttered with components boxes and parts removed from the Fiero, so it was past due to clean it up before  starting to remove the interior. The main reason for cleaning though, was because I couldn't find the hood bolts and the hood was taking up quite a bit of room, so wanted to put it back on the car. After about an hour, sure enough, they turned up in a screw package sitting on the back of the work bench.



So on to moving the car out into the driveway but when I turned the key to activate the controller, the fan would ramp up, go off then ramp up again. I had unhooked the computer and it seems the controller lost the pot calibration but as soon as I re-calibrated, everything was back to normal. I pulled the car out into the driveway and proceeded to put the hood back on. When I was testing the pop-up lights, the JLD404 suddenly started blinking and finally shut off. I had plugged the DC-DC converter into the battery pack but forgot, the key has to be turned on to operate the contactor, or the converter does not get any pack voltage. Operating the pop-lights a couple of times had run the battery down enough that there was not enough power now to operate the contactor, so I had to plug it back into 120 ac to charge it back up.

It was good to sort and inventory all of the part I have collected that will be needed down the road and after a trash can full of clutter and and disposing of all the empty boxes in the fire pit out back, was finally able to pull the car back into the garage feeling ready to tackle the interior dis-assembly.

The amp meter for the 12 volt system arrived Saturday, so today I started to clean up the pod and mount the meters. I wanted to get it completely done before posting but didn't quite make it. It was done enough to put it together and get a picture though.


Winter returns tomorrow but it felt good to get some work done on the Fiero the last couple days.

Until next time,


Monday, February 17, 2014


The LED lights that were ordered from Ebay arrived this week and I am gearing up to start on the interior and instrumentation. Did some garage rearranging to make some room for the panels and dash when they are removed and cleaned out the clutter on the passenger seat and floor of the car.

All of the battery connections were checked and I was surprised to find loose connections on about 1/3 of them. After all of the connections were checked and tightened, the pack was topped off again. I had the charger pretty close but it is drifting up to 137 volts which is close to 3.7 per cell, so I am going to need to lower the voltage a little the next time I charge. The cells are settling at 3.36 volts after setting overnight after the charge.

My wife finally got to take a ride and was impressed with the LED headlights. The car ran pretty smooth but is going to need more batteries to fix the voltage sag problem. There are some lithium packs coming on the market that are going to be offered at a good price, so I may just try to pick up one of them to fix the battery sag problem.

EVTV did a live webcast test on YouTube tonight and I was lucky enough to tune into the last couple hours of it. It looks like Jack may try to do live webcasts on Sunday afternoons to discuss the Friday show each week.


Sunday, February 9, 2014


This week I have been working on getting current and amp meters for the 12 volt system. Awhile back, I got a 3-1/2 inch voltage/current meter so dug it out of hiding to test. The instructions are a little vague but I was able to get the voltage hooked up.


I also purchased a separate current meter on EBAY, so there will be one for voltage and one for current.


The pod that goes above the dash will be a good location to mount the 12 volt system meters and will allow me to look at both the current and voltage simultaneously without having to select between views with only one meter.


The interior is next, so I spent some time this weekend reading instructions on the best way to remove the instrument panel and dash. I want to mount a micro switch on the heater controls to operate the solid state relay that will be used to turn on the heater and will need to get to the wires under the dash to do so. Hopefully I will be able to do this with out disabling the car just in case I need to move it.

Until next time,



 The Ballistic 12 volt LiFePo4 battery I purchased last spring does not want to hold a charge. When the battery arrived, it was around 11.5 volts. When measuring the individual cells through the balancing port, three of the cells were in the 3.2 volt range and one cell was around 2.5 volts. Using a JLD404 and a small light bulb as a load, all of the cells were taken down to 2.7 volt, then the battery was charged to 13.6 volts. Everything seem to work fine all summer but when fall arrived and I was not working on the car every weekend, the battery seemed to start loosing capacity. When the DC-DC converter was turned on, the battery would go to the 13.2 volts but as soon as it would turn off, would start dropping until finally leveling off at 11.5 volts. After the initial charge the battery would light all of the interior lights and operate the traction pack contactor after setting for a week or so but now it would not.


I tried to contact the ebay seller who sold me the battery but it appeared they were no longer an EBAY member, so wrote Ballistic Battery to initiate a warranty claim. After several months and many emails, they finally replied to inform me that their warranty only covered the battery being used as a starter battery in an ATV and that using it to power up the interior lights and operating the traction pack contactor, was not covered. Seems like my application would put a lot less stress on the battery. I did try to use it a couple times to start a 10 hp John Deere garden tractor but it did not do a very good job at that.

Several month ago I sent my Powerlab 8 back to REVO after it quit working only to be told that the damage was from misuse and was not only covered under warranty but was not repairable under their repair program. Their only offer was a 10% Black Friday discount that they were giving everyone anyway, so really, no warranty and not help in replacing the broken unit.


When looking at controllers, I almost eliminated the Synkromotive because they only offered a 30 day warranty. The controller has been trouble free and what I consider one of my better component purchases. Had I bought a more expensive controller with a lower amp rating and 1 year warranty, I would have ended up with a more expensive controller with less features and if something had gone wrong, would probably not have been covered under warranty any way because of something I did wrong.

I guess the bottom line is, don't put too much hope into getting any warranty claim honored when purchasing your components, and you won't get disappointed, put more time in researching the product and find out if other users have bee having any problems.


Monday, February 3, 2014


Yesterday, my son and I were able to get a good video of the car going down the road and after plugging in the jumper that raises the voltage to 14.2 volts, I can not get the Synkromotive controller to trip. I was on very narrow country roads, so have still not been able to get the car up to 60 mph but the controller is limiting the battery pack voltage to 90 volts, so is not putting out the power it is capable of.


There are currently 37 100 AH cells in the front of the car and the pack settled to around 123.6 volts after the last charge I gave it, over the weekend. Under heavy acceleration, the pack drops to the 90 volt limit I have the Synkromotive controller set at and the 12 volt system voltage drops sometimes all the way down to 10.9 volts. The Synkromotive controller seems to trip when the 12 volt system gets down to 10.7 volts, so I am going to need add some more cell to the rear of the car so the pack voltage will stay above the 106 volt lower limit of the IOTA DC-DC converter. Above 100 pack voltage, the DC-DC converter seems to hold the 12 volt system in the 13 volt range.

After the drive yesterday, I forgot to plug the IOTA DC-DC (AC-DC) converter into 110 volts but was happy to find that the small 12 volt battery had enough juice to supply the JLD404, Synkromotive controller stand-by mode, a 12 volt dc to 100 volt ac inverter, and a 15 inch laptop that was plugged into it for 24 hours. It's good to know that the car can be parked for several hour without worrying about draining down the 12 volt battery.

It is good to be making some progress on keeping the controller from tripping and to have some ideas to try to make the car perform even better.

Thank for visiting,