Thursday, September 18, 2014


Back in August my garden tractor battery went bad after using it to regen discharge the Better Place cells with the Powerlab 6. Alien Motoin had their AM22-01 heavy duty LiFePo4 battery on sale for $209. My plan was to use it the rest of the mowing season and then put it in the Fiero this fall. A MCU Battery Low Voltage Disconnect Controller by Peak DBI was even purchased to keep the Alien Motion battery from over discharging. The battery worked great until last Sunday and when I turned the key on the garden tractor, nothing happened. Upon further investigation, the battery was puffed around the positive terminal. When I contacted Alien Motion, they said they were scratching their heads trying to figure out what happened and suspect the voltage regulator on the garden tractor was not working correctly. Then I did not hear anything for a couple of days and had to email them again, asking them what they wanted me to do. Finally they replied and gave me a RMA number and told me to send it back to them.


Then the Elite, Model DCM9040, volt, amp watt meter went bad, so it hasn't been a good week. The EBAY seller is going to send me another meter, so I guess it could be worse.

My son's fiance got a speeding tick when they were coming to our house on Labor day, and also got a ticket for expired license plates, requiring her to appear in court. My Son could not get today off of work, so I took a day of vacation to got to court with her. She was afraid she was going to lose her license and was in a rather bad mood on the drive to the Lancaster, OH Court House. There were so many people with traffic tickets there, that only the person with the ticket could go into the Court Room. With nothing I could do to help her now, I walked down the Main Street of Lancaster hoping to find some interesting shops to look around in. I was only gone 15 minutes when my phone rang and it was Vanessa. She was on the court roster hanging in the hall of the Court House but when she went inside the court room, her name was not called. When she approached the bench, the Judge told her she had paid her speeding ticket fine and renewed her license plates, so there was no need for her to be there. Great, the day was starting out very good.

We arrived back at the house and I changed cloths to go out and work on the Fiero. All of the battery connection were made up and the contactors were all wired up but the motor connections had to be made up, the dc-dc converter and battery installed, new wires connected to the battery pack for the dc-dc converter, and a new wire run from the positive side of the battery to the controller for it to measure pack voltage. For being almost ready to test drive, there sure was a lot of work to do but one by one, each task was completed. Now the moment of truth, I got in the car, turned the key to the run position, then to the start position but nothing happened. A laptop was connected to the controller and the pot box was re-calibrated. Same result, nothing happened. I was getting 13.5 volts to the controller when the key was turned to start but when it was released back to the run position, the voltage went to zero. So into the house to pull up the relay schematic. After studying the schematic and looking at the relay connections on terminal block, two of the wires were on the wrong connection. The wiring was put on the correct terminals and back into the car to try again. Now I was showing 13.5 volts when going back to the run position after the key was turned to the start position but still did not have any pack voltage showing. Upon further inspection of the negative contactor actuation wires, found that one of the wires had slipped out of the crimp connector. A new terminal was crimped on to the wire and another start try was made. This time there was 13.5 volts in the run position, and 124 volts pack voltage but the motor still would not run when the throttle was depressed. Seem I had pushed the emergency/maintenance switch, so pulled it back up in to the connected position. This time when I went through the start sequence, the motor ran when the throttle was depressed. Finally, success!



As the insurance went into effect on September 13, I was finally able to take the Fiero on the Highway and run it up to 60 mph. It did great and the pack voltage did not drop lower that 114 volts under moderate acceleration from the 124 resting voltage. The 12 volt system did not drop below 12.5 volts and recovered to 13.5 volts when cruising. 

I am going to need to tidy up some wiring and get it in loom but then on to finishing the instrumentation and interior.

Thanks for visiting,

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