Sunday, September 21, 2014

THE PROBLEM WITH PARADISE

Just when you think you are over the hump, it seems there is always something that crops up to bite you in the ass! When I took the car for a drive on Saturday, the voltage was reading 119 and upon starting out on the road in front of my house, the car kept popping out of third gear. No problem, just use second and fourth. This worked for a couple of miles until the car started loosing power and would just creep down the road. I turned around and headed back for home until the car came to a stop and would not go any further. The resting voltage was down around 91 volts and the controller voltage cut-out voltage is set at 90 volts, so the pack voltage was dropping below that level and the controller would not engage. I called my wife and had her push me the couple of miles back to the house. I had taken a couple of drives and with only 40 amp hours in the pack had expended the pack, so it was time for another charge. 

Before charging I measured all of the cells and found them to be between 2.85 and 2.9 volts, so decided to use the Powerlab 6 to bring them all to 3 volts. These cells are different than LiFePo4 cells and when you get below 3.5 volts or so, drop very quickly.Later that evening, I started setting up the charger and about 9:30 pm, started charging. There is a pot on the Zivan NG3 charger that will raise and lower the cut-out voltage, so I gave it a couple of turns to try and get the voltage raise to around 134.4 volts or 4.2 volts per cell. On the first charge I stopped at 4 volts per cell. The charge went smoothly and raising the cut-off voltage got me pretty close to where I need to be.


The JLD404 was hooked up and the car was taken for a test drive on the interstate. It accelerated to 80 mph with plenty of room left on the accelerator but still would not stay in third gear. I am going to need to check all of the settings on the JLD404 but it said I used 21 amp hours to go 9.1 miles or 2.31 amp hours per mile. At 120 volts that would be around 276 watt hours per mile. I did have the car up to 80 mph for a moment on the interstate and had about 3 more miles at 70 mph. At 276 watt hours per mile I could go around 28 miles per module, so with the other 2 modules installed, I should be able to go to work and back, 22 miles one way. I still have 37 of the 100 amp hour LiFePo4 cells in the front of the car so the weight of the additional 2 modules should be the same or a little less. Half of the dash lights and the 12 volt meter I installed in the dash were not working, so it seems like it is always one step forward and 2 steps back.

Work was also started on the center console cover and a piece of vinyl was cut and put on with adhesive to cover a rip in the console. After a new coat of charcoal paint, it looked very good. The storage box door and speaker covers were painted flat black and gives the console cover a very good contrast.

Work continues but at least the car is insured now and can be driven on the highway. Hopefully in a couple of weeks the interior will be done and work can begin on mounting the other 2 modules.

Until next time,

Randy

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