Friday, November 28, 2014


Last week the clip came off of the Powerlab 6 and blew an IGBT. I needed to charge all of the cells back up to 3 volts, so purchased a SKYRC iMAX B6 Super Mini Professional Balance Charger. So far, the charger has been working great, just charging from the unit, without having the computer interface hooked up.



The cells are all below 3 volts and so far, I have not been able to set the iMax B6 to automatically shut off at that voltage, so have to manually shut the charge off. The cells are all reaching 3 volts and when the charge is discontinued, dropping back to 2.9 volts or so. My strategy is to get them to all fall back to around the same voltge (2.95) after they have been charged to 3 volts. Charging them will keep the cells from drifting up like they do when discharging them and I should be able to get them all to the same voltage much easier doing a charge rather than a discharge.

The temperature is supposed to get into the high 40s on Saturday and High 50s on Sunday, so will try and take this opportunity to get the Fiero in the garage. 

Thanks for visiting,



If you have been considering a LiFePo4 battery for your 12 volt system, Alien Motion has a Black Friday Sale on all of their batteries. If you are purchasing the AM22-01 there is a 20% discount through Monday. Make sure and ask them about their protection board that can be added for around $35 that will cut off power if the voltage goes too high or too low.
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Until Next time,


Sunday, November 23, 2014


Last weekend I was picking up a prescription at the drug store and when I pulled out of the parking spot,  heard a scraping sound. I pulled out and drove a little way and the sound continued, so got out of the car to find one of my tires was completely flat. I was able to limp the car across the street, where there was an air pump but after about 5 minutes, came to the realization that the tire was not going to pump up. The lugs take a key socket to remove, so I got it out and on the first lug, it split down the side. By fortune, there was a tire shop right next to the carryout that had the air pump. I had bought the tire at another Tire Store and had road hazard insurance on it, so asked them to just put on the spare. It was near the end of the day and they said they would not be able to put the spare on until the next day, so I called my son Shane. His girlfriend Vanessa was working in Pickerington and picked ue up to wait at her work until Shane got there to take me home. The next day he came back over and took me to pick up the car. Mr Tire put my spare tire on for no charge, so I would recommend this business as they were willing to help out someone in need and did not try to take advantage of me.

899 Refugee Rd
Pickerington, OH
(614) 863-2444

I took the tire to the tire shop where I bought it and they had to order a new tire, so dropped it off. I took my wife's car to work on Monday and the temperature had plummeted into the teens, so after work I walked out into the cold parking garage looking forward to going home but when the key was turned, nothing happened. I turned the lights on and they seemed to be working fine but I called security and ask them if they could come down and try and give me a jump. When they arrived, we hooked up the jumpers but the starter still would not crank. My son gets off work about the same time as me, so I called him and he picked me up on his way home to take me to my house. It is a strange feeling because it is usually me helping my son and his girlfriend keep their cars going and coming to pick them up, so I could tell it made him feel good, to finally get to bail me out of a jam.

Now the only car I had that would make it to work from my house was my Miata with the small spare tire. It was still really cold out and the spare is probably 34 years old, so I kept my speed to under 60 miles per hour on the way to work. I decided to take a half day off to go and pick up the new tire and again, kept the speed under 60 all the way to the tire shop. The tire replacement was free and I got a new key socket, so if I have another flat, I will be able to change it. I would recommend Tire Discounters because they honored their warranty, no questions asked.

1041 Hebron Rd,
Heath, OH 43056
(740) 281-3611

OK, one problem solved but I still had a car in a parking garage in Columbus, OH. I tried to start the car a couple more times but the starter just would not turn over. Friday night I got on the internet and found a tow company that said they would come and pick me up on Saturday. Early Saturday morning, there was an ice storm in Central Ohio, so the wrecker company emailed to inform me they were not releasing any of their trucks until the temperature came up and the ice had been cleared. About 10:00 am, I headed to my son's house in Columbus and upon arriving, called the wrecker driver again. We agreed to meet at the parking garage in 45 minutes, so my son and I went to the garage and pushed the car to get it ready to push out of the exit, when the wrecker arrived. The driver backed up to the exit and we were able to push the car close enough to the truck for him go get it hooked up. We met the driver at a downtown repair shop and I paid the driver $75 for the tow. I would highly recommend Buddy's Towing!

Telephone:+1 614-496-0802

As always, the repair shop said the car would not be done until Monday, so my son and I went to the Tip Top on Gay Street in Columbus and had a craft beer and lunch. While we were eating, the shop called to happily inform me they had found the problem and for the small price of $450 would gladly repair the car. Now I know how much a starter costs and I know how long it takes to put one in, especially if you have a lift, so was quite put out. To get it home would have been a couple hundred dollars and there was no way I could have changed it in the parking garage, so guess I will just have to accept the highway robbery. I would not recommend taking your car to Grismer Tire and Auto!


Ok, so with all of that, I still was able to do a little work on the Fiero EV build. I went out to set up the Powerlab6 and the cables that went to the 12 volt battery were dangling over the side of the table. When I went to pick them up, the clamps that were on one of the half cells of the module came off the terminals, and there was a dreaded popping noise. Now I am not very hopeful of any help from Revolectrix in honoring their warranty, as I am sure that they are going to somehow say I misused the product. It wasn't even connected to a 12 volt power supply so even if the connectors came of of the cell, should not have blown the charger.

Anyway, I am hooking up a JLD404 with a small dc adapter to charge the cells back up to 3 volts and have ordered a cheap battery balance machine to use, once it get here. I bought this charger for the price of shipping the Powerlab6 back to Revolectrix and it has a USB port so it can be controlled from a computer. Hopefully, they don't put all of the restrictions on the setup as the Powerlab6 and I can charge and discharge without having to hook anything up to a 12 volt battery.

With everything going on, I still did not get the table if the front of the garage broken down so I can get the fiero in but tomorrow when my son helps me bring the car home from the shop, I am going to have him help me carry the table down to the basement.

Mark Weisheimer programmed the Pic chip that I bought for the Zivan charger, so I want to run the batteries on the Fiero down a little to try it out. We set it at 18 amps to charge and to shut off at 137.6 volts with no constant current charge at the end. I am going to need to watch the first charge and probably adjust the voltage pot to shut off at the correct voltage. The contacts on the JLD404 will also be set up to stop the charge a little before it gets to the 137.6 volts, so there will be two shut off mechanisms. Mark is really busy with the Lear Charger and Chevy Volt DC-DC converter development, not to mention the traveling he does in his day job, so I really appreciate his taking the time to help out a fellow EV converter.

Well, next week has to be better, because there isn't much room for it to get much worse, so I guess what doesn't kill you, just makes you stronger! Looking forward to next week!


Saturday, November 15, 2014


Over the last several weeks, I have been tearing the garage apart in search of the battery connectors for the third Better Place Module and it finally dawned on me, did I ever remove the connectors from the plastic holder that was used to hold the connectors and the BMS connections on the module. I opened the carrier case that the Better Place Module was shipped in and sure enough, they were still in the plastic holder. I had taken the connectors off of a module when I first disassembled the pack but bottom balanced a different module to put in the rear of the car and used the connectors that were already removed. I am not sure why I thought I had a bag of connectors.



I had a friend once ask me if I wanted to buy a tractor. With a puzzled look, I asked him, why would I need a tractor and he replied; "To pull your head out of your Ass." Guess this isn't the first time I have found myself feeling a little stupid.

Last week the half cells were all drained down to 2.6 volts again and I have been watching the voltage come back up each day since then. This morning, the highest cell was back up to 2.911 so if it stays under 3 volts, I may try to charge each half cell back up to 3 volts. After a charge, the batteries stop drifting up and will drop in voltage if anything.


The weather has turned cold in Ohio, so my next project will be getting the table in the front of the garage cleared off , broken down and stored out of the way. I really need to get the instrumentation and tablet connections completed, the center console back in and complete the interior. Then I can focus mounting the other two battery modules.

Until next time,


Thursday, November 13, 2014


During the summer my garden tractor battery went bad and Alien Motion had their AN22 battery on sale for $209.00, so I purchased one, with the intent of using it in the garden tractor until the end of the season, then putting it in the Fiero. It had plenty of power and started the 14 horse engine right up. I mowed for a couple of weeks, but the third week, when the key was turned, nothing happened. Upon inspection of the battery, the case was swollen and there were some dark discoloration where it had got hot. I sent the battery back to Alien Motion and they ask me to check the voltage output on the Garden Tractor. The next time I mowed, I took voltage reading when starting of 15 volts and after I was finished, it was still reading 15 volts, so the voltage regulator was not working. After sending Alien Motion the voltage readings and telling them that my voltage regulator was bad, they actually owed me nothing under their warranty terms but instead offered to send me a new battery for $100.00.  I felt they displayed that they would stand behind their product, even when it went bad because of unwarranted causes and would recommend them to anyone interested in a good LiFePo4 12 volt battery for your build. They now have a protection board available for $34.00 extra that will keep the battery from overcharging or over discharging.

Product Details

The Alien Motion Heavy Duty AM22-01 is is our largest battery in terms of cranking capacity but actually weighs less than our AM16-01. We utilize prismatic construction cells for lighter weight and greater power than our cylindrical cells. At under 4 Lbs, the AM22-01 will start the largest V-Twins up to 2500cc as well as many small engine cars with ease. This is a serious workhorse in a tiny package. Guaranteed to provide better performance and provide several times the lifetime of the original battery with proper use and maintenance.
  • Ultra-Lightweight Heavy Duty High Power Lithium Motorsport Battery
  • Holds a charge with minimal drain for years when there is no draw on power
  • 2-Year Warranty and Out of This World Support
  • Great for everyday use for bikes and powersports applications up to 2500cc
  • Works with the original charging system
  • Great for racing applications & big V-Twins
  • Significant cost savings and longevity compared to lead acid

MSRP $269.99

Bundle Pricing
Select Polarity:

You will need to request the voltage protection board but it is available.

Thanks for visiting,


Sunday, November 9, 2014


When I started bottom balancing the second battery module, readings were taken on each 1/2 cell. There are two individual groups of pouch cells within each cell that are hooked in series, with each side reading around 3.85 volts to the center terminal or 7.7 volts across the entire cell.





When initial readings were take across the entire 16 cell module, it measured 124.5 volts and each of the half cells were within a couple hundredths of a volt of each other, so I assume the Better Place Battery Management System (BMS) was top balancing the individual cells. After draining the entire module down until the lowest cell was 2.6 volts, I let the pack sit for a couple days and took readings on each half cell again, this time trying to identify the highest half cell. The lowest had come up to 2.85 volts and the highest was up to 2.95. By the end of the day the highest cell had come up to 3.04 volts, so I hooked the two 150 watt quartz lights up and drained the pack down until the highest cell was at 2.6 volts. The lowest cell had gone down to 2.45 volts. Then I hooked up the 40 watt bulb and let the voltage start climbing back up at a lower amp draw. Once the voltage climb stopped, I turned off the 40 watt bulb and turned on a 15 watt night light. I always put a note on my computer that the batteries are discharging so I will not forget to stop the drain before going to bed. 

I may need to repeat this process several times before the half cells finally stabilize below 3 volts. Once they have set for several days and are all under 3 volts, I will use the Powerlab6 to bring them all up to 3 volts. Kind of like top balancing the bottom, as the Powerlab6 will not automatically shut off at a voltage under 3 volts when charging and if you try and discharge them below 3 volts, they just keep drifting back up. It seems that charging to bring them all to the same level at the bottom works better and gets them all to a more uniform voltage.

The LiMn2O4 cells operate at a higher voltage range that the LiFePo4 cells at at around 3.9 resting voltage (give or take) as opposed the the 3.36 volts of the Lithium Iron Phosphate cells and there isn't a lot of information on bottom balancing LiMn204 cells yet. Jack Rickard of EVTV reported that they just did not want to stabilize below 3 volts and said that is now the voltage he is using, so that is where I came up with using 3 volts.

After an hour or so with the 15 watt night light hooked up the highest cell stabilized at 3.809 volts, so the light was shut off and I will wait until Wednesday night to check all of the individual cells again. By next weekend, if they are all below 3 volts, I will start bringing them all up to 3 volts with the Powerlab6, if not, I will drain the module down until the highest cell is 2.6 volts and wait another week to see if it stabilizes below 3 volts.

Until next time,


PS. Still searching for the lost connectors!

Monday, November 3, 2014


Over the last several weeks I have been rearranging the garage to get the Fiero back in, so work can continue when the weather gets cold again. It was time to start bottom balancing the other two Better Place modules, so I made some jumper wires and needed another connector to connect the center two cells that originally had external connections going to them. I remember the bag of connectors being in the trunk of the Fiero when I made up the connections on the first module and remember moving it around, all the time thinking, I need to put these somewhere I can find them again when needed. I finally found the bolts in the shipping crate but the connectors were no where to be found. So all of the work I did rearranging the garage will need to be moved back out until the connectors are found.

Not to worry, the show must go on and I can still look for the connectors while the second module is being bottom balanced. I am using two 150 watt quartz lights for the initial drain and just putting a volt meter on the lowest half cell to monitor the voltage.


After the voltage on the lowest half cell gets down to 2.8 volts or so, a smaller light is hooked up to keep a constant drain at a lower amp draw.


Finally, after the lowest cell settles below 3 volts, I hook up a small night light to try and drain the battery at close to the same rate as it is trying to recover at.


Once the small night light is connected, I take readings on all of the half cells and keep draining until the highest cell will settle at under 3 volts.

The final step is to use the Powerlab and charge all of the cells back to 3 volts. The LiMn2O4 cells seem to work at a higher voltage that the LiFePO4 cells and are charged to 4.2 volts before settling back to around 2.9 volts and at 3 volts are pretty much done when pulling higher amps when driving, so 3 volts as the bottom balance voltage should be fine.

The shifting is still not correct so I pulled the shifter so I could give it a good inspection for wear.


After an inspection of the shifter, I could not find anything wrong, so put it back in the car and and attempted to readjust the shift cables. It seems that the select arm keeps changing when the adjustments are done, almost like something is not returning to the same position inside the transaxle so my next step is to try and remove the pin holding the select pivot to put now bushings in it. If that doesn't work, I am afraid the transaxle is goint to need to be pulled and sent to a transmission shop to be gone over. 

So as the batteries are draining, the search continues for the lost connectors. As I said in the title; If my head wasn't attached, well you know the rest of the story.

Thanks for visiting,