Saturday, August 29, 2015


Recently I signed up to take the Fiero to National Drive Electric Week - Columbus, OH, to be held on September 12, 2015 at Easton Town Center.

National Drive Electric Week is presented by Plug In America Sierra Club Electric Auto Association
National Drive Electric Week Event - Columbus
Day:Saturday, September 12, 2015
Time:9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Location:Easton Town Center
3945 Easton Square Pl
Columbus, OH 43219
 to attend this event.
 to help the organizers for this event.
 the organizers for this event.

Last week troubleshooting was done on the retractable headlight motors, and it was finally discovered that a fuse was blown and the positive connector on the main contactor was not fully seated. The connections were cleaned with alcohol and coated with Nolox, zinc connection compound.




The body of the Fiero is a mess, with a bad repaint job dull and flaking off in areas but I took the car to Bowman Detail Shop in Hebron, Oh, and they feel they can make the car look better. An appointment was made to have the car detailed next Wednesday. The bottom of the bumpers and ground effects on the side of the car is going to be wet sanded and painted satin black and the driver side was painted this morning.


Also, a couple of nicks in the front of the hood were painted gloss black. If I have time, I may try to put a little body putty in them and then paint them again.


Still quite a bit of work to do to get the car in shape to take to the National Drive Electric Week event and EVCCON but hopefully everything will come together.


Sunday, August 23, 2015


Where did the summer go! In addition to trying to get the Fiero ready for EVCCON, I have been trying to work on the kitchen and bathroom and a 1998 Mercedes SLK240 was purchased last month that is requiring a little work to bring to a reliable running state.

1998 SLK240

Last weekend I helped Brian Couchene put up some ceiling panels in his workshop. While we were working the Fiero was charged and after supper, we pulled the Fiero on Brian's dolly, to make sure it would fit. I drove home 23 miles from Brian's and then put another 15 miles on the charge. The voltage was still at 122 volts but  I am still not sure what the range is with the second module installed. Today, I put another charge on the batteries and the modules took 58 amp hours. I am expecting the modules to take at least 80 amp hours to charge from when they are almost discharged but have never come close to that when charging. As voltage is not a very good indicator of the level of charge and I really don't like being hauled home on the back of a flatbed, I am having a little bit of a problem determining how fare the car will actually go. Also, after hooking up the Zivan NG3 charger and before starting the charge, I noticed that I was discharging at 10 amps. The IOTA DC to DC converter was unplugged from the battery modules and plugged into a 110 volt ac extension cord and the amps dropped to zero. When I was at Brian's, he noticed that the heater fan was running all of the time, so with the ignition on, that may be where the 10 amps is coming from, as just the meters and contactors should not be pulling that much juice. I am going to dig out the schematics and find out if the fan can be wired to turn off when in the off position.

A new light switch was ordered, as the left headlight does not seem to be getting power to the closing relay. The headlight will stay up when the lights are turned off, then sometimes hours later will magically go down while just sitting there. Same with the speedometer lights and parking brake warning light. They will work for awhile then not work. Wiggling connectors or wiring does not cause them to flicker, so I am at a loss at to where to look to find the connections problem. I may just order a new ignition switch just to make sure that is not the root cause of the problem. I also purchased a different instrument panel, as some of the copper was peeling off of the circuit board on the one that is currently installed. I will need to take the new instrument cluster apart and do some modifications to get the meters installed but that will be this winter.

Thanks for visiting,


Sunday, August 16, 2015


Thursday a full charge was put on the Fiero to prepare to travel to Brian Couchene's house to find out if the Fiero is going to fit on his dolly and to help him put panels over the insulation in his shop. Upon arriving, we made up an adapter cord and started charging the Fiero for the trip home. Brian's house is about 23 miles from me and that is the longest trip with out stopping I have made. Upon arriving, the voltage was still around 124 volts after settling for awhile, so I may have been able to make it back home without charging but did not want to take the chance.


After starting the charge, we started putting up the sheet metal on the ceiling of the shop and worked pretty hard until lunch. Brian's parents were visiting from Michigan and it was very enjoyable getting to know both of them. Brian and I worked in the lift and his father cut the sheets and pre-drilled them on on the ground. Brian's mother fixed us lunch and dinner and kept the refreshments coming, as it was in the upper 80s during the day.

After dinner, we hooked up the tow dolly and found that the front of the Fiero was going to hit the cross member when driving up onto the ramps. We solved this by placing a couple of 2x8 boards at the end of the ramps to get the car started onto them, so I am really relieved to know that the Fiero can be transported to EVCCON. 

Brian's Father wanted to ride in an electric car, so I took him a ride a couple miles down the road in front of Brian's house. The roads out there are very hilly and although I thought I had it in second, the transaxle was till in fourth. No problem, the car still made it up the hill but at a reduced speed by the time we crested the hill. On the way back I did get the car in second and could accelerate up the hills at will. When we got back to the house, smoke was poring out of the right rear of the engine compartment. I opened the trunk and smelled the distinct smell of brakes dragging. After messing with the parking brake for a couple minutes, I was able to disengage it. 

By now it was dark, so the drive home was going to give my LED headlamps a true test. The route I chose only had about 3 miles of interstate and after I got back to route 16, there were no more hills all the way back to my house. The drive was routine and uneventful, and shortly upon arriving home, I hit the hay, pretty worn out from climbing up and down the lift all day.

Sunday morning, the parking brake was adjusted, so hopefully no mor drives with the parking brake engaged.

Until next post,


Saturday, August 8, 2015


Last night when I got home from work and after mowing the lawn, the first charge was applied to the battery modules. The starting voltage was 107.7 and read the same on the front and rear battery module. I used the TCCH  PFC-3000 charger instead of the Zivan NG3 because I had installed an Anderson connector on the battery module and the PFC-3000 charger was set up to just plug into it.

The TCCH charger is set to stop charging at 137 volts but I also have the ABB ac contactor to disconnect the 220 volt ac input when the EPM-5740TB volt meter reaches 137 volts by opening it's auxiliary relay. This morning when I went out to check on the charge, the green light was illuminated on the charger and the meter read 138 volts. The EPM-5740TB reads a three volts low, so the modules were probably only charged to 135 volts. The JLD404 was showing 57 amp hours put into the modules, so that is probably about right.

Later in the afternoon I drove the car to the Marathon and back, probably about 8 miles total and the voltage after sitting for an hour was 129.4 volts with the voltmeter and the EPM-5740TB was reading 132. 2 volts. The amp hour meter was down to 47 amp hours.

Before I charge again, I will set the offset in the EPM-5740TB and will record the actual miles driven on the next drive but for now, am just trying to get a feel for everything. I want to do an interstate drive and find out if there is gong to be enough in the modules to get to work and back.

Until next post,


Thursday, August 6, 2015


Today was pretty eventful, as the 1998 Mercedes Benz SLK Class 2 door convertible hardtop with 0nly 34000 miles was being delivered. A half day off work was taken but really was not needed, as the car did not arrive until 7:30 pm.


Since I was off and just waiting for the car to be delivered, I decided to start hooking up the front battery module. The cables in the front had to be trimmed and the connectors needed to be drilled so they would go over a 3/8 in stud. Once they were drilled, the cable was prepared and they were crimped onto the cable. Heat shrink covered the connection and insulating boots were pushed over the cable. Voltage readings were taken on the front and rear modules and they were very close to the same voltage.




Since the modules were only .1 volt apart, I took a pair of needle nose and placed the last cell connector on the battery terminals and started the bolts. When I tightened up the bolts there was a slight spark and the modules were connected. 


Then, just to make sure both the modules were working properly, a drive was taken to the Marathon Convenience Store to pick up a 6 pack of Big Vic Imperial IPA. I felt a little celebration was in order, as this had been a busy day. The car ran fine and it will be interesting to do the first charge with both modules connected and then to do a little range testing.

Until next post,


Sunday, August 2, 2015


After the conduit was fastened in place and the cable was run inside it, work started on the rear connections. The copper bus bar on the positive side was removed and cleaned in soapy water with scotch bright until it looked clean, then cleaned again with scotch bright and alcohol. Then it was zinc plated before starting to make the connections to the front battery module. When I removed the positive bus bar, it was loose, so this time Nordlock washers will be used.

After the positive side cables were connected, the negative side was started. The negative side will connect into the second stud on the shunt. As with the positive side, the connecting surfaces were cleaned with scotch bright, then given a coat of Ideal Noalox, Anti-Oxidant paste to help keep the connections from corroding. The paste contains zinc which acts as a sacrificial barrier to keep the connections from oxidizing. On the negative side, the cable had to be pulled toward the front about a foot, so the conduit connection had to be taken apart in the front to straighten out the run enough for the cable to be able to be pushed forward. Finally the rear connection was made and the front conduit was reconnected. That is about as far as I got, as the front bus bars are going to need to be removed to drill the holes for the connections and to apply Noalox.

After all the tools were back in the garage, the car was taken for a drive to the Marathon, to pick up a 6 pack of Elevator Company Big Vic, Imperial IPA for a little late evening relaxation. The interstate was taken back home, as I am trying to run the rear pack voltage down a little so the voltages can be matched to make the final connection between the modules. 

All that is left is to install all of the battery connectors, match the voltages on the modules, and make up the negative and positive connections on the front module. I am really anxious to do a test drive after both modules are hooked together and charged. I am hoping for a 50 mile range.

Thanks for visiting,



This morning stated with another trip to Ace Hardware at 8 am but when I arrived, the store did not open until 9 on Sundays. No problem, as I just drove back to Flying J, by the interstate to get the car gassed up and to pick up a breakfast sandwich and coffee before driving back to the hardware store to wait for it to open. After finally getting in the store I picked up some 3/4 inch conduit clamps and looked around to try and find some kind of bushing to run the conduit through the front plate. After going through the electrical section, I finally went back to the pipe section and found an 1-1/4 inch pipe bushing that the conduit fit through, then back to the electrical section to get a couple of nipple nuts. 


After arriving back home it was time to climb back under the Fiero to finish running the conduit.


The conduit clamps were changed out from 1 inch to 3/4 inch first then the first hole was drilled in the front plate. The only 1-1/4 inch hole saw I had was actually for wood and not metal, so by the time I was finished, sparks were flying and there were no teeth left on the hole saw but I was far enough through to take a hammer and get the metal disk to pop out. The conduit was run through the new bushing and a final fit cut was made. The cable was pushed through the conduit, fed up into the front compartment of the car, and the gland nut was tightened around the conduit. Great, one side done and only one to go, so another trip was made to ACE Hardware to pick up another 1-1/4 inch hole saw. Upon returning, the other hole was drilled and the positive cable was run up into the front compartment to finish the job.




Just taking a short break and having a cold PBR, then back to work!

More this evening,


Saturday, August 1, 2015


Ok, I have been crawling under the Fiero all day, drilling and tapping holes so I just can't do it (conduit) anymore today. The morning started out by driving to Ace, Millersport Hardware, and finally Home Depot to try and find Unistrut. Once I got home, I crawled under the car to take measurements but decided that the existing hangers that are being used will work fine if they are clamping onto the conduit instead of directly on the cable, so I came back out from under the car and went to work on trying to get the last conduit gland out from behind the battery. This involved putting some cardboard over the top of the rear battery connections and climbing back as far as possible so the conduit gland could be accessed. I put some needle nose vice grips on the flange and tried to move it but it was solid. Back under the car with a hammer to use to try and tap it up through the hole. When I went to tap it I found that the two holes were empty and the conduit gland that would not come out still had the nut on it. So after using a screw driver and hammer to loosen the nut, went back up topside but the conduit gland would still not come out because it was wedged by the negative battery cable that goes to the controller. After taking a long screw driver and prying the cable a little, the gland finally was free and could be removed.

Back under the car to look for a new location that was accessible, to put the conduit glands. After finally finding a good location, I crawled back out to get the drill, hole saw, conduit glands, and a punch to center punch the plate so the drill bit wouldn't drift. The holes I put in the front deck plate seemed too large, as it seems the hole saw actually drills a larger hole than it's diameter, so this time I went with a smaller hole saw. Before the first hole was drilled, the batteries started running down, so had to go real show to finally get the hole saw through. After drilling the hole I found that the plate I drilled had another plate coming in at an angle behind it, that would make getting the nut on the nipple hard and the cable gland nipple would not quite go through the hole. Again, off to Ace Hardware to get a 3/4 pipe tap, as tapping the hole would solve both problems. While I was getting the tap, the drill battery was put on the charger, so back under the car to drill the second hole and tap both of them. The fresh batteries did the trick and the tapped holes worked like a charm. 


3/4 IN TAP

Then the conduit was pressed in the rear conduit glands and run through the existing hangers. The hangers were a little too big, so I must have purchased 1 in instead of the 3/4 in that is needed. Also, two more holes will need to be drilled to run the conduit under the new deck plate where the front conduit glands come through. The conduit was left a little long for the final fit. after it is run through the new holes and in the morning, it will be off to Ames hardware again to get some fitting for the new holes.



By then I was beat, so after sitting on the porch and having a nice cold Pabst Blue Ribbion Beer, it was time to take a short nap before taking my wife the the QFM 96 radio station Food Truck Fest.




Last month the Fiero EV Build Blog had the most page views ever, so I thank all of you for visiting!


Continued tomorrow,