Thursday, December 31, 2015


By the middle of August, the battery modules had been matched and connected together in parallel. In addition, a TCCH PFC-3000 charger was installed and the car was driven fellow EV builder, Brian Couchene's house, the longest distance the car had been driven to date. Brian's  father was visiting, so we took a ride up and down the hilly roads nearby . The Fiero was actually able to climb the steep grades in fourth gear, which was very impressive.


By the beginning of September the Fiero was pretty much ready to take to EVCCON, the plastic side trim and lower bumpers were sanded and painted satin black, and the car was professionally detailed.


Shifting was still erratic, so a set of new bushings were ordered for the shift lever from Rodney Dickman. The instructions clearly stated to be careful not to break the aluminum shift bracket but the pin would not budge and finally when I thought it did, found that the shift bracket had snapped. This was not good, with only a few weeks until EVCCON the transaxle could not be shifted. I got on Thumb Tack, found a couple of welders in my area and finally talked one of them into welding the shift bracket on short notice. The job was a very professional and sturdy fix, so i was able to get the shift linkage hooked back up. The new bushings took the play out of the shift bracket but shifting was still erratic and seemed to come out of adjustment after a few shifts. 

SEPTEMBER 16, 2015

The last improvement made before EVCCON was a new vacuum pump. The one that came with the car was very noisy but I found a smaller one that is rather quite and operates the power breaks just fine.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2015

A week before EVCCON, Jack Rickard announced it was canceled this year because he could not secure insurance for the venue. Shortly after the announcement, it was announced that there would still be an open house at the EVTV Garage for anyone interested in still making the journey. Tuesday morning, September 29, 2015, Brian Couchene arrived at my house with his tow dolly, the Fiero was loaded, and we were off to EVCCON!

SEPTEMBER 30, 2015

Upon returning home from EVCCON, I went to work on all of the problems that turned up from driving the Fiero around Cape Girardeau for a week. The right side instrument lights were not lighting up and the 12 volt digital meter in the instrument panel quit working so a new instrument cluster was purchased, along with a new ignition switch.

OCTOBER 7, 2015

By the end of November, the instrument cluster was finally rewired using a D-Sub connector for the digital volt/amp meter wiring, and was ready to be installed in the Fiero. The steering column had been dropped and the new ignition  switch was installed.

NOVEMBER 29, 2015

By the beginning of December, the instrument panel was back in the car with the lights and meters working.

DECEMBER 13, 2015

So this is pretty much the year in review, pretty much right back where I started. With the weather finally turning cold, there will probably not be much more progress until spring. The guys at work are wanting to see the car but I do not want to chance driving it into Columbus, OH until the third module is installed, just in case I am not able to charge at work. While the interior is torn apart again, I will remove the passenger seat to paint the frame work and to pull off the interior panel so the light switch on the door can be replaced.

Thanks for visiting my blog this year!



It is ironic that 2015 started with wiring the console and actually ended with that also. After you start driving the conversion, you always find things that you are not satisfied with and end up having to go back and rework them. I guess this goes back to your original engineering and planning, so this will go down as a  lesson learned for future builds.

JANUARY 3, 2015

By the end of March, the interior was finally back together and actually turned out pretty good. The heater controls were wired to be able to turn the heat on and off with the temperature slider, the Venue 8 Pro tablet was mounted to be able to view the Synkromotive Motor Controller user interface, and all of the meters were reading properly.

MARCH 29, 2015

By early May, I had installed LED dome, instrument and headlight lamps to help cut the power required to drive at night and I must say, was rather impressed with the LED headlamps.

MAY 9, 2015

By the middle of May, the Fiero could be driven and with one of the Better Place modules, had around a 25 mile range using 251 watt hours/mile.

MAY 12, 2015

As a precaution, a JLD 5740 meter and ABB contactor were installed to be able to disconnect the 240 volt AC power to the charger when the charge reached a predetermined level. This was just to give me a little piece of mind that if the charger control did not turn off or tried to float charge, the ac power would be cut off to it.

MAY 31, 2015

Side panels and a floor were fabricated to enclose the front trunk compartment and the second module was modified and mounted in the front of the car before conduit was mounted under the car to protect the power cables. The second module was finally installed, effectively giving me a 50 mile range.

JULY 31, 2015

Sunday, December 13, 2015


Sunday after a little wire swapping, the pack voltage started reading on the meter, but not the voltage. Not sure what is happening here but on the old meter set-up both the voltage and current were reading on the pack. The problem was the dc-dc converter wire had come off on the 12 volt meter and it no longer was powering up. Now I can get a voltage reading on the 12 volt meter but the current still reads zero. When these meters were out of the car, I should have hooked them up on the test bench and made sure I knew what each wire was. I would recommend if you purchase any of these, you stick with the same model if you are using more than one and test them on the bench before installing as the documentation sucks!


Ok, if the meters aren't enough of a problem, as I stated last week, the dome light dims but stays on when the doors are closed. After reading several blogs, I checked all of the door switches but when operating the passenger side switch, while letting it snap open, broke the plastic plunger that protrudes through the door jam, so now the dome lights just stay on all the time. This is bad news, as it means the passenger side panel will need to be removed. To remove the side panel, the seat will probably need to come out. It seems like every time something is fixed, something else gets broken. 


Eventually I will get everything working but am certain the mild days are running out this winter. My garage is small, so it is much easier to work on the Fiero outside and it is discouraging that when one problem is fixed, another crops up causing me to have to disassemble the interior further. 

Until next time,


Sunday, December 6, 2015


As gas prices have been falling, (Currently $1.79 in my area of Ohio) the other reason to own an electric car is to help the environment. It is December 6 and warm enough to work outside on the Fiero in a sweatshirt. Ok, so maybe there are some benefits to a warming climate! You know I am just joking but it was a beautiful December day in Central Ohio! The nights have been cold with frost in the morning but by about 10 am, the temperature is in the high 50s, so I was able to get a little more work done on the Fiero instrument cluster both Saturday and Sunday.

The final 3 wires were spliced on the D-Sub connector and after a little fumbling around trying to remember how it went into the housing, was finally able to get it back in the car and plug in all of the connectors. The duel meters light up but are just reading zeros. These duel volt/amp meters are inexpensive but are produced in China with very poor documentation, so on the pack meter (I checked to make sure there was voltage before I made the connections) the negative and positive must be switched. I did not check the 12 volt lead voltage on the low voltage meter, so I suspect that is the problem on that one. Even though the faces of the meters look the same, the connections on the back are different and I have read in some of the forums that even the same model meters sometimes do not have the same connections from batch to batch. I am getting closer so hopefully someday, the meters will work correctly and actually read volts and amps! The good news is the speedometer lights are working, but on the downside, now my dome lights are not shutting off when the doors are closed and the parking brake light stays on all of the time. Did I ever mention I hate automotive wiring!


Every weekend day that is warm enough to work out side is a true blessing but I know this will not happen much longer, so really need to get all of the Fiero lighting and metering working soon. 

My wife had been bugging me to get her SLK 230 headliner recovered and stopped into JoAnn Fabrics to find out if they carry any headliner fabric. To my surprise, they did but I also found some black vinyl that had a really cool pattern in it that I may try. I think it would be easier to clean and would give the car interior a classy look, so may just stop back and pick some up.

Until next time,