Tuesday, July 8, 2008

And Then There Were Sparks....

July 2 – July 8, 2008

It was another one of those weeks. The 2nd was my anniversary and as hard as it was to take the day off from working on the car, I did – just kidding honey! Then it rained for two days. My car is parked in a low spot and I can tell when it rains a lot because of the small pond under the car. So now it’s Saturday and I have been off my bike (summer exercise program) for too many days and the weather is cooperating. With other things to do, this day is shot. Got an early start on Sunday and I spent the entire day working on the car – yeah.

With only one day to report on, it will be a short blog. I finished the wiring – done. Ok, a few more details. As you know, the Fiero is a low car. With the added weight of the batteries, it’s really low. As you may recall, I did order some air shock to reduce my front end sag and I should have done my homework better. Those great Ebay shocks weren’t so great. The guy did read the specifications right and if I would have been looking at the same spec’s, I would have never bought them. The top and bottom mounting hardware was good, but the length was not. Fully extended the Fiero shocks were just 1/8” longer than the air shocks – this is the equivalent of putting a solid piece of metal in there as a shock. It would have raised the front end up until I hit a bump, and who knows what would have broken. This was my mistake and while I am at it: anyone need some air shocks? Strange as this sounds, my wonderful wife got me an Amazon gift card for our anniversary and in a search for the “right” pair of shocks (I did my homework this time), I found a pair on Amazon for $1.00 less than the gift card. My wife really knows me. So unless I screwed up again, I should have these installed next week.

But back to the low Fiero…

I needed to connect the front batteries to the back and this involved a long run underneath the car. I originally planned on using the old coolant tubes, but 2/0 cable would have been a challenge. I needed to get the car airborne, so I got out all four jack stands and got it off the ground. While checking out several websites, I saw one of a guy testing out his motor in his car. Netgain has a bench test just to let you see the motor go around using a 12V battery or power supply. So I figured while I had it off the ground, why not! I got out my old car battery, a set of jumper cables and followed the instructions – it worked. With the car in second gear (make sure you are in some gear), and a spark or two later, the wheels were spinning – cool stuff. I showed my wife and then it was time to get to work. (As you can see, I am dragging this out.)

I bought 30’ of 2/0 cable figuring it was more than I needed – I was wrong (again). The long runs were longer than expected with the twists and turns. I had enough cable to make the connections, but I was short to make the motor connections, so I ordered more. With the two long runs in I made the front to back connections. With one in, I started the second one and I got to see the famous melting socket wrench handle I have heard so much about. It was a quick spark (at 72V) and a small shock. I was not paying attention and lost focus for about one second. These two batteries are side-by-side and with one side of the front pack installed, things were electrically hot. I was giving the nut one last turn to tighten things up and “zap”. Tape your handles, pay attention and take your time – plus add whatever words of caution you choose. It melted a 3/8” stainless steel nut to the terminal that I had to cut off with a Dremel tool. I re-threaded the post and pray that I did not kill the battery. It still tightens down and the voltage is still there, but I really won’t know until it is under load if it is still a good battery. The rest of the installation went without a hitch (or spark). I taped my melted handle and moved ever so cautiously and before you know it, I had over 150V on my pack (it’s only a 144V pack, but batteries when fully charged will always be higher). With that done and only a foot of 2/0 cable left, it was time to call it a day. The car was returned to earth from its lofty perch and I retired to the computer to order more cable.

I still need the rest of my order to finish my installation, so it is on to the little things for next week. Hopefully it won’t be three’s a charm on the air shocks. I still need to find the right wires for the run and start hook ups and there are a bunch of things I want to get done on the car. So until next week…

1 comment:

Adam said...

Wish I had seen this sooner, I am somewhat of a Fiero expert. Id be more than happy to stop by and help you sort the wiring out. Its actually quite simple, Ive done several engine swaps so I know what wires are ICE relevant and not.

email me, gicu812ew@yahoo.com