Saturday, September 13, 2008

Close, But No Cigar...

August 19 – September 3, 2008

Sorry it’s been so long since my last entry. As it turns out all of my parts arrived and I spent Labor Day weekend installing the last three pieces to my very big puzzle. When I thought I was down to the last few wires, it turned out to be quite a few wires. And being a bit anal about it, I double checked many of the earlier connections. To make a long story short, the little car that could, didn’t. It seems that one connection caused an unexpected surge and knocked out a small component in my controller. After several calls to Belktronix, we deduced it was the controller and back it went. Prior to taking it out, I did get to recharge the traction pack and the charger worked great. It topped them all off in about an hour and went into a float mode to balance the pack. The BMS worked great.
Now to my lesson for all of you EV converters out there – plan and plan some more! My original design had my controller, fuse and main contactor in my rear trunk area. It would stay clean and dry and I added extra ventilation to keep things cool. Running the last batch of wires was a big pain with everything in there. The controller was on a slant and the big wires were at the bottom (and a big pain to get to). Another issue was with my battery layout. The way I routed the wiring from the front to the rear made getting the required power taps (a 24V and 48V tap) for the controller fan and contactor a bit awkward (and probably was what knocked out my controller). So since I had to pull the controller anyways, I redesigned the whole back end. I moved the two batteries that were above the motor to the lower trunk area into a new rack. This required me to get more 2/0 cable to make the new long run from the front to the rear (yes you heard it right, more cable!). I figured that what I had to replaced could get recycled into some of the shorter new cables and this required more cable lugs. The cable came in two days, but I am still waiting on the lugs. My controller may beat the lugs back! What I discovered in moving things around was a much better set up. All of those wires that looked like a plate of dropped spaghetti are now centralized at the controller and motor (the controller will be where the two batteries were above the motor). A lot of long runs into the trunk area are now gone. Wiring from the passenger compartment is now three feet shorter. I wish I had thought of all of this earlier.

So what is the lesson? When you are putting your system together and something doesn’t seem right, take the time to fix it. It may cost you a few more dollars, but in the long run it may save you a lot of aggravation.

All of my parts should be at the house early next week so I should be able to get El Fiero back together in a couple of evenings. I bought one of those mini camcorders and will post a video of my EV grin and maiden voyage.

So until then….

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