The Quiet Drive

This week we start to wrap up the Speedster Part Duh and send it off to Special Editions Inc. in Bremen so they can have a look at what we’ve wrought.

We did something a little unusual in the video. We have found a way to do “pretty good” audio in a windy convertible. And we did a drive in the Speedster. In professional television land, which by the way we are no part of and do not want to be confused with, there is a concept called “dead air”. This is where your chippy blond chick forgot her lines or a guest says something shocking and nobody talks for awhile. It is considered a Television faux pas as you need to hear some idiot yacking at every possible moment. If nothing else, cut to commercial.

The Speedster DOES make some noise. The tranny is pretty noisy as we use Redline ATF synthetic in it to minimize friction – a very lightweight oil for a transaxle. We also have a pump for the cooling system and two fans going. But it still fails to produce the roar of a real speedster. That lets you hear a lot in the world and it is one of the advantages of an EV.

So we filmed a drive. But instead of trying to fill it with yack yack, which most of you have heard from me before anyway, we just drove the car. The effect is interesting. You may find it very boring. But you will hear what I hear when I drive it, unless I’ve got my iPhone going through the stereo.

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We have had some last minute successes before shipping. I added a very ordinary automotive coolant sensor to the chill plate and connected it up to the temperature gage on the Speedsters original Combi gage. Incredibly, it sorta kinda worked. I swapped it out from a 250 degree model to a 220 F model and now it works very well.

We tapped a hole in the chill plate and ran some threads in it. Screwed in the sensor. You have to ground the chill plate. And you connect the green wire in the engine bay to the sensor. Incredibly, the center of the gage is 75C. At 85C, which is when our controller goes into current limit, shows about 3/4 gage. At normal 45-55C, it is at the bottom. I am just delighted.

In this episode of the video, we tried the EVWORKS fuel gage driver. I didn’t see much how this thing could work for us. And initially, it sure enough didn’t. But we played around with it and did get it to move the needle. The problem was that it was moving it BACKWARDS. When the car was fully charged, the gage showed empty. And as you drove the car, it moved toward full. Interesting, but hardly useful.

We reversed polarity of the hall effect sensor, thinking we could charge to full, and discharge to empty that way. Good thinking, but it didn’t appear to work.

Well, we don’t call it part DUH for nothing. DUH. We had it on the 2/0 cable to the rear of the car that does in fact drive it. But the charge cable connects to the negative terminal block at the same place the cable does. We were charging AROUND the device. When we the smaller charging wire back through the sensor, IT WORKED!

It’s a little bizarre and this product needs some further work, but I’m astounded. The parts count on it is nothing. And it more or less accurately drives our fuel gage.

Here’s the problem. You have to fully DISCHARGE the car. Then flip off the maintenance switch and back on to reset the fuel gage driver. Then charge the car. It will read full when you get done charging. Then as you drive, it moves toward empty.

And here’s the other problem. If you shut off the maintenance switch to do like, maintenance for example, you’ve just reset the fuel gage driver and have to go over the entire tedious procedure again. NOT what I want actually. But it is very neat that this thing does sorta/kinda drive this old style gage.

I’m attaching the latest version of our Control and Instrumentation schematic.

Eric Kriss has received his Porsche Speedster kit from Special Editions and is starting a project. Kriss played piano on a Grammy-nominated blues album, later founded a record company and still later co-founded private investment firm Bain Capital. He also started a healthcare company, directed the financial rehabilitation of two Massachusetts cities and, under then-Gov. Mitt Romney, helped balance the state budget and restructured its turnpike administration after a tunnel roof collapse.

But you can find what he’s REALLY about at He’s a veteran kit car guy with a Cobra and a Saab Sonnet done and done. This will be his first electric.

Eric is also the guy who posted our index to the shows if I don’t disremember this all correctly.


Jack Rickard

22 thoughts on “The Quiet Drive”

  1. Hi Jack et al.

    Based upon your experience with the terminal and busbar, I have decided to try the Nord-Lock locker ( I will be using the NL8sp. I will still have to check the torque on the connection, but I do not hope to minimize the need. The price was about $0.5 for each locker.
    I am going to make the switch from the lead acid battery (96V/180Ah) to the TS-90AHA (102V/180Ah) this week-end 🙂


  2. I like the NordLock as well. Took a bit of searching, but I found the video. Very informative. Double nuts are way better than nylock. I would not have guessed that. I’m awaiting delivery of a pack of TS160’s, and I’ll probably give these a go when I assemble the pack if I can source them.

  3. Jack, I’d prefer to email you personally for this because I’d rather it not be out here in public as it will be, but, I cannot seem to find a way to go about that on the site. So, that said, as a new and now probably regular viewer of your show, [I found you through Neil Young] may I please make a request to the producer?

    Please don’t stereo seperate your and Brian’s microphones. I believe you should pan them flat center. I’m a sound engineer and it’s, in my opinion, confusing, because the stereo seperation you have is not balanced. It sounds fine until Brian talks and then he is obviously out in the far left stratosphere. (Unless that’s by design. Which I doubt because when he says something, other than agreeing with you, it’s good and worth being heard well.) Or when you turn your head to Brian to speak to him directly, suddenly you’re moving across the L/R spectrum in a bizarre and unnatural way being his mic is suddenly picking you up. I know this is picky shit but, still, would you take it into consideration to center all the mics? Please?

    You seem to be a guy that says it like it is with no bullshit and so am I. Hence, my message to you.

    I believe in what you’re doing and dig the show. I know I may be hypersensitive to such things but at the same time, I’d rather not see other new viewers get here and have a PC where the right channel isn’t working and cannot hear YOU at all. See?

    Grazie and Logic…

    Jeff Archer Black
    The BZT Weekly
    Milwaukee Wisconsin

  4. I just contacted my local representative through the form on their web site. He phoned me, the next day. He was very nice to talk to and together we decided to skip the stainless stell type – the stainless steel type is about 4 times the cost… Not that it matters much on a $180,- cell.
    I was not very happy to use the stainless stell together with the copper and aluminium and I am now cetain that I will use zinc plated steel bolts and washers together with noalox on all the electrical connections between the cells.
    The cells are being mounted tomorrow 🙂


  5. The old school lead acid EV guys recommend Bellevue washers. They can be found at That is of course McMaster-Carr. Bellevue washers can withstand heating and cooling while maintaining a tight connection. Other fasteners can loosen with repetitive expansion and contraction.

    Brad Lindberg

  6. Can se the NordLock type is named Wedge Lock on the McMaster’s website.

    Got the batteries in – was done in about 14 hours… Still missing the TBS Expert Pro and reprogramming of the charger – but that will have to wait a couple of hours… 00:59 AM here…


  7. Jack,

    regarding your problem with your fuel gauge and the EVWorks Amp/h counter: I assume that your fuel gauge is just a volt meter (0V means empty and +12V means full), correct? If so, you should be able to fix the polarity issue be connecting the output of the EVWorks device to the side which is connected to ground and the other side of the fuel gauge to +12V.

    So instead of:

    0V — [- Fuel Gauge +] — EVWorks output

    you connect like:

    EVWorks output — [ – Fuel Gauge + ] — +12V

    Please try only if you are sure that the gauge is measuring voltage and not current…


    BTW: I am not working for any OEM ;). I live — as you somehow figured out — in Minneapolis, MN and work as a research scientist for a semiconductor company in St. Louis, MO

  8. Markus:

    I believe it IS a current device. Little coils and a magnet. 12v comes into terminal 1 and OUT terminal 2 after going through a coil. Terminal 2 goest to a pot wiper with a float on it. Terminal 3 is ground. Probably a SECOND coil between 2 and 3. Kind of archaic which of course is the problem.

    We DID get it working this week, all upside down and backwards of course, but it works.

    Jack Rickard

  9. Hi Jack,

    The Nord lock prevents loosening of the bolts from “vibration & dynamic loads”, but from what you were saying, the TS bolts got loose because of repeated heating & cooling.

    John M.

  10. Jack,

    If you are willing to take a few measurements on the EVWorks device and on the existing fuel gauge setup, I am quite confident that we can figure out a way to get it working as intended.

    First try to figure out what the EVWorks device outputs: current – or voltage and what range from empty to full? I expect that you should be able to get this information from the manual or from the manufacturer. If it is a voltage output, it would be good to know what kind of current it can provide for both sourcing and sinking.

    Then I would try to measure what the original setup receives from the pot, e.g. voltage between terminal 2 and ground as well as current into terminal 2 while moving the pot wiper from empty position to the full position. From the information from here ( I would guess that you should read a voltage close to 12V for a full tank and something below 1V for an empty tank.


  11. Jack, thanks for posting your user’s manual, that is great stuff. More EV folks should do stuff like that.

    Here are some little things I found to fix:

    130 mph — that was a dyno speed but it looks like a road speed in the document. Suggest saying “over 100 mph” or whatever the car can do instead.

    60/40 rear/front –> 40/60 front/rear (the order car magazines usually use)

    “Motor RPM” as a horizontal axis isn’t right — you don’t have four torque peaks for the motor itself — I assume that’s dyno rpm? Suggest just leaving those out and just use the mph graphs.

    Combution –> combustion

    I’d add parking in neutral — that makes it less likely someone would unexpectedly take off in gear, and also less likely the car would get towed in gear.

  12. Hi Jack !

    After looking at your video about the terminal connections, I watched the Nordlock video too, and since I already know a little about them I decided to buy a set for the pack. But I would like to give this terminal part a real go and try to find out how tight I should tighten them. I use the TS LFP 160 cells with M8 terminals. How many ftlbs or nm do you tighten them to on the speedster.
    BTW the NordLock washers are produced just about 30miles from where I live.

    Best Regards

  13. Per:

    I just tighten them by hand. When we looked at it a year or two ago, I think about 38 in-lbs. But I just use a short handle 3/8 drive and put it as tight as I can get it. THe short handle keeps me from hurting them.

    Jack Rickard

  14. Like your stuff,
    But the graphs are all wrong.
    Torque in 1st cannot be lower than the other gears. It should be much higher.
    The other graphs are also problematic.
    something is amiss…
    Couldn’t be motor rpm. The motor doesn’t suddenly top out at 1500rpm just cause it’s in 1st. It has to be mph.


  15. Hey Jack you may have solved this problem long ago but then again you may have not. The current sensor device you were using only measures current in one direction. It won’t measure both ways. It is essentially a toroid with a hall effect sensor spliced in the loop. All you needed to do was to turn it around so the current flowed the opposite way… once empty then you would need to reset it to full because charging would reverse the current and it won’t measure both directions. You would need two devices if you wanted to measure both discharge and charge.

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