Running a little late this week. I’m just now putting up the blog with the March 11 show – while the March 18 show is rendering.
First, the test bench failure was not what it seemed. We thought we had blown up the new TCI 4L80E transmission. Turns out, it was a much simpler and MUCH less expensive cause – the generator rectifier.
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This was a very inexpensive Chinese version of a 3-phase rectifier that sits on top of the generator. It converts the 3-phase AC output of the generator to DC so the output can be sent back to the battery pack.
A couple of interesting things about this. With this working properly, unfortunately it doesn’t put much of a load on our motor and transmission at low rpms. You have to be up to nearly 2000 rpm before it starts putting much in the way of power in the batteries.
If you short the output, it puts a LOT of load on the system right now and starting at 1 rpm. If you blow up a cheap Chinese rectifier, that appears to be what happens.
This is the first show with our decals and commercial spot for our new sponsor, Winston Battery Company Ltd. So I’m pretty excited about all that. The concept of an internet distributed weekly show is still pretty bleeding edge at this point, and we knew it would take some doing to present it as a viable advertising medium. As the viewership builds and the focus sharpens, the value proposition improves – pretty much as we knew it would. Still, it’s nice to be turning the corner.
After a few off the cuff remarks about a convention “sometime” and having 20 or 30 viewers in for a bit of a school, we finally did announce it. So two weeks in play, we have about 25 registered and several speakers already signed up. Speakers include:
George Hamstra – Netgain Motors
Sebastien Bourgois – EVnetics
Dennis Doerffel – REAP systems
Bill Ritchie – High Performance Electric Vehicle Systems
Wayne Alexander – EVBlue Conversions
And we have about 8 cars coming already. So it is kind of morphing from a shop tour with some barbecue and classes into a full blown ISPCON style convention. I don’t really feel like we’re driving this. It must have been a pregnant idea with a growing community of custom electric car guys wanting a collective annual campfire. We’ll all hold hands and sing Kumbaya.
I used to do this, and it’s kind of a dynamic progression on these show things. If I had to guess “where we are at the moment” I’d be renting chairs for about 140-160. But that’s all subject to change. It’s kind of put me in show mode, as I say, I did these for nine years in a past life. That kind of gets the head whirling as to what can be piled on the campfire that will burn.
The result has been a couple of celebrity invitations we have out at the moment. Until I receive confirmations, it’s kind of secret sauce stuff. But the targets of opportunity to expand this concept are coming up twice a day now. It’s got the juices flowing.
I had thought facilities might be a problem. Brian reminded me I have an 18,000 foot hangar about six miles away. I’ve been so focused on electric cars and the show, I hardly fly any more. But yeah, we can probably handle just about any number without having to do too much in the way of facilities. We did actually host a Republican gathering of some sort several years ago with Dick Cheney and a couple of senators and congressmen here. It decorates up very nicely actually.
We also received a couple of Garrett Turbochargers from XSTURBOS this past week. XSTURBOS actually modifies these by pulling the exhaust drive turbine and replacing it with a small electric motor to provide an electric supercharger for almost any automobile. As it turns out, we don’t need a supercharger for our engine. But we do have two electric motors that lack internal fans. And as it turns out further, these Garrett’s fit PERFECTLY over the 2-inch intake ducts Mr. Husted provided us.
Amazingly the two intake ducts turned out to be so poorly made and of such thin material, one came apart in my hands before ever installing the superchargers now cooling fans. Mr Hauber is busy now fabricating replacements of somewhat stouter aluminum construction.
We also got the TCI transmission programmable controller up and running and are able to controll the transmission on the test bench quite nicely. Mr. Hauber also crafted a bit of a brace for the transmission drive end. With the replaced rectifier, the bench is running very smoothly now. We do up to 2000 rpm with nary a wobble or whimper now. And a couple of buttons on the panel allow us to upshift or downshift the transmission at ease.
EVnetics addressed a couple of our complaints. On the RPM discrepency, they had us remove two of the set screws on the RechargeCar magnetic pickup, dropping from four pulses to two. Of course, we had to change settings in the controllers, the tachometer, and the transmission, but it worked.
The other complaint was that you had to blip the throttle to get idle to engage. As it turns out, there is an undocumented feature of the Soliton1 that allows you to use the start signal from the vehicle starter motor to initiate idle. Very tres cool. Again, this Soliton1 appears to have the richest, and indeed the ONLY controller feature set I’m aware of to really deal with an automatic transmission.