Charges and Counter Charges in the land of the Swallow

Some are spitters. Some are swallowers.

This week, we send the Cadillac Elescalade over to Slingblade for a brake conversion. This will allow us to use the excellent power brakes on this vehicle WITHOUT having to deal with simulating engine vacuum. Muc of GM’s truck line of course features diesel engines and they rather fail to produce sufficient manifold vacuum to run such auxiliary devices. The Elescalade already has a hydraulic pressure pump to run the power steering. By replacing the brake pack with the hydroboost version used on the diesels, and swapping out this pump for an identical one with a few more ports, we can run both brakes and steering off the same pump AND keep everything completely stock in a sense. All parts readily available and recognizable. We’ve already made provisions to mount this pump on the aux shaft of our electric motor pack.

Meanwhile, Lee Morehead of Denton Texas visited at the 2011 Electric Vehicle Conversion Convention. He brought a vehicle, purportedly just needing a new battery set, he called a Swallow. Originally designed

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by Bill Bishoprick of Salem Oregon, this is a very lightweight vehicle based on a 1968 VW beetle, with a custom body reminiscent of a Jaguar. In 1922, Wilson Lyons founded the Swallow Sidecar Company to make motorcycle sidecars. That grew into Jaguar and Bishoprick then named the car after them.

Originally 1650 lbs with 523 lbs of Optima Yellow Tops, the vehicle got a scant 30 miles range. We’re going to replace all that with 253 lbs of China Aviation Lithium Battery Company 100 Ah cells bringing the curb weight down to just over 1400 lbs.

That was the original scope of the project. Unfortunately, we’ve gotten a bit into it and found a bad clutch cylinder, some very bad connections between the rear suspension and the pan, and a seized motor.

So we’re going to upgrade the motor and controller to an HPEVS AC-50 and Curtis 1238-7601. We’ll put in an Elcon charger to charge the cells. A brake line pressure transducer to manage the regenerative braking, and a set of Bridgestone Ecopia LLR tires to replace the low profile Toyos.

The result should be a very lightweight, slightly overpowered but balanced fair-weather vehicle. I think we’ll be up in the 80 mile range even using 100AH cells. Lee originally wanted to stuff it with 180Ah cells. We just couldn’t’ figure a good way to get them all in there, and it would have brought us back up to about the original weight, which we think was a touch bloated. With some new seat work, we think we’ll be at 1500 lbs or less and very sprightly. The car is destined for use by Lee’s daughter.

Meanwhile, we have had a bit of a development in the land of chargers. This has been a pernicious problem since we first started converting cars.

Our first charger was a Brusa NLG-511 or 513. It is really pretty good at 3000 watts because it is endlessly configurable. You can set up multiple stages and have them cycle on time, amp hours, current level, voltage, really almost anything. It’s quite good at measuring voltage and current.

Unfortunately, it comes from Switzerland – no support at all. If you burn one up you get to keep all the charred remains. And with the Euro exchange rate, they reached $4000 each. I was 26 years old before I owned a car that cost over $4000. Much less a charger.

One of the staples of the EV world has been Manzanita. This is a non-isolated charger. You CAN configure the CC/CV voltage but its not very accurate and the point moves around with the current level. You “tweak” this with a kind of blind pot. And the termination is actually done by clock. It’s really not designed for LiFePo4 cells. It can be made to work, but you have to do it carefully and it’s a bit tricky. They have an add on Rudman Regulator that serves as a BMS and controls this and there have been a number of “incidents” involving fires related to this combination.

They are also a bit pricey with a 30 amp version starting at about $2400 and the big 75 amp model going for $4750. A lot more power per dollar at the expense of configuration and control.

DeltaQ makes a lot of the chargers for neighborhood electric vehicles like the GEM and THINK and so forth. Because of liability issues, they simple will not sell or configure any of their chargers for EV conversions. And they complain bitterly that the Chinese firm Elcon has ripped off their design.

If so, Elcon has presented designs with much more useful and higher voltages than DeltaQ, and it must be pointed out that the reason they were available to be ripped off is DeltaQ was having theirs manufactured in China. This is kind of a double edges sword faced by many companies. You can have your electronics product made in China at much less expense than in America. But when you do so, you often find remarkably similar products showing up to compete with you, with remarkably similar designs, and often a few improvements to boot.

The Elcon is the low priced leader. We can get a 3000 watt version for about $900. We got a 5000 watt version for the Cobra delivered in one week. They will load up to 10 “charge curves” into the machine for you and you do have the ability to pick from these 10 curves. This gives you a little bit of a selection of voltages. And they work well and reliably. But if you change your battery pack or car very much, you are stuck with a charger that just no longer works.

In September 2009, Simon Raferty, a UK engineer started a thread on DIYelectric on a $200 build it yourself charger. This thread has now spanned two years and about 50 pages of comments – one of the more popularly read threads on the service. In it, he describes a simple buck circuit controlled by an Arduino.

The Arduino is an Italian open source project to make a small board with an Atmel multi controller on it. They added an IDE and programming language to it and a USB port so anyone could easily program these in C++ on a PC. They have produced millions of these and it has given rise to a stunning open source community involved in home automation.

Rafferty adapted the Arduino as a controller to switch a pair of IGBTS’s to make a functional buck circuit that could charge at 320v and below to any voltage and current desired.

Enter Valery Miftakhov. Miftakhov sports a Phd in Physics from Princeton and has developed an interest in the EV world. He’s started a conversion shop called Electric Motor Werks to convert BMW’s to electric drive. But he was a little put off by the state of some of the components, and chargers rather immediately fell to view. And so he has set out to “productize” this open source charger system. He has further refined the design and published layouts for printed circuit boards, parts lists, schematics, etc. He sells a kit of components for $849. And he’ll even assemble one for you for $1849.

The unit is ENTIRELY configurable, better it is also entirely PROGRAMMABLE if you care to play Arduino, and it will pump out 10kw of power.

Developing such things is actually non-trivial. This week, we test the THIRD version of this we have received, and note that it still has a lot of things hanging on the outside that should be hanging on the inside. But we tried it on Speedster Redux and its’ 192v pack and the device worked superbly. The CC/CV switch was accurate and the termination at 9 amperes was spot on. It is reasonably easy to configure. And it was doing over 8000 watts. I think we could have specified a higher power level yet.

Given the product liability issues with chargers, this may be the way to go. Open source charger projects you can build yourself inexpensively, or of course get some one to build for you for a fee. You kind of have to assume the liability, which you really always did anyway.

Finally, we have located a reasonably priced source for A123 cells. These 20 Ah LiFePo4 pouch cells are mildly interesting. They are high power cells capable of 20C outputs and more. This opens the window to small battery backs and LESS range, but still able to deliver the current levels required for high performance.

It’s kind of theoretical, and we intend to approach it with a bit of caution. But we’re playing around with five cell 100Ah modules and we were charging such a battery at 100 amps. I got involved in a fascinating phone call with Bill Ritchie of HPEVS about their “Secret stuff” coming spring of 2012 and how that might play with an 818 World Car build from Factory Five Racing. In an Alzheimer’s moment, I kind of forgot the batteries.

Brain noticed them when the smoke started billowing out of the battery lab. We used the occasion to do a real world test of a new Kidde ABC fire extinguisher that uses a yellow chemical retardant powder. I was impressed.

Reiterating one more time. If you overcharge these cells, they will cause a very hot fire. Fortunately we were HERE to stop it. They weren’t enclosed but perched on top of a plastic box. They burned through the box and dropped into it, where they were struggling for oxygen. We’re probably going to replace the box and put about a foot of water in it. In this way, future battery fires would burn through the lid,and drop into the water automatically starting the fire and automatically extinguishing it in one smooth motion. I can then just phone in or text in my part in all this.

The interesting thing going on here is that A123 will not sell to us directly. They DO sell through a company called Mavezin who supplies components for electric motorcycles. They quoted us a price of $65 each for these 20 Ah “prismatic” cells. That’s 3x the rate of our current batteries thank you.

OSN Power sold us 16 of these at $50 each. But we recently found a source at a much lower price and OSN has lowered their price commensurately. We bought 36 cells at $30 each and they quoted $23.80 in quantity 600. You can get lower yet if you want 2000 of them. And that starts to get down to the going rate for LiFePo4 cells anyway.

What remains is that you have to do your own packaging. Our initial tests indicate some minor heating around the terminals that could become problematic at VERY high current levels. The essential demand for a good Battery Management System appears to be just as valid as it is for the Chinese prismatics – that is not at all. And so we are looking at module designs that would be light weight, volumetrically of advantage, and inexpensive. This is not an area where we excel and any number of our viewers might do better at this than we do.

I’m playing with cast epoxy resin “tops” that host the cell tabs and clamp them using lightweight copper bars/sheet. Once a mold was perfected for this, they could be produced much less expensively I would think than with CNC machined plastic. But I don’t know. We may try to design some sort of design contest for this project. If you have any suggestions for how that might work.

This is a VERY interesting development. And timely. Thundersky appears to be self cratering. Sinopoly has not apparently sold ANYONE we know any battery cells. We have received notice from Winston Battery that they will no longer market cells in the U.S. and that this will be taken over by their U.S. agent Balqon. Balqon assures all callers they must purchase a Balqon BMS and in any event cells will be 60 days to delivery with full payment required up front. This leaves CALB about our only source for Chinese prismatic cells.

Meanwhile, despite their obstinate reluctance to sell us cells, A123 is losing oxygen fast. The problem is Fisker Automotive. Fisker is just not ramping up their car sales per plan and so inventories of A123 cells are stacking up. Fisker blames it on floods and bad leather shipments and all manner of things in classic GM fashion. But it would appear that their car gets somewhere between 30 and 50 miles of electric range, and after the gasoline kicks in it is 20 mpg and spewing carbon in all directions – all for $95K. Becoming available pretty much in the same time frame as Tesla’s $77K all electric with 300 mile range. And so Fisker is more or less DOA without drastic action.

The A123 cells are actually manufactured in Korea. The manufacturer has their own agenda. And now Chinese traders have picked up the line from Korea and are selling the cells. And they have their own agenda. Methinks A123 is losing control of their design. I think they’ll quickly find their price at about $1 Ah where everything else is, perhaps slightly below given the expense of putting them in modules.

We should at least examine the possibility of using these cells as an option. I don’t know at this point if they are Chinese, Korean, or from Framinham Massachusettes. Increasingly, it doesn’t matter. But it is some work to use them in a car safely. Maybe a plastic battery box with water in the bottom…..

134 thoughts on “Charges and Counter Charges in the land of the Swallow”

  1. I have used a modified version of Simon’s charger design for over a year now both on agm and lifepo4 without a single problem. Always hits the cv point within 0.5v and never once has it crashed or overcharged the pack. Valery’s efforts have really brought it a long way. I have just recently completed a liquid cooled version and begun testing. Ran it into a 15kw load made from fan oven elements and the thing barely warmed up! Just this weekend I have a software mod working for interpreting the J1772/iec61851 pilot signal and the charger can now scale its power dependent on the evse capability. Next year i’m going to build a 3 phase version! All in I can say its a great system and is only getting batter.

    Damien Maguire

  2. Long term I’m actually picturing this as a fast charger. Basically replace the AC input with DC input direct using a mother lode battery bank. I would invert it a bit to be a BOOST circuit instead of a buck, which isn’t really much of a change actually, so that I could step UP a 96 v battery pack to as high as necessary. Maybe even buck boost to go both directions.

    In any event, use 600A IGBTs and hopefully we could charge at 300 amps and full pack voltage – at least until we got up to voltage / 80%. And then intelligently charge from there tapering off normally. A kind of super charger.

    If THAT was in the car, we can move the AC rectification to the garage. When out, charge on fast charge. When in, hook up to rectifier.

    I would really like to use the coils in the motor as the storage coil as well.


  3. If you look closer to the schematics of such a
    charger based on IGBTs, actual motor controllers
    and classic inverters for Industial use, You will see, that all is very similar, especially
    when the voltage goes towards 350V DC,
    that is about the voltage you get when You
    rectify 220V AC. (even on three phases)
    There is a little computer that can already measure voltage and current in the system,
    there is everything to drive the IGBTs
    there are strong IGBTs with isolated drivers, everything is connected to the batteries….
    So, why shouldnt we use a slightly improved controller for charging AND for driving??????
    Just connect batteries and the Motor,
    12V for activation and a cable to the
    power-plug for charging. The throttle
    might also be already integrated
    I am waiting for such an integrated system,
    and i think it will be on market soon!

  4. Thanks again Jack for the work you are doing on my car! When you did the hard cut to the “naked” Swallow I almost had a cow :)…I would have been in so far over my head on this one. I am really looking forward to the finished product. Think it will be one sweet ride!

  5. Charging LiFePO4 cells are part of testing can be slow and boring, which makes getting caught up in a distraction all to easy. I wanted to share something I do to prevent destruction by distraction. I bought an inexpensive kitchen timer that is small enough to fit in my shirt pocket and I keep it in the garage. If I am going to leave the garage while test charging I will set the timer for a reasonable amount of time and put it in my pocket before stepping out. Sometimes I even use it while I’m in the garage.

  6. Mark:

    Had ou watched our earlier videos, we worked with current ways for nearly six months and devoted a couple of dozen hours to this charger and write-ups for them of all the problems with their software, hardware, voltage measurement, wiring identification, etc. This charger is just not ready for prime time. Started to get a bit of an attitude from one of their guys over a CANbus adapter he claimed was just not upt to par and causing me problems. What he didn’t realize was they had provided it. The project had gone on so long the players and the pieces were being forgotten. He decided the problem was MY CANbus adapter – he’d sent it a month or so previously. THAT was the end for me. And it was $2896 – well over half a Brusa I’m afraid for 3000watts. Worse, it couldn’t’ measure a voltage and get it right before the third try.


  7. Lee:

    It will be one sweet ride by the time it leaves, because we kind of mess with them every day until they are. But there are some mechanical issues. Actually quite a few. Fortunately, on a VW that amounts to no great expense, it’s just annoying.

    Should have batteries this week, boxes next week, and hopefully a motor and controller at some point. I think the tires get mounted tomorrow and will change the look from “kiddy car” to actual machine instantly. I think we can wind up with a 1500 lb screamer.

    Jack Rickard

  8. Jack,

    Use your iPhone Alarm to help you remember your charging batteries in the back 40. It will safe a pile of batteries if you do. I use my iPhone alarm to tell me when it’s time to check the charger. Never let me down yet.

    Pete 🙂

    Did not need that Nuke video on this video. You had your own mushroom cloud this time. 🙂

  9. Jack, You mentioned that the rear shock tower was broken. I think that got edited out from the video as you never showed it but spoke of it. Brian asked if anyone knew how to repair it but with out a picture it would be kinda hard to help.

  10. As soon as I heard about that charger I checked it out. It is a clever piece of engineering if you’re willing to make a few sacrifices. I ruled it out because it does not have a universal input. It will only work on 220VAC if your pack is above about 120-130 VDC you can’t run it on the 120VAC.

    Regarding the fire depicted at the beginning of the Nov. 18 news video. It may be worth it to invest in a smoke detector and have it hooked up as an interlock that will cut off the power to your experiment. Although by the time the smoke is detected it may to late to stop a catastrophic fire.

  11. Maybe, one should ask someone who
    is constructing inverters for welding
    than someone who makes “normal”
    power supplies when demanding
    200A at 150V 😉
    I think it is a little bit dangerous to
    take 200A almost direct from the
    normal power net…..
    Of course, there will be a lot of current
    if You take a strong switch (IGBT)
    and make almost a shortcut with it.
    If that is all You want, then it works fine!
    But i dont want to explain my power supplier,
    where all the electric disturbances come from!

    another tip:
    Take some strong inverter for large
    industrial motors and play with it.
    There is at least some filter etc.
    at the rectifier.If You give the same
    or better three different PWM signals to
    the IGBT and charge your pack with all three
    phases together there will be at least
    less disturbance.

  12. Lee:

    Yes there was a bit of unusable video that was supposed to show this. The shock towers are fine. Where the left one joins the VW PAN is actually broken and the right one is cracked. This kind of allows the whole ass end of the car to go out of alignment. We’ll try to come up with something to reattach it to the pan outboard.

    It is of course connected to the center section with support braces and so forth. But for some reason, it has flexed the outside links and broken one completely and cracked the other one.

    Jack Rickard

  13. The problem with the buck regulator is its output voltage can not be more than the input. As your pack voltage rises toward and above the voltage available from the rectifier/capacitor there is less and less current available. With a 144v pack you may only get a couple of amps of current. Forget about charging the 190VDC pack in the speedster redux from 110VAC.

    Now if they can develop a SEPIC (aka buck/boost) regulator for this charger you can have a universal input (90-250VAC @ 47-400Hz). And quite possibly use DC as your power source. A great example would be you charge a fixed battery bank with your solar panels then when you get home you quite literally fill your electric car up on sunshine. Especially useful if you have an off grid power system.

  14. Another great show, Jack & Brian.

    I’m surprised the diode bridge police hasn’t come out in full force. Jack did say it was “close enough” and overall, excellent presentation on this 123(mins):45(secs) video.

    Jack, you’re throwing bones about the new 144V Curtis kit. Any better ETA date yet?


  15. I’m impressed with that charger.
    Thank you Jack ‘n team for highlighting this end of the ‘hobby’.

    The lack of structural bones on that car I think will be problematic. What really bothers me a lot more are those wings, with no cast iron lump in the front of the car to hold them down. I’m sure if you test them for lift you too will find them scary.


  16. “The shock towers are fine. Where the left one joins the VW PAN is actually broken and the right one is cracked.”

    Whoa, are you reporting that the cast steel shock tower has broken free from the end of the rear torsion housing? I have never experienced such a failure, on my buggy the top of the rear shock towers (the shock bolts) actually support the rear of the body. I’m looking over the show and as far as I can see the rear shocks are in the correct location so I’m a little lost. If the towers are breaking free I suppose a professional could reweld them.

    It would be great if even some still photos could be posted. I’ve owned and driven the old air cooled Beetles since I was 15 years old. I’ve strung these cars all across my garage and put them back together. I would love to at least try at an explanation.

  17. OMG the Swallow is exactly the project I wanted to see! I’d been considering a Beetle for some time now, but the lack of aerodynamics has always made me hesitant. A fiberglass body like that is the perfect solution. And LIGHT! A small battery back with an AC-50, just as I was picturing for the 818.

    @Lee Morehead
    Would you be willing to show the Swallow off to a fellow North Texan when you get it back?

  18. I like the idea of a light weight craft. I also like that you don’t try to pile it full of batteries and negate the lightness. should be interesting to see some efficiency numbers on it.
    I don’t think it can be considered aerodynamic though. that windshield is an airbrake and too many open surfaces but perhaps not disastrous and the low weight will work for it at lower speeds.

    I also like the DIY charger idea. or perhaps not the DIY part as much as open source low price. I don’t care for his execution though, particularly the large IGBT and capacitors. it’s a 400A IGBT… and in module form which typically costs 10x more than discretes.
    it’s an old IGBT but the price is about 350$ and 2-3 modern IGBTs at 3-5$ each could beat it.
    similarly I wouldn’t use sodacan sized caps.

    it’s quite right that a charger is a serious piece in an EV because a failure is super costly, even deadly. but aside from that a 7kW charger could be done for less than 100$ parts

  19. As Spock would say… “Fascinating…”

    Have you figured out what the A123’s were doing when they blew up? Was it end of charge over-voltage that caused the cell to break down or was it purely too many Amperes going through it during bulk charge? What was the target (open circuit) Voltage you’d dialled into your charger? How many Amps was it reading when you walked away?

    So can A123 (or Winston) cells blow up if you leave them on a charger at ANY Voltage above the the nominal cell rating? Even if the cell never gets to 3.60V? Or do they have to hit “the wall” and go above 4.2V to blow up?

    My solar charger can do CC/CV accurately (it has separate Voltage sense wires to the pack that carry no current) but it only has programmable timers to flip out of the lead acid “absorption” CV stage to a lower “float” CV stage. That is, it can’t terminate charge at a given current set point. It would also be impossible to use as the PV has to drive loads at the same time as charging the battery bank. So “charge current” as read by the charger has no meaning.

    If I use a “float” voltage below the nominal cell Voltage would that be a sufficient “stop” on charging? It can also wind down the CV set points based on a remote temperature sensor, so if a cell is getting hot it will back off the target Voltage.

    The alternative is charging the cells suspended in a big vat of water – like nuclear fuel rods 😀

  20. While I’m sure my Gizmo isn’t the most efficient EV around it uses 150-155Wh/mi at 50mph. I have 40 TS-LFT100AHA cells in its pack which is 12.8kWh using 3.2V as the nominal voltage. Even at 150Wh/mi that translates to only 85mi to empty. Do you really see the Swallow only using 120Wh/mi on average to get 100mi? FWIW, my Gizmo has a weight of 829lbs empty.

    David D. Nelson

  21. What the A123’s were doing when they blew up: they were being overcharged. I had five of them in parallel for 100AH, charging at 100 amps, and went to the other room for something or other. Got in a conversation, decided to make a telephone call, got excited about that, and wound up with a lot of smoke.

    No, as you add current at the end, the voltage goes well beyond 5v and higher and they do go up in flames. Same as the other LiFePo4 prismatics.

    The shock tower. No, picture the front of the torsion tube. A little welded on clip that attaches it to the VW floor pan at the outside edge. That tab is broken on one side, and cracked on the other. The shock tower is fine and connects to the torsion tube fine. Neither are connected to the CAR.


  22. hAndy J, the link was missing an I at the end. and that is a capacitive charger. a different circuit type than the buck charger. that one needs big capacitance which is its weakness.

    btw Jack, the circuit you showed on the show was more like a synchronous rectification version of a buck. normally a buck has only one transistor, the top one. the other is a diode.
    Valery’s circuit diagram may have mislead you because he uses a halfbridge but you’ll notice he just uses the diode part of the second transistor.
    sync rect doesn’t make sense with IGBTs either because diodes have lower loss than IGBTs. but with FETs it can make sense to use synchronous rectification.

  23. Yeh the capacitive charger is an interesting little experiment. Not practical in the real sense but fun to see it actually work. Open source and diy are very important parts of ev conversion. Without them and the people associated , I would be driving around with a 48v altrax and a lester charger. Not much fun.

    Thanks Jack for doing a segment on the charger. The repetitive aspect also applies to these projects. I’m just finishing off the liquid cooled build but already thinking of several improvements for the next version.

    The fast charger is an important aspect. One of the main reasons i’ve built this new version is to take advantage of the high power 3 phase on street evse being installed here in Ireland.

    Lots of things could be done differently. If anyone has ideas or suggestions then please join in on the build thread and pick up a screwdriver!.

    Damien Maguire

  24. @ Damien

    I like (and watch) Your videos since i
    found them long time ago.
    Not everybody should “try it at home”
    but there is such a lot one can learn
    from Your experiments.

    I like especially the capacitive charger!
    If there are more “lines” with different
    power (2A 4A 8A 16A 32A……) even
    regulation is possible (binary coded
    by electronic relais)


  25. Thanks for your kind words Franz. Glad you find the videos useful. Though how much can be learned from a dumb mick with a speech impedement and a $50 camcorder is debatable:)

    Slightly off topic. Jack , what is your thinking or findings on temperature compensation for lifepo4 charging? In particular below freezing? Just asking now as i have the chance to implement it in the charger.


  26. You’re right this time Dan, Sorry 😛

    Damien you are not dumb! I was chatting about you over a beer with Tim of the BVS just last week. You know what beer is like….

    We considered maybe popping over to visit you in Guinessland some day. Drive over (electric) via ferry of course, take some photo’s and maybe do a bit of a write-up for the magazine.

    No pressure. :))

  27. In general, we have done nothing on temperature compensation when charging. There are differences, but generally small.

    I do have an increasing concern about charging AT ALL below 0C. ALL the LiFePo4 spec sheets have very gradually taken this on that you can OPERATE the cells down to -30C, but charging to 0C. Well 0C is just freezing here 32F and we have a LOT of weather below 32.

    As the Elescalade is going to be an all weather electric ride, and particularly for the winter, we have made provisions to heat the battery box. It is enclosed in the bed anyway, but we are going to heat it with the heater and indeed have an AC heater that runs off the charger input to heat the glycol and run the pump overnight. This will be a very LOW level heater of about 200 watts, as it will be on overnight.


  28. “A little welded on clip that attaches it to the VW floor pan at the outside edge. That tab is broken on one side, and cracked on the other.”

    I just spend a 20 minutes staring at those hooks, as I call them, trying to figure out how they could break, how they could be fixed, and how to prevent this.

    It seems as if the sheet metal floor pan, and the rear bulkhead that supports it (the hook attaches too that), have been carrying a lot of weight. There are already problems with cracking when you put a fiberglass body on the Bug pan because the sheet metal floors are quite flexible and a fiberglass body is pretty flexible, but the front and rear floor bulkheads are not flexible. I weld up some cracking in the sheet metal floor, originating in the front and rear corners, every few years. I have left the front and rear body to floor bolts out to spread the flex out.

    Fixing these hooks will be kind of a pain. If they are broken near the torsion housing you will need to pull the spring plates because there is a rubber support bushing under the torsion housing cap and another behind the spring plate. With the rubber out and the body off it is a simple welding matter.

    The best way I see to prevent this from returning is to use the one or more fastening points on the torsion housing or shock tower. The trick will be figuring out how to make a bracket from the body to one of those mounts on each side. There is a single threaded hole right on top of the torsion housing, perhaps something can be bolted to the body to pick that up or even something from the floors up to that mount to reinforce them. I have my buggy supported off the shock towers with brackets attaching to the body under the back seat.

  29. GreenEv, I’m not sure what move you are referring to but do you mean why use IGBTs at all instead of FETs?
    basically FETs are more efficient at say below 200V and IGBTs can comfortably go into thousands of volts. plus IGBTs are a bit cheaper for the power so that shifts the point where you might want to go with IGBTs instead of FETs.

    Otmar chose IGBTs for his 156V controllers.

    a FET is sort of resistive and can get close to zero resistance but for higher voltage ratings that resistance rises fast. IGBT is like a diode with a voltage drop of say 1.5V that is wasted. out of 600V that’s not much but out of 36V it’s significant.

    if you have a light car, say the Swallow, and you pick a high system voltage say 450V, you could actually power the entire car from a single 3$ thumbnail size IGBT. (about 20horses)
    or if you want to take it to extremes you could get 40 horses from a single 2.2$ (volume 1000) 1200V 60A IGBT running 1000V 30A

    another cute thing about high voltage is that you can use very thin cables to the motor and batteries because you only need peak 30A capability.
    in mass production you could imagine a 5$ 40HP DC controller. without exaggeration.

  30. So you have been reading. Now about that $3 IGBT. Can you explain then why Quite Expensive IGBT’s are being used instead of the $3 ones? That has me confused a bit. Your saying 1200 volt but only 60amp but what if I go above that 60 amps which seems quite easy to do even in high voltage controller or charger. In a charger I’d like to over build so I know it can safely do 100 amps so I’d rather choose a 200amp IGBT. I think that would bump that $3 IGBT to a bit more.

    For me Fast Charging is the only way to go. I want to use a bank of batteries for my source so I can actually do 200 amp charging. I want to do fast charging for my Leaf. Not the slow 8 hour charge. Or super slow 16 hour charge. That way if I needed to return home and then go back to work with out changing out cars I could charge fast and have enough to get back to work and home again. So twice in the same day if needed.

  31. Jack,

    In the video you commented that if the Arduino quits then the charger stops. This is not necessarily the case. The PWM modules are setup and forget and run independently of the rest of the processor. So if the charger is running and the CPU loses its mind the PWM can just sit there turning the IGBT on and off at the same rate as pre crash. The battery voltage will rise and the current will decrease and eventually there will be an unwanted event in the battery box. The other two cases are the output that drives the IGBT gets stuck on and then you end up with effectively the output of the bridge directly connected to the battery. This shouldn’t cause an event because the output fuse/circuit breaker should open or the AC input breaker should open or EVSE circuit breaker should open. The EMW charger also has some circuitry to detect an overcurrent condition and turn off the IGBT gate. The final case is the pwm output gets turned off. So the worst situation is the one where the cpu crashes but the PWM module keeps on running. I’ve decided that I am going to have an independent processor set up as an over voltage failsafe which will control a contactor to disconnect the charger from the battery and sound an alarm.

    There are a couple of other things I am going to change about the charger and I will post those changes back to the thread on DIY.

    Doug Ingraham

  32. IGBT’s are better than FET’s for voltages above 250V these days. The disadvantage of IGBT’s is that you are somewhat limited on the switching speed. So we need a rather large (and heavy) inductor. A motor controller could be made for $200 in parts that would need no cooling at all if you limit the battery voltage to around 200V and current to 500A continuous and 2000A for 10 seconds. And I’ve thought about doing this but I just don’t see this as the right path to go down. In another 10 years the FETs will be great at 400V and then we wont see water cooled controllers anymore. We need the 240VAC high currents to get charge times down so we will be using IGBT’s for a while yet.

    Doug Ingraham

  33. Green EV, I said 1200V 60A IGBT running at 1000V 30A. that’s 40HP. that you arbitrarily think you want 200A is not really a concern to the considerations. the 30A out of 60 is already the safety margin.
    but should a design call for more current you can parallel connect them. some are better than others. the IRF IRGP4069 IGBT seems pretty fantastic, both in individual specs but also how tight the parameter distribution is (how similar they are) for paralleling.

    using a battery bank for rapid charging is not the best way. better to get a powerful connection from the power company if possible.
    in principle there is no limit to how fast you can charge. and the electronics doesn’t have to cost too much to do it. it’s quite similar to a motor controller. just needs a big inductor

    chademo level shouldn’t cost much more than a couple hundred dollars in parts. 2-3x chademo should be readily possible.
    I offered Jack to develop such a thing for minimum wage but he would only pay for the parts.
    in general there is huge potential in a lean design for controller, charger and DCDC. it can be amazingly cheap and elegant. what Ian Hooper, Paul Holmes and Valery has done is nice enough but there is still tremendous untapped potential.
    Jack has the resources to change the world in a matter of months but offering suggestions to Jack is a little like asking Farao to let my people go. eventually maybe but there will be much gnashing of the teeth first 🙂

    it is a shame though as I believe that a tiny fraciton of Jack’s money put to executing some of my ideas (not necessarily by me) could explosively change the world in a very short amount of time.
    a combined 100kW DC controller/charger/DCDC with relays and precharge for less than 1000$ is readily possible.
    similarly we can have AC controllers built for 250$ industrial AC induction motors.

    no more 5-12k$ nonsense
    it makes all the difference.. but alas, not yet.

  34. *******it is a shame though as I believe that a tiny fraciton of Jack’s money put to executing some of my ideas (not necessarily by me) could explosively change the world in a very short amount of time.*************

    Jacks money? Not yours? Change the world?

    Hey Jack, did you know you and Dan can change the world in short order! Im waiting. This ought to be good. 🙂

  35. It appears to me that Jack’s mission and his audience are getting a little disconnected.

    His mission had appeared to be demonstrating how to do high-end conversions with no-compromises off-the-shelf components. He also explains the basic mechanical and electrical theory behind operation of these components and the performance of their combinations, and he usually gets close to correct. He believes that the ideal EV to convert the masses to electric cars is a $60k to $80k two-seater convertable sportscar, because they’re “cool”. His TARGET audience was the early adopter, willing to learn the technical details, with more money than time, and more interested in “coolness” than utility. And, apparently part of his audience fits this niche.

    There are a lot of us, though, (the 99%?) that have more time than money, more than passing technical ability, and an interest in open source development to shed cost. We want to drive all-weather cars that go 50 miles, and have performance that is reasonable in everyday traffic/commutes. My daughter’s first car would never be a $60k two-seater convertible sportscar (of any propulsion). I want her to drive a reliable, safe, efficient, comfortable, inexpensive electric car. And, I want to exercise creativity beyond bolting together $3000 off-the-shelf components. The forums for people like me are DIY Electric Car and Ecomodder. Jack’s blog to me is like the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Simplistic”. I look in to see how the other half lives.

    Jack goes slummin’ in DIY Electric Car and Ecomodder. He went a little out of character this week and dragged the DIY charger discussion into this blog.

    Jack, why the direction change? “Save money” is so out of character. Are you willing to suggest that the average mechanic can now tackle fabrication of an open-source electrical component from a parts list, electrical schematics, and program listing? And what will this do to your prospects for sponsorship?

    Mike Kaindl

  36. Mike, it’s probably unfair to suggest Jack is indifferent about cost. but it is true that his wealth makes him overlook how important cost optimization is.
    3300$ for a soliton is perfectly acceptable and he even advised against a cheaper version.

    we need a cheaper version. much cheaper. and it is possible. even easy. if done right.

  37. Not indifferent but realistic. Jack does not over look cost optimization. After all he does like and use the Elcon Charger and endorses that charger over others on the market. It works well and is a low cost charger compared to the others. Just not as user friendly in the configuring department. The Soliton is perfectly acceptable if you can afford it. If not you get to choose the next in the pile of controllers available. Or you can go see how easy it really is to build a better one for less and the key is done right. Saying that I can assure you its not easy. And what constitutes right? That is a very suggestive statement.

  38. Dan, if there were $9000 profit in every chademo charger you built in your garage (assuming you sell them for $9500), it seems to me you ought to get busy building them and selling them and you’d have as much discretionary money as Jack.

    Your posts are always entertaining, but there is a common theme of you having all the knowledge and great ideas and nobody in the world will help you bring them to fruition. If you put your ideas into actual products for demonstration, you’ll have a much more receptive audience. I look forward to seeing your car at EVCCON 2012.

  39. Were you people not brought up by good parents when you were kids?

    It’s sick, rude and nasty acting the third person and putting words in other peoples mouths and almost every bit as bad expressing pathetic jealousy because you are fiscally challenged.

    Jack is perfectly in his rights to say “sod ’em all” and stop doing this. He could turn his back on all of us and enjoy this as his vocational hobby without ungrateful slavouring green-eyed monsters pointing fingers behind his back..

    You may be jealous people but you owe him far more than he will ever owe you.

  40. Regarding the charger pwm locking up. This is how I operate. First , the charger power contactor feed is looped through the bmv600hs alarm relay. Any overvoltage and its power off. Second , I use a central heating timer to control my home charge point. Lets say i get home and have used 40ah. With the currently installed charger thats about a 3 hour charge to cuttoff. I go out to work at 8am and am usually out messing about putting stuff in the car about 7:45. Timer is programmed to start charge at 5am and terminate regardless at 8am. Job done. Nice and simple and failsafe.

    Regards off the shelf vs diy. Not that simple i’m afraid. Where do we get those igbts? , diodes , caps etc. Off the shelf. If we all decided to build every component from scratch with average skills and wages we’d be in flintstone cars. Money vs time is like a pan balance. If one goes up the other goes down. Jack wants his charger today so it costs money. I don’t mind messing about so it costs time.

    Oh and one thing that has been clearly demonstrated on EVTV is that just because something is expensive don’t make it good!


  41. hAndy J, try to think more and speak less.
    it was never about jealousy. and speaking of ill mannered.. take a look in the mirror.

    palmer, your logic is flawed. it’s no small commitment to become an equipment producer. not only R&D but a global service network and training. the price wont remain at 10k. and even if there was enduring profit I can’t commit my life to every single thing I can do better in this world. and so many other flaws. I inquired about price of a chademo plug. the retards wanted 2000$ for just the plug so I would have to set up a factory for those as well. etc

    GreenEV, try to appreciate that my understanding of the engineering required and component prices is better than yours.
    I have the insight with which I can conclude that things can be much cheaper and generally better than they are now.
    the potential for improvement is truly great.

  42. Hi Guys.
    Some of the people on this blog want to stop beating their own drums so loud that we can’t hear a word your saying. In this world there are doers and talkers, at the moment l see a lot of talking and very little doing. How about making some videos and show us what you are doing to forward the growth of EV’s
    Thanks Leigh

  43. Dan,

    Can we see your project your working on? Be it an EV or EV component we can all benefit from having for our own project to make it better. How about a completed diagram we can use to build your project from since you happen to not want to spend your money. I have listened for the past few years and not once have I seen any thing useful from you.


  44. Dan,

    Saw your web site. How much further along on that Freeranger EV are you? I see you have done some work with it and in 09 you were still looking for investor money. Well I can tell you that once you come up with a working prototype you may get some takers but until then you most likely won’t. How do you control your little CNC machine you built? You think that controller design would work? If you allow others to build and allow it to be open source then maybe it could get built by someone on the forums. Allow for revisions. Allow for others to make comments. Wish you had made your site available to others rather than finding it from another source.

    What changes have been made to your EV project since you began that project? Any frame work completed? Did your fiberglassing work out ok?

    Pete 🙂

  45. My my. Off to a bit of work and on return find that I’ve got it all wrong again and in fact am entirely misled by my own resources, while Dan Friedrickson has taken over the world – albeit pending my funding.

    Oh, and $60K open sports cars are my pet project and practical cars just aren’t an area of interest…..

    I guess it takes a certain amount of hubris to be in publishing. Always plenty of advice, and unfortunately almost ALWAYS from the peanut gallery.

    Dan has been in DAILEY and usually several times PER day contact for several years. I’ve done everything I could think of to make him go away, but in some ways I am impressed. He is actually our greatest fanboy and an EVTV fanatic. He starts to get heart palpitations Sunday evening if we are not properly posted.

    He has learnred to assemble words in semi-sentient fashion apparently using a cut and paste technique he learned from a Parrot. For some time I thought he might have some kind of expertise and was just jabbing around outside his field. Turns out, he has never designed ANYTHING, doesn’t even own an electric car, hadn’t RIDDEN in one until just a few months ago, and is barely out of adolescence. Never held a job. I’m starting to suspect he’s a parapalegic. And ALL is fantasy. Pure delusional fantasy. He imagines himself an unacknowledged genius, though he’s never done ANYTHING of note. Kind of a sad case really.

  46. On to the cars and why we choose them. Hmmm. This gets into the money resources and democratic national party socialism fantasies more than anything else. I assure you I have had LESS resources than any of you, and MORE resources than any of you, several times. Beyond that, I can only pass on that it is not what you think, and never was. Right now I’m rapidly heading toward less, and it bothers me not at all. There will of course be more.

    I’m 56 and on rodeo two. Rodeo one was VERY interesting and I paid very close attention.

    1. Electric drive for personal mobility offers some huge benefits in efficiency and solves SEVERAL kind of pressing problems in a stroke.

    2. Each of these problems are probably JUST problems, but in this case, it seems to me they hold extraordinary potential for an unusual level of disaster.

    3. Each of these problems pretty much go away entirely with even partial adoption of electric drive by a portion of the driving public.

    4. So everyone should immediately adopt an electric car of whatever make and everything would be great.

    5. There are no electric cars available. And if there were, they cost too much and nobody (statistically) wants one.

    6. If you drive an electric car for even a brief period, you want one.

    7. This will only occur by demonstration. The people that have electric cars have to demonstrate them to the people who don’t have them – pretty much directly.

    8. We need about 100,000 guys to go straight to their garage, and start building an electric car. Tipping point. Game over.

    After that, who buds them, who makes the most money, how many motors and whether they are AC or DC doesn’t matter.

    Components ARE expensive. By the way, I didn’t set the pricing. But for any cottage industry entrepreneur to build a grossly green charger, or an equally green looking monster controller, etc. the difference between the component costs and the retail price must needs be kind of ridiculous when you are going to sell 40 of them per year. Or 100 per year.

    Since the components are expensive, the car is going to be expensive. Since the car is going to be expensive, the only ones who would want one will be early adopters technogeeks such as myself anyway. So it has to be a car I would want.

    That means it can’t be a piece of shit twelve year old junker with homemade components shooting sparks out the back. If I take THAT and show it to my cosign or my neighbor – BEYOND zero impact to NEGATIVE. I’ve just reinforced a stereotype that electric cars are cranky junk owned by people wearing copper foil helmets as a science project.

    The people wearing copper foil helmets and driving POS electric cars fancy themselves “pioneers” of some sort. They do not like to be told they are not only nothing of the sort, but actually damaging to the cause of electric vehicle adoption. They don’t like me much.

    I like them fine. There’s just not anything I can do for them.

    A practical all weather car? How about a 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman? Or the Elescalade. Neither are $60,000 sports cars. Your criticism there demonstrably doesn’t hold water.

  47. The kit cars are a LOT of fun to assemble and to drive. and they make very attractive toy cars that people ARE attracted to and DO want. Filling the bill.

    Beyond that, you are in a world of choices ranging from just buy a ready made Rolls Royce Electric down to smelting your own metals out of dirt, reinventing semiconductors, and of course building your own components suc as chargers, controllers, DC-DC converters, and motors.

    For some, that level of design/tinkering is not only appropriate, but enjoyable. I don’t view most of our viewership or our mission to be design of the individual components. But in the case of a charger, we’re just not going to get anything useful except out of design by someone IN the community, much as Manzanita has done, but with a multi controller based charger. The liability issues are too huge for a larger entity to deal with them.

    Controllers, by contrast are ready to hand in series DC. I like the Soliton and I like the Warp Drive. I understand the Zilla is going to be available again, and so there are choices. Curtis remains available and we’re looking forward to a higher voltage AC offering from them and a few larger water cooled AC motors as well.

    DIY electric car is a cesspool of crap. But out of every cesspool is some good and useful stuff, if you can hose off all the crap and find it. I think this charger project is very interesting, and could easily be adapted to controller level current/voltage ranges. In fact, I’ve said for several years that controllers could be USED as chargers and in fact I’m kind of waiting on one of at least two controller guys to announce charger products. It’s down pretty much to software at this point delineating between an high current charger and a controller.

    I already drive an electric car. My daughter drives an electric car. My wife drives an electric car. WE all love them.

    EVTV has a kind of single minded vision to convert the rest of the planet to driving electric cars as well. We intend to inspire YOU to build your own electric car. That means in realityville Dan, not JUST in your mind, critiquing every0one else’s efforts as not being quite up to your standards. It means REALY building an electric car.

    And we intend those to be beautiful, gorgeous, desirable cars. Not junk. Not even electric junk.

    Along the way, we are going to pick projects we think further that end. The Elescalade is actually quite good. It really is NOT a pickup truck. It’s a four door sedan with what is really a TINY pickup bed of 60 inches in back that is more or less useless as a pickup truck. But ideal to hold a huge amount of batteries, with you need to move an 8000 lb mass.

    So it will be all season, all weather, five adults, no compromises electric vehicle. That is going to cost about $160, 000. It does not cost that because I have it. That’s just what it will cost.

    I’m actually QUITE good at weighing value and cost particularly in technology and particularly in electronic components – EVERYTHING ultimately being a tradeoff. We’ll design where we HAVE to design – like a heater system large enough for this truck, and NOT design where we don’t have to – like a controller. I’m NOT going to be able to design a better controller than a Soliton for it and if I COULD design that, it will NOT wind up being less money anyway.

  48. We are demonstrating a process. You get to watch us, and then do it for yourself. And I’m convinced there are hundreds of thousands of guys who can do as well, and several thousands among our viewers who CAN do BETTER builds than we do.

    And some will indeed sit on the sidelines for awhile before jumping in with their own project – that’s ok (up to a point Dan).

    Hard work and thrift are very valued traits here. And in reality, it is the reason to build your own car – a little sweat equity makes that $60,000 car really more like $35-$37000 in parts and car.

    In looking toward 2012, we would like a less expensive car using newer and better components that would be MORE attractive. The 818 World Car is on the table. A new Porsche replica with aluminum frame is on the table. A lighter AC cobra is under consideration. And yes, we would look at a new production car that might be attractive. A Toyota Scion or a Fiat 500 comes to mind.

    Again, we would not do it as a junk project. We’d go buy a NEW Scion or Fiat to start with, much as we did with the Mini Cooper.

    But I’m certainly shopping for ideas. I’d like to work a zero turn lawnmower in here somewhere.

    Jack Rickard

  49. I had an idea last night that I have not heard mentioned yet. How about a well done motorcycle conversion. They seem to be popular conversions. They use all the same components, but just smaller. Take a fairly new “crotch rocket” or a Harley-Davidson and convert it to electric drive.

    I’m not a motorcycle type of guy, but I do like looking at the Zero motorcycles, the Brammo motorcycles as well as the racing bikes like lightening ( ) . The technology and design of these are awesome to look at. I think it would make good video and also help further the cause.

  50. I love Jack and every bolt he has cross-threaded with a 3lb sledgehammer. That said, I’m getting increasingly annoyed by how he treats people, such as myself, who are working on junk cars for many valid reasons.

    A. We aren’t yet confident enough to disassemble a working car.

    B. We need to learn the trade using a throw-away platform.

    C. We don’t have enough money to spend $20k+ on a chassis, instead we pay as we go, I spent $700 on mine, yes it will need to be painted, yes the wheels didn’t even match, (3 14″, 1 15″), yes it needs major work on the interior two, yes it is a total money pit, but I kinda liked the model, actually the previous body design was even better, but then we’re talking about 1988 instead of 1993…

    So yes, I’m working on a junk car which will be grossly under-powered with an AC-50 drive train but I will have well earned the first notch in my belt, and will hopefully have some first hand experience driving with a jaw coupler and a manual transmission…

    Then it will be on to a Type 65 coupe with a TW 11-HV and probably a 3-speed transmission. (preferably a GTM with a getrag drive train!)

    If that doesn’t prove to be practical enough, I might settle down with a chassis, a TW 11-HV and a powerglide transmission. But yeah, the junk car comes first, it’s my training wheels. =P A necessary evil. Without it, I wouldn’t know what I need in order to make my dream car a success.

  51. Wow… what a thread…..
    I’m one of the “not even junk builders”,
    and do not own an EV,as there is no money for it at the moment, but I am involved into a few projects and as i am working in electronics i decided to to a few little projects around electric vehicles……There is so much to do!
    For a company in our region (southern Germany)
    they convert SMART to EVs I designed a gear-changer as they ripped out the ICE-Controller.(only one gear is better than the original behviour of this gear-box,
    but selecting a setup for town, normal use
    and motorway is much better in combination with an AC engine) further i constructed the
    Franzbox… this is a rather simple little box with an Atmega168 inside that measures the
    current and counts the Ahs, all is displayed
    as well on a LCD as on the original tachometer
    and the fuel gauge, and everything is adjustable NOT by potis but by a very comfortable menue 😉 even for newer VW gauges,
    that go inverse…. just set the gauge to
    100% 50% and zero in the menue….watch it going there and save it by pressing the button.
    As there are for lines with 20chrs there is also implemented a BMS but this is not yet ready.I will use one ATtiny24 per cell in a “Daisychain” to measure every singele cell,
    and the highest and the lowest will be displayed
    and the limits can be set in the menue.
    Just today i did the first test of my
    metering modules..they work fine!
    There will be only one wire from cell to cell
    for the serial connection and only two
    isolators or optocouplers will be needed.
    If top or bottom balancing is wanted-no
    problem…(this is a completely different discussion… 😉 but I prefer an intelligent
    top balancing as this is much easier, but it reqires a good conversation between charger
    and cell metering…not a theme for today!…)
    And a few weeks ago i was successful in
    cracking and reeingineering the codes of the
    Curtis 840 display for displaying all the
    infos on a more impressing LCD.
    Germany is not a good country for conversions,
    the legal thing is very complicated (EMV-Test)
    but it IS possible here too! And it is a great
    thing and i have a lot of fun with my
    constructions.Converting a car to an EV is not
    making the wheels spinnig electric, (that is only the beginning) but this is making a good and useful electric vehicle that needs no excuse
    for anything and that does not look as if being constructed to drive one time arond the golf-court……Jack, i do not agree each of
    Your opinions, but your experiments and tests
    are great and wonderful and there is so much information in them ….thank You!
    Go on and have lots of fun too!

    What is going on in germany?
    have a look!
    (The blogs are in german language, as we live here!)

    The community is rather small….
    There are more links in the blogs!
    some of them even in english language.
    have fun!

  52. anonymous, mocking scrap builds is nothing. I have mails from Jack with abuse you’d only expect in the Exorcist.

    Jack, why not go for full quadriplegic while you’re at it. maybe I spend all my time typing with my mouth. it’s such a good theory. why stop now.

    but it’s not all bad. far from it. and things are slowly moving towards what I have been proposing. maximizing viability through low weight and good aerodynamics. we will eventually get to lower cost of components as well, I just have to patiently propose this and other things many times and take the beating on the cross in the meantime.

    just to clarify, I didn’t propose that you develop all these things on your own. I wouldn’t ask that of you. you don’t quite have the knowledge and you do so much else. I was merely raising awareness that much cheaper components are indeed possible and secondly that you could put small amount towards furthering such development. as an alternative to keep giving 12k$ to people like rinehart who will never be relevant. or curtis for that matter. they’ve done quite poor controllers in mass production for decades and always at highly inflated prices. they are not our friends. they will not help us get to the goal.

    as for liability in a charger, that is no different than a controller. unfortunately EV electronics has to be carefully analyzed for failure modes. far from impossible though but serious business.
    if you think about it you’ll realize that a lot of things are like that. any household electronics has to fail gracefully. a power supply for a PC. a monitor. even a compact fluorescent in a paper lamp next to the curtains.

    Ian Hooper once summed up the component cost in a 1600$ curtis. I think it was around 85$ in volume of 1000 on digikey

    speaking of DIY, it seems the Doking car showed at the LA auto show has a yet unseen AC controller from Paul Holmes in it.

  53. The last three comments are almost entirely self contained. If you guys would read each other, I’m not really needed here.

    There ARE no reasons to build junk cars. I’m sorry. This goes right on the pile with the lead acid batteries. It is just flawed thinking leading to electric junk.

    There are those who know the cost of everything and the the value of nothing, while preferring to whine about the cost end quite endlessly. Then, there are those who truly are constrained by income and family circumstance that an expenditure of $20Kor more, even over time, is just not appropriate – two jobs, three little kids at home etc. where time/money both conspire to simply make such a project nonviable. Yet they have interest in the field.

    And so the problems of component cost and availability, which we all struggle with, are the opportunity.

    And so I’m very taken with VehicleFranz’s approach – break off a piece that IS a manageable size for your resources, time and talents, and attack that. There are many examples. MOST of the low hanging ones revolving around instrumentation and indeed BMS if you focus on MONITORING version of the term.

    And so developing a generalized better AH counting device, a display for the Curtis controllers, etc. is the type of thing that can be attacked for hundreds of dollars, not thousands, can be quite fascinating, and are ultimately not only very useful, but if brought to fruition, can actually solve the problem. Come up with a $600 or $800 truly attractive instrumentation system, and you’ll sell enough to buy a Tesla and pay cash.

    I’ve tried to get Dan to DO some of this rather than talk about it. He is intransigent in that the act of DOING intrudes on the fantasy part. You see he fancies himself a genius polymath with inestimable gifts. IF he actually cross threads a real bolt, that rather destroys the illusion of grandiose engineering talents. This is VERY uncomfortable for him.

    There are endless needs and targets of opportunity. I’d like to do any of these myself but simply haven’t the time with a video out each week.

    I’ve identified thte charger problem for several years with little in the way of developments there. I’d love to do a charger.

  54. Instrumentation is the MOST obvious. We just have nothing in the way of it. Here in the room with me is a prototype device that hosts a bluetooth A/D device and uses hall effect sensors to measure current – a large one for 1000 Amps and a small one for 50 amps. It also measures pack voltage with a center tap to compare the upper and lower half. It transmits all of this in a serial stream bluetooth. I had a little program in Objective C on the Mac OS X to convert all this to amperes, watts, kilowatt hours, amp hours, voltage of course, battery SOC as a percentage, and speed using a GPS. Eventually, tis would be moved to a carputer or better, an Android like tablet or iPad application.

    I’ve had it working, and had it in a car. Running on a Macair. Some bugs remaining on GPS speed and some issues calibrating or zeroing the hall effect sensors of course. But generally worked very well. Pretty display.

    Find time to finish it? I can’t finid time to PLAY with it.

    I’m at this moment getting drawn into the process of modularizing the A123 prismatic pouch cells. Same problem. I can’t just QUIT what I’m doing to go do that. Have to work it in when I can.

    Charging actually goes beyond charging to quick charging. Again, most likely from a second set of cells, obviating all the three phase problems and expense. Quick charging is the “infrastructure” piece of actual value, that would allow those with limited electric range to travel over distance. This perceived shortcoming is really quite easily addressed and at small expense in the scope of things. I’m pleased to see developments in that area. But we need some applicability for conversions. And that goes to the whole charger thing in general.

    OBD-II and CANBUS for vehicles in general. I have an HPTuners setup for the Escalade. We have converted the brakes, and already get a fault code because we no longer have vacuum sensor inputs. We have brakes fine, but the computer is still looking for vacuum. I have to learn to use this thing to remove that whole check from the ECU. But interfacing EV components to CANbus available ON these cars is a very needed thing. You can post data to the tachometer, speedometers, and other displays via this port. But no one is really doing it. ANd it tends to be kind of specialized by car.

    So there are many opportunities for those with limited resource, to not only further the cause, but build an entire business for themselves. Scale is a relative matter. IF you have little, and sell 100 of something with a profit of a couple hundred dollars per unit, that turns into $20K pretty quickly. This type of business can be grown. This is so obvious, in general if you don’t’ get it, I don’t’ see any reason to point it out generally speaking.

    Whining about resources is like whining about weather. We take the value proposition of anything we use at EVTV quite seriously. At this point in life, I’m not going to reinvent the wheel where there is an option readily available. A lot of things that LOOK less expensive, you will find in actual practice are not only NOT less expensive, they are much MORE expensive the way you are attacking them. BUt it’s your money and your car.

    Jack Rickard

  55. A cautionary tale from a parallel universe on low cost builds.

    In the early 1990s a friend and I each started building our own GT40 replica. We used the same kit manufacturer and the same base engine. I took mine to France in 1999 and most years since have rolled it out in the spring, checked oil and tyre pressures, fired it up and driven it. My friend is on his second gearbox and (I think) fourth engine rebuild and has not yet had it in a usable state for long. My build was modest spec because money was somewhat limited. My friend’s first engine put out more power on paper than mine. I spent my money on good quality nuts, bolts, electrical connectors, plumbing fittings, switches etc. If you have 1000 electrical connectors in a car and use cheap bubble packed terminals from the local parts store and get a 1% a year failure rate, that’s two electrical failures a week.

    In my view Jack is modelling the budget build with the Swallow: sound parts of good quality but modest spec.

    I want to convert my 40 to an EV but I won’t until I am happy that the available budget will let me build something that I can drive rather than something that will drive me to despair.

  56. there is some truth to what you say Jack. I could develop things without help. and I’m closer than you think. and a few others could too. and they do. but it’s also true that all of us are burdened by capitalistic slavery all the time. it’s just not easy to best the world in this area while also juggling all the other burdens.
    it’s simply true that money can lubricate things. it can facilitate. you say if there is a will there is a way but that is rich coming from someone who doesn’t have to spend any effort worrying about a living and on top of that has near unlimited means to do whatever you like in electric cars. that’s a double freedom that most don’t have and that is hugely important.
    you don’t want to admit it but evtv would be nothing without your millions. nothing at all. it exists exactly because you are financially independent. not only are you free to spend all your time on it but you have enough money to hire people to help you full time. with absolutely no concern for commercial viability.

    you are not obligated to do anything or help out anybody. but if you want to take over the world, why not facilitate some powerful opportunities.
    you sort of do it already. you support certain efforts by buying very expensive finished products. so it would just be a case of supporting efforts in the beginning rather than wait for a flower to spring from the capitalistic desert and then water it.

    even Martin Eberhard could do nothing without someone giving him a lot of money. had Elon Musk not come along with a lot of millions it would never have been. even the super wealthy Elon Musk could not do it without someone else giving him even more money. they really pissed the money away but that’s another matter.

    it’s not really that outrageous an idea, to support grassroot financially.
    unless you think you live forever and can afford to wait it out. it’s about knowing the cost of everything but the value of nothing : )

  57. Dan,

    As Jack said earlier, he has had less money than all of us and more money than all of us, and has given you several areas such as obdII canbus and instrumentation where a fortune could be made by engineering solutions with little personal investment. Jack is trying to give you some good advice to turn your capitalistic slavery into capitalistic Mastery. As Pete pointed out in a earlier post, build a working prototype of one of your ideas and investers and buyers will follow.


  58. Dan:

    You purport to advise me on HOW to invest in technology to further it, an occupation I”ve been involved in pretty much without cease or breath since about 1980. I don’t know how to respond. I already HAVE. You are not reading it or comprehending it or something.

    I’ve even kind of laid out how to approach it in the initial baby steps to get off the ground. You’re response is that I don’t know what I’m talking about because I’ve never had to worry about making a living? Again, what response would be appropriate here? It’s like explaining medical technology to a cat. However I phrase it, I don’t think the cat is going to get it.

    You cannot succeed until you overcome your fear of failure. We do a video with this secret buried in it for those who can pick up on it. You ARE aware I can edit out fires and showers of sparks are you not? EVTV is not “real time” it is what I edit it to be. We fail. That’s because it’s OK to fail.

    As CZTREE and others have pointed out, good component selection criteria is actually the part I’m GOOD at and I consider it important in having a drivable car at the end that isn’t in a constant state of being repaired. We also kind of focus on making it easy to remove and replace things. To make it maintainable.

    But if a car is beyond you, break off a piece and go after it. There are so MANY areas of need. Nobody is interested in funding failure or excellent efforts that wind up in failure. THe world rewards success. Build a better mousetrap and THEN we’ll invest in it. That’s kind of how it works. I take no small joy in chasing down such devices and holding them up for our viewers to admire.

    Nature of the beast, I have to kiss a lot of frogs along the way….

    It’s ok. I also have a whole PILE of aluminum – each and every piece of which is cut to ALMOST the right size.

    Jack Rickard

  59. One can’t best the world and one can’t do it all. Take a piece and run with it. If it fails try another piece.

    This EV business consists of many pieces and if one tries to do it all it will fail but if we all come together and we all do one piece real good it will succeed and we all profit. Find a part you CAN do then make it work. Learn if you need to. Mmmmmm. Gears are now turning once again.

    Dan, I am where I am financially because I decided 14 years ago that what I was doing became a dead end. I liked it but it was not moving forward. I decided to become a school teacher and to teach science to kids. What actually happened was while pursuing that I became fascinated with Ultrasound and decided to change course and got my degree in science and became an Xray tech. Then CT tech and now moving into MRI tech. I moved from $900 per month income to over $4k take home per month. No dept except our home and my Leaf. With out effort on your part your financial status will NOT change.

    Dan, Pick a part you KNOW you can do and use your TIME to build the best. The present it to the market. If it passes muster and or not that is fine. It may only need some tweaking here and there and your off and running. But you must do something. Just because you set off in one direction does not mean that is the only direction you will be going. I changed and it was a good one. One I could do and made it work . Now I have little time. Makes it harder to develop but not impossible. More learning is in the works.

    Dan, you were given the KEY to Success. Now go open the DOOR. Hell, we were all given the KEY. And shown lots of doors that KEY will OPEN.

  60. what has really changed in the time EVTV has run to make it better for the DIY crowd? there is a soliton as sort of replacement for zilla. has that opened the floodgates? is DIY defeating big auto?

    like kings of old who were only concerned with making their lives better while a wise king would enable his people because that makes life better for everyone including the king.
    today a poor man (in Europe) lives better than a king. he has medical technology that a king 500 years ago could not have for a second for all his money. all this because the people were enabled. no thanks to the kings.
    similarly you can’t buy the world’s transition to electric drive but with wisdom you can make it happen.
    you have tens of millions of dollars and an army of thousands of poor and eager people. enable them. give them the tool with which to take over the world.

    imagine a 995$ PEM that has everything including precharge and cooling. no elaborate water system needed. no messing with bs elcon chargers. a small package that does it all. would you not pay 20k$ if that was then commercially available to all? would it not be worth 50k$ to you? even 100.

    and I assure you it is very possible. we have 3$ IGBTs that can deliver 14HP each (350V 30A).
    as little as 4 of those, 4 diodes and equivalent capacitors is enough to power a car. there is huge potential for making the conversion process incomparably easier. and every improvement yields explosive growth and enthusiasm whereas now it is a game for only the wealthy retiree.

    this is a controller board I have been working on:
    it actually works. doesn’t even require 12V input. that combined with the above mentioned 3$ parts and current sensor is actually a DC controller. that could power a car.

    it doesn’t have to be me although you should at least listen to me as one of my qualities is refinement and simplification, but help someone or a few, financially in a small way to give them respite from this satanic world of capitalistic slavery, to develop open source designs that anyone can build on their own and some can start series production of.
    an open source process back and forth through iterations of trial and improvement. not unlike what you are doing with Valery and the charger but more proactive and benefiting from my inclination of optimization. his implementation would be better with a TO247 IGBT and similarly more cost effective caps. it wouldn’t be 850$ kit or 1800 assembled. it could be 100$

    enabling the masses makes all the difference.
    a 12k$ rinehart is interesting to see but it will never play a productive role. it doesn’t help us.
    why not consider supporting development with a few thousand dollars to facilitate something that really makes a difference.

    I’ve offered to work for minimum wage because it’s a worthy cause but if my motivation is somehow suspect, pay someone else to do it.

  61. Dan, if you truly had all the knowledge and insight you claim to have you would have already built what you keep trying get others to build. Quit begging for a job and put your expertise to work. Quit telling others how to spend their money and spend your own. There has been some very solid wisdom given out by Jack and others but you fail to see it. Get the book “Advantages of Poverty” by Dale Carnegie and study it!

    David D. Nelson

  62. Yeah, designing things such as an aftermarket controller board for a Manzanita or a nice instrumentation solution would be a good business. It wouldn’t be easy though. Decent EDA software has proven elusive. There was a great open-source project called Ktechlab that could do schematics better than anything in the world but had a weak simulator and no board layout tools. Unfortunately, the platform fell out from under it and the project is languishing. I don’t regret spending hundreds of hours hacking on it though. 😉 There is a free cad solution though I haven’t really spent time learning it yet. I don’t have experience in any of that. I know that I’ll need standards, CAN bus standards, SAE standards, and information for the three major vendors, Curtis, Soliton, and NetGain… The curtis units can be configured (but aren’t) to spew data on CanBus… The Soliton uses an ethernet interface which is drastic overkill for in-vehicle use, and will require a different kind of interface module. I haven’t researched Netgain’s solution yet, and then there’s the controller in the mini…

    So yeah, developing an interface product would require test-bench samples of the base model of each family… Lets assume that we want to develop meters for the common sizes, which appear to be 50, 80 and 100 mm in diameter. To fit the variety of dashboards out there, there would have to be a socket-module system where you would set up the sockets where they need to be and then simply shove the module into position and then screw on the bezel… That would require at least half a dozen machined and molded parts, all would have to be designed and produced. (some companies seem to be set up to do this, but then that creates more issues of managing contracts when you have $50 of startup capitol…)

    There are half a dozen display options, each with fairly drastic costs so the decision would have to be made early. For example, a mechanical needle solution requires a great deal of expertise in selecting the correct lubricant to get exactly the right damping on the motion you want. I don’t have that expertise! =\ LCDs might not be durable enough, only the expensive ones look good. VFDs might be an option but anything beyond a text output would only be economical in mass production. Needle-gauges are finiky feats of precision mechanical engineering, I would have to buy modules from an established company and drive them with DAC output…

    Then the units have to be road acceptable for temperatures ranging from -30 to 140 degrees F, and in lighting conditions from dawn/twilight glare to moonless night. Which means that all parts will have to have those ratings or better. To really put a solution on the market is not a trivial undertaking. Ask Otmar.

    So yeah, I would expect a product like that to cost a few tens of thousands of dollars to develop and bring to market. Could it pay for itself? Maybe. The Obama economy sucks though. Am I psyched enough to do it? not quite. First I need a job to pay my rent… =\
    If Metric Mind were a reliable vendor, I’d just say use his product though I think his units are poorly organized, stuffing too many types of information into a single display… (the three types are battery, drivetrain, and vehicle). You want to treat each separately and then, perhaps, integrate them to compute some of the more advanced features he has…

    The underlying issue is that you need to be able to flexibly adapt to the situation in each vehicle and still have an elegant solution.

    After that, I’ll still need a junk car to test it in. 😉

  63. My world is kind of partitioned into two groups of people – players and hangers on. As you can imagine, the ratio is of course 1:10,000 or more.

    Those who are NOT players, have a list of reasons why not a brazillion miles long . There is no end to all the reasons for not doing something. It ranges from variations of “its hard” to “my knee hurts.” I could not possibly adequately express the almost infinite levels of disinterest and disdain players would have for the enumeration of such lists of excuses and
    rationalizations for failure. It’s a TOTAL waste of time even considering it.

    EVTV really isn’t about how cool electric cars are. We think they ARE cool but that’s not what its about. By design, it’s a couple of hours of our journey making cars drive by battery power, and the concept is that you can too.

    Why anyone not pretty much onboard with the concept and with a desire to do so, would be attracted to a two hour show about an old fat guy and his friend puttering around in a garage performing unspeakable atrocities on already excellent rolling stock is totally beyond me.

    In any event, we can’t really get distracted into doing a motivational blog for perennial losers whose only real impediment is attitude.

    Dan, if you haven’t noticed, we don’t HAVE any employees per se. There’s me, and Brain, and occasional help from people passing through hoping to learn something. Discussing your fantasies of all the good you could do the world if only you had MY money to do it with is kind of sick.

    To some degree, it isn’t how much, it’s how little. We are doing a WEEKLY video that is the length of a feature length film, ABOUT converting cars to electric drive, which we are also doing, and they DO successfully drive. This is done by two guys who have ZERO automotive experience and LESS video experience, on NO money in an ABANDONED dealership in the older and more or less abandoned part of a very small town in southeast Missouri.

    It’s distributed globally and at no charge on an Amazon server service that almost no one knows about, consisting of twenty really pretty immense server farms scattered around the globe. When the National Public Radio story hit during the convention, we served about 9000 two-hour HD videos in the two hours after the story without missing a lick. There really does not exist a “web server” to crash in the traditional sense.

    And your story is how very much we have to work with ,and how very little you have, which explains whye you miserably exist in poverty while at the same time being infinitely more talented, intelligent, and deserving. I can see resolving all this is important to you, I just don’t know how you expect ME to help.

    Go forth and DO something, we suggest, of course, an electric car. But if it’s to be an electric model railroad in your basement, so be it.

    Jack Rickard

  64. Jack, did you actually just say that you do the show on no money?
    it’s so odd how many people would rather douse themselves in gasoline and light a match than agree with what I say. no matter how obviously reasonable it is.
    I could say 2+2=4 and you’d scream NOOO as if possessed.

    I’m at a loss to explain this side of humanity. it eternally disappoints me. has to be some dark spiritual quality.
    I would try to get you to recognize how blatant a lie it is that you do the show on no money but from experience that would only anger you further.
    it boggles my mind how it’s so important to not agree with me that you’d lie that blatantly.

    get some sleep

  65. Dan,
    start your own HD video’s. I’d be a regular viewer of “Dan’s Fantasy’s”. You have lots to say therefore lots to offer us.

    Hell. With an active viewer base with common interests and needs you might even obtain sponsorship!!

    But first you must set up your video blog.

  66. I have several points to make.

    1. My only working car is a 2000 Honda Civic DX. (about 35MPG on a good tank; having problems with a botched professional brake job though slowing it down…)

    2. Where Jack can spend $1500 on a box of something and leave it on a shelf for 3 years, people such as me and Dan will usually spend about 6 months saving up for the AC50 motor and controller bundle. — It’s in my car already but the adapter plate will need to be re-done and the driveshaft is still extremely problematic at this juncture. =(

    I went back and re-read Dan’s comments and it sounds like he is an even better engineer than myself. I would be happy to go into business with him.

    My third and final point, for now, is that even though I have 200GB of your videos on my NAS, EVs (and cars in general) are only a hobby to me. I have much bigger fish to fry. If I can make $1M doing something better, I can earn $1B doing something other people can’t do at all. That’s why I’ve directed all of my talents towards solving the AI problem. After I pay my living expenses, my AI project gets the biggest cut of my money. Maybe there is a fortune to be made in EV instrumentation, who knows? It’s just not my highest priority right now.

  67. Dan, from all of your comments here on this blog, it looks like the only thing your are actually doing, is to justify to your self, why you have not succeeded in making these products that you write about. And you are using Jack as the scapegoat.

    The only thing that is holding you back from engineering all the products that you propose is your self, not Jack or anybody else.
    Right now you are programming your mind into believing that this is Jacks fault, because he does not want to sponsor you, it is simply not true, there are many different ways for you to do the things that you want, so please stop blaming anyone or anything else than your self for this. It is much easier to blame others or blame capitalism, but it is simply not true.

    You have already been suggested one book, I will suggest one more:
    Think and grow rich, by Napoleon Hill.
    It is an old book, so it seems that you might be able to get it for free as an ebook. It is worth the read!

    To say that you can do everything cheaper, actually very cheap, and then ask for money to do it, seems like a contradiction, at least to me.

    You do not need Jack to sponsor you. One suggestion is that you make a blog, where you write about the products, and how you would build them, maybe do a prototype, with the cheap components that you are suggesting that seems possible, maybe do some video, there are a lot of free services to host videos. Set up a possibility to tip you, using PayPal, to make your work for the community progress faster and further, then if you can get enough people in the community interested, this should make a possible way to finance your work.

    Ask on the different forums what it would take, to get some donations for your work, but if you do that, you have to be willing to listen and learn from what others are saying to you, this is very important.

    There are probably a lot of other ways you can doo this, so again stop blaming anybody else than your self.

  68. Changing the subject slightly – Jack; do you have any views on motor/controller efficiency at low power settings? The data you published a while back on the e-cobra W-hr/mile and coast down figures suggested falling drivetrain efficiency at lower speeds

  69. Hi guys. I recently got an error code 38 on my Curtis 840 gauge. I am using the HP50 HPEV AC motor. Code 38 indicates that my contactor was welded shut. I replaced the Tyco Kilovac contactor and my car is up and running again. This is after one month of trying a Gigovac contactor and going to PMW hell (that’s another story). This is my first electronics problem in 11,000 miles of driving!

    My question goes out to those using my HPEV AC50 system. Do you notice a buzz coming from the contactor? I am using the Kilovac LEV200A5NAA RELAY contactor. Does anyone know of a parameter setting that I can change in the controller to eliminate the buzz. Both contactors I have used had this buzz. The controller allows you to modify the pull-in voltage and the holding voltage. I have not messed with this yet.

    if you are using the HPEV AC50 system and get an error code 38, try tapping on the contactor with a hammer before calling a tow truck. IT might be enough to release the contact and at least get you home. Luckily I broke down during business hours and was able to call and ask Bill Richie from HPEV what an error code 38 was. He suggested the hammer idea which i love. If all else fails, take a hammer to it! Guess what? It worked!

  70. NU, that’s interesting, my first love was AI. and to put it simply, I did it. but then gave it up because I wouldn’t have to explain to God why I gave AI to a world that’s so stupid as to vote for bush twice and support mass murder in wars based on obvious lies. when the US people are so despicable as to only care about the death of their own soldiers, how bad wont it be when machines do the killing with even less remorse than the fools in uniform.
    AI will eventually come out but I saw no easy way to ethically justify it and I haven’t thought about it in years.

  71. Carsten, if I’m wrong to suggest Jack could speed things along with a bit of financial support to developers, why would I need to seek paypal donations from others..
    I even took myself out of the equation by suggesting the support could be given to other developers so there would be no doubt to my motivations but you blame me anyway.
    what I suggested was perfectly reasonable. it was absolutely correct and very intelligent. it just fell on deaf ears.

    that said it is true I could do it by myself with no help. I could waste years of my life to help out the ungrateful. I just shouldn’t have to. and I may well not. electric cars is just one aspect of what I want to do in this life. I cannot afford to commit my life to every little thing that I could do for this ungrateful world.
    I have suggested many good ideas in many areas but most often it’s met with mindless defiance and demands that I do it all myself. as if intelligent ideas are worthless.
    I call it the not my idea syndrome. sooner be damned than listen to reason.
    I often see this world as a movie. the characters will do what they do and cannot be reached by reason.
    Einstein bitterly remarked there are only two things infinite, the universe and human stupidity and he wasn’t sure about the universe.
    I’m also reminded of the movie the 6th sense, I see dead people but they don’t know that they are dead. it is a curious and seemingly core issue of this reality. a sort of frozen mind that only the very few wake up from.
    and my failing is that I keep forgetting it and I keep trying to reason with people 🙂

    I have to believe that some few are moved though, that my efforts are not entirely in vain. I see some movement but it is frustratingly slow.

    in case someone is wondering what else I’m working on that I don’t want to commit my life to EVs, I’d like to see physics move forward, specifically I’d like the drives that the UFOs have. what we might term antigravity propulsion.
    I’d also like to see some progress in energy production like a compact practical fusion. physics has been quite unimpressive in the last 80 years.
    and at some point we’ll have to have proper first contact with those who visit our planet.

    so it would be nice if every simple little thing I suggest is not a huge futile battle, so we can move this thing along while we are still alive.
    I see phenomenal possibilities for our future but not if we can’t even accept the simplest most obvious things like it helps developers to pay the bills to give them free mental time to spend on design.

    imagine if intel told its developers they don’t get paid anymore, they should find a job elsewhere and pay their bills and do development for intel in their spare time. as well as pay for the equipment themselves. and when they are done intel will pay them unit sales cost for one. and if they don’t like it intel will abuse them and call them clueless.

    what I suggest is of course perfectly reasonable..

  72. Here you go Dan. 5 minute job search for you.



    bachelor degree with very good academic results, good knowledge of C/C++, VHDL/Verilog, Linux scripting languages, good knowledge of digital systems and computer architecture, basic understanding of formal models, good oral and written communication skills, knowledge of Eclipse platform is a plus.

  73. Dan, Jack is right on a number of things. He has a sacred duty to protect his own wealth and squander it on the things that make him happy. If you can’t get yourself off the ground then you’re a bad investment. That’s the deal.

    I agree with you that the climate sucks and we have been reduced to wage slavedom by the power-elite who overrule the electorate on every noteworthy issue. Because of this, your only possible action is to tinker in your garage in the evenings and weekends with whatever surplus you can muster. I strongly urge everyone to join the war tax resistance and unilaterally reset the tax rate to what it was in 1912. Doing that should give you everything you need to get whatever venture you need off the ground. The income tax has no purpose other than to maintain the existing social hierarchy.

  74. Yea Gods and little fishes. My blog has been entirely taken over by copper foil helmet fuzzy people geeks seeking to block out the cosmic rays and keep THEY from reading their thoughts. Perpetual motion anyone? Dan has invented AI and it WORKED but the world didn’t deserve it.

    Is this for real? I think I’m being spammed by the Hydrogen hydrolysis fringe.

    And to top it off, I’m the problem because I buy every shiny toy I see AND at the same time I’m not doing enough to support the industry?????

    Part of it MIGHT be that we do purchase a lot of technology, examine it, and show it to you the viewers. This kind of obviates a hundred of you EACH buying it and being disappointed, or on the other hand missing out on a great solution because they marketed it poorly and you never heard about it at all.

    In some cases, it is a great solution to a non-problem, but could easily be repurposed for something else. I love to find those.

    John Hardy:

    All I note is that on both AC and DC motors low speed efficiency is in the crapper and typically comes up after 1000 rpm or higher. This is clearly seen in the Cobra graphs and more so on the earlier dyno graphs of both speedsters. It’s a shallow bell curve with all good things in the 3000-4000 range roughly and trailing on both ends.

    I look at a lot of motors and even very high RPM ac stock seems to lose torque and efficiency over 4000 rpm. The series DC is no different.

    Or did I misunderstand the question? What’s the interest there.

    Yes a wheel turns at 785 rpm to go 70 mph. And that’s an AWFUL place for any electric motor. You do need a transmission.

    Jack Rickard

  75. I am sure AI is harder to program than the real thing.

    Why do they bother? A box of chocolates, an evening meal with dancing and music coupled with two bottles of wine and lots of laughs is guaranteed to create another AI unit. Then you give legal hold to the state by registering it but you still have to pay for it no matter who controls its mind.

    I think I NEED a tin foil hat >:-))
    Your coil voltage is for a 24V system. If it does not clamp down so tightly, I guess there would eventually be a chance of arcing.

  76. Hi guys,
    after driving my little 2 seat EV for 11 years on Lead. Its a 1974 Enfield E8000 out of England. Originally 48v I run 84V, it has a split series field motor which gives you a second speed kinda like another gear, it tops out at about 100KMH (60mph.)
    I have just purchased a set of Winston LYP90AHA and should have them in sometime next week looking forward to a massive performance Boost, Pulling out 14 crown CR245 and replacing with 26 LYP90’s that will reduce my weight from about 1200Kg to 800Kg (2650lb to 1764lb).
    As it takes me 2 or 3 days to do 50km (30 miles),the towns only 10KM (6 miles) wide. With my calculation with the weight reduction l hope to get a range of about 50KM to 70Km (30 to 45 miles), range is just not an issue for me. Been getting between 125 and 150 wh/km (200 to 240wh/mile). I calculate somewhere between 85 to 100wh/km (135 to 160wh/mile) with the Lithium pack
    I will let you all know what improvements l get in speed and acceleration.

    Yes Jack I will be able to finally say lead is dead and Lithium lives, living one day at a time BMS Free.
    Thanks for all your hard work on EVTV.

    Link to my yahoo group about my car

    Regards Leigh Hateley

    PS:- Dan this is not talk its doing for over a decade.

  77. yes Jack, it’s for real.

    as for 1:1 drive, it’s true it’s not the ideal for an electric motor but it can actually be done and I suspect we will see some cars with it despite the tradeoffs. if you think 785rpm is bad, keep in mind that they are doing 5-7MW wind turbines now with no gearing going 20rpm. continuous power.

    if at all reasonably possible (and with lean vehicles I think it is) there is something to be said for having no mechanics whatsoever inside the car. no half shafts, no gearbox, no belt drive, no oil.
    another indicator is hubmotors for bicycles. these tiny motors drive the huge wheel of a vehicle about 100kg and it works quite well.
    if one such little motor can give fairly strong acceleration to a 100kg vehicle, then 4 such could do the same for a 400kg vehicle. or a bit bigger motors for a 500kg vehicle. and so on.
    we may even see cars with only two hub motors.

  78. *******think 785rpm is bad, keep in mind that they are doing 5-7MW wind turbines now with no gearing going 20rpm. continuous power.************

    Yea! 360 Ft diameter or larger Rotors, 20 some foot tall generators and low voltage output with mega amp output and uses large transformers to bump the voltage and reduce the amperage for transmitting power.

    We are talking about 11″ motors in cars and though it can be done you don’t wan to to be there. It will suck your power. You do need a transmission. Keep it. Wheel motors. Hub motors are fine for light weight bicycles. There is a reason you don’t find them on a car. Follow the history.

  79. Dan,
    You are on about BLDC motor/generators for non-geared wind turbines and same again for in-wheel motors. Which is a bad thing due to popular consensus on here.

    Trouble with these motors is the German company that make ones that are perfect for EV use insist and were apologetic to me on not selling in one-off’s and only want to trade with OEM’s.

    Seems they are not hungry enough… Yet.

  80. Hi Jack,

    Many thanks for the response. I was actually thinking of changes of efficiency with torque rather than rpm.

    What is lurking in my mind is whether there might be a trade off between efficiency and performance: if you have a big motor which is only using (say) 10% of its torque potential to keep a light car rolling, whether you might as a result take an efficiency hit.

    If it was an easy trial to do, it might be interesting to see whether shutting down one motor on the Escalade had any effect on efficiency.

  81. John Hardy:

    Ahhh….yes. We’ll actually we planned on having the IDLE only on one motor and controller as it was. Kicking in the second motor only on acceleration. But we’re now talking with EVnetics about a different single controller for the two motors.

    Here’s the problem. I can easily run them, but without a dyno I can’t measure the efficiency at all. And we have no 4 wheel dyno within 100 miles at all. I can tell what’s going in, but I can’t measure what’s coming out without the dyno.

    Let me pray on that. It is an interesting question.

    Are you better off efficiency wise with a SMALLER motor run at its limits or a larger motor run at a fraction of its limits.

    My sense in magnet driven systems is metal mass in the motor always increases flux density and efficiency. But that’s not necessarily the case and you pose an interesting question.

    Relating to Dan’s non-copper foil post re hub motors and transmissions, I favor transmissions at the moment. I can use a smaller motor for the same car and gain a wider range of useful speeds. But yes there are penalties for all that weight and whirling gears and I’m aware of them. I’d like to make them go away. At one point, I actually had hub motors coming for the Smart if you recall. I think I’ve figured out why not hub motors.

    But I am attracted to Teslas integrated rear axle and there is another conversion shop whose name escapes me at the moment with an engineered transaxle.

    Ok, I’ll put on a copper foil helmet for JUST a minute here and reveal a kind of thought I had. But you will laugh.

    We have a VW transaxle sitting here. I have some very power neodymium magnets that I play with a bit. EVnetics has this motor adapter with a thrust bearing in it as part of the adapter.

    Now let’s say I took the flywheel, and buried the man gets into the flywheel. Bolted the flywheel and shaft up to the EVnetics adapter and the transaxle.

    Now let’s make some coils of heavy copper an inch in diameter and wrap them around a ferrous rod that goes through the adapter – the end a few hundredths from the flywheel. Sport about 12 of these around the circumference. Of course I would need a 3 phase controller and an encoder. But the flywheel would be both the flywheel AND the rotor on an axial PM motor. Should be lots of torque. Maybe a little coggy.

    It would sure free up some space in the back of a Speedster.

    Jack Rickard

  82. Jack,

    If I am not mistaken you might be describing something similar to what is done with the Honda Insight and its Integrated Motor Assist (IMA). It’s basically a BLDC integrated into the flywheel. I have a 2000 Insight that I have considered converting to all electric. Perhaps taking two of the IMA motors and stacking them together, losing the ICE and keeping the transmission. Should provide heaps of torque as the motor is in the “outrunner” configuration. My guess is that the rotor is about 12 inches in diameter. There’s a picture at the wiki link:


  83. The Enfield car is on one hand quaint but on the other, downright ugly! It’s a fairly rare beast now.
    Have a look at this motor. In production, 60Kw continuous and weighs 11.7Kg. The darned thing needs a stupid 200~300Volts though. Have no idea whether the controller is ev suitable, nor the prices.

  84. Jack re efficiency and dynos: if I’m not mistaken, we can get close-ish estimates of motor/controller efficiency combining coast-down and watt-hour per mile data. The coast down gives you “power to keep her rolling” at a given speed. Watt hours per mile tells you how much power you are actually burning. The e-Cobra numbers indicated a substantial drop in efficiency at lower speed/power settings.

  85. Jack,

    Foil head idea is pretty cool but not very practical unless someone could actually build it for a respectable cost. I’d go for the already built Axial motors instead. Good idea. Actually I don’t really consider it a foil head idea. It is actually something that could be done by some savvy folks. So put away that foil cap.

    Pete 🙂

  86. Dan,
    A gearbox saves loading the motor too heavily at low rpm. Improves consumption efficiency at any particular speed because the motor can be revved appropriately. Better hill climbing – not that there are any hills in Denmark for you. A higher useful speed can be attained and finally, with all the advantages mentioned here one can use a smaller motor for that heavier car.

    It’s never so straightforward.

    Also, a $4k ‘box is a personal choice.

  87. Andy, try to appreciate that I have considered all those aspects before making my conclusion.
    a larger motor is offset by the savings on the gearbox. the strain is momentary from start, doesn’t apply in practical speeds. it can handle hills as well. and a gearbox is not lossless.
    it might also be worth noting that the leaf, tesla, volt and imiev use fixed gearing.

    if I say something, it is because it’s true. if you think I erred, it’s because you did.

  88. “if I say something, it is because it’s true. if you think I erred, it’s because you did.”

    WOW, that is one over-inflated ego. I’m surprised your head can fit through doorways. Alas, it’s full of hot air.

  89. Jack,
    I had to make it members only as all sorts of crazy people where spamming it. It has a lot of archived photos of the history of the Enfield posted by some of the original people involved in the design and production of the various versions and l would hate to loose that info its the only one place with so much documentation of the Enfield.

    Dan l am beginning to wonder if you are an over zealous born again Christian full of energy lacking in knowledge and experience? ie “I am right and everyone else is wrong”
    PS:- I am not attacking Christianity.

  90. Leigh:

    IT’s Dan that is causing me to start to see why your “members only” concept might have some merit.

    Dan has NO primary information on ANY topic – 100% of it as it turns out is info he’s read somewhere else online and then repeats by typing it back into the screen. We call this technique “typing yourself smart” and you would be startled to learn how many people believe this process, repeated endlessly and in circle jerk fashion, actually comprises KNOWLEDGE.

    This concept has matured to a belief system that they can VOTE on actual information, should it intrude. It’s a kind of Alice in Wonderland Internet thing that has basically taken over the forums, driving out all persons/comments that might be useful.

    Despite having retired from such forums, I’m finding they FOLLOW me into my own blog in an attempt to reproduce such mayhem right in front of me. No reason I can guess as to WHY this is important to them.

    Jack Rickard

  91. Dan:

    The world loves me. I actually can do ANYTHING I approach with persistence and determination. There is ENDLESS resource in the universe and ANY of it I need to do ANYTHING will be available at the time and place where I need it to attack any worthy goal or idea. EVERYONE is honest, and well intentioned, and brilliant even if they express that poorly at times.

    And I can learn profound things from the very least of them – five year old black kids on the street in front of our shop were probably SENT there to let me learn something I really need to know.

    Even Dan Friedrickson, the most negative force in the universe, has been sent for a reason.

    Indeed, I have so much learned and so much resource that I can simply give it away to deserving souls around me and it will be replaced faster than I can GIVE it away.

    This goes beyond an attitude. I simply insist that it is all true. And so it becomes true.

    If you insist you are the most brilliant guy on the earth and know everything but the world does not deserve your gifts and indeed you are going to do NOTHING until they show up, recognize your brilliance and PAY you for it, then that becomes just as true.

    And you are going to be sitting and waiting for a long time. Brilliant, befuddled, angry, and bitter. With a trail of accomplishments a scant inch long. And so mired in fantasy and daydreams to cope with the reality of this negative existence. Some vague hope that Jesus will save you in the end when “true justice” is finally done.

    If that’s good for you, then its good for me. I won’t be doing it that way, but you go girlfriend.

    Jack Rickard

  92. it was a pretty good show this week. I like how you are getting into light weight energy efficient cars with the swallow. even light weight battery packs to help the efficiency. and the A123 cells who lend themselves to both super performance and small light and inexpensive packs.

    I wish I had thought of that 🙂

  93. btw you talked about a large variation in the capacity of the A123 cells. all the way down to 16.5Ah. could we see some data on that spread?
    one thing to have less capacity than advertized but if the variation is that great that makes it a largely useless cell. I have a hard time believing A123 could be that incompetent. will you include the data in the next blog entry? or next show?
    I asked osnpower about it and he said they range in 19-20Ah
    we could live with 19.3Ah fine but a spread down to 16.5 would be a huge blow.

  94. Enfield Lithium Battery Upgrade and these Lithium are so small and light I have gone from 476kg of Lead Acid to 78kg of Lithium 26 LYP90AHA Winston about 87V giving similar range.

    First drive figures 54.5km 72.05AH 107.3wh/km
    0-60kmh lead acid 15 seconds Lithium 9 seconds The car really goes well.

    Range should be better did some performance testing and have to reset front
    suspension and drop back to original ride height so wheel camber and toe in are

  95. Just checked cell voltages after 72Ah, 80% discharge 3.263V to 3.268V a 5mV variation straight out of the box just charged them to 3.65V per cell 94.9V for pack and drove.
    How good is that.

  96. No Dan. I won’t be posting data I don’t have. I’ve run a few cells and they are coming in from 16.5 to 19.0. Oh, yeah, I already TOLD you that.

    I’m not recording or doing anything in any particular methodology at the moment. Actually I’m kind of focused on the 100 AH 13.6v module. But I’m having strange results when the connection of tabs is not REALLY quite good.

    To stop and run any kind of organized test on individual cells probably isn’t happening soon. Eventually, if this looks promising, I will do it.


  97. Excellent whiteboard on batteries, Prof. Jack! How does a $200 crowdsourced charger turn into an $800 kit or a $2000 assembled unit? I would not bet on the Swallow necessarily having a low Cd, and I would want a roll bar. Can a seat be ‘robusted’ so that it serves as a rollbar?

  98. Perin:

    Well instead of doing 15 or 20 amps lets jack it up to 10 kW – gotta love that. That mostly drives the cost of the components up. As these things normally go, the heatsink, the enclosure, and the knobs are the most expensive things.

    I think it was about $1800 assembled. I don’t think I would assemble this bogey for $1000 actually. It looks like a lot of work. But that’s one way you can learn and save a grand. I’ll probably order them assembled.

    But the real advantage is that I can reprogram the Arduino code if it isn’t doing to suit me.

    Jack Rickard

  99. Hi Jack, I am using 38 200Ah cells with the HPEV50 system. I charge to around 132V. The only issue you may have is if you go to take off too soon after charging. If you are over 130v the car will not move. I once backed out of my driveway and thought I was ok until I was in the middle of the street and dead in the water. I flipped on my ceramic heater and the Pack voltage quickly dropped below the 130V mark and I was good to go.

    I don’t believe the Swallow has a heater though.

    This issue rarely comes up for me but without a way to drain your pack voltage you will need to sit and wait 5-10 minutes for the surface charge to drop off.
    On another note I have a contactor from Gigavac that does work with the Curtis Controller. It’s the GX23-008 description reads HVC-Continental NO w/external PWM I don’t know if I would recommend it as it buzzes more than the Kilovac does. The buzzing is the reason I decided to try Gigavac

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