Chiseled in Jello in the Global Village

It is true we are having a ball in the hinterlands of the Midwest, axing away at how to take any ordinary car and hack it into an entirely silent electric beast and make it do our bidding. While the rest of the world waits with baited breath and hopeful attention for developments from the global OEMsd, we are living and driving the dream and I have to tell you it IS fun and it IS worth it.

I’m doubly excited because it goes a little beyond whacking away in the garage on a hobby. I see a vibrant burgeoning new industry in custom electric cars that stretches out for decades and encompasses things the original hot rod custom car scene cannot even contemplate.

But like any frontier mining camp, it also attracts charlatans and mountebanks along with the adventurers and pioneers.

We were defrauded of some $9800 on a battery purchase from David Kois in April of 2010, along with at least 23 other people. Roy Mann led a group to take legal action and so we pitched in ANOTHER couple thousand ducats for legal expenses. They finally reached a settlement receiving some inventory they insisted represented 59 cents on the dollar, including MY 40 Thundersky 200Ah cells. Despite the irony of having to buy the cells, fund the legal attick, and then pay the rest of the group AGAIN for my cells, I agreed to do that anyway.

Didn’t happen. In a behind the scenes maneuver AFTER the settlement, and after reaching an agreement with me on the disposition of the cells, Mann and Baker reached an agreement with David Kois, the ORIGINAL vendor who defrauded us, to have HIM sell the cells and tender cash. They handed over the goods, and Kois has INDEED started selling the stuff AGAIN. But he’s keeping the money and refused for nearly a month to even communicate with the principals in the lawsuit.

We confirmed this past week that he had sold our cells AGAIN, and pocketed the proceeds. He insists he’ll work it all out AT THE END OF THE YEAR. (Or whenever he gets some money from defrauding someone ELSE sufficient to both live on and pay off the current group).

I’m so disgusted I may never order from an American parts retailer again. Roy Mann is so disillusioned he has abandoned his gorgeous 1976 VW beetle.

Kois currrently operates a web site called CurrentEVTech.

We would urge caution in dealing with him however. He’s very charming and got us twice, insisting on BOTH occasions that he’s really a VICTIM…. The same claim made by James Morrison….

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Meanwhile, we continue work on the Swallow and the Elescalade. We heard from Bill Bishoprick of Salem Oregon, applauding our work to update the Swallow. Bill originally engineered this attractive little notion of an EV. And we’re a bit taken with it.

By far the biggest development involves batteries. Sinopoly has emerged as one of the most attractive vendors who never were. They have quoted $1 per AH to anyone who will listen for their cells, but we can find no one who has actually received the cells. Per Ecklund claims he knows a guy who has but we haven’t stumbled on anyone directly.

Thundersky is really where all this started. Our first cells were some truly horrible SEIDEN cells. But very early we bought Thunderskies from Elite Power Solutions out in Arizona. Today they sell the GBS cells. But after receiving 70 400 Ah cells from Thundersky for the Elescalade Project, Winston Battery has informed us they no longer offer cells in the United States and their exclusive agent for North America is Balqon. We can’t even get them to return a telephone call – or tell us what they want us to do with this commercial we keep running with a dead e-mail address on it.

This leaves China Aviation Lithium Battery Company as the only viable vendor we can find actually shipping prismatic cells – and they are kind of stuck on the idea of $1.25 per AH.

And so we are going to begin looking at alternatives. Headway has some new large scale cylindrical cells. Sebastion Bourgois did an interesting pack in his Porsche 911 from Headway cells and claims he likes them.

Most ironically, it appears that the American manufacturers who have so abusively dismissed us as little and ugly and dressing funny, and insisting that they ONLY sell to “OEMs” with such a hugely comical combination of arrogance and naivetรฉ, seem to be mostly going out of business (Enerdel) or losing control of their product (A123).

A123 is very interesting to me personally. They had previously made some very twitchy little cylindrical cells that were probably truly dangerous in any application. We played with them and I could see no real use for them. We did make a little aux battery out of 4S4P arrangement and it went up in flames a month later.

They developed what they call a prismatic cells, we call them pouch cells. This is a little foil pouch 7.5 mm thick and about the size of our 100Ah prismatics. It has two tabs for positive and negative of course.

They entered these in a competition to power the Chevy Volt and Chevrolet chose LGChem’s Lithium Manganese Oxide Spinel cells instead. The Lithium Manganese cells offer a little better energy density than the A123’s and at the time, LGChem represented a much larger company more likely to reach full production in time. But Chevrolet may have chosen the wrong cell.

We certainly favor the LiFePo4 cell chemistry of the A123 20 Ah pouch as a safer chemistry. They have continued to work on these cells and have reduced manufacturing costs while increasing density and power performance as they went under a DOE program. Chevrolet has now selected them for the Chevy Spark program. Unfortunately, they don’t need any batteries for that car until 2013.

Meanwhile, A123 had invested $30 million in Fisker stock. In return, Fisker selected A123 as their cell vendor. And they had told A123 that they needed cell modules for 7000 cars before the end of 2011.

Brain actually had a conversation a year ago with the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at A123. He was told then that the Prius fire and Davide Andrea was the direct reason they would not sell battery cells to hobbyists and custom car builders. But he also said they would be working day and night just to ramp up production for the Fisker contract.

As ti turns out, apparently Fisker did not build 7000 cars in 2011. They built maybe 1500. It’s a little unclear what of THOSE were delivered to actual customers.

But its certainly thrown A123 into a tizzy. Despite an apparently firm contract finally with an OEM – General Motors, A123’s stock has plunged. Their Initial Public Offering (IPO) of September 24, 2009 valued the stock at $17. It reached a high just a few days later of $26.74 per share. It opened this morning at around $2.07 – not the performance clean green investor dreams are made of.

And after receiving hundreds of millions in Croney Crapitalism government ducats to bring 5000 new manufacturing jobs to Michigan, the company reached about 900 total jobs before they laid off 125 last week.

That the company maintains their policy of NOT selling their cells and modules should be of intense interest to their board of directors and shareholders. But it gets more interesting. Suddenly, several Chinese traders including OSN Power Technology and Shenzen VictPower Technology are offering A123 MD1 HD 20 Ah cells. These showed up at $50-$60 each a month or so ago and really are not very attractive at that price.

We just ordered 300 at $20 each. They seem to average about 18.6 Ah per cell, not 20. But that’s still about $1.08 per AH which seems to be the going rate of the Chinese prismatics.

They ARE possibly attractive at that price. They put a very high amount of POWER for their size – up to 600 Amps momentarily from a 20Ah cell. If you put six of them together, you get about 110 Ah that will pump 3600 amps if you have the packaging hardware to do that without melting or blowing up.

And therein lies a tale of course.

But what has really happened here with this “grey market” A123 cell? Are these simply “seconds” disposed of in a grey market? Perhaps.

More likely, and certainly it makes a more interesting story, let’s imagine A123 contracting with Korean and Chinese factories to make their cells. Then they don’t need quite as many cells as they thought they did because Fisker doesn’t make quite as many cars as they said they would. What is the Chinese factory to do with all the cells piling up in the aisles?

A123 would not be the first U.S. company to lose control of its own Chinese supplier. One of the dangers here in getting the Chinese to build your DeltaQ chargers, for example, is that they might just improve it and sell it against you as an Elcon. We actually busted a guy in EVDL whining heroically about this very matter and pointing to the loss of “American” jobs (Canadian company) as the result. Actually the problem was not American jobs, as they had contracted with China to build their chargers, which they are claiming are “made in Canada.”

As American companies have learned to play these games – hey we put a label on it and the instruction book and it is actually American made then – so have the Chinese. Hey we replace this cable with that and up the voltage and its a new charger.

Don’t fall for the media demonization of the Chinese. It’s the American companies that have brought this directly to our shores.

However it is happening, suddenly we can get some VERY power cells at very reasonable prices. As the volumetric density and density by weight do not actually increase at ALL the advantage is pretty slim. But you do wind up with a very granular device that can be combined in new ways to new shapes. And it does open the door to smaller packs of less range while also featuring less weight, less volume, and still sufficient POWER output to drive the controller and motor to their max.

And so it is incumbent on us to cover this development. More, we need to develop a modularization technique our viewers could use.

Again, if you have any ideas how to structure a process to truly vette a BETTER mousetrap/module, it’s a pregnant time. I’m struggling to see how to do this. But I’m attracted to the notion of doing a better/simpler/less expensive/BMSless version of the A123 module.

It is an infant industry on the frontier of a new world of electric cars. IT’s all graven in Jello. Yes, there are dangers. But opportunities as well. That’s what a frontier is.

I’ll make you the same deal I did the Internauts. I’ll hang around till it’s built. When the townies show up, I”m outta here.

That should give me a little work to do over the next 12 or 14 years I guess.

Jack Rickard

167 thoughts on “Chiseled in Jello in the Global Village”

  1. Good show Jack!

    When Brian pulled the Elescalade’s gas tank and you commented about that being the point where there was no going back I knew exactly how you felt. For me that point was when I removed the fuel lines. I am sure every converter has that moment where they realize that they have reached the point of no return.

    I think your A123 module design is coming along nicely. The short pot life of that material is a little frightening. You might try mixing the silica with the part A before adding the part B to give you a chance to get it mixed in.

    I am already thinking about my next project and these A123 batteries might be a solution. I don’t need the 60 mile range (80%DOD) I decided on in my current project but I wanted decent performance so I had to have at least 100AH to get the 300A continuous (3C rate) but only 800A (8C pulse). A pack with 50AH to 60AH would be more than enough for my around town driving needs if I could safely reach 1000+ amps for up to the 15 seconds it takes to go ballistic. A 3P pack of these A123 pouch cells looks like it could do this? I guess I need to go back and rewatch the other A123 test videos. It does look like you can make a small pack using 38120PS Headways. 6P of the 8AH cells would give 720A continuous and 960A peak in a 48AH pack. So they seem similar in this respect at least. I look forward to seeing some more battery testing.

    Thanks again for another good show. Always give me lots to think about.


  2. Jack, I think A123 uses a cut off of 2.0V although that is a little low to be fully useful. that might get you closer to 20.

    dmsail, I got some Valence 26650 and 18650 cells in late 2007 (also when I brought headway to the attention of the world). they are similar to A123 cells, a little weaker, similarly robust.
    I think Ian Hooper tested them along with the headways I sent him, you can see their data there relative to A123s.
    as I recall they were actually borderline reasonably priced at maybe 5$ per 26650 cell and they were willing to sell them. they later made these modules that were very current limited and quite expensive. so Valence weren’t much talked about although you could make a good pack with their cells. I think they are struggling financially these days. they had entered a joint venture with a chinese company to produce the cells for them using Valence tech. they were also allowed to produce their own cells (Baoding Fengfan). last I checked in november 2010 they wanted 3.75$ in volume of 1000 for a 2.3Ah cell.

    another chinese company DLG makes a superior cell. comparable to A123 and in some respects even superior. it’s a 2.5Ah cell with basically same current power as A123. these were sold in USA as K2 for a while.
    Ian Hooper bought a pack of them in 2008.

    unfortunately I haven’t yet seen any of the chinese lifepo 26650 makers follow A123 and make a pouch cell yet. that would help competition a bit and availability.

  3. Jack,

    I would pay $20/cell for 20 cells as an entry fee for the box design contest.

    I think with a return to EVTV by July 4th, would allow you enough time to charge/discharge, drop, kick, drop from vehicle moving at highway speeds, etc. before next years EVCCON. You could even throw in a discount on the EVCCON Fee for design contest entrants.

    A list of design spec’s from you would give designers some baseline requirements that you will be testing e.g. “the unit will be dropped from 6 feet on all 8 corners and then fully charged and fully discharged”.

  4. Jack:

    Are you sure that honeycomb is going to be a good heatsink ? The air is not able to go through the honeycomb. I think the honeycomb more or less will act as an insulator between the upper and lower sheets of aluminium.

    But of course the best way to find out is to try… but you already knew that.

    I’ll get back to you about the Sinopoly dealer.

    All the best to you and the crew.
    /Per Eklund

  5. I think the honeycomb will act as an excellent heat sink – mostly because it is four feet long and a foot wide. The thin shell on the top mated to the Curtis will provide an excellent heat sink. The inner “honeycomb” doesn’t’ really do much of anything.

    Aluminum is curiously good at heat transfer. So good, you can’t weld it with the little spot welders. I’ve always found it fascinating how quickly it will move heat.

    We typically liquid cool the Curtis. I really don’t think it’s going to be breathing very hard moving this very light vehicle, but the square meter of thin aluminum on the TOP of this aircraft decking will wick away the heat quite effectively I think.

    I could be wrong. It’s happened.

    Jack Rickard

  6. Chad:

    I’m sure you’d pay $4 per cell and yes we could discount the convention to $10 for participants. Or we could just sell $5 bills for $2.

    Of course, I’d have 3000 people wanting to buy cells that I would never hear from again…….

    If you want to devise a method for taking it out of my pocket and putting it in yours, I’m not very interested. Actually, if you want to devise away of just taking it out of your pocket and putting it in mine, I’m only mildly MORE interested.

    If you can come up with a win/win scenario where a new module is created that take full advantage of these cells, with some sort of interesting and intriguing competitive aspect, that would be interesting.


  7. alu honeycomb is probably not a great heatsink but it it what it is, an alu sheet somewhat coupled to a lower alu sheet. better than styrofoam but probably can’t be counted on to handle large heat transport. I’d guess it couldn’t adequately cool a controller as the only cooling.

    I imagine that the heat will mostly plume out on the top sheet and only at a certain size will it significantly move to the lower sheet. the honeycomb material is extremely thin in the sample piece I have and coupled with glue.

    btw Jack, when you criticized my thinking approach in the show I was reminded of the Orson Welles movie about Tesla where Edison was frustrated by Tesla because he thought it up and Edison had to find it through trial and error. Orson Welles playing JP Morgan said: Edison says genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. and you don’t perspire enough Tesla ๐Ÿ™‚

    speaking for myself and likely Tesla as well, it is no picnic to think and the reward from others is often grief. Tesla was disillusioned with his fellow man in the later part of his life.
    Einstein remarked that only human stupidity is infinite, stemming from similar frustration with his fellow man. I certainly share the frustration with how unwilling people are to listen to reason although I hold on to the hope that even though resonance is frustratingly slow it is not entirely futile to raise awareness.

    an extreme case is Jesus who wasn’t exactly rewarded for his contribution but the effect was nonetheless substantial.
    it would be nice however if progress wasn’t always achieved through hardship of good men.
    this reality could be quite spectacular if reason was more calmly appreciated.

  8. Dan,

    One struggles with math while the next student seems to just get it. The problem is that he too must turn in his work. The problem must be solved. The answer does not just come out of thin air. A thought is then put into practice. If it does not work you try again. Tesla was the student that just got it and Edison struggled. Both were genius but both had to build and test. You mistake thought with fact. The fact is you do think but you don’t build and test to prove your thought. You just expect us to believe it. Sorry but you must turn in YOUR HOMEWORK. That means you must perspire a bit. Maybe the light will shine or maybe it will remain dim.

  9. Dan,

    You know, you can simulate a cell with tabs and make a bunch of them and pretend they are real and build your pack as though they are real batteries. If it fails then you try another way. When you come up with something that seems to be working you can save your ducats and buy a bunch of real cells and then put them in to your design for final testing and submission. Much cheaper that way but in the end you WILL need to test the real deal before submission. They it will be tested. You have just as much of a chance to wind as any of the rest of us. Stop complaining and get to perspiring. You will find it quite enjoyable if you stick your nose to the grindstone. Spend less time thinking your as good as Tesla and prove it.

  10. Jack,

    I simply did not convey my math to words clearly. I meant I would pay your bulk price of $20/cell that you mentioned receiving on a purchase of 300 cells. Making my entry fee $400 for 20 cells. Earlier blogs you mentioned charging $50/cell making the entry fee $1000 for 20 cells.

    I think I would be even inclined to pay $25/cell ($500 for 20 cells) to cover any additional handling/shipping from EVTV to me.

  11. Here we go again,
    “Edison says genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. and you don’t perspire enough Tesla ๐Ÿ™‚
    speaking for myself and likely Tesla as well…”

    “Einstein remarked that only human stupidity is infinite, stemming from similar frustration with his fellow man. I certainly share the frustration with how unwilling people are to listen to reason “

    “an extreme case is Jesus who wasn’t exactly rewarded for his contribution but the effect was nonetheless substantial.”

    So Dan goes from comparing himself with Tesla, then Einstein now Jesus!!! Who needs to talk vehicles when you can be on Dan’s medication.

    You see Dan, you walked into a bank and displayed pictures of your untested sausage on pram wheels and demanded money with no working vehicle, fully debugged and passed EU regulations and registered for the road.
    No bill of materials.
    No customers,
    No production facility,
    No public interest.
    And most importantly in their eyes, no hint of making a profit.

    Then you went home in a huff and called them stupid.

  12. Jack I love the new android format!

    Jack here is another idea for your contest. What about having people submit 4 or 5 identical modules of 3 or 4 cells each?

    Module A could be vibration tested to destruction. Similarly you could drop the box from successively higher heights until it fails.

    Module B could have flame directly applied to the box, to the destruction point.

    Module C could be a water test.

    Module D could have a high current torture test, until destruction.

    You might have different winners for each category, but that would be good as it would show which designs excel at what.

    Smaller modules would also make for boxes that a human could easily lift, instead of having to forklift all the entries about.

  13. Jack.
    As you may or may not recall, on the Monday before EVCCON 2011 you and I sawed the case off of a CALB or Thundersky battery. We then disassembled the hardware that was holding several hundred very thin metal tabs together, and connecting them to the terminals on the top of the battery. Why wouldnโ€™t this work for securing the A123 pouches? If I recall you took that hardware and put it somewhere in you shop so you would know where it was when you wanted itโ€ฆโ€ฆ..
    Or maybe show the hardware on the next EVTV show.
    Al Gajda

  14. Modules that bolt down, bolt together, bolt across. Terminals that fit across like Lego. Finger and tool safe, including options for thermistor beads or a socket for per cell checking/charge tweaking.

    Yes, vibration, corrosion, weather proofing, temperature resistance and inbuilt safety in case the worst happens at 2am.

    I’m in love. Can’t help but think about those 30AH EnerDel T-HE cells ๐Ÿ™

  15. I remember getting a large thick block of aluminum to use as a heat sink because aluminum drew heat away fast but when I mounted it up properly it helped some but mostly it could not dissipate the heat away fast enough. It would soak up heat then heat the controller up again within minutes. A thin super large flat plate may help. I will reserve any judgment on how well the aluminum plate will work with no cooling fins with active air flow. I do hope it will be good enough at drawing away the heat. Maybe the thinness and the super large area will actually work at wicking away the heat. The large thick block did not work. Only a nice finned heat sink with a fan worked. Worked so well I could never get it more than mildly warm.

    Pete ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Interesting – the mention of headway cells…I bought 2 each of the 8Ah, 10Ah, 12Ah, & 16Ah cells in July. Then thought – why not get another set of 2 each to start a set of 12V modules of each size! I now have them all (got the next set in Oct – Nov.) Put them together in the provided plastc seperators’ 4S1P each, and weighed them – step one, before I start with giving each cell a single charge cycle, prior to connecting the series plates. Taking it 1step at a time!

  17. Dan:

    Tesla, Edison, Einstein, and now Jesus. NOw that you and your fantasy brin team have me all straightened out over here, whatever you’re on, I’d like to try some one afternoon. Is it really REALLY addictive?

    Couldn’t I get away with just one tiny little experiment with it just once?

    Jack RIckard

  18. As to heat sink. It’s kind of a function of exposed area more than anything, and of course how hard you drive the 650A controller. But we already HAVE this controller in the Spyder without liquid cooling. It’s on a large aluminum heatsink (though actually not THIS large area wise) and we have no thermal issues with that car at all.

    So I’m kind of certain it will work. But it is curious to see all of you explain why it won’t. You could be right.

    Jack Rickard

  19. Unhappy Mr. Griffin:

    I saw those. At $34 plus $14 shipping I did not find them attractive. This happens a bit on eBay. Everyone has a “secret” source and then they mark it up hugely and put it online hoping nobody notices. Curious thing.

    In any event, I just ordered 300 cells at $20 each. By the time you pay shipping and the Paypal tax (yes VictPower actually takes Paypal) you are at $25.18 per cell. I think this is just barely in the game price wise. I can get a 100A CALB delivered for about $125 and with six of these at $150 I have about the same energy. Of course, it’s another twenty or thirty dollars in hardware and plastic to get it to be a battery.

    But if we develop some sort of module, and the price keeps coming down a bit, I can see a spot for these cells in the future. I think A123 has frankly lost control of the cells and their manufacture. These could become rogue commodity cells. Or maybe A123 is just dumping a few. The Chinese providers are being VERY cagey about this. THey simply will not answer much in the way of questions regarding when how and why they have come by these cells. In fact, to some degree they are simply lying to me on a couple of key issues. This is very irritating, but probably not very important.

    I’m probably going to abandon the current module effort and go to a different model. This works pretty well but the terminals are at opposite ends and I really don’t’ see it working in a car. We mostly look DOWN on our connections in a car splayed out in a box. And that’s kind of where this has to go ultimately.

    I’ve ordered some bar stock and we’re going to go back to the more conventional stack o’ cells with little separators and see what we can work up there.

    I just have this feeling that a lot of you would be a LOT better at this packaging stuff than I am, even without any useful assistance from Tesla, Jesus, Thomas, Albert or of course DAN – who is now famous across the land.

    Jack Rickard

  20. The testing would be pretty simple. We’d probably hook it up with some cables and build a vibration table to shake the crap out of it. We’d then do a pulsed discharge test to determine capacity and thermal cycle the connections while it’s vibrating.

    Assuming it survived. We’d charge it up and do a current dump at about 300 A per cell if we could assemble that much load, while vibrating. IF it didn’t burn up by then, it’s probably ok.

    Yesterday I did hook up a couple of cells and put the load to it. They do not do 20C apparently. I got it up to about 320 amps on a single pair in series. 17.88% voltage sag was quite good actually and 320 amps IS 16C which is pretty damn good if you ask me. It’s not as advertised, but it’s pretty strong. Six of these cells will give you 100+Ah and 1850Amps with 18% voltage sag. Kewl.

    What does that mean in the EleCobra for example? Well, we could have done 1300Amps we did at a voltage of 188.6 – I think we got down in the 165 area as I recall with the Thunderskies. That would give us about 245kw.

    The weight of the bare cells would be 451 lbs. We had 975lbs of cells in the EleCobra. Even if you modules them up to 550 lbs, it would still be a lot lighter car. Of course you lose hugely on range, but the power would be BETTER at half the weight.

    It’s an option. We need to pursue this. Oh, and these are VERY much standard LiFePo4 cells. They do not need a BMS any more than the others. They really don’t have much in the way of thermal issues though at 310 amps they do heat up.

    So I’m envisioning a much simplified module with no BMS, some passive thermal heat sinking, and a much lower cost and weight than A123 and Fisker are enjoying.

    BTW. Fisker just raised the price on their car to over $100K and the “good version” is now 116k. Dead man walking……. Until GM does something to bail out A123, they look very precarious. Given the Volt issues, it just might behoove GM to do something too….

    Congressional hearings now on why there was a five month DELAY from June to November on the known and documented fires of June at NHTSA.

    Jack Rickard

  21. Chad:

    No, you are kind of missing the point. We were talking about $50 per cell so I would GET the entry back. At cost, I’m just selling cells that you MIGHT want to do something with. Most go away and you never hear any more.

    Last year I had a %5.95 registration fee if you brought a car. I had 10 cars go up in smoke on me because it wasn’t enough skin in the game to bother e-mailing me that they weren’t coming. Some we couldn’t chase down at all.

    If you pay $50 for a $20 cell, it isn’t to use the cell. It’s to send in an entry in the hopes of WINNING something. I’ve had three people all indicate the $50 is way too much which is enormously entertaining for me to watch the little wheels a turning when we haven’t settled on a PRIZE yet. Dan has taken he position that no prize would be worthwhile for his very valuable time for example. (How about the Battle Ship New Jersey Dan.- the State of Arkansas? Surely there is SOMETHING you would want and find valuable).

    The most obvious would be a largish set of cells. Say 500 or 1000. IF you won the module contest, AND had 500 cells on hand costing you NOTHING, if someone DID want you to build them a pack for their car, using say 300 cells, you would have all the pieces laying there to fill the order. They would have to pay in advance or at least 1/2 in advance, and so you have a zero cost startup business. Dan can’t see that far because Dan really is NOT a genius or even very bright. He’s kind of a delusional college kid who’s never actually held a job or driven an electric car. He lacks even the basic understanding of how anything in the world actually works, but fantasizes about being the unrecognized sad genius TESLA.

    The multimillionaire world renowned Edison of course, was just chopped liver because he thought it was of advantage to work at it instead of thinking pretty thoughts all day.

    Sheesh. What a world what a world. Help me…..I’m melting……

    Jack Rickard

  22. Hello Jack!
    Thanks for the reply! The most interesting part of that A123 listing was not the price or shipping but the pictures of how they assembled the cells into packs and at the bottom of the listing, the offer to weld tabs to the batteries prior to shipping. I thought that might be of use in you battery project.

    disgruntled1 = late night fun with gmail!


  23. Jack, as I’ve said before, it’s not the size of the prize, it’s that I have very little faith in the judgment of my entry. I offer observations for free all the time but I get mostly abuse in return. so naturally I don’t feel like paying hundreds of dollars and my time as well as costly shipping back and forth to be subject to a flicker of arbitrary judgment.

    I offer references to known smart men but instead of listening to those you focus on how I dare even imply that I have something in common with them.

    that is why I am not eager to participate with a 1000$ entry fee. plus I’ve already offered my design for free which you dismissed in an instant and threw in some abusive language to boot.
    but I don’t mean to stifle the competition. by all means hold it. I am a fan of the cells. I think they are our current best bet at making EVs really shine.
    light, aerodynamic and fast plus blitz charge capable. take you to st louis and back with a small inexpensive pack and outdrag a ferrari.

    btw have you tried soldering on the tabs? if not with an iron maybe quickly with a torch.
    might also be interesting to do a spot welding experiment.

  24. Just a couple of thoughts here.—Off the topic of whose is bigger JaHEsus’s or Dan’s.—

    Jack the last few shows have been hugely entertaining as well as the blog!

    Hey, what happened to TSLA? Stop loss was hit at 30.95 a couple days ago. I am looking for a bottom to form.

    I am also tempted to invest in AONE. But I have lost thousands of dollars investing in companies going belly-up, and I am hesitant, so what do you think? Is AONE going to make a come back?

    By the way in reading up on AONE it seems they formed a joint parnership with SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation). this was in 2009 so maybe old news. This joint venture goes by the name of —Shanghai Advanced Traction Battery Systems Co. (ATBS)— 51% owned by the Chinese SAIC!

    I read that this partnership was to specifically assemble traction packs for automotive use.

    Pardon me if this is all old news.

  25. Dan:

    It is ALWAYS the shortcomings of others that stymie you from greatness, and of course keep you mired in poverty and despair.

    A vague cartoon is not a design, and SHOULD be dismissed as what it is, fantasy. No detail. No design reallyh. Just a blurry picture. Your life.


  26. Mark:

    No it is not old news. It is new news. We will try to track these guys down and find out what they’ve done.

    Tesla is caught in a downdraft CAUSED by Think, Fisker, AONE, ENERDEL, VOLT and NISSAN. This could grow into a huge bloodbath that the media will seize on and EV critics will crow about. This is what I have been fearing with the Leaf and Volt numbers. Bad value proposition eq low sales eq nobody wants electric cars. Kind of a circular self fulfilling prophesy of the damned and the damned stupid. We’ll survive it.

    Tesla will too. The Model S is going to be hugely successful. Kind of an ICON of the early days of the 21st century actually – THAT hugely successful. But the stock will have some ujps and downs between now and the end of 2012.

    If Panasonic ships the cells on time (March) then Tesla should ship the car on time (probably July) and by December it will be apparent. The short squeeze is going to cause a stock blowout, but I don’t have a clue when.

    AONE. $2.07. There is some to like here. But I would consider it a very long shot.

  27. tsla down to 28.5 (still hugely inflated though)
    aone down to 1.9. I don’t get how they are generating such great losses, their small cell business has to be viable and why wouldn’t moderate sales of pouch cells be viable for them..
    250m$ loss per year, how do you do that..

  28. Dan,
    Re soldering A123 tabs.
    Are you trying to wind people up. How on Earth do you solder aluminium?

    How about inventing wide clips for use with an insulated crimping tool?

    Money to be made…..

  29. DC to DC converters are a bit of a pain right now. If you stay between 125 and 195 volts then you can use Iota DLS AC to DC converters, commonly seen in motorhomes and travel trailers.

    If you can live with 25 amps of output my Kelly HWZ series DC to DC converter has worked well. These are available in 12 volt steps from 36 volts to 156 volts. The units have enough input range to work for most EVs, for example, my 96 volt unit is rated to operate between 75 and 130 volts. That would work well for 32-35 cells (I’m using it with 32 cells.) When I increase the pack size to 38 cells I will buy the 108 volt version that is rated for 84-146 volts. They are about $150 each. I don’t know if they will parallel well.

    One thing to consider is that a DC to DC converter may fail from to low an input voltage. Better designs won’t, they will just reduce or eliminate output power until input voltage recovers. Inexpensive designs will see the reduced output voltage caused by low input voltage as a sign of high load, and turn up the input power. That power will go somewhere, usually into destroying input transistors or diodes.

  30. Good DC-DC find that, EvFun.

    This might interest the odd person but not everyone.
    If your supply voltage is not too high and you have double insulated electrics. i.e. NOT using the body as an Earth return. (Wired like the battery, two separate supply lines). You can use LED’s wired in series to suit your pack with no DC-DC conversion.

    A rough guide with no current limiter will be one led per Li cell as each LED drops 3.2V

    So, a 22 cell, 72V supply can have 11 LED’s on each winker, 11 each for two stop or tail lights etc..

    I have devised a way to use ordinary 15K mcd ultra brights as headlights with a great cut-off but that’s for another day.

    Are there any good Halogen bulbs to use on 110V that can work in headlights?

  31. I’ve already discovered the low voltage problem with the Vicor VI-251-09/VI-B51-02 bricks from AZD. They get really unstable under 130VDC when putting out 13.2VDC. They run rock solid from 150VDC to at least 225VDC (I can’t easily test higher than that). If I go with a DC system, that should work out fine.

    If I end up using an AC-20 kit with a Curtis 1238-7601, 130VDC will be my max allowed pack voltage. In that case, I’ll have to find something in the sub 130VDC range. The Chenic $99 400w converter would have been ideal… but I’m not really wanting to be riding along on a motorcycle and have the magic smoke come out.

  32. Sound makers make no difference. People are oblivious with or without sound. It did make a difference however when I pulled to MacDonalds for a quick breakfast. With the sound on the person inside knows I am there but without it they do not know. I usually clear my voice and they jump. oOOOOO Im sorry. I did not know you were there. I say no worry. It’s electric and silent. But in the parking lots or intersections noise makes no difference. People are stupid and will readily walk in front of a noisy truck or silent EV and not even blink or turn the head.

  33. I am sorry for all the headaches EV Components has brought on the EV community. I must have been about the last person to receive the cells they paid for when I got my 60 amp hour Thunder Sky cells in March 2010. I thought I would point out that our oh-so-ineffective Washington state Attorney General happens to be running for Governor now. If Jack, or anyone else, would like to express disapproval with how he helps enforce fraud laws he would be especially vulnerable to your efforts.

  34. You been looking at A123 test results? Or real private test results from someone that is truly a neutral party? I’d pretty much go with what Jack as shown. No reason to doubt the results. Kinda like he has said and I have noticed over the years. American products are usually less than the claim. Take for instance a typical 2X4. When was the last time you really purchased a 2X4 that was truly 2″ X 4″?

    I am calling the 20AH cells a real 18AH. I was going to resign them to a 15Ah cell but it would be better to say 18AH and build accordingly. Then if I have cells that are really 19AH I have a built in safety margin. Can’t go wrong there.

    Pete ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. Some threads on pack building. I can’t tell what is a good idea or not, but perhaps some useful information from earlier efforts.

    A honda insight retrofit. Has been on the road over a year.

    Testing with videos and pics

    Pic of pouches assembled in a large format cell

  36. Jack also said 16.5Ah
    we need to see some actual test data. the tests I have seen also show better than 19. 19.5-20
    although they are still very few. cut off at 2.0V

    to be thorough they should also be cycled a few times. sometimes cells change in the first cycles.

  37. Stan,
    Apart from the horn the other devices “gauges and gps” take very little current indeed. A small buck converter.

    I did propose the Cycle Analyst which does everything and it runs on just about any voltage. For some reason Jacks version did not have any software debounce on the button.

    a 110v noisemaker for a horn? hmmm
    A goes noise, you have a chain? They can be heard down the street!

  38. In SimCity, dream it and it’s done. Build and model it to the last thread in Pro/Engineer and design is proven. Same for the 3-phase controller modeled in SPICE and the spec sheets for all the bits.

    Dream on. Perception is reality. I’m actually glad that I don’t live solely in SimCity or some other contrived parallel universe. For me those are at best tools for gettin’ where I want to go. All the DO to back up the seemingly intelligent talk is the only reason I watch EVET.

    Rock on Jack & Brain!

  39. Dan:

    I agree. I cannot wait to see your results. I do hope you’ll post them here first of course – along with your I”m sure cunning method of determining if they are “1st” or “2nd” rate cells. That’s a very interesting question to pose to a Chinese supplier by the way. You want to be sure and ask that of them directly. That way you can play e-mail hard for a few days….

    Jack Rickard

  40. Leigh AND Dan, indeed SUCH irony. Thanks Leigh for this link. A number of people have referred to this study but it is actually the first time I’ve actually read it – getting a little training here is helping me recalibrate.

    This study has a LOT in it and I would recommend everyone read it several times EXCEPT DAN of course for whom I would recommend having it tattooed across his forehead in very small reversed type and a huge magnifying mirror be attached to hs wall.

    SO MUCH jumps out at me in this study. BRAVO Kruger and Dunning.

    I loved the Thomas Jefferson quote that “he who knows best best knows how little he knows.” This tending to explain why every answer in life contains at least three questions…

    But more broadly, I kind of entertain Dan because I have noticed this in some of my own kids and kids of friends, young Hauber when he was here, and more generally of youth that I do not recall from earlier ages. That is a “fantasy of competence.”

    When I was a youth, I of course knew crap about crap. And was reminded of it by my elders at any opportunity. I suspected I knew more than they thought, but never had any delusions.

    Among today’s young people, there is a significant percentage where they have fantasies that they are absolutely BRILLIANT and indeed expert at things they have never done at all. AND there is a corollary in that they truly SUCK at things they have never tried at all. At times, you can have these very strongly held opinions in the SAME PERSON. Absolutely mystical.

    I have both a son and a daughter who are quite convinced they “SUCK” to quote them at things they’ve never done at all. Or maybe tried once or twice. To me this looks like from the outside like someone picking up an Oboe, blowing into it three times, and noting – “Hey I suck at playing the Oboe – oh well…..”

    My response is of course, devote three to five thousand hours toward learning to play the Oboe. Indeed, we MAY learn that you DO suck at it. But we won’t know for three or five thousand hours….

    Similarly, I recall a discussion with young Hauber, who is failing to convince me of an ABSURD notion of strength of steel and welds and so forth but despite his inability to accurately present his case, he was SURE it would work and DEMANDED that I just trust him and let him do it his way. Despite the expense in materials and that we were at a crucial and frustrating point in the Mini Cooper project, I did so.

    It failed of course and dramatically. At which point he went BERSERK with grief that it hadn’t worked and he had ruined this material and was SUCH a loser. At which point I had to point out to him that we had a whole PILE of material cut to just very NEARLY the right length and that we screwed up things ALL DAY EVERY DAY. It’s neither so terribly important to be right, nor terribly sinful to be wrong – but it would be nice to reach a CONCENSUS before screwing up a lot of aluminum or steel. In this way we can screw up TOGETHER.

    The competence was a FANTASY. He COMPLETELY believed he KNEW the answer, even if he couldn’t actually articulate it in words. Worse, the “training” experience/recalibration was HUGELY PAINFUL beyond what it merited. The material or the setback wasn’t really a big deal. What I though really wasn’t a big deal. The failure of his FANTASY was a BIG deal. A huge deal.

    I have trouble relating to all that. Indeed as anyone around here quickly notices, I’m somewhat cavalier about success and often intensely curious about failure. This is not because we are arrogantly so accustomed to success, it is just not very interesting because it is very difficult to determine what caused it. Failure almost always leaves tracks – things we can determine forensically to have caused it. There are no forensics to success. You don’t know WHAT caused that beyond a vague failure to fail.

  41. Dan could be a poster child for this study in EXTREMIS. He is in the lower 0.0001 percentile with INTENSE fantasies of competence that actually lead him to be dismissive and even abusive toward a world that simply is too incompetent to appreciate his TRUE GENIUS. If the world were NOT so idiotic, it would automatically recognize his genius and provide several BILLIONS in resource at which point he might deign to grant their every wish and solve all problems as he found it convenient.

    It’s such a pleasant fantasy, that we’re just NOT giving any of it up at ANY cost. Because it is so hyper inflated, ANY training, even that gleaned by the most basic attempt to do anything at all (arrange your alphabet cereal into words) harbors the seeds of failure and endangers the very bedrock of the fantasy world he occupies. I’ve played with this for over a year. ANY suggestion that he actually do something useful is met with a laundry list of why he cannot, should not, would not even attempt that. And I mean it is AIRTIGHT.

    The latest is of course this packaging design challenge. How do we assemble the cells into a package useful in a car in the case of A123 cells. By the way, at this point I am ENTIRELY ABANDONING my current strategy as being COMPLETELY IMPRACTICAL and starting over entirely on this project. I don’t mind at all. But Dan won’t’ even attempt it and HERE is his reasoning:

    Jack is so biased against him that there is NO WAY his design could ever be recognized as the work of elegant art/genius it is and so he is not going to enter a contest he couldn’t possible win, even though we haven’t actually designed the contest, it’s rules or rewards…….

    Now imagine how hurtful this must be to him. And let me give you a little background.

  42. We usually tape on Friday. Oh, we’ll shoot little scraps during the week sometimes, but then we generally try to shoot something to tie all that together on Friday afternoon. I arise early Saturday to edit it. If I do well, I have it pretty much ship shape late Saturday afternoon and can turn things over to the computer to render, output, compress and so forth wich actually takes several hours on a two hour HD video. Then there is an hour or so of uploading which I have to start but don’t have to do much with.

    On Sunday, if all has gone well, the main files are up on Amazon’s cloud. I really have to just hand code a wee bit of HTML into three or four files and automagically – more EVTV. I might wait till Monday or Tuseday to do a blog entry on it and upload it to YouTube where we get just a handful of views but sometimes some new regulars discover us this way.

    But life happens. My two brothers were in this last week from Texas. I’m not going to sit there editing video when I could be ranting and raving with them over a few beers. Etc. etc.

    So the issue date of the weekly video is a little unprofessional. It says Haynes when I say it says Haynes – kind of like the underwear. and it goes up when I put it up. Life gets in the way.

    I can tell you that for TWO YEARS, I start getting e-mail from Dan Friedrickson about noon Sunday and I get it till I get it up there. He’s sitting there WAITING for the next episode. And he’s PISSED that I don’t have it done on time. I don’t mean annoyed. He’s NOT ok with this. It is not a trivial matter. It is LATE. I mean LATE LATE. And somebody should have to account for that.

    I am NOT exaggerating. And as soon as he’s seen it, I get a massive missive of all I’ve got wrong, how I should have done it, how if only I would have listened to him it would have all gone better, etc. etc. etc.

  43. So in a weird way, Dan is our greatest fanboyz. None of the rest of you pikers are even close. Dan’s a video STALKER. Our biggest fan. So when he doesn’t believe we’d even give his design a fair hearing, I can imagine the heartbreak.

    Actually, I imagine bullshit. Dan aint’ coughing no design. And that’s because it would be a training exercise in the Kruger and Dunning sense and might recalibrate his discognisance (I know it ain’t a word Dan) and ENDANGER HIS FANTASY of not competence, but BRILLIANT INTELLECT on topics he has NO experience or training in at all beyond reading things in forums. And he’s a POSTER child for the forums and the entire disconnect going on THERE.

    For me, it IS a recal aid and so Dan kind of keeps me earthed on WHO is watching EVTV. But beyond that, he is curiously persistent. And I have a thing for persistence.

    I value persistence and focus above all things. I find genius overrated and not truly very useful. At our dinner table growing up, I had a little sister with an IQ of about 150. We considered her a “special needs” child at the Rickard house. Indeed she was and still is….

    I’ve known DOZENS of certified geniuses and often with considerable education, incapable of actually DOING anything even in their own narrow field because they could not focus or persist at ANTHING long enough to make a dent in it. They’re entertaining to TALK to and versed on a wide variety of disciplines in that sense, but don’t rely on any of them to actually do anything worthwhile. Thirty of them together couldn’t buy pizza for the group. If they could, it would be unlikely for them to actually have it delivered to the right address, OR for that matter for them to still be there when it arrived or remember having ordered it.

    Dan is very persistent. He’s very loyal. And he focuses intently and over a long period of time on electric vehicles. There must be some way to put a meter on that and have it do something useful. I’m totally disinterested in the Genius he imagines, and quite taken with the persistence which he fails to apply to anything.

    So if you can’t come up with a good module design for the A123 cells, how about figuring out HOW TO FIX DAN…

    Jack RIckard

  44. Jack, the paper is actually not that great. first it’s a rather trivial point that some greatly overestimate the value of their opinion. and second it is hardly a quality limited to the bottom quarter of the intelligence scale.
    Lord Kelvin declared that heavier than air flight was impossible. not difficult, but impossible. followed by this gem: “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now” from 1900.

    And you yourself may also have a touch of overconfidence at times Jack. hardly worth mentioning.

    it’s one thing to disagree with points I make but why this need to paint me a moron when clearly I am not…

  45. Dan:

    You see you don’t understand the paper. It is that the cognitive disconnect becomes GREATER the further down the percentile ramp you go. And it is specifically that those on the lower end OVERESTIMATE and those on the upper end UNDER estimate.

    Kind of gotcha again Dan. You BELIEVE you understand the paper. I mostly do, but I’m a little uncertain….


  46. I hadn’t seen your many posts before I answered.
    I’m not sure why you’d want someone with intelligence in the lower 0.0001 percentile to participate in a battery pack design contest. surely that would not be impressive : )

    and you do rather exaggerate our interactions. a couple of times long ago I gently referred to your show as the sometime next week show instead of the friday show when it wasn’t posted until tuesday or even wednesday. and a few weeks ago I wrote you late sunday night smilingly saying the crowd is getting restless. on top of that I’m keenly aware of not imposing too much stress on you and have more than once suggested that you make time for sleep, that the show can wait and you shouldn’t worry about feeling that the show is inadequate since noone else creates anything like it.
    and when I offer input and feedback it is always calmly and courteously and it is intelligent and helpful if you let it be.
    and you do listen but it is inbetween spitting me in the face. it is puzzling how I engender such animosity. I guess clarity can be overwhelming in some way when the implications are far reaching.

  47. Jack,

    you wrote:

    “By the way, at this point I am ENTIRELY ABANDONING my current strategy as being COMPLETELY IMPRACTICAL and starting over entirely on this project. I don’t mind at all.”

    What was the problem with your method? Was it the time it took messing around with casting stuff, or was it a problem with having half of the batteries upside down? I thought your method was looking quite promising so I’m interested to know what the problems were.

    I have another question. This is about the battery tabs. Is it possible to either roll them around a strip of metal or fold them and put a crease in them? In either case would they stay in the new shape you bent them into or would they spring back to their previous shape? I’m asking because yesterday I was thinking about various ways to construct a battery.

    Nick. ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. Jack like you l have a shed full of mistakes from wrong design, wrong cuts, etc and lost a lot of money in the process. I find my life is full of mistakes but it is truly uplifting when at last after what seems an eternity of redesign and rebuilding that it finally works. Life’s a Journey of ups and downs, insights and confusion, misunderstanding and enlightenment.
    In the end its about the journey not so much the destination, when ya get there ya got somewhere else to go lol

    Anyhow the little Enfield is going well and having so much fun with the performance improvement with the Lithiums

  49. I have been pondering the issue of building a case for the cells that is durable, shock proof or resistant, strong, light weight and pretty much water proof. What I found was the current packages used by CALB, TS, and the others is pretty much dead on the money for what is needed. I really don’t think you can do much better for simple, light, strong, shock resistant and won’t shatter upon impact. It has enough give and also has the ability to withstand reasonable temperatures. I’d say it’s ideal. Now where to source or make our own that will fit 6 pouches. The tab connections are pretty much bullet proof too. Since the pouches are sealed the cells retain a secondary containment if in a plastic box. One could build a square mounting point rather than the typical screw in terminal. I am in favor of using a super large screw in type to be sure there is enough contact on the cable lug. Nordox would be the only way to secure them. You just can’t get much better than what already is in place. The boxes from Volt and others are just too complex and need not be any more than the simple box with terminals on top. Build a 100 AH cell and if you needed 200 AH just buddy pair. If you don’t it would be small enough to put into small vehicles much easier. I like the idea of just putting the A123’s into a Calb style box with similar terminal but larger. Build the terminal large enough to allow some thermal heat dissipation. Now to figure who supplies the cases and to find one that fits. If I could build the case I’d like to see a lego style outer shell to allow fitting cells snugly and securely.

    Pete ๐Ÿ™‚

  50. The owner of this site (cell_man as he goes by in the forums) was an earlier supplier of genuine 20ah cells. This is a pic of an attempt to package said cells into CALB like cell

    In regards to 1 less ah on average for less than half price of earlier grey market cells. Well that seems to be a fair bargin.

    Just that I don’t think the sitpulation that A123 grossly over inflates the ah of their cells is true, but 19.6ah is not 20ah either, so they do walk a fine line.

    Long may the supply continue so diy folk have a chance to build a performance EV without selling their first born.

  51. That study is actually pretty amazing. Those whom the study calls attention to simply wouldn’t understand it and would likely dismiss it as trivial. Those who actually do understand it would first laugh hysterically at the existence of the study, thinking, “Isn’t this obvious?” Then realize, “You know, I’ve DONE that!”

    A subtle reminder for the next time you truly believe you know something and your “right” with all your heart and soul… It’s time to stop and second guess yourself.

    Back to batteries… My employment status prohibits me from attempting this myself so I’ll offer it here for someone else to try…

    I was thinking of using aluminum blocks between the tabs, with long screws tying them all together (piercing the tabs, which are now sandwiched between each block). Say, 6 cells tied together. One of the blocks being taller than the rest, then tapped for a screw to be used as a terminal. Once constructed, the bank of cells (battery) could be placed in a mold and covered in epoxy, resin, etc. on all sides (all except the taller terminals).

    The result would essentially be a crude version of the CALB/Thundersky cells, only somewhat tougher.

    I’m not sure about using resin, since that stuff gets pretty hot as it congeals. I’d be a little concerned about the heat damaging the cells. Also why I abandoned the idea of injection molding. But I think epoxy could work.

  52. Any idea of how tabs are connected to the top plate? BMS? ARRRRRG. Looks promising. Good for some ideas. With enough bits and pieces one might be able to assemble from the best of the bits to make one nice package. Might be able to do a thinner plastic case than what is current. Was thinking of my old thing maker. metal molds with liquid poured in and then heated to make rubber bugs. Mmmmm. Gotta make a mold. Instead of aluminum casting one could do plastic. Melt down those plastic jugs. Needs to have some rigidity but also some flexibility.

    Pete ๐Ÿ™‚

  53. Dr. Righteous,

    Epoxy poured on the cells would not be a good idea but my idea is to make a mold of the exact size for the box so when cured it will be cool and ready to insert the pouches connected to the top. The main top should be made the same way but once assembled the top can be epoxied to the body. My issue is making the box thin but strong and not brittle but not soft and squishy. It needs to support well and handle thermal issues and well as shock issues without cracking. A box could be made to the exacting size.

    Pete ๐Ÿ™‚

  54. Just a random thought – would having tabs at each end help in situations where you want a low pack but very long.

    For example in the eCobra with the two boxes underneath, or if you wanted to emulate the Telsa approach with a battery belly pan.

    Admittedly I can’t see a way of doing a battery belly pan as a retrofit on ICE car.

  55. Your probably right GreenEV. They probably spent quite a long time at Thundersky working out the best way to do it. It may make good sense to just copy them. I spent a little time searching on Ebay just now. The word “box” is not a good search term, but the word “enclosure” brings you to some interesting things. I didn’t have a eureka moment with my search. I had this new idea and stopped looking. These companies make various enclosures. I didn’t get as far as finding the perfect one though.

    For the Thundersky like clamping system I thought that maybe you could make it out of aluminium channel.

    Have squares of aluminium between each battery terminal and then put a bolt through the side of the aluminium channel to clap it all together. That would kind of look something like the Thundersky one.

    …OK not quite. Sort of like it.


    My new idea for a system (which might turn out to be a dumb idea since I have only just thought of it) is this:

    1)You punch holes in the middle of all the tabs.
    2)Get some tab sized (or probably a bit bigger) bits of aluminium and punch holes in them also. There might be some very large washers that could be used instead.
    3)Now get 2 aluminium threaded rods and fix them in an enclosure so they are pointed upward and they are about 78mm apart. I think that’s about the distance the tabs are apart.
    4) Add a nut to the bottom of each rod, and what ever else you are going to need to tighten the thing so it can’t come undone.
    5)Thread on an bit of aluminium on each rod, and then a cell and then aluminium and then a cell etc. It could be a very long line of cells or just 6.
    6)Add another nut and other tightening stuff on the end and tighten it.
    7)You could leave both rods exposed out the end of the box for connections or just have 2 exposed. Leave a bit of aluminium on the end to camp onto for your connections. This can be held in place somehow by the enclosure.

    There are other things you need to do, but that’s the gist of it. The advantage that I see is that once you have punched the holes in the cell tabs sliding all the bits onto the rods is quite a quick process.

    I suppose if you wanted to have just a single long box for your car then you could use some kind of connecting non-conductive pipe to connect all your sections of threaded rod. Maybe you just have mounts for the rods all the way along the long box and you just have gaps between each set of 6 cells.

    ….Anyway rambling. I may have just turned into Dan Frederickson Lite. Anyway I hope this made some degree of sense and you understood what I mean.

    -Nick. ๐Ÿ™‚

  56. I want pouches with tabs on each end. As for the A123’s, I’d just do cells with connections on one side. Mostly I think connections on one side will be good enough. But for a narrow shallow belly pan could use connections on each side then flip flop the cells for running in series. Or you could even keep them the same and run them in parallel or what ever your needs would be. But since the cells come with tabs on one end that is what we have to work with.

    Belly pans must be shallow so you can at least do on cell package thick along the bottom. An extra inch or two for a pan is usually not an issue for a vehicle. More might be. My idea since I am into VW’s is to build a chassis that is a square tube frame work and build it so I can fit one or two layers thick of cells within the chassis and then mount the vehicle on top of that. Keeping the cells out of the passenger compartment and keeping the weight low. It can be done on a VW. The A123’s are also perfect for this idea.

    Pete ๐Ÿ™‚

  57. nickkkkk,

    Exactly. How can you beat the simplicity of the enclosure. Making an enclosure similar to that should be achievable.

    It’s not rambling like Dan. It is more like brain storming and good things and ideas come of this sort of thing. I said from the beginning it will be a group effort. Not really a single persons efforts.

    Dan’s simple incomplรจte image of the cell design screams of the same thing that the Volt did. Looks like he got his design idea from them. Too complex. We need simple.

    The plates for securing the tabs should be the same width of the tabs so no ragged edges protrude. Just looks ugly and every bit of space used from the tabs will help transfer power and dissipate heat. Makes for a larger connection but it is also better and removing heat.

  58. Dr. Righteous:

    You are probably closest to my current thinking. Though GreenEV and Nickkk are right in there as well.

    The current design looks like a car battery. And it has a terminal on each end like a car battery.

    We’ve never done an EV out of car batteries through. The GEM was kind of that way.

    Over time, we have just become more and more accustomed to having an aluminum box made up the shape of our battery concept. We add a few gewgaws to the top of it, and in most cases a lid. And we populate it with prismatic cells which we look down on and deal with from the TOP. A cell with connections at both ends doesn’t fit into this very well. You need both the positive and negative terminals on the same side of the device.

    Another viewer suggested a system with threaded PLASTIC rod which I don’t think will work. Bu tit did get me thinking.

    We’re going to get a series of 1/4 x 3/4 x 45mm tabs of copper or aluminum. Then we’re going to get a couple of blocks of 1/2 x 3/4.

    Picture two holes through each tab of 1/4 inch. ANd a 1 and 3/4 inch machine screw through them into the 1/2 inch block which is threaded.

    So the bolts go through a tab, then a pouch tab, then another tab and so forth and thread into the threaded holes in the 1/2 inch block.

    That secures six cells with all tabs of the same polarity to the block.

    Now turn around and do the same thing with six more cells from the other side of the block. You have six tabs plus six tabls connected. This is your series connection.

    The other side of the pouch gets the SAME treatment. But the 1/2 inch block is urethane and won’t conduct.

    And you alternate this lengthwise as far as you want. More like the A123 layout. You wind up with a clenched bar of these 1/4 inch tabs on each side and the A123 cells falling right down the line as far as you want to go.

    The pouches don’t get a case at all. We’ll shrink wrap em. Then they get lowered into the aluminum box directly.

    All the terminals and connections would be readily available from the top. Miminimum wasted space.

    No I LOVED The urethane casting. It is tres cool and I will find a use for it. Maybe not in these modules.

  59. Drgrieve:

    I don’t share your lack of outrage. If they call them a 20 AH cell they should put out at least 20 Ah. We’re seeing 18.6 on average. Not 19.6. Not 20.6.

    That said, at SOME price they do become attractive. We’re also seeing 310 amps out of a single cell with 17.88% sag. That’s pretty good on the power side. Again, not as advertised. But impressive.

    So it comes down to at what price? And the “grey market” you allude to seems to have it at $20 for 20 AH for these cells. That is GOING to wind up more expensive than the original Chinese prismatics. Is this worth it? Depends on your view.

    Jack rickard

  60. Nice idea Jack. Fully formed pack all shrink wrapped in one nice neat package. What are you thinking of using for supporting the terminal blocks? They need to be held I think rather securely so when you bolt down the terminal you don’t jack up the tabs. Like the TS cells where the terminal goes through the top and is held tight with big nuts. Once sealed it leaves a strong connection at the top. I am betting you have that idea already in mind. I do. I love your idea. If I had the cells in hand right now I’d go out and do just that. I think a small version of that would be a great idea for your weekly video.


    I think your going to win your own contest before its even started but the idea is so good anyone could duplicate it. No contest needed. Bummer.

    Pete ๐Ÿ™‚

  61. Jack, I would gladly do the capacity distribution test on A123 cells but I’m not financially comfortable enough to just spent 1000$ on getting such statistical data.
    I’m not saying you have to do it but you already have the cells and the equipment.

    some guy doing a cobra on youtube also just got some cells and he might provide some datapoints/charts

  62. John Hardy Battery Question: Interesting question if a little out of place in this Dan Drama.

    CALB I do know about. I recently ordered 40 180Ah cells and they were received in less than a week, even though a Sikeston hillbilly office of UPS freight tried to shake us down for additional fees, based on our not being here when they thought it convenient.

    Believe it or not, there is a tariff on file in Missouri, wherein if a freight company attempts delivery – whether you know its coming or not, and you are not there to receive it, they can levy an additional fee on the delivery for the return trip.

    We looked into this and found it IS a legal concept, but is almost never employed because of course it makes the delivery company look ridiculous. And indeed it is a ridiculous law. If you don’t know it’s coming and you are not there, the basic precept that you somehow owe more money is a little difficult to support.

    But they tried.

    Worse, in looking over the Swallow and taking some careful measurements and weights, we decided the 180’s were heroic overkill in this little light car. We did a quick calculation at 100AH cells and liked the result much better.

    So we reordered the cells at 100AH and received THOSE in less than a week, with our little Sikeston hillbilly freight company a little more onboard with the program this time, after Brain crawled all over UPS in St. Louis over the first delivery.

    The good news is CALB is alive and well and stocks cells in Pomona and you can have them in your driveway in less than a week.

    The bad news is they want $1.25 per AH PLUS a surcharge for American Express or credit card.

    So Winston and THundersky seem to be in a price war at $1 an AH, but you can’t actually order any, and CALB still insists on $1.25, but you can have them delivered in a few days. Hmmm..

    Then too, you DO avoid the import duties, which have been DIFFERENT on every shipment we’ve ever received and can be 10% of your order total. And the shipping is only from Pomona. Finally the cells are delivering 10 to 12 AH higher than they are advertised.

    So it’s hard to make sense of. But the best deal in batteries probably iIS CALB at the moment, all things considered.

    The sudden availability of A123 cells at a reasonable price is interesting. And Headway, who has plugged along all along as a favorite of the bicycle and motorcycle crowd, has continued to innovate and introduce new and improved cell models. We intend to take a look very soon at their new HP model 8Ah cell…..

    Things are kind of in an interesting flux at the moment.

    Jack Rickard

  63. Precisely Dan. Some reason not to do anything yata yata yata about yata yata yata big word big word yata yata.j….

    Me too. I’ve tested. I’ve measured. I’ve told you. You want more data. You should have more data… and you should likewise share it….

    Jack Rickard

  64. Pete:

    Well if you picture a series of 3/4 by 1/4 inch bars 45 mm wide, it would take little to make a FEW of them 1.5 by 1/4 inch 45 mm wide with an M8 hole tapped .

    AS easily, you could tap a hole into the 1/2 x 3/4 block. It might be more comfortable to make the interim blocks 3/4 x 3/4. And alternate those between aluminum and urethane with threaded inserts.

    What we give up is those large area aluminum plates and their heat sink properties. Back to a heating situation at 15C.


  65. Jack, money is actually a real concern for most people outside your warp bubble. I know that fact makes you uncomfortable so you live in denial but it is quite real whether you like it or not.

    if it is just a bad excuse I come up with then surely your 1000 other viewers are more than ready to do it. they must have bought cases of them already since money is not an object.

  66. it falls to you because you have money.
    and you have already bought the cells and you have the equipment. plus the time which is the second freedom your money buys you.
    denying this obvious disparity doesn’t help you achieve your goals. but I understand why you let your emotions overwhelm logic. you wish to not be alone in this, you hope to energize the masses to facilitate more effective change. there are two aspects to this that makes it not quite as hopeless as you fear when you deny that money matters. one is that some have some money, some can do something, some can even do great things with little money if they commit to a large plan that is compatible with capitalism. they can do nothing outside of that (short of the miraculous).
    the second aspect is that you can use some of your considerable wealth to help others help you. I know that is a scary thought to you and it also feels like it’s asking more of you. and in a sense of course it is but it can be much easier on you than trying to do everything on your own.

  67. Round and round we go. Dan we have been here before. Jack has no obligation to fund you for any reason. He is doing as he pleases and that is that. There is nothing more to this. You just don’t get it.

    Stop whining and begging. You sound like a sniveling little weasel. Waaaaa!

    What would you do Dan if Jack never returned? OH my. What a would you do?

  68. I’ve read the discussions in this blog about how to connect the tabs from the individual cells together; do you think that the “piercing” method reduces surface contact area, thus why the clamp or pinch method by manufacturers is used? Personally to maximize current flow, I would think a clamp/pinch method would better insure max current flow for the module. What exactly are the tabs made of on the 20Ah cells? The reason I ask is due to pondering any possibility of dissimilar metal coupling resulting in corrosion, if any moisture got into the enclosure of a module, thus wanting to clamp tabs together with the same type metal. I’m on the bottom end of the learning curve on this,but have been reading with enjoyable interest. As an idea of connecting tabs together from the cells, I was thinking along the line of metal blocks who’s contact surfaces; instead of being solely flat, having opposing ridge to grove channels on the flat surfaces, so as to clamp, and hold the tabs securely by way of perhaps screws through the blocks that clamps the tabs together,but do not pierce the tabs, to maintain security while insuring max current flow between cells. The clamping screws would need some type of way to lock them in securely, via loctite,or other method to prevent loss of connection integrity during vibration. Next to connect groups of tabs together you could use a bar to connect one group of tabs together to the next using screws in the same fashion which results in buss bars to take the module current to the module connect points. This method of course only works with all tabs facing the same direction.
    My 2-cents worth of ideas.

  69. With only one hole/screw per tab, the spacers can rotate about the screw until enough friction is developed to prevent the rotation. With only one screw per set of tabs/spacers, the clamped parts can more easily rotate relative to each other, and promote loosening of the screws.

    I’m thinking we should use two thru holes (clearance for #8 or #10 thread) in each tab and spacer block, with a screw through each hole. Each screw would thread into a tapped hole in the taller “terminal” block at one end. With two screws per side, the assembly can easily be lined up and assembled to “finger tight” using only two hands. Even though it’s more parts and holes, I think it will end up being an easier, neater assembly, with better contact between the tabs and the spacers. And, with two screws preventing relative rotation between the terminal block and the first block that the screws bear on, a single nordlock pair under each screw head will effectively keep the assembly locked together.

    Now, I have not tried this, and don’t claim to channel Jesus, Einstien, Edison, or Tesla, but I’d bet a Stag beer that it would hold up better to Jack’s torture test than a single screw per side.

    Mike Kaindl

  70. Mr. Kaindl do I understand you correctly in that you propose to pierce the tab with one screw hole? My theory is that a hole piercing reduces surface and material mass to carry current, being akin to how much current you can carry through a given gauge wire, thus a clamping method maximizes surface contact area and mass to more insure max current flow within the module. It would be interesting to have these two types of modules assembled and tested side by side to see if there’s any change in output & temperature within the module, given they are the exact same spec pouches within the modules. After I posted my idea, I also realized for the top connecting points, you’d also have to have enough surface area and mass between one terminal connection to another to insure the continuance of max current flow within the module…at least in my theory.
    2-more cents worth.

  71. The contact area is of course a factor. But it is the same on the prismatics and we suffer a hole in them all the time to fasten it to the terminal. That the connection be secure and tight rather trumps the need for surface area.

    The one 1/4 inch screw or like two #10’s is an interesting question. I guess I think the single 1/4 inch will allow a little lateral movement that might be salutary.

    Jack Rickard

  72. I can understand Dan’s point. After all, I’m in that boat he’s referring to. But I can cheerlead, toss out an idea here and there, watch the videos like a fanatic, recommend them to others and even try to convince people who DO have spare cash to let me build one for them.


  73. Jack

    Fair enough,everbody is seeking some kind of f’in meaning, but you can’t work out what it is with this guy? Like you say yourself, it’s like looking for: “messages in cloud formations”. Well…. I know what cloud that guy is on.


  74. Jack, I’m not sure from where I’ll pony up the cash, but I’m in! Maybe I could do a bake sale… Dan, What’s you’re favorite kind of cookie?

    I really like the painfully obvious implications that this competition could hold for the winner. What is most intriguing to me is the probably price advantage for pouches in the near and long term over the fully packaged lego blocks.

    I’m contemplating how much I should post. I do have an intuition for mechanical design, though with my humility in the matter, I’m not sure where on the chart I belong… What I have designed thus far is simply produced, so scale production costs should be reasonable. Tab surface area is maximized, mechanical stabilization is provided; It is not crimped, making servicing more reasonable. I will beging making the prototype this week.

    Jack, could you do me a favor? You think your large Polish friend could mic the tabs so I know how thick to make my initial mock-ups?

  75. good show.
    for pack energy, it’s Wh, not watt. I’m sure you know.
    for the battery straps, maybe use rigid ones cut out of stock bar or even wider sheet if you want a little flex. could even bend the sheet a bit on the middle for extra flex. with the nordlocs it might hold.

    should be interesting to see how well and lightly the Swallow will run.

    good to hear that you stopped smoking. stick with it. if you must have nicotine use mouth sprays and such instead of through smoke in the lungs. it’s a health dealbreaker. good move.

  76. btw Jack, I’ve mentioned it before but ran across it again. a low cost thermal imager might be interesting for seeing where heat builds up in the mechanics and electronics

    it’s a somewhat unnecessary toy but since you have money to spend on toys it might make for good production value for the show.

    you may want a model that has video out though although the bastards may want a lot more for such a model. may be easier just to put a gopro on it.

  77. @Stan Simmons
    I was reading that last night. It sort of verified a lot of my thoughts, although I would stick with the original series DC setup vs. his AC setup overstuffed with cells. I’m sure I could fit 15 100AH cells in that battery box without many modifications. And of course, sans BMS.

  78. Jack,

    I only watched a few minutes of the program before work. You mentioned you quit smoking. Awesome. This Feb will be 6 years for me and I am soooooo glad I did. I did the Chantix program and did the stupid web part of the program too. One day at a time is what it takes and the Chantix did help. Most of my allergies went away.

    I’ll finish the show when I get off work.


  79. As to the question about the actual Ah of the A123 20Ah pouches; my guess is that if Jack’s test results are accurate,then the 20Ah pouches made for A123 would have to be B-grade rejects that do not meet minimum specs of say actually having a 20Ah capacity,assuming there is a strict tolerance adhered to by the manufacturer. Nonetheless with price being reasonable; construction of your own modules is a worthwhile endeavor. So Jack, is there a set number of 20Ah pouches for which to purchase for an entry at $50/each? In other words, is each person to submit a 100Ah cell into the contest?

  80. Dan,
    Wrong! Jack was completely correct.

    Energy is Watts.
    Energy capacity is Watt Hours.

    Any large ccd cam can be a flir. cut out the IR filter and fit a piece of exposed film in its place. Then Freeze the ccd with a Peltier Thermoelectric Cooler and turn up the lighting settings, slow down the frame rate.

    Happy bigfoot hunting.

  81. Andy, try not to be so hungry to defeat me. in your haste you erred.

    Energy is joule or watt seconds, watt hours.
    power is watt or joule per second.

    most visible spectrum cameras can be modified to see near infrared but not thermal infrared. near infrared is about 1000nm wavelength. thermal cameras are typically 9000-13000nm.

  82. I use capacity in MJ.
    The power of something can be measured in plain watts because there is no time involved.
    It’s no good twisting things Dan.

    You need the old CCD’s. Lower Kelvin rates are possible when cooled enough. Done it or you just get noise – a whiteness.

    Jack already has a thermometer, point and click. The photo’s of hot 20AH A123’s, Kokams etc. have all been done before and are spread all over the discussion lists.

    With the poles as wide as the EnerDel’s, its why I’m backing them.

  83. Delivery or capacity.
    Gotchya over one word in a two hour video!
    So what if someone crosses over to the next sentence without completing the last?

    Sure I make errors and I relish needling you when someone makes an offhand comment YOU had to needle about.
    It’s called irony.

    The only issue with deep IR are the lenses. I got neatly over mine through the 150mm, F6.5 reflecting telescope I made.

    Have you ever ground lenses and made your telescope?

  84. I do not have actual temps of the Battery but I keep my Leaf in the Car Port daily and we have been getting below freezing weather here lately. Today on the road the temps were 28 degrees on the Hwy. The Leaf performed well. I do charge once I get home and so far the battery temp gauge is remaining above the LOW level indicated by Blue on the gauge. Even when I start out in the morning the battery temp gauge is above that point and the batteries are not getting cold or getting below freezing. When I do get home from work the cells are warm from the drive. These batteries are not in an insulated box. The original Leaf has no provision for heating the cells. So far so good. If I run into a problem I will post it. I can make a quick vid in the morning to show you the level of the gauge. Even in the heat of the summer the gauge did not get above the middle no matter what. I would like to see a heating system for the Leaf and I’d like to see the Leaf get a larger pack. I think a good real 120 mile at 55 mph sized pack would be perfect. I would like to see a faster charger. So over all I love the leaf and its not overly special but every one JUST LOVES THE COLOR. That is the most commented thing about the Blue Leaf, It’s the color you know. Not that its electric or any thing like that but the color. Heck, I still have folks think its a hybrid. Was talking with a fellow at the dealer when I went to get into my car and he loved the color and liked the car. I told him it was 100% electric and he asked if I had a gas back up. What he meant and said was how much mileage does it get with gas. I said, Oh, back up a sec. I meant that I have a back up gas car at home. This one is ALL electric, NO gas engine. He said OH! Really! Seemed a bit lost after that. Oh well. I like my All Electric Car and I Love the Color. Actually I think the Leaf looks best in Black. Only if Black stayed looking new. Around here Black is the worst you could buy but it looks great in black. But the Blue one is pretty stunning. It looks much better in real life than in the magazines or photos or video.

    I am re-thinking my idea of putting cells under the Bus. If I find that the cold really gets to the cells then I may build a pack to put into the cargo area and build a heating system and put in a false upper floor to use as the new cargo floor. I’d rather put them below. Maybe I can figure out a heating system and still have them mounted under the vehicle. Gotta think about that but mostly just need to see if the batteries every really get into the danger zone here while secured in a non insulated battery box.

    Pete ๐Ÿ™‚

  85. GreenEV, I don’t get it because it isn’t true. you leap at the notion because you are petty and thoughtless.
    examples of ideas with obvious worth: Lego, internal combustion engine, AC induction motor,
    Dyson cyclone vacuum cleaner.
    Dyson famously brought his invention to all the major vacuum cleaner manufacturers but without exception they all thought it was worthless. he started his own production and it’s now the biggest in the world.

    obviously it takes execution to bring it to fruition but that is not the same as being worthless. some ideas are worthless, some are worth billions to the right people.
    if ideas are worthless, why have a patent system..

  86. A good and insightful post that Pete.
    I used to look out for and follow as many micro van builds as I could until my needs changed.

    Battery boxes are positioned behind the seats or laid flat on the floor with a false floor over the top or the floors were cut away in long sections and they were dropped into the boxes that were bolted to the floor and floor boards dropped inside the top lip of the sunken boxes.

    If this vehicle was still my choice, It would be the latter for both handling and space. plenty of room for insulation and using a cheap heated bed blanket. To clean it up fully a belly pan would be nice to keep the weather off the underside to attempt better aerodynamics and mechanical protection from the elements.

  87. Dan,

    You happened to mention ideas that were acted upon. You on the other hand have a haphazard attempt at an idea with a haphazard visual and expect and even demand SOMEONE ELSE ACT UPON IT.

    Yes DAN the Dyson idea was worthless until it was build, proven and then marketed and I can assure you it is not the largest but I can guarantee you it is one of if not the most expensive vacuum you could buy for your home.

    It did not matter if the idea was good. Others did not want to act upon it and that is not a problem.

    DAN, even if it were a great idea the idea is incomplete and no one wants to take the risk NOT EVEN THE ONE WITH THE GREAT IDEA WANTS TO TAKE THE RISK. That tells me you don’t have a great idea but that you want someone else’s money for NOTHING.



    braggart – a very boastful and talkative person
    blowhard, boaster, bragger, line-shooter, vaunter
    egoist, egotist, swellhead – a conceited and self-centered person

  88. Pete, there was no particular idea of mine in question, it was a general point. maybe the use of caps trump such trifling details.

    how many super massive mistakes do you need to make before you start to reevaluate your process.
    we waste a lot of time and effort when you and Andy attack me for saying intelligent pertinent things. you two make it about me. I don’t.
    noone hired you to protect Jack from intelligent input.

  89. What “intelligent input” was commenting on “75KW pack” as wrong? Perhaps Jack should of said “23.3Kw pack” considering Thundersky recommend a standard discharge rate of 0.3C!!
    I’m not normally one to weasel over semantics and passing words unless its funny. Otherwise these arrows get picked up and used against you too.

    People who don’t do anything, never make mistakes. So I guess Dan, you are clad in cast iron on every matter.

    Let’s see you gain accolades in Dragons den armed with nothing but words and drawings.

  90. My reference is your battery pack idea and vehicle. Neither of which will ever be produced. The issue is the non action and insistence on someone else needing to do your work.

    Poor Dan, still don’t get it.

    A waste of time and effort? But you put forth no effort! Nothing wasted there.

  91. From the AP this morning:

    The typical American household will spend a record $4,155 filling up this year, or 8.4 percent of the family income, the highest since 1981.

    This makes a $5,000 investment in batteries seem pretty reasonable!


  92. GreenEV and Andyj:
    I would say that Dan was right about a couple of things. One is the actual energy capacity reference in the video. Dan was right, Andy was not equally right. The second is that ideas do hold a real value, even without execution. Otherwise there would be no one ever buying patents. And there sure are companies buying patents. And patents doesn’t really have any execution do they? myself i’m not to found of patents, pretty much think they actually prevent cevelopement to some extent. And surely they prevent execution.
    The things you do, you actually do at least twice. first in your mind and then irl.
    The things you don’t do, you might have done once.

    Have an open mind to ideas, wherever they might come from.

    Why even bother to correct Jack about the kwh.
    You know what he meant! I would love to see that igbt controller for $200. I think that there would be some problems. If some DC motors where able to take 300v-400v that would be nice, but I don’t think that there are that many coping with that. There might be i have not done any searches. But if you think about doing an AC controller with those IGBTs that you mentioned in an earlier blog, you must know that you need 6 times the amount of IGBTs from what you stated.

    Best Regards
    /Per Eklund

  93. No idea will go anywhere with no execution. Patents are one thing for individuals with crazy money, who wish to patent the alphabet from us.

    Open source is another.

    Sure, I’d go and buy patents, wasting some ยฃ100K but only if I invent a perpetual motion machine. Funny that. I’m still unable to see why my idea shouldn’t work.

  94. thanks Per, I was rather disappointed with humanity that noone spoke up for the truth.

    and there was no animosity in my note to Jack about watt. merely pointed it out and that I was sure he meant the right thing. he has said before that he sometimes thinks one thing and says another. beavis and butthead made it into a conflict.

  95. Andyj:
    Oh no quite the oposite, a lot of ideas(read patents) will go into portfolios for trading, with no execution. You can almost rate a patent as a kind of stock option. Options and stocks are pretty much a idea or a guess of what might come from a company. Patents are pretty much the same, an idea with no execution yet, and there might never be, if IP companies and oilcorps have their way.

    I’m not pro patents, but I’m pretty much sure that any dragon would reward a patent holder higher then a open source project. Simpy because of the money involved.

    My 2c
    /Per Eklund

  96. Per, I’m not sure I’d need 6x as many IGBTs for an AC controller because they are loaded less and it’s 3 channels of power, not one. but even if I did it would still be a rather moderate amount. say 48×4$ which is still a long way from 4000$
    plus you don’t need separate diodes like you do with a DC controller. so it may only be double the semiconductor cost. which is nothing.
    the complexity is a bit more intimidating plus assembly and physical layout is more time consuming. but it can be done. Paul Holmes did it, his AC controller is apparently in use in the concept EV by the weirdly named DOK-ING from Hungary.

  97. Dan,
    AC controllers require six drivers. Three for forward, three for reverse/regenerative braking.

    If you can simplify this fact, Beavis and Butthead are all ears.

    A German university team made an AC controller. Started as a simple as they could. The debugged end result was quite complicated. It’s a pdf on the ‘net somewhere. It’s not worth the effort on a home build. You’ll need to invest in factory time to build en masse. Then sell them.

  98. Andy, I know what a hex bridge is. and it’s not quite 3 for forward and reverse. you need all 6 channels at all times. but that’s not the same as 6x as many IGBTs as in my DC proposal because I use more than one in parallel and it wouldn’t necessarily be as many per channel in a 3 phase config.

  99. Yes I know the cycles of a hex bridge, the unused transistors also act as diodes.
    Still a minimum of six.

    It’s all been done before with many established players. So why?

    As they say in Dragons Den.
    I’m out.

  100. Lightnme

    I was not the first to suggest punching holes into tabs and aluminum spacers to allow a threaded member to pass through a stack of tabs and spacers to facilitate clamping them together to join pouches in parallel. I just thought that two smaller diameter screws would be better than one larger diameter screw because they would prevent relative rotation of the spacers about a screw axis during and after assembly. This would allow a single nordlock pair per screw to lock it, it would allow two-handed assembly, and would promote more even pressure distribution on the surfaces where the spacers meet the tabs. As assembled, only the current from one cell passes through the small cross section of the tab. The combined current passes perpendicular to the faces of the tabs (large cross section), and evenly applied pressure on the whole face is more important than the area difference between one larger hole and two smaller holes. Also, the screws pass current themselves; their cross sections are not totally lost from carrying current.

    Jack, if there is lateral movement between the tabs and the spacers, I’d think the contact resistance starts to be significant, and outweigh any other benefit of movement. The pouches have some flexibilty that makes up for the stiffer connections. Open the clearance in the holes a bit if there are problems getting everything lined up without stressing the tabs.

    Dan, quietly enter your design under an alias (stress the word “quietly”). When it wins, think of the righteous “I told you so”‘s you’ll earn. Should it lose, noone but you need ever know.

    As far as that goes, how much objectivity vs. subjectivity will go into evaluating a design? Is it partly a beauty contest or entirely a survival/ease-of-assembly/low-cost/low-weight contest? The need for hiding Dan’s alias will depend on the objectivity of the judging.

    Wait a minute. Who am I kidding?

    Mike Kaindl

  101. Green EV..Andyj and Dan Fredrickson. Over the last few months, (as an outsider), I have seen that you have been regular contributors to Jack’s blog. I would suggest you do something else with your time besides pontificating to this blog if you can not add something positive to ideas that help build electric vehicles. Instead, what I read are esoteric ideas which in the end usually end up being character assignations.
    Come on guys!..release your egos..and contribute to the whole for the betterment of electric vehicle builds.
    Mark Yormark

  102. Is the little device Jack was consulting with the magnifying glass giving a readout on each of the A123 batteries? How about interposing the batteries at 90 degrees instead of 180 degrees, creating a box with four power sides instead of two? This would allow for even larger heat dissipating connectors and would reduce the number of end plates which need to be poured, and maybe eliminate the need to offset mentioned in the earlier episode. I’m wondering if this might not provide volumetric savings, too. Another idea which might have been suggested: how about arranging the A123s radially, like a Rolodex on its side? Aluminum disks with protruding tab(s) would float perpendicular to the ends of the batteries. The disk tabs could be connected to the battery tabs with a twist–think toothpaste tube squeezer key or curling iron. Looking down on array, the central disk tabs would connect to the battery tabs by means of a quarter twist, a sort of Mobius band in the making. A number of thin disks would stack up creating a more substantial block on to which the heavy duty battery cables could be bolted. Each of the batteries could be contained in slots/chutes which could be spaced for heat dissipation. A mirror image of the base would fix the z axis.
    This battery configuration might fit nicely in a spare tire well. Other thoughts. Is a 240v 5000w continuous Prius battery pack at $4000 a bargain/applicable to conversions?
    How about a Tesla-type pack with cylindrical LiFePo batteries? http://www.kldenergy(DOT)com/products/battery
    Jack, PLEASE hire Dan as an expert consultant. Bring him over for a month or so and videotape his pursuits. BTW, I watch on youtube with the idea it saves you money.

  103. Mark, I’m nothing like Andy and Pete. side with the truth instead.

    Perin, I don’t want to go to Missouri. it was never about full time like that. what I suggested was hours on specific projects from here. there is no reason to complicate it with travel. when Jack hires someone to do machining he doesn’t move them across the world to his shop for months.

    Mike, it’s not just about my name. a good solution may not be recognized, I may even be able to predict that with high degree of certainty in a given situation. for instance Jack is focused on 100Ah modules for a low voltage pack. and I suggested a 300+V 40Ah pack so it might be dismissed on that alone.
    everybody thinks they would instantly recognize a good thing. same goes with logic, if people don’t see it as true instantly, it can’t possibly be true and they would sooner be lit on fire than change their mind.
    not that the pack design I suggested is the holy grail, just a general point.

  104. “Mark, I’m nothing like Andy and Pete. side with the truth instead.”
    Dan, where does that leave you?

    How many, many times have others, Jack included told of the issues, supplies and dangers of going for very high voltages. Most controllers upper peak is at 350V. DC-DC conversion is fraught. Regen voltages will not be met. Safety is gone. Interference issues will be unbounded. Why?
    Yet you want 300V when all motor engineers recommend V & A should be equal as a rule of thumb.
    There is no “holy grail”, I see no logic here.

    What I’m drawing up has to include variances, alterations and errors. I cannot simply go off a single component costing a few $’s. I’m sticking with reality to attempt workarounds on off the shelf items costing thousands while not over driving a thing.

    Sorry Mark, 0.02$

  105. Andy, I devote my life to the truth. it is a religion to me. externally as well as internally. if I make a mistake I make it a point to admit it immediately despite it being embarrassing. the trick is that if you never really commit to a mistake it’s rarely embarrassing at all. mistakes are ok but become a problem when you refuse to correct them.
    as for your question of high voltage, normally I’d agree that keeping hte voltage low is nicer. for a really light vehicle I’ve considered 80V or even less just to keep it super safe. the dangers of 350V with unlimited current behind it are not lost on me. it is much more powerful than 230V wall sockets and it doesn’t quit.
    the reason I consider it an option is the advantages it can provide. you get more bang for your transistor buck at that end, to the point you could actually drive a car with a single thumbnail sized transistor. another possible advantage is the ability to use off the shelf industrial AC motors and those are super cheap. brand names like siemens for a couple of hundred dollars in car appropriate sizes. aluminium motors with no brushes. for DIY capability that’s pretty close to holy grail stuff like in the tesla roadster. and these motors are standard and cheaply available throughout the world.
    it’s quite true it might be difficult to find good cheap DCDC for those voltages as well as chargers but what I’m proposing would include developing DCDC and charger and is not limited to what exists already.
    I make forward looking statements.

    there is no inherent difficulty in making a DCDC come down to 12V from 350.

    high voltage has further advantages. you can use thinner cables, in extreme cases you could imagine a lamp cord sufficing for a car.
    it also lends itself better to higher performance. you get 100HP already at 188A with a 400V system. or 54 ponies at 100A. and 54 can be plenty for a light car if you just want a decent transporter. and that lends itself to low cost.
    a 6000$ AC set is cool but what if we could get a nice brand new AC set for 500$. does that not enable us?
    does that not make us an unstoppable army?
    you could even push it further and use surplus AC motors because it’s a standard and they are everywhere.

    not only can we get a very cheap entry point but we could actually rival the drivetrain in a tesla. 170kW is not untouchable. would it be fun if everyone could afford to convert a car to tesla roadster performance levels? would that change the world?
    a low cost powerful AC set plus a small pack of A123 cells. maybe you only get 100km range but it gets attention and it works.
    and the tesla roadster is not light so it’s not hard to match or beat that. 1238kg or so. Cd of 0.35
    such a drivetrain in the Swallow could get it to 100km/h in less than 2 seconds..

  106. The doughnut battery container could be cooled by pulling air through circumferential ventilation slits with a single topside fan…

    Dan, New ideas are indeed difficult sells. Just look at your blanket rejection of even the suggestion of temporary alteration of your village routine. Do you have a fear of flying–or a fear of success/failure? Travel is a noted treatment for the conceit which so often attends familiarity. Asking anyone to duplicate a battery lab and shop so you don’t have to move is utterly preposterous. Large multinationals station employees in distant locales with decided reason; videoconferencing is not a panacea. Sharpening wits with Jack in the American heartland might allow the cicatrization of your considerable hubris, make excellent viewing, and even win you a new mentor-friend. Who knows, one of your world changing dreams actually might become a reality.


    People are biased against creative ideas, studies find

    August 26, 2011 By Mary Catt

    The next time your great idea at work elicits silence or eye rolls, you might just pity those co-workers. Fresh research indicates they don’t even know what a creative idea looks like and that creativity, hailed as a positive change agent, actually makes people squirm.

  107. There are few in their time who have stretched boundaries of engineering further than me. If Dan wants to re-invent the wheel while at the same time having no practical gain, that’s fine.

    But meanwhile, stating he only knows the truth within the confines of his mind while people like me who have survived more real world engineering pitfalls than would care to remember, is laughable if it wasn’t so pitiful and questionable.

  108. Andy, you should probably be able to distinguish the meaning of watt and watthours before pretending to have done more engineering firsts than anyone else in history.

    Perin, I never proposed to build a battery pack for Jack and I wouldn’t spend months away from my business to do so. I don’t travel aimlessly and I’m not a simple intern like some want to believe in some petty attempt to belittle me.

  109. Dan, you are trolling. 75KW was such a tiny thing J. didn’t bother to take you on. I’m happy to call it power from a pack. I suggest you keep a count on how many people you have pissed off and made it known.

    Get back on your global warming debates.

  110. Jack, I like the module approach very much. I actually predict this will be the standard for electric car battery packs in the future. Just like lead-acid auto batteries, there will be a dozen or so most commonly used form factors and sizes, most of them 12V but some 24V.

    Modules will be 12.8-14.4 V (3.2-3.6V x 4 cells), safe, easy to stock, and easy to carry. Some will have built-in indicators, and some will even have fans or heaters. All will have some sort of interface for monitoring. And eventually designers will figure out a quick and safe interconnect mechanism.

    And just like what we do with car batteries now, we can just buy them at any auto shop or even Autozone. For most, they’ll just have the dealer or shop do it for them. But it’ll be a quick and easy replacement just like in most cars today.

    There’s really no sense in swapping the whole pack the way Better Place proposes. Why replace the whole expensive customized pack when you can just replace one of the 12 or so defective/dead modules?

    Today the module is ~12V, 100 Ah, just like a lead acid. In 10 years it’ll be ~12V, 500 Ah — around 72 kWh for a 144V system — good enough for 360 miles.

    Viewer from the Philippines

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