CYCLE OF LIFE AND COLD WEATHER LIFE CYCLES

It’s a deal.

We’ve had quite a busy week, but not terribly productive. Just a lot of interruptions.

One of the pleasant ones was receipt of a brand new HPEVS AC-75 motor – a pre-production prototype. This motor goes into production within the next month and we’re very encouraged by it. The only really affordable, viable 3 phase drive train solution that has been available to us at any reasonable price for a vehicle conversion has been these fortunately excellent motors with the Curtis 1238 controller. HPEVS continues to improve their offerings.

Previously, the AC-50 represented the top of the line at 110 ft-lbs of torque. Coupled with the 96 volt Curtis 1238-7601, we actually did some builds with this combination and ran them on proven automotive dynomometers. By rather sharply exceeding the Curtis 96v to about 120v, we were able to coax that 110 ft lbs out to about 3700 rpm for 74 horsepower.

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This new model AC-75 sports 180 ft lbs -an impressive increase of over 60%. Due to slightly different winding techniques, it will not go to 3700 at that torque. But torque at take off is actually where we want it. We’re not having difficulties at speed, particularly using our four speed VW transmissions.

What this effectively does is extend the utility of this very reasonably priced AC solution out to vehicles of nearly 4000 lbs. We really considered it optimal before at 2500 lbs and under. There have been 3500 lb vehicles using the AC-50, but we have to believe they were a little sluggish. Probably not so with hte AC-75.

More to come. The Curtis 1238 144v is rumored to FINALLY ship in December. This unit can be stressed a bit, perhaps as high as 160v. But the current available will unfortunately actually drop. They plan on a sister motor termed the AC-76 just for this controller. That pair should be very attractive.

I was a little stunned at the reaction to my chalk talk about lithium battery basics. Apparently with some segment of our viewership this type of information is of interest. The question did arise as to why CALB lists charging as from 0C to 45C. That means you shouldn’t charge below freezing, which almost doesn’t make sense. We can DRIVE the car down to -20C with nothing more than a fairly significant drop in power and capacity. So why do they list the charging at minimum 0C.

I did some reading on the topic this week and unfortunately it appears to be very real. Diffusion of lithium ions into carbon anode structures virtually stops below freezing and lithium metal plating on the anode results. This is irreversible. We recommend you actively heat your battery boxes if you need to charge at such temperatures.

The end of the week was a bit interrupted by a couple of viewers us alerting us to the auction being held by HGP to dispose of the inventory and such from failed electric car converter Azure Dynamics. Azure Dynamics has actually been around a long time and was part of the Solectria electric car back in the 90’s. They later offered this drive train with two motors, the AC-24 and AC-55 and a number of DIY converters used this system.

I have to confess I wasn’t much of a fan. It was fairly expensive. And the motors looked heavy and weak to me. The DMOC controllers were a bit complicated though that judegement was a bit clouded by my lack of famiiarity with them. But several people happened onto these and were rather stiffly told by Azure that they would NOT support them at all if they didn’t purchase them from them directly. And I was seriously put off by Beth Silverman’s frosty tone on this matter.

In any event, the company went on to hook up with Ford Motor COmpany to convert Ford’s Transit Connect small fleet van to electric drive. This looked like a pretty good marriage. A light commercial vehicle is almost a no-brainer for electric drive. Ford dealers would support the vehicle. And it was actually called a Ford Transit Connect.

We had a young man come from Canada to intern with us for a few weeks and he was very pleasant. He went almost immediately to work at AZD and reported very good things about the vehicle and drive train. He then left for Tesla just prior to AZD announcing their bankruptcy.

I was a little confused by all this. The tie with Ford seemed so strong, why would Ford let them go down in flames with customers who were actually pretty happy with this vehicle sort of left stranded? I could have seen Ford becoming an investor. I could even see Ford simply absorbing the company to give the appearance of continuity. But unfortunately, none of that happened. All AZD employees were laid off and that was the end.

HGP is a liquidation company and they go in, inventory all the stuff and sell it off for pennies on the dollar. This is the demise for mistakes in commerce. I actually view it broadly as a good thing. Inventory and buildings and things are recycled representing a windfall to other small operators who then might thrive. Our media has a child mind understanding of economics as a zero sum game. But as my golfing friend Tom Armbruster says, “Every swing is news. Good news for some. Bad news for others.” The people become available to other businesses, as does the buildings and inventory and tooling and so forth.

And of course so does the business. As it turns out, a small OEM in Australia were basing their efforts on the Azure Dynamics drive train. With the demise of AZD, they have picked up 150 drive trains from…..drum roll…. High Performance Electric Vehicles. And I consider HPEVS among the good guys. They have long sold individual units to DIY converters and actually provided extraordinary support for their products along the way. This is a very SMALL company with just a few employees. But somehow they find time to answer questions and help people with configurations.

And so the bad news for AZD is a rather LARGISH order by HPEVS standards. Cycle of life.

And so my view of economics and the rise and fall of companies is somewhat more complex and nuanced than Barrack Obamas. The idea of governments stepping in to prevent private companies from failing is strangely Stalinesque. And ultimately leads to the same problem. Rewarding failure and inefficiency and the UNSEEN side of that not counted is the punishment of the thrifty and the thriving.

In any event, I got on the online auction held by HGP and was kind of amazed at the quantity and quality of brand new unused components that were available. I rather took the opportunity to scoop them up. We should be able to offer these to our viewers at a rare firesale price, while still picking up a few ducats for EVTV. It took a somewhat frightening sudden expenditure of a bit over a hundred grand I don’t quite have laying around for this. But I think it will cause some excitement.

That the DMOC 645 is no longer supported by the manufacturer is a bit of a problem. But we picked up 66 of them. I’m confident we, and of course more likely our viewers, can work out how to use these and so a bit of a body of them will be around.

Better, they were NOT married to the Solectria motors. Rather, we picked up 60 of the Siemens 1P5135 4WS14 motors. These are actually wound for kind of lowish DC voltages down to 220v. They’re liquid cooled and of very high quality.

Somewhat more problematical is 19 Siemans ELFA Duo inverters. These are cadillac style devices. But getting info out of Siemens is again curiously difficult. Perhaps again, the Wisdom of Crowds can be employed to piece this out.

We did get a nearly complete Transit Connect WITH Johnson Controls 345volt battery pack AND a nearly fully assembled spare drive train for it.

But the real find was 48 BRUSA NLG513 chargers. I’ve always liked the Brusa chargers. But there is only one dealer for them in the U.S. and he’s notoriously difficult to deal with. And the pricing was just not attractive – $3700 for a 3.3kW charger just isn’t competitive. But they are very nicely built, fully configurable using a laptop, best of all, fully isolated. You can stack them.

We have a couple of charger solutions in the works. But currently do not even offer a charger solution on our website. This has been a gaping hole with all the CALB cells we’ve been selling. So we have several irons in the fire. But the sudden availability of 48 reasonably priced BRUSAs is an unexpected windfall.

All of this has kind of derailed our attention from our current projects. And I have to get back on that.

So a short blog this week. We also suffered a Final Cut Pro X upgrade that was actually quite extensive and in some ways very welcome. But it sure proved a puzzle on the learning curve over the weekend. Ergo the late show posting.

Stay with us.

Jack Rickard

109 thoughts on “CYCLE OF LIFE AND COLD WEATHER LIFE CYCLES”

  1. Great show again as usual Jack.
    Question on the AC-50 vs AC-75. All other things being equal (same controller, batteries, drivetrain etc). If you drive the vehicle the same rate of accelleration and driving style, would the AC-75 use more watt hours of power than the AC-50 or would there be no difference? Again, all other things being equal.

    1. If all other things being equal, the difference in energy use between the two would be very difficult to measure. It would get down to the fact that you are paying to haul around a heavier motor more or less.

      Jack Rickard

    2. I would guess slightly lower energy use based on what I have found when I replaced the motor in my Gizmo. The original had a 3.5″ long set of laminations in the armature and the replacement has a 4.75″ long set of laminations. The diameters remained the same. I’m seeing slightly less energy use per mile. It takes less current for the same torque. The problem with this comparison is that I also had to reprogram the SepEx controller for the new motor so it may be that I have a more efficient set of parameters now than I did for the old motor.

      I guess this just supports Jack’s statement that it would be very difficult to measure. There are too many variables to know for sure and the improvement might be in the noise of the measurements.

      David D. Nelson

  2. Jack,

    I suspect you won’t be the only one straining the bank account…
    I almost bid too, but I am still catching up at home after being away for most of the the last several months so I convinced myself that it was a bad idea.
    Now I’m thinking that it would be better to buy a single full AC system from you.
    Did you get any of the matching transaxles?

    Mark

    1. Mark:

      I think we got 66 DMOC 645, 58 of the 5135 motors, and yes, 16 of the Borg Warner 8.28:1 gearboxes.

      I know they were using a New Eagle controller that talked to the DMOC 645 by CAN bus. I don’t know if it has or if we can get and install the “application” layer in the DMOC to deal with accelerators and so forth directly, or if we’ll have to use something like the New Eagle to talk to it.

      Just to early to tell. You might be able to help there.

      Jack Rickard

        1. That’s kind of what I’m counting on Mark. We actually have gradually assembled a body of expertise among our viewers. I’m betting that a critical mass of motors and controllers, at the right price, kind of
          generates its own body of information simply by some of the knowledgeables working it out and sharing. The problem has always been with these is the onesy twosy nature of it and the lack of a body of users.

          The motor used in the Ford Ranger was available for years on eBay at $2000. But there were a lot of problems. We couldnt’ get the matching controller at all. And the motor lacked a front seal – it was wet to the
          differential for lubrication. So you actually had to replace the front bearing with a nearly also unobtainium sealed bearing before it could even BE a motor. Then you had to deal with the unusual shaft. And then
          you had no controller options.

          Hopefully, this will be different on all fronts. The motor does have a splined shaft to go into a Borg Warner gearbox. But it is a really quite normal configuration. Second, we have the DMOC 645 controllers. We CAN get the vehicle controllers
          Azure used from New Eagle Mechatronics. I’m relatively confident we can also get the “application layer” software for the DMOC.

          But there are other options as well. Rhinehart claims they can run THIS motor at 150 killowatt with their new 150kw inverter. I think that might indeed be possible. The motor also differs from the Ford in another important way. It is
          wound for much lower voltage -250-300vdc. That means larger diameter windings and higher currents (240 amps). You can always run higher voltage on a motor. But if it is wound for 600v and 120 amps you can run it at 300v, but you are
          still limited to 120 amps – ergo 36 kW. But when it is wound for lower voltages, you CAN run higher voltages, as long again as you don’t exceed the current limits – in this case 240 amps.

          As it is liquid cooled, this could be a firecracker of a little motor. And if you did run it down around 75kW, it should be a tank – virtually indestructible.

          I noted one of the lots wrong. I think we have about 56 motors and 56 controllers. I thought we had 66 controllers. All the better. No strays.

          The chargers are a similar thing. My first charger was actually a Brusa. I love them. Three reasons.

          1. Extremely well built. Even the connectors. Everything.

          2. Extremely configurable. You can devise endlessly complicated charge protocols to any voltage and current.

          3. Full isolation. You can stack them for more power. Or use them with OTHER chargers. On the Minicooper, we could charge with the Brusa, which is isolated, while ALSO charging with a Manzanita, which wasn’t.

          These are 200-520v 12.5 amp. I already had a call from someone who was disappointed it would not charge packs lower than 200v. Not so and never was. You can program it to charge a 12v battery easily. The problem is the
          12.5 amps. It is limited to a peak power of 3.37 kW I think. That’s 12.5 amps at about 280volts. You cannot exceed the 12.5 amps AND you cannot exceed the total power. So as you go up in voltage from 270, the current will decrease.
          A similar thing happens at LOWER voltages. You can go as low as you want, but you cannot exceed 12.5 amps. So if we wanted to charge our 36 cell Curtis packs to 126 volts, we still can’t exceed 12.5 amps, and so we get 12.5 x 126 or 1575 watts. That’s less than half the power
          rating. That’s the problem.

          The good news there is you can double up the chargers very easily. In fact, as I recall they can coordinate with each other if you cable it right. I’ve done it by simply running them independently. I would have one charge to a
          specific voltage and then terminate. The other charged to the same voltage, but then did the taper.

          The PROBLEM with Brusa’s is no real support at all and a VERY high price. All roads led to Victor who was useless if you had a problem. He would assure you HE didn’t have a problem. And he knew nothing about the software or
          how to configure it.

          But worse, the exchange rate with Euros went to hell and the chargers wound up being $3700. I think our first one was $2800. I still have one in the Speedster Redux, one in the Spyder 550, and one in the Mini Cooper. They just work. But my enthusiasm
          waned with Victor’s lack of support and the thousand dollar price increase.

          I’m thinking to price these at something under $2000. That should be a pretty good value.

          Jack Rickard

  3. Congrats on your auction win Jack. Nice find. I am growing very accustomed to the Azure AC 24LS and the DMOC 445 and if only I knew at Laguna Seca what I know now I would have done much better. You can still get the manual on line… http://www.azuredynamics.com/products/force-drive/documents/MAN-080001-001_DMOC445_and_DMOC645_User_Manual.pdf
    It is fairly easy to understand. If you need a copy of the software to program your DMOC’s I can send you that as well… Let me know. I’ve been working for the last 9 days in a row and it looks like I’ve got another 9 ahead. My 914 comes out of the paint shop this Friday and I’ll only have time to tow it home then… off to work. An AC50 kit or maybe AC75 is starting to loom in my future… Great show. Do you think that AC75 will move a 1995 Jaguar XJS Convertible?

  4. hey Jack, That ac-75 is a pretty interesting motor, Although I`m curious to see if overheating will be a problem in warmer seasons. Correct me if I`m wrong, but it seems to me that there is no cooling fan. Was this done on purpose? I guess that part of the attraction will be the ability to upgrade without having to buy the controller or other accessories. At 170 pounds and 78-80kw ,I think I`ll hold out and see what the numbers are on the siamese 35`s. Bill at HPEV said that it should weigh somewhere between 150 and 160 lbs. What do you think?
    michel P.S. Now that you are going to sell the same motors and chargers as metricmind, does that mean that you and Victor are now friends? (just kidding !!)

    1. Michael,

      It is still a prototype and one would hope that they do put in cooling for this motor. In some cases open motors will not do, like down in a coal mine. What I would like to see is a nice clean body like the AC-50. Smooth and sleek. But again it is still in prototype mode. I await the final products. 🙂

      1. Peter,
        thanks for pointing that out, I did go back to the hpev website, and they do list mining as a possible application for this motor. Jack, if your reading this… Have you done a 38 cell conversion with an AC motor before? also, do you think that the extra 6 volts would push the usable torque up even further.
        michel

  5. Looking at the torque curve of the AC-75, i.e., straight up to max torque and stays there until about 3,000 rpm before falling off pretty quickly at the knee, can’t help but think that if one could design a set of gears that would keep the motor within that high torque range,the car could be an accelerating monster. I know Tesla had quite a problem trying to develop a two speed gear box at the beginning of their work. Don’t know why…politics maybe! Two hundred foot pounds seems to me to be manageable. Yes a tranny would cost a weight and friction penalty but so does spinning the motor against a high rpm reverse EMF only the penalty is of a different nature.

    Enjoyed your work again Jack and hope the viewers appreciate the good work you are doing in advancing the EV movement.

  6. I really wonder if the lower outside temperatures would not cause a cell drift when different cells are in different isolation and cooling situations. The cells underneath your car, directly in the wind, will be much cooler than a cell surrounded by others.
    It would be intererrsting to measure the pack cells at an empty pack and than charge at about 40°F. Rest and than disscharge a 40°F pack by driving in the cold weather.
    Will the battery pack stay bottom balanced after a couple cycles at about 40°F??

    1. This quest for cell drift will never cease. THey want it to drift SO BADLY. I give up.

      I almost wish they WOULD drift just to make these guys happy.

      YES. There is some evidence of cell drift. In one study there was measurable drift – after 7000 cycles. Barely. But it was there.

      Jack Rickard

      1. I don’t know who THEY are and in what kind THESE GUYS are trying to blame on our LiFePo’s….actually I don’t care.
        I just want to know what kind of effect it can probably have on any kind of cell and chemestry in our battery packs working with large temperature differences at some cells because they are not in one blog and in one box.
        Temperature has an effect on each chemical reaction. So if not in my 70 CALB SE180 I am even more happy with them.

  7. Khalaf Al Otaiba

    Jack,
    Thanks for the shows, I remember the old “choke” switches in older automobiles, I don’t understand electric throttle controls, it would be beneficial to add a throttle chock if it was a simple procedure where you can tune the rpm motor for idling if needed on the Curtis for the shop.

    All the best,
    Khalaf

  8. Jack: quite excellent again this week.

    Do you happen to know if the AC75 is a plug-and play replacement for the AC50 from a gearbox-adapter viewpoint? In other words, does it have the same attach bolt pitch circle diameter, the same register diameter on the faceplate and the same shaft offset i.e. is the same distance from the motor faceplate to the end of the shaft?

    1. I believe it is. The drawings are available at HPEVS. But my understanding is that it is a direct bolt on replacement for the Netgain Warp 9 or 11 just like the AC-50.

      The prototype we have IS a sealed motor. No airflow. Not sure how it does with heat.

      Jack Rickard

  9. Great show, just wanted to let you know I visited the AZD at the Michigan locations prior to the auctions. I was bidding but your pockets are deeper then mine. I talked with one of the engineers at AZD and he seemed to think they would have some generic software to control the DMOC but I don’t see how as these units use the CANBUS to communicate and be controlled via the Eagle ECM. Secondly, I don’t believe there are ANY cables with the BRUSA charges as AZD was making the connections integrated into the vehicle’s harness. Hope you get the motors up for sale soon.
    Thanks, AJK

    1. Anthony:

      It’s not precisely as dark and gloomy as you “can see how” fortunately. But it may not be easy.

      First, the DMOC has always had CANbus communications. In fact, most of the 3 phase controller guys really want to do a CANbus controlled inverter and let somebody else do the icky part of dealing with the many and varied requests for various user inpupts and features. Our RMI controller in the Mini is CANbus controlled, but it also has a mode and connections for the basics. AZD always has as well. They call it an application layer. And they do have input pins for all the usual features.

      I’m pretty confident we can locate a copy of this application layer module and install it somehow. At that point, you use their ccShell program to set the paramters and we have pretty good documentation for that already.

      If not, we have talked to New Eagle about their development system and maybe doing something generic and inexpensive for the DMOC.

      I’ve somehow managed to order a dealer toolkit and software from AZDtec and it is on its way. This is the diagnostic system for the vehicle itself. It should help.

      I should wind up with two full drive trains. It is not beyond our capabilities to sniff the CANbus while operating it. We have Arduino’s actually that have CANbus built in.

      Cables are cables. We can make them up. It’s usually a matter of hunting down the connectors. As part of the deal, we bought a mostly complete vehicle as well.

      Lacking all of that, and assuming I am a total moron, we are going to have quite a few of these systems, a number of viewers have already expressed an interest, and somehow I think among and between, solutions will be found to make this system work. I have it on good inside authority that these cars drove very nicely. The biggest problem I see is unwinding the usual and inevitable BMS mess from out of the middle of all this.

      I’m a little bit frightened by all of this with the up front costs. We have to send two large trailer trucks there, rent some fork lifts on site, and get it all home. We also have to find somewhere here to store it. And after all that, it just might be that nobody will care. These are unsupported unwarranteed orphan systems.

      But I think we can do that at such an attractive price it may not be much of a consideration.

      The most painful part will probably be a sudden big influx of the always venomously negative “experts” from DIYelectric that are always trolling for something to carp about and offer a lot of useless “can’t do” negativisms to every pot of soup that shows heat. Hopefully we’ll have it carefully priced HIGH enough to make most of those go away rather quickly.

      Jack Rickard

      1. Jack, you mention that the Azure motors look a bit weak. I have the Azure AC 24LS/ DMOC 445 system and am finally happy with them. When they were first installed it was connected in Delta using 67 batteries. With this configuration I could not get the claimed power or torque. The major problem was that the DMOC phase current is limited to about 400amp peak which translates to about 270 DC amps, but anything over about 250 amps often tripped the DMOC, so it had to be detuned.
        Now that I have changed the system to WYE connection I easily exceed the claimed torque, because in WYE the current dosn’t get anywhere near the 400amp limit. I have the CAN connection to the DMOC and display its reported torque, which,once everything is up to temperature, is about 120Nm (89ftlb) all the way to 5000rpm and the power into the motor is about 56Kw. The power would be closer to 61Kw if I hadn’t damaged my batteries. This is with 114 batteries.
        So as I see it, the torque multiplied by rpm of the AC24LS and the AC50 aren’t that much different. The disadvantage of the AC24LS is that it needs high voltage, but with that comes better efficiency.
        Because I live on a mountain, I have had to install some heavy duty cooling fans, to avoid stopping on over temperature

  10. Congratulations on winning that big pile of goodies. If nothing else I bet you could find enough people to buy them as is to play around with if you’re able to sell them cheap enough.

    On another note. It really seems like the real limitations on HPEVS’ drive systems is the availability of really high power mosfets. At least that’s my understanding of why Curtis hasn’t built a high power controller. Mosfet are bidirectional devices so you can built an AC controller affordably with a lot less silicon than if you use IGBT’s. Or am I completely off base on this?

  11. I want one of these Siemens motors and Inverters.

    Hey jack, I was doing some draining of my batteries this weekend to bottom balance them. I was using an inverter that works on 12 volts to drain them the last little bit to 2.8 Volts according to the Bestgo. Anyway, the batteries got too low to turn on the inverter so I got three fresh battery’s and connected them to one that was almost empty to get the voltage up. This had unexpected results for me. The weak battery went almost immediately to 2.5 volts and continued to drop rapidly. Is this because the current is being determined by the good battery’s and the weak one is sagging because of it?

    1. If you put the fresh batteries in series with the low one then the full batteries were pumping out the current and would eventually drive the nearly empty one to 0 volts and beyond. The fresh batteries raised the loaded voltage enough that your inverter would turn on. The current through each battery in series is exactly the same. That is why bottom balancing a pack is beneficial. Without extra electronics no cell gets reversed since they all go flat at the same time.

  12. In the video you were working on a Dyno, and in the AZD sale they had one listed…did you bid on that as well. Seems like they had just what you were asking to build. Thanks for the detailed reporting on the rocking horse mechanism. It was great to have it spelled out in layman’s terms.

  13. Back to cold temperatures and lithium cells. Thanks again for your discussion on that. I had read about lithium plating below 0C at batteryuniversity.com . Also check out the following: http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/6383682/description.html . It concerns a patent for use of yttrium in electrolyte for lithium cells. I understand it somewhat more since your discussion. It might be instructive for understanding the use of rare earth metals in electrolytes for allowing greater energy density. Also http://www.patents.com/us-6623892.html .

    1. This is a major issue for me as well. I have a customer that is looking to use small LiFePO’s for lighting up small billboards here in Toronto. Right now it’s +1C, but last night it was -5. -20 is rare, but not unheard of.

      I’d like to be able to heat these when it’s below zero and the charger is on (whenever the sun is up). Anyone have any pointers to such a beast?

      1. Maury,
        Search for Self-Regulating Heating Cable. You can get in in variety which automatically decreases heating as the temperature climbs above freezing. Basically you can just leave it connected at all times. We use it to keep gutters from freezing in the winter. You can add a temperature monitor to prevent charging if the cells aren’t above zero.

  14. hey Jack great show as always,
    I’ve been a fan from the start and always look forward to each show.
    Your cell care PDF has finally gave me the confidence to start buying my battery’s and caring for them. 🙂
    Something you, me, and everybody been wondering about on how to install the battery’s and why they have to be mounted upright been keeping me up at night till a light came on, just a theory but it has to do
    with how heat rises! standing the battery’s upright the heat rises thru the cells thru the foils to the terminals.
    Laying a battery on the the flat side the heat has to rise from the lower cells to the upper one’s before trying to exit the terminals, potentially unbalancing the cells in the battery.
    Laying the battery’s in the edge the the heat will rise from the lower side of all the cells to exit the upper terminal, giving you half cool half hot cells.
    laying a cell upside down will give the heat nowhere to go but build up in the bottom of the battery.
    It’s just a theory but seems the most plausible.
    just for fun I went back to watch some of your first video and seen you time laps of the bridge and was thinking it would be fun to watch a time laps of the shop opening to close and show the fun and games going on along with the head scratching. LOL

    Louie……

    1. Heat doesn’t rise … heated fluids rise (convection), but heat “flows” from hotter to colder and doesn’t care much about gravity. Is the electrolyte in LiFePO4 cells liquid? If so there might be some convection effect.

      1. The best explanation is that the liquid electrolyte pools and starves some foils. I kind of reject that out of hand. Most of the electrolyte is held in the polypropylene separator. It acts as a kind of wick. There aren’t two tablespoons full of free electrolyte in the whole cell. It will wick in any direction.

        I have asked for a better explanation and Keegan is taking the question to the engineers in China. But I think it’s mostly BS. But that is their recommendation at the moment and I don’t have any way really to test it that wouldn’t take 3 years.

        Jack Rickard

  15. If only the electrolyte condenses back to a liquid at a sensible temperature….. There’s a thought Peter. Considered placing your blown cell between a couple of the wife’s books in the fridge? 😉
    Just a thought.
    Let us know.

    1. I don’t think he got any rise in temps on the slow low amperage top off charge. My testing proved that the temps actually went down to room temps. The clips that were connected for charging got pretty warm but the aluminum terminal block dissipated that heat with no troubles. The temps of those clips remained a bit warm but not hot. Remember he had the temp sensor aimed directly at the top of the clips. During the fast charging I had heavy cable bolted to the terminals. Those got warm too but not excessively hot. The heavy aluminum block terminals dissipate heat reasonably well.

      Pete 🙂

    2. I was going to do it today. I’m just so sick I can hardly move. I’ve got some sort of bronchitus lung influenza thing that is just too marvelous for words. So I can’t really talk on camera and it is unlikely we’ll have a show this week. I also get real drowsy.

      Sorry.

      Jack Rickard

      1. Get better Jack. Bronchitis is just a ……………. So get plenty of rest and get it knocked out. Maybe I can get my vid up on line. It’s not EVTV but hey. You just have a way with words no one else can duplicate. We love it. 🙂

    1. Thank you. I’m very pleased you like it. Yes, as you can see, it is rather deliberately different from cable television. I didn’t know if anyone would really respond to this very different approach to video.

      Of course, I was lost as to whether to pattern it after the I Love Lucy show or the early episodes of Sea Hunt. So we just did it my way instead.

      Jack Rickard

      1. Jack,
        I think that in addition to your liking of European sedans you’ve also accidentally created a show that doesn’t seem so strange to us Europeans. Our documentary style programs are much more subtle than the stuff one gets on American cable channels where everything is as dramatic and overblown as possible. In any case your show is the only one I’d really hate to miss for any reason. It’s not always pure gold, but some of the nuggets are invaluable.

  16. Ran into a bit I rather liked:

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

    -Teddy Roosevelt
    Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic”, delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910

    1. Hey Jack, Love the quote from “Big Stick”. Congrats on the purchase. Get well soon. Hope to have some time to work on my 914/AC50 build before it is extinct. Keep the training coming.

  17. Excellent, excellent reports from Oak Park and Livonia.

    Richard reports they had everything loaded on two trucks and sent out on the road by 2:00 PM today – no difficulties.

    Said the equipment was not discards and such, rather new product in new boxes. Everyone there was very helpful, and he talked to several AZD employees who were offering assitance and information, which we will no doubt avail ourselves of this and of course compensate them for accordingly.

    I’ve posted the NLG513 charger on the web site online store at $1995 and the basic Seimens motor at $2995.

    The most bizarre thing was that I purchased one of the Transit Connect vans that was noted to be incomplete and unfinished, but with much of the major drive train components. This included a Johnson Controls 345 volt 24 kWh battery pack which I would like to see. Then too, might we have use for a mostly assembled vehicle to check how things were wired etc. Might be useful and at $6500 if the battery pack wasn’t TOTALLY dead it might be really useful.

    Instead, Richard ran into a Ford Engineer who just laughed. We had a car carrier to haul a non operating vehicle and everything. The Ford guy said the vehicle was fully funcitonal and complete. What they hadn’t gotten done was the PAPERWORK on the vehicle. It was a newly completed vehicle ready for sale lacking the final signoffs and title work.

    They HAD been selling these at $65,000. We got it at $6500. Richard says it drove very well and they ran it up a ramp and into the trailer truck and cancelled the vehicle hauler.

    Cant’ wait to see it.

    Anyway, early next week should have the DMOC 645 controllers and the Borg Warner gear trains listed on the web site as well. I’ve received numerous e-mail inquires already – particularly about the motors.

    Jack Rickard

    1. Jack there is no need to apologise for being ill. Most of us are indebted.

      Having watched your “EVCCON 2012 – Entrepreneur Session ” on youtube. I couldn’t agree more and is something ALL students should be shown and heed. There are too many clever kids taught to be tiny gears in large machines who’s talents are consequently suppressed. I was one who started out in a very enterprising way until becoming an engineering apprentice. After that, fully institutionalised.

  18. I’ve just read that new Chevy Spark EV got its motor OIL-COOLED.
    It seemed strange to me but I think that it could be actually a good idea, probably reusing gearbox oil installation.
    What do you think about that?

    1. I have always thought mineral oil would make a good coolant for the controller. Being non-conductive and its excellent thermal transfer is something to look at. The flow rate (or lackthereof) that is needed is perfectly suited for the oil.

      All the best,
      Aaron Lephart

  19. Hi Jack

    I just wanted to wish you well, I hope that you will soon recover.

    (This next part is a little selfish)
    Please take care of your self, I would very much like to watch you on EVTV for a lot years to come.

    Thanks,
    Carsten

  20. Electric Vehicles Hit and Misses: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgcxZl6KELE&feature=g-hist
    The conversation is very predictable is this video. The discussion about Coda caught my attention. I knew very little about this company. The only thing I knew was that their EV looked like a 1980s throwback, an ugly square boxy type of car design about as exciting as the colour beige. But McElroy’s comments on Coda got me interested enough to read a little about Coda. Coda isn’t just a car company, but a battery company. And their battery choice for their EV is LiPO4. I didn’t know that, although you guys probably did. I didn’t get why Coda chose such an ugly platform, but I can see where they are coming from now. Their focus is the electric drive train for now. Now, I don’t know the history of the Coda press releases, but I get the impression that they never set any lofty goals such as Nissan and GM. They know, I think, that they are not going to sell tens of thousands of cars. I get the impression that Coda is putting more into thought into the automotive battery pack than any other automotive manufacture, even Tesla. And that this car is a development phase, rather than: here’s our electric car, we are going to sell 60 000 units per year. It’s Coda’s focus on their battery which intrigues me. I think they are one to watch What do you think?

    1. Actually, the more I read, the more I realise the company was trying to ride EV prosperity wave that didn’t happen. Still, I do think they are focusing on their battery specifically for automotive use.

    2. Thanks for that Pads.
      It answered Jacks open question why the model S is not being built according to order number. The top of the range models with the big packs come first on the build rota.
      Not a bad thing if you have not ordered the most expensive. Production issues are always found in the early models.

  21. Your already excellent shows are improving. Keep the lectures and your insights coming. The nightclub crowding analogy really helped me get a better picuture. I look forward to seeing EVTVs comments on Toyota’s sodium battery research. Has aerographite [aerogel] been tried as an anode? How much energy is lost converting from DC to AC for the AC motor? How about doing a motorscooter conversion?

    1. An AC controller is usually a couple percent less efficient than a DC controller, but the AC motor is slightly more efficient, on average, than a brushed DC motor. Overall I’m pretty sure the AC motor, not including and regen gains; which vary widely with driving habit, are slightly more efficient overall.

    1. I mean the brackets that mount the controller to the motor. I bet there was a bin of them sitting in the warehouse and they won’t be good for anything but scrap to anyone else.

  22. IMHO these parts should be sold as a complete drivetrain kit, since they’re really not much good separately. The motors and controllers are designed to work together, the gearing is designed to attach to this motor and the chargers are meant for a high voltage pack. Doesn’t make much sense to separate them. A complete set at about $6k would be an excellent deal for everyone, and Jack would triple his investment relatively quickly.

    1. Dr.:

      I’m guessing we won’t do quite that well for you. But your on the right track. We have priced the chargers at $1995. I am trying to get cables and manuals from Brusa for them now. And we’ve sold four already. I dont’ think these are going to last long. Beautiful pieces of kit.

      I’ve got the motors up at $2995 at the moment. I have about 16 of the Borg Warner gearboxes and I’m thinking to offer those paired with a motor at $4995.

      The inverter is a bit of an issue right now and I’m working my ass off trying to get something going here. The good news is this device looks NOTHING like what I associate with an Azure Dynamics DMOC. This is a GORGEOUS machined aluminum device with fantastic connectors and liquid cooling and built like a tank. A little largish for my tastes, but absolutely beautiful.

      Here’s the problem. They quite doing what they called the Pedal Application Software Layer in 2010. This let you use a little serial port program called ccShell to configure a lot of parameters in the device and wire it directly to a throttle, ignition, interlocks, etc.

      They moved ALL control to a separate box called a Vehicle Control Unit and that unit drives the inverter using CANbus signals.

      The VCU in the transconnect was all interwoven and interlocked with the Johnson Controls Battery Management System and some other stuff that just isn’t going to work for you.

      So we’re working a couple of different angles on a VCU generalized for the EV community that you can configure for your particular car and will drive this inverter using CANbus signals.

      The problem is that I’m likely to incur some substantial development costs just to get the software done, and then a per unit charge that will undoubtedly be TWICE what I paid for the inverter.

      Finally, I have to come up with some cabling for the cable from the motor encoder to the inverter, and so forth.

      We got all the stuff in yesterday and I am totally blown away. I had no idea what I was buying. This is GORGEOUS stuff. I pictured a pile that was a mess. These motors and controllers are brand new in perfect boxes stapled and banded and totally untouched. They aren’t even in the usual crumple. Perfect massive cubes of these boxes on huge pallets. E ven the PALLETS are brand new wood.

      The problem is the stuff comes with almost no cables, no documentation, nada.

      I’m going to be in hell just tracking down connector and pin numbers so you can make up proper cables to be able to actually use it.

      I would target a motor and controller for your $6000. The list on the motor is $9145 and on the controller about $4500. I’d like to see it brought together with a VCU you can actually use for about $6000.

      That would be a 120kw 10,000 rpm 300v AC system.

      I’m also talking to Rinehart about their 150kw controller as an upgrade with us acting as a dealer for their controller, but I’m unclear if this device is really available yet.

      The good news is this is better stuff than I expected, and I think we can bring quality AC drives to our viewers at half the going rate for such equipment.

      The bad news is lots of pin and connector and cable issues, and at the heart of the beast we need this CANbus controller module and it may cost more than I paid for the motor and controller.

      Jack Rickard

      1. The other issue that is kind of interesting is that we made the radar screen at Seimens. They have more of these motors and would like to talk. I guess it comes down to the fact that if I can sell 60 of them, and do the product support where they don’t have to, they’re not averse to a reasonable price for motors in the future, rather than the go away price and cold shoulder they give everyone in the DIY community now.

        What I gather from this, is if I let the individual builders piss down one of my pants legs, and Seimens to piss down the other, we can bridge this unobtainium gap and eliminate the go away pricing.

        That doesn’t mean we’ll be able to hold $2995 for a motor. Once these are gone, that is gone. But if demand remained, we might be able to get motors for at least a more realistic price with ready availability. No, I don’t know what that price would be.

        I can tell you these motors are GORGEOUS. They are HUGELY larger than I expected and about 180lbs. But you can spin the shaft with your fingers easily. Liquid cooled. Massive mounting holes on both ends. And wound for 215 volts as it turns out. Theyv’e got it severely derated at 45kw. I think you could do 150=175kw out of one of these with a strong cooling system no problem at all.

        We basically have a Tesla class drive train almost within grasp. I’m thinking of doing a 2014 Ford F150 project. They are supposed to shave 700 lbs off the truck with lots of aluminum.

        Probably put an older two speed automatic in it or something.

        Jack Rickard

      2. Ah, didn’t realize the control electronics were missing and somewhat complicated. Indeed my suggested “quick sale” pricing did not include the need to develop a VCU and specialized cabling to get everything to run. Guess I’m a little spoiled with the all-in-one designs by Netgain, Evnetics and Curtis.

        I saw a quick buck for you and a flood of awesome parts for the community, not realizing there were complications. My bad.

        – Doc

  23. HAY JACK. ARE YOU GOING TO PUBLISH A VIDEO THIS WEEK? It would be nice to have a little blog entry to know your plans so I can stop checking if there isn’t going to be one.

    1. Randy:

      No video. Sorry you find my pneumonia inconvenient. I should have been more considerate.

      We’re going to shoot a bit today if I can stop coughing and wheezing long enough. Lots to talk about. But it will be Sunday (at best) before it is out.

      Lots of neat stuff. But between the sudden AZD eve lotion and me just getting old and rickety, everything has kind of rolled to a stop here.

      PLEASE STANDBY….
      ……WE ARE EXPERIENCING NETWORK DIFFICULTIES…..
      WE’LL RETURN TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING SHORTLY.

      Jack Rickard

      1. Jack I for one never worry about a video being posted !!!! I would first like to say I hope a shot of Whiskey is in your future, maybe in a Hot Toddy…….and second PLEASE feel better soon !!!!!!!!
        I would like to go on record to say Thank You for your hard work and long hours for a hobby project gone mainstream 🙂
        Thank you again, and do feel better soon !!!!

      2. Get well soon Jack. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate all the great work you have done in producing your show. I have been watching it each week for the last year now.

    1. @Jarkko: Charging the cells to 4,4 volts with very low current could also be one factor in the case of the Elcat….

      @Jack: Please get well soon, I would love to see some more piles of ev pr0n on film. Motors and chargers……
      Regarding the VCU,,,,
      Maybe this can be a solution:

      http://tritium.com.au/products/ev-driver-controls/
      Open source CAN bus interface for controlling a controller.

      I know you hate the shipping cost from down under but it might be a good way to communicate with the DMOCs.

      Regards
      /Per

  24. Jack,

    for the device to connect to the pedal and CAN bus, you could do worse than this:

    http://tritium.com.au/products/ev-driver-controls/

    AU$250 retail, made on demand, and might take a while for ~60 to get made. (I dare say a better deal could be done for ~ 60 off.) It’s based on an MSP430 chip, so if you have access to programmers that know this TI chip, it could be easy to modify the stock software.

    It’s mostly open-source: they publish the circuit diagram, and give away software (in C) that you program with GCC (free). The only extra cost is a JTAG programmer, and you’d have to modify the provided CAN cable to drive the DMOC. With a decent quantity, if you can find a part number for the DMOC connector, I’d bet they could supply the cable you need.

    They are quite small, so you should have no trouble stashing it away somewhere. It’s not designed to replace an ECU, though; just to interfact to pedal, CAN bus (two connectors), LEDs, switches, brake lights, that sort of thing.

    I happen to use a pair of these in the MX-5 I’m helping convert (long story as to why we’re using two) I’m not connected with Tritium except as a satisfied customer. Just a suggestion.

  25. Get well soon Jack, all the best from Amsterdam. It is all cold and snotty weather here in Northern Europe and we feel for ya, hachoo!
    For everyone and their own EVTV withdrawal problems, here is something that might cheer you up a little bit. I took the electric speedboat for a spin to test cold weather performance. http://youtu.be/hi1q3jQb3Kw?hd=1 We have our winstons in 18mm ‘betonplex’ -waterproofed mdf I guess.

    For next year I think I really would like to see what one of the Siemens motors will do when you have near endless suppply of really cold water 🙂

  26. Jack,
    I can see that your extraordinary effort in promoting the building of EV’s has left your body spent and you got sick. I hope you can get some good rest and get better soon.
    A question in bottom balancing pouch cells like the A123 20ah. Can cells be assembled in the final parallel configuration, in my case a 4 in parallel configuration and bottom balanced down to the minimum voltage, which is?
    Thank you,
    Mark Yormark

    1. Hi Mark,
      After hearing Jack talk about bottom balancing for years and years, I finally bottom balanced my A123’s (also 4p) and yes you can put them in parallel then bring the group down to the desired voltage. I used 2.75v for my pack.
      Robin

    2. Mark,

      2.7 is plenty low enough. Be sure you get some covering around the edges of the A123 cells. My idea is tyvek envelopes. Some use tape. Don’t clamp them tight. Don’t overcharge them. 3.65v is the upper limits at normal charge rates. At fast charge rates at CC only don’t go above 3.65v each. Best to go to 3.6 volts. If over charge and the cell puffs it is ruined. More testing on the way for fast charging. Might even try higher currents.

      1. Walter,
        Your comment was very appropriate. I saved your e-mail exchange with Jack in a file. Although, I must admit I did not understand your graph
        Thank you,
        Mark Yormark

        1. Mark,
          There are two graphs. In both graphs series 1 (black) is the Volts, the scale being on the right side and series 2 (yellow) is the current, the scale being on the left side.
          The first graph is of the total discharge of the batteries and the second graph is a “zoom in” on the last part of the discharge.

      2. pmcwade,
        ” Be sure you get some covering around the edges of the A123 cells. My idea is tyvek envelopes.”
        What is the reason for doing this procedure?
        Mark Yormark

    3. Mark, after I discharged my batteries down to 2.5 volts the first time they bounced back up to 2.78 to 2.84 range. After that I connected the whole pack in parallel and took them to 2,65. Then I took them down 5 MV at a time till they were all 2,75 volts. It works great because they seem to automatically balance each other out when in parallel

      1. Paul:

        Perhaps. But generally this does not work. Our observation is that discharging in parallel does not actually balance the cells. After trying this, disconnect the cells and measure two hours later. You may see that they have drifted apart.

        While parallel, they were all of course at the same voltage.

        So why aren’t they balanced. The voltage differences among the cells are so small that balancing currents between the cells are also very small. So very little change in SOC occurs.

        I suppose if you parallelled them for several weeks, perhaps. But the closer they get to the same voltage, the smaller the current becomes.

        We balance them individually to as close as we can get to an identical voltage. Then strap them in series and charge them.

        Jack Rickard

        1. Thanks, I will do just that. I have left them connected for a few days. I will disconnect them for a day or so and recheck the voltages. I took one lose and measured it and it seemed stable thus my theory. I may be proved wrong and will let you know the results. I had these cells pretty close to empty so I am hopeful that this shortcut worked.

        2. That conversation with Walter was excellent and you were very clear. I have verified all of that in my own testing. I am using different batteries but the results were similar.

  27. [ Apologies if this posts twice. ]
    Jack,

    for the device to connect to the pedal and CAN bus (replacing the Eagle), you could do worse than this:

    http://tritium.com.au/products/ev-driver-controls/

    AU$250 retail, made on demand, and might take a while for ~60 to get made. (I dare say a better deal could be done for ~ 60 off.) It’s based on an MSP430 chip, so if you have access to programmers that know this TI chip, it could be easy to modify the stock software.

    It’s mostly open-source: they publish the circuit diagram, and give away software (in C) that you program with GCC (free). The only extra cost is a JTAG programmer, and you’d have to modify the provided CAN cable to drive the DMOC. With a decent quantity, if you can find a part number for the DMOC connector, I’d bet they could supply the cable you need.

    They are quite small, so you should have no trouble stashing it away somewhere. It’s not designed to replace an ECU, though; just to interfact to pedal, CAN bus (two connectors), LEDs, switches, brake lights, that sort of thing.

    I happen to use a pair of these in the MX-5 I’m helping convert (long story as to why we’re using two) I’m not connected with Tritium except as a satisfied customer. Just a suggestion.

  28. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone in the US! And happy Thursday to all elsewhere!

    Today I’m thankful for the information and inspiration Jack has given through EVTV over the years. Jack, I hope you’re recovered soon and back to your jolly old self.

  29. Please do not Dis everyone on DIY-EV forums because a few are self-centered asses. The bulk of us are not so fast to demonstrate our armpits are odorless. We suffer their vehement, one sided opinions too. All in the EV spirit. We are the true advocates and only exist to further the cause.

    Great show, Jack. Kudos on the recent auction acquisitions.

    DB

  30. I tried looking for this information online but could not find it. I have both the Azure Dynamics AC55 DMOC and CAN and would like to display various parameters via a digital display (i.e. speedometer, rpm, battery power….), and need to know the language of the CAN. Is it a j1939?

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