Help Defend Our Right to Be From Massachusetts???


Very interesting times.

First, no Jeremy Clarkson didn’t go green. It was an April Fool’s joke. Yes, I get it.

In this week’s show we deal with a couple of things but I would say front and center is our current efforts to forge ahead with a CHAdeMO kit for electric vehicles. I kind of see this as a CHAdeMO kit for ANY electric vehicle – OEM or DIY but of course it will be designed for DIY custom electric vehicles. I doubt Leaf owners will be attracted as they have it already. But Bolt owners or Chevy Spark owners, sporting the nearly useless SAE Combo connector might be interested.

Leading the charge is Damien Maguire. The rest of us can’t move fast enough. Unfortunately, the JLD505 boards we had built by HESCoN Electronics Ltd were so badly done, it borders on criminal. They replaced at least two parts with counterfeit Chinese parts that did not operate at all. Swapped the position fo two capacitors on the board. Omitted one component entirely. No, the don’t really want to refund the payment. Maybe if I would buy 20 more, they would ship me 40 to make up for it? That way, what? I have 60 bad boards?

We’ve kind of managed between us to solder on new parts and get four or five boards running. Enough to begin software development on the CHAdeMO project. Collin is working on a new library for the Maxim 1-Wire temperature sensors. Also porting the can_due library to the smaller AVR 328P processor. But in the meantime, Arduino has split into and, the manufacturer of the original boards separating from the Massimo group that originally designed it. Along the way they have a new processor board that is a 48 MHz 256k ARM M0 chip. This is more powerful than the original Atmel AVR chips but not quite an Arduino Due SAM3X. So Paulo is going to upgrade the JLD505 board anyway to this new processor. That will free us from the current 32kb restriction on program size to a more expansive 256kb.

So a lot of steps forward, but also a number of them back. In any event, this will be a fun project and already of intense interest to a number of our viewers who have longer distance driving needs and want CHAdeMO pretty badly. As costs mount, I see this coming in at something under $2000 but I fear the ultimate pricing will be a disappointment to some. But we are definitely going with a quality connector, contactors, etc.

[jwplayer streamer=”rtmp://” provider=”rtmp” file=”news040315-iPhone.mp4″ hd.file=”news040315-1280.mp4″ image=””  width=”850″ height=”522″ html5_file=”″]

I again descended into the depths of a pin by pin discussion of who done what to whom in regards to CHAdeMO as I was impressed during a past episode how intently people were interested in this but had little understanding of what was actually going on. They tended to plug in their Leaf’s and then try to read messages from God in cloud formations while it charged. Like all technology, once the Toto pulls the curtain back a smidge, it is not nearly so magical. If you get lucky, there is a touch of elegance. I thought taking frame ground from the vehicle, routing it through the connector and then along with tying the EVSE ground to it routing it BACK to the vehicle to be used to disable the inverter/controller kind of a least component solution. That semiconductor won’t burn out because there isn’t any.

Similarly I found all the voting on the contactor coils kind of cunning. Once again, the real note is that the CAR is in charge of the charging. Almost ALL the intelligence in this charge protocol rolls up to the charge station on rubber wheels. And the curiosities observed by the Leafoids while carefully measuring and going from EVSE to EVSE, is all IN their own cars. Unfortunately, Turtles akimbo, they have NO control over how it charges or how much it charges or how long it charges or anything else. If the car chooses to use a time limit override and they just don’t get as fully charged on a smallish EVSE, there’s really nothing they can do about it. The current concept of blaming the EVSE is interesting.

But this goes to the heart of our existence. I have nothing against the Leaf and applaud everything Ghosn and Nissan have done. But if you buy one, you are driving THEIR car, THEIR way. Without access to their firmware, you are powerless to alter it in any respect.

When you build your own electric vehicle, you get to make it do exactly what YOU want it to do. Whether or not that is a good thing with a good result kind of bears on your wisdom in choosing what you want it to do. We’ll try to help with information. But ultimately, you are responsible for YOUR car. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t get a dozen e-mails with proposed projects wanting to know what I think about that or if that is the right combination of motors and batteries and components. I generally offer my best guess, and then sit back for the blast of why the way they want to do it would be best. It’s all good. They may be right. And I could be wrong.

In fact, what I’ve learned over time is the principle difference between myself and 99% of the people in this space is that I could be wrong. I may be the only one. But it’s very true. I could be wrong and I know this because I HAVE BEEN SO MANY TIMES. Apparently if you haven’t been wrong, it never occurs to you that you could be. If you go ahead and do it your way, you’ll know. As I used to tell young Hauber – well we’ll know here in a minute or two.

So I never argue the point. It’s THEIR car. And if they think a cement mixer can be made electric with an HPEVS AC50 at 96volts, boy howdy. I can’t wait to see it. No, that’s not how I would do it, but you go girlfriend and please DO let us know how it turns out.

Unfortunately, my education there remains incomplete. See if it turns out great, they send photos and sometimes videos. If it turns out badly, somehow they just never close the loop and show it on a photograph. I’m left hanging. Always wondering if an ADC 7 inch COULD drive a cement mixer.

We very consciously try not to do that to you. Sure, it can be embarassing that I missed something obvious. But it’s all part of a day at EVTV. I edit out some of the coughing, but not all. If we make a mistake that is generally useful and might save you the same thing, we usually include it. Sometimes we feature it. This week: don’t expect ALL Chinese suppliers to be great to work with. Yes, some will take your money and not deliver the products – sometimes at all. This was not only expensive, but chewed up 12 weeks of time.
Back to square one. This one order took so much time (3 months) that the technology has actually changed while it was being manufactured, and now we have to redesign to the latest chip.

But the theme continues. You gain knowledge and control of your electric vehicle by building it. You can gain many of the advantages of electric drive by buying one from an OEM and indeed I would say that of all the people we have watching and building the ones at this point WITHOUT a store bought OEM car would be in the MINORITY and perhaps a smallish minority at that. But every time I enter the Tesla Model S, I’m reminded of how little I know about it, and how helpless I am to do anything about any of its operation. I can basically steer right and left, speed up and slow down, and roll the windows up and down. The little handles that are suppose to run out when you approach the car? Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t. I have no idea why. The little amulet you use to open the front hatch or the rear hatch? Sometimes you press it and the hatch opens magically. Sometimes I press it and it doesn’t do anything – and it never does anything when I’m trying to demonstrate how cool it is to someone else. Beyond that, I have no idea what makes it work or makes it fail. And if I piled the broomsticks of all the wicked witches of all the wests in the world at the rear bumper, I don’t think its going to tell me.

It can be learned of course. I bought a Tesla drive train (and a new maple bench for it) a week or so ago for $6500. This week I got a second for $5500. At this point, $12k tied up in electronic lasers. You plug them in, you turn them on, and they lay there. But I’m more confident at this point that we can figure out how to make them turn.

Of course, I immediately heard from one viewer that his “inside” man assured him it could not be done because of magic fixins in the High Voltage Interlock Loop. As I said. There is no magic. I sent him a copy of the circuit diagram from the HVIL circuit and it was clear it was a simple minded circuit to make sure lids were on some of the components before closing the contactors. It’s unlikely it has ANY effect on the inverter at all. Of course, I COULD BE WRONG…..

Part of the confidence comes from the circuit diagram. And therein lies the tale of the week. Has Tesla done an about face on it’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde dyslexia on open source electric cars? Not precisely. Just more of the same confusion. But this one has a particularly bizarre twist. They have FULL circuit diagrams (gorgeous ones really).HVIL All available on a beautiful online service with connector cross indexes complete with part numbers and pinouts for EVERY connector on the car. Maintenance procedures. A full illustrated parts breakdown. Technical service bulletins. It is THE best information I’ve seen available for ANY car anywhere. If they only had the CAN.dbc database, it would be a dream come true.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 11.37.52 AM

Well, it’s kind of a limited dream. You see, by design the service is only available to residents of Massachusetts. Ed Clausen can have it but technically I’m not supposed to have access to it.


Because Massachusettes has passed a RIGHT TO REPAIR law REQUIRING all manufacturers to make exactly the SAME information and tools available to the public that they do to their dealers and service centers at a fair and reasonable price.

On posting this week’s video on YouTube, I immediately was assaulted by bottom feeders demanding that I copy alll the stuff off the Tesla web site and push it onto Torrent so they could all share for free. This is part of the same communist philosophy that keeps marking DIY as a bunch of bottom feeders. I have NO problem with Tesla recouping the costs of producing this information and running the web site. Is $30 per hour, $350 per month, or $3000 per year too much? I don’t know. It’s kind of hard to put a nail in “fair and reasonable” but I have no need to really question it. I need the info. They have it. Here it is for $30 per hour. Kewell. If I get to choose between FREE but NO ACCESS and $30 per hour and full access, guess where I come down on it? With $12k in drive train parts sitting on the floor, $30 isn’t all that much to ask.

What I did find stunning was that Tesla sought to shut me out because I wasn’t in Massachusetts. You have to pay by credit card, and of course provide your billing address as part of the process, and if your credit card billing address doesn’t seem to be in Massachusetts, you can’t get on. Now what kind of shit is THAT. Once Massaschusetts passes the law, and Tesla goes to the trouble to comply with it, WHY would they then deliberately shut out everybody else simply because they didn’t HAVE the same law in their state?

This is moronic. It’s like painting a target on your forehead with lipstick and setting up a table to sell 44 caliber bullets at 3 shots for a dollar. Certainly it might stimulate ammunition sales, but have you thought this thing through? We are going to PREVENT you from working on YOUR car, except in Massachusetts where we are forced to by government regulation. Translated – we are desperately seeking MORE government regulation to comply with and we pay cash for it where found.

ALL of the automotive manufacturers have CONSPIRED actively to prevent your access to this information and specifically to PREVENT RIGHT TO REPAIR laws. They have formed a voluntary consortium to share information with independent repair facilities and point to it eggregiously as already BEING the answer anytime any state or the federal legislatures start talking about right to repair. But it basically operates to DENY information to all comers and for any reason. There are 160,000 auto repair facilities in the U.S. doing about $80 billion in revenues. It’s all about the money. The Coalition for Right to Repair reports that dealer repairs average 34% higher in cost than independent auto repair shops. The manufacturers are brutal in trying to fight off this right to repair thing. And it is a pure grab for the money. No other agenda.

So the national Right To Repair bill first introduced in Congress in 2001 has never passed. What is new in Massachusetts is the information on just how overwhelming public support for this is. One guy started a petition and gathered 106,000 signatures to get it on the ballot. The auto manufacturers then outspent him about 1000:1 campaigning on the issue. And in the end, it passed by 86% of the voters. I was unaware that 86% of American voters agreed on ANYTHING. But apparently on Right to Repair they do.

And here is how dirty the game gets. Once it was on the ballot, the manufacturers hastily cobbled together a cadre of paid for Massachusetts state legislators to PRE-EMPT the ballot initiative by passing an actual RIGHT TO REPAIR bill in the state legistlature. Of course, it was basically a NO RIGHT TO REPAIR bill labelled as RIGHT TO REPAIR. In this way, Massachusetts would already have RIGHT TO REPAIR, even if it ensured NO right to repair, and if the ballot initiative passed, it wouldn’t be needed.

In the old days of Rome, at least when you bought a Senator he stayed bought. Not in Massachusetts. The whole thing would have worked like magic, but 86% of the electorate voted for the bill. The Massachusetts legislators were unaware that 86% of Massachusetts voters agreed on ANYTHING. But apparently on right to repair, they do. And so they met to “consolidate” the two bills. And facing 86%, the Massachusetts legislature THREW THE AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURERS UNDER THE BUS. And here is how comical it got. The DEALERS joined forces to lobby to make sure the bill included THEIR right to repair equal to the independent shops. They were picturing paying HIGHER prices for the information and tools THEY get from the manufacturers than the “fair and equitable” spelled out in the law. So THEY wanted right to repair as well. The inmates did actually take control of the asylum on this one.

I actually don’t know what to think of all of this. Is this an example of democracy in action? Or an example of how broken our democracy has become? I’m not actually sure. It’s a sign of SOMETHING. I guess I think that money and corruption have become so endemic to the process that it is irresistable as long as 50% of us want it one way, and 50% don’t. In that event, monied interests get whatever they want to pay for. But at about 85% unanimity, that system breaks down right smartly.

The other thing it confirms is what I’ve been saying. The American cultural propensity to do your own car repairs and customize your car to be a more personalized item runs SO deep that those who have NO interest in it clearly favor it anyway.

We continue to be in a very strange place with things not previously doable suddenly doable in the face of cratering oil prices and $2 per gallon gasoline. As I said, two unobtainium Tesla drive trains have fallen into our lap. The going rate for teh batteries is $20K per battery, but it IS an 85kw pack. I just dont’ know what you’d do with it.

AC propulsion is actually where Tesla started. In 2003 Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning founded Tesla Motors, an electric car company in San Carlos, California. Their first car design was actually entirely based on motors, inverters, and little 18650 batteries from a company called AC Propulsion. AC Propulsion was actually started by Alan Cacconi and Tom Gage and Cacconi had designed the inverter for the EV1 while at General Motors.

Today, Tesla has grown everything bigger. But they still use a copper rotor AC induction motor, almost identical inverter electronics, and the 18650 battery concept they originally licensed from AC Propulsion.

You may go through the way-back machine with us to our BMW Mini Cooper Clubman build. We finished ours before they finished theirs and ours was better actually. But BMW built 550 Mini Coopers as electrics and leased them out to learn about how people used electric cars. The amount of money they spent on the program is just unheard of – easily over $1 million per car. But within BMW, it is viewed as one of the most successful projects they’ve ever done. And they learned so much from it that purportedly it shaped everything in their BMW i3 and i8 programs today.

The Mini-E was of course just a Mini Cooper converted to electric using the AC propulsion system. Notable in the AC Propulsion inverter is a patented system to take 240vac and apply it from the wall back through the inverter to charge the batteries after the fashion of regenerative braking. This is so effective, the system can actually charge the battery pack at nearly 18 kW per hour.

As it turns out, BMW of course discontinued the program took all the Mini-E’s back from the owners at the end of the lease period and proceeded to shred them (shades of EV1). But someone stepped in and rescued a signficant number of the drive trains and batteries used in the cars. At the risk of tipping off Mr Bream, who doesnt miss an opportunity to copy anything we do without creditation or citation, we are talking to the principals about making these 150kw drive trains available to EVTV viewers. And perhaps the batteries as well.

We tried for years to gain access to this drive train, which was priced at an astounding $25,000 per. It is air cooled, but a 150kw version really of the Tesla drive train, and apparently in very good shape with many of the Mini-Es hardly driven. Here they are literally falling into our lap. We’ll see how it goes but basically we’ve agreed to do it, we just haven’t worked out the pricing and logistics very well at this point. But I’m hopeful it will be priced in the range of our other AC offerings. I view it as a kind of mini Tesla drive train in a 150kw size much more appropriate to many of our car builds – but using the same copper rotor AC induction motor concept WITH a chargerless charging scheme that Tesla doesn’t have.

Mr. Bream’s plagiarism and general lack of ethics have reached a new low. In his latest video he actually shows you how to make a cheesy “bottom balancer” for your battery pack without ever once mentioning what bottom balancing was, why you would want to do such a thing, or who developed the concept and the process. I was floored. Just blatant plagiarism of the lowest sort. I’ve been slimed. I need a shower. What’s next? Will he be selling Nordlock washers on his web site?

Indeed the miniature latino person Jehu Garcia chimed in with an apparent explanation that made no sense at all. The thing is a fire hazard and does almost nothing beyond our economy bottom balancing resistor, which at least has its own heat sink. Please don’t use this on a battery. Batteries cannot hear audible alarms – which inevitably fail after a few alerts anyway.

I’ll try to get time this week to show you how to make a proper home made automatic bottom balancer for those who find our two button Revolectrix Cell Lab 8 Battery Tester too difficult to operate.

Jack Rickard

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

42 thoughts on “Help Defend Our Right to Be From Massachusetts???”

  1. Hi Jack, Out of interest, the Tesla service seems to also be available in the UK. I clicked on the UK option and it gives subscription costs in Pounds sterling…

  2. Your comment about OEM Firmware

    “But if you buy one, you are driving THEIR car, THEIR way. Without access to their firmware, you are powerless to alter it in any respect.”

    is indeed correct. However let me expand on that and describe the true level of frustration of OEM firmware.

    We have to be careful to determine who “THEY” is. THEY is a set of individuals at the OEM’s headquarters that designed and developed the firmware. Nota bene: The car dealer and his highly trained mechanics are not “THEY”.

    I recently had an issue with the head unit on my LEAF rebooting while I happily drove along. I researched the symptoms and discovered there is a firmware update that addresses stability issues with the head unit. Awesome I thought. So next time I’m at the dealer, I recount the issue I experienced and the existence of an updated firmware to address the issue. Please update my head unit to the latest firmware revision was my kind request

    Upon picking up my car the dealer staff carefully explained they could not reproduce the problem with the head unit and it appeared to be fully operational. They didn’t update the firmware because there was not an issue they could identify or reproduce. So my head unit reboots occasionally. It can be fixed, “THEY” have released firmware to fix my problem, but there is no way for me to get it installed. The dealer staff did point out that the navigational map in the head unit was out of date and needed updating.

    There are some missing roads on my navigational map, “THEY” have upgrade it and the dealer is happy to install the update for $139. (plus tax).
    There is a problem with the stability of the head unit, “THEY” have upgraded that too. Since the revenue involved with upgrading the firmware is zero, the dealer isn’t happy to update it.

    Funny how that works.

    Not only is it their firmware, fixes, carefully prepared by “THEY” are not readily available. If I could download new firmware and install with a laptop I would.
    I understand the importance of tightly controlling firmware that controls say the braking system. But the Nav and entertainment system? Why make that firmware inaccessible?

    Cars are rolling computers. Anyone who has worked with computers for a while learns that its important to update firmware periodically, especially if the update fixes an issue you are experiencing.

    Car Dealers have almost no computer experience.
    Car dealers don’t understand computers, car dealers have car mechanics not computer techs.
    Dealers need computer techs, they just don’t know it. Yet.

  3. David Seabury

    All this Tesla hacking reminds me of when I worked for Motorola and we were reverse engineering the IBM 3270 Coax A protocol for one of IBMs new terminals back in the early 1980s. I was browzing through a user’s manual and found the phone number for IBM’s documentation dept. I called, told them I was an engineer and I needed the protocol document for the new terminal. They looked it up and asked if I would like it overnighted! My boss was astounded. You did WHAT! I just called them up and asked.
    David Seabury

  4. So I was doing a little snooping around, seeing where the CHAdeMO chargers are in the Dallas area and stumbled upon something kinda evil. Most of the CHAdeMO stations around here are run by eVgo, and their plans for DC Fast charging are all by the minute instead of by the amount of power consumed. This means using DCFC on a low-voltage pack vehicle presents a huge disadvantage in terms of cost to charge. You’re current at these CHAdeMO stations is limited to a maximum of 125 amps. For a 144V pack, that’s a maximum of 18KW of power to the pack, vs the station limit of 44KW. This means a 144V/180AH pack would take an hour and a half to charge, vs a 320V/60AH pack at 30 minutes. At $0.10/min, or $5 + $0.20/min, this time and cost difference adds up QUICK.

    1. It does Chuck. But it’s not precisely evil. I’m amazed at how many times this bears explanation. ALL chargers that do more than one voltage, and partcularly chargers that CAN do a wide range of voltages, have TWO limitations and BOTH must be met at all times. They are always CURRENT and TOTAL POWER.

      Let’s say I have a 500v pack. The current limit on CHadeMO is 125 amps (that’s by spec by the way). If I could do 125 amps at 500 volts, that would be roughly 62,500 watts ignoring efficiencies and power factors. So your 44kW unit would of course limit me to a mere 44000/500 or less than 88 amps. Well under teh CURRENT limitation but AT the POWER limitation.

      In your case, at the other end with 144v, at the CURRENT limit of 125 amps, you only get 144 x 125 or 18kW – well under the POWER limitation but at the CURRENT limitation.

      THis is essentially true of all chargers everywhere, including your onboard charger for J1772.

      1. It doesn’t bear explanation to me at all, it is in fact my point. A 20KW pack, charged at 320V and 125A charges twice as fast as 144V and 125A. No brainer. But when CHAdeMO charging stations are charging you by the minute (as eVgo does here in Dallas), you’re being charged twice as much for the same power consumption. The advantage goes to a high voltage conversion, which is what I wanted to point out.

        1. I think that is a fair catch. It is one more thing to keep in mind when selecting a pack voltage. But it makes sense that if one were to charge for a “fast” charger, that the billing would be time sensitive. The longer one car sits the longer others have to wait. No more evil than holding up the line with a 144v battery 🙂 As much as I appreciate the practicality of a 144v conversion.

    2. Chuck,

      dont take it too serious. Small packs can fast charge even without CHAdeMO.

      In europe a household powersocket cannot get you more then 3.3 kilowatts. Most cannot even get you that. They’ll melt, mine has done.

      In europe some people, shops and farms in particular do have 3 phase sockets getting you 10 kilowatt and some very few will even get you 20 kilowatt. That is where the smallest CHAdeMO chargers can plug in. The biggest must be wired they are not allowed to plug.

      CHAdeMO is an idea, get the charger out of the car where it does not belong. You dont need a charger for driving.

      The CHAdeMO charger is something big that you do not need every day, so why have one?

      On the other hand it does not make sense to have a charger for every car. Why not share it, pay only for the time you need it. You pay for the charger not for the electricity. Electricity comes free. You pay the people collecting and conducting it and for the charger.

      Our i-MiEV is born with CHAdeMO in mind and it has only a crippled 3.3 kilowatt charger on board. At a 20 kilowatt CHAdeMO I have seen it take up to 14 kilowatts in the early morning and up to 18 kilowatt in the late afternoon. When the battery management decided to disconnect it was down to 8 kilowatts. So most of the time it took more than 10 kilowatts. Charging took me less than 20 minutes and we were glad we did not have to wait.

      On the other hand a CHAdeMO charger costs less than a gas pump does and a gas station cannot live from people renting a gas pump either. So why dont they have CHAdeMO for free and sell us fried chicken?

      Peter and Karin

    1. I would also like to say, the heat sink on the EVTV bottom balance kit works quite nicely for continuous use. Also note that it has a fuse… for those accidental situations when you drop the clip across a higher voltage potential… 😐

  5. It really does look like the HVIL circuit is just for lid switches and ensuring all connectors ARE connected to their respective devices before closing the contactors. Also the “60R” blocks may be resistors noting a total of 4 in series (see note requiring connection of cable to “dummy” port on junction box). Oh this is all good stuff, can’t wait for this years EVCCON hack-a-thon challenge 😉

    1. It is for i-phones and i-clothes. I am afraid they mean it for real.

      I am prepared to solder me an USB-adapter to plug our i-MiEV into the i-pod. That is not April 1st. We’ll live to see that in not so distant future.

  6. Jack,
    I too watch the latest EVWEST YouTube video and saw the segment about their bottom balancer. My first thought was you, Jack Rickard, must be complimented for implementing your idea. Can not we think beyond our own egos and instead what is best for the DYI community for again what you wanted by the 100,000 build DYI community?
    Mark Yormark

    1. Ergo, you were picturing a 100,000 man rabble, with no ethics or morals, kind of wandering the land raping pillaging and plundering?

      We credit any source we can as often as we can. Indeed, tying the EVTV genre to Gav’s EV is actually a bit of a stretch, but we were happy to do it. And Gav was delighted of course to be remembered. The ongoing exception is to maintain requests for anonymity that often have fairly serious underlying causes.

      No Mark, it is NOT alright and we can’t all just “get along”. I picture 100,000 guys who are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly,
      courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

      I’ll leave it to you to figure out where I got THAT bizarre idea… I did indeed steal it….

      Jack RIckard

      1. I kind of picture 100,000 trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly,courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.Boy Scouts, falling down drunk, playing with high voltage in their garage,…..or maybe they were Cow Boys.

        1. See it from the other side.

          Even a Bottom Balancer is yet another BMS and BMSes are known for finding ways to kill their owners (mind not their builders).

          Whatever you add to a device that is designed to one day kill its owner will help the device to do so. Adding a beeper to an empty battery is not only nonsense in the first place but adding a false feel of security and making you sleep while the device is silently burning your car and house down.

          You adding a beeper to your device needs you to know what you are doing and most likely is not a big security risk because you are the builder and you know how to take care of a hungry lion.

          Throwing such a device at somebody who does not understand what is inside is like opening lion’s gate and making the guy trust he has a kitten sleeping … and may safely fall asleep.

          Thinking of a resistor glowing red and hiding it in a plastic tube to keep it from catching a cold is something I would not recommend doing at home.

          1. Excellent straight thinking Peter. Now that the blood pressure is out of the red zone I can think clearly.
            The consequences have to be clearly stated what happens when your off changing diapers and the battery refuses to disconnect itself from the lawsuit load from hell. Rant over…

          2.! The science of stupid will have plenty of ammo with devices like that. Next we will be hearing of spring loaded happy new year squealers with tassels…affixed to the cell vent caps to indicate the cell is charged!!!!!
            What can I say…..I have passive aggressive issues. 🙂

    2. Yes, we played on Jack’s idea and added a buzzer. Why? Build experience and getting cars out the door. At this point we’ve exceeded the number of conversions to come out of EVTV, and we can tell you from this experience that when you have 3 customer cars lined up for balancing that a buzzer is the best thing in the world. It runs on the principle that everyone hates a buzzer, so as soon as it sounds off, the closest employee promptly moves it to the next cell to quiet the annoying buzzer, and the car gets balanced much more quickly without any over-drained cells. We’ve found this to be incredibly efficient (in our real world experience), and if you’re a fan of Jack’s economy balancer, then this is the same thing, but it has an added layer of ‘buzzer-ness’ when not wanting to over drain a cell. If you guys remember from the first EVCCON I did a session with a Arduino based balancer almost 4 years ago. It’s a great device (fancy resistor with a relay), but not everyone wants to shell out a couple hundred bucks to balance their batteries just once. I for one would like to see Jack building cars again. We think it produces more ‘usable’ products.

      Speaking of usable products, as I browse the list of usernames on this forum I see many of the same names come through our store. I hope Jack appreciates our other contributions like the Siemens interference spline slugs (you can’t put a flywheel on a slip-fit coupler) and our ever increasing library of adapter plates that come out of our Faro Arm scanner with the recent demise of ReBirth’s big library of adapters. Sure, you can buy a washer and a resistor from us too, and we make plenty of mistakes as well, but I’d like to remind folks that every now and then we do have fun and actually do something productive like our HV Fuse video that showed the dangers of 12 volt fuses in an EV. Many stores (including Jack’s) quickly carried these products. We just want better stuff available to you guys, and have never ever worried about who sells it because all of these products should be easy to find and purchase.

      And sadly, I do have to smile and remind Jack that we showed up at EVCONN in black shirts long before he donned them on his show, and our store was up long before his (Matt actually complained to him when he started selling things, I think Jack spoke of this in a show many moons ago), but we do proudly follow in his footsteps with videos (admittedly), and humbly bow our plagiarizing heads to Jack. Never said we weren’t inspired by you (in fact never said a bad word about you) and we never thought we’d upset a millionaire by selling resistors. We really don’t want to step on any toes here, but the world would be far too boring with only one EV Show. (I grew up with only 3 channels on TV and it sucked)

      All the love and respect to Jack. Sorry for not giving you credit in the show. Everyone credits you with leading the charge here. Everyone.

      PS: AC Propulsion contacted us a while ago about the motors. Actually came by the shop some time ago showing their batteries and drivetrain. Though we think the voltage is a little too high for us (at 500 volts), we’d love to sell Jack some Smart Tesla batteries to make available to your customers that pick up these awesome drivetrains. After all, Tesla themselves say they have the highest energy density on the market, even more so than the Roadster, and you’ll need that energy density to stuff 500 volts worth of batteries in a conversion. (relevant link: )

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I have a dirty diaper to change. This fatherhood thing is cutting into my EV time. 🙂

      Cheers. -MB

      1. Michael:
        I assumed you had exceeded the number of conversions to come out of EVTV years ago. You’re a conversion shop. We aren’t. We did precisely ONE customer conversion and it has been a nightmare. We’ve never had any interest in doing cars for other people. That was Haubers dream – not mine. The one time I ake an exception, the guy turns out to be a flake. He never HAS picked up the car.

        Essentially ALL the cars we do are mine. I had some Japanese come and actually pry a pair from my hands. I wish I had them back. Speedster Duh was just a dream to drive.

        And that is kind of a critical difference. You convert cars and shove them and the customer out the door. Our cars generally don’t leave. We drive them. And they break down. And we’re there when they do. And we find out why. At 5000 miles. And 10000 miles. And 20000 miles. And over time, we learn a lot about those “zero maintenance” cars you guys crow about. Turns out, things break. Not every great idea derived from a Faro Arm Scanner works out.

        We’ve mentioned EvWEST many times and lavishly on EVTV. The EVShow, blatantly taking our material, techniques, and even shirts, has never mentioned our name.. To do a video about a bottom balancer without even explaining what bottom balancing IS or who came up with it is just pathetic journalistic plagiarism of the worst sort. You’d be fired at any actual publication or TV show in the world.

        And no, the audible buzzer is a very bad idea. Batteries can’t hear.

        And that is kind of the heart of the problem. Your mechanical skills are delightful. At least they were when Hauber was there – I don’t know what skills you have in house now. But your understanding of battery cells appears to be beyond basic – more like meager. That you are selling run out Smart battery packs without any concept of how to test them is startling. But I guess I did pretty much the same thing with the Better Place packs and when we DID test them we got lucky. They are pretty good batteries. But most of them had never been in a car.

        Selling batteries out of a ride share program that claims a million members? No clue whether they are good or not beyond the recommendation of battery expert Jehu? Yah. Do keep us apprised as to how all that works out. Hopefully you’ll get lucky too.

        I’m actually a huge fan of the Smart Electric and in fact have three – one converted at EVCCON and two store boughts. But I can’t imagine taking teh components out of the Smart and using them for a conversion vehicle. They’re weeny in the first place. Low powered drive system. Yes, you have the chargers. You don’t know how to make them work or do any charging of course, but you’ll sell them anyway? And the batteries are simply unknown. You can’t even test them other than putting them in Jehu’s van and checking for smoke.

        The reason you don’t carry the AC propulsion stuff has nothing to do with voltage. You can’t write the check. I’m not sure its a check to be written but we’re looking at it. They have a curious advantage in being able to charge that high voltage pack using the inverter and motor at up to 18kW with no charger at all. I think our viewers might find that attractive. It’s basically a mini-Tesla drive train, and literally is where Tesla got theirs. And 150 kw is both substantial, and substantially different than 27 kW.

        And I’m sorry, but the higher voltages is simply where it’s going. You can uses lighter cables and lower currents and this is where all the OEMs have gone. It is no thing. More cells of small capacity. Occupying the same space. Requiring more braided connectors (which we still include at no charge).

        I have tried to be gentle and kind of bring everyone along on this concept. I went through this with the bulletin board guys on the advent of Mozilla. Can you learn to spell TCP/IP? Many just didn’t want to face a changing world. They got left behind. Component sales as you practice it are going AWAY. It’s over. The economies of scale, the quality, the durability, and the ongoing AVAILABILITY of EV components reside in the OEM parts available from parts dealers and salvage. But like your Smart chargers, if you are not SMART FORTWO enough to get them to work, you’re out of it. The level of technical acumen required is going up. And the prices are going down.

        I have TWO Tesla drive trains sitting here. One has 386 miles on it. I paid LESS than my cost for a UQM motor and inverter. They’re 370 kiloWatt (I think). P85 models. Last nght, Mark and I got the Ebenspacher heater using SWCAN and J1939 to full function – after two afternoons of work.

        Yes we did cooperate a lot – when Hauber was on the phone. At the point where you decided to show him “how to negotiate like a BIDnez Mayun” and attempted to turn it into a belly bucking contest, I lost interest completely as I’m sure Hauber told you I would.

        I have no problem with other EV shows. Get real. There are literally HUNDREDS of people doing video series on their conversion builds. We actually feature them as we can on EVTv. Your attempting to model on the overdramatized cable car shows where the owners are always having some feigned drama fallout thing going on. Jr. vs Sr. or something with flashy video moves and music. Undoubtedly headed toward higher numbers, of ever goofier viewers. It’s just never going to be EVTV.

        So fire up the paint shop and make shiny cars. Drive them off into the California sunset to cool music and skateboards. I love it. But I do not love the underlying pathological dishonesty you display in it, or in any of your business dealiings. And when it all shakes out, I want it on record that we are NOT like EVWEST in any respect. Never were.

        You’re an industry legend now I hear – in your own mind.

        Congratulations on your family addition. Exciting times that. I bred widely and with some enthusiasm myself I’m afraid. But my children are all a delight now that they are grown. I would wish for you that same happiness.

        Jack Rickard

        1. OK Jack.

          You know of my extensive, and generational, automotive experience.
          You know of my engineering degree from a UC.
          And you know I can write a check for used motors.

          Yet you continue to try to slander me.

          Since you’ve had a professional falling out with some of the kindest, brightest, and most talented individuals in the EV business, I guess it’s time for that to happen to me.

          You’ve lost a real group of fans out here, though I’m sure you don’t mind.

          We’ve never said a bad word, but now I have to apologize. I’d rather look at my kids dirty diaper than read another one-sided blog post from you.

          Good night, and good luck.

          All the best,


          1. Being lucky enough to complete my own build, and drive it for 20000 miles, using what’s now a obsolete, but useable DC drive system on a low 166V. Gotta say, jack is completely right on the direction our little community is going. Waiting at least 2 weeks, to have a component that’s built by a couple of smart dudes in a garage somewhere, shipped, diagnosed, repaired, and shipped back(if your even lucky enough to have those dudes be still around to fix it) can’t beat being able to walk into a dealership, if your in a pinch, and having the part in your hands the next day.

          2. You know of my extensive, and generational, automotive experience.

            Actually, I kind of vaguely know you’re a big grinsey kid from Southern California who likes fast cars and racing. Who doesn’t?

            You know of my engineering degree from a UC.

            I have no first hand knowledge of this and have observed no evidence of it. I know they issue a lot of engineering degrees, that engineering degrees cover a multitude of sins, that there are a lot of people with engineering degrees who cannot engineer and probably should be manufacturing skate boards, and all too much more about engineers and engineering than I really ever wanted to know. But congratulations on your graduation and by all means keep after it. If you learned anything useful there, put it in play.

            And you know I can write a check for used motors.

            Actually I kind of know you can’t. How I found out, and how all that went down with your smarmingly dishonest amateur negotiating skills is kind of first hand and a bit of a story. But I’m not driven to share…

            Yet you continue to try to slander me.

            Actually I’ve never tried to do anything to you. Indeed, the history shows nothing but lavish praise and honors for the non-participants in this respect.

            Since you’ve had a professional falling out with some of the kindest, brightest, and most talented individuals in the EV business, I guess it’s time for that to happen to me.

            I do suffer fools poorly and fools putting out misinformation that causes people to spend money on nonsense I’m particularly harsh on. Upsetting such little scams has been a muiltiple decades drama and does indeed diminish my popularity among the go along to get along insider groups. Fifteen or twenty years of that in the Internet kind of hardened me to the issue.

            You’ve lost a real group of fans out here, though I’m sure you don’t mind.

            How are you sure I don’t mind? I mind the loss of any relationship even tenuous ones. But I don’t pander. And I’d rather be left with a few “fans” who can trust my words than a wider group that are accustomed to being hand groomed with false praise and compliments. But lead was dead and not mentioning it to keep the lead heads isn’t what we are about. Yes, BMSs are profitable but they burn cars to the ground and it should be mentioned, even when it costs kind, bright, talented people sales. Today, the economies of scale and availability of OEM parts pretty much put you and I out of business. But it is what it is.

            And it is a little unclear that I’ve lost them. Afer all this, here you are avidly reading my blog and commenting on it. Jehu too. And others who have felt I didn’t speak pretty words to them. I actually have a pretty large following in some places that would astound you. And it is NOT necessarily among people who LIKE me Michael. Many are in businesses and professions and places where it just wouldn’t do to like me if they DID like me, but I make it pretty easy for them not to have to deal with it because I’m not a real cudley kind of guy.

            The reason they do and the reason you do for that matter, is that it is kind of hard to find information, opinion, and most of all a keyhole view of the future that isn’t constantly metered by financial interest and well, money frankly. Basically all information you get from the media, the corporations and at times your spouse, is biased and colored and “spun” by their self interest. So you learn to view all of it with a kind of skeptical cynicism.

            IF for a moment, just for a moment, SOMEBODY would tell you the truth, even if you weren’t certain he knew what he was talking about, and indeed could be wrong (remember I’m the only guy in EV space that might be) you’d probably follow along just for the rarity of it all. In truth, I would rather be found credible than liked, and would prefer to be abused than ignored. That’s actually a very clever mantra in publishing, though it entirely escapes almost everyone involved in it. And I’d rather succeed in publishing, with THAT kind of following, than make money.

            So it all hangs together. You’re attracted to it. You want it. You want it for yourself. And so here you are – WE’RE JUST LIKE EVTV. You’re not. But the irony is, you don’t need to be. And you don’t need EVTV at all. It’s Dorothy Gale and the Ruby Slippers. You already had it all along my dear. You just needed to learn it for yourself.

            We’ve never said a bad word, but now I have to apologize. I’d rather look at my kids dirty diaper than read another one-sided blog post from you.

            Partially true. You’ve never said a bad word in public. In fact, you never mention us in public. But you issue a never ending stream of attack e-mails to those who come in contact with you privately. And of course it’s a small town. They copy me on those e-mails all day every day, assuming I would be interested. I’m not. But they keep sending them. And that you think you’re getting away with something is just well cloyingly smarmy and it makes my skin crawl. In public – Mr. Friendly. In private, a knife in the back wherever it will stick.

            THAT’s why you can’t be me. Its a thing kind of hard to fake. And the irony….ruby slippers. It’s actually easier to just live like I do, than fake it.

  7. I’m glad I’m not the only one sweating over Jehu’s lawsuit and foot warmer device. I still haven’t recovered from his other tutorials. He may actually hurt himself or others,….at least learn how to use a volt meter.

    1. JP,

      We ran a MegaSquirt in our ICE race car for a few years. Had a ton of problems with it and never got it quite running right. Chalked it up to being not robust enough for the electrically noisy environment of a race car. Talked to several others with the same experience. FWIW.

  8. Pingback: Anonymous

    1. Well, not exactly correctly. First, Tesla simply does not do SAEJ1772 for fast charging. They do have an adapter and can charge J1772 for Level II.

      They purportedly use their own protocol and I can concede that to a point. But it really IS CHAdeMO wiht some modifications and over SWCAN at 33.33kbps instead of differential CAN at 500kbps. There’s some VIN stuff, and some restart capability that is a little bit different. But recognizably CHAdeMO. And indeed they have a fairly inexpensive CHAdeMO adapter at $450.

      But no, they haven’t thrown in the towel and joined CCS. I could always be wrong, but my take is CCS is dead on arrival and can never gain sufficient mass in a world of Tesla and CHAdeMO to even matter. I naively assumed the automakers could immediately see the disadvantage of trying to sell a car that could NOT drive cross country against one that could. And I fully expected them to take a knee, kiss the ring, and get over it, joining Tesla. But hubris and ego know no bounds. And so they struggle. Slowing the entire adoption curve of course.

      Since they didn’t, I’m picking CHAdeMO as the way to go for DIY and the inquiries I get daily are of such increasing frequency that I think I’m on target with that. We’ll see.

      Jack Rickard

      1. What I got from the article was that they adopted the PLC protocol as opposed to CAN. The SAE document J2931/4 (specified in the standard for the combo connector) is about making modifications in the software (HomePlug Green PHY) to allow for fastcharging. But the info in the Tesla documents (in your video) seems to verify that they’re using CAN. As for CCS, I have read several articles that in BMW & Volkswagen’s big push to install infrastructure, the charging stations will support both standards if a CHAdeMO station is not close by. Nissan supposedly, has agreed to do the same. If this is true, the OEMs finally realize that this is about mass EV adoption and not a big race about one standard over the other.

        1. Not everything you read is reliable Denys. First HomePlug Green PHY is an entirely different protocol and is NOT a software change. It requires a different hardware transceiver entirely, and I’m not really guessing, Tesla uses a SWCAN type physical layer and a very CHAdeMO like software layer. It would be a huge change of direction at the hardware level for them to go to CCS.

          The OEM’s do not appear to realize anything that I can discern. What is happening, particularly in Europe, is many of the EVSE companies are not only offering either, but increasingly devices that offer both CHAdeMO and SAE CCS on the same pedestal.

          The only widely available electric car that does CCS that I am aware of is the BMW i3. The eGolf and the Spark are at this point strictly compliance cars. Meanwhile Khia, also a compliance car, is opting for CHAdeMO.

          Again, my take is CCS is dead on arrival. It is awkward, ugly and does not provide sufficient power capability to offer any advantage over CHAdeMO. The heart of the fast charge conundrum is that IF we get batteries that do what we want them to do, you will be looking at cars with 75 to 100 kWh of storage capacity. To charge those in 30 minutes will require power levels of up to 200 kW that must be maintained for 30 minutes. That’s kind of a lot.

          Tesla, because of their already larger battery packs of 85kW seems the only company to be cognizant of the implications of this. But it is a serious problem in power electronics and in, well, power. I think the solution has to do with battery banks, solar as well as grid backend, and a pretty serious cable/connector scheme.

          The cars themselves only do 100kW generally or in the case of Tesla 310kW and that for 10 SECONDS not 30 minutes. Just switching 100kW for 30 minutes is actually a very difficult cooling problem in itself. Even at the 50kW continuous level, keeping these fast charging stations running is proving non-trivial.

          And it hasn’t really been proven out yet. Fast Charge stations simply do not get that much use currently. When they have to do one car immediately after the next all day long, I would expect most of the EVSE out there to go hard down in less than a week.

          I personally view electric cars as a local solution to a mostly local problem. But I can readily detect that I’m nearly alone in that. Everyone in OUR viewership considers fast charge to be an important topic. They want to DRIVE to EVCCON rather than trailer their cars there. I get it. It is the central limitation of electric cars, and it will not rest until addressed. Fast Charge is the way to address it.

          Jack Rickard

          1. You’re right Jack. Too many documents, too many other things. Got another year older last week and I’m finding that the mind is the first thing to go but I can’t remember what the second thing is. LOL?

            SAE J2931/4 establishes the specifications for physical and data-link layer communications using broadband Power Line Communications (PLC) between the plug-In electric vehicle (PEV) and the electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) DC off-board-charger.

            SAE J2847-2 establishes requirements and specifications for communication between Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) and the DC Off-board charger.

            HomePlug Green PHY has nothing to do with fastcharging…I get it. My point about the chargers is that BMW & Volkswagen are building charging stations that support both standards. This is a fact; which shows some amount of cooperation towards the goal of mass EV adoption.

            According to Volkswagen, they are very serious about electric and the e-Golf is being sold in several states (which have mandates) that include California, Connecticut, D.C., Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. These states are obviously their best markets because of the mandates but you do not have to spend $10million+ on infrastructure to comply with a mandate. I’m just elated that EV sales continue to increase and I agree that fastcharging is way to help this along.

  9. Pingback: Tesla Model III (3) - Page 13 - Fuel Economy, Hypermiling, EcoModding News and Forum -

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Verified by MonsterInsights