Certified Pre-Owned and the Bug-A-Salt

In the ongoing saga of EVTV we continue our attempt to reinvent ourselves daily. This past week I kind of decided to change our frequency to bi-weekly. That means we’re either going to issue our video twice each week or once every two weeks. I love the precision of the English language.

In discussing this here on the blog, I learned an interesting and frankly flattering thing. I’ve been a writer officially and as a profession since 1979 – some 36 years. This was a fortuitous turn of events as I learned first that engineers are both TERRIBLE and documenting their work – largely because they hate doing that part of their job, and that if you were any GOOD at engineering, you inevitably got stuck on a project maintaining it for nine or ten years. By mastering the art of documentation, I could get in, make my Z on a project, and get out. Which of course led to the next project. I quickly became quite good at it, which of course led to my opportunity to almost pick and choose among the very sexiest projects in the world. F18 Hornet. AV8-B Harrier. MX Missile program. Venus Radar Mapper. You get the idea.

As many of you know, that eventually led to a dozen years as a publisher of Boardwatch Magazine. Documenting the early development of the Internet and hanging out with Vinton Cerf is about the sexiest project on the planet. Vint was actually on our cover one issue showing off his T-shirt “IP ON EVERYTHING”.

When we started EVTV, it was kind of a brutalizing decision. I was known for writing. So let’s start an entirely new career and learning curve with video, while I tried to learn to be a 24 year old sort of titty endowed blonde woman with a cheerful morning voice and perhaps some mastery of weather patterns. The learning curve in software, hardware and process was as challenging as anything I’ve ever attempted.

I was amazed to learn that video is mostly about audio. And the “show” actually happens in the editing suite – which normally takes weeks or months. We worked hard to develop what we called “video on the run”. That is, shoot on Friday, edit on Saturday, upload on Sunday.

The price of course is a 7-day work week for the past six years. That’s 2190 days. And we’ve posted some 280 feature length plus videos in that period averaging 2 hours each. In practice, that’s about 47 videos per year so we weren’t REALLY weekly. But it’s a lot of video.

Brain actually was the driver there. He was my ad sales manager at Boardwatch Magazine and the concept was originally for him to sell advertising on the show, and that would kind of give him a way of making a living at the time. He’d been a big part of the success at Boardwatch and so I kind of felt I owed him. His position was that it wouldn’t work unless we published weekly. And while I was very fearful of that pace, I agreed to do it his way.

Along the way I actually sold a couple of advertisements on EVTV. Brain never sold a one. The model was click ads on Youtube and I wouldn’t play. We still don’t have em, even though we are on Youtube for a handful of viewers who just HAVE to watch on their iPhones. Apple still doesn’t do Flash. And the nirvana of a unified HTML5 video standard has never quite come together.

Along the way, our viewers actually led us to component sales and we were able to glean a small stream of oxygen from that, I suppose making US the advertiser. It never has actually brought us to what you would call a profit, but it’s been sufficiently promising that I keep pouring money into it every year.

In any event, Brain is gone and has been for six months. So I kind of floated the concept of shooting every other week. This was a combination of things. I needed time to actually work on some projects that don’t actually make very good video. We don’t have advertisers or Brain. And with $2 gasoline component sales have slowed somewhat, which is a great way to wash out the wannabees and potential competition. But I heard from a number of viewers who kind of casually mentioned that they were a few videos BEHIND in their watching EVTV.

Behind? This is alarming. I guess it’s true that we are lengthy and boring. But these were some of our faithful followers. And they weren’t watching the video every week? What’s that about?
It might be that it is just too much video. No matter what I do or cut, the video always seems like it WANTS to be two hours. But maybe we’ve worn out our welcome. Or perhaps worn out our viewership. So if I’m killing myself, and its killing them, maybe it’s time to retire this beast. Brain obviously doesn’t need a job. He’s kind of come into his parents money. So why am I doing this at all?

So I kind of floated the idea of every other week. And the reaction was quite interesting. A number of viewers noted to me privately that the video was ok, but what they really liked was the blog.

The blog? Everybody on the planet has a “blog”. To me the blog is almost an embarassment. It really exists so I can post charts and spreadsheets and detailed information that I kind of went over on the video, but which of course causes requests for the information in handy format. Viewers would request a printable copy of a circuit diagram or a power formula or something of that sort. A closeup of the connector we built. How to wire a Brusa connector. That sort of thing. Sometimes additional information on a topic we mentioned in passing on the show that sparked some interest.

But indeed, what I take from that is I STILL have the stuff as a writer. And I still don’t have big tits or much in the way of weather knowledge.

So dance with the one that brung ya. I’m going to try to write more, and video less. That doesn’t mean no more video. Just a more relaxed publication schedule. And I’ll try to put something up on the blog at least weekly.

This week we’ve added a little something to the EVTV store. Electric Cars. In all this time, we have actually sold a car or two accidentally. But mostly they just pile up around here and we simply use them as test beds and rework them periodically. A lot of the things we try, and seem like such a good idea at the time, don’t really stand the test of time.

The front mount on the Escalade comes to mind. It eats belts. I have to change it every six months. And it goes back to an argument I had with Haub about the idler pulley. I wish I had been more assertive on that. It has been a huge mistake and worse, we had $3600 in that aluminum mounting plate holding the reluctor ring, the steering pump, and the air conditioner compressor. Eventually, it has to be redone.

We reworked the original Speedster to go from a Kelly controller to a Soliton1. Big increase in performance there. The THINGS are working test beds for our Siemens and UQM drive trains. The Spyder is our working HPEVS AC-50 and we have an AC-76 in the Karman Ghia – Brains kind of unfinished project.

As an interesting aside, HPEVS has DROPPED the AC75/76 series. As it turns out, this was originally a motor for mining. They needed big torque but it had to be a sealed motor to keep from starting fires. So it isn’t liquid cooled, and it isn’t air cooled either. According to Bill Richie, that leads to some heat problems and in practice this motor can’t make the CONTINUOUS power of the AC-51. So they have discontinued production of it.

I’m a little relieved frankly. Their product line had gotten so big and complicated, we were scarce able to support it.

Back to car sales. Eric Kriss has finished his electric Saab Sonnet and it is a dream car. He’s gone on to do a Jaguar Mark II from the early sixties that I was very excited about. But he’s decided to do it with an internal combustion engine instead. His observation on electric cars is that track guys like to go to the track and fool around all day. In 90 minutes, you’re kind of done for the day with an electric. And the range issue really gives him problems. So he’s not entirely a convert to the cause. He’s tried it, but found it lacking for his needs.

And he wants to sell his Electric Speedster. Just doesn’t have room in the garage anymore. So first $40K takes it – modest for what he has in it of course.

The problem with selling used conversions is BACK to the documentation. Most don’t adequately document their builds and I confess we just don’t do a good job with that either. The result is that they buyer, and essentially even very knowledgeable electric car guys are going to be hard put to troubleshoot and repair such a vehicle. This is particularly true if it is a Damien Maguire style build where they actually built their own components such as chargers and controllers. But equally true if they used components no longer available. And determining how it is all wired together can be a nightmare.

So the bad news regarding conversions is you basically keep them for life. If you think Nissan has a problem on Leaf resales, the home builts on eBay almost never get half the cost of the components that are in them. Too often, the components are actually obsolete. We bought a nice build of a 2003 Toyota SR5 pickup for $5000 and it had $10,000 worth of rare Thundersky 200Ah cells in it at the time. But it also has an ADC motor and a long obsolete controller.


But Eric brings an absolutely ANAL approach to this. He documents EVERYTHING. I used his book on the Saab Sonnet as an example. He took a scan of the original owners manual, and modified it to COMPLETELY document his electric version. It is one of the most beautiful examples of technical documentation of an electric car I’ve ever seen. His session on EVCCON in how to approach and get started with an electric vehicle conversion was a huge hit at the event.

In any event, he approached me about putting it up for sale on our online store website. And so we agreed to put it up for sale. It DOES come with documentation, the components are not obsolete at all. And it is a marvelous piece of work going for a very reasonble price. Click on the car to go to our store and purchase it. Of course we can arrange shipping.

The day after putting it up, I was pleased to receive an e-mail from Elon Musk. It was actually a solicitation that I compete in “referring people” to purchase a Tesla Model S and I received the distinct impression that it wasn’t quite from Elon personally. So I replied to the Elon@TeslaMotors.com address it appeared to come from, instead of the reply-to address it really came from, and noted that I was a bit skeptical that it was from Elon.

Surprisingly, I received a very nice e-mail in reply, again not likely from Elon, that the elon@teslamotors.com address received so much e-mail it was unmanageable, and here is his actual address to use if you want to contact him directly. Or at least his office. I thought that was a nice touch.

Tesla has of course never advertised with us, or really anybody. So it’s hardly incumbent on me to sell cars for him.

On the other hand…..

FREE Tesla Model X

I’ve fallen in love with my Tesla Model S. Yes, it was a trick to learn how to wedge my 300 lbs through the door by folding in half and backing in butt first. But I’ve got it down pretty well now and I love this car. The big surprise was the air conditioning. It actually works superbly. And the phone thing. My phone just links up and starts playing my music. And I can turn on the AC a few minutes before I go out to get in – with my phone.

I was letting the wife drive it exclusively. Now, she kind of has to share. Particularly as we are doing a bit of CAN capture using it. Or that’s my excuse.

In any event, Elon has made an offer I thought I would share. If you buy a new Tesla Model S between now and October 31, 2015, and you use my personal link to do so, http://ts.la/marion1544 you get $1000 off the purchase price. And I get a $1000 credit toward maintenance and accessories. Yawn.

But If EVTV gets 10 referrals, we get two tickets to the Gigafactory opening.

Better, if we are the FIRST 10 referrals in North America, we get a free Model X.

I like the Model X. I may even buy one. But EVTV is about our viewers and promoting the adoption of electric cars. And it is true I’m kind of electric car poor at the moment anyway. The place is reeking with electric cars.

So we are going to take our 10, if we get em, and raffle off the free Model X among the 10 who pulled the trigger. That’s a 1 in 10 chance on a free Model X? Winner will have to pay our income taxes on the car, but that’s it.

So how do we make out on that? I guess I think if we are the first to score 10 sales for a Tesla Model S in North America, we pretty much make the radar screen at Tesla. It would be nice to matter to them. Could lead to good things. Like I might actually get his REAL e-mail address.

And If we can sell 10, we can probably sell another 10. We’d love to be the first to crack Tesla’s “we don’t advertise on TV” story.

And dreaming further, if we do get the first 10, I’m thinking of putting on some pressure for 10 tickets to the Gigafactory opening instead of two, and hosting a Tesla Owners EVTV Hospitallity Suite in Reno for that. So at least 10 of us can get likkered up, play with some high voltage, and go for a drive around Reno. Good clean fun that.

The Tesla Model S is now recognized pretty much world wide as the best car ever made. I guess, ascerbic that I am, that I would say after two years with one, it pretty much is the real thing. About the best I’ve been able to come up with in two years of whining is that it’s hard to get into and the turn signal is in the wrong place. That does probably qualify as the best ever made.

I like the show HOW ITS MADE. And I think they’ve done one of the best videos documenting the production of a Tesla Model S – particularly with regards to the inverter/motor/gearbox.

I agree. It’s a lot of ducats. But for me, the value proposition really was there. It’s kind of like a million dollar McLaren with creature comforts for $100K. And it’s an experience with a car I never would have had without it.

And instead of getting used to it and taking it for granted, I like it better every day.

I’m kind of in tune with our demographic. Your kids are raised and gone. You’re not missing any meals. And you’re saving it for what exactly? Estate tax donation to Uncle Sugar? Leave it to the kids? Another year or two and your kids are going to be as old as you are.

IF you’ve been noodling on it anyway, I would like to ask you to pull the trigger and make EVTV matter one time in a row. Click the link and enjoy the easiest buying experience you’ve ever had, built your way, and delivered to your door. It’s a bang down statement on how you want the world to be, and in support of EVTV.

I’m going to ask you to NOT think about it. Just do it. Step up to the plate and assume responsibility for your world. Your EXAMPLE is the only thing that counts. There are plenty of talking heads talking shit 24×7 and leaving enough of their “wisdom” scattered around the Internet to last a thousand years. What there are NOT enough of are grown men plowing up off the couch and DOING anything about it.

This is an opportunity to do it, and own the ride of your life. Maybe TWO of them. Here’s the link and I thank you for considering this request. http://ts.la/marion1544

This past weekend I endured no small amount of guilt over NOT doing a video. But I really didn’t have much to film. So I spent the weekend with my little EVTVDue Microcontroller and the Tesla Model S captures. It was a lot of work. All day both days.

And for what? Well, I guess at this point I have drunk the KoolAid and I’ve been haunted ever since Otmar announced his Stretchla project to trasplant a Tesla drive train into a VW Vanagon. His approach was to actually slide an ENTIRE Tesla Model S in under the Stretchla body.

As you may be aware, we’ve developed kind of a different approach in that I see a future where OEM components are repurposed to do custom electric car builds. You see the Toyota SR5 uses an obsolete Raptor controller. And the HPEVS AC76 motor in our VW Karman Ghia is already out of production and we don’t really have it fully completed with air conditioning and heat and so forth. So again, this goes to the survivability of our builds in the future. The Escalade motor is a very one off build of two Netgain 11 inch motors. Where do I get a replacement for that if needed?

Access to OEM spares gives us a worldwide support with spare parts typically for at least 10 years and as a practical matter forever. I can still get spares for the 1960 Nash Metropolitan. And there weren’t as many of those made as of the Tesla Model S. Not only are new parts available, but as long as little girls plant trees 30 years ago, we have cars that have run into them. Wrecklas.

So we now offer Chevy Volt chargers and Auxiliary Power Modules (DC-DC converters) with a little CAN control box that makes them trivially easy to set up and use in your build. If you do blow up the charger with a lightning strike or like Rich Morris and myself, a polarity fart, you hustle on down to your local GM dealer and pick out a new charger, plug it in, and good to go. You don’t have to suse out any wiring. It’s wired like a Volt. It uses the same connectors. It’s bolted to the car. An eight year-old can do it. And they are $1000 with core exchange. Our Brusa’s, no doubt a very nice charger, are $2000 and that is a far cry from the $4700 I was paying for one when Euros were $1.35 and there was only one source in the US, Victor, to get them from.

In the long run, this approach will not only lead to maintainability, but it will dramatically decrease the cost of a build. $25-$30K for a top of the line build is simply too much. If we get that down to $15K, with a nice $10K collectible car off eBay, this all works very nicely.

Eventually, we are even out of the battery business. Tesla battery packs were $25,000 six months ago. There was is an 85kW version on eBay a few days ago offered by one of our viewers for $19995 but he had NO takers. So he’s offering individual 24.9 volt MODULES out of the pack at $1349. $_57
We picked up a couple to examine. Of course, he has no idea how the included CAN controlled BMS that comes with each module actually works or how to get it to do anything useful. But by breaking it up into modules, he’ll get $22,384 out of the pack if he sells them all.

And that is the challenge, the hack, and the right to repair. These modules are not very useful if you don’t know how to use them or can’t use them. Much more so if you do.

So my long weekend with EVTVDue paid off yesterday afternoon. Recall that we had put the drive unit into drive and made it spin with creep and regenerative braking by playing basically a recording of the traffic from our live car. We then stripped out all the messages until we got down to seven or eight, depending on how you count it, that actually did the work.

Yesterday afternoon, I hooked up an EVTVDue and was able to put it into reverse, neutral, park and drive at will. Turn creep on and off. All agorithmically using a $99 EVTVDue board. Regen works, although it is a little rough at this point. We have some further work to do at this point, but we are in control of the Tesla Model S drive unit and it could indeed be put in a car at this very moment. And we could drive it.

I will film this this afternoon hopefully and have it up on video for this week’s show Sunday. That’s what I’ve been working on and indeed Christopher Brand and own Collin Kidder have been key to this effort.

And I confess I’m a little giddy. I consider the Tesla Model S drive unit, at 310kw and integrated into such a small and gorgeous package, to be the pinnacle of the art, the top of the heap, the ultimate accomplishment in rooting around digging through the trash pile of discarded EV junk parts. And a demonstrably difficult nut to crack.

The good news is our tools and process have been where by far nearly ALL of the effort has been focused. Collin Kidder’s SavvyCAN gets better each week at capturing and analyzing CAN traffic. It is a $5000 value currently free of charge. It runs on our EVTVDue or our CANDue Teodora shield with equal dispatch. And so for less than $200 you can have the tools to play.

The EVTVDue is not a solution to controlling the Tesla Drive Unit and we’ll never offer it as one. It’s another step to prove the algorithms necessary to drive it. There’s still a mountain of work moving that to our Andromeda Interface EVIC display unit. But I can see a day where we offer the entire drive train with touch screen controller, wiring harness, throttle for under $10k or so. It will be pretty much a drop in solution to drive trains at over 400hp. And I think it is a stellar example of engineering to purpose.

Speaking of which. I do own a Tesla Model S and indeed will probably pick up a Model X at some point. Also an Apple iPhone 6+. So it will surprise you to note that my nomination for the best engineered product innovation of the 21st century is neither. Rather, it is the “Bug-A-Salt”.

There are more than 120,000 species of flies worldwide. The house fly is the most common species, carrying over 100 different kinds of disease causing germs, such as typhoid fever, dysentery, TB, Bubonic Plague, Leprosy, to name a few. Houseflies defecate every 4-5 minutes, spreading these diseases. Musca_domestica_mating
Another charming characteristic; A fly will lay eggs on your food and vomit on it before feasting, but they are particularly attracted to pet waste. A female housefly will lay 3,000 eggs within its life span of 21 days. Fly larvae will hatch into maggots within 24 hours. The housefly’s size depends on how well the maggot was fed; the bigger the maggot, the bigger the fly. Houseflies tend to stay within 1-2 miles of where they were born, but will travel up to 20 miles to find food. If a house fly spots a group of flies, he will join them creating a gang of flies. These disease carrying gangs and their maggot counterparts must be exterminated at all costs. We the people must join forces to combat these $h*t breeding motherfu*ker$!


Musca domestica, is a fly of the suborder Cyclorrhapha. It is the most common of all domestic flies, accounting for about 91% of all flies in human habitations, and indeed one of the most widely distributed insects, found all over the world. It is considered a pest that can carry serious diseases. House flies are capable of carrying over 100 pathogens, such as those causing typhoid, cholera, salmonellosis, bacillary dysentery, tuberculosis, anthrax, ophthalmia, and parasitic worms. Some strains have become immune to most common insecticides.

House flies feed on liquid or semiliquid substances beside solid material which has been softened by saliva or vomit. Because of their large intake of food, they deposit feces constantly, one of the factors that makes the insect a dangerous carrier of pathogens.


My wife has a serious aversion to indoor insects and houseflies in particular. I came across an item online called Bug-A-Salt and bought her a pair because she is a notoriously poor shot with a flyswatter. Houseflies laugh at her efforts.

They arrived, and I presented them. She sort of sniffed and glanced at them briefly. Any idea originating with a HUSBAND of course can’t amount to much as all wives are aware.

But over the fourth of July, she tasked me with smoking a couple of pork shoulders. There is something about cooking pork that is PARTICULARLY attractive to house flies and I’ve had some real Alfred Hitchcock moments while doing pork of any kind. So I loaded up the Bug-A-Salts and set them by the grill. What happened next is best described in my testimonial letter to the inventor.

Lorenzo Maggiore. You are a freakin genius.

I own a Tesla Model S, an Apple iPhone 6+, and a MacPro loaded. But my nomination for the greatest single invention of the 21st century is already in – the bug-a-salt 2.0.

This fourth of July I put on two pork shoulders – one in a big green egg and the other in a Weber kettle. I don’t know if you are aware of the affinity houseflies have for cooking pork, but it is an Alfred Hitchcock experience. They can show up in the millions just over one piece of roasting pork.

This time I was ready. I had my camo laid out right next to my big yellow 2.0. As the pork began to sizzle, I could hear the drone from miles away. They came in low over the horizon, from the south, and the sky darkened with their approach and the low hum of two brazillion houseflies flying in formation.

As they started their initial run, I was weak in the knees. What could one man do against such a multitude. The odds were impossible. I was outnumbered, outmanned and surrounded – but NOT outgunned as it turned out. And I was seething with resentment and a slow burning anger right through my gut. They may get me. But by God I’m taking a bunch straight to hell with me.

To my amazement, after four hours of thunderous noise and battle I cannot describe and still wake trembling at the thought of, I stood bloody and exhausted, my barbecue bib in shreds, splattered from head to toe. Winded, wounded, and barely alive. But by some miracle, I had survived.

The scattered bodies of 2 Brazillian houseflies littered the front porch and driveway to a depth of 16 inches. Their carcasses slowly drying in the afternoon sun. A few little housefly legs, pointed skyward, still twitched occasionally. A low sobbing wail of the dying last wounded. And yes, a few survivors furtively scurried away, but were unable to gain flight as their wings were shredded to tatters. Those would face a long painful walk home.

They say now we are legend. Houseflies making four mile long detours to fly around – but never over – our location. The word is out. The massacre at Cape Girardeau will never be forgotten by houseflies for generations. So about six or seven weeks I figure.

I would like to special order a 6061 aluminum version, engraved, with mother of pearl handles and genuine rubber o-rings. I don’t care what it costs. I want it to read DIE YOU MOTHERLESS BITCH DIE on the barrel.

I would predict the common housefly will be on the endangered and protected species list within three years. In the meantime, I’m spending my evenings siting in my yellow 2.0 specifically for mosquitoes.

I’ve got a twenty year old deal with the deer. If they don’t start any shit, there won’t be any. But you can’t negotiate with a housefly.

And while Colt may have won the west, and Springfield won the war, Lorrenzo Maggiore’s name will go down in history as the man who freed the barbecue forever.

You are my hero dude.

Jack Rickard

Two days after we were sitting in the dining room. My wife got up and went into the kitchen. I heard the usual screech. But this time she came running out into the haul, grabbed the bug-a-salt, cinched up her depends, and went back in. We heard ten or twelve shots in rapid succession. But finally she got him – a lone housefly that had dared enter her domain. She was hooked.

The bug-a-salt is a very high quality assault weapon that looks like a nerf gun but made of better and heavier plastic. A small bowl in the front holds about an ounce of Morton’s Table Salt – when it rains it pours. This is good for about 50 shots. So ammunition is very inexpensive.

The gun shoots a tiny 1/2 gram of salt with each shot – air driven and like a shotgun blast. It’s good for about 4 feet but best at two feet. It throws out a shotgun pattern PERFECTLY suited to killing house flies. I would expect overkill and splatting fly guts everywhere. But it is not. It is perfectly designed to purpose. The salt grains are about bullet size to a fly. It shreds their wings, breaks there legs, and often kills them immediately. But it doesn’t blow them up and splatter fly scat all over everything. More likely, the air blows them OFF your food and onto the floor. Typically you get to enjoy the view of them on their backs, legs twitching in agony, little housefly screams of agony, etc. Occasionally I’l wing one. But they fly in a dizzy spiral down to the floor and the mercy shot is always good.

And hit or miss, it really doesnt’ make a mess. The amount of salt so small, and so widely scattered, it’s unnoticeable. So you get some on your food. Who cares? A tiny bit saltier. Unnoticeable really.

Flies seem to SEE you coming with a flyswatter. They don’t see this coming at all. They are sitting there, smuggly vomiting and shitting all over your Kentucky Fried Chicken, knowing you can’t touch them. Cock. Bang. Well, maybe not. It’s beyond a bad hair day in flyville. They just do not catch on to this. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
I no longer have any desire to get rid of flies. Indeed, I want MORE of them. This quickly became the greatest indoor game sport of all time. You don’t need a permit, or a tag. There is no limit on them. Nobody cares how many you kill. No rangers. No game wardens. No tents. No campfires. Hell you can stop anytime you like, sit down in front of the big screen, take a nap, and get up refreshed and go bag another 80 or so flies. Nobody is going to eat them. So you don’t have to clean them. You don’t grind them up. You don’t make sausage out of them. You don’t have to gut them and carry them back to camp. They don’t have fleas. They don’t even have fur in the usual sense. You don’t have to wear camo. Climb trees. Ford streams. Any of that. Unlimited targets all in airconditioned comfort with a beer in your off hand.

IT’S THE GREATEST HUNTING EXPERIENCE IN THE WORLD. Leave Cecil the lion be. Trust me, if you go to Africa and go see a lion, you will have enormously MORE fun shooting the flies off of him than you ever will shooting the lion. It just doesnt’ get any better than this.

Lorrenzo Maggiore is ostensibly an artist and surfer out in California. Meaning an unemployed beach bum who never could hold a job. But he’s done a remarkable thing in designing this bug-a-salt gun. I think it’s high art. Perfect design-to-purpose.

I would predict that within three years Musca domestica will be added to the endangered species list. This sport is TOO much fun. It may even wind up a protected species. Can you imagine? A $10,000 federal fine for killing a housefly? It’s coming.

Resulting from our letter, Mr. Maggiore has awarded us dealer status and we will be adding the Bug-A-Salt to the store at $45.95 each.

Finally, an Australian Consumer Reports. Have you ever wondered how Consumer Reports does those appliance tests to determine the ratings? I hope this scored high on warranty and service.

It just doesn't give up!

Posted by District Speed on Monday, April 13, 2015

40 thoughts on “Certified Pre-Owned and the Bug-A-Salt”

  1. Trouble with belts. Jack, how about an extra motor to drive only the accessories?

    I guess there is no need for high rpms in the first place. Decoupling drive and accessories might take stress away from the belt.

    Fly squatters? I can hear them in my hearing aids. So the inverter is working. I did not feel like touching the high tension but the flies did and they were not impressed. Masochistic bastards climbed in on side and twisted through the mesh to fly out the other side. The make more fun when I press the trigger and the led is lighting but it does not harm them at all.

    Shooting salt indoor or outdoor only?

    Peter and Karin

    1. How about a Tesla Model S drive train in a Cadillac Escalade. And yes, replace the air conditioning compressor with an electric one. And that leaves a steering pump. I’m guessing a VERY small electric motor will do that just fine.

      1. I have to admit, I’m surprised more people didn’t vote for this when you were asking for candidate suggestions a few weeks back… just find a 85kWh skateboard to go with it and slide it into the bed! Heck, they’re supposedly only about 5″ deep, splurge for 170kWh 😛

  2. Robby Jacobson

    I was truly sadden by reading this, of course I am much more a video guy than a blog guy. The part that sadden me the most is state of our energy perceptions as a society. I was generally excited in 1996 when the EV1 was introduced, then ending the program was kick in the face. Then I heard about a company call Tesla, I followed and spoke of then as often as I could. You see I am one of those overpaid Technology Teachers, teaching about solar, wind and other alternative energies makes me grin from ear to ear. Energy independent that’s a concept.
    For me, it’s one that I am continuing to pursue. I finally saw people getting the picture when gas prices hit $3.60 range in Wisconsin. I thought that they finally saw that it was about profit. and we needed a change, well that went out the window.
    You see I recently contact Jack about how I like his show, I did not tell him that I wished that I would have found it sooner. Long story short I told him that we own a plugin hybrid, and a Leaf. We live in a small town (4700ish people). We have one of two plugin hybrids, we own a Ford fusion energi (5seats) accommodate our three girls, the other PHEV is a Volt. Our local Chevrolet deal, decided to sell them for 6months until he didn’t want to pay the cost of being a volt dealer. Anyways we are the only one with a leaf, or fully electric car…their are a few golf carts. yawn.
    Local community member often ask about the cars, but when they hear about the range, they become world travelers.
    I have wanted to build an electric car, for a long time but financially it’s been put on the back burner.. but I will be building one.
    I would like to say I love your videos, they may be long but informative.

    1. We’re not going away Robby. It’s just going to every other week and maybe a bit of shift to the blog to some degree.

      I guess I believe we are in a bit of malaise brought on by $2.50 gasoline and the pressures Nissan and Chevrolet were under to move iron a few years ago. Now thousands are coming off lease just at the point where they are improving both vehicles with new models.

      I don’t view this as a bad thing. It’s another mile marker on a road I have repeatedly warned will be a little longer and a little more gruesome than some had thought. There’s been an alarming level of exuberance among the cognicetti in this millieu. I think one of our fed chairmen called this “irrational exuberance”.

      The truth is, the value proposition for the Volt and the Leaf just were not there. The i3 and Golf are struggling for oxygen. But the Tesla Model S prospers and shows the way. They were SO sure that it was all about price. If Tesla can sell at $90K, then the world will go mad for $36,000. Yes, well not for a $14,000 car actually. Nissan originally announced they woudl sell 150,000 Leafs the first year. General Motors was more conservative at 100,000. Comically, they later UPPED that estimate to 60,000. It was not to be. They missed by an order of magnitude. And so now we are a bit hungover with thousands of obsolete electric cars coming online. And the collateral damage of comically poor depreciation performance specifically of electric cars is going to alter the value proposition in a negative manner for YEARS to come.

      And of course you have a Volt. Well the NEW Volt gets 53 miles on a charge – instead of 35. What am I bid on an OLD Volt.

      LGCHem announces this week a patent license with 3M over the Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide cathode cell – NMC and they are talking about 300 to 500km batteries in the 80-120kw range. We are getting there. But by crawling through 40 miles of piss, blood, vomit, broken glass and razor blades on our hands and knees.

      So this moment is a time to retool. Clean our guns and heal our feet and get ready for the next battle. OEM parts are going to play a large role in custom EVs of the future. As progress is made anywhere, it is kind of made everywhere. Bankruptcies and car wrecks are of course tragedies, but out of the debris comes new opportunity.

      But you can’t wish yourself into the future. And right now, Collin and I need to put down some head work and some code to make the hack teams efforts bear actual fruit you can throw a wrench and some solder on. The weekly build video is actually slowing that down. We need to tool up for the next phase and I think that builds on the debris of the first.

      EVTV has brought the Electric Vehicle community two EXCELLENT drive trains out of bankruptcies. The Azure Dynamics Siemens AC induction motor and the Coda UQM Powerphase 100 permanent magnet brushless motor. These are LIGHT YEARS out ahead of the series DC forklift motors we were accustomed to. In all respects. And we are just now seeing actual builds using the GEVCU to drive these excellent drive trains.

      I’ve got dozens of both sitting around here and should be selling them hard. I think they will naturally find homes as Rich Morris has done a gorgeous build of a Studebaker and Collin is finishing up a Mercedes SL190 that last week had his father peeing all over himself at 108 mph. As builders demonstrate the results of using these excellent drive trains, more will “get it” that there is a sea change in the quality of home built conversions of classic cars.

      But we have to continually innovate and, by way of example, we are making lightning progress on taming the Tesla Model S drive train. It doesn’t GET more capable and sexier than that. But at the moment, they are boat anchors. We’re a year or so away from seeing these in new projects.

      I know these cars are being salvaged and they can get good money for headlights and doors and hoods. I cringe thinking that the drive units are being scrapped for the few hundred dollars they bring in metal weight because no one has a clue how to make them useful for anything. These engineering WORKS OF ART are going for metal scrap. You don’t see it. You don’t hear about it. And you won’t. The salvage guys would love to sell them. But they put them up for five or six thousand and can’t get a sale because they are basically stellar boat anchors. So after selling off all the productive parts, you kNOW what they do with it. It’s $2 per pound and the damn things weigh 300 lbs. Gotta move the iron.

      One of them offered me a motor for about six thousand last week. I offered him $10k but I wantd the drive shafts, the knuckles, everything out to the wheels. No way. He can sell those bit items a piece at a time. What he can’t move is the motor. And if I don’t give him $6K, he’ll take $600 from the scrap yard. It’s bozo. But that’s the deal. I can’t get them to include the wiring connectors. It’s too much trouble to locate them and cut them off the harness. A lot of work isn’t really what they are after. IF they can unbolt a door and put it on ebay and get $1200 for it, ok. They know they can do that for ALL the doors they can get. Door dings with lightweight aluminum doors. Ready market for unmarred doors from wrecks centered on the OTHER side of the car.

      But the chargers and dc-dc converters and drive units are just junk. Move em by the pound.

      In the meantime Robby, the work you do promoting solar and electric vehicles and alternate energy of all sorts actually has a salutory effect. It is both cummulative and communicative – it spreads like ripples in a pond. It is actually enormously important work.

      In this”off season” it is not terribly rewarding and no one is clamoring to interview you and put you in the public eye. Few of those affected come back to give you any kind of warm fuzzy for doing it. But the war goes on. And the real soldiers keep slogging through the mud. Not every day is D day. Some are just another day marching through the woods.

      But EVTV is going to be there for you and hopefully enabling that build you want to do in the future – with better parts at lower cost. That doesn’t actually happen by screeching at those with more resource that they ought to give it away faster. It’s a bit harder work than that. But I have no fear of it. We’ll do it and we’ll get there. We’ll make a market for those motors and enable them with bits of wire and bytes of code and at some point, YOUR repurposing of vintage vehicles into show cars and objects of beauty and grace will become much easier and less costly to perform. It’s never going away. And it demonstrates the solution in a very real and very elegant way.

      We had Chris Payne, producer of Who Killed the Electric Car at our second, or maybe our first Electric Vehicle Conversion Convention. Too LITTLE actually has changed. He followed up with a sequel declaring victory. It was a mite premature methinks. Indeed, not to alarm, but Tesla is still burning cash at an enormous rate. Their continued existance is not a forgone conclusion. UQM has spent $100 million and never generated a profit, though they did get a new CEO this month. Pioneers get arrows in their backs. That’s how you can tell they were pioneers. If this were easy, everybody would be doing it.

      But to my way of thinking, the electric car is poised at the nexus of six or seven entirely different enormous problems that ebb and flow but appear inevitable as the sun. The cost of food transportation. The largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world from our nation to the middle east. The tens of thousands of returning military veterans who did their best to accomplish ill defined goals managed and led by morons preoccupied with fossil fuels. A perhaps catastrophically changing world climate. Health issues and disease hardly discussed but almost certainly traceable directly to the tailpipe. Traffic. Noise. Employment and our economy. I can clearly see this and much more all woven into an incredibly complex tapestry of pain, danger, and risk with ONE little gordian knot planted right smack in the middle of it – the overlooked or perhaps taken for granted fact that there are now ONE BILLION cars motoring around the planet burning gasoline and the number is growing geometrically. The growing number of people and the desire for personal transportation can only be addressed in one of two ways, making the entire thing five times more efficient NOW, or of course an economic and global catastrophe that simply eliminates a few billion people and reduces the standard of living for all dramatically. I vote for the former, and I do so with my time, my treasure, and my very breath.

      Meanwhile, it will all get better if we use jute grocery bags, recycle styrofoam peanuts, and learn to compost. Maybe change one light bulb. Put a brick in our toilet tank? Are these people for REAL?????

      Against that backdrop of global Armagedon and possible world utopia, tonight it devolves to something rather more simple: what does msgID232 REALLY do to regenerative breaking in the Tesla Model S. If you know, please drop me a line. I’m graphing data sequences and patterns and comparing them to other messages and trying to work it out Alan Turing style.

      But we aren’t going anywhere. Indeed we’ll keep turning wrenches and building cars and the videos will continue. There was never any religious stigmata ordaining weekly publication. I don’t need a special dispensation from the Pope or anything to go biweekly. And if you are just addicted to binge watching videos, there are 280 of them up there – you go girlfriend. I can go back to any one of them and watch it for 20 minutes and note that not much has changed. What I said then has proven generally all too true.

      Stay with us. And keep spreading the word….miles to go before we sleep.


      1. Robby Jacobson

        Thanks Jack for kind words, I am one who doesn’t fit your typical view demographic, but someone who shares your passion. As continue to read and watch your blog post and Videos. As I begin my adventure of having an all electric fleet, do you recommend any Books that would be good references on building an EV. I understand the concepts but never hurts to brush up on things you already know.
        Thank Again,

    2. Robby: “…state of our energy perceptions as a society…” Precisely and succinctly put. The only way to get a fully loaded 747 from London to Los Angeles is to burn petroleum. We don’t need to burn the stuff to go to the local supermarket/shopping Mall. We are burning our grand-kids aviation fuel; like lazy squatters burning the furniture to save the walk to the log pile. Not to mention polluting the Niger delta and the Gulf of Mexico in high-risk efforts to get more of the stuff.

      And at least one reputable research body reckons that vehicle exhaust stunts brain development in children. And others that it aggravates asthma, etc etc

      Righteous anger would be an appropriate response except that for most people it is ignorance and lack of experience rather than moral turpitude that is to blame.

      You do what you can in your small corner, and I’ll do my best in mine

    3. Robby & Jack, I have been enjoying watching EVTV for years now, and really enjoy Jacks’s personality. Jack reminds me of a combination of both my grandfathers. One that was technically savvy, a hydraulics engineer with Aeroquip for 45 years, Jack you may have crossed paths with him at some point as he was in field engineering and worked on hundreds of defense programs. My other grandfather an old school farmer that spoke the plain truth in not so many words.
      I see a very similar road for the solar industry in the next year. The tax credit will dropping off and with falling fossil fuel prices solar may take a bit of a beating. I work two jobs as most people do these days, my second job is doing agriculture trade shows selling solar to rural people, farms, ranches, etc. Its been a long educational process, not so much the idea of generating solar electricity, farmers totally get commodities, that’s easy. It’s educating the community/REC’s about the technology and proving to them that your going to be around if they have issues. These are both things EVTV provides in its space.
      I have been preparing for Farm Progress show which is in Decatur IL this year. It’s one of the biggest shows we do and it will be our sixth year. We continue to see people at one show or another and finally they say can you give me a quote or come out for a site assessment. We get the same experience from EVTV Jack unlocks some jewel of CAN code after months of effort and then can provide a volt charger at price we can afford. Thanks!
      Jack has accused me of being being a bottom feeder in the past and I will agree sometimes I am, but not by choice, by position in life. My electric car build is on the back burner because of the financial means just aren’t there. I was lucking and got a left over lot from the AZURE auction, which sits in pile in the corner of the garage waiting for more financial means. Times have been tough and a few times I thought I may have to sell either the EV stuff or my car to make ends meet.
      In the mean time I have been working on the car, just working on the little things or replacing maintenance items with idea of the future EV conversion. If its more efficient for an EV it will be more efficient while it still has the ICE. For example I have upgraded all the lighting to LED’s. Been working on rear disc conversion along with suspension and wheel bearing upgrades. As well as collecting parts for a manual transmission conversion. I’ll get there it just takes time, Robby you will get there as well.
      We turned over 50K miles on our 2013 Volt last week. My wife drives 30 miles one way to work every day, and then charges at work for eight hours and drives 30 miles home. I am guessing that 90% of our miles are electric. The car has not called for an oil change yet! We are looking at a 2016 model when available or a deeply discounted 2015. Assuming 250 working days per year that’s 1,000 charge cycles not including weekends and still a 37 mile range in warm weather.

      1. Anthony:

        I bought my first new car when I was over 40 years old. You have a 2013 Volt and shopping for a 2016. I fail to believe you have the same concept of “circumstances” that I do. I’ve been both much much poorer, and much much richer – call it a wider dynamic range of resources.

        Bottom Feeder. This is one of those little things I say, fully cognizant that 90% of our viewership understands EXACTLY what I mean, but understands it entirely incorrectly. I guess I could go through life trying to get the population of the world to think critically and with precision. But it’s just not my mission.

        Bottom feeding has NOTHING to do with your circumstances. And one of the irritating and truly annoying things about this misunderstanding is that it assumes and presumes that if you DID have resource, you would be a spendthrift and squander it in all directions.

        To the contrary, EVERYBODY seeks value for ducats. And some of the most INTENTLY focused on that can also be some of the wealthiest. The underlying presumption grounding all of this is a hopeful and optimistic yearning for people of wealth and property to be stupid, which is very reassuring to those who are NOT of wealth and property. They can smugly think of themselves as somehow smarter than those stupid rich people.

        Quaintly amusing. It is quite difficult for stupid people to amass much in the way of resource.

        Bottom Feeding is a very annoying trait where all expenditures and investments are reduced to a simplistic digital comparison actually WITHOUT regard to true cost. And most frustrating is to watch viewers MANFULLY squander what resources they have, trying to invent the wheel.

        With regards to the AZD stuff, after I spend two years trying to noodle how to put this into a usable sack at an affordable price, I’m besieged by bottom feeders who think they can do it for LESS if I can just be conned into giving them pieces of it that I’ve engineered. And they want to pick and choose between \THOSE pieces. Since I’ve already beeen through it 100 times, it leaves me breathless. Yes, you build your own GEVCU, and you can use our software for free. But the inverter you bought hasn’t been flashed with the values we put in to match the software. And it’s heavy. And shipping it back and forth takes time and money. And doing it yourselve involves a $350 Kvaser and a bunch of wiring. Kinda/sorta instructions for how to do all that are already on the forum, so it does’t make much sense for me to walk you through it when in the end, after you build the board, buy the Kvaser, install the software, wire it all up, and PERHAPS get it all to work, you will have spent more than if you had bought the entire rig from me in teh first place.

        But far beyond the frustrations of watching people reinvent the wheel, bottom feeding is a state of mind. It is an expression that I live in a universe of extremlely limited resources with intense competition among all life forms on our planet over every morsel of digestible carbohydrate available. And if I bare my teeth and use both elbows and both knees to fight the other denizens of the planet off, I can GET MINE.

        This invariably leads to an intense examination of the ground under the grass in a never ending quest to find that lost quarter or dime. Which rather pulls your attention off the sky.

        There is ANOTHER point of view. And that is that we live in an UNLIMITED universe with UNLIMITED energy and resource all available for our use if we but ask. That it is NOT a zero sum game and indeed by combining energy and resource in creative ways, we can actually cause both MORE energy and MORE resource. And that it is better to keep your eyes on the horizon and the sky than down in the grass and the fallen leaves.

        Between the two of us, precisely ONE of us went from “too poor to pay attention” to $38million in cash by age 45. And would you hazard a guess which state of MIND he used while getting there?

        WHILE driving a new car and shopping for another, in a nation where about 15 million of 255 million cars on the road are new (less than 6%) you have a bottom feeder mentality. That is not to disparage your circumstances, or your being prudent with your money. Circumstances vary, even in a single life or a single year. And everyone should be “prudent” with their resource. It is your mental approach to everything. Which I find personally frustrating to encounter. And I have to pose the question then, “how’s that all working out for you.”

        You see I NEVER encounter a bottom feeder that saves themselves OUT of it.

        We hose up about as much as we get right at EVTV. I’m kind of a 51 percenter. If I can hit 51%, I’m thinking major league baseball ought to be watching ME on TV. Part of putting it ON TV is that if we get burned, you don’t have too. You can do it vicariously.

        In any event, I’m very pleased you have stayed with us and kept watching and you clearly are a solid advocate for battery electric plug-in cars. I think you would find it personally ENORMOUSLY gratifying to actually build your own conversion your way even though you have a Volt and another Volt on the way.

        I have grown to kind of admire the Volt myself and we may at some point get a Volt and take on the Voltac II drive train. It looks like a hugish improvement over the previous version which appeared quite capable already.

        But if I do, yes, I will just stupidly and foolishly go get a Volt, a VoltacII drive train, a maple bench and wire it all up and go do it, assuming that somehow the universe will provide whatever is needed. Now 60, and still getting away with it.

        Jack Rickard

        1. My goal when I am finished with my second EV build,. . . is to still be married. That’s the biggest obstacle in the way of my build. And, honestly, I wouldn’t know what to do with a million dollars. I mean, I’ve eaten the best food money can buy at the best restaurants in the world, and mansions, and they’ve brought me no more comfort than the ranch house I live in and the eggs I get from the chickens I raise. I know you’re going at this from the top down–high performance and then work it down for the masses–but I’m trying to go from the bottom up–low performance, priced for the sons of alcoholics I know. I really think the future is electric, and have been trying to convince my multi-national employer to go electric with their designs (and who knows, they may be secretly in some tiny division somewhere). I also think the future has a good place for repurposing old motorcycles into two-seater EVs a la the ZeroTracer. A couple of additive manufactured parts to customize the builds . . . well, let’s just say I think there’s a multi-billion dollar business plan for *someone*. Lit motors is going the right direction, I think, but fighting in an odd way at too high a price point compared to other products that meet the same need. Plus it looks dorky.

      2. Even though it doesn’t call for a oil change, you should still do it every year. In a recent teardown by a car magazine (down to piston rings and crankshaft bearings) of a Volt/Ampera they concluded that there was wear likely caused by oil change done only every other year (as per service schedule). Even if you only drive it electric, it still has a normal petrol engine and oil which does go bad in a year, no matter what.

        1. Good point Jarkko. I guess the pattern may be the engine sitting for a month, bores oxidising very slightly, engine run, oxidation scuffed off, engine sits for a month, bores oxidising very slightly, engine run….

  3. Jack, another place your professional quality writing chops are on display is in the documentation you provide with everything on offer in the EVTV store. The writing is clear and cogent, covering the “why” as well as the “what”. It’s also very evident that you and the hack team have considered and coded around the variables that happen when people like me try to actually use this magic.

    Just this week I was trying to get my head around the GEVCU SOC reset referenced on page 5 of the EVIC manual. I was about to post a question on the GEVCU forum (had it half written) when this voice in the back of my head says “RYFM!” Sure enough, I found exactly the answer I needed on page 56 of the GEVCU manual (the answer is no, I don’t need to have the DMOC and GEVCU powered up during charge to detect the reset trigger voltage).

    Along with Rich and Collin, my project (http://porscheev.blogspot.com – yes, everybody on the planet has a blog) is a poster child for the OEM Parts vision that Jack and company have enabled with their persistent hack and code efforts. We’re using a Better Place battery pack, Siemens/GEVCU/DMOC, Chevy Volt charger and DC/DC converter, all made possible by the little controller boards with their decoded CAN message streams. I should have the Porsche back in my garage the end of this week to do the wiring and plumbing. If all goes well, it will be on my trailer on the way to Cape Girardeau in September.

    In the spirit of your “price match guarantee” I would say that the value of the documentation more than offsets any savings to be gained by bottom feeding. It’s worth it – and sincerely appreciated!

    1. Thank you Fred. Yes, you could be a poster boy for our OEM EV components movement. I think you have everything we’ve offered.

      Yes, you wind up with a bunch of little control boxes. But they don’t eat much. And they let you mix and match parts as you desire. Eventually you could have a Leaf motor and a Volt DC-DC converter and a Tesla charger all in the same car and it would all work fine.

      I once ordered a throttle from Ryan Bohm. I was amazed to receive it in an empty box. As it is pretty sturdy, no bubble wrap or peanuts. And not a single sheet of paper. So I went to search for the part number to see if I could get a pinout, and found the part number, cast in the device, had actually been filed off. He didn’t WANT me to know what part number it was, but he never bothered to print out what the pinout was. When I asked him how anyone was supposed to use it, he just kind of changed the subject.

      I think our documentation falls a little short on most items, frankly. But compared to what? I’m guessing you’ve received some empty boxes as well…

      Jack RIckard

  4. Speaking of connectors for OEM components: recently I familiarized myself with a 3D printer. And it’s quite good in creating complicated plastic shapes based on a 3D model file.
    So… why not creating a model files for the most needed connectors and distribute them freely?
    Ideally, EVTV could just sell a ready printed connectors but I assume this could be a copyright infringement to the original connector producer. But the model file, distributed freely… And maybe selling metal pins of various sizes…

    1. Michal, this is not a bad idea per se, but I looked into this briefly for the Delphi connectors that are on the Volt chargers for example. The problem is that the pins are just as unobtanium as the connectors. Thus you’d have to design and build your own pins too, or try to use something that sort of fits. There are also voltage and thermal issues of concern. I was trying to replace a broken connector on a Chevy Volt charger. In the end I ended up drawing up a 3D model of an adaptor plate. It adapts the Delphi connector hole pattern to an inexpensive, weather proof automotive connector that is available at Mouser. I’m awaiting it to be CNC machined now so if it works out I’ll release the design for all to use. The adaptor plate could be 3D printed just as easy as it could be CNC machined out of 6061, except for the blind threaded holes that is.

    2. As long as it is neither high frequency nor high voltage …

      Small like USB 3.0 or 1 GB Ethernet but that is available and low price. Really high voltage and power like J1772 gets me thinking and awfully high voltage and power like CHAdeMO – Teflon. I dont think they are printing Teflon yet.

      You could still use the printer for making a mold or other tools.

      In Europe we are not used to awfully high voltages. Three phases of 240 are only 400 volts not 480 like in Canada or the US.

      Although high voltages are harmless, you get them in bug zappers and diy air ionizers. High current and high temperature are the problem and the lack of trustworthy fuses.

      They almost burnt me alive for black magic when my parents house was built. The fuse was blowing faster than the machines would begin turning. Young boy me proposed plug in another distribution and a big fuse. I repeated that experiment later at school. The teacher would only try it because I had already my hamradio license. An old hawk yet another radio amateur came later to explain to the class and the teacher that fuses, shunts, light bulbs and electric heaters are all the same stuff and can be asked politely to perform the same tricks but when you are rude to them they will do unexpected things like brightly shining fuses and smelling shunts or exploding light bulbs. Did I mention power cables?

      Peter and Karin

  5. Grammar Nazi here: “Biweekly” is every two weeks – “Semi-weekly” is twice each week. “Biweekly” does not refer to a week that swings both ways…

    1. You know, I always thought so too…..

      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      Biweekly may refer to an event that occurs either twice weekly or once every two weeks. The usage “every two weeks” is more common, but both usages are common and may lead to ambiguity.[1] There are 52 full weeks in a year of 12 months (ISO 8601 defines a year as containing 52 or 53 weeks), making for a possible 26 or 104 biweekly events in a year. This is a greater number than if such events were held twice a month, because most months have more than four weeks (28 days).

      In the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, the term fortnightly is more commonly used for an event that occurs every two weeks. Even in the US, a biweekly publication is issued every two weeks and a bimonthly publication is issued every two months.

      This appears to be echoed by Merriam-Webster

      I am getting to where I actually LIKE getting corrections from those who know, but don’t know, and then don’t know they don’t know.

  6. Somebody just put 40 used ac-150 drivetrains (inverter, motor, gearbox and stuff) for sale on diy, do you have any experience/thoughts on these motors?

      1. That AC Propulsion system is from the MiniE pilot program circa 2008,
        They are removed from used vehicles with ~25,000 mile and the asking price is $6000 each, a sale of the lot preferred.
        The inverter is the size of a small refrigerator and has the singular boast of being capable of providing 18Kw battery charging.’
        There would have been much interest a decade ago, but today?, none from me…

          1. Oh yes, I have heard of it, for about six years actually. We had a number of discussions with them about it in April. First, they are used. Second, divorcing them from their fiber optic BMS and battery system is non-trivial. They then immediately dropped off the planet and we haven’t heard a thing from them since.

            I kind of like the system but I don’t see us handling it. The motor, for example, has to be INSULATED from the transmissiond??? Stuff like that. It’s hard.

            I don’t know if $6000 is good or bad. It has some attractions, but there’s a lot of little gotchas with it.


          2. Thanks for the info, seems like the only way to use them requires a ton of money and/or time, or the whole system.

  7. Jack, I actually enjoyed the weekly show, and while I’m interested in hearing about developing the OEM components (go Tesla drive train), I would love to see more DETAILS on actual builds AND how they are doing long term. Over the years we’ve seen quick snippets of motor and other component installations, but how are they holding up? How’s the Mini Cooper doing with the modified MSDEA motor? How is the Roadster holding up? Did you eveer get a battery for the Smart EV? The Thing(s)? Do the components seem to withstand normal driving conditions, or do they require routine replacement? What were the lessons learned? You’ve mentioned having issues with the Cadillac (forgetting to charge, and driving the pack down, belt issues, transmission and brake wear, etc). Are these failure items related to the conversion, and what was done to correct? Were you able to get all of the factory gauges working “normally” in the Cadillac? What would you have done differently? Given the current options available, would you want to change anything?

    I would love to see you detail a build of a “common” car/truck, such as a Mustang, or a Ford Ranger. I consider myself to be mechanically inclined, however, I am sure I would struggle with any sort of fabrication (battery boxes, mounting hardware, etc). It would be great to see a six month series of shows highlighting all of the details for conversion. As wiring, battery boxes, hardware, et al, were designed and “perfected” you could easily sell the components in your store (and also sell the final car). This would still fit in with your direction of testing new components, while offering the viewers a complete solution, should they desire.

    I came across some component kits from your friends at EV West, however, I would prefer to convert something a little more modern (and useful) than a 1966 VW bug!

    I’m looking forward to the next episode. Keep up the great work!

  8. Firing that Bug-a-salt in your shop was indeed quite entertaining. When I was 12, I was watching some low-budget post apocalyptic film, eating a Little Debbie cake. A fly landed on it and defecated immediately before I could scare it off. I had to throw out that cake, and it was the last one. I was pissed.

    I think I’m going to try to contact Collin Kidder soon. I want to work on debugging the Tesla drive…

    That Saab Sonnet conversion is a thing of beauty. It should only need about 150 Wh/mi at 60 mph on the highway with LRR ties. Very few cars, modern or classic, will have a CdA as low as it has, nevermind its low weight. A link below is to a Saab Sonnet conversion using a scavenged Nissan Leaf drive system and battery pack:


    1. John, I plan on using the Leaf integrated motor/inverter/charger on my build. There’s just the small challenge of doping out the can bus codes and getting the GEVCU to control the whole thing. I’m watching Damien Maguire’s adventures into too many things, one of which is sniffing out the Leaf can bus. I think the Leaf’s engineering is under appreciated.

      1. The Leaf is a generally under-appreciated car, imo. But I like how the values drop quickly. Cheap vehicles available today, but with middling wh/mi efficiency, decent acceleration, awesome cornering, and one of the most desirable motor/inverter combos around to pry from it? The motor/inverter/charger alone are probably worth more than the car. And that junker still works anyhow! 110 horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque is quite a gutsy powertrain at the low end of the acceleration curve, even in a 3,300 lb car. Now it’s going into a car of close to half the weight… That drive system in a sub 2,000 lb conversion will make it quite competitive in straight-line performance to any of the fastest new ICE cars costing $40k and under. 0-60 mph is probably going to come significantly under 6 seconds if sufficient traction can be established, and with modern radial tires holding this light thing to the roads, there aren’t many cars that will match its speed through the twisties, at any price.

        No small feat, getting it to work. But when you do, you will like what you have.

    1. The guy is amazing. Now THAT’s a hacker. He probably could work his way in through the GSM interface. I’d love to have the mosquito zapper. Bug a Salt is devastating to mosquitoes. But mosquitoes don’t land much, and when they do, it tends to be on people. The salt stings. We use a version of the usual 4000volt bug zapper but in tennis racket form. It’s particularly fun at night. You kind of swing it trhough the air like tennis but when it contacts the invisible in the dark mosquitoes in flight, it causes a bright arc flash and the smell of burning mosquito hair.

      Still, I would buy a laser mosquito killer right now and at almost any price just for the novelty of it.

      1. I hope Jay Leno keeps the tiller and does not replace it with a wheel.

        They have got a Columbia from 1904 at the Sinsheim Museum. I have seen it driving once. Awesome. Big coach without horses, silent and with a tiller.


        My fly squatter is a mess. I’ll try and replace the electronics with a couple of diodes and capacitors and drive it directly from the grid. I do need a positive electrode for my air ionizer to catch dust and aerosols. Some (-) 15000 volts for the ion jet and some (+) 5000 to keep the walls from turning black and grimy. But 5 kV between the grids of the fly squatter might be a bit high if you dont want to enjoy aurora lights. How much?

        Peter and Karin

  9. Mr Rickard, I’ve been thinking. After my last post I realized that in my day job, I usually follow your path–work from the top down–to reach my simulation goals. I take the very best of computer graphics techniques, mostly already existing ones, and pare them down to fit our frame budget, while preserving as much quality as possible.

    Maybe you are right and I am going about this whole EV build the wrong way. Maybe I should be buying the best components and build, THEN figure out how I can pare the thing down. So you say it’s about $30,000 to build a top end EV? I can save that in about a year, I think. I’m not yet committed, but I will definitely mull your aproach over some more.


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