Archive for April, 2009

Battery Charger

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

I’ve been thinking more about a charger and battery monitoring. I like the look and cost of the paktrakr, but it doesn’t link into the Manzanita I’m considering. Not too big a deal I think, I’ll just scan through the batteries before charging to make sure they’re all pretty equal so no single battery gets overcharges. But I say that now not having to check battery voltages everyday. The system that Manzanita makes costs more, but would make sure everything plays together nicely.

More research is needed, but I’d like to order it pretty soon. I like the Manzanita because it has variable everything it seems, so different battery packs, input voltages, etc don’t matter.

Battery Cables

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Check it out, we made a custom battery cable today.

12 incher, a bit longer than needed

12 incher, a bit longer than needed

I got my new shipment of battery terminals on Thursday. I mailed the parts back for exchange on Saturday, all the way to Utah. I’m very happy with the service I’ve received from EVSource. After today’s experience, I think I’ll need to place another order with them to take advantage of their tool rental program. Here’s the scoop:

I’d just come home with a pair of high-leverage Klein cable cutters from Home Depot. I stopped at Sears a few times to get a pair and their cable cutting selection was mostly cleared out, so I was happy to find them at Home Depot, meant I didn’t have to mail-order and wait.

Anyhow, I figured I had my new terminals, terminal covers, wire (seems to be called “cable” once it’s 2/0 size so I better start to if I want to seem like I’m professional-like), heatshrink and cable cutters. Might as well make a battery cable, right? I thought so.

I pulled up the specs on my batteries, some paper and some theory a guy name Pythagoras figured up. Take the distance between the terminals squared plus the width of the battery squared and then desquared and I got about 10.85″. I added a smidge for a buffer and measured roughly 12″ out of my 20′ coil of wire.

Back out came my Klein high-leveraged 9″ cable cutters. I found my mark and clamped on. About 15 seconds of claming later I figured I needed to figure something else out since I couldn’t seem to leverage enough on my high-leveragers. I pulled out some 1′ socket extensons and deep sockets that fit snug on the handles and gave that contraption a squeeze, but to no avail.

I then thought to put the handle between the gap on my Craftsman clamping professional work table. That did the trick pretty easy – basically like putting the handles inside a vise. So now I had a cut to length cable. Used the cable cutters to slice through the outer sheath of the cable and pulled it off.

Assembled it all together so we had the terminal covers on, then the heat shrink, then the terminals. Then I realized I had the black terminal cover on the side with the positive terminal. Good thing it wasn’t crimped yet – you need to QC these things.

I’d previously found a boat store locally that provides a benchmounted crimper for making battery terminals. So we loaded into the gasmobile and drove on up there. Once there I took a good look at the crimper and realized it wasn’t quite big enough for 2/0. Figured I give it a whirl anyways.

It closed down pretty easy – I’d even say it was high-leveraged. We took a look at the terminal and it actually went through the lug and exposed the copper cable a tiny bit. We went ahead and did the other side too being careful not to cut through. I’ll keep a close eye on the terminal and make sure it doesn’t get hotter than the others indicating the connection isn’t very good.

We headed to the battery store after that to see how Pythagoras did with that math. We set 2 batteries wide to side like they’ll be in Trans Amped and the battery was about 4″ longer than it needs to be… That’s more than a smidge so I blame Pythagoras. Lesson learned so I made a note of how long the next cables should be.

Got home, fired up my new heat gun (located in the paint section, not heat shrink section of our neighborhood Ace) and shrunk the wrap around the crimps. All done.

I haven't had many pictures lately, so here is another.

I haven't had many pictures lately, so here is another.

Overall it should go pretty well since I figured out the kinks. The only other thing was the terminal covers fit snug on the cable, so when the heat shrink is added it gets mighty tight, Barn. Sorry, we’re watching Andy Griffith right now.

Also bought some misc. wiring and connecters for my low voltage system.

Small things

Monday, April 20th, 2009

I ordered the wrong size lugs so I sent them back for smaller ones.  The screws for the batteries measures just over 5/16″ so I thought I needed to order the next size up – 3/8″.  Turns out the lugs, at least the ones I got, are oversized so they were 0.05″ too big.  The connections was a little sloppy so I’m going with the smaller size.

It works out well, because with the battery swap I’m going to need to use the SAE posts on top of the battery.  The new battery has both SAE terminals on top and screw post on the side.  If I want to put the batteries in rows front to back, the screws posts would not be accessible for the cable.

I also found a leak with the vacuum pump.  When I put the muffler on the o-ring slipped to the side and wasn’t sealing right.  While I had the reservior and pump off I added a pad beneath and to the side of the pump to keep it a little quieter.

Other progress was painting and bolting up the motor mounts.  I need 2 bushings and 2 more bolts and they’ll be done.  I should take some more pictures.

Battery Change & Steering

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

I’ve decided it’s better to upsize my battery from a PC1200 to a PC1500 equivalent (more later).  I should add about 60% more range (42 ah to 68 ah) with only a 11lb per battery penalty (30%).  We’re also planning on cutting into the floor above the fuel tank and hanging the batteries there instead of trying to install them from underneath.  Maintaining them would be very difficult if they were underneath due to the weight (400 lbs).  With the new setup I’ll have an access hatch to easily check and tighten terminal connections, not to mention install the batteries one at a time.

I also received a motor to drive the power steering pump.  It’s from a scooter like the Razr.  I figure if it can push up to a 180 lb kid at 10 mph (rated at 2500 RPM) it should be able to run a pump, and hopefully the A/C too.  It’s meant for 24V and it’ll be on the 12V system so we’ll see how it goes.  It was a pretty cheap buy and even looks like it will couple to the PS pump pulley pretty easily. I tested it with a 9V battery and it spun right up so I’m hopeful it’ll do well with more juice on tap.

Motor Mounts

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

We made some motor mounts over the weekend.  Thanks to a friend who helped me weld them together and even let me try a piece.  So I’ve now welded a total of about 4 inches!

I was surprised when I got home that after all the trial fittings I’d done, I ended up welding the mount together backwards.  I was even more surprised that when I went ahead and installed it backwards, it worked anyway.  That’s good design work from what I hear.

I’ve got a couple more holes to drill in the metal before it’s completed.  I’ve gotten lax about carrying the camera our to the garage everytime I do something but I’ll have to pull the mounts out probably one more time and will take a few pictures then.

Also of note, the right tools certainly help.  I needed 3/8″ and 1/2″ holes drilled into 1/8″ steel and the biggest drill bit I had was 1/4″.  So I drilled away and then used a punch to open it up a little more.  It took a long time and many whacks of the hammer.  Fortunately, for the 1/2″ hole I remembered my better set of drill bits that went up to 3/8″.  So I used those.  Then I used a jigsaw to run slots from the hole outward, expecting it to make the punching easier, but it didn’t.  So I bought a file tonight and worked at it for about 10 minutes until it was the right size.

Also, even if your drill only goes to 3/8″, they make 1/2″ and larger bits that have a reduced part to fit 3/8″ drive drills….  That would have worked too.

Making a list

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

I’m not getting much done lately. I think it’s because I’m to the point where I could do a lot. Previously I was always waiting on parts (motor before motor installation…) Now I almost have everything so I’m undecided on making the cables or finishing the battery racks or setting up the controller wiring or finishing the vacuum pump wiring, finding a motor for the power steering pump, etc.

So I’m making a list, somewhat flow chart to figure out logically what should be done before everything else. Here are some of the items I’m trying to work in.

  • Complete the motor mounts, then design a battery rack for the top of the motor
  • Complete the front battery rack that incorporates a mount for the power steering motor
  • Measure amp draw from headlights, wipers, etc. to size DC-DC convertor
  • Finalize battery layout to determine cable lengths, cut and crimp

Hopefully the mounts will be completed this weekend.  My wife had a good idea for a brace that would encircle the motor – a clamp like those used on hoses, just much bigger.  After a little looking there is a company that allows you to design a clamp any size needed.  If I use the company and it works out I’ll post more info on that.