Friday, February 12, 2010

More Testing

Here are a couple more pics of the engine bay with 72V installed and running.

As you can see ... There isn't a whole heap of room left under the bonnet ... It only just closes at 3 levels.
The not so good news from the engineer ...

I had an engineer inspect what i've done so far ... most things he was happy with ...

Things he didn't like were:

1. The 2 battery boxes placed right in the nose ... Apparently there can't be anything in front of where the original radiator sat as it is classified as a crumple zone - My options were to put an additional 2 blocks in the boot ... but that would take the weight to about 250Kg in the rear and 220Kg up front ... I'll have to review this further when I get closer with the rear battery rack ... But I think i'll probably ditch the 2 blocks and just run on 132 Volts till I look at Lithium. For now i'm leaving the 6 (72V) up front to test.

2. Apparently i'll need more welding to tie down the front battery rack ... The engineer stated a few times it had to withstand 20x it's own weight in the upward direction (Eventhough checking the NCOP is states only 10x in the upward direction) ... Anyhow it won't be too much of an effort to add extra steel and welds to the front rack.

3. The engineer also mentioned that the engine mounts may not be sufficient ... I don't think this was something that wouldn't get passed on rather just a suggestion ... So I'm testing it the way it is for now ... I have identified a couple of stronger places to put a mount but I really need the car up on a hoist and a professional welder ... Maybe once it starts moving.

So, here we are ... still up on stands ... 2 issues still remain before I take it for a drive.

The Brakes

I have fully installed the vacuum kit and it appears to function properly ... But the brake booster wasn't holding the vacuum and if you hit the pedal I only get 1 good stop and the vacuum drops to 5Hg (you should have 15-20Hg). Assuming the booster at fault, I removed it and sent it off for reconditioning ... Problem was the recon shop stated it was functioning properly and didn't really need the $400 service. It apparently had a very small leak but would still function properly. Back installed in the car and the same problem occurs ... pump only getting to 15Hg and only holding vacuum for 1 stop ... After much discussion on the forums my options are as follows. Increase the vacuum reservoir size and reset to 15Hg to see if that is sufficient braking capacity. Or get the reconditioning done on the booster for $400 in an effort to stop any slow leaks. I think I will try and add an extra reservoir this weekend nad see how that goes ... otherwise back off the the brake shop.

The Gauges

After blowing my HV voltmeter all over the cabin, I suspect it has also damaged my 1000A ampmeter as I am getting no signal from this ... These are only $20 meters so it is no problem to get replaced ... I contacted the seller and apparently they are on Chinese New Year till Feb-22 ...

I really need to get Amp usage information when testing the car on the road. So i'lll just have to wait till end of Feb to get my hands on replacement gauges. ... It may take me a couple of weeks to get my brake problem sorted anyhow.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

It's Alive !!!

Had a busy last week ...
Having received the controller, I have been spending quite a few hours each day finalising the wiring.
I have stacked the front rack full of batteries (6 Blocks 72V) made all the connecting orange HV cables.
Completed all the contactor wiring ... all the Controller Low Voltage wiring ... In cabin switches ... etc.

The wiring for this car is staring to look like a huge web of wires going everywhere ... I have tried to tape some wires together and others in small flexible coduit in an effort to keep things tidy.

We'll, I counldn't wait any longer and on Friday 5th Feb I flicked one of the large circuit breakers ...

Pop Hiss Smoke ... ... I flicked the circuit breaker back off again

Turns out those cheap Chinese gauges I had used really do need fully isolated power ... ...
The main pack voltmeter had blown its capacitors and let the smoke out.
I had isolated the power of all 4 gauges to one separate 12V source but it seems that wasn't good enough.

I removed the blown gauge, disconnected the HV signal cables and tried the circuit breaker again ... ... No smoke this time ... Yay !!!

OK ... back in the car ... I turned on the main contactor ... then pluged in my laptop to communicate with the controller. ...
Only error message was:
1311 "waiting for key" ... So I turned the key
1312 "waiting for start signal" ... Turned the key to start
1314 "waiting for throttle input"

There was a eerie quietness about the car as I pushed the accellerator pedal.
The rear wheels started spinning ...

I had the car is 4th gear so as to not overrev the motor but spun the rear wheels up to 80km/h with no problems ...

There was a scraping noise coming from the brakes which is probably due to the car sitting out in the weather for the past few years without any use. But no other noises requiring investigating.
I turned the car off, flicked off the circuit breaker, disconnected a power lead and then began checking all connections for any increased heat.

I think this will be my task for the next week or so ... While the car is still up on blocks ... run it for a few minutes and check out the components and connections for any heat.

I still need to address a possible leaking brake booster and to tidy up some of the wiring before I drop the car and test down the "driveway".

More pics to come soon

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Control Box and Vacuum Pump

Due to the lack of remaining room under the bonnet, I had recently decided to only carry 6 batteries up front. (despite designing the front rack to hold 7 blocks.
In the 7th battery position I will be making and mounting the high voltage control box and the controller.

This is what i've been working on since back from holidays ... ...

Before I start going on about the high voltage you can see in the image below i have mounted the Zilla control panel (green) on the far left of this upper battery rack. Also mounted a 150mm 12V fan below the rack on the right, to cool the motor if required. The vacuum reservoir for the power assist brakes is mounted below on the left

OK ... where do we start ...

The yellow section is the bottom level of the high voltage control box ... This is where the power from the batteries will come straight into 2x Airpax Circuit Breakers ... These breakers are rated at 160V and 800A trip each ... I will probably only activate one to start with ... but I like to over engineer everything.

From the breakers the power runs through the 1000A shunt for one of my Amp Meters ... then straight up to the upper level ...

Instead of having thick cables run everywhere, I made my own copper bus bars by bashing out 25mm copper tubing. Most connections are using double bus bars so as to keep the cross section of copper the same as the cables in the circuit.

In the top level of the Power box I have:
1x contactor for saftey cutoff (top middle) which feeds the other 3
1x contactor for activation of the controller (top left)
and the other 2 contactors are for the high voltage going to the DC-DC converter and the heater core.
There is also a small fuse block for the DC-DC and Heater.

You can also see mounted behind (to the right) of the power box is a large heatsink which the controller and the heater core relay will be mounted to.

The Zilla gets most of its cooling via liquid cooling fittings on the rear of the controller. But for lower current draws, a heatsink should be sufficient. The heatsink i'm using is a bit hard to see from these pictures but it has over 10cm long fins underneath.
I will also be looking at using the liquid cooling ... I have purchased a pump and would like to use the cabin heater core that I removed earlier as a cooling radiator.

With that battery rack mounted back in the car, (hopefully for the last time) I attached the remaining components of the KTA Vacuum Kit I purchased ...
The kit I purchased cost AU$617 ... and included everything from the vaccum pump an reservoir to the hoses, brass fittings and ring clamps.
You can assemble you own kit by making your own reservoir out of pvc, getting your own fittings and sourcing your own pump, but for a couple of hundred dollars extra it was one less thing I wanted to worry about.
The pump is mounted under the grey rack, Reservoir just visible under the black rack, you can see the aluminium check valve along the hose just before the pressure gauge and large grey square vacuum switch.
Upon installation of the kit I have noticed it has trouble reaching the correct vacuum and drops rather quickly ... Crimping the hose up near the brake booster I have noticed there are no such pressure problems. So the kit is working correctly and there must be some sort of leak inside the brake booster ... I'll have to remove the booster and see if I can get it reconditioned.

Christmas Presents for Me !!!

Well ... after a few months in production my 1K Zilla was finally shipped out ...

It was received into Aust Customs 08-Dec but since I was on holidays I was only able to chase it up and get it cleared mid Jan.

Here is what AU$2800 buys you. (Including all freight duty and GST)

Well you also get the Zilla control panel, cables and a manual ... but i've lost them already ... ... ...
Just kidding !!!
My project was pretty much on hold awaiting the controller, so I could verify space requirements, cable lengths etc ...
But now i'm back at it ...
I also visited the Brisbane AEVA monthly meeting held at Albion ... ... There were a few interesting topics covered ... mainly for me the next NCOP14 (code of practise for converting to electric drive) revision, is doing away with the requirement of an in cabin manual cut of the traction pack. Instead you will be able to use low voltage contactors to cut the traction pack power. Good news for me as I didn't really want to install a choke cable to my circuit breakers incase of emergency ... Now I can have a red button which cuts power to any number of contactors in my traction pack.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

DC-DC Converter installed

For now I am going to use a small car battery to power the car's 12V system ... With a DC-DC converter to recharge this battery off the main pack (kind of like an alternator).
I am going to try and mount both the battery and the DC-DC converter in the standard battery position.

The first problem I had to face was that the DC-DC converter closely resembles a computer power supply. So the last thing I wanted was for dirt or water to be sucked through the unit.
My first idea was to buy an airtight food container and mount the DC-DC converter (and a few other things) inside ... Here is the container I picked up from K-Mart ... It is slightly larger than the DC-DC converter.Then:
I mounted the DC-DC on one side leaving an airgap below
I drilled out another side of the container for air intake and made a foam filter
I installed a 12V extraction fan on the lid
I installed the 50A shunt for the low voltage ammeter
I installed 2x 12V relays with their own fuses (for the power steering pump and vacuum pump)
I installed a 40A DC circuit breaker for all the cars remaining 12V power.Basically what this unit does is the car battery 12V positive power goes in one end ... runs through the shunt ... splits in 3 (the 3 large bolts on top) for the power steering, vacuum brake booster and remainder of the car. All while keeping my DC-DC converter and relays away from any dirt under the bonnet.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pot Box Installed

While i'm still awaiting delivery of my controller, another job that can be done was to mount the potentiometer and connect it to the standard throttle cable ...
Once again I have gone crazy with the welder and made a custom mount for this.I found a nice spot for this in the centre of the firewall just above the electric motor.
Since I haven't decided where the controller will be mounted as yet, having the pot box centralised should give me plenty of cable length later on.
It's a bit hard to see from these pics but at the top left of the metal mount I have added an extra piece of steel with a mounting hole for a second return spring.
I haven't sourced one yet but it is part of Australian guidelines to have a secondary return spring in case of failure.
Here are a couple of picks how the engine bay is looking at present.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Power Steering Pump Installed

It's been a while since my last post, but I did complete a few tasks in November.

With my front battery rack near completion, I began the task of finding mounting positions for the extra equipment needed under the bonnet.
The electric power steering pump is one of these.
I've been having so much fun with my new found welding skills that I decided to knock up a custom mount for the pump to attach it to the firewall near where the car's original 12V battery sits.

Here is a pic of the Power steering pump mounted in the car.
I had to source a custom high pressure line for $80 from the local hydraulic hose supplier ... but was able to recycle some of the 300zx old Power steering lines for the return feed.
I still don't know what car this pump was originally from ... but it looks fairly heavy duty.
I have powered the pump up to check that it works ok and to test out my relay wiring.
As the high pressure line weaves amongst my front battery rack, I haven't filled it with fluid as yet.
Once I am convinced I won't need to adjust the front battery racks any more, I'll test out the steering and my hose connections.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Engine Mounts Done

I've been spending about 30 mins each day Cutting Grinding Welding ...
The battery boxes are about half completed ...
But i'm finished with my first attempt for the motor mount.
I've mainly used 40x3mm angle iron with double 20x3mm strip for the banding.

This is the right hand side ...

And the left ...