tiistai 31. heinäkuuta 2012

Hello, Australia!

This has nothing to do with EVs, but it seems I have a reader in Australia who uses Eudora on Linux which is somehow stuck and repeatedly fetches this blog causing a disturbance in the statistics. Half of my views seem to come from Australia/Linux/Eudora. If this matches you it would be great if you could do something about it. Google hasn't removed those hits from the stats even if I've asked.

It's alive!

So I built a new battery box. Sounds easy said in a single sentence. In any case CALBs are now in place and a quick kludge installation of the controller resulted in a big EV grin. At first the controller had just 33% power set, but once I moved the slider up to 100% it really took off. Video below. The rattle is from the chain and/or a loose connector I spotted after the trial run.

Chain rattle has been since removed.


Just though I'd share with you my favorite EV show. If you want to see what the new grey CALB cells can do to a wrench skip to 29 minutes. To see what they can do to your face when they're installed in a sports car skip to about 2 hours and 2 minutes. Biggest EV grin ever. And from an experienced rally driver no less.

maanantai 30. heinäkuuta 2012

Charged overnight

I finished bottom balancing the cells between 2.7 and 2.8 volts just before midnight and left the pack charging overnight. After a night of nightmares regarding cell explosion, single cell overcharge and irrational fear of pack accepting only a fraction of designated charge I'm pleased to report that all is well. The pack read a voltage of 80.5 V, amp hour count of 42.9 and cell voltages varied from 3.32 to 3.38. In fact 42.9 is a bit more than the 40 Ah specified for the cells. The reading may not be completely accurate due to Cycle Analyst running, the Contactor also drawing some power and shunt not being exactly calibrated. It is however a very good result. Bottom balancing seems to really work and I didn't spend the whole of yesterday in vain.

I did manage to conjure some pretty impressive sparks as well when moving the then assembled, but nearly empty pack. I guess it just goes to show how much power these cells hold and a healthy reminder not to handle them carelessly. Oh and they do melt metal quite handily.

Batteries galore

My blue CALB cells arrived today from ev-power.eu. The delivery was in time, in fact I had to delay them until I got back from home, and all cells seemed to be fine registering at 3.29 to 3.30 volts. I've already started draining them to 2.75 using the motorcycle lights to do the job. In fact I'm utilising both Kawasakis. Newer GPX draws a nice even 10 amps with all lights on while the older Z500 sips about eight. First group of four is already done or at least the weakest cell got down to 2.70 volts at which point I had to stop. It then happily bounced back to around 2.75. Others didn't get as low, but I will rearrange the stronger cells into new packs once all cells are close to empty and repeat until I have achieved balance at the bottom. A quick assembly of the cells into a final series of 24 will follow along with ful recharge of the whole. It will be interesting to see where the voltages of the cells end up at the top.


torstai 19. heinäkuuta 2012

Charging in pictures

I decided to use a tank bag for storing the chargers in transit and also while charging. Not a bad solution if I may say so. I'll also order 24pcs of 40Ah CALBs to replace the lead as soon as possible. It won't make much sense to even have the bike inspected with the lead batteries. They just suck.

Lead's dead, baby, lead's dead

So I got my chain in place. The good news is that everything works and the bike goes forward. The bad is that it's really slow and the range is abysmal. The lesson learned is that lead is no good and lithium really is where it's at. Luckily the only thing I spent on lead is some sweat equity and a couple of nuts and bolts. It also gave me a way to test everything else on the cheap. Cycle Analyst is working correctly and the original speedometer also works. I'll just need to get the proper battery chemistry in place. We're heading off to a cabin for a week so there will be an inherent pause in the project. Not to mention ordering the lithium and waiting for it to arrive. Expect to hear from me in about two weeks.

tiistai 17. heinäkuuta 2012

Missing link(s)

I'm getting very close as you can see from the pictures. The new, longer chain should arrive tomorrow and that should make the bike ready for a test drive. I may need to make a chain cover and the sideways reinforcement of the motor mount plate still needs attention, but other than that all the requirements for the inspection should be fulfilled.

lauantai 14. heinäkuuta 2012

Saturday update

A quick update with no pictures I'm afraid. I mounted the controller, contactor, shunt and the rest of the control logic to the bike. Needless to say it was a success and the motor runs fine. Also took the not-quite-long-enough chain back to the store and I should get a longer one some time next week. The front sprocket remains the last hurdle in the way of completion. I will probably order a 12 tooth from electricmotorsport.com in case I fail to get a keyhole made into my existing 13 tooth. All in all things are looking good and I might just be able to have the bike inspected around the turn of the month.

perjantai 13. heinäkuuta 2012

Motor mounted

I got the mounting plate from Hydroala today and immediately proceeded to mount the motor. I had already secured the battery to the chassis earlier. The motor mount will still need some additional support to prevent unwanted sideways movement. I also changed the rear sprocket to a new 49 tooth and tried to fit the 112 link chain I had acquired. Unfortunately I will need four more links for it to be long enough. Hopefully I can swap it for a longer one tomorrow or at least put one on order. The front sprocket I have also has a hole of correct bore in it now, but still no keyhole. We'll see if I can have one made or do I have to just give up and order a finished sprocket online. I may go for a 12 tooth if it comes down to that. One tooth less than what I have now. Funnily enough one tooth equals 10km/h more top speed with 13 teeth at about 130km/h. Next up along with solving the sprocket issue is mounting the rest of the equipment. A moderate amount of work I hope.

tiistai 10. heinäkuuta 2012

Charger and instrumentation

Today I received my charger and Cycle Analyst instrumentation. EV Assemble came through very nicely. They just had accidently sent me the wrong tracking number. The Cycle Analyst also arrived in an orderly fashion as expected. I now have both connected and working. It is very nice indeed to see the instrumentation in action. Easy charging is always nice as well. I don't really know if it's a problem to use a lithium charger with lead, but as long as the charger doesn't break I don't care. Lithium is the goal in any case. The mount plate for the motor is also being manufactured at Hydroala along with the modifications to the sprocket I was able to purchase at Laakeriteam. Hoping to get everything mounted next week. I also rewired my battery pack for 72 volts and added two additional batteries.

lauantai 7. heinäkuuta 2012

Battery box completion (or so I thought...)

When they said building the battery box is the biggest thing on the build or at the very least a big part of it, I did not believe them. Turns out they were right. Building a battery box seems to take time no matter what. I have however now completed mine and I'm also very satisfied with the results. Instead of a 6s3p configuration I decided to go with 7s2p instead. This raises the voltage to around 90 volts on a freshly charged lead pack, but the AXE7245/ME1003 combo should handle it. The high voltage threshold on the controlled has been set to the maximum 90 volts as well. We'll see what happens if we go above it, but at least on a near full pack all seems to be well and the motor runs nice on the bench. The couple of extra batteries are mainly for range, not top speed as such. I had to limit the maximum current to 50% or about 225 amps to save the batteries. Also included in my dual 8-battery boxes are two batteries in parallel for the 12 volt supply. Thanks to the external connecting poles I can charge the 12 volt sets with standard automotive chargers until I get my proper charger. Which by the way I've heard nothing of! The FedEx emails I've received were about the Cycle Analyst from Canada which also nice to have coming my way. EVAssemble should get their stuff together and ship already.

ps. Got an update from China! My charger is on it's way. Actually it's in Paris already. They just had sent me the wrong FedEx code. Phew. I may have to re-think my battery pack configuration though to accommodate for it's 87.6 volt charging voltage however. It's probably back to 6s3p which means I'll have to figure out where to put two more batteries. My boxes can only contain 16. And I thought it was finished.

perjantai 6. heinäkuuta 2012

On the bench

I have everything set up and working on my newly deviced test bench. Motor and accessories have all been bolted to it for easy testing and troubleshooting. So far no trouble. At least not after bolting everything down...

ps. After the photo I've added a 12 volt system which I'm using to energize the 72 volt contactor. The result is a lot messier situation, but more realistic as the final setup in the motorcycle will also work by the key and kill switches controlling a 12 volt relay which will in turn activate the big contactor.

keskiviikko 4. heinäkuuta 2012

It's fracking huge!

It has been unboxed. Now I knew the dimensions and the weight. But it's still fracking huge in real life! That goes especially for the controller the dimensions of which I didn't really pay attention to in advance. It'll be an interesting challenge to fit them all in. Here's the family portrait for you. Enjoy!

The most beautiful words

The three most beautiful words in the english may well be "With delivery courier". Those are the words DHL sent to me by email just seconds ago. Next up: receiving and unboxing. Good times.

tiistai 3. heinäkuuta 2012

TurboCAD instead

Despite the previous post just moments ago I decided to go with TurboCAD instead. They had a free trial version I could use and it seems simple enough to use. After playing around with it for a while I was able to make this sketch of the motor mount. The mounting holes on the chassis are wrong. I still need to measure the correct locations and diameters. But it's a start.


Etek Motor:

3D model by
72 VDC electric motor built in China for Mars Electric LLC, Milwaukee, WI. Model# ME0709. Used in electric floor buffers, burnishers, electric scooter and 'moped' projects, Electric Riding lawn...

Brilliant! I found this SketchUp model for the ME0709 which is the same externally as the ME1003 I'm using. Very cool! Will start playing with SketchUp immediately. Also they have a Mac version now which makes it all the more appealing.

maanantai 2. heinäkuuta 2012


I'm currently waiting for an email from DHL containing the customs bill I will need to pay for the package to resume it's travel. Package of course contains my Kit #4AC from evdrives.com. Meanwhile I've been gathering some suitable wires for the project. The invidual AGM batteries will be connected with 6 mm² cable each, totaling 18mm² for each 12V set of there, which will be then connected in series to get 72 V. 25 mm² cables will be used to connect from there to controller and motor. These correspond to about #9, #5 and #3 AWG respectively. Slightly larger than required at least for the controller/motor cabling, but a little overkill never hurt anyone, eh?

I haven't heard anything regarding my order for the charger from ev-assemble.com however. I hope they will come through, preferably sooner than later. I did get a second 12 V charger to speed up the charging while waiting for the proper device to arrive. The 12 V sets will be connected to poles which I can use for charging each set individually without taking anything apart. They will still be hidden below the tank or the seat so no children or animals should get hurt. Adults can fend for themselves.

As for the schematics I'm pretty much going with this example from Alltrax. The Contactor will run on 72 V so I will use another 12 V Contactor to engage it using the key on/off and the engine run/off switches. I may or may not add another emergency cut-off using a big main switch or a knife switch if I can find a suitable one or otherwise device a suitable solution.

I've also just put a Cycle Analyst on order which will allow me to know how far I can get on a charge. All in all everything is coming together very nicely and much faster than expected. I haven't really done any putting together yet, but over self confident as usual I'm not expecting any problems. We shall see whether reality agrees with me or not.