Open Source Civic EV Kit

Replacing and Saving the Aux Battery

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Well, the car's back on the road again. I replaced the 12V auxiliary battery (a group 30 motorcycle battery) and got a 2 year warranty on it just in case. I remember in the past, I fully drained my 12V accessory battery at least twice by accidentally leaving the headlights on.

2009 151

Battery Racks, Continued

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I did some more work on the battery racks over the past few days. The biggest challenge is getting everything to fit properly without hitting any blockages. At this point, I think I have all of the metal pieces cut, but I don't have the bolt holes drilled.

2008 173

Trending Sources

Rotating the Brushes on the Warp9 Motor

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Many people don't realize that the Honda crankshaft going into the transmission actually turns clockwise for the forward direction, as opposed to counter-clockwise for the vast majority of cars. As such, most EV motors have advanced timing on the brushes to optimize counter-clockwise rotation.

2008 169

Rear Trunk Battery Rack

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Today was busy, so you should see a few posts. This first one is all the work I did installing the rear trunk battery rack base. As I mentioned before some of this will be verbose as I'm trying not to lose all the finer details. A few posts ago, I cut some 1.5"x1.5"

2008 164

Saying Goodbye to Electric Blue

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Well, as most of you have seen, there hasn't been a lot of activity for several months on this blog. I sold Electric Blue to my friend Murray (shown above) and he is taking good care of her. It's time to move on from this electric vehicle conversion hobby and see where life takes me.

2010 130

Fixing the Batmon Resistors

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Well it's about time I get the Civic working again now that the weather seems to be getting warmer. The biggest concern I have with my current system is the Batmon balancer resistors. The existing ones seem to be always on the verge of catching fire.

2010 130

Seeing the Nissan Leaf in Person

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Things have been nuts this week, but I did get a chance to see the Nissan Leaf come to Portland today. It arrived at OMSI this morning and the OEVA got a private session with the Leaf this afternoon. Here's Nissan's spokesperson who graciously answered all our geeky questions about the car.

Comparing Conversion Costs with Paul

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Paul Pancella (see link at right) put together a great spreadsheet comparing his Civic conversion costs with mine. There are a few minor updates, but things are very close for the most part.

EV Awareness Day, Synkro faults

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Yesterday was our local EV organization's big annual event called EV Awareness Day. We held it at Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland. I gave a press event with the Mayor Sam Adams and two VPs from local power companies (PGE and Pacific Power).

2009 130

Time to Get a Larger Hammer

Open Source Civic EV Kit

After two days of running perfectly, I found yesterday morning that the amps were down and the FET had blown again. This really stumped me because I thought I had done everything to keep it cool and out of the switching region.

2009 130

Cautious Optimism

Open Source Civic EV Kit

After talking with the power supply EEs at work, I came home and tried a few experiments to see if I could fix the alternative charge detector circuit.

2009 130

A New Hope

Open Source Civic EV Kit

After the utter failure of the Soneil and the Joule chargers, I did some more research on individual battery chargers.

2009 130

A Very Dark Day with the Joule Chargers

Open Source Civic EV Kit

This whole experiment with the individual chargers has been a very humbling experience.

2009 130

Sleuthing the Soneils

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Against my better judgment, I took apart one of the failed Soneil chargers yesterday afternoon to see if I could find out anything about the failures. There weren't any burned components or obvious damage.

2009 130

Fixing the Potbox, Soneil's Arrive

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Over the past few days, the car has still been lurching around despite the potbox parameter adjustments that I've made inside the controller. I contact Bob Bath, the original CivicWithACord builder who sold me my PB5 potbox. It was brand new from KTA Services and not used/worn-out.

2009 130

Going to the Electrathon/HPV Event at PIR

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Last weekend, I took the Civic-EV to Portland International Raceway to show it off at the Electrathon/Human-Powered Vehicles event there. Memorial Day weekend is the one weekend that PIR can't make any loud noises, so they actively recruit electric vehicles and bicycles of all types to race.

2009 130

Moving the Instrumentaiton

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Since the Synkromotive controller has its own motor speed limiter based on input directly from the Zolox sensor, I decided to clean up the instrumentation by removing the RPM gauge and moving the Link-10 E-meter onto the dashboard.

2009 130

Installing the Synkromotive Controller

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I stopped by the Synkromotive shop this morning and picked up my beta-test controller that I've been wanting to try out. After running out and buying some more magna lugs and welding cable, I came home and removed the Belktronix controller and all the associated wiring.

Installing a New Potbox

Open Source Civic EV Kit

As with many EV projects, much time is spent waiting for parts. The replacement Soneil chargers haven't shown up yet. On a more positive note, Synkromotive figured out some of the glitches in their new beta controller, so one should be available this coming Friday.

Taking a Vacation

Open Source Civic EV Kit

It's been over a month since I've blogged about the Civic and people have started to ask where I've been. I'm still commuting (even with a blown charge detector) and the car has 1500 miles on it.

2009 130

Planning to Replace the EV Components

Open Source Civic EV Kit

In a month or so, I'll be getting a beta-test motor controller from Synkromotive which will have a variety of programmable features as well as more power.

2009 130

Fixing the Charging System.Again

Open Source Civic EV Kit

After doing another fix to the Charge Detector box on Monday, I enclosed all the BatMon boxes to prevent them from shorting out due to grime and automotive fluids. Here are the plastic boxes I talked about in a prior post.

2009 130

Rear Coil-Overs

Open Source Civic EV Kit

To finish up the suspension, I installed the rear coil-overs. The procedure is much the same as the front coil-overs. When the guys at Les Schwab swapped out the rear springs for the cut-down front ones awhile back ( see this post ), it looks like they chewed up the shock end pretty bad.

2009 130

My First Week of Commuting

Open Source Civic EV Kit

This has definitely been an interesting week. With the front suspension coil-overs installed, I felt much more confident in driving the car around without bottoming out.

2009 130

Frustrations with Springs

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Okay, I admit it. I'm an obsessed control freak. That said, let's move on. The drooping front suspension on the Civic is really getting me down (no pun intended) and I'm getting anxious with the coil-over kit sitting in my living room.

2009 130

Installing the Front Coil-Over Suspension

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Here's the process I used to remove the existing Civic springs and install the front coil-overs. The first step is to jack up the front of the car and put it on jack-stands for stability. Since I don't have a spring compressor, I'm going to use the entire car as my spring compressor instead.

Over-Rev Protection, MTF and Labelling

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Today involved a bunch of miscellaneous items. Bryan at Belktronix sent me a little circuit that plugs into the back of the tachometer that triggers the LVP protection and shuts down the controller when the shift light goes on.

2009 130

Finishing the Guages, Link-10

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I worked all day to get the tach sensor fixed and the link-1o installed. Here's my solution to fixing the tach sensor. I'm using a stainless steel bolt to hold it in (which is just barely magnetic).

2009 130

Suspension Toys

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Since I've been having difficulty finding springs that actually fit the car and handle the extra battery weight, I broke down and called Ground Control to see what they had to offer. They were very responsive and their technician recommended a coil-over set with custom springs for the project.

2009 130

Debugging the Tachometer Signal

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I spent this evening, trying to figure out why the tachometer was flat-lining under acceleration. After talking with some EMI suppression engineers at work, they suggested covering the sensor with a steel shield to prevent magnetic fields from interacting with the sensor.

2009 130

Mounting the Link-10 E-meter

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I decided to start mounting the Link-10 Battery Monitor (E-meter) this weekend. As many of you know the Link-10 is very deep and doesn't fit too well in typical pillar pod holes. To solve this problem, I purchased a piece of 2" (inside-diameter) ABS plastic tube from Home Depot for $3.

2009 130

Making a Charging Timer

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I wanted to make a timer so that I could charge the car for a specific amount of time to prevent over-charging the AGM batteries with the Belktronix charger. The only timer I could easily find that would charge for several hours was a wall-socket mount like the one shown above.

2009 130

Installing the Tachometer

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Happy Belated New Year everyone! Things have been quiet on the blog recently as I've been taking a break for awhile. Last week, I installed the tachometer in its pillar pod. Here is the pillar pod next to the driver's side A-pillar that I pulled off.

Christmas Presents

Open Source Civic EV Kit

Santa was good to me this year. I received a Link-10 battery monitor from my parents. I don't think they understand what it does and why it costs so much, but okay, they got it for me anyway. The items on the right came from Belktronix. The wires on the upper left are the Link-10 voltage prescaler.

2008 130

Frustrations with Zolox sensor mount

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I tried installing the Zolox sensor mounting ring for the Warp9 motor from EVsource today. It looks like the holes on the mounting ring don't line up properly. The holes for the Warp9 casing don't match, so I had to drill them a bit larger so the bolts would go in.

2008 130

Mounting the Zolox Sensor

Open Source Civic EV Kit

After futzing around awhile, I was able to get the spacer ring for the Zolox tachometer sensor to line up. Here's the bottom of the mounting ring.

2008 130

Add the Splash Guard

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I'd like to get the car off the jack-stands and back into a position where I can drive it while still adding things like the guages. After installing the speed sensor, the last thing needed under the car is the splash guard to protect water and grit from getting into the Warp9.

2008 130

Tach Mount, Splash Guard and POR-15

Open Source Civic EV Kit

It's still pretty cold in the garage, but I motivated myself to get out to TAP plastics (10 blocks away) and pick up some ABS plastic for the improved splash guard. Here's the 3/16" thick piece of ABS lying on top of the existing splash guard.

2008 130

Tachometer is Here!

Open Source Civic EV Kit

This is a cool day(And not just because it's freezing outside). The package with the custom tachometer from SpeedHut arrived. Although I received the 2-hole pillar pod last Friday, I wanted to show it here since I ordered both items from Speedhut. The wiring harness is nice and long.

2008 130

Plastic Boxes and Speed Sensor

Open Source Civic EV Kit

I got some fun stuff today. The plastic boxes for the BatMons and the Zolox speed sensor with Warp9 mounting hardware came in. Here's a pile of 2x2" plastic boxes 1/2" high that fit the BatMon boards quite well.

2008 130