July, 2007

Hacked Serial Cable Details and Bad Relay

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

A few people asked me about how I hacked together a serial port since AC kit people will need this in order to configure the controller correctly. I basically took three 16 gauge wires (smaller would be fine) and soldered on crimp sockets at the end of each one. I also added heatshrink tubing so that adjacent signals wouldn't short out. The picture above shows the three wires plugged into the top three pins on the 8-pin connector on the controller.

2007 100

Is GM Playing Games with the Volt?

Plugs and Cars

As I've blogged previously , I want to believe as much as the next guy that the Volt - GM's announced plug-in hybrid - is real. I believe enviros have spent way too much time pushing for higher CAFE standards and ignored alternative methods of getting clean cars on the road. The enviros gave up on electric cars, let the automakers and California off the hook just as the cars were proving themselves viable and popular.

2007 100
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Trending Sources

Stamp of Approval

Plug In Partners

E PRI and the National Resource Defense Council have recently released a new study which shows the environmental as well as the economic benefits of plug-ins. Plug-in hybrids seen as vehicles for change A study projects lower emissions and sufficient power grid capacity.

2007 100

Debugging, Debugging, Debugging.

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Okay, things don't seem to be working too well. We have three issues: 1. The controller simply cuts out at high acceleration (bad) 2. Many times the controller doesn't even start up at all 3. There's very little power from the system, I can't go much above 30mph After sending error logs to Azure Dynamics, they came back with the following: " Vehicles with improper or substandard grounding and shielding sometimes exhibit nuisance errors flagged as EE3LastError = 16.

2007 100

Power calculations

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

After looking at the specs on the ElectroAuto website, I'm thinking that a maximum input power rating of 50000 watts is really too much. Here are the ElectroAuto specs: AC24 Aircooled Motor Length Diameter Weight Controller Efficiency 15.55" 9.45" 83.6 DMOC445 83% Specifications @ 156 V Input Ft.Lbs. Amps RPM HP KW Peak/Maximum 54.57 280 rms 12,000 57.66 @ 4,500 rpm 43 Continuous 22.12 180 rms 12,000 18.77 14 55 Ft-Lbs peak is 75 Newton-meters. The controller is programmed for 100 Newton-Meters.

2007 100

Hoods Installed

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Well, we're getting closer. My friend Rick and his friend Amy came over today to help install the front and rear lids. I was rather relieved when both lids closed without any interference. I installed the engine compartment cover this morning and realized that the rain gutter would have to be completely removed to not interfere with the rear battery box. With the rain gutter gone, perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to keep the two drain funnels and tubes in place.

2007 100

Pictures from Randy

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

One of my fellow 914 AC kit EV'ers is Randy Pollock. He's been extremely helpful in my understanding of how this kit works. About three weeks ago, he sent me a few pictures on his own 914 AC EV project that uses the Electro Automotive kit. Here are his pictures and text (verbatim) from his e-mail: (Thanks Randy!) Hi all, Attached are some pictures from my rear trunk now that I have the Avcon receptacle wired to the Manzanita Micro charger.

2007 100

More Trending

Wow, This is Really Fast! NOT!

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Just a quick update. I removed the jack-stands, cleaned out the garage and fired up the 914EV. It responds properly to the accelerator, but at full throttle, the car goes about six inches a second both forward and reverse. Looks like I've got more DMOC parameters to adjust. Fun, Fun.

2007 100

Aha! A Broken Wire!

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

I collected a bunch of controller data over the serial port on my laptop and sent that off to Azure Dynamics for analysis. After looking at the data, the ISR2Hertz variable (i.e. RPM) was pegged at zero. This led me to believe that there was something wrong with the motor encoders. I opened up the motor speed monitor box and probed around. All the encoder signals were up at 4.9 volts and the black ground wire was also up around 4.83 volts.

2007 100

First Driving Test!

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Well, I carefully fixed the black grounding wire to the motor encoders and the system seems to work fine now. I got the AC motor to rev up quite quickly in neutral. Both forward and reverse movements are fairly smooth. For yucks, I drove the car around the block. It has very slow acceleration, probably due to all the battery weight. I drove it in second gear. Third gear seems to not want to go in, at least while the car is stopped. The regen braking seems to work fine.

2007 100

9:12am July 27, 2007 - It's Alive!

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

This morning, I hacked together a serial cable to talk with the ccShell program provided by Azure Dynamics to communicate with the controller. You need to contact Azure Dynamics directly to get the.ccs file that works with ccShell; it's not available on their FTP site. Here's the hacked up serial cable attached to the laptop. After setting up Hyperterm for 19,200 baud N,8,1,no handshake, I was able to turn the keyswitch and get a boot screen and binary data dumping out the serial port.

2007 100

Top Climate Scientist on Lessons Not Learned from Electric Car Debacle

Plugs and Cars

Dr James Hansen is perhaps the top climate scientist in the country. From his post at NASA he warned Congress and us what's up with global warming long ago. There are some lessons we need to learn as we are inundated with adverts about "clean coal," if we are not to get snookered as enviros did over the electric car.

2007 100

Close, but no Cigar.

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

I didnt' get a chance to do much tonight, but I did hook up the final fusible links in the battery system. Before hooking up the links, I jacked up the rear of the car and put in on jackstands just in case something started happening with the motor. I also put the transmission in neutral. Here's the front fusible link in place. No sparks yet! Here's the rear fusible link. Initially this failed the "spark" test. I touched the link to the two battery terminals and got a medium sized spark.

2007 100

Let My People Convert! - The A123 Challenge

Plugs and Cars

Les Goldman wants you to convert (your hybrid.) Easy as 123. So he proposed at the California Air Resources Board ZEV workshop on Tuesday. An ARB ZEV meeting is ordinarily a predictable affair. What began as a simple program requiring an ever increasing percentage of Zero Emission vehicles (read electric cars), has become mired in cumbersome bureaucratic complications. Acronymphia is not a sexual disease. Look it up.) ZEV, SULEV, PZEV, ATPZEV, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Type I, II, III, and on and on.

2007 100

Wiring and Rewiring - Getting Close!

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Ugh, I'm dehydrated, exhausted and mad at this inanimate object. I must love doing this conversion. There's a fine line between a hobby and insanity) Tonight was spent attaching all the copper bars to the battery terminals. I received an updated wiring diagram for the AC kit from ElectroAuto, and, much to my disappointment, many of the connections went between the battery caps.

2007 100

Plug-in Hybrid Race on as Toyota Tests NiMH PHEV; A123 Challenges CARB to Authorize Conversions

Plugs and Cars

From today's NY Times Toyota to Test Plug-In Hybrid, Rivaling G.M. Toyota said it would provide prototype versions of plug-in hybrid vehicles to researchers at the University of California, Irvine, and the University of California, Berkeley.The prototype plug-in hybrids will be powered by two oversize packs of nickel-metal hydride batteries Yesterday, in Sacramento A123Systems , the battery manufacturer being used by GM for the Vue and Volt, challenged CARB not to wait for OEM plug-ins.

2007 100

Toyota's Plug-in Prius: Out of the Pod, Into the Podcast

Plugs and Cars

Toyota's plug-in Prius comes out of the closet. No translation needed. Take a look.

2007 100

Ford in the PHEV Race, too?

Plugs and Cars

MSNBC and NBC News have report on plug-in hybrids , focusing on the Volt. But there's some news about Ford, too, buried within. Ford is also in the plug-in game and could get to the finish line first. It is already testing two plug-in hybrids, [Ford's Sue] Cischke told the Chicago Tribune, and it expects to deliver the first road-ready vehicles for testing in California by 2009. Hat tip to Earl Killian.

2007 100

Hauling Lead and Confusing Connections

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Tonight was an evening of heavy lifting. These high-capacity 8-volt golf-cart batteries are 70 pounds apiece. I'll definitely take some ibuprofen before tomorrow. Here are the batteries in the front box. The fuel compartment box. And the rear box. I pre-laid out these batteries on the floor to guestimate what the connections between the terminals were. I couldn't find a good solution with the copper bars supplied by ElectroAuto, so I just took my best guess and gave it a shot.

2007 100

Dodd forsees federal fleet of hybrids and electric cars

Plugs and Cars

YouTube Democratic Debate Mon Night at the Citadel: QUESTION: Hi, I'm Stephanie. We're in the Bay area, in my bathroom, because this is one of the places where I use compact fluorescent light bulbs. I use these to decrease my personal energy use, and I hear politicians talking about alternative energy to delay -- to decrease our energy impact as a whole. So my question for you is, how is the United States going to decrease its energy consumption in the first place?

2007 100

Toyota Hot and Cold on Plug-in Hybrids

Plugs and Cars

A month or so ago word was Toyota was postponing the new generation Lithium Prius. That seemed to be a hint that Toyota wasn't moving too quickly on plug-ins. As if to confirm that notion, recently a Toyota spokesman in DC was denigrating plug-in hybrids as Hymotion/A123 and Rob Lowe were making a plug-in splash in Congressman Ed Markey's global warming committee.

2007 100

Busy Day - Time to get your WooGah On

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Whoosh! Despite being exhausted from yesterday, I got up early this morning and just cranked through a bunch of EV stuff on my day off. Here is the board that the charger tray mounts to. There's a clear piece of acrylic providing a small gap so that the board can hinge forward and upwards without any edge interference. I'm holding this in place with clamps so I can drill the hinge holes without the board moving around.

2007 100

We are Green for 12V Electrical!

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Whew! I spent the evening debugging the small sparking issue I ran into yesterday. The behavior was interesting in that the keyswitch relay closed for about a second and then released. In the process, the DC-DC converter turned on (indicated by red LED) and then slowly decayed to the off state. It turns out that this behavior is explained by the rather large capacitive load between 12V and ground provided by the capacitors in the system, probably from the CD player and the VDO clock.

2007 100

Plug-in Hybrid Study: Electricity Better

Plugs and Cars

The basic question addressed, which appears on the study homepage (epri-reports.org) is this: How would air quality and greenhouse gas emissions be affected if significant numbers of Americans drove cars that were fueled by the power grid? Simply put, the study found what advocates of electric transportation have long held to be true: as regards greenhouse gases and pollution generally speaking, the worst electricity is still better than petroleum.

2007 100

Is Toyota taking the Plug-in Hybrid plunge?

Plugs and Cars

Green Car Congress reports Toyota to Obtain Permission for Public Road Test for Plug-in Prius in Japan.

2007 100

Huckabee: The electric car of the 2008 race

Plugs and Cars

Election blog 2008central.net points us to an unexpected positive and apt analogy to electric cars by a Republican candidate for President. Mike Huckabee, ex-Governor of Arkansas and longshot contender, said in an interview decrying the wasteful spending of his GOP rivals: “You will not find a more frugal operation than ours and you will also not find a more efficient, better miles per gallon,” said Huckabee, who did not single out any opponents specifically. “If

2007 100

More Wiring and ACK, It Doesn't Fit!

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Yesterday I ran out to Parkrose Hardware again to pick up the remaining wire I needed (hopefully) and all the bolts/nuts/washers for mounting the stuff in the front trunk. Continuing with the wiring, here is the bundle of EV wires in the front luggage compartment, covered with the flexguard. Again, the front luggage compartment with the vertical all-thread in the battery rack for the battery-box tie-down bars. I've added the black grounding strap to the front bumper mounting bracket.

2007 100

Forcing a Fit and Letting Sparks Fly

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Well, after yesterday's letdown with the front battery box not fitting into the steel frame, I loaded up on caffeine and pulled out the grinding wheel. Here is the front battery box not fitting into the front rack. If you click on the picture for a larger view, you can see the front-side edge not in the rack. I first tried a hand file, but made much more progress with a paint removal wheel attached to a drill.

2007 100

GM: Electric Opel by 2010

Plugs and Cars

Thomson Financial reports in Forbes that General Motors Corp unit Opel plans to bring out an all-electric car at the end of 2010. GM's European chief Carl-Peter Forster is said to mention the EV in an excerpt from tomorrow's Auto Motor Sport magazine. He told the magazines that hybrid technology is too costly to use in small cars, suggesting a city car, perhaps too small to be marketed in the US

2007 100

EPRI/NRDC Plug-in Hybrid Enviro Assessment to be Released

Plugs and Cars

The long awaited report assessing the environmental impact of plug-in hybrids undertaken by the Electric Power Research Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council will see the light of day on Thursday morning in Washington DC. Roger Duncan from Austin Energy and Plug-in Partners is participating in the press conference, so the results must be positive.

2007 100

Wiring up the Front Compartment

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

I finally got to work on the electric car again today. The next major task is wiring up the front compartment. Here is the 9-in-1 wire for the AC kit pulled through the grommet between the passenger compartment and the fuel compartment. The 9-in-1 wire (encased in flexwrap) is going back into the passenger compartment to the dials and controls. The yellow and brown wire need to come out of the flexwrap so that we can connect them to circuits in the front luggage compartment.

2007 100

Hanging out with NEDRA

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Summer events have held me back from working on the 914EV, so I headed out to Portland International Raceway to get a boost of inspiration from NEDRA (National Electric Drag Racing Association) to continue the project. Here are some photos. Here's the famous KillaCycle powered by just under 1000 A123 batteries, the same kind that go into the DeWalt cordless drills. The KillaCycle ended up posting a run on Friday of 152mph in the quarter mile. They will try again tonight to go faster.

2007 100

Green Autos in the Times: Hybrid Hype, Hydrogen Hooey and Electric Dreams

Plugs and Cars

A number of articles about "green cars" worth perusing in Saturday's New York Times Automotive section. Usually devoted to crass boosterism of America's largest manufacturing industry, these articles still contain a lot of that. Especially as displayed in Adam B. Ellick and Don Sherman's moronic and facile hydrogen vehicles video shot in the New Jersey field where the Hindenberg met its firey demise. The Future of Hydrogen: Once a Pariah, Now an Alternative.)

2007 100

Strange Plug-in Bedfellows Rile Detroit

Plugs and Cars

Big time neo-Con Frank Gaffney and Arnold supporter actor Rob Lowe took their advocacy for plug-in hybrids to Massachusetts liberal Democrat Ed Markey's House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming yesterday. Detroit and it's Congressional defenders are again suggesting that what's good for America will kill Big Auto.

2007 100

Ford and Edison

Plug In Partners

Henry Ford and Thomas Edison M omentum for Plug-ins continues to build as two of the biggest names in transportation and energy meet. It is a good example of how electric utilities and car makers can begin to work together.

2007 100

Plug-in Hybrid Bills in Congress Scare Auto Makers

Plugs and Cars

The Detroit News Autos Insider column today is reporting on Congressional efforts to promote plug-in hybrids and the backlash from the automakers. Toyota made the car, the Prius, that made plug-in conversions possible, and now they are trying to rein in the desires unleashed. Neither CARB incentives nor the efforts of Plug-in Partners have moved the auto makers to produce plug-in hybrids, so conversion efforts are moving along.

2007 100

Norwegian Investors Rally to Revived Think Electric Car

Plugs and Cars

The Aftenposten reports (in English) on the success Jan Olaf Willums is having at the helm of the revived Think Global. Many of Norway's tycoons and heirs are making significant investments in the company which is planning production of as many as 10,000 cars by 2009. My first electric car was a Think City, produced when the company was owned by Ford. This "smarter than Smart" city car was a revelation to me when I leased it in 2001.

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