Saturday, December 31, 2011

A123 20AH Prismatic Pouch Cells

Well it looks like I am becoming a fan of these cells. The operating temps are very good. Much lower temps than what I am doing with my Glacier test of the Hi-Power. If the A123 cells can handle -22 degrees F and as high as 131 then I am pretty much good to go with them as a choice. These would handle my Glacier Test with no problem. If these can I am quite sure the Hi-Power will too. Still going to do the test. Looking to get some pouch cells and build me a system to connect them.

Glacier Proof Cells.

Cell Dimension (mm) 7.25x160x227
Cell Capacity (minimum, AH) 19.6
Energy Content (nominal, Wh) 65
Discharge Power (nominal, W) 1200
Voltage (nominal, V) 3.3
Specific Power (nominal, W/kg) 2400
Specific Energy (nominal, Wh/kg) 131
Energy Density (nominal, Wh/L) 247
Operating Temperature -30 Degree C to 55 Degree C
Storage Temperature -40 Degree C to 60 Degree C

Glacier Ice

Well for fun I have taken a quick video of the block of ice that split with the battery inside. Cell still discharges and quite frankly if it still discharges it should be fine to take a charge too. That is my thinking and if at zero degrees it still works I am going to just bust any cold battery issue wide open. So far so good. New bucket tomorrow and will refreeze the water with the battery. Should do the charge test on Wed. Keeping the cell frozen until then.

Pete :)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Arctic Tundra

I have the cell frozen in a block of ice in my freezer and I decided to check in on it this evening. Well it seems that the plastic bucket was not so tolerable of the cold and pressure of the frozen water. The dang thing split right down the side from top to bottom. It split the block of ice around the cell too. No damage to the cell. It is sitting right at zero degrees in the freezer at this time. I decided to see if it still shows voltage. Yup, it sure does. It is resting at a comfortable 3.157 volts at this time. This resting voltage is sorta high like this because of the high end voltage we terminated the discharge. I terminated the last discharge at 2.5 volts under an amp load of 45 amps. Nearly .5  which is the maximum consistent constant current discharge that the cell is rated to do. Peak of 3C. I will pull the cell out as soon as I get home tomorrow and take some video and photos of the block of ice and how the thing split. I was kinda surprised that happened. I guess I need a better bucket. I will finish splitting the block to release the cell from the ice block and try again with another bucket. I hope to find a better one. That bucket was an old cat litter bucket and had been exposed to the sun all summer so I guess that did not help either.. Anyway there is no mess in the freezer. The cell looks fine and still provides voltage as expected even at zero degrees. Im impressed so far.

Got my GTI back from my Daughter and I had my Son go through the vehicle and he found it needs lots of work. Needs new struts and brakes all around and we still need the heater core reinstalled. He wants the GTI and I want his Bug. It may work out. May not. I don't really want to dump too much in this as I need to concentrate on the Ghia and Bus.

More talk on fires again. Seems like Fisker Karma is having some clamp issues where they are saying that it could cause coolant to leak and cause a short and cause fires. 239 are being recalled. Who ever heard of a fire being caused by a coolant leak. I thought the batteries were sealed. Nissan is claiming that of all the Leafs destroyed in the tsunami and all that were crash tested never caught on fire or had any battery issues. Kudos to Nissan. Seems like the others need to get back to the drawing board and start over. Coolant leaks. Really? Come on.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Frozen Cell Zone

2008 Hi-Power 100ah cell. Cell resting at 2.5 volts for a few months was chosen for the test. It is a known good cell being what it is and being it is an early LiFePO4 cell of lesser quality than the more current cells. But still decent. 

I took the cell and placed it out in the open during the evening to bring the temp of the cell down to the current temp of the evening air which was 28 degrees. I was hoping for lower and it had been lower a few nights before. I figured this would get me to a cold point well below the freezing point. Success but it was short lived. Once we started the charge procedure the temps rose but not by much but above the freezing point. I decided to place the cell on a block of ice and place another on top to keep the cell as cool as possible. 

My technique for charging was to charge at 15 amps but really needed to start it at 19 amps and let it taper to 15 amps. The technique is consistent and works quite well. Once the cell reached 3.65 volts I turned down the amperage to 10 amps then to 5 amps and each time allowed to reach 3.65 again. Once it reached 3.65 @ 5amps we terminated the charge. 

I did this on two consecutive days. The second day what changed was the medium I used to keep the cell cold. I placed the cell in a bucket of water and placed that bucket in our chest freezer and let it freeze overnight. In the morning I pulled the bucket out with the frozen water and cell imbedded within. The temp of the freezer was 5 degrees F when I pulled it out. I began charging again using the same technique. 

We logged sort of every 10 to 20 minutes or so until the charge cycle was complete. Exactly the same both days. 

The problem today was I found that the bucket of water was not fully frozen and therefore was not as cold as expected. I did check the terminal temps and never saw over 50 degrees. 

As for the discharge I used my old Starter/Generator for our discharge medium. This allowed a discharge current of 25 amps at the start and on the first day we reached 30 amps at the end of the charge when we terminated at 2.5 volts. Todays discharge resulted in an amperage of 40 amps at the end of the discharge cycle and the same 2.5 volts. 

I logged that as well and have two graphs overlapping. I have the numbers on both tests so you can see that the results were nearly the same each time. 

Both the Charge and discharge times were quite close. 

I currently have the cell once again in the freezer and we will let it remain for a few days if not a week. That will be a good long time to be sure it's cold. Our freezer will reach 0 degrees F. It will in fact go below 0 degrees F by a few degrees. It's nice and cold. 

Attached is my PDF with graphs and log numbers. 


Monday, December 26, 2011

Freeze Test

Time is perfect for testing the charging of a frozen cell. Morning temps are in the low 20's and remain in that zone for some time. Today it was 30 at 9am. I put the battery on the hood of my car that is sitting out in the open under the stars. It gets cold and with the metal of the car the battery is sure to get frozen through and through. Perfect for charging. The cell was sitting at 2.6 volts today. Considered discharged. The cell is a good cell.

I am going to charge at 15 amps or as close as possible until it reaches a voltage of 3.6 volts.
I will then hold that voltage until the amperage drops to about 2 amps.
I will monitor and log the volts and outside temps every 10 minutes until done.
I will then connect the cell to my starter/generator motor and let it discharge down to 2.6 volts.
I will monitor and log the discharge every 10 minutes until done.
I will try to monitor the discharge amperage the best I can.

When done I will graph the results on both the charge and discharge.
When done I will do it again the following morning.
We will then log and graph to see if there is any capacity loss.

Factory says not to charge frozen batteries. Damage will result. Some want to see this so I figured I'd do it with what I have. Might not be super accurate but I can duplicate the test and log what we get. Consistent is what we can do. Close enough anyway.

Pete :)

Gonna be coooooooooold in the morning.


I went to Home Depot today to gather the required things for connecting the EVSE. I do not have an ideal place to mount it but this one has a longer cord for the J1772 plug. I can move my outlet to the side wall of the garage but distance is limited. I actually need at least 25 feet. It is not possible to mount the box on the wall in the car port unless I reroute the a separate 240 line to the far side of the home. The garage is not connected to the car port. I could just do the long extension cord like I have been doing all along. Works well but leaves a cable exposed to the elements and can get in the way. I'd prefer to mount the box on the wall of the garage and install a long cord for the J1772 plug. That would be ideal. So for now that is what I am doing. The extension I built is huge and well able to handle any amperage I stuff through the cord. That way I am not causing any resistance that could cause the circuit breaker to trip. I made the extension 30 ft long. Works like a charm. Mostly I wanted to test the EVSE. The EVSE uses an RFID reader card to start and stop the charger. When the charge is done it stops charging but I must tell it to stop with the card before I remove the plug. It works. The monitor panel will let me know if the station is ready. It will tell me to plug in after I swipe the card. You actually just wave the card close and it works. It counts the time. I wished it counted AH but it counts time of charge. I will ask if there is a way to see AH in. That would be cool.

Pete :)

I will get some photos of the EVSE tomorrow when I charge the car. It was totally dark out so I could not get any photos.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Solar Power

I show our panels and inverters and small charge controller and just sorta blather on. We will do a demo off grid set up to show the simplicity of an off grid setup. Anyone can do it and there are good used panels but beware of those trying to sell them for way more than they are worth. Polycrystalline will be cheaper.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

EVSE Has Arrived

Well after a long 6 month wait I finally received my EVSE Charge Station from EV-Charge America. Thank you EV-Charge America for coming through. Now is time to try it out. I won't get to that today because it is late and I will be busy. It is set up with a 4 prong range outlet plug but does not use neutral. Only Ground and both sides of the power.  I need to make an adaptor to fit my 3 prong Range outlet. Then I will hook it up and give it a spin. It looks very nice and just like what is on the web site. Comes with user/install manual sheet. Pretty easy to hook up. Mount the mount on the wall then install the EVSE and plug it in the outlet. I am not sure if I have a long enough charge cord. It is a 20 foot cord. I may need to lengthen the plug to the EVSE. I may need to move the outlet to an area closer to the garage opening. I am hoping to be able to reach the Leaf from the EVSE in the Garage to the parking spot in the car port. We shall see.

Pete :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

EV-Charge America UpDate Again

As per my agreement with EV Charge America I have pulled my posting and wanted to say that through all their troubles they sent a full refund of the purchase price and included the cost to ship the unit back to them. I am satisfied of the outcome albeit a bit late down the road. They did make good on their word. That is excellent. Customer service is the most important in any business.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Solar Panels

It is now official. We have our solar panels home safe and sound. I picked up 30 200W Kyocera Panels. Fronius Inverter. It is our power for the next 20 years to feed our cars and a bit extra for the home. It is nice to know that the fuel is paid in full. Can't get any better than this. Well except when I get my VW Bus on the road.

Pete :)

Electric vs Gas

I had to take my Leaf in for it's 7500 mile check up. Glad to report no issues at all. Because it needs to stay at the dealer for awhile to charge back up they gave me a rental for a few hours. They gave me a new Altima to drive. Man, I tell you what. When I got in that sucker I could hear all the noises of the engine and the way the engine moves the car is now much more apparent and not very smooth. I thought my cars before the electric were pretty good but I never had anything else to compare to. Now that I have been driving the Leaf I can guarantee you I will never go back to a piston engine. Now I do still have piston vehicles but they will eventually just go away. I was surprised at how much I could hear. Kinda like using a recorder and then playing it back. Noting it plays everything and that is what it was like. I sooooo much like driving an electric car. It's just soooooo right.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Just an FYI. You guys can post comments on this blog if you like. It is actually good to have some feed back. I do know there are a few followers of my blog. I hope for more.

Pete :)

EV-Charge America UpDate Again

As per my agreement with EV Charge America I have pulled my posting and wanted to say that through all their troubles they sent a full refund of the purchase price and included the cost to ship the unit back to them. I am satisfied of the outcome albeit a bit late down the road. They did make good on their word. That is excellent. Customer service is the most important in any business.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I am going to start installing the running gear and rear suspension and the front suspension to be sure it all goes together well first. Then we will continue with the body and paint work. This will allow us to make sure all the components are there and complete and how it looks sitting low. I will take out the fuel tank and see what kind of space I have for batteries. I may try to figure out how to mount the cells under the bus where there is loads of space. Or what looks like loads of space. Once this is done we can take it apart again for final finishing. I think this will be the best way to go with the Bus. Much I can do so I plan on doing what I can. The Ghia is still being worked on so that one is slowly moving forward. I was sick for a couple weeks so that stalled a bunch of work.

You can see the center section of a Bus like mine where batteries can be mounted and covered below the floor. I should be able to get good amount below the cargo area pan. Mounted and sealed from the elements and removable if needed. No belly pans sticking out to drag bottom. The last picture shows the fuel tank tray area above and in front of the motor mounting area. Should be able to fit a good amount there too. There are more areas to utilize but these are the best areas of mounting so I can retain my cargo area. I was even thinking of building a raised cargo floor about the same height inside as well so I can mount another batch of batteries but still retain a usable cargo floor. It would work. I want a good 100 plus mile car at freeway speeds (55 mph) for this bus. Not kick ass performance but decent and good distance with a usable cargo area. It will be a vehicle for hauling me as well as parts.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Nissan Nissmo Sport Body Kit

Wow. What a cool body kit. Makes the Leaf a wide body with a low stance sports car with some good sized wheels. Now as long as the tires are still LLR ones that will be great. It removes the KOI face of the Leaf and makes it more a vehicle. The Face of the Leaf is akin to the KOI or Nurse Shark. Anyway the look is just astounding. It still retains the original drive train but its a pretty quick little vehicle in its own right. Not a hot rod but quick enough for me. Since it is Nissan that has come out with this Body Package I am sure it is quite suited for the Leaf and to allow it to keep its effective aerodynamics so it retains its original or better distance. Now for the winter cabin heat. I have an idea to implement and if it works I will present it to Nissan or maybe even have some help to make an after market addition that can be retrofitted to any of the Leafs or anyones electric car. It's  pretty cool idea. For now I will try to get my hands on the Nissmo Body Kit.

Pete :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Another Update EV-Charge America

As per my agreement with EV Charge America I have pulled my posting and wanted to say that through all their troubles they sent a full refund of the purchase price and included the cost to ship the unit back to them. I am satisfied of the outcome albeit a bit late down the road. They did make good on their word. That is excellent. Customer service is the most important in any business.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

EV-Charge America UpDate Again

As per my agreement with EV Charge America I have pulled my posting and wanted to say that through all their troubles they sent a full refund of the purchase price and included the cost to ship the unit back to them. I am satisfied of the outcome albeit a bit late down the road. They did make good on their word. That is excellent. Customer service is the most important in any business.

Aptera has bailed, Who's Next?

Well, now Aptera Bails. It's starting to look like it did when the EV-1 was declared dead and all the other companies that were building and selling electric cars just up and quit too. Granted this is not yet exactly like that but it could go that way pretty easy at this time. Only those that are committed will continue. How committed are they? We shall see. It is no surprise that Aptera bailed. I am actually surprised that they lasted this long. I see that Coda is not doing so well either. They keep having delays as well. I will be keeping an eye on the market to see how it all plays out. I make no predictions but see that the market is still in our court.

Pete :)

Aptera has bailed, Who's next next on the chopping block?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Volt in the News again

GM announced that it will buy back any Volt from the owners of the current 6000 owners. They say that only 16 have come forward to sell back their Volts. We know the battery chemistry is volatile and not the safest around. So the crash test resulted in enough shock to the battery to damage the cells even though the casing did not rupture. They said that there was coolant leaks but that had nothing to do with the fires. So they actually had like three crash tests that all resulted in fire or smoke and sparks. Maybe they should have stuck with A123 for the battery chemistry. But no they insisted to go with LG Chem. I wonder what LG Chem will have to say about all this. This will be an interesting play as the days and weeks result in new information and more and more people turning in the cars for GM to buy back.

Here is the official video I got today.