Sunday, December 23, 2012

AC vs DC failure debate

I am miffed by hearing that DC motors are now somehow failing because of extended road time due to the use of Lithium Batteries in the conversions? I have heard this but have not seen any proof that it really is an issue that is directly caused by extended use from what the normal has been in the past. It seems like a logical thought but rarely does logic pan out in reality. Quite frankly I have not seen the proof. I have heard that some have had failures but I have heard about and seen the results of failures with DC motors in conversions that utilize the old lead acid batteries too.

I see the comment as a ploy to push AC when AC was at one time a non issue because they were too damn expensive. Now that a small load is available it somehow makes AC viable to the DIY group. Until I see fully that the use of lithium and extended driving will cause the motor to fail prematurely I will continue to promote DC as well as the affordable AC to those that want that option. Remember that once the supply of those AC motors and Controllers dries up they once again become a non issue again. 

So please those of you who have proof of failures directly attributed to this please provide your information and images of the damage caused. I am not looking for rumors or he said she said either. I am looking at proof that with out a doubt shows this as a cause of failure. 

Pete :)

Is there REALLY an issue here?

Seems like a sales ploy to me. Once the AC motors were acquired but before they were delivered I believe that the DC failure rumor began moving about. A change has taken place.

It is my deepest hope that Jack or someone else can pull this off and get the OEM Motor company to begin selling these suckers to US at a respectable price. I will take my hat off to anyone that can actually successfully pull that off. And not for just a select few. 

Card Reader

I am getting myself a card reader from PayPal for my little business. I think it will be a perfect little gadget. Now I can accept credit cards no matter where I am at. When we go to the farmers market I can now take credit card orders on the spot. I have had customers pass on orders because I could not do credit cards. The business has been too small to afford the cost of the phone card readers through the banks. PayPal has been my business platform for payments for years. I am glad that they are now offering the phone reader for business use.

Pete :)


New weeks video. Been busy teaching xray classes at the college. I will get back to more video this year. Any ideas you have please submit them and any information that would be pertinent to the subject please include it. I will do what I can.

Pete :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Vicor MegaPac

If you need a DC DC you might consider a Vicor MegaPac. It can give you a stable voltage output for your accessory systems and even custom outputs for other items you need to power. If you need only a small DC DC you can use bare modules with a heat sink and put power to them if needed and they are sealed. The MegaPac is not water proof but if you keep the top on and keep it from getting wet in wet weather you should have no troubles.

As for disruptive technology I can say with out a doubt that electric cars are not disruptive but the batteries being used in electric cars are. As such the electric car can be built and sold successfully by the current auto manufacturers. It will take visionary people to move the movement forward but this is NOT the same as the internet of days gone by. In the days of the early internet it was a disruptive technology and no one on earth had the internet. It WAS totally new and disruptive. Cars are no longer disruptive. The batteries that make them viable are disruptive only because they can be used now to power a car and makes gasoline powered cars obsolete. That is the disruption.

Nissan has done a bang up job with the Leaf and I can assure you that the Leaf is NOT a converted Versa. Not even close. The only thing in common with the Leaf is some vague looks. Very vague looks at that.

We do need to get the electric car in the public eye and that is why we should not build total junk. It is possible to build a respectable electric conversion with out breaking the bank but it still won't be cheap. Fiberglass bodies are kinda cool but most are only open top roadster types or just too damn small for the average person and not really suitable for a daily driver. Converting a clean car is fine as long as you like it. Don't just do any thing you may have. Most of those are pretty lame and present a poor public presentation. Not what is wanted.

The auto manufacturers will do a fine job as they can hire all that is needed to put together a system that  can be done in house. Like Jack says, vertical integration. Nissan is doing that. Nissan has a visionary but not like we might expect. It is amazing that we think all visionary people are like Musk or Jobs. Hardly. They are and were great but there are others.

Hot rod types will latch on but in limited amounts. Not much you can do to make a motor pretty. Even the pretty ones I have seen done are hidden from view mostly and that is not what hot rodding is about. Hot rodding is about showing off. It is an art form. I don't see it as a major player. A player yes, just not a major one.

The move to electric cars will NOT be the same as it was with the internet. The disruption is not as grand. Now if we all rode bicycles and there was no such thing as a car then I could see a car being a disruptive change. But since cars are so common and electric vehicle have been around for quite some time in some form or another I do not see it as being terrible disruptive. It's only because of the battery and yes the auto manufacturer will be able to innovate new designs and build them. They do it all the time. A few players will emerge and play in the game. Most playing will be in the battery and instrumentation. Motors and controllers are available and once other car manufacturers see Nissan doing there own motors and controllers and batteries they will follow suit.

Pete :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Looks like a positive move to me. Using the car in an emergency to power the house? Yes. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


and Agitator. Our opinionated friend has a good history of that. He made millions because of it and quite by accident too. He was after all in the right place at the right time. But he does have a way with words that many don't. He is after all a motivator. Also and agitator. That is what keeps you coming back for more. Its a simple concept really. Just pay attention to that which keeps you coming back. Motivation and Agitation. Both come in different dress, so be attentive. 

By now many are lusting quite hard over the new acquisition of the Siemens Motors and Controllers and yes, the Borg Warner Gear boxes. How I'd love to get my hands one a set. Then I'd need to figure out what vehicle it would best fit in and would I be able to actually do the conversion of the transmission safely into another vehicle. Some of the army of 100,000 can. I on the other hand have no access to any facility that would include the space or machinery nor do I have the ability to operate said machinery if I did have access. This leaves me lusting but totally out of the game on that part. I can however attach a motor to an existing transmission setup. 
I will say to those that can't and should not get them, don't fret and most of all don't lust after something you just can't do. Let others do that and be happy with what you can offer. I will be continuing my quest for a reasonable electric drive that ANY one can do. Not just for SOME to do. 

We need an army that CAN put together a car in that swept out space. It's not just about being able to afford to but that we can actually DO it. 

DC is one way and AC another as in the HPEVS line of motors and Curtis controllers. Affordable but not for every type of car. Everyone can do those. I'd like to see a better controller from Curtis or someone that will handle not only the low voltage systems but also if needed handle higher voltage systems in one unit. DMOC does not come to mind but Scott Drives do. Nothing against the DMOC and no doubt they are good. 

So what are the choices we have that are currently selling to the general public willing to depart with those green backs. Well we have the "crappy" Kostov motors. The "Awesome" warp motors, and the odd assortment D&D motors and a few others that are a bit obscure but still quite usable. Controllers for DC are Synkromotive, P&S home built kit, WarpDrive, Soliton1 and Jr and the ever elusive Zilla. These are components that are fully supported and available. I am not talking about the odd assortment of OEM stuff or that found in the wrecking yards or from old forklifts. All of which can and do provide many good components. So the onset of a few of the Siemens motors is good but it is in a class of those obscure components that fall in the realm of your on your own sucker. If they become affordably available and with full factory support then they will be a viable source. Like Lithium, they need to be available and at a price that is of value even for us tinkerers and doers. 

It still supports this in not a matter of innovating but of acceptance. Innovators will however come up with some cool things. But as for building or converting a car it is OLD hack. Sure, I can't build a car that would be on the Level of the Leaf but building cars is OLD and adding in an electric motor is no big issue. What will be the big issue is the publics acceptance and adoption of the electric car. It will change the world. 

The army of a hundred thousand will be the air that breaths acceptance into the movement. Not downloading a program into a controller. I had to learn to download a program into my cars chip to get better performance. Nothing new but it was a learning curve for myself. Not world shattering nor very DIY. DIY is building the controller AND programming it from the ground up. Like Soliton1 guys did. My hats off to them. True DIY and then manufacturer and reseller. They build their own. They had the idea and then became more than DIY but it grew from DIY. Tesla is the result of true DIY. So is Apple. 

Lets motivate the masses and have a movement. Innovation will follow. 

Pete :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Interesting Perspective

A few have ideas that auto manufactures can't build autos with electric motors and batteries successfully. Well I think its hogwash. One says its an early adaptor stage but I say it is an early social acceptance stage. The ability to build and produce electric cars already exists. Once acceptance happens we will see a change. The infrastructure already exists to build. It will take the innovators and tinkerers to make this happen as we need to see and experience the electric cars being successful in normal every day use. We have plenty of folks who have the money and funds to go out and build a factory and have on hand enough engineers to build custom motor/transmission assemblies. It is not going to be the back yard innovators that make it happen.

One thing I agree with is that we need to get 100,000 folks behind the wheel of an electric car. I agree that we need to utilize the LiFePO4 cell which is easy to use and pretty easy to buy. We already have what is needed to build. Yes, the car manufactures will be the ones to build cars. This time it will be with electric motors.

What makes one think that an auto manufacturer can't hire a group of electric motor building guru's to build and test them. When working they just ramp up production. Its done every day. There are plenty of businesses that can build batteries too. They decided to not depend upon others and just hired those that can build them. Integrating them into an automobile will be pretty easy.

I think the design is a big key to being successful and yes there does need to be a value proposition. Frankly the Leaf is Ugly but one I can accept. Frankly the Versa SUCKS as a car. I'd buy an old Bug before I purchased a Versa. But the Leaf is quite frankly NOT a VERSA. If you have driven either you'd know. I know.

Quite frankly Ghosn has the vision. Visionary sight is required. Apple is a success story because of visionary. Tesla is a success because of a visionary.

I do not see the move to hybrids as a back step either. I see it as a good move because not everyone is quite ready to accept all electric. It is also a good move because many folks need more than the all electric can provide at this time. I'd like to see only all electric and not the hybrid but I do understand the move. See how successful Toyota was with the Prius? Very visionary and best of all a car company. Hopefully they will venture into an all electric mode. They are cautious. Understandable. We don't want too many trying to push electric.

There are a few suing Nissan but hey, that happens and will happen. My Leaf is still doing quite well and I have 19,500 miles now on my ride. Or there abouts. I still get a good 70 miles even in the cold. I commute 45 miles daily. No issues what so ever. Still don't like the guess o meter but then again no electric car has a very accurate capacity meter. So there is a market for that. The few that sue and are suing are tiny in comparison to what is being used daily. Yes, some vehicles will have troubles. They are after all still cars and we all know cars break down. I sure do.

Building an electric in the garage! Yes, we can convert to electric drive with off the shelf components. It would be nice to have access to all those fancy OEM goodies but frankly most of us who are doing conversions can't compete with the OEM goodies now on the market in very very very limited quantities and with no support. That alone keeps me out of the game. Like the Zilla when it was not being produced, it was a no go because of no support.
My controller is being produced and supported but in limited quantities. It is good and will continue to be so but they will not get rich building and selling them. I think the move is towards AC as the OEM vehicles are pretty much all AC including the new golf carts and forklifts. DC is going by the way side but I do like my little treasures. By no means are these motors no longer viable. But they are going to be limited to shorter range conversions.
It is true that the lithium cells are allowing long drives and some DC motors are not handling that too well. The AC motors are doing just fine.
HPEVS sells some excellent motor/controllers that will be suitable for many smaller vehicles. Fast charging is out unless you want to spend 3K for an untested unit. I'd like to see more from these units.

So will the auto manufactures be able to build our next affordable electric car? Yes. Will there be some new auto manufacturers? Yes. Many new ones? Most likely not.

So in light of the new blast of Siemens motors and controllers we still need to keep our eye the affordable and usable systems we currently have available to get more conversions on the road. Don't let the news of these blind you and keep you from building your dream EV. If you happen to be one that can afford to buy one and are willing to take the plunge by all means do so and report your findings. If they do finally become available as affordable units then, hooray!

Enough for now.

100,000 people need to accept electric and drive them. It is not about technology. That we have. We need acceptance. Lets make it so.

Pete :)