Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Guess-O-Meter Strangeness

Well today I had to go into Oroville near where I work. I actually drove a bit more than I normally do on a daily basis. The car was fully charged and outside temps were at 66 degrees. Once the weather gets to around 65 plus degrees in the morning I still usually only get about 70 miles from my daily commute and that is driving pretty consistently at 57 mph. Last week the starting temps were just as warm and the temps coming home were nearly the same as well and I got according to the Guess-O-Meter a total of 69 miles. Mmmmm. Hows that. Some days when it was colder I would get that or better like maybe 72 miles. Well today I got much better and drove faster. I got 82 miles total. Very interesting. I drove into work at 58 to 60 mph and drove home at 58 to 63 mph. I once thought that maybe it was just speed then cold then, who the heck knows.

Regardless of the BS of the Guess-O-Meter, I was amazed that I was still able to get this kind of mileage after 2 years of driving and over 23,000 miles on the clock. Seems like I have no real issues with the battery. It just has no clue how to show the information that would be truly usable for me. Sorry Nissan but you still need to do better. Still love the car and drive it all the time.

Just glad to see these kind of miles on a daily commute.

You can see my little Roadster in the one pic. :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Moon Disc

Moon Disc's for my Roadster. Woo hoo. Finally got my rims ordered and will be picking them up this next week. Since I could not find a good set of Centerlines for my Roadster I opted to get a set of narrow stock rims that have been blasted and double powder coated in black with Duz Fastened Moon Disc's for them. I think it will be a much better look anyway. Not cheaper but better. Damn Centerlines for the Wide 5 bolt pattern on the original Bug are nary impossible to find. Can find plenty of 4 lug Centerlines. My Roadster is Red but black rims will do just fine as the tiny bit that will show will just blend into the tire since the Moonies pretty much cover the whole rim. Makes for a nice smooth wheel for that Roadster look or Bonneville Salt Flat runner look. With the Duz fasteners I know I won't loose my caps from the roads around here.

Love the look of the Moon Caps.

Monday, April 15, 2013

DC Diesel Power

Today I picked up a nice new micro diesel engine. I am going to connect my starter/generator motor to the diesel engine to produce a source of DC power I can take along with me to charge my little Roadster if there is a need. I chose diesel to cater to those who would like to see things stay cleaner and use more renewable sources of energy. It is not always possible to be in a place that has the power needed to charge an electric car. I plan on taking that with me. With a small DC generator that can produce 30 volts and up to 400 amps it is possible with our setup to charge our vehicle. As long as I have a DC source I can charge. The small DC generator and micro diesel engine using bio diesel or straight VO or clean WVO I can easily haul it with me with next to no excess weight.

This is a project that has not been actually tested but I plan on doing just that. If it works it will be a big step. If not we know what we can't do. I see no reason why we can't make it work. The diesel pumps out nearly 8 hp with with only a weenie 296 cc displacement. That is diesel power for you. This little sucker has a pull start or electric start. I will be needing an amp meter and volt meter and some way to turn on the field with at least 12 volts and some amperage. I will need to utilize a cooling fan for the motor. It will get hot. I decided on DC because DC is what our controller takes. If this thing pumps out enough I was even thinking of a way to disconnect the standard controller from the car and while driving have the generator running and pumping in 30 volts and what ever amperage it can produce directly into the motor and drive the vehicle that way. Not full power mind you but it could get you out of a jam. Or like I intend to do is just take a long break or maybe even a short break and do an 80% or so fast charge on my pack then jet off once again. Some may have some excellent words of wisdom and if it helps built this to completion and testing it will be much welcomed. I think it will be pretty simple. That is how I want it. Nothing complex.

Oh yeah, I got to play with my new lens for my Canon Camera. The lens does excellent in low light and has a nice depth of field. The lens is almost fully manual but on video I leave the aperture all the way open and the camera takes care of the ISO setting which adjusts for light or dark without changing the aperture. That is the cool thing about digital cameras. I can do that with another setting for actually taking photos. Or I can go full manual. I like semi-auto. Does nice and the focus is clean and sharp. No breaking the bank on these lenses.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Tesla S Finally .......

Well I finally got my first ride in a Tesla S today. We had a First Responder training session at our local college so our First Responders could get a good look at some all electric cars. I brought my Leaf and a fellow (David) from Sacramento brought his Tesla S. It was more a mini show and tell than a First Responder session but maybe tomorrow will be more on task. The Tesla S will not be attending the session tomorrow. The Tesla S stole the day and was the most talked about of the electric cars. The other vehicles that were there were a Prius and another Nissan Hybrid. None of which were even looked at. They all looked and checked out my Leaf and the Tesla. I got to go for a spin with him in his Tesla and quite frankly I can say I have never been in a more elegant and powerful vehicle. This thing is just amazing. It is solid, quick, quiet and agile on its feet. For such a large vehicle it did not skip a beat and the pull is just outstanding from zero to 80 mph. It pulls hard all the way. Not like my Leaf that drops off the pull quite early. My Leaf is a weenie thing along side the Tesla S. The build of the Tesla is just astounding and if you want my opinion there is no other electric car or gas car on the road that can compare. None. If you think its expensive I can assure you that you will get your moneys worth with this vehicle. Hands down.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Playin with the camera

Been playing with my Canon using some old manual screw on lenses from the older Pentax cameras. Just got a new lens in today. It is a 55mm f1.9 lens and works great. Opens wide up. Only 6 blades so the blur is not so clean but with the aperture wide open it is great. The only problem is getting a good focus before you start video. Images are good. Going to mess with video tomorrow with the new lenses. Hoping for some good results. I need to set up a dummy for focusing then replace myself for the dummy. I usually use a broom. Works great.

Since there is a shallow field of view I need to focus and stay in that focus range. I could use a different lens but I will try later. I have a few other lenses to practice with. Maybe some green screen again too.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Stuff for Sale

Time to cull the herd. I have some stuff for sale. Been figuring out what I want to sell and what I want to keep.

Below is my list:

$2500 38 100ah Hi-Power Cells. The Hi-Power cells may be already sold but maybe not. Deals fall through the cracks sometimes.

$1000: The Synkromotive controller is the early production model and fully able to do 156 volts and 750 amps without skipping a beat. Fully configurable.

$400: The Elcon is a 120 volt setup for lead acid but can be changed to lithium if desired.

$ 1200: Warp9 and in excellent condition. No its not the new upgraded version that you can buy new for $1900.

$1200: The 9" GE that Jim Husted built with the BMW 2002 adaptor plate. Can't beat that price. Runs great.

$800: Another 9" GE with built in adaptor for the VW.

$250: 96 volt Quick Charge Select-A-Charge charger.

$450: 144 volt Quick Charge Select-A-Charge charger.

$300:  S-10 Adaptor Plate for the Older Style Kotov 11" motor with flywheel.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Wow. Mike and Matt have done a bang up job with the VW conversion using the AC-50 setup. Starting with a restored VW from a customer they have done a very nice and clean conversion. Detail is  the key to build a nice electric car. With performance of 0-60 in less than 9 seconds is in the same class of performance as I see in my Leaf. Now the VW is a much simpler vehicle but it is a timeless classic and one that is plenty in this country. What I like is that using the AC-50 and Curtis controller you actually have a low voltage system that requires the use of the transmission. Making it all the more viable for a daily driver electric car. This car is being used for show and go. One could build a good used VW as a daily driver without dumping in thousands in a restoration job but still be a real decent daily driver. With some detail work it would look and feel like it came from the factory that way. I had the privilege to drive Jack Rickard's VW based Kit cars with the AC-50 setup and felt it was good for the light weight fiberglass buggies. But it actually does perform quite well in the all steel bodied VW and as long as you know its not a RACE car it can be a real nice daily driver/commuter for many wanting an electric car. Now its a matter of getting the owner to get over the up front cost of lithium cells. Once that is done it should be an easy thing to do. Yes, some will want more power but many will be quite satisfied with this level of performance. I sure am with my Leaf. In a VW, it would be super.

I am glad to see some clean conversions coming out and being shown that have the AC-50 setup. Coming up with a quick setup for the VW is a great idea. Time to build the battery boxes clean and tidy. The motor/adaptor is the easy part. I have an idea for another type of battery box.

Good going guys.
Pete :)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Off Topic

Well this post is about my camera. I use a Canon T3i at 18 mega pixels. I use it for my photos and video. I don't like it for video only because of its limited gigabytes per clip. If I use raw setting it limits me to about 11 minutes per clip. If you don't have a clip timed you will need to restart and continue from when it quits. Really sucks. So right in the middle of a sentence it will cut off. So I try to limit my time per clip. My camera is totally automatic or manual if I want. My lens is the stock 50mm lens. It is good and takes some great images. I can do manual settings or semi-manual and get great results. What I wanted to do however  was to get a nice telephoto lens but did not have one. I then remembered that my wife has an old Pentax camera with a few nice lenses but they don't fit and are not electronically compatible with my Canon. What to do. Well there is a whole world of lens adaptors that allows you to use the old SLR lenses on the new DSLR cameras. Since most film photography is pretty much done it leaves a brazillion old lenses needing some love. Hop onto ebay and pickup some adaptors that have the electronic sensors to allow the camera to continue to adjust the iso setting needed. An adaptor is about $9. I got two and now have a 72-300mm Tele-Photo lens and a good 50mm lens. Not the best but good enough to get some great pics. I also found that there are many excellent quality lenses from the 50s and 60s that use the old M42 screw mount. A simple lens adaptor and world of lenses allow you to pick and choose with out breaking the bank. Once again digging for quarters. Again the Pentax rules. I found locally an old Pentax Spotmatic camera with a bunch of good lenses and teleconverters and tubes and cases and such and now have a nice prime 150mm lens and a nice 35mm lens. Using the teleconverter is not so great. You need a great amount of light as you loose light when using one. If set up properly you can get excellent images. If not you get real crappy images. Many of these lenses only have like 6 blades on the diaphragm. It is prefered to have more for exellent Bokeh. What I want is a nice 50 or 80 mm lens with at least 12 blades on the diaphragm for using in making my videos. I have not yet found that quarter but I did come up with a nice 200mm lens that I can use an extension tube with so I can get closer and get excellent results with my aperture settings. My 150 mm lens has too soft of edges when the aperture is wide open. My small lens has excellent edges. I try to do my images with the aperture setting open wide. My 200 mm lens has 12 aperture blades and is nearly round when not fully open. I may get excellent results with video with this lens and a lens extension tube. I can produce plenty of good light. However I do need to move my studio to a different place so I can set my camera a bit further away than where I sit. Filming outdoors is not going to be a real issue except for the time needed to setup. 

I decided to give my extension tubes a good try and used one to make my 35mm f-3.5 Super Takumar a super maco lens. I needed a good subject to photograph and was having trouble finding something cool and small. Well fate was good that day. Wouldn't you know it, a bee landed on our sliding glass door in the early morning at mid height and just sat there for hours before flying off. What a perfect subject. Got everything set and started to take pics. I needed to do a bunch of adjustments but finally found a good setting. Some images came out lousy, some ok and two excellent pics. I used a number 2 extension tube. Below are the two best resulting images. It really pays to hunt for gems. More quality lenses will follow. 

Just thought you'd like to see what can be done when you marry the old with the new. 

Pete :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Diggin for Quarters

Diggin for quarters to get that good deal. Shoppin around to find the best price. You know, most of us need to do just that. Yes, there are many who can just go out and spend willy nilly and not give a hoot about cost but that is really the exception. But you know if one can save $20 here and there and a buck here and there the pennies really add up. If you happen to be in the camp of having to shop around and try to save a buck to help in that purchase of your lithium batteries then so be it. It is no big deal to see what the coolest thing happens to be and then go out and price the components elsewhere and if you can get them all for less then by all means do so. It is really nice to have a one stop shop but there is no place that can do the best price and be a one stop shop. I penny pinch and dig for those quarters to fund my project. I also go shopping in every corner I can find to get the best deal. I look for new and used. Many times I come up with good used parts that will fulfill the required needs. Instead of paying $1600 for a motor I paid $600. I did have to pay for a new adaptor but the savings I found purchasing a good used motor helped pay for that adaptor.

I shop, barter, sell and buy to get what I need. It is a skill that would help many with their project and one that could allow them to build a reasonable electric car. Diggin for quarters in its self can be a wonderful hobby. Bust out your detector and start sweeping. Much of the time you will come up with pop tops but once and awhile you do find a little gem. Keep going because you never know when your hard work will pay off.

Don't get me wrong, building an electric car conversion is expensive but you can ease the pain in the pocket with frugal shopping whether you shop for new or used. Frankly I like new and get new when I can. Like the little JDL gauges with shunt and dc dc isolater from EVTV for $175 vs DIY for $107. That $70 bucks can go a long way towards buying one LiFePO4 Cell. That is a little shy of being able to buy one 60AH CALB cell. You know, I'd much rather save enough to help me afford just one more battery for my pack vs spending without care. A convenience store is NOT the place to do business in BULK. Its fine for the occasional slurpee or soda but not for all of your components.

The convenience store is all about spending the mighty buck. Not about saving the almighty buck.  So go shop around. There are plenty of deals to be made but know what you need and price things out first.

Be smart when you shop. The convenience store is not always the smartest choice. Some times its the perfect choice, but most often not.

Pete :)