Tuesday, December 9, 2014


An intersting item was mentioned in a recent rendition of electric vehicle talking heads. An electric air conditioning unit. Motor, pump and inverter all in one neat small package. However I am always leery of the sale prices quoted from this group of ev builders. So I decided to go find that item. Since it is from China it's going to be found on Alibaba. From Alibaba the quoted prices are from $300 to $500 for the very same item mentioned. That sounds fair if the product is good. So I decided then to send an inquiry for prices for multiple units. I asked what it would cost if I purchased 5 units. At 5 units the individual price would be $350 bucks. Even less if I were to get more. So if the going price of $799 bucks that would be over 100% profit. The average company in the US is making about 8% profit. Give or take some. I find it interesting that he talks about car dealers going the way of the dinosaur and yet he continues to be a middle man dealer on items we can get directly from the source or at least like Alibaba or Amazon or direct from the manufacturer. At those prices I can save whopping crap load of ducats. I could buy from him and waste my money or I can buy from Alibaba and save myself $449 bucks. Or I can spend less and get two. You know, $449 bucks is not chump change.

What is also interesting is that this guy keeps coming to the DIY yet continues to bash the DIY. Really!

Good luck.

Profit is one thing, gouging is entirely another.
Lucky for us we can go to the source directly.

Also be a bit leery because many times when he mentions something others run out and get the item before its been tested to see if it will work like you want and to see if it may last. If the item proves to be a good alternative then buy direct from Alibaba. Buy through one middle company vs going through a few and paying out your ass.


Pete :)

AC PDF - http://greenev.zapto.org/PDF/DCAC.pdf

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Recording Video

I found a great way to record high resolution video with my Sony A7R. It utilizes the HDMI output of the video channel and Audio channel. I purchased a Blackmagic Hyperdeck Shuttle 2 last year for the express purpose of recording long clips but in either 10bit Uncompressed or Apple ProRes 422HD. They both create super large files but if you need to have that extra for your post video production it will come in handy to record in such high def. I tested this evening with another device that I also purchased last year for the express purpose of recording video for live feeding to the internet. It is a Blackmagic Ultra Studio Mini Recorder. It is designed for one device input to the computer via thunderbolt cable. The recording program is Media Express by Black Magic. It allows for log and capture and playback and if I had an old tape deck I can record from that to the Media Express as well for saving video on the tapes. The thunderbolt cable provides the power power for the mini recorder. It utilizes a long HDMI and a fairly long thunderbolt cable. Both together provide a great bit of length for the device. The mini gets a bit warm with use and uses enough power that you might want your computer plugged in so not to drain the battery. The mini allows you to turn on your camera and then plug your HDMI in and then set your camera and then use the Media Express to record. The HDMI is what the camera puts out but without using the record button on the camera. Any camera that utilizes a clean HDMI video/audio output will be able to utilize this program and device. If you have a Canon Camera you will need Magic Lantern to use this. It has a setting that turns off any screen information so that won't get recorded. My Sony puts out clean HDMI/Audio. Being that the device picks up what the sensor sees it is easy to get 444 recording or 10bit Raw or ApplePro Res 422HD. ProRes is native for Final Cut Pro X. Easy breezy. The in camera settings won't do 444 or 422 or much RAW or what is called 10bit Uncompressed Quicktime.

The one problem is that utilize this requires your computer to be part of the recording equipment. Using the other Hyperdeck I could utilize a small monitor with the deck to take out of the office situation. Still not best for run and gun. I am liking the new Atmos 422 recorder. It utilizes a SSD drive. Like the Hyperdeck I have a large 500gig SSD. Holds lots of footage. But with the mini and the computer I can record all my footage on my computer or onto an attached hard drive.

Next is to do a video on how to use these items to make a video. One good thing about using such high resolution is that you can do green screen much better. It gives a sharper edge around the green and makes for a clean transition.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Inverter motor start

Well, no. My first attempt to actually start the motor with no encoder connected and in very low power and voltage (12 volts) was a no go. Nothing happened. I am talking to the usb device but am I talking to the controller? It looks like I am because I can save parameters. This is done without the encoder connected for an initial test. So there was a no go. Something is still amiss.

It is set now to:
set fweak 20
start 2
set fslipspnt 20 
set ampnom 100

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Inverter Update

I worked with Daniel and we needed to trouble shoot getting this thing to communicate with my computer. I had been trying for a few days to find the right setup and drivers for this board so we can talk to the computer. To no avail there was just no communication. The lights were on but no talkie. Tonight myself and Daniel did a trouble shoot session that lasted about 2 hours total. We tried and tried and at one point he had mentioned that a USB could be bad and he sent a link to a USB base port which he connects these types of boards so they don't short on anything and are stable. This device is only to communicate and change functions.

It is a CP210x and looks like this.

So when he mentioned that they can be shorted I suggested that I unzip tie this piece because he had zipped it to the aluminum plate for shipping. I left it that way because it looked solid and stable. It did not look like it would be any issues leaving it alone. So I left it alone. Well what do you know. I looked at it after he suggested shorting issues and said it looks mighty close. Should I unzip it? Yup. Ok, and right after I unzipped it from the plate I was able to communicate with the device. Woo Hoo. It lives. I then opened the port associated with this device and it gave me a com11 setting. So I changed the setting in PuTTY to com11 and PuTTY came to life. I checked the version and it returned the version of the software. Woo Hoo. Tomorrow after my doctor appointment I take the motor ON LINE. I will have my video with me for that. I will also try to have my O Scope connected to see the results. 

Then I will need to find the encoder wires for the motor so I can then start the motor in torque mode and use the throttle pot to control the motor. 

So now with the device unzipped I will try to find a good place to attach it. Maybe I will find some clear thick shrink wrap and shrink it up. Maybe not because Im leery of putting heat on the device. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Update to Inverter Project / Oscilloscope

Did some testing on the Oscilloscope and it works but needs a bit of calibration. One of my probes is bunk and the other 1x probe does not seem to work properly. Pretty noisy. But I did the basic tests and it works. Stoked. Lots to learn.

More updates to the inverter. I was told my cap connection was not going to work. So I took a couple of short extensions to attach to the ends of the main buss bars. The main bars are narrow and the cap terminals are pretty wide. So putting on the copper end pieces I was able to spread the ends out just enough to mount the caps upside down and right on the ends of the main bars. Should be good this time, I hope. If it looks good then I will do a little low voltage test. I think I know how to figure out what wires are for the encoder.

Here are the next rounds of iPhone evening crappy light photos.

Pete :)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

3 Phase AC Induction Motor Inverter Project

I am continuing with my AC motor controller project. Johannes Huebner has a great project open source kit but its not documented very well. There are 3 known to actually work. One I purchased as an incomplete project that works, Another that is turning a motor on a test bench and one actually motivating a VW in Germany. I also have a kit that is still needing soldered together. With the one that is already working I will be able to easier build this thing. I have a working model to look at if needed.

The Oscilloscope I purchased worked then promptly died. I have a friend that is helping me diagnose the problem and we do know that the low power board has a short in one of the caps. I will try to fix it but in the mean time I still need a scope. I found a much better one and its still the same brand but newer but still an analog scope. Plenty of documentation. Im getting plenty of help with it as well since I am not an EE of any sort.

Below is the inverter. I swapped out the caps with mine and removed the cap buss bar and replaced it with what I hope is better. I may still need to move the connections on the main buss bar but it may be fine as is. 

Don't know which of the 4 encoder pins are used on the inverter. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Oscilloscope has arrived.

An oldie but goodie. I need one to test some equipment so I found an old goodie to do testing with. It will be another learning curve but with the help of a few on DIY and youtube I should do OK. It has all the original probes and then some. Nice little package. Does not look to have been used much. So I expect some decent results.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

New Batteries

Well the batteries are back in the news on Jacks Blog and video. The cam series. Smaller, Lighter and pack a punch. But the cost is still high. As stated I won't go into the ramifications of using them but after all has been said they are really only good for new builds as stated. The problem is that most of the current crop of EV guys have already spent a fortune on building one or two and will have a hard time justifying building another. This leaves very few who will actually buy these nice cells at this time. Unless of course you can build a business selling conversions and use them in those. I can't imagine using anything else other than my CALB SE series cells right now except for maybe using some used Leaf or Volt cells that are on the market. Yes, the bottom feeder paradise. We use the available parts now on the used market. We will be able to buy at a price point that better suits the true value of these components and when the market sees that then we will have many more building using properly priced components. Yes, even computers went through the price war and when the price point came down to a fair price the PC market just blew its top and went ape shit. There are the hard core guys that purchased the top of the line but its not always needed to do what you need. I agree that the new cam series cells are going to be great for the little vehicles that have little space to put a pack. But I have decided to not lean towards those small sports cars because sport cars are not actually practical. Fun as hell but not practical on a daily basis. Problem is there are not many nice cars that are suitable for a decent build unless you can put in enough for a decent range. Yes, 120 mile plus in America is an ideal distance. 75 you get from a Leaf new is not so much so. That is from 3 years driving one. This winter will cause me to have to charge at work and we don't have charging available yet. Not likely soon either. I have lost enough range to really not want to drive it to and fro like I have done for the past 3 years. Its time the EV community really focus on range in the worst case for those that want an electric car. I can no longer say that buying an EV is a great thing. It is if you live in the town you never leave. If you work there and vacation there and just flat out don't do anything then the EV is great. I want to see 150 miles at 65 mph in the middle of winter with the heater blaring and the wind blowing. Once the production EV's get there then for many it will be a viable source of driving. If you have to commute you need something that will do the job. I also want to see a battery pack last a real solid 8 years or more with no more than a 10 to maybe 15 percent loss of capacity after that time frame. I can get a new pack for my Leaf for 5k but I'd hate to have to replace it every 3 years for 5K just to get to work and back. The numbers just don't work. Ive only spent $1500 in electric costs at our rates for the last 35K miles. So replacing the pack again at 5k is a backward move. I loose big. To break even at the rates we pay and how much we drive daily we will have to have our pack last much longer before being replaced. Last day out I had to cycle the defrost a bit and had like 12 miles remaining after a 45 mile trip to work and back home. I used to do much better. So 57 miles and not even having the heat on and the outside temps above 60 is not a good thing. I can't see that as being a long lived pack. Surely not 8 years. Now if I only commuted a short distance and at speeds under 55 mph then maybe but that would only be time and not miles. I count miles. Not just time. I know someone who only has 28k miles on a 15 year old vehicle.

I want my pack to last. I did purchase two used Leaf Packs that are giving a good 58AH per module. Not terrible bad. They are small and I can put them all in my VW Bus. With a nice AC motor I will have along distance cruiser and I won't be hitting them hard and they should last longer than if in a Leaf or larger heavier vehicles. We shall see. Worst case is they will be my battery backup for the OFF grid setup going in.

I wish Jack well selling in a saturated market he new cam cells. But I won't be pushing them. His CALB SE cells are $95 each with straps. Not bad and I may still buy a few but the price point will be and must come down if they want to sell these types of cells. They are good. I can hold 60 in my VW Bug. Not terrible but still far from my ideal 150 miles.

As for the Leaf and Versa in the same class? Hardly. The Leaf is a Mid Size and the Versa Compact and the quality of the two are worlds apart. I have driven both and have lived with a Leaf for the past 3 1/2 years. There is no comparison. The Leaf is NOT a Versa with an electric motor and batteries. The Versa is a piddly little piece of crap.

Pete :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Balancing Act

Im trimming up all my cells including the Leaf modules. I have the PowerLab set up for the CALB SE cells and since all have been bulk discharged the touch up is going fast. I should have the all done tomorrow even with a trip to town to photograph the Salmon Run on the Yuba River over at the fish hatchery. I had to reset the JLD meters for discharging the Leaf Modules. My first set up did not stop the module when it was supposed to stop. I set it for 6 volts which is already quite low but because it did not stop it kept going until it auto shut because the module went to zero. It happened within 10 minutes from the start of the discharge and it got hot and bloated. I even smelled a bit of electrolyte. The battery bounced back up but remained bloated. I killed a Leaf Module. I now have it set to shut off at 7 volts and restart at 7.05 volts. I leave it until it can no longer bounce back fast. I want to let it rise up and stop at 7.04. Its working perfect now. Most of my cells are under 7.9 volts.

I have 65 CALB SE cells. 60 will go into the Roadster which is awaiting my Controller and components.

I will be getting another inverter for my charger project. I purchased a kit already but because of surgery I had to put that project on hold. I am dong fine and ready to move forward. I found someone with a kit that they built and got to work. He decided to sell the kit project and I purchased it. It should be here tomorrow. It will be configured for REGEN and connected to a Gas Engine to provide the motive power for the AC motor. Once I have the basics done I will need help in starting and stopping a charge cycle and to be able to do that remotely. With proper control I am sure I can get this to work while pulling it behind a vehicle. I will need to be able to set a voltage to match a voltage of 90% of the main pack voltage so I can charge on the go but never fully charge.

I have my own kit so if I screw up a board I can rebuild and keep moving along. I will be having lots of help and the build project. It is also water cooled.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Tesla News

Just enjoy the news. Im sure Jack will have some wit to say but I don't care much a wit about him these days. 

Well what do you know. He did have his wit to say about this. Well if you buy the car knowing it has autonomous features and you turn those features on then YOU are responsible for the outcomes. If you trust the system then you won't have a worry. I for one like the idea. There is so much that can go wrong and the autonomy of the vehicle is mostly to help you keep from slamming into another vehicle or obstacle and that you CAN take control even though the car is telling you your in danger. Danger Will Robinson, Danger. Trust the system. As for being his baby, well, yes it is. Even though someone else had the ideas he actually put it to use. An unrealized application from BMW and others. They sat on the ideas while others are implementing them in a safe manner. Well, we hope safe. I am not much on Jacks drivel any longer. His army is not so large after all. Nothing like he predicted. So much for his self made platform. So much for BoardWatch. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Baby is Home

Towed my Roadster home yesterday. Now is time to figure out the best layout of all the components to keep things clean and tidy. It may take some time because I need to do this only once. In the motor compartment will pretty much be the controller and motor. Everything else will reside elsewhere. I hope to have some goodies up front in the storage box next to the battery box. I will need to do this DC DC thing so I think I will set it up in that box. Away from the motor and controller. Photos are from the iPhone this morning but better will be coming later. I am going to do a movie and will show what will be in the compartment and what will be behind the compartment. All main wiring will be routed behind the aluminum out of sight. I will still do a clean zip tie job on the wiring. I don't want excess wires showing. I will ask for help in the design. You can all participate in making this a truly one of a kind build. I think I may counter sink the bolts and replace them with flush mount stainless phillips head so the whole thing looks smoother and cleaner. I won't be grinding all the welds.

What do you all think so far?