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.