Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Power Walls

Heck no. I want a power brick. Its nothing more than a battery backup system when power goes out. Or you could set it up like a person fully off the grid. Use your solar to charge the brick and run your home during the day and then use the brick to power the home in the evening. A daily affair. With a large enough solar array and a large enough battery brick you can power your home totally from solar and battery power. I expect to do just that. However our home is fully electric including the water pump and heater and air. I will be using my Nissan Leaf battery modules. It is much simpler to wire up and check each module for problems before connecting them to the system. Using those recycled 18650 cells requires not only finding enough of them but you have to find enough of them that still have enough capacity to do the job you need. It is known that these cells can be dangerous but if you do the packaging like Tesla does with those small fuses per little battery you are going to have a much safer system. I for one would not install this on the house at all. I would however install it in a fire safe enclosure away from home just in case of a disaster that could burn your home down. With the Leaf Modules they are contained in a metal can and I will put the power brick off the side of the home and in a container that would keep any fire away from the home. Since the output will be AC it does not matter if the power brick is away from the home as AC will travel far enough with little loss that it will work just fine. So the trick is not the power brick but the charge controller and inverter you need to power your home. For us it all also need to be large enough to dry clothes, cook food on the range and microwave and pump water for the home and property. So we are not going to be doing a weenie little system. This will be an setup that will allow anyone to be completely off grid. It would however be a good thing if you do this completely off grid, to have a way to cook and heat the home just incase you have enough days to drain the batteries without enough light to charge with your solar. You do need to plan for the worst possible disaster. Doing this while still on the grid will require you to have the home cut off from the grid before your power brick comes on line if the main power goes out for any reason and to allow you to utilize the power brick as it was from the grid. Once back on the grid it will just be used during the evening while you sleep. Waiting to fill a need. Your power brick should last you a few days with zero power from any other source. Once that is done you need some emergency backup to the emergency back power brick.

 Pete :)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Used EV Market Value

The used EV market is upon us and it has been taken advantage of from the DIY guys and the wrecked and mangled EV's have been stripped of the EV components and are being sold off to anyone who wants them. It has been said that the used EV situation will harm the EV movement because of the Used Value on the used vehicle market. If it happens to be true and the manufacturers fail to open a market to buy new battery packs for their used EVs on the market then the EV movement will die, again. I do know that Nissan will sell you a new pack for $5200 but not including install. Still if I find a great condition lease vehicle on the market that is in need of a new battery I could buy it for a real low price and then put in a new pack and still sell it for a very good price and allow a person to get into electric vehicle for far less than new. Just like today in the used car business. A used car is not worth much if the engine is OLD and in need of replacement. With a great engine it will sell at a much higher resale price bringing up the value to reasonable level. With the EV it will mean having a great new pack installed for a reasonable price. If it happens that I can buy a Leaf in excellent condition but needing a New Pack I think it might just work. I may actually try it out with a Leaf. Buy one cheap and put in a New Pack and sell it for $18k. Still in a good used car price for a 2 to 3 years old vehicle and with a new pack. Not used. That makes it very attractive to a possible buyer. Bringing electric closer to every day prices. Even Tesla is seeing that. A used S model at a $50k price sure beats the full $120k price of new. It allows folks like me to reconsider a Tesla. Creating an excellent buyer market for used EV's. No, I'm afraid the EV movement will not die after all. There will be a huge aftermarket for the used components that it will be nothing to find a great used drive line and stuff it to another with a bad power plant. Go get a new battery and your good to go. Low miles and a new battery. Im going to do that once my Lease on the current Leaf is up. Turn it in and go find a good used EV where I can purchase a new pack and be on my way for another 5 years or so.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Motor Inverter Generator Project update/recap

I have been working hard on getting the inverter back running again and to find the right changes to to tweak the software to allow the motor to work smoothly. There are still some issues to deal with but for now I am a happy camper. I did find out that the encoder is working just fine on both outputs and its outputting a clean Square Wave. The motor is smooth and quiet and should do just fine. Some more voltage and amperage and connect to a Diesel Engine and try to do some charging outputs into a small pack. Start small and go big. Im happy that I have gotten this far.

So lets see, I screwed up my inverter by connecting it to the power backwards. Fried a few caps and fried an Olimex board. I was not having any luck getting back together but I finally did. Got the new caps soldered in and tested it all. Got the inverter to work and set some parameter and the motor jumped off the table. Got that done but changed the parameters to default and forgot what I did to make it jump. Its now strapped down just in case. You know, it would have made a good video seeing that jump off the table. Oh well. Mucked up another Olimex board. During all this I built another main processor board and purchased a couple Olimex boards. Oops, the boards don't have software. Oh man, now I have to learn how to do that. More hair loss. Its bad enough I don't have much more to begin with. So with the help of Johannes Huebner I was able to get this done. One programmer and using two OS systems to get it done and it works. It took a bit to get the parameters right but the motor spun up slow and clunky. Could not get it to go fast and without the clunk. But it was a noise issue with the encoder. To the point where it could have been just a bad encoder. Nope, it was me. I had the motor and inverter driven off the same battery pack. Lots of noise. I pulled out my Vicor Megapac desktop power pack. I have the inverter powered from a 12v module plugged into the Megapac. Works great except the cooling fan noise. But it keeps things alive. So with that I now get a clean square wave output and can be seen on the O-Scope. I did have to figure out how to connect up the scope as it too is a new thing for me. But I see the benefit in having one. It helped to see the problem and with the change in how I powered the inverter it showed a change so the inverter could operate properly. I do still have a long encoder cable. It will be cleaned up later but for now on the bench it will be just fine. So now I am at a point where I need to get the motor connected to my Diesel Engine for a load test. I'll use the motor to drive the diesel engine then use the engine to drive the motor.

So here is my latest video.

A good clean square wave Encoder Output. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Solar Inverter

Well don't I feel like a dope. Our inverter had gone off line last month and it had a frequency error code. I had checked every possible place to check including the breaker panel. I did not look close enough and found one of 4 breakers thrown. It had not moved much and I missed it altogether. I had even picked up an Auora 6kW inverter to replace the SunnyBoy inverter. Well, resetting the breaker put it back on line. So my inverter purchase was not really needed. I will however keep it because I know the other one will crap out some day. The Aurora is a non transformer inverter so I hope it will be much better or maybe I can get a few more 200w panels and make another 7kW system and put up another system to give us a 14kW solar array. Good thing is I did not have to replace the inverter that I had thought was screwed up again. I have learned an expensive lesson.

I need to build a nice ground mount system.

Pete :)

Motor Inverter part 2

There was some headway but not a great deal. Looking at the parameters and trying everything. Lots to play with. Some things are not connected so not an issue right now. Trying to smooth it out and trying to get the regen back.

Pete :)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Motor & Inverter

Well, well, well. I finally got the inverter fixed and got the inverter re-programmed. Now I can re-program if any updates come available. There was one thing stumping me and that was the emergency stop function. It kept coming up as zero and it needs to be a 1. 1 means the inverter has not been stopped and is good to go. The original inverted I purchased did not have that wire connected and it needed to be connected to a high voltage of 7 volts or higher. God only knows how it ever ran with that always being in emergency stop mode. The wire was never connected at all. So, I got it connected now to 12 volts to keep it high. No need for an emergency shut down. Well, maybe I can setup a 12 volt switch and use that for a table top emergency shut down if I happen to have to shut it down fast. That should be an easy thing to wire up. So with that, I was able to get the motor to run again and even run in Start Mode 2 which I was never able to do before. I now have to re-charge my battery so I can do some more testing. Its on the charger now and happily charging at 15 amps. Once I have that done I will need to get the inverters heat sink working. Its a water cooled sink and it got hot doing a bit of running at 37 amps. Now to move along and set some parameters to tweak the inverter to the motor. Im only running 12 volts so that will have to change soon. I need to get a good 12 volt pump for the cooling system. Time to hit Jack up for one of his pumps for folks who have water cooled sinks. So I did a quick video with the motor running albeit roughly in Start 1 Mode and Start 2 Mode. I am moving forward once again and have learned a crap load of stuff about flashing a chip with software. It took a bit but I got through it with the help of Johannes Huebner.

Pete :)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

SMA Inverter

Well, well, well! Our SMA Grid Tie Inverter crapped out again. Our 4th since we installed the solar panel system in 2005. All were from SMA and all were the 6000U models. The current one lasted a whopping 9 months. It was used but just crapped out. This one is giving a frequency error but it has not resolved in a week and as far as I can tell the power is just fine here. Usually the frequency issues resolve and the system comes back on its own. No go with this one. I was reluctant to go with SMA again and at this point I will no longer recommend them. I can't with this track record. So, I went hunting and decided on a new Aurora 6KW transformerless inverter. More or less a solid state inverter. It has a much better warranty than SMA and it is known to be a good brand. Very well known. It will be here in a few days. I hate being with out an inverter. I hate giving our utility our money.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day

Did not do a whole bunch on Earth Day but I did get some tomato plants planted. I watered our trees and found our solar panel inverter is dead again. This is the 4th inverter that has died since 2005. We have been using the SMA Sunny Boy inverters. I am looking for another replacement. Not to earth friendly to have inverters die so quickly. We are no longer being protected by a warranty. Have no clue why the inverters are dying. They are in a safe place so its not a weather related issue.

I also have my Olimex programmer/debugger device but having no luck figuring out how to use the dang thing to upload the program onto the Olimex board. Awaiting some feed back from Johannes. Can't wait to get back to playing with my motor and controller.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Well, I got me a new 2015 Leaf. I leased this one and they paid off my old one. No money out of pocket and payments less than before. So far the car is good except the new foot operated e-brake. If the capacity goes to shit this time around it will be the last Leaf I get. The foot brake and the little head light adjustment has been removed. Those I used on my other Leaf. Im getting good mileage per charge even in the cold. Well our cold is quite subjective compared to the rest of the country. Im pleased.

Pete :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Leaf Distance

I had once again taken my Leaf in for a checkup and had them check the health of my pack. I had tried to get that Leaf Spy program so I could see for myself. I finally got a properly working OBDII device to plug into the car and use the Android Leaf Spy program to view the battery and some other goodies. It looks as though I have lost 24% of my capacity and if I reach the 33% loss before the 8 years is up I will be getting a new replacement pack. I can however drive further than what might be expected so I am going to try that. I have not been driving the Leaf to work but only around town locally. I did not want to get stranded. Since I am still able to do some decent drives I will continue but I will be for sure on the Range Anxiety Wall. I'll just bide my time until I loose that capacity enough to get a new pack replacement.

So right now I am down on bar but have been told I should be down 3. Maybe the software updates have changed the way the bars show up missing. The bars that go missing are the small ones on the right. Not the longer ones on the left.