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Wazzup? · 12 February 06

Super Ears

I’m still digging out from being away on vacation and also having a grand time with the new cold my nephews and niece shared while I was visiting. ”:^)

Before leaving on vacation I stopped at the local parts shop and picked up a new master cylinder and a set of replacement disk brake pads and drum shoes. Soon as my cold goes away and the garage warms up a bit I’ll be out there plunking away on the brakes. Not very exciting, so probably no pictures.

The mailbox has been filling up so I thought now is a good time to post updates on some of the other EV projects we’ve been following.

p.s. I took the dog photo north of Sedona, AZ at a scenic overlook

Dr. Larry’s EV:

Good and bad news. The bad news has nothing to do with Larry’s EV, but with the spammers that somehow found the article and have been posting spam to it once or twice a day. Since I was away on vacation the only option I had was to shut off comments for the time being, which is a bummer since there’s some great discussions and information in the comments. I’ll try to fix this soon (and anyone wanting to take care of the spammers, go for it!).

I asked Larry if he had anything new to pass on from his EV experience thus far:

I have found that you should just go through the gears just like it had a gas engine in it. If you lock it in say 3rd gear think of all the torque it will take from a dead stop. You know how the gas engine would have strained trying to take off in 3ed so will the electric motor and that means eating up some serious amps. That will cut way down on range. Then if you want you don’t have to go past 3rd gear. The more RPMs you can maintain the less it will draw. If you take off in first gear it will require a lot less power due to the gearing. Let the gears work for you not against you. I am often asked if I drive an EV different then a gas car. Heck yea!!. Coast Coast and Coast when you can. If you’re approaching a stop sign or light pull off on the power and coast up to it. If you’re in hilly country remember this “POWER DOWN AND COAST UP!” Pick up speed going down a hill and let gravity help you increase your speed and when you get to the bottom of the next hill have enough speed coming down the last one to coast up it. You can easily traverse hilly country without using a lot of extra power this way. On flat country find a comfortable speed where your motor can run at a higher speed to maintain the MPH you need for the road your on. Like cruising along at 45 MPH in 3rd gear. If you go to 4th or 5th gear then your pulling more amps because the motor has to work harder against the gears. I’ve found the secret to increasing range is keeping the RPMs up. The less the motor has to work the farther you can go. I have learned all of this from over 6,000 miles of EV driving.

James’ EV

James has his EV on the road and has been tweaking and tuning along the way. On the side he’s working on the electronics to boost the signal from a pick-up on the motor shaft in order to get the tachometer working. In other news:

My big news is that I have changed the gear oil in my EV to Red Line Superlight (despite misgivings from Red Line about it’s suitability for my synchros) and it’s been a very good move.

I think I have seen about 10% improvement in overall efficiency (sounds crazy doesn’t it!) and the car is quieter as well. It is definitely worth doing if you are running the stock gear oil. I think mine was the original factory stuff as the car is low mileage.

My car used to have maybe 43-43% remaining on the emeter when I got back from the parents’ now it reads over 50% as a rule.

The car seems to be better at keeping its speed and regenerating and I am pretty sure it needs less current at 35MPH. down from maybe 120A to 100 @ 96V. I am always looking for more losses and will one day investigate the motor bearings as the motor doesn’t seem to freewheel very well.

All of the pages covering James’ EV so far:

Woody’s EV

Woody is working on a 240sx and it looks like he’s been really busy:

We finished mounting the motor. Used an 8” pipe cut about 3” long then cut in half for the clamping mount. Welded some tabs and drilled some holes; a little paint and it all fits together pretty neatly.

Since the car was bought from a junkyard, I wanted to test the brakes/steering suspension etc, before putting the weight and expense of batteries in. So after some brief flat ground tests, We pushed it down the Newport Hill (Newport, IN) (Search the Newport Hillclimb on line.) I felt like a test pilot, just a little nervous. Everything held together, and it steered, braked etc. fine.

I’ve got the dash put together. I removed the ignition and key, I put in a toggle switch to bring in all the accessory relays and power the start push button. The existing cruise control button activated a latching relay, so I am using this to pull in the main contactor. It has a nice “Cruise On” (which I thought appropriate) momentary push button with a green light to indicate the relay latched, and an “OFF” button. Good use of existing buttons I thought. I’ve run all the interlocks through this relay circuit (inertia switch, 0-Pot position etc.) I also installed the most advanced CD player/ stereo that X-Mart had for under $50.00. (As anything easily removed and sold was ever so gently ripped out of the dash at the junkyard) I had to do a bit of upholstery work for that installation.

I bought my batteries, 15X T-875 from a dealer in Paris, IL. Got a pretty good deal, $74.95 each. We’ve welded base frames for all the batteries. Was able to fit 5 under the hood and 10 in the trunk. Cut out my control board from MDO, routered all the edges with a round-over bit and painted it black. It really takes paint well. I’ve got all the electronics laid out, but not mounted yet.

I’m going to purchase my Zivan NG3 Charger this week, along with all the lugs. (Ouch! $2.25 X {all the lugs} really adds up!)


Saabrina's Motor Mount

Mark’s EV, Saabrina, is now officially titled as an EV. Congratulations!

I stop at Mark’s EV weblog from time to time to see what’s new as he continues work on the conversion. Most recently the motor supports have been welded and installed along with axle supports. Prior to that he finished up the battery boxes, which look real nice.

He also has the essential AC adaptor receptacle put in place of the old gasoline cap.

Visit his weblog for details and more pics: Saabrina.

Comments 8
  1. — James May    Feb 12, 2006 13:26 PM    #
    Thanks Larry for the driving tips. I’ve only driven mine less than 500 miles so far so I still very much learning how to get good range. Have cracked all the forward thinking at road junctions andkeeping my amps low, but I still have to remember to keep the revs high. So far nobody has told me why the motor is more efficient at higher revs but I am taking it on trust and trying to remember to keep it between 3 and 4000. It regenerates much better up there.

    Good work on the Saab, I liked the site and might follow you with the twistlock AC connector as my 16Amp caravan power connector seems to be getting hot and has signs of burning.
  2. Jesse    Feb 13, 2006 13:53 PM    #
    Larry might be getting higher amps in a higher gear, but you’re also accelerating and moving faster because of it. I can think of a few good ways to test that theory though. Mark off a length of road that you can make “runs” on without disturbing traffic. Get the car up to speed (running start before the marked section of road), and try going an even 30 mph start-to-finish in all of the gears, and see if you expend any more total energy in one gear than another. If the road is empty-enough, repeat the trial, but in different gears. Also maybe try different speeds. You could also do a trial of accelerate-coast along that marked length of road, start off at 0 mph at the start, accelerate and then try to coast so you end up right at the finish line, see if you use any more energy in one gear than another.

    I did tests similar to this with my previous car, I had a palm-pilot datalogger to watch speed, fuel consumption, etc. It was interesting.

  3. — Woody Becher    Feb 14, 2006 09:28 AM    #
    James, I’m getting ready to fill my manual tranmission, and am interested in your results with Superlight. Are you concerned that it is too thin to provide protection, especially in summer? Is yours a standard manual trans, and are you using a clutch?
  4. — James May    Feb 14, 2006 09:55 AM    #
    Hi Woody

    I have a standard manual transmission and I am using a clutch. Since the power going through the transmission is considerably reduced, I reckoned that a lighter gear oil with possibly slightly less high load protection would be more suitable for me because it is likely to have less hysteresis (frictional) loss when the oil is deformed and therefore reduce losses.

    I originally had 3 oils in mind, synthetic engine oil (engine oil is used in the Austin Mini g/box) ATF (used in autos) or the Red Line Superlight. My worries with the non standard gear oils were mainly with seal compatibility. I spoke with Red Line and they said that seal compatibility would not be an issue but there would be a risk of reduced synchro efficiency as synchros rely on the lubricity of the oil and RLS has added friction modifiers. I went for it anyway, no problems. My results are that I noticed a significant reduction in g/box noise and I reckon approx 10% improvement in road efficency. (I was not able to isolate this totally from changes in tyre pressure). My conclusion is that it was worth doing. If I had had Synchro problems I would have swapped out some of the RLS with another compatible product such as Red Line MTF (manual transmission fluid) until the problem went away.
  5. — James May    Feb 14, 2006 09:59 AM    #
    One more note, if you end up using engine oil, use a single grade and synthetic. It has less unsuitable additives like thickeners and the molecules are less likely to get chopped up. My vote is with the specialist gear oil
  6. — Woody Becher    Jun 02, 2006 07:34 AM    #

    I originally had significant drag on the my 240SX. I rebuilt the rear brake cylinders and that helped a bunch. Since then I’ve put about 1000 miles on the car and it steadily gets better range. Not sure if it’s the bearings and such wearing in (the car sat in a junkyard for a while before I helped it escape) or if the warmer weather and battery wear-in is helping. But I do notice that it coasts down slight inclines much better. But I can now get a good 30 miles before losing some performance, and 40-50miles before the pack voltage drops to 105-110V. It now draws only about 200Amps at 50mpH in 3rd gear. Started looking to have it painted. Then Tuesday night I hit a deer and put a watermellon sized dent in the hood. I’ll send pictures of the finished car once it’s painted.

  7. — James May    Jun 02, 2006 15:44 PM    #

    Hi Woody

    Mine is getting better as well. I have noticed the regen working much better as the new batteries wear in. I was thinking that the motor bushes might be shot because there is such a rumbling on regen under the brake pedal. Have since learned that my controller, the Zapi H2, pulses its regen for higher currents and that explains the rumbling I think. Glad to hear your car is improving. in the long term I have improvements to make to mine. I want to lighten the flywheel, add a belly pan and put high efficiency tyres on it. The gear oil I put in dies make the gearchanges slightly slow and notchy in the hot weather but it’s not a problem