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Welcome to the Electric Car Weblog. In addition to links, news, and tips about electric cars and other forms of alternative transportation we are publishing an on-line diary of our current EV project. Started in August 2005 the chronicle follows the conversion of a gas powered Ford Probe into an Electric Car.

You will find articles organized by categories, along with recent comments, along the right hand column of the website. If you are just getting started with the idea of converting a gas car to electric be sure to check out Your First Electric Car

Welcome and enjoy!

Electronics for Dogs · 9 October 05

Throughout the conversion process I probably toss around a lot of jargon that is unfamiliar. And it isn’t just because I’m making things up, although that is certainly a big part of it. There’s automotive parts and techniques that might be new and of course the whole “electric car” portion can seem like really complex electronics.

But an electric car isn’t all that hard to understand once you grasp a few electronic basics. In fact at its very simplest an EV isn’t that much different from the circuits in a light dimmer or a remote control toy car.

Here’s a fun little series of electronics primers, presented by Zeke and his friends. Hopefully it will be useful for those who haven’t cracked open an electronics book or who have tried and failed to understand the wiring diagrams in the back of a car’s how-to manual.

Electronics for Dogs, Part I

Read Electronics for Dogs Part I

Comments 11
  1. Ted Jerome    Oct 10, 2005 21:30 PM    #
    Hey, I kinda get it!
  2. Jerry Halstead    Oct 11, 2005 19:17 PM    #
    Congrats, move on to #2 now!
  3. Dan Lyke    Oct 12, 2005 19:21 PM    #
    Uh, yeah, but unless that battery has some sort of hellacious internal resistance, “When S1 is closed the LED is connected to the battery and disappears in a puff of smoke”.
  4. Jerry Halstead    Oct 12, 2005 19:31 PM    #

    See, cockroaches are pretty smart after all. ”:^)

    You are right, although you can now buy LEDs with resistance built right in. Not sure what the schematic symbol for those are.

    I try to clarify the resistance part in the next installment.
  5. — OW    Sep 01, 2006 13:52 PM    #

    I have read your first diary and i enjoyed it alot. I am thinking of converting my VW 2003 passat to an EV. I was wondering why you need all of the electronic components. Couldn’t you just use some batteries, a accelarator (switch), and a motor? the charger could be external, correct? Last question, do you think that the afformentioned passat is a good convertion idea. It is all wheel drive and is a hatchback. We rarely use it (we walk our kids to school then we walk to work) so range is not mandatory although it would be helpful.

    Thanks Oliver Wellstein

  6. — James May    Sep 02, 2006 17:47 PM    #

    Hi Oliver

    I think you might not get very much control of your EV with just an all or nothing switch. Some people have got by on having series/parallel switching of batteries which amounts to a 2 or more stage switch. It’ll be too jerky to drive in a low gear (if you are using a gearbox) if you can’t finely control the power. Yes, the charger can be external but you need one for each place you fill up or you need to carry it in the car.

  7. — Donald Moyes    Nov 13, 2006 22:34 PM    #

    I am attempting to build a electric vehicle for around the farm and to amuse the grand children and as an exercise for a more anbitious vehicle. I intended to use two strarter motors with canges to cooling and bearings for motors. I am having trouble finding a means of controlling same. Can anyone help.

  8. — James May    Nov 14, 2006 08:20 AM    #

    Hi Donald

    Just the same as Oliver above, what you really need is a PWM (Pulse Width Modulation)controller. It will work so much better than switches and resistances and so on. The principle is that the controller produces pulses (usually at high frequency, maybe 15-20 kHz). The width of these pulses determines the proportion of the time which the full power flows through the motor. It can be varied between low percentage, when the pulse width is narrow (good for creeping along) to 100% where the pulses all merge into one. It is possible to build your own controller, it works on the same principle as an AC (alternating current) light dimmer. It would be much easier to find and existing controller which matches the currents and voltages you are working with.

    here’s the smallest zapi controller http://www.electrofit-zapi.com/hfsermotor.htm
  9. — JohnG    Jun 10, 2007 00:21 AM    #

    Ok, here’s a question for the more knowledgeable EV’r.

    Are there any controllers that allow the pack voltage to be significantly higher than the motor voltage?????

    This would allow the use of Dry or Gel cell batteries which are lighter and higher voltage, while still maintaining acceptable armature voltages and discharge rates.

  10. — jmiller    Feb 07, 2008 22:06 PM    #

    i need a wiring diagram for a 1997 chevy 2500 truck 6.2 diesel

  11. jerry Halstead    Feb 08, 2008 08:34 AM    #

    Check your local library to see if they have a Chilton’s manual. Auto part stores usually carry a selection of manuals or can order one for you. Failing that I’ve purchased service manuals from the dealer before. They are pretty expensive, but have tons of detail.