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4Springs' Brumby

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4Springs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 October 2014 at 12:44pm
Well, the new 1000A Kelly controller arrived. Very quick service - I placed the order on Tuesday and received the controller the following Tuesday!
Was finally able to install it today. I tested the precharge - still takes 30 seconds for this controller.

So once installed I had to take it for a spin!
The 1000A controller should run cooler than the 800A controller for the same power, but it also should deliver more power if I put the foot down.
So I drove nice and sedately about 2km. Got out and felt the controller - very cool. Drove normally for another 13km (100kph) - controller still cool, motor starting to warm up. Drove home normally until the last 2km stretch - how fast would it go?

Well it spun the wheels in 1st and I accelerated up through the gears. Drew a maximum of about 650A according to my gauge - I had not seen this above 550 with the other controller. At around 130kph though something broke. At this speed, pushing the accelerator down made the car decelerate. So I coasted to a stop a few hundred metres from home.
Checked the Kelly - it had no warning lights, just the normal green one. Cycled the power and it looked the same. With the gearbox in neutral gentle acceleration does turn the motor, but it shudders terribly. Tried this with the clutch in, still shudders.

The poor thing is still sitting on the side of the road, waiting for my wife to come home and help me tow it. The motor is about 65 degrees, the controller about 30 (after 10 minutes or so of sitting). I wonder what happened? I might have broken the motor or the coupling. I can't imagine that a controller fault could cause this symptom?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jeff Owen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 October 2014 at 1:54pm
Originally posted by 4Springs 4Springs wrote:

Checked the Kelly - it had no warning lights, just the normal green one. Cycled the power and it looked the same. With the gearbox in neutral gentle acceleration does turn the motor, but it shudders terribly. Tried this with the clutch in, still shudders.

The poor thing is still sitting on the side of the road, waiting for my wife to come home and help me tow it. The motor is about 65 degrees, the controller about 30 (after 10 minutes or so of sitting). I wonder what happened? I might have broken the motor or the coupling. I can't imagine that a controller fault could cause this symptom?


Commutator or other motor damage due to over revving when the controller failed. Can you visually check the commutator with the motor in the car, from underneath maybe?

Edited by Jeff Owen - 01 October 2014 at 1:58pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AMPrentice Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 October 2014 at 3:26pm
Why not support an Aussie product like a Zeva controller and never look back?

using kelly products is like paying to walk through a rusty mine field
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4Springs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 October 2014 at 4:27pm
Originally posted by AMPrentice AMPrentice wrote:

Why not support an Aussie product like a Zeva controller and never look back?

I mustn't have been paying attention because I didn't realise that Zeva made a 1000A controller!

When I first built the vehicle Zeva had a fairly small controller and I decided that it wasn't big enough. Now of course all my wiring etc. is set up for the layout of the Kelly, so I just went ahead and bought another one as a drop-in replacement. Now that I look at the Zeva MC1000C I wonder what I would have done if I had known about it. It is a similar shape to the Kelly, so it would probably fit physically into the space. The connections are different (Kelly all at one end, Zeva two at each end), so it would require some re-routing of wires.
The Zeva specs say up to 45 cells, whereas I have 48. Otherwise it looks like a perfect match, even about the same price! Really wish I had known about it, would take some re-work but would be great to go local.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4Springs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 October 2014 at 4:33pm
Originally posted by Jeff Owen Jeff Owen wrote:

Commutator or other motor damage due to over revving when the controller failed. Can you visually check the commutator with the motor in the car, from underneath maybe?

After googling "commutator" and having a look with a torch, yes I can see the commutator. I rotated the shaft all the way around and couldn't see any damage on the rotor but I don't know what I am looking at. There is a cover on that end which I might be able to remove to get a better visual.
I tried the motor again once it had cooled down. It seems to go normally for most of a rotation, but has a "bad patch" where it is not driven.

Brumby is back home but is too heavy for us to push into the garage (which is slightly uphill). Sitting forlornly on the lawn.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adverse Effects Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 October 2014 at 7:49pm
that sounds like the motor could have shorted or failed on a winding or 2
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4Springs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 November 2014 at 6:26pm
Quick update.
The motor was cactus as described in another post here.
So I bought a new one!
The new one is another Kostov, the next size up. Next size up means 69kg as opposed to 43kg for the previous one. It just fits. I had to cut off the drive shaft from the not-used end, and fiddle endlessly to get it in, but it does fit. After installing it I connected everything up and ran it, and it had a wobble! I had to take it all out again to have a look. I had put the clutch plate on the wrong way around.
Anyway, it is all back together now and runs nicely. I need to play with the settings in the controller as it is very jerky to start off, especially in reverse. Something to do with having more power available I suppose! There is a setting for "speed" rather than "torque" (shown here under "Control Mode") - I might try that.

Must take some pictures. Everyone likes pictures...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4Springs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2014 at 6:07am
Ok, I may have found the problem that caused my original controller failure.
Turns out that my mid-pack contactor was dropping out when I turned the key to START. So I would patiently wait 30 seconds for precharge, then turn the key to START and the traction pack 150V would be disconnected, effectively starting a discharge. Letting the key back to ON would connect the pack again. How much of the precharge would I lose? It would depend on how long I was in START. This might explain why the controller failed for my wife and not for me. I had noticed that she holds the key in START for a couple of seconds, while I would only take a split second. This would not matter at all in normal operation, but it does if you have this fault!
There was a clue that I didn't pick up on as well. I had noticed that the lights would dim when I went to START. This meant that the DC/DC converter had lost its 150V feed. The significance of this had not permeated. Might have saved me a few dollars if it had...

Anyway, I've tracked the problem down to a faulty join. Which brings me to ask - what joiners to people use in their cars? These are the ones I've been using:

I got them in a fire sale about 15 years ago. Is there a better connector for tapping into an existing wire? I don't want to cut the existing wire, I just want to be able to connect another wire to it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote evric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2014 at 6:58am
Hi Christopher,

What I do, is, for a permanent connection, use a soldered joint with heatshrink, I have never used insulation displacement joints in a car.
To make a connection that can be disconnected, I use bullet connectors, usually red ones for normal (18g) wiring, but I use a high quality crimping tool to make sure the connection remains good for the rest of time!

It's great that you found the problem...

Eric
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adverse Effects Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2014 at 7:07am
i use the same type of clip on connectors but i always put 2 on as i have had them fail before

glade you found your problem just i pity it wasnt $4000 earler
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote weber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2014 at 1:46pm
Originally posted by 4Springs 4Springs wrote:

Is there a better connector for tapping into an existing wire? I don't want to cut the existing wire, I just want to be able to connect another wire to it.

We tried using those insulation displacement thingies in the MX-5 in the early days but they soon proved unreliable, and like EVric we now use solder in the case you describe, where you don't want to cut the existing wire, just make a tap off it. I just cut the insulation away for 5 to 10 mm on one side of the existing wire. First I pre-tin the end of the new wire with solder, then I pre-tin the existing wire, with plenty of solder on both, then I fuse the two together, just laying them parallel. I've been know to do this while upside down in the driver's seat with my head under the dash, with someone passing me the soldering iron as required.

However I haven't been able to find any of that magic split heatshrink that you can get onto the middle of an existing wire. So I use electrical tape.

[Edit:] You need to be aware that soldering a wire creates a stress point where the solder wicks up between the strands and stops. This can fracture given a long enough time vibrating in a car. So the tape or heatshrink is for stress relief as well as electrical insulation.

Edited by weber - 16 November 2014 at 1:56pm
One of the fathers of MeXy the electric MX-5, along with Coulomb and Newton (Jeff Owen).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote T1 Terry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2014 at 5:13pm
I cut the wire, strip it back and the wire I wish to splice in stripped back as well, slip heat shrink over the existing wire an the added wire to the end I want the new cable to face, then crimp the 3 wires in a boot lace ferrule and crimp it with a boot lace crimping tool. Then I cut the plastic collar off, recrimp the flared part of the boot lace ferrule, fold that over to face away from the heat shrink, slide the heat shink over and heat to finish the job. No stressed cables due to soldering, no risk of solder dropping on body parts, including your own, and a very secure joint.
Have a look through these on evil bay http://www.ebay.com.au/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p3984.m570.l1311.R6.TR9.TRC1.A0.H1.Xbootlace&_nkw=bootlace+ferrules&_sacat=0 or just Google boot lace ferrules to find a supplier.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote weber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 November 2014 at 9:59am
Originally posted by T1 Terry T1 Terry wrote:

... crimp the 3 wires in a boot lace ferrule ... heat shrink ... No stressed cables due to soldering, no risk of solder dropping on body parts ...

That's certainly preferable if you can do it, and if the ferrule is of a type that is really designed for making a free-standing joint between wires, as opposed to merely stopping their strands from spreading or being cut when they are clamped in a screw terminal, which is how most ferrules are used.

Sometimes, when it involves a fat bundle of wires in the loom, you're lucky if you can even pull the wire you want from the middle to the outside, and there may be no way you can get enough slack on it to cut and crimp it into a ferrule.

In some cases you can get enough slack to cut it and crimp it into a double-ended crimp joiner. The issue being whether there's enough room for the crimp tool to avoid munching the other wires in the loom.

These crimp joiners are also called "butt" splices as opposed to the "tap" splices or "scotchloks" we are talking about replacing.

Given that you need a joiner of the right size to take the old and new wires at one end, you may need to double the old wire over at the other end to get a reliable crimp. That would require even more slack, so instead you could crimp new and old wires at both ends of the joiner and then cut off the new wire at the end where you don't want it, after crimping.

One of the fathers of MeXy the electric MX-5, along with Coulomb and Newton (Jeff Owen).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Johny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 November 2014 at 10:17am
Personally I hate IDT (Insulation Displacement Technology). There are a few places where they are reliable and essential like crimping into ribbon cable but for automotive 12V connections - nah!
I think it's better to chase all wiring back to a termination point for connections. If that is not possible, cut the wire and use bullet connectors with 4 way female joiners.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4Springs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 November 2014 at 6:54pm
Thanks guys,
I went with a soldering technique similar to what weber described. Wasn't 100% happy with it, it was difficult to strip the wire in place without damaging it. Might have lost a strand or two. I taped it up with a self-bonding silicone tape thing that I bought somewhere sometime. I've never used it before but it seems to do the trick without being sticky like electrical tape. I hate electrical tape, I always seem to be removing the stuff after a few years when it has gone all sticky and horrible.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4Springs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 November 2014 at 3:28pm
Brumby 1.0 (Petrol):


Brumby 2.0 (Lead-Acid, 800A):


Brumby 2.2 (Lithium, 1000A):


I don't seem to have a photo of Brumby 2.1 which was Lithium 800A.

The new controller is exactly the same size and shape as the old one, so no mods needed there. The new motor is a bit different, it is larger in diameter and length and the electrical connections are in a different place.
  • I had to trim the aluminium plate the controller is mounted on. This wasn't in the way of the motor once fitted, but it made it impossible to get in or out.
  • The cable exiting the right battery box (left on the photo) had to be moved forward. The existing cable was not long enough, so I had to make a new one.
  • I had to add four more holes to the adaptor plate. The existing four holes were in the right places, but this motor has eight mounting holes.
  • I had to cut the shaft off the front of the motor. Again, it would have been ok once in place, but it made it impossible to get in.
  • I have submitted a vehicle modification form because I have put in a bigger motor! I also mentioned my battery replacement which I had not done before.

I've taken it for a few short trips with the new controller & motor. I had a bit of trouble initially with it being quite jerky when starting from stopped. I think I've got it as good as I'm going to by fiddling with the mechanical adjustments to the PotBox and changing the Kelly control mode to torque instead of speed. It is not too bad when you get used to exactly where the throttle starts. If you are in a situation where you want to make sure there are no jerks you have two options. Either use the handbrake (disengage when you feel the motor pull) or use the clutch as in a normal manual car. Either method works fine but the second one can be a bit hard if you are in a noisy environment and can't hear the motor spin.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4Springs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 December 2014 at 5:47pm
Here is the latest circuit diagram for the Brumby. Thanks to all who contributed.



Edited by 4Springs - 05 December 2014 at 5:48pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4Springs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2015 at 9:09am
I collected a trailerload of square bales yesterday and parked overnight in the shed. Arose this morning to a pretty scene so I decided to do a photo shoot before I unloaded the bales.










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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4Springs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2015 at 9:29am
Some details on the above:

Trailer had 19 bales, I'm guessing about 30kg each. Makes about 500kg which is the legal limit of that trailer. It tows very nicely, whether slowly backing into a shed or driving at speed on a highway. Plenty of power but I kept under about 70kph in case I lost control - that is quite a load for a little ute. I had half an eye on the ammeter and it cruised at about 100-200A. I didn't see it go above about 300A. This is much the same as normal driving (at 100kph), and the motor didn't get any warmer than a normal trip of that distance.

I travelled 42km and used 16.7kWh to charge afterwards. So 39.8 kWh/100km with load. Normally use about 22-27 kWh/100km unladen.

It was -1.5 degrees Celsius this morning outside. The trailer was in the carport but the vehicle was not. While plugged in there are heaters under the cells. The BMS reported that the coldest cell was 5 degrees and the warmest was 17. I'm guessing that the coldest cell was actually warmer than that - the thermistor is on top of the cell and that one has a big copper cable attached to it which runs outside the box.

I did have a bit of wheelspin this morning on the frosty grass. One of the very few times I've ever needed to use 4WD.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TooQik Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2015 at 1:23pm
Very nice pictures.

I love the crunch underfoot on a nice dewy morning, with the condensation of each breath hanging in the air.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote T1 Terry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2015 at 4:52pm
Great photos and a reminder of just how cold it got down there, funny how you forget what real cold is after a while. After 2 1/2 yrs in Tassie I decided I'd had enough of being cold and returned to the mainland, but now I remember those frozen grass and puddles in the mornings and loose gravel that wasn't loose causing twisted ankles as the feet dropped into the wheel ruts and over you went. Brother in law still lives up on the side of the Huon Valley, but summer is the only time I'd even thing about visiting him these days :lol:
Interesting that the load didn't affect the motor temp, just the energy consumption, bodes well for my big bus project.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4Springs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 October 2015 at 6:54pm
The Brumby has a new coat of paint.
And I had some artwork commissioned for the doors as well!


"Electric" badge works well on the tailgate.




I've also had a set of hurdles made.


This cage is big enough for a couple of calves, a few lambs or a whole lot of potplants.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adverse Effects Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 October 2015 at 8:32am
snazzy for a farm ute hehe


looking good
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4Springs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 January 2016 at 6:11pm
I decided that sometimes I'll want to carry things in the hurdles that don't like the wind. So I painted some plywood to attach.




Here are my plants being loaded for a flower show:


I put in some moveable shelves to get two layers in:


Here are the plants at the show - I managed to fit in 86 pots of various sizes:


It was fairly well loaded, 86 plants plus hurdles, wife and other equipment. I thought it might use a lot of power, it doesn't look terribly aerodynamic. But it was fine, I couldn't tell that it used any more power than normal.
I might have to make some modifications with the tethering. The strap hummed in the wind a bit.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adverse Effects Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 January 2016 at 6:44pm
that looks neat and its getting more and more versatile :-)
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