Voltron-Evo; jonescg's new electric race bike

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Post by jonescg »

Well the bike is crated up and ready to go first thing tomorrow.
I never got a chance to fiddle with anything electronic, just building a crate and stuffing it with racetrack guff like tyre warmers, tool boxes, battery chargers, leathers, helmet, gloves, leathers etc.

I have the inverter set up as described, but when the bike is turned off, the DC Bus takes 2.5 minutes to fully discharge. On the occasion I produced an error (while playing with the throttle settings) the inverter opened the main contactor, and threw two faults - I only know this because the laptop was plugged in, I have no way of knowing otherwise. The first was the Accel_Hi vaule out of range (OK, I knew why) but the other was Inverter Discharge Active. I don't know how rapidly it discharged, because I wasn't standing there with the seat cowling off, multimeter in hand, attempting to measure the DC Bus without killing myself.

The inverter OK relay which is driven by J2-15 has an LED across the coil. At start-up, this LED always lights up ~300 ms after the quarter and half contactors are closed, as per the manual. If it throws a fault and the main contactor is opened, the LED is not lit. So I figure it's doing it's job.

I might just check the precharge_output_EEPROM value when I have the bike uncrated and ensure it's set to 0. I no longer have the NC part of the HV relay in use, so I might as well give the relay a rest.

Got a couple of days paid work tomorrow and Friday, but will still be running around getting paperwork sorted so the bike can be collected.

Can't wait for the weekend Image
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Post by weber »

jonescg wrote:The inverter OK relay which is driven by J2-15 has an LED across the coil. At start-up, this LED always lights up ~300 ms after the quarter and half contactors are closed, as per the manual. If it throws a fault and the main contactor is opened, the LED is not lit. So I figure it's doing it's job.
It's good to know that the OK relay comes on at startup, but a part of its job is to stay on for a while after the main contactor is opened, so the inverter can complete the discharge. Did you ever see it do that?
I might just check the precharge_output_EEPROM value when I have the bike uncrated and ensure it's set to 0. I no longer have the NC part of the HV relay in use, so I might as well give the relay a rest.
According to your parameter dump (and today's update of the software manual), there no longer is any parameter called Precharge_Output. It has been repurposed to become Relay_Output_State.

We now have three conflicting documents regarding the meaning of the values of this parameter (with GUI address 0x012C). We have the release notes (see the note for revision 1909). We have the newly updated software manual (see bottom of page 38). And we have your parameter dumps, an old one of which begins like this:
# 06/08/2014 11:12:56
# Firmware Date-code: 20130923
# Firmware Version  : 1908
# Hardware Version  : 23454
# Hardware ID       : G3
# Com Port          : com1

#decimal:

Motor_Type_EEPROM                     ,     16  
Veh_Flux_EEPROM_(Wb)_x_1000           ,    147  
Gamma_Adjust_EEPROM_(Deg)_x_10        ,    -74  
Resolver_PWM_Delay_EEPROM_(Counts)    ,    700  
Run_Mode_EEPROM(Trq=0_Spd=1)          ,      0  
Inv_Cmd_Mode_EEPROM(CAN=0_VSM=1)      ,      1  
Key_Switch_Mode_EEPROM                ,      1  
Precharge_Bypassed_EEPROM_(0=N_1=Y)   ,      0  
Relay_Output_State_EEPROM_(0=OFF_1=ON),      0  
Discharge_Enable_EEPROM               ,      0 
Note that the dump says revision is 1908, so according to the firmware release notes your parameter 0x012C should still be Precharge_Output, and yet in the dump itself we have "Relay_Output_State".

You would by now have seen my email to Chris Brune asking for clarification.

I'm also wondering why you haven't updated your inverter firmware to the latest?

[Edit: Corrected 0x0120 to 0x012C]
Last edited by weber on Thu, 19 Jun 2014, 08:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by jonescg »

I thought I did - or was that the hardware version. Anyway, I have been too busy building a bike and getting it to turn a wheel, that firmware updates were not front of mind.

Perhaps there is another document telling me how to do this?
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Post by Johny »

Depending on whether the firmware update is inherently safe (firmware backed up internally in case update fails), it might be better to just go with the parameters that you can see in the dump rather than update the firmware "in the field".
Just sayin...
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Post by Johny »

The release note changes for V1909 indicate that the relay output stuff was only changed for the CAN bus.
The values in GUI 0x012C (Relay_Output_State_EEPROM_) are unchanged.

That said, it's mysterious why the OK relay LED lights up when the above param is set to 0.
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Post by weber »

jonescg wrote: Perhaps there is another document telling me how to do this[firmware update]?

It's the subject of the first two chapters in the Software Manual. You use some Windows software called C2Prog. But I agree with Johny that a firmware update can be a nail-biting moment, as you worry that your inverter is about to be turned into an expensive brick. So given that everything else seems to be working fine, we should first try to get Discharge-on-key-off working by trying all reasonable values of parameter 0x012C, on the basis that we're still not sure if it is functioning as Precharge_Output or Relay_Output_State.
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Post by weber »

I wrote to Chris Brune (RMS):
Dave (weber) Keenan in email wrote:Surely the relay outputs have 3 possible states, not 2:
1. Always OFF
2. Always ON
3. Under software control (i.e. Precharge, Main, OK and Fault functionality)

But it seems Relay_Output_State only allows two of these. Which two?

The release note says 0x000C will restore relays 3 and 4 to software control (OK and Fault functionality). The manual says that 0x000C will set them ON (whenever the inverter is on). Which is it really? And if you need 0x000C to restore OK and Fault functionality, why don't you need 0x000F to also restore Precharge and Main functionality?

Another puzzle is that the release notes say that the parameter with GUI address 0x012C was repurposed from Precharge_Output to Relay_Output_State at firmware revision 1909, and yet the parameter dump I sent you yesterday shows "Firmware version: 1908" while also showing the parameter as "Relay_Output_State_EEPROM_(0=OFF_1=ON)". Also, it appears that whatever version of the RMS GUI Chris J is using is showing this parameter as "Precharge_Output" when he is setting its value.

So which is it really in firmware 1908, Precharge_Output or Relay_Output_State? Should Chris J update his firmware and GUI to the latest?
I received the following reply from RMS.
Azam Khan in email wrote:Dave,

Chris Brune told me about the issue you are having regarding using relay outputs. In you last email you have asked some questions. Let me try and answer those:

1. Precharge_Output switched to Relay_Output from 1908 to 1909. I just looked up and that is correct. You may want to check which version of the firmware you are using.

2. The states that relay output really allows are two:
(a) You can make the outputs active and they will function as intended by the software
(b) You may decide to not use some of those outputs and disable them

From above, (a) implies that the user wants to use some sort of indication regarding the state of the inverter. Traditionally, we have been using 4 relay outputs:
- OK output: used to indicate that 12-V on the inverter is present
- Fault output: blinks a fault code
- Main output: indicates the state of the main contactor and can be activated to stay on all the time
- Precharge output: indicates the state of the precharge contactor and can be activated to stay on all the time

For the most part, it has been OK and Fault outputs that were always active by default. Some users wanted to keep the precharge output active. Based on these requests, we decided to give control of all of these outputs to the user.

You can activate each output by setting the corresponding bit to 1. On my bench, I monitor the state of each output using an LED. This means that precharge output, if set to 1, will remain active after the precharge is done and if it was not bypassed.

OK output will come on after the power up and will remain active as long as there is 12-V power to the inverter.

Fault output will toggle to indicate a fault code if it was activated by setting the EEPROM parameter to 1.

I hope this explains why we do not activate all outputs. We provide this as an option to our customers based on their relay configuration.

Please let me know if you have any further questions in this matter. I will also be available through phone [deleted] if you need any more clarification.

Thanks

Azam Khan
Sr. Software Engineer
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Post by jonescg »

As for the discharge side of things, this is about the easiest solution, yet might not be the safest:
Image

I don't think it's safe because there's very little room in there for a single appropriately rated resistor, let alone three lesser ones. It also uses a switching circuit which has failed once before...

Frustrating as this discharge thing is, I am confident that this bike is still safer than most EVs on the road. I mean, it's got four isolating contactors - most vehicles only have one!
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Post by weber »

How about this?

Image
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Post by weber »

Or this?

Image
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Post by jonescg »

Elegant it ain't, but effective it may well be. From memory, the one closest the shunt is a 47kR (it was all I had!). I do have a few left in the box but from memory they were 1kR.

If you can afford the time to help us get this sorted on Thursday evening, we'd really appreciate it! We'll be at a friend's place in Willowbank from about 4 pm I'd say.
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jonescg wrote:If you can afford the time to help us get this sorted on Thursday evening, we'd really appreciate it! We'll be at a friend's place in Willowbank from about 4 pm I'd say.

Wouldn't miss it for the world. Image
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Post by weber »

It was a pretty tense time in the Voltron-Evo garage yesterday (Friday, practice day). The bike arrived at the Pinkenba transport depot late and so didn't get to Queensland Raceway until late morning. Scrutineer Mal Faed had the unpleasant task of informing Chris Jones that no matter how well insulated Voltron-EVO's traction circuits were, it could not go onto the track until he could demonstrate the controller caps discharging below 50 volts within 5 seconds of hitting the emergency stop button. Rules is rules.

Mike O'Hanlon and I first tried to load new firmware from RmS into the controller, with Tony (from Canberra AEVA) using his phone to give us internet access. This should have provided active discharge in the controller itself. No go. We couldn't get the programming software on the laptop to recognise the controller no matter what we tried. Meanwhile potential practice sessions were whizzing past. So Chris Jones used a spare PCB to start work on a hardware mod similar to what we discussed above -- repurposing one of the precharge resistors to become a separate discharge resistor. It was getting dark when Chris finished putting it all back together. We called Mal over.

Image

From left to right, Chris Jones, Mike O'Hanlon, Mal Faed, Danny Ripperton, Tony from Canberra.

To demonstrate this safety feature, required a procedure which was itself quite dangerous. Two small covers are unscrewed from the controller above where the DC input cables terminate, and a multimeter probe is inserted into each hole past the aluminium case to contact 650 volts of electric death.

Above, Chris is holding the probes with his right hand and showing the multimeter display to Mal with his left. You could cut the tension with a knife.


Image

It passed! Big grin on Chris's face. Mal appears to be looking to the heavens, thankful that he doesn't have to tell Chris any bad news this time.

But what you didn't see is how high Chris jumped when my camera flash went off for the first photo. I think Mal's actually checking for a dent in the roof from Chris's head. Image
Last edited by weber on Sat, 28 Jun 2014, 19:19, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by woody »

Congrats Chris! Word on the street is that you won and had the bike Dyno'd at 184 HP!
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Post by weber »

The race on Saturday morning was Danny Pottage's first time on the track, so he almost had to treat it as a practice session. In fact it was only the 3rd or 4th time he'd ridden Voltron-Evo anywhere! Saturday afternoon's race couldn't have been more exciting if it was scripted. Danny Ripperton passed him in nearly every corner and he zapped past Ripperton on nearly every straight. Danny P won both races.

The two Varley bikes turned up today (Sunday). They ran last, but it was great to have five eBikes on the track. I think that's a record for an Australian race.

Voltron held the lead for the whole of both races today, although Ripperton wasn't far behind. So Danny Pottage won overall and Danny Ripperton came second.

I asked Danny P whether he won more easily today because he was now more confident in the corners. He said, "A little bit, but mostly it was because Chris wound up the controller's torque limit!". So he accelerated even faster on the straights. He was struggling to keep the front wheel on the ground from just out of every corner. He said he's never ridden anything that powerful before. It was clocked at 250 km/h.

Image

When Danny P was handed the trophy he said, "Come over here Chris, this is yours. Thanks for building such an awesome bike", and there was much applause, even from the dino-burners. Image
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Post by bga »

Most impressive effort!!
Well done all.

Cheers

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Post by GRMarks »

Congratulations Chris and Danny. With that awesome motor it was always going to be a monster.

How did the petrol heads respond now they have seen the future?

I guess you must have got the laptop talking to the controller in the end to crank up the torque? Did you crank it up to max or is there still more to come?

Who was the third bike in the race and how far behind was he?

If my conversion factor is correct its 138 Kw (184 hp) and you want one of these in your little honda!

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Post by GRMarks »

Ah one think you haven't spoken about is setting up and tuning your suspension. Have you done this or is that still to come?

Fine tuning the suspension will get it handling better through the corners.

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Post by pottz »

Cheers guys, full credit to the beast that Chris has created. To be able to go out and race on a track I've never ridden, on a bike that is not set up at all and hardly tested and take 4 wins from 4 races is truely amazing. It sure wasn't any of my meager skills here that helped, it was the fantastic bike.

Catavolt did a great job coming 3rd

Yep, there was a lot of setting up everything and still a long way to go. The bike is responding well to the changes we are making.
Last edited by pottz on Tue, 01 Jul 2014, 07:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by jonescg »

Yeah, it was a great weekend full of highs and lows, like most race days are. The bike was performing very well, especially after we played with the suspension a bit.

Race 4 was a bit of a procession, but at least we had all 5 bikes on the grid - two Varley machines (Mario and Jason), Catavolt (Alex), Ripperton (Danny R) and Voltron Evo (pottz).

SplinterOz snapped some wicked photos of the racing:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/splinter/ ... 434972333/

While the whole last race can be viewed here on screen one at about 53 minutes:
http://www.fxsuperbikes.com.au/?page_id=588

Massive thanks to Danny P for riding like a boss, Danny R for providing some stiff competition, Alex, Jason and Mario for helping us fill a grid. I really hope the Varley guys get their machines working soon. The eFXC series has really hit a watershed moment with 5 bikes in the series and some records about to tumble.

None of this Voltron Evo malarkey would have been possible without the massive support of O'Hanlon Electric Motorsport, and a very generous donation from Bruce to get the battery built in time - this pack is rock solid and very safe to work with. Also massive thanks to Dave (weber) for all your help getting us on track. Great to see Graeme and Simone too, and all the other Brisbane AEVA folks who made it out.

Here's a video of the Dyno run of Voltron Evo:
Image

Some very happy e-moto addicts. Left to right: Chris Jones (me) Mike O'Hanlon and Danny Pottage
Image

Roll on Winton!

Edit - Fixed the edit-munted links... grrrr!
Last edited by jonescg on Tue, 01 Jul 2014, 16:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by weber »

Thanks for the kind words Chris. It was an honour to serve the mighty Voltron. Image Seriously, getting to work with you guys was a privilege, and will be a treasured memory.

There's still a munted link to the dyno video. You actually only need [ TUBE ]i2ZdL7mD7x8[ /TUBE ]. And the dyno plot has gone AWOL. I've got into the habit of keeping an offline copy of any major posts, in a text file (actually as an email to no-one) for a couple of days, until I'm sure there are no more edits required. That way I can just edit the offline copy and paste it over the mess it gives me when I choose Edit Post.

Here are some awesome photos from Tony (SplinterOz on DIYElectricCar)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/splinter/ ... 434972333/

Looking at the dyno plot (in the notification email), it makes no sense to me, what happens in field weakening. Being permanent magnet I expected 1/f torque and therefore constant power, and indeed that's what the EVO datasheet shows. Instead we have initially more like 1/f^3 torque and therefore 1/f^2 power. That's faster dropoff than Mexy's induction motor. And the dropoffs are linear, not hyperbolic, which makes me think this is artificial and due to controller settings. I think you won despite the motor being crippled above 175 km/h!

It may be the resolver delay, gamma or offset parameters. You probably should set the throttle parameter Break_Speed to the same value as Max_Speed to avoid confusion while sorting this out.

Sorry. You should just enjoy the warm glow of success, and come back to this in a week or two. Image
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Post by jonescg »

I'll try the Dyno chart again. Not sure why there are two different traces, but I was expecting weird things. The way Dynamometers work is pretty arbitrary - they calibrate them with electric motors Image

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Post by winners »

Superb and congratulations
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Post by pottz »

pretty sure there is 2 traces because he did 2 runs and overlayed them, they look very similar, or are you looking at the two traces that one is horsepower and the other one is torque of the same runs.

If it is of any help, my "seat of the pants dyno" was feeling the same as the one you see, a fairly liniar and noticeable drop in power once field weakening was reached.
Hence my request to put the big sprocket on the front and keep it in the power zone longer which worked better.

Unfortunately I've not ridden a 180hp ielectric bike before and just thought that was normal. I do remember your calculations predicting a lot higher theoretical top speed than what it shows there so maby something isn't quite right?

Oh, and thanks EVERYONE for the massive support, it's fantastic.
Last edited by pottz on Wed, 02 Jul 2014, 05:35, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by weber »

If tweaking the resolver settings doesn't get you closer to constant power in field weakening then maybe the Id current limit needs to be increased. It would be good to know from EVO what the maximum is to avoid demagnetising your "permanent" magnets.

But first you need to be able to log currents and voltages and r/min on a track so you can see whether your changes are having the desired effect, unless dyno time is cheaper than track time.
Last edited by weber on Wed, 02 Jul 2014, 08:33, edited 1 time in total.
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