AC or DC?

AC, DC, amps, volts and kilowatt. It's all discussed in here
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Post by Nutz »

600v does't sound right to me. As I understand that would be 50x12v or 200x3v LFP's either of which would be both inpractical and unaffordable.
Somone set me straight here please.
Last edited by Nutz on Sun, 08 Feb 2009, 18:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Richo »

Nutz wrote: Ok so what will i need to look for to identfy the motor that will do the Job I want. Assuming I am looking at 20kw 3 phase motor, what are the other clues that I will find in adverts etc. that will let me know that I am onto the right thing?


Well you have to know what performance you want first.
Once you know what you want then you can look at the manufacturers to see what they supply that meets your requirements.
If you are interested in Industrial AC conversion you will need to know:
Nominal Power
Peak torque (expressed as a multiplier of nominal torque)
Number of poles
Voltage rating
Frame size
weight
Most of these are printed on the name plate of each motor.
So the short answer is NO but the long answer is YES.
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Post by Richo »

600V DC would be the minimum. Image
600V / sqrt(2) = 600 / 1.414 = 424V AC
When you include pack losses under load 700V DC is better as this will keep up 400V ac under full load. Image

Now lets say you had a 12960Wh battery pack.
If you were using DC this typically would be:
144V 90Ah or 45 Lithium batteries or 12 Lead acid batteries at 90Ah.
But in AC this would be:
600V 21.6Ah or 188 lithium batteries or 50 Lead acid batteries at 21.6Ah.
Both packs have the same capacity.
Both will go the same distance.
So you would have 45 big batteries in DC or 188 small batteries in AC.
Lithium is usually sold in Ah so the cost is the same in AC vs DC.
Lead acid sell a little bit more the smaller they are so the AC will cost a few percent extra.
Not worth jumping up and down about though.
So the short answer is NO but the long answer is YES.
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Post by coulomb »

However, Nutz has a point that with 180+ single cells to wire up and a BMS on each one, the overhead of lots of small cells does add up.

So I'm tending towards a quite simple BMS board per cell, and something a bit smarter perhaps at the module level. Perhaps you only can measure voltage at the module level; attempting to display 180+ individual cell voltages is getting crazy. If a module goes bad, open it up and use a multimeter to find the bad cell (though that may not show up under no-load conditions). In that case, you might have to attach temporary cell level monitoring and drive around the block. At least you only need one of those.

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Post by Nutz »

I had to read that a couple of times Richo, but i think i get it now. DC 144 volts would require 45 bigger lithium batteries or 12 car batteries. AC600v would take 188 (mini)lithium batteries or 50 (motorbike) batteries.
lead for lead or lithium for lithium you would get the same amount of amp hours.
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Post by Richo »

Yes so the total battery capacity is the same (Wh)
A few big batteries in DC. (Low voltage - High current)
A lot of small ones in AC. (High voltage - Low current)
Power = Voltage x Current
coulomb wrote: However, Nutz has a point that with 180+ single cells to wire up and a BMS on each one, the overhead of lots of small cells does add up.


Then have sympathy for me when I wire up over 1000 baby cells Image
So the short answer is NO but the long answer is YES.
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Post by EVLearner »

That's right, and the next consideratrion is whether to align with 240 VAC Delta wound (which is 415 V Star wound) - as these motors are common worldwide, or to consider 115 V Delta Wound (which is 230 V star wound) and these motors are currently rather uncommon anywhere.

The problem eminates from power reticulation. The USA started with DC at 100 V and quickly realised that they had to "up" the voltage to at least to 115 V to account for the voltage drop in the street - due to the heavy current flow causing a substantial voltage drop in the street wiring.

When they (Edison) finally saw the (Tesla) light (pun very much intended); General Electric changed over to nominally 115 V rms AC to get the similar heating (hence lighting) value and travel a little longer down the street (to capture the competitive market).

The rest of the developed world saw the stupidity in using such a low AC voltage (and high current), so they doubled it to 230 V per phase (in Europe), and we in Australia added a further 4% (I think for longer reticulation) and worked on 240 V per phase.

Now, when it comes to powerful AC motors, a single phase ain't much chop, so you have to move polyphase and in this case 3 phase is the least wiring with the most rotational pull (anyway much greater torque than single phase)!

So the USA has a 'dual standard' where I believe they also use 230 / 240 V 3 phase for industrial sites to keep the current down and halve the equivalent resistance induced voltage losses in the street wiring.

Now, electric cars are a different kettle of fish; with very short cable runs, and the battery voltge does not have to be so high. Also, and in the last two decades, we now have very cheap high speed switching semiconductors that are very easy to control compared to their neanderthal grandparents about 30 to 50 years ago - so we can now switch hundreds of amperes, at hundreds of volts - and very quickly.

In this new knowledge, it makes sense to me that a new line of electric motors will very quickly fill the shelves and these should be no more expensive than their higher voltage (lower current) cousins. These 3 phase AC motors will operate from about 100 to say 140 V ac rms between phases (144 to 196 V peak) in Delta winding configuration and be ideally suited to variable frequency drive electronics!

With batteries in banks of nominally 48 V (for safety), I believe that the nominal peak voltages will be in the order of 144, 192, 240 V, and I believe the move will be to keep the voltage lower than higher to keep the BMS simple and uncluttered.

Let's see what happens!!

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Post by bga »

Hi Nuts,

600V is right.
It takes the shine off the industrial AC option.

For this reason there has been a lot of discussion regarding optiond including rewinds to reduce the bus voltage. Rewinding the motors for lower voltage, or getting USA motors that operate from 220/240V instead of 415V may be an option. Generally, the problem with straying from the local off the shelf offerings is cost and lead time.

Industrial applications prefer higher voltage because of the lower current. Not only does this reduce the wire gauge (less of an issue in EVs) but it reduces the size of the power semiconductors. My pricing of IGBT modules indicates that the price jumps sharply at 400Amps and above. Designs that can use 200 or 300 amp parts will be a lot cheaper.

The EV system complexity will be significantly reduced by lowering the voltage. 150V is probably about as low as it can go because of the current required. Power = Volts * Amps, to a lot of Amps will be needed.

For moderate/good performance, 600Amps (90Kw) peak is needed, probably. In a 3PH controller, 6 switches are needed, each capable of handling the current. At 150V the design can be FET, with, say 12 x 50 Amps per switch or 72 devices needed. This is like 3 x ZEVA controller.

It's always a compromise.

Last edited by bga on Mon, 09 Feb 2009, 07:56, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Nutz »

O.K. If I were to get an old industrial motor rewound or configured for 150v (or 110) 3 Phase, where would i need to look for a controller? do they exist or will it just be cheaper to set up for 600V?
Last edited by Nutz on Mon, 09 Feb 2009, 08:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Johny »

Hi Tonic. I assume you haven't yet run away in blind panic due to the way this thread has wobbled into techno-land.
Re your original question of AC or DC. Regen may not be much use to you if your trip starts out pretty much "down the mountain". If this is the case you may want to assess AC or DC based on other criteria.

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Post by antiscab »

re sourcing low voltage induction motors.

These will soon be available from the same place we originally started to source low voltage DC motors from - forklifts.
the new forklifts are all ac induction, and run off pack voltages of 48 - 72vdc.

just have to find a forklift now (and a motor controller i spose).

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Post by Richo »

Didn't Kelly or Curtis make some induction controller that ran off low voltage?
There was a Pontiac on evalbum that had a dual induction motor setup.

Sounds like a lot of effort to stay away from high voltage...
So the short answer is NO but the long answer is YES.
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Post by EVLearner »

Hi bga

If you consider IGBTs instead of FETs, the IGBTs can switch over 300 A, and can take up to about 1600 V and these usually come in series connected pairs, making them ideal for AC motor control.

I don't know how much the FETs cost (by the dozen), but as far as I can tell the IFBTs cost about $40 to $110 US per pair - depending on what you purchase, so that works out at about $185 to say $500 Aussie for 3 pairs of IGBTs (or you could go backwards and replace the DC switch in a Curtis DC controller for about AU $100 using one IGBT instead of a flock of FETs!!!!)

The only part that concerns me is the Safe Operating Area (SOAR), which is not as 'open' as for FETs, but with the right type of snubbers to delay/knock the spikes out this should not be a problem.

I am guessing that if the designs were based on say 200 V DC, then the peak phase to phase voltage will be nominally 200 V and the rms will be 141 V, and as you say - I wouldn't want to go much lower because of the heavy currents involved in switching and the high current drain from the battery.

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Post by Tonic »

Thank you all very much for your input. I must admit that I've had to read all these posts a few times to pick up on what is being said but I do believe I'm getting there. I understand that AC motors require a higher voltage than DC motors but I don't really understand how this impacts battery configurations, driving range, power etc.

I'm also still a little confused on a lot of these acronyms to - ie. Vdc, AH, kw, kwH. While I know what they stand for I'm not sure that I really understand how electricity is actually stored and consumed. For example Antiscab stated:
i would think a 40AH 312v (104 cell) TS pack would satisfy your range requirements.
at 12kw discharge rate, you have 12kwh avail.
max power would only be around 50kw (at the batteries, 50-60hp at the wheels)
What does this mean? Image Especially the kw and kwh stuff.
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Post by woody »

Just for reference, my sums with a new ABB 132 316 15kW 4 pole 240V delta motor indicate it will chew up 244 Amps at breakdown torque per phase. If it were rewound to 120V, it would be pushing 488 Amps per phase, which is a lot.

I'm still happy with 415V AC :-)

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Post by antiscab »

Richo wrote: Didn't Kelly or Curtis make some induction controller that ran off low voltage?
There was a Pontiac on evalbum that had a dual induction motor setup.

Sounds like a lot of effort to stay away from high voltage...


That would depend on what ur definition of low voltage is :p

my definition of low voltage is around 400vdc or less.

having a 48v motor is terrific, because you can still get full torque at 5 times rated speed when you have 240vdc on hand, without having to do a rewind.
just like what we did for DC series wound motors (of which both advanced DC and warp motors are forklift motors, whom we just happened to find the original manufacturer).

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Post by antiscab »

Tonic wrote: I'm also still a little confused on a lot of these acronyms to - ie. Vdc, AH, kw, kwH. While I know what they stand for I'm not sure that I really understand how electricity is actually stored and consumed. For example Antiscab stated:


What does this mean? Image Especially the kw and kwh stuff.


Hi Tonic,

kw is a unit of power, usually meant as an instantaneous value
this is important for working out things like acceleration, and hill climbing ability. the more power a battery can put out, the greater the acceleration and hill climbing ability.

kwh is a unit of energy. you use this to work out how far you can drive, and how tall a hill you can climb before you have depleted your battery.

A is amps, a couloumb of charge (a whole bunch of electrons) per second flowing through something.

AH is amp hours, a proportional measure of the number of coulombs that have passed through something. the bigger a battery cell is, the greater the number of coulombs of charge it stores. we call it AH, to make the calculation easier.

V is voltage, a measure of the amount of energy each coulomb of charge has.

kw = V*A/1000

kwh = V*AH/1000

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Post by woody »

antiscab wrote:
having a 48v motor is terrific, because you can still get full torque at 5 times rated speed when you have 240vdc on hand, without having to do a rewind.
Sure, you just need 20 x nominal current of a 240v motor :-)

20 = 5 x 4
5 because the voltage is dropped so the current rises to keep the same power
4 because you need about 4 x nominal current to get max torque of 3 x nominal torque
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Post by coulomb »

Tonic wrote:
I would think a 40AH 312v (104 cell) TS pack would satisfy your range requirements.
at 12kw discharge rate, you have 12kwh avail.
max power would only be around 50kw (at the batteries, 50-60hp at the wheels)
What does this mean? Image Especially the kw and kwh stuff.

Ok, to translate the original sentences piece by piece. "40AH 312v (104 cell) TS pack". This is referring to a battery pack made up of 104 individual Lithium Iron Phosphate cells; these have a nominal voltage of about 3.2 volts, but we often use 3.0 volts as that is closer to the voltage you will see under load. So 104 of these cells in series results in a pack of 312 volts. TS stands for ThunderSky, a manufacturer of such cells. The 40AH is the size of the cells; TS make them in sizes like 40AH (the smallest prismatic (rectangular) cells), 90AH, 160AH, and so on. The bigger the amp hours, the bigger the cell and the more energy that can be drawn out. For simplicity, let's say that a 40AH cell can supply 40 amps for an hour, or 80 amps for half an hour, or 1 amp for 40 hours. A 160AH cell can supply 1A for 160 hours before being exhausted. Of course, this is 100% DOD (Depth of Discharge), which is a nono, but we can do this once or twice in a cells life for testing.

"at 12kw discharge rate, you have 12kwh avail." 12kw discharge rate: at 312 volts, 12kW is 12,000 / 312 = 38.5A, close to what we call "1C" for a 40AH cell. (2C would be 80 amps, etc; twice the capacity of the cell for one hour). He is saying that these cells don't have much of a peukert effect at 1C. To explain that: a 40AH lead acid cell (which has a marked peukert effect) would deliver much less than an hour at 40A; it's capacity is usually measured at .05C, the so called "20 hour rate". So it will deliver 2A for 20 hours, 4A for less than 10 hours, and much less than 1 hour at 40A. In other words, you only get 40AH or more out of a lead acid battery at the 20 hour rate (.05C) or less; at 1C you get much less than 12kWH out of a nominal 12kWH battery. But lithium doesn't exhibit much of this effects, at least at around 1C currents. So you can expect about 12kWH (only a little less than the battery's capacity, which is 40 * 312 = 12,480WH = 12.48kWH) when discharging at 12kW. Note how power is the rate of use of energy.

Strictly speaking, watts should be given a capital "W", but since there is no confusion with any other commonly used unit here, we are often lazy and use the lower case "w".

"max power would only be around 50kw (at the batteries, 50-60hp at the wheels)"
There is a maximum power you can safely pull from a battery. (A battery is a set of cells, usually in series; what applies to a cell generally also applies to the whole battery). For TS LiFePO4, the maximum discharge current is around 5C (though this contradicts what you can find in some of the web material); any more current than this, and the cell voltage will drop below 2.5v, which is the limit for permanent cell damage. The author seems to be using 4.8C for safety; 4.8 * 40 * 2.5 * 104 ~= 50,000. (4.8*40 = 192A, this is 4.8C for a 40AH battery; 2.5 * 104 = 260v is what the 312v pack sags to at this load; current times voltage = power). 50,000W is of course the same as 50kW.

"at the wheels" refers to the mechanical power from the batteries through the controller and the motor and the transmission, with all the losses along the way. Mechanical power is for histerical reasons usually quoted in horsepower; 1HP ~= 746W. So 50-60HP is 37-45kW.

Phew! Image

Edit: typo
Last edited by coulomb on Tue, 10 Feb 2009, 06:11, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by woody »

antiscab wrote:
Tonic wrote: I'm also still a little confused on a lot of these acronyms to - ie. Vdc, AH, kw, kwH. While I know what they stand for I'm not sure that I really understand how electricity is actually stored and consumed. For example Antiscab stated:


What does this mean? Image Especially the kw and kwh stuff.


Hi Tonic,

kw is a unit of power, usually meant as an instantaneous value
this is important for working out things like acceleration, and hill climbing ability. the more power a battery can put out, the greater the acceleration and hill climbing ability.

kwh is a unit of energy. you use this to work out how far you can drive, and how tall a hill you can climb before you have depleted your battery.

A is amps, a couloumb of charge (a whole bunch of electrons) per second flowing through something.

AH is amp hours, a proportional measure of the number of coulombs that have passed through something. the bigger a battery cell is, the greater the number of coulombs of charge it stores. we call it AH, to make the calculation easier.

V is voltage, a measure of the amount of energy each coulomb of charge has.

kw = V*A/1000

kwh = V*AH/1000

Matt
Power is also Force x Speed (kW = N x m/s), e.g. if you get 500 newtons of drag on your EV at 30 metres per second (108kph), then you need 500 x 30 = 15,000 W = 15kW at the wheels to keep at that speed on the flat.

Efficiency = Power Out / Power In

Your mechanical drivetrain is maybe 90% efficient total, so your motor has to put out more to compensate for those drivetrain losses, about 16.5kW.

Your motor is maybe 90% efficient too, so your controller needs to put out a bit more, say 18kW.

Your controller is maybe 95% efficient, so your batteries need to put out say 19kW.

cheers,
Woody
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Post by antiscab »

antiscab wrote:I would think a 40AH 312v (104 cell) TS pack would satisfy your range requirements.
at 12kw discharge rate, you have 12kwh avail.
max power would only be around 50kw (at the batteries, 50-60hp at the wheels)
I must have been a bit tired when i wrote that, as at 12kw continuous, only 9.3kwh would be available, as opposed to the 12kwh i stated earlier.
thats because at 1C at 100%dod you get around 37AH, but you really only want to take 80% of this, so 30AH or so (29.6AH to be precise).

mainly you dont want to ever actually go to 100% dod as you risk reversing a cell due to slight variations in capacity in the pack.

I have gone to 100%dod on my emax around 8 times, and the cells have survived fine, but i still wouldnt suggest it.

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Post by Richo »

Richo wrote: Didn't Kelly or Curtis make some induction controller that ran off low voltage?
There was a Pontiac on evalbum that had a dual induction motor setup.


Here it is - LOW voltage induction motor (From a forklift) with controller (from curtis)
http://www.evalbum.com/1396

So the short answer is NO but the long answer is YES.
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Post by Nutz »

Thanks for the plain english versions guys, much apreciated! I will still have to read them a few times before it all sinks in still.
I'm still a long way from deciding what is the most appropriate set up for me. I think I'll cheat a bit and check out evalbum and the members garage and see what works for others.
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Post by EVLearner »

Just a slight correction here:

"A is amps, a couloumb of charge (a whole bunch of electrons) per second flowing through something. " Not quite.

It works as per this:

Electricity is basically a whole lot of (negatively charged) electrons; those little planetry things that spin around atoms' neuclii!

The coulomb (C) is the unit of charge for electricity.

The unit of current flow is the ampere (abbreviated amp, or A), and the relationship to charge in coulombs is:

1 amp = 1 C per second

So current can be looked at like a river flow of electrons that have a negative charge, and as they flow in a wire, they heat up the wire; based on the current density and the unit resistance of the wire. (Also as the electrons flow, they cause a 'tubular-like' magnetic field about them called a magnetic 'flux'.)

So the charge in culombs (C) can be looked at another way by turning the equation around such that:

1 C = 1 amp-second       (meaning amp times second)

But this charge unit is far to small to be useful with batteries, so the amp-hour (Ah) is used, which is 3600 * 1 amp-second, and battery capacity is therefore related to its charge capacity, for example "40 Ah".

Note the lower case 'h' stands for 'hour', because the uppercase 'H' stands for 'henry', which is the unit of inductance! Don't confuse abbreviations...

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Post by Nutz »

Looking at a few light-mid sized conversions a popular combination that shows decent results as far as performance and range as well as reasonable price goes as follows. Advanced DC Fb4001a series wound with Curtis 1231c Controller on 144v Lithium battery pack running through origional manual geerbox. Lead-acid batteried reduce the performance and range by approx 40% which in my mind rules them out despite the expense of LiFePo's. making the conversion cost $10-15thousand dollars (DIY)
Any comments? Especialy from the AC camp.
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