Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by wovenrovings »

The big question I am waiting to see the answer to, is will it let you use the extra capacity over 60Ah.
Keep up the good work!
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by nuggetgalore »

jonescg wrote: Thu, 05 Mar 2020, 16:10 The height difference is consistent with the LEV50 pack having terminal studs, versus terminal pads. It checks out.
They are heavier than the LEV50 cells, but not mya great deal.
Are any of these cells Physically in Australia?
I just wonder if a set of 4 (or 8) could be assembled to make sure it really is a relatively easy change over,BMS and all.
From a financial and technical limit point of view, a 60 AH cell probably better. If made in a compatible LEV50 (N) size and configuration.
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by jonescg »

nuggetgalore wrote: Fri, 06 Mar 2020, 18:49
jonescg wrote: Thu, 05 Mar 2020, 16:10 The height difference is consistent with the LEV50 pack having terminal studs, versus terminal pads. It checks out.
They are heavier than the LEV50 cells, but not mya great deal.
Are any of these cells Physically in Australia?
I just wonder if a set of 4 (or 8) could be assembled to make sure it really is a relatively easy change over,BMS and all.
From a financial and technical limit point of view, a 60 AH cell probably better. If made in a compatible LEV50 (N) size and configuration.
The current 60 Ah cells are far from convenient, and they don't appear to have an LEV50 equivalent cell. Graeme over in Qld has ordered some of these 93 Ah cells, so that will be interesting to see how it goes. I'd still put some decent insulation between them though, even with the plastic frames provided in the iMiEV pack. T'be sure t'be sure.
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by nuggetgalore »


The current 60 Ah cells are far from convenient, and they don't appear to have an LEV50 equivalent cell. Graeme over in Qld has ordered some of these 93 Ah cells, so that will be interesting to see how it goes. I'd still put some decent insulation between them though, even with the plastic frames provided in the iMiEV pack. T'be sure t'be sure.
Yes,that will be interesting.
Of course if the 93s physically fit, the next question will be how the BMS resp. the electronic bean counter handles the 33 additional Ah. If it stops charging at 60 Ah, it will not top balance, maybe a hacker could find a way to override the Ah counter to reach full voltage to activate balance shunt on the higher volt cells.
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by mikedufty »

It has been tried with 2 standard packs. Post below from the guy who did it, which suggests you could get the extra range.
(from http://myimiev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2793#p23784 ,there is more discussion there )
Although his setup had the extra power going in after the current monitoring, which I guess wouldn't happen with larger cells.
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Fri Sep 11, 2015 7:02 am
I never ran it for a long time but adding an additional pack will work. The range meter starts out with a normal range (like 70 miles) regardless of how many packs are connected. The segments on the meter start to drop at a slower rate with two packs and the available range drops very slowly. Although the car reads current through the original pack, it doesn't read the current of the additional pack. Therefore, the car thinks it is using less energy (like driving down a mountain) because only 1/2 of the energy to run the car comes through the original pack and it's hall effect transducer. I didn't drive it to low battery cutoff or anything near to it because there was no monitoring on the external pack. However, the range looked like it would be nearly doubled. The additional pack (which was a standard I-MiEV pack with the steel bottom mounts removed) actually fit in the back of the car with the seats folded down. The rear weight bias and the higher CG with the pack in the back made the handling a little dicey. Plus it looked a little silly with a couple of large orange power cables going out the passenger side rear window and going into what looked like the gas tank door to other drivers.
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by jonescg »

Made some progress today - picked up 500 stainless self tapping screws and got to work putting the enclosures together.
8 cell module dry run.jpg
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8 cell module dry run2.jpg
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The M6 studs are for securing it in the battery tray. I'll need to get some parts made up and bent to secure them. Probably the same time I get the copper buslinks made up.
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by blackheart »

Just stumbled upon this thread. I have a 2012 in the US with 50k miles on it. I would Love to have some more range in my little car!!
I'm going to be reading thru this thread! Keep up the great work!
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by jonescg »

Copper busbars are in, so I can start putting the first lot of modules together.
The hard part will be getting the inter-module busbars made. A bit of custom fiddle-farting around I think.
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by jonescg »

Made a start assembling the first module.
20200328_170047.jpg
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A few things jump out at me - firstly, the shallow, badly tapped M4 screw holes are weak as cheese. I was super careful not to get too carried away, but the last one (top right) stripped out with ease. I drilled and tapped an M3 next to it, and managed to tap and drive an M5 stainless screw into the old hole. It's not ideal. All surfaces were buffed and pre-treated with Alminox.
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The BMS mounting board seems to work OK I guess.
20200328_155138.jpg
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by brendon_m »

Must of been a fun feeling drilling into the top of the cell :lol:.
Is that the same thermal silicone goop stuff you used on the prelude I can see through the sides of the case?
Also the bms board makes it a lot neater and easier than running fly leads everywhere.
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by jonescg »

brendon_m wrote: Sat, 28 Mar 2020, 18:24 Must of been a fun feeling drilling into the top of the cell :lol:.
Is that the same thermal silicone goop stuff you used on the prelude I can see through the sides of the case?
Also the bms board makes it a lot neater and easier than running fly leads everywhere.
I was shitting my pants the whole time...

I have a feeling there will be more than a few in need of that treatment. I used M3 because I happened to have a bottoming tap for M3 but nothing else.

I think I can just use Araldite - main goal is to prevent any movement which might loosen the screws in normal use. So securing the modules inside the tray will be a big deal too. I still need fly leads, but only about 20 mm long; just enough to go from the screw head ring-lug to the plated through hols on the mounting board. The 4-cell modules will be another entertaining arrangement. At least there's only two of them.
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by brendon_m »

Would it be a good idea to tap an extra hole in the copper bus bar for the fly lead so there is less risk of stripping and brown Pants-ing? Or small nut and bolt/self tapper etc?

How much it will actually help in the long run I don't know but I put a dab of silicone on each terminal nut (and screw) after I tightened it down in my packs

In regards to the araldite I meant I can see some grey goo in the sides of the case or is that araldite?
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by jonescg »

That grey stuff is a thermally conductive epoxy, which would certainly work, but overkill for the job I need it to do. Thus if a cheaper filler type epoxy can be sourced I'll take it.
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by jonescg »

Two modules done. Another weak thread...
two modules.jpg
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by nuggetgalore »

Glad there is progress with this project. Funny I do not get the new post notification for this thread anymore, still get it for other threads though.

The poor threads are a bit of a concern, could it be that the holes are not tapped deep enough and when tightening it bottoms out before securing the bar? What I (used to) do in critical cases similar to this I measured the gap under the bolt head after loosely threading the bolt into the blind hole without the mating part.
*Thus if a cheaper filler type epoxy can be sourced I'll take it.*
We used to mix aluminium powder into Araldite epoxy for lost wax dies. Not perfect heat transfer but did the job for low volume production runs.
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by jonescg »

To be honest the concept of an M4 screw into a bit of aluminium is sound - there should be more than enough contact and pressure. The problem is the really bad job they did of tapping threads - clearly done by machine with little care and attention.
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by blackheart »

I finally took a look at the aH of my pack the other day... 32aH... I'm not in turtle mode when I get home, but there isn't much left when I get there.
I bought the car years ago hoping that there would be a cottage industry that would be coming up, selling higher capacity, less weight, cheaper cost batteries :-/
I hope you succeed in doing this and give me some hope!!
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by jonescg »

Thanks - I hope to make some more progress this weekend, as I wait for a few more parts and fixings to come in.
Personally I think the 93 Ah cell replacement approach has far more merit than the one I'm taking with this vehicle, but we're here now, so we best finish it.
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by Sandrosan »

Dear Jonescg, This is Sandro, I am writing from Milan Italy. I own a C zero with some 37Ah on my pack, still is OK for 90 in winter to 110km in summer. Some friends of mine also owner of C zero and we all are following your project with great interest! Bravo. We all hope you will succeed in doing this and we wish you all the best. Ciao Sandro and sorry for my poor English.
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by T1 Terry »

jonescg wrote: Mon, 30 Mar 2020, 19:57 To be honest the concept of an M4 screw into a bit of aluminium is sound - there should be more than enough contact and pressure. The problem is the really bad job they did of tapping threads - clearly done by machine with little care and attention.
All the Winston cells we have been getting for the last couple of yrs have helicoils in the terminal bolt holes to improve the thread strength. Probably a rather serious cost increase because of the time involved, but it would make a poor tapped thread into a solid thread to allow the tightening force required.

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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by jonescg »

So an unfortunate turn of events has meant that Pauline will need to sell the iMiEV. She is unsure what the best approach is; finish the battery swap and sell it as a modified vehicle with an unknown future, or put the old battery back together and sell it as a 80 km range EV with no question about it's capability. She could then sell the unused 60 Ah cells to someone who wanted them for a home storage battery or something.

I have already put together the polycarbonate enclosures and had the busbars cut up, so it seems a waste to not use them in some capacity.

Personally I'm inclined to re-assemble the original pack and sell a known-good (albeit reduced range) EV and sell the new cells for a project. What does the brainstrust think?
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by nuggetgalore »

Sad situation.
How much is the car selling for?
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by antiscab »

what would the 60Ah cells be worth? as in to put into a different imiev?
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by nuggetgalore »

antiscab wrote: Mon, 06 Apr 2020, 12:55 what would the 60Ah cells be worth? as in to put into a different imiev?
As the 60 Ah cells are not an ideal fit ,would it be better to use them as a standalone system?
https://www.relectrify.com/
How much does a set of the 93 Ah cells cost? How much work to fit this set into an iMiEV?
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Re: Aftermarket iMiEV battery upgrade project

Post by jonescg »

Roger paid $7600 for the 60 Ah cells about 5 months ago. An additional ~$3000 has been spent on enclosures and copper buslinks to suit.
Pauline was quoted about $4000 for a trade-in some time back too.

As a high voltage home storage battery they could be good.
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