Weber and Coulomb's MX-5

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Post by coulomb » Fri, 03 Apr 2009, 04:53

acmotor wrote: Question. Do you have a mechanical engineering signatory lined up ?
Basically, yes. It was going to be Richard Larsen of mx5plus, since he is on the list, knows MX-5s inside out, and literally wrote (large parts of) the book when it comes to Australian regulations, and is an expert on load restraints. However, he's trying to avoid this sort of work because of the hassles of the bureaucracy and politics. But he knows this new, young engineer who is recently on the list, and who knows to ask Richard questions when needed. We have yet to contact him, but we had a long talk to Richard last Saturday around an MX-5 bare chassis.
What is their comment re cutting of bodywork in a monocoque vehicle ?
What suggestions do they have re structural integrity ?
I think it would vary from vehicle to vehicle. However, we were very pleased to see that we could basically cut the boot floor right to the structural members, as long as those members are intact. [ Edit: this was later reversed by our actual engineer, and we ended up welding in a new boot floot at some expense, time, and hassle. ]

However, when we started cutting today, we found that there is a seam spot-welded to the floor that looks like it would be part of the structural member. This means losing about 12 mm around the edge of some battery boxes, and would make it difficult with 40 Ah batteries. (Fortunately, some heavy discharge 30 Ah cells, from China HiPower, might work out well and fit in the reduced space). So we need to consider this carefully. I might be able to get a picture soon.

In the meantime, let the sparks fly Image

Image
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Post by coulomb » Fri, 03 Apr 2009, 05:09

Mesuge wrote: This topic would be perhaps more appropriate in the dedicated technical thread, but are you still after the following spec. for your desired VFD (EValbum): "Control Techniques, Likely 75/90 kW SK5402" ?

I've found some dealer's pricing on them, and it looks quite *attractive < £2,500 for a new drive in the area of 30-45kW nominal rating (RedSuzi&Mal comparison)
That's still the plan. We're waiting eternally on a quote. These wheels seem to turn rather slowly.

The CT drives quote their nominal power in two ways; normal and heavy duty. This model is 90kW in normal duty, but you can only run to 110% of rated power. In "heady duty", it's a 75 kW drive, but it can be driven to 150% of nominal power (1.5 x 75 ~= 112 kW). Those are mechanical power figures, I believe. So that should give us better performance than the original 1.6L engine, which peaks at 85 kW. But it means we need to find a battery that will provide enough current with low enough sag to do justice to this controller. We figure 240 ADC @ 2.5 VPC (520v) should come close. This is 6C for a 40 Ah pack, or 8C for a 30 Ah pack.

We suspect that a Thunder Sky pack would probably not be able to dish out this sort of current, but we figured they are about the only player with a proven track record. However, I received an email from Alex at China HiPower just in time to get interested in their cells. It seems they have two main versions of LiFePO4, both the same size. For 7% greater cost and 30% more manufacturing time, they can provide a different cathode material which has better discharge characteristics. We'll likely get one each of 40 Ah HiPower and 40 Ah Thundersky cells for testing, to see what is better at the high performance end of town.
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Post by acmotor » Fri, 03 Apr 2009, 05:55

weber, that is great info re the cutouts in the monocoque body.
Definitely a topic for your index !

Clearly there are rights and wrongs and the right advice is important !
I have seen some scary cutouts done !

Please post pics of the cutout with info about the 'rails' etc. There are plenty of forum folks looking on.

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Post by weber » Fri, 03 Apr 2009, 16:30

Mesuge wrote: ... are you still after the following spec. for your desired VFD (EValbum): "Control Techniques, Likely 75/90 kW SK5402" ?

I've found some dealer's pricing on them, and it looks quite *attractive < £2,500 for a new drive in the area of 30-45kW nominal rating (RedSuzi&Mal comparison)
Well found, Mesuge. We are determined to make an electric MX-5 with better performance than the original (at least for short sprints) and so we need to go to a frame size 5 (the first digit of the part number) in the Control Techniques drives. And the same company has them too. http://www.inverterdrive.com/catalogue.aspx?search=sk5

But in fact we now think we need the SP5402 "Unidrive" model instead of the SK5402 "Commander" model. Why?

We are planning to use a Control Techniques drive because we have local expertise in using one in an EV. Ross Pink of Electronic Innovations used one in a Lite Ace van about 3 years ago and what he found good was that you can get a plug in module, called an "Application" module with an additional microprocessor and the ability to write your own software to control the drive at a very low level. You can use this to do clever things to make your AC EV drive like an ICE, so new drivers feel immediately at home.

This is not merely a marketing thing. It is a safety thing. This mostly relates to accelerator and brake response but possibly also battery protection. Neither pure torque control nor pure speed control feel natural to someone used to ICEs, and then there's the whole regen braking thing. You definitely need to be able to flip a switch to go to minimal accelerator-back-off regen when you let a new driver drive your AC EV.

It seems that "Application" modules are only available for the Unidrive (SP) models, not the Commander (SK) models. I'm guessing this means the SPs are more expensive. They do not appear on the above website.

We also think we need the largest frame 5 drive. Why?

It's important to understand those ratings with the two kW numbers e.g. 75/90 kW. They are typical mechanical motor power ratings respectively for "heavy duty" and "normal duty". Yes the lower number is the "heavy duty" number. That's because both numbers are continuous ratings. The heavy duty continuous rating allows for a 150% overload for some seconds (maybe a minute if the drive is cold) and the normal duty continuous rating only allows for a 110% overload.

Note that 150% of 75 kW is 112.5 kW and 110% of 90 kW is only 99 kW. i.e. because your continuous operation is at a lower power, and therefore the drive is running cooler, it can hadle a higher power burst.

What we want for EVs is the "super heavy duty" rating that allows for a 500% overload when coming from an even lower base. e.g. Maybe if you were coming from a base of 25 kW you could have a brief burst of 125 kW. But they don't have such a rating. They just tell you you can maintain the 112.5 kW for longer if you're coming from a base of zero (i.e. cold).

The original 1.6 L ICE is 85 kW peak, while the 1.8 L ICE is 98 kW peak. The 2009 model 2.0 L is 118 kW. The smaller frame-5 VF drive is 55/75 kW. 150% of 55 kW is 82.5 kW, hence we need the larger 75/90 kW VF drive with its 112.5 kW peak. It doesn't weigh any more or take up any more space, both of which are unfortunately considerable. 55 kg, 820 x 310 x 310 mm.

Although we may well be limited by the batteries, to a lower power, we want to be ready for future better batteries.

My take on ultracaps is that they are pointless unless they are cheap enough and have a high enough voltage rating to just bolt one in parallel with every battery cell. If you have to have separate balancing and DC-DC converters for them, forget it.
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Post by Electrocycle » Sat, 04 Apr 2009, 00:18

DC motors can do 500% overload :P
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Post by coulomb » Sat, 04 Apr 2009, 01:48

Electrocycle wrote: DC motors can do 500% overload :P

112.5 kW is over 500% overload for the 22 kW nameplate of the motor we will be using.

In the multipoles and torque thread, we've been talking about 900% (9x) overload. [Edit: for AC motors.] I'm not sure if anyone has actually done it yet, though.

Edit: fixed link
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Post by acmotor » Sat, 04 Apr 2009, 07:39

I wonder about the efficiency of DC motor at 500% overload.
It seems that 60% would be optomistic.
112.5kW electrical input would only give 67.5kW mechanical.

AC motor is likely to be around 80% efficient at this overload giving 90kW mechanical.

Worth considering.
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Post by weber » Sat, 04 Apr 2009, 14:29

By the way guys, the 150% overload I was referring to was for the VF drive, i.e. the motor controller, not the motor. However the VF drive power ratings are given as mechanical power out of the motor, because induction motor efficiencies are well defined (and high).

So you can see that with a 500% overload on the motor (due to a combination of overvoltage, overfrequency and overcurrent) and only a 150% overload on the VF drive, the VF drive rating needs to be about 3.3 times the motor rating. 75 kW versus 22 kW. And that 75 kW is the heavy duty rating of the VF drive, i.e. the lower of the two figures.
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Post by Electrocycle » Sat, 04 Apr 2009, 14:55

yeah I was more talking about 500% current overload, which is a bit more DC territory.
Efficiency? what's that? :P
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Post by coulomb » Sun, 05 Apr 2009, 02:08

Here is a consideration for cutting monocoque/body frame vehicles (most vehicles we are likely to convert):
Image     Image

Note the curved areas circled in the first image. These are actually part of the box section, so really that seam has to stay there. We'd have to cut something like the yellow line in the second image (I've left a large margin so you can see the seam edge).

Here are some box sections that I actually thought were solid beams through the car:
Image     Image
However, these are just thin metal bent into a box cross section, so again those lips have to remain.

Here is a picture of an MX-5 I found on the internet, where the user may have gotten a little carried away with cutting, and has actually cut into the box section. I'm no expert, but I'd guess that this is not a great idea. True, the battery box that goes in will replace at least some, probably more, of the strength you take out, but it seems to me that it would make life easier for the inspectors if you don't touch the box frame at all.
Image

Edit: space between photos
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Post by coulomb » Sun, 05 Apr 2009, 02:28

Warning: big post (11 images).

Weber started thinking about whether it might be easier to work under the car if it was (wait for it) tilted almost on its side. Then he saw this article: Why lift a car when you can tilt it?:
Image

So we bought a pair of tie down straps and gave it a go:

Image    Image
Edit: we found we wanted a small piece of masonite behind the hook, to prevent it digging into the door.

This is how we attached it to the wishbones on the far side of the vehicle:
Image

This is as far as we went for a while, propping it up with the short ladder:
Image    Image

Then we had enough courage to lift a bit further, and put the larger ladder under the jacking edge:
Image   Image   Image
Edit: It was about at this point that Weber exclaimed: "Battery acid!?" Image    We thought the only fluid left in the vehicle was differential oil, but forgot the original 12 V flooded battery. It is actually pretty well sealed, with tubes leading out of the car for any overflow. Fortunately, we seem to have gotten away with it.

Look at the access to the boot!
Image    Image

So: was it worth it? Image   Weeeel, I think so. Weber says he'll get the 2100 kg straps so we feel more comfortable under there, and it should be much quicker to tilt it next time. So: Image
Edit: spaces between images
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Post by woody » Sun, 05 Apr 2009, 03:20

Rotisserie style is good :-)
Using a ladder as a safety under a car is probably not up to your usual standards though. 1/2 a car : 500kg whereas a ladder normally says 120kg is too heavy. Ignoring that the car will be moving already when it crushes the ladder like a coke can...
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Post by coulomb » Sun, 05 Apr 2009, 03:35

We weighed the car at 662 kg, so half of that is 331 kg. (It's missing engine, gearbox, bonnet, boot lid, PPF, prop shaft, radiator, fuel system, soft top, etc).

Also, a lot of the weight is transferred to the two wheels on the ground; in the limit if the car was on its side, there would be no force needed to hold it up (all of the centre of mass would pass through the side).

Also, the engine lifter was still there taking a fair bit of the weight. I agree it isn't ideal; if we do this more often, we'd better think of a better prop.
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Post by acmotor » Sun, 05 Apr 2009, 03:38

Ummmm, with vehicle at that angle it is nearly balanced so ladder would be fine. Actually, there is more risk of it going right over !!

Nice pics coulomb. Image
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Post by weber » Sun, 05 Apr 2009, 04:15

woody wrote: Rotisserie style is good :-)
Using a ladder as a safety under a car is probably not up to your usual standards though. 1/2 a car : 500kg whereas a ladder normally says 120kg is too heavy. Ignoring that the car will be moving already when it crushes the ladder like a coke can...


It would not be moving when it hit the ladder because it was already _on_ the ladder. This is obscured in the photos. We lowered it so it was partly resting on the ladder and partly on the webbing straps and crane. We did this so
(a) there was no possibility of the ladder being knocked out of position, and
(b) because those webbing straps are alarmingly elastic!
It doesn't inspire confidence when you bump it and it bounces! Even though they have a breaking strain of 900 kg and we're using two of them.

Yes. Don't try this at home kiddies. This was meant to just be a trial run and we will definitely do it better next time, but we couldn't resist getting a bit of work done in the last hour that was left in the day, before lowering it until next Thursday. We work on the project on Thursdays and Saturdays (and some Sundays).

As you says, we start off lifting half the car's weight, but because the center of gravity is above the wheels, by the time you get it up to 45 degrees like that, most of the weight is on the two wheels on the ground. I'd estimate we only had 1/3 of the weight (about 200 kg) on the combination of the ladder and the crane-with-webbing-straps.

We could lift it higher (maybe 60 degrees) if we had higher props. It was in no danger of tipping the other way at 45 degrees. Next time we will have two props under it, one at each end. Ladders are damn convenient for the job. Can anyone suggest something better that wouldn't require a great deal of work.
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Post by Electrocycle » Sun, 05 Apr 2009, 15:58

years ago I was doing a lot of work on the floorpan of a car, and I ended up using two engine cranes to lift the whole car up on its side, then sat it on tyres (it was a bit more dismantled than the MX5 though)
I used some timber props from the car to the garage walls to make it really stable.
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Post by coulomb » Mon, 06 Apr 2009, 14:15

We decided to tilt the MX-5 on its right wheels yesterday, and use the more expensive, wide yellow tie downs. These have a breaking strength of over 4 tonnes:

Image    Image

The wider tie-down doesn't fit so well into the hook, so we cut a hole in some hardwood with a 32mm (Edit: was 25mm; need inside diameter) hole saw, keeping the cylindrical part, cut that in half, and filed a groove around the outside (so it holds in the hook better). That seemed to considerably reduce the stress on the strap in the hook.

Image   Image   Image

Edit: last photo. This is actually the spare; the real one is under a lot of tape. You can't see the groove very well; it would go around the outside semi-circumference of the circle.
Edit 2: attempted to fix the yellow line.
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Post by woody » Mon, 06 Apr 2009, 15:55

coulomb wrote: Image
How heavy is the ladder now?
coulomb wrote: Image
Ah, the EV Maniacal Grin
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Post by weber » Mon, 06 Apr 2009, 15:58

The 4300 kg strap was only $60 from SuperCheap Auto. It's probably way overkill but it sure "feels" safer. I know logically that if you have a nylon webbing strap and a steel rope with the same strength, the nylon will elongate about 6 times more than the steel under the same strain, and that that's OK. But viscerally I just can't accept it. So now we have a nylon strap that has 6 times the rating of the crane holding it up!

Of course we could have used steel rope, except for the little problem of the creases it would make in the doors at the start of the lift.

We took woody's point seriously and actually measured the force on the ladder, by our usual method of multiple bathroom scales. In this case, one under each foot of the ladder, as you can see in the photo above. This tilted the vehicle a little more (to a full 45 degrees), so it isn't an accurate measurement of what the force was without the scales under.

We slowly lowered the crane, watching the four scales and stopping to nudge any foot that was getting more than its fair share of the load. (This may be a good reason to always have the scales there). The total levelled off at 114 kg. So it was better than I estimated yesterday, and acmotor was right. We would not want to tilt the MX-5 much further or it would be too easy for someone to trip and fall against it, or for some visiting moron to show off by lifting it, and make it topple the other way. Never underestimate the moron factor. See crazy-man in above photo. Image

I'm guessing that in its life as a ladder it has to take almost the full rated 120 kg on one leg at times, although it would be interesting to read the actual AS/NZS standard. Even so, after measuring the force we cranked the crane back up until there was only 60 kg on the ladder. Two identical 150 kg ladders would be ideal.

The photo below shows the detail of how the car rests on the ladder.

Image

I should point out that the reason we did this car tilting business is not to show how clever we are. OK, not merely to show how clever we are, Image but to let us cut away certain parts that can only be cut from underneath, without having to work in a cramped space with an angle grinder above our head! These things include exhaust system hangers and the brackets the fuel tank was mounted on, all of which project into potential battery space.

Even with a proper vehicle lift we would still have had to use the angle grinder overhead. Angle grinders are dreadfully dangerous things as it is. Tilting so we can work in front of us seems far safer.

[Edit: Included photo after uploads started working again for no apparent reason.]
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Post by Johny » Mon, 06 Apr 2009, 16:14

weber wrote:I was going to include a photo showing the detail of how the car rests on the ladder, but when I click the "Image upload" button I get "insufficient permission, access denied". Can anyone tell me how to get that fixed?
Check in your "Members Control Panel" that you have any space left. It just might be too many big pics.

Edit: Worded betterer
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Post by weber » Mon, 06 Apr 2009, 17:32

Thanks Johny. It wasn't file space. But when I went to the control panel I found the upload there worked so I went back and edited the post and it worked there too. So you can see the ladder detail there now.

Here's a good angle-grinder safety checklist from the WA government:

http://www.safetyline.wa.gov.au/pagebin ... zd0006.htm
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Post by coulomb » Mon, 06 Apr 2009, 17:38

Excuse my ignorance... what's a drop saw?
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Post by acmotor » Mon, 06 Apr 2009, 17:46

I know you guys are soooo busy on the conversion that we have to do your google work for you ! Image



Image
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Post by coulomb » Mon, 06 Apr 2009, 21:28

Duh, of course. I just didn't connect that with cutting metal out of a vehicle. I have trouble getting a 102mm disc in there; such a monstrosity would never fit.
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Post by EV2Go » Mon, 06 Apr 2009, 22:11

coulomb wrote: Duh, of course. I just didn't connect that with cutting metal out of a vehicle. I have trouble getting a 102mm disc in there; such a monstrosity would never fit.


I'm lost... you wouldn't ever use a drop saw to cut a piece out of the boot it is designed to be used on solid surface like the floor or a bench.

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