Prelude conversion project - some questions

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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by jonescg » Sat, 05 Oct 2019, 19:54

Productive day working on the Prelude today.

I picked up the new EBP25 water pump from Chris Mills Performance, which was no doubt an expensive way to buy it, but shop local and all that.

It was a bit tough to install because of its location, but since I was replacing the battery charger anyway it was easier to do it all at once. While the charger and inverter were out of the way I decided to jigsaw some of the 3 mm aluminium plate so it was easier to access the pump should I ever need to do this again. This pump should put out twice the pressure and therefore flow as the EWP15 pump I had before, and considering the cooling loop will have 4 modules in series (twice in parallel) it's going to need it. While replacing the inverter I lost my neodymium magnet somewhere in the bowels of the engine bay. There are so many tight, sharp nooks and crannies, I think it's going to be there for the rest of the car's days.
New EBP25 pump fitted.jpg
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The charger went in afterwards, with much coolant spilled. Interesting the CAN version didn't have the obvious re-work done on it:
New Charger CAN inside2.jpg
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inside 6 kW TC charger Enable only.jpg
inside 6 kW TC charger Enable only.jpg (157.98 KiB) Viewed 1214 times
New versus old. The Enable line must come from that side?

Anyway, seems the best place to route the cables and coolant lines is through the inspection covers, which I initially drilled expecting to use cable glands. However this will look a bit naff, and be in the way should you ever want to put something in the boot. I'll have to some up with a better solution regardless.
Access points.jpg
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The lid of the main battery box has been modified to accommodate a couple of glands, or possibly Dektites which will have cables and hoses coming through them. I can bodge the rest up with silicone, but it will be a gong show to remove should I ever need to pull it out again. Maybe the Dektites will be better on the inside of the boot?
Dektites.jpg
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I will attack the lid tomorrow, possibly with some more fiberglassing, as the traction cables will need some waterproof solution.
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by coulomb » Sat, 05 Oct 2019, 22:19

jonescg wrote:
Sat, 05 Oct 2019, 19:54
New versus old. The Enable line must come from that side?
Yes. It looks like the control board is very roughly the same size as in the older models, and that enable line goes to the control board. It sure looks like an afterthought though.

Edit: So the control board looks like it's at the bottom of the older charger (lower photo), and at the right of the newer charger (upper photo). You can just see the top edge of the control board through or extending through the potting.
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by jonescg » Sun, 06 Oct 2019, 19:10

I decided to fiberglass the lid today, leaving space for the main HV leads and coolant lines to exit the back corners of the battery pack. The work in the middle is where the coolant return line will go. Obviously it didn't quite clear the 4WS rod, so it will need a patch-up.
20191006_182241.jpg
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The battery pack proper is prettymuch done, just need to run the CAN bus line out to the last two modules. I have drilled a hole in the main beam to thread the coolant return line through. That way its still a simple case of in and out on the main battery pack, but the rear two modules will need to be disconnected and the cables removed should you ever need to drop it out again.
20191006_182304.jpg
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by jonescg » Sun, 13 Oct 2019, 21:21

Another productive weekend, and probably only another day's work to have it rolling again.

I connected all the BMS wiring, added some silica gel packages and seal the lids. Once the lids were on I could put the new top brace across the three modules. I bought a MAPP torch and some aluminium brazing wire - works so good! Way easier than TIG welding!
Top brace on modules.jpg
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I ran the main conductors out the top through some cable glands while the coolant lines were just sealed with silicone. It's pretty dry up there, but the radius would have been too tight for the coolant lines to use glands.
LHS cable and coolant line.jpg
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RHS cable and coolant line.jpg
RHS cable and coolant line.jpg (256.84 KiB) Viewed 1148 times
Once the lid was ready to drop on, I fed the cables and hoses through, sealed it up and went crazy with the silicone. Then quickly rolled the battery under the car, lowered the hoist and attached the outer row of bolts. Once they were in the car was lifted again and the remaining bolts were driven home. With no fear of cracking the floor I could really wail on it.
new underside of car.jpg
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The floor is an easy 7 mm thinner than the honeycomb material, meaning there's a fraction more clearance. Moreover, should this ever hit something solid, it will sort of beach itself, rather than do any lasting damage.
new underside of car2.jpg
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RHS cable gland and hose installed.jpg
RHS cable gland and hose installed.jpg (170.42 KiB) Viewed 1148 times
LHS cable gland and coolant line installed.jpg
LHS cable gland and coolant line installed.jpg (192.54 KiB) Viewed 1148 times
In the boot, the tank inspection lids were drilled with 25 mm holes and protected with split conduit. I could feed the coolant hoses and cables up through them and into the spare wheel well where the last two modules will be bolted. Fortunately as there's only 40 kg of mass here, we can get away with 4 high tensile bolts and big flat washers. I will devise a false floor for the boot which covers these last two modules and the associated cables and hoses.
RHS inspection cover.jpg
RHS inspection cover.jpg (166.57 KiB) Viewed 1148 times
All in all we're very close to driving a 360 V nominal car down the road for it's suspension work, and then it's ready for inspection. It will eventually get it's refrigeration lines re-connected to the A/C compressor but it's not essential for licensing. It's also not a very convenient thing to mount, so I will want a bit more time to think about that one.
Spare wheel well battery.jpg
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Last two modules.jpg
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by T1 Terry » Wed, 16 Oct 2019, 09:16

As far as the "Beaching itself" back when I worked for Western Road Bus Service, we had a bus that would bottom out mid way between the wheels on a few intersections with deep gutter drains that were part of the normal route. Rather than continually having the passengers freak out at the scrapping along with any new drivers on that particular bus, we added some of those plastic cutting boards to the scrap points. From then on there was a slight bump felt but that was it, no more noises and no getting stuck in the wet if a new driver panicked. Nothing worse than seeing a fully loaded bus with the drive wheels in the drain with water pouring up and over them and trying to convince the 50 people on the bus they'd have to stand in the rain so we could get the bus off the hump :lol:

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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by jonescg » Sun, 20 Oct 2019, 20:31

Another weekend, another flurry of activity on the Prelude.

After re-installing the main battery pack, I lowered the last two modules in the rear with the help of @antiscab and later that night, wired it all up. It's only temporary at this stage, I mainly want to get things working before I start bolting stuff down.

After setting it all up, I had to get the BMS to acknowledge the presence of the last two modules - messing with the rotary switches made this easy, but I did need to take the covers off both modules.
Wheel well packs.jpg
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In order to get them to balance, I have to trick the EVMS3 into thinking it's in charge mode, so I put jumper from charge sense to ground. This way the BMS modules will bleed down any high cells without the pumps, fans, chargers, contactors etc being engaged.
Balance jumper.jpg
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The monitor finally acknowledges a full 96 cell pack.
Full pack balancing.jpg
Full pack balancing.jpg (162.65 KiB) Viewed 1029 times
Now, when I turned the car on, I heard some subtle clunks of contactors and relays, but when I went to spin the motor up, it would drop out. Last time this was happening, the main contactor wasn't closing, and it was attempting to do it all through the 200 ohm precharge resistor in the rear pack. But in this case, the main contactor should have been closed...

I checked voltages with the system off, and sure enough, welded contactors :x I disconnected the battery at the Amphenol connector and spotted this:
spark nibble.jpg
spark nibble.jpg (136.41 KiB) Viewed 1029 times
This must have happened when I plugged it in at reassembly. If the rear pack preharge relay was welded, and the drive contactor was welded, this would cause a spark, but not the epic spark of a controller charging up without a series resistor. So with the pack disconnected, I powered the drive contactor a billion times with a 12 V supply to unstick the contactor. With the front one done, I could get to work on the rear one. It meant putting a jumper on the safety interlock and touching alligator connectors on the 18 way pins to unstick the main contactor and the precharge relay. Eventually the clunk-clunk-clunk became a kerthuhnk-kerthunk-kerthunk and eventually unstuck the thing.

Back together, I tested the drive and it works as it should. The only thing wrong now is the charger - I keep getting a wrong comms error on the charger, and the ZEVA unit would report a comms error. I have a suspicion the new TC charger is 500 kbps, and the ZEVA runs on 250 kbps... If this is the case, all the BMS modules need to be reprogrammed, and that means taking the battery pack apart. Again.

:(
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by jonescg » Mon, 21 Oct 2019, 20:34

@zeva kindly dropped another of his incredible widgets for spoofing the TC charger. He programmed it to deliver 20 A DC and Vmax of 401 V before dropping it in my letterbox. It's powered by the Charge Enable 12 V supply on the EVMS3, but doesn't talk to the rest of the CAN bus in the car... because they're all set to 250 kbps, and the charger is set to 500 kbps.
CAN charger interface board small.jpg
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interface board working.jpg
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full pack charging.jpg
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At least the car can be driven down to the suspension workshop now. It should also have well over 120 km range now too. But a few things need to be bolted down first.

The new battery coolant pump seems to be working a treat too. I look forward to passing refrigerant through the heat exchanger soon and watching cell temperatures drop back to 25'C.
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by jonescg » Wed, 23 Oct 2019, 21:12

Should be balanced some time tomorrow :)
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by jonescg » Sat, 02 Nov 2019, 21:29

The charger was replaced with a CAN-controlled one, but frustratingly, the charger ran on a 500 kbps rate, while all other BMS stuff was on 250 kbps. The only remedy for this was to re-program all 8 BMS modules, the current sensor, EVMS and the screen. Thankfully Ian came around to my house to help with this. Seemed a shame to pull apart a working EV for this seemingly minor task, but oh well.

Back together, the rear pack went in. The main power connector was attached, along with all the low voltage stuff. Only after everything was completed under the car did I connect the last two modules in series with the rest of the pack, including a new 200 A fuse. I plugged it in to charge and it gave an error. No charging. I tried to engage the drive - nothing. Time to bust out the multimeter again.

Blow me down, the drive contactor was welded again! I managed to unstick it, and decided to check the master contactor - it too was possibly stuck, but in order to check if I had un-stuck it, I put a multimeter on the main HV input to the distribution box. It showed a few millivolts when not powered, and about 14 volts when powered. Suspicious - probably stuck. So I powered it with a separate power supply on and off until it sounded like it was coming unstuck.

At this point I realised that the charger and DC/DC converter were still connected at the HVDC end - and my powering the contactor was probably doing no good. This could possibly be the source of some capacitive inrush current. I disconnected them and continued to cycle the master contactor - some progress - I was reading about 36 V when it was on... Should be about 400 V...

Wait a minute... :shock: check the fuse.

Popped again! Damn! The fuse 200 A was blown, again. At least it was a quick repair, but shit this is getting expensive. I installed a new one - 400 A being the only size I had left. Installed the cables as they were, checked the voltages, all good. Re-connected the charger and DC/DC converter (no sparks) and turned the car on. It started as it should, drove as it should and gave no errors. I went for a ~10 km drive, came back and plugged it in to charge. Charged as it should all the way up to 400 V.

So it seems the charger is the source of my fuse popping problems?! I'd really need to put a scope on it or something, but it's very strange. After unplugging the car I turned it on again where it gave a 'contactor error'. Great... However after pressing the screen and clearing the error I turned the key to precharge and heard the clunk of the drive contactor. It spun up just fine. Hopefully the 'contactor error' is an anomaly. Will try it again tomorrow.

It seems putting a master isolation contactor in the pack is a bad idea. One more place for things to go wrong :?
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by coulomb » Sun, 03 Nov 2019, 08:16

jonescg wrote:
Sat, 02 Nov 2019, 21:29
So it seems the charger is the source of my fuse popping problems?! I'd really need to put a scope on it or something, but it's very strange.
I'll agree with strange :o

I'm wondering now if to save cost and space they no longer have a relay on the output of the latest chargers. Maybe they use film capacitors or some such: extreme low internal resistance, and extremely low leakage. Perhaps these can retain a charge for days, and that's why the turn-on (really connect-on) surge isn't blowing a fuse now (though it's now a 400 A fuse, so it's hard to tell). Perhaps the charger output needs a pre-charge arrangement. Expensive and high nuisance value if true. But you can't be welding the main contactor all the time. BTW, when all this is sorted, I'd be inclined to replace the main contactor too. I know: really hard to get to, expensive...

Maybe a clamp meter with a maximum peak current facility would be informative.

Surely someone else is using these chargers in a conversion, and has experience to share (perhaps on another forum).
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by jonescg » Sun, 03 Nov 2019, 10:02

One option might be to abandon the master contactor all together?
Since the rear modules are in the middle of the battery, it's easy enough to install an isolator back there. Then I can enjoy having all components at the front of the car being powered all the time, but at least no nuisances with contactors sticking and fuses blowing.
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by antiscab » Sun, 03 Nov 2019, 22:51

I wonder what the continuous draw would be from keeping everything powered up all the time
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by coulomb » Mon, 04 Nov 2019, 06:23

jonescg wrote:
Sun, 03 Nov 2019, 10:02
One option might be to abandon the master contactor all together?
I'm a bit uneasy about that, and have a vague feeling that it might not be allowed in NCOP14.
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by brendon_m » Mon, 04 Nov 2019, 07:03

NCOP14 says you should have a contactor somewhere before the motor controller, nothing specific about powering down the whole car or having to be inside the battery box.
The power on procedure must be applied via a key switch.
It must not be possible to remove this key in any position that energises the drive train or makes
active driving possible.
Disconnection of the traction pack from the rest of the traction circuit must be by a contactor
operated by the ignition switch.

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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by jonescg » Mon, 04 Nov 2019, 08:35

Well in the case of the drive contactor, I might swap it out for one of these: https://www.gigavac.com/sites/default/f ... /gv200.pdf
The auxiliary contacts are good for indicating it's on (or stuck).
I didn't wire up the auxiliary contacts on the master contactor, mainly because I ran out of pins on the 18-way connector, but might be a worthwhile repair next time (urgh) the pack comes out.
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by jonescg » Mon, 04 Nov 2019, 20:22

Drive report -

After a few short trips not far from home over the weekend, I decided to drive to work today. I packed the OpenEVSE just in case I needed a 3 phase socket at some point.

There was no regen going down the hill. So presumably the controller was set to engage regen below a particular voltage. It's OK, just dabbed the brakes more than I'd hoped.

No dramas getting to work, no dramas getting back! The regen started working about 500 m from home :lol: SO it's clearly set to 370 V or so, but needs to be more like 385 V.

One thing I will say is the Prelude cabin is like a glass house in Darwin! Far out it gets hot in there! I had to leave the windows down and take the BMS screen inside, otherwise it would stop working in the heat. It was 25'C today, but the cabin would have easily been over 40'C. I guess it's all glass, and it's all pointing upwards. It does mean I need to do something about the cells in the spare wheel well - mount a polycarbonate cover and maybe ventilate? It needs to be shielded from the rest of the cabin anyway.

So driving up the hill was fine - about 250 m elevation in 8 km. It maintained about 85 amps (30 kW) all the way up and nothing overheated or dropped out. 4th gear was fine for this.

An 80 km round trip, down hill and up, and I still had a supposed 50% left in the battery! More likely it was about 35%, but I think 150 km range on flat ground is entirely possible. Call it a safe 100 km at sustained highway speeds.

Better than most Leafs today :)

Next step is to put the air conditioning in. That will cause a bit of a range hit I think, but preserve the battery's useful life.
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by jonescg » Mon, 04 Nov 2019, 21:04

I should add - the wobble board effect has been reduced somewhat, but it's definitely still there. I need to mount a gopro under the car and go for a drive to see what's happening. Hopefully the new coilovers will fix a lot of that.
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by francisco.shi » Mon, 04 Nov 2019, 21:23

How much power does it take to keep the car going on a flat at 100kph?

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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by jonescg » Mon, 04 Nov 2019, 21:30

I'll have to get a number on this tomorrow, but about 21 kW I think. It takes about 8 kW to maintain 60 km/h, and 14 kW to do 80 km/h.
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by jonescg » Wed, 06 Nov 2019, 11:28

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:o :o :o

No wonder children and animals die in hot cars!
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by brendon_m » Wed, 06 Nov 2019, 11:37

Yeah, that's getting to be shorts and a T shirt temperature :P

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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by T1 Terry » Wed, 06 Nov 2019, 12:24

jonescg wrote:
Mon, 04 Nov 2019, 08:35
Well in the case of the drive contactor, I might swap it out for one of these: https://www.gigavac.com/sites/default/f ... /gv200.pdf
The auxiliary contacts are good for indicating it's on (or stuck).
I didn't wire up the auxiliary contacts on the master contactor, mainly because I ran out of pins on the 18-way connector, but might be a worthwhile repair next time (urgh) the pack comes out.
I would go with the 350 amp Gigavac rather than the 200 amp units, mostly because the 2 that are in my aux battery pack Prius tend to weld themselves closed every so often with 100 amps max passing through them. We use the 350 amp units as a battery isolator for our off grid battery system in RV's, houseboats and off grid houses, and the 350 amp units give no trouble at all, the 175 amp units and the 200 amp units were a nightmare and we ended up replacing every one of them

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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by jonescg » Wed, 06 Nov 2019, 20:07

Thanks for the advice on the contactors - makes sense that the bigger ones don't stick as much - more heft of copper to throw around perhaps?

Another good test-drive to work and back today. I went via Cockburn to visit Jon Edwards and his DC powered fast charger. Not that the Prelude could use it, but interesting all the same. I travelled back up the Freeway for a bit, but the roadworks were epic, and the top speed was 95 km/h at best. I managed to check the screen for energy consumption and it looked like about 18.5 kW. So definitely under 200 Wh/km for highway speeds. Took Leach highway home and back up the hill. It slows to 70 km/h up the grade if you don't get a decent run-up, but it's dual carriageway and there's no point hitting the cells harder. Still never exceeded 130 amps form the battery (about 2C). Clocked up 95 km today and the SOC was reporting 41% remaining.

I am quite impressed with the efficiency of this system (probably due in part to the under-powered motor) but I think under ideal conditions there's 140 km of highway range :O
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by Richo » Thu, 07 Nov 2019, 12:48

Can I ask did you do most of this yourself or did you get the odd bit of help from ppl?
So the short answer is NO but the long answer is YES.
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Re: Prelude conversion project - some questions

Post by jonescg » Thu, 07 Nov 2019, 12:53

Richo wrote:
Thu, 07 Nov 2019, 12:48
Can I ask did you do most of this yourself or did you get the odd bit of help from ppl?
I did most of it myself. The adaptor plate was drawn up myself, but I got a mate with a big lathe to finish the job. A few friends helped with the pulling out of the oily bits (between cans of beer) but most of it was on my toblerone.
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