Progress on the MX5 conversion

Technical discussion on converting internal combustion to electric
zeva
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Progress on the MX5 conversion

Post by zeva »

For those who may have previously flicked through the conversion journal for my MX5, I just added a new entry covering what's been happening in the last month or so! Here's the link:

http://www.zeva.com.au/conversion_blog. ... =1&post=11

It's all looking pretty good so far, should be smooth sailing from here on and hopefully not long 'til the car is on the road! (But, probably not in time for the upcoming WAEVA BBQ, oh well..)
Ian Hooper
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Benonymous
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Progress on the MX5 conversion

Post by Benonymous »

Great to see some progress shots Ian. It's going to be a great looking conversion Image
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Progress on the MX5 conversion

Post by jpcw »

I've seen the MX5 first hand. It's going to be a really cool car. With that engine and the Lithium’s it is really going to fly.
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it,” Alan Kay 1971
zeva
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Progress on the MX5 conversion

Post by zeva »

Latest news, the motor and drivetrain are all installed now, so I had quite a momentous occasion this afternoon: The wheels were turning under electric power! (OK maybe that doesn't sound that exciting but it's been a long time coming Image )

Pics and description here for interest: http://www.zeva.com.au/conversion_blog. ... =1&post=12
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Progress on the MX5 conversion

Post by Benonymous »

Fantastic news Ian!! Some full blooded EV action can't be far away! Image
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Progress on the MX5 conversion

Post by juk »

Along with some electron fuelled sideways action i hope.

Have you thought about motokhana Ian? It would be a weapon.
zeva
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Post by zeva »

Yeah that's always been the intention, we don't have any electric vehicles competing head to head against the dino-burners here in WA so I'm keen to give it a shot.

It probably won't be particularly competitive with the current build (batteries and speed controller are limited to about 100hp) but it will be upgraded as soon as funds allow. (My goal is to have the quickest EV in the southern hemisphere, so I'll get it there eventually!)
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cs
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Progress on the MX5 conversion

Post by cs »

Hi Ian,

Don't want to be a pain but do you have an update for the MX5 conversion blog? Very excited to see where you're at! Image

Cheers,
cs
zeva
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Post by zeva »

Yeah it's definitely about time I put a new entry in the conversion blog:

http://www.zeva.com.au/conversion_blog. ... =1&post=13

Its still not finished, but getting closer every day Image
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Progress on the MX5 conversion

Post by tassie_tiger »

Thanks for sharing Ian, looks fantastic!
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Thalass
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Progress on the MX5 conversion

Post by Thalass »

Aw, I was hoping to see the MX5 tonight at the meeting! :p

Oh well, I suppose it'll be a few more months of red tape to get through, huh?

BTW, which licensing centre are you taking it to?
I'll drive an electric vehicle one day.
zeva
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Post by zeva »

Yes if it were driveable I would have snuck it down there tonight on the old plates, but as usual things have taken longer than I would have liked!

I expect I'll take it down to Welshpool, they're not too far from me and are probably the most knowledgeable about electrics.
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Thalass
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Post by Thalass »

Ah ok. I'll have to remember that. Midland is the closest to me, but I don't know if they've done any electrics yet.
I'll drive an electric vehicle one day.
cs
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Progress on the MX5 conversion

Post by cs »

Hi Ian,

Thanks for the update. It looks like a completely professional job, a real showcase for custom EV conversions. Image Lookin good.

In general, I believe the community will grow a great deal when kits (like the ones Daniel Booth from evshop is planning to release) are available that will help to provide a professional looking EV, like yours, to those without all the machining, cabling, etc skills. But without actually shipping kits all around the world creating more CO2, EV'ers who do their conversions with a passion for the cause could provide complete schematics, technical drawings, CAD designs, cabling specifications etc to the community and then for people who want to build that type of EV to get local businesses to do their part (machinist for adapter plate, engine mount and battery box, sparky for cabling, etc) at a discounted rate based on those designs. I'm sure there has to be some open source hardware projects that could have already used this approach but perhaps an Aussie one could be better? Image
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Progress on the MX5 conversion

Post by MikeG »

Hi,

I'm doing initial research into an EV conversion for a Nissan 200SX and considering a similar sort of system to yours.

I'll watch your progress with interest.

Mike.
zeva
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Post by zeva »

Exciting news: I just took the MX5 for its first test drive as an EV!

It all seems to be working nicely, other than the Kelly controller which is unbelievably wimpy. Fortunately Rob Mason has lent me a Curtis 1231C I can use to get the car licensed, or until I get around to building a controller for it myself.

If all goes well it may possibly be licensed in time for me to bring it down to the next WAEVA meeting.. See how we go.
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Progress on the MX5 conversion

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Thalass
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Post by Thalass »

Huzzah!

Great stuff, Ian. Congrats. :)

Also happy birthday. heh
I'll drive an electric vehicle one day.
zeva
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Post by zeva »

Now that the MX5 is all up and running, I thought I'd extend an open invitation to anyone interested in coming to take it for a drive - just drop me a line. Especially people who've never driven an EV before as hopefully it'll (a) make you want one and (b) make you wonder why we still can't buy production EVs, yet people can build them in their own backyards!

(It might not actually be licensed as an electric for a couple of weeks yet but we can still sneak it out onto the back roads for a quick spin..)

It's currently got a loaner Curtis 1231C controller in there so performance is acceptable but not great, I'll be upgrading the controller and various other parts of the car in the coming months.. Yes, I still want that "Fastest EV In Australia" crown! Image
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Progress on the MX5 conversion

Post by Kearon »

Congrats Hoops!!!!
That's awesome news - glad you're now reaping the benefits of your hard work. BVut don't spend ALL your time having fun...we all need ya to build the Zilla Killa!!

...and belated happy birthday - really? OK then..

Kearon
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current conversion: 1990 Ford Capri : 45 x TS90Ah : Impulse 9
zeva
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Post by zeva »

A belated update on the MX5, with some pics of the progress up to the first test drive last week:

http://www.zeva.com.au/conversion_blog. ... =1&post=14

It's still not quite licensed but I've got a temporary movement permit for it at the moment so will bring it down to the WAEVA meeting tonight, for anyone interested to see it or take it for a spin! It'll be the first drive of any significant length tonight, so hopefully there are no problems!

OK, guess I'd better get back to making Kearon's motor controller now.. ;)
Ian Hooper
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Progress on the MX5 conversion

Post by Andrew »

It was great to see your electric MX5 tonight Ian, you've done a fantastic job with that car. It was totally awesome to drive! Image Tho it was rather funny not having a speedo to go by Image At least the plates weren't registered in WA!! Image

I hope the drive back to maida vale was fun Image
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Post by zeva »

So.. Lesson Learned The Hard Way #572: Curtis 1231C controllers do not like running big motors direct drive.

About 5 minutes from home last night it had a strange shudder then died. I got a friend to help me tow it back the rest of the way, and once I got back to my multimeter was able to confirm that yes, the Curtis has packed it in.

The bad:

- It's expensive
- It wasn't even mine

The good:

- It's probably just blown all the FETs, so I should be able to repair it, and better than new (if its owner doesn't mind me trying)
- At least now I have a benchmark for my own controller development: If I can build something that lasts more than 2 hours in the MX5, I can reasonably assume it's better than a Curtis 1231C!?
Ian Hooper
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acmotor
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Post by acmotor »

Man that must have been disapointing ! Image
You have done such a great job on your conversion.

I guess the curtis was never up to driving a very short circuit that borders on a negative resistance ! (aka 11" motor).

The way I see it, the curtis owner had already stressed the b-gees out of the curtis previously ! Hi Rob ! Image
Anyway, you can rebuild it as the word's first 3K curtis.
(do add some inline inductance say 100uH to limit di/dt in the motor line. Often very low resistance wiring can actually work against current protection circuits and the curtis probably spent all its time at current limit anyway !)

I am an IGBT man myself, but losses are a bit high at torch battery voltages ! Image

P.S. I trust the motor is not at fault as it is quite conservatively voltaged.
       
iMiEV MY12     110,230km in pure Electric and loving it !
zeva
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Post by zeva »

Yeah while nobody would recommend the Curtis 1231C for direct drive applications, it is disappointing that their design does not accommodate sufficient self-protection mechanisms for it to shut down gracefully when overworked instead of just dying!

Logisystems in the US have recently been refurbishing Curtis controllers with up-to-date power components (the ones Curtis use are about 20 years old!) and have managed to get 1000A out of the same box. Maybe I'll have a go doing that myself.

It is somewhat comforting at least that the rest of my wiring and components were fine, i.e the problem was not with something I did, other than perhaps overconfidence in Curtis! Image
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