Engineer requests

Technical discussion on converting internal combustion to electric
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ohmboy
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Post by ohmboy » Sun, 18 Mar 2012, 01:32

Anyone have any surprise requests from engineers?
Latest ones I've heard of is a safety switch so you can only power up in neutral and an indicator on the dash warning of low battery power.

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Post by Richo » Mon, 19 Mar 2012, 20:59

The neutral one sounds bogus.
An auto car powers up in PARK
A gear box car can start in any gear but most people generally have the clutch in (duh)
An eV would be no different in either situations.
However for safety the eV should only power up when the brake is on and pref the accelerator is at 0.
You could use the clutch in detect as an alternative.
There is no convienient wat to detect neutral on a gearbox.

The dash warning of low battery power?
Which battery?
The 12V battery should have the original "idiot" light working to show if the 12V is charging ie the alternator/DC-DC is going.
For traction battery this would be your fuel gauge.
Doesn't the fuel gauge work after conversion?
Some cars don't have a low fuel warning light - just the gauge.
Having some sort of fuel gauge would be common sense more than safety.
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Post by Greg partridge » Tue, 03 Apr 2012, 03:39

I am needing a engineer to certify my Vespa modifications. Can anyone suggest someone who is qualified and acceptable to the RMS.

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Post by mizlplix » Tue, 08 May 2012, 15:46

Greetings: We mounted a small momentary on/off limit switch to a cheap sheetmetal bracket to the top of the trans by the shifter stick. When it was in the neutral gate area, the stick pressed the switch and provided a "in neutral" signal. It can be used to light an L.E.D. or a small enable relay.

One of your guys down there sells a small loop/board assembly that uses the stock gas gauge for a S.O.C. meter. Quite clever too. I have one.

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Post by BigMouse » Fri, 11 May 2012, 04:07

What about cars that use direct drive, or gearboxes that are locked in one gear? I can understand the engineer's desire for such a thing on a DC car though, incase the controller fails on startup.

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Post by bladecar » Fri, 11 May 2012, 14:47

Hi Big Mouse,

Just one slightly off-topic question.

Did you ever own a shop on Cuddles Avenue?

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Post by woody » Fri, 11 May 2012, 16:38

I ashamedly understand that question, nothing to worry about Big Mouse, Cuddles Avenue is fictional, and the shop-keeper referred to is shonky in the extreme. The fiction featuring this is for young children but the actions of the characters are seemingly innocuous but develop bad habits in children (my children at least) so we avoid it where possible.
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Post by Richo » Fri, 11 May 2012, 21:02

I'd still not recommend a switch on the neutral of a gearbox.
Cuddles Ave?!? is that somewhere in China or a filter on e-bay?

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Post by BigMouse » Fri, 11 May 2012, 22:19

bladecar wrote: Hi Big Mouse,

Just one slightly off-topic question.

Did you ever own a shop on Cuddles Avenue?


I don't wear a hat.

*reference based on wikipedia, may be incorrect or otherwise silly

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Post by bladecar » Sat, 12 May 2012, 04:14

Hi Big Mouse Image

I shouldn't have written it and it was infantile. It's my version of a happy world. It's more meant as a memory jogger than anything else. A bit like questions for a car rally, only in an inappropriate place.   Image

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Post by ohmboy » Sun, 13 May 2012, 23:02

FYI. Before going for an Engineers Inspection here in NSW you must contact the RTA, or what ever they call themselves now, for an engine number. They will generate a number which will need to be stamped on the motor before inspection.
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Post by woody » Mon, 14 May 2012, 15:56

bladecar wrote: Hi Big Mouse Image

I shouldn't have written it and it was infantile. It's my version of a happy world. It's more meant as a memory jogger than anything else. A bit like questions for a car rally, only in an inappropriate place.   Image
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Post by gttool » Thu, 17 May 2012, 01:28

neutral switch not required now , but can only start when the brake pedal is depressed much better ...easier and how its done these days on key less cars ?

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Post by bromal » Fri, 18 May 2012, 21:01

anybody out there tried to couple up a stationary air cooled diesel to an alternator or generator as a power source..seems the fuel economy would be a lot better than petrol electric and much more torque stable on the revs.
bro

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Post by woody » Fri, 18 May 2012, 21:13

This is quite common, it's commonly called a diesel genset:
These Guys sell them from $3K to $110K.

All the small generators seem to be petrol powered, I guess because the petrol economy isn't as big an issue as the diesel complexity/engineering cost at the smaller end.
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Post by gholm » Sun, 20 May 2012, 03:26

ohmboy wrote: FYI. Before going for an Engineers Inspection here in NSW you must contact the RTA, or what ever they call themselves now, for an engine number. They will generate a number which will need to be stamped on the motor before inspection.


For EVs, the engine number requirement is a weird one indeed. In my case, I replaced a 66bhp ICE motor with a 45kw Kostov electric. The Engineer by default had to sign off on it because the engine plate showed him that new elec motor isn't a higher power than the original, and so he checks off the engine number and all was good. What wasn't considered either is the controller, or the electric motor's system of specifying power.

Stamped on the case is RATED Power = 45kw. whereas the original ICE motor was rated as 66bhp at MAX. What a Kostov 11" MAX power output is unknown, but it is sure as hell higher than 66bhp..

I actually can't find any official numbers of what it is supposed to be, but EV Drag racing forums suggest modified Kostovs can handle 1000amps at 192v for ~10 secs, pegging max power at almost 200kw.
So assuming I'd want to do it, I could drop in a Shiva controller, and perfectly legally drive around public roads with a vastly overpowered vehicle.

The old stamped number plate on a motor is actually misleading information of the true capacity of an electric drivetrain. In reality, the motor and controller should be paired then rated together, if the engineers want to work within the current system of maintaining safe margins of power-to-weight ratios in vehicles.

[edit] for readability and spelling...sigh
Last edited by gholm on Sat, 19 May 2012, 17:30, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by 4Springs » Tue, 22 May 2012, 03:23

Just going through the process of Engineer inspection now. So far he has just had a quick look, and asked that I get the 240VAC wiring inspected by an electrician. He is after a piece of paper that states it complies with AS/NZS 3001:2001 - Electrical Installations - Relocatable Premises.
I'm not sure that this standard should apply, since there are significant differences between a motor home and an EV (I'm not about to plug in a dodgy kettle!), but it is a standard that is widely understood. NCOP 14 is pretty vauge about the 240VAC wiring, so this is probably a good standard to work to.
So today an electrican came out to have a look, and the only thing he really looked at was the fact that I didn't have an RCD or circuit breaker. I had bought one in anticipation, so I got him to install it for me. He didn't even look at the rest of the wiring, just did an earth continuity test between the chassis and the plug pin. He did make favourable comments about the neatness of the conversion, so perhaps he would have looked closer if it was a rats nest of wires...

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Post by Richo » Tue, 22 May 2012, 20:42

There wouldn't be too many battery chargers that are required to have an RCD/circuit breaker installed.
So just because it's in a car it now requires it?
Bogus!

Good work tho
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Post by Johny » Tue, 22 May 2012, 21:35

The stupid part of having the RCD in the car (having installed one) is that the most likely places for a problem are the charge cord or vehicle's power inlet - neither of which are monitored by the RCD.

BTW Chris - I think the sparky was influenced by the quality of your work. If he'd seen a mess he would have been way more critical (IMO).

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Post by Fanpoker » Wed, 23 May 2012, 21:54

Johny wrote: The stupid part of having the RCD in the car (having installed one) is that the most likely places for a problem are the charge cord or vehicle's power inlet - neither of which are monitored by the RCD.

BTW Chris - I think the sparky was influenced by the quality of your work. If he'd seen a mess he would have been way more critical (IMO).


I have only recently started looking at EV's and have only watched a few videos of what people do. So I'm pretty newbie but also have an engineering background. I here where your coming from but consider the following.

1. A car experiences lots of vibration increasing the chance of a fault to the chassis even when using double insulation

2. The car is effectively insulated from your supply earth because of the tyres. The only return path it relies on for protection is the cable earth which could also become damaged or high resistance

3. Your supply is not necessarily RCD protected as old homes are often only fused.

If those three conditions line up (and they are reasonably likely to) then your car could become live and you can receive a deadly shock from touching it when it is plugged in.

This is the same reason that the NCOP14 guidelines have

"Is the HAZV traction battery system adequately isolated
from the vehicle chassis so that leakage current does not
exceed 20 mA?"

I haven't seen how people comply with this condition. Can anyone fill me in on how most people do this?

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Post by Richo » Thu, 24 May 2012, 21:06

If someone carries around a 12V battery charger in their car why is this different?
Does the fact that it bolts in make it special.

Nearly every appliance relies on the cable earth.
When was the last time you had to earth an appliance via other methods?

But I do agree isolation and leakage detection on eV's is sub-standard at the moment and could use improvement.
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Post by Fanpoker » Sat, 26 May 2012, 13:25

Well first of all like some of you have discussed there is no real standard for EV's. Secondly it is a permanent installation and it would be best practice to at least install an RCD. This is why some inspectors obviously ask for it.

I am aware that most other appliances rely on cable earth, and most plastic appliances dont rely on any earths. In fact there never used to be any earth leakage protection at all, earths were only there to blow fuses. As I said above, your potentially sitting in the car, the car is exposed to weather and vibration. It realy makes sense that if you build a new car that you would consider this.

Also again about the phrase in NCOP14, does anyone use something similar to thishttp://www.bender.org/documents/NAE1012 ... 420-D4.pdf(a DC version)? Because looking at the guidelines you would need to monitor insulation resistance to make sure you stay floating above earth.

Again on the 240v, since the NOCP14 doesn't mention 240v supplies technically you should take it as HAZV and protect it at <20mA (10mA is a normal commercial value) not 30mA.
Last edited by Fanpoker on Sat, 26 May 2012, 03:30, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by 4Springs » Sat, 26 May 2012, 23:32

Fanpoker wrote:
"Is the HAZV traction battery system adequately isolated
from the vehicle chassis so that leakage current does not
exceed 20 mA?"

I haven't seen how people comply with this condition. Can anyone fill me in on how most people do this?


Are you asking how do people measure their leakage current?
The way I do it is from E/ECE/324, regulation N. 100. It involves manually inserting resistors between the the chassis and each of the Traction Pack terminals (+ve and -ve). You measure the voltage across the resistors with a multimeter, do a calculation and work out the leakage current. This is obviously not a continual monitoring, but something that I'll need to do on a regular basis. NCOP 14 states that it must be checked before working on the electrical system of the vehicle. One of my warning signs under the bonnet states this.

There is a discussion on the Bender devices here:AEVA Discussion I think the gist of the conversation was that they are good devices, difficult to obtain (but that was a few years ago). It would be interesting to find out if anyone is using one...

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Post by Richo » Mon, 28 May 2012, 21:14

I don't know of anyone that is using an RCD or leakage detection. (other than one built into the cable)
It's that old saying do as I say not as I do.

I agree an RCD would meet best practice.
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Post by poprock » Sun, 05 May 2013, 01:19

Hi, reading through old posts and noticed your reply about a new engine number. I have a list of qualified RMS engineers in the Hunter Valley, but my question is.:- My 9"General Dynamics still has the original plate attached with the original numbers . Did you need a new number because of not having one or is it another example of Bureauocratic madness? Image

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