4Springs' Brumby

Post up a thread for your EV. Progress pics, description and assorted alliteration
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4Springs
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Post by 4Springs »

I have some photos of the rear battery boxes. Main one has seven batteries at the front of the tray. Then there are two underneath the tray, each containing one battery.

Image

First photo is rather busy.
This is the front of the tray of the ute, viewed from behind. You can see the main battery box before assembly. The section under the window is corrugated, so I cut a section of Formply to cover it. (Formply is a thick, tough plywood). In a crash, batteries would want to move forwards, and the wooden board would help to distribute the force over a large area. The board is covered with a 6mm thick blue foam, for heat insulation. You can see the rear of one of my emergency stop switches on the board, with the red button accessible from inside the cabin.
The floor is also covered with blue foam, for both heat and electric insulation. On top of the foam are two boards, one brown and one black. These support the batteries front and back, leaving a space underneath them. The boards have strips of thin plywood on them, to help key into the particular shape of the batteries. The batteries fit nice and snug, and shouldn’t be able to move at all.
In the space between the boards is my battery heating system. In the middle is an aluminium plate (looks blue because of the reflection) with a heater element inside. This is regulated by a controller out of shot on the right, which runs on 230VAC whenever the car is plugged in. Four copper pipes run underneath the aluminium plate, so that water can be pumped around to take the heat away. The copper pipes are joined to rubber pipes (garden hose), which run underneath the vehicle to the two bottom battery boxes. There is a small 12V water pump in line, which runs from a plug pack transformer, also running whenever there is 230VAC present.

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Post by 4Springs »

Image
The next photo shows the aluminium sheet that sits on the boards. This is to help distribute the heat better. Without it, heat would rise from the central heater into the box, and so the centre would be far warmer than everywhere else. The idea is that the aluminium should both deflect the warm air, and also conduct heat itself. The centre will still be warmer, but I’m hoping it will help. It also makes everything look neater.
There is a tube shown, with green (antifreezy) water in it. Having this section above the rest means that any bubbles are collected as they go around. This works remarkably well. I can also keep an eye on the water level here, and will know if I have any leaks.
The water transfers heat from the element to the left and the right, and then underneath to the bottom battery boxes (left and right).

On the right there is a red heatshrinked battery terminal connector. This will take the positive lead from this battery box underneath the vehicle to the next battery box. There will be a similar one on the left.
In this shot you can also see that I have removed one of the very handy covers that are all over the Brumby. They make it very easy to run wires around out of sight!

Image
This photo shows the seven batteries in place. The gap is just big enough to fit the rear stop switch and the rear contactor. The black terminal to the left, and the red one to the right both go underneath the tray. Note that they are not connected to the end batteries, as there was not enough room underneath. This will make connecting up the batteries a fairly messy business, as the leads will have to cross each other in a couple of places. This will be exacerbated by having my batteries electrically connected into groups of three. The sequence is:
Left hand three batteries (two shown, one underneath) ->
Emergency Stop Switch ->
Centre three batteries ->
Contactor ->
Right hand three batteries (including the one under the right side of the tray)
Once I have all of these connected up, and then put on my zener BMS, there will be wires going all over the place...

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Post by 4Springs »

Image
This photo shows the main battery box with all the covers sitting in place. There is a thermometer sitting on top, to try to get an idea of how warm it will be in there.
The top is a single piece of Formply, kept in place with steel brackets. You can see a couple of the brackets sitting around (painted red), the rest are hidden. I have lined the top with a thicker foam - 20mm thick to keep the heat in.
It is hard to see, but the rear section is made of three separate pieces of Formply. Smaller sections at each end, and a larger piece in the middle. The end sections will be fixed, and the centre section will open on a hinge. I have yet to fix these rear sections, and they don't have foam attached yet.

This morning it was 8°C outside (nice and warm for this time of year!), and 16°C inside the box. I'm hoping it will be a bit better than this once it is all assembled completely, but even this amount is good. The rear door was open a bit to give access to the thermometer lead, so it would let heat out. This was with the thermostat set to 35°C, which means that the element underneath was at that temperature. I could probably increase this if I wanted, I'm only limited by the temperature that the tubing can stand (and the amount of heat I can get out of the 50W element!).
I'm assuming that the batteries will heat up themselves under load, and possibly under charging. In that case, my warming system will be more to just keep the warmth in.

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Post by woody »

Sorry if this has been discussed before - are you sure you can run those batteries on their ends like that? I'd check with the manufacturer. Normally the vent is on the top so that mostly gas gets vented, this way if there is a venting, you will probably lose electrolyte :-(
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Post by 4Springs »

woody wrote: Sorry if this has been discussed before - are you sure you can run those batteries on their ends like that? I'd check with the manufacturer. Normally the vent is on the top so that mostly gas gets vented, this way if there is a venting, you will probably lose electrolyte :-(


AGM batteries can go any which way up you like! That's one of the reasons I chose them. The electrolyte is stored in a sponge type material so that it cannot come out at all. In theory, the vents should only operate during a fault condition, and most likely during charging. It is a bad thing to have an AGM vent, so I'll install zener diode bypass circuitry to help reduce the likelihood of that happening.
One odd thing with Century batteries, they have a sticker on them that says something to the effect that the warranty is void if installed under the bonnet. I just checked on the website, and they say that it is because the casing is not able to stand up to petrol or oil. So if I need a warranty replacement, I'll say it came from the rear battery box :)

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Post by 4Springs »

Bottom Battery Boxes

Image Image


These photos are an attempt to show the bottom battery boxes. You are underneath the tray of the ute, looking forwards. The black beam running left to right is the torsion suspension. The back wall of each box sits up against the beam, and is attached at the top by a red bracket. One battery fits in each box, laying down on its side. I put the battery on the bottom 'lid' of the box, and jack it up into position with a trolley jack. It only just fits though, I must have miscalculated when I first worked out how much space was between the suspension and the cab. I got quite a shock when I first jacked the battery up (once 3/4 of the work of the box was completed) - there are only millimetres left over! If I had realised it was going to be quite this tight, I don't think I would have gone ahead with these two boxes.

On the first photo you can see tubing hanging down, that slides in under the battery as it is raised. There is also a thick orange wire to attach to one of the terminals (goes up through the tray to the larger battery box). There is a large U bolt hanging there, this is one of the attachemnts for the box lid.

The second photo shows both bottom battery boxes with batteries installed and lids closed up. The orange conduit is not in its final position, it is just sitting there to give me an idea of how it will go.

These battery boxes were a real pain to make. It would have been a lot easier without the drive shaft, although the suspension would have still been in the way. They don't exactly allow for easy access to the batteries, either. There are about 10 bolts and screws to undo to get the lid off.
Having the boxes out of the way like this does make for a nice neat box up in the tray though, - it would have been an odd shape with 9 or 10 batteries in the tray as I originally planned.
Hopefully when I upgrade to Lithiums, all my batteries will fit in these two boxes and under the bonnet. This means that I would have the whole box in the tray to put stuff in!

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Post by 4Springs »

I finally got my motor and bell housing back, complete with adapter plate and coupling. Looks good to my untrained eye, cost $800.

Image Image

The engineer who added four new holes to the motor end plate. So you can see eight bolts in the face of the adapter plate. The plate is 23 mm aluminium.
The coupling looks very solid – much more so that I’d have thought it needed to be. To stop turning on the shaft it uses a tang (visible in the photo), and also four grub screws around the outside.

Image Image

Left photo shows the bell housing bolted to the adapter plate. Four bolts and two lugs. When I put it together I assumed that he hadn’t done the bottom two holes, but now I see the photos I realise that they were there, but didn’t line up. Hope four will do!
Next photo shows the flywheel attached to the coupling with the first two bolts. I’ve put in a new spigot bearing, and have bought a new clutch plate. The old clutch plate was very worn. Everything was upside down in the other photos, but this one shows it up the way it will be in the car.

Image Image

The engineer managed to remove 2kg from the flywheel, so it weighs 8kg now.
Sunday is the day to attempt to put the motor in the car. I probably won't be able to resist hooking it up to a 12V battery first, I'd like to make sure it goes round!

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Post by DKEL »

I am going to make a prediction and say that on attachment to a 12V battery, movement will occur. Fair prediction?

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Post by 4Springs »

Thanks for reminding me that I hadn't updated for a while:

After a false start involving breaking a bolt, DKEL and I installed the motor into the Brumby:

Image Image

The engine mounts attached to both the bell housing and the original engine. I've put the motor upside down, so the single attachment point is at the bottom. I'll make up a bracket that attaches the motor to the two engine mount brackets.
I'll have to fit three large batteries beside the motor, probably two on the left (passenger side), and one on the right. I've drawn up a plan of where everything will fit, and it looks like there will be space.

The motor did turn when we hooked it up to 12V. Made a funny squeaking sound, but hopefully this is just because it is new! I had it hooked up to the flywheel for this test, since series wound DC motors apparently can go too fast and fly apart if run without any load.

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Post by evric »

It maybe a good idea to leave it running on 12V for a while (a few hours), this will run in/bed in the brushes and get rid of any squeaks. Make sure it's running in the right direction.
Last edited by evric on Sun, 02 Oct 2011, 05:23, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by 4Springs »

Ok, I've finished building a shed, and I'm back on the Brumby.

Image

This photo shows the battery boxes under the bonnet. You can also see a fuse and one of the isolation switches. The Kelly controller is there, I screwed it onto the wooden battery box, and then realised I should have a better heatsink than that. I've now bought a piece of 5mm thick aluminium, which I'll offset a bit from the side of the box, so that air can flow underneath it like a chimney.

I hooked up one of the batteries to the motor the other day and ran it for a while. This was with the gearbox in neutral, so it had a bit of a load on it. Sounds much better once it gets going a bit faster (doesn't squeak), but it does vibrate more than I'd like. Sitting behind the wheel, I decided the vibration was about the same as if I had the petrol engine idling. Making the motor go faster (by pushing in the clutch) only made the vibration faster. My guess was that I might be going about 1000 rpm, but I really have no way to tell.
How much vibration should there be? I would have thought an electric motor should be smooth, so I'm assuming that the vibration is coming from an imbalance in the weight of the pressure plate. The flywheel has been turned down, and so weighs less than it did. The pressure plate has lots of holes and lugs and bolts all over it. I wonder if the pressure plate was tuned to compensate for the weight of the flywheel, and so now needs a bit of adjusting for the new weight?

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Post by 4Springs »

Ok, to answer my own question, there should be no vibration at all when the motor and clutch are spinning. A clutch can be balanced by any automotive engineering place with the appropriate clutch balancing machine. I spoke to a local business, and the man said that yes, turning down the flywheel will unbalance the clutch. To fit my clutch in his machine, I just need to mount it on a shaft the same diameter as the one through the middle of the electric motor. So I need to pull everything apart again to take the flywheel off the motor.

I found something a bit odd about my Kelly Controller. I have a KDH14800D. I noticed at one point that my traction battery was measuring a significant voltage difference from the 12V system. I eventually tracked it down to the fact that the aluminium case of the controller is internally connected to the B+ terminal. I had run a grounding strap from the controller to the vehicle chassis, and so there was 150V difference between the vehicle chassis and B-, once the controller had pre-charged.
Any ideas what is going on? I have now isolated the controller case from the vehicle chassis, so it is safe to lean over the car and touch the battery terminals. However, the controller and the aluminium plate it is bolted to it are still at the same potential as B+, a possibly dangerous situation.

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Post by Johny »

It sounds like there is a fault in the controller. I can't imagine that Kelly would deliberately have the case at B+. With everything off (for a long time) and the B+ terminal disconnected, can you measure the resistance (with a multimeter) from the case to the B+ terminal?

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Post by 4Springs »

Hmm, that is interesting, I've managed to post the same reply twice. Doesn't look like I can delete it, but I can edit it to say something else.... Image
Last edited by 4Springs on Wed, 04 Jan 2012, 12:30, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by 4Springs »

Ok, I've now disconnected everything from the controller. There is less than 1 ohm from the case to the M- terminal. There is 130k between the case and the B- terminal. The resistance from the case to the B+ terminal is now higher than my meter measures.

The voltages that I was measuring earlier were with the motor connected up. The voltage rose as the precharge occurred.

The resistance across the motor measures less than 1 ohm, so I suppose that is why the case goes to the same voltage as B+. (B+ is connected to the motor, which is low resistance through to M-, which is low resistance through to the case).

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Post by Johny »

Well either It's a terrible design or the insulation between the high power FET drains and the case is faulty
Last edited by Johny on Wed, 04 Jan 2012, 16:44, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Adverse Effects »

i thought the case would be 0V / earth

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Post by antiscab »

Johny wrote: Well either It's a terrible design or the insulation between the high power FET drains and the case is faulty


The older Kelly controllers had no insulation between heatsink/case and gates

So, bad design (almost as bad as using IEC mains cables to wire batteries to things)

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Post by 4Springs »

Not quite sure what that last comment was about antiscab, but I quickly looked through the photos to see if I had any IEC mains cables in view! Couldn't see any, phew!

I had a reply from Kelly today. Fany asked for some clarifications, and then had this to say:
It is OK.You can use the controller to drive the motor well even if we got the 1ohm resistance between M- and case.
It is important when the resistance between case and B- is 130kohm.
Please note 150V on M- is normal.
When the motor rotates,the voltage on the M- will be reduced.
We used the low side driver logic for our controller.
I've sent a reply back, asking for confirmation that it is normal for M- to be connected to the case. I also tried to explain why it matters to me! Explaining Australian regulations can be a pain...

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Post by 4Springs »

Second reply from Kelly wasn't much help:
I mean you can put the insulation plate for the controller case.
The M- has 150V voltage initially.When you speed up the motor,the voltage on M- will be reduced.
We use the opposite logic control for our controller.
From this reply and the previous one, I think that Fany means that M- is connected to the case internally, and this is the way it is supposed to be.
So yes, terrible design. Particularly for Australians!
This means that I cannot bolt it to the vechicle chassis. This is not a big problem for me, I have it bolted to an aluminium plate, which is in turn bolted to a wooden battery box. According to section 2.8 of the NCOP 14 though, I will have to cover the controller and its heatsink to stop anyone touching it.
Fany does point out that the voltage reduces while the motor is running though, so it would be fine if anyone was under the bonnet touching things, as long as we are driving down the highway!
Grumble Grumble. Don't buy Kelly KDH controllers. Image

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Post by antiscab »

4Springs wrote:
From this reply and the previous one, I think that Fany means that M- is connected to the case internally, and this is the way it is supposed to be.
So yes, terrible design.


Thats because the Fets are bolted directly to the case, with no insulator between case and FET

The newer designs have the Fets bolted to a heat spreader, which is then bolted to the case with insulation between

The non-isolated version is harder to mount properly, but as long as you are aware of it (and put it in say a plastic or wood box), its not too bad

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Post by coulomb »

4Springs wrote: Not quite sure what that last comment was about antiscab,

It referred to this thread: Controller ERT 48/350. A commercial product was using IEC connectors, which to me are reserved for mains AC use, to connect between the pack and the output of the charger. It seems that they aren't even the only ones doing it.
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Post by 4Springs »

It's Alive!
<BANG>
It's Dead!

Took the Brumby out of the shed today for the first time in just over a year! I puttered around the house, got out and had a look (and a sniff) around all the connections and components. All looked good, so I drove up to the end of the driveway. There was then a loud bang, and I might have imagined it, but the motor may have started revving up fast. I turned everything off, got out and found a horrible smell. Turns out that the controller was rather hot, and smoking out of its data port.
Oh well, get out the tractor, tow it back into the shed, write a letter to Kelly asking about warranties...

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Post by Nevilleh »

Good luck with asking about warranty!
If you are halfway handy with a soldering iron, have a look at the OpenRevolt Cougar controller. You can buy a kit of parts (in Australia) and put one together in a day or two. Then you know exactly what you've got. I've been running one in my BMW for a year or more and I have nothing but praise for it. Of course, it is really well made!

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Post by Thalass »

Man, hard luck with the controller. Any idea what happened?
From what i've seen the Open Revolt looks pretty good, especially for the price. But where do you get it from in Australia?
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