RMLane's 1912 Baker Electric

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Johny
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RMLane's 1912 Baker Electric

Post by Johny » Thu, 27 Feb 2014, 18:57

I can see why you are into this car Richard - I love it!
I guess you have seen Jay Leno's car (although I try not to look at his stuff).
He has some pretty good things to say about it.
It looks like the lights use a modern globe.
Just skip to the 2:10 mark.

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RMLane's 1912 Baker Electric

Post by rmlane » Thu, 27 Feb 2014, 19:50

Yup, familiar with Jay Leno's one, though I hadn't seen that movie of it, looks newer, I'll go watch it.

The headlights were always electric and bulb pinouts date to the 19th century, so you can still get suitable bulbs.

It's a great car :)

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RMLane's 1912 Baker Electric

Post by Johny » Thu, 27 Feb 2014, 20:06

He says in the video that Henry Ford's wife drive a Baker Electric because she couldn't crank start the T-Model.
Damn that fancy electric starter motor...

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RMLane's 1912 Baker Electric

Post by rmlane » Fri, 28 Feb 2014, 13:20

Johny wrote: He says in the video that Henry Ford's wife drive a Baker Electric because she couldn't crank start the T-Model.
Damn that fancy electric starter motor...

Electric cars were very popular with women because they didn't need to be crank started.

Before 1912 starters weren't "fancy" - they didn't exist. Invented in 1911, first fitted by Cadillac in 1912, they were common on US cars by 1920. European cars lagged a few years behind that, partly because the cars were smaller and had smaller engines. Plenty of 1920s European cars were crank start and there were still a reasonably number into the 1930s.

The electric starter was a key reason the EV failed the first time round, suddenly anyone could start an ICE car. Another was sexism - EVs were "Cars for Women".

I have one hand-crank car, there's another half-dozen in the family, friends have more. Some of them are difficult and/or dangerous to start on the crank.

That's another good example of a change people make to vintage cars that is well accepted by the community: Fitting a hidden starter motor, especially on the bigger engined cars that fall into the "difficult & dangerous" category.
Last edited by rmlane on Fri, 28 Feb 2014, 02:29, edited 1 time in total.

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RMLane's 1912 Baker Electric

Post by CometBoy » Fri, 28 Feb 2014, 15:18

Thanks for the excellent summary covering your background and total commitment in performing faithful restorations. I did think it was worth mentioning as I have seen the results of some real cowboys over the years and it has complicated many of my restoration projects. In your case, I apologise for making you feel the need to justify your actions!

I would agree completely with your battery replacement concept and as you say any of the current veteran EV’s we know about on the road are all using modern batteries of some description. You may be aware that Robert Burrell’s 1912 Edison electric car (only one remaining – I think?) is currently up for sale in the UK and I believe his modern batteries (oddly 15x2volt cells) are housed in a period looking casing. He has stuck with the original controller (I believe?).

You may also be aware of the various people playing with Edison cells both in trying to restore them and in a DIY concept. Really was amazing technology for the day. Also interesting to see the chemistry being revisited in some research labs using nanotechnology. For EV enthusiasts that have not read about Edison batteries, it is an interesting topic to Google.

I wish you all the best in your project.

Maybe PM me sometime for contact details(I'm not on this forum much), would love to hear about your other cars – I suspect our paths may have actually crossed in the past?

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RMLane's 1912 Baker Electric

Post by rmlane » Fri, 28 Feb 2014, 15:56

CometBoy wrote: Thanks for the excellent summary covering your background and total commitment in performing faithful restorations. I did think it was worth mentioning as I have seen the results of some real cowboys over the years and it has complicated many of my restoration projects. In your case, I apologise for making you feel the need to justify your actions!
Thank you, I appreciate it.

We've always done faithful restorations when it's reasonable and justified. But I have no objection to specials or hot-rods so long as you're not starting with an original or important car. For example I'm at the "sketching ideas and buying parts" stage for an Austin-7 racing special - A7s are very common and parts or donor cars are easily available. I have no objection to sacrificing one to make a pre-war GP lookalike. A friend sacrificed a wrecked V12 Jaguar XJ and a crashed Jensen Interceptor to make a road-legal monoposto in the style of a 1950s GP car. It's awesome, despite being entirely unoriginal.
CometBoy wrote: I would agree completely with your battery replacement concept and as i you say any of the current veteran EV’s we know about on the road are all using modern batteries of some description. You may be aware that Robert Burrell’s 1912 Edison electric car (only one remaining – I think?) is currently up for sale in the UK and I believe his modern batteries (oddly 15x2volt cells) are housed in a period looking casing. He has stuck with the original controller (I believe?).
I've emailed the Canadian Richard Lane to ask if he has any photos or guidance on restoration of the rotating drum contactor speed control. I'll probably give it a try on the original controller and see how it handles before making a final decision on original controller vs modern PWM.
CometBoy wrote:You may also be aware of the various people playing with Edison cells both in trying to restore them and in a DIY concept. Really was amazing technology for the day. Also interesting to see the chemistry being revisited in some research labs using nanotechnology. For EV enthusiasts that have not read about Edison batteries, it is an interesting topic to Google.
You can actually buy Edison cells now, it was almost impossible a few years ago when I first looked. But they don't look correct (plastic cases, modern printing, etc) so the only thing you're replicating from original is the cell chemistry. And the modern cells are optimised for off-grid power supplies and thus aren't anywhere near as good for an EV as LFP cells. It appears they're not even as good as the original EV optimised Edison cells from 100 years ago.
CometBoy wrote: I wish you all the best in your project.

Maybe PM me sometime for contact details(I'm not on this forum much), would love to hear about your other cars – I suspect our paths may have actually crossed in the past?
Thanks again, and "done".

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RMLane's 1912 Baker Electric

Post by rmlane » Fri, 28 Feb 2014, 16:07

OK,

To get back to the point of the thread, which is to source advice, here's my thoughts on how to fit the car out:
  • 20 x 90AH Prismatic LFP Cells
  • 8 to 12 Amp 60 Volt charger, maybe a Kingpan?
  • BMS: Batrium or ZEVA?
  • Cycle Analyst V2 as a power gauge
  • Optional: Kelly Controller KDS2200E 72 volt, 200/120 Amp
Anyone have thoughts or recommendations regarding ZEVA vs Batrium BMS?

I haven't been able to find a DC-DC converter than can step down from 60 volts - suggestions? Plan B might be to see if I can find lights that can run on 60V DC...
Last edited by rmlane on Fri, 28 Feb 2014, 05:10, edited 1 time in total.

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RMLane's 1912 Baker Electric

Post by Johny » Fri, 28 Feb 2014, 17:22

The only halfway reasonable DC-DC eBay one is this one.
eBay item: 271133915103
36->72V input, 12V 30A output.
Last edited by Johny on Fri, 28 Feb 2014, 06:22, edited 1 time in total.

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RMLane's 1912 Baker Electric

Post by rmlane » Thu, 06 Mar 2014, 15:12


I think I might have just removed the need for a DC-DC converter: I found some 60 Volt DC bulbs.

There are some T5 base LEDs that will run on 36-130 Volts in various colours. For the headlights, there are some 30-watt incandescent bulbs in miniature reflectors in BA9S and E12 bases. Those would require some tweaks to the headlights, but they need work anyway, and at least I'd get semi-effective headlights.

Those bulbs would let me run all the lights straight off the traction pack.

The Cycle Analyst accepts voltage from 10-150 volts, so that's a non-issue.

I'd just need to make sure that my BMS does't require 12 volts.

If I'm understanding the contactor / controller documentation correctly, theses systems require 12 volts to run. So that's another argument to restore the mechanical speed controller - an electronic one would require a DC-DC converter to be included in its cost.


Makes for a very short shopping list:
  • Battery Pack
  • BMS
  • Battery Charger
  • Cycle Analyst
Last edited by rmlane on Thu, 06 Mar 2014, 04:14, edited 1 time in total.

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RMLane's 1912 Baker Electric

Post by acmotor » Sat, 08 Mar 2014, 05:38

There is a downside to running the lighting directly off battery pack, though perhaps less so with the more solid voltage of lithium compared to lead acid.
The lights all change intensity and flicker with traction motor power levels.
A DC-DC provides steady regulated power.

As you have noted, installing some modern, current safe practice techniques in a vintage vehicle like indicators is acceptable, perhaps wise, perhaps legally required ?
To this end, a 12V auxiliary battery charged via DC-DC off traction battery would be wise and independent of any function, state of charge or fuse issues with the traction battery.

This can be done tastefully and out of sight. After all, I guess any lighting won't be authentic to 1912.
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RMLane's 1912 Baker Electric

Post by rmlane » Mon, 10 Mar 2014, 00:02

acmotor wrote: There is a downside to running the lighting directly off battery pack, though perhaps less so with the more solid voltage of lithium compared to lead acid.
The lights all change intensity and flicker with traction motor power levels.
A DC-DC provides steady regulated power.
The LED lights already have integrated power supplies in the lamp bases - they accept anything from 36-120 volts DC. I think they'll be immune to this effect.

The headlights might vary, but I'm not expecting any significant voltage droop given the low draw of the motor. I'm also terribly unlikely to actually use the headlights as headlights, and if I do, even more unlikely to be driving on an unlit road. Even if the 30-watt incandescent bulbs go a bit dim, they will be better than the current 10W bulbs in the headlights.

So I think I'm OK to risk it. Voltage droop won't impact the stoplights or blinkers and the headlights are only there for looks / registration. If the headlights don't work properly and I actually end up using them I'll fix it later, either via a DC-DC converter or LED headlamp bulbs with built-in power supplies.
acmotor wrote:As you have noted, installing some modern, current safe practice techniques in a vintage vehicle like indicators is acceptable, perhaps wise, perhaps legally required ?
Not actually required. All it legally requires is a single tail light. The basic rule is that changes to ADRs are not retrospective. So a car has to comply with the road rules of the year it was built.

Blinkers and stop lights weren't required (invented) in 1912, so they're not required now for a car from 1912.

The exception (not tested in court) are the laws around child restraints. There are claims those are retrospective.

All of which is somewhat moot: I won't drive a car without stop lights and blinkers, they're not safe. I've tested this rather too extensively and nearly been t-boned three times in a car from the 1950s that does't have obvious blinkers at the rear. Same car also has a full set of seat belts and child restraint anchors.
acmotor wrote:This can be done tastefully and out of sight. After all, I guess any lighting won't be authentic to 1912.
Correct, the lights won't be original or authentic. But they'll look correct: You can buy reproduction Edwardian tail lamps that have been internally upgraded to act as stop/tail lamps and an extra set with amber lenses to act as blinkers. So the lamps looks correct, but the are four at the rear instead of one, and two at the front instead of zero.

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RMLane's 1912 Baker Electric

Post by acmotor » Mon, 10 Mar 2014, 03:34

Good, sounds like you have things under control. Well done.
You did avoid the topic of auxiliary battery though?

So what is the registration type and regulations applicable to the Baker ? e.g. When and where can it be driven, daylight only etc.
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RMLane's 1912 Baker Electric

Post by rmlane » Mon, 10 Mar 2014, 14:02

acmotor wrote: Good, sounds like you have things under control. Well done.
You did avoid the topic of auxiliary battery though?
I don't think I'm going to have anything that needs 12 volts, so I don't think I'll need an aux battery? Unless the BMS itself needs 12 volts? I'm assuming the BMS runs off the pack itself.
acmotor wrote: So what is the registration type and regulations applicable to the Baker ? e.g. When and where can it be driven, daylight only etc.
The answer varies somewhat by state. I'm familiar with the NSW rules. There are two options:

Option 1: Full registration

The car needs to pass a "Safety and Identity Check" (Blue Slip). To pass one of those with a 100-year-old car you need to find a mechanic who is willing to adapt a checklist designed for modern cars to something odd. This generally requires having a pretty friendly mechanic, because he has to do a ton of work and thinking for basically no money ($59?).

The car also needs to be in excellent mechanical condition and working as best it can - you're asking your friendly mechanic to pass it as safe - give yourself the best possible chance.

The other small problem is the identity check. Anything pre-VIN can be somewhat hard to identify, but you can usually find a number somewhere that is acceptable (body/chassis number).

Once you have that, you need a compulsory third-party issuance (Green slip) which is over $500 and then comprehensive insurance, which will be a couple of hundred from a vintage specialist. Registration fee itself is weight-based, with LFP batteries the Baker is probably under a ton which drops the annual fee to a minimum - $195.

All up, perhaps $1k a year in registration/insurance fees.

Once done: No restrictions on use other than whatever you agree with the comprehensive insurer. My experience with them is that they tend to give "low miles = cheap" insurance for anything older than about 50 years regardless of how much you claim you're going to drive the car.

Sanity/bravery are your only restraints. I've driven 1930s Grand Prix cars on the road with no lights, mudguards or muffler. 'Tis fun.

Option 2: Historic registration

This is "Club Registration" and in NSW is very use-restricted.

Prerequisite: You have to be in a registered car club. I'm actually not in one that would suit the Baker, but that's easily fixed for ~$50-$70 a year.

Safety check is done by your club mechanical officer. They have different standards, some clubs require the car to be entirely original, other are more flexible, depends on the club.

Rego fees are ~$100 a year, no Green slip required, and the comprehensive insurance will be very cheap - $200-ish?.

Annual cost is perhaps $300 - a bit more if you include the club fees.

However: You can only use the car in very limited ways:
  • ImageRegistered club runs, rallies and events
    ImageGoing to club meetings
    ImageShort trips for servicing and inspection.
    ImageLonger trips if entered in the club's day book (usually related to restoration or maintenance)
You can't just "Go to the shops", and some clubs put further restrictions on use.

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RMLane's 1912 Baker Electric

Post by 4Springs » Tue, 11 Mar 2014, 02:53

rmlane wrote: I don't think I'm going to have anything that needs 12 volts, so I don't think I'll need an aux battery? Unless the BMS itself needs 12 volts? I'm assuming the BMS runs off the pack itself.
I can't speak for the BMSs that you mention, but I'd be surprised if they didn't use a 12V supply for control/indication etc. If that's all you need to run though a 12V plug pack works a treat. I have one in my car to supply a flashing light (reminds me that high voltage is present in the engine bay) - in my case I use a 5V plug pack, and it supplies 5V with an input voltage anywhere above about 10VDC.

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