Toyota Corolla Conversion

Post up a thread for your EV. Progress pics, description and assorted alliteration
Squiggles
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Post by Squiggles » Sun, 21 Jun 2009, 04:37

Can't argue with that, lots of design expenditure. Would love to know where it was spent though, motor, controller, battery, suspension, chassis, marketing, colour scheme. I doubt us average folk will ever know.

It is a nice piece of kit all the same.

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Post by lachlanmac » Tue, 25 Aug 2009, 19:06

Hi Everyone
I havent been on for a while as other things have taken priority. And its only bad news. I have overheated the engine again. I just took it to a Crown forklift engine man who said the armature needs rewinding. It can be fixed - $1800.00 --. I try to put it into context with the cost of a petrol motor head recondition. He said that when I had overheated it the first time it should have been done then. Even though the coils show no shorts, the resistance of the Cu is altered and the aremature will simply overheat again. I dont know if that is good advice or not. He also said that the ADC motor armature is a bit cheaply made. The copper is a poorer quality and the between winding insulation is not fibre - and it should be for robustness. So he said the rewound motor will be better. I hope so. However I wonder if I should really fix it or spend the money towards a bigger motor.

Has anybody heard of recent problems with ADC motors? Does any of the above make sense?


http://enginewatchdog.com/index.html I have bought a temperature monitoring gauge from this place. It seems well made.

Cheers

Lachlan

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Post by HeadsUp » Tue, 25 Aug 2009, 19:19


i like to tell my customers everything twice , then i can charge them for giving a second opinion


mind you , you could plobry get a second opinion for free

by the way , isnt the motor under warranty ?

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Post by lachlanmac » Tue, 25 Aug 2009, 19:29

Warranties dont cover overheating by me. That was the opinion of the recomended fixer in Sydney. So EVmotors in Sydney had no reason to offer a warranty replacement and I had no claim. I know Im the victim of something, I just dont know what.

My car will run again.

By the way, if you want to give a first,second or third opinion, Im all ears.

Cheers

Lachlan

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Post by Johny » Tue, 25 Aug 2009, 20:48


lachlanmac
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Post by lachlanmac » Thu, 08 Oct 2009, 04:43

Image

The Electride is running again. Smoothly and beautifully.

The corolla is going again and seems to be running very well. We have been using it all week. Its done at least 56km in one day and still had capacity remaining.

Here's a few more things I have learnt along the way.
The Aluminium plate which the motor bolts onto and is aligned on the bell housing was made significantly off alignment - by an expert! I think that the original rubber coupling was warped so it misaligned the cltuch plate center. The cltuch plate center was used as the aligning point, not the motor shaft. I cant see how it could have happened other wise. This caused the original coupling to destroy itself - and cost me a motor repair. It then caused the replacement coupling to destroy itself. When I had a non- flexible coupling made, the misalignment meant that the attachment bolt holes did not all line up. As the motor did not run smoothly, I was always running it at too low revs, so the motor current was overheating the commutator.
I have been told the X91 motor likes to run at 4000 rpm. Thats 33kph in 1st gear and 61kph in 2nd. I was generally running in 3rd and 4th. Now i run in 2nd. I have installed a temp guage but the casing temp lags behind the armature temp. The motor can still get quite hot but I can drive uphill slowly in low gear with good revs and the motor temp drops. The motor fan is on the shaft so it only works when the motor is spinning. I will be looking at encouraging more air maybe with a car heater fan plus ducting.
I think Im finally there - an electric car owner/driver. Now I can get on with the extra bits like rerouting cables and moving mass forward.

I spent about 10 months making the car go and another 12 months trying to sort out the drive problems, caused by initial bad craftmanship. But I have certainly learnt a lot along the way and the result is worth it. I think we will be still waiting a while for a commercial, reasonably priced electric car.

This forum has been very helpful and useful, so thanks guys.

Lachlan

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Post by HeadsUp » Thu, 08 Oct 2009, 15:56

congratulations

what was the old motor like , how bad was it burnt out , and what did you do with it ?
Last edited by HeadsUp on Thu, 08 Oct 2009, 04:56, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by lachlanmac » Fri, 09 Oct 2009, 16:57

Im still using it.
The first overheating melted out some of the varnish? which left glassy like flakes floating around the armature. Made strange noises but the motot still spun. The brushes showed signs of extreme heat and the motor had been smoking when I stopped. The sydney repairer tested it for shorts, milled the commutator cleaned it up and re-varnished? It worked but I overheated it again, glassy flakes again. I went to a Melbourne place who do crown forklifts. Guy looked at the motor, said it had been burnt needed rewinding which would cost $1800.00. I did more research and got more advice and said test it, clean it, new brushes and we'll see. I thought I had better start saving for a new bigger motor. It was not shorted and it now works fine. Ofcourse Im not really sure what fine is but it drives the car and is quiet and we can keep it from running hot. So its the same motor with $250 then $400 worth of repairs. Thats about the extra cost of the bigger motor if I had bought it in the first place but I still would have had the misalignment problem. I recently did a medium service on a petrol car which cost $350 and a friend had a major service on a car which cost $1400 so in perspective the costs are OK.

Cheers

Lachlan

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Post by HeadsUp » Fri, 09 Oct 2009, 17:06

yup

it didnt feel as though the Crown Guy was giving advice i would have accepted.

but i am glad you got more advice and a result without having to buy a new motor.

always good to get a few opinions before spending money if youre not completely sure

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Post by drowe67 » Sat, 10 Oct 2009, 14:47

Hello Lachlan,

Well done on persevering with your conversion. I am not sure if it helps, but I have also encountered very similar problems, i.e. adaptor plate alignment and motor damage due to over heating. Plus a bunch of others. I have blogged on some of these problems recently.

These problems really got me down at the time, but looking back I feel a little proud that I worked my way through them. We now have 10,000 electric km on our little EV, mainly by my wife Rosemary who just loves the car.

I know plenty of other people who have damaged or completely blown motors as well, so we are not alone. I keep telling myself "the Wright Brothers broke a few wings". Todays EV drivers are pioneers, and every EV is a prototype.

I also have an X91 motor, despite a few near-death experiences it's still going fine a year later. We just drive our Charade around in 3rd all the time.

BTW do you have an evalbum entry that summarises your conversion?

Keep on plugging away mate.

Cheers,

David
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Post by Thalass » Sun, 11 Oct 2009, 15:30

Great stuff, Lachlan. I'm sure we'll all triple-check the alignment on our conversions now, thanks to you! haha.

I find it funny that the wives tend to do most of the driving after the conversion. My wife is a bit skeptical of all this, but hopefully she'll be converted with the car hahaha. Maybe then I'll get the nod to convert her car, too. (a 2006 Corolla - a whole other can of worms with CANbus stuff)

I'll drive an electric vehicle one day.

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Post by lachlanmac » Mon, 12 Oct 2009, 03:16

Thanks guys for those comments. Thats what I say "Its a prototype" And my wife also drives it mostly. Does the carpool to school. And backwards and forwards. She's campaigning on Global warming through OXFAM and aclimateforchange. Driving an EV is really a practice what you preach thing. I just love the fact that I have built something that works. Its the scottish engineer in me. "I canna make it go faster captain!" Its amazing how many Kms a normal day is.

I am happy with the Thundersky 90ah batteries so far. I have dropped a few down below 2.7 volts by mistake and I just trickle charge them individually to bring them up, then charge them all. They all seem to balance up again.

My wife wants me to add something that makes a noise when we back out the drive so she doesnt hit someone. I might put stones in the hubcaps. I hate reversing alarms so I might go for a different sound hooked into the reversing lights.

Cheers

Lachlan


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Post by moemoke » Wed, 14 Oct 2009, 02:41

lachlanmac wrote:
My wife wants me to add something that makes a noise when we back out the drive so she doesnt hit someone. I might put stones in the hubcaps. I hate reversing alarms so I might go for a different sound hooked into the reversing lights.

Cheers

Lachlan
How about one of those door bells with the V8 sound, would sound
pretty good coming from a Corolla Image
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we borrow it from our Children.

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Post by Thalass » Wed, 14 Oct 2009, 03:14

Or an ambulance siren! Or ghostbusters, complete with flashing lights. :P
I'll drive an electric vehicle one day.

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Post by lachlanmac » Fri, 16 Oct 2009, 05:17

The other day we did 62km. When I left home to go and pick up my son, the voltmeter read 144volts which is the nominal voltage so I didnt worry even though it shows 15o or so when fully charged. Coming home is uphill, about 5 km, I decided to drive a bit faster in 3rd gear and push the car along a bit. The power was there. BUT when I went to charge the motor, the pack voltage was 139V and about 3 cells had dropped below the required voltage for the BMS to charge. I think its 2.7 or so. I figured they were close so rather than remove the cover and charge each one individually to bring it up a bit, I shorted the BMS, so the charger kicked in and watched carefully. The low batteries came good in about 5 minutes so they wre only just below. and the pack charged up. I have msde the mental note that 144volt is the low fuel light. And dont drive uphill fast when it happens.

Lachlan

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Post by antiscab » Fri, 16 Oct 2009, 08:53

Hi Lachlan,

This last post is a lil worrying.

Did the BMS not warn you a cell or two was going low while you were driving?

voltage is a rather imprecise way of measuring remaining capacity, (especially at the pack level).

I'd recommend getting an Ah counter ASAP.

overdischarged LiFePO4 cells will recharge fine, though that cells cycle life will be shorter than the rest of the pack.
however, a *reversed* cell dies straight away.
the difference in capacity used between overdischarging a cell and reversing a cell is only about 2%.

I'd also recommend doing a balancing charge (if the charger doesn't do it on every charge) ASAP. an overdischarge event almost always means the pack is out of balance. whether this is a cause or effect (or both?) i haven't worked out (actually haven't tested for).

Matt
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Post by Johny » Fri, 16 Oct 2009, 14:14

I agree with Matt. The fact that the BMS would not LET you charge the pack but allowed you to drive the cell into under-voltage is a concern.
What does your BMS do when it detects under-voltage in a cell while you are driving. Is it wired to sound a warning or cut out or what?
Are you sure it works?

Edit: Added "not"
Last edited by Johny on Fri, 16 Oct 2009, 03:15, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by lachlanmac » Fri, 16 Oct 2009, 17:39

Thanks guys.
The BMS does warn of such things but thats one more thing I need to wire up. Theres a NO or NC relay which switches when a cell goes low. I know rest voltage is an inaccurate measure which has just been proven to me by the car. I wasnt too worried about the cells as it seemed to be most likely that the problem had only just occurred. The BMS does control the charging and shunts some of the charging current when they reach about 3.7 Volts. I keep an eye on how many cells are being shunted after the charge cycle drops to the 3 amp charge period.

It was a timely reminder form you two that I need to wire up the BMS warning circuit!

On another note. It would make my car loading more even if I put 15 cells under the bonnet. That means splitting the pack. Any thoughts on that? I can run the standard cables between packs but maybe I should uprate the between pack cables to reduce resistance. Is anybody using split packs?

Lachlan

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Post by antiscab » Fri, 16 Oct 2009, 20:02

i use the thickest wire i can find for all traction current connections (95mm^2).

by 15 cells under the bonnet, do you mean you are adding 15 more cells? or just moving 15 cells?

Matt
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Post by lachlanmac » Sun, 18 Oct 2009, 13:06

Hi Matt
I plan to move 15 current cells up front. I have the cells in 3 rows of 15 in the boot. The start just behind the back seat and extend more than 1/2 way into the boot space. I originally thought that it wouldnt make too much difference as their 130kg replaced the 50kg of a full fuel tank and 10kg muffler etc. But the fuel tank was under the back seat and more forward than the cells. The car is down at the back and up at the front. Its and old car and the back shockers and springs have seen better days too. I am looking at replacing them. I originally did not want batteries in the front as I wanted people to see the simplicity of an electric motor and its size. But now its all laid out, I can see a place for 15 cells, without body mods. and the motor would still be very visible. Mind you, this is all long term plans, I have enough short term things to do to fill up available time.

Lachlan

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Post by antiscab » Mon, 19 Oct 2009, 23:27

righto,
sounds like a good plan.

just make sure that both traction cables between the two battery boxes have a fuse and contactor.

Matt
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Post by lachlanmac » Fri, 23 Oct 2009, 04:03


We have been driving for a two weeks or so now. Every day. We do 40 to 50 km evry day. My wife drives the kids to school or I drive to work. Plus the little trips. It is good. We have pretty steep hills here and I have found that I can drive uphill and have the motor cool down. Its all in the revs. I have been told that the motor is most efficient at 4000 rpm. Thats 61km/hr. And the faster the motor spins, the more the cooling air is sucked through.

To promote good battery balancing, is it better to charge often eg after the morning run and in the evening, or give the one big charge at the end of the day?


Cheers
Lachlan

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Post by antiscab » Fri, 23 Oct 2009, 08:33

Hi Lachlan,

its best to charge often.
This is true of all chemistries (except AGMs with no BMS and string charger)

Matt
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Post by lachlanmac » Tue, 02 Nov 2010, 05:34

Its a year since the last post. Time does indeed fly. We have been driving the car for that long with a few minor hiccups along the way. Ive rerouted some cables. Discovered that the hex hydraulic crimpers dont really work well enough and have finally found the source of an annoying "miss" sometimes going up hill.

It sems that the brushes have been arcing a bit at higher currents - above say 260Volt. This may be have been caused by my most recent engine fix which included new brushes or may be a design fault with the ADC X motor at 144Volts. I just dont know who to blame. I have to decide whether to fix or replace. Im not even sure if replacing with the same motor is a good idea. I had heard that the ADC 8" motor has th same bolt pattern and a bit more power. Unfortunately it one seems to come in 120Volt flavours. The 9" motor is 144Volt but too much for my needs.

I have been happy with the X motor's performance but Im now not sure about its longevity at 144Volts pulling a Toyota Corolla - which is probably at the top of its weight range.

Has anyone else had the brush arcing problem?

Besides all that, I have talked to heaps of people fascinated by the conversion and its visible simplicity. Much simpler than a modern ICE.
We have to make people want an EV then Govts and Manufacturers will make them.

Cheers

Lachlan

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Post by evric » Tue, 02 Nov 2010, 06:22

"above 260 Volt" !!! no wonder it arcs. Lachlan does the motor get really hot?
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