Toyota Corolla Conversion

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Post by lachlanmac » Sat, 07 Mar 2009, 05:42

Hi all
Im back again. The fires are quiet and the rain has come. We evacuated four times in a couple of weeks. It is awful doing that and I couldnt drive the car. Anyway the new replacement charger has arrived so I can reconnect and charge the batteries. I think I may have driven on the factory charge. I did about 50km, half downhill and half up and the voltage was still 3.27 per cell. So Im happy.

Thanks for the info on the cables, I will look at it. I remember now reading about that the most common failure was cables vibrating and damaging the lugs etc.

I am happy to meet with anybody to talk and show. Just ring me at home on 97551906 or work 97242918. I live near Belgrave.

I do have the batteries bolted down in the boot. I've used a combination of Trudeck roofing as a base, battery tie down J bolts and metal strap and threaded rod to squash and hold down. It works but i would hate to change a middle battery.

Tomorrow, I hope I get to the charger and Sunday I drive. FX (New speak for fingers crossed)

Lachlan

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Post by lachlanmac » Wed, 11 Mar 2009, 05:32

Yahwoo the car drives again. The replacement charger arrived and I finally wired it up on Sunday. I had driven the car for the 60km on what turned out to be the factory half charge. When I turned on the charger, the BMS reported an error. I quickly read the setting up information that Rod Dilkes had supplied with the BMS an charger and started measuring the individual cell voltages. Four of them were below 3 volts and two of those were below 2.7volts. So the BMS wont let the charger start. I followed Rod's advice and individually charged those cells to bring them back up above 2.7. I used a power supply I built years ago and never really used till now - never throw anything out! Then the charger kicked in and I smiled and relaxed - I hadn't stuffed one of the cells. The BMS bypasses some of the charging current to individual cells when their voltage reaches about 3.6volts and a red led comes on to show that condition. 22 of the 45 cells had a red light on by the time the charger decided the pack was full. None of those cells had reached 4.0volts though. I drove tonight about 10km with wife and child then charged again. No red leds came on this time. Its a pity cos the red and green LEDs looked quite pretty in the boot.

The replacement DC-DC converter to power the Voltmeter also arrived today so I can have my Blue digital voltmeter again to match the Ammeter. I current am using a multimeter for that.

Tomorrow I do my work trip of about 50km.

I'll get some photos of the battery pack, meters etc.

Cheers all

Lachlan

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Post by evric » Wed, 11 Mar 2009, 05:43

Lachlan, Please tell us about the charger. What is the max. charge voltage per cell? What is the max. current during charge and does this reduce during the charge cycle?...Ric
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Post by lachlanmac » Wed, 11 Mar 2009, 06:20

The charger is supplied by EVparts and built to their design. It has a volt and amp digital display. The voltage display slowly increases from above the total pack voltage. It started reading at 147volts. The main charge current shows as 14.44 amps. On that initial charge, after a couple of cells had gone above the 3.6 volts, the charge current dropped to about 3.5 amp then dropped agian to 2.something then the charger switched off when the pack voltage was about 158volts. This charger was about $1000.00 and apart from the fact that the first one didn't work, seems to do the job. Well has done one full charge and one top up. Its got big fans and bright red lights and does run off a 10amp GPO though I think it pulls slightly more than 10amps.

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Post by evric » Wed, 11 Mar 2009, 07:27

Isn't 158 volts a bit low for 45 cells? This works out to only 3.51V per cell if all were balanced. The BMS won't be doing anything unless you have faulty cells.
Last edited by evric on Tue, 10 Mar 2009, 20:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by antiscab » Wed, 11 Mar 2009, 08:11

having the end of charge voltage slightly below 3.6v would reduce charging losses due to balancing.
the difference in capacity between 3.5v and 3.6v or 4.2v isnt that great, so the setup *should* stay in balance.
any one cell that gets slightly ahead will go above 3.6v, and its bms module will start to shunt.

lachlanmac - i would leave the setup as it is, unless you actually encounter some balance issues. (if you do, do report it)
increasing the charge voltage will increase charging losses, but only *may* fix a problem we're not yet sure you have.

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Post by Johny » Wed, 11 Mar 2009, 16:27

That sounds like a neat charger - and a reasonable price. Was that in US$?

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Post by lachlanmac » Wed, 11 Mar 2009, 18:28

The price was Australian Dollars Evparts. The charger is designed to go to 165volts. I was not watching both times it finally switched off so I don't really know the final charger voltage. Whats a fully charged happy LiFeP cell show anyway. The info ive seen says it can be anything over a range up to 4.2volts but they quickly drop. The first charge seemed to follow the description in the help notes with some cells going over 3.6 while others were still below. I drove then for about 10km and charged again and no cells went over 3.6 then. I think that means the pack is balancing nicely. I am very happy that the cells that I had discharged too much have come up. When I get home tonight after 50km I will measure every cell and see.

I am still getting some noisy vibrations at particular revs which I have to sort out. Ive replaced tyres so now its look at all the mechanicals - its an old car with 240000km on petrol.

I am also still learning when to use what gear. It drove well this morning going at 80km/hr when needed, uphills etc. The controller sends musical squeals through my radio - at least I know its working.

Lachlan

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Post by Johny » Wed, 11 Mar 2009, 19:08

OK. Thanks Lachlan. Yes I have seen their site but I though you meant the US www.evparts.com.

If you rev the motor out of gear - right through the normal rev range, do you detect the vibration then? I.e. It could be a problem in the mods for shaft coupler etc.

Alternatively I wonder if the ICE was covering up a tailshaft problem?

You have probably thought of these but it doesn't hurt to prompt. Image

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Post by EV2Go » Wed, 11 Mar 2009, 20:03

Hey Lachlan Kearon (EVCapri) has just recently completed a similar combination to yours. He is using the EV Power BMS and probably the same charger with the digital readout, he is also running the same 45 x 90Ah Thunderskys. His charger gets to mid to high 150’s before shutting off as well, so it sounds like that is fairly normal for the combo you both have.

Word of warning... don’t assume that the Thunderskys are equally charged when you get them, best to make sure they are within spec by trickle charging them up to even before driving a long distance.

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Post by lachlanmac » Fri, 13 Mar 2009, 05:07

I love this forum. Its like building a car with a big family around. Anyway, I drove the car to school and back. I could keep the vibration away by keeping out of the rev range where it kicked in. I drove about 55km up and down hills, keeping up in 70km and 80km zones. Last night, I watched very regularly as the charge happened. Before charging all the batteries were 3.29 to 3.32 volts. Its annoying that the Thundersky charge discharge graphs are tiny and dont really say what that means anyway. When I started charging the display read 14.54 Amp and 148.8 Volt. The current stayed pretty much the same for the next 4 hours and the voltage crept up to 153.3. Then over the next 20 minutes at 14.44 Amp, the voltage "jumped" to 160.1. The charger then dropped the current to 3.03 Amp, the voltage dropped back to 157.9 but then rose quickly to 164.0 over the next 22 minutes and the current steadily reduced from above 3 amp to 1.31 Amp. The charger finally switched off nearly 5 hours after start. During the low current phase 22 of the cells started shunting but none were over 3.9 volts. The shunt at 3.67 volts. I started driving this morning to work but the vibration was worse so I swapped back to the Kia (currently on Carsales) and arranged for a mechanic friend to visit on Saturday. And I tell myself, its a prototype, its ok to have problems, at least it drives. I roughly figure that the batteries were more than half discharged but less than two thirds discharged. I might get the 80km range just but 75 is reachable.

I'm thinking the vibration is transmission generated. It doesnt happen when the wheels are off the ground. It doesnt happen while neutral rolling or in gear rolling, only when power is on and the engine is driving the transission is driving the diff is diving the drive shafts.

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Post by Johny » Fri, 13 Mar 2009, 05:34

I'm glad you think of us as family. I tend to think that EVers are surrounded by "real" people who google (not the search engine) at the car so much that the forum members become irrelevant - anyway - good to hear.
It suits me - i have someone to give useless advice to (you).

I don't underestimate at all what you have achieved. A few teething problem are expected - you would be disappointed if there wasn't SOMETHING to debug (well maybe not). Image
My family laughed their heads off when I described my just-starting conversion as a prototype and to expect a few problems - true though.

Pretty weird problem though. As you did, I would have expected the same vibration with wheels off the ground or when rolling.

Please let us know what your mechanic concludes.

BTW Your battery observations are really useful - thanks. I have a feeling it will help the DIY charger folks even just a little bit to hear how the "bought one" worked. I hope you had something to do rather than gazing wistfully at voltage and current readouts.

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Post by Nutz » Fri, 13 Mar 2009, 05:44

You have probably done this already, but I'll suggest it anyhow. Have you changed the oil in the Gearbox? Did you change to a lighter or heavier oil??
P.S. I was not well today so I didn't make it up your way, sorry for not calling.
Weather you think you can, or you think you can't, you will usually end up being right.

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Post by HeadsUp » Fri, 13 Mar 2009, 05:58

if the vibration is misalignment between motor output shaft and gearbox shaft , it might only show up while under load

if that problem didnt occur with the ICE drive , its first port of call to check coupling alignment.

of course , the ICE engine noise may have obscured the vibration

if we have this kind of problem with a stationery power transmission setup , we might use a mechanics stethoscope to detect the location , if you dont want to spend more money buying the stethoscope , the same thing can also be done by getting a very long screwdriver , putting one end against the hard bone in your earlobe and the other end on the gearbox
you will be very surprised how well the internal mechanical sounds can be heard

be careful not to touch the screwdriver on any live wires or spinning fan blades , your ear wont appreciate it.

can you jack up the drive wheels , have one person " driving " the car , but also touch their foot on the brake to simulate load
, this way you can listen inside the engine bay with your "stethoscope" and trace the origin of the vibration better.




just got to do it by elimination.
Last edited by HeadsUp on Thu, 12 Mar 2009, 18:59, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by juk » Fri, 13 Mar 2009, 06:33

Nutz wrote: You have probably done this already, but I'll suggest it anyhow. Have you changed the oil in the Gearbox? Did you change to a lighter or heavier oil??
P.S. I was not well today so I didn't make it up your way, sorry for not calling.


On that subject the oil should probably be a lighter oil since the heat soak from the motor would be much less than the heatsoak from an ICE.

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Post by lachlanmac » Tue, 17 Mar 2009, 06:31

Here I am again. I had a delay while I removed Vista from the laptop and went back to XP. Im happy to give all my reasons but none of them are to do with EV conversion, so I wont.

I had changed to lighter oil. And the mechanic had a good idea which connects to a bit of dodgy work by me so it makes sense. Its all to do with the engine mounts. The Corolla had one at the end of the ICE and one at the transmission end plus three more : for, aft and under the bell housing. Because the electric motor was lighter and mounted on a thick piece of aluminium I wasnt going to bother with the motor end mount. Besides I had put the ammeter shunt in the way. I had second thoughts and made a quick simple verticle mount from the original mount position to the electric motor. Good strong up and down movement resistor. Very poor forwards and backwards and twisting around movement resistor - which is all the motions that the electric motor wants to do under load. So the first fix is to make a proper mount that stops all that motion and connect it to the original rubber mount bracket. Then we will see.

Even with the vibration its great to drive. Lots of fun. Ive been wiring up the DC-DC convertor so I get good electrics. It rained Satuday and Sunday so I didnt get far.

Im thinking of packing the rear springs to lift the rear end a bit. The car is a little down at the back and up at the front. Adjustable shocks might be the go but I think they would be a rare beast for a Corolla.

Cheers
Lachlan
Last edited by lachlanmac on Mon, 16 Mar 2009, 19:33, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by EV2Go » Tue, 17 Mar 2009, 15:56

Johny wrote:
Pretty weird problem though. As you did, I would have expected the same vibration with wheels off the ground or when rolling.
How so? what if the car has been sat around for a while and the tyres have egged or gone out of round, it could give a nasty vibration at a certain road speeds that would only show up while driving...

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Post by Johny » Tue, 17 Mar 2009, 16:18

Yes true EV2go, but I don't really classify that as a vibration - more of a wobble. It's a symptom I am utterly familiar with as we have a 1967 Humber that we tow our Caravan with and it sits around for months at a time with only short drives to keep it alive. First few km of a trip are always a tad bumpy until the tyres warm up and become round again (I know, blocks - I just try to drive it fortnightly. BTW That's the reason the EV can work for me - I have a spare car for those odd days I need more than 30km.

Lachlan, your mechanic's idea sounds pretty reasonable. We'll wait for the next instalment.
Last edited by Johny on Tue, 17 Mar 2009, 05:29, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by lachlanmac » Thu, 19 Mar 2009, 06:28

Hi all
I originally thought of tyre flat spots even though the car had spent most of the year up on blocks with wheels off. Fortunately I have a friend who has lots of wheels and tyres so I swapped the front wheels and tyres - but no change.

I wired up the DC-DC converter, finished today. It all seems to work well. The blinkers now work fine even with the brake lights on! I took the wire which feeds the cars equipment which runs with no key in such as inside lights and emergencey flashers etc straight from the car battery. Fed one of the DC-DC outputs via a diode to the battery to keep it charged. The rest of the power wires which go via the ignition switch are attached to the converter. The 144V feed to the converter is only on when the emergency cut of switch (The Big Red Button) is on but before the main contactor is on.

Weve been having some fun at home thinking of names for the car and symbols which clearly say what it does. A image of a fuel guage on empty with the words Always Empty. EVolve. NOPEC. Ellie. Electron Powered. Ampower. Elect-Ride. Its fun anyway.

Cheers

Lach

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Post by lachlanmac » Mon, 23 Mar 2009, 06:46

Well folks there is some good news and some bad news.
The new engine mount is made and works.
The annoying vibration is still there and now appears at certain revs in neutral. My mechanic friend cunningly removed the old clutch lever boot and looked in. He could see that the flexible coupling between the motor and the transmission was beginning to come apart. More to come on this when we get the engine off and out. At least that is a simple task. Four bolts and slip it back off the spline and lower or lift.
The good in all if this, is that I now know why it vibrates and why it didnt at the beginning and why it was getting worse. It will be simple to fix (FX)
Cheers all
Lachlan


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Post by weber » Mon, 23 Mar 2009, 16:06

lachlanmac wrote: My mechanic friend cunningly removed the old clutch lever boot and looked in. He could see that the flexible coupling between the motor and the transmission was beginning to come apart

Hi lachlanmac, can you please tell us what kind of flexible coupling you used.

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Post by lachlanmac » Wed, 25 Mar 2009, 06:16

The coupling is shagged. Here is a picture. Fortunately the machined parts are still OK. The connecting bolts have ripped through the rubber and reinforcing. Seems to be some sort of radial ply fabric. The rubber has distorted but I tend to think that was after one of the bolts disgraced itself. It was rather surprising that I could still drive it!

Image

I have talked with the chap who made up the coupling - sorry i dont know its manufacturer - He has made and installed at least 8 before using the same coupling, some using more powerful motors than mine. Im meeting with him tomorrow to show him and discuss solutions.

Anyway, the 6.7" ADC motors must be torquie beasts. Not only burn rubber, but tear it to shreds.

Cheers all

Lachlan

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Post by HeadsUp » Wed, 25 Mar 2009, 08:04

hey buddy , any chance of giving me a close up photo of those welds on the coupling ?

also , do you have a pair of vernier calipers ?

can you measure from the splined part to the three hole centers ?

i am willing to bet the guy didnt cut and weld those three lugs accurately to the shaft center

and the welds look shonky as

flexible couplings are only capable of absorbing small amounts of misalignment

methinks someone needs to look at an issue of quality of workmanship

centaflex are one of the biggest makers of flexible transmission couplings in our part of the universe ;)

EDITED : PS i think the coupling looks too small for the low speed torque you would have , ask him for the spec sheet for it - or just forget him and take it to someone else to be done properly.



centaflex 1

centaflex 2
Last edited by HeadsUp on Tue, 24 Mar 2009, 22:39, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by lachlanmac » Fri, 27 Mar 2009, 05:30

Well you are maybe right and no, the welding is not great to look, I'm pretty sure he was very careful to align the holes. I'm taking the welded spline to a friend of mine who is an expect welder and getting him to advise and probably redo. Its actually the original spline socket from the clutch plate welded to a manufactured three hole plate. The plate has moved and the holes are damaged. This may have caused the problem or is the result of the rubber failing. The constructor said he has used these couplings successfully in 8 other cars with a couple with bigger motors than mine. Its about the same size as is used in Opels (Commodores). I am going to rebuild this one and keep a watchful eye on it and keep talking. The link to the coupling company is good. I will try and source a supplier in Melbourne so I can go and chat. When I was orignially looking into this, I came across a product called a "Lovejoy coupler" but I couldnt find an Australian supplier - and at the start of a project there are a heap of things to plan and do. The next car will be so much easier.

He does not know the manufacturer of the coupler - so no spec sheet.

Thanks

Lachlan
Last edited by lachlanmac on Thu, 26 Mar 2009, 18:31, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by HeadsUp » Fri, 27 Mar 2009, 05:38

Quote...
" He does not know the manufacturer of the coupler ....... " ?????

what the ?

surely he had to buy the "eight previous couplers" from somewhere... wherever he bought them from can supply the make and model.

and vernier calipers will confirm or eliminate the accuracy issue

good luck. cheers


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