Weber and Coulomb's MX-5

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Post by Renard » Sat, 30 Nov 2013, 20:00

weber wrote:

BTW, We now know what The MX-5's range is.

It's 15 km less than it needed to be to get my wife and I home last night!

It did 114 km on one charge (27 kWh pack) with about half of that being at over 90 km/h).


Oh dear; I sympathise -- it's a nasty feeling.
But 27000/114 = 236. That seems high. Is there something else at work in your case?
I went for several measured test runs at differing speeds in my car before trying a long drive.
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Post by offgridQLD » Sat, 30 Nov 2013, 20:55

Yes it would be great to get some data from this car at different speeds.

I do get the feeling that performance has taken priority over max efficiency in this build. That said 236wh km dose seem high.

Kurt

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Post by weber » Sun, 01 Dec 2013, 07:09

Adverse Effects wrote: so are you going to send the RACQ a bill for towing because they lied?

and your evidence is that pic above lol you can even tell them the rego number

I can't say they lied. I learnt this morning that "It doesn't exist" was just my wife's exasperated translation. Apparently what the RACQ person said was to the effect that neither she nor her supervisor knew anything about any charging trailer.

But we will certainly be seeking further explanation from the RACQ.

Some possibilities are that the trailer is in use somewhere in Queensland other than Brisbane, or that it still on "trial", or that it has been decided not to make it available at all, or that it is broken, or that it has been decomissioned or dismantled.

Here are some early mentions by the RACQ of its plans for the trailer.
http://www.racq.com.au/about_us/news_an ... the_future
http://www.racq.com.au/about_us/news_an ... _ev_future
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Post by weber » Sun, 01 Dec 2013, 08:09

Sorry for the delay in responding. Coulomb and I have been downloading and analysing the data from the BMS, following this, our first run-flat. Then we made some improvements to our data-logging code ready for next time, and solved a flaky comms problem that strangely (and thankfully) only appeared _after_ we had downloaded all the data. It turned out to be due to a rather-too-short length of optic fibre which had pulled partly out of its connector.

We do not yet have amp-hour counting to determine SoC. We spent part of today designing a circuit to enable that, by monitoring the current shunts we already have in place and transmitting the info in an isolated manner via optic fibre. It will also provide automated insulation monitoring, to ensure our battery is still floating with respect to chassis.

We relied on our battery stress gauge (the repurposed oil pressure gauge). Our BMS currently calculates stress on a 0 to 15 scale. Stress due to undervoltage (of the lowest cell) has its zero at 2.5 V and increasing by one stress level for each 40 mV below that. Our automatic power-limiting control-loop begins to reduce the battery current (i.e. power) limit when the stress reaches 8 (2.18 V) and an audible alarm occurs if it reaches 11 (2.06 V). I'm thinking now, that I want zero stress to be at 3.1 V, stress 8 (start backing off) at 2.3 V and stress 11 (alarm) at 2.0 V. So 100 mV per step. That would give more useful warning of impending doom.

Here's a blow-by-blow of the run-flat:

We had 100 km on the trip meter (reset at the last charge which was a full one) and 30 km to get from a restaurant at Collingwood Park near Ipswich to our home in Bardon, Brisbane via the Ipswich Motorway and Centenary Motorway. Looking at Google maps now, I see I first noticed some flicking of the stress needle from stress 0 to stress 1 or 2 at Gailes (after the Logan Motorway peels off). I could have taken the Wacol exit immediately if I had known how rapidly it would degenerate. But instead I just slowed down to try to keep the stress low. But then we came to a gentle upward slope and it wasn't long before it hit stress 8 and started to limit the power itself. Not to limp mode yet as it could still maintain 55 km/h. Some impatient person beeped their horn at me so I thought it unsafe to slow any further on the motorway.

The next exit was not really an exit but merely the transfer from the Ipswich Motorway to the Centenary Motorway. Unfortunately this involved another rise where I was slowed even more. But then over the hump and downhill again and then uphill and into the first real exit after Wacol -- Sumners Road, Sumner. By then the stress gauge was well past stress 8, so it was in full-on limp mode (10% of max battery current), and was showing at least stress 12, although I couldn't hear any beeping cell-top BMUs, which suggests the first to go empty were at the front or rear.

What I can say is that limp mode was goldilocks (just right) (this is with the max battery current set to 300 A for the paralleled half-packs at 360 V, so 30 A in limp mode). It let me crawl up the long steep off-ramp at Sumners road. Well it sure seemed long and steep to me at the time! Everyone behind me was probably pissed off but they were politely restrained, and at least the MX-5 kept going. By the time we got near the top there were cells beeping all around us, then over the peak and we rolled to the first place where we could get off the road. The entrance to a Caltex servo. Phew.

Google maps tells me it was 6 km from first sign of stress to full on alarm and limp mode.

The data extracted today showed that 35 cells had gone below 1.86 V under load and one had heated to more than 57degC. These are both stress 15 events. We realised that we had no way of knowing how far beyond these values they had gone, due to the way the data-logging was coded. We've fixed that now.

But one good sign is that all 218 cells were above 2.5 V (stress 0) the next morning, not having been charged, merely rested.
Last edited by weber on Sat, 30 Nov 2013, 21:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Adverse Effects » Sun, 01 Dec 2013, 14:07

have you/anyone looked in to bottom balancing and is there a BMS that dose it?

just been watching jack over at EVTV.me and it makes sence to me to have all the battery's alined voltage wise at the bottom of the SOC not at the top because the bottom is where it matters when stressing the battery's and a lot less chance of damaging/reversing a cell

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Post by offgridQLD » Sun, 01 Dec 2013, 15:26

One thing i don't like about a lot of the off the shelf lithium BMS is why a lot of them need to take the cells to such a high voltage before balancing starts. Some don't even start balancing until 3.65V. There is a fixation with trying to get every last bit of capacity from the cells. I would much prefer to call it quits before then rather than messing around at the top end for that last few % of capacity. I would prefer to be able to Balance at 3.45 and never have to go any higher. If there isn't any more capacity up and above worth chasing why go there.

Kurt
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Post by BigMouse » Sun, 01 Dec 2013, 15:28

weber wrote:Not to limp mode yet as it could still maintain 55 km/h. Some impatient person beeped their horn at me so I thought it unsafe to slow any further on the motorway.

Everyone behind me was probably pissed off but they were politely restrained, and at least the MX-5 kept going. By the time we got near the top there were cells beeping all around us, then over the peak and we rolled to the first place where we could get off the road. The entrance to a Caltex servo. Phew.


Stress levels indeed! This is the sort of experience that range anxiety is named for!

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Post by weber » Sun, 01 Dec 2013, 16:52

BigMouse wrote:Stress levels indeed! This is the sort of experience that range anxiety is named for!

Yes, but this is not a likely experience for anyone driving a finished electric car. This was part of a deliberate test to calibrate the range of one that had just been built. We could have charged at various times over the preceding days, but chose not to, to complete the test. No single trip was any longer than 30 km. As others have pointed out, with a 27 kWh battery we had good reason to expect to do 130 km. But we knew we were taking a risk and we had backup (although as it turned out, not in the form we thought). Yes, those few moments were stressful, but overall it was a great adventure! My wife just shakes her head and says "Boys and their toys". Image
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Post by weber » Sun, 01 Dec 2013, 21:31

Adverse Effects wrote: have you/anyone looked in to bottom balancing and is there a BMS that dose it?
Yes, we've looked into it. Anyone with suitable programming skills can implement it with our BMS since it is open source. Nevilleh has implemented it on his open source BMS (whose daisy-chained opto-coupled comms was inspired by ours, which was itself suggested by Tritium_James). Use the "Advanced Search" option to search on the whole phrase "bottom balancing" in all AEVA forums for all dates.

Bottom balancing is probably the best way to go if your system controller cannot automatically back off both your motor controller and your charger in response to signals from the BMS (or if you don't have a system controller). By "system controller" I mean something like Tritium's Driver Controls unit (which we use), or the Zilla "Hairball". Something that can control and read-status-from (a) your BMS, (b) your motor controller and (c) your charger.

But bottom balancing is less convenient than top balancing because you have to run the car flat (or nearly so) before you can do it, and it has to be manually initiated, and so may get forgotten. Whereas top balancing can be done automatically at the end of any charge.

In regard to Kurt's comment on top balancing at 3.45 to 3.50 V versus 3.60 V to 3.65 V: Again I think the difference is between systems that can throttle the charger current back to match the bypass current versus systems that can only turn the charger on or off. At the cell terminals there is a voltage rise above the rested voltage that is proportional to the charge current. If you're putting in C/10h up to the last second and then shutting off, then you will need to go to 3.60 to 3.65 V to actually achieve any balancing at all, and you will have to put up with the little bit of cell damage that occurs each time you do this. But if your system controller can throttle your charger back to C/100h when the first cell is full, then 3.45 to 3.50 V is a great place to balance.
Adverse Effects wrote:just been watching jack over at EVTV.me and it makes sence to me to have all the battery's alined voltage wise at the bottom of the SOC not at the top because the bottom is where it matters when stressing the battery's and a lot less chance of damaging/reversing a cell
Yes. I watched one of Jack's videos once. I find that it is a more enjoyable experience if your player can play them at twice normal speed. Jack's voice is quite deep so they are still quite intelligible.

It is good that you are seeking other opinions on the things Jack says.

There remains the question raised by Renard and Kurt (offgridQLD) as to why we didn't get the expected range. Kurt is right that we have gone for performance over efficiency, and it wasn't exactly a controlled experiment in regard to driving speeds or styles. There were a couple of laps of Mt Coot-tha in there and maybe 30 km with the top down, and maybe I did a few too many bursts of maximum acceleration just to see what she would do.

I had to laugh when, on the way to the restaurant, my wife informed me that if I went slower I'd get a lot more range. As I explained to her, I was laughing because I majored in Physics and am intimately familiar with the cube law of aerodynamic drag, so she was unknowingly teaching her grandmother to suck eggs, but for her it was (wonderfully) a matter of practical experience with the range-meter in the Nissan Leaf. But I wanted to find out what the range was if I drove "normally".

I note that we do not believe in undervoltage cutouts as such (or any other kind of automatic cutout while driving). Any sudden cutoff is too dangerous. Our system gives us 8 levels of warning on the cell stress gauge (based on the most stressed cell) before it starts to smoothly limit the power, as required to keep the stress below 8. Below 8 is stress but not dis-stress. But if you keep going, as I did, it will not wind the power down to zero, it will leave you with enough power to crawl up a 1 in 10 slope at 15 km/h (so long as the power is there to be had) and it will then display the distress levels from 8 to 15. And once it goes past 10 you will know that you are choosing to damage the battery because the battery will be screaming at you (audible alarm).

I note that cell stress, in our terms, may be due to overvoltage, undervoltage, overtemperature and when charging or regen braking, undertemperature. And possibly in future, due to excessive voltage between a copper link and its bolts (high-R joints).

This run-flat experience (with individual cell data-logging) was extremely valuable in telling us where we should set these stress levels, and in encouraging us to get amp-hour counting going. [Edit:] And indeed in proving that the whole scheme works, and gives a good balance between human protection and battery protection.

[Edit: Spelling and punctuation]
Last edited by weber on Mon, 02 Dec 2013, 04:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by woody » Wed, 04 Dec 2013, 21:23

offgridQLD wrote: One thing i don't like about a lot of the off the shelf lithium BMS is why a lot of them need to take the cells to such a high voltage before balancing starts. Some don't even start balancing until 3.65V. There is a fixation with trying to get every last bit of capacity from the cells. I would much prefer to call it quits before then rather than messing around at the top end for that last few % of capacity. I would prefer to be able to Balance at 3.45 and never have to go any higher. If there isn't any more capacity up and above worth chasing why go there.

Kurt
Hi Kurt,

one reason they balance at 3.65 is that a small change in stored energy results in a large change in voltage.

e.g. (made up numbers, but not too far off)
Voltage - State of Charge

4.25 - 100%
3.65 - 99.99%
3.5 - 99.5%
3.4 - 99.4%
3.3 - 99%
3.2 - 95%
3.19 - 50%
3.18 - 20%
3.0 - 2%
2.5 - 0%


I.E. you need a very sensitive voltage meter to middle balance.

Also complicating things is that the voltage shifts when you are charging due to the internal resistance and temperature, and the internal resistance changes with temperature and state of charge.
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Post by Johny » Wed, 04 Dec 2013, 21:48

Post on cell voltage vs SOC moved to:
viewtopic.php?p=47658&t=3955#p47658
Last edited by Johny on Fri, 06 Dec 2013, 04:42, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by offgridQLD » Wed, 04 Dec 2013, 22:29

Perhaps typically just charging to 3.4v and the odd balance to 3.65v is the answer then.

That said Im sure its not to hard to get a BMS to work in the MV range. The imiev balance's down to 0.000v like clockwork. Admittedly though I think the resolution of my monitoring app is 5mv.

Not middle ballancing as you point out the voltage it to flat there but why push it to close to the top for that last 1/2% why not 3.5v or 3.55v . We are trying to keep our battery's within a range of of each other and keeping it within that range over time (years) there is no rule to say that range has to be 10mv or even 100mv as long as it's kept in check through balancing and doesn't get progressively worse each cycle to the point where its so far out that it becomes a dangerous issue at a very low SOC (cell reversal) though a good bms should stop that anyhow.


Johny,
      I have a few headway 10A cells made up into all kinds of packs for 12,24 and 36v bike /kayak and other projects. What about surface charge using the stock MBS after a full charge and top balance some cells (most of them) hold the surface charge 3.6v and do so for days if no load is put on the pack but a few of the cells drop down to 3.45ish volts almost straight away. Have you found any relationship to ability to hold surface charge and health?

The packs still perform well despite being over 5 years old.

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Post by evric » Wed, 04 Dec 2013, 22:51

To "Top Balance" at 3.4V you would have to make sure that your charger is set to taper off the current at that point as well, to not much more than the BMS bypass current..
This subject should have a topic of its own.
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Post by offgridQLD » Wed, 04 Dec 2013, 23:19

New thread on top balancing.

viewtopic.php?p=47658&t=3955#p47658

Kurt
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Post by Jeff Owen » Fri, 06 Dec 2013, 02:45

weber wrote:We managed to crawl off the Centenary Motorway into Sumner Road and stopped right near a 24 hour petrol station. After looking around for a convenient power point we phoned the RACQ.
Did you ask for a charge at the 24 hour petrol station?
weber wrote:I remembered the immortal words of Jeff Owen: "There are more publicly accessible power points in Brisbane than there are petrol stations". So I searched further afield. I did find a 10 A power point in an arcade we might have crawled to, but its vehicle gate was locked and so I would have had to park on the footpath and join our two leads together to run them 40 metres, and it would have taken two hours at only 10 amps, and it was raining, and Janelle had to get up early the next day.
When on that side of town, which is well beyond my point of no return, I charge at a shopping centre in Dandenong Road which joins Sumner Road opposite the service station. My notoriously poor memory also remembers it as a short, mostly downhill run. The charging is undercover with good lighting and multiple outlets.

I also have a location in Spine Street about 1km from the service station, but this has business hours only access.
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Post by weber » Fri, 06 Dec 2013, 03:29

Jeff Owen wrote:Did you ask for a charge at the 24 hour petrol station?
I would have, but I first circumambulated the place (twice) looking for any sign of an outdoor power point, and found none. I couldn't see them letting me run a lead out the middle of the automatic sliding double glass doors and risking tripping customers, particularly given that the attendant at that time of night was unlikely to have the authority to grant such a boon.
When on that side of town, which is well beyond my point of no return, I charge at a shopping centre in Dandenong Road which joins Sumner Road opposite the service station. My notoriously poor memory also remembers it as a short, mostly downhill run. The charging is undercover with good lighting and multiple outlets.

Darn! If only I'd known. According to Google maps it is 1.7 km from where I stopped, and yes, it is mostly downhill, and the regen from that would have allowed for the latter part that wasn't.

Of course I would have contacted the centre management the next day and offered to pay for the electricity. The entire $1.50. Image
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Post by weber » Fri, 06 Dec 2013, 03:53

I contacted the RACQ regarding the Mobile EV Charge Trailer. I received a polite and detailed explanation from Steve Spalding. In short, they decided not to put it into service as there were safety issues and the issue of the very long time it would take compared to simply retrieving the vehicle and taking it somewhere it could be charged. And it would not have been any use to me anyway, as it was limited to J1772.

I suggested that the ideal EV roadside rescue device would be a trailer full of batteries with a Tritium fast charge station built in. This also provides J1772. And I recommended providing two protected 15 A 3 pin GPOs to cater for DIY EVs.
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Post by offgridQLD » Fri, 06 Dec 2013, 04:10

I like the idea but I think the reality of it is the investment in the battery's, trailer and fast charger, training/safety and so on. Is just to much for them to justify when they can just tow you. They all ready have the towing equipment in wide spread service and it gets the job done. Perhaps not the most economical or technically impressive solution for the owner of the stranded EV but still.

Kurt



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Post by Adverse Effects » Fri, 06 Dec 2013, 04:37

weber wrote: they decided not to put it into service as there were safety issues


so is this where you offer to buy surplus / unused / un needed / unwanted trailer that just happens to have a genset on it that in there own words will "not to put it into service"

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Post by coulomb » Fri, 06 Dec 2013, 04:49

weber wrote: Darn! If only I'd known.

Someone has to say it. Verily,

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Post by Damnthematrix » Mon, 09 Dec 2013, 16:21

Dave........

My brother in law works for the RACQ, and I contacted him when you had your episode... here is what he replied to me with his contact details.

Mike
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hi Michael,

Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

I’ve made a few inquiries and the unit still exists. (I thought it may have been on loan or on trial, but no.)

We would like to find out why your friend was told there was nothing we could do apart from towing him. In order to do that, we need his name, date of breakdown, and approximate time of call. His car’s rego number may also help if you can get it. That information will enable us to pull the recorded call to find out who he spoke to, and who that person spoke to.

We’d like to sort this out because our response should have been better.

Cheers,



Keith Cassidy
Mobile Member Centre Coordinator
2649 Logan Road
Eight Mile Plains, QLD, 4113
PO Box 4 Springwood, QLD 4127
T +61 7 3361 2556
E Keith.Cassidy@racq.com.au

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Post by weber » Mon, 09 Dec 2013, 17:56

Damnthematrix wrote:My brother in law works for the RACQ, and I contacted him when you had your episode... here is what he replied to me with his contact details.

Thanks Mike. That's very kind of you and your brother-in-law. But, as described above, I had a courteous response from Steve Spalding of the RACQ and was quite happy with the dialog I had with him.
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Post by Gabz » Mon, 09 Dec 2013, 18:05

I can see from there point of view any tow truck driver (i assume everything is subcontracted like the nrma in nsw) can rescue a EV. they don't need special training or equipment. they would be better off putting the money into level 2 chargers at all there depots so they don't have to tow a person all the way home.

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Post by offgridQLD » Mon, 09 Dec 2013, 18:23

I agree towing the trailer out and standing around while it charges is a bit gimmicky when your think about it.

The RACQ striking a deal to access the grid power when need would be a better idea. short tow to one of there affiliated supporters with power outlet or possibly a charger at some.

The grid is all ready all across the country why not use it.

Kurt.
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Post by Gabz » Mon, 09 Dec 2013, 18:28

yes the benefit of EVs is no requirement to lug dangerous liquids around because it's obviously not safe !

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