Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post up a thread for your EV. Progress pics, description and assorted alliteration
necrogt4
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by necrogt4 »

So that solved the first problem. But because the pouches were now held together with glue they still had a rather incompatible height. I decided to have some 1mm thick heatsinks fabricated that were slightly taller which saved me 2mm in overall height. Still ~1-3mm higher than the 1.6mm cell packs but in terms of thickness they were right on the mark at 48mm.

I staggered the cells with one 1.6mm and then one 1mm cell pack to try and even out the differences in heat dissipation.
Battery Assemble 1.jpeg
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With the height difference I needed to make some adjustments to the brackets that hold the BMS tray, add strength to the box and hold the cell packs down. Two cells were particularly tall so I took some material out of the brackets to keep it as low as possible.

I didn't want to lose any overall strength so my brackets have to smaller strengthening brackets attached to the upper part of them now.
Battery Assemble 2.jpeg
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Battery Assemble 3.jpeg
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A view of the top of each cell pack. The bottom of all of the cell packs sit perfectly flat on top of a thermal pad so functionally they're sound, just a wee big ugly on top.
Battery Assemble 4.jpeg
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The tray brackets sit ever so slightly higher than the original specification so it required the use of nuts on the bolts with the threaded holes in the brackets removed. It's not perfect but when you can no longer source parts you've got to get a little creative.
Battery Assemble 5.jpeg
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The final assembly, everything in place. Cell packs under compression, glued and bolted down. I've now moved on to wiring the BMS. Once done I can fit the CANbus wiring and busbars which are both already made so things are coming together very well now after some difficult problems.
Battery Assemble 6.jpeg
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necrogt4
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by necrogt4 »

Again it's been quite some time since an update post. And again there's been plenty going on.

So another sizeable update.

On all but two of the battery box mounts I had added reinforcement plates. The two sitting on the transmission tunnel entry we're the first mounts I tacked on and they didn't get all the love. So in preparation to having everything welded in correctly I took the non-reinforced mounts off and started again.
Mounts 01.jpeg
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Again I used some thin aluminium sheeting to as a template guide.
Mounts 02.jpeg
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And got to beating some 3mm steel into shape.
Mounts 03.jpeg
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After some tacking and professional welding, things look a lot better. This is actually the most difficult mount to reach and the welder got in there with ease. I had trouble even tacking the mounts in place here, so I have much to learn in the ways of welding.
Mounts 04.jpeg
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A shot of one of the other mounts with some seriously neat hand welding.
Mounts 05.jpeg
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I then cleaned up all of the mounts with a wire brush and a welding chisel to remove any mess then gave everything a few light coats of black zinc spray. Once the build is complete I will be looking at a full respray, but until then it's black.
Mounts 06.jpeg
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necrogt4
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by necrogt4 »

After taking off the masking coverings I really couldn't be happier with the result. Well over engineered mounts with welds that are actually neater than what the car came with from the factory.
Mounts 07.jpeg
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Mounts 08.jpeg
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Mounts 09.jpeg
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necrogt4
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by necrogt4 »

In parallel to the mounts being finalized I also finished the last battery box.

This actually came together rather problem free (after solving the sizing issues of the cells that is). I didn't fry any wires, or have to rewire anything and it all went together perfectly. Once!
Boxes Done 01.jpeg
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So after some testing I got to fitting the new Sinri vents that arrived recently. These are capable of 9.6L of ventilation per minute at 10kPa and by buying direct rather than an EV supplier I was able to get them for about $10 each.
Boxes Done 05.jpeg
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Boxes Done 06.jpeg
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Testing and sealing followed quickly thereafter.
Boxes Done 02.jpeg
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Boxes Done 04.jpeg
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necrogt4
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by necrogt4 »

And these are some of my favorite photos of the build so far, given the amount of work and effort that has had to go into building custom batteries capable of supporting 1,300A at 5C and maybe a little more for, ah, Ludicrous with two motors (~1,500A).
BMS Check 01.jpeg
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32 healthy cells all reporting for duty...
BMS Check 02.jpeg
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Now it's simple fitting and the task of wiring up the car to get those wheels turning.
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by OzSpider »

You are kicking it Luke. Well done
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by necrogt4 »

In my usual style, here's yet another large update. Though, to try and keep the thread somewhat interesting (for people other than me) I wanted to wait until I had some decent progress on the project.

Recently I took a couple of weeks off and really got dug into the project. The, um, simple fitting of battery boxes? Sometimes the most simple of things takes the longest.

Anyway, the first port of call was low voltage wiring. I mocked up a very simple mount for the motor controller and got set running the wires to the cabin and BMS.
Low Voltage 1.jpeg
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The motor loom runs directly to where the radiator used to be, along the frame, under the headlight and then down the side of the engine bay. With the focus on being as inconspicuous as possible while still being completely removable. I used the original firewall entry into the cabin from the engine loom, and rotating the rubber grommet 180° pointed it in exactly the position I needed it to be in.
Low Voltage 2.jpeg
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From within the cabin I ran the BMS specific wires and combined that with the controller loom.
Low Voltage 4 - Interior.jpeg
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The original engine loom and ECU is connected to the rest of the vehicle wiring through a large ~20ish wire plug that I spliced into so that the new loom remains removable. It also gave me access to things like fused 12v and ignition power. The excess wiring will be trimmed and or removed.
Low Voltage 5 - Interior.jpeg
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I tested each and every wire to ensure everything is as it should be. Also, gota say, lab power supplies make great 12v batteries for vehicle wiring! The new 12v battery is obviously yet to go in.
Low Voltage 6 - Testing.jpeg
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necrogt4
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by necrogt4 »

With the low voltage wiring (mostly) sorted (I also wired the electronic throttle, brake pressure sensor etc), I moved on to the high voltage side of things.

The front and rear battery box locations have plenty of access space but the central box (which sits in the fuel tank cavity) is very difficult to get to without removing the rear subframe. So I decided to add an access panel with inverted glands so I can loosen the glands and slide the panel open.
High Voltage 1 - Access Panel.jpeg
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I have plenty of left over aluminium sheets from the many heatsink iterations so I took a 1.6mm sheet and got fabricating.
High Voltage 2 - Access Panel.jpeg
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High Voltage 3 - Access Panel.jpeg
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High Voltage 4 - Access Panel.jpeg
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After plenty of cutting, drilling and shaping (aka hammering) the final product looks a little like this... From left to right (bms in, bms out, positive charge cable, HV+, HV-)
High Voltage 5 - Access Panel.jpeg
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High Voltage 6 - Access Panel.jpeg
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necrogt4
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by necrogt4 »

Now, conduit was fun... Unlike a lot of other Hyper 9 conversions that run 70mm² cable, I'm running 90mm² cable as I plan to run double the current.

This meant that I had to run larger conduit or at least find something that could carry a 19mm diameter cable. I eventually found a conduit that had an ID large enough but it was tight, very very very tight at ~20mm. My first attempt at getting the cable in to the conduit resulted in the outer insulation coming off from the cable 😳. After much swearing and a coffee break I came up with a solution.

Silicone spray and some ingenuity.
High Voltage 7 - Conduit.jpeg
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High Voltage 8 - Conduit.jpeg
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The first small cable and the, um, first attempt side by side.
High Voltage 9 - Conduit.jpeg
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And the finished product (minus the terminal boot).
High Voltage 10 - Conduit.jpeg
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necrogt4
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by necrogt4 »

The rear battery box access was much easier and didn't need so much work. Just a few holes and a mid-line support for the HV cabling.
High Voltage 11 - Rear Cabling.jpeg
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Some scrap C channel aluminium made for a decent support.
High Voltage 12 - Rear Cabling.jpeg
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And everything in place.
High Voltage 13 - Rear Cabling.jpeg
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jonescg
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by jonescg »

Solid progress there! HV cable runs are a pest, but it's really something you've got to get right. Last thing you want is to be lifting a pack out and find there's still a cable lug attached to a bolt on the inside...
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

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Over the last week I've managed to fit the two smaller battery boxes (with the final main one yet to go in the engine bay). A while back I bought a motor bike scissor table lift for about $200 which has a fairly small top but can lift 120kg so it's a perfect size for lifting the boxes in to place.
Battery Boxes 1 - Box 2.jpeg
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The central battery box now fitted into the original fuel tank location with the access panel also in place. I still need to add a weather seal around the panel, use a thread lock on the glands and refit all of the original MX-5 covers and seals but everything fits as planned.
Battery Boxes 2 - Box 2 Fitted.jpeg
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The other benefit of the motor bike lifting table is I can now fit and remove the rear subframe with ease. Before this it was a process that took well over an hour by using a trolley jack and adjusting position several times to get all of the bolts to line up. It takes about 20 minutes now, I'd call that $200 very well spent.
Battery Boxes 3 - Rear Subframe.jpeg
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Fitting the rear battery box should have been the most easy, but two of the mounts shifted ever sooo slightly during welding (from the heat I guess). So I little bit of massaging of things (grinding, filling and some slight hammering of the rear sheet metal) was needed to get everything to line up. But it did go in, eventually.
Battery Boxes 4 - Box 3.jpeg
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I'm yet to decide on if I have a steel lid welded in above this box or use rivnuts to attach an alloy lid. I don't think there'd be much weight difference in a 1.6mm sheet reinforced with angle pieces but I do see benefit in it being removable.
Battery Boxes 5 - Box 3 Fitted.jpeg
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There's more clearance now under the car than when the spare wheel well and muffler were attached. From behind, the battery is not visible at all and I can lower the battery slightly with some spacers but as it is now there is just enough space to fit the 6.6kw TC onboard charger I have.

I want to fit this centrally and slightly forward of the battery box for better weight distribution (it's about 7.3kg). There is an X brace that attaches to the base of the subframe that I can either modify or replace with a custom made unit so that one side of the charger can attach to it. The other side will attach to the battery box (somehow, to be decided how).

The two cables in the bottom of the photo are the AC charging wires and a DC charging cable that runs to the front battery box, the second will fit directly to this box once the charger is in place. There is also a second CANbus plug on the battery box that will run and terminate at the charger.
Battery Boxes 6 - Box 3 Under Car.jpeg
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necrogt4
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by necrogt4 »

My focus right now is to get the bare minimum in place to get the motor turning and then make another pass to finalize all of the power source things (contact grease, weather seals, paint, covers etc etc).

I got into the controller to motor power cables this weekend. Sizing things to for nice short runs but long enough for a little bit of play. I've used 70mm² Tycab cable here.
Controller VWU 1.jpeg
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Controller VWU 2.jpeg
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Controller VWU 3.jpeg
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Once sized I used the same conduit as the 90mm² cable, shrink tubbed the ends and used boots to cover all the conductive parts. The photo doesn't show the spacing between the cables and controller very well but there's a good 20mm of clearance
Controller VWU 4.jpeg
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Controller VWU 5.jpeg
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Next I'll need to sort a couple of relays to and temporary direct runs of the 90mm² cable to the controller. But I'm going to add a junction box on the passenger side of the first motor that will split the 90mm² power cables into twin 70mm² cables to run to each controller, house the main contactors for both motors (the first motors contactor is in the battery box currently), current sensors for both motors (to send data to the BMS) and HV relays for things like the heater element.

Still a ton to do, but wheels should be turning very soon.
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

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I put in a full day into the project yesterday, and managed to get the final (main) battery box lowered into the car.

Unlike the two other boxes already in the car, I couldn't lift this one in from underneath as it sits on top of the motor. So, I had to put it in the old fashioned way using an engine hoist. The issue was that there are no lifting points on the box.

So, some scrap wood, spare screws and a lifting strap from Supercheap Auto came to the rescue.
Large Battery Box Install 1.- Staps.jpeg
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As the box only weighs 75kg and doesn't have a gearbox hanging off the end of it, manoeuvring was easy.
Large Battery Box Install 2 - Lift.jpeg
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Lining up the bolt holes the first attempt was a little tricky, as the welding of the mounts moved the mounts ever so slightly. Well, that or the wooden templates were a little out. Maybe both? Anyway, I took the box out again and enlarged the bolt holes to 12mm from the bolt size of 10mm.
Large Battery Box Install 3 - Alignment.jpeg
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The second attempt at lowering the box in to place wen't smoothly. This time instead of putting the bolts in from the top to line things up, I put them in upside down to act as locating pins and bam! Perfect fit.
Large Battery Box Install 4 - Connections.jpeg
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necrogt4
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

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A little more progress last night, and some tonight.

After connecting everything, powering the 12v system and then turning the ignition key, I got a whole lot of nothing from the BMS. Even though I'd double checked everything and verified the wiring, nothing.

I spent a couple of hours working my way from the main battery box (which was working but not talking to the other two boxes?!), the central battery box (also working but a pain to get to under the access panel), and then the rear box. I triple checked the wires on the rear box and it was wired correctly but no power was coming through the CANbus line to the exit plug so no data on the display connected there.

After some head scratching it turns out I'd gotten the in/out plugs the wrong way around. Easy fix, swap the cables (but the proper fix is some internal rerouting at some point).

And finally...
BMS Display.jpeg
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Next step was the optional compact display for the Hyper 9. I thought it would just be a matter of terminating the three wires (12v, ground and LIN) but as it turns out, the LIN wire was not included in the main loom and the display came with it instead. So, I had to add the wire to the loom and main controller plug, not too difficult but certainly a bummer.
Wiring.jpeg
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Once done though, I was able to get the controller talking through the display and giving me some error codes, as expected (given there was no motor configuration on the controller).
Compact Display.jpeg
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Which comes to tonights update... After much wrestling with an old windows laptop that needed some TLC, I was able to flash the latest firmware onto the controller and install a config specific to my motor.

I ran through some pre-start checks and found an issue commissioning (aka auto configuring) the motor position sensor. Almost there. Hours, not days now!
Controller Firmware.jpeg
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by necrogt4 »

After realizing that I had the U and W cables around the wrong way and calibrating the encoder, something really good happened tonight...

Finally actual movement, after three years pushing the car around. It's a wee bit noisy (especially without an engine) but it also has no gearbox or diff oil.





The next step now is to give it some fluids, lower it off the jack stands and give it a wash! The back to the jack stands to tidy up all the little things to actually get it drivable on the road.
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by jonescg »

Solid effort cobber! 👌
Ways a good feeling to watch the wheels turn for the first time.
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

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A while back I relocated the washer bottle from the passenger side of the engine bay (it used to sit adjacent to the old exhaust manifold) to the drivers side cowl. This was actually a kit that came with everything needed (replacement washer bottle, brackets etc) and reused the water pump and hoses.

What the kit didn't come with was wiring. I could have run a wire from one side of the engine bay to the other and over the firewall into the cowl. that would have been ugly and a big hack. I wanted to wait until I tackled the low voltage wiring and had a lot of the loom accessible and apart. So here I am.

The washer bottle is just behind the compliance plate but there is no access to the cowl on this side of the engine bay.
Washer Bottle Relocation 1.jpeg
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So I used one of the many hole saw's I bought for installing glands. In this case, a 20mm one. You'll notice the wiring loom coming out of the firewall just below the new hole.
Washer Bottle Relocation 2.jpeg
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Using the original wiring cut from the other side of the engine bay I was able to (with a slight extension) run the wiring from the cowl, through the new hole with a grommet and into the drivers side loom. It was a bit of work to get it to the right wires in the cluster/steering loom but well worth it as it all looks factory now.
Washer Bottle Relocation 3.jpeg
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Washer Bottle Relocation 4.jpeg
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by necrogt4 »

Last week I began tidying the remaining low voltage wiring in the cabin. I thought this would be a few hours work, but I'm very fussy and I want an as near factory finish as possible. Once this is done then the dash can go back in.

This is what I was working with, a partial ECU/engine loom (in the middle), the cluster/steering loom apart and a large 20ish pin connector (big blue block) between that my new motor loom as piggy-backing on (it would have been way easier to just directly wire everything, and nothing would come out without cutting).

Most of the motor controller and BMS connections had already been wired in at this point, so it was really a matter of making everything fit and trimming away anything that was not needed.
Low Voltage Wiring 1.jpeg
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Low Voltage Wiring 2.jpeg
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The wiring running off to the left goes to the rear of the car, the grey is the CANbus line and the black flat conduit down the right goes to the stereo/gear selector.
Low Voltage Wiring 3.jpeg
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Running CANbus, linbus and signal wires under the carpet to sit where the stereo might be? I've got some mechanical switches to wire here for selecting regen and performance modes. I will also have a BMS display (which will be tucked away out of sight at some point) and likely an Arduino managing some things here.
Low Voltage Wiring 4.jpeg
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Everything tucked away and a trial fit of the main heater / A/C ducting. No squished wires, everything where it should be and plenty of clearance.
Low Voltage Wiring 5.jpeg
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necrogt4
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by necrogt4 »

With all of the low voltage wiring sorted I focused on getting the air ducting back into the car. As I'm not going to run a kettle heater and run water into the cabin, I'm instead using an heater element that I bought through Zero EV over in the UK. Though to be fair, the core comes from China.

The core itself is very close to the size of the original and Zero EV used the same on their MX-5 conversion. I found that it's slightly wider and longer than the original, so I had to cut/file down some of the plastic frame that the core sits in in order to get it to fit.
Heater 1 - Core.jpeg
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Heater 2 - Inserted.jpeg
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To make the length work I used some spare 2mm thick aluminium sheet, rivnuts and M4 screws to make a bracket. I also made a couple of covers to cover where the original heater pipes would come out of the unit so I could properly seal things up.

To seal the small gaps I used high temperature silicone and also applied some heat shielding on the exterior of the brackets so the heat stays inside.
Heater 3 - Bracket.jpeg
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Heater 4 - Sealed.jpeg
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Using some ~13mm diameter conduit and thick heatshrink tubing I was able to use the existing mounting points for the water pipes, making for a pretty clean final result.
Heater 5 - Wiring.jpeg
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Heater 6 - Internal View.jpeg
Heater 6 - Internal View.jpeg (485.32 KiB) Viewed 764 times
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by fffffred »

Great stuff! This has come along very nicely indeed. Congrats on getting the wheels turning.
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Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by necrogt4 »

Once again, it's been a little while since I've posted an update. The project has continued and plenty has happened.

To summarize:
  • During my first test drive I observed high temperature warnings from the BMS (possibly bad busbar contacts).
  • The charge port was fitted and charger wired.
  • I had had a lot of trouble getting the EVSE interface working.
  • Holidays happened.

More on the batteries getting hot once I've pulled them from the car to check the contacts of the main busbars (which have now flex/tolerance, soon to be replaced by braided busbars).

After a few test drives and trying a number of simple things (i.e. not pulling anything major apart) the batteries started to get a bit low and unbalanced. So, I turned my focus on getting them charged.

The first port of call was to fit the charge port.

The cable was not a direct fit into the fuel filler location, so I templated a cutout to get a nice flush fit.
Charging Cable 1.jpeg
Charging Cable 1.jpeg (969.77 KiB) Viewed 252 times
Charging Cable 2.jpeg
Charging Cable 2.jpeg (794.13 KiB) Viewed 252 times
Charging Cable 3.jpeg
Charging Cable 3.jpeg (677.56 KiB) Viewed 252 times


After quite a bit of work with the Dremel, I ended up with this cutout (which I coated with black zinc to prevent corrosion):
Charging Cable 4.jpeg
Charging Cable 4.jpeg (702.13 KiB) Viewed 252 times
Charging Cable 5.jpeg
Charging Cable 5.jpeg (708.14 KiB) Viewed 252 times


After some more work with the Dremel on the plug frame (to ensure the drain point is still functional) things started looking a bit better:
Charging Cable 6.jpeg
Charging Cable 6.jpeg (769.19 KiB) Viewed 252 times
necrogt4
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Posts: 215
Joined: Sun, 28 Oct 2018, 16:49
Real Name: Luke

Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by necrogt4 »

The flat area of the fuel filler location wasn't quite large enough to house the charging port and be flush. So a little persuasion 🔨 was needed. As is some touch up paint, although a respray is on the cards for the project at some point.

But the fit is quite good. I will also remove the plastic lid at some point and fix a seal to the original fuel lid so it's water tight and doesn't need to be unscrewed each time I charge it.
Charging Cable 7.jpeg
Charging Cable 7.jpeg (754.64 KiB) Viewed 252 times
necrogt4
Groupie
Posts: 215
Joined: Sun, 28 Oct 2018, 16:49
Real Name: Luke

Re: Luke's 2001 NB MX-5

Post by necrogt4 »

So with the charge port fitted the next step was to actually get it functioning and connected to the BMS and on board charger.

When I bought my BMS (a ZEVA unit) I also ordered the EVSE interface so that I could automatically charge at the full current available from what ever EVSE I was plugged in to (well, up to about 27A to a maximum of 6.6kw).

When I wired in the EVSE interface nothing happened. After double checking wiring, opening up my charger and checking that and also ensuring the CANbus was working I finally narrowed it down to the EVSE interface. After reflashing it's firmware, making changes to it's firmware and replicating most of it's functionality in separate pieces, it decided to stop working entirely :cry: .

After a few emails, I was able to locate a spare from @jonescg and @zeva kindly offered to fix the unit I had. I received the unit from Chris on Monday, reflashed it to the correct bitrate for my CANbus and it worked on my first attempt! Finally, I can actually charge the battery in the car now. I still have no DC/DC converter installed but will sort mounting and wiring for that soon.

With the EVSE interface working I refitted it in the custom sealed box I had modified to hold an EVSE interface.
EVSE Interface 1.jpeg
EVSE Interface 1.jpeg (918.77 KiB) Viewed 212 times
EVSE Interface 2.jpeg
EVSE Interface 2.jpeg (878.37 KiB) Viewed 212 times
EVSE Interface 3.jpeg
EVSE Interface 3.jpeg (944.17 KiB) Viewed 212 times
EVSE Interface 4.jpeg
EVSE Interface 4.jpeg (634.18 KiB) Viewed 212 times


I'm using the orange conduit and an enclosure as I had originally intended to wire an A/C line from the charge port, but the interface I've got doesn't have that pin (as I bought the previous generation unit). No matter, the box itself is sealed along with a IP rated DT plug so there's no chance any stray water (there shouldn't be any, but if there is it wont be a problem) from the fuel filler drain or radio aerial.
EVSE Interface 5.jpeg
EVSE Interface 5.jpeg (807.2 KiB) Viewed 212 times

The next task is to pull the charge port out once more and connect the green LED to the EVSE interface so I get a visual indicator outside the car that it's charging.
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