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Electric Starion - Electric Car Conversion - Part 6

After successfully testing the drivability, it's back to the workshop to get stuff removed to paint the battery racks and sort the best place for the charger and finally add the tacho sender to the gearbox adaptor plate. The fuel port assembly is done now also; I cleaned up the inner rubber mount and gasket-sealed the hole with a rubber bung where the original fuel inlet was, and Nathan cut out the new hole for the power through to a new fascia plate where the 20A connector will be mounted. A shut-off switch is added which is essential when 'filling up'; some folks use micro switches like the ones in arcade machines in their EV fuel ports but we're using a brake switch which will be more durable and it's long thread allows us to fine-adjust the profile of the switch so that it triggers properly when the fuel door is opened/closed. An annoying short had to be traced under the dash (oops, I forgot to ground a 5W resistor), and you'll meet our little helpers at the end of the video. Cuuuute...


 


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Electric Starion - Electric Car Conversion - Part 2
It's been a long wait, but the Thundersky lithium 144v 160Ah batteries finally arrived! Now we have to set about determining the best configuration for the batteries in the engine bay and rear tank using info from convertyourgasguzzler.com. A bit annoying the BMS modules haven't arrived yet as a confirmation measurement of the height of these would help in determining the battery rack height dimension. We could arrange the engine bay battery racks as a typical square-finish configuration, or perhaps angled around the motor for a cool effect, and then as Nathan suggests place plastic clear Perspex sheets over the top for a neat finish, and tinted perspex surrounding the Curtis terminals too perhaps - we want a neat engine bay! Nathan mentioned someone who had Thunderskies mounted on their edges (sides) but the efficiency was greatly deteriorated and batteries leaked! I don't know if those were the LiCoO2 (we're using LiFePO4), either way we'll install close to vertical anyway and a crude animation is included to show possible mounting. Another 'fun' part in this video was removing the dash so we could access the ventilation system box and put in the heater core (I know, could have gone with a water micro boiler unit but budget is getting tight; maybe later); biggish job but not too hard for two people working on it (Stephanie did it once, alone, and it was a pig of a job she said). I'll help Nathan get it back together later as he moves on to the charging setup and we'll the need the BMS master unit as well (which also hasn't arrived yet). The Curtis will have a water cooling block underneath where all the FETs are positioned inside (and block secured tight with thermal compound between surfaces) and maybe a fan box on top, if there is room, but the water cooler alone should help keep the thing under 75 degrees C (a Zilla would be better; can't get our hands on one for now and they're expensive). The very crude animation of possible engine bay layout will probably change as we decide the best location for stuff (pwr steer/air con drive components and compressor, pump motor, hoses etc) and final battery count front and back. The reservoir for water block coolant may stay in its original place if the hose length is not too long to be impractical. Slowly but surely we are getting somewhere now. Sorry about the shaky camera, some of us have been sick with flu. Sorry about the boobies too, but hot fiddling with cars ;-)





Electric Starion EV - Electric Car Conversion - Part 7
Getting seasonal obligations out of the way, this video should be near the last we're doing as the car approaches completion. There's a brakes and air-con/pwr steering test, Nathan talks about water boilers used to cool engine bays in cold climate countries that could be used for cabin heating in an EV, I talk a bit about IGBTs and Nathan does a tacho send test using an IGBT. Sooner or later there may be motor speed controllers custom designed for EVs that use IGBTs. These things have freewheeling diodes, and from my limited understanding that means they're there to stop reverse current voltage spikes across the inductive load. When the current flow to an inductor is suddenly interrupted, the inductor attempts to maintain the current by reversing polarity and ramping up the voltage to maintain the flyback. Without the diode the voltage can go high enough to damage the IGBT. The diode allows the reverse current to flow through it and dissipate. IGBTs could be cool things to use for 'electric Boost' -just like a turbo Boost. From the video you can also see the BMS installed - these will be sprayed with conformal coating for protection. Most of the scenes in all the videos have been shot on a Nokia N93 which has been very handy. Thanks to Nathan, Linda and Christina for the filming. And sorry about the seasonal sillyness.





BMW Electric Conversion
Electric Motor Werks converting pre-production prototype. This video demonstrates the key features and techniques of the electric conversion process.





Electric Starion EV - Electric Car Conversion - Part 3
Welcome to the third installment. It's taken a bit of preparation time, which is essential rather than diving in to find something we've done is not quite right - both Nathan and I have been guilty in the past of making stuff only to discover a better way of doing it. But parts availability has been the biggest issue; delivery time has been long delayed for many reasons too complicated to discuss here. In this video we re-assess engine bay mounting; most of the battery racks are welded up now and the battery management has arrived (except the master unit, d'oh!). We discuss battery management, the most efficient use of space in the engine bay, as well as the AC motor we received that will drive the air-con/power steering. (btw, the AC motor and BMS come from www.bev.com.au where they are custom-made). Also an older previously unused segment stripped in about removing weight, as this is crucial in gaining mileage. Oh, and a mention of power cabling which we will try to get through some of the sub-frame rather than running under the vehicle or lumping under the carpet (as the power cable sits inside a plastic flex conduit roughly an inch diameter), so long as it's legal which we'll check with someone who knows (guessing it's something like 600mm distance between u-clamp affixing). The Zivan will sit in trunk/hatch area to the left near the charging 'fuel' port; not sure about tire placement yet, but it looks like we'll keep our back seat which is good thing (and did you know that there is an under-seat sub-frame area roughly two inches high? Hmmm... possibilities....). As for the battery tank at rear, we're looking at ducting hot air from it using PC fans and 'Exhaust' steel piping. It'd be nice to get them through the side vent follies on the pillars, but this would mean a lot of work (they'd probably be part-exposed in the interior, angled down rather like roll-cage bars). Overall I would have loved to have progressed a bit more than we have but there have been circumstances beyond our control and parts supplies have been an issue all the way along - which in a sense is a good thing so we don't rush too-obvious solutions that would otherwise cost in time/energy to undo (in a circumlocutory sort-of way ;-) ). I'd like to thank Christina for her camera work during the making of these videos, shot on a two-year old Nokia N93 still going strong, as well as Linda for filming the air-con motor, without them I'd be stuffed for making videos about this car.





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