Upper Body Workout

Still here but haven't updated the pages recently for a couple of reasons: 1) busy with work, the EV, and spring chores, 2) Lost my camera again!

The camcorder I was using quit working so it may be a while before I can post some more pictures and just when it was getting interesting. The batteries came in and it has been GREAT exercise carrying them around and lifting them in and out of the car. In the process I came across my first semi-big mistake. When I ran the cabling to the rear battery box I layed the wires out with the positive on the right (passenger side) and the negative on the other side. Well, once I got the batteries in the box and organized I realized that the cables really needed to be swapped. No matter how I shuffled the batteries around (and 60+ pounds of battery isn't easy shuffling) I couldn't come up with a way around it. It was an interesting mental excercise as well, kind of like playing tetris in your trunk!

So I jacked the car back up, unscrewed all of the brackets, and got good and greazy rerouting the cables. They are in place, but it changed the lengths needed and the positive cable was almost too short. Close one.

Just finished the battery wiring tonight. It's kind of strange to check the battery voltage under the hood and get over 140 volts! I haven't hooked the battery pack to the controller and contactors yet. It's time for quiet reflection and double checking of wires. I did hook up the 12vdc circuit, turned on the ignition, and got a nice gratifying *clunk* from the two main contactors, plus the vacuum pump fired up.

So, if you can't tell, I'm nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Gary Flo is lending me a programmer for the Zapi. This will be useful to double check my wiring too, since it has built in diagnostics and voltage measurements.

Stay tuned!


Arcs and sparks and jubilation! Ok, I haven't taken it out for a spin yet (you'll see why in a moment), but I did hook up the battery pack and got a bunch of things working.

First thing was the Emeter, which I'll admit didn't work the very first shot due to a wire swap. Wire coloring in the schematic (a paper one I have here) changes color on one wire between the engine compartment and the dashboard area, but it was a simple and obvious thing so I was sure I'd remember it and not overlook it. Wrong. A few minutes of troubleshooting uncovered the problem and now I have a glowing digital meter gracing the dashboard. It reads 152.5 volts. More on that later.

After that I was starting to feel even more pressure (repeat the mantra: ohm all parts ye, ohm all parts ye...). Double and triple check the controller wiring and then with a simple twist of the wrist I have 152.5 volts applied to the Zapi. The programming console displays legible information (Welcome to Macintosh...heh, heh) and no smoke leaked out. Phew! I ran through the test functions on the Zapi console and all of the wiring looks good so far. Unfortunately I ran out of welding cable last night so the final four peices between controller and motor are still waiting to be done.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. When I first fired it up the vacuum pump came on, but sounded pretty pathetic. Hmmm, too much radio listening and leaving dome lights on without recharging the little auxilary battery. Well, I've got this fancy DC-DC converter that needs to be checked out: reached over and plugged it into the 144vdc circuit (with a real loud snap! - charging capacitors) and sure enough I start getting 12vdc out the other end and the vacuum pump springs back to life and is happy as can be.

Decide to do some more checking out of the system. Watching the Emeter I turned on the headlights and was rewarded with a 2.5 amp current draw from the main battery pack and the pack voltage dropped a little bit. Better be judicious with the big battery juice until my battery charger arrives.

Well, hoping I can find some 2/0 welding cable on a Saturday. We might see this thing do more than occupy garage space and web space before long. Cross your fingers...


© Copyright 1995-2002 Jerry Halstead