Archive for the ‘thinking’ Category

More parts

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Took advantage of some 15% sales with free shipping and ordered some BMR boxed subframe connectors and boxed lower control arms.  The SFCs will greatly stiffen the chasis from front to back and minimize twisting.  I try to always have to t-tops out so this will definately be a noticable difference in creeks and groans.  I’ve installed them on two of my previous 4th gen f-bodies and think they are an absolute.

The LCA should stiffen the rear axle and reduce\eliminate the wheel hop.  Currently I can’t start in any gear other than first without bouncing the axle, presumable due to the torque of the motor from the stop.  Even in first a hard start will buck.  I think part of the problem is the controller ramps up current, so it doesn’t get enough juice to spin the tires but enough to bind the rear end.  I plan on getting some more video of the rear suspension prior to the weld-in of the SFC.

I also have a slight, rhtymic thump from under the hood at full throttle.  It is not related to rpms or gear so another video in there is planned.

Currently also experiencing what appears to be thermal cutback on one the the rear regulators at 13.1 volts, so the charger cuts back and the batteries won’t charge.  Regulators haven’t been quite right since the rebuild so I’ll be taking them apart to investigate as well.

It works again

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Been busy.  Trans Amped runs again.  Several trips 12+ miles, range is better (~20 easy).  Drove home on the interstate the other day, did ok at 70 mph.

Task List

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

This is intended to be a list of everything I can think of that is left in Version 2.0. I’ll cross things off as they’re complete and add on as I figure out more stuff I forgot. Not too much further, although there is obviously stuff I’m missing.

Low Voltage

  1. Wiring for + and – LV to terminal bus
  2. Wiring from relocated negative contactor Raptor negative to DC/DC
  3. Vacuum relay triggers to terminal bus in control box.
  4. Split loom on wiring – What a pain, delayed
  5. Connectors for positive and negative from DC/DC to battery
  6. Raptor sensor wiring

Manual Disconnect

  1. Bike brake cable from cabin to breaker
  2. Handle for brake cable


  1. Test the pot box for full throttle
  2. Secure cable to frame
  3. Reattach the return spring securely

High Voltage Cables

  1. Purchase bolts for negative contactor and motor
  2. Cable from control box to Raptor B+
  3. Reconnect all battery strings (front batteries) (rear batteries) (front to back)
  4. Connect charging cable to most positive
  5. Connect charging cable to most negative
  6. Mount negative contactor and wire to switch and ground.

High Voltage Conduit System

  1. Determine cable routing
  2. Locate bracket points
  3. Determine split for negative to enter contactor box

Battery Regulators

  1. Phone cable from front to back
  2. Phone cable to charger
  3. Test with yellow light
  4. Troubleshoot front regulator erratic behavior


  1. Secure the ABS sensor on top of the rear axle
  2. Check air pressure in suspension bags
  3. Top off battery charge
  4. Tee fitting for vacuum line to operate A/C valves
  5. Alignment for manual steering rack

Removed some stuff

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

I removed the scooter motor and the power steering pump to eliminate some weight and clean up the engine bay.  I was going to remove the A/C compressor and the entire front bracket since I need to figure out a way to get that to work.  Problem is we welded the bracket to hold the bracket that holds the A/C in place and the gaps between the frame and the welded piece are smaller than the parts that need to come out.

So I think I can get to it by removing the sway bar and coming out the bottom but I’ll need to lift the car back up to do that.

One oddity I found was that disconnecting the negative most battery cable did not reduce the voltage between the contactors to zero as I’d expect.  Until I disconnected the battery regulator lead it didn’t drop, so i assume there are capacitors on the regulators which hold charge so you could still get a slight zap from those.

It’s getting cold here in Florida so I may bump up the heater replacement.

It didn’t work

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Today we made the final connections and turned the key.  Nada.  We fiddled with it for a couple of hours and gave up, planning to call the manufacturer of the controller tomorrow for some verification of the wiring diagram.

Basically I turned the key and the contactors didn’t close.  They are controlled by the Raptor 1200 controller, which precharges the internal components prior to sending the command to the contactors to open, dumping a voltage spike across the capacitors.  It wasn’t sending that command.

We tested the contactors by applying voltage across the leads and they are both operational, good.

I realized tonight that I have two contactors – one positive and one negative.  This is for redundancy and provides two electronic means to shutoff the motor by simply turning the key.  What I realized tonight was that the controller must have a continuous connection to the negative lead of the main pack to precharge.  That means you can’t have the controller running both contactors.  I think if I power the negative contactor off the chassis and key on, then the controller will follow normal sequence and close the positive lead on it’s own.

Tomorrow I will sit at work and watch the clock, waiting to go home and try again.  Tick tock tick tock.

So what’s left?

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

I’m happy because I’m to a point where I know everything that has to be done.  Hard to believe.  I can’t say that I won’t have to make at least one more trip to Ace to buy some bolts though.

So what is left before we press the go pedal and promptly blow a fuse (probably)?

Next work session I’ll probably mount the battery regs.  I’m leaning towards a spacer and some adhesive to stick the regs right onto the batteries.  So that’s one trip to Ace for some number 6 screws and something rubber to screw into, like a half stopper.  Then I can put a piece of adhesive on it and glue it to the top of the battery.

After that, I’ll mount the potbox, probably to the frame.  The control board has some flex in it (on purpose) so I don’t want the throttle to jump around if I hit a bump.

Next up would be wiring all the signal wires to the controller.  I think I have most of them already cut and terminated so it should be a matter of only connecting them.  I do need to make sure that I have fuses everywhere I need them.  I do not want to turn the key and blow up any number of parts that cost over a thousand bucks.

Before connecting all the high voltage batteries I’ll test the low voltage system.  Leaving off the lead to the Raptor I’ll be able to turn the key and the vacuum pump, motor blower and power steering motor should all run.  I’ll need to bleed the power steering system which will provide and opportunity to test the motor to see if it is strong enough.  I’ll raise the front wheels and turn from side to side with the motor running and see if it works while bubbling any air out of the lines.

Also have to mount the battery charger.  It will go behind the driver’s seat and the Anderson 50 connector will drop below the floor to connect to the one I installed tonight.  I also need to have an electrician install an outlet for me  closer to the car and make an adapter to change from 220 to 110V.  I haven’t seen one anywhere so I think I need to make it.  I can only find NEMA 14-30R in a wall mount though so that’s not quite what I want.

Finally, mount the circit breaker (emergency disconnect, with a lever within driver’s reach) under the car near the shifter.  This will require a waterproof box with openings for the negative 2/0 cable to enter and exit, as well as a way to run a lever out and into the car, probably to where the ashtray is.  So the response to smoke would be the same, to open the ashtray. Ha.

So maybe within the next two weeks this baby could roll on.  There is a car show in mid-September that it would be neat to get it to.  Hopefully that will work out.

Has anyone seen pictures?  Me neither.  Seems like I’m leaving out the pictures now that I have a bunch of stuff in.  I suppose you’ll have to forgive me, I’m spending my time getting it done instead of logging information about it.  I’ll catch up once I’m done.  But will it ever really be done?  Probably not.

Update on Progress

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

So a few days ago I thought I was going to take a break from working and let things settle down after the whirlwind of making battery racks and mounting so many things.  The good news is I ended up not making it that long.  After a frustrating day on the computer at work (new software that doesn’t work and has to be used) I left early and decided to work a little on the car.  That was a Thursday and things clicked off pretty well.

So roll forward to last Saturday and I woke up early and went out to wash the gas-car.  I found that there were little specks all over it making it feel kind of gritty.  I hadn’t washed it in a few weeks so I attributed it to road grime but after closer inspection I found out it was metal dust from all the cutting and grinding on the Trans Am.  So learn a lesson from me and move your good cars further away while working on the ev convert.  Most of it came off with a clay bar but I’ll need to go over it another time or two to get the stubborn bits.  I needed my energy that day to get some car stuff done…

So last Saturday and some evenings this week I finished a bunch of small tasks and actually got a little ahead of myself on some things.  A list:

  • Completed high voltage wiring.  I have not connected all the batteries because I don’t want 156 volts humming around while I’m still doing the low voltage, but everything is ready to bolt in.
  • Completed and mounted the main control board.  High voltage wiring is complete and installed from fuse to contactor to shunt to controller and from the controller to the motor.
  • Installed the DC/DC controller and wired it in
  • Completed wiring for the motor blower
  • Completed wiring for the power steering motor
  • Made wires and a terminal block that will be electrically live with key on and tied all my relays into that.

So I said I got ahead of myself.  Today I removed the main control board after scrapping my hand up one too many times.  I thought I could install the battery regulators just reaching under it but it was a pain.  While I have it out I completed the 6 guage wire wires that will connect the charger to the most positive battery up front and most negative in the back.  I bought two lengths, 10-ft of black and 5-ft of white.  Thinking that I had wire to spare I cut off about 1.5-ft of the white to use to tie the DC-DC converter to the negative battery post.  That left me with about 2″ to spare when I ran the wires from the front to the back.  I had to reroute the long wire from one side of the car to the other because it was too short, but ultimately it worked out.  I have another tip to add to my collection for future convertors: While it is a good idea to do a test run of your wiring to make sure it is long enough, you shouldn’t get over zealous and actually attach the wire to the car, especially if you haven’t crimped the lugs on because you don’t know how long the wire needs to be.  I was able to remove only one clip and make my crimp on the side of the car, but it was close.

I also tested my pot box and it seems pretty linear.  I hope the fire didn’t damage it.  Oh, you didn’t know about the fire?  Well I’ll tell you.  I was going off memory and for some reason I thought you had to connect a battery to the pot box so the resistance could be measured.  I did that and connected the multi-meter to the wires that will connect to the Raptor.  Raptor is cooled to say than controller.  As soon as I moved the throttle lever, the battery dumped who knows how many amps into the too small wires that probably shouldn’t have been connected that was anyhow.  So the wires puffed and were on fire.   I blew it out and figured out that a resistor works whether there is a load going through it or not.  So I undid all the connections except for the multi-meters leads and it still shows me 0-5k ohms resistance, pretty linear but a little jumping.  It could have been my unsteady left hand holding the assembly and my unsteady right hand  moving the lever, so we’ll see how it goes once it it mounted to something solid.

Making more cables

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

I made a couple more HV cables Friday night.  The bolts on the circuit breaker and shunt are bigger than the holes in the lugs.  I’d already run the cable to length for the CB so I drilled out the 5/16 hole to 3/8.  It took the tinning off the lug but it will be covered with heatshrink and the hole won’t actually be in contact with the washers so no worries.

I’m a little confused about the motor wiring.  The diagram from NetGain says it doesn’t matter which line from the controller goes where.  It seams that if a reversing contactor can be used to change the direction of the motor by switching wires (I’m not 100% on how reversing contactors work though) then the motor would spin the wrong way if wired wrong.

The other complicating point is that the preferred wiring configuration doesn’t match the wiring given in the bench test.  Given that the bench test worked how we wanted I’m wondering why we can’t wire it that way.

Also, the A1 to S1 connection on the WarP 11 is so close that two lugs won’t even fit between.  I either need a copper bar to drill out or make a long enough cable that can bend 180 degrees and not interfere with the A2 or S2 connections.

Getting close, counting down by weeks.

What’s been going on?

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Lots.  Battery racks are complete, HV cables are 80% complete, accessories are mounted, including the motor to run them.

Ran out of lugs for wiring all the fuses and contactors, more will arrive next Wednesday.

Battery Charger and Regulators are delivered, need to buy some phone cords and make jumper wires to connect the regs to the batteries.  Also mentally working on mounting methods for regs – they will be directly on top of the batteries.

Continuing on

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

A little more progress fitting the rear battery rack last night. We may be able to finish up tomorrow with the tray and then will need to make a cover that will open to access (and show off) the batteries.

With the front complete I can do all the wiring and find out if I’m missing anything. I think I’ll add another contactor so there is one on both the positive and negative leads of the battery pack. That provides redundancy in turning on and shutting down the power to the controller.

I also need to add a manual disconnect, preferably a circuit breaker that can be activated easily from the driver’s seat in the event of an overload from the batteries or runaway motor or any other expensive misfortune. I’ve only seen one that is commonly used and I’m not sure if it provides enough protection to not nuisance trip. We’ll, I’ve seen others but they cost a whole lot more. Right now I’m leaning towards using it anyway and replacing it with a beefier unit if it comes to that.

Remaining items:

  • Where is my charger and battery regulators?  I ordered them a little over a month ago.
  • Manual disconnect, second contactor, ammeter shunt and wiring layout
  • Complete battery cables
  • Complete low voltage wiring (PS motor, brake vacuum, which also needs to connect to the A/C vent, master on switch for HV system, etc.)

Is moving within a month under E-power reasonable?  As luck would have it work is going to be very busy so hopefully I’ll keep making progress.  Pictures are overdue, next week maybe.