Wednesday, October 24, 2007

DMOC returns...

No pictures, sorry. My DMOC445 returned from its two-week journey to Azure, filled with new firmware. I dropped it in, wired it up, and turned it on. This time, the ccShell 3.0 program talked to it just fine. I set the "EEXNoIgnSwitch" variable to 1, and pressed the throttle. Success! Noise from the controller and noise from the motor. Hmm. And noise from the clutch. A grinding kind of noise. And the wheels don't turn. Something in there needs an adjustment, and I may have to drop the engine/tranny to do it... Stay tuned.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Charger Dash Lights

I'm working my way through my list while the controller is getting its firmware updated (scroll to the bottom of this post for the list). Tonight, I attached the rear valence and hung the rocker panels (with the screws - I need to get new rivets to finish the job). I also wired up lights from my charger to my dashboard. Remember the Zivan NG3 built-in relay:

Those "Aux2" relays are perfect for driving two panel lights, one that lights when the charger is active, and another that lights when the charge is complete. First, I attached wires to the charger "aux2" outputs:

These wires go to a screw-in terminal block that I installed next to the charger mount, on the driver's side. Also going to this terminal block are the input +12V (to the second-from-bottom left terminal) and the fan +12V control (from the bottom right terminal) - this lets the fans be driven when the charger is going (although TimK points out that hydrogen is still outgassing for several minutes after the charger turns itself off; I'm considering moving the fans to always be on when the system is plugged in):

I then took these wires into the passenger compartment, and used them to drive some lights. The top-left red light now comes on whenever the car is plugged into AC. The red light on the right comes on when the NG3 is charging:

...and when the charge is complete, the green light on the right comes on (the red light on the top left is still on, because the car is still plugged in - exactly as I want it):

I have not yet screwed the gauge surround into the dash, since I still need to wire the heater control.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fan Power Mod

Another item off my checklist. I was annoyed that the kit wiring had the battery supporting the fans while charging, and that the fans always ran when the AC outlet was plugged in, even if the charger was not doing anything. So, I fixed it. On Zivan's website, the NG3 documentation shows what the 6 aux contacts do:

Of particular interest for this project are the AUX2 contacts, "C" and "NC" ("normally closed"). I verified with my multimeter that NC stays closed while the charger is actually charging, and then opens when complete (just like the documentation!). It supports 1A output - the fans are 0.13A each - so no fancy relays necessary. I drew up a wiring diagram (TimK was helpful with an early review):

...and then went at it with wire cutters, strippers, and crimpers. I found a small 240V AC -> 12V DC power supply at Fry's which supported 2A out at +12V (more than enough):
I mounted it next to my charger mount. I then cut the charger power cord and inserted a terminal block, where I tapped the AC lines to feed the power supply (and tie-wrapped everything to keep it neat):

Here's a view from the bottom, where you can see the labels on the power supply inputs and outputs:

The ground wire runs to the empty grounding tab on the passenger's headlight bucket:

The +12V out from the transformer runs to the AUX2 "C" connection. And then, you run another red line from the AUX2 "NC" connection... the relay mount, where I previously had removed the wire from the relay to the second-from-right terminal of the fuse block (this terminal feeds the fans through a fuse):

And here is the whole project, all wrapped up, plugged in, and humming:

I verified that this powers the fans while the charger is plugged in and running, and then turns the fans off when the charger reaches 100% complete and idles itself. This means that I can leave the car plugged in pretty much all the time and it will take care of itself (other than watering the batteries :-).

Future uses of the NG3 aux outputs include two panel lights to indicate "charging" and "charge complete".

Tomorrow my controller is scheduled to arrive at Azure for servicing. Keeping my fingers crossed...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Decklid Pins

As I wait for my prodigal motor controller to return, I'm doing a variety of miscellaneous things. Tonight it was the pins to hold the decklid closed (because of the rear battery box you have to remove the decklid latch). My kit did not come with the promised pins, so I just went down to my local auto parts store and looked in the "bling" section (OK, the "performance" section) and found these pins that looked very much like the pictures in the book:

Here is the driver's side pin installed. Note the angle it sticks out. I could not correct this much without deforming the side "wings" of the decklid:

Because of that angle, I had to enlarge the holes, both in the decklid, as well as in the hood pin kit, so that the pin would pass through unhindered. I used a circular file to enlarge the soft metal at both sides of the hole:

Here is a back view of the same pin, with the pop rivets circled and the hole for the pin to pass through (oval-shaped, for the same reason as above). I used the same rat-tail file to enlarge this hole appropriately:

Here is the passenger's-side decklid pin installed and complete. The pop-rivet at the top of the picture was a real pain - the face of my tool did not fit flush with the head of the rivet. On the other side, this resulted in the rivet bulging out about 3/16 of an inch. So, on this side, I piled some tiny washers against the rivet to keep it in place while the tool expanded the rivet. Turned out well:

And here is the whole thing. Complete for the first time since I dropped the engine!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bye-bye, controller :-(

After some back and forth with Azure support, they recommended I send the controller back for a firmware upgrade. So, out it comes, leaving an empty hole in the back of the car:

Although it's not immediately visible, I disconnected the most-negative cable from the battery pack before removing the controller - avoids the possible short circuit of a high-voltage high-amperage power source.

Note the black box on the right of the first picture above - that's the Canev electric heater in my current favored placement of it. I'll run the ducting through the passenger's side heat duct and then into the heating system in the front. It will hopefully pick up warmish air from the controller and heat it further, blowing it into the passenger compartment. Here's a better picture of the proposed heater placement (comments welcome):

The options for mounting the heater are not very good:
  • In the front - it interferes with the hood closing
  • In the passenger compartment - probably noisy and easy to kick
  • In the engine compartment - exposed to the elements, prone to short-circuiting
  • In the rear trunk with the controller, as shown
Finally, here is the controller, all boxed up and ready for the top to go on. I constructed my own shipping crate out of 3/4 inch plywood and 2x2 wood stringers. I did not trust my very expensive controller to the mercies of a cardboard box. I surrounded it tightly with foam, and squirted spray foam in the corners to further bolster the shock absorption. And the controller itself is enclosed in a very thick black plastic bag to avoid moisture from getting in. Hopefully it arrives safely.

While I wait for it to come home, I've got a few miscellaneous things I'll work on:

  • Install the heating system
  • Install a 3-way switch for the regen braking (off, auto, brake pedal controlled)
  • Hook up a couple of lights in my dash to the Zivan charger outputs, so I can get some idea of its status without opening the hood
  • Install a very small 12v power supply to run the fans while the charger is going
  • Upgrade my high-voltage meter from 130V max to a digital voltmeter with 160V max
  • Install the hold-down bars on the battery boxes
  • Finish the interior trim (door panels and kneepad)
  • Install the front and rear valences, and the rocker panel
We'll see how much of this I get done in the two or so weeks the controller is expected to be gone.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Attempted debugging

In a last-ditch attempt to get the car going for the Homecoming Parade, I stayed up late one more night. I hacked apart a spare RS232 cable, and soldered insulated quick-connects on the end in preparation for hooking it up to the controller:

Here is the cabling, plugged in. This is a real royal pain - you cannot easily see the top three pins due to the position of the controller in the rear trunk. I had to use a flashlight and a mirror to get the pins plugged in correctly:

After much fiddling and cursing, I finally got HyperTerminal to listen to the controller:

Azure has been extremely helpful during this - responding quickly to emails, and sending me files to try. Apparently, my controller is older and has pretty ancient firmware. They recommended using the older ccShell 2.0 with the controller - but it does not seem to work. I wonder if my firmware is even older than they realized. They have offered to upgrade the firmware, but I'll have to send the unit to them to have that done. I'll do it if I have to, but only as a last resort. I did order the official serial cable that plugs into the data port. I anticipate many future debugging sessions...

Since the car was not running, I walked the parade. Not a terrible conclusion - but a little disappointing. However, it was useful to have a deadline so that I would actually get the car basically done (I'm going to change the subheading on my blog to delete the "So far, just destruction, but will chronicle the build in coming weeks" tagline).

I took the rest of the day today to do a variety of miscellaneous things, including installing the hoods, putting the side windows and outside door handles back in, and installing some exhaust fan ducting - I found the smallest flexible heater ducting that I could and compressed it down with the cable clamps. Here it is in place, with the car plugged in and charging:

So, next steps - get the official serial cable from Azure, try one more debugging session, and, if that fails, send the controller back to Azure for a firmware upgrade.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Nearly done - sleep is strictly optional

Wednesday morning, Oct 3, 2007

Did a couple of miscellaneous things before going to work this morning. I cut a hole in the side of the charger mount to provide a place for the cabling to enter. I later installed a computer cable grommet here to prevent the cables from fraying on the sharp edges:

I also installed the feet on the bottom of the tray. Just like TimK, I found that the feet were not quite tall enough to prevent the charger mounting bolts from protuding. So, I did two things - I ground the bolts down to the smallest possible size, and I added washers to the feet to make them taller. As you can see, no interference issue any more:

Here is the assembly going in. I supported the mounting board with 2x4s so that I could drill & bolt the tray to the mounting board more easily. And that was it for this morning:

Wednesday Night, October 3, 2007

Back at it, I wired up the inlet plug. I did not feel like cutting a hole in my shiny new exterior paint, and I don't plan on installing fog lights ever, so my solution was to use the fog light mount as an access point for the plug. Here is how the wiring goes from the front relay box to the plug (the rubber bumper molding is temporarily pulled back during this process). The cord goes through one of the pre-cut holes in the front of the trunk, and out to a newly drilled hole in the foglight cutout plug:

Here is the plug installed:

Next, I installed the gauges and tested them. As you can see, the green "power on" light is lit, and the gauge lights work. Harder to see is that I have also hooked the speedo up (although I cannot calibrate it accurately until the car is on the road):

I also installed the rear box (drilling holes and bolting it together per the instructions):

And here is a shot of the middle boxes installed. You will note that the charger is installed with the AC cord facing the passenger's side of the car, contrary to the instructions, since I have only so much 10-gauge charger wiring to deal with (you can see it sticking up right in front of the charger - you can also see the wiring grommet and excess silicone adhesive - the tube burst as I was squeezing it so I just put it all on :-)

Next, I "hauled lead" as TimK put it. Here are the batteries in the front box, installed as Tim did:

Here are the batteries in the middle. I originally installed them as TimK did (as shown here) - but had to rotate them 180 degrees - see lower down:

Here are the rear batteries installed. These were by far the most difficult, since it is very difficult to lift a 70-pound battery up high enough (unless you are a bodybuilder). So I used a stepladder to assist the process.

At this point, I was tempted to go to bed (I took the previous picture at 12:51 AM). But my obsession was in full bloom, so I pushed on. Next up - installing the copper interconnects. Like TimK, I had to bend just about every interconnect. I have a different solution to the straight bar, though - I twisted the ends so that the flat bar could then pass under the speed cap:

This was originally a "["-shaped piece - TimK cut his down and drilled it out to make a flat, apparently - but I did not feel like running my Sawzall at 2:30 AM - so I just bent it in this pretty "V" shape:

And here is everything installed in the rear box, except for the fusible link. Note the cable in the lower right - it is attached, but I detached it before installing the links, since the instruction call for that cable to be the last thing installed. Probably because it is the most easily accessible point, and you can install it without touching anything metal - this is high-voltage and high-current, after all - it can kill:

Here are the front & middle battery boxes. Remember the picture of the middle box from before? I was blithely following the instructions (it was 3:00 AM, remember) and cut the cable to go from the middle battery box, when I realized - the post the DC instructions wanted me to connect to was negative, but the post close to that side was positive due to the different batteries. TimK apparently solved that by cutting longer cables. But I had already cut my cable. Evaluating my remaining uncut cable, I realized I did not have enough to cut longer cables for the middle box. So I rotated the batteries 180 degrees so I could use approximately the same instructions as the DC kit (I did cut the cable to the positive middle post 5 inches longer to give room to attach since the 8 volt batteries have a different post layout than the 6 volt batteries from the DC kit):

So, with all the wiring and interconnects in place, I double checked the voltages. 144-volt pack at most-positive and most-negative posts: check (150 volts). +12V input at motor controller when key was turned on: check. I jacked up the back (much harder with 1200 pounds of batteries installed), put the car in neutral, triple-checked the connections, and turned the key on. And...

Nothing. Next up: attempted debugging with a computer.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Front wiring, complete, and a problem

Tuesday night, October 2, 2007

A very productive evening. I finished up the wiring and installed the front battery box:

Here is a closer look at the wiring:

Problem 1: the bolt for the "L" terminal of my auxilliary battery touches one of the bolts that holds the battery mount onto the battery box. The solution? Screw the mounting bolt in tighter and cover it with electric tape (not shown):

And here is the real problem: there is not enough slack in the cable with the Anderson connector on it to plug into the charger:

It was finding this problem that made me decide it was time for bed. So, off I go, to dream of cutting holes in charger mounts and other such hackery.

Controller Wiring

Dawn, Tuesday, October 2, 2007

One more day of too little sleep. Hopefully this is almost done... I installed the controller cables. Here is how the cable routing looks in the rear trunk - not the prettiest, but the best I could do with that monster snake of a 3-phase AC cable. To do any better would require cutting the lugs off the AC cables and reinstalling. I'm too lazy to do that today:

Here is how the controller cables hook up inside the control box. If you look carefully, you can see that I have indeed put my blood, sweat, and tears into this project. Well, at least blood. I must have snagged my finger on something sharp:

Finally, here is what the wiring looks like from beneath. Much neater - I used some insulated cable clamps to route things neatly: