Monday, February 15, 2010

On the road again!

The big news of the day is that the Volt914 is an automobile again! I drove it a total of about 12 miles today. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself...

The morning started with a large, immobile lump of steel, lead, glass, and plastic sitting in my garage. Turning the key did not result in the proper effects. So, I went after it with my digital multimeter. I found that I had swapped two wires - the keyed +12V and the "lower interface terminal block" wire. Fixing that resulted in all the right things - the oil pressure light came on, etc. The 12V system was alive!

However, all was not ready for driving. The Crydom relay seems to be stuck closed - it is always transmitting full HV regardless of the control inputs. As a temporary workaround, I used the heater contactor to control the DC-DC converter and voltmeter. I had to extend the wires to reach the contactor lugs:

With that set up properly, I made sure the DC-DC converter was properly wired. That yellow block is a 60A 12V fuse (the DC-DC converter is rated for 55A). Before hooking it up to the fuse, I verified that it is putting out the 13.3V it is supposed to (it is a battery-charging DC-DC converter):

With that taken care of, it was time to seal everything up. Here is the front compartment with all the wiring in place - it will get neatened up a little more some time later, but for now, it is operational:

And here, for the first time in months, is the front hood closed:

I then hooked up a computer to the controller and tweaked the necessary parameters to convert it from 144V nominal to 216V nominal. For the record, here is what was tweaked:
  1. EE2AccelBatRamp - 16 (was 12)
  2. EE2NoAccelBat - 189 (was 126)
  3. EE2RegenBatRamp - 18 (was 34)
  4. EE2NoRegenBat - 240 (was 160)
  5. EE2BatVLoMem - 0.018 (was 0.0122)
  6. EE2BatVHiMem - 0.018 (was 0.0122)
  7. EEXMinAccelPower - 10800 (was 9609)
  8. EEXNormAccelPower - 21600 (was 24000)
  9. EEXMaxAccelPower - 32400 (was 36000)
I had previously tweaked the EEXNormAccelPower and EEXMaxAccelPower variables in an attempt to get more power out of the 144V system. It did not really work. It will be interesting to see how the power selector switch from ElectroAuto works - it should arrive later this week.

I took two drives today. The first was just over 4 miles "around the block" (never more than a mile away from home in case of breakdowns). It feels peppier than it used to - losing 180 pounds of lead probably helps. The regen brakes have the "pulsing" effect again - I will need to tweak the RegenBatRamp variables some more. The very good news is that the combo of the new DC-DC converter (rated at 55A) plus the massive 4-gauge cable I used for a main 12V bus have made it so there is never any voltage drop, no matter how much 12V stuff is happening.

The second drive was to my local AutoZone, where I snagged stick-on letters to put a "VOLT914" sign on the back:

I charged in between the drives, and at the end of the second drive. Mostly to try to get the timer adjusted properly. It was reading 6A when it cut off the first time, so I increased its time by 30 minutes (from 45 to 75 minutes). It was reading 3A the next time - I probably need to tweak it up another 30 minutes to 105 minutes.

After playing with the charger some more, I hooked up the rear fans. This involves a relay box and stringing various wires:

Here is a diagram of the rear fan control. The DPDT relay is there so that when the key is not turned on, the fans are being driven by the AC-DC power supply when plugged in (this keeps the charger cool). When the key is turned on, they are instead driven by the car's +12V:

The PDF may be found here. Regarding range, it is a little early to get a good read, but the second drive was 7.6 miles, and consumed 3.1 kWh, for a net 408 watt-hours per mile (from the wall). This correlates very favorably with the 144V / Zivan system, which consumed about 4.0 kWh for the same distance - so at first blush, the Manzanita charger and new batteries are about 25% more efficient.

I also made a little chart based on Concorde's own data, showing the SOC versus voltage for my "216V" pack:

And that's all for today. I'm exhausted. This week - mostly just test drives, but I may have the opportunity to show the car off for some government big-wigs on Friday - stay tuned.

No comments: