Saturday, August 23, 2008

More details on the ignition system

I've made a quick demo video of how the contactor works.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Electronics arrived today!

Can you imagine how excited I am?

Today my parcel from ZEVA arrived containing more goodies than Santa on happy pills.

I now have my 400A 12v contactor, a 250A 160V Circuit Breaker, a 200V Voltmeter and a 1000A Ammeter.

Safety switch that can be tripped from inside the car to secure the main battery pack and prevent electrocution if we have a collision. At least there's no fuel to spill and ignite/inhale with an EV.

Voltmeter, Ammeter and the shunt to tell each of them how much power the motor is drawing, and how much is left in the batteries.

And the contactor: The ignition connects to the two little tabs on the shaft, and the main battery cable connects to the bolts on the right. When you turn the key in the ignition, the contactor snaps together and allows the current to flow to the motor controller.

So far I've hooked up the contactor to the test battery on my work bench and activated it - makes quite a reassuring THWACK sound which is good. I'll wire up a proper example circuit later in the week and upload another video.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Heater sorted!

On the advice of another converter, I've downloaded the service manual for the N13. Looking at the heater section, I was puzzled by the description of the heater, since it lacked any information about the heater core.

After I'd packed away this morning's tools I went back and took off the glovebox and had a look behind it. Sure enough, the fan unit is next to the door above the passenger footwell. Next to it is the box I'd assumed was the heater core but on closer inspection has no fluid cables protruding through the firewall.

So, I unscrewed the 3 points, detached the electric plug and the unit fell out in my hand. Turns out my version of the N13 has an electric heater after all - absolutely no modification required!!!

What a relief!

Here's the final product:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Exploring behind the dashboard

Over the past few weekends, I've been gradually pulling apart the dashboard and console to see how it fits together without breaking anything. I'm resigned to taking the whole thing apart eventually to get the heater core out - any other solution for the demister is just too much hassle.

So last week it was the centre console. I also rigged up a secondary cigarette lighter port to run the 240v AC inverter (for the mobile phone/laptop charger) at the same time as the GPS and MP3 players are running.

This week it was the dashboard and information panel.

The filth was thick and almost beyond description. Someone had dropped a sesame cracker into the steering column (sometime during the Clone Wars, from the look of it) and the constant baking/cooling cycle of Queensland weather had turned it into a squashed square of I-don't-know-what.

More filth inside the air ducts

You've no idea how difficult it is to get ANYTHING done with a 3-year old insisting that she knows how to do it better and taking all the tools away... She's totally adorable at the same time, chatting on her mobile phone and making me talk to her friends on it as well...

No sign of the parts I ordered last week...hopefully they will arrive in the next few days.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Nozzle Rage

I haven't posted for a week or so because my wife has been in hospital with pregnancy complications. Nothing life threatening, and she is home now and resting, but still a reminder about what's truly important in life, I guess.

The funds and donations keep rolling in though, and I have ordered the main contactor, circuit breaker and dash gauges from ZEVA. Thank you again to the people who have sent me money. I hope you can see I'm putting it to good use!

Now that I've got the ignition sorted and the other control parts ordered, the main things that remain are the adapter plate and the battery racks. I've been tinkering with plans for the battery racks and measured the back seat of the car, to see if the plans I've got will fit. I think they will. For the rear rack I plan to drill holes in the metal under the seat cushion and sandwich that metal between the battery rack underneath and another metal plate on top. These two metal strips will have 4 10mm grade 8.8 bolts in them to share the weight of the batteries and prevent metal fatigue in the existing car body.

I haven't planned anything to do with the front racks yet - I will have to wait until the engine is out.

Finally, I measured the swing set height and compared it with the height of the car and engine to see if I can use it as a super-cheap hoist. It will be close but I think I can do it with about 10cm to spare. Here's a pic of me and Jazmin practising her abseiling on it...
If all else fails however, there is a guy on my way to work advertising a hoist & crane for rent, so I might pop in on the weekend and have a chat with him.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Ignition system sorted out

I went to the wreckers today for 2 parts: the ignition barrel and the heater core. I spent 2 hours in the blazing spring sun taking apart the dash and console only to find that it's the wrong heater core - it's got air conditioning and is the wrong size, shape and has too many pipes. I was bummed!

Still, I got the ignition parts I wanted so after coming home and having a coke, I just got stuck in. I've rigged up a little bench to my little 12v lawnmower motor so I can test various bits and pieces, so see how they will work in the EV. After stripping a little of each cable and using some solder, I've got a VERY rough demonstration of how the ignition will work. Don't laugh because it's only a demo.

I've incorporated a kill switch into the circuit. That's not only because I'm paranoid about safety - it's also a good idea for when it comes time to be inspected. The inspectors really like fuses and safety switches...

The way it works is the battery connects to the red wire, the white wire powers the electrics like headlights and radio and the black/white wire provides power to the motor via the kill switch.

Nice and simple, nice and safe.

I'll have to figure out another way to modify the heater. I'm in no hurry to destroy the Pulsar's dashboard.