Friday, January 29, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Yesterday was another EV build day.
The big fun surprise was that my friend Tom had dug up a tablet PC that runs Windows XP.
That means I can run the RTD Explorer software on it to view information, in real-time, from my controller. I will also be able to tweak the settings on the controller. For example, if I want to accelerate faster, all I have to do it type in a command. I could also turn it down if someone else is driving the car for the first time (possibly good for Valet Parking!)
Since it is a full-blown computer (just only a 8.4" screen though) I can also run music or videos on it. I think the computer will be mounted right by the car stereo, so I can output sound from the PC into the car stereo.
This could be nice to be able to show off some of my YouTube videos in the car while displaying it at a carshow. The tablet PC even has an expansion port. If I can find a dock that goes with it, I could use it to run a second monitor to display in the engine compartment!
For specs on the tablet PC, please visit:
Mine does not have Bluetooth, and the antennae on the wireless LAN doesn't seem to be working right. Also, I have no battery for the computer, but was able to find a power adapter that will take 11-16V in (range of 12 battery voltage) and output the required 20 volts DC for the computer.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
After I left Tim's house on New Years Eve, he continued working on finishing off the Enginer PHEV kit in his Prius. This footage was shot by Tim as he connected the wiring from the PHEV kit to the cars computer. He has since driven the car a few times and noticed higher traction pack voltage because of the PHEV kit.
He will still need to do some more driving to find some the actual fuel economy improvement from installing the additional battery pack.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Sunday was another EV Build Day.
While I was busy updating the firmware on my Open Source Controller, Chris and the other guys were adding brake fluid and tach-testing the cycle.
The big excitement was to actually take the bike outside and road test it in the snow.
While the cycle did beat 1200 RPM with the back tire up in the air, an actual road test showed it to be considerably slower. The controller on the cycle is just a low-amp golf-cart controller donated by one member. It was thought to be a faulty controller, but hey, it was free!
Once we were done playing with the bike in the road, we brought it back inside for more troubleshooting. Looks like the controller is bad after all. We might just have to borrow a known good controller (like the one from my Citicar) just to see what the cycle can do at full speed.
I was amazed at how quiet the motorcycle was. The driveshaft is CONSIDERABLY quieter than a chain drive.
The cycle already had the shunt for an ammeter installed, so we will have to add the ammeter itself for further testing. Also, the cycle is running with 3 batteries in it (36V) but is designed to fit 4 batteries total.
We'll post another video of motorcycle testing after the next EV Build Day.
If you are anywhere near the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA area, check out:
Monday, January 4, 2010
I just finished updating the Open Source Controller firmware and the real-time display software.
I now have a lot more ability to tweak the settings of the controller, including limiting amperage, and using the controller to close the main contactor after an adjustable pre-charge time.
It's fantastic that since this is all open source, anyone can add new features to the controller through simple software-only updates.
Essentially, almost anyone can build a 500 amp, 144V controller that would rival a $1500 one, for about $300 in parts.
To buy a kit, or find out more about this controller, please visit:
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Friday, January 1, 2010
Yesterday, I got to help out my friend Tim, by lending a hand helping install the Enginer Plug-in kit in his 2004 Prius.
It took a couple hours. There were a few odd little things that were just a bit frustrating in the installation, but overall, it was pretty straight forward.
While I wasn't able to stick around to the very end, we did get the install almost all the way done.
I broke the video into the following 4 on YouTube