Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October Update

It's been quite some time since I updated this blog. This past summer I installed the new EV Display to use as a battery gauge and it works great. The EV has well over 4500 miles on it now and last week we installed a newer, better rear suspension system.

The Civic is back to stock ride height! I upgraded the rear springs from 450 lbs/inch to 1000 lbs/inch because the 450 lbs/inch sagged too much and caused the car to bottom out over some bumps. The car even feels better now that the rear is 3" higher than before.

I started a new job back in June and I haven't driven my EV to work yet, my dad has been using it since then. But now that I have upgraded the new springs and located a plug at work (that I need to test) I am planning on taking it to work soon.

I am also going to insulate the battery pack this weekend since the weather is getting colder. The cold weather performance of the lithiums are great, but they need to be above freezing to charge. Last winter I only charged during the day when the trunk was 45 F+ in the sun and on the really cold days I left the ceramic heater in the trunk. But this year I want to be able to charge at any time and the insulation will keep them above freezing. I might even put some small electric blankets around batteries for those nasty cold days.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May Update

I've been quite busy and haven't gotten around to updating the blog in a few months. I've putting a considerable amount of miles on the EV! I'm past the 3,500 mile mark!

I usually got 17 miles before charging, but recently I'm going 30-50 miles in between charges! It's nice not having to worry about plugging in when I want to do my normal day to day activities.

I have a few things I am doing to the Civic. First, I need to replace my rear drums and shoes. The other day my ABS came on while coming home from graduation so I need to fix that. I'm also going to install my volt and amp meters and I'm thinking about a J1772 connection so I can use all the charging stations in MA.The other day I was at Chilli's in Lowell and they had a charging station with a Volt and Prius plugged in, but it only supports J1772.

It's also time to think about getting the A/C running, these days are only going to be hotter!

I do have a new job that I am stating next week. It is just out of my safe driving range for the moment as they do not have charging stations yet. I'm going to scout around for a plug, there may be some by one of the many lamp posts. If not, once I get situated I am going to try and see if I can get something installed.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Range Testing

Over the past few days I've been slowly testing my EV to determine it's current efficiency. Last night I did a round trip of 39.6 miles on one charge. For the first 17 miles I did not have my heat on, and the remainder I did. It was also extremely hilly and the speed ranged from 30 MPH to 45 MPH for most of the drive.

As of this morning it took 15.41 KWh to recharge the pack, or 389 WH/Mi from the wall. As the charger is at best 92% efficient according to the manual, that means my EV is currently 358 WH/Mi from the batteries.

That boils down to is I currently have a 58 mile range in the winter. Not too bad for the winter, but I want more. My goal is to have at least an 70 mile range in the summer, meaning I need to get my WH/Mi down to 298 or lower. There are still things I can do that are quick to make improvements. I need to adjust the left rear camber more and I need to pump the tires up to 40 PSI, I think they are around 32 PSI right now.

I can also explore aero dynamic mods, such as grill blocks, lowering my front suspension to match the rear, wheel skirts, etc.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

On The Road Again!

I have spent the past two days installing the new Can-EV Honda Civic motor coupling and adapter plate. It's a really nice design that doesn't need any fancy alignment.

 The Can-EV coupling is the same as what I had, but it is not a taper locking. Due to the variations in manufacturing of taper locking hubs (which has been my problem, 5 hubs of the same model, all with different dimensions), a tight fit slip design with 3 set screws is now used.
 The coupling also gets pressed onto the motor shaft all the way until it hits the bearing. This means that it has no where to go when the clutch gets pressed in. Add some locktite to each of the set screws and it's good to go.
After the coupling is installed, the adapter plate gets bolted to the motor. It's a nice tight fit.
 Then I installed the flywheel and tested it for any imbalances. There was no wobble or scrapping of any kind!
 Then I was able to mount the setup together and mount it into the Civic.
The Can-EV adapter plate and coupling setup was 1.25" shorter that my original setup, which made installing it very easy.

By the end of last night I had the motor in the Civic and bolted down. Today I spent the morning filling up the transmission with fluid, adjusting the mounts and wiring up the electronics.

Right before lunch I was able to drive the EV! But before I put the car on the ground I did a test spin and we found noise coming from the comm end of the motor. After playing with the rear motor mount, the RPM sensor and other bolts I finally inspected the brushes and found that they were the culprit. They aren't fully seated yet so they make some noise, but after some 20 MPH cruising in 2nd gear for 30 or so seconds the noise went away. It will probably take 1000+ miles to fully break in the brushes so for the next few months I won't be pulling 1000 AMPs to the motor!

I did go on a drive this afternoon and it was the best EV drive I have ever had! It was smooth, no noise from the transmission or motor, and the drag seemed a lot less than with my last coupling setup. Tonight I am setting up a tablet PC to monitor my Zilla so I can log the drives and compare them to my initial drives early this past Fall. I am also going to use my Kilowatt Meter tomorrow night to get my Wh/Mi from the wall.

It's good to be gas free again!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Not Quite Yet

This past weekend I got the EV together and went for a test drive. It was great for 2 miles, then it went south. My coupling still slips and moved the clutch into the transmission making a ton of noise. So I got it home, jacked up the EV and say what it was doing.

So instead of messing around with my coupling again I bought a new one from Can-EV. It will be here next week then I get remove my current setup and get the new coupling and plates installed.

I just want to be driving again and getting tired of having the EV up on jacks all the time. I also hope there is any more damage from this hiccup, but I will find out in a week or so when I take the motor back out.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Installing the Warp 9

It was really nice today so I decided since I didn't have classes I would start putting my EV back together.

Last night my dad helped me move the Warp 9 from the basement to outside my EV. Then this morning I got the transmission out and mounted it to the Warp 9. Then I had to drill new holes on my rear motor mount because the Warp 9 has a different rear bolt pattern.

Then after lunch we used the engine hoist to install the motor and transmission combo into my Civic. It went pretty well, after a few minutes we had two of the four engine mounts bolted in. The rear mount is always difficult to do but my dad was able to help after he got home from work.

I also had to get a new speed sensor for the Warp 9. My old sensor was too small for the 1.125" shaft so I got a new sensor from Evolve Electrics with 2 day shipping and it arrived as I was installing the motor. It took 30 seconds to install as the Warp 9 was built with bolt holes for a speed sensor.

Now I have the Warp 9 installed, the axles in and the tires back on the EV. Later this week I am going to try and get more things installed, including better insulation for the heater pipe and batteries. I am really hoping to start commuting again in the next week, I just need the weather to cooperate long enough to finish the last 10%.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Snowed In

This past weekend was the worst snow storm in like 30 years. It was the first time since 1978 that we had a Traffic Ban in Massachusetts! We got over 2 feet of snow and lots of wind.

Anyways, due to the fact that I got snowed in that gave me time to finally seal up the transmission and test it on the Warp 9.
I dd a quick test and it really purrs now! There were no vibrations of any kind, just some extra noise from not having any transmission fluid in the unit.

It's nice out today but I still have to dig out my EV and clear around my workspace around the driveway. I am hoping to get the EV put together sometime this week, Wednesday looks good right now so I might do it then.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Transmission Rebuild

This past weekend I've been working on the new motor setup and rebuilding the transmission.
Last night I managed to get the transmission apart and inspected it.

The transmission was in really good condition, looks brand new. I did find that two of the bearings on the input shaft either had extra play or made some noise, including the Input Shaft Bearing that I expected to have issues. I found nothing destroyed, which is really good. The internals look complicated but they really aren't I spent an hour this morning taking the shafts out, replacing the bearings and just figuring out how the shifter functions.

Tonight I will put the transmission back together as I had to go out and buy Hondabond to seal the casing back up.

After tonight all I need is a nice weather day and I can drop the motor back in and get back to EV'ing!

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Rebuild

Last week my new Warp 9 arrived!

The Warp 9 have some improvements over my FB1-4001a. First it has larger brushes that allow for more current handling, and it has a better fan for cooling. It also has 1/2" terminals to handle more current.

Now I have been having a slight problem with my coupling. I designed it to use H bushings and I ordered up 4 new H bushings and when they arrived I found they had slightly changed! Their diameter was 0.005" smaller which meant they didn't lock onto the shaft when I tried to install the coupling.

So after a few days of research I found out that there is a replacement to the H bushing, the QT bushing. It has a slightly different design of having a single split down the opposite side of the key way. It was also the correct dimensions and it installed perfectly.

Here is where I finished off last night:
I got the coupling and flywheel mounted down and did a test spin yesterday and it looks pretty good. There is a very very very slight wobble but I could only see it at low speeds. This afternoon I am going to try some little adjustments and then break in the brushes using a 12 volt battery while I work on my transmission. With any luck I'll be ready to put the EV back together by the end of the weekend, once I get another good sunny day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Going Over the Carnage

I have spent the past few days going over my coupling and motor shaft. There really wasn't anything severe done to the coupling, although it had some surface rust on the inner taper locking piece and it was not fully locked, allowing it to become loose.

I did order a new Warp 9 yesterday and it should be in next week. I do have the option of repairing my motor for $615 but I passed for the moment as I need to disassemble the motor to check all the internals.

Once I get my new motor I am going to do all the flywheel and coupling alignment done on the bench before going into the car. I also had the machine shop at my university modify the coupler to allow use of the pilot bearing, which I should have done from the beginning but didn't know I even needed it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Down for the Count

For the past few weeks my transmission has been making noises and I determined that the Input Shaft Bearing was the culprit. So after receiving my transmission rebuild kit my dad and I took apart the EV to get at the transmission.

However, I got a real unpleasant surprise:

As I was pulling the transmission out I saw some wear on the face of the motor. Then I found that coupling to be loose! After pulling it off we found the inner coupling and the motor shaft destroyed. I don't know if it somehow got loose, or it was misaligned, or what but right now I am a real unhappy camper and now on the hunt for a new motor and answers.