Sunday, March 29, 2009

Control Box Pt. 4

I wired one of the contactors (with precharge) and the controller to the car's 12V auxiliary system. I haven't seen my new controller in action yet and wanted to see it spin the wheels. There were many loose wires underneath the hood that were disconnected when the engine was removed. I didn't know what they went to, but I used a multimeter to test which ones gave me 12V supply when the key was turned to the on position.

The car wired...

I jacked up the rear end so the tires could spin freely, put the key in the car, turned it to on, and gave it some "gas". The contactor clicked, but the wheels wouldn't spin. I did notice the voltmeter I had installed inside the car showed only 8V with the controller hooked up to the 12V line under the hood. I tried a different 12V line for the controller and the voltmeter showed a much healthier 11V.

What's interesting is I've had the meter show under 10V below (due to loose battery connections), and the radio wouldn't work - probably due to low voltage protection. With the controller installed at 8V the radio still worked though. Unfortunately the car's electrical system is such a mess I can't trace back where those 12V lines originate from.

The 12V + from the auxiliary battery...

A random 30A fuse... Is that the fusebox?

I'm not even going to try...

I'm disappointed that I couldn't get a low speed test done with the controller, but this has convinced me that I need to build a secondary fuse box/system for the car. I'll leave what's existing that works alone, but all my new components will run off the new fuse box.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Control Box Pt. 3

Yesterday I went over to a coworker's house and his (amazing) machine/garage shop. He had a handful of copper pieces that he offered to use for the connections between my electrical components.

It was a big game of Tetris trying to see which pieces fit best where.

His vice...

Me working with the grinder...

The first piece!

The second piece!

And fast forward... everything done!

The copper pieces really turned out great. By some miracle the layout I had made weeks earlier worked just right with the copper pieces he had. Thanks so much John!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Control Box Pt. 2

A friend from work is going to help me wire the components, but he was busy this past weekend. Probably for the best though, as I was able to prep the base for permanent attachment into the car. Where we left off last week...

Happy with the location, I drilled mounting holes through my aluminum motor mount and the front of the control (box?) base. After adding a couple 5/16" bolts...

It actually held very nicely. The base only mounted at the front but it was resting at several locations on the car's frame. I was able to jiggle the back end of the base a little more than I was comfortable with. With smooth streets it wouldn't have been a problem, but I didn't want my control components to be shaking with every small bump in the road.

I looked into all sorts of ways to fix the back end, but what seemed to work best was just sliding rubber strips between the base and the car's frame.

The rubber strips act as great shock absorbers, but they may not last long term. I'll have to see how they hold up with a few miles of driving. I'll play around with other ways to restrain the rear of the plate later.

I found some extra metal sheeting in my storage room that I could use to cover the holes of the base.

Then I stripped off all the electrical components...

And began drilling the component mounting holes through my new metal sheeting...

Next up was a couple coats of shiny black paint...

Looks great!

Haven't yet, but I think I'll use JB weld along the edges to bond the two metal plates. For now the component bolts hold them together very well.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Control Box Pt. 1

My controller arrived!

Posts lately have been lacking as I've waited for the electrical "brains" to arrive, but now they're all here! I didn't mind the wait too much though - it gave my checking account a nice break before purchasing the batteries and charger.

Finding a platform to fit all the components was a challenge. I scratched my originals plans of the plexiglass because of strength concerns. I wanted something that would last a while so no plastic or wood. I searched around for a good metal box, but no store seemed to carry them in anything other than plastic. I ended up finding a reinforced metal base meant for hanging tools at Walmart. I'd prefer to have an enclosed box with no holes but this would work for now. Now all I needed to do was fit my parts on it!

Rough idea... I actually modeled all the parts in AutoCad as well to try and organize the layout / wiring. The fan locations are to be determined.

Marked and drilled some holes...

Bolted together...

Not yet permanently attached, but it looks darn good in the car!

Next up, wiring it!