Go Back   EcoModder Forum > Introductions
Register Now
 Register Now
 

Reply  Post New Thread
 
Submit Tools LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 03-08-2009, 05:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
EcoModding Lurker
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Winnipeg
Posts: 13
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
start a "Fire" fly EV project

Hello Everybody.

I guess I will start by introducing myself:

My name is Trevor, and I live in Winnipeg. I am just another noob wannabe EV builder as of right now, with a determination to convert one of my vehicles over.

Below is schematic that I made up to show what I would like to do. My introduction is quite a bit lengthy, but what I would like to try to find out, is if this schematic "should" theoretically work or not. Sorry if I drew some of the components incorrectly:



Last Sunday, I had finally wathched the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car". It kind of reminded me of my intentions to convert my car over years ago, but ignorance caused me to believe that it would be too expensive and far too complicated. It also made me sort of angry at the world for a bit for thinking that I can't do anything about it, but realizing it's biased I rekindled the inspiration to start looking into ways that I could possibly make a difference even if only for myself.

I can't buy an electric car still as of yet, and for some reason, there aren't any flying cars around either. I drive subcompact import cars to and from work every day. You would think that small cars would get good gas mileage, but not in my case where my commute ranges 14-20 kms a day. Stop and go traffic like crazy; no timed lights, well actually, timed if you consider a light will turn red more times than not on the major route, unless you speed - go figure.

There is limited mass transit infrastructure where I live, however, I am close to a bus route. Still, I don't take the bus, and I drive everyday for a number of reasons. I really like cars and enjoy driving very much. That alone makes it very hard for me to find an alternative. I tired biking, but it's a very dangerous route to my work as there are a lot of busy traffic areas around. I thought about getting a motorbike for the summer but insurance is too high, and you need a bike license. I thought about a 50cc bike, but price, reliability, and again safety steer me away from that one.

My alternative last year in summer:

Drive to work, leave the car, walk home. Walk to work, drive home, and vice-versa. It takes 1 hour and ten minutes for me to walk one direction. Convenience was greatly lost but I enjoyed it; then I ended up spraining my ankle at work one day, and started driving again.

Back to the drawing board... which in my case now is You Tube. Well, actually, first I went on a website to see what an EV conversion kit costs for a Geo Metro again. Last I remember checking, I thought a conversion came in around the $8,000 to $12,000 mark. I still wondered if that would be worth it back then but again I was ignorant.

This time around, I saw a kit labeled as a kit#1 on a top site on a Google search being the lowest one offered for the price of $2,300 American. I was floored to see one that came in so low, but was even more blown away by the fact that it was a 48V kit. Again, the ignorance before had led me to beleive that an EV no higher than 120V was not worth building.

This is where I went back to You Tube. I wanted to see one of these Metros in action, but what I came across surprised me even more. A conversion done here in Canada for $672!? This seemed more up my alley. I watched the video of the first test drive of project "Forkenswift" and thought, that is exactly what I would be looking at wanting to do.

I do not expect my electric car to be very fast, or go very far, and I am not in on it because I think I will save mad cash by not having to gas up - I just want to be able to drive a vehicle powered by a renewable power source, even if it means I will have to take some back roads to get to work, and when I get onto the main road for the small stretch that I would, there would be so many red lights that I wouldn't be moving anywhere too quickly anyway.

One of my biggest peaves: Idling at a traffic light in the heat of summer and hearing the rad fan start up and shut down constantly as it tries to cool the engine.

My idea:

My idea is that an idea is worthless without some sort of a product, therefore I have to do something about it! I have made a preliminary schematic from what I sort of understand from a week of learning so far. I want to make an electric vehicle as stupidly simple as I can while still having some safety devices still in place.

My car:

A 1987 Pontiac Firefly (Canadian Chevy Sprint, Suzuki Forsa). Most kits that you can purchase for these are designed for the 1989 and up models, and wouldn't work on my car without modification as far as I know. I have already converted the transaxle over from the automatic that came in the car to a 5 speed manual trans. The engine that is in it has a bad water pump, knocks like a rock, and the gas tank just recently pee'd all over my lawn once I parked it for the winter. I am thinking it should be a good candidate for the swap, and my only reasons for keeping the vehicle up until now has been pure sentiment, otherwise it would have been junked years ago.

It is my first car, well, actually I owned my first car when I was thirteen which was a different car, but I never got to drive it and enjoy it like the Firefly which I got when I was seventeen; therefore the Firefly is my first insure and go vehicle that I got to drive on public roads. I have kept it for so long due to it's mechanical nature. I enjoy working on it, because it is mechanical, and not too electrical - OOPS! did I just diss electronics!? I am sorry, it's just that I don't understand electrical as much as I do mechanical.

I once installed fog lights on the Firefly. That involved a relay and I even wired them in properly only to be able to activate them with the ignition on and the head light switch on. I had installed a stereo on this car too as the old one had been stolen, but the harness was so hacked that it gave me headaches trying to figure out why when I pushed my horn button, my high beam indicator would illuminate whilst I still had no tunes. Replace the horn/dome light fuse, open the door and pow! Huh? darn radio!

Well, my first step in trying to understand electrical is to try to relate it to hydraulics. I can read hydraulic schematics, so some of it is there if you look at it the same as flow and valves as switches etc.

I found the schematic version 2.2 for the Forkenswift. I modified it to meet my "theoretical" version of an electric car that would be used only by myself and wouldn't be intended for others to really drive without me being around that is; it would be suited best to my wants.

I will explain my schematic, however, I am putting it up here as I expect my lack of knowledge as of now means I probably drew up a schematic for an alternative and expensive way to start fires if no matches or lighters happen to be kicking around to do the job. A renewable energy fire starting source; kind of defeats the purpose doesn't it?

Let me recall a time that I had made a computer motherboard go up in smoke, then I reset the breaker in my house, found the problem, and despite the horrible stench of burnt components and fibreglass board the computer still worked?

Anyway, I would like to build a car that is light, with a top speed of 40-60 kmh (35 MPH ish though higher would be better), have an electrical drive system completely separate from the existing vehicle electrical system and operate off of a minimum of four car batteries and a maximum of around eight car batteries. Four would be ideal at 12 volts to make a 48 volt system.

I do not want my car ignition key switch to be attached to the system as of yet, but would still like it that nobody else could just hop in and go without knowing what they are doing first.

A manual disconnect is a must for when the vehicle is not in use and for emergency situations (like the smoking motherboard incident).

A keyed ignition switch somewhere in line would be good for keeping it safe.

So, I want a car that quite simply put, works like this:

Connect up the manual disconnect for the vehicle electric drive system.

Get in the car, turn on the factory ignition switch, vehicle accessories come on if they are being used; nothing happens with the electric drive system.

Put transaxle in second gear.

Press on gas "go" pedal - nothing happens

Insert key #2 for other ignition switch which is attached to EV system.

Turn key to "on" position - nothing happens

Now, press on gas pedal - hear a click from the contactor allowing a circuit to form driving the car though throttle position turning a potentiometer which sends a response to a controller thus controlling the speed of the electric motor.

Let off pedal completely - hear a click and vehicle stops accelerating.

So essentially I want to use two keys, one being the key that came with the car to unlock the steering wheel and mainly do the brake lights, the other to bridge the circuit between a switch on the pedal and the contactor to make the car go.

I hope my schematic can help depict what I am trying to describe, it would pretty much be close to an electric power chair I would hope.

Parts right now I am finding are quite trivial to try to obtain. After a whole week of searching around, I seem only to have gotten one lead; but a seemingly positive one which is good. An old co-worker and friend of mine has a relative who is the president of a forklift company. I had contacted him (the company president) in request of some parts, and there is a good chance that they may be able to help me out. I would just like to have a half decent valid schematic in hand so it at least looks like I know what I am talking about when I go down to have a look at the parts. I am thinking it would be best and most rewarding if I could build the thing out of recycled parts and have to do all the work in modifying it to my car myself rather than going with a kit, though I am not going to be ruling anything out just yet.

For those of you who have made it this far through my lengthy message, I thank you for your interest and look forward to learning some more soon. As you can tell, I am just itching to actually get some stuff in hand so that I can stop talking about it so much and start doing something already!

Oh well, patience I suppose. This will be a long time project anyhow.

Thank you,

Trevs

  Reply With Quote
Alt Today
Popular topics

Other popular topics in this forum...

   
Old 03-08-2009, 08:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
Hi-Tech Redneck
 
Johnny Mullet's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
Posts: 1,436
Thanks: 6
Thanked 42 Times in 35 Posts
Send a message via AIM to Johnny Mullet Send a message via MSN to Johnny Mullet
Looking forward to the progress! Welcome to ecomodder.com
__________________

GeoMetroforum.com - got mpg?
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2009, 08:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
Batman Junior
 
MetroMPG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: 1000 Islands, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 19,516

Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
Team Metro
90 day: 70.72 mpg (US)

ForkenSwift - '92 Geo Metro EV
Last 3: 95.68 mpg (US)

MPGiata - '90 Mazda Miata
90 day: 46.56 mpg (US)
Thanks: 2,083
Thanked 4,804 Times in 2,415 Posts
Hey Trevs - welcome to the site...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevs View Post
I would just like to have a half decent valid schematic in hand so it at least looks like I know what I am talking about when I go down to have a look at the parts.
Not knowing anything didn't stop me. I really had no clue!

I want to comment on the $672 figure. Yes, we had a road legal EV on the road for that NET amount, but the actual cash outlay was closer to $2k. The price difference was dedicated resale of used parts.

Have you seen this series? It’s a Trend! 3 Dirt Cheap DIY Electric Cars | Hypermiling, Fuel Economy, and EcoModding News - EcoModder.com - it'll give a decent reality check on low/medium speed cheap EV's.

Note that everyone has been wondering about upgrading their voltage from where they started.

As for your schematic, that will technically work, but 1) you really need a pre-charge resistor in the circuit, or you're risking premature failure of your motor controller; and 2) if you're going to forego the go pedal contactor, you need a big red panic button or clutch activated disconnect for when your controller fails fully ON (you should plan things for that eventuality).

Darin
__________________
Latest mods test: 15 mods = 15% MPG improvement: A-B test, 2007 Honda Civic 1.8L, 5-speed
Ecodriving test:
Manual vs. automatic transmission MPG showdown: Nissan Micra 1.6L



EcoModder
has launched a forum for the efficient new Mitsubishi Mirage
www.MetroMPG.com - fuel efficiency info for Geo Metro owners
www.ForkenSwift.com - electric car conversion on a beer budget
  Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to MetroMPG For This Useful Post:
Xist (06-25-2016)
Old 03-08-2009, 09:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
Batman Junior
 
MetroMPG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: 1000 Islands, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 19,516

Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
Team Metro
90 day: 70.72 mpg (US)

ForkenSwift - '92 Geo Metro EV
Last 3: 95.68 mpg (US)

MPGiata - '90 Mazda Miata
90 day: 46.56 mpg (US)
Thanks: 2,083
Thanked 4,804 Times in 2,415 Posts
PS - I think it's great to see that schematic evolving on another potential project! I borrowed mine originally from EVConvert.com
__________________
Latest mods test: 15 mods = 15% MPG improvement: A-B test, 2007 Honda Civic 1.8L, 5-speed
Ecodriving test:
Manual vs. automatic transmission MPG showdown: Nissan Micra 1.6L



EcoModder
has launched a forum for the efficient new Mitsubishi Mirage
www.MetroMPG.com - fuel efficiency info for Geo Metro owners
www.ForkenSwift.com - electric car conversion on a beer budget
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2009, 08:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
Master EcoModder
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 1,096

2k2Prot5 - '02 Mazda Protege5
90 day: 33.82 mpg (US)
Thanks: 0
Thanked 11 Times in 8 Posts
Maybe i'm just reading the schematic wrong, but your pot with microswitch.... isn't that switch just making a short circuit across the battery?
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2009, 09:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
Master EcoModder
 
Ryland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Western Wisconsin
Posts: 3,904

honda cb125 - '74 Honda CB 125 S1
90 day: 79.71 mpg (US)

green wedge - '81 Commuter Vehicles Inc. Commuti-Car

Blue VX - '93 Honda Civic VX
Thanks: 867
Thanked 430 Times in 351 Posts
My 1,400 pound electric car could use a boost in voltage from 48V up to 72V if I had the money to do it and space for batteries, it's pushing it's limits to go 40mph and tends to take many city streets at a full speed of 35mph.
Seems like you want to make it overly complicated just to turn it on, I don't like that idea as it makes it harder to trouble shoot if you have a fuse blow or something.
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2009, 01:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
EcoModding Lurker
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Winnipeg
Posts: 13
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hello again and thank you for your greetings and warm welcomes.

I apologize for the long messages, but it's because I don't have the internet at home, so I am actually typing this in Wordpad right now. I upload my messages via a USB drive when I get to a PC with internet access, so I try to get in as much as I can and I am sorry if my messages may seem a bit outdated.

I feel like I am writing to the famous here now! As you can tell, MetroMPG, Darin, just as you have probably sparked the inspirations of others; seeing your project and reading your detailed conversion journal (on page 14 right now) is the real reason why I think I can take this "idea" and turn it into a feasible product.

I learn very quickly and best through examples and hands on work. I had documented my automatic to manual transaxle conversion on Teamswift as at the time there hadn't been any real information on there about how to do it (though many enthusiastic members had helped out through their postings and experiences) . That project started up very randomly as I sat down one weekend wasting the day away watching T.V. shows about doing cool things like that.

I had bought a car with a blown motor and took a chance on its transmission condition. I then spent a couple of days just tearing down the "donor" vehicle and studied the way that things were all put together, then I turned to my working vehicle and started to do the same.

I have to admit that I was way in over my head at the time with never having done any work on a vehicle requiring pretty much tearing apart almost the whole thing. I had transmissions on the ground, an engine held up by a ratchet strap (or just a rope? I can't quite remember), all steering and suspension sprawled out, dash out, steering column gone, all pedals out, seats out, no shifter; I was almost looking at a bare shell.

It was then that I was staring at the "point of no return" and a good part of me wanted to simply give up and stick it all back together like nothing had happened. This was my car at the time, and I wanted to have it back up and on the road in a matter of days. I sat on the fence with a reciprocating saw in hand for hours wondering if it would be a good idea to cut out the automatic transaxle cross member mount and proceed with the swap or not. I had already messed up pretty bad a couple of times throughout the procedure but that's the best way to learn, so I kept going.

That job taught me that if you can look at a big project as something not too complex, and focus mainly on each component as being separate from the whole, that you really can see the simplicity in what seems like a very complicated machine.

Back to my original inquiry, MetroMPG, I am very grateful that you took the time to look over my schematic. I had initially wanted to contact you but thought you'd be too busy with all the attention and fame from the CBC, Autoblog and other exciting projects and such. Thank you very much for writing to me! Everything that I have learned throughout the past week comes from your detailed writeups and pictures/videos as I truly had no idea even what a "contactor" or a "potbox" was just prior to a few days ago. Seeing your images of the potbox and contactors in action made me begin to understand what they are doing.

Earlier in the week last week, I took a look at that schematic on EVbuilder I believe; the one from where yours originates, and I couldn't sum up the attention span to try to figure out how these objects foreign to me interact with eachother. Again, your writeup, photos, and videos helped clear up some misconceptions that I had been formulating. Sometimes I just have to see the things working in order to better understand them.

As for the absence of the precharge resistor in my diagram, and the above contactor for the "go" switch, I spectulated that they were in place for extra safety and assumed that the precharge resistor was only in place to allow for creeping speeds, like in a parking lot situation and didn't realize that it was in place to prevent the controller from burning up. Good thing you pointed that out as my intention is to build an EV and not start a "Fire" fly!

I am aiming at going with as little componentry as possible for the initial setup (less things to go wrong at first) and know from hydraulics that there are power losses generated by energy converting over to heat whenever it has to pass over a component which is bad; which is where it is good to go with as little as possible when possible.

The emergency disconnect is a definite must for me. This is coming from a guy who usually unplugs most of the electrical equipment from the wall when not being used. The big red button would be ideal, but I beleive I will end up following suit with your way and go with a cable connection like a forklift. I will see what I can get for stuff first.

A new schematic shall follow; this time with an added precharge resistor, and an extra fuse at least.

Thank you so very much for all of your help! I still might not know very much about this now (just learned that electric motors can have retarded or advanced timing) but I think what I have learned here thus far should at least offer me a leg to stand on when I get the opportunity to start viewing some parts to work with.

There, I have just doubled my posts today. Thanks for reading!

-Trevs

P.S. Still trying to wrap my head around these schematics thing, but the new one I drew could potentially pose another problem.
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2009, 02:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
Batman Junior
 
MetroMPG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: 1000 Islands, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 19,516

Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
Team Metro
90 day: 70.72 mpg (US)

ForkenSwift - '92 Geo Metro EV
Last 3: 95.68 mpg (US)

MPGiata - '90 Mazda Miata
90 day: 46.56 mpg (US)
Thanks: 2,083
Thanked 4,804 Times in 2,415 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by MazdaMatt View Post
Maybe i'm just reading the schematic wrong, but your pot with microswitch.... isn't that switch just making a short circuit across the battery?
It's to energize the relay in the contactor, so no, not a direct short.
__________________
Latest mods test: 15 mods = 15% MPG improvement: A-B test, 2007 Honda Civic 1.8L, 5-speed
Ecodriving test:
Manual vs. automatic transmission MPG showdown: Nissan Micra 1.6L



EcoModder
has launched a forum for the efficient new Mitsubishi Mirage
www.MetroMPG.com - fuel efficiency info for Geo Metro owners
www.ForkenSwift.com - electric car conversion on a beer budget
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2009, 02:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
Batman Junior
 
MetroMPG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: 1000 Islands, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 19,516

Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
Team Metro
90 day: 70.72 mpg (US)

ForkenSwift - '92 Geo Metro EV
Last 3: 95.68 mpg (US)

MPGiata - '90 Mazda Miata
90 day: 46.56 mpg (US)
Thanks: 2,083
Thanked 4,804 Times in 2,415 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevs View Post
I feel like I am writing to the famous here now! As you can tell, MetroMPG, Darin, just as you have probably sparked the inspirations of others
Haha - I felt the same way about Dr Larry and Greg over on EV Weblog when I started thinking about project ForkenSwift. Their cars inspired me to want to try it.

I think it would be fun to see an "inspirational" flowchart of people who have built or are building EV's. Sort of a family EV tree.

Quote:
I am aiming at going with as little componentry as possible for the initial setup (less things to go wrong at first)
Truth be told, the components you're omitting aren't really reliability concerns. And only minor efficiency issues, relative to the power draw of actual driving. Contactors might represent 1-2% of the ForkenSwift's total energy use.
__________________
Latest mods test: 15 mods = 15% MPG improvement: A-B test, 2007 Honda Civic 1.8L, 5-speed
Ecodriving test:
Manual vs. automatic transmission MPG showdown: Nissan Micra 1.6L



EcoModder
has launched a forum for the efficient new Mitsubishi Mirage
www.MetroMPG.com - fuel efficiency info for Geo Metro owners
www.ForkenSwift.com - electric car conversion on a beer budget
  Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2009, 02:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
Administrator
 
Daox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Germantown, WI
Posts: 10,226

CM400E - '81 Honda CM400E
90 day: 39.62 mpg (US)

Daox's Grey Prius - '04 Toyota Prius
Team Toyota
90 day: 49.53 mpg (US)

Daox's 04 Civic - '04 Honda Civic DX
90 day: 44.13 mpg (US)

Daox's Insight - '00 Honda Insight
90 day: 64.33 mpg (US)
Thanks: 1,745
Thanked 1,983 Times in 1,212 Posts
Welcome to the site Trevs. It would be great to see another guy doing an EV build!

__________________
Current project: Heating the manual trans with engine coolant
  Reply With Quote
Reply  Post New Thread


Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Electric car conversion: Project ForkenSwift MetroMPG Fossil Fuel Free 1041 07-28-2014 09:19 AM
Got a Eclipse, where do I start to make it an EV? cloudswinger Fossil Fuel Free 7 04-12-2009 09:56 PM
EV S10 project budget forcast? MazdaMatt Fossil Fuel Free 13 01-24-2009 01:24 AM
Trying to figure out the budget for a S-10 EV project Caps18 Fossil Fuel Free 13 05-29-2008 11:51 AM
New to the forum, with my RX-7 EV Project... BigMouse Fossil Fuel Free 14 02-28-2008 04:14 PM



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.5.2
All content copyright EcoModder.com