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Old 08-31-2014, 05:40 PM   #91 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecky View Post
Let's see...

$19 for the pair of 90v power supplies

$3.50 for a single 12v power supply

$2.50 for a pack of piggyback connectors from RadioShack, because I was too impatient to order online (though I have 7 left over)

$1.25 for two diodes from RadioShack

$0 for a ring terminal and two splice connectors; already had a big box of connectors

$0 for a power supply I found in the garbage at my university, which already had a fuse, fan, and some nice connectors.

$0 for a spool of solder and a nice temperature controlled iron; already had

$0 for heat shrink tubing; already had

$0 for some speaker wire; already had

$0 for some zip ties; already had

$0 for electrical tap; already had

$0 for wire cutter/stripper


I guess if you were starting with nothing, a nice iron will run you ~$30, and you'd need to buy a few large boxes of connectors, might come out to $30 total for the items I listed as "$0", but you'd have enough spare to make 20 grid chargers. I'm always building small electronics and have bins and bins of junk for use as parts, so it's hard for me to know what the actual cost to make things is.
My little brother is an electrician so, yea lol. I'm sure we have most of this stuff laying around the house. I have a few power supplies that work but are to low wattage for me to ever use.

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Old 08-31-2014, 08:45 PM   #92 (permalink)
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To safely work with the battery, you need to first flip a breaker behind a panel, and then wait 5 minutes. I flipped the breaker and proceeded to remove all the bolts, and it was nearly 15 minutes before I got inside the damn thing. I suppose excessive numbers of bolts is their other way of dissuading people from opening it.




For the record, I was hurt, but it was due to the aluminum having sharp edges.

The we're interested in is in the middle, between the DC-DC converter (left) and the battery (right).




Taking no chances:




The videos I watched and guides I read didn't mention that the quick connects had buttons on the side you have to depress, and I spent a while trying in vain to pull it off.




Positive and negative connected:




Fan power connected. Note how I mixed up the + and -.




Threaded the wire out of the rear-left of the battery box. The aluminum edges are SHARP and will cut wires (and your hands) to shreds, so use some tape.




Corrected the reversed fan wires at the molex:




Turned on the breaker and checked to make sure the diodes were installed correctly. 0v while connected to a live battery = good.




Battery voltage at the start - approximately half charge:




After 10 minutes:




Ready to head back inside:




Aaaaand what it looks like to the neighbors:



My assistant was quite ready to get back inside, it's hot even in the evenings here. ^

Last edited by Ecky; 09-01-2014 at 02:17 AM..
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Old 09-01-2014, 11:06 AM   #93 (permalink)
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Pulled the car off the charger this morning with a final resting voltage of 169.2v after ~15 hours. I had left the windows cracked because I've read stories about overcharging batteries producing a fair bit of heat, and the car was no warmer inside than the air outside (which was close to 80F). Will let it soak/cool off for a few hours, drive it around and run it down, and charge it up again tonight.
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Old 09-02-2014, 12:06 PM   #94 (permalink)
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If you run the fan on 12v while grid charging (which you absolutely should), air is drawn in from the passenger compartment behind the passenger seat and exhausted outside the car.
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Old 09-02-2014, 03:07 PM   #95 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samwichse View Post
If you run the fan on 12v while grid charging (which you absolutely should), air is drawn in from the passenger compartment behind the passenger seat and exhausted outside the car.

Based on the fan orientation I had assumed it was drawing air from outside because it seemed to be pulling air through the battery and the vents in the hatch area felt like they had air blowing out. After your post I did some reading and found that it does indeed bring air into the battery from the cabin, but that there are two ways air can exhaust. When driving, the cabin has positive pressure, and hot air goes out through a flap in the back. When parked, the hot air comes out through a vent on the right side of the trunk area.

Good to know that cracking the windows does serve a purpose, just not for the reasons I assumed. The cabin will heat up if you don't have positive pressure.

~~

Yesterday afternoon I took it off the charger and went for a drive. The battery meter was still reading ~50%, just as when I had parked it, and didn't really change for about half an hour. I put on the A/C and found some hills with which to burn through the battery. The last 3 bars took close to 20 minutes to chew through, because regen became rather aggressive and without a calpod switch I was struggling to prevent it. I let the car sit for a few hours, then put it back on the charger for the night.

Starting voltage: 153.8v
Final voltage after ~12 hours: 169.2v

Plan to let the battery "soak" for a day or two with a full charge.

Prior to this I didn't have a strong understanding of what a "soak" was. It's talked about vaguely over at InsightCentral as something to do with a grid charger that can help restore/improve capacity though I'm still not clear if it's essential in the balancing process, but apparently voltage is not a good indicator of charge in NiMH batteries. Voltage will remain high for a day or two after a charge, but chemical processes will take place in the cells when resting and the voltage will settle back down. "Soaking" is thus charging them up and letting the voltage settle back down with a full charge.

I don't have any hard numbers about the battery's capacity before the grid charge, but can provide subjective information in a few days, and it's possible there may be some differences that show up in the fuel log. My wife has a pretty consistent commute that is responsible for most non-trip miles on the car.

Last edited by Ecky; 09-02-2014 at 03:19 PM..
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Old 09-03-2014, 09:56 PM   #96 (permalink)
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Wife took the car to work today, commute is mostly city + a short bit on the highway (accelerating up an on-ramp and slowing back down again for an exit in 2 miles), and she blasts the A/C. averaged 61.8MPG round trip which is a new record for her, usually she's between 48 and 55MPG. Possibly a result of leaving with a full battery.

After she got back, I fixed the belly pan and modified the upper grille block with a flap, to block more air and get rid of the gap-toothed look. I used the stock mounting holes with push clips, bolts, and zip ties.







EDIT: Presently resizing all images in the thread to be more reasonable.

Last edited by Ecky; 09-03-2014 at 10:03 PM..
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Old 09-04-2014, 02:46 PM   #97 (permalink)
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Ecomods to date:
Tire pressure increased to 50
Antenna Delete
Belly pan repair
Grid charger
Upper grille block
EGR plate and valve cleaning

Next on the list:
Calpod switch
Misc. underbody work
Repair rear bumper - wife backed into something
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Old 10-16-2014, 06:23 PM   #98 (permalink)
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Just got back from another trip to Jacksonville, with a new long-trip record. The weather is cooling off so it's now comfortable to drive without A/C, and I managed 80.1mpg on the 170 mile trip, averaging ~60mph. I was able to stay in lean burn something like 95% of the trip.

Earlier I took it to the dealer and had a new key made (cheaper than Walmart) and picked up 2 quarts of MT fluid (a change requires 1.56qts), a new cabin air filter and some small plastic push pin-screw thingys for further projects under the car. Also had them order a few of the coated bolts used on the battery box, as mine is missing several.

Immediate projects, possible to do this weekend:

*5MT fluid change
*FAS button and improve my Calpod design
*3d-print a part and fix my slightly loose driver window switch
*Order a rear engine mount
*Do some further testing and possibly order a door lock actuator
*Solar powered exhaust fan, to keep cool when parked in the sun

Scratched off of my list is wrapping the exhaust.

Some other items of interest:

*Replacing bulbs with LEDs where applicable, and might offer decent power savings

*Look into a tow hitch or (removable) cargo box. I know this is blasphemy, but it seems a better option than renting another car or small truck when we next move. A hitch would allow for a rear cargo container or small trailer instead. Unfortunately it looks quite involved due to the aluminum nature of the body, but will still probably cost less than driving a truck 1500 miles.

*Backup camera - of interest for my wife, as she backed into another car in a parking lot recently. Looks like I can get a double-DIN replacement panel from a Japanese Insight for about $200, which is a bit rich for my blood. Other alternatives are a winshield-mounted screen, and one that is inside the rearview mirror.

*Central armrest - looks neat, but I'm short and probably drive with my seat too far forward for it to be of any use

*Cruise control, for long trips, hoping to do a circuit of the U.S.

*Hot coolant reservoir, to aid even more in warming the engine quickly

~~

Regarding the solar-powered fan, earlier today I sat out in the sun with a pile of computer fans and an old solar battery tender I had laying around, tested each one to see which would offer the most airflow with the panel's limited wattage, and settled on an 80mm Sanyo Denki ball-bearing fan. I'll need to do some panel placement testing, to see if the very slightly tinted glass in the hatch will still allow enough light through to spin the fan reasonably. If not, I might get a larger panel or a different fan.


Last edited by Ecky; 10-16-2014 at 07:21 PM..
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Old 10-17-2014, 08:38 AM   #99 (permalink)
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Protip: You can get the push clips from ebay WAY cheaper than the dealership:

Fender Clips | eBay
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Old 10-17-2014, 10:43 AM   #100 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samwichse View Post
Protip: You can get the push clips from ebay WAY cheaper than the dealership:

Fender Clips | eBay

Appreciated. I didn't know what size I needed and their parts guy walked out with me to test some, and then actually gave me a handful for free because I was getting some other items at the time.

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