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Trevs 03-10-2009 11:31 PM

Spring F-EV-er
Spring is on the way.

As for today, -21C with wind chills making it feel more like low -30C's. I am just itching for warmer weather so that I can get out there and start working on the car.

This is a picture from today of the car that I want to convert over to electric:

You can see how I am testing the vehicle's weight handling abilities by the amount of snow piled on top of it ;P

Yesterday, I obtained my first piece of the conversion build:

a retired fire extinguisher from 1977! It's more of a tool than a part, but it will stay with the vehicle. Luckily, I got it for free from our manufacturing division at work as they were updating and swapping them out.

These past few days, I have been thinking about what to use as batteries. I may not have found my answer, but I did find these:

These batteries are brutes! Still I have no idea if I could enlist them in my build. They look like big powerful buggers (85 lbs each), but I am afraid that they might not be designed to have "cranking amps" and and rather have more of a "steady amps".

If it sounds like I don't know what I am talking about, it's probably because I only know enough to know that I don't really know.:confused:

Even though I have no idea if they are going to work, I bought them and am excited about them because I got them at what I would consider a decent price.

The original already discounted price for each one was $120 Canadian. They were surplus product, so they were price again reduced to 50% off. Because we were selling them where I work, I get an additional 20% off as an employee perk, but to sweeten the deal, I asked if I could get a 75% if I took all five that we had, and an agreement was made.

I got them for $30 each and the best thing about them is they are returnable for if they don't work.

The real kicker is that I don't know what exactly this means:

Here are the specs on the batteries:



100 Ah @ 8 hour rate to 1.75 v/c @ 77F (25C)

ICE Rating: 98.1 Ah @ 10 hour rate to 1.80 v/c @ 68F (20C)

800 Amperes

4000 Amperes @ 0.1 Second

0.0034 Ohms

Each are 12 volt 6 cell batteries.

I understand that these would be used as backup power batteries and as the name states they have a long duration which should be good for range I would think. I just don't know how they would fair for "go" power; plus they are used.

I am going to model my vehicle based on the "Forkenswift" using MetroMPG's schematic as the framework to my electrical system.

I re-drew it to a couple of variations and pretty much ended up with this:

Note that I forgot to add the Precharge Resistor to this version of the drawing, but I have now learned of it's function.

Next I will have to go hunting for a used DC electric motor, hopefully 48 volts and a controller setup to go with it. My plan is that if I can obtain the components to start with, I should be able to begin hooking them up to make my drive system operable before it even sees the car, then start fabricating from there.


Trevs 03-10-2009 11:44 PM

I don't know how or when these prices were figured, but it lists my battery as having had a net price of $612.51 :thumbup:


MetroMPG 03-11-2009 09:59 AM

Hi Trev-

I temporarily forgot how cold Winnipeg can be! You still have lots of snow!

Do you have a voltmeter yet?

You should start by taking readings on each of the batteries, and researching how best to recharge them depending on their type. It's not good to let batteries sit partially discharged. After topping them up, you might want to set up a load test to see how much capacity they have.

As for their capacity: compare to the ForkenSwift which nominally has 220 AH batteries x 48 volts = a 10.6 kWh pack

4 of those 100 AH batteries @ 48 v = 4.8 kWh

Keep in mind those are "nominal" values and assume the batteries have 100% capacity (they lose capacity as they are used up). Also, since they will be used to deliver current at closer to their 1 hour rating, they won't deliver their rated capacity (hello, Mr Peukert).

They may be OK for testing and for very local trips, and that's fine if it's all you need. You can get a rough estimate of range from a 4.8 kWh pack knowing the vehicle will probably consume roughly .350 kWh per mile.

Also, don't forget you can't use your pack's FULL capacity (essentially draining it to zero) because you'll have no performance near the end of the charge as voltage falls, and draining to the end is not battery friendly. A rule of thumb is to size the pack so you can get your desired range from 50% of its nominal capacity. Moderate (50%) discharges are best for battery longevity.

Trevs 03-13-2009 12:31 AM

MetroMPG, I may have only just made the connection that this is your site (? + + and that looks like 'Blackfly" in the banner). It's a good one. I can see a lot of new interest from aspiring noobs like myself combined with a sense of technical knowledge from people who have done what we newbies are aspiring to do.

As for batteries, I am learning now. Your reply made me realize I'd probably only move about 3 miles with these, well, 4.8 / .35 = 13.71 miles, but I can only use 50% of that so rougly 7 miles but the batteries will likely not be able to produce full capacitance being used and such so I say 7 / 2 for good measure; but I am happy to know that they should work for testing. I am not expecting to be driving anywhere with this anytime too soon.

MetroMPG 03-13-2009 11:03 AM

You could also accomplish testing with a string of freely gotten 12v starting batteries. We used old worn out golf cart style batteries (from electric floor sweepers, actually) for our "test" pack. I'd say most builders don't even bother with test packs, but I wasn't confident enough to run out and buy a new set of batts for an unfinished project.

Or keep those ones (if they have any capacity) for a photovoltaic solar project!

Trevs 03-13-2009 03:50 PM

Aw, too bad. These batteries I got are 2.5 times larger than Swift car batteries that I got. I thought they would be killer (2.5 times greater by my logic:p), but I will still use them for testing. I somehow knew just by looking at the terminals that they would be weak for this project but they will definitely be used no matter what (another project, or returned :rolleyes:).

I have read the voltages without charging and got 6-8 volts on most with the extra one being at a low 4.

The batteries say something about float charging on them, I'll have to take a closer look. I was hoping to do a charge followed by a load test on them while waiting to go down to the forklift shop; I finally got the invite, but will have to wait until I have a day off work on a weekday to go down.

Speaking of work...:rolleyes:

Bad case of the Fridays. Thanks for the info:thumbup:

order99 03-13-2009 05:23 PM


By all means use the batteries for a test pack as is. Once you have proof-of-concept, you might be able to bring them back for awhile with a Desulfator. If you can't find one at a good price, here's one you can build:

Desulfator for 12V Car Batteries, in an Altoids Tin

Later(after they die for good), you might want to try converting them to Alkaline-rinse out all the acid with Distilled water, add a mixture of distilled water and Alum (about 10+grams to the gallon) and start conditioning them with light charging cycles until you get the Voltage back. With any luck, you'll get a rechargeable battery that will safely discharge well below 80% and no longer sulfates-and if not, you can still recycle them...

Trevs 03-15-2009 04:04 PM

On the subject of desulfating:

Pretty neat stuff. I have a car that was brought over directly from Japan that this had probably happened to. The battery in a jdm vehicle is tiny compared to that of the vehicles in the usdm. It finally stopped working on me last year, so I temporarily stuck a big one out of a usdm 300zx in there. I had thoughts of getting the Skyline battery rebuilt, but maybe all it needs is a good desulfating.

I only drive the car in the summer, so maybe, like as stated in the article, junk built up on the plates inside the battery while the battery was not in use like the golf cart stored over the winter situation. I want to keep using the small jdm battery because it was designed for use in that vehicle. I don't know if the charging system is up to par in that car to sustain a proper charge on the large usdm battery.

My power steering kept conking out on me last year (still operating but getting real hard) when being driven on short trips; it would come back after long highway runs. which one reason could be an insufficient charge in the battery on startup signals the steering pulse solenoid not to operate defaulting it to the hardest steering setting for safety reasons; not the softest setting as the input at high speeds could cause the car to react to fast (max speed; speed sensitive steering on a 90's car). At least that is what I hope it is.

This is important for me to know as I do not have any plans as of now to be operating my electric vehicle, once built that is, during the winter, so it will likely sit for six months out of the year.

As for the tool:

why haven't I heard of these before? You would think that these would be more common to keep waste down and keep batteries going - - wait a minute, there's no money to be had in that.

Very good stuff! :thumbup:


Trevs 03-15-2009 05:21 PM

On the off topic:

5 degrees celsius today, or 41 fahrenheit. Much better than last weeks bringing of minus forty with the winds in either temperature. Half of the pile of snow on top of my car is melted away now.

Pump motor detail from early/mid 80's Baker FTD-110 36 volt forklift

I was wondering if anyone might know if most forklift pump motors by default run in the clockwise rotation?

I have a very goofy idea on how to possibly retain my clutch as dumb as I could using a motor that turns in the clockwise rotation. The downside to it of course would be extra added weight and rotational mass.

I am starting to wonder if my version of an electric car will be an inefficient one :turtle:

I think I will draw a picture of my scheme on MS Paint.

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