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Old 03-23-2015, 10:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Taking apart a Nissan LEAF Battery for fun and profit

Hi everyone!

I recently acquired a Nissan LEAF battery pack. I had gotten a lead on it from a friend, and then gave the salvage yard a call.

There are NOT that many of these things sitting around in salvage yards. Many crashed vehicles go through auction and are snatched up by people who just want the batteries.

This car was a 2013 LEAF with less than 11,00 miles on it, which was front-ended.

The cost of the battery at the salvage yard was $2500 - no room for negotiating - plus tax, which brought the total cost to $2637.50, plus gasoline, 2 hrs 40 mins travel, and lunch.

And of course, it was an adventure.
http://300mpg.org/2015/03/17/score-n...-battery-pack/

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Old 03-23-2015, 10:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The next interesting part was trying to get the battery back OUT of my truck.

I didn't have a forklift at home.

Instead, I had to play around with chains, a hoist hooked to an old steel pipe shoved through the rafters of my garage, and a bit of "Dukes-of-Hazzard-ing" through my truck door.

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Old 03-23-2015, 11:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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After that, I started working on taking apart the actual battery pack.

The service plug was already removed when I got the pack.

I removed about two dozen bolts from the perimeter of the battery.
I took out four larger bolts near the lift or mounting points.
In the middle, around the service plug, are six tamper resistant screws. Once those are removed, the cover can come off.

I just had to lift on a corner, and break the stickiness of the gasket.

The cover is steel, but light enough to be lifted by one person. I set it off to the side.

The cell modules are in 3 areas, so the main connections were really just a couple of bus bars and power cables. Most of the short bus bars from one cell to the next are very hard to get at and would be removed when the whole block of cell modules is removed.

I took out all the bolts that held the first block down to the battery case, attached a chain to the hoist, then lifted the block, spun it around, and lowered it out of the way.

I essentially repeated the same thing for both the other blocks of cell modules.

Removing the Nissan LEAF cells



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Old 03-23-2015, 11:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Looks like fun!
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Old 03-23-2015, 11:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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While the Nissan LEAF cells are great, and could be put to good use in just about any DIY electric vehicle project, here's what, how, and why I plan to use them:

At the beginning of this winter, I purchased a used Vectrix brand electric super-scooter, with a dead battery pack. The reason why is that it was cheap, and I felt I had the skills to get it back up into running condition.

So, I spent some time tinkering on it and got it back up and running, although the battery pack is bad enough that the furthest I have travelled on a full charge is 9 miles.

On further research, I found that folks were doing upgrades of the Vectrix from bad NiMH packs to Nissan LEAF cell modules. Not only that, but it is as though the LEAF cells are MADE for the Vectrix! The fit couldn't be any better, and the voltage range matches right up. It creates a freeway-speed all-electric cycle with a 90 mile range.

And then that's also when I got tipped off by a friend that there was a crashed Nissan LEAF at a salvage yard not too far from me…

So, hooking up a dead Vectrix with a crashed LEAF makes perfect sense from a certain budget-minded Franken-Modder point of view.

I also found pretty much the only OTHER Vectrix owner within driving range of me. He came over to visit last night to take a look at my cycle and the LEAF cells. Turns out that HIS Vectrix is the same make/model/year and even COLOR as mine. His also is in completely non-operational condition, EXACTLY like when I got mine.

So, the plan is for him to buy 18 modules off me, and then we can BOTH do the exact same upgrade, help each other out, and learn as we go.

The LEAF pack has 48 cell modules in it. So, I have 18 earmarked for me, 18 for the other Vectrix guy, Nick, and that leaves 12 still up for grabs.

Another electric motorcycle friend of mine, Tony, is interested in 11 for his project. That would then leave just a single LEAF module, which would be nice to have for showing off at clean car events OR make one of the Vectrix's a 19 module conversion instead of 18, for just a little more voltage and capacity.

The only place I could find online that sells LEAF modules is:
Lithium Batteries and Packs
They sell single modules for $129 each.
I figure that if I sell them at a deal price of $100 each, that's $2900 for the 29 of them I would sell, which pays for buying the battery in the first place.

(Of course it's not really free. I needed the time and transportation for the battery, the space/time/skills for disassembly, and the connections for selling the cells.)

On the other hand, it's also a lot of fun, and I will be getting three electric vehicles on to the road!






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Old 03-23-2015, 01:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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wow, I keep seeing the ~200 vextrix motors on ebay.

It will be interesting to see if it still resembles a vectrix after you strap 18 leaf cells to it (~2.5* the original 3.7kwh). I'm still slowly sorting out reconfiguring the cells for 33ah/15v, but that might be an approach of interest for you as well (9 cells @ 135v, 33ah, 4.5kwh), though looks are secondary at most if you get ~125 mile range with stock cells.

Looking forward to seeing how it shapes up!

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Old 03-23-2015, 10:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P-hack View Post
It will be interesting to see if it still resembles a vectrix after you strap 18 leaf cells to it
That's one of the best parts. 18 LEAF modules fit PERFECT in the existing space in the Vectrix. It will look TOTALLY STOCK!

Also, I did talk with my friend, Tony, on the phone today, who agreed to buy 11 modules. I got the payment already tonight. Looks like I WILL make this month's mortgage payment!
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I wonder how well half of a Leaf pack would work in my project.

regards
mech
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennelson View Post
That's one of the best parts. 18 LEAF modules fit PERFECT in the existing space in the Vectrix. It will look TOTALLY STOCK!
That is really sweet! That is a major upgrade for a dead vectrix, a bit more top end and a lot more range, and just about a drop-in. I'm jealous, no wonder I don't see anymore cheap used vectrixes, they are getting snapped up I'm sure as word gets out.

edit: ooh, that's purdy!
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Old 03-24-2015, 08:32 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Great stuff Ben. That Vectrix will be nice to have on the road, especially with spring right around the corner!

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