Thursday, September 20, 2012

Motor Mount Finished

The motor and transmission are officially installed now. Today I whipped up a right side motor mount to keep the motor/transmission assembly properly supported and level.
Here it is installed:
Now I can finish installing the transmission - the half shafts, gear shift linkage, wiring, speedometer cable and oil.

What's next? The battery racks. I plan to use 1-1/4" angle iron. There is plenty of room for six batteries under the hood and seven batteries in the back seat. I see this next part as the most challenging of the whole entire project. I'm not sure why....

The Electric Booger EV Album Entry

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Motor Is In

...unofficially. I still have to make the passenger side motor mount. That will be tomorrow's task.
I don't know about you, but that motor looks awfully small in there. I hope it works!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New Parts & Bearing Solution

Today I picked up a whole bunch of parts at my US mailbox:

1. PB-6 potbox/TPS. It will work brilliantly for my purposes. The idle microswitch trips just off idle before the pot resistance starts changing. I will use this microswitch to turn the field power on and off (remember - I'm attempting to power a sepex motor with an Alltrax series/PM controller here!). This safety redundancy will ensure ultimate safety in case my Alltrax decides to weld itself into a closed circuit.

2. 2-400A fuses. One in the high amp wiring, one in the glovebox for backup.

3. Used Volvo vacuum pump. I already hooked it up to the eBooger's brake booster, gave it 12 volts and pumped the brake pedal repeatedly (and quickly). This vacuum pump easily keeps up (unlike my first vacuum pump attempt), so I won't even need to make a vacuum reservoir. On a gauge this pump quickly pulls 26.5"HG vacuum. That's 3.5"HG short of outer space, give or take!

4. Vacuum switch. It will tee into the brake booster vacuum supply and will turn the vacuum pump on and off through a relay. I tested it with a hand vacuum pump with gauge and it trips at about 20"HG. It's adjustable just in case.

5. Alpinestars Ridge Waterproof motorcycle boots. Has nothing to do with the eBooger but I am pretty excited about them!

I also finally finished my motor's bearing end cap. I used a piece of 3" hose, a couple of clamps and I hacked and welded on the outer dust cover off a Peterbilt rear shock absorber. I drilled and tapped it for a plug that will set the oil level in the cap and it can be rotated to adjust the final oil level once installed in the car. I filled it with a couple ounces of 15W40 diesel engine oil. After a few hours nothing leaked out.
My buddy Matt advised me to go with oil instead of grease to lube the end bearing because of the high speeds it will be spinning. Grease would probably just fling out, causing a dry bearing situation. Dry is bad.

Hopefully I will get this all home tomorrow and install the entire assembly in the car soon.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Almost Ready To Go Back In

The other day my buddy Matt (the machinist) redid my first adapter attempt. Here is a video of the nice true adapter spinning up:
I supported the transmission in a garbage can so the input shaft was pointing up and set the motor (bolted to the adapter plate) onto the transmission to trace the adapter plate out. A few minutes of drill press time and a lot of sawing and here is the result:
I spun it up to check for strange noises and all is well.

However...much to my dismay, I realized something today. This motor has a gear on the end opposite the transmission, and this end has an exposed bearing. It appears that this end was originally the drive end and was immersed in the oil of some sort of gearset. You can see the o-ring that sealed oil from leaking out. There is probably an oil seal on the motor shaft on the armature side of the bearing.
I have already come up with an end cap to seal it off so it is not exposed to the elements, but I need to figure out how to keep this bearing lubed. One way is to fill it up with grease and every once in a while remove the end cap to put more grease in. The other option is to make a small oil fill plug on the end cap that maintains a level of oil just above the bottom of the bearing.

What to do...what to do...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Power" Steering

....another thing that must be figured out in an EV conversion. In most cars, the ICE drives the power steering pump, giving assist to steering. Many newer cars have electric power steering, which would not require any attention in an EV conversion. But cars like mine? Yeah, something has to be done.

It would be as easy as driving the power steering pump with a belt off of a pulley on the accessory side of the electric motor, but this has the drawback of always wasting power to drive the pump. Instead what I have decided to do is to convert to armstrong steering. My strong arms will do the work. Get it? Ok, really dumb joke. Sorry.
All I have done is removed the power steering pump, lines and fluid reservoir and looped the steering rack pressure and return pipes with a piece of hose to keep stuff out. That's it. Will I have the strength to steer this thing as low speeds with lots of batteries weighing the car down? I sure hope so.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Brake Problem

There is always a hurdle to overcome with the vehicle's braking system when you convert to electric. Power brakes are powered by vacuum created in the engine's intake manifold, so without an engine, there is no vacuum to power the brakes.

Enter the vacuum pump. It is exactly what it sounds like.

Most vacuum pump systems on EV parts websites are over $300. I found a vacuum pump on eBay for $65. However, when I got it in the mail, it turned out to be much smaller than I thought it was. It is actually meant for supplying vacuum to HVAC systems on diesel pickup trucks.
I decided to test it out anyway. I powered it with a toggle switch and hooked it up to the brake booster. Whenever I braked I turned it on and left it on for 10 seconds after I braked. It worked okay for a single brake application, but two brake applications completely depleted the vacuum booster of vacuum. Not good enough.

A while back I made a discovery. It turns out that many Volvo cars use vacuum pumps for their braking systems. So the other day I bought a used one on eBay:
It should arrive this week. Soon I will install it and start to test it out.

I also bought a whole bunch of things on Cloud Electric's website:
-Throttle potbox - hooks up to the "gas" pedal and tells the motor controller how much throttle is being applied; contains a potentiometer (hence the name) and a microswitch for idle-validation/safety purposes.
-Two 400A fuses - circuit protection between the batteries and motor controller.
-Vacuum switch - turns the brake vacuum pump on and off to maintain a preset vacuum level.
-Pre-charge resistor (1000 ohm) - allows a trickle of current into the motor controller to slowly charge the giant capacitors inside it before the main current contactor is closed; without the resistor, a giant inrush of current would possibly damage the contactor when it is powered on.

That pretty much does it for parts that I need. I might need some more battery cables (which I can probably get for free at a truck salvage yard) and a small 115V space heater, but more on that later.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Coupler Conundrum

Taking the advise of a few people, I finally set out to figure out why my one inch keyed hub fits so loosely on the motor shaft. Let me remind you that in a previous post, I blamed Princess Auto for what I assumed was a poor quality, mis-machined part.

Out came my 0-1" micrometer and inside bore gauge. It turns out that the Princess auto piece is exactly one inch ID. It also turns out that the motor shaft is .982" OD. What this means, ladies and gentlemen, is that the shaft is not one inch in diameter, but 25mm. I didn't know they came in metric sizes. Back to the drawing board.

I am going to ship the whole thing to my friend Matt (a machinist) by the weekend - motor, a new 7/8" hub (that he can lathe out to fit the motor shaft. Wait, didn't I return one of those already?!) and clutch center. When he is finished, it will definitely work. So again I wait.

My apologies to Princess Auto. I will never doubt you again.