Friday, August 31, 2012

Great News for LEAF owners - LEAF Link - new iPhone app for CARWINGS

A LEAF owner and talented developer has been working on his own app to enhance the CARWINGS app provided by Nissan with the LEAF

A more intuitive and user friendly interface will be the key to its success but also news features like trip planning via your iPhone and then sending the route data to the LEAF GPS system, or charge program modification from your iPhone, etc

It has been submitted to the Apple Store and is waiting for approval now :-)
I can not wait to try it ...

Follow the new LEAF Link App development here on MyNissanLEAF Forum

EVTV Friday Show - August 24, 2012

This week's program:
- Return of the eCobra - in new paint and livery but in need of a DC-DC Converter
- Cadillac Escalade EXT heating, air conditioning, and a bit of instrumentation
- Also Jack explains very well how heat pump / air conditioning works

The eCobra returns ... to the shop for some DC-DC Converter blow up problems ...

Beautiful paint job and hard-top version

And back to the Escalade

Jack shows us his home made electric heating system

and 2 250W engine block heaters will keep the battery pack temp above freezing in winter

A WiFi router plugged into one of the Soliton 1controllers will broadcast data into the cabin ...

and Jack will be able to use the EV Speedo app as a dashboard instrumention display using a Android tablet

The graphical version appears to be slow (bug or WiFi problem ?), so instead here is also some bar graphs showing real time usefull information this time: Temperature, Amps, Volts, RPM from the controller

Beetle Conversion Project - update

Perhaps you remember the presentation of this Super Beetle conversion project at EVTV on August 17 show. Well, it is going well and Caleb Lander updated his Blog for us:


Battery Boxes and Mounted Motor

It's been a while since my last update as you can see. This is not for lack of work on the Beetle. Though I did have a short break in my focus. Over the last month I have been to Mexico and back and saw a fair number of "new" old beetles on the road in Morelia and it made me eager to get my Super EV Beetle on the road.

The last Beetles came of the line in 2003 to be sold as the 2004 model year

Now onto how the car is coming. The brakes took a little more work then expected out of a conversion kit. This seems to be a trend on this project. When kits say they are designed for bolt on application with the model vehicle that your working with. Be mindful that they don't always turn out that smoothly. For the brakes they have been converted from the original drums to a full set of EMPI disk brakes on all 4 corners. as part of the conversion I also added a new brake master cylinder to handle the additional pressure and fluid needed for the large calipers (large for a beetle anyway). the rubber hose that came with the kit was not long enough to reach the junction points so new brake line needed to be run from the T fittings out to where they could be attached. This was for both the front and the back. Additionally in the front the mount for the rubber house needed to be moved and welded into a new orientation to accomodate the new position of the hose from the caliper. Although this required additional work and time to run new lines it will be worth the added effort in the future and has allowed for a more reliable and clean installation.

Finally off the lift with EMPI brakes and wheels installed

How about some of the electric parts on the car now. So far it seems that I have been spending some time on basic automotive upgrades to get the car ready for prime time. I ordered an aluminum box to house my batteries. After careful measurements I determined that I could fit all the cells in the front of the car where the spare tire once sat. With just 30 of the 100 amp hour cells loaded in the front of the car we are looking at about 220 pounds. If we consider that the full tank of gas along with the tank itself would have weighed about 80 or 90 pounds and the spare tire as well as accompanying jack and tools would come in around 40 pounds we are really only adding about 100 pounds to the front end of the car. I have also removed the front bumper at this time which, although it doesn't weigh the extra 100 pounds I ideally would like to remove it does weigh a lot and hangs out well in front of the front axle so I don't think I will be putting it back. At least not with all that steel and chrome. You will notice that the front does look pretty low in the picture and that is a result of a lowered suspension and not the additional weight in the vehicle. I will be testing for tire rub once we are out on the road and determine if adjustment will be needed to bring it up a bit. I'll also be looking at adjusting the back end as it rides quite high even with the motor and controller mounted.

Batteries in the box nearly ready for cables to be run 

Motor mounted with accelerator (top center)

The motor was a bit of a challenge to mount up in the back. As I showed in the video it was necessary to cut the rear apron to allow clearance for the back of the motor and the shaft to clear the rear of the car. I say necessary however it really could have fit with just a trim. It was just a lot easier to run the cutting disk up the sides and give us plenty of room to work with at the time. The plate will be adjusted and welded back before we drive off too far.

For the accelerator the original cable was used but in a slightly modified fashion. A curved metal tube was welded onto the existing tube and then welded to a hole in the lower part of the firewall that does not enter the cabin The new accelerator sensor was then mounted above the upturned tube. The original cable has a bend in one end which attaches to the pedal in the cabin and a straight peg on the end that went to the engine. We used a torch to heat the straight peg and create another bent section in the back so we could hook it to the sensor. If the cable needs to be replaced in the future it will likely need to be cut to remove it and the new one will need to be bent again.

Seats are in and looking like a drivable car again

I installed the seats in the car to get it ready for it's first test run (hopefully on Sunday). The beetle specific mounts fit in nicely aside from a small adjustment to the front clamp. They had to be ground down about an inch to clear the frame on the seat mount. Once again, so much for direct fitment kits... Look for the first test drive next week. If all goes to plan I'll have my GoPro video camera hooked up to record the first test run. Until next time think electric!

Posted by Caleb Lander at 7:29 PM

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wattson WiFi & Wattson Professional trial

Great ! I asked Mark Eliott from Energeno (formerly Diy Kyoto) if I could test their new version of Wattson (the Energy Monitor).
He replied that they were working on a WiFi version of it and few weeks after I received a package from the UK :-)

In fact the first step is to test this little device (Australian device called ISU, from SAM) that gathers the RF transmissions from the original Wattson transmittor and sends them directly to a data center for live online access of the readings.
A red LED is flashing on the right side of this device every time the transmittor sends a reading and at the same time as Wattson updates its display
Later on this functionality will be integrated into Wattson PCB directly I guess

They opened a account for me on their Wattson Professional website, and my readings data is displayed there in live graphs  :-)
I can see my usage, generation (from  my ESS for now, later on from my Solar System too), and the net reading (= usage - generation)

Here are more detailed views of the Wattson Professional web interface showing my first two days of trial:

The page view of the portal is an overview of 5 independant views:
- Daily usage & generation
- Daily Revenue/bill
- Weather forecast
- Used Energy Breakdown
- Generated Energy Breakdown

NB :More pages/views also exist and I will talk about them later on ...

Here is my overview of my first full day: August 28th

If I zoom on the 1st graph, I get a much more detailed view:
In red is the Usage, mostly covered by the green, the Grid Generation, most of the time in my case
When I turn on my ESS, then we see a blue line showing the Solar(or Wind, etc) Generation; at that time the Grid Generation is lowered by the same amount and the green line dicreases : I buy less power from the utility company (EDF)

Now in the lower part of the portal, we have the:

- Used Energy Breakdown: it is showing the part of enegry imported from the Grid and the part that was generated in house by the solar or wind system (in my case it is from my LiFePO4 ESS for now, my solar system coming in few weeks)

- and the Generated Energy Breakdown: this one shows how much energy from Generation (Solar, Wind, etc) went into feeding your own usage (Used in House) or back into the utility grid (Exported)

Here, same thing for next day, August 29th:

Let's analyse this day in details (I was not home):
- The big usage at night is the water heater (2,000W) finishing its lower rate (22:24 to 06:24) heating at night
- After that the only thing showing is the fridge coming on and off in cycles (waves)
- Around 9 we see the breakfasst activity: toaster, Nespresso coffee machine, lights
- Around noon, lunch activity: stove, micro-wave oven
- After that, the two spikes must be the washing machine (laundry)
- Then around 15, back to fridge only cycles
- Until I came back home around 19:30 and started my ESS: we start to see some Generation (blue line) until 22:10
- After that, at 22:24 the water heater come back on automatically, and the additionnal spikes are the dishwasher running at night too (it is quiet)

Thanks to Mark and all the team @ Energeno !

Forget Smart Cards: This Electric Car Charging Station Is Coin-Operated

Ask any electric car owner to tell you about public charging stations, and they’ll likely show you the wallet full of smart cards and RFID tags.

That’s because most electric car charging stations, with a few exceptions, only give access to pre-registered members.

But what if you could pay for your charge in the same way you pay for parking, with cold, hard cash?

It might sound like a simple idea, but we’ve just learned that it wasn’t until earlier this year that the world’s first mass-produced coin-operated payment machine specifically designed for high-power electric car charging stations finally went on sale.

According to Japan For Sustainability, Fuji Electric Co. of Japan, producer of many products including a range of rapid, direct-current charging stations, began to offer the optional coin-operated accessory to retail customers back in April.

Fast Charging 2011 Nissan LEAF

Designed to fit on any of Fuji’s existing charging stations, the unit allows electric car owners without a smart card to pay with coins instead of a credit card.

Just like a coin-operated washing machine at a Laundromat, a vending machine, or a parking meter, the charging station owner can set their own pricing scheme, while customers pay on a per-kilowatt-hour basis for the electricity they use.

The result is a readily-accessible charging station that can be used 24-hours a day, requires no smart card, or giving your credit card details out over the telephone.

Sadly however, the coin-operated addition isn’t cheap.

Electric-car charging network cards, photo by Patrick Connor, Portland

Japan For Sustainability reports that the optional extra costs an additional $7,317 on top of the price of one of its charging stations.

With so much of modern society moving away from cash, do you think charging stations that take dollar bills and loose change in payment for charging your car are a good idea? Do you prefer the wallet of smart cards, or think there's another solution?

Or do you find that, like us, you never carry any spare change around?

Source: GreenCarReports

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

EVTV Friday Show - August 17, 2012

This week:
- Pikes Peak Run
- 1937 Jaguar Electric SUNJAG
- 1974 Electric Super Beetle
- Porsche 944 with A123 battery pack

Jack is showing us some cheap white version battery 

And another destroyed A123 pouch cells pack, overcharged by Jack, left on the side, and it caught fire few days later during the night, unattended of course ... it could have burned down the Escalade or the whole shop ! and Brian is hilarious :-))

The second burned Fisker Karma ...

Micheal Bream of EV West shakes hand with Nobuhiro Tajima

The 1937 "Sunjag" in Montana

Another conversion project : Lander Electric

A Porsche 944 conversion using the A123 pouch cells !

Monday, August 27, 2012

Waterskiing the New Electric Speedboat

Anne Kloppenborg from Amsterdam is waterskiing behind his New Electric SpeedBoat !

Looks like a lot of fun :-)

Notes from the New Electric Team:

 This boat is a 1974 Glastron Bayflite. It used to have a 130HP Volvo Engine.

We converted the boat to Electric Drive. All the EV components, including the batteries,
weigh approx 465 kg. (~1000lb) making us only 70 kg. heavier, while putting out 1.5 times the HP and TWICE the torque of the original.

With the current setup we can go 20 minutes @55kph. 45 minutes @35kph, or cruise around the canals of Amsterdam for days @7kph. We recharge overnight, so we installed a 1 fase charger that does a full charge in 5 hours. With a 3 fase charger this would be less than 2 hours.

Want more range?
Buy more batteries.

Want quicker charging?
Up your mains connection and get a bigger charger.

Or, better yet:
Install a solar-panel-fed motherbank of batteries in your home
and charge from battery to battery in 20 minutes.

Our New Electric future is here, Plug into the sun!

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