Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back in a Familiar Place - Back on Jack Stands

Well, the burnt fuse proved to only be a symptom of the actual problem.  After inspecting the motor I quickly realized that the cause of the problem stemmed from a shattered cooling fan inside the motor.

After speaking with NetGain Motors today I will be removing the motor from the car and doing a bit of bench testing on it.  More than likely I will be packing it up and sending it back to them for a rebuild. As a result of this, I will also be sending the controller back to NetGain Controls for inspection and testing. 

Because the car will be sans motor and controller for and unknown period of time, I have chosen to take this opportunity to strip the rest of the car as well.  I will be removing all the ancillary mounting studs and brackets, then sand blasting the whole thing, and painting it in preparation for hopefully, fingers crosses, final assembly.

Here is today's progress:

Disconnected the charger and J1772 module

Removed seats, seat belts, 5 point harnesses, and steering wheel
Partial disassemble and removal of front battery pack
More to come soon -

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Extra metal

Yesterday I marked all the little threaded studs and extra spot welded brackets in the 'engine' bay that will be removed and smoothed out once the car is disassembled and being readied for paint. 
Still need to find a solution to the HV fuse issue.   

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lost power in the traction pack today after increasing forward motor voltage to 1400amps and decreasing forward motor voltage to 260.  The NetGain Industrial Interface module showed and error code 21, which is a Desaturation Error.  The battery pack fuse from the front pack looks intact, but has no continuity,  I hope this is the problem.

The wheels are spinning and so is my head

After missing out on last years Refuel Time Trial at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca the Infa944 sat in the shop all but forgotten.  Battery cells we gathering dust in the corners of my office, parts yet to be installed were stashed under workbenches.  The car was in a sad state.

That all changed just about two months ago when I received and email from Speed Ventures, informing me that the 2014 Refuel event was just over forty days away.  Noting was going to stop me or the 944; the car would run the track in Monterey California.

There was much work to be done:

First, battery cells needed to be removed from their old, temporary, enclosures.  Then fit into the two HDPE battery boxes, one in the position of the old fuel tank, and one across the now sheet metal rear seat pan.  Each box received the same cell count, one string of 4p24s and one string of 4p20s connected via copper bus bar and a fuse.  The rear box was made larger to also accommodate a 2000amp Deltec shunt and two Gigavac GX16 contactors.  Charged to 3.5 volts per cell that makes two boxes of 154 volts for a total of 308 volts.

I used these great receptacles and plugs from Rebling Plastics to connect the boxes in series and for the load to controller output.  I had to make some threaded copper washer to increase the contact area for the 4/0 terminal lugs.

After installing the battery packs, as series crossover cable was made, then cable was laid through the firewall by way of some 4/0 cord glands, covered in orange wire loom and secured to the floorboard.

The fiberglass dashboard was trimmed to fit. Mounting tabs were welded, then Dzus fastners used to hold the dash in place.  Then came the gauge installation and wiring.

Switches were wired, the 12v systems charged, everything was plugged in.  After a little issue with the controller wiring I turned the key and the contactors closed with a click.  With the rear wheels lifted in the air I applied throttle and promptly realized that I had mounted the forward/reverse switch upside down.  After a quick 180 degree rotation,  I drove the car one whole mile before putting it on the trailer and readying it for a 300 mile trailer journey to the race track.
Down the straight

Chasing down Telas in the corkscrew

The car ran like a champ at the track, taking 4th place in the Refuel 2014 Time Trial in the Conversion class.  If I had slowed a little earlier and not locked up the front wheels going into turn 2 we would have easily taken second.  Just because I was able to build a track car, does not mean that I can drive it to its potential right away; I'm sure going to have fun learning to!

My Dad and I at the end of race day.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Long Overdue Update

This is the state of our build, as of 6/13/13.  Since this picture was taken the rear seat-pan has been fully rebuild out of 16 gauge sheet metal, which will provide maximum flat area for battery placement.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all 384 cells will fit in the rear seat area (trying to keep as much weight as possible low and between the axles.

Lots of progress will be made this and next week as we prepare for the 2013 ReFuel time trials.  With a little luck and some hard work we shoul make it.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rear End Fabrication Complete

 Empire Fabrication in Simi Valley Ca. was contracted to bend and weld up the rear end housing supports.  We will also be using them to create some custom bracketry to mount the motor.

Marco, our new machinist did a great job turning some aluminum bushings that will hold the rear end housing to the fabricated mounts.

Empire did the mockup and gave us cardboard templates that we digitized in-house.  The files were then CNC plasma cut from steel plate.

Empire has been nothing but professional, prompt and provided amazing work.  These guys are the real deal.  I think their work speaks for itself.  Thanks Sean and Gino!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

 Cell Testing and Fabrication Update

Not much to report in the last week.  The car is out at my fabricators shop getting the rear end installed.  They will also be welding in some gusset plates into the front end to strengthen the strut towers and act as a attachment point for the front most motor mount. 

I have now tested 102 cells, all with very good results, even the few so far that have slightly wrinkled tabs, or a bit of curvature to the pouch.  Even with my very conservative testing settings, the lowest capacity I have come across has been 18.3aH.