November 2008


Interestingly the pressure sensor was not wired in even though it was
in the factory schematic. It’s easy to see where is could be added
into the circuit, but clearly had never been wired in when the AC was
installed. You almost cannot see the pressure sensor. It is wired in
right under the Dolphin and on top of the AC compressor. No mating
connector in sight. It was so hard to reach I could not test it’s
continuity with my meter. The spare compressor I have shows infinite
resistance at no pressure. So I am assuming that my charged system
would show close to zero ohms. This means the compressor could be run
without pressure, at least on this truck.

Slick system. As the temperature knob is rotated warmer, the
compressor slows down. It pulls around 5 amps from the pack at max
output in about 75 degree air. So it’s not well loaded for a max amp
test. That will have to wait until summer.

This truck is becoming a keeper.

Yes!!!!! The air conditioning is fixed!!! What a bunch of work that was!! The story goes like this. The factory had a learning curve as they built their first few vehicles. The #2 truck was an early version. So the wiring for the AC and heater had been set up in a way that was very untested. Instead of a switch to turn on two relays, they used one of the pots that is part of the temperature control on the dash. As the pot is rotated, it slowly brings the voltage up to the coils of the two relays. The problem is that the relays don’t come on at the same time!! So the heating element would turn on long before the water pump would and smoke the heating element. That’s why this truck never had a functional heater. The air conditioning had a bad crimp at the AC controller plus the ground for the AC controller was corroded badly. I had to clean the pins and sockets up for each of the 12 connections. That’s all it took!

I also added the lighted dash switch that most trucks have to turn on the heater. Now the AC and the heater can be run completely independent of each other, or at the same time. Nice!!

The wiring to the AC compressor and controller can reach the top of the Dolphin. This will allow me to test my spare AC parts.

What really made this debug work well, was spending a week making a schematic from crummy notes that had been faxed from the factory 12 years ago. It was a lot of work. But it made the debug of the AC system far better. Now I have a massive 18″ x 24″ drawing of the entire AC and heating system. This never existed before! I’d like to add AC to the #1 truck now that I have a schematic, parts, and wiring.

The only odd item left to repair is the heater/AC blower. It’s always on. Even when the selector knob is off, the blower runs. It’s speed can even be adjusted from the fan switch. I didn’t see any rigged wiring. But I suspect the wiring was modified somewhere and it needs to get fixed.

The last couple of days I worked hard on getting a schematic for USE air conditioning finished. I am hoping to get the AC in the #2 truck running. It’s fully charged with freon but won’t turn on. So far I found one broken wire at the Sanden temp control unit. I jumpered it but it still won’t run. The time spent today did help get the schematic more complete. I even plugged in a spare system to the truck’s AC wiring but it still won’t run. I hope to figure this system out by the end of the weekend.

Yesterday the truck failed an important test. It rained and it cause a ground fault. Even with all new seals on the lid and gasketed washers, it still ground faulted. So I got into the pack and checked for ground faults with the volt meter. The ground fault was floating around as it had on me earlier this year. So I tried the meter in low current mode set to milliamps. It showed the same location for a ground fault. Removing the cells showed some KOH streaking. Cleaning it up did not change where the ground fault was shown to be. So I went to the new process that I had figured out last Feb. I removed a cell interconnect at the lowest voltage reading relative to ground. I kept pulling one copper bar at a time until the voltage suddenly shot up. It ended up showing me that the ground fault was in the rear drivers corner of the pack. Removing the 8 cells in that area showed that there was water between the corner of the cell and the wall of the battery box. So I cleaned off the walls and cells with diluted vinegar and reassembled the pack. That took care of that ground fault!! This time I moved the mylar insulator into the corner to help isolate that corner cell from the box if it gets wet again. There is another smaller ground fault on the passenger side of the pack. I just vacuumed in that area and called it good for now.

The rear edge seal was a different material since I had run out. So I tore it off and installed the correct material. Since the two ground faults I found were right under that seal, this could help.

Also I adjusted the ground fault setting in the software to give it more tolerance since having 252 nicads or 504 terminals is almost 5 times the terminals that a regular lead acid pack would have. Between that and having flooded nicads, the pack is more prone to having ground faults. So I will see during the next rain how it all functions.

The #1 truck now has dual gas struts on each side of the bed. With my back trashed this week, it is very apparent that dual struts makes the bed easier to lift. It’s also a great benefit to not have to have a prop rod to hold the bed up. Ironically the bed now needs a rod to hold them from going too high up when I pull the truck in and out of the garage during repairs.

I also removed the class 3 trailer hitch to save weight. There is now a lot of room back there for an additional battery box. The roll pan is dented up from hitting the hitch when the bed tilted up. So I’ll have to smooth it out with an old cheap long flexible kitchen knife like I did with my first car about 30 years ago.

The battery box lid received new screws and sealed washers to hopefully help with making it more immune to water leakage and thus ground faults.

It’s been cold out. I am seriously thinking of taking the new upgraded heater out of the #2 truck and putting into the #1 truck. I suppose I could just buy a second new heater.

Here is the Thundersky BMs slave boards freshly mounted to the cells and about to be remounted into the truck. The BMS master board and LCD will be installed at a later date.

Here is the Thundersky BMS slave boards freshly mounted to the cells and about to be remounted into the truck. The BMS master board and LCD will be installed at a later date.

The Ready light LED died after what seemed like a short 13 months of service. So I replaced it and added a 100 ohm resistor to it and the other 2 led indicators as well.

The Ready light LED died after what seemed like a short short 13 months of service. So I replaced it and added a 100 ohm resistor to it and the other 2 led indicators as well.

Use truck #1 repair/upgrades

Check water pump brushes for wear.
Add 12v fuses to junction box.
Pull driveshaft and inspect for connector space.
Install Lithium BMS cable.
Upgrade heater to Kim Hotstart.
Top off redtop cells with water.
Order Kim Hotstart heater.
Add second set of gas struts.
Remove class 3 trailer hitch.
Repair Ready LED.

USE truck #2 repairs/upgrades

Polish paint
Remove Anderson connector and cables to pack.
Add 12v fuses to junction box.
Bad connections on Sanden box.
Add 6-32 standoff to main contactor for fan power.
Paint roll pan.
LRR tires.
Synthetic fluids for trans and rear end.
Zero toe alignment.
1998 S10 front air dam.
Battery box holes need helicoils.
Repair dash button cover.
Vacuum leak when in heat or vent positions (Bad vacuum switch).
Bad connection in Emeter circuit.
Incorrect heater wiring.
Blower never turns off.
Buy Factory shop manuals.
Charge Complete and fault lights burned out.
AC Not pumping freon.
Fan switch bad.
Cup holder damaged.
Grille Emblem missing.
Bed: Add tilt bed hardware.
Add gas struts to bed.
Add 2nd pair of gas struts to bed.
Heater: Pump ok, no heat. Replaced with Hotstart.
Remove rear Bumper.
Remove tool box.
Install Dolphin fuse holder.
Get 1 amp fuse for fuse holder.
Knife switch for aux battery.
Missing Antenna.
Install Fuel Door outlet.
Fuel door box.
Find rear valence (roll pan).

This truck just had a female connector hanging down low to plug into. But being that it was a female connector, try to imagine what the extension cord would look like. Hmmm. A male connector on each end....

This truck just had a female connector hanging down low to plug into. But being that it was a female connector, try to imagine what the extension cord would look like. Hmmm. A male connector on each end....

I hunted all over town for a piece of flat black plastic to make the ring adapter for attaching the outlet to the fuel door box. This oil drain pan was a good choice. I cut 4 ring adapters out of it just to have spares. I was able to easily CNC these parts out due to a an add on piece of software that I bought with my CNC software, Mach3. This add on made it so I could specify the triangle bolt pattern and the other features machined into the ring adapter with great ease.

I hunted all over town for a piece of flat black plastic to make the ring adapter for attaching the outlet to the fuel door box. This oil drain pan was a good choice. I cut 4 ring adapters out of it just to have spares. I was able to easily CNC these parts out due to a an add on piece of software that I bought with my CNC software, Mach3. This add on made it so I could specify the triangle bolt pattern and the other features machined into the ring adapter with great ease.

That large black plastic part is the fuel door box that was missing from the #2 truck. So I ordered it and many other parts from a local GM dealer. Also shown is the outlet and the CNC'd ring adapter.

That large black plastic part is the fuel door box that was missing from the #2 truck. So I ordered it and many other parts from a local GM dealer. Also shown is the outlet and the CNC'd ring adapter.

Here is the finished outlet install. All nice black parts. Even the screw heads are black. I was in a black out mood last night. The ring adapter is a bit too flexible, so it will get a second ring adapter to stiffen it up a bit.

Here is the finished outlet install. All nice black parts. Even the screw heads are black. I was in a black out mood last night. The ring adapter is a bit too flexible, so it will get a second ring adapter to stiffen it up a bit.

A rough schematic for the precharge board is done. Data sheets for many of the components have been found. So finding substitutes for these obsolete parts will be easier now.

This whole precharge project could be adapted to giving the heater element a variable temperature control instead of being just on or off.

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