January 2009

This past weekend I jacked the #1 truck up to determine if I could get another water tight connector mounted into the front of the battery box. It looks like my only option is to remove the 1/2″ connector that is there for the Emeter cable and install a larger one. This would still be a tight fit to install. I may consider just adding lithium to the #2 truck, but it does not have a good pack in it yet. I have seen other trucks with a hole drilled and filled with silicone. Not an appealing solution.

Yesterday the #2 truck got most of the body clayed using the Groit’s Garage system. Eddie clayed, polished, and sealed my #1 truck using this same system and it came out fantastic. So now I have a much better clue as to how much work it is. I still need to get the body lines clayed, but I just ran out of steam. This was exhausting work. The paint already looks far better and it’s not even polished or sealed yet.

I’ve tried to use 3M General Purpose Cleaner for removing marks on the paint. It’s helped, but not as much as using Goof Off in a spray can. Good Off is stronger solvent but does not damage the paint.

I’ve also purchased a chip filling kit to help fill in the chips this truck has. The paint code is 5111. The name of this shade of white changes depending on the vendor. So I won’t report it here.

I spent a lot of time watching Youtube videos showing how to fill chips. Some are fast and easy. But most are geared toward average, or less, results. So I may have to invent my own process using steps from the various vendors that I watched. Deep chips need to be filled with a bit of primer if the steel was exposed. Some may even require some fine filler due to the dept of the chip.

Tom and his son bought the spare USE S10 battery box from me some time ago and installed it in their ’84 S10. At Saturday’s SJEAA meeting, I asked for input on how to get a BMS data cable into the #1 trucks’ battery box while keeping it water tight. Tom knew the answer because he knew the battery box better than I did. By removing the drive shaft, the wall of the box that holds the watertight connectors, is exposed clearly from under the truck. That way I can see if how hard it would be to drill a hole and add another watertight connector. The hole would need to be something like 5/8″ to 3/4″ in diameter. Someone talked me into using the water tight connectors that don’t need a threaded hole to be mounted. That translates into less work in a tight space under the truck. Thanks Tom!

– Looked at Coulomb chargers in downtown SJ.
One 208vac SPI and one 208vac Avcon charger were replaced with 120vac Coulomb units.
-Arguing about loss of 208v chargers in the 4th st garage with Tom Dowling.

Tom Dowling claims they will put in 208v Coulomb chargers when the connector standard is turned into a real product.

Coulomb rates:
$10 setup fee.
$15/mon for 10 night time charging sessions.
$30/mon for unlimited night time charging sessions.
$20/mon for ‘grid-friendly’ charging sessions.
$40/mon for unlimited ‘grid-friendly’ charging sessions.
$50/mon for unlimited chariging anytime.

– Titled, registered #2 truck.
Also ordered HOV lane sticker and San Jose parking sticker.
Ordered orbital buffer and supplies for polishing the paint.
Looking at Gel Cell batteries as they last a long time in the Solectria’s.

– Range on #1 truck was 12 miles.
Nicad pack needed to be shorted to zero volts.
Range and voltage is greatly improved.
May need to deep cycle a couple more times.
New 240v variac helped make recharging very fast.
This can only be done with flooded Nicads.

-The heater on the #1 truck works great!!

– SJEAA website updates
Added 3 links to DMV for the various EV stickers required for parking, charging and commute lane riding.
Will add more manufacturer and other links via the SFEAA website.

– Got rid of both S10 bumpers and the bed toolbox via Craigslist.

-My official weight loss for 2008 was 44 lbs.
Celebrated by having my first ice cream in many months.

Last night I took a drive on the highway. It was obvious the nicad pack was doing much better. So I drove at about 72mph which is the max the truck will go. Same thing driving back. About 11.7 miles round trip and the pack was above 300v 98% of the time. I burned over 4kwr and there was probably 1-2 kwh left. I’ll do a range test to see how much the capacity improvement really is.

On the way to work this morning the pack was over 315v the whole drive.

I will do the discharge maintenance again just to ring out any extra capacity that is held back by the memory effect. The manual says sometimes up to 3 complete discharges are required to restore the pack from deep memory effect.

The pack was down -5.2kwh. It charged to +6.3kwh. The truck took on 11.5kwh as of this morning. So it recharged with more than 100% overcharge. The pack voltage on the way to work this morning was significantly higher. It stayed in the 315-320v range while driving. This is about 15 volts higher than before the discharge maintenance. I won’t recharge at work to see how well the pack voltage holds up on the way home. At some point I’ll have to do a load test to see how many kwh’s the pack is good for now. It is possible that the deep cycling of the pack may need to happen once or twice more.

All of this work is important as it keeps the pack’s soc higher since the total pack capacity is kept higher. The cold weather brings the capacity down as well.

Starting yesterday afternoon I had to short circuit the pack after driving it until it would barely roll. The pack seemed to develop the classic memory issue again. The pack was only good for 4.5kwh during a drive that day. Not good. So this time I loaded each half of the pack to 1.5 amps with several light bulbs. After a few hours the pack was low enough to load it will all the light bulbs across the entire pack. This brought the load to 2.5 amps. 22 hours later I connected the new 240vac Variac from Ebay to it’s bridge rectifier and started charging the pack.

I had to keep turning the Variac’s voltage up to keep the current at a good charge level of between 6 and 10 amps. That 240vac Variac really sped things up. I didn’t have to do half the pack at a time as with a 120vac Variac. We’ll see if this gets the range back up.

The weather has been in the 40’s to 50’s and I suspect it will lower the range.