July 2009

Yesterday started out poorly. I only slept for 4 hours. After waking up at 4am, I headed over to my computer. There was a notification from Ebay about some US Electricar stuff that went up for auction. As it turns out, it was the same hardware that one of the guys in the USE group had mentioned was for sale. We thought it would be a private sale. But here it was on Ebay. I immediately posted that fact that it was on Ebay to the group. The boards were all suppose to be 65kw. But only 2 were 65kw, the other 6 were 50kw boards. So I looked at the name of the seller, and it looked vaguely familiar. I searched my email archives and found that I had corresponded with the guy in the past. So I wrote him a plea to not sell them on Ebay since some random buyer could end up with these important parts. He agreed to pull them from Ebay and sell them to me. Sometime later this week they should arrive. Also included were 2 charger boards and a dc-dc board. There was also 4th board that I have never seen before.

What I have done in the past with two other batches of boards I have received,
is to go through these boards carefully with my test fixture, and see if they
work or what they need to make them work. One 50kw board looks to have some
serious damage to the Mach220. I have replaced a couple Mach220’s already. But
that serious kind of damage may also have toasted some board traces. Worst case
the board becomes a parts donor. I hope the DSP chip is ok as it could be used
in another 50kw board. Almost every chip from the 50kw boards are missing. Since
the DSP chip cannot be copied, then the boards will always have to borrow a DSP
from another board.

The 65kw boards will go onto my test fixture to see if they can be lit up or
not. At least they have all of their chips. I’ll see if the 65kw chips are any
different than the 50kw chips. At least one of the 65kw boards has a red arrow
on it indicating that it needs something.

5 out of 6 of the 50kw boards are 2nd generation. They have a socket on the
Mach220 plus some other additions. I think the factory finally figured out that
when the Mach220 gets damaged, that unsoldering it from the board is dangerous.
At least with the sockets the Mach220’s can be swapped in and out for testing. I
have the code for the Mach 220’s so duplicating them is easy.

There is also a pair of charger boards and a dc-dc included. There is a 4th misc
board that I have never seen before. No idea what it does.

I know of 2 other sources that need boards. So if any of the 50kw boards are any
good, 2 of them will get shipped out asap. Usually when the chips are missing
the boards have issues.

All of the boards that run will have to be test driven to see if they exhibit
any of the classic dropout issues. As I was discussing the dropout issue last
night with a fellow member, he pointed out that every board we have could end up
with severe drop out issues just simply from driving them long enough. That is
exactly what has happened with a couple of the boards that I have. To me this
issue is 50% resolved. The last 50% will be tough.

Now the air conditioning is wired so that it can only come on after the truck is
fully booted. This also stops the truck from faulting if the AC was left on when
the truck is booting up. The schematic has been updated to reflect the changes.

I’ll test the temperature drop of the AC system during the next time it gets hot

After checking the AC relays, one was turning on the AC itself, the other was
suppose to be turning on the fans. The fan relay tested ok but it’s output was
not going anywhere. There was a white wire down inside of a wiring harness that
had been cut. I never did find the other end. But as it turns out it was the
output from the fan relay.

So I wired it to the fan harness directly. The fans now come on the instant the
AC is turned on. This allows the condenser to do it’s job and made the AC work
as it should.

It’s not a surprise that someone cut this wire. With the fans on you cannot hear
anything else. But even worse, when the AC is on when the ignition is turned on,
the truck faults. With or without the fans running the truck faults with the AC
turned on at ignition time.

The temperature knob does still change the rpm and thus the output of the AC
system. I still need to scope the outputs of the Sanden box to see if a system
can be installed without it. A DVM showed there was a variation in voltage that
followed the position of the temperature knob.

This truck has an old processor in it and the dc-dc only puts out about 13.5
volts under load. I’ve seen this combo in the past not allow a vehicle to boot
up, only because the load on the 12v aux battery is so high that the minimum
voltage for bootup is not achieved. I’ll dig into it more.

The AC vent temps got down to 32.8F sitting in the garage where the ambient temp
is only about 65F. I didn’t think the thermistor would allow it go down that
low. Usually AC systems are rated in terms of the delta in temperature that can
create. When it warms up I’ll take the truck outside and see how well it does in
real heat.

I finally got around to putting fuses in the P12V_Bat and Key_On_In lines on the #1 truck. I tried to use 1/4 amps fuses, but the current drop was so much that the Dolphin would not boot. They measured 5 ohms on each fuse. I measured several and they were all the same. So I went with 1.0 amp fuses that measured about .3 ohms each. Very clean. I’ve done the same thing to the #2 truck. It was much easier to spend 3 minutes removing the junction boxes from the trucks and doing the work on a bench.

I also put a spring inside the 3/4 inch heater hose that was kinking. It now has a nice curve to it. The spring is just plated steel. We’ll see how long it lasts. At least this way the new high performance heater will always get adequate coolant flow to protect the heater element from overheating.

Here is the #2 truck Junction Box with it’s new pair of fuses.

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