Truck #1 (Nicad)


I worked all afternoon and evening putting in a Kim Hotstart heater in the #1 truck. It’s going to be a cold week. I need a better heater. I was nearly done tonight with the swap and found that there is a 5/8″ heater hose that has to fit on a 3/8″ barb. There was a smaller piece of hose adapting the two together, but I nicked it with the knife as I was removing it. The stores were closed by the time I figured this out. So the truck is not going to drive me to work in the morning.

The coolant bottle also had to be rotated 180 degrees because it would be in the way of the air conditioning hose that goes around the firewall, when I add the AC that is. So a couple more holes had to be drilled.

Hopefully the Kim Hotstart heater will have decent longevity. It’s a 240vac 1500w heater running at 300-400vdc. That’s about 2700w. At least the plastic body helps get rid of ground fault potential.

Here is the Hotstart heater before it has one of the mounting tabs shortened. Next to it is the wiring that I add to make it easy to test and remove if needed. The small connectors at the end of each of the wires are from the Hotstart. The high voltage connector with the green and blue 10ga wires, has 4 positions with two of them empty between the pins to help prevent arc-over. The 3 position connector with the 2 yellow wires is for the temperature sensor. The pump motor shown in other images, has a 2 pin connector. This keeps connectors from being confused during reassembly.Hotstart Heater.

This #1 truck was built very late in the program. 1996. So it has some improvements. Tonight I found that the hoses attached to the pump and the heater had a large diameter stainless spring inside to keep the hoses from collapsing. This could be helpful.[/caption]

The Z shaped hose that connects the pump to the heater, tends to kink at both ends. These stainless springs took care of that. I should retrofit the #2 truck with the same hose springs.

As soon as I can adapt the 5/8″ hose to the 3/8″ barb, the truck will be ready. I also pre-primed the pump by adding coolant to the heater and the pump with a syringe, then spinning the pump before it will be put back into the truck.

I was not able to test the original heater output before the swap, to generate a temperature versus time plot.

Mike

I have this other circuit design that looks like it could be modified
and adapted to actually giving real temperature control to the USE heaters.
Since the heater element runs on pack voltage this would be a high voltage
control with a pot on the dash that changes the temperature. The pot
would be opto isolated for safety. It would be just a single board
that connects after the heater relay to pack voltage, and uses high
voltage fets for controlling the power to the heater element.
Depending on the space available, it could mount in the heater box
itself.

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.

The nicads have been leaving a coating of KOH all over everything and really needed better ventilation. The holes for the fans were already there, but the vents were very small for this type of flooded battery pack. So I clamped the lid to the mill and CNC’d nice round 2 inch holes for the exit vents.

Here is the exit vent for the nicad pack. It uses a 3 inch plastic cap anchored with 4 screws and nyloc nuts to 2 inch plastic pipe adapters, sealed to the battery box lid with silicone.

Here is the exit vent for the nicad pack. It uses a 3 inch plastic cap anchored with 4 screws and nyloc nuts to 2 inch plastic pipe adapters, sealed to the battery box lid with silicone

This is the cover for the 80mm fans and the inlets on the Nicad pack. These covers are just simple sandwich boxes from Target. The fans were also sealed to the battery box lid with silicone.

This is the cover for the 80mm fans and the inlets on the Nicad pack. These covers are just simple sandwich boxes from Target. The fans were also sealed to the battery box lid with silicone.

The precharge relay in the USE vehicles is not durable enough to keep charging the capacitors from zero volts to 312vdc nominal, then taking them back down to zero volts. This precharge board is from a 65kw USE system. The goal is to duplicate the circuit and install it in both trucks as is it not available anywhere on the planet. This could seriously increase the precharge circuit reliability. I noticed years ago that there are a couple of tapped holes on the floor of the Dolphin. I wonder if holes 5 and 6 on this board match that hole pattern on the floor of the Dolphin?

Precharge board.

Precharge board.

I just got done helicoiling the 6mm taped holes that hold
the battery box lid on the #1 truck. The front and back rows were done
quite awhile ago. But the side rows needed a rivet nut added to them
since they were out of alignment with the holes in the lid due to that
hydrogen thing that happened along time ago. The idea was to get the
battery box leak tight so it won’t leave me stranded with a ground
fault when the truck sits out in the rain at work.

The rivet nut is part number 95105A187 at McMaster.com. If your lid
holes and the threaded holes line up you won’t need it. A 6mm helicoil
will suffice. The side holes will need the 6mm long inserts. The front
and back rows will need the 8mm long inserts, or longer, since the
material is about 4 times thicker.

When it’s all done, then it’s nice to reseal the lid with some weather
stripping that does not stay permanently compressed like the factory
USE stuff does. So I added McMaster p/n 93625K231 (1.5″ wide) to the
bottom of the lid. Factory stuff was 1.25″ wide. It looks to compress
just right with 50 in-lbs of torque on the helicoiled screws. Without
helicoils, the aluminum will strip at 50 in-lbs eventually. This
weather stripping is rated to not compress over time. So it should
hold it’s sealing ability for a long time.

I only had enough weather stripping for 3 of the sides. So when the
next roll comes in I may remove the other stuff I substituted for the
back row.

Also I added 2 large diameter vents to the lid to allow higher volume
airflow through the pack. The 1/2″ pipe that was there before had a
lot of restriction. Now I’m using 1.75″ black plastic pipe adapters
and a 3″ cap to make up the vent assemblies. These are very high
flow and low restriction.

It has rained quite a bit lately so I’ll find out how well it all
works in the next few days.

Here is a completed helicoil repair.

Here is a completed helicoil repair.

Here is a completed rivet nut repair.

Here is a completed rivet nut repair.

Take a look at the charger board. It has a 13 pin connector on it with
a harness that leads to the connector at the back-center of the main
board. Notice the pattern of the wires in the charger connector.
(1)–(4)–(7)(8)-(10)(11)(12)(13). The dashes are empty. Start
counting from the position that is closest to the front of the truck.
Add 1 amp, 250vac fuses to positions 1, 4. Then add 1/4 amp (any
voltage)fuses to positions 7, 8. One and four is the AC voltage going
to the main board. Seven and eight is the pwm that goes from the main
board to the charger.

The last 1 amp fuse goes to terminal #19 in the junction box. If you
look at the schematic you can see which side to add the fuses to. Some
say the side with the tiny gauge wire. But when I do mine I will be
adding it to the side with the pair of large gauge wires. One wire of
the pair comes from the 12v aux battery, the other wire goes off to
the Magnecharger.

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