Truck #1 (Nicad)


Seriously. It’s freakin’ solved after 4 years of research….

One of the boards that arrived for repair last week, was by far the worst I’ve
ever seen for dropouts, and it flashed the fault indicator in a very radical
fashion. It is now perfectly drivable!! No dropouts under acceleration or regen!
I was in total disbelief!! It works? Must be a mistake!! So I grabbed the second
board in for repair. Dropped out every 15-20 seconds. Made the same
modifications to it. Now it’s smooth as glass too! Zero dropouts under
acceleration or regen!! I had a third board laying around for years who’s only
crime was having massive repetitive dropouts. The modifications completely
stopped all traces of dropouts on it too. All 3 of these boards drive perfectly
now! Am I dreaming!!?? Feels like the Twilight Zone around here!!

Three boards saved from the junk pile. I have seen many more just like them.
That feels so good!! Many owners have this problem right now.

The Dolphin hardware has component values that are just barely within spec. With
miles of driving, time, and thermal cycles, the hardware goes out of spec, and
the Dolphin starts faulting, usually without any faults shown in Dolcom/Dol7.
I’ve posted this in the past. But the faults are felt as a sudden shudder in the
drive train. An instant loss and then instant return of power lasting only a
split second. It can rattle your fillings loose!! Some do it rapid fire, one
dropout after another. It’s all the same problem with the hardware going out of
spec. I found the faulty hardware!! Finally!!

During this research, I found an old quality control document from USE. It was a
long list of things that needed to be checked on their test fixture after each
board was assembled. The items on that list were very telling. So I have figured
out the procedure for checking most of the items on that list on my test
fixture. This ensures that the board gets thoroughly checked. I use it on every
board, just like the factory did.

Since it’s still very cold over most of the country, now is the best time to
have the offending boards with dropout issues repaired. The cold always makes
the dropouts worse. It’s the best season to ensure that the boards work in the
worst conditions of the year. Dropouts are less common in the warm months.

Send me your board and I’ll make the classic dropout modification and put your
board through the checkout list on my test fixture for $50 + shipping. Pack your
board very carefully, like it was your first born baby.

Mike

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.

This past Saturday I went to the EAA meeting expecting to plug in and charge.
Didn’t happen. The GFCI had tripped on the Dolphin. Different outlets and a few
resets were fruitless. Vehicle still ran fine, but the GFCI would fail.

Here are the steps I took:

-Plugging in at home. GFCI still failed.
-Swapped the GFCI out with another unit. GFCI still failed.
-Visually inspected inside Dolphin. Nothing unusual.
-Isolated ground on AC line with 2 prong outlet adapter. GFCI did not fail.
Charger still works.
-Removed J2, the largest connector on the Dolphin. GFCI did not fail!
-Reconnected J2. GFCI failed again.
-Started truck. Measured ISO in Dolcom. Was -130 points below pack voltage. Not
good. Oh look, the pack has all of 4 bolts holding the lid on and it rained for
2 weeks….
-Took the lid off. No puddles of water found. But had a high humidity feel/smell
to the pack. This backs up the -130 count found on ISO in Dolcom.
-Hung the 12″ fan from the bed and let it blow on the cells all night.
-Next morning GFCI stopped failing. Charges fine on 120vac and 240vac.
-ISO at -100 counts below pack voltage, but pack much dryer feeling/smelling.

Time to go ground fault hunting in the pack again.

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