9831re: [solectria_ev] 1999 Solectria Citivan Repair/Restoration
- May 30 6:28 PMTHE BEST WAY TO ACCESS THE MIDDLE BATTERY BOX IS VIA THE FLOOR PANEL. THE SCREW ARE MORE THE LIKEY RUSTED IN SO EITHER TRY SOME HEAT ON THEM OR DRILL THEM .. THAT WHAT I DIDI THINK THE REST OF YOUR QUESTIONS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED HERE.From: "adamjacknow@... [solectria_ev]" <email@example.com>
Sent: Friday, May 30, 2014 12:01 AM
Subject: [solectria_ev] 1999 Solectria Citivan Repair/Restoration
We recently acquired a 1999 Solectria Citivan that has 15316 miles on it. The van was used until 2012 by the maintenance staff of UMass Amherst and, since then, has sat in storage and currently does not run. Now, we would like to use it as a delivery van for Garment Valet, a laundry service with delivery in the Boston area. This van is intended to serve as a ‘proof of concept’. If we can get it running and used on a daily basis, more vans will be purchased and restored with an end goal of having a completely electric fleet.
Thus far, I have gained access to the 3 of the 4 battery compartments and have a whole host of questions to help us get the van in working order. If you could answer any or point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it.
The van is equipped with:
- A single, very large motor (I know that there are both 1- and 2-motor models of the van)
- Solectria BC3300 3.3KW charger
- Solectria/Azure Dynamics UMOC 440F Motor Controller
- Solectria DC30-312v Motor Controller
- 52 Deka Dominator 8G24NH Batteries (to our knowledge, all are original)
- Sealed, gel-type, lead-acid batteries
- 12v, Rated for 335 Cold Cranking Amps & 74 Amp Hours @ 20 Hours
- Arranged in 2, 312v banks of 26 batteries each
- In various states of charge from .03v to 2.6v (individually)
I have established through some searching on the web that the built in charger will not charge the batteries without some initial charge (a vague and undetermined number). In an attempt to establish an initial charge and test to find bad batteries, I have been charging the batteries individually using car battery chargers.
- How many batteries need to be charged (or what voltage needs to be reached for the 26 battery long string) to allow the built in charger to work properly?
- Is there a way to test if a battery is bad other than charging them individually?
- How warm can a battery get during charging before it goes bad?
- If a battery heats up during charging is it bad?
- How quickly can a battery lose charge while in storage before it is unusable or considered bad?
- How much charge can it lose while in storage before it is unusable or considered bad?
- Should the same batteries be ordered as replacement or is there a better/cheaper alternative that will not require significant modification?
I believe that the built in charger works, but I don’t have any way to verify this due to the questionable batteries.
- Is there a way to independently test the charger?
- Will the charger charge good batteries even if bad ones are in the string?
- What is the best way to watch for individual overheating batteries when charging the whole system with the built in charger?
Without charged battery banks, I don’t know if the motor controllers and motor still work. I believe that those parts were still operational when the van was parked.
- Is there a way to test these components without the batteries?
- How charged do the battery banks have to be in order to test the motot/How low voltage can the system operate?
- Should these components be opened up to check for burnt components inside?
I have access to 3 of the 4 battery boxes, the two rear boxes (in the cargo area) and the front most box (under the hood and engine-maintenance cap). I can tell that there is one underneath the main cabin area, in between the motor and the front most box. I know that I could drop the 4th box down by removing the U-shaped brackets that hold it up, but I am extremely reluctant to do so because it weighs a ton! It looks like there is an access panel on the floor of the main cabin area in between the two seats. I have yet to get it off (the screw heads are stripped out and I will have to use screw extractors to remove them).
- Is this the correct way to access the 4th box?
- If it isn’t, how do I access it?
When plugged in with the key in any position, no lights on the dash turn on and no accessories function. The “Charge Complete” indicator box has 1 green, 1 yellow, and 3 red LEDs and only the 3 red LEDs light up.
I know that this is a ton of questions and any help will be greatly appreciated. I have tried to supply all of the information that I know about the van, but if you think anything is missing, have questions for me, or need pictures of the van or its components posted, please let me know. I have a the user manual, but have been unable to find a shop manual or book with van-wide wiring diagrams so almost all electrical “knowledge” about the van is, at best, an educated guess.
Some pictures of the van are in this google docs folder.
Thank you very much for any help,
Henry Chickering and Adam Jacknow
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