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Solectria is moving!

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  • Karl Thidemann
    Solectria is moving! Solectria will be relocating its facility from Wilmington MA to Woburn MA on Thursday, November 29th. We will not be able to receive
    Message 1 of 6 , Nov 28, 2001
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      Solectria is moving!

      Solectria will be relocating its facility from Wilmington MA to Woburn
      MA on Thursday, November 29th. We will not be able to receive email or
      phone calls on this day as we move our phone and computer network to the

      new facility.

      Solectria will resume normal business operations on Friday, Nov. 30th.

      Our new phone number is 781-932-9009. Our email addresses and web site
      will remain the same.

      If an urgent service matter arises on Thursday, November 29th, please
      call our customer service cell phone at 617-592-7222.

      Thank you in advance for your patience in our time of relocation.

      As of November 29th, 2001, our new address, phone, and fax number will
      be:
      Solectria Corporation
      9 Forbes Road
      Woburn, MA 01801 USA
      tel 781-932-9009
      fax 781-932-9219
      http://www.solectria.com
    • umarc@hippogryph.com
      Folks: Having been unable to identify any problem with the batteries, I want to look into the possibility that something is discharging them while my car is
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 6, 2001
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        Folks:

        Having been unable to identify any problem with the batteries, I want to
        look into the possibility that something is discharging them while my car
        is not in use. Does anyone know how much current normally flows through
        the battery pack while the car is parked? I want to stick an ammeter in
        there and measure the current.

        Whatever the problem may be, it doesn't show up on the Solectria amp-hour
        meter. But if I leave the car undriven for two or three days after
        charging it, the car seems more sluggish than if I drive it every day.


        Rob Landry
        umarc@...
        1992 Force
      • David Roden (Akron OH USA)
        ... If you don t see an indication of discharge on the counter, it must be happening right at the batteries, before the counter s shunt. I m pretty sure that
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 6, 2001
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          On 6 Dec 2001 at 10:42, umarc@... wrote:

          > Whatever the problem may be, it doesn't show up on the Solectria amp-hour
          > meter. But if I leave the car undriven for two or three days after
          > charging it, the car seems more sluggish than if I drive it every day.

          If you don't see an indication of discharge on the counter, it must be
          happening right at the batteries, before the counter's shunt. I'm pretty
          sure that everything in the car goes through the shunt, including the
          DC:DC converter.

          If you have nickel-cadmium or nickel metal hydride batteries, there is a
          small amount of self-discharge -- on the order of perhaps 1-2% per day
          IIRC. Normally this wouldn't have a significant effect in 2-3 days, but
          maybe one failure mode would be accelerated self-discharged (just a
          guess).

          Lead batteries used daily always have more capacity than those which
          aren't. Some of this effect is caused by battery chemistry, but much of
          it may be attributed to temperature: batteries stay warm when charged
          and discharged regularly. When they sit for more than 24 hours they
          begin to lose this warmth. A cooler battery has less capacity than a
          warm one.

          One solution would be to add a battery temperature management system
          (fancy language for "battery warmers"). Another would be to insulate the
          battery boxes with 10-25 mm of stryofoam. (But remove insulation in the
          summer).

          Also check for leakage paths across the tops of the batteries. If you
          have flooded lead acid type, charging causes a slight acid vapor which is
          expelled from the vent caps and condenses on the battery tops. In spring
          and autumn changing temperatures and high humidity can cause plain water
          to condense there too, adding to the moisture. Dust settles on the
          batteries, creating conductive gunk.

          It's a pity Solectria made the batteries so hard to access on Forces,
          because they should be watered and cleaned about once a month. I like to
          use hand dishwashing detergent (Joy, Ajax, etc.) and a sponge, followed
          by a thorough rinse with another sponge and drying with a rag.


          David Roden - Akron, Ohio, USA
          1991 Solectria Force 144vac
          1991 Ford Escort Green/EV 128vdc
          1979 General Engines ElectroPed 24vdc
          1970 GE Elec-trak E15 36vdc
          = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
          Thou shalt not send me any thing which says unto thee, "send this to all
          thou knowest." Neither shalt thou send me any spam, lest I smite thee.
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        • umarc@hippogryph.com
          Folks: Still being unable to figure out what s limiting my car s range, I resolved to measure the voltage across each battery while the car is accelerating
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 10, 2001
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            Folks:

            Still being unable to figure out what's limiting my car's range, I
            resolved to measure the voltage across each battery while the car is
            accelerating from a stop. Realizing that it would be impossible to access
            the batteries in the front compartment while the car is moving, I first
            measured the voltages across all twelve bateries in my driveway with the
            heat, lights, and AC on. Then I moved the five batteries that tested best
            (all over 11 volts) into the front, putting the weaker batteries in the
            back where I can get at them.

            To conduct the test under acceleration, I took the lid off the back
            battery compartment and positioned myself in the back seat with a digital
            voltmeter while my wife drove the car. I then asked her to start
            accelerating from a stop while measuring the voltage across a battery,
            repeating the procedure for each successive battery until I had observed
            the performance of all seven.

            One battery never went below 11 volts under acceleration.

            One battery went down to 10.3 volts.

            Two others went as low as 9.3 volts.

            The other three went down to about 9.8 volts.

            At the conclusion of the test, the amp-hour meter showed I was downabout
            10.5 amp hours and the car was very sluggish.

            My question is: do I simply have a mess o' batteries with internal
            resistance problems? Should I replace them all?


            Rob Landry
            umarc@...
          • David Roden (Akron OH USA)
            ... This one sounds tolerably healthy. ... Not so good, especially for a freshly-charged battery. ... Definitely not good. I m assuming that these batteries
            Message 5 of 6 , Dec 10, 2001
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              On 10 Dec 2001 at 14:27, umarc@... wrote:

              > One battery never went below 11 volts under acceleration.

              This one sounds tolerably healthy.

              > One battery went down to 10.3 volts.

              Not so good, especially for a freshly-charged battery.
              >
              > Two others went as low as 9.3 volts.
              >
              > The other three went down to about 9.8 volts.

              Definitely not good.

              I'm assuming that these batteries all measure 12.5 - 12.8 volts fully
              charged with no load, after the surface charge has dissipated (several
              hours after the charger has shut off). (Any that measure around 2 volts
              low are suspect for a bad cell.)

              Any battery that drops below 10.5 volts under load is, for all intents
              and purposes, to be considered discharged and in danger of suffering from
              one or more cell reversals. Cell reversal means that one or more cells
              actually go so low that they begin to charge backwards. This is very
              damaging to them.

              So, if you are getting this low an under-load voltage with a fresh
              charge, it means that either those batteries (or perhaps one cell in
              each) have become chronically undercharged, or they are at the end of
              their useful life.

              Before giving up on them, I suggest you give the weak ones ONLY a long,
              slow equalization charge. The best way is to use a half-dozen 12v
              automatic auto battery chargers, one on each battery. Most people don't
              have that many 12v chargers sitting around, so you will probably have to
              carry it out one or two batteries at a time.

              If possible, leave them on a low-current charge (~1 amp for gel
              batteries, 1-3 amps for flooded) for at least a day. What you have to do
              is force current through the fully-charged cells of the weak battery, so
              it can charge the undercharged cells. This can take a while, since you
              are keeping the current low, trying not to damage the fully-charged cells
              with excessive heat or gassing. If you think about it, you may have to
              put as much as 60-80 amp hours into the low cells. I've done
              equalization charges that lasted as long as 5 days.

              Measure the voltage on each battery periodically. You are looking for
              them to hit around 14.8 to 15 volts for flooded batteries and 14.5 to
              14.7 volts for gel batteries, measured while on charge. Yes, I know this
              is fairly high. If the current is kept low enough, overcharge damage to
              the good cells will be minimal.

              If you have gel batteries, be careful that they don't vent. Listen often
              for a gentle hissing or ticking sound from the batteries, and if you hear
              it, back off the current. This can be done by adjusting the charger, if
              possible, or by putting some resistance in series with the charger,
              perhaps an old car headlight.

              If you connect the charger to a battery and it immediately runs up to
              that voltage or higher with little or no current indicated on the
              charger's ammeter, it means that one or more cells in that battery is/are
              deeply discharged -- essentially it/they look(s) like an open circuit.
              It may still be possible to get some use out of such a battery, but you
              will need a charger that can force at least a little current through that
              battery. More details on that procedure if you need it, but I doubt that
              you have such a situation -- this would be the case if a battery had
              dropped nearly to zero under load.

              If these batteries have been chronically undercharged for some time, it's
              possible that they've become sulfated. Although there are some hacks
              that claim to reverse sulfation (chelation, electrolyte replacement, and
              expensive electronic gadgets), these either are short-lived, or have
              little more proven effect than an equalization as described above.

              Typically, a sulfated battery just exhibits low capacity -- it delivers
              fewer amp-hours than it should, and seems to charge up with only a few
              more amp-hours from the charger. (Compare this with batteries suffering
              from positive grid corrosion, the other typical failure mechanism --
              these batteries deliver little capacity but seem to take forever to
              charge.)

              If they are indeed sulfated, you might do better to either replace the
              weak ones with good used batteries (if you can find them), or change out
              the entire pack.


              David Roden - Akron, Ohio, USA
              1991 Solectria Force 144vac
              1991 Ford Escort Green/EV 128vdc
              1979 General Engines ElectroPed 24vdc
              1970 GE Elec-trak E15 36vdc
              = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
              Thou shalt not send me any thing which says unto thee, "send this to all
              thou knowest." Neither shalt thou send me any spam, lest I smite thee.
              = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
            • umarc@hippogryph.com
              David: Thanks. Rob Landry umarc@hippogryph.com
              Message 6 of 6 , Dec 10, 2001
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                David:

                Thanks.


                Rob Landry
                umarc@...
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