I have a few photos of my 100Ah CALB lithium upgrade in the photos section now. One shows
the revised instrument cluster with the combination volt/ammeter I put in there a while
back -- kind of fun to see the Ah counter at -87Ah and the charger still putting 20A into
the pack. The charge ended at around 106Ah into the pack. The other photos show the
battery pack layouts.
The initial charge finished after about 6.3 hours. Went perfectly, and the batteries were
right in balance (within 0.01V) when complete.
I got everything reassembled, the motor controller in, etc. and took it for a short drive
at speeds up to 55MPH. My first impression was that the motor power still seems low. It
is using a little over 1Ah/mile, which is a far cry better than under the old NiCD
batteries, which were at times using 2Ah+/mile -- but I was a bit surprised that it still
felt a little underpowered. And when we had the original lead-acid pack, we could do
drives like that on less than 1Ah/mile.
Some thoughts on this performance issue:
1) At one point last year with the NiCDs, we drove the car a few miles to the next town
over and noticed a "hot metal" smell when we got there. I popped the hood and the motor
was VERY hot. At the time I chalked this up to having to switch to "POWER" mode to get
any performance out of the car, and the higher amperage at lower voltage was causing the
extra heat. I've taken extended trips in the past with this car at highway speeds with
the lead-acid pack and the motor hardly ever got more than barely warm. After today's
drive, the motor was just barely warm. Tomorrow I'll take that longer drive to the next
town again and see what the motor is like. I'm wondering if there could be something going
on in the motor, some inefficiency or something, that would cause this lower performance,
but I would have expected it to be really hot again tonight if this was the case. Does
anyone have any thoughts on what could be up with the motor that might cause it to have
less power or operate less efficiently?
2) When I did the NiCD upgrade, I sent the AMC325 motor controller in to Solectria for
reprogramming -- I thought the only thing they changed was the low-end cutoff voltage to
protect the NiCDs. I wonder if they might have changed something in the programming that
would cause this kind of lower power issue. Thinking back on it, it does seem like the
car always had less power after I finished the NiCD conversion, and that could be the NiCD
batteries or the motor controller having been reprogrammed in some way.
3) After my initial drive, I started wondering about the motor thing, and the potential
for the motor controller to be fouled up somehow, so I took my spare AMC325 controller
that I salvaged from another Force and put it into the car and took another test drive,
just in case my controller has something wrong with it. It really didn't feel different.
No extra power, etc. Interestingly, the spare AMC325 is labeled for an ACGU20 motor and
mine is labeled for an ACGT20 motor. I'm not sure what the differences are for those
other than what the controller labels say about the max RPMs, but since they felt
basically the same, I'm wondering if maybe Solectria reprogrammed my controller as if it
was running an ACGU20 motor, and maybe that's causing some issues. Any thoughts on this?
I guess I ought to try taking a look at what settings have been programmed into it, just
to be sure.
You guys with CALB packs -- what kind of Ah/mile efficiency are you seeing with ordinary
driving? Say, 25-45 MPH in-town driving.
I just want to be sure that with this new pack I have the car running as efficiently as
possible and that nothing is out of whack. Since I saw funny things happening with the
motor and efficiency with the previous pack, I'm a little suspicious about it now. And I
thought that the higher voltage of this pack should give very good Ah/mile numbers.
I'm really happy with the batteries and getting the car back up and running and am looking
forward to getting this all running as well as it can. I'll take it for some drives
tomorrow so gather some more information, but in the meantime, any input would be appreciated.
On 11/1/2012 2:33 PM, Tom Hudson wrote:
> Yeah, I'm taking some photos of the battery box layouts before I button it all up. Gotta
> go check out how to upload them to the group here.
> I'm 4 hours into the initial charge and all is going PERFECTLY. All the batteries are
> within 0.01V of each other. The charge just went into phase 2 -- It hit 190V (~3.4V per
> battery) and is now tapering off the charge until it drops to 1A, where the charger will
> shut off. I'm just finishing off shimming the batteries in the rear box to get them nice
> and stationary.
> Good tip on the straps -- I'd never thought of that! Oh well, the ones I had from the
> NiCD pack are fine and they're in there and working, so I'll leave well enough alone. :-)
> But yeah, I have an NLG5 charger. Got REALLY tired of having to constantly futz with the
> NLG4 because it would periodically drop to half-power output when something went wrong
> inside. I kept cannibalizing other chargers and messing with keeping my Saft-version NLG4
> working that I finally just said "the [heck] with it" and bit the bullet and bought an
> NLG5. Did the same for our E-10. It needs a special adapter to connect to the Solectria
> interface box, but I went ahead and did up a slick little circuit board that does all the
> signal conversion and even has a little DIP header that you can connect one of the NLG4
> round charger connectors to so that the NLG5 plugs in just like the old charger. Really
> nice. If anyone is interested in one of these, let me know. I have some extras from my
> bulk PCB buy and can make more anytime.
> I CANNOT WAIT for this charge to complete and I get to drive the Force again. It's been a
> while since it really worked well -- The NiCDs had such a crappy voltage drop that it
> never really had much power/pickup after the conversion. When even my wife complains that
> a car is underpowered, you know something is wrong...
> On 11/1/2012 12:51 PM, geo_homsy2 wrote:
> > Tom-
> > good going! Are you going to send pics of your install?
> > A comment about those copper straps: I did quite a few end-to-end connections in my pack
> > with the CALB-100's, and I found that a bit of judicious manipulation with two pairs of
> > needle-nose pliers was enough to crimp the "bubbles" on those straps to be a little
> > higher and a little shorter, so they would fit. You only need about 3mm.
> > One trick if you're going to do this: Put a dummy screw through the ROUND hole (not the
> > slotted one) while you're manipulating the strap. This will keep the five layers from
> > skewing relative to each other.
> > Also -- you say you have an NLG5? Was that only for the NiCd vehicles? I thought most of
> > us had NLG4's.
> > //Geo
> > --- In firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:solectria_ev%40yahoogroups.com>
> <mailto:solectria_ev%40yahoogroups.com>, Tom Hudson
> > <tdhudson@...> wrote:
> > >
> > > Hi all,
> > >
> > > Well, today was a busy day -- I went through all 56 100Ah CALB battery modules and got
> > > them all sitting at ~2.75V, in preparation for assembling into a pack in my '97 Force. I
> > > had previously done a ballpark discharge to 2.75V but because I did them in groups of
> > 3 or
> > > 4, there was bound to be a little variation. Turned out to not be so much -- when I put
> > > them in the Powerlab 6 charger to do individual discharges to 2.75V, none took more than
> > > about 5 minutes to settle down to the desired voltage. It was amazingly consistent from
> > > battery to battery. As each battery completed the process, I carried them to the car and
> > > set them in the battery box, working out my final battery layout.
> > >
> > > Since my Force had previously been converted to NiCD, the front battery box is that odd
> > > two-tier box built for Saft STM-100s, and the form factor is different from the
> > > box. Turned out I was able to fit 5 batteries in the upper tier (1x5) and 15 in the
> > > tier (3x5), with the terminals exactly where I needed them! That was really nice. I
> > > needed 8 of the short interconnects from the NiCD pack -- no problem, I just cleaned
> > > up a bit to get the lugs nice and shiny. Used the nice CALB copper interconnects where I
> > > could -- Oddly, they really missed a golden opportunity with those -- they fit nicely
> > when
> > > the batteries are side by side with the batteries sharing the long axis, but if the
> > > batteries are end to end, the interconnects are too long, so I had to use some of
> the old
> > > interconnnects where the batteries were connected end-to-end. Would have been nice if
> > > they had designed the batteries so that the terminals were the same distance from each
> > side.
> > >
> > > I put the remaining 36 batteries in the rear box, and man -- is there a lot of room left
> > > in there! Since my car was set up for the high top-end voltage of the NiCDs, the DC-DC
> > > converter can handle up to 250V, and I started thinking that it might be a good idea
> > to go
> > > for the max number of batteries I can accommodate in the box and still stay under the
> > > DC-DC converter's voltage limit while under charge. If I get a chunk of spare cash
> in the
> > > next few months, I may do just that.
> > >
> > > So I got all the batteries in there and did all the interconnections, verified that
> > > was ~154V available (56 X 2.75V), and connected the main service disconnect. Up came the
> > > Ah meter and I tested the lights and they were all working. I went ahead and
> > > it after checking that all is well.
> > >
> > > Next step: tomorrow morning I reprogram the Brusa NLG5 for these batteries and charge
> > this
> > > puppy.
> > >
> > > More as it develops!
> > >
> > > -Tom
> > >
> > > --
> > > Thomas Hudson
> > > http://portev.org -- Electric Vehicles, Solar Power & More
> > > http://klanky.com -- Animation Projects
> > >
> Thomas Hudson
> http://portev.org -- Electric Vehicles, Solar Power & More
> http://klanky.com -- Animation Projects
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
http://portev.org -- Electric Vehicles, Solar Power & More
http://klanky.com -- Animation Projects
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]