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1999 Solectria Citivan Repair/Restoration

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  • adamjacknow
    Hi, 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
    Message 1 of 14 , May 29 9:01 PM
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      Hi,


      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


    • Ken Olum
      Since your van has been sitting around for two years without being charge, you will almost surely have to replace all your batteries. But you might be able to
      Message 2 of 14 , May 30 7:44 AM
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        Since your van has been sitting around for two years without being
        charge, you will almost surely have to replace all your batteries. But
        you might be able to get them charged enough to see whether the rest of
        the van is working. Your best bet is to charge them one at a time,
        slowly, and see if they will take any charge. Disconnect the two
        strings from each other before trying this. If you're using more than
        one charger at once, disconnect the different batteries being charged
        unless you're sure your chargers are isolated. Once all batteries are
        as charged as they are going to get, put everything back together and
        see whether anything works.

        Alternatively, if you are going to fix up the van anyway, regardless of
        what works and doesn't work right now, just replace all your batteries
        with the same model from Deka/East Penn/MK (or convert to lithium
        instead if you are minded to do that) and proceed from there.

        Do you know why the previous owner stopped using the van? If they just
        got tired of it, then probably everything works except the batteries.
        If they stopped because something failed, probably everything works
        except whatever failed and the batteries.

        Ken
      • adamjacknow
        Ken, Thanks for the response. This is the description of the vehicle from the previous owner s ebay listing: Hi The manufacture is Solectria and is still in
        Message 3 of 14 , May 30 8:37 AM
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          Ken,

          Thanks for the response. This is the description of the vehicle from the previous owner's ebay listing:
           
          Hi

            The manufacture is Solectria and is still in business in Boston, and the body is manufactured by Union City body Company on a Chevrolet one ton chassis and running gear with dual wheels in the back, and should have pertinent information, like weight, so I will try to add it to this listing before close.   

             This vehicle is being sold for “parts” because it does not “work”. Its all there, and was used by, and well maintained by U-Mass Amherst maintenance department, until it was retired about 3 years ago i think because some of the battery's wore out, creating a weak series link and then they let the battery's sit dead.

                Its an all aluminum truck, with only 16 thousand miles on it. The rear door and rollers are in excellent shape. The front doors don't slide, they open out on hinges like regular doors. The whole roof is heavy duty fiberglass and lets light in. The tires are in excellent condition, The whole nose opens up for access. Good glass.

              There is some juice in some of the battery's, enough to make a buzzer sound and activate the gauges, and give me a huge shock when i touched a positive battery cable, but not enough to make it “work”.

              Moveable, but really heavy so it will need an equipment trailer or equivalent to move it. The 50 or so battery's could be removed to lighten the load.

          Many more pictures are available if you ask i will send.

          Thank you for your interest

          l3ol3



          This makes it sound like the rest of the truck was in working order.


          I have removed the batteries from one bank (26 of 'em) so there shouldn't be any issues when charging them individually.


          Is a conversion to lithium as easy as buying lithium batteries with the correct ratings or do changes need to be made to the charger, ventilation system, or anything else?


          Thanks,

          Henry

        • Rick Beebe
          You ll need a new charger or to reprogram that one (if it s possible). Lithium doesn t need a ventilation system. They will also be about 1/3 the weight for
          Message 4 of 14 , May 30 8:58 AM
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            You'll need a new charger or to reprogram that one (if it's possible).
            Lithium doesn't need a ventilation system. They will also be about 1/3
            the weight for the same capacity so the van should drive like a rocket <g>

            You'll also need to re-do the cable ends where the batteries attach to
            the controller.

            The final piece is some added instrumentation (not expensive). You can't
            (practically) tell state of charge by voltage with lithium so you really
            need an amp-hour counter (coulomb counter) to get that.

            Many people will tell you you need a BMS. I am in the camp that thinks
            the available BMS's cause more problems than they solve. I believe in
            bottom balancing the cells and then using the center 85% of the charge
            curve. The very top and very bottom are where problems happen.

            --Rick

            On 05/30/2014 11:37 AM, adamjacknow@... [solectria_ev] wrote:
            >
            >
            > Is a conversion to lithium as easy as buying lithium batteries with the
            > correct ratings or do changes need to be made to the charger,
            > ventilation system, or anything else?
            >
          • Noel
            Hi; Given the voltages that you are seeing on the batteries it sounds like they are toast and will need to be replaced. Charging them individually may get you
            Message 5 of 14 , May 30 9:01 AM
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              Hi;

              Given the voltages that you are seeing on the batteries it sounds like they are toast and will need to be replaced.  Charging them individually may get you enough power to check out if the van's other components still work but please don't be tempted to charge up a few of the batteries until you get enough voltage to let the charger kick in.  If you do that you will be pumping something like 12 amps into an already full battery (the ones you have charged) and will end up killing it.  You need to charge up all the batteries individually or just replace the pack.

              Noel


              To: solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com
              From: solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Thu, 29 May 2014 21:01:32 -0700
              Subject: [solectria_ev] 1999 Solectria Citivan Repair/Restoration

               

              Hi,



              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




            • Ken Olum
              From: adamjacknow@yahoo.com [solectria_ev] Date: 30 May 2014 08:37:15 -0700 Is a conversion to lithium as easy as buying
              Message 6 of 14 , May 30 9:04 AM
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                From: "adamjacknow@... [solectria_ev]" <solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com>
                Date: 30 May 2014 08:37:15 -0700

                Is a conversion to lithium as easy as buying lithium batteries with
                the correct ratings or do changes need to be made to the charger,
                ventilation system, or anything else?

                I don't know much about it. I've always stuck with lead. But there are
                many strong advocates of lithium on this list, who will probably tell
                you what you would need to do. Certainly reprogramming the charger
                would be needed, almost certainly a battery management system, and I've
                heard that you need to put the batteries in very tight boxes that will
                hold them against expansion, but I don't really know. I've heard
                that the price of lithium batteries for the same range is only a little
                more than lead. If you put in as many lithium batteries as you could,
                your range (and expense) would be much greater.

                Ken
              • Ken Olum
                From: adamjacknow@yahoo.com [solectria_ev] Date: 30 May 2014 08:37:15 -0700 I have removed the batteries from one bank (26 of
                Message 7 of 14 , May 30 9:09 AM
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                  From: "adamjacknow@... [solectria_ev]" <solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com>
                  Date: 30 May 2014 08:37:15 -0700

                  I have removed the batteries from one bank (26 of 'em) so there
                  shouldn't be any issues when charging them individually.

                  If all 26 of these batteries will take a charge, you could disconnect
                  the others, and make a single string of 26. That should be enough for
                  testing. If not, you could try to find 26 batteries out of your 52
                  that'll will take a charge.

                  Ken
                • Ken Olum
                  From: Rick Beebe rick@beebe.org [solectria_ev] Date: Fri, 30 May 2014 11:58:26 -0400 Many people will tell you you need a BMS.
                  Message 8 of 14 , May 30 9:13 AM
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                    From: "Rick Beebe rick@... [solectria_ev]" <solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com>
                    Date: Fri, 30 May 2014 11:58:26 -0400

                    Many people will tell you you need a BMS. I am in the camp that thinks
                    the available BMS's cause more problems than they solve. I believe in
                    bottom balancing the cells and then using the center 85% of the charge
                    curve. The very top and very bottom are where problems happen.

                    Do you bottom-balance periodically, or just once when you first got
                    them, or what?

                    Ken
                  • Rick Beebe
                    Just once, hopefully. The secret is that lithium cells don t self-discharge and they don t drift. So the idea is to get them all at the same state of charge
                    Message 9 of 14 , May 30 9:55 AM
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                      Just once, hopefully.

                      The secret is that lithium cells don't self-discharge and they don't
                      drift. So the idea is to get them all at the same state of charge and
                      the pack will nicely stay together after that.

                      The easiest way to accurately do that is to drain them to the same low
                      voltage. I use 2.75 volts. I have a pack of 45 cells that I got within 3
                      hundredths of a volt last September. The vehicle still isn't ready for
                      them and when I measured them last week all but 5 were still within 3
                      hundredths and three of those five were within one-tenth volt (and I'm
                      not positive how carefully I set those last September). Two have dropped
                      more than a tenth of a volt. I'm going to mark those because if any will
                      fail it will be one of those. This weekend I'll reset those five to 2.75
                      volts and I'll remeasure them before I put them in the truck.

                      The only time I'll have to re-bottom balance is if I add or replace any
                      cells. It's a pain but it's the only way to be sure the new cells are in
                      line with the others.

                      Because there's no self-discharge you never want to float charge them.
                      That's why you need to reprogram the charger. The technique is to charge
                      to 3.5 volts per cell at up to 0.5C until you reach 3.5 volts then hold
                      the voltage until the current has reduced to 0.05C and then shut off the
                      charger.

                      Reset the coulomb counter to zero and then drive until you've used
                      80-85% of the rated Ah of the cells. I use a JLD404 from
                      lightobject.com. It has built-in relays I can use to turn on a low
                      battery light and/or switch in an extra resister to limit power to the
                      controller (hard to ignore when the vehicle will only go 25mph).

                      The only other caveat is to never connect anything to only part of the
                      pack. It's vital that all the cells charge and discharge at the same
                      time and the same rate.

                      --Rick

                      On 05/30/2014 12:13 PM, Ken Olum kdo@... [solectria_ev]
                      wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > From: "Rick Beebe rick@... [solectria_ev]"
                      > <solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com>
                      > Date: Fri, 30 May 2014 11:58:26 -0400
                      >
                      > Many people will tell you you need a BMS. I am in the camp that thinks
                      > the available BMS's cause more problems than they solve. I believe in
                      > bottom balancing the cells and then using the center 85% of the charge
                      > curve. The very top and very bottom are where problems happen.
                      >
                      > Do you bottom-balance periodically, or just once when you first got
                      > them, or what?
                      >
                      > Ken
                    • Wolf
                      Responces inline: On May 29, 2014 11:01 PM, adamjacknow@yahoo.com [solectria_ev]
                      Message 10 of 14 , May 30 9:58 AM
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                        Responces inline:

                        On May 29, 2014 11:01 PM, "adamjacknow@... [solectria_ev]" <solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                        >
                        >  
                        >
                        > Hi,
                        >
                        >
                        > 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?

                        Around 230V.

                        >
                        >  - Is there a way to test if a battery is bad other than charging them individually?

                        Isolating the stacks and then charging individualy is the best way.

                        Then after charging you can load test them and see if they are ok (test with a load resistor or 12V headlight, etc...)

                        Mostlikly they are all bad, but if you can get enough marginal batteries to hold a charge, then you could connect them in serries to get the voltage high enough to test with.

                        >
                        >  - How warm can a battery get during charging before it goes bad?
                        >

                        They should not get warm.

                        >  - If a battery heats up during charging is it bad?
                        >

                        Yup, tipicly it has a shorted cell.

                        >  - How quickly can a battery lose charge while in storage before it is unusable or considered bad?

                        Lead looses a few percent per month due to self discharge.

                        >
                        >  - How much charge can it lose while in storage before it is unusable or considered bad?

                        The typical shelf life for a lead acid battery is around 5 years.

                        >
                        >  - Should the same batteries be ordered as replacement or is there a better/cheaper alternative that will not require significant modification?
                        >

                        Use the same gel cells or upgrade to lithium-ion. Avoid AGM and wet cells.

                        >
                        > 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?

                        Not easily with out a battery pack...

                        However, (do this at your own risk) if you where to take 240AC and bridge rectify this to 340V DC, then take 3 120V 100W lights in serries.

                        Place this on the 340V DC as a load, the voltage will sag down to around 320V.

                        Then connect the output of the battery charger, observing polarity.

                        When you Then plug in the battery charger, the lights should get brighter and the voltage should jump up to around 360V.

                        >
                        >  - Will the charger charge good batteries even if bad ones are in the string?

                        I would not recommend mixing good and bad batteries .

                        >
                        >  - What is the best way to watch for individual overheating batteries when charging the whole system with the built in charger?

                        Charge and test them individually first.

                        >
                        >
                        > 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?

                        Again, do this at your own risk:

                        Not easily with out a battery pack...

                        Disconnect both battery packs.

                        Take 240AC (50-60 Amp electric dryer plug) and bridge rectify this to 340V DC, then using similar gauge wire connect this to the vehicle high voltage inputs, observing polarity.

                        Note: Don't plug into the motor controller's high voltage, power needs to be applied to the vehicle high voltage, since the DC-DC converter needs to be running to power the low voltage (12V) parts.

                        With the vehicles drive wheels on Jack stands, so they can free spin.

                        Find the regeneration/slippery/snow switch and disable regen braking.

                        Turn the key switch on, place in drive and then slowly press the throttle (you might have to go past 25%, or  50%, depending on how the motor controller is programmed. The wheels should spin... Then try reverse.

                        Don't use regen.

                        >
                        >  - How charged do the battery banks have to be in order to test the motot/How low voltage can the system operate?

                        Above 230V, the above mentioned procedure can also be used to test the DC to DC converter, lights, power steering, vacuum pump, etc...

                        >
                        >  - Should these components be opened up to check for burnt components inside?

                        No, but check all the fuses, if a fuse is blown it is likely that part is bad.
                        >
                        >
                        > 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?
                        >

                        Not sure.

                        >
                        > 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.

                        That is the battery charger undervolt/not connected to a battery error.

                        >
                        >
                        > 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
                        >
                        >
                        >

                      • EV
                        THE 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 ..
                        Message 11 of 14 , May 30 6:28 PM
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                          THE 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 DID
                           I THINK THE REST OF YOUR QUESTIONS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED HERE.
                           
                           
                           

                          From: "adamjacknow@... [solectria_ev]" <solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com>
                          Sent: Friday, May 30, 2014 12:01 AM
                          To: solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: [solectria_ev] 1999 Solectria Citivan Repair/Restoration
                           
                           

                           

                          Hi,

                           

                          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

                           

                           

                        • adamjacknow
                          Thanks, I just got that middle cover off and have had to use a combination of screw extractors and vice grips to get the screws off. Any advice on how to reach
                          Message 12 of 14 , Jun 2, 2014
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Thanks, I just got that middle cover off and have had to use a combination of screw extractors and vice grips to get the screws off. 

                            Any advice on how to reach the rear-most bolts that hold the lid of the battery box on? They are about a foot underneath the rear, cargo-area's floor and I have about 1.5" of space above the bolts that I can stick tools in.

                            -Henry


                            ---In solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com, <ev@...> wrote :

                            THE 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 DID
                             I THINK THE REST OF YOUR QUESTIONS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED HERE.
                             
                             
                             

                            From: "adamjacknow@... [solectria_ev]" <solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com>
                            Sent: Friday, May 30, 2014 12:01 AM
                            To: solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: [solectria_ev] 1999 Solectria Citivan Repair/Restoration
                             
                             

                             

                            Hi,

                             

                            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

                             

                             

                          • EV
                            RATCHING BOX WRENCH .. FROM EITHER INSIDE OR UNDERNEATH ... From: adamjacknow@yahoo.com [solectria_ev] Sent: Monday, June 02,
                            Message 13 of 14 , Jun 2, 2014
                            • 0 Attachment
                              RATCHING BOX WRENCH .. FROM EITHER INSIDE OR UNDERNEATH 
                               
                               
                               
                               

                              From: "adamjacknow@... [solectria_ev]" <solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com>
                              Sent: Monday, June 02, 2014 10:20 AM
                              To: solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com
                              Subject: re: [solectria_ev] 1999 Solectria Citivan Repair/Restoration
                               
                               

                              Thanks, I just got that middle cover off and have had to use a combination of screw extractors and vice grips to get the screws off. 

                               
                              Any advice on how to reach the rear-most bolts that hold the lid of the battery box on? They are about a foot underneath the rear, cargo-area's floor and I have about 1.5" of space above the bolts that I can stick tools in.
                               
                              -Henry


                              ---In solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com, <ev@...> wrote :
                               
                              THE 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 DID
                               I THINK THE REST OF YOUR QUESTIONS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED HERE.
                               
                               
                               

                              From: "adamjacknow@... [solectria_ev]" <solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com>
                              Sent: Friday, May 30, 2014 12:01 AM
                              To: solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com
                              Subject: [solectria_ev] 1999 Solectria Citivan Repair/Restoration
                               
                               

                               

                              Hi,

                               

                              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

                               

                               

                               

                            • adamjacknow
                              That makes a lot of sense. Thanks. -Henry
                              Message 14 of 14 , Jun 2, 2014
                              • 0 Attachment
                                That makes a lot of sense. Thanks.

                                -Henry
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