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Arc 1 Conversion Journal 3/3/2012

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Posted 03-03-2012 at 01:32 PM by AviatorBJP

It has been about 5 months since I posted my first blog about converting my car to electricity. My professional life has kept me busy, but I still have made good progress on my conversion.

Winter 2011-2012:

Engine Bay and Under-car: The car is now completely gas-less. No engine, no fuel tank, no alternator, pumps, radiators, exhaust pipes, or muffler. I was also able to strip a good 2/3rds of the wiring from the car as they were directly related to ICE components. I only need existing wiring for lights, horns, wipers, rear defroster, etc. The bay and belly are now clean of all grease; estimated 2 gallons of crud stuck to the bottom of the car that is now gone.

Interior: After general cleaning, I have pulled out the seats and carpets; I am beginning to reupholster the interior. This car will have two-tone imitation-leather seating; black and cream. Carpet color is undecided as of yet.

Dashboard: I have removed the dash to allow me to work on the car's systems. The climate control system is now separated and I am ready to install the ceramic heating element in the place of the heater core. The air conditioning evaporator is now able to be converted to my cold water heat exchanger.

Instrument Cluster: I have created a bill of materials for my new instrumentation system. I will be using a GPS speedometer and odometer (The state of Utah does not care about ODO readings after the car is 10 years old). For tachometer, I will be using a sensor ring on the second shaft end of the motor connected to a new instrument. Motor volts, amps, temperature will be showed on 2 inch round dials in the place of oil temp, 12V battery voltage, and fuel level. A new 'A' pillar instrument cluster will show battery pack volts, amps, and DOD. In place of the dome light, a custom control unit will be installed regulating EV systems such as the controller and charger.

Picking a Motor: I have spent many nights deciding on motors. After much back and forth, I have picked one. I bought an Advanced DC X91-4001. This is a 6.7" motor that is typically used in smaller cars. But in the theme of remaining true to my build philosophy, it is fully capable of handling my actual driving conditions, but doesn't exceed it by far. I am not building a dragster. I am building a commuter car for a city with 45MPH speed limits.

Motor Calculations: I spend many hours working on vehicle performance calculations, and some of the results are available for viewing on the ARC 1 garage entry. Looks like theoretical top speed on level ground is 90MPH.

Motor arrives: I went to pick up my motor from UPS on one evening. I had been so excited for the last week while it was on its way. As soon as I saw the box though, I new something was terribly wrong. The shaft was poking out the side of the box, and it is obvious the motor was dropped along its drive axis. I demanded immediate inspection. The motor was completely locked up. I think UPS must have crushed the bearings. I refused the shipment, filed a claim, and as of today am awaiting word if a new motor is coming. Needless to say that I was pissed at UPS, who, like any 'good' corporate entity, is denying any responsibility.

Adapter Plate: I have a couple options. First, someone on the forums has offered to sell an adapter from one of their former conversions. I still need to verify it it will work in my application. I have yet to see photos. Second, a local EV buisiness, operated by Carl Clark, builds custom adapter plates for $420, and builds previously constructed plates for about $360. You can see these at www.electriccarinternational.com.

Transmission: The transmission is drained and polished now. I have discovered a small BB sized hole in the case around the differential gear that appears to be caused by manufacturing defects. I have learned several repair techniques from my mechanic genius brother in law. With any luck, this transmission will not leak oil ever again.

Steering rack: I have pulled out the old power steering rack, and cleaned it up. I attempted to buy a manual rack, but the company said they don't actually have one to sell. They just wanted to refurbish the one I had. They couldn't wrap their heads around the idea I wanted a manual rack, even though I have a car with a power rack. I am considering saving money by looping the lines and just using extra muscle power for steering. I am also considering using a small hydraulic pump that I can turn on and off inside the cabin to assist in low speed situations.

Controller: I am currently researching controllers and will most likely build an Open Revolt Controller. 144 volts and 500 amps will work just fine for my driving, but I am interested in using the driver board to power higher voltage Mosfets, so that I could run a 192 volt battery pack to increase range an efficiency.

Batteries: I will be using Absorbed Glass Mat, Deep Cycle, Sealed Lead Acid Batteries. AGMs have amazing attributes even though they have less AH capacity than a similar sized flooded lead acid battery. The batteries of choice at the moment is the Werker brand from Batteries Plus, 12 Volt, 55AH, Deep Cycle. I have been offered a substantial discount for bulk purchases. I am looking about $100 per battery, and no shipping costs as a bonus.


Charger: currently leaning towards the Elcon brand. Very good prices. Also considering the Open Revolt Charger that is under development.

That's about all I have to share at the moment. I will be loading a bunch of pictures of the project once I am back in town. I am still hoping on having the project done by mid summer.

Thanks for the support everybody.
-AviatorBJP
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