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Discussion Starter #1
Wow, it's been 8 years since I've been on here, I converted my Suzuki Kata motorcycle to electric aka Wattana and now I am back got the itch this time to convert my 1971 GMC truck, hopefully there are no purists on here.

I am re learning everything and seeing how the technology has changed and evolved, I know this forum was super helpful the first time around so I think I came back to the right place.

More importantly I need parts, what do I need? Everything, ha ha

I am planning on doing a very basic but not exactly a budget build, since I don't know what I am talking about here's what I think I want

a DC fork lift (like) motor (not going AC don't care for regenerative braking at this time)

a controller like the Curtis 1231C hoping to run 144 volts 500 amps

batteries, LiFePO 200 Ah of some sorts

GM Powergline 2 speed transmission

a charger so I can charge at 240v

Goal is 50 mile range and at times highway speeds very utilitarian truck, no AC no heater, no power or heated seats, no thrills.

again if I am saying / dreaming something stupid, please correct me and learn me something, I am here to learn

I can wrench and I can weld, but I hope to use this project to learn how to weld aluminum, I also plan on buying a mini mill or a mini lathe if I have to to make my own adapter plate and or coupling if I have to, so not afraid to get my hands dirty

Greg
Sacramento, California
P.S. would love to meet some local guys, (virus considering)
 

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... a controller like the Curtis 1231C hoping to run 144 volts 500 amps

...
Goal is 50 mile range and at times highway speeds very utilitarian truck, no AC no heater, no power or heated seats, no thrills.
500 amps at 144 volts is 72.2 kW or less than 100 hp... at one specific speed and load combination, ideally, less the losses due to controller and motor inefficiency. That will certainly provide no thrills - are you sure that you don't want to allow for more power, given that this is a relatively large vehicle with poor aerodynamics?
 

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More importantly I need parts, what do I need? I don't know what I am talking about here's what I think I want

- a DC fork lift motor
- a controller like the Curtis 1231C hoping to run 144 volts 500 amps
- batteries, LiFePO 200 Ah of some sorts
- GM Powergline 2 speed transmission
- a charger so I can charge at 240v
- Goal is 50 mile range and at times highway speeds
This is the old meta for DIY EVs.

New meta is repurposed OEM EV components.

Scratch LiFePo for sure. Nothing but problems with those and they're several times the expense.

Since you're building a truck, I'd go with the Lexus Gs450H motor and inverter (RWD), and then use Damien's control board: https://evbmw.com/index.php/evbmw-webshop/toyota-built-and-tested-boards/gs450h-vcm-fully-built-and-tested

It runs Johannes' Open Inverter software, few tweaks and you're on your way.

Should be able to get the GS450H and inverter for $500-800 or so? They're pricier than the Prius hardware but significantly beefed up. The motors are ambivalent to what drives them.

Batteries, the Volt packs are still a bargain. Avoid first gen Nissan Leaf cells. Any weird OEM batteries will be cheap (no one wants them) but a bit tricky to find.

Charger... the Prius Gen3 inverter has had one of it's (3? 4?) internal inverters repurposed as a charger, but I don't think that's made it into the Lexus stuff yet.

Look more into Damien's demo build with that hardware, you can basically copy it.

If you want to got the DC forklift route, that's fine, but then you probably want a Prius inverter, there's a schematic and working demonstration of using one of the inverters as a DC controller. Not going to find anything cheaper and better than that.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
500 amps at 144 volts is 72.2 kW or less than 100 hp... at one specific speed and load combination, ideally, less the losses due to controller and motor inefficiency. That will certainly provide no thrills - are you sure that you don't want to allow for more power, given that this is a relatively large vehicle with poor aerodynamics?
thank you Brian, what would you recommend?

from what I've gleened electric power does not directly translate to ICE horse power, so less than but close to 100 "electric" hp should do, I think, correct me if I'm wrong
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
This is the old meta for DIY EVs.

New meta is repurposed OEM EV components.

Scratch LiFePo for sure. Nothing but problems with those and they're several times the expense.

Since you're building a truck, I'd go with the Lexus Gs450H motor and inverter (RWD), and then use Damien's control board: https://evbmw.com/index.php/evbmw-webshop/toyota-built-and-tested-boards/gs450h-vcm-fully-built-and-tested

It runs Johannes' Open Inverter software, few tweaks and you're on your way.

Should be able to get the GS450H and inverter for $500-800 or so? They're pricier than the Prius hardware but significantly beefed up. The motors are ambivalent to what drives them.

Batteries, the Volt packs are still a bargain. Avoid first gen Nissan Leaf cells. Any weird OEM batteries will be cheap (no one wants them) but a bit tricky to find.

Charger... the Prius Gen3 inverter has had one of it's (3? 4?) internal inverters repurposed as a charger, but I don't think that's made it into the Lexus stuff yet.

Look more into Damien's demo build with that hardware, you can basically copy it.

If you want to got the DC forklift route, that's fine, but then you probably want a Prius inverter, there's a schematic and working demonstration of using one of the inverters as a DC controller. Not going to find anything cheaper and better than that.
Thank you so much Matt, ha ha I just discovered Damien yesterday and just started watching his channel from the beginning. I don't think I want to roll my own controller I plan on being busy doing plenty of other things.

I appreciate the detailed advice
 

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Scratch LiFePo for sure. Nothing but problems with those and they're several times the expense.
Sorry just to go off-topic a bit, cost and ease of using repurposed OEM packs aside, why would you say that LiFePO4 is "nothing but problems"?

Sounds like you're pointing to the chemistry itself, rather than the assembly of the cells into a pack? Or if it's both..., or something else?
 

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Sorry just to go off-topic a bit, cost and ease of using repurposed OEM packs aside, why would you say that LiFePO4 is "nothing but problems"?
The chemistry is delicate in odd ways (can't charge when cold or it's instant death).

But mostly, they're low volume production runs (are DIY EVs their primary market?) that are all plagued with quality problems.

Someone (Duncan?) this last year pointed out an observation, that they can't recall a single LFP build that didn't have at least one cell fail on them at some point. Meanwhile, they couldn't recall a single example of an OEM cell that had failed (other than 1st gen Nissan Leaf cells that got degraded and ruined before time of purchase).

There couldn't be a broader spectrum of quality than every car fails vs. no cars ever failed, to make the LFP vs. OEM Lithium a clear result. Even if that's not technically true (there must be examples of both), it's at least overwhelmingly generally true.

LFP are also far, far more expensive. And lower energy density.

...

The only reason to use LFPs is if you need a high voltage but small pack. OEM cells are generally only 1p, 2p at best, so they're large form factor built for the their host car. You can't chop them in half and have a pack half the size, and you probably can't fit them in a vehicle that wasn't optimized for them (or them for it). Your building blocks are too large to stuff enough series into your build.

But generally that's not an issue because you can run lower voltage just fine, no one needs a car that's still accelerating at 90mph.

I don't think I want to roll my own controller I plan on being busy doing plenty of other things.
There's no rolling your own controller.

It's pretty much plug and play for most models.

His Nissan Leaf adapter board you don't even need to take apart the case.

The Prius Gen3 replacement board is a finished product, you unscrew the original, screw the new one down into the same screw holes, plug the wires back in, done. Built in charger too.

The Lexus, I think the same.

The Prius Gen2 is all through-hole, easy-beginner soldering, but it will soon be replaced with a finished board (Johannes is actually designing a finished board on that one based on his inverter hardware, not the various shortcuts Damien made so that it was beginner kit-friendly).

The Gen2 also has a ~100A DC-DC stepdown converter that you enable with a single switch (ignition). No need to even access the rest of the inverter or replace its brains or even use it as an inverter to turn it on. Couldn't be easier. Even just that alone is a ridiculously cheap 1200w DC-DC converter ($150 inverter), if bulky.

Things are changing pretty quickly. Even the stuff Damien was working on a year ago is obsolete in the new meta. OEM inverters are clearly, clearly the way to go. Nothing else is even comparable.

And, the Open Inverter hardware boards are what almost every single EV shop is using as their engineered solution... usually uncredited because it's open source and they copied the design and threw their own logo on it.
 

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The chemistry is delicate in odd ways (can't charge when cold or it's instant death).

But mostly, they're low volume production runs (are DIY EVs their primary market?) that are all plagued with quality problems.

Someone (Duncan?) this last year pointed out an observation, that they can't recall a single LFP build that didn't have at least one cell fail on them at some point. Meanwhile, they couldn't recall a single example of an OEM cell that had failed (other than 1st gen Nissan Leaf cells that got degraded and ruined before time of purchase).

There couldn't be a broader spectrum of quality than every car fails vs. no cars ever failed, to make the LFP vs. OEM Lithium a clear result. Even if that's not technically true (there must be examples of both), it's at least overwhelmingly generally true.

LFP are also far, far more expensive. And lower energy density.

...

The only reason to use LFPs is if you need a high voltage but small pack. OEM cells are generally only 1p, 2p at best, so they're large form factor built for the their host car. You can't chop them in half and have a pack half the size, and you probably can't fit them in a vehicle that wasn't optimized for them (or them for it). Your building blocks are too large to stuff enough series into your build.

But generally that's not an issue because you can run lower voltage just fine, no one needs a car that's still accelerating at 90mph.
Thanks for the info Matt.

I had the same thoughts as you regarding higher cost and lower energy density, but with Tesla using CATL's LFP for their SR Model 3 in China, as well as BYD releasing their "blade battery" using LFP and using it to build a pretty large and good-looking Han car, I'm beginning to wonder if the recent LFP's have been engineered to be different from the LFPs of old.

If we get wrecked China Model 3 batteries to use for DIY next time, it may well be the LFP pack? (not that someone would purposely ship China Model 3s across the world!)

Link to BYD Han just in case:
https://insideevs.com/reviews/405461/byd-han-everything-we-know/
 

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thank you Brian, what would you recommend?
Something more comparable to what would be acceptable from an engine.

from what I've gleened electric power does not directly translate to ICE horse power, so less than but close to 100 "electric" hp should do, I think, correct me if I'm wrong
That's only in the fantasy world of EV enthusiasts - in fact, a horsepower is 745.7 watts or 550 ft-lbs/s regardless of whether it is being produced by an engine, an electric motor, or you legs pumping pedals.

There is an underlying reality: that engines and motors cannot produce their full rated power at all speeds, only at a specific speed or over a limited speed range, and with a modern high-voltage AC motor and controller system in an EV the range is very wide; however, you are talking about using an antique brushed DC motor so it will not have this advantage. Even with modern hardware, if you compare production EVs with comparable gasoline models the EVs are not quicker with the same rated power.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Something more comparable to what would be acceptable from an engine.


That's only in the fantasy world of EV enthusiasts - in fact, a horsepower is 745.7 watts or 550 ft-lbs/s regardless of whether it is being produced by an engine, an electric motor, or you legs pumping pedals.

There is an underlying reality: that engines and motors cannot produce their full rated power at all speeds, only at a specific speed or over a limited speed range, and with a modern high-voltage AC motor and controller system in an EV the range is very wide; however, you are talking about using an antique brushed DC motor so it will not have this advantage. Even with modern hardware, if you compare production EVs with comparable gasoline models the EVs are not quicker with the same rated power.
Thank you Brian I appreciate you taking the time, let me just say that I know very little about DC motors and absolutely nothing about AC ones, other than they are more expensive - ha ha. Given that walk me through this hypothetical scenario.

My 1971 truck weighs 3,500 lbs and has the aerodynamics of a brick. If I was to build it with something like an 11" used (non retail: NetGain) DC motor and run it with a 144 volt 500 amp controller, lets assume with proper gearing I could go 65 mph on the freeway long enough to cross a river or go over some bridge, etc. And that setup would cost X amount of dollars.

Now if I was to build an AC motor setup, my prediction is it would cost at least twice as much yet I doubt my top speed would double ie 130 mph, I am not being fecetious, I am just trying to see if the juice is worth the squeeze. In your guestimation how much faster would the AC truck be, and would I have to increase my battery back voltage? I think AC motors like more volts cause they are all about higher revs, so now the battery back grow, so the cost triples. I am just pissing in the wind here so please don't think I am being argumentative for arguments sake, I'm trying to learn.
 

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Just to echo the GS450h suggestion:
2 speed automatic gearbox / motors - $450 + shipping (sometimes $300!)
$60-80 in misc connectors
Inverter - $350-550
Damien's VCU (Vehicle Control Unit) - $350 I think

Contactors, normal stuff - same for DC and this..

Batteries - Thunderstruk-EV has LG / Chrysler Pacifica batteries for $450 for 2.6 kWh ~45 LBs a piece. Buy 6 of them for 2700 and about 250 for pallet shipping.

Charger - Lear / Chevy Volt chargers are ~$600 for 3.3kW.

Good starting question - what's your budget?

-Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
So two things I would like to share:

first I am now leaning towards the Zeva MC1000 controller if I stay on the DC path which will give me 144 volts and 1000 amps (peak I realize that)

second where do you source that Lexus GS450H electric motor, I consider myself pretty resourceful, yet I've searched the Sacramento, San Francisco, Lost Angeles Craigslists and no dice, I also searched eBay. I am going to reach out to our local wrecking\dismantler yards next and report back what I find, I'm just pointing out that this is not a common easily accessible motor.

just came across this nice 1994 GMC Sonoma truck build http://www.evalbum.com/5347 with a top speed of 80 MPH and a 60 mile range (I can live with that)

Motor: HPEVS AC51
Controller: Curtis 1239e-8521
Batteries: CALB SE100AHA 100Ah
 

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second where do you source that Lexus GS450H electric motor, I consider myself pretty resourceful, yet I've searched the Sacramento, San Francisco, Lost Angeles Craigslists and no dice, I also searched eBay. I am going to reach out to our local wrecking\dismantler yards next and report back what I find, I'm just pointing out that this is not a common easily accessible motor.
Inverter: https://www.ebay.com/itm/HYBRID-DC-Inverter-Converter-2007-07-LEXUS-GS450-HYBRID-GS450H-Stk-L177C32/272079366543

Transmission: In this case it's not a stand-alone motor, which is perhaps why you had some trouble finding it. It's a full-on auto gearbox. It's just a 2 speed gearbox, that happens to have some electric motors in it.

This one looks good: https://www.ebay.com/itm/2007-LEXUS-GS405h-HYBRID-AUTOMATIC-TRANSMISSION-97k-miles-TESTED-OEM-30910-30021/114145631914 But it's NOT. See that hole on the side? That's where the electric oil pump goes. They're nearly impossible to find if not on the transmission.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Automatic-Transmission-Fits-2008-2009-2010-2011-Lexus-GS450H-OEM/372707958225
That one has it, but may need some more wiring. Easier to get / make wiring than a pump. ;)

You also need an oil pump motor controller, not sure how much that is (Damien said $50 - $180 depending on availability)

Have you seen the videos / thread on the 'BEXUS'? GS450h gearbox / controller in a 7 series giant.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eRWR5xXItc

https://openinverter.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=96

-Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Transmission: In this case it's not a stand-alone motor, which is perhaps why you had some trouble finding it. It's a full-on auto gearbox. It's just a 2 speed gearbox, that happens to have some electric motors in it.
-Matt
thank you so much Matt, just offered the guys in Rancho $400 for it we'll see what happens, I still don't know anything about these so its a crap shoot
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Just to echo the GS450h suggestion:
2 speed automatic gearbox / motors - $450 + shipping (sometimes $300!)
$60-80 in misc connectors
Inverter - $350-550
Damien's VCU (Vehicle Control Unit) - $350 I think

Contactors, normal stuff - same for DC and this..

Batteries - Thunderstruk-EV has LG / Chrysler Pacifica batteries for $450 for 2.6 kWh ~45 LBs a piece. Buy 6 of them for 2700 and about 250 for pallet shipping.

Charger - Lear / Chevy Volt chargers are ~$600 for 3.3kW.

Good starting question - what's your budget?

-Matt
Thanks Matt so I am seriously considering the GS450H route, however my prices in California are much higher

GS450H Transmission - $1,200 (this is the 147 kW, 197 hp 2013-2020 model stripped down no pump no low voltage harness)

Transmission Pump - $1,500 (this is nuts)

Transmission Pump Controller - $ ? (the pump itself needs a little baby controller)

Inverter - $700 no haness of any kind

Damien's VCU - $385 in dollars vs pounds

now even with these higher prices I am still interested but thought I would give some feedback since I am in Sacramento, CA and these prices are from one of the largest dismantlers in the nation here in Rancho Cordova only 20 miles from my house so I can pick them up and not have to pay shipping
 

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Thanks Matt so I am seriously considering the GS450H route, however my prices in California are much higher

GS450H Transmission - $1,200 (this is the 147 kW, 197 hp 2013-2020 model stripped down no pump no low voltage harness)

Transmission Pump - $1,500 (this is nuts)

Transmission Pump Controller - $ ? (the pump itself needs a little baby controller)

Inverter - $700 no haness of any kind

Damien's VCU - $385 in dollars vs pounds

now even with these higher prices I am still interested but thought I would give some feedback since I am in Sacramento, CA and these prices are from one of the largest dismantlers in the nation here in Rancho Cordova only 20 miles from my house so I can pick them up and not have to pay shipping
Wow, those local prices are crazy! At that point I'd just take the shipping hit on ebay.

But yes, that's why I said make sure the transmission has the pump attached. :)

All I will say at this point is I'd keep my options open, but I'd try and run as much of the numbers as possible (vs range/perf) to see what makes the most sense.

-Matt
 
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