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We are doing a conversion for our company vehicle. I am very familiar with the smaller Curtis, Alltrax, and Logisystem controllers. However, I am a novice when It comes to the higher end controllers and motors. I have heard a lot of good things about the Soliton, but for half the price I can get the 120v Curtis. I have a customer here in town, getting great results with the Curtis at about 50 miles per charge, with daily freeway use. We are on a tight budget for this project, but will be spending a lot of it on the controller. We have a great inside connection for AC drives and AC motors, but not for DC/AC inverters. :( What is the best higher voltage dc controller for the buck?

Until someone creates an affordable DC/AC inverter like Prius, DC is where we are heading with this project.

The Prius inverter might work, we will be trying to gather the 280+ volts it needs to start testing it. (Sorted through years of info and wiring diagrams, but still no headway besides basic inputs and outputs.)

Prius Inverter


In conclusion, what's the best controller for the money?
I can get top of the line AC motors, so will the Prius Inverter work in a stand alone enviroment?
 
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Discussion Starter #3
@ dtbaker,

Thank you for your input, I really appreciate it.

What kind of flexibility do others offer? Computer programmable? This project's second phase includes a diesel generator, I may need the flexibility.

I was maybe looking into the AC curtis with the Regen capability, so I could send the generator power into the aux regen input (if it has one, I also hear they can get pretty hot). Does the Soliton or any of the big namers have regen capabilities? Not so much for diverting the generator power to, I will do that with a separate system, but for extending the range with the regen.

I wanted to take a solid 40-50 mile range system, then experiment with the generator from there.

Thanks again,

Brian
 

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What kind of flexibility do others offer? Computer programmable? This project's second phase includes a diesel generator, I may need the flexibility.
I don't know much about settable parameters for the Zilla, Solitron, etc. I think you can dial in amp limits, regen limits for the AC ones, etc. I dunno if any of those settings would be affected whether a generator is present or not since the controller just manages the volts/amps out, except for the AC regen. If you are talking AC its a whole different ballgame.

My personal feeling is that the cost/benefit from AC regen for 10-20% extra range is just not there compared to paying a little more for more batteries in a simple DC motor/controller.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
I agree with you about regen, and for now will stick to a simple setup. This will keep most of the new problems possible limited to the generator hook up only.

Thanks again

Brian
 

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I have heard a lot of good things about the Soliton, but for half the price I can get the 120v Curtis.
[disclaimer - I designed the Soliton1 hardware and so apologies in advance for the inevitable "sales spiel"]

You are comparing apples and oranges here. If the much higher power output and more advanced design of the Soliton1 isn't important or necessary for your project then it doesn't make sense to choose it over the Curtis, but if you are truly interested in who delivers the best motor controller value then the Soliton1 is seriously hard to beat. For example, the continuous power output of the Soliton1 is 4x higher than the peak power output of the Curtis 1231C, making it a relative bargain in that respect.

The Soliton1 is a 1000A controller while the 1231C is a 500A, so in that respect the relative costs are equivalent (ignoring the fact that the Soliton1 can deliver 1000A continuous with liquid cooling).

The Soliton1 uses a modern digital microcontroller design which allows you to change parameters and settings through a web page interface while the Curtis uses an analog comparator based circuit that was designed about 30 years ago and is about as dumb as a box of rocks.

Now whether any of the benefits of the Soliton1 are worth the price of admission is totally up to the individual, however.

That said, we understand that most people simply don't need that much power and/or can't really justify the nearly $3k cost of the Soliton1 so we are about to release a half-power version of the controller - rated at 300V/500A - which will cost just a little more than a Curtis 1231C and hopefully render moot any argument as to which is the better choice for a smaller and/or budget EV conversion. Expected release date for the lower power controller is down to a few weeks at this point. [/sales spiel]


I can get top of the line AC motors, so will the Prius Inverter work in a stand alone enviroment?
Unlikely, as it requires the presence of many engine and powertrain sensors to operate and it's a rather small inverter, anyway. I've heard that someone has hacked into the ECM for the Prius inverter and managed to get it to sort of work, but I'm fuzzy on the details. A search on "hack prius inverter" turned up the same message posted to several forums which usually spells spam. Dunno. YMMV, literally.
 

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That said, we understand that most people simply don't need that much power and/or can't really justify the nearly $3k cost of the Soliton1 so we are about to release a half-power version of the controller - rated at 300V/500A - which will cost just a little more than a Curtis 1231C and hopefully render moot any argument as to which is the better choice for a smaller and/or budget EV conversion. Expected release date for the lower power controller is down to a few weeks at this point. [/sales spiel]
Ok, I don't want to steal this thread.. but I have to ask/comment.. What will the peak of this new controller be? 500a peak...? Why not even 600? Just a BIT more than the Curtis. Is there a thread I've missed where you talk about the new controller? I would love a Soliton in my next conversion, but just can't quite justify 3k for the controller alone.
 

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What will the peak of this new controller be? 500a peak...? Why not even 600? Just a BIT more than the Curtis. Is there a thread I've missed where you talk about the new controller?..
There isn't a specific thread about the 300V/500A controller, just several mentions of it here and there (not unlike this post).

As to why it won't be rated for 600A peak, that is mainly because IGBT modules come in distinct voltage and current ratings and the really big ones are only available in 1200V and higher voltages (and higher voltage IGBTs cost more). Also, we need to derate the IGBTs to accommodate thermal lag in the heatsink. It just so happens that the newest IGBT modules have temperature sensors built into them, though, so that may allow us to run closer to the stated current rating of the module, but that won't be known until real-world testing is done on the beta units.

That said, 600A is 20% more than 500A, which is "a bit more" than my interpretation of what "a bit more" means... ;)
 

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There isn't a specific thread about the 300V/500A controller, just several mentions of it here and there (not unlike this post).
hmmm, well I will be anxiously awaiting further development on this less expensive version. I like everything I've read about the Soliton 1 - except the price. Isn't that always the case? And really, I just don't need 1000amps.
 
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I agree the Soiltion is BA, and would love to have and use one. The thought of a smaller amp version is great. I would use them in my kits from now on. I used to use the higher amperage controllers like the 700 amp and above, but it was hard to keep foot off the pedal to save that double amp output I was using, double the amps, half the range for me. Once again, I think the Soliton is awesome, programmable, and liquid cooled, but will I get more range with the extra $1500? Does it have a current limit you can set, so I could set them for my customers? I know watching your ampmeter and keeping your power output low is fine for us ev'ers, but I need to look out for the average Joe.

Thanks for everyones input. I have heard so much good things about Soliton and will definitely purchase the 1000 amp version, and the smaller version once it is released.
 

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I don't want more than 500, and really only need 300, to avoid killing 100ah cells 'by accident'.
Not a problem.

To begin with motor amps are higher or equal to battery amps so even 100 Ah-cells can handle motor amps as high as the S1's maximum 1000 Amps, but only up to a motor voltage up to 30% of pack voltage. Also, the Soliton allows you to set a limit to both maximum motor and battery current separatedly so if you limit the controller to a maximum battery current to, say, 300 Amps it will still allow you to set motor current to a higher current without risking your batteries.
 

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To begin with motor amps are higher or equal to battery amps so even 100 Ah-cells can handle motor amps as high as the S1's maximum 1000 Amps, but only up to a motor voltage up to 30% of pack voltage.

perhaps a little remedial lesson in amps 101? I don't understand....
If I have a 8"DC motor, with a 400 amp limit, and a 120v pack of 100ah batteries... How much can I pull when?

d
 
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Are you using an ampmeter to watch your current usage? If not you need to, this will show you how much your actually using. Also, you will be able to try yo use the throttle less to save battery power. I'm sure more threads are coming our way....
 

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Are you using an ampmeter to watch your current usage?
uuuhhhh, yes. I do have an ammeter. My question is just to gain a better understanding of how 'motor amps' can be different than 'battery amps' so I can understand how a new-tech expensive controller capable of 1000 amps would do me any good versus a more modest old one that is limited at 400amps (within my motor rating and under 5C burst rating for batteries).
 

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My question is just to gain a better understanding of how 'motor amps' can be different than 'battery amps' so I can understand how a new-tech expensive controller capable of 1000 amps would do me any good versus a more modest old one that is limited at 400amps (within my motor rating and under 5C burst rating for batteries).
Hi dt,

Seems like I, or Tesseract, have explained this multiple times. It took me longer to search this down than it would have to written it over again. There really should be some type of index on the site. Oh well, look at this thread, http://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46017 Posts #8 and 9 in particular.

All controllers use motor current as the "current limit" rating. But with the newer ones, you can also set a battery current limit. This allows you have high motor current at low RPM yet not overtax your batteries at higher speeds.

Regards,

major
 

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Hi dt,

Seems like I, or Tesseract, have explained this multiple times. It took me longer to search this down than it would have to written it over again. There really should be some type of index on the site. Oh well, look at this thread, http://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46017 Posts #8 and 9 in particular.

All controllers use motor current as the "current limit" rating. But with the newer ones, you can also set a battery current limit. This allows you have high motor current at low RPM yet not overtax your batteries at higher speeds.

Regards,

major
Okay, to make sure I understand, let me try and sum up. The controller uses pulse width modulation (PWM) to make it so that your 200v (or whatever) pack is delivering an appropriate amount of voltage (say 100v) to accomplish the work being asked (current work load). This difference in the actual voltage delivered to the motor and the nominal pack voltage is the reason for the difference between battery amps and motor amps, yes?
 

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...with the newer ones, you can also set a battery current limit. This allows you have high motor current at low RPM yet not overtax your batteries at higher speeds.

ok, starting to make sense.... so with a 'modern' controller i might get better acceleration off the line, still without killing batteries from 3C+ draw.
 

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This difference in the actual voltage delivered to the motor and the nominal pack voltage is the reason for the difference between battery amps and motor amps, yes?
In simple terms, you pretty much have it. Difference, eh, more of a ratio type of thing. Similar to the transformation ratio primary to secondary with AC transformers, or speed torque ratios with gear sets. Neglecting some minor loss in the controller (or transformer or gear set), power in equals power out, in all these cases.

Regards,

major
 
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