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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been setting up my demo board for my AC-50. The controller I am using is a Curtis 1238 96 volt 550 amp controller. I got the basics setup and finally got the motor to actually turn but not like I was expecting. The motor is cogging when I throttle up. But I at least have power and movement and no codes. Next will be setting up the computer to talk with the controller. I may need to do something to get the motor to work with the AC-50. It is not a matched set so some auto configuration may been required. I was looking for an older Curtis Manual from Curtis and also from HPEVS. I want both. If anyone has a controller manual for the older models I would love to have one. I'll be getting pics and video soon. I had a 64 VW Bug delivered today. It needs work but it is a decent base. I may have to do a weld patch on a couple spots but it is mostly for a beater EV. My other one will be restored so it will be a nice looking one. I just want a driver.

Pete :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I switched to another controller and now Im not getting any movement but the controller is heating up. There are no faults and all looks good and ready to go. The contactor is also getting hot. I use 12volt key to switch the solenoid and the controller provides the power to the large contactor. I have a 24v contactor but I think I need to use a 48v one as HPEVS has recommended a higher voltage contactor. It did not get that hot with the older controller. Anyway, I tested the voltage and I do get 5 volts but when I monitor the throttle I am not even getting 1 volt when at full throttle. The wiring harnesses are correct. I now have my computer program connected to gain access to all the parameters. There is a bunch of parameters so one must be very very careful not to muck with too much. I do have OEM access to everything. I also have the hand held programmer. I like the computer better. Easier to work with. I am not sure if the encoder is any good with the AC-50 motor. I will swap out the AC-35 next to see how it responds. The encoder settings are correct.

Anyone with any ideas?

Pete :)
 

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I have lots of ideas :) Okay, so you have the programmers. You should be looking at the diagnostics, stuff like throttle demand, current, and anything else that may indicate what is the controller doing so that it's getting hot. Some contactors get hot as part of their normal operation, especially those without economizers. Make sure your PWM settings are correct for the contactor though given the coils are lower than your pack voltage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Curtis controllers use contactors without economizers. The HPEVS default settings should get the motor running without issue.

Yes, I have the the OEM computer programmer and the hand held OEM computer programmer. Both are functioning just fine.

What are your ideas?
 

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Curtis expects a contactor without an economizer, but Curtis allows you to program the holding duty cycle - if you have it open all the way, then the contactor may get hot.

I already said - you want to see where is that current going through the diagnostics and why. Controller shouldn't be getting hot doing nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Curtis expects a contactor without an economizer, but Curtis allows you to program the holding duty cycle - if you have it open all the way, then the contactor may get hot.

I already said - you want to see where is that current going through the diagnostics and why. Controller shouldn't be getting hot doing nothing.
I think it is doing something. Just not what Im expecting. I was expecting it to just fire up. There are not that many wires to deal with on these controllers. I just need the absolute basic setup for now. Im not even concerned about the contactor getting hot after a few hours of mucking around with this. So my next move is to swap motors. My other motor is an AC-35 with an internal encoder vs the external encoder. I think the controller is trying to run the motor but it is not moving. Not sure why. I need a parameter check with someone who has an HPEVS motor working.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So off to change the percentage of power for my contactor or just change it to my 48volt contactor. So what do I do. I'll change the percentage. Now to try to get the throttle to work. I know the throttles work but they are not working with this. Maybe another percentage thing to adjust or something.
 

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"Something is broken" - that's not the engineering way. You have to quantify the symptoms, decompose a large problem into smaller workable units, etc. Otherwise you might as well just post these to Twitter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
"Something is broken" - that's not the engineering way. You have to quantify the symptoms, decompose a large problem into smaller workable units, etc. Otherwise you might as well just post these to Twitter.
Here is how the (broke) system plays out. First nothing is broken. It has to be with the wiring up of the system in a basic format to get the motor to run. That is all I want right now. Just to spin the motor. Once that is done I can go through the system adding components as needed. I can't get the 2 wire pot to work of which I have three that all work on my DC system. I have one 3 throttle position which works with my DC system. The only fault I have gotten using two different motors and two different controllers and two different wire harnesses is a wiper high fault. No other faults. On the old controller I am using a 24v contactor and changed the parameters for that and it still heats up. On the newer controller with the HPEVS software I changed the contactor to a 24v and lowered the percentage to be sure it stayed open and it no longer heated up. So that was one positive move I did today. I played with the this today for hours this evening and got nearly no advancement. I can however use the newer controller and keep the contactor from heating up. Still no movement. With the older controller if I connect two wires when I turn it on the motor slowly spins without any throttle input. That is with either the two or three wire throttle. I do switch to the correct throttle when I either use the two or three wire before trying and I do cycle the controller to be sure the changes are kept in the controller. All the parameters look good on both controllers. I have been following the wires that are said to be used for the throttle from the connector to the component. So when I did get the one controller to move the motor the I had some jerky movement and the wires from the motor to the controller bounce around but the motor still does not really spin and during that short brief shaking of the wires the wires get real hot and the heatsink of the controller heats up.

Any suggestions? I'll post the video of the wires bouncing around when I did get the motor to somewhat turn. Can't leave it on long as it will get real hot. So something is happening. It will not happen with the newer controller. Nothing changed when I changed motors so the motors are fine. My AC-35 is new and so is the 1238 650 amp controller. That controller will not move the motor. Only the old 1238 550 amp controller will do that weird thing with the motor and wires.

 

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That is all I want right now. Just to spin the motor. Once that is done I can go through the system adding components as needed. I can't get the 2 wire pot to work of which I have three that all work on my DC system.
You don't need to worry about the motor to troubleshoot / tune the throttle. You have the programmer. Configure the throttle type, then use the diagnostics menu to see what the raw values are, and what is the computed throttle demand is (that one also takes direction switch into account). You likely have incorrect dead band settings, but all of that is fixable if you just use a method for solving a problem instead of jumping back and forth :)

I assume your controller was provided by HPEVs, then pay attention to where you monkey with the throttle - it's not in the main menu, but rather in the "user settings" or something like that. HPEVs has a VCL that overrides some settings including throttle when the controller starts up by copying some values from that menu. Also HPEVs VCL doesn't support 5k-0 throttles, so hopefully yours are 0-5k ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You don't need to worry about the motor to troubleshoot / tune the throttle. You have the programmer. Configure the throttle type, then use the diagnostics menu to see what the raw values are, and what is the computed throttle demand is (that one also takes direction switch into account). You likely have incorrect dead band settings, but all of that is fixable if you just use a method for solving a problem instead of jumping back and forth :)

I assume your controller was provided by HPEVs, then pay attention to where you monkey with the throttle - it's not in the main menu, but rather in the "user settings" or something like that. HPEVs has a VCL that overrides some settings including throttle when the controller starts up by copying some values from that menu. Also HPEVs VCL doesn't support 5k-0 throttles, so hopefully yours are 0-5k ones.
I would assume the controller is set up for any type throttle you have and you just need to select the throttle type and wire it up according to the type which I have done. I know where the user values are located and where to change them. Just no book telling you HOW To change them and to what and why you might want to do that. I assume the package comes ready to run out of the box in its basic format. I have looked into the VCL. There is no instructions on HOW to do the setting up of specific things if they don't work as expected. Im not just willy nilly jumping back and forth. I did need to be sure it was not the controller or motor. It is not so that has been ruled out. Configuring the software without knowing HOW is dangerous. I would hate to brick an expensive controller.

Check out the video I posted. Like I said in my other posts. The throttles I have are Curtis Throttles sold with the HPEVS kit. They are the two wire PB-6 throttles. I have a bunch and they all work on my DC Setup. Same with my 3 wire throttle like you can buy from EVWest. This is what I have and EVWest has a cheaper replacement that is exactly like this one. Evnetics Billet Aluminum Throttle Potentiometer, EV West - Electric Vehicle Parts, Components, EVSE Charging Stations, Electric Car Conversion Kits
 

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I tried to advise you on the way I'd troubleshoot it. Not much I can add to that.

Regarding the "book", HPEVS has the documentation specific to their VCL. Here is one link for example : https://www.hpevs.com/Site/images/j...rogram_Instructions_REV_A_VER_5.13_9_5_18.pdf They describe the software version identification so you can use the correct doc from them. It's a bit confusing, because they repurpose some of the Curtis terminology, but it may have a different meaning. Specifically, Throttle Type in HPEVS context is different from Throttle Type described in the Curtis docs, watch out for that. And of course their kits are meant to be programmed using the Spy Glass and the menu button, but it can all be done via the User Settings menu.

My kit didn't come with a throttle or a contactor. I am skeptical it's intended to work out of the box even if yours came with extra accessories. Motor was pre-characterized, and that's about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I tried to advise you on the way I'd troubleshoot it. Not much I can add to that.

Regarding the "book", HPEVS has the documentation specific to their VCL. Here is one link for example : https://www.hpevs.com/Site/images/j...rogram_Instructions_REV_A_VER_5.13_9_5_18.pdf They describe the software version identification so you can use the correct doc from them. It's a bit confusing, because they repurpose some of the Curtis terminology, but it may have a different meaning. Specifically, Throttle Type in HPEVS context is different from Throttle Type described in the Curtis docs, watch out for that. And of course their kits are meant to be programmed using the Spy Glass and the menu button, but it can all be done via the User Settings menu.

My kit didn't come with a throttle or a contactor. I am skeptical it's intended to work out of the box even if yours came with extra accessories. Motor was pre-characterized, and that's about it.
So just in simple terms since your's didn't come with a throttle or contactor what actually did YOU change to make it work? I have the contactor issue done. As for the throttle! There is either type 1, 2 or 3. I have both 2 and 3. The wires connecting them is pretty straight forward.

PS. I have every damn manual I could find and been through them all. I am missing something for sure but extra ideas and thoughts. I highly doubt switching from the handheld or computer to the spyglass will make a lick of difference in programming these things. The spyglass is for user and not OEM so the basic things are available there. Im not using the OEM for basic user functionality but I am also not changing OEM parameters because it was configured from HPEVS. Should only need to pick a throttle and wire it up accordingly. I'll go the spyglass route which by the way is the most annoying way. The computer is much easier. You just go straight to the part you need to configure.
 

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So just in simple terms since your's didn't come with a throttle or contactor what actually did YOU change to make it work?
Throttle Type had to be set. After which I used the diagnostics menu to verify throttle input is interpreted like I would expect. One of the things I did was to setup a demand curve that's not linear, so my throttle has a lot more fine control at low speed.
 

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cricketo has already tried several ways to tell you to monitor the throttle inputs via your interface. I would recommend the handheld for monitoring vs the PC software, but that's just my preference.
That said, this looks less like a throttle setting problem and more like an encoder or phase connection problem. Maybe just the "swap 2 phases" setting or "reverse encoder direction" setting will get things moving, however they may be worded differently on your software.
With no throttle applied, go to and observe: monitor---motor----motor speed--- and turn back and forth the motor by hand if you can (probably tough with the AC current it is applying to dance the cables).

For later: with the contactor PWM clicking, it sounds like you can tune that further. Use the 48V coil contactor if possible.
 

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Pulled up my programmer to refresh my memory regarding all the settings (and the terminology, since I sometimes mix up Curtis and Sevcon). So most important thing, in Monitor/Inputs there are the following values of interest :

Mapped Throttle - throttle demand as calculated based on all the settings as a percentage. When you're "flooring" it, it should get close to 100% or whatever.
Throttle Pot - voltage it's picking up on your throttle input. Again, should change within a reasonable range as you're manipulating the throttle. Should easily see if there is an electrical issue, or the throttle type is misconfigured if the voltage doesn't seem to change within an expected range.

Under User Settings / Throttle Settings :

Throttle Type - throttle type according the HPEVS docs, not Curtis docs. For example, Type 1 will map to Curtis type 2 (this value will be under Parameters/Throttle menu as Throttle Type and should not be changed directly), if I remember correctly.
Deadband - controller will ignore throttle input until the voltage reaches that level. When I was messing with the Throttle Types, this value was getting messed up. So worth double checking it's set to what's expected.
Throttle Max - opposite voltage. Basically the voltage that controller will consider as "full throttle." Same as above, should be within the correct range after throttle type is set.

Regarding the deadband stuff above... If the throttle input is ~5v at 0%, and ~0v at 100%, then deadband would be something like ~4.5v and max would be something near 0v. If it's the opposite, 0v at 0% and 5v at 100%, then dead band will be ~0.5v and ~5v for max. That is regardless of whether the throttle is a pot, or a voltage source.

In the end, if the Mapped Throttle says 100%, but the motor is doing what it's doing in the video, throttle is fine and we go to the next thing to troubleshoot. Engineering method, not the guess work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Pulled up my programmer to refresh my memory regarding all the settings (and the terminology, since I sometimes mix up Curtis and Sevcon). So most important thing, in Monitor/Inputs there are the following values of interest :

Mapped Throttle - throttle demand as calculated based on all the settings as a percentage. When you're "flooring" it, it should get close to 100% or whatever.
Throttle Pot - voltage it's picking up on your throttle input. Again, should change within a reasonable range as you're manipulating the throttle. Should easily see if there is an electrical issue, or the throttle type is misconfigured if the voltage doesn't seem to change within an expected range.

Under User Settings / Throttle Settings :

Throttle Type - throttle type according the HPEVS docs, not Curtis docs. For example, Type 1 will map to Curtis type 2 (this value will be under Parameters/Throttle menu as Throttle Type and should not be changed directly), if I remember correctly.
Deadband - controller will ignore throttle input until the voltage reaches that level. When I was messing with the Throttle Types, this value was getting messed up. So worth double checking it's set to what's expected.
Throttle Max - opposite voltage. Basically the voltage that controller will consider as "full throttle." Same as above, should be within the correct range after throttle type is set.

Regarding the deadband stuff above... If the throttle input is ~5v at 0%, and ~0v at 100%, then deadband would be something like ~4.5v and max would be something near 0v. If it's the opposite, 0v at 0% and 5v at 100%, then dead band will be ~0.5v and ~5v for max. That is regardless of whether the throttle is a pot, or a voltage source.

In the end, if the Mapped Throttle says 100%, but the motor is doing what it's doing in the video, throttle is fine and we go to the next thing to troubleshoot. Engineering method, not the guess work.
Throttle voltage is at .52 volts minimum from monitoring the throttle input. The Dead band is at 3.0v and max voltage from monitoring is 4.82v. I have a 0 to 5 three wire pot. Im mapping out the wire harness and I am using the HPEVS bare bones wire schematic for a basic get it up and running. Some of the wires from my harness are not the same color code so Im fixing the color code so I don't get confused looking for a wire color that is not present. The colors are what are messed up on a couple wires and all else looks great.

I did swap out the Supplied Killovac Contactor and believe it has some kind of economizer in it as I checked the pack voltage across the contactor and on the hot side it is at 112 volts and the other side after turning it on it read 96 volts. With the new contactor I am getting proper pack voltage to the controller. The Killovac contactor will be use only in a DC setup. I am using the gigavac 48v contactor now. I'll post after I do a couple more moves. Still no movement on the newer controller. I only get movement on the old controller with Curtis software only. I pulled that controller for now.
 

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0.52v sounds reasonable at 0%. What is the voltage at full throttle, 4.82v ? What is the Mapped Throttle at full ?

Dead band at 3.0v seems high. If basically your throttle voltage range is 0.52-4.82v, it effectively doesn't do anything until you move the pot past 2/3 of its travel range or something like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
0.52v sounds reasonable at 0%. What is the voltage at full throttle, 4.82v ? What is the Mapped Throttle at full ?

Dead band at 3.0v seems high. If basically your throttle voltage range is 0.52-4.82v, it effectively doesn't do anything until you move the pot past 2/3 of its travel range or something like that.
The max is 4.82volts. The throttle is mapped out at 100% from what I can tell. Even with a high dead band I have moved the throttle to its full open and get nothing. I'll fix the dead-band. I'll look at the map percentage again.

Pete
 
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