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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have finished my EV Ford Ranger project at least I thought I did but have found several problems that I can't fix by myself so let's start with the Elcon charger. I am using 45 CALB 100AH SE series Lithium Ion batteries a total of 144v with a Mini BMS system to manage the battery pack. I have a Soliton Jr. motor controller and wired it to the MiniBMS control board V3 using the diagram provided which is Signal +12v (Brown wire) to the L-COM terminal on the control board and input 1,2 or 3 (Blue wire) to the L-NC with a 5K Resistor connected to the Signal ground. What happens is this when I plug in the Elcon Battery charger the Red LED comes on and stays on as it is charging and never goes off. When I check on the batteries after eight hours all the MiniBMS boards are red indicating HVC and the battery charger LED is still red and I when I check the pack voltage it is 156v total. I don't know if the charger is wired right or the charger is ever shutting off. I do know that I have replaced 5 batteries that have been damaged somehow. I need some help to fix this problem not sure where I went wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes my pack did get very low once and I lost one cell because of that and it seem like I also get an alarm for low voltage when ever I drive the truck and have replaced four more cell since then. I know right now that another cell is bad because the low voltage alarm goes off when I drive the truck but don't want to replace it until I fix the problem. I will try what you said and see what happens and I want to thank you for your help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You may want to survey your pack by using a voltmeter to check each individual cell voltage and see how closely balanced they may be. Keep a log of this over time and you may see a trend. If one or more gets out of line with the others, then that can aggravate the UV alarms and OV charging situation.
I have been checking the pack voltage with a voltmeter since I first did the balancing charging and have even made up an excel spread sheet to keep track of the batteries voltage. I have done this many times and have spotted bad cells doing this, but what I don't understand is that the bad cell I have now shows the voltage well within the voltage range of the rest of the pack, but under a load the LED light on the BMS board on that battery goes out indicating a bad battery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you but I had a hard time uploading my diagram to the website. I am not much of a draftsman but I hope this will help you to see how I connected my BMS boards to the various components on my truck. If you have any questions and I am sure you will I will try and explain as best as I can what I did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Looks like 2 copies of the same drawing?

Where is the charger?

What are the items on either side of the Hall Sensor, and the box above it?
You are right there are two copies of the same drawing I was having so much problems up loading the picture that I just wanted to make sure I got at least one picture uploaded. I didn't realize it until now that I didn't put the charger in the drawing I knew I would screw up something I will redraw the diagram with the charger and get back to you with that. The two items on either side of the Hall Sensor are battery cells connected with a copper bar that run through the Hall Sensor as all the cell are connected with copper bars. The box above the Hall Sensor is actually a circuit board that is connected to the Hall Sensor in other words it is all one piece of hardware.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Here is the diagram from the company literature.

Frist of all how in the heck did you upload those diagrams I had one hell of a time getting my diagram uploaded? I have been looking at the instructions I got with the charger and it say's that the round eight pin connection on the side of the charger need to be twisted together using a wire cap. Now looking at the diagram I can see that the way I wired mine up the charger is never in the wiring loop. I feel like an idiot if the charger is not hook-up in the loop somewhere there is no way for it to turn itself off. I will wire the charger according to the diagram you posted and see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
First save your file to your computer.
Click on post reply.
Click on paperclip symbol.
Click on browse and locate you file.
Click upload.
Close that window
add any test you want in the message.
Click on submit reply
I wonder if my problem was that I was scanning the diagram then saving it to my computer. When I did as you described about and tried to upload the file it would also add a .tif extension to my document and then wouldn't upload it for me. The only work around I found was to take a picture of the diagram and then it uploaded perfectly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I wanted to get back to you and tell you I think the problem with the Elcon charger is fixed. I charged the battery pack last night and the Elcon charger shut itself off and I waited until this morning to check the voltage and it was 150v I then checked twenty batteries out of the pack and they where all within .008mv. Thanks so much for talking me through this problem now it seemed so obvious. If you would mind could we go on to the next issue I am having when I test drove the truck today and this has happened every time I drive the truck since the first time I test drove it. I get up around 200amps and the BMS system starts alarming the truck will still excel and runs normal. What is causing this to happen?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
I got a digital fuel gauge in the truck and it monitors volts watts and amps. When I went on my test drive today I watched the voltage and amps on the gauge to see what is happening. When I first started the truck I had 150v on the gauge and I checked it with a voltmeter to make sure it was right. I then operated the battery pack under different conditions to see what happens. When I floored the truck the alarm went off at around 50amps but once I got going it wouldn't go off until around 200amps like I said. The total voltage would drop from 150v to around 142v to 146v once I got rolling and one time it went down to 138v but that is the lowest I ever saw it get. The battery pack is around five years old but most of that time the batteries were sitting in boxes they probably have been in use for about two years and that would be very minimal use at that. Just a thought I was always driving the truck in 2nd gear if that makes a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
What Kennybobby said may be true but if I am not mistaken the BMS is looking at individual cell voltage so a single cell can cause the alarm which you may not see in the pack voltage. Can you set up a camera to watch the leds and see which cell is the culprit or do the leds latch on. I never used one of these Mini BMS before. Maybe have someone else watch the less while you drive if that is possible
Here is what I came up with to find the problem I first checked the cells voltages. I jacked up the rear wheels and put them on jack stands then I put the truck in 5th gear and had someone run the accelerator peddle until the BMS alarm started buzzing I was watching the BMS boards on the battery cells to see if one would go out. One did go out and I checked the voltage while it was out and it sagged down to 2.51v before the test it was 3.34v. I checked an hour after the test and the voltage was back up to 3.34v so I am assuming that battery cell is bad but why? This will be the 5th battery I have had to replace.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
There may not be a problem with your "low" five cells. CALB's will self-discharge from storage. It only takes a couple of months and some cells can self discharge to 50% capacity.


Easy fix, though. Just charge each cell individualy until 3.500 volts, 3.550 volts, or whatever cutoff top voltage you wish. Some cells may take a day to charge up if charging at a low current.


I have CALB SE blue and CALB CA gray cells and have a couple of stinkers that require a 5 amp charge; those cells may take 10 hours to charge.


The term for the top off charge is: TOP BALANCING.


Been there, done that. Usually the stinker cells recover to full capacity. I do this every couple of months.
While I have charged with the onboard charger once or twice the majority of the time probably four or five times I charged with a top balancing charger and charged each cell independently to about 3.45v + or - .o5mv. I have rechecked the other five batteries and one is just dead the others when they are in use the BMS LED light goes out and alarms even when they have just been charged and show full capacity. After reading all your replies I am now wondering whether I will be chasing around one cell after another always finding the next weakest link in the pack. One thing that I did do was when a cell failed I replaced a blue cell SE with a gray cell CA three in total because I was told that it wouldn't hurt anything. I bought the new cells from CALB and at the time they said it wouldn't hurt anything now they tell me I shouldn't have done that. They don't make the blue SE cells anymore and at the time as I said they said it wouldn't hurt anything now they have a new sales person and she says differently so I don't know what to do now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Wow I am impressed by the detailed instructions you posted. I foolish thought all the hard work was done when I pulled the IC engine and the wiring all the batteries controller BMS and other mechanical work. So I am not spinning my wheels or in this case so I can spin my wheels I am going to ask you some more questions. The #14 wire you are talking about is that stranded wire or solid wire? You state that I am suppose to connect the positive and negative 144v after the power connector what do you mean by that and where would I do that? Next I have never heard of EMeter/JLD 404 where do I get one how much does it cost and how do I hook it up? I am guessing it measure the amp hour of each cell but I am unsure about the wiring of it and in particular the jumping of the cells. It will take me some time to gather up all the stuff you said I need and to preform the test so I guess we will be posting back and forth for a while. I do appreciate your help and all the information you gave me but I was wondering is this a normal thing having to check AH on new cells or at least very little used cells?
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Good to know you're individually charging each cell. Next step is to do a load test on the whole pack. First step is to bulk charge the pack as usual until the bulk charger shuts off. Then use the individual charger on each cell until you reach your 3.45 volts. This will be the starting point= all cells fully charged.


To start the load test, purchase one 2000 watt, 120 volt water heater element at the hardware store. Connect two #14 wires to the element and to the positive and negative 144 volts AFTER the power connector. Place the water heater element in a 5-30 gallon PLASTIC bucket and fill with water. Leave the garden hose running slowly into the bucket, orherwise the water will boil and the element will burn open.


Turn on the ignition and wait until the first cell hits LV via the Mini BMS. Verify the voltage of that cell with your DVM. Note this voltage. Shut off the ignition and disconnect the copper inter-conects to this low cell and bypass the connections that used to go to this cell with a #14 wire with 5/16" ring lugs and a spare nut and bolt.


Note the AH of your EMeter/ JLD404 when the cell hits LV. Turn ignition back on and continue until the next cell hits LV and note the cell number and AH. Then bypass this second cell with the wire jumper and continue.


In a perfect world, ALL cells will provide 100 AH. But, in the real world, your cells will probably hit LV at different AH. It will take many hours to obtain the data and jumper out the cell connections, but after the test the data will show the capacity of each cell. You can then make a decision of which cells are bad and what to do about it.


Blue vs. Gray cells would replace blue cells with more blue cells, but since the blue cells were discontinued about 5 years ago, the isn't much choice but to use gray cells for replacement.


I have performed this load with both the blue cells in one of my conversions and the gray cells in the other conversion. The data will allow you to move on. Without the load test, you're pixxing into the wind.


Been there, done that since 1982 on EV conversions.
Hey I have been thinking and was wondering if the fuel gauge I bought would work. I believe it is an Expert Pro and I have been reading up on the one you recommended the Emeter / JLD 404 and it seems like what I have does pretty much the same thing. I will post some pictures of what I have so you can see what I am talking about and if it would work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Here's the JLD404 meter showing -1.293 AH. Also displays pack voltage, battery amps, and elapsed time in a super bright blue LED display that can be seen from the back seat in bright sunlight wearing dark sun glasses. So cool. About $75. :)

Picture taken just after charger shut off at first cell = 3.500 volts (rising) HV. Russco Charger and Cell Log 8 BMS system latches off charger on charge and energizes a buzzer during driving = 2.750 volts on first cell to hit LV (decreasing).
I been experimenting around trying to understand what is going on with the battery pack so I have taken pictures of the battery pack at rest and when the BMS alarms. At rest meaning the motor is not running just the ignition switch is turned on I have 0 A and 99.9 AH. When I engage the motor and run it to the point the BMS system alarms I have +85.7 A and 100.0 AH. I would think as the Amp draws gets greater amount of current the Amp Hours would go down. The speedometer was around 60 mph when the BMS alarmed I would think even if one battery craps out it would show in the AH reading.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
You may be displaying the wrong screen on your Expert Pro.

For more information, go to You Tube and search: "Expert Pro Battery Monitor". Dozens of videos on the Pro.
I made a mistake my gauge is not an Expert Pro it is instead a clean power auto gauge which is very similar to the Expert in looks and in performance although it would appear they are out of business by their website. In the manual it say's that it monitor ah amp watt volts in a split screen so you don't need to keep switching back and forth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Good to know you're individually charging each cell. Next step is to do a load test on the whole pack. First step is to bulk charge the pack as usual until the bulk charger shuts off. Then use the individual charger on each cell until you reach your 3.45 volts. This will be the starting point= all cells fully charged.


To start the load test, purchase one 2000 watt, 120 volt water heater element at the hardware store. Connect two #14 wires to the element and to the positive and negative 144 volts AFTER the power connector. Place the water heater element in a 5-30 gallon PLASTIC bucket and fill with water. Leave the garden hose running slowly into the bucket, orherwise the water will boil and the element will burn open.


Turn on the ignition and wait until the first cell hits LV via the Mini BMS. Verify the voltage of that cell with your DVM. Note this voltage. Shut off the ignition and disconnect the copper inter-conects to this low cell and bypass the connections that used to go to this cell with a #14 wire with 5/16" ring lugs and a spare nut and bolt.


Note the AH of your EMeter/ JLD404 when the cell hits LV. Turn ignition back on and continue until the next cell hits LV and note the cell number and AH. Then bypass this second cell with the wire jumper and continue.


In a perfect world, ALL cells will provide 100 AH. But, in the real world, your cells will probably hit LV at different AH. It will take many hours to obtain the data and jumper out the cell connections, but after the test the data will show the capacity of each cell. You can then make a decision of which cells are bad and what to do about it.


Blue vs. Gray cells would replace blue cells with more blue cells, but since the blue cells were discontinued about 5 years ago, the isn't much choice but to use gray cells for replacement.


I have performed this load with both the blue cells in one of my conversions and the gray cells in the other conversion. The data will allow you to move on. Without the load test, you're pixxing into the wind.


Been there, done that since 1982 on EV conversions.
I just got done with charging each cell one at a time to about an average of 3.345v even though I had the charger set to 3.50v I let the cells rest for forty-eight hours before recording the voltage (at the time right after the charge the voltage was around 3.352v) Now I want to make sure how to connect the 2000watt, 120v water heater element to the pack to do load test, as I understand it you want me to connect the two leads to the water heater element to the contactor is that correct?
 

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