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Discussion Starter #1
I was trying to get Silent E running for the first day of school.
Things have been getting in my way, over and over; it's been nearly a
year since I went over the red line and blew up the motor. Recently
I've been working myself ragged over this (pulling the new rims in
Florida afternoon heat, for instance).

Yesterday I thought I had everything done. Everything came on as
expected, both contactors clicked, the Todd started charging the 12v
battery. I was in heaven. Until I pressed the accelerator.

Nothing happened. Nathan and I debugged for an hour; we reconsulted the
diagrams and made multiple mistakes. We measured full pack voltage
(around 150v on an analog voltmeter) at the controller. We measured 12v
on the KSI switch. When the potentiometer was connected to the
controller, we couldn't see voltage or resistance; when we took it off,
it went smoothly from 0 to 5K ohms.

But the most important stuff never worked. The motor voltage was always
0v, no matter how we measured it.

I think, when my motor exploded, the Curtis 1231C-8601 was broken, too.

Can anyone confirm this is the case? I'm in the Orlando area and
willing to pay for an EV mechanic to come look at it, if necessary.

In related news, I'm looking for a new controller. Anyone got a Zilla
1K they'd like to get rid of? Or just rent for a while? Otmar's latest
production blog entry is from March, but he was behind 6 months at the
time. I'm a little anxious to get moving.

Thanks,
Jude

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Discussion Starter #2
Hi Jude,
I'm curious how you are getting 12V on the KSI input. If you are keeping your pack voltage isolated from your 12V system then you shouldn't have any 12V available to power the KSI input. The KSI input is referenced to the pack ground (as are all signals on a Curtis).

Generally, I think you should be switching pack voltage to the KSI input. I couldn't find my Curtis manual right off, but I believe this to be correct. I think most people use a relay that engages the KSI input when the key is on. Often people go a step further and interrupt the relay with the microswitch on the pot box.

Regards,
Chris Brune



-------------- Original message ----------------------
From: Jude Anthony <[email protected]>
> Nothing happened. Nathan and I debugged for an hour; we reconsulted the
> diagrams and made multiple mistakes. We measured full pack voltage
> (around 150v on an analog voltmeter) at the controller. We measured 12v
> on the KSI switch. When the potentiometer was connected to the
> controller, we couldn't see voltage or resistance; when we took it off,
> it went smoothly from 0 to 5K ohms.

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Discussion Starter #3
My understanding (I may be remembering a Lee Hart-ism
here) is that the easiest way to test a controller is
to (in your case, 150V) wire two 120V incandescent
lights in series. Have _them_ become your load, not
the motor. That will verify whether you've blown your
controller.
peace,

--- Jude Anthony <[email protected]> wrote:

> I was trying to get Silent E running for the first
> day of school.
> Things have been getting in my way, over and over;
> it's been nearly a
> year since I went over the red line and blew up the
> motor. Recently
> I've been working myself ragged over this (pulling
> the new rims in
> Florida afternoon heat, for instance).
>
> Yesterday I thought I had everything done.
> Everything came on as
> expected, both contactors clicked, the Todd started
> charging the 12v
> battery. I was in heaven. Until I pressed the
> accelerator.
>
> Nothing happened. Nathan and I debugged for an
> hour; we reconsulted the
> diagrams and made multiple mistakes. We measured
> full pack voltage
> (around 150v on an analog voltmeter) at the
> controller. We measured 12v
> on the KSI switch. When the potentiometer was
> connected to the
> controller, we couldn't see voltage or resistance;
> when we took it off,
> it went smoothly from 0 to 5K ohms.
>
> But the most important stuff never worked. The
> motor voltage was always
> 0v, no matter how we measured it.
>
> I think, when my motor exploded, the Curtis
> 1231C-8601 was broken, too.
>
> Can anyone confirm this is the case? I'm in the
> Orlando area and
> willing to pay for an EV mechanic to come look at
> it, if necessary.
>
> In related news, I'm looking for a new controller.
> Anyone got a Zilla
> 1K they'd like to get rid of? Or just rent for a
> while? Otmar's latest
> production blog entry is from March, but he was
> behind 6 months at the
> time. I'm a little anxious to get moving.
>
> Thanks,
> Jude
>
> _______________________________________________
> For subscription options, see
> http://lists.sjsu.edu/mailman/listinfo/ev
>


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Discussion Starter #4
Chris Brune wrote:
> Hi Jude,
> I'm curious how you are getting 12V on the KSI input. If you are keeping your pack voltage isolated from your 12V system then you shouldn't have any 12V available to power the KSI input. The KSI input is referenced to the pack ground (as are all signals on a Curtis).
>
> Generally, I think you should be switching pack voltage to the KSI input. I couldn't find my Curtis manual right off, but I believe this to be correct. I think most people use a relay that engages the KSI input when the key is on. Often people go a step further and interrupt the relay with the microswitch on the pot box.
>
>----------------------------------
My Curtis manual shows the KSI relay powered with the 12 volt auxiliary
battery, not referenced to the pack voltage.

John in Sylmar, CA
PV EV

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Discussion Starter #5
open it up and take pictures of the board. I believe some here have
repaired/upgraded curtis controllers and might be able to tell you where
the problem is or what to do

Dan

Jude Anthony wrote:
> I was trying to get Silent E running for the first day of school.
> Things have been getting in my way, over and over; it's been nearly a
> year since I went over the red line and blew up the motor. Recently
> I've been working myself ragged over this (pulling the new rims in
> Florida afternoon heat, for instance).
>
> Yesterday I thought I had everything done. Everything came on as
> expected, both contactors clicked, the Todd started charging the 12v
> battery. I was in heaven. Until I pressed the accelerator.
>
> Nothing happened. Nathan and I debugged for an hour; we reconsulted the
> diagrams and made multiple mistakes. We measured full pack voltage
> (around 150v on an analog voltmeter) at the controller. We measured 12v
> on the KSI switch. When the potentiometer was connected to the
> controller, we couldn't see voltage or resistance; when we took it off,
> it went smoothly from 0 to 5K ohms.
>
> But the most important stuff never worked. The motor voltage was always
> 0v, no matter how we measured it.
>
> I think, when my motor exploded, the Curtis 1231C-8601 was broken, too.
>
> Can anyone confirm this is the case? I'm in the Orlando area and
> willing to pay for an EV mechanic to come look at it, if necessary.
>
> In related news, I'm looking for a new controller. Anyone got a Zilla
> 1K they'd like to get rid of? Or just rent for a while? Otmar's latest
> production blog entry is from March, but he was behind 6 months at the
> time. I'm a little anxious to get moving.
>
> Thanks,
> Jude
>
> _______________________________________________
> For subscription options, see
> http://lists.sjsu.edu/mailman/listinfo/ev
>
>

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Discussion Starter #6
> When the potentiometer was connected to the controller,
> we couldn't see voltage or resistance; when we took it off,
> it went smoothly from 0 to 5K ohms.
This suggests that the controller has a shorted input for
the accelerator pot. Or the wiring is shorting between pot
and controller.
If the Controller only needs a 2-wire connection, then you
must get max output when you connect a fixed 5 kOhm resistor
to the controller (use 2 series light bulbs as load) and
with a 2.2kOhm fixed resistor you should get almost half
output voltage.
If there never is a voltage on the pot (or fixed resistor)
then I would suspect that the power supply in the Controller
is blown (creating low voltage for the control stuff from
the pack voltage)

Hope this helps,

Cor van de Water
Systems Architect
Proxim Wireless Corporation http://www.proxim.com
Email: [email protected] Private: http://www.cvandewater.com
Skype: cor_van_de_water IM: [email protected]
Tel: +1 408 542 5225 VoIP: +31 20 3987567 FWD# 25925
Fax: +1 408 731 3675 eFAX: +31-87-784-1130
Second Life: www.secondlife.com/?u=3b42cb3f4ae249319edb487991c30acb

-----Original Message-----
From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]] On Behalf Of Jude Anthony
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2007 6:32 PM
To: EVDL new
Subject: [EVDL] Car won't move!

I was trying to get Silent E running for the first day of school.
Things have been getting in my way, over and over; it's been nearly a year since I went over the red line and blew up the motor. Recently I've been working myself ragged over this (pulling the new rims in Florida afternoon heat, for instance).

Yesterday I thought I had everything done. Everything came on as expected, both contactors clicked, the Todd started charging the 12v battery. I was in heaven. Until I pressed the accelerator.

Nothing happened. Nathan and I debugged for an hour; we reconsulted the diagrams and made multiple mistakes. We measured full pack voltage (around 150v on an analog voltmeter) at the controller. We measured 12v on the KSI switch. When the potentiometer was connected to the controller, we couldn't see voltage or resistance; when we took it off, it went smoothly from 0 to 5K ohms.

But the most important stuff never worked. The motor voltage was always 0v, no matter how we measured it.

I think, when my motor exploded, the Curtis 1231C-8601 was broken, too.

Can anyone confirm this is the case? I'm in the Orlando area and willing to pay for an EV mechanic to come look at it, if necessary.

In related news, I'm looking for a new controller. Anyone got a Zilla 1K they'd like to get rid of? Or just rent for a while? Otmar's latest production blog entry is from March, but he was behind 6 months at the time. I'm a little anxious to get moving.

Thanks,
Jude

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Discussion Starter #7
Jude,

Just think of it as "control", "goesintas" and "goesouttas".

When you turn the key on, your contactor should connect the battery pack to
the Curtis. At that moment, you put your meter on the Curtis input leads and
look for your pack voltage. That's the "goes-into" or input part.

Next, you put your ohm meter on the potbox leads where they connect to the
Curtis. As you know, it's a 5k ohm resistor so you have a buddy operate the
pedal while you check the resistance swings.

Finally, you check the "goes outtas" or controller output by hooking to the
leads that connect the Curtis to the motor and have your buddy push the
pedal. You should notice not only voltage on the meter, but it should be
oscillating because the Curtis is "chopping" the power to the motor.

If you have output from the controller, the motor is connected incorrectly
to the controller, or it is damaged. If you have no output, the controller
is damaged. If you have no potbox control signal (5k ohm resistance) then
your potbox is bad. If you have no input power on the controller when you
turn the key, then the main contactor is faulty, not receiving 12 volts or
connected incorrectly.

It sounds like you know most of this already, I'm just trying to put it in a
logical flow, or sequence of events to help you make more sense of it. It
seems like the only thing you haven't checked is the Curtis output.

If it turns out that the Curtis isn't outputting any power, Flight Systems
Industrial Products can rebuild yours in 3-5 days for $500.00. They do a
fantastic job. They're in Pennsylvania.

www.fsip.com

I have no connection with them other than being a satisfied customer.

Rich A.
Maryland
With a blown Albright main contactor. :(

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks to everyone for your suggestions regarding my apparently-dead
Curtis. My two biggest questions right now:

1) Could the Curtis heatsink *ever* carry pack voltage, or is it
completely isolated from the controller circuitry?

2) Is it reasonable to assume that when I over-revved and destroyed my
motor, it caused the Curtis to die, too?

In response to some specific questions:

Chris Brune wrote:
> Hi Jude,
> I'm curious how you are getting 12V on the KSI input. If you are keeping your pack voltage isolated from your 12V system then you shouldn't have any 12V available to power the KSI input. The KSI input is referenced to the pack ground (as are all signals on a Curtis).
>
I gave up searching for the real manual and referenced a 1221 manual
instead. Today, while searching for something entirely different, I
found the 1231C manual. It also shows pack voltage going to the KSI,
through a relay. However, it does mention this:

"Any positive voltage greater than about 8 volts will turn on the
controller, but usually the full vehicle battery voltage is used."

I find 12V between the KSI port and the auxiliary battery negative. I
don't think I measured to the pack, but I've been very careful about
keeping the two systems isolated, so I'm betting it'd come up zero.
(And maybe that's my problem. But then, how did it work before?)

Bob Bath mentioned:
> My understanding (I may be remembering a Lee Hart-ism
> here) is that the easiest way to test a controller is
> to (in your case, 150V) wire two 120V incandescent
> lights in series. Have _them_ become your load, not
> the motor. That will verify whether you've blown your
> controller.
I remember that too, and there's even a picture in the Curtis manual.
I'll go to the Lowe's and pick up a couple of 100-watt bulbs in mounts,
and give it a try. With all that amperage available, I'm imagining
blowing up light bulbs like a mad scientist. (Spark Lad returns!)

Cor van de Water said:

> This suggests that the controller has a shorted input for
> the accelerator pot. Or the wiring is shorting between pot
> and controller.
> If the Controller only needs a 2-wire connection, then you
> must get max output when you connect a fixed 5 kOhm resistor
> to the controller (use 2 series light bulbs as load) and
> with a 2.2kOhm fixed resistor you should get almost half
> output voltage.
> If there never is a voltage on the pot (or fixed resistor)
> then I would suspect that the power supply in the Controller
> is blown (creating low voltage for the control stuff from
> the pack voltage)
>
Thanks, Cor. We tested the pot by disconnecting it from the controller,
and it shows 0 - 5kOhms consistently. It's only while it's connected to
the controller that I can't measure anything from it. Perhaps it's
because the KSI is hooked up to the auxiliary circuit instead of the
pack circuit, though -- Chris says that everything is referenced to the
pack.

Additionally, the manual implies that attaching a 5kOhm resistor
wouldn't work, because the Curtis would recognize it as a pedal failure
and refuse to budge.

Finally, Richard Acuti provided a clear description of a debugging
procedure, paraphrased as "skip the fancy deductions and measure
directly at the controller". I've got pack voltage in, and I tested my
potentiometer as working, but I'm not getting any voltage out. So
either the controller is shot, or my KSI is incorrect (and I'm starting
to lean towards bad KSI, although I've got to wonder how it worked
before). Then he gave me the second piece of info I needed:
> If it turns out that the Curtis isn't outputting any power, Flight
> Systems Industrial Products can rebuild yours in 3-5 days for $500.00.
> They do a fantastic job. They're in Pennsylvania.
Thanks, Richard. That's a sight better than $700 and two weeks.
(Although I'm likely to spend two weeks goofing around on it myself.)
I'll look them up at the link you provided.

Thanks to everyone so far,
Judebert

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Discussion Starter #9
Jude Anthony wrote:

> I gave up searching for the real manual and referenced a 1221 manual
> instead. Today, while searching for something entirely different, I
> found the 1231C manual. It also shows pack voltage going to the KSI,
> through a relay. However, it does mention this:
>
> "Any positive voltage greater than about 8 volts will turn on the
> controller, but usually the full vehicle battery voltage is used."
>-------------------------------------
There is an error in the manual for my 1231C on page 9 showing the
main contactor connections. It is corrected at



http://www.curtisinst.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=cProducts.dspProductCategory&catID=11

Click on 1231C and scan down to page 9.

John in Sylmar, CA

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Discussion Starter #10
That's actually the same one I found. Thanks, though!

Judebert

JS wrote:
> Jude Anthony wrote:
>
>
>> I gave up searching for the real manual and referenced a 1221 manual
>> instead. Today, while searching for something entirely different, I
>> found the 1231C manual. It also shows pack voltage going to the KSI,
>> through a relay. However, it does mention this:
>>
>> "Any positive voltage greater than about 8 volts will turn on the
>> controller, but usually the full vehicle battery voltage is used."
>> -------------------------------------
>>
> There is an error in the manual for my 1231C on page 9 showing the
> main contactor connections. It is corrected at
>
>
>
> http://www.curtisinst.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=cProducts.dspProductCategory&catID=11
>
> Click on 1231C and scan down to page 9.
>
> John in Sylmar, CA
>
> _______________________________________________
> For subscription options, see
> http://lists.sjsu.edu/mailman/listinfo/ev
>
>

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