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17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone,

My friend and I are considering an EV project down here in Geelong Australia. We've done a little bit of homework, purchased the Donor Car and have got our hands on a few Industrial 415VAC 3-Phase Motors.

Here is the Summary,

We would like to Build a 3-Phase controller ourselves from Open source plans or using PLCs, arduino, or something similar. The Power side will use Industrial IGBTs.

We have found a great abundance of Cheap almost new condition Industrial 3-Phase Motors and found in nigh impossible to find anything sizable in DC, these motors come with encoders for RPM, electronic clutches, mounts, heatsinks, sometimes even controllers! I have picked up one for free and other for $50. there are heaps around.

Batteries will be the last phase of the project and depending on Budget, Voltage requirements etc, I will design a pack either from AGMs or LiFePO4 (price dependant). I will be designing a cell BMS or buying a cheap kit form BMS.

As for the Vehicle, the EXA is just a starting point and may not be the final vehicle, we want to have a working powertrain before we commit to spending money on the Donor Vehicle.

Does anyone have experience building a controller for a 3-Phase AC motor? I have close friends that are electronic engineers and electricians at a large motor company, several friends that are mechanics and I work in a small industrial company. I also have access to tooling where I can have work done on lathes etc for mates rates. I will have access to VFDs IGBTs, wiring etc.

I don't want to be told that it can't be done etc. or any negative comments about my approach, I would appreciate any helpful advice from other people running 3phase AC.

I would also appreciate all the help I can get in finding any open source controllers that are AC 3-Phase. I also have access to be able to rewind the motor to lower the voltage requirements / increase RPM etc.

Initially I will be building a DC power-source to use as a simulated traction pack to test the controller design.

Sorry if that was a long first post. I do have a fair amount of techinical apptitude and tend to read and research for hours on end if something interests me.


· Registered
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Minimum Desired
Range: 50km ~31mi
Speed: 70kph ~44mph
Incline: Heaps, quite a few large hills around home

Curb Weight: 1130kg
Estimated Glider Weight: ~850kg Can probably reduce this further by stripping some of unnecessary interior trimming, remove rear seats etc.
5sp Manual
Power Steering (pump required, or modified rack)
Power assist braking (vacuum pump)

If I can find an affordable Series wound DC I would consider it, but the abundance of 3phase 415VAC for next to nothing makes me want to consider them...

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17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

· Registered
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·

My Boss has Allowed me to use a spare 22kW 3PH Inverter from Work, I currently have a 10HP 3PH Motor. The Controller is 0-400Hz, 415VAC 3PH. It also allows an analog Input for a potentiometer which varies the Speed.

As this is straight out of Industrial Machinery does anyone have any knowledge of how to Feed DC into such a VSD?

I understand that the 3PH 415VAC is Rectified and then DC Bus is Fed into the Inverter side of the controller. What I don't understand is do I have to feed Switched DC? or can I feed Positive/Negative x3 450-500VDC through a DC regulator from the Battery Bank and get the Controller to just work?

I assume that I can bypass the Rectification Side of the Controller and save a bit of space and weight and then just feed direct High-voltage DC

Anyone else with knowledge of 3PH VSDs please help! :p

· Registered
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm about to do the same thing with my 3PH inverter. How did it work for you?
I've reviewed the schematic and it should work.

Hi Daniel,

Unfortunately we haven't done anything on the project for some time. We ended up buying a 48V Forklift with AC Drive power, DC power steering and AC hydraulic pump motor. We haven't had much time but the intention is to use the 48V AC system from the fork initially. The motor is quite underpowered but It may be suited to a light car. I haven't decided if I'll use the pump motor or the traction motor. The control system was giving us grief because it is a late model fork the computer that controls it is all digital and throws fault codes on the screen.

The forklift is basically already a car. Its got headlights, high/low beam, indicators, horn, reverse light/siren, power steering, accelerator, brake pedal, handbrake, directional shift (forwards/backwards), safety interlock button (E-stop), Ignition barrel and key set, charging port, battery bank (although 800kg I won't be able to use them). Regenerative braking too. And it has odometer, speedo, charge level indicator etc. etc.

Hopefully when I get the stuff moved to my new shed i'll be able to work on transplanting the guts to the car.

The VSD was faulty so we couldn't use it :(

I figure the Forklift traction motor can accelerate a 5 tonne total load to 20km/hr without braking a sweat, and decelerate again regenerating power. A car weighing in around 1.4 tonne should theoretically manage a 60+ km/hr especially since the fork computer limits the acceleration and top speed to conserve power and stay within safety limits, I can fake the signals from the encoder so the fork computer believes it is still operating within safe range.

Its a big project and the computer is tricky to deal with because its complicated. I hope to get some time to work on it and i'll report back if I get anywhere.

I didn't want to spam the forum with irrelevant updates so once I've got something of substance i'll do a write up.

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