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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Starting yesterday about noon, Darin and I started on the Paul and Sabrina controller kit I bought.

Quite a pile of parts BUT VERY WELL ORGANIZED. Each controller board component was individually identified and packaged by OEM part Number and Board location number. NICE.

Once we had the parts invantoried and layed out we started assembly. Darin did the control board and I did the power board (mostly).

An couple of IMPORTANT NOTES here.

1.) Paul mentions it and if you follow the open source thead on EcoModder it is restated many times. You Need Good Soldering Skills to build the controller board. No Joke. Practice, Practice and more Practice or do what I did and get help.

2.) There are many versions of the boards, components and instructions, so be sure you understand the differences and have a firm grasp of the sequence of assembly. It's better to wait a day and get the right info. Print them out and make notes and inserts or modify Paul's instruction files with you notes.

3.) Be sure you have the Lock Tite, some tape or shrink tube and JB Weld you will need to complete the assembly.

4.) There is room for customization, things like putting chip sockets on the board instead of direct soldering chips to the board. Plan these in detail and have the material on hand.

Now on with the show. Pictures at the bottom of the post

Once Darin laid out and sorted the packages of components soldering went well. He had the sockets and most other components done in about 3 hours.
(See last attachment)

I started building the Power Board after going over all of the metal and deburring and smoothing. Had a nice big Snap On soldering gun so the soldering of the vias went well and once I figured out the new mounting configuration of the heat spreadder (spacers instead of heat shrink on the mounting bolts . . . MUCH BETTER), I started mounting the mosfets and diodes. The process that Paul describes in the instructions works very well.
(See first attachment)

When final tightening the spring clamps on the mosfets and diodes, I had difficulty because the clamps kept turning before they were fully tightened. Getting these fully seated so the spring pressure presses the mosfet or diode to the heat spreadder is VERY important. Loose clamps will cause component overheating. (Blows up mosfets)

I came up with a method that works very well. Using a welding clamp, I suppose a small C Clamp will work as well, I squeezed the spring clamps down until they were fully seated then applied the Lock Tite and tightened the screws. This way there are NO loose clamps.
(See second attachment)

Found something that helps when doing the heavy soldering, having someone helping makes the job much easier. Darin and I did it this way, I held and positioned the board with one hand and applied/controlled the heat with the other, this left Darin free to position the solder to build the best puddle, and left me relaxed enough that I could pull solder up the pin to get a good joint to the pad.

From that point we attached the copper bars with the silver epoxy and brass bolts, installed and soldered in the caps, the copper braid and the 3 filter caps.
(See third attachment)

From there we mounted the gate resisters then attached the power board to the heat sink. Next I routed the resisters through the separator plate. We found that a bit of hot glue was handy to hold the standoffs in place while getting the resistors into place. I epoxied the current sensor and temperature sensor.
(See fourth attachment)

While I was doing that, Darin ran he circuit checks on the control board and then installed the chips to the sockets.
(See fifth attachment)

Finally we attached the controller board to the power board and soldered the gate resistors to the controller board we left a loop in the resistor leads in case we have to lift the board to unsolder a component to make a repair.
(See Sixth attachment)

After a bit of tidying up, we took the controller out to the garage and hooked it up to a 24 volt motor and WOO HOO it works.:D

At first the build seemed daunting but with the right skills it is fairly easy.

I'll have to say that I learned a bit doing this and have a much better understanding of what goes on in the controller now. Still incomplete but better:eek:.

Was it worth it . . . FOR SURE.

I've got a controller that is equivalent to something commercial that would cost twice as much, I now have more knowkledge and a sense of accomplishment. I can point at it and say I built that.

A final comment, I paid $600.00 to Paul and Sabrina's EV stuff for the kit. Considering what they have done to co-ordanate the development, do the research, maintain support and put together the kits I think it's worth it to support them.

I guess you can just order the boards and source the components yourself and build one for about half the price. I don't think it's worth it. The amount of time they have put into this makes what they charge well worth it for the efforts in developement and maintaining support and developement. The are also developing new stuff like a open source IGBT high current controller and an AC controller.

Anyway I now have a controller for my pulling tractor that will kick butt. RAAAY.

You all have a great New Year,
Jim
 

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Nice looking job. A lot of good pics too. Are you using this in a tractor? I put mine together in August '09. They did not sell the kit then just the boards and the programmed chip. It still cost me about the same.
alvin
 

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That is a great write up Jim. Many thanks for taking the time to do that.:)

I can appreciate your recommendations for the whole kit, both in terms of completeness and in terms of support for P&S.
It will be interesting to compare the differences that jack bauer has made to see what difference it makes overall.

All that was lacking was a little video of the 24v motor test.:D

Roll on tractor test!;)
:D
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
That is a great write up Jim. Many thanks for taking the time to do that.:)
Aw Shucks:eek::eek::eek:

I can appreciate your recommendations for the whole kit, both in terms of completeness and in terms of support for P&S.
It will be interesting to compare the differences that jack bauer has made to see what difference it makes overall.
Jack has gone in a bit of a diferent direction, using the P&S controller card to drive an interface that drives a IGBTs power stage, although the logics are similar, he just a lot more current and voltage. There a few things I don't understand like the P&S card is supposed to control current insead of voltage. I still can't wrap my head around how some of ths works.

All that was lacking was a little video of the 24v motor test.:D
Been spending all my money on EV stuff:eek:. Haven't enough left over to by a decent Video camera.:(

Example: Going to order copper to do a battery setup similar to Jack's. Been saving for a while, just the raw metal will be over $200.00 USD. OUCH:eek:

Then I'm ordering a bunch of Cell Logs for the Big 13 another $100.00.

I'm till looking for Isolated DC to DC with an output of 3.6 volts (They all seem to be 3.3 volts, the old 3 dry cell voltage). I thought we had some but it didn't work out. I want to use them as limited battery chargers e.g. they cannot charge a cell above 3.6 volts. There will need to be one for each 3 cell buddy pack. I need 50 of them, then I need a high amp power supply to drive the converters. you can imagen what that will cost, it's still cheaper then $1500.00 for a big high voltage / amp LiPo ready charger though.

Video will be a while.

Roll on tractor test!;)
:D
Can't wait to get the things out from under all of the snow and start working on them.

See Ya,
Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Nice looking job. A lot of good pics too. Are you using this in a tractor? I put mine together in August '09. They did not sell the kit then just the boards and the programmed chip. It still cost me about the same.
alvin
Alvin

I have a converted Cub Cadet that I use for garden tractor pulling. I've been running 48 volts and it's time to move up. I want to go up to at least 120 volts. This controller should get me there
 

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There a few things I don't understand like the P&S card is supposed to control current insead of voltage. I still can't wrap my head around how some of ths works.
See Ya,
Jim
From what I gather, and I am happy to be corrected on this please, current control equates to torque control and voltage control equates to speed control.

So roughly speaking:
With speed control half throttle will give you half speed and as much torque as is needed to get to half speed as quickly as you stomp on the pedal. So a little throttle will only ever get a little speed but the torque will build up to maintain that speed.

With torque control half throttle will give you half the torque but speed will keep increasing until the physical constraints of drag matches the available torque. So a little torque will mean a very slow acceleration that keeps on going until it can't go any faster.

Jozzer was telling me that torque/current control was better for motor bikes as it keeps the bike moving at the same speed when it leans into a corner by increasing wheel speed as the effective rolling diameter reduces without changing the throttle input.
With speed/voltage control the bike wheel will hold the same speed so when the bike leans over the effective rolling diameter reduces, speed reduces and the bike falls over. The rider will have to increase the throttle as the bike leans just to stay upright and at the same speed.

Torque/current control is more like driving an ICE. On a hilly road, with an ICE you will vary the throttle to maintain speed. If you don't the car will slow down on the up hill and speed up on the downhill. So with an ICE you apply more throttle to keep the speed going up and then release the throttle on the down hill. It should be likewise with torque/current control. So when in traffic ICE cars will vary their speed for the same throttle setting for gradient changes and the EV will do likewise.

With a speed/voltage controller the car will do the same speed up and down hill without your foot moving on the throttle as it will just increase and decrease the torque as required. A bit like driving with your fingers on the +- buttons of the cruise control where you have to take active action to vary speed to match traffic.


Anyway, that what I understand of it in a simplistic way.
 

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i built one too! it was pretty easy for how much i money i saved. I would definitely recommend it. It probably took about 8 hours max

I'm a high school student and had no trouble putting it together. In addition, i was missing a part and paul had it in the mail ASAP. It's also great being able to call an expert on a name to name basis if there are any issues.

i tested it with twelve volts and it seems to work great. it is also capable of linking to a computer for further testing. I haven't done it yet though.

Here is my blog post which has pics and stuff
http://electricgti.blogspot.com/2010/07/finished-controller.html
 

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This seems to be a great kit but noticed one thing that raised a flag of caution: IC sockets.

Be aware that the IC pins and the socket pins tarnish (oxidize) over time. What that means is intermittent operation of some sort sometime in the future. That is why most OEM boards solder components in to avoid that problem, but a pain to replace if proved defective. The socket makes it easier for the less experienced to swap components and to make sure the IC is not overheated when soldered. The above scenario is real and when TV mfg started into solid-state units the sockets is what they used since the servicers were used to swapping tubes out until the TV finally worked. And yes, the sockets did give problems. Sometimes as the unit warmed up a bit. For reliability reasons, sockets and plug-in boards became scarcer. By the way, even tube sockets had to be replaced on occasion for reasons stated above.

I say this so that if some time in the future the controller acts goofy intermittently, what can be done (after all power is disconnected) is carefully lift the IC partially out of its socket and insert it again a time or two. This should cause it to make good connection again.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
This seems to be a great kit but noticed one thing that raised a flag of caution: IC sockets.

Be aware that the IC pins and the socket pins tarnish (oxidize) over time. What that means is intermittent operation of some sort sometime in the future. That is why most OEM boards solder components in to avoid that problem, but a pain to replace if proved defective. The socket makes it easier for the less experienced to swap components and to make sure the IC is not overheated when soldered. The above scenario is real and when TV mfg started into solid-state units the sockets is what they used since the servicers were used to swapping tubes out until the TV finally worked. And yes, the sockets did give problems. Sometimes as the unit warmed up a bit. For reliability reasons, sockets and plug-in boards became scarcer. By the way, even tube sockets had to be replaced on occasion for reasons stated above.

I say this so that if some time in the future the controller acts goofy intermittently, what can be done (after all power is disconnected) is carefully lift the IC partially out of its socket and insert it again a time or two. This should cause it to make good connection again.
CPLTECH,

Thanks for the heads up:). Swapping out chips is exactly why we put in sockets.

It seems Paul and Adam and others are always coming out with new and improved chips.:D:)

Would a light coat of a good Di-electric grease or some other agent help? :confused:

Thanks,
Jim
 
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