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Discussion Starter #1
Hi :) I'm a complete newbie to this electric conversion business. So some of these questions might show my ignorance.

Just after some advise, i have the opportunity to buy a newish remy hvh250 motor for $650 dollars, i will have to make the housing for cooling. I'm a CAD draftsman by trade and have worked in the engineering sector for 15yrs and use soildworks and inventor, I also have a friend with a company that uses water jet cncs so can help me out in that area too, so not to worried about that. I'm i right in thinking this is a brushless motor? and AC not DC?


What I'm after is some basic info on whether this motor might reach a top speed of 80mph - 90mph comfortably if used within a van / camper, I can add gearing of course. The rpm of the motor and torque seem to suggest it will. The vehicle i want to convert is an oldish volkswagen camper van, its quite a large heavy long wheel base one with popup roof. Hopefully when the engine is removed and with batteries and electric motor installed it will be approx 3500kg in weight.

The other question is it seems to be all about what voltage is put through the the motor to achieve higher speeds, so basically that means a lot of batteries. I have been looking at CALB LiFePO4 ones for there safety and longevity. They seem to be 210ah with a 3.2v so would i need a hell of a lot to get a a decent voltage to power the motor. So if i had 30 of these I'd get 96 volts? - I have read about people putting 700 volts through a similar remy motor?.. is this achievable with batteries or would that be via another power supply?

The last thing is to utilize this high voltage do i need an expensive controller like a rinehart or can i use a cheaper curtis controller like from a forklift truck? I'm guessing what i'm looking for is a controller that can handle a high voltage?

A lot of questions at once but thanks if anyone can tackle any of them!
:confused:
 

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the HVH250 is at the core of motor offerings by EV west and probably others. Its a great motor for many vehicles - with a small to midsize vehicle a single HVH250 could be considered a performance motor, and it would be adequate for a vanagon-style camper.

As for 80-90mph in your camper, A single HVH250 could get a vanagon type camper up to that speed, but you would probably want to retain a transmission. Why do you want to go that fast? Unless the plan is drag racing, driving that fast is going to severely impact electric range in a vehicle where range will be a challenge to begin with. The camper you are describing however (3500kg, or 8000lbs) must be a full blown RV. With the right cooling and gearing to let the motor run at higher RPMs the motor could probably do it (I know of a similar sized vehicle that is also being repowered with a remy motor) but its going to perform like a truck.

The HVH250 is a AC motor. You will need an AC controller that is compatible with it. Rinehart and Scott drive are the options I am aware of. I don't think curtis makes an AC controller that is compatible. (They do have an AC controller that is designed to be mated with their AC-50 and other lower voltage AC drive systems)

Not sure where you are located but if you are anyplace where you can get salvaged nissan leaf or chevy volt or similar OEM EV battery packs these are the most battery for your money. The CALB cells are good too but are lower power density (though at 210ah size should not be an issue) but do cost more. You will probably want a ~320v nominal battery, so 100 cells if using LiFePO4. That probably means ~1200-1500lbs of battery at the 210ah size, but that would be a 64kwh battery pack. At 60mph a pack that size might give a vanagon camper about 100 mile range. (At 90mph, 30-40 miles if you are lucky) The vehicle you are describing, maybe 50 miles range at 60mph.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks for the reply madderscience, yes i have been researching the hybrid batteries from salvage vehicles and think this is the right way to go as they have higher voltages. upto 7.2v some of them. I think I will have to go nimh route initially because I can get them much much cheaper, which also helps! I could poss get upto a 100kw+ pack in the van. I want the vehicle to use for my daily commute at first which 22 miles to and from work, then i can improve on it for mountain biking trips. At the moment it is sat on my drive without an engine as i was planing a TDI conversion, even bought the engine but not having a change of plan. The engine cost me £1200 so :/

I'm in the UK i put the figure of the motor in $ because i figure most people on here are from US. 3500kg an estimate with batteries and loaded camping gear. The van is a eurovan style over in US. Its called a transporter type 4 in the UK. The vans the gross vehicle weight rating is 2890kg. But i have just read that the unladen weight is around 2000kg so 3500kg might be an over estimate.

Also in my thoughts was to add solar panels to the roof as it is quite large and also opens upwards at an angle. Is there any point in doing this or is adding solar panels a fruitless operation?

Oh the 80 - 90 mph speed was just for overtaking in emergencies on the motorway not a constant velocity, manly if i was to use the motor way i would obviously keep within the 70mph speed limit!
 

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Nimh hybrid batteries aren't designed for deep cycling. the way hybrids get max cycles out of those type of cells is to keep their state of charge in a very narrow range (using only 30-40% of their nameplace capacity). They also have much less energy density than true BEV lithium packs do meaning you would need a much heavier pack. I'd stay with batteries from nissan leaf or chevrolet volt/ampera or similar.

The T4 transporter is a large vehicle but at least it looks fairly aerodynamic. Still, you are going to need a lot of battery as you sumrised. If you could get your hands on 3 30kwh (2016+) nissan leaf packs that would be around 1000kg and 90kwh. A single tesla pack, if you could make it work, would also be a possibility.

Owing to the size and shape of roof yes you could get 600-1000w of solar up there possibly, but consider your vehicle will probably use 600-1000wh/mile, meaning at absolute best conditions the solar could add about a mile of range per hour. If you spend a lot of time parked in sunny areas with no electrical hookups it would do some good and would easily power your "house" loads, but it isn't going to substantially affect your driving range.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ah! yeah i see what you mean solar wise, maybe for off grid camping TV / fridge etc then.

I have purchased the Remy HVH motor now, nothing ventured nothing gained!

Controller wise there are a few of these curtis ac controllers second hand for relatively little money are they
man enough for the job think these are for forklifts so probs low mph voltage?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Curtis-Motor-controller-AC-1236-5301/202088414267?hash=item2f0d687c3b:g:FmUAAOSwehZZ7IL1

These are my other battery options then opposed to NiHM

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Toyota-Prius-Plus-Hybrid-Battery-Li-Ion/263230377406?hash=item3d49c0cdbe:g:-qUAAOSwYyVZewW3

Lithum ion prius batteries approx £700 savaged - maybe 2 or 3 of these £2100

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Tesla-Model-S60-battery-module/122784325925?hash=item1c96842125:g:-4EAAOSwTm9Z-Esw

Tesla Module salvage £800 maybe 2 or 3 of these £2400

When you said tesla battery did you mean a module or the entire 16x modules?

Nissan Leafs battery is abit out the question as these are £4500 30kwh

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2015-NISSAN-LEAF-15340-MILES-BATTERY-30kwh/301814995845?fits=Model:Leaf&epid=2233095489&hash=item4645935b85:g:y~0AAOSwAPlXg4fC

As for volt / vauxhall ampera cant find any of those yet

Could an DC/AC inverter / charger system be used from one of the salvaged vehicles or are they to integrated within the system of the vehicles to operate as a standalone unit?
 

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...

I have purchased the Remy HVH motor now, nothing ventured nothing gained!

Controller wise there are a few of these curtis ac controllers second hand for relatively little money are they
man enough for the job think these are for forklifts so probs low mph voltage?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Curtis-Motor-controller-AC-1236-5301/202088414267?hash=item2f0d687c3b:g:FmUAAOSwehZZ7IL1
The Curtis AC controllers are made and programmed for induction motors using pulse encoders. Remy is an IPM motor with resolver. Maybe not impossible, certainly difficult to use with a Curtis. Also at 48V the Remy will be pretty lame.

major
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Cheers, I have a feeling the controller will be an expensive part of this build along with batteries of course
 

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Cheers, I have a feeling the controller will be an expensive part of this build along with batteries of course
I suspect this will be expensive and difficult... an alternative approach for the T4 would be a 'small' Tesla drivetrain which contains the motor, inverter, and transmission in a single package weighing just ~90kg.

One is available in The Netherlands (here) that is slightly damaged and I suspect could be purchased for ~2000 Euros :cool:
 

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"HVH" means High-Voltage Hairpin. The "hairpin" part is about how the stator is wired and you can ignore that to some extent, but the "high voltage" part is critical. There's no point in using one of these unless you're running it close to the intended voltage... and for the lower-voltage HVH units that is well over 300 volts.

Controller wise there are a few of these curtis ac controllers second hand for relatively little money are they man enough for the job think these are for forklifts so probs low mph voltage?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Curtis-Motor-controller-AC-1236-5301/202088414267?hash=item2f0d687c3b:g:FmUAAOSwehZZ7IL1
The operating voltage is clearly given in the specs for these controllers. While eBay may be suitable source of cheap controllers, I wouldn't trust any technical information in the listings. Curtis controllers come from Curtis Instruments, which provides lots of authoritative information about them. Yes, they are mostly used for forklift trucks and other industrial equipment, plus golf cars and other small non-roadgoing vehicles. DIY EVs using relatively low (by current standards) voltage appear to be an accidental sideline for them.

These are my other battery options then opposed to NiHM

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Toyota-Prius-Plus-Hybrid-Battery-Li-Ion/263230377406?hash=item3d49c0cdbe:g:-qUAAOSwYyVZewW3

Lithum ion prius batteries approx £700 savaged - maybe 2 or 3 of these £2100

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Tesla-Model-S60-battery-module/122784325925?hash=item1c96842125:g:-4EAAOSwTm9Z-Esw

Tesla Module salvage £800 maybe 2 or 3 of these £2400
Prius batteries are configured for a reasonable voltage, but 2 or 3 of the 16 modules in series will provide a voltage level more appropriate for a golf car than anything using an HVH motor.

Could an DC/AC inverter / charger system be used from one of the salvaged vehicles or are they to integrated within the system of the vehicles to operate as a standalone unit?
While in theory an inverter from any EV with a permanent magnet AC synchronous motor at a compatible voltage might work, they are highly integrated with the vehicle. There's no way to use them unless you either emulate the CAN network messages that they are expecting, or replace the logic portion (a serious electronics and software project). I'm no expert on this, but I haven't noticed anyone in this forum using an inverter from a production EV except with the motor that it came attached to... and even then it's a challenge.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for the reply Brian, I have opted to buy one of these AC Control/Driver boards from PandSpowerelectronics in Canada and build my own controller unit.

https://pandspowerelectronics.ecwid.com/#!/P&S-Power-Electronics-3-Phase-POPULATED-AND-TESTED-AC-Control-Driver-Board/p/59121602/category=16287307

This PCB is pretty impressive the board contains all the controls and 6 isolated drivers for driving a 3 phase AC induction or permanent magnet motor at powers in the 200-300kW range. It is designed to be plugged right into 3 IGBT half bridges rated up to 1200v 600amp.

It needs a resolver to encoder converter PCB add on though.

Now to figure out getting enough power through it!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The spend for the electric motor project so far:-

£500 for the motor
£300 for the Motor controller PCB
£100 for resolver to encoder converter PCB

£?00000 Batteries we are talking thousands right!

Here is the van in question link to build Build thread, quite a lot of work has gone into it already hand modified the electric elevating roof
and there was a lot of welding work on the floor, there is a lot of space for batteries under the floor so considering cutting away recesses to house them
and re welding and strengthening

http://www.vwt4forum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=241503&page=3
 

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... one of these AC Control/Driver boards from PandSpowerelectronics in Canada...
Looks like it has potential. :)

By the way, P&S Power Electronics appears to be in Arizona, not Canada (judging from information on the company and store websites). I think it is the business of MPaulHolmes of this forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yes i think you are right, not sure where i got Canada from..

I'm researching 18650 batteries, they are pretty common for E-Cigarettes if i could find a wholesaler that supplied them at £1 a battery i could be on for a winner. I found some one who recons them for £1.40 but not ideal
 

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The spend for the electric motor project so far:-

£500 for the motor
£300 for the Motor controller PCB
£100 for resolver to encoder converter PCB

£?00000 Batteries we are talking thousands right!

Here is the van in question link to build Build thread, quite a lot of work has gone into it already hand modified the electric elevating roof
and there was a lot of welding work on the floor, there is a lot of space for batteries under the floor so considering cutting away recesses to house them
and re welding and strengthening

http://www.vwt4forum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=241503&page=3


Firstly happy new year. I am in the process of converting my Mrs’ Nissan Figaro to electric, in the U.K. as well. My knowledge of power electronics is very limited so this is a steep learning curve but I do know a bit about batteries. You’re right to be looking at 18650 cells. Almost every EV on the road uses battery packs comprised of 18650 cells. They have 4 times the energy density of conventional cells and they’re capable of deep cycling. If treated properly most cells will retain a capacity of 80% after 3000 cycles. A Tesla Model S P100D has about 10,000 of these cells. My project will need between 3-6000 depending on range/drivetrain. Buying pre-built battery packs is horrifically expensive, building them yourself can be very cheap. If that’s something you’re interested in doing let me know and i’ll Send you some info.

I’m also looking to use the Remy HVH250 cartridge motor. I would love to know how you’ve gotten on with the motor controller kit. I tried the link but couldn’t find it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Not EVERY ev uses them. Many manufacturers use pouch.

I got my volt pack for $ 2,000 usd delivered and you'll find better bargains out there
 

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Almost every EV on the road uses battery packs comprised of 18650 cells.
That's not true at all! :eek: Tesla uses cylindrical cells (18650, but now switching to a larger format), but as piotrsko mentioned, other major players currently use pouch cells; most manufacturers (nearly everyone other than Tesla) use pouch cells and most have never used cylindrical lithium cells.

For example, modern GM electric and hybrid vehicles (Volt, Spark EV, Bolt) use pouch cellls - the Volt packs are popular among builders in this forum, such as piotrsko. The other popular source of modern battery packs for DIY projects is the Nissan Leaf - again, these are pouch cells.

Speaking of GM...
Remy, builder of the HVH motors used in GM hybrids and EVs and subject of this topic, was a division of General Motors for 75 years and is now part of BorgWarner; these motors are now branded "BorgWarner", not "Remy".

They have 4 times the energy density of conventional cells and they’re capable of deep cycling.
18650 is just a physical case format: 18 mm diameter, 65.0 mm long. There are many different cells offered in this format, so to assume a specific level of performance is not valid. There are several lithium chemistries, but typically they are suitable for deep cycling... in 18650 cylindrical cases or any other physical format.

Also, the performance of any cell is highly dependent on electrical and thermal management: you can't just take the same cells as used in a Tesla Model S, stick them in a closed box without cooling, wire them to a controller without monitoring, and expect Tesla Model S performance.
 

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I stand corrected, 18650 cells are used in Tesla’s but they are moving to a 17670 format. I would still like to hear how you’ve gotten on with the motor controller?
 

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I stand corrected, 18650 cells are used in Tesla’s but they are moving to a 17670 format.
Okay, but the point was that any kind of cylindrical cell (18650, "17670", 2170, or any other size) is not used by most manufacturers. They use entirely differently packaged "pouch" cells.

The cell actually used in the Model 3 is the 2170 format cylindrical - 21 mm x 70 mm - made by Panasonic at the "Gigafactory".
 
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