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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey All, I have recently introduced myself in one of the other channels, It was suggested that a build thread here may be a good idea.

With myself and my buddy Zach, we have been converting a 1980 Vanagon to electric power over on our youtube channel DreamEV. www.youtube.com/c/dreamev Currently we are up over 25 Episodes where we are walking through all the steps involved. Some are more electric focused, others not so much.

Our project uses a Tesla small rear drive unit, paired with 12 LG Chem 16S modules each at 2.6kWh batteries giving approximately 32kWh. This combo is controlled by a EV Controls T-1C head unit.

We are not quite done, but we are just now getting to some of the more EV conversion specific steps. Quite frankly it would be good to have some smart eyes watching along.
 

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Christopher, I just wanted to let you know I love what you and Zach are doing. The idea of converting my '84 Vanagon to electric power just came into my mind about a week ago and you are helping with the inspiration. I look forward to catching up on the rest of the youtube videos. Thanks for being a leader and for sharing your journey!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We published another video, this time it includes a wire harness for our Dilithium Design BMS.

Our 12 LG chem modules needed to be ran in parallel to get the voltage needed for our drive unit. Instead of using the module pairing boards from EV west, we opted to make individual leads to externally pair our modules at the cell level. Per advice from EV West we included inline fuses as a safety measure at each cell.

Optionally we could have used the pairing boards, but availability was limited.
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Much thanks to snowdog, your videos were helpful :)

 

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I saw you post here advertising your build, I was interested as im also doing a Tesla drive unit into my car and I was very interested in the 'indepth' videos you were doing.
I've watched from the very beginning and at first thought, "Wow, these guys are an odd bunch, very weird"

But honestly, after watching my way through to your current episode, Ive now changed my mind. You guys are still a little weird, but in a good way, I found myself giggling at some of your jokes and looking forwards to new episodes. I love the way you explain whats going on, how your doing things, even little things like how the crimper tool works and how to use it.
Once the build is done, i'll go back and watch it all again and likely see a whole bunch of stuff I missed the first time. I've already watched a few episodes more than once.
its a very refreshing change from the typical manicured and scripted youtube videos that the algorithm keeps recommending me.

keep up the good work guys! I've subscribed and look forwards to every new episode.
 

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This looks like a great project! Two quick questions:

1: Would converting a Eurovan Camper be possible? What would be possible pitfalls?

2: What kind of range are you hoping for with your setup?

Thanks!
 

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So we put out a new video this week,
I make a aluminum hatch for a fuse in our battery tray. I had a good time with this.

View attachment 121759

I am hesitant to post every video we make, maybe only the electric focused ones. I don't want to be rude, so please let me know... :)

Heads up! Your lug arrangement for the fuse is not ideal. The studs/nuts aren't meant to take the current path. You want the lug to be bearing on the fuse directly.
 

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Heads up! Your lug arrangement for the fuse is not ideal. The studs/nuts aren't meant to take the current path. You want the lug to be bearing on the fuse directly.
I assume the idea was to make it easy to change the fuse without disturbing the cable lug installation, but the cables won't go anywhere, so just leave the extra nuts out.

In the same video (Episode 26), the tool used to strip the cable is a cutter - it is not for stripping. It's also not a "lineman cutter"; there are "linesman pliers", but this is a cable cutter. You can strip with it, but you will likely nick some outer strands.
 

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I assume the idea was to make it easy to change the fuse without disturbing the cable lug installation, but the cables won't go anywhere, so just leave the extra nuts out.

In the same video (Episode 26), the tool used to strip the cable is a cutter - it is not for stripping. It's also not a "lineman cutter"; there are "linesman pliers", but this is a cable cutter. You can strip with it, but you will likely nick some outer strands.
Agreed. The fuse should not need to be changed (ever?), so it doesn't need to be easily serviced, either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
This looks like a great project! Two quick questions:

1: Would converting a Eurovan Camper be possible? What would be possible pitfalls?

2: What kind of range are you hoping for with your setup?

Thanks!
Converting a Eurovan would be possible. Looking at the suspension there are a number of shared components and it is safe to assume it would be about the same level of difficulty. About the only pitfalls I can think are common among every conversion, you really have to love the vehicle to invest the amount of time and money. Our setup is about 32 kWh of battery storage, and I hope for it to get 100 miles range of city driving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
In the same video (Episode 26), the tool used to strip the cable is a cutter - it is not for stripping. It's also not a "lineman cutter"; there are "linesman pliers", but this is a cable cutter. You can strip with it, but you will likely nick some outer strands.
I did experience a bit of difficulty with this setup for stripping. Do you have any recommendations for a more suitable tool?
 

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I did experience a bit of difficulty with this setup for stripping. Do you have any recommendations for a more suitable tool?
Sorry, no recommendation, I have only used strippers on smaller wire. People do use various kinds of cutters to strip insulation from cable like this - I used a knife and pliers when I stripped similar cable in residential wiring - but you have to be careful without a proper stripping tool.

Something adjustable to cut only to the appropriate depth, such as the one Cole showed, seems appropriate to me.

Klein has interesting large rotary strippers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hey all, time for another update. We have progressed with our wiring and have installed it into our van. I have collected these videos, descriptions, and some timestamps of areas of interest.

Episode 33: Wiring Harness Prep

In this video we take inspiration from Tally Ho and break out the rope to mock up a wire harness for our chassis.
  • 4:20 Start of rope harness construction.
  • 15:05 Rope harness finished and terminations shown, then moved to bench for construction.


Episode 34: CAN bus wiring

In this episode we give a high level overview of the CAN bus protocol, rock out during a rainstorm, and have a chat about octopus.
  • 1:35 CAN talk begins.


Episode 35: More Wiring

In this episode we continue work on the wiring harness, It makes it into the van, but is still far from done. There is also a bit on fuses in this one, maybe it could give you some light conversation material for then next barbecue.
  • 8:11 A segment on fuses and sizing to conductor wires.
  • 14:48 12V fuse and relay block system explanation using iso 280 style components.
  • 17:25 Front half harness complete progress update and prep for installation.


Episode 36: The wheels do not spin

No clickbait in this one, we get close to seeing some sweet wheel spin action, but do not make our goal. :(
  • 2:12 DC-DC converter and 12V Distribution
  • 4:41 System overview
  • 12:58 T1-C Headunit error
 
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