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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
For those who aren't up on this, I ordered 51 Calb SE200Ah cells in December for my S10. Paid up front with a check direct to Calb to get a discounted price. This upgrade should boost my trip capacity to around 100 miles from the current 30. It also saves 719 lbs, almost half the weight of the lead pack.

The batteries arrived yesterday. Today I checked the voltages to see what I had. A sample of 12 cells yielded 9 at 3.265V, a couple at 3.266V and one at 3.264V, all within 2/1000 of a volt. Pretty amazing right there! I think that's close to fully charged for a Calb battery.

Tonight I worked on the layout of the racks and a little on the conversion of power brakes to manual brakes. I'll be able to fit all 50 cells under the bed with room to spare. Battery 51 is a spare. I should have the brakes completed tomorrow. Had to get a part machined for the brake pedal to attach to the push rod. Eliminating the power brakes allowed me to drop 17 lbs and more importantly eliminate that God awful vacuum pump sound!:D
 

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For those who aren't up on this, I ordered 51 Calb SE200Ah cells in December for my S10. Paid up front with a check direct to Calb to get a discounted price. This upgrade should boost my trip capacity to around 100 miles from the current 30. It also saves 719 lbs, almost half the weight of the lead pack.

The batteries arrived yesterday. Today I checked the voltages to see what I had. A sample of 12 cells yielded 9 at 3.265V, a couple at 3.266V and one at 3.264V, all within 2/1000 of a volt. Pretty amazing right there! I think that's close to fully charged for a Calb battery.

Tonight I worked on the layout of the racks and a little on the conversion of power brakes to manual brakes. I'll be able to fit all 50 cells under the bed with room to spare. I should have the brakes completed tomorrow. Had to get a part machined for the brake pedal to attach to the push rod. Eliminating the power brakes allowed me to drop 17 lbs and more importantly eliminate that God awful vacuum pump sound!:D
I don't have experience with Calb, but that voltage on a TS or Headway would mean much less than 100% SOC. Fully charged after the surface charge disipates should be over 3.3V It's not like lead acid, in resting state the difference between 80% and 20% is very very small.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's how they arrived but I'll figure it out once they're all connected and I can charge them for the first time.

Finished the brake conversion today. Works like a champ so far. The pedal rests in the right place keeping the brake light off, something I was concerned may not happen.

In the photos, you can see the plate that attaches to the firewall on an S10. The plate holds the push rod in place. The yellow thing has a hole in it where the rod goes through to the pedal. To do this conversion you'll need to get those three pieces from a salvage yard or such.

The photo of the pedal shows two studs. The smaller one on the bottom is where the brake switch activator connects and the old master cylinder rod used to connect. The thicker one above it is one I had machined for the manual master cylinder (MS). The hole was already there so I just needed the new stud. I had to coerce it a little to get it in with a brass hammer but it's a nice snug fit. :D I then welded the back side to retain it.

Also shown is the power brake MS and the manual MS. Note the diameter of the cylinders. The power brake has a larger diameter cylinder but a short stroke. The manual one has a smaller diameter but longer stroke. The smaller diameter makes it easier to push the pedal. Relocating the push rod closer to the pivot point gives you more leverage which also makes it easier to push.

When finished I noticed it really opened that side of the engine compartment up. Lots more room there now with no vacuum apparatus and no brake booster.

Now I have to finish the drawings for the battery boxes and install the Zeva Plus fuel gauge driver. It will operate the factory fuel gauge by counting amp hours installed and used. That will be a welcome change. NO MORE ERRATIC PAK TRAKR!!!!! The old pak trakr modules went into the trash. I wouldn't recommend that system at all. It's a good idea just not engineered properly.
 

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For those who aren't up on this, I ordered 51 Calb SE200Ah cells in December for my S10. Paid up front with a check direct to Calb to get a discounted price. This upgrade should boost my trip capacity to around 100 miles from the current 30. It also saves 719 lbs, almost half the weight of the lead pack.

The batteries arrived yesterday. Today I checked the voltages to see what I had. A sample of 12 cells yielded 9 at 3.265V, a couple at 3.266V and one at 3.264V, all within 2/1000 of a volt. Pretty amazing right there! I think that's close to fully charged for a Calb battery.

Tonight I worked on the layout of the racks and a little on the conversion of power brakes to manual brakes. I'll be able to fit all 50 cells under the bed with room to spare. I should have the brakes completed tomorrow. Had to get a part machined for the brake pedal to attach to the push rod. Eliminating the power brakes allowed me to drop 17 lbs and more importantly eliminate that God awful vacuum pump sound!:D
Glad to see ur off and running with your new batteries! :) I checked a bunch of mine with a DVM. So far, they are all 3.299 or 3.298. I'll resurrect my thread soon. Sounds like we have similar upgrades going on to similar vehicles.... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Glad to see ur off and running with your new batteries! :) I checked a bunch of mine with a DVM. So far, they are all 3.299 or 3.298. I'll resurrect my thread soon. Sounds like we have similar upgrades going on to similar vehicles.... :)
Our meters likely are a little off from each other. Mine is fairly new but never been officially calibrated. Don't need that anymore for what I do.

This afternoon I finished the dimensions of my boxes. I'm planning for 1/2" polyisocyanurate insulation with the foil on one side. It's pretty rigid and is R4, better than the pink foam insulation at home stores.

Here's a photo of my 200Ah cell. These things were a little larger than I expected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Got a new game plan for the pack install thanks to a friend. He restores old cars and is restoring a '40 Ford pickup to convert. So his idea is to build ONE big rack between the cab and the rear end to hold all 50 cells. Beats the heck out of building 3!

It's a radically different approach to the norm but I like it. It's going to eliminate more heavy cables between racks AND the hinged bed. No more lifting that thing up! His plan was to build the rack high enough to clear the drive shaft and rear end travel. This way it will take up the entire area between the frame rails from just behind the cab to right near the diff. Naturally it will protrude through the bed a few inches but he's going to build a box around the area with an air gap between the battery box top and new bed extension.

I'll have to give up some bed space and hauling ability but the idea is errands, not hauling big stuff. Besides with the loss of weight I can connect a trailer if needed. Speaking of dropping weight, including 17 lbs of power brake apparatus, copper wiring and 170lbs of battery boxes and support bracing, the total weight removed is now about 255 lbs!

The new battery box I'm guessing will weigh no more than 45 lbs including the top. The new 4/0 aluminum pack cables, about 12' each to the engine compartment will only weigh 4.7 lbs. That gives me a net weight loss estimated at 205 lbs plus 719 battery lbs for a total of 924 lbs as of today. Old weight 4147, new weight 3223, a 22.3% drop! That should save me about 90-100 watts/mile I'm hoping after allowing for wind losses.

I'm planning on replacing the leaf springs with composite springs for another huge weight loss. On average a 70% weight savings they say. However my springs for the lead batteries are 5 leafs versus the factory 2 so I expect to save a big chunk there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yea I just read the manual that came with them. Said they are shipped at 60% SOC. Lots of neat stuff in there like start the cooling fan once the batteries reach 40C (104F), go to limp mode at 50C (122F) and shut down the motor at 55C (131F). Also said to charge to 3.6V but never exceed 3.9V. Lots of conflicting data in the manual versus what I've read on this site. I tried to post the PDF manual but it's like 5MB which is too big for this site.

I have a cycle analyst to install, HVC relay already installed, a Zeva plus fuel gauge driver to drive the factory fuel gauge which I'll likely install tomorrow. I'm getting a ventilated battery box built and hope to have it on hand by early next week. Going to install probably 3 120mm PC type ball bearing fans to draw air out if it overheats operated at 12V. Also a heated mat of some sort underneath to keep them warm in winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Almost finished the Zeva install today. Only two things left to do, mount and connect it to an LED for a "Low Battery" indicator and interface it with my tach. To do that I'm installing a double throw switch, one position is to operate the tach as normal, the other position will display amps on the tach. I thought that would be cool, an analog amp meter!

I removed the connector socket and soldered the wires directly to the board. That makes a better connection but I had to do it anyway or the top wouldn't go on without moving it or using a larger box.

The toggle switch disconnects the 12V to reset it to full in case the Ah counter reads full too soon or doesn't reach full.

We cut the steel and welded the bottom rack this evening so it shouldn't be long before we can start the install. I may install that piece tomorrow. I'm so ready to drive it!
 

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Just a quick question based in my own ignorance: Will that loop in the power cable inside your ZEVA box effect the hall-effect on the ZEVA? I know the shape is irrelevant, but my concern is the proximity of the other portion of the cable, and its opposite orientation and current flow direction.
 

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Actually what I'll probably end up doing is just end the charge around 3.45 as now but eliminate the 15 minutes of CV charging. Now I have CV come on around 3.45. By skipping the CV stage I eliminate one failure point, the timer, and keep the cells about 5% lower SOC than I do now. If I think I'll need more range I can turn the timer on.
 

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For those who aren't up on this, I ordered 51 Calb SE200Ah cells in December for my S10. Paid up front with a check direct to Calb to get a discounted price. This upgrade should boost my trip capacity to around 100 miles from the current 30. It also saves 719 lbs, almost half the weight of the lead pack.
Cool! I'm curious how you are estimating your range of 100 miles? You are estimating about 320 watt-hours/mile?

corbin
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm reducing weight for one. After it's complete I will have eliminated close to 20% of the total weight so that should reduce the watts by close to the same amount. Also the batteries will be much more efficient due to a much lower internal resistance. I'm boosting the voltage to about 165 from 144 which will reduce the current draw further. Also I've compared the numbers of others who've switched and I think my calculations are close if their numbers are accurate.

I've been getting around 500Wh/mile or slightly less since moving to the country with the lead. However I don't plan to drive it down near empty, probably keeping it closer to 85-90 miles if I do approach 320wh/mile.

I hope to be on the road by next weekend though it won't be finished. I have to get the bed cut out and a box fabricated around the opening. I have the battery box top and a frame being welded of aluminum which I hope to pickup Monday.

One thing I'd like to do is replace the leaf springs with composite springs which they claim averages 70% weight savings. However they quoted almost $600 for a set so I may not do it.
 

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I'm using a Manzanita, you can set the CV timer from 15 minutes and up in 10 minute increments. The only reason to use the CV stage is to get as much charge into the battery as possible. Since we know lithium lasts longer when under charged it seems quite reasonable to just skip the CV stage if you don't need to get every amp hour in or out of your pack. Shallow cycling is the best way to preserve your cells, so under charge and shallow discharge. If you are getting much above 3.45V you're already at 90% SOC or higher. Why bother if you don't need it? There is a big difference in SOC between 3.4 and 3.6.
 
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