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klipless
klipless New Reader
11/9/09 7:04 a.m.

Congrats on the hat tip from the NYT. It kinda offsets the garbage that Friedman spews on there.

Nashco
Nashco SuperDork
11/18/09 5:39 p.m.

Last week I got my battery pack all back to healthy-ish and added some wiring that allows me to balance the packs before I switch the contactors closed. This will keep the fried resistor board problem from happening again, lesson learned from my Florida trip. What I added is pretty straight forward, it's just a household electrical plug that has one pole going to positive of one pack and the other pole going to the positive of the second pack. The two packs are hooked together on the negative side. I have a 100W light bulb in a drop light that I plug in which acts like a big resistor between the two packs, if they're out of balance by much the bulb lights up to let me know it's working. Once the light stops glowing, it's safe to switch the contactors closed without worrying about welding them shut. Simple, safe, cheap, effective.

Today I drove the car to work (about 3 miles) in electric only mode for the entire trip. I started with a moderate charge (~330V) and by the time I got to work I was down as low as I feel comfortable going (~290V). So, this pretty much confirms what I already suspected, my batteries are good for about 3 miles of realistic city driving, maybe 5 miles max if I was creeping along and started with a really good charge. I drove the car just like I would with the gas engine, no special treatment, speeds as high as 40 mph, several stops, one hard accel pulling into traffic. I don't have an electric vacuum pump yet, so I did have to give myself more stopping distance than normal without the power brakes to fall back on.

In other news, my publicist (read: Jessica) took some pictures of me with the car now that it's all cleaned up and we got the race stickers off. If anybody cares to see the car all cleaned up, here are the shots we got the other day:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nashco/sets/72157622707734221/

A sample:

Bryce

Vigo
Vigo New Reader
11/18/09 7:09 p.m.

Wow. That article was about as good as it gets for covering all the bases and plugging all the important players.

I really hope this car continues to be developed. It was by far my favorite entry in GRM $2009 and a great story and accomplishment in any context.

I only spoke to you for a bare minute or two, but im hoping to see the car and the team again.. and by then i might have done enough research to ask some intelligent questions!

Ive already pestered a golf-cart modding acquaintance into edumacating me, and plans for my electric hybrid AWD van project continue to boil in my brain...

Rock on! (and keep updating)

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/18/09 7:10 p.m.

Bryce I'm sure you are aware of this, but how do you deal with the charging targets that the older cells use- 40-60%? I know that none of the cells are ever 100% nor do they go below 30%, since, from what I read, that is the best for battery life.

Eric

vazbmw
vazbmw Reader
11/18/09 8:23 p.m.

Is this in West Seattle?

Bryce

Nashco
Nashco SuperDork
11/18/09 8:40 p.m.
alfadriver wrote: Bryce I'm sure you are aware of this, but how do you deal with the charging targets that the older cells use- 40-60%? I know that none of the cells are ever 100% nor do they go below 30%, since, from what I read, that is the best for battery life. Eric

I pretty much throw those "targets" out the window. First of all, I don't have nearly enough instrumentation on board to know what the true state of charge is on these batteries. I try to keep them between 7.0-8.2 volts per module, their nominal voltage is 7.2V. This is to avoid major damage, I accept that what I'm doing is more abusive to these batteries than their original intention and they wouldn't reach a 100k/10 year warranty like the OEM package would. If these were healthy batteries, I could actually treat them a bit nicer than I do because they wouldn't have to work so hard (more Ah to give). Unfortunately, the batteries I'm getting are already not very healthy as they've usually come from a wrecked Prius that's been sitting uncharged for months and is several years old. Such is the world of salvaged batteries at bargain prices!

Getting a "real" charger to plug the car into would make things much better. Then I could use some battery management to balance the batteries every time I plug in, which would prolong the death of the already unhealthy cells. I think some better thermal management will also help; my batteries BAKED in the Florida sun, looking back I could have done a better job of managing the solar load they were subjected to that finished off some of those cells. I'm still learning.

Bryce

Nashco
Nashco SuperDork
11/18/09 8:43 p.m.
vazbmw wrote: Is this in West Seattle?

Nope. That's the St. John's Bridge in North Portland, about 3 miles from my house.

Bryce

Nashco
Nashco SuperDork
12/14/09 2:49 p.m.

The local SAE group asked me to do a presentation on the Fiero last month. There was just over 50 people in attendance, mostly engineers, and people really liked hearing about the build, the competitions, and all the adventures that came along with it. Of course, the car was there as well for everybody to check out. The presentation and car was very well received; it's nice to have people that make stuff for a living give compliments on the stuff I made! The SAE group just posted the presentation up if anybody wants to see it:

http://www.oregonsae.org/Meetings/Hybrid%20Fiero_Nov%202009_SAE%20Friday%20Lunch.pdf

The presentation isn't much to look at as I mostly used it to reference while I did the talking, but there are a couple of interesting shots that point out some of the parts bin stuff that was used. The SAE folks said it was the highest turnout they've had at a lunchtime presentation in several years, so that was pretty flattering.

With the refreshed battery pack, the front end is really struggling for traction. It's time to finally ditch the all season tires for good. I've also been looking for a smokin' deal on a 3400 or 3500 to drop into the rear and some cheap (used) adjustable Civic/Accord dampers and stiffer springs for the front. The 3400 is a very easy drop in that I should be able to squeeze into my budget and would give me another 50 hp (stock) in the rear while reducing weight and increasing fuel economy. So, if any of you local guys see something cheap, pass it on!!! It's been a heartbreaker to see the engine I want in "cash for clunker" vans at the junkyard...what a waste.

Bryce

VWguyBruce
VWguyBruce HalfDork
12/14/09 7:15 p.m.

Congratulations on more great press. Nice to see the car continuing to develop too.

Great meeting you guys in Florida. Hope to do it again... with less maintenance!

Later, Bruce

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/15/09 10:19 a.m.
Nashco wrote: The local SAE group asked me to do a presentation on the Fiero last month. There was just over 50 people in attendance, mostly engineers, and people really liked hearing about the build, the competitions, and all the adventures that came along with it. [snip] The SAE folks said it was the highest turnout they've had at a lunchtime presentation in several years, so that was pretty flattering.

Outstanding work, Bryce! This car could be a better resume builder than your Kettering degree.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury Dork
12/15/09 12:22 p.m.
AngryCorvair wrote: ...Kettering degree.

who?

werent 3500's supercharged in LeSabres? That would be effin sweet!!!

keethrax
keethrax Reader
12/15/09 1:20 p.m.
...builder than your Kettering degree.

Calling it Kettering still just sits wrong for me. Too many family members with GMI degrees. (And one with a Kettering degree).

Michigan Tech for me though. And going to school in Houghton > Flint. It was so nice there that it took me almost 8 years for my B.S. :)

Vigo
Vigo New Reader
12/15/09 3:12 p.m.
werent 3500's supercharged in LeSabres? That would be effin sweet!!!

No 3500s have been supercharged from the factory. Only 3.8s... and ecotecs and ls7's

I like the 3400/3500 idea. The big thing with the 3500 is the variable cam timing (iirc). A stock one actually makes some power up past 6k! Whereas the 3400 doesnt, really.. lower rpm grunt is probably about the same. Im all for going for a relatively simple swap for that car because for one thing either a 3.4 or 3.5 would make it a much quicker car gas-only, but with the electric powertrain running at full potential the combination of the two will give you more than enough power to uncover the next weakest links, which will probably be handling and traction, as you alluded to. Keep up the good work

And dont rule out the rare 3900.. you may find one. Externally identical to 3500 i would think, but MORE POWAH for same effort vs. 3500. Came in vans and some higher-optioned cars.

AutoXR
AutoXR Reader
12/15/09 3:28 p.m.

There are no supercharged LS7's .. only LS9's. The ZR1 and the Z06 have different Motors. (7.0 vs. 6.2) Thicker cylinder walls.

the 3900 is not the same effort as the 3500 , VVT and all that jazz, there are a few build threads out there on the conversion in a fiero.

There are 3400 Powered fiero's with nothing more then a reflash in the 13 sec 1/4 mile range. It's quite the topicon RHMT which is where I beleive nashco got the bug.

Nashco
Nashco SuperDork
12/15/09 3:40 p.m.

If I go 3500, it would be the non-VVT variety, which allows me to use an older hacked ECM and skip all the extra computer stuff needed for the newer engine (KISS). The 3500 comes with an e-throttle, which would be intriguing to fiddle with trying to go all electric with the throttle controls, but for simplicity I'd likely just toss a 3400 intake onto it and stick with a cable.

It's all dependent on what I find a good deal on first, really. In theory, an all stock 3400 would probably be the best balance of simplicity, price, and advantages...unless I come across some crazy-cheap 3500 deal. The 3400 isn't a technological marvel, but it's still a huge improvement on the stock 2.anchor that I'm using now. The reason to stick with the 3400/3500 is to be able to use as much of the stock clutch, flywheel, mounts, plumbing, wiring, etc. as possible. Going to something like a 3800, 3900, 4.9, Northstar, Ecotec, etc. has more appeal but would be MUCH more difficult to fit in the budget because of all the little stuff that adds up. Time will tell on what deal lands in my lap first.

Bryce

AutoXR
AutoXR Reader
12/15/09 3:42 p.m.

Shaun got his 3500 for $300

They are out there.....

Nashco
Nashco SuperDork
12/15/09 3:44 p.m.
AutoXR wrote: the 3900 is not the same effort as the 3500 , VVT and all that jazz, there are a few build threads out there on the conversion in a fiero. There are 3400 Powered fiero's with nothing more then a reflash in the 13 sec 1/4 mile range. It's quite the topicon RHMT which is where I beleive nashco got the bug.

IIRC, the 3900 is very similar to the VVT 3500 (as there are both VVT and non-VVT 3500s). I've got a friend who has made some good power with an M90 (from a 3800SC) breathing into a 3400 a few years back, he's the one who has been wanting me to go 3400/3500. With the reality of what my $20XX budget has left in it, I started looking into it more. There's a couple of kinda-sorta documented 3400 builds that have been pretty successful, so I think there's enough merit in the swap to justify looking for a cheap 3400 instead of the other stuff I'd rather put in (if budget wasn't so tight).

AutoXR wrote: Shaun got his 3500 for $300

I'm looking more at the $200 range, maybe $275 max with all the extras I might need to accommodate the swap. The U-Pull yard prices are around $200 normally here, just a matter of finding a car. There's hardly any modern GM stuff in the U-Pull yards and/or craigslist out here, so I have to hunt pretty hard. It's a lot easier getting modern GM stuff in the rust belt. It all balances out though, as there are tons of great deals on imports and old cars here that wouldn't exist in the rust belt.

Bryce

Nashco
Nashco SuperDork
2/22/10 2:42 a.m.

Today I had a chance to get the Fiero on some corner scales (thanks Gabe and co!). I was pleasantly surprised at how well balanced it was and it was pretty close to the total weight I expected. This is the weight exactly as I raced it in Florida, stock wheels with all season tires, almost complete interior, and about 3/4 tank of fuel. Weight without driver:

LF: 727
RF: 796
LR: 756
RR: 761

Me in the driver's seat:

LF: 791
RF: 820
LR: 837
RR: 787

For reference, the '88 Formula curb weight is around 2700-2750 pounds.

Bryce

Vigo
Vigo Reader
3/9/10 8:20 p.m.

Wow, very impressive weight dristribution! With a real set of tires, dampers,an alignment, and the variable front/rear power balance, that thing will probably have enough handling potential that you'll be catching up to the car for a good while.

I cant wait to start collecting parts for my gas/electric awd van build

Well apparently i could wait a few months.. but i have now started!!! i bought a whole electric converted car sans batteries BUT with a 52hp 3 phase brushless dc motor, controller to go with it, dc-dc converter, etc etc etc. Its a complete car.

I think the motor will move my van around alright but after its had everything added to it it will probably be closing in on 4000 lbs. Luckily i can cram plenty of power into the gas/FWD drivetrain.

The prius battery packs are very appealing to me for packaging/charging reasons, at least when considered with my electrically-uneducated mind.

Keep up the good work, Bryce!

Nashco
Nashco SuperDork
3/31/10 2:49 a.m.
Vigo wrote: Well apparently i could wait a few months.. but i have now started!!! i bought a whole electric converted car sans batteries BUT with a 52hp 3 phase brushless dc motor, controller to go with it, dc-dc converter, etc etc etc. Its a complete car.

Pictures or it didn't happen. Seriously, start a build thread, the world can't have too many wild swap build threads!

The prius battery packs are very appealing to me for packaging/charging reasons, at least when considered with my electrically-uneducated mind.

As long as you go into it understanding that the Prius batteries are good for (short term) power, but not great for energy storage (range) then the Prius batteries are great. The packaging is fantastic and obviously the availability/price is getting better all the time. In regards to trying to get high voltage, it's hard to beat the used Prius packs. There's some merit to going with lead acid in some cases, it all depends on the voltage, budget, packaging, etc. Lead acid is DEFINITELY easier to deal with when it comes to charging, there are tons of off-the-shelf lead acid chargers that are cheap and well proven...relatively speaking, NiMH chargers are pretty crappy value.

I'll be curious to see what you do with your drive axle, there are a lot of possibilities with that chassis.

Bryce

Nashco
Nashco SuperDork
7/23/10 12:35 p.m.

It's been a long since my last update! The car has been sitting dormant for several months as I have been trying to get other parts of my life ironed out. However, with the EV drags in town this weekend, I couldn't resist the temptation to get the car back in action. I had an electrical gremlin spring to life while the car sat dormant, so I started to track down the problem last week. Unfortunately, I accidentally left a drain on one of my high voltage packs for a few days and killed half of my batteries...DOH!!!

So, I did some rewiring to prevent this from happening in the future and started the hunt for more junkyard Prius packs. I'll detail the changes to the high voltage system soon when I've got a bit more time. I was able to get two fresh(er) Prius packs from a local junkyard for $150 each, my best price on Prius packs to date. Funny, the more I spend on my $2009 car, the cheaper it gets (according to the official budget!). These latest packs seem pretty dang healthy, so I'm really happy with the fresh batteries despite all the heartache I had after ruining the others last week.

Last night I got the high voltage system reassembled and got back to hunting down my electrical gremlin. As it turns out, the emergency disconnect switch (which resides outside the car in the elements) failed, so even in the "on" position the electronics weren't getting power. When I got power past that switch, everything came back to life and I was happy as a clam. This morning I drove the Fiero to work...I had almost forgotten how fun this thing is to drive!!!

The EV drags are going on at PIR tonight and tomorrow night, any locals should come check it out. The Fiero is definitely not the main attraction, there will be some MUCH faster electric cars out. I've got some used up ex-Chump Car RT615s to go on the car and replace the nasty all season tires; I'm hoping that with the tires and the fresh batteries, I'll be in the low 14s tonight.

Bryce

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/23/10 12:37 p.m.

Cool. And for everyone, yes, there will be a feature on this car in the mag. It's written and waiting to go. (Just needed to find a good place to put it.)

P71
P71 GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/23/10 3:08 p.m.

Have fun out there Bryce! I love the EV drags and I think you'll get a lot of attention in the pits.

Nashco
Nashco SuperDork
7/24/10 1:20 p.m.

14.666 (@ 82.5 mph) is the new fast time for the car. I'm not very superstitious, but that number has given me second thoughts for the nitrous I was going to install today! . I was already doubting the clutch, I think I'm going to chicken out for today.

I was fighting wheelhop, can't seem to get my 60' times below 1.8. Stickier tires plus nasty old dampers is making launches tough. The batteries are strong in the 1/8th mile, but still don't have enough current capacity to finish strong in the 1/4. Needs more powah!

Bryce

MrBenjamonkey
MrBenjamonkey Reader
8/27/10 9:13 a.m.

In reply to Nashco:I wonder if anybody will mind if I resurrect this thread?

Awesome build dude. I just read the entire thing and all of a sudden, the problems on my build just seem very minor ...

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