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mikep_95133



Joined: 25 Jul 2006
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:14 pm    Post subject: USE S10 owner Reply with quote

Hi all,

Brand new to the group as of just minutes ago. I own a USE S10. Everyone that owns a USE car or truck only gets about 5k miles out of a pack. What is normal for you guys? The USE S10 is 2 strings of 26 batts each, for 312v nominal.

I learn alot from the other brands of EV's and that is why I am posting here. Several Solectria car owners are getting 15k miles out of a pack. I'm hoping the trucks are that good too.

Since the USE factory changed names and stopped supporting our vehicles long ago, we have had to start working very hard on repairing the boards when they die. I've just gone thru debug bootcamp and have 4 working Dolphin boards. One of mine and 3 from others that needed theirs repaired. My DC-DC and charger are working now too. Every waking hour for 3 weeks I spent debugging without schematics! I've done smt rework for years and now at least I can repair my own boards.

BTW, Dolphin is what GM/Hughes called our 50kw inverter.

Your input would be valuable.

Thanks,

Mike

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MajorWilson



Joined: 26 Sep 2005
Posts: 236
Location: Peoria, AZ

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mike.
Welcome to the forum. I'm not sure how many miles I will get from my batteries. I'm using 24 Deka Dominators. They are gel cell batteries. I have two strings of 12 for a 144v system. I'm well over 5K miles on mine and still going strong. I haven't noticed any degradation in battery capacity. I drive between 25 and 30 miles a day almost 7 days a week. Most of my trip is highway speeds of 65 to 70. I'm hoping to get at least 15K from the batteries. I believe my next set of batteries will be NiCad. Probably Saft flooded. I've been told they are almost indistructable and will last 100K. That is from a guy who has had a set in his car for over 50K already.

I think our trucks are extremely different. Your Dolphin system seem to have a lot of problems. I've seen it on the EVDL with a lot of discussion on the Dolphin systems. There have been some minor and some major problems on our trucks but for the most part, we go pretty much trouble free as far as the Brusa systems in our trucks.

I've had a few particular problems that I've overcome but most were due to neglect of the truck for a couple years from the previous municipality that owned it. A few on this list have had their trucks for years without problem.

Of course, Solectria no longer exists and Azure Dynamics (the successor company to Solectria) isn't too much help. They no longer want to fix anything but will sell some parts from their dusty stock they ended up with when they bought Solectria. They often want your first born for payment. I recently got a quote of $400 for a 1hp motor to run my air conditioning pump. I thought it was a little excessive for a part that has been sitting on their shelves for the last 10 years. I think they were trying to collect the rental space from it. Confused

Anyway, we have a lot of historical posts on here and for the most part the subject lines stayed pretty true to the subject. Happy reading and don't hesitate to ask questions. If we can't answer them, we may be able to find someone or know someone that can.

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mikep_95133



Joined: 25 Jul 2006
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Major,

Do you ever charge each string separately? Parallel strings have their own special needs. The one thing I've read is that Solectria tried the Hawkers and then moved on. Lot's of power, short EV life in a USE vehicle. The Hawkers are very low in height. The USE battery box is deisgned for that low height. So it's hard to fit much else in there. The USE batt box is one giant box between the frame rails under the bed and cab.

I agree with flooded nicads and nimh. They go forever. Chris put a set of BB600 flooded nicads in his truck. Once the drivetrain is working it will be great to see how well they do. They are a bit tall so his pack is a bit undersized, but the weight reduction is massive. Which flooded nicad from saft is your friend running? I'm very interested in nicads.

I'm test running 5 Prius packs right now in my truck. They have some seriously special requirements. But I think they are not a good replacement for flooded nicad/nimh as they don't have near as much power density or amps per pound as the Saft's or the BB600's. The Prius packs are maintenance free.

Do many of the E10 owners run a BMS of any kind?

Chris and I have discussed our Dolphin issues on the EVDL quite a bit. The guy that use to try and debug our boards had a baby and didn't have time any longer. So we took over the chores. Chris is good at vehicle level repairs and I'm the guy with the microscope and surface mount equipment. The couple flaws that the boards have are fairly easy to remedy. Essentialy add some fuses so when a part goes bad it doesn't take anything more with it. The one thing I've really liked is that the Dolphin is in it's own water tight box under the hood. Roomy. Easy to access and service. Everything in the box is sterile. Beats working on greasy ice vehicles. I would know. The USE dc-dc is rated at 100 amps peak and 80 amps continuous at 14 volts. The charger is only about 2.5 amps into the pack on 120vac. Can be charged with 240vac with some precautions at around 6 amps into the pack.

I just figured out how to bump the output of our trucks from 50kw to 80kw. They are so heavy that is didn't matter alot. But we are exploring the software to learn as much as we can. Performance in terms of range and acceleration are important. The USE trucks have a 4.10 rear end and a 9000 rpm motor. Sounds like a race truck, but not enough horsepower Wink

I really like the rear end set up in the Solectria trucks. I swear if I ever find a wrecked one I'd like to adapt it to my USE truck. My batt box has a huge tunnel down the middle for the drive shaft. If that tunnel was gone my box could hold a full set of 26 12v 110ah agm's. That would be sweet.

Mike

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MajorWilson



Joined: 26 Sep 2005
Posts: 236
Location: Peoria, AZ

PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as the parallel packs go, I've not had any problems with maintaining the battery balance. The charger (Brusa NLG4) is very good at charge management and the gel cell batteries are very easy to maintain in balance. Although, I have been noticing two batteries that are getting a little out of balance. They are in the same string and one is a little high and the other is low.

Possibly this weekend, I will be opening up the battery box to see if I can't buddy pair the batteries and use just one string with the buddy pairs. I'm told that the batteries will like that better and probably last longer in the process.

My friend in Denver is using the 100AH Saft flooded 6v nicads. He loves them. He has 24 in series for 144 volt system. Prior to that he had two sets of yellow tops. The YTs had a LOT more power but they could barely get him to work much less home. Now he can get to work and back on one charge.

How do you like the Prius packs for range? I was considering getting several Insight packs, because they are already 144v in each pack, and then putting them together in parallel. 6 of those would give me more usable power than my 24 Deka Dominators and about 1/4 the weight.

I really like the Solectria set up. The battery box between the frame holds 18 group 24 batteries and the front box holds another 6. My truck was one of the initial Solectria trucks that was tested by DOE and had 36 Hawkers in it. Solectria stopped using the Hawkers because of string balance issues and also the fact that the motors and controllers didn't need the power that Hawkers can deliver. Our controllers in these vehicles limit amp draw to not much more than 250 amps. My truck has a selector that can be set on economy (80 amps) normal (125 amps) and power (250 amps). I rarely need the power setting and almost never have it in that mode. I can easily get into highway traffic on normal power so the extra doesn't make a difference except if I'm trying to get into traffic on a side road that is busy and moving at 50mph. Then I just flip the selector to power and boost my truck into traffic. Once at speed I flip the selector back to normal and never think about it.

I think I know a guy that parted out a non-running E-10. He may have a rear end for sale. I'll check it out and get back to you.

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mikep_95133



Joined: 25 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to hear the gels are working. I also wonder if having a much shorter string of them helps. Mine are 26 batts long times 4 strings. Lots to go wrong. A previous owner did not know it was not ok to use twice a many smaller batterys. The old pack is 104 16ah Hawkers.

The Prius batterys are not meant for heavy EV's in my experience. I had to make a circuit that would control fan speed with temperature. Blowers absolutely have to be added to each pack to keep the temperature down. Also found out the hard way that there should be a circuit to disconnect each pack in the event of overheating. 5 of my packs went up in smoke when I forgot to turn the fans on when going to bed. An automatic fan circuit is planned, but everthing is still in the prototype and evaluation stage. Even though each pack was only getting just over an amp, they spewed KOH all over everything. The venting system built into the Prius modules failed 100%. The thermal wells were cracked instead and that's where the pressurized KOH escaped. So a fan and two circuits have to be installed on each Prius pack to make it work.

Range on the first group of 5 Prius packs was 19.7 miles to when the trucked stopped moving. The next group of 5 go 14 miles. My truck gets about 260 to 400 wh/mile for efficiency. I have to individually charge each of the 5 packs once per week as they don't accept power exactly the same in parallel. These packs are 273.6v nominal. My truck is 312v. So I had to tweak the software to allow it to run. I suppose the power would increase if the voltage was higher. In fact, when the big board repairs are done, I'll rewire one of the packs into 5 groups of 7 modules all in parallel. Then that pack will go in series with the others to give me close to 312v nominal. We'll see how it will effect the range. Right now the old 104 Hawker pack is still in the box, and the Prius batterys are in the bed for easy access. I think dumping the dead lead pack will help the efficiency as they weigh about 1300+ lbs. Total pack weight is now 2000 lbs. A 600 lb Prius pack alone might make things a bit more spritely.

Those flooded Saft nicads sound great. Any idea how tall they are? Cost?

Our USE trucks are limited to 200 amps in the 50kw versions. So 200 amps at 312v is a peak of 60kw. But in a 5000lb truck it's still a boat anchor.

The picture I saw of the rear end made me think it was not a typical S10 rear end. It looked like a heavy duty truck rear end. Is it possible to modify it to run with just one motor?

Since the E10 has two control systems, do they run off of one pack or two packs?

Thanks,

Mike

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MajorWilson



Joined: 26 Sep 2005
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Location: Peoria, AZ

PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd hate to have to pay to replace all those Hawkers.

I would imagine that if you lost 1300 lbs of batteries, you'd gain several miles distance. How many amp hours are the Prius packs? Could you hook a thermocouple up to each pack fan so that if it gets hot either charge or discharge the fan comes on? Both my battery box and motors have them to start cooling if they get too hot. They don't come on most days, but when the temps get about 95 outside the motor fans come on after about 5 minutes of driving. How much are the prius packs anyway?

As far as price for Safts, with your 312v pack, you'd need 52 of them. I would guess it would cost over $20K. The batteries are listed here: http://www.saftbatteries.com/120-Techno/10-10_produit.asp?paramtechno=Nickel+systems&Intitule_Produit=STM

These require a watering system for cooling and filling so you better be a good plumber and also contact Tom Hudson on how to do it.

The rear end on my truck is not a stock S-10. However, most are just the stock rear end rolled to the back. The E-10 has 2 motors and the way the belt system works, you would have to have 2 motors or else you could connect it direct to the shortened drive shaft. Our motors are very low power, about 17hp (don't remember the metric rating) and they are rated at 12,000 rpm. However, I think the controllers keep them at less than that. They are geared way down for the low hp rating so they have pretty good starting power but I have gone up a hill once that the truck bucked on and so I have never gone up that hill again. The motors did not like that and neither did my wife. Shocked Anyway, the controllers draw power equally from the battery pack. The battery strings are joined at both the + and - leads and then seperated again to the controllers.

I'm pulling a lot less whrs/mile than you. More like 175 to 210 depending on speed. I've gotten as good as 155 wh/m under 45 mph (local traffic). My truck weighs less than 4K so that could make a huge difference. My wife is only 120lbs and I can notice the difference in acceleration with her in the cab so a little weight goes a long way. I have been considering the lighter NiMH packs because less amp hours would still equate to more miles due to the weight differences.

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mikep_95133



Joined: 25 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hawkers are not the best choice for a couple reasons. They are not that well sealed. After weighing all of them and comparing to brand new ones, I added water to all 104 of them with a veterinary syring and some medium model aircraft silicone tubing to bring them up to the weight of a new one. The spread sheed I made of the weights showed a pattern of water usage based on location. It was nuts how much I had to add back to those little batterys. Sealed they are not. So I'll pick another brand if I go back to lead acid. I can tweek the values in software to allow the truck to use a different voltage pack and chemistry. Thus the Prius pack experiment.

The 2001-2003 Prius batterys run around $600 + shipping most of the time. The 2004+ batterys are lower voltage due to less modules, 28 vs 38. The 2004+ are slightly higher energy. 1350w vs 1300w. They are both rated at 6.5ah. But I'm not getting that from them. I set my Emeter for kwh. I'm getting barely 5 kwh total from 5 packs in parallel.

I'd love to have your efficiency when I get my truck down in weight. It could hit as low as 3700lbs when the dead lead pack is removed. I've hit 260wh/mile going up the freeway and back in rushhour (slowly) to Costco and back. To get down to 200 would lessen the need for a big pack. I'm leaning towards going with a light pack and a lighter truck. A 20 mile range would suit my driving very well. I'm only 4 miles from the center of downtown. Now you have me all excited about the possibilities.

What are you measuring your wh/mile with?

Mike

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MajorWilson



Joined: 26 Sep 2005
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Location: Peoria, AZ

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm calculating the wh/m by taking my amp hours used by the average voltage of 144 and dividing it by the miles driven. It's not the most exact in terms of accuracy, but it's the best I can do witout an emeter.

Deka does make a U1 version of the Dominators. However, you have to maintain a low amp draw with Dominators or you kill them. I guess because the Brusa controllers in my truck limit the amp draw it makes the Dominators a perfect fit. The group 24s fit in our battery box but if you have a lower profile need, the U1 version would fit perfect as a replacement for your hawkers.

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mikep_95133



Joined: 25 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's funny how my Emeter made a liar out of the software built into my Dolphin. The Emeter was calibrated the same as several current and volt meters that I have. Glad to see it. It taught me more about how to drive efficiently than any other source. Just had to fix it when I took posession of the truck. A previous owner had connected the aux batt backwards. Smoked the main board and one other as well as the dc-dc for the Emeter. Anyway, I now have a stronger appreciation for the Emeter and feel lucky to have one.

Have you played around with lubricants for better efficiency? ACP recommends Mobil1 0w20. I have not put it in yet due to these other distractions. But that's what they use in all of their vehicles.

Mike

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MajorWilson



Joined: 26 Sep 2005
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Location: Peoria, AZ

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, fluid is one thing I have compeletly ignored. It was full and I haven't done anything to change that. Speaking of fluids, I remember now that I have a small breakline leak. I need to check the break fluid.

I have an old Linksys Emeter that was in the truck when I bought it but it wasn't working. I've considered testing it to see what is the matter and inquiring about having it fixed for my next EV project.

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Jeff Wilson
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mikep_95133



Joined: 25 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You'll never regret having an Emeter. It's very educational and accurate. Which ends up making your pack last longer as you get more edumacated about energy use.

Any playing around with LRR tires?

Mike

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MajorWilson



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I have some and they do well. They are a little wider than necessary, but my rims are the larger alloy rims and the narrow tires looked too funny. The ride is a little stiffer too because of the high pressure.
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terryjm1



Joined: 27 Sep 2005
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Location: St. Louis, MO

PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 6:07 pm    Post subject: Rear end ratio Reply with quote

Hey Mike,

Does the USE motor direct drive the rear axle or is there some sort of gear reduction?

I am in the parts gathering stage of converting an S10 extended cab using Solectria parts. I plan to run it on a 288 volt single string.
I also would like to direct drive the rear axle with a Solectria/Azure AC55 motor and a short driveshaft with a flex coupling, but I am uncertain it will be a good choice for a couple reasons.

I am using the Solectria "upgraded" lightweight axle. I have not determined the ratio yet. I have been just too lazy to lift the rear up and count the turns. Or maybe I just dont want to find the ratio is too low to direct drive it.

My second concern is putting too much stress on the motor shaft and bearing. I havent decided if it would be easier to fabricate a mounting system to prevent the stress between the driveshaft and motor shaft, or just build a single belt drive box like solectria did with the two motor set up.

I am close to having all the parts ready to begin the mock-up phase. The biggest missing part is the AC55 motor. I have to go pick it up in Tennesee and then I'll be ready to go. I can get two of them pretty cheap if someone wants the other one.

I also have a factory (276 volt single string) E10 I drive almost every day. It is in excellent condition but needs new batteries. I have been procrastinating hoping "something better" will surface.

I almost purchased a USE before all the EV people scared me off. I have since heard of folks like you that have successfully made repairs on the controllers. No one repairs the Solectria UMOC controller anymore. However, new DMOCs can be had for $4000. But then when will Azure decide to abandon parts and service on them like the UMOCs.

I am slowly learning almost all the accessory items can be replaced/ repaired at a reasonable dollar amount without support from Solectria/Azure. A local electronics friend has repaired one of my accessory controllers and is working on a spare DC/DC converter.

The main controllers/inverters are seemingly the one trouble area. No one seems to know what to do with them.

My strongest skills are on the fabrication side. My electronics skills need work. Im sure I will get everything welded/bolted/plugged in on my project and then need some help. You guys are my "tech support." Wink

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