Monday, September 18, 2017

Still a little more to do

Cleaning up the master relay (contractor) did not fix the problem. So I wired in a bunch of monitorpoints and ran some more test drives.  The voltage across the relay is very low, and all the drop seems to be coming from the batteries. Nothing looks abnormal, yet the codes persist.
I must have not cleaned the master relay good enough. I was originally afraid to take it completely apart, because it seemed like it would not go back together. But with nothing to loose, I took it down to the bare bones.  It looked like one side of the contactor was still having problems. I cleaned everything up again and, to my surprise, it all went back together with no left over parts! It looked like this was the problem, but a test drive showed the same error codes.
I went through the electrical system again but still nothing was obviously wrong. Everything pointed to the relay, but the relay did turn on and off and looked good. Plus there was almost no drop across the relay even at 500 amps. I thought about buying a new relay, so I gave myself a few days to think about it before spending money on something that might not fix the problem.

I decided on a new sealed relay from a different manufacture. A week later I installed it and ...... no more codes ..... so far!

 I took the Ghost out for a long drive but the battery voltage was falling fast.It fell so fast I had to have Mary come by with the truck and tow me over to a friends house for a quick charge. But the good news is that I think I know why the battery voltage was dropping so fast. It looks like the charger was not set right. So I have reset the charger and reprogrammed the BMS and will test it again this weekend. If this fixes it, the body goes on!

One by one these problems are being fixed!




Monday, August 7, 2017

On the Road Again!

Greetings, Avian Motors Enthusiasts (and random people I subject to my emails),

I took a long drive in the Ghost this weekend. Still working out the bugs before I put the body on. I got two error codes from the motor controller during the trip and had to turn the vehicle off and on to start it back up. What is this, Microsoft? At one point I thought I smelled some electrical. Plus the battery voltage seemed to drop more than expected at high currents under acceleration.

I got it back home and worked through the debug process. The codes had to do with over voltage and the main relay welding. At first it seemed I thought the batteries might be getting old and the series resistance/impedance might be the problem. Then it looked like the main disconnect. But the master relay was hot, very hot. This wasn't right. I took it apart and there was a small nut in the contacts. This failure matches all the symptoms!

I cleaned up the master relay and put everything back together. That was yesterday, Sunday. So I will have to wait until next weekend  will conduct more tests. I am optimistic that I am getting down to the smaller problems now. Hopefully I will have things up to par within a few weeks and can put the body on.

I think what happened is that I dropped the nut while bolting in the main contactor. This is in a box in a very tight place with little room to move your fingers. I suspect I thought the nut dropped on the floor and I just grabbed another nut as a replacement. After rattling around inside the main relay box, it eventually got lodged in the relay. This is a big relay that can handle 500amps.I also changed the way the box mounts to make it easier to get at.

Photos soon!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

I forgot about this blog! If anyone reads this, please let me know.

Quick update:
1) Rev 3 almost complete
2) will be  a retro style with reference to the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost that I always liked.
3) Aluminum airplane style nose, wood/fiberglass body pannels and aluminum tail.

I know this is taking me a long time to finish. Next blog: Mistakes were made!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

September - broken leg syndrome

A few weeks ago I was riding my DRZ400 out at Prairie City near Folsom. I guess I am getting old and conservative. I was going down a hill much to slowly and I locked the rear tire. Consequently a caught my foot, dropped the bike, twisted my foot around 180 degrees in the wrong direction. I was later to find I had broken my leg, cracked a rib and wrecked my ankle (now with screws!).

So, the R2 version of the X-Cycle is way behind schedule.

The good news is that I have been fine tuning the electrical system. I was going to switch to an AC motor. But after some thought, I realized I can increase the voltage on the SepEx system and get nearly the performance of an AC motor.

I can almost walk on my leg now. Hopefully I can do some more work on the X-Cycle in a few days.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Background on Avian Motors and the X-Cycle

I am an electrical engineer by trade. I have spent the last 20 years learning more and more about less and less. As they say, soon I will know everything about nothing. That is the state of modern technology: specialization. But I'd rather now nothing about everything.

Design oriented people tend to view everything with an evaluative eye. Could it be designed better? Cheaper? What was done right? Wrong?

I have a lot of respect for automotive designs. Even the bad ones. Cars are about the most complex things built today in mass production. They have every field of design and manufacture incorporated into them. Computers, fabric, ceramics, glass, metals, rubber, synthetics. You name it and it is in a car.

In hind sight I was kind of nuts to attempt to build a car on my own. Especially a revolutionary vehicle. It is also kind of odd to see how far it has come. I am not done yet and I am not sure if this will ever amount to anything more than a hobby.

The X-Cycle is a three wheeled vehicle; two in the front that steer and one in the back that drives. This in itself is not new, nor is the idea of electrifying such a vehicle. In fact, there is really nothing at new or unique about this vehicle, or anything else in the world for that matter. What is new, or will be new, is that the R2 version of the X-Cycle is done right. It is low cost, high performance and goes along way between charges. Sometimes that is what good design is. Just doing things right.