Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ho-Ho-Ho... not so much!


Snowing today.

VW is sitting exactly as it was in the last post. I hope to get back to the lithium installation in January.

Golf cart fixed:

> Bad controller - installed new Alltrax 400 amp controller.

> Left axle broke and the wheel fell off! Replaced the axle. (Bought from Buggies Unlimited - a highly recommended company.)

> Installed two solar panels on the top of the cart, replacing the plastic top. I used a "boost type" charge controller to charge the 48vdc battery pack. I have been using the cart for running around the ranch for several months and have not had to use any aux. charging.

> Added two LED driving lights. Mounted one on the left front edge of the solar module and one on the right front edge. Works GREAT!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

No progress on VW

Too many "must do" projects, right now.
  • Broken water line to our underground sprinkler system. Lawn looks completely disreputable i.e., looks like hell!
  • Electric golf cart suddenly quit last week. I need to troubleshoot it and fix. Getting tired of long walk to the barn/shop and back several times a day.
  • Weeds growing like there is no tomorrow. I need to start making that happen.
  • Wife and I picked up and hand unloaded 1200 lbs. of chicken feed. 

Friday, July 27, 2018


For the last five years my Electric VW Cabriolet has been "lounging" in my barn. Prior to the "internment" I drove it almost 20,000 miles, until the original set of 16 golf-cart batteries finally pooped out. It was my intent to replace the "flooded lead-acid" batteries with Lithium cells. At that time, Lithium was very expensive. I calculated to obtain the same performance, the Lithium battery pack would cost around $12,000. I decided to wait until the cost declined substantially.
Gradually, the cost for Lithium dropped ... but until last years, it was still over $7,000. With the wide acceptance of comsumer electric vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, there were a certain number of these vehicles that ended up crashed. One vehicle, in particular, the Nissan Leaf, had a Lithium battery pack that was quite adaptable to custom-made electric vehicles. Many were salvaged.
 This is a battery pack from a Nissan Leaf that I purchased last week. It consistes of 48 lithium modules, each about 8 vdc, for a total of about 385 vdc. Since my VW's controller has a maximum voltage rating of 144 dvc, I will split the battery pack into three parallel strings of 16 modules, each, for an output voltage of 128 vdc. (My original golf cart battery pack was 96vdc.)
With the original battery pack, my maximum range was about 50 miles and a top speed of 65 mph. With this new lithium pack, I am hoping for about 50% great numbers. 
Follow along, from day-to-day, as I upgrade the vehicle.
My hope is to be up and running by mid-August.



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Newest converted electric vehicle

Saturday, March 12, 2011

New Project

I'm starting a new project: Converting my John Deere L111 Riding Lawn Tractor to All-Electric, 100% battery power. Follow at: http://ElectricTractor.blogspot.com

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Turning Sunlight into Road Miles

Last Saturday, I taught a class in building a solar array. After the class was over I thought, "Why not put that project to good use." Hence: Here is the 875 watt solar array re-charging the batteries in my electric VW. What more can you ask for ... Sunlight to Road miles!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nice Driving Weather ... Finally!

Driving again: Beautiful 70+ weather today. It was a good day to take the "Electric Jet" to the barber shop so the driver could get a "spring trim."

Photo shows recharging on the helicopter landing pad. Whenever possible I open the hood for recharging so as to let the gasses escape. This prevents rust from forming in the battery compartment.

Sadly, due to the big John Deere tractor Upgrade project/business, I never got any of the planned winter-downtime improvements done. Hopefully, I'll get to them soon. ("Soon" being quite undefined.)

Adding to the prior items, I've acquired a LINK-10 ("E-Meter") that needs to be installed. This is a very handy gadget which will monitor and log all battery functions.

FIRST on the list is headlight re-wiring! I drove home last night with headlights about as powerful as a 1950 Schwinn bicycle! The problem is typical undersized VW wiring, plus bad grounds. When I get done, I think it will light up the road like a 747 on short final approach!

The original US Battery battery pack is doing better than expected. I figured I would have to replace the pack first thing this year, since this is the fourth year on the pack. So far, it's still chugging well after 25 miles, which will get me to Pullman, and back, still with a little reserve to run around in town a bit. (Down from the initial 50 mile range) I haven't actually "pushed it" to see what the actual range is, however I have definitely noticed that the range is increasing as I drive it this year.

I plan to add two more 6-volt batteries, using the Electro Automotive under the floor battery box. It looks very well designed, as is all their products.

Rob, another Cabbie Converter (http://chaosmgmt.blogspot.com) just installed a lithium-ion pack. I'm watching that carefully and might consider it, if the price is right. Other than being able to extend the vehicle range an amount farther than I usually drive and allow me to spin the wheels and beat most cars to the first stop-light, I really can get along with my faithful non-BMS lead-acid batteries. (Re: Smoking Tires - Pullman is a "Small Town" and too many people know me!)

Stay Tuned ...