Hey Electrified Miata team, here's the latest update in the never ending quest to go faster, have fun, and be safe! For those of you following along, last week, we were headed to Fully Charged exposition at Circuit Of The Americas to learn, observe
and have fun. We rode to the sold out exposition in style in Kurtis's a red Tesla S. The heated seats where a hit with the wives. The star for me, of the Fully Charged day was Moment Motors right here in Austin, whose mission is to take classic cars and electrify them, for a fee ranging between $50K and $150K. Check out this design they use to fit these motors into a Factory Five Cobra.
After seeing some of my YouTube favorites like Rich Benoit of Rich Rebuilds and Jehu Garcia, we headed back and I got to drive the Tesla! Kurtis helped me fully experience Tesla's 2015 auto-pilot. I have to admit, it would take a while to get used to its driving habits. I think that Tesla cars using auto pilot will be safer than human drivers in most situations. That may get interesting in the future as our skills will atrophy with less practice while the machine drives for us, making the gap between machine drivers and human drivers even larger. I really enjoyed the experience of trying it out. Thank you Kurtis Klein!
After the show, the team got back to work on our own creations. We needed some plastic cut for battery covers so we headed over to Ed's shop. My Dad donated the plastic, probably made in the eighty's when my Dad was recording using Crown PZM microphones.
He'd put the microphones on a large plastic piece to capture a larger surface area. We started cutting the plastic on a table saw. Luckily for us, Ed had experience with this type of work. As we cut the plastic, the plastic dust got stuck under the piece, lifting the piece as it was being cut. This was both annoying and dangerous, and NOT beneficial to straight clean cuts. Ed, having a vast amount of experience with tinkering, whips out this board made of Masonite, that spaces the plastic above the surface by a small amount but lets the plastic dust gather and roll away, rather then lift the piece being cut.
Experience is awesome! Then we needed to cut some thin plastic pieces for holding the bus bar in and he had another little jig that made that task fast and repeatable.
A very nice thing to have when we needed 8 narrow pieces. We also cut up the previously mentioned copper bus bar making eight 9" pieces from our 7' piece. Thank you Ed!
In other news, the go-kart is primed and getting paint applied when the weather cooperates. We've signed up for GitLab which will host our software and documentation. This project will be open-sourced so anyone should be able to reproduce our work, or see how it was done for any of the projects. Our first BMS boards arrived and Joe will assemble them and start testing.
We got together this week and examined the BMS board that Joe ordered through JLPCB.
We held the board next to a battery pack to see how to integrate the boards and batteries. Then we started looking at the charger again. We need a high voltage source to power up our Leaf motors until our battery packs are ready. We also need something to charge the battery packs at that point. Looking again at the rough block charger diagram, we found there are two main boards that control the power sections of the Leaf charger. One was still mounted to the chill plate making it a challenge to get off. We had to disassemble more of the charger but finally got it apart and could see chip numbers. We also hooked up the first charger board to power and verified its functionality. Joe joked that we were one third done, according to how much of the circuit we'd gotten to work. We all laughed because we knew the first section is the easy one, especially compared to the complexity of the next stages.
Next week, we'll perform more investigation on the charger, possibly assemble a BMS board and probably get our first battery pack assembled. Stay tuned and thanks again for reading. It's not too late to join us for the fun - contact me (using this link if you don't have my number).