Friday, April 27, 2007

Wiring up the Controller Harness

Today, I installed the last kit piece that I have from Electro Automotive: the motor controller wiring harness.

Here's the harness plugged into the controller and fed through the two-inch computer grommet from the last blog entry. ElectroAuto was gracious enough to color code every single wire to help prevent misconnects. This made the installation much easier.

The wiring harness again from inside the engine compartment before crimping on all the connectors.

Just for grins, I plugged in the motor position indicator connector and inserted the main motor drive cable into the controller to get an idea what this thing might look like completed. The motor drive cable isn't really bolted in and will probably come up through a hole in the trunk floor instead to prevent interference with the rear battery rack. Note the two black circular connector holes on the right of the controller where the battery cables will plug into.

Here's the wiring harness crimped and connected to the terminal blocks. My EV partner-in-crime Randy provided the dimensions for the current shunt that will also have to mount on this wall. Given the wiring interference, the battery rack placement and the large size of the current shunt, I'll probably have to move all this around to get things to fit. At least this gives me an idea of what connections I'm dealing with. The loop in the wiring harness at the bottom of the picture is extra slack in case I need to rewire anything.

Technically, if I shorted some of the terminals on the top block and added the 144V of batteries (along with a 12V accessory battery), I should be able to drive the car. The next major step is installing the battery racks which still need to arrive from ElectroAuto, so I have no idea when they will be here. In the meantime, I can remove the original battery tray and engine hood latch. The passenger window is also really hard to operate with the hand crank, so I might open up the door and lubricate all the mechanisms.

Just a quick note about the Azure Dynamics motor controller (DMOC445): The instructions from the FTP site said that with proper protection, the motor controller could be run off a rectified AC source (!). This means I could rectify a dedicated 120V AC outlet to generate about 160V DC to try and spin the motor. Sooooo, I contacted Azure Dynamics and they basically said to not do that and that they would update the instructions to remove that option. Well, that takes away my idea of a 20-mile extension cord to get to work...

I'm also starting to do more research on battery management systems. I'm thinking that if I can make a user-friendly system to tell people the state-of-charge for their battery packs that also monitors the health of each battery, that could be very useful knowledge as gasoline prices go up and more people get interested in electric vehicles.

Next up: Waiting for more parts and firing up the sawzall to remove the battery tray...

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