Tag Archive: controller


Why Rush? Well, because I’ve got some Moving Pictures. Here’s some bench test vids of the controller for your enjoyment!






So after realizing I didn’t need to fight with the USB-Serial adapter, because I had a laptop with an on-board port next to me, I fired it all up and DING! Win. Now, to fix the power LED and assemble it all…

Still Alive

This was a triumph…no, it really was. After this long dark age, there’s something to report and should be (slightly) more regular updates from here on out.

Programming via USBtinyISP

I managed not too long ago to finally get a programmer kit from Adafruit to build a USBtinyISP programmer for loading code onto the ATMega168 microprocessor that is the ‘brain’ of our EV motor controller. After a little research and some trial and error, I think I’ve got our control board programmed.

We’ve got a copper bus bar coming on Tuesday that’ll get cut to make the 3 main bus bars of the controller – 3/8″ x 3/4″ x 45 1/2″ long, 99.99% pure electrical conductive copper. It’ll get cut in thirds to make the 3 bus bars of the controller. Once all this is up and ready, we’ll only need a capacitor bank to begin testing the controller on the go-kart!



Wired Up!

Over the weekend, I managed to get time to put everything together for on the electric go-kart that is sitting in my garage. While it will be (and is) its own project, our plan is also to use it as a “test bed” for a medium controller, as well as our full-size one for the Jetta.

I snapped a few cell phone pics of the kart all wired up in the back:

As you can see, it is relatively temporary.

There’s a small shop on my route home from work that fixes welding equipment. High end and large scale welders often use some electronics that we are looking for as part of the controller we are building – IGBTs. I had a few minutes, so I stopped in to ask if they had any trash equipment I might be able to scrounge one from.

I got a LOT more than I bargained for.

When I asked the fellow there if they had any trash equipment that I might be able to salvage an IGBT out of, the first thing he asked me blew my mind:

“You’re not using them to build singing Tesla coils, are you?”

My brain promptly went into overdrive and shut down. Another Tesla Coiler?! Seriously?

Turns out, one of the other guys that works there uses parts from welders and builds Tesla coils. Not only that, but he has a “singing” one – just like you could see in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” if you saw the film. I was given a card and a YouTube channel to check out. I left them with Scott’s YouTube channel.

Even though this place is on my way to work, the guy himself lives in Kingston – even closer to home! Now, it looks like we’ll all be getting together for some major coiling fun!

With that, here’s his Tesla coil playing “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”


While I didn’t get any major pictures of taking it apart, there also wasn’t much to see. The frame has been scrapped; The controller, charger, and wires are separated, and the motor has been split from the transaxle. Interestingly, the motor wasn’t directly connected to the input shaft on the transaxle. It had a planetary gearset residing between the input shaft of the transaxle and the output shaft of the motor. I’ll have to dive more into that later, but I believe it to be there as a speed reduction gear.
The controller is the part that truly interested me. Opening it up, led to this wonderful quality cell-phone picture:

Gotta love Made in USA!

So, I’ve got a Curtis 1208 – that’s GREAT, except that I can’t find hardly any information about it – Curtis’ site doesn’t even list it, so it has to be a direct OEM only part. I did eventually manage to find a manual for a 1208C, but I’m not sure how that compares to this. Either way, it looks like it’s a 12V-36V input, with a continuous rating of 55A. Peak is 75A, for 30 seconds. It has reverse, possibly even regenerative braking at 2 amps!

Can’t wait to really get to play with it!

Finally! Progress!

Due to schedules, new babies, holidays, and general lack of money, nothing has happened in a while. However, I scored a MAJOR epic win at work today! The maintenance dept. had a scooter that wasn’t charging properly and was being scrapped. I stripped out all the electronics, but left the batteries behind.

The loot!

Close up of the motor:

So here’s the full list of what I came away with:

  • Motor
  • Motor Controller
  • Charger
  • Fixed-ratio single speed transaxle
  • Wiring Harness – throttle, battery meter, current limiter, battery terminals

Basically, EVERYTHING that we needed! Now, to find time to get together. I was told that it wasn’t charging the batteries – not sure if that’s the charger, or was the batteries, but I’ll be sure to find out!

Some friends of my wife and I are getting rid of an elliptical/stairmaster combo machine. My wife wants it. She says I can have her current treadmill when we pick up the elliptical! This will give us not only a bigger motor (2 HP to the current 1.25), but I’m pretty sure that it’s got a PWM controller. We’ve been having issues coming up with the $350 for parts for the controller we’ll be building, so we’ve kind of been stuck in the doldrums for a little while. I’ll take pics/vid of the disassembly and testing of components once we get time to tear into it.

So while I had the garage open today to get some toys out for the girls to play with while we enjoyed the sun (and shade) in the back yard, I took a closer look at the treadmill. Found the motor controller! It’s mounted to an aluminium plate that is attached to the steel frame with two Phillips screws. I’ll unplug it once I have time to trace back all the wires that plug into it so that I can label everything. That’ll make it a LOT easier to get the right parts when it’s pulled out and put into/on the go-kart.

Found a Treadmill!

So I had an ad out on our local Freecycle group asking if anyone had a treadmill they wanted to get rid of.  Normally, treadmills have DC motors between 1 and 3 HP in size. It’d be real easy to start with one of those just to get a feel for the project. Got a hit back! I have to go pick it up on my way home from work.

FreeCycle is a great project. The one for my rural area is pretty active – both on the giving side, and the receiving side.