Tag Archive: EV


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




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!



So I was sitting at work one day during April, and realized that it was getting to be springtime. I remembered that Macungie, PA had their little EV-Event about that time of year, so I went looking to see if I had missed it yet this year. Lo and behold, it was on May 5th – I hadn’t missed it yet! Not only had I not missed it, but I also had no plans for that weekend! Talked to my wife, made some phone calls, and was ready to go. Of the three of us working together, only Jason was able to go along – which is too bad for Scott.

We both had a GREAT time. It was excellent to see what everyone did the same, and what everyone did differently in their conversions. Jay and I both learned a lot from everyone we talked to – our thanks go out to everyone for being patient with us as we asked all sorts of questions. My only regrets are that we couldn’t bring an EV with us ourselves, and that we had to leave all too soon.

I tried to do a better job of taking pictures this year than I did last year. I didn’t get everything, but I did get quite a fair bit. I think the turnout was really strong – and I hope that interest was sparked in other folks that came to look at everything.

Without further ado, pictures!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I haven’t captioned everything (anything); but I hope to eventually have that done. If your vehicle is here, and you have a web page all about it, contact me and I’ll make up a post “spotlighting” you/your EV! If you’d rather not have that, I can just add in any information about your conversion to the comments on the photos (link to a blog about it, evalbum page, or whatnot).

Special thanks should go out to the following:

  • Chris Freyman for helping facilitate the design of the Open Revolt DC motor controller (which we’re building a version of for the Jetta)
  • Brandon Hollinger for answering nine million questions and helping to get us “charged up” again to work on/finish our conversion
  • Jenny Issacs for helping to plan the EV-Events and for creating Bucks County Renewables
My only regret is that I couldn’t spend more time learning and talking to you all and that I live so far away!

I drove a Volt!

So I ended  up running to the grocery store on Friday. It so happens that the local GM dealer is across the street – and I was shocked to see the following sight:

A Volt! Here, in little old Berwick, population ~12,000. GM must be really trying to get them out, if a small town like mine has a demo unit, either they’ve got lots of spares running around, or they’re really hurting for sales.

So Saturday I get some free time, and take it for a spin. WAHOO! It was great to feel the rush of EV power. Very quiet, just a few “spaceship noises” – gentle electric whines and a few whirrs. The center console is a little odd – it was gloss white; seemed a little out of place.

I tried to use mountain mode to force the gas engine to fire up, but no luck – I must not have driven it far/hard enough. Just a little jaunt around town, I did 3.2 miles on 0.8 kWh. That works out to 4.0 miles/kWh even; 250 Wh/mile. I could have done a little better had I taken more time or if I had been gentler on it – but where’s the fun in that on a test drive? 😀

I think that with some time and experience, it can EASILY be pushed far beyond the 40 miles quoted EV range. I’ve heard from folks that have done 60-70 miles electric range. I think that $32,000 would be a better price point, but I’m just one guy. If you live in the Berwick area, I suggest you go check it out if for no other reason than to get the “EV Grin” – there’s no feeling like stepping on the accelerator and feeling all that power coming on instantly – with no roar of exhaust to go along with it.

So I did some of the math today. Problem with the go-kart actually going is definitely gears. We’re waaayyyyyyyyyyy too low of a ratio at the moment. Sure, more power would solve the problem easily. However, let’s look at the math:

6000 RPM electric motor
20″ diameter tires
14:60 drive ratio (~4.28)

6000 RPM input / 4.28 motor:axle ratio = 1401.869 axle RPM; let’s call it 1402. So axle (and tires) are doing 1402 RPM at max motor speed (which is where DC motors run the best/coolest/most efficiently).

20″ diameter * 3.14159 = 62.832 inch circumference of the tire.

62.832 / 12 inches per foot = 5.236 foot circumference

1402 RPM * 5.236 feet/rev = 7340.872 feet/min

See the problem yet?

60 MPH = 1 mile per minute

1 mile = 5280 feet            DING-DING-DING-DING-DING! You should see the problem by now……

7340.872/5280 = 1.3903 miles/minute * 60 miles/hour = 83.419 miles/hour

We do NOT need to be tearing around at practically 85 miles an hour on a go-kart when the motor is running at its best! I’m not sure what to do about correcting this myself; perhaps others have ideas on how to just about double the drive ratio? What’s the best way to go from 4.28:1 ratio to something more like 9:1?

It Moved!!

Got a few minutes to go play with/on the go-kart tonight. Strapped down all the loose wiring, pumped up the tires from the 2 or 3 PSI that was in them to about 20 (or so). I also reversed the motor connections, so that when “FORWARD” was pressed on the throttle assembly, it went forward (instead of backwards).

Insert key, hear the standard ‘click’ of the relays opening/closing. Sloooowly twist on the throttle…and it moved! Slow, but without any assistance from me or being pointed downhill!

I was right – at 50 amps (75 peak for I think 10 seconds), it’s little more than an oversized ‘Power Wheels’ car for adults. I don’t care. It moved.

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.

Jetta Engine Pull

Good Morning! It’s been a long, looooong hiatus for me. I’m not dead, and neither is this project – quite the contrary! I’ve just been both super busy and out of the loop for a while.

However, there is now progress to report! On Saturday, I went out to the family machine shop and my cousins and I pulled the engine out of the donor car – a 1997 Volkswagen Jetta. It was running when it was parked last fall, but winter and critters got to some of the wiring. No big deal, we won’t be using  most of it anyway!

My photos didn’t come out as nice as I had hoped. It’s hard to try and take good photos with a point-and-shoot in a dark-ish area when you’re trying not to get the camera dirty. We did have some trouble, but most everything came out pretty clean. The car is all askew in the last photo due to a bad tire, the fact that it’s not sitting level, and that there’s practically no weight over the front wheel. It may be kind of a beater, but it was free – and even now I smile when I look at the picture and think “This is MY OWN electric car.”

Photos by Jeff Haskell, Aug 13, 2011

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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.”

A fellow EV’er and EcoModder member took this video of the ribbon cutting. Posted with his permission.