29 October 2008

It has been quite some time since I last posted. That usually means that the car is running and the builder doesnt care about a build log anymore! It's true. I got it up and have been driving it daily at least 12 miles for a few weeks. I've already put on over 200 gas-free miles.

The Deka batteries were a flop. I got a call from the battery distributor saying that my order is in, except they dont have the posts I ordered. They have combination automotive/threaded posts, like what they normally keep in stock there. I told them I didnt order those and refused to buy them. At the same time my father-in-law mentioned he has a manager friend at NAPA who would get me a good deal on their Exide golf car batteries. I went with the Exides.

In the end I finally got batteries. At first I put two in the existing front racks and 14 in the back. The rear box only holds 10, so 4 of them were just sitting in the trunk area. I drove it like that for a couple weeks. Recently I had my father-in-law add a new bracket in the front and I moved two more batteries to the front. The ride leveled out nicely. I still have two batteries sitting on the trunk floor that I need to find a home for. I might be able to squeeze one more in the front, but then I'll be out of room for the new control boxes that I am building. I have removed the air contidioner. It consumed too much space in my little motor compartment.

I bought 3 Kilovac EV200 contactors on ebay for $84 each, a very good deal! I'm building a control box set like I did for the VW bug I recently converted.

The weather is getting cooler and I notice the batteries being more sluggish. I'm not sure about the Exide batteries to start with. They seem to sag a lot. I can pull it down to 84V (1.75V/cell) under a "normal" acceleration. I dont let it get below that however. I've taken it as far as 15 miles on a charge, and as fast as 60 MPH. I'll have to get some more photos when I have my new control boxes installed.

I'm thinking I want to add some belly pan modifications, close off the front grill, and insulate the batteries. I still need to hook up the heater.. it's getting quite chilly in the mornings!


Kroy said...

Hey Jon,

I just bought a 68 bug to convert and ordered my hardware yesterday. I was pooring over your album and had a few questions.

1. What materials did you use for the modifcations you made to the engine compartment?

a) What guage square steel, sheet steel, etc.

b) what type of welding did you use?

c) what type of paint and did you primer it first?

d) Did you cut away any of the original steel to put in those shelves?

2. What kind of blow dryers did you use for your heaters and what modification did you have to make to get them to work from a DC power supply?

Jon said...

sheet steel (not sure of the gauge, it was thin.. 18 ga maybe?), 1/2" hollow square steel tube. It was all MIG welded.

I primed everything first, then used automotive paint. I got it at NAPA. No original material was removed

I used regular hair dryers that I got at a thrift store for $2 each. The motor and elements will run fine on DC. The thermal switches might have a problem with the DC if they ever get used. The on/off switches will not work on DC. I cut the handles off the units and hard wired the coil and fan in the high configurations. You could leave the switches intact, just dont use them to switch it or they will weld. They fit perfectly into the heat tubes under the rear seat, with a little flexeble aluminum tubing (also available at NAPA, used for air intake preheating) and hose clamps. They are a little bit noisy, you might pick high heat, medium fan. But it takes all the pressure you can get to get air moving up through the defrost vents with any force.

Anything else?

Kroy said...

SURE! I'd love some more input.

1. You went with (20) 6v batteries in the bug; now that some time has passed would you recommend a different configuration? I'm planning for (12) 12v.

2. Twenty batteries @ 60lbs each means your toting around 1,200 lbs of lead. Minus about 300lb for the ICE; how noticeable is the handling: starting, stopping, cornering, etc. given the upgrades to the brakes and suspension?

3. How about your choice of on-board chargers? Does it meet the need or would you change it to something different.

Jon said...

With the motor I have in the bug (D&D ES-31) I would not go lower than 120V. I went with 20x6V to get a high range at the cost of acceleration. In the future I might go with 15 or more 8V batteries. I like a little more performance than I'm getting now.

It certainly feels heavy. Acceleration is about like stock, perhaps a little slower. For the weight the motor is a bit on the small side and gets hot very quick. I upgraded the front brakes to disk and it stops like it did before. The front suspension only has about 1.5" of travel, we lowered the back to match (it has stiffer torsion bars)

The QuickCharge seems to do a pretty good job. I'd really want one that has adjustment capabilities however, like a Russco or similar. The QuickCharge doesnt compensate for temperature and I cant adjust the voltage or current.