45: Friday 28th August 2009

Built a control box for all the circuits need to run the EV. Wired up the connectors on the lid of the control box ready for testing.

44: Saturday 15th August 2009

Despite the heat I got the template for the gearbox adapter cut out using my jigsaw.

43: Friday 14th August 2009

Had an email from Erick in China saying to send the vacuum switch back and then he would send me another. He also said that another customer had the same problem. He sent me a diagram showing that the pump needs to be mounted horizontally, mine is mounted on its side and it is causing more vibration because of this.

42: Thursday 13th August 2009

I spent about 3 hours cleaning the gearbox. Where the old engine had an oil leak, the gearbox was really dirty. So with spirit, a paintbrush, a stainless steel brush and kitchen roll I cleaned the gearbox so I could handle it without getting dirty. I started making the template for the gearbox adapter from plywood. Got the markings from the outer edge and drilled through where possible. I sprayed the gearbox with suntan oil and pressed the board to it to mark the face.

41: Wednesday 12th August 2009

Re-mounted the vacuum pump on the right chasis near the front of the car. I found three threaded holes and fixed to them. I used anti-vibration mounts and 4 this time instead of 3. The vacuum switch was controlling a relay this time. It was working again, but still not working right. Once vacuum had built up, the pump would cylce about once per second. I thought this might be due to using old fuel pipes, so I swapped these for proper vacuum hoses but it was the same. Still suspect the switch.

40: Tuesday 11th August 2009

Made a mount for the vacuum pump. I tested the pump first and it worked and switched off via the vacuum switch. I mounted the pump on aluminium 'L' sections that I made special. I also made a small tie bracket to the brake block, so 3 of the 4 mounts are used. The 4th was too close to the gearbox mount. It was a lot more noisy than I expected and the switch stopped working, so 2 steps forward, 1 step back. I will get some 6mm anti vibration mounts and ask my supplier in China to send me another switch. I pulled the last pipe off while the pump was stopped and there was a whoosh as the air rushed in, so it is working o.k., but noisy and won't cut out when the vacuum is achieved.

39: Sunday 26th July 2009

I remebered the earth terminal on the gearbox, so fitted this and added it to my collection of ground wires hooked to the battery by a jumper lead. Now the headlights worked. Next the blower, I took out the glove box and pulled the connector from the motor. The circuit shows a live connection through a fuse and a relay. The speed is controlled on the ground side of the motor. I checked the motor connection, no live supply. Checked the fuse, live o.k. I eventually found the blower relay in a rubber mount by the hood hinges, this was not energized. Checked the supply to the relay and this was o.k. Shorted across the the relay contacts and the blower worked, so the problem is with the relay. Took the outer casing from the relay and operated it with my finger, the blower worked, so the relay contacts were o.k.. Tested the supply to the relay coil and found 12v on the ground side as well as the supply side, bad ground. I had removed another wire too many. Made a new ground and now the blower works fine. The right speaker was just some dubious connections, fixed it. Just the airbag light now, probably another bad ground. I pulled the trim from the 'A' pillar and made a cut out for the battery gauge cable. Trimmed the gauge pod to the shape of the 'A' pillar trim. This took a while to get it to fit nicely. Connected the gauge in the pod, fitted the 'A' piller trim back on then screwed the pod to the trim.

38: Saturday 25th July 2009

Had to do some DIY jobs round the house (build a pergola in the garden), so I just put the battery on charge.

37: Sunday 19th July 2009

Fitted the heater, and heater unit and the dashboard. As I had routed the battery gauge cable out behind and round the 'A' pillar trim, when I tightened the dashboard, the force of the wire squashed behind the trim cracked the windscreen. So that's another job to add to the list. Connected the 12v battery to check out the vehicle electrics. Things that didn't work included the blower, headlights, right speakers and the airbag warning light was flashing code 1-2 that translates as low battery voltage.

36: Saturday 18th July 2009

Scotch locked a wire to the reverse lamp and routed it round by the gear shifter. Also routed wires for the forward, reverse relays and 12v from key position 2.

35: Saturday 11th July

Tried to find the connections for the reverse switch. No matter what I tried I could not find or trace a wire to the front of the car. I had striped out all the trim panels trying to trace it from the reverse light, but the wire kept changing colour at the many splices along the looms and disappeared in side bulkheads and under more trim etc.

34: Monday 6th July 2009

I sealed all the gaps around the new heater element. I used clear silicone sealant to fill in the old vanes and fixed a plate over the area of the connections. I had to trace the connections from the heater blower control to locate a wire in the loom on the car. The blower control switch has an aux control for position 3 & 4 together on the blower control switch. Unfortunately I had previously cut this wire from the connector. I was able to rejoin to a new wire to go into the engine bay and to a control circuit to connect the heater element to the 120v supply. I also traced through the handbrake switch ground connection to the loom inside the car. This will be used to control the PAS pump when the handbrake is fully released.

33: Friday 3rd July 2009

I received my ceramic heater that I order from eBay for £15 including postage. I stripped the heater element from the case then chopped the inside of the case as a mount. Fixed the mount into the old heater core and it was ready for testing. Before I could mount the heater in the old core I cut a square out using a hacksaw.

32: Sunday 21st june 2009

Finished up pulling the tape etc. from the engine looms. I started cutting out the connectors one-at-a-time. I didn't want to cut the big rubber grommet, so I released it from the bulkhead. To remove each wire I had to follow it from the connector through the bulkhead to the engine controller connector inside. I then cut it from the controller connector, then back under the hood and pulled it through the bulkhead and grommet back to the particular connector. This was fine if the wire went direct as a single wire. If the wire came up to a splice joining more wires then it was cut right there. After all the connectors were removed from under the hood, there were still a number of wires left in the engine controller connectors inside the car. Single wires were cut as they entered other looms or splices. Still some wire left going to the diagnostic connector under the hood and the fusebox. As the fusebox connectors may become live I put terminal connectors on the ends to insulate them. I found that as I was cutting wires from the common splices, eventually there would be 1 wire in and 1 wire out, so they were traced to inside then cut and pulled. I have been methodical and I have only kept the speed sensor, and the starter solenoid connectors as these are the only ones I need to run the controller and the speedo. The colour codes on the wiring diagram did not match the car. I assume these were the Mazda colour scheme. I took the speed sensor from the gearbox and found the correct connector and taped it out of the way. Now I need to remove the power cables for the starter and start testing the circuits. I need to get the heater element before putting the heater unit and dashboard back. The picture shows some of the wires I removed.

31: Saturday 20th June 2009

Inside the car I stripped the tape from the looms to the engine controller. then I stripped back some more from under the hood.

30: Friday 19th June 2009

Set about taking the dashboard and heater unit out. First problem was the LED for the alarm on the cluster bezel. I fished around for the other end of the wire. I had to cut a load of cable ties off just to get the wire free. The alarm unit itself was just tied up inside the dash. The cluster came out fairly easily. I unbolted all the fixings for the dashboard. After some tugging, I found another bolt that was not mentioned right in the middle of the dashboard on the top by the windscreen under a square platic cap that just pops out. Then the bolt is just about accessible. Pulled the dashboard forward and disconnected the wires. After some head scratching cut a load more ties to release the alarm loms and then the dashboard was free. The manual also forgot to mention about removing the steering wheel. I tried to unbolt it and pull it off, but I needed a puller. Went round to my brother's and borrowed his 3 legged puller. The steering wheel came out easily as did the blower and heater unit. I removed the heater matrix and set about organising an electric heater element.

29: Tuesday 16th June 2009

Decided to attack the wiring today. Thanks to the workshop manual I was able to remove the centre console and bottom of the dashboard. This made it easy to remove the old engine controller. I stripped the looms on the inside as much as possible. Then it was under the hood to strip back the looms to the individual wires. Really horrible sticky job peeling all the tape off. Ran out of daylight so I stopped to go study the diagrams in the manual.

28: Monday 15th June 2009

I took out my DC-DC converter, cut the plug off and fitted lugs on the power wires. Connected to the 120v of the batteries then measured the output at 13.55v. Another job done.

27: Sunday 14th June 2009

Designed and made the 12v circuit to control the 120v connections. First time I tried it all worked fine, but after a few tries the main contactor wouldn't latch on. The 12v battery was only reading 7v. Put my 12v charger on and it all worked fine again. At least it fails safely.

Click on the image to enlarge.

I simulated the 2 key positions with the same house switches that I used previously with the 120v only circuit. The objective is to use the existing car controls (12v) to enable the 120v controls. The purpose is to avoid passing 120v cables around and through metal panels. This also makes it possible to keep the 120v circuits close to the controller. I still need to get a 120v heater for the interior heating. I will have to make an exception for this, but I can use the old heater hose holes to pass the cable through.

26: Saturday 13th June 2009

Calibrated the new pot and played with the controller for a bit. Managed to switch off the regeneration braking, but I could not find a specific "traction" setting.

25: Wednesday 10th June 2009

Went to Maplin and got a 4.7k pot. Came home to find they had given me a 470k pot. Went back and got it changed. I had to close up the clamp on the throttle arm as the original pot had a 7mm shaft and the new one was 6mm. Soldered on the cable, re-assembled the box and mounted it back on the wall.

24: Tuesday 9th June 2009

After talking to Zapi the first challenge was to calibrate the accelerator. This was straightforward, but the fault didn't go away. Zapi suggested trying another potentiometer, that worked, but the motor still didnt run. I linked out the seat switch input then the motor came to life. So back to the pot box, still wont work. Measured across the pot track and it was 20k ohms. Although the pot box is quoted as 5k, it was oringinally 2 wires, not 3. So with 2 wires and 90 degrees movement this has a range of 0 to 5k. With 3 wires it is 20k and the controller works with pots from 500 ohms to 10k ohms. So I will get a new pot tomorrow and fit it into the box, then that problem should be solved. Connected BDI (Battery Discharge Indicator).

23: Monday 8th June 2009

Wired the motor and batteries to the controller with power cables. Mounted another house light switch for the power contactor. Powered up the controller and the programmer showed "VACC NOT OK". A quick thumb through the manual revealed a problem with the potbox. Phone Zapi tomorrow.

22: Sunday 7th June 2009

Didn't have much time, so I put some wood, then the heatsink and controller on top of the batteries to allow good ventilation. Connected a house light switch to simulate the key switch to the controller and mounted it to the wall. I also connected and mounted; forward/reverse switch, throttle box, and microswitch. I had to rewire the throttle box as it was 2 wire and I needed 3 wire.. I moved the motor close to the batteries and controller.

21: Saturday 6th June 2009

Re-arranged the batteries into 2 packs of 5 with the 2 rows of terminals facing each other. Fitted copper strips between batteries to make 2 chains each 60v. Made a link wire with 50mm cable and lugs. Joined the 2 packs and measure 127.6v at the other ends. then I made the cable connector for the charger with the quick connector on the charger end and 6mm lugs on the battery pack end.Plugged in the charger and it was registering 143v and the indicator was red. Once it reached 80% charge, the indicator changed to yellow and it registered 148v, and this dropped slowly to 130v where the indicator changed to green and the charger switched off.

20: Friday 5th June 2009

Quite impressed with B&Q's hardware selection, I came away with M6 stock of nuts, flat washers & spring (split) washers. The spring washers are supposed to stop the nuts coming undone.

19: Sunday 31st May 2009

Took the copper strip and cut it into lengths of 90mm then drilled holes 68mm apart, 9 in total. Placed batteries side-by-side and fixed the copper plates loose as I did not have enough hardware to secure them.

18: Saturday 30th May 2009

Direction switch arrived and I went out and got some copper bar for the battery connections and aluminium bar to make a brace for the PAS pump.

17: Friday 29th May 2009

Phoned Zapi as my direction switch was missing. Zapi still don't advise changing gear, but said that risk of damage to the controller is unlikely if it is set to traction only with no regen or release braking.

16: Thursday 28th May 2009

The controller, charger, cable, lugs, programmer and BDI arrived. Tons of bubble wrap in one box and the other full of shredded cardboard. Had a quick thumb through the controller manual and figured out how the contactors were connected.

15: Saturday 23rd May 2009

Mounting the PAS pump proved quite tricky. I put the Citroen Saxo motor mount back on as it has rubber mounts in it to reduce vibration and some convenient mounting points. I had to drill holes in the side of the engine bay. I tried using toggle bolts, but the 5mm threads stripped when I tightened them. So I drilled right through the member and found a long stud to put through temporarily. I now have some 8mm stud so I shall drill through all 3 bolt holes and use the 8mm studs to mount it.

14: Thursday 21st May 2009

7:30am batteries arrive. Fortunately the truck driver had an electric work saver so he put the pallet directly into my garage. I moved them and got rid of the pallet. A quick test revealed about 12.7v on each of the 10 batteries. I contacted the battery manufacturer and was advised that they would work o.k., but would have about 6 months life on an electric car as they were designed for telecomms back-up supply. As they came from a recycler, they were very cheap. They are Hawker Powersafe 105AH 12v units. Hawker are are getting me a price for their traction batteries. The terminals are at one end of each unit as they are designed to be linked together. I will get some copper bar to make the connectors.

13: Wednesday 20th May 2009

Finished making the bracket to mount the PAS pump to the electric motor. I connected the motor to a 12v battery and it ran true and quiet. Another small step completed. Made some space in the garage for batteries.

12: Tuesday 19th May 2009

Dropped off the flywheel, coupling and adapter to a friend who is making the adapter in mild steel. I guess the MDF wouldn't take the motor force :-). Later I cut and shaped the Probe PAS pump drive shaft to mate with the coupling for the electric motor. I started making the bracket to mount the PAS pump on the electric motor.

11: Monday 18th May 2009

I did a talk to my work colleagues about electric cars and now we are forming a club. 12 people came along, it was quite a good turnout. I decided to see if it was possible to use the motor from the Citroen Saxo ePAS unit to drive the original Probe PAS pump. Of course I managed to get oil everywhere as usual. Had a poke around and found some aluminium L section.

10: Sunday 17th May 2009

Didn't have much time, so I finished making the MDF model of the tapelock hub to flywheel adapter.

09: Saturday 16th May 2009

Spent some time working out how to mount the flywheel. After I got it straight in my head I started making a mock-up out of MDF. I modified my router so I could rotate the workpiec on the bit.

08: Wednesday 13th May 2009

Picked up the taperlock and hub from the post office collection place. It fits like a glove. I phoned a friend to arrange for him to look at the job of lightening and balancing the flywheel and mount the hub to it.

07: Sunday 10th May 2009

Started quite late doing odd jobs today. Removed clutch and flywheel, engine mount and took out the vehicle speed sensor. Located the connector under the bonnet, but broke the retaining bolt, so I had to dril and tap a new bolt thread taking care not to get any metal shavings in the gearbox. Needed a taperlock hub to continue mounting the flywheel and clutch. I decided not to use regen to start with so I can change gears. I was warned not to change gear with regen as the sudden change in speed can pop the MOSFETs in the controller. I want to work out the best ways of driving before deciding about switching regen on. I am still waiting for an explanation from the controller manufacturer.

06: Saturday 9th May 2009

Mission; to seprate the gearbox from the engine and drain the oil.

I was determined to keep the intermediate shaft in the gearbox to retain the oil. Hoisted the engine up to remove the bottom bolts. I took off the small splash plate and decided in order not lose it I put it back on loose with one bolt. Lowered the engine down and removed the top 4 bolts and started wiggling it. After half an hour of pulling heaving and wiggling I realised the splash plate was holding it on. One sharp tug and I nearly fell over as it came off real easy. Unfortunately the intermediate shaft came out along with a load of oil. I quickly lifted the gearbox round to the front of the garage and put it on it's end. I placed the gearbox on a raised trolley, took out the drain bolt and drained the oil into a bowl. Then I noticed oil trickling down the driveway and found that the bowl had a split in it, so I put the bowl in a bucket and put a cd cake lid under the last trickle. After some contemplation I noticed a puddleforming around the bucket, that also had a split in it. How unlucky am I? Found another bucket and with almost a whole roll of heavy duty kitchen towels managed to get most of the oil up. So much for my plans not to spill oil. So now the garage stinks rancid of gear oil. Mission accomplished (sort of).

05: Thursday 7th May 2009

Spent some time going through the workshop manual trying to figure out how to make sure the speedo and rev counter will still work. Fortunately the vehicle speed sensor is in the gearbox and this will stay, but the rev counter may be more troublesome. I will probably replace it with the BDI.

04: Wednesday 6th May 2009

Today the motor arrives. Came home from work and there it was on my driveway in a box, on a pallet. After spending about 10 minutes with a knife removing the plastic wrapping and various shipping documents I finally go to open the box to reveal..........even more packing plastic. That removed, I am now the proud owner of an ADC FB4001 motor hurrah.

03: Monday 4th May 2009

First job: disconnect PAS pipes. This looked as fiddly as the wires. Managed to get the high pressure banjo disconnected, but the other pipe into the engine was just too far out of reach. Followed the pipes and found a convenient pair of connections right near the top of the engine so the pipes just came out still attached lower down.

Almost forgot the drive shafts. If I wrote about it then it would be an epicwith lots of swearing, so lets just say they were difficult to remove.

After lowering the engine and moving the hoist umpteen times, I had disconnected the shift lever rod, support bar, lower cross member, a few more wires and hoses then finally the pony was liberated from it's trap.

02: Sunday 3rd May 2009

3rd May 2009....

Today the engine strip out starts. I have the pot box for the throttle and DC-DC converter. This week the ADC FB4001 motor should arrive. The Zapi H3D controller, Zivan NG3 charger, Zapi programmer, Battery Discharge Indicator, direction control, cables and lugs should all arrive in about 2 weeks. The controller is being made up on a heat sink with the contactors and fuse etc. This will all be tested before it is sent. Paid about £160 for labour, but I thought it was worth it as it will be tested as a unit then I just need to hook up the motor, batteries, BDI, potbox and direction switch. Haven't sourced the batteries yet, more research to be done.

First step, remove the bonnet. The battery was removed, but the battery box bolts were all rusted in. Two came out but the third had a damaged head so I had to pull the box off the bolt by force.
Disconnecting the wires and pipes was fun and games. I felt like I was helping a cow give birth putting my arms up the back of the engine pulling connectors off. I think the exhaust was tightened by Goliath's big brother. I couldn't face trying to undo the cross member that was trapping the exhaust pipe, so tomorrow I will try some release oil on the exhaust bolts and if that doesn't work then I will saw it off.
Just the exhaust and the power steering, undo the mounts and it's ready to lift out.

01: The Blog is with you...!

It has taken me some time to get round to doing this blog. I started in May, but I have had the Probe for 3 years now while I have been researching and saving up.