162: Wednesday 29th September 2010

Yesterday I did another range check run. I drove carefully home from work using the gears to try and keep the motor in its most efficient ranges. I got a phone call to pick up my daughter from school, then I dropped her off to her friends later. So I headed for the main road and had clocked 10 miles before I started my run. My objective was to achieve at least 36 miles so I could do the return journey to football training every Saturday and when we have a home match on Sundays. Our Jeep Cherokee is only returning 13mpg round the streets and not much better on a run, so this will save us another £60 per month by my reckoning. Anyway back to the range run, I hit some traffic and that slowed me down, but I managed to keep going at a steady rate and got home with 116v and 40miles on the clock, perfect. I am sure that starting from home and going to football that is a continuous run the whole time is easily possible and I shall do it first time this weekend. Today I was going along the very last stretch of road at work before the car park and I got a real bad squealing from the right rear wheel when braking. It was really loud. I had no choice but to drive home like this as it did not affect the driving. I got the car up on a jack and checked the wheel and found that the anti squeal bracket had somehow got pushed across and was causing the squeal by rubbing on the brake disc. For this to happen, the brake pads would need to have opened wide and then one of them got caught on the edge of the squeal plate to push it across when the brake was applied. I cannot figure out how this happened. I took 2 screwdrivers and manipulated the squeal plate back in position and all is well again. I also fitted some locking wheel nuts that I have had for some time now. I had one rusty plain wheel nut on each wheel as the last lot of locking nuts broke and rusted. So all nice shiny nuts now :-) and 40 miles range.

161: Tuesday 28th September 2010

Last night I went for a run along the main road near where I live to get a better idea of my range with these new batteries. I had already come home from work (7 miles) in sport mode without much regard for economising. I then dropped my daughter off at her friends house and started my run with about 9 miles already done. I completed 34 miles and ran the batteries down to 115.2 volts which is a bit further than I wanted to go. The car was still driving fine when I pulled up at home with hardly any noticeable loss of acceleration or speed. I did the whole distance in sport mode, so on several occasions I would have been drawing 800A. I also completed the whole run in 3rd gear including pulling away and cruising at 55 to 60 MPH. I hope to do another trial tonight from when I leave work with a full charge, I will drive in economy mode and use the gears for pulling away and above 40 mph I shall use 4th and 5th gear in order to maximize regen braking. I still could do with setting my brushes to a neutral position as they are currently set advanced for CCW operation. This is not ideal for regen braking and causes arcing above approximately 3500 rpm. However I can go up to 57 MPH in 4th gear at 3500 rpm, so I should not need to go above 4th to get max regen without arcing. Also 4th gear should be able to take me to 80 MPH at about 5000rpm. In economy mode the current will be limited to 500A, so this should also increase the range a bit.

160: Monday 27th September 2010

I have now completed over 3000 miles of electric driving since 9th March 2010. After fixing the problem of the batteries shifting from side to side I am now getting a banging noise from the bracket when I go over big bumps in the road. I know I don't have much suspension travel with all the batteries in the trunk, but this is not the problem. When I mounted the battery rack I used riv-nuts just to hold the rack in place and to stop movement from side to side and back and forth. The problem is none of these things, but the batteries are trying to jump up when I go over a big bump and I believe this has pulled the riv-nuts out. They will still keep the rack in position, but not for jumping up on bumps. Fortunately the holes for the riv nuts are easily accessible from under the car, so I should be able to re-fix the bracket with bigger bolts and using nuts and big washers underneath. This should hold the bracket down and get rid of the banging noises. I never really had this problem with the old batteries, so I need to spend a bit of time just shoring these up some more. I may find some time this week to work on the instruments some more too.

159: Sunday 19th September 2010

I tightened the nuts on the hold down brackets in the trunk, and checked the connections. All is still well. I am coming up on 3000 electric miles recorded. You may remember that my speedo was broken for a while when there was some plastic fragments jammed in the mile counter, so I have probably already passed this point now, but I have about 100 miles to go before it shows on my clocks. I have been busy rebuilding my kitchen so I have not done much to the Probatron for a while now. I hope to start publishing some more detailed accounts of certain parts of the build. I tend to provide just enough information to make it readable by most people, so if you have a suggestion of a part of my build you want explained in more detail then please leave a comment and we can have some dialogue before I publish a detailed account.

158: Tuesday 7th September 2010

I got an email at work from our director of public affairs stating that there was an article about the Probatron in the 1st September Autocar magazine. It also said that I need to get in quick as the new edition comes out tomorrow. So I rushed down to the shop and sure enough there was an article on page 19. The photo below shows an edited version (I've taken out the stuff that has nothing to do with the Probatron). Another little claim to fame.

157: Monday 6th September 2010

I have been driving around with my new batteries sliding from side to side for over a week now, so I decided to shift them over to one side and pack the brackets out with wood to stop them moving. There is still scope for a couple of millimetres of movement, but this will be much more secure now and the batteries wont move enough to thump or work the terminal connections lose. I checked all the terminals and the one battery that had moved the most had loosened slightly, but not to be a problem. I tightened them all up a nip and now that problem is solved. Now, back to that current gauge......