214: Saturday 29th October 2011

My daughter had asked me to drop her off at a party and I had been running on 10 batteries all day doing just short journeys. As the weather has been mild this week and I had put the package tray back in the rear, the batteries were running nice and warm. I had a few hills to hit on this short journey and my 10th battery (the suspect one) sang out a little whine and then a hiss. We carried on wondering where the noise had come from when there was a huge his and a big cloud formed in the back of the car. We pulled over and opened all the windows quickly, then opened the trunk to find a melted 10th battery. Fortunately I had been running on 9 batteries for several weeks and had terminals with easy access set up and a wing nut to secure the connection. So I went through the process, to the front of the car and unplugged the Anderson connector, disconnected the 10th battery and moved the terminal onto the 9th battery, to the front and reconnected the Anderson connector. We shut everything and got back in the car ready to carry on the journey on 9 batteries, but I had no power. Then I realised I had hit the emergency stop button, so I released it and keyed on and away we went again. That was that drama over with. See the photos below, this is a proper melted battery.
the next photo shows the vent cover has popped off and melted. There was water under the cover from the steam that was ejected.

213: Sunday 16th October 2011 part 2

I have been getting upset with looking at the big hole where I had my plate for the switches and seeing my old switch panel that fitted in the pod in the centre console with a big empty space around it. All the wires were showing and it had a completely unfinished look about it. I took the plate away to get it blinged up and I am still working on the graphic display for the battery monitoring. This will be mounted on the plate along with the switches. I had the piece that I cut off the boot carpet and that had black felt and hardboard. I cut a section off, peeled the felt off and cut the hardboard to the template that I made some time ago for the previous plate. I drilled the holes and mounted the hardboard in the console then tried it in the car. It all fitted. I then spray contact adhesive on the board and stuck the felt on. Carefully with scissors I cut round the edge and then with a craft knife I cut out the holes. I then took a graphic that I had made on paper and sprayed the back with glue and stuck it on the felt. I mounted the plate in the console then went to the car, fitted the switches and then fitted the console in place. This is only a temporary solution, but it looks 100 times better than the hole I had before where the gear lever was. See photo below.

212: Sunday 16th October 2011

Bright on a Sunday morning, had a nice poached egg on toast with some bacon on the side, cup of tea, watched a bit of 'children of Dune', then turned sparkie round in front of the garage. I checked the 12v system and it was measuring 11.22 volts after being on charge all night. I unbolted the securing bracket and removed the deep cycle battery that was powering my 12v system (just about). Re-routed the cables for the 12v charger and mounted this with cable ties and a hold down bracket to stop it from jumping around. I refitted the original battery tray, added the battery that I got from my friend yesterday and fitted it with a clamping bracket at the bottom. I checked the battery yesterday with a drop tester and is was showing 'good', today I put my volt meter on it and it showed 12.60 volts, cool. In the car the gauge shows out of the empty zone on the battery alone and when the key is on and the DC-DC converter active it registered half way up and that is great as in use there it needs extra boost. With the charger connected (see photo) and the key off, then the voltage was measured at 13.78 volts. This is a moderate charge. After about 10 minutes it dropped down to 13.26 volts. This is a trickle charge. I disconnected the charger and the battery was reading 13.19 volts, so the quick boost had charged it up some, but I suspect this was just a surface voltage. At least the charger is working correctly with this battery. A positive experience (pardon the pun).

211: Saturday 15th October 2011

I went to my friends workshop and helped him building his street racer today, and in return I got a carpet for my trunk and a normal car 12v battery for my 12v system. With the plywood floor that I made yesterday, I cut the carpet to the same shape and fitted it in the trunk. As you can see in the photo it looks quite finished now. The carpet came from a Ford Mondeo that was a write-off, so it was not a perfect fit, but near enough. I only made one cut across and in it went. I shall probably fit the 12v battery tomorrow as I need to put the battery tray back and it would be much easier as it was dark now. I also sent back the 20A charger I had bought so I am reverting back to a simple car battery with a household type charger. That worked for the first 2 years and I still haven't had to buy a battery. I enjoy working on my friends car too and it is a bonus when you can get some bits in return to help my car along.

210: Friday 14th October 2011

I was having a tidy in the garage and I had the old board that went on top of my old Lucas batteries still. I wanted to cover the spare wheel, so I took the battens off the back of the plywood and cut it to fit over the spare wheel space. Next job is locate some carpet for the trunk. I had the original carpet and cut it to fit the first set of batteries I had, it would have been too small for this size trunk space. I think a decent house carpet off cut should suffice (grey or black would do).

209: Tuesday 4th October 2011

For the last few days now I have been running on 9 batteries instead of 10 and getting a better range. I am still waiting for the battery recyclers to get some more deep cycle batteries so I can go and select some and swap with the dead ones I have now. I kept swapping the 1 dead battery, and the last one was promising, but it was charging much slower than the rest, so it was dropping down and down every time I discharged. I put this on the end of the pack and arranged a copper bar extension from the terminals of the last 2 batteries, so I can move the connection from 9 to 10 batteries easily. The motor controller seems to be ok with changing some settings and fooling it to believe it is a 96v system. The power is slightly less, but the range is more than double what I was getting before and the 9 batteries are all discharging evenly. I have to connect up for 10 batteries before charging as the charge is 120v only and I don't want to change this at the moment. The process is as follows; for example when I get to work, open the hood and pull the main battery pack connector go to the trunk and move the minus terminal cable from the 9th battery to the 10th and bolt it on. re-connect under the hood and then plug in the mains cable for charging. However yesterday I forgot to put the connector back on under the hood, so the charger was connected to nothing. Shock, horror, what was I to do? Fortunately I had done some tests the night before and I knew my range was 18 miles in ideal conditions, so 7.5 miles each way should be possible, and it was. That was really lucky though. The worst case was that I would have put it on charge and sat in work for couple of hours to boost it up. I learnt from that mistake and it won't happen like that again. Meanwhile work is still progressing on the battery monitor and the centre console plate, but I have nothing to show right now.