285: Monday 31st August 2015

After getting the motor back on I was wanting some more instruments. I ordered this circuit from ZEVA in Australia some time ago that is specifically for driving normal car gauges. I used an existing bolt hole to mount the circuit.
It took me about an hour to find the best spot taking into account that it needed to be away from any splashes, need to be able to access the trimmers to adjust the settings and be able to pass the main power cable through the sensor. I also needed to provide a 12v supply to the circuit and feeds for the gauges.
The circuit is the plus version that drives the car fuel gauge, but this plus version also drives the rev counter showing Amps x 100, so my rev counter was reading 0 to 800 amps. So far I've only hit 700 Amps for a fraction of a second.
The photos show the circuit, the mounting position and it's location in the car respectively. It is behind the main connector and one of the headlamps. The area was dry and it has been raining hard recently, so it is all good. I shall make a cover for it as well. The rev counter works really well and reads a little bit lower than the JLD 404, but the fuel gauge doesn't work in a linear way. That may be because the original fuel gauge sender was perhaps logarithmic instead of linear so what I get is the gauge, when full, drops very quickly at first and slows down as more capacity is used. It will take some getting used to, but I Like the idea of a simple gauge to check capacity so I can monitor overall voltage on the JLD 404 and eventually on the battery monitor circuit. That's one of my next jobs, to connect the battery monitor circuit back up so I can view groups of 4 batteries, then add some more analogue measurement boards to give me all 38 batteries. At least now all the batteries are together in the trunk, so wiring them all in will be easier. Then a posh cover for the batteries to top off the trunk.

284: Friday 28th August 2015

Much better this week. I got the Jeep on the road so I had some wheels. I got a replacement battery for free as it was still quite new. That meant I could give my wife her Focus back. Still need to fix the axle on the Jeep though. On the Probatron I had my motor commutator skimmed and it was still noisy, so I had new bearings fitted and a shim to push the armature away from the brush boxes. Spent this afternoon getting the motor back on and the arcing noise has gone and the motor is performing like new. It is an absolute joy to drive again. I feel so relieved to have him back on the road. The charger with its mods was working fine and I can finally put my first charge into the Lithium battery pack. Now I can determine the range with some test drives. The JLD 404 will be my gauge as I haven't fitted the gauge driver circuit yet. I have ordered a rear license plate as the current one looks terrible where the screws have rusted and it has stained the plate.

283: Sunday 24th August 2015

The last 2 weeks have been up and down. First I got to run with Lithium batteries. The batteries I had before were weak and I had damaged 2 recently leaving me stuck at the roadside, so I had to be careful with my driving and not load the batteries too much. During the last few months I have been getting motor noises. I have had clicking from the brushes, howling from the bearings and crackling from arcing. All of these are bad noises. After dressing the commutator with a comm stick and fitting new brushes the clicking got quieter, but the arcing was still there.
I took the motor off again and had a local company lined up to repair it. They estimated one price, but then came back with a figure over £1000 and that was almost as much as a new motor. I asked for it back and was asked to pay £250 for testing and told this was to cover re-assembly etc. I got back the motor in bits with a broken taperlock hub and bush, and 1 brush and some brush springs missing. I eventually got all the bits back. I didn't pay any money to them. I then went to a long established motor rewinders who had the commutator skimmed for a reasonable price and advised that it may not cure the arcing, but to try it to see what needs doing next. I re-assembled the motor and the clicking is almost non-existent due to the professional skimming, but the brush box was arcing onto the side of the armature. This appeared to be due to the bearings as the armature was shifted over. I shall be looking to get a spacer fitted with new bearing to ensure there is always a good gap between the brush boxes and the armature.
I could see when I pushed the armature, there was no arcing. I am not sure if this will cure the arcing under full load, but I suspect it is a good candidate for the cause. When the bearings were re-assembled onto the commutator a circlip was missed off and when I re-assembled the motor there was no bearing noise. When I was seeing the arcing I thought it was due to the bearing moving because there was no circlip, so I pulled the bearing off again, fitted it into the end plate with the circlip and fitted this back onto the armature. The armature was then close to the brush boxes, I struck the end of the shaft to push further into the bearing and the gap was then good. When I ran the motor, the howling had returned and when I turned it by hand it was possible to feel a rumbling in the bearings. I suspect this is where the howling is coming from, so I shall now get new bearings fitted and a spacer on the rear bearing to resist any lateral shift of the armature towards the brush boxes. This is a problem if I used the clutch pedal as it pushes against the flywheel and hence the motor shaft. The spacer only needs to be about 2mm, so a nice thick washer will do just fine.
At the same time I have been trying to fix my wife's Jeep Grand Cherokee that has a noisy front axle. I took the axle off and inspected the differential. I saw a load of slack in the pinion gears, but no damage. In doing this I found the right wheel bearing had a horrible grumbling feel to it. I ordered a new hub and a socket for the hub nut, changed it over and spent half of today putting the axle back on the car. I took it for a drive and the noise is still there. Also the battery was dead so I had to get a jump and this did not take a charge. So now I need to use my wife's Ford Focus to get to work. I came into this weekend hoping to get 2 cars back on the road, and came out of it with none. So I fitted the new lights I got to the back of the Probatron and I am happy that something has gone to plan.
I am looking forward to getting the motor working right so I can continue with my upgrades and get the body ready for paint again. I am getting close now to where I want the Probatron to be. Oh and a new license plate.

282: Thursday 6th August 2015

I had this week off work (and next week) so that I could do some upgrades indoors and get the Lithium batteries in and working in the Probatron. I spent time yesterday finishing of the connectors. They needed to be drilled and ground to remove burrs. Today I made the hold down bars, mounted the batteries and connected them together. Tomorrow I shall switch the connections from the old batteries and give it a run on Lithium for the first time. I sent my Zivan NG3 charger back on Friday to have the processor changed so it can charge Lithium and to have a disable link added so I can use my JLD404 to cut the charger if the voltage gets too high. After that I want to revert my instrument cluster back to original and add the gauge driver circuit I got from ZEVA in Australia. This will make my fuel gauge show state of charge and the rev counter show instantaneous Amps x 100.