I am always looking for ways to prolong the life of my batteries.
So when I read about these PowerCheq Battery Equalizers, I wanted to try them.
The only problem is they are a little pricey.
At $60 dollars a pop, that adds up quickly for a battery pack around $600 to $720, thats 1/4 the price of a new pack.
You have to watch for these to go on sale or buying used ones, otherwise it would be hard to justify the price for these. Anyways, these were just installed on 4/23/2009.
So only time will tell how these will effect my pack (which as you know is already extreamly old).
I got the 12 volt versions so I had to wire it up accordingly (two 6 volt batteries per wire lead).
I got them as a package deal and got 12 of them, I would normally only need 9 of them but since they were sold as a package I am not going to complain.
I so since I had more than I needed I staggered them so that they included different sets of 6 volt batteries.
This makes the wiring of the EV look very complicated, just look at these pictures!
I will eventually clean up the wiring and make it look good but for now they are on the pack and working away.
For cleaning up the wire, I will probably run 1 wire lead to each post to some sort of patch panel and then hook these PowerCheqs to that panel.
Anyways, hopefully I get good results.
**** UPDATE ****
I have had these Power Cheq Battery Equalizers on my pack now for a month.
Sure enough, my batteries are closer to the same voltage than they have been in a LONG time.
It has lowered the voltage of the stronger batteries, but it has brought up the weaker ones.
Over all, the pack is a healthier pack, I believe it has added a few more miles to the range because now the weaker batteries are stronger.
When I am ready to leave in the morning, the lights only blink every once in a while (blinking lights indicate work being done).
Once I get to work, they are blinking like crazy, then at the end of the day when its time to go home, they are back to only blinking every once in a while.
So that shows the pack has been balanced in between drives and it didn't take plugging it in every time.
So it uses more power out of the stronger batteries to bring back the weaker ones and gives me more mileage.
I think this is a great little product and would suggest them to other people if you can afford it.
150,000 mfd Capacitor Bank
I just started building a large capacitor bank for my car.
This will go onto the battery side of the controller.
The controller works of of pulses and this will help smooth out those pulses from the battery.
It should also dump its charge during the peak demand and hopefully help lower the amp draws some.
The lower the amp draws, the further you go in the EV game.
I am hoping to get them installed soon so I can start doing some testing.
I will probably rely on the Accelerometer data to show the majority of the benefit.
**** UPDATE ****
I temporarly have this removed and someone else has the bank for testing on their car.
I will eventually have it reinstalled but for now this isn't installed.
EVDash Display Readout
EVDash is a Palm program for reading the eMeter data in real time.
The eMeter is only capable of displaying one piece of info at a time.
With EVDash, you can see 6 pieces of data at once (Volts, Amps, Ah, Wh, Capacity by Volts and Capacity by Ah) and the two biggest pieces of data (Volts and Amps) and very easy to see.
The older Palms have a serial connection which can connect directly to the back of the eMeter.
EVDash comes with a lot of pre settings, there will be a few to adjust for your batteries and voltages but it is very simple to setup.
EVDash was written by a guy name Ohler his website is www.ohler.com.
EVDash is free to use and to update if you know how to write code.
Just the way it is; is very helpful and adds loads of info at your finger tips.
Here is a quick video of all of its info:
Zener Charging Regulator
I just (Sept 2008) built these Zener Charging Regulators.
They are a simplified version of a BMS (Battery Management System).
The main part of this regulator is the Zener Diode.
What it does is blocks the voltage from passing until it gets past its threshold.
These Zener Diodes are 6.8 volts, so when the voltage of the batteries raise up past 6.8 volts, the excess flows through the circuit.
So say the voltage is 7.2 volts, then .4 volts is flowing through the light bulb and resistor burning off the excess as heat(resistor) and light(bulb).
You use these on the batteries so that all of the batteries become balanced between each other.
When charging the batteries in one big series of batteries, there is always batteries that will charge up quicker than others.
If that battery continues taking a charge it will start boiling the water and over charging it.
So this Zener Charge Regulator simply burns off the excess of the charged battery and allows the weaker ones to catch up.
Once the car is unplugged, the regulator don't do anything (because battery resting voltage is around 6.37 and 6.54), they are only usefully during the charging.
They can remain on the batteries but they aren't burning off any excess charge.
Of course the Zener Diode will have a small consumption of energy but it would be negligible and would take months for it to drain the battery.
Hopefully you use your EV more often than that, I use mine every day, 365 days a year.
Here is a quick video of the Zener Charge Regulators:
If you would like to build your own, they are easy to make and very useful on your batteries. Here is the parts list from Mouser.com:
PR2 Chicago Miniature Incandescent Base Flange 2.38V .5A
Zener Diode 6.2V 5W (For 6v AGM or GEL batteries)
Zener Diode 6.8V 5W (For 6v Lead Acid batteries)
1/2 Watt Metal Film Resistors 10ohms 1% 100PPM
The reason I have two type of Zener Diodes listed is because of different batteries.
Of course you can choose what ever Zener Diode you want to limit your batteries to, I have the suggestion in the list.
The reason you get two parts for each regulator is because you can burn off twice the energy.
So these could burn off 1 amp which is usually the float charge amperage.
Here is building instructions in a PDF format.
The reason for putting the Zener at each terminal post is to use it as a heat sink because when they are burning off the excess it will get warm.
Here is the schematic for these as a quick reference:
I just built (Sept 2008) desulfators for my entire battery pack.
I decided to build them my self because it would be cheaper since I needed to do so many of them.
There are several different designs out there but I went with this schematic below.
Frontier Sprints Schematic of the Desulfators
The reason I went with Frontier Springs design is I actually talked to him and he let me test his product while I was building mine from his schematics.
He is a really nice guy and really helped me out.
He sells these as kits and you can buy it in different stages of completion.
Or you can just buy a completed one and save your self the time and trouble. Here is my video review of these desulfators :
Below is a screen print of my spreadsheet of voltages that I have been collecting since putting the desulfators on the batteries.
It is now past the 2 month mark (day per lb of lead). You can see the batteries have been gaining a higher charge since putting them onto the battery.
The first column (11/18/2007) is an average of what the batteries measured a year ago.
The next column (9/3/2008) is a measurement of my batteries before I did the battery cleanup project.
You can see that they averaged about 85% charged so not good!
The next column (9/24/2008) is a week after finishing the battery rack cleanup and the desulfators on the batteries for 1 week.
Each consecutive reading is how the batteries are recovering.
You see in column 10/26/2008 a drop in voltages, that was because I had family in town for a week and didn't drive the car or charge it so it just sat there.
As you can see in the last few column some of the voltages are more than they were a year ago.
So the batteries have recovered quite nicely.
The rows that are in Red are my weak batteries, the stars next to the battery number is how bad it is (more stars the worse it is).
You can see that Battery 5 is the worst one in the pack.
I don't know if those highlighted batteries will ever recover the same as the others but they are doing better than what they were.
The last column that says "Spike" is the voltage spike between the two batteries.
I haven't really been writing that down because I have to open up each container to read the spike, so far I only read it once in the beginning of October (2008).
I am not sure how to show the desulfators in the long run, because it should just extend their lives so for now, this will have to do.
Spreadsheet of the performance of the Desulfators
Automatic Watering System
The automatic watering system is every EVer's dream. It allows you to top off all of the
batteries all at one time. So no more opening up each cell and watering each individual
cell. Just hook it up to a pump and 15 seconds later, its done. Compare that to probably an hour
checking each of the 20 batteries cells individually.
**** UPDATE ****
I just removed the automatic watering system.
I don't think its benefits out weight its flaws.
The watering system seems to breath too well and fluids would actually get out.
So the batteries would away's be wet.
That starts the corrosion and in 1 week, I would have a lot.
Now with that watering system off, no more corrosion.
Plus another benefit of not having it on the batteries, you know which batteries use more water than the others.
So far I have two batteries that use more water than others.
So that is unexpected information that is handy.
So my suggestion from my experience is, I would not suggest the battery watering system for a car; a PV system sure but not for a car.
**** UPDATE ****
It has just been shy of 2 months and the batteries still look clean.
I haven't cleaned them yet and they still look clean.
It is amazing, so I definitely don't suggest the watering system for an EV.
Well at least this version of a battery watering system.
LED Brake, Signal and Dome lights
Adding LED lights in place of the factory bulbs helped the 12 volt system a lot. I did not get a measurement of the drop in amperage but I know it is a lot.
By removing the load off of the 12 volt system, the need for a DC-DC converter isn't needed any more and it makes the car more efficient.
Even though typical driving I do every day is only 45 MPH, I would like to try making a
belly pan for the car and increase its aerodynamics. At around 45 MPH is when the big
difference can be seen with a belly pan, but it has to help over all at every speed.
Another reason to do this, if you only do 45 MPH, but you have a head wind of 20 MPH,
that's the same as me going 65 MPH with no wind. So just because I don't drive those
speeds doesn't mean the car isn't feeling those effects.
Full Belly Pan under the Car
Another improvement is the use of some turbulators. To help the aerodynamics over the
car. These are easier to put on the car than a belly pan so these might get done first.