Friday, August 23, 2013

EVCCON 2013 Part IV

Saturday evening brought the banquet and awards presentation. Dinner was the EVCCON traditional hand carved smoked prime rib - Magnificent!

There seemed to be more trophies this year, as first, second, and third were awarded for the Drag Race, Autocross, and Car Show, as well as recognition for distance traveled and several other unique circumstances.

I was surprised and thrilled when my evTD won third place in the Car Show!

Celebrating Third Place in the Car Show with Dale Friedhoff, Second, and John Bishop, First

I really didn't expect anything since it was essentially the same car that won "Best Paint" last year. I've done a fair amount of developmental tweaking, but nothing really very noticeable. It's most gratifying that the judges were truly impartial since they were from the local Hot Rod Club and not EV insiders.

Jeff Southern won "Best of Show" for his VW Thing conversion, and it was much deserved. The Thing is a beautiful and very tidy conversion, well thought out and executed.

Bravo Jeff!

Jill Rickard, Toni and Brian Seymour, Bill Ritchie, and Brian Noto congratulate Jeff Southern

Many thanks to Jack Rickard and his team for once again delivering a wonderful EVCCON week. It is something that you have to experience, and for me, at least, it recharges my batteries for another year of being one foot soldier in Jack's 100,000 man EV Army.

I will definitely be back next year for EVCCON 2014, perhaps with a new build. We'll see.

Here's Jill Rickard trying to convince Dad he should bring Mom along next time.

Special thanks to the guys who handle the logistics and arrangements, Richard Flentge and Brian Noto. Well done, guys!


You may have noticed that I didn't mention the parade or group photo. Had one of those experiences that make the whole event memorable: I was driving in the parade with a passenger whose name I don't remember (forgive me, I'm an old guy) when the car just stopped. I mean dead. No power, no lights, nada! We pulled over to the side and waved everyone else past. A couple of gals were walking up the sidewalk and offered to help us push it into a parking lot, then wanted to take pictures of themselves and the car!

I checked the fuses - all good. No 12 volt power at all, so no way the contactor would pick to connect the pack to the Soliton1, which wouldn't start anyway with less than 12 volts. I immediately suspected that the DC/DC converter had failed and allowed the auxiliary 12 volt battery to drain. That's happened before.

The good news is that Dad had taken the truck back to the hotel and I caught him on the phone and asked him to come pick us up. We stopped and bought a come-along so we could winch it up on the trailer, then hitched up the trailer and went to get the car. How often do you have a truck and trailer at your disposal when something like this happens? I was just glad it occurred on the safe and sedate 16MPH parade and not earlier in the day as I was silently roaring up I55 at 65+. We had time to shower and made it to the banquet with time to spare. Later learned that I was not alone. Brian Seymour had some cells go bad on his Corvette, luckily close enough to the EVTV shop to ditch there, and Brandon Hollinger's London Taxi was without brakes and he was negotiating the parade on his hand brake when someone saw an opportunity to pull in front of him - near miss.

After I got the car home and safely in the garage, I checked the Aux battery with my meter and found it was at 11.86 volts - low, but not drained. I put the charger on it for a bit, but still no click from the contactor. I started checking behind the dash and the emergency stop switch literally fell apart in my hand. Split down the middle with springs and bits all over the floor. I picked up a new one at Grainger and was putting it in when I looked at how it was wired, and thought "Why on earth would I do that?"

I had routed the main 12 volt 30 amp circuit from the DC/DC converter and Aux battery through this 3 amp switch. I'm surprised it hadn't gone up in flames months ago. Recall that I was struggling with voltage sag on the 12 volt system and replaced all the directional lighting with LEDs. This would explain it. So glad I didn't spend the $500 on LED Headlamps.

Now that I've correctly wired the new switch I'm not seeing the voltage sag on the 12 volt system. The moral of that story is: get some sleep before you do the final wiring the night before you leave for EVCCON!

EVCCON 2013 Part III

Saturday morning opened with a presentation from Anne Kloppenborg of New Electric and EVTV Europe. Anne's video pretty much speaks for itself:

Anne is a very energetic and positive guy with a bunch of irons in the fire. Lots of fun to be around. He participated with Jack Rickard and several others on a discussion of entrepreneurship that pretty much helped me conclude that an entrepreneur I'm not.

Following the morning session came lunch and the car show. I hitched a ride back to the hangar and picked up the evTD. After a five mile blast up I55, we took our place among the other gorgeous EVs and chatted with all who happened by. I did several interviews like this one for KCRU

Al Gajda's amazing 1939 Dodge Truck
Pikes Peak winning BMW from EV West
Beautiful interior of Robert Salem's TVR
Lots of legroom in Brandon Hollinger's London Taxi
Jack Rickard's Tesla Model S
Jack Rickard chatting with Brian Seymour of HPEVS
Jack Rickard chatting with Toni Seymour of HPEVS
Brian Seymour's Corvette with Dual AC35's
My evTD on display
Dad is ready to field any questions about the evTD

Continued in Part IV ...

EVCCON 2013 Part II

Friday was the designated Play Day for EVCCON 2013. In past years, we adjourned to the airport on Friday afternoon to enjoy drag and autocross racing and generally play cars. This year a full day was reserved for that activity, and it was a good thing, because ... did I mention that it RAINED?

Before the heavens opened, we did get some runs in, but first we all lined up to have our weigh in. 

The evTD weighs 2065 pounds, with 824 pounds front and 1241 rear for a 40/60% weight distribution. That's pretty close to the VW Beetle's original 45/55.

Photo courtesy Stephen Lumpp

Dad and me getting staged for our first trip down the 1/8th mile drag strip.

And we're off!

Our timed runs came in at 12.101 seconds at 54.3 MPH and 12.485 seconds at 57.0 MPH. We clearly won't set any records, but it's a rush to go all out in something you built.

Even more fun was giving rides and drives to the guys who didn't have cars at the show. Here's my favorite British citizen, John Hardy, along for the ride in my faux British car.

Did I mention that it RAINED?

The festivities were interrupted by a serious gully washer that drove everyone into the hangar. There was still plenty to do ... all the cars came in and took refuge.

I found a choice spot next to the beer wagon,

right next to the EVTV/Aptima Motors eCobra.

Jack Rickard's DC3 was in the hangar with his collection of classic MGs parked under its wings.

The plane was open to tour, so we took a look inside. This is an airliner with style, not the glorified Greyhounds we fly packed into today.

Dad got a chance to try out the pilot seat and recall his college days taking flight lessons in a Piper Cub.

The time indoors gave us a chance to explore some more of the cars. This blue Cobra replica looks like its about to tow the beer wagon away, but it is a very interesting design.

The builder, Glenn Brown, is a machinist by trade, and the craftsmanship is outstanding. He fabricated his own chassis and used GBS batteries like mine, all fitted down low in the front engine bay because ...
The Warp 11 motor is mounted amidships directly attached to the rear mounted Porsche transaxle. Very clever and quite fast.

The rain eventually cleared and the activity continued ...

with a demonstration of how to blow up a battery ...

and dynamometer runs.

With rain forecast for the evening, we decided to leave the evTD in the hangar and got a lift back to the hotel from Toni Seymour in the HPEVS Scion. It was the test bed for the new HPEVS AC75/Curtis 1239 combination. I was very impressed - it felt in every way the equal of my Nissan Leaf which is high praise indeed.

Continued in Part III ...

EVCCON 2013 Part I

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

EVCCON 2013 was marked by a full week of rain storms during a time of the year when Missouri ordinarily endures hot and dry conditions. Maybe it was to honor the visionaries gathered to celebrate Magnetic Drive that the rain gods unleashed their unseasonable deluge. Or maybe we were just in the right place at the wrong time. At any rate, it was a week of information, fun, fellowship, and fine food, even if we did have to swab the decks a time or two.

The conference began with an open house and buffet at the EVTV garage. We got our special "Co-Hostage" shirt and other registration materials and enjoyed the fine spread and open bar as we got acquainted and reacquainted with the attendees.

My father once again accompanied me on the trip (thanks, Dad!).  We arrived earlier than last year, but many cars were already in the shop and spilling out the doors, so we parked out front.

Photos courtesy Duane Lindsey

Yes, that's Brandon Hollinger's Electric London Taxi behind the evTD and we're blocking Jack Rickard's brand new Tesla Model S. Here are several other shots of the evTD open for inspection:

After an overnight deluge proved that our "water-resistant" car cover was not the same as "water-proof", we found a helpful hotel employee who brought a mop and bucket so we could sop up the inch of rainwater standing on the floorboard.

Home base for this year's EVCCON was the A. C. Brase Arena, a beautiful art deco facility with plenty of room and the added bonus of RV outlets all around the parking lot, perfect for EV charging.

Two and a half days of sessions were informative and interesting, with speakers ranging from New Zealand to the Netherlands to Great Britain, as well as Jack Rickard's description of battery chemistry for dummies. 
The meals were seriously delicious, and gave time to chat with folks who were EV builders and folks still in the planning stages. A great deal of the value in EVCCON is making contacts and sharing experiences with other attendees.

Evenings were spent checking out the cars that came to the convention and rubbing shoulders with their owners.

Rich Rodriguez's lovely Porsche 914

Steve Woodruff's Leaf Stretch Limo (in progress)

Shortened two door Prius

Gary Bulmer's Blakely Bearcat and Mark & John Bishop's Morris Minor. The Morris took First Place in the Car Show!

Illuminati Motor Works Seven

Nabil Hanke's Bradley GT II

Michael Harris' VW Cabriolet and Jeff Southern's VW Thing. The Thing took the "Best of Show" award!

Dale Friedhoff's Ford Ranger took Second Place in the Car Show!

 Continued in Part II ...