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!

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