Thursday, August 28, 2014

New Charger

I had resolved not to touch the evTD in the days leading up to EVCCON 2014. Everything was working nicely and I figured if I didn't mess with it, I wouldn't muck it up. No such luck!

EPS Charger and BMS before installation
I had become very comfortable with the charger that came with my battery pack and BMS back in 2010. I'd plug it in and walk away, a while later it was done. No fuss, no bother. It wasn't always so.

EPS Charger installed in eBugeye

When I first installed it in the eBugeye, as a newbie EV converter, I distrusted everything that might cause damage to my expensive battery pack. I monitored every charge down to the final moments to verify that the charger had done its job and stopped appropriately before it fried the batteries and burned my house down.

Over time I came to trust it and let it do its thing without an apprehensive audience.

When I last loaned it out for a wedding, I topped up the charge before it went out and it seemed to complete too quickly, but maybe I misjudged the amount I'd run around since the last charge. After it came back, I put it on the charger and stayed with it a minute. The charge process started and immediately the final light went solid and it said "charge finished" on the BMS display. I knew it needed more than that. Apparently some internal sensor was stuck on "full". I checked with product support and learned that since my charger had been out of production for some time, it would be difficult to trouble shoot and was long out of warranty. Opening up the charger, I didn't see anything obvious like burn marks or cut traces. It had served me well, first in the eBugeye and then in the evTD, so it didn't owe me anything. Time for a replacement.

I contacted Brian Noto of EVTV Motor Werks who, despite the frantic preparations for EVCCON, took the time to get a TCCH charger and controller out the door to me via UPS second day. It arrived three days before I was planning to leave for EVCCON, so three intense days of installation followed. So much for not messing with the car!

The TCCH charger is a dandy, considerably larger and heavier than the EPS charger and presumably more robust. Where the EPS charger maxed out at 12 amps, this one would do 16 amps for a shorter charge time. It has a control unit that lets you use a computer to set the target voltage, amperage, and cut-off. I really do feel comfortable letting this one manage itself.

Installation was a challenge since the new charger footprint was about 30% larger than the old one. I built a platform that cantilevered off the back of the component shelf and it feels really solid and looks rather more business like with its deep heat sink and cooling fans.

So we're off to Cape Girardeau with a full charge and capable of replenishing the charge on site so we can participate in all the fun! Report on EVCCON is in the next exciting installment ...

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