Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of Year Update

As 2008 comes to a close I am still in waiting mode. The Duster is sitting in my shop without a motor controller while I work on other projects around the house. Granted, I have not been extremely motivated to work on automotive projects since the coldness of Winter has set in.

I have heard that LogiSystems recently had a " breakthrough" in diagnosing and repairing their controller design. I have spoken with them a couple of times in the past two weeks, and it seems that they have returned to production mode. I have not heard of anyone getting their repaired controller back yet, so have no reports about the effectiveness of the repairs. I am supposed to find out next week exactly when mine will be repaired and returned to me.

Even though I have a new Curtis controller at the ready, I am content for the time being to wait a while longer to see how the LogiSystems situation plays out. If that is not resolved by the time the weather starts to warm up, I will rewire, install the Curtis and continue on from there. In the mean time, I continue to plan for the eventual testing of the Duster, and applying what I've learned to the next, even greater, EV project.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Update II - Saw The Writing On The Wall

Judging by other peoples' experiences, LogiSystems controllers obviously still have problems. Even if I get mine back in the near future, I don't feel like I will be able to put much trust in it. I decided to bite the bullet and spend another $1700 to get a more reliable Curtis 144 volt controller. Thinking that with this latest news about LogiSystems there might now be a rush of people trying to grab the few Curtis 144 volt controllers that are readily available, I purchased mine online last night. I have since gotten confirmation that it will be shipped today.

This opens a whole new chapter in the story of the Electric Duster. I now will have to remove two batteries to make it 144 volts. I honestly do not know if that voltage will be able to deliver the top speed I was shooting for in my heavy car. At least I will be removing 130 pounds of battery weight. And, at least I will be able to get the car on the road. Who knows how long I would be waiting if I held out for LogiSystems.

This change entails a little rewiring of course. In addition, I will have to adjust the voltage of my battery charger. I'm so glad I went with the Manzanita Micro charger that would allow me to adapt to a different battery pack.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Update: Good News & Bad News

The good news is that replacing the $15 fuse in my battery charger has fixed the problem. My battery pack is now fully charged and waiting.

The bad news is that at least two repaired LogiSystems controllers just sent back to other people have already failed. This does not sound good for my controller. I NEVER would have thought that my project - so close to being finished - would be halted by lack of an available working 156 volt motor controller. I am very disappointed to say the least.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Excellent Timing

I thought that this graph was a very interesting commentary on the way things happen for me. Crude oil prices, and thus gasoline prices, have undergone a historic tumble since I got fed up and and motivated to undertake the challenge of converting a car to electric. Interestingly, after I invest in a stock, the chart looks alarmingly similar. When I purchase a house, the same chart could be titled 'Real Estate Values'. How about 'Collector Car Values'? Same chart!

Smart people would be wise to do the OPPOSITE of what I do. Perhaps I should publish a newsletter: 'What Bruce is Investing in Now', so that people could profit from doing the opposite of what I do. Hmmm.

In all seriousness, I am still 100% committed to this project and the idea of electric vehicles in general. Although my primary reason for doing this conversion was financial in the beginning, my motivation has become so much more. Now it is mostly about accomplishment and FREEDOM. Even though oil prices are comparatively low right now, does anyone really doubt that the price will someday (probably sooner rather than than later) be as high or higher than it was last July? I want to be free from having pay whatever price I am TOLD to pay because I can't live without it.

We have to remember what killed off the electric car the last time there was enough incentive and motivation to develop and sell or purchase one. Oil prices became astonishingly low and the market for alternative modes of transportation and energy disappeared. People have such short memories! It makes one wonder if the current low oil prices are really a form of CONTROL to once again kill off the competition and keep us completely addicted to oil. I don't believe that this concept is outside of the realm of possibility. Other types of businesses have done it in the past.

Well, I for one vow to NOT forget this time. I want to end my addiction to oil, and quit providing support for all of the world turmoil that that addiction perpetuates. Therefore, smart people, the first edition of my hypothetical newsletter will be entitled 'Bruce Is Investing In ANOTHER Electric Vehicle When The Duster Is Complete'! If you like the uniqueness and coolness of this project, just wait until you see the next one. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Welcome December!

This month is beginning on a good note (aside from receiving the first snow of the season this morning). I spoke to Rich Rudman, the owner of Manzanita Micro. He had me pull the cover off of my charger and test a couple things.

Visible at the bottom left is the internal fuse that was referred to in the charger documentation. That is blown, which I was fairly certain would be. However, Rich told me the fuse is basically only to protect against a fire from (idiots) wiring it backwards. The charger circuitry is protected by an expensive power diode which, if blown would have to be replaced at the factory and cost about $250. After verifying the fuse was blown, Rich had me test the diode. This passed the test! It was like finding out from your doctor that the suspicious lump that grew on your body is not cancerous.

Rich said not to feel bad about hooking it up backwards - he gets four or five a year back because of that. I did not suggest that maybe it's because you have to look so hard in all of the documentation to find the wiring instructions. No, I just considered myself lucky that my stupidity is only going to cost me $15 and a few days instead of much more - at least this time.