Roper ZAP PK Xero (Sun Roper) Existence Log for June 2007


L. David Roper

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ZAP Xebra PK review

4 July 2007

Sun Roper was the lead car in a Global-Warming entry in the Blacksburg 4th of July parade. He was followed by three Prii, the first one red, the second one white and the third one blue. All four cars had red, white and blue balloons flying from them. and signs on them about electric and hybrid cars and carbon emissions. Since I do not yet have the frame for the solar roof, I tied the solar panel to the front frame with a sign on it indicating that it would soon be the roof. Many people gave approving signals and shouts as I drove SR by them. Several said that they wanted one, including two little boys. The entry won the first prize in the Most Progressive category.

6 July 2007

  • I drove the longest distance without charging this morning to the ReStore in Christiansburg and back, 25 actual miles. The low battery light was on and the PakTrakr SOC showed about 15%. I could have driven another 5 miles at slow speed. So, I am saying the the range in our areas is 30 miles.
  • I discovered that the rubber door seal on the driver's side is falling apart. I asked Midwest EV to have ZAP send me another one on warranty.

7 July 2007

  • Midwest EV infomed me that the solar-panel frame was sent there and that it will be sent on to me next Monday.
  • The tire patch on the outer CV boot did not hold. It developed a slit. I put another patch over it. I am asking ZAP to send a replacement boot and explicit instrucition on how to take the old one off and how to install the new one.
  • I have a rough idea of how to install a small winch to raise the bed:

Winch location:

Bed equillibrium position:

Bed lift post up:

Bed lift post down:
Lift-post bottom:
Lift-post top:
Lift-post slip joint (top view) on bottom of bed:
The winch lift only lifts the bed to the equillibrium postion; this should be far enough to enable dumping the contents of the bed.. Then the cable could be unhooked to hand lift the bed the rest of the way. The post would then be pulled back against the cab.

9 July 2007

I drove 7 miles down 700 feet of winding road to my daughter's house. I made it back up the winding road at speeds greater than 20 mph:

Topography of the top-right portion of the map above:

12 July 2007

Kevin Hansel has found short linear actuators that might work for a PK bed lift.
Here are some drawings on where the the 400-lbs one with 6" stroke might work:

The position shown is the equilibrium position.
The actuator will not open that far, but it will open the bed far enough to dump a load.
It will have to be possible to remove a pin at the top to open the bed the rest of the way.
I have ordered that linear actuator to see if it will work.
I think that a kit can be fashioned to make it easy to install.

13 July 2007

  • The F/N/R switch came loose from the dash, such that it would not work. I recommend that the knurled ring be regularly tightened.
    The intermittent problem I have been having with moving the vehicle may have been because the switch was not tight.
  • I got the solar-panel frame from Mark Higley today. I drilled the necessary holes to put it on Sun Roper;
    got the necessary case-hardened bolts/nuts, brass flat and lock washers and installed it; with the help of pictures sent by
    Joseph Gottlieb through Mark. (Put a piece of wood behind the frame of the solar panel when drilling the six holes in it, to avoid damaging the panel.)
    Now I need to figure out how to connect it to the charger. Joseph posted picture of the wiring into the batteries, but I am
    having trouble figuring out how to wire in the solar panel from the pictures. As I understand it, all that is required is that the positive wire of
    the panel connects to the positive pole of the most positive battery and the negative wire of the panel connects to the negative pole of
    the most negative battery. This is probably most conveniently done by connecting on the charger side of the Anderson connector on the
    battery side of the charger, the white (negative) and red (positive) wires on the left of the picture below of the Anderson plug:

    A question: where does the black wire go?
    Here are pictures of the 5/8" bolt (2 of them) at the bottom of the back frame posts, the 1/2" bolt (4 of them) for attaching the back frame to
    two side bars and the 3/8" bolt (6 of them) for attaching the solar panel to the side bars:


16 July 2007

  • This U tube fell off of Sun Roper in the vicinity of the motor. Where does it go?
    There is one on each of the side head lights, but there has to be a third one because three have fallen off of Sun Roper.
    The large necks were split on all three. I turned the two around on the two head lights to make them fit tighter.
    I still do not know where the third one goes. Someone on yahoo said that there are two on each headlight and that they expell moisture.
  • The bed is about 45 lbs heavier with the solar panel on it. I still can lift it, but I have to put a foot on a back wheel to get it started back down.
  • I put a large round LED stop light at the top of the solar-panel frame:

19 July 2007

The blue wire (patched into red) is the postive side of the panel and the black wire (patched into black) is the negative side.

Blue/black wires are from the solar panel. Rea/white wires are from the stop light.
The black wires in the right picture are butt-joined with the blue/black wires in the left picture.

20 July 2007

  • I showed Sun Roper to a computer person who sells software he writes out of his home. He drove it and had many questions about it.
  • I measured the linear actuator with the bed down by removing the spare tire. It appears that the bottom with the motor attached needs to be
    attached about 3" above the inner spare-tire bolt. then a steel bar can be bolted between the 1st and 2nd bed crossbars above the hinge.
    The location of the hole through the steel bar for the bolt-hinge for the actuator will be measured after the actuator is attached to the
    bolt-hinge at the bottom.

21 July 2007

It has not happened for more than a month, but as I was leaving the classic car show this evening, I put Sun Roper in reverse and backed
out of the parking space. Then I put it in forward; I could here the contactor click, but the vehicle would not move by power. I let it
coast out of the parking lot to reduce the embarrassment. This has happened about 5 times from about the first week or two that
I have had the car almost 4 months ago. I just keep repeatedly pressing the accelerator and, today, after about 10 times it started
moving. I think that it always happens after being in reverse. When it happens, reverse does not work, either. I have made the contactors
modification; this is the first time it has happened since I made that modification a few weeks ago.

22 July 2007

  • I started to put the 90-degrees zerk on the front wheel post that Norm Woodward sent to me. It was almost twice too large.
    Apparently the factory in China is drilling the zerk hole to fit whatever zerk is available to be screwed into it.
  • I used my new impact wrench to get the bolt out of the shock bottom on the right rear and put the Woodward zerked bolt in it.
  • I looked at the front shock/spring and discovered that there is no nut on it; it screws directly into the bracket.

23 July 2007

Today was the first day I drove a long distance (34.6 actual miles) during a sunny day with the solar panel connected to the batteries.
When I charged the batteries afterwards I got 3.61 miles per kWh. The best I have done before for 31.7 miles was 3.24 miles per kWh.
That difference for 30 miles of driving is almost 1 kWh from solar energy. The panel power is 150 W maximum.
So the solar energy captured amounts to over 6 hours of sunlight at maximum panel power.
I will, of course, continue these calculations as I drive Sun Roper more.

25 July 2007

I wired some wires into the solar panel junction box so that it is easy to measure the voltage of the solar panel:


I have been asked to use Sun Roper at Steppin' Out in Blacksburg on 3 & 4 August to help the crafters haul their goods

from there vehicles to their booths. I got a blue pad for sitting on the edge of the bed:

26 July 2007

I drove 23.8 actual miles in a sunny day and got 3.95 miles per kWh.

30/31 July 2007

  • Preparing Sun Roper for display at the YMCA of VT for its 134th anniversary celebration on Thursday 2 August and for Steppin' Out
    in Blacksburg on Friday and Saturday 3-4 August.
  • Mileage for July was 2.96 miles/kWh compared to 2.93 for June. The solar panel was installed for the last week.
    It will be interesting to see what it will be for August.

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