L. David Roper
Books about cars, especially electric
1 June 2007
I drove the furthest today on a single charge: 31.2 miles. I could have driven at least 5 more miles. The low-battery light was coming on every now and then, but not steadily. This was in some rather steep hills of Blacksburg and Christiansburg VA. The voltage after stopping for a while was 71.5 volts.
2 June 2007
Note the current sensor on its short bus bar at the right in front of the orange cap and behind the red wire. The PakTrakr is to the left of the current sensor near the frame. The two wires go under the frame and through a hole I drilled in the cab with a grommet in it to protect the wires. Without going into details I learned that my PakTrakr display needs to be exchanged for one with later firmware, since I have a 400-amps current sensor and apparently my display is calibrated for a 300 amps current sensor. When the current sensor is installed the display shows battery current and calculates power in kilowatts. I decided to put the remote outside and below the frame, so that I can view that it is working ok (flashing light) without lifting the bed:
The tray over the front of the batteries has to be removed when one wants to get to five of the battery poles. I put wing nuts on the two bolts to make it easier. If one only needs to get into one side, the bolt for that side can be removed and the tray swung backward:
3 June 2007
Drove to church in a light rain. The brake and motor-hot warning lights partially showed, apparently due to the wet weather. The PakTrakr is now showing SOC; however, it appears to be erratic. Ken Hall of PakTrakr is looking into the situation.
4 June 2007
Drove to the Montgomery County Hospital for blood tests through back road with steep hills. Tested PakTrakr SOC display (V, SOC%):
(78.5, 100), (72.2, 95), (69.8, 82), (75.6, 78), stopped 30 minutes, (77.0, 100), (75.3, 82), stopped 30 minutes, (76.0, 100), (70.4, 73), (65.4, 69), end of run of about 13 miles, 30 minutes later (75.4, 86), about an hour later (75.6, 91 and 86 a few seconds later). PakTrakr needs to be reprogrammed for the Discover batteries; Ken has agreed to send me another remote programmed for the Discover EV12A-A batteries.
There was more grease on the brake lever at the right, which I removed. I do not detect any damage to the boot, but I will inspect it closely when I take the wheel off to change the springs to the Woodward springs. The left side looks clean. I will keep a watch on this. I will have South Main Auto look at this and at a squeak in the front Gottlieb spring that they installed.
The Woodward adjustable springs for the rear came in. One of the six set screws was missing or got lost when I emptied the containers holding them. I had trouble getting the plastic sleeves off the end of the shocks by banging on them as shown in the video that came with the springs, so I got them off by cutting them with a knife and pulling them off with pliers. I got one on and the other one ready for tomorrow when I will try to get a set screw at the local hardware store. Had to take the spare tire out of its holder in order to be able to lean the left shock/spring backward to change the spring.
Got the set screw. Finished getting the Woodward springs on the rear. Norm's video was very helpful in doing the job.
This is the first time I have ever done something like this (at age 71.5). It gives me confidence to do more work on Sun Roper.
Had to take fender off of front wheel to grease the zerk above it. It is difficult to get the bolts back in the two holes; so I used silcone rubber sealant to help hold them. It took much grease.
Drove to a Blacksburg Community Band concert at Warm Hearth. I got to test out how to judge the PK feel at skidding going around a
curve on my way. I
took a right-hand curve too fast and the rear wheels started skidding
to the left, but the front wheel did not skid. I did not feel a lean or the left rear wheel leaving the ground. I was able to stop the skid with the vehicle about six inches into the left lane. I felt
mostly in control, but now know the feel when the speed is too fast
for a curve.
Got another PakTrakr remote and display programmed for the Discover EV12A-A batteries. They appear to be working ok.
I am now only charging over night, since I am able to travel anywhere I want to go in the Blacksburg and Christiansburg area without opportunity charging.
Installed red side LED marker lights powered from the tail lights.
Then I tied the wires with gree ties to bed supports:
The wires for the rear lights had been hanging down since I got the PK. Now they are up out of the way.
8 June 2007
I have the PakTrakr installed and working in Sun Roper (Discover EV12A-A batteries ). I also have the 400-amps current sensor attached to it and encircling a short bus off of one of the batteries.
I usually keep the top graphic display set on SOC, since the accuracy is well enough represented by the bar graph.
I usually keep the bottom digital display set on kW.
I have noticed the following for the kW display:
Next I hope to hook up the Automatic Logging Serial Interface to record the PakTrakr data into a computer file.
The steering wheel started squeaking today. I will take it apart and try to stop the squeak tomorrow.
Put an aluminum shield below the motor to keep items from being kicked into it by the rightwheel:
I used three velcros: two 2" x 1.5" beside the motor plate and one 3" x 1.5" below the motor plate.
I used the PakTrakr current sensor to plot rough curves of power vs speed and vs rpm:
To calculate rpm I used the gear ratio 4.5:1 given by http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/Xebra_EV/message/7818 and 19" for the wheel diameter.
I drove to several places in Christiansburg today and later drove to downtown Blacksburg. The Sun was shining brightly and the temperature was above 85 degrees. I saw that I was not going to be able to make the 3 miles home at a decent speed. The PakTrakr showed almost down to zero SOC. So I went to the VT YMCA Thrift Shop and got permission to charge for an hour. The 1.05 kW got me home by not going full speed. When I told the director of the VT YMCA, she said that she will call The Roanoke Times and tell them that the charging-station sign will be put up at the VT YMCA within the next two weeks. Later I tore up a large wooden picnic table and used Sun Roper to haul it to my dumpster. Today was my farthest driving day: 40.7 miles. I bought a wheeled pump jack for future work on Sun Roper.
Again I forgot to put on the emergency brake, this time in our relatively flat driveway. As I was getting out of the PK it started rolling backward. So I have devised an acronym to say every time I get in and out of the PK: OUSEH or Oh, USE Helmet, meaning:
U = Unplug power cord from vehicle or plug it in
S = Seat belt, fasten it
E = Emergency brake, set it at every stop and release it before driving (now I cannot drive with it set)
H = Helmet, put it on or take it off
I bought a one-ton wheeled pump jack and two adjustable vehicle stands for working on Sun Roper. Later, for Fathers' Day, my daughter, Tamra, gave me a 2.5 ton pump jack, so I will donate the one-ton jack to the HfHNRV ReStore for resale.
I ordered a "Winning Blue" paint touch-up kit from a Mazda dealer to use for Sun Roper.
10 June 2007
I drove to a Citizens First picnic up a steep gravel tracked road about a mile. I parked going up a hill on soft grass in such a way that I had to turn the front wheel about 15 degrees to get out. When I left the picnic I could not get the PK to go; the low torque at zero rpm would not do the job. I backed up and then slightly forward a few times until I could reduce the forward slope enough for the PK to move forward. A valuable lesson was learned: park on a level or down hill spot, especially on soft ground at an angle to the way to get out.
11 June 2007
12 June 2007
Took Sun Roper to South Main Auto (SMA) to have a new rubber boot put on the left CV joint that is leaking grease. I will get an extra boot for the future. I took my bicycle and rode 5.5 miles home while they were working on SR. They found another boot with a cut in it, the one next to the differential on the left. They were not sure how to take the axle out. Does one side come out first? They do not want to damage the axle, so are asking for instructions from ZAP about how best to replace the leaking boots. (One can ride bicycles all over Blacksburg without being in much car traffic.)
Our Virginia Legislature delegate James Shuler told me that he is working with DMV to make regulations about not requiring a motorcycle license to drive a three-wheeled vehicle that is enclosed and has seat belts and a steering wheel.
13 June 2007
I rode my bicycle 5.5 miles back to SMA to bring SR home until instructions are provided on how to remove the boots. The boot to the left does not have any grease on it, just a cut. I bought some black rubber sealant to put on the cut:
The right back shock/spring is squeaking badly. Norm Woodward is sending me bolts with a grease zerk on them to put on all three shocks to combat the sqeaking problem. He is also sending me two spring upgrade kits to make the ride better and quieter. I ordered an impact wrench, so that I do not have to borrow one to work on the suspension.
15 June 2007
I put some Liquid Wrench on the lower shock mount and the squeak went away. I drove a friend to lunch and he commented on the much better ride with the new rear springs.
16 June 2007
I drove in the evening to the weekly classic car display at K-Mart in Christiansburg to show off Sun Roper. Many people came by to talk about it. One guy stayed near it the whole hour I was there. One man who works at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute talked at length with me. He said that he would like to get a PK and wants me to bring Sun Roper to VTTI for the researchers there to exam it. He also wants me to bring my 2005 Prius with CANView on it for observation.
17 June 2007
I installed the Woodward rubber bumpers on the rear shocks and one of the bolts with a grease zerk on them at the bottom of the right rear shock. One has to move the chassis up and down with the pump jack to get the new bolt in. I could not get the old bolt off on the left side. I put some WD40 on it to try to loosen it up, so that I can try later.
18 June 2007
19 June 2007
Items for today:
20 June 2007
21 June 2007
22 June 2007
Dale Schutt and Steve Oliver came by to help me rewire the forward and reverse contactors. We mistakenly did not exchange the M and L cables, so, when I got in the vehicle after the job, it went backward when it was supposed to go forward and vice versa. We did the M and L cables exchange and it then drove ok.
The patch appears to be holding in the grease.
24 June 2007
I got the PakTrakr ES1R Automatic Logging Serial Interface to download data to my Tablet PC today. However, the power and current readout give nonzero values when it is attached to the PakTrakr, but not when it isn't. I am communicating with Ken Hall at PakTrakr about this problem.
26 June 2007
27 June 2007
For the first time I drove Sun Roper off of the Blacksburg/Christiansburg plateau down from Main Street (about 2100 feet elevation) 600 feet into Ellett Valley (about 1500 feet elevation) and back, about 6.5 miles, through winding roads with sharp turns. Of course, he coasted all the way down. His speed never got lower than 18 mph coming back up Deercroft Drive and Nellies Cave Road, except for the stop sign at the junction of the two roads.
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