Battery Boxes Nearly Finished; PCBs, Components and Charger Arrived

I've done several things since last update. None of them are finished yet but the goal is getting closer and closer.
Metal works on battery boxes are finished. Boxes and their metal retainer parts are welded, grinded and sanded to the final look. Here is the photo of them stacked together as they would be placed under the car. Only plastic battery retainers and covers left to do before putting the batteries in.

I received manufactured PCBs of my battery modules. The quality is good and boards look nice.

I placed them on the batteries in one box to see how it would look just for fun.

I also received a package of ordered SMD components for my modules - almost 800 items. It would be interesting experience to manufacture 45 boards :) So far I had time just to solder essential components to start the module working. You can see the LED lit on the center of the board that is controlled by ATtiny25V microcontroller which is placed on the center of other side of PCB. It now just runs basic test controlling the shunting current running through two big white 5W resistors. It controls the current using PWM signal switching the big black MOSFET. With 4V voltage shunting current can reach up to 1,7A and resistors get so hot that it is just bearable to touch them with the finger. With this voltage they can dissipate up to 7W of power but I think I'll use about half of that and will have longer balancing stage when charging.

I also received the charger from China. I like the quality and the look. I like that it is sealed it does not have any fans - no worries about moisture and dust getting inside. It came with AC socket and European AC cable. It has couple of meters of thick cable that should go to the batteries on the other side. It also came with CAN bus interface adapter - small black box with white label. I asked for this model because my BCMS will be able to control the charging voltage and current through all charging stages and also receive the status from the charger - cool. Of course I'll have to implement the CAN interface electronics and software of my BCMS. But that is worth it as at the end I will have a well-integrated flexible BMS system.

I also started discussion with local transport inspection and transport experts company regarding registration of my EV to make it street legal. They said they don't have any paperwork prepared yet and I would be the first to do it in Lithuania. So I'll have to work with them to prepare the technical requirements for registration and then arrange my EV inspection according to these requirements. It means more paperwork for me and I would need to push the process forward but I will be able to influence the requirements to better suit my own needs and possibly make them good for other EV converters here. So I reckon it's not that bad.
There are many things waiting to be done but step by step I'm slowly doing them to get closer to the goal.


BCMS and Battery Boxes

I caught some nasty flu on Thursday and needed to sit at home during almost whole weekend. Luckily wife with baby were out during it - visiting parents, so they were safe. Once I was feeling better I resumed some works on electronics and programming. I sent an order for battery module 45 PCBs. I expect to have them on Friday.

I've started programming the PDA graphical user interface. I'll use IPAQ or similar PDA with PocketPC 2003 system which will be mounted in the dashboard and give all information about car, batteries, temperatures, etc. For starters I just made it read the serial output sentences which are generated by BCMS. The protocol is NMEA which is widely used in GPS devices. I've created some custom sentence names which are used in my BCMS. The idea is that I'll have all parameters information along with GPS position of the car which will help car performance analysis after. Below is PDA emulator's program's simple screen which reads the data from serial port and displays in simple text fields. The parameters displayed are actually measured by BCMS.

When I got better on Sunday afternoon I went to garage and made a short session working on battery boxes. I welded the top mounting flange with one hole for initial mounting of the box. I also welded a M8 bolt part at the botom of the box where the batteries are being put. This bolt will be used to secure and press the batteries with V-shaped frame shown below. This will prevent any possible swelling of the cells.

Next will be a lot of grinding of the boxes to remove excess metal from the welds and improve aesthetic view. Nasty part will be cleaning the welds in inner corners of the boxes as it is not yet done properly. Then I will put stainless steel sheet into the boxes walls and they will be almost finished. Almost... There will be plastic retainer bars inside to stop cells from bouncing in the box. And also some plastic or maybe metal sheet cover on top of the boxes with openings at both ends to allow access for boxes interconnections.


Battery boxes and Control box

Battery boxes

As mentioned earlier I decided to place all the batteries underneath the car where the fuel tank used to be. After making measurements thinking and modeling I chose to make battery boxes to be fitted from underneath the car thus preserving most of the body structure and not weakening it with serious modifications. The reason is that I am thinking ahead about how I would present the car to inspectors who would be checking it to make street legal. Less modifications to the frame - less problems and questions asked.
So, I will make batteries trays/boxes fit and secure from underneath making only few openings from inside to complete the wiring once the boxes are placed in. There will be 5 battery boxes each holding 9 cells. Each box gross weight will be approx 32kg so it will be manageable to lift it to the car from underneath and secure it by hands of two persons. So you will be able put the whole 160kg of batteries box by box.
Here is the sketch of the battery boxes made with Google SketchUp:

Each box is a frame of stainless steel angle 20x20x3 with 0.8mm stainless steel sheet walls protecting the batteries from outside elements like water, sand and stones (remember they will be hanging under car's belly).
The production of boxes has started. I have made the welding jig to make their geometry solid. Without it would be very difficult to weld the steel boxes with decent precision and correct geometry.

Here is one of the boxes fit test with 9 ThunderSky cells. The cells have their contacts covered with tape - you don't want to short circuit expensive cell, don't you?

Control box

Control box is designed to hold all electronic equipment inside and provide a heat sink for controller and down converter. First of all I don't want any sensitive electronics or high voltage circuit hang outside where the could be touched by water, dirt or anyone's non-careful hands. Safety first. For example a session in car wash could lead to serious components damage or even fire in unfortunate circumstances. Therefore I decided to put all such pieces in one safe place - control box.
The control box will hold Kelly controller, controller cooling fans, DC 144V/13.8V down-converter, main contactor, circuit breaker, shunt resistor, throttle hall converter, multiple 12V control relays and fuses and BCMS master board. It will have two thick cables coming in from batteries, two going to the motor and low voltage signal cables going to many places.
The box is made from 10mm aluminium plate which makes base, 3 walls and internal spacer. The plates are bolted together by M5 bolts. The cover will be from 0.8mm stainless steel sheet.
The inside is divided by internal spacer wall into two sections: high voltage/power section and low voltage section. The sketch is shown in picture. There are two big black fans on top which are placed on the opposite side of the wall where the motor controller is placed for maximum heat dissipation effectivenes. The black box on the opposite side of the controller is DC down-converter. Both controller and converter terminals are placed so that they go out to the high voltage connections subsection on the upper right side of the box. This subsection is separated by plastic spacer plate which isolates the connections subsection to prevent any water or dirt entering there. Contactor, shunt and fuse are shown in this subsection. The subsection below contains BCMS board on the left and throttle pot on the right. Throttle handle is attached on the outside of the box. There will be gas cable connected to it.
The box will be put in the car above the motor in approximate location shown in sketch below. I hope you have enough imagination to see the yellow front of the car, black tire, red motor below and gray brakes cylinder assembly :).

Production of the box has started. The aluminium plates were cut (believe me it is daunting when you don't have the disk saw powerfull enough). A lot of drilling and threading was made.

Some power wiring was made with thick copper bars covered in yellow heat-shrink tubing. Production of each bar to about 1 hour - it looks small but eats your time very quickly.

A bit closer view. Note the two big holes drilled in the base - that's where the thick cables will go to the motor.

That's it for now. Some progress, not too much as I am really struggling to find time to sneak into garage and do some work on my HR-EV.