ELECTRIC CAR PROJECT 9311 DIARY, MAR 97
Installed porch and reattached charger. Replaced the lugs on the end
of the AC power cable with new ones correctly sized #8 screws. The
previous lugs were for #10 screws. Reinstalled the front accessory
mounting plate and reconnected wires. Reinstalled circuit breaker
and reconnected wires. Reinstalled left-side floor board and carpet
pieces. Checked the rear ride height. It is about 42 mm low. The
front end looks high but measures a bit low.
Installed the battery interconnect in the engine compartment. Drove
around the driveway to put the car head-in in the garage. Setup the
charger. Charged at 13 amps. Dropped the front end ride height about
an inch. It is now about 37 mm low.
Took the car around the hilly test loop for some moderately "heavy
foot" driving for about 30 minutes and got about 8 miles before the
acceleration got bad. Let it rest and hour and tried again. Was able
to go a little further for a total of 9.6 miles. Better than before
but still not good. The performance on the hills is much improved,
however. Put it on charge and the GFI on the charger tripped! Well,
this is an interesting development. The charger manual says that if
the GFI continues to trip it may "be due to (A) Dirty propulsion
batteries and/or (B) A low resistance path between any part of the
propulsion battery system and vehicle frame."
To check for a connection between the battery circuitry and the car,
I measured the voltage between the battery terminals and the car's
frame. Wow! Voltage. The most negative terminal measured -18 volts
an the most positive +104. Next, isolated each battery in the front
box and measured the voltage between the frame and each battery's
terminals. Wow, again! There's voltage between each teminal and the
frame. I cleaned around each terminal and measured again. The values
were pretty much the same. Very interesting.
Isolated the power cables from the batteries and checked them for
continuity to the frame. All of the cables tested fine. Reconnected
everything. Cleaned around the battery terminals in the rear box.
Put the car on charge. Everything works fine, now.
Adjusted the charger switch over voltage level. Left on charge. The
GFI tripped near the end of the charge. Cleaned around the battery
terminals again. Still trips. Trips even with the current set to
zero which it didn't do before. Also trips with "DC Fuse" removed
but not when the charger is disconnected from the batteries. Odd.
Spent some time cleaning the front batteries. It makes a difference
in the measured voltages. Measuring at the test points relative to
the car frame, -38 and +91 volts. Still, the GFI pops. Disconnected
and removed battery #1. There is about 1/16" of acid in the bottom
of the box. Sprinkled baking soda on the exposed acid. Disconnected
the rest of the front batteries.
Removed the rest of the batteries from the front box. Washed each
battery with baking soda solution and then plain water. Sprinkled
baking soda on the acid in the bottom of the box until the fizzing
stopped. The residue is now a brown, soppy mess. Where did the brown
color come from? Maybe from the "rust" on the lag bolt heads. Added
a layer of kitty litter to soak up the moisture. Shoveled out the
resulting mess and cleaned up with baking soda water. Removed the
lag bolts. The paint on the bottom of the box is missing is some
spots especially under battery #3. Scraped the paint off around the
lag bolt holes. Put tape over the bottom of the the holes.
With the batteries sitting on a plastic sheet on the floor, I tested
for voltage between the house electrical outlet ground and some of
the batteries. As usual, voltages were present. To wit: #1 -0.1 +0.0
#2 -9.2 +1.8 #3 -10.4 +1.8 #4 -9.3 +3.1. What's with #1?
In response to a question that I left on his answering machine, I
got a call back on my answering machine from Brian Klosterman at K&W
Engineering, the maker of the charger, saying that the GFI trips at
Filled lag bolt holes with wood filler.
Repainted the bottom of the box. Noticed some "runoff" on the floor
near the "west" end of battery #2. It was acidic. Sprayed the end of
the battery and got fizz near the lip. Could this be a leak? Did I
cause it by lifting the battery by the lip? Cleaned up each battery
again and moved to a new, dry location. There was liquid under the
Added another coat of paint to the bottom of the box.
Sprinkled some baking soda on the bottom of the box. Reinstalled
batteries #1 , #3 and #4. Kept #2 out as it had some acid around its
left side soaked into the piece of plywood it was sitting on. Washed
and dried it. Set it on paper towels. A few hours later there was a
small damp spot under one corner. A leak?
Set #3 up off the floor with the leaky corner hanging over the edge
of the supporting surface. Examined the area of the leak. Can't see
any obvious defect.
Not leaking today. Put the battery on paper towels on a dry piece of
plywood. Noticed that there are some discolored spots in the baking
soda on the bottom of the box near batteries #3 and #4. Maybe they
A considerable amount of acid soaked into the paper towel.
Ordered a new battery.
The new #3 battery arrived. The terminals are smaller than those on
the other batteries so the cables will have to be angled up slightly
at the terminals. Also received a 1 quart can of NOCO NCP-2 Battery
Corrosion Preventative Brush-on. Installed the battery. Reinstalled
the wiring. Put on charge. The GFI didn't trip! The lid doesn't fit.
The holddown block near the rear terminal of the new battery needed
to be repositioned. Made and installed new plywood shims as the old
ones were acid soaked. Start battery is dead. Put on charger.
Picked up the now powder coated engine compartment battery holddown
pieces from Industrial Plating.
Assembled the holddown and installed.
Applied the NOCO corrosion preventative goop to all of the battery
terminals. What a mess! The stuff is a reddish purple color.
Checked water level in batteries. Added just a bit in cells 4 and 5
of battery #7.
Drove up to the hardware store to show the car off.
Picked up the dog at the Love & Care Pet Salon. Hit 50 mph on the
return trip on a slightly uphill segment of Military Road South.
Drove around a bit, up and down some moderate hills. Got a total of
11.4 miles on the last charge. The best yet! Put on charge. The GFI
tripped at some later time. Reset it and all was well. It tripped
again later. Isolated the ground at the wall outlet thus defeating
the GFI and let it charge up.
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