Electric Vehicles: August 2009 Archives

When I was first starting out with the Piaggio conversion, I was monitoring my power consumption using a Doc Wattson / Watt's Up. Good for checking on amp-hours used, voltage, etc.


A few weeks into the conversion, I dropped my bike chain on the Doc Wattson and broke the LCD glass. Very annoying -- they should provide a lexan cover on things like this that will get banged around.

I asked the manufacturer if they did repairs and they didn't. I asked them for the spec on the LCD and they said it wasn't divulge-able. They did give me a discount on my second one and I threw the old one in my "crash" bin.

Well, fast forward a few months more and I've been working with STAMPS and PICs and know a bit more about LCD screens -- especially how most 16x2 displays are driven using the same HD44780 IC chip.

Time to open the Doc Wattson up and see what's in it.

More after the jump

This is the post-flameout, rebuilt Piaggio Boxer EV. I changed the battery carrier from a top-mount system to saddle bags. This lowers the center of gravity and makes it easier to handle. I'm going to replace the seat with something more classic looking.


I welded the saddlebag carriers myself from steel tubing with my MIG welder.


The Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) is sitting on top. It's the replacement HV-110 that I received from Castle Creations with additional capacitors soldered in parallel on the input lines.


It's sitting in a Lexan enclosure that I bodged together. Unlike the old metal enclosure with a single temperature controlled fan, the new enclosure uses two fixed speed fans that pull the air across the ESC and the voltage converters (sitting below). They also are assisted by draft air when the vehicle is at speed.


This photo was taken a few minutes after a short run, the temp of the caps is 34 centigrade which is nominal. Anything less than 60 centigrade I think will be ok. The caps are rated at 85C.

Although the angle of the photo above makes it look like the ESC could short out on the voltage converters, it's actually held a centimeter or so above and everything is well insulated.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Electric Vehicles category from August 2009.

Electric Vehicles: July 2009 is the previous archive.

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