Monday, April 4, 2011

Sebastien Bourgois and the Soliton1 that thought it was a Junior

This was a good week. Kind of strange, but very good.

The good part was that Sebastien Bourgois, the head of EVnetics, travelled at his own expense from St. Petersburg Florida to our location in Cape Girardeau Missouri to address our Soilton1 weeney power problem. I would guess he had it fixed in about 20 minutes.

The problem, from what I understand, is that the Soliton1 was reading it's output current at 1000 amps and of course dutifully limiting it to that.

It is safe to assume that the Soliton1 uses a Hall-effect current sensor, and since we use those for many, but not all current sensing in electric cars, it might bear some examination.

Edwin Herbert Hall discovered the phenomenon while he was working on his doctoral degree at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland in 1879. Hall noticed that if he applied a small magnetic field to a section of conductor that was carrying current, an electrostatic field would be caused traversing the conductor. Essentially, the magnetic field caused all the free flowing electrons to move to one side of the conductor and the positively charged "holes" to the other. This voltage was both measurable and proportional to the level of current in the conductor.

And so a hall effect current sensor has a small loop enclosing the conductor and a small magnetic field is generated by the loop. Then the voltage from one side of the loop to the other is measured and output as a signal.

Typically, this signal is very low level. The LEM HAS sensors we use, for example, are bidirectional. The power we provide to it is 5v and ground and the resulting output signal is 2.5v with no current through the conductor. Current in one direction will cause this to rise to as high as 5v, and current in the other direction will cause it to fall to as little as a bit over 0v.

Normally, we would take that signal and apply it to an analog to digital converter to convert this value to a digital value that we can use for intelligent purposes. A 10 bit A/D converter would then output 1024 possible values with 512 representing the 2.5v and 1024 representing 5 volts for example. In the case of a 16 bit A/D, you would have a better resolution with 65535 possible values with 32767 representing zero current and 65535 representing 5 volts for example.

There are two problems with this. The digital output is quite precise, but the analog output of the sensor is somewhat less so. The 2.5 volts wanders around a bit with temperature, and so your 32767 value for zero amps is a little squishy. Normally, you would temperature compensate this numeric value by having another A/D input for temperature. You might also give it a little room and declare a plus or minus 25 count as still representing zero amps, in software.

From there, you get to scaling. If the sensor is a 200 amp sensor for example, 5 volts might represent 200 amps. Unfortunately, the inexact nature of the sensors means they might build ti for 200 amps and it actually indicates 186 amps or 214 amps.

And so the device has to be calibrated. Fortunately, this is quite easy. Let's say 1000 amps is nominally 5v and we have a very nice zero point at 32767. If we divide the remaining 32762 value by 1000 we see we have 32.762, or very nearly 33 as the value of ONE amp. We can calibrate this by actually measuring a known current value, and changing the 33 to 32 or 31 or maybe 34 or 35 to get a digital output corresponding with our known current level.

The astute among you will immediately see the problem here. Where do we get an exact 1000 amp current? Ok, we can calibrate it at 200 amps. That moves the problem to the still difficult, where do we get a precise 200 amp current to use to calibrate.

The problem in our Soliton1 was that its calibration was off, and at about 700 real amperes, it read 1000 amps. The iGBT's in the Soliton1 are undoubtedly good for a higher current level - you would typically do this to provide a little "headroom" from the spec so you don't easily blow up the component. I'm guessing 1400A IGBT's. But then in software you "limit" the current. In this case, the current limit is of course set to 1000. We can in fact, in the configuration screen, limit it to a lesser value. But we cannot limit it to a greater value.

The fix is simply to recalibrate the Soliton1. IN our case, it was easier for Seb to swap it out.

Since we already had three other Soliton1's sitting around, why didn't we just swap one out. Well, duh, because I thought it was working. It operated fully and smoothly, and 722 amps at 160 volts is not an irrationally minute amount of power in itself. That the Soliton1 was reporting 1000 amps while I can't measure 1000 amps made me somewhat skeptical of their advertised claims. If they claim 1000 amps, and report a 1000 amps on the log, if you never measured you would of course believe you were getting 1000 amps. Not that any vendor would do such a thing.........

As it turns out, I do not believe they were doing it on purpose. When he swapped the Soliton1, it immediately made 1000 amps that we COULD measure externally as 1000 amps. There's no purpose in rigging such a thing if you really can do 1000 amps. ANd indeed, as Yogi notes, "It aint' braggin if you can do it.'

So I'm persuaded they simply have a calibration issue and further that it's probably just procedural - going back to where do you get a good 1000 amp calibration "signal" and a lab certified ampmeter as well. Or even a 200 amp source. Well, you see the problem. I have no idea what the calibration procedure is and Seb didn't share, but he did state in a clearly annoyed fashion that they were going to revisit the issue.

Meanwhile, he and Brian took a test drive and immediately burned up a Stage II Kennedy clutch. Brian had CB Performance overnight a stage iV Kennedy clutch and 3000 lb pressure plate. Man are THOSE guys good. It was hear the next AM. He and Matt pulled the motor, swapped the clutch and pressure plate, and had it all back in by noon. THEN we blew the 400amp fuse on the system. We had simply forgot to upgrade it when we rebuilt Redux.

As George Hamstra notes in his ongoing redesign of the Warp series of motors - "If you beef up one thing that fails under extreme load, you simply move the problem. Next time then something ELSE will blow."

But by Friday afternoon, Brain had done a test run with a zero to sixty time of 6.96 seconds. He relates that at 6.98 in the video.

As our shift points will have shifted given the higher power, we expect to improve that very slightly on the dynomometer this week. And it will be interesting to graph the results there. I'll work on improving the graphs. Now that the reported amps and the measured amps are pretty close, I can probably use the log file to back up our video technique of matching amps/volts to the dynomometers output hp/torque. I'll work on it.

Motor amps vs Battery Amps.

This is entirely forum speak. And I've avoided it. Enraging both the forumites and forumicators. From my perspective, everyone who raised their hand and brought this up is a moron in public. I understand that that IS the minority view.

If we treat the controller, motor, and transmission as a black box, we don't need any test equipment really. Many of our viewers have EV's, and many of them do NOT have $20,000 in test equipment laying around on the off chance that they MIGHT want to measure something like that someday. I not only show what we do on the video, I am very careful to TRY to do it in such a way that YOU can do it yourself and either get the same result, or get a different one. In this way, you can determine if what we say is real, or if we have made an error. And you do not have to depend on the overabundance of self appointed experts on the forums to "interpret it" for you.

Almost all EV's have instrumentation to show battery amps and pack voltage.

A dynomometer is a heady investment. Fortunately, so heady that almost every town (except Cape Girardeau) has one where you can rent some time for a hundred bucks or so. They will give you precisely what your output horsepower is and what your output torque is by RPM.

IF you have the ability to note the current and voltage at those RPM, you can correlate this very nicely. You will put IN an mount of power calculated by multiplying the voltage times the current and expressed as watts. You can even calculate this as horsepower by dividing the watt value by 746.

You will note a disparity between what you put in and what you take out - that is the efficiency of your drive train. You will typically get OUT 80 to 85% of what you put in.

And all that is related to the limits of your controller, motor, and in this case clutch, but primarily your controller.

The difference between battery amps and motor amps doesn't matter because they are going to be the same. When you get on the dynomometer, you're going to mash that accelerator and it will accelerate as best it can right up through your maximum RPM. And at all those values, you are going to match on both sides of the controller the same amp rating to within less than 1%.

The ENTIRE purpose of this PWM waveform is to provide LESSER amounts of power for lesser throttle positions, and you're not doing any of those on the dynomometer. BACK EMF, power peaks, etc etc ad nauseum do NOT have any effect on this. Your efficiency actually varies a little across the RPM band. And both the current and voltage can vary, but the relationship between battery and motor amps won't and that is why I have said they are the same and they do not matter. And they do not.

Dragging it off into discussions of PWM waveform analysis was not where I wanted to go and I refused to do so. It had NOTHING to do with whether or not the Soliton could put out 1000 amps ever.

Ensued a big discussion of what Jack knows and what Jack doesn't know. It isn't, and never was about Jack. I don't even know how to address all the things I know and don't know to this group. It would astound you in both directions. I've lived a very large life on a very wide front and to a very deep depth. And at 55 years old, I'm just really really comfortable with it. In almost all cases, I attune my output to what I think is useful to the person I'm talking to. In thiis case, it's a rather wide group with doctorate level viewers in materials science and battery research, and guys who can't put batteries in a flashlight and get it right before the first try.

HERE is a huge line of distinction. MOST of what I have read and you might read on the forums has little do to with anything beyond the personal self aggrandizement of the posters. They are very insecure in their lives and what they know and will seize any opportunity to demonstrate any knowledge they think they have, and in most cases have part of and have that part misunderstood, in an effort to have YOU believe they are an expert in the field. 90% are outright poseurs, but even those that are doing it I would observe are MOSTLY doing it for the personal satisfaction of personal self aggrandizement.

I don't live in that world. I don't need to. That's not why we have an EVTV. I already thought I was a thorough genius and fabulously wealthy and successful person on such a wide array of fronts you don't even know about that I have ZERO interest in it at all. Actually probably negative numbers. Here in Cape Girardeau I live very quietly in very modest digs and spend most of my time trying NOT to call attention to myself.

EVTV is not about me and what I know or don't know. I just can't share all that with you.

I see a "perfect storm" of issues and problems that encompass our air, our money, our kids, our troops, our relationships with other countries, our idiot politicians, and a very real potential for total economic collapse that will effect us all. It has a lot of aspects, but an UNUSUALLY NEAT little Nexis centered on about 1/3 of our energy use for personal transportation purposes. And we don't need the whole hog to win. if we translated 20% of just that 1/3, using a readily available efficiency multiplier of about 8 that we get by using electric motors instead of internal combustion engines to drive our personal cars, MOST of it all moves out 50 years. That's plenty of time to convert everything ELSE to electric and make the whole thing eight times more efficient.

And to do THAT, I am absolutely certain of what I need and it would surprise you no end. It's not 300 milliion people, nor General Motors, nor Barrack Obama.

If we could get 10,000 guys to build an electric car, and use it to each persuade 10 other guys to do likewise, we have 100,000 people intimately familiar with electric drive automobiles. The advantages are more persuasive than having a global Internet. And I watched just that happen in those numbers on my watch.

And it will happen here as well. I get up at 5 AM and go at it till midnight and I do that seven days a week until it is done or the big heart attack removes the problem for me. It's not the 100,000 that's hard, it's the first 1000. Once it hits critical mass, I'm sipping whiskey and looking at the river.

AND YOU'RE A LONG WAY FROM THERE YET. You don't have probably 300 LiFePo4 builds worldwide.

In the meantime, I'll do whatever I can to persuade you, to enable you, and to goad you into action. But it never was about me. And I have no need to be politically correct, give up smoking, give up whiskey, flex my muscles, do my hair, wear a necktie, hide my microphone, or demonstrate any particular knowledge or expertise so anyone thinks well of me. We seek advertisers and sponsors and we don't need ANY of them. THEY will be better off for getting on the train and they can enable YOU. If I want to call you all Nappy Headed Whores, you'll hear it and CBS hasn't got shit to say about it. If you try to put me in a box like CNN or Mythbusters or Senior/Junior or whatever, there's a REASON we're not on cable. It would be a mismatch from the get go. The cable networks would never do precisely what I told them to do 12 minutes before I thought of it and they would be immediately dismissed from my own little insular world for even thinking of such irrational insubordination.

So EVTV is never going to look like television you are accustomed to watching. And I'm not a forum guru. And there are reasons for all of that. But I am single mindedly devoted to the notion of persuading YOU to CEASE being a VICTIM of oil companies, governments, global economics and the uncertain future. I happen to know it really IS what you make of it. You have no CONCEPT of how powerful you already are. Go to your garage NOW and sweep out a space about the size of a car. That's the first step..... Now picture a car in your mind.... that's the second step. The rest of the steps are so easy we can do a video while we're doing it.

Rant off.

Boy, rainy morning has me all smokey.

Jack RIckard


  1. Oh by the way. I'm just buried in this anonymous posters who are ALWAYS the guys running a floater in the pool. We've turned off anonymous. If I have to go to moderated I will.

  2. "If I want to call you all Nappy Headed Whores..."

    I'm offended, Jack. It's Nappy Headed Hoes, not "whores".

    Beyond that, EXCELLENT show. Hopefully your team will have the time to run the AC controllers through the dyno.


  3. Well said all the way through Jack.

    What really pricked my ears is the notion of creating a self-expanding fan base of home builders to go viral.

    There are too many hungry people looking to make a profit selling them on. Its not about buying ready made or profits in my eye. It's the high of personal satisfaction and success that matters.

    OM! I should of gone in for this competition. Didn't because I don't need your money :(

  4. Excited to see a Cobra come into your stable (its the wifes favorite). Now I just have to get a shop floor in order to sweep it off and start.

  5. Hey Jack!

    I never realized I had my current shunt in the wrong place. I've been monitoring motor current in my car all along. When I tromp on the pedal, (motor) current pegs at the controller rating, when I'm not getting de-rated by temperature. In fact, it is my convenient indication of the controller "warming up". The way this works "feels" completely natural to me.

    Now, if I were trying to count battery amps to calculate state of charge, I'd definitely want to be on the other side of the controller. For my dash gage though, I like motor current.

    I'm starting to feel a little spooked. First I considered controller output current measurement accuracy about the time Seb found it, and then I ask about fuse ratings as you are blowing one. I'm going to stop asking questions for fear of something else breaking.

    Good Luck


  6. I was kind of having a different thought Mike. What would it take to get you to log in and comment about four hours earlier in the day?.....


  7. Hoes. Of course. I stand corrected....


  8. Jack said.. "I was kind of having a different thought Mike. What would it take to get you to log in and comment about four hours earlier in the day?....."

    Maybe a change in time zone would be required? It is already "tomorrow" here in New Zealand!

  9. Tomorrow, eh? Quick, buy the paper and tell me what the winning lottery number was!

    Personally, and assuming the controller does read current accurately, I would never care about motor amps... unless you also read motor volts and combine those two into a power output equation. As Mike points out, battery amps also provide this information plus it better tells what's being extracted from the pack.


  10. Hi Jack & Brian,

    Great show. That Speedster redux is one amazing car. Congratulations to your team for finally nailing the thousand amps. THat Fluke clamp ammeter is really cool too, except for the price :)

    Now you may have to adjust the slew rate for safety.


  11. I think it would be interesting to compare all parameters between Seb's soliton1 and the old 'faulty' one. Just to be sure it wasn't a parameter issue. I don't want to stir things up, but Seb didn't proof by swapping any theory. Only that the problem was in the Soliton. It can still be a software, hardware or configuration issue.

  12. Great JOB,
    Ha, Very interesting...

  13. Jan.
    It's not a controversy any more.
    The hall effect device was ~30% too sensitive.
    Seems its not too easy checking a load setting at 1000A on production. All the settings were clearly broadcast and you can compare on Evnetics site.

    I'm no expert here. If it goes back on the dyno we might find it sufficient to just leave it in 2nd gear to hit 60 for a better time.

  14. Andyj, I got it that one of Seb's theory's was a misscalibrated current sensor. I suppose I missed the proof and the comparing of the settings. I skip sometimes a bit of evtv's video, due to time management. But I really don't understand the link with the evnetics website.

  15. You only get what is posted in the shows. The show does not show you or explain everything and there is discussion on the side away from the camera. It is what it is and there is no argument. The problem has been solved. It matters not one bit that you know the full ins and outs. It works and works as advertised. On to the next project.

    Pete McWade

  16. I don't mind the ins and outs from the curious. Just don't know what to do about it.

    The configuration isn't much of a challenge on the Soliton1. There are some differences. We forgot to put a dead zone on the accelerator and I've had a couple of instances of it "not starting" as it detected some throttle on start up. I think Seb set a slower slew rate modestly. Beyond that, it's not only all the same, but it isn't very complicated. I actually scrolled everything up the screen in the last video. Comparing that to 300 something settings in a TIMS600, you see why I've taken a shine to this controlller. It's EASY to set up. The software is done very well. And someone has clearly had it in a car before.

    That said, it's a relatively new product on the market. So there's a little shakedown. New products have new problems, but it gets the latest technology into your hands - like 1400 amp IGBT's that allow a much shorter parts count and a simpler device than paralleling a dozen MOSFETs. That's cool. There are some really pretty magic little rocks coming out of semiconductorville, and as they make it into products such as this, we get more magic.

    Of course, the other end of that is what EVNetics encountered, that same semiconductor industry is eating itself. Their IGBT supplier was acquired as I understand it, and just quit making the part, at least for awhile.

    I learned this week that TI was buying National Semiconductor.

    But the strong end of Soliton1 is really QUITE good configuration and logging software, easy setup, easy connection, and remarkably cool operation. I would almost venture the liquid cooling is overkill. Our system certainly is. The idle feature is pretty much unique. As we begin to explore automatic transmissions, that could be an interesting feature.

    But no Jan, we knew it was over in 15 minutes. Seb confirmed we were NOT getting the output and did so within 20 amps of the best we'd seen. And a few minutes later, we had 1000 amps going all over the place. I suppose we should have shown it, but there wasn't mucfh to show - the clamp meter.

    The burned clutch, then burned fuse, then sub 7 second zero to sixty all kind of point toward a cure.

    jack Rickard

  17. Hey Jack,
    It looks like EV business is getting of the ground and going to the new level!!!

    This article shows that Formula 1 may go ELECTRIC, ha ...

    "The FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), has asked Formula One’s governing body to set up a racing championship series for electric cars"

    It looks like the my idea with the race track in Sebring could be very interesting, I will start working on it...

    Thank you Jack for all your efforts!!!

  18. Here is Telegraph about it on 04/04/11:

  19. Hey Jack,
    I read with great interest your explanation and analogy regarding the equivalent IR of the cells. Only someone who has a pretty good idea of the subject can come up with an explanation so easy to understand. Thank sincerely you for taking the time to share your knowledge. Any idea how the eq.IR of a cell is measured? I use a charger that measures the IR (that how it's shown on the display. This seems to be the best parameter for matching the LiPo cells I use.

    Thanks again,


  20. Mark:

    The classic and manual way to measure equivalent series resistance in a cell is to take the cell to a current level, say a 10 amp load, and note the voltage once stabilized. Then increase the load, let's say to 110 amps, and measure the new voltage.

    Take the difference in voltage, and divide by the difference in current, in this case 100 amps. This will give you the ESR in ohms - usually a s very small value. We're seeing 4 milliohms a lot these days.

    Jack Rickard

  21. Thank You Jack.

    Yes, new LiPo cells, what you refer to as helicopter cells, measure around 4 m ohms.This goes up with use, or rather abuse in my case(20C cont). The higher the value, the higher the voltage sag.8 to 10 m ohms seems to be their mid life value and still provide good performance.


  22. I hope your not seeing 4mOhms on the Calb 180 or the WB of the same size. That is far to much for a cell that size. They should be about 0.4mOhm for the 160ah -180ah range. Perhaps even less.


  23. I have just checked a pack. It is at 9 mohms and dishes out 25C no sweat. But these are liPo 5Ah cells. I do not have an ev pack as yet so cannot comment.



  24. We just did a dyno test on a pack of 57 cells that drop from 188 to 147 volts at 1000 amp load. Looks like .041 ohms to me. I guess that would be about 0.7 milliohms per cell.

    I hope that's what I mean.

    Jack Rickard

  25. More on that German battery released recently:

  26. The display shows the ESR of each individual cell.
    So I mean 9 milli ohms for one cell. This actual pack consists of six cells and the ESR for each cell ranges from 7 to 10 milli ohms. That is what I read.
    Frankly, I have no reason to doubt the reading as I check the charger's manual and the examples show similar numbers.
    Now I checked on the Kokam website and it quote a similar cell at 120 milli ohms ac impedance a 1 kHz


  27. People here might be interested to see this video:

    At the bottom is a Youtube video about a research project. It's fairly boring really but at the end they show a test where a Thundersky battery is shorted. It heats up and then you can see it venting. I thought people here might be interested to see that.

  28. Very interested. I do not believe you can start a fire with a short or by overdischarge. You must overcharge them pretty hideously.

    Jack Rickard

  29. That video was pretty hideous with that deliberate short. 3000 amps for 3 minutes and it just vents. Impressive. Pretty nice.

    Nice build.

  30. Here's another fun battery test video. Two TS cells, one dead shorted, one shot twice with a hand gun.

  31. Suggest the next person to short, overcharging to boil or shoot/spike a cell to also try offering an ignition source near the vent.

    That would make a much better video.

  32. Mr. Rickard,

    There's a big reason why you won't get your 10,000 original guys to tell their friends in the very near future: the majority of your target audience doesn't give a flip about the environment, gas prices, or peak oil. Most probably don't have a "job" to go to, so gas is a non-issue. That's the same reason a genius like Sébastien Bourgeois makes a handful of cars while Wayne Alexander makes over 100. Show cars get trailored to events while electric junk goes to work. I'd bet most people who buy a Tesla don't even care it's electric. They buy it because it's fast, looks cool, and is the hip new thing. It is the working class that needs to change its mode of transportation. THAT'S where the gasoline is being burned. I predict that LiFePO4 will be a real contender when you see a Winston Battery aisle at Wal-Mart. When that happens, Manzanita Micro and Brusa will be chopping each other's heads off trying to come up with a REAL charger for a reasonable price that Wal-Mart will pay them nothing for. Once we see LiFePO4 for 10c/Ah and a decently priced charger, electric cars will have a shot. I hope those two things happen soon. That said, another great show! I'm so glad you got your 1,000 amps! I'm surprised you didn't start with a stage 4 or even 5 clutch right off the bat. Maybe you'll need to go clutchless if the clutch turns out to be the weakest link, as those race clutches can give your leg a real workout!

  33. Vpoppy. I guess I think you win the prize. I broadly disagree with each and every one of the various points you have managed to combine into a single post. And you got a LOT of them in there. Wow.

    But I've heard the song before. Yes, everything should be free. It's those rich bastards that prevent deserving folk such as yourself from having everything for free. And anyone that is working on something expensive, is working against the poor deserving working guy.

    Oh, and I don't use the clutch anyway when I'm shifting the car, so my leg will be fine.

    There is a standard adoption curve that has been observed in the deployment of every new technology since about 1830. By the way, the Luddites lost. It is what it is. I cannot even suggest possible changes to it.

    Further, socialism has a rather poor history in delivvering technological change, economic expansion, or wealth creation for anyone. As very very deserving as your poor working guy may be, if given half a chance he is more likely to tear down or burn something than he is to invent something useful for the group.

    Our economic model is quite fluid - in the past 30 years, I would characterize it as a BOILING stewpot of rags to riches, riches to rags and technological innovation all roiling violently with regular overspills into the fire. If you are poor, there is usually a reason and if you are rich, there is usually a reason as well. I would not characterize it as a pure nor really effective meritocracy, but it it is certainly in motion and there are certainly causes and effects abounding.

    I've been abundantly clear that I do not think economy cars, mass produced el cheapo electric cars, or anything of that sort will lead us to where we want to be with this. It will be innovators and innventors, and they will largely be funded by well-heeled early adopters and investors who can see a pretty clear picture of the future and want to be in position. I would say the latter group at this point are mostly buying these upper end cars and driving them around to see if they have any life, before doing any significant investing. Kind of a seat of the pants due diligence.

    I find my 10,,000 very passionate, very dedicated to the cause, and already quite effective. The problem is, there isn't quite 10,000 of them yet. And they are kind of surrounded by opportunists, component availablility problems, and a starkly ponderous wealth of misinformation.

    We intend to aid, abett, and assist where we can.

    I would urge you to lead, follow, or get out of the way. Complaining that it's too expensive to play simply implies you would be in the "step aside lad" category. You can watch us work, but don't annoy anybody. And don't play with the tools. They would be dangerous for you.


  34. Andyj:

    I've reviewed literally dozens of these destructo videos and must confess a huge admiration for those doing them, at times quite dangerously. I would rather see a guy who doesn't understand any of this, learn by experimentation than a marvelous mind with a good education pontificate about it incorrrectly - spreading misinformation in all directions, but at least with an authority and credibility that will cause it to do the maximum possible damage.

    There are four inorganic solvents used in these cells and truly they are to greater or lesser degree flammable, but mostly ethanol. Whiskey distilleries are actually exempt from teh BOCA code on fire suppression systems. This IS kind of a sweetheart deal for the distilling industry since they have such enormous warehouses and the expense of sprinkler installation would effectively end the industry. But they got away with it because while ethanol is easlily ignited, ti doesn't burn very hot. I can pour some new make out in my hand and light it with my cigaratte lighter. It doesn't even burn my hand. And the flame is almost inviisible.

    The incendiary power of these cells simply does not derive from the electrolyte. And as you will see in many of these videos, shorting the cell or fireing bullets into them, driving nails into them all cause heat and venting - but not really a fire.

    Overcharging, on the other hand causes an intense fire with intense heat.
    In the case of the LiPo cells used by radio controlled helicopters, it actually causes them to explode violently I the case of the LiFePo4 cells, they melt down and do go into a thermal runaway that is characterized by intense and self feeding heat, but does not appear explosive. Just horrendously hot.

    This is why I am certain that the major fires we have witnessed where charging related event,s not shorting events or circuit boards burning up or whatever. External heat doesn't really get these cells going until you have a LOT of it. I'm convinced all the fires we've discussed started in the batteries, an the ONLY way they can start is by overcharging.

    Jack Rickard

  35. Mr. Rickard,
    This country was not built on giving anything for free, socialism never works, and our entitlement programs are/will be one of our biggest challenges this country will ever face. Not sure how any of what I said goes against this. Perhaps if I relate to you why I believe that my Wal-Mart prediction will be the turning point, you'll see where I'm coming from. Shortly after I opened my paintball store, the ultimate "niche" market at the time, Wal-Mart began carrying some equipment. This proved to be the best thing that ever happened to my business, but all the while people told me that I would be OUT of business. How well do you think the Soliton1 will sell if Wal-Mart carried Winston batteries? Or NetGain? Or MasterFlux? You can ignore it all you want, but the working class IS the class burning a good chunk of gasoline, and will be in China and India. And you can make fun of me all you want right now, but I will be a rich bastard soon enough, and no one is going to hand it to me. Until then, I promise not to play with your tools, since every one of them cost more than my daily driver. Glad to hear about your leg....

  36. To further dispel the incorrect assumptions Vpoppy made about Tesla buyers I talk to a number of them every day on the TMC forums. They are all enthusiastic about the electric nature of the vehicle and most of them chose the Roadster over some other similarly priced vehicle because of that. Most of them are quite concerned about the environment and/or getting off foreign oil and they are quite active in promoting EV's. Some have added solar panels to their homes to compensate for their electric usage of the car. Early adopters of new technologies help drive the price down for the rest of us. My 40" flat panel only cost me $600 because some people paid $10,000 for them 10 years ago.

  37. Precisely so JP. Of course it was 12 years ago, and the 40 inch flat panel was $20,000. It hangs in my hangar now. Come to the EVCCON and I'll show it to you. The picture now is HORRIBLE. It didn't last 3 years.

    Jack Rickard

  38. Honestly Vpoppy! Get over it!

    Do you really think you can just skip the early adopters phase?
    No products have ever been produced that have skipped this stage.....

    A Roll of Toilet paper cost more than a days wages back in the 1800's......

  39. ????
    How is taking exception to bashing the electric car needs of the middle class in any way reflect the establishing of early adopters? I'm simply pointing out that there may not be tens of thousands of very well off people interested enough in electric vehicles, but there CERTAINLY are enough average Joes interested in them. JP, you may very well be right, and I could be wrong; won't be a first for me, and certainly won't be the last. But if someone takes the time to visit a Tesla forum, they probably ARE big into EV's, but may not represent the views of Tesla owners as a whole. If I believed majority opinion in forums, I'd think BMS' were the only way to go. After what I have seen here though, I am convinced they are dangerous. The case for big screen TV's is an excellent one. Did I want one 10 years ago? HELL YEAH! Would you buy one today if it could only work an hour a day? That's a tougher sell. Early adopters are great and necessary, but don't lose sight of the big picture: the adoption of electric vehicle technology by the masses. If every rich person on the planet drove an electric car, we won't be any closer to solving our dependence on foreign oil. If you aren't simply playing lip service to the ultimate goal, then there is no reason to insult everyone you meet along the way that wants an electric car but can't afford LiFePO4, because in time, that IS what everyone will be driving. Putting down someone else won't get you any further with your goals.

  40. OMG! what planet are you on?? Yes, electric cars are for the masses, Yes thats where it will make the biggest difference.... Get off you soap box and stop bitching that everythings not for free.
    Early adopters pay the money, pay for R&D, help the momentum of product development..... If you can't afford a new car (electric or petrol) go and buy a second hand one.....some other poor shmuk has had to buy it new....he is an easly adopter.....stop ranking that your poor, The evironment does'nt care if you rich or poor.....Go to the bank, loan some money, build your dream or SHUT UP!

  41. Yes, it IS the early adopters that fuel it. And the standard S adoption curve pretty much reigns supreme. Some go pretty quickly (iPhone) and others pretty slowly (cell phones in general). I am very comfortable with this one as it is remarkably similar to the BBS/Internet thing of a couple of decades ago. At one point, every advance was like giving birth - painfully and slowly.

    And the masses had nothing to do with it vpoppy. The people dialing IN to BBS's were early adopters. 99% of the population couldn't afford a computer. 1% of those who did have one also had a modem.

    Today, networking is so ubiquitous we don't give it a thought. And PC's are even less money than big screen's.

    But without the tinkerers and innovators, the early adopters cannot play. And wthout the early adopters, the prosumers and super consumers can't play. And so on. It's quite possible to never happen at all. That's why this is an exciting time.

    Some can be players. Some can play. And some have to watch.

    Stand aside lad. And don't mess with the tools thank you.

    Jack Rickard

  42. I'm still waiting for $2/hour paintball, but I'm shut out by The Man...

  43. How many Walmarts are outside of the US? How many of Jack's 10,000 are outside of the US? In reality this isn't just a US problem. US Consumers won't be driving this anywhere anytime soon.

    The tinkerers and inventors that come together for this movement are making it happen. Jack and his show have become a focused lens and through that lens people that WANT to do something can come together and actually DO something.

  44. Vpoppv,

    There are people who dream, and the people that do. The 10,000 ones that do will not source their components from Walmart. I would think they would want the product they are driving or delivering to a customer to last longer than 2 years.

    You know this because I suspect that you don't carry the same paintball crap Walmart does.

  45. Hi Guys,
    I am one of those Aussie early adopters been driving me EV since 2000 and about 120,000 km. People use to laugh at me and think l was crazy but now how they have changed their tune. If it wasn't for us tinkerers there wouldn't be any innovation at all.
    There is always a group of people who say it can't be done! Well we are too busy doing their so called impossible to waste our time trying to convince them.
    So Jack congrats keep doing what you do best

    Thanks Leigh.

  46. I'm not and early adopter yet. I never liked lead, which is no longer a problem. My other problem is winter. I don't use cars much in the warmer months so winter usability and reliability is paramount. Snow, salt, salt spray, slush, -10°F and NO garage. AC drive with a sealed motor and a temperature controlled battery pack would seem to be the way to go. I wonder what others have done to manage winter? Most of the builds I see out there are just, to be brutal, fair-weather pansies. -Klaus

  47. @Klaus:

    What about -28degC and more than 50cm of snow.
    LiFePo4 in insulated boxes. No heating yet, but the cells would be better of with some heating thats for sure. SepEx DC motor........ been driving two winters now.

    For more info on NordLocks: I opened my batteryboxes to check cells balance this weekend. I also retightend all bolts. They where all really snug and I could pull some of the bolts about 5-10deg. It has been 6 months of daily use in pretty harsh weather. We had below -28degC here this winter and I have been driving the car in snow so deep it started spraying up on the windshield(approx 15inch or more).
    Thats pretty good for an old Renault.......


  48. Yes, our NORDLOCK solution seems to be working for us as well.

    As to fair weather pansies, it is a fair description. The Mini Cooper is what I drove this winter and it performed reasonably well. The heater didn't exactly drive me out of the car, but it was adequate in all cases. On some 10 degree days it took a few minutes to warm the interior, about like an ICE car would be.

    For the Escalade, we have big plans for a winter vehicle. We are using a 20kw hot water heater and we will be able to switch in 10kw or 20kw - a two level heater. We'll route that to the heat exchanger, and thence to a battery box with PEX tubing in the bottom of it to warm the batteries. We DO note a pretty serious decline in power and range in cold weather. And we intend to solve that partially by heating the batteries. We DO have a garage, but I intend to heat the batteries with this hot water system as well.

    Jack Rickard

  49. I'm curious to see how it goes with your Escalade project, Jack. Having your electrified turbo blowers supplying cooling air to the motors through air filters addresses the concern I had with the long-term effects of DC motors inhaling salt spray and salt dust.

    I have another question for you. I know that you use clutches in your builds with manual transmissions. I *think* I've also heard you comment, many episodes ago, that using the clutch is easier on the transmission when shifting. I've read the same on forums that it's easier on the synchros, which makes sense. Others say it's not necessary and I heard you say, in the last EVTV, that you don't use the stage 4 clutch when shifting Redux. So, what are your current thoughts on using a clutch in a build? -Klaus

  50. We ALWAYS use a clutch with a manual transmission and we would not even consider not using a clutch. But on builds with no regen on the accelerator, I rarely actually use the clutch.

    Jack Rickard

  51. Disengage in case of a WOT type failure & driveline shock absorber. The mind's going... -Klaus