Last night was a very sad night in my book...the Electric Celica is gone. On my way home and less than a mile from the house, some idiot wasn't paying attention at the wheel. She was coming north into an intersection and did not yield to the flashing yellow for a left turn, and I had the right of way. Yet she continued through not paying attention and slammed into the driver side and crushed my special car...
It pains me dearly to look at these photos yet again, but it is something I have come to accept. A large part of what I put all of my energy towards in my life is now gone. Gone because someone else made a mistake. Gone because they couldn't put their cell phone down and pay attention when driving at night. But through this horrible situation, I am trying to find the light in the dark, and just hope that everything will get better. I am trying to stay positive, despite the other driver's unknown insurance company that has horrific reviews online. While most of this damage is not repairable, it was a big part of my life and taught me more than any other education will. The amount of knowledge that goes into a car is so large, that everything I have learned will forever be engraved in my mind, and memories never forgotten. Unfortunately, this is the second wreck of my car, and this time, there is certainly no recovery. Luckily the passenger in my car and I were both safe and unharmed due to the racing seats installed and having a steel shell of a car. The car was very strong, and protected my girlfriend and I from getting as much as a scratch on either of our bodies, and for that I am eternally grateful. The car has been good to me, from constantly breaking down in the beginning stages, to becoming the most reliable and dependable car in our household, from taking me all the way to cable TV, sponsorships, and tours at corporate HQ's. I will always love and remember my Electric Celica, with my tree branch still in my bumper.
This is another very positive update! The car is pretty much done at this point, and there are only a few little things that need to be done to hand the keys over to the owner. At this point, it was just the main "decorating" parts of the front and rear to make it more aesthetically pleasing. Below you can see the beginning t sort through the wires and organize them more. I also made the clear Lexan covers, and also finished other aesthetics of the front.
With the front now being mostly complete, it was time to transition to the back which would be much more difficult. I started in the rear by organizing all of the wires, securing the dangling ones up clear of road debris, and eliminating any unnecessary wires as well. All high voltage cables were also tied up and organized as well, and covered with orange convoluted tubing for extra security. I also added black KYDEX (a type of plastic) panels near the motor, and black vinyl everywhere else to deflect rain from below, and guide the rain from the top. The interior was also finished and all put back together as well with all wires loomed up and tucked away and secured. The only part left to do in the back, is add the Lexan cover over the components, which only needs to be mounted.
As previously stated in my last post, I did encounter an issue with the J1772 protocol in the Bug. The BMS system I installed, the Orion BMS 2, has built in J1772 capability and simply requires you to hookup the wires to the charge port in the car. Unfortunately, due to the type of charger I was using, this led to error after error and would not allow the BMS to function correctly. I then had to build my own system that would handle the J1772 connectivity.
The parts that need to be handled on the car side, is simply building the network of resistors so that the EVSE is on the same page and knows what is going on. J1772 is essentially a "handshake" between the car and the charging station to make sure all of the factors are in correct order. For my purposes, I simply need to make sure the EVSE knew when it was connected, and the car needed to be able to send a signal to the EVSE when the button is pressed on the plug to cut all power for disconnecting.
In the above schematic, while somewhat complicated, gives you a simplified idea as to how the signaling works. I will explain it more in depth in a later post, but this was the schematic that I had to use when designing my control board. Note, I was wiring a board to control the right side of this diagram, so the "vehicle inlet" and the "vehicle controller" parts.
This was the final board that I came up with, utilizing dual microcontrollers. The second microcontroller should be ignored because this is actually a hybrid board that does two different tasks. But for now, you can see the large network of resistors that makes up the car side of J1772. A microcontroller is simply used to monitor the voltage on one of the J1772 port pins that let you know if the button has been pressed, before disconnecting. This then allows the car to send the signal via the resistors, to the EVSE to cut all power. All of these things happen within just a few milliseconds, faster than the blink of an eye.
Please disregard the dates the next posts are posted, these were all written then uploaded at once.
The Lightning Bug has been rolling along, pun intended. Several weeks ago I got to take the car out for the first test drive, which turned out great. But unfortunately soon after, I went to power up the battery charger for the first time and it did not work. This ended up causing a couple weeks of delay to send the charger back to get repaired. This week the charger arrived home and the first thing I did was hooked it up to the car to test. It powered up right away, and worked perfectly. At this time, the batteries were in dire need of some energy, so I was finally able to crank this really powerful charger all the way up and get those batteries happy. Great, finally a step in the right direction once again.
This charger, the PFC-40 from Manzanita Micro is quite a powerful charger despite it's cost. It is much more powerful than most of the production EV's out there coming in at a blazing 9.6 kW respectively. This works out to pulling about 40 amps at Level 2, and believe it or not, most of the common charging stations aren't quite powerful enough to supply that. Luckily, this is a variable current charger, so there is a knob available to adjust the current if you have a charging station (EVSE) that cannot supply 40 amps.
A little info on an EVSE, or charging station for those who do not know, it is essentially a fancy extension cord. In essence, it uses a protocol called J1772, which is the current standard for all EV's, except for Tesla. J1772 is the charge port most of us see when it comes to EV's.
As you can see, this is the J1772 standard, and that is the plug used with it. In my opinion, while it is just technically a fancy extension cord, I love the functionality. As EV chargers get more and more powerful, the last thing you want is to try to plug in or unplug 9.6 kW of power! This is not only dangerous, but also wears the power pins on the connector prematurely. The whole goal of J1772, is to make sure the user is not ever connecting or disconnecting under full power of the charger. The instant that you press the button to unlatch the charge plug, power is instantaneously cut off by the EVSE (charging station). And this involves simply little networks of resistors, simple yet extremely effective.
In the next post, I will discuss the J1772 issue I had to overcome when setting up this protocol in the Bug.