Saturday, May 23, 2009

Installing the Synkromotive Controller

I stopped by the Synkromotive shop this morning and picked up my beta-test controller that I've been wanting to try out. After running out and buying some more magna lugs and welding cable, I came home and removed the Belktronix controller and all the associated wiring.

With the old controller gone, I had to figure out how to place the new contactor and controller. Here's my mock placement. I placed the contactor slightly behind the controller to limit the cable lengths I would have to use and keep the high-voltage connections away from eager fingers. After the placement, I removed the piece of thick plastic below, drilled some mounting holes and bolted the controller and contactor in place.

This picture shows all the high-voltage 2/0 gauge cable hooked up. I was very fortunate that I could reuse all the old cables and simply crimp on new lugs. My purchase of 12 extra feet of 2/0 gauge cable was for naught, but I'm glad I got it anyway since the welding shop is only open on Friday.

The high-voltage connections on the Synkromotive controller are well thought out, especially if the controller is near the motor and parallel to it. The funny downside is that the connector bars are vertical instead of horizontal, forcing me to use less-common "L" lugs on the 2/0 cable to attach things. I'll have to give this feedback to Synkromotive.

Here's the preliminary installation. I don't have the motor RPM sensor hooked up yet, but I wanted to get the system going because there's an electric car show this weekend at PIR (we're demonstrating EVs along side the Electrathon and Human-Powered-Vehicle folks).

The Synkromotive controller is fully digital and has a USB port on the side. After firing up the user interface program, I was able to verify that everything was mostly operating. Given that this is a beta program, documentation is slim at best and full of bugs. I've already given much feedback regarding specific points in the document that cause confusion.

After checking all the voltages, I rotated the potbox by hand with the transmission in neutral and (Voila!) the motor spun. As of 11:30pm, I took it for a quick test drive around the block. The acceleration was very smooth; however, it wasn't as peppy as I had hoped. The amps never got above 150, so I'm guessing there's some calibration I need to do with the potbox. Anyhow, after 7.5 hours, I successfully swapped out the old controller for the new.

I'm a big fan of an uncluttered engine compartment. While the Synkromotive controller definitely has some wiring, the Belktronix system was a bit more out of control. Here's a bunch of the "spaghetti" that I removed with the older controller. I like seeing the removed chaos in a box.

Once I get the individual Soneil chargers, I can remove additional wiring and clutter without all the shunt balancer boards on top of each battery.

Whoosh, I'm liking this new controller! Tomorrow I'll tweak settings a bit more and see if I can take it on the freeway to PIR for the show.



Unknown said...

Congrats on getting the new controller up and running so quickly! Do you think the Synkromotive settings will allow you to do away with the over-rev protection?

TimK said...

Hi Deb,

I can do away with the tachometer with shift-light output because the speed sensor will be an input to the Synkromotive controller directly. I'll still need to limit the RPMs, but the Synkromotive controller will do that instead of the tach/shift-light combo. Best wishes on your conversion, Deb.


Unknown said...

Great job Tim, Can't wait to take a ride in it....