Friday, October 30, 2009

John's PakTrakr Display

I shipped the PakTrakr modules back to the owner (Ken Hall) for calibration. Ken mentioned that they were rebuilding their calibration unit and would send the modules back as soon as it was finished.

I also received an e-mail from John Barton who used the open-source Civic battery rack design as a starting point for his own lithium-ion battery racks for his Civic DelSol:

Hi Tim,

I'm finishing up my second ev conversion, this time its a '93 Honda del Sol. My blog is I'm also finishing a display for the paktrakr that runs on windows ce 5.0. I've got a basic version running on a GPS. Since you are using a paktrakr I thought you might like to give the display I wrote a try. Let me know if you are interested and I can send you an early version of the bits. I'll be blogging about it in a day or so.

The display I'm using is this:

Also it requires a serial to bluetooth adapter like the IOGEAR.

John Barton
It looks like he has a cool display that takes the PakTrakr output and shows in a user friendly format. I'm quite swamped these days, so I'll consider trying it out if things slow down this winter.

Looking forward to getting my PakTrakr back...


Art said...


I have read your entire blog and find it innovative and entertaining. I enjoy your resourcefulness and attention to detail.

After one year of driving and maintaining your ev, my question is this... is it economical?

For example, last year I bought a road bicycle to make my 10 mile commute to work when the weather was nice. I kept track of what I spent on the bike and maintenance and recorded these as losses. I also kept track of what I saved in gas prices and recorded that as a deposit. see for details

In the end, mile for mile, the bike cost me about $15 per gallon where as if I had paid for gas I could have only paid about $3.

My questions is, have you experienced this same kind of thing with your ev?

TimK said...

Hi Art,

Thanks for your spreadsheet. I tell people all the time: converting and maintaining an EV is a hobby. You will probably never break even. In the case of the Civic-EV, the batteries tended to degrade faster than I wanted them to. If electricity was about $25 a month ($300 a year) and battery degradation was $1500 a year, it was about $1800 for raw fuel/battery costs. That doesn't count all the hours of debugging and self maintenance I had to do to fix things if they went wrong. For $1800, I can get about $700 in maintenance and $1100 in gasoline to go the same mileage (assuming 30 miles/gallon and $3.00 gas).

Moneywise, I'd be better just tuning up the original civic and driving it into the ground. Again, EV conversions are a hobby...