Monday, June 11, 2012

Missing Week And Elescalade Blues

My wife informed me last Thursday evening that she was going to Fort Lauderdale to graduate with her Doctorate Degree from Nova Southeast University. She was leaving Friday morning at 11:00. As it turns out, none of her daughters were going to be able to make this celebratory event. Sigh. So she guessed she would just go by her self....

So I wasn't here Friday. Or Saturday. Or Sunday until pretty late.

I'm back. Don't travel as well as I once did. But it was a good event and a big milestone for her. She teaches up at Southeast University here and I guess all the other girls had PHd degrees and she seemed to think it important.
Really she's always been there for me. Not sure why the graduation ceremony itself was important, but apparently it was to her.

The Elescalade is fighting us every step at this point. We're a bit behind on our updates. We've had the motor spinning for about three weeks but that's not the half of it.

First, we could not seem to get a TACH input IN to the two Soliton 1's. The sensor we had hard installed in the adapter plate would not produce a waveform when we hooked it up to the SOliton's 12v output, PGND, and TACH.

And it didn't appear to matter how we did it, one Soliton or two, which one, or what pull-up resistor we used.

So we got ANOTHER sensor, a couple of magnets and hooked it all up to the reluctor ring mounted on the front of the motor. We quickly just connected to switched 12v, frame and ran the signal to the Soliton and checked it. Sure enough, both Soliton's showed RPM on the inputs and at 2 pulses per turn, the right RPM at that.

So we mounted the magnets more permanently, built a proper bracket for the sensor, and i got some 4 wire shield thinking I was doing a good thing. Ran the three leads all the way up to the Soliton and again connected to 12v, PGND, and TACH.

It didn't work. We tried everything. One Soliton. The other SOliton. Both Solitons. 2 ppt, 4 ppt, 6 ppt. They did not recognize a signal.

So we got a THIRD sensor and hooked it up to 12v switched, frame, and ran just the signal to the SOlitons. Worked fine. We started to hard wire THIS one and I noticed that this was our last sensor on hand. STOP. Let' just mount it. Leave it on 12v and frame.

And that seemed to take care of it. I would guess that the Soliton's are eating our sensors. But I don't know how or why. And since I'm having difficulty getting anything to show the same symptoms twice this week....

We got the motors to where when we went to IGNITION, they would light up and cycle contractors and all looked good. Then when we went to START, the 12v START signal wired into input 1 would in fact cause the two motors to spin up and then settle back to idle at about 450 rpm. Both are idling. Both are pulling current. Total amp draw on the pack at idle is 11 amps with no air conditioning.

But the tachometer on the instrument panel didn't budge. So we played with the MAP sensor input and the CAM position sensor input. Finally, the crankshaft position sensor, which reads the reluctor ring, was 1/16 from the teeth. A 1/32 too far apparently. I wobbled it around and suddenly we got a shaky tach signal. After playing with the mounting for an hour or so, and getting it so close it almost made noises as the teeth passed, we got a tach signal.

Sounds like a good thing. Except the ECU got a tach signal as well. So when we would step on the throttle, it would slam the throttle position plate back to idle quite forcefully.

I'm no longer doing anything intelligently. Just hooking up wires to various things trying to get a symptom to change. IF I set the %1 output to MOTOR CURRENT, routed it through a 750 ohm resistor, and fed it as a manifold pressure signal (MAP) we could start, idle and run the RPM up and down about three times, then it quits and forcibly sets up back to idle.

The MAP signal is a 0.8vdc to 4.5vdc signal representing vacuum in the manifold of course. At idle, it should be 0.8vdc and wide open it should be 4.5vdc. Vacuum looks like a nearly linear function of RPM, but all of our RPM was pulse signals and not many pulses per rotation at that.

MOTOR CURRENT works at the bottom when you are turning up. But once you get to 2400 rpm or so, the current drops off and so the voltage. So we are higher RPM with lower manifold pressure indicated. THE ECU notes the discrepancy and shuts us down hard.

The throttle position signal actually starts too high. We run from about 2.0v to 4.3v out of the TPS and we are using that successfully for the throttle input to the SOliton's. The opamp puts out plenty of current. But we start at mid range for the MAP signal. So this doesn't work at all.

I fear if we get this part playing, then it will want the MAF signal. Etc. etc.

I'll try to put together some video this week.

Oh, the Helwig brushes are in and on the web site store. We're adding NordLock washers to the kit. They're pretty nice actually. Mylar sleeves. Four leads. We've got 12 sets for the Warp 9 and 12 sets for the Warp 11 and it takes awhile to get them in. These are the H60 Redtop split brushes made famous by Tim Catellier and the Catellier effect. First come. First shipped. When they're gone, it's a good three weeks to get any more.

Also, I see NO reason to discuss why I think you might want a fire extinguisher for your eCobra or other conversion. Why bring those things up at all. In any event, I found a cool 2 1/2 lb ABC perfect for those late night Interstate shoulder cookouts. It's chrome and comes with bracket. Rated for automotive.

Jack Rickard


  1. Congratulations to the new Dr. Rickard! Bravo!

  2. Same here, congratulate here on the Dr. degree. May I reccomend that she look at the Escalade problem now...

    Take care


  3. Congratulations. Never too late to advance. Yes, graduation IS important. It is a RITE of PASSAGE. Not something to downplay.

  4. Jack,
    I'm betting you made a good decision in the celebration of your wife's Doctorate this weekend!

    After all, Father' Day is next Sunday!

    Who know's... with Brain's help you and your co-ed bride may be tooling around Cape Giradeau in a "new" electric Caddy!

    Congratulations to Dr. Richard on her success and good luck to you and Brain!


  5. Jack:
    Congratulations to your wife for her high accomplishment.

  6. Congratulations to Mrs. Jack Rickard! It's great to know you were off for good news. Me spreading fear on bad things came to nought when Chad stepped in. Grrr!

    Something that seemed so typically feminine about your wife.. She informs you of at the last minute when its almost impossible to arrange the best and most comfortable way. An obligation as a husband, you go. She might tell you it doesn't matter but you'll be made to regret it if you don't.

    Then again men and calendars..

    A thousand miles! More chargers please Tesla.

    Would her doctorate be helpful for Dan who's suffered so badly without his weekly fix?

  7. Jack, congrats to your wife.

    On the subject of infrastructure, I used to be a superintendent for a TVA contractor. That being said I still stay in touch with a few of the guys I used to work with. One of the things that was mentioned to me several months ago was about TVA and Cracker Barrel teaming up to put in change stations across I-40 in Tenn. and TVA's plan to start moving to electric cars. After reading some of the other post about what it would take I thought I would see what I could find and this came up:

    It's worth a read. It's good to see that even with the slow sales of EVs and the Big Oil money against it, it looks like electric cars are going to be part of the future.

  8. Jack:
    Perhaps it's time to pull out the O scope and look at your wave forms and voltage levels on the rpm lines.

  9. I think this is one of those things viewers are interested, and Jack might not understand why. Signal spoofing is a something few have expertise in and I for one would like to see what you come up with.

  10. Yes +1 one fo signal spoofing as a topic for future shows.

  11. You married a smart one???

    Congratulations to her. It is quite an accomplishment. You made the right call...

  12. I'll stop saying it after this, but you need help:

    1. Tom,
      Excellent source!
      Mark Yormark

    2. I think that's a good thing Mark.
      Often these sort of guys would be too happy to help because hacking the issues adds to their skill set for future work.

    3. There's a bit of a back story here. I talked to John Spears two years ago on Jack's behalf as he and Brian were planning the Escalade conversion.

      John was intrigued by the project, and willing to troubleshoot it. His credentials and experience are indeed an excellent match for the problem set.

      If anyone else in the midwest has a similar build and GM ECU/PCM integration problems, he's a good resource.

  13. called it.
    Jack, of course graduation is important and you should go. but next time leave a note.

  14. Jack,
    First let me say I am on your side Jack..trying to help.
    Your 2008 Escalade had a L92 i.c.e. with variable valve timing.
    You mentioned in past posts that this L92 started when the the cam position sensor was unplugged which would be at idle.
    Was that test with sensor unplugged ever done at a throttle position other then idle?
    My thought is what you are experiencing is the "default" TPS position when the proper signal is not received from the cam position sensor.
    Mark Yormark

  15. Jack hopefully that wasn't your eCobra that burned? Anyway, I did see this link to a lithium fire that I had not heard about before. The company does sell and use BMS systems but I don't know if this car had one or not.

    1. 2010.. "First time I can truly point to irony in my life. I take greenT to grand prix to raise money to finish battery safety development and file patent - battery failrue"?

      Patently failed.

      The more I learn, the more I'm in with cell temperature controller limiting and charger emergency cut-off.

    2. Yes Andy,

      and I will use the JLD7100DC temperature controller to do this job.

  16. Congratulations to your wife. It is good to see the priorities are straight. I suffering EVTV withdrawal though. I will just have to hang on till next week.

  17. Started a blog in english on my own motorcycle conversion at

    Also noticed this bit of highly promising news:

    1. "authors calculate a theoretical capacity" but as soon as reality hits home, like water vapour. It's game over. :(

      For choice, have a look here:

      The Mars 0913 is more powerful but there are bigger.

      I love the idea of using a Prius motor, (30Kw cont. & 305Nm).

    2. They estimate 13500Wh/kg, but even if they get 1/10 of that it would still kick some serious butt. A big if still, but one can always hope.

      Interesting motors there, but no prices and no button labeled Buy as far as I can see. The bike has had 78kW so 30kW peak electric should be quite a reasonable target. MHM602 hub motor from Enertrac would be excellent, but twice the price of motor + chain solutions.

    3. It's Jack blog so hope to keep it short 'n sweet. He's spoken of Lithium air before. Theory lacks resemblance to reality. Any reactive gas/particulates/vapour will murder them.

      Enertrac claim 10KW continuous ~100Km/hr cruise. What ever you choose. Have fun!

      Enertrac user:

    4. Lithium Air is very attractive and very promising. I find IBM's efforts there laudable. Three are some serious engineering issues. There aren't really any intractable science issues although the search for electrolyte is a bit of magic.

      But they are mostly engineering issues. If resource is committed there, very promising. Nol at all imminent in my view.

      In fact, I think this will be the hanging curve ball of EV dom for a very long time.

      Jack Rickard

  18. As a retired IBMer, I believe they'll figure it out, but don't count on it being a low cost solution. If the materials science and miniaturization engineers are given free reign, it will happen. The investment in a new market space is exciting and personally, I want my pension payments to continue.

    Also, my hearing aids are powered by tiny lithium air size 10 button batteries. These things are remarkable. Not rechargeable, but I can get them at any drug store. They provide full power for about a week and then die suddenly, so a very steep knee in the discharge curve. And they fit inside my hearing aid which hides behind my ear, so pretty good energy density.

    1. I had heard of Zinc Air hearing aid batteries Fred. I've never heard of a Lithium Air hearing aid battery.

      Goooolllly Seargant Carter. What will they think of next....

    2. Zinc air - of course! My bad, wishful thinking.

    3. Of course, Zn O2 are not rechargable. I think by now folks have read about A123 and their announcement about their EX battery which operates within a broad range of temps, and with the claim they don't need to have temp regulation.

      The biggie in batteries is the market for mild hybrids, i.e., start/stop technology; A123 is in it with a 12v battery and so is Power Gennix with an improved NiZn battery.

      Let's hope along with this market, come economics of scaling.

  19. Maybe one day an osmotic film will be developed that can detract bad gas molecules. By that time the same sort of toy will allow a man to breath underwater indefinitely.

    Had a chat with an engineer at Albrightinternational. Learned a lot. Just bought a locking contacting isolator which suits my build and keeps component numbers down.

  20. Catholics??? But I'm a Jediii!!!
    We must defeat the dark side.