Saturday, March 21, 2009

It's on the road

So it's been a while since I've posted. But it's largely cuz I've been driving.

I've put about 100 miles on the ol' bug so far, and it's going well. A bit of trouble shooting, but for the most part, good news on the EBug.

I was putting off this post until I inputted some video of my first test drive. But now I can' find the tape. The first test drive was rather funny. I backed out of the driveway pretty well, and took off down the street...all at about 5 miles an hour!

I had the original accelerator pedal linked up to the PB-6 Curtis pot box, that determines the amount of voltage that hits the motor. At first, the old cable was looped directly onto the arm of the PB6. Resulting in a top speed of 5 mph. A few adjustments, and I was able to get it up to 25mph a bit later. The 'throw', or area from the top of the accel pedal to the bottom of the pedal wasn't the same distance as the pot box arm. So I tried using a turnbuckle to attach the accel cable to the arm. It was far easier to adjust, and worked pretty well, but I still couldn't get the PB6 arm all the way down to full acceleration. I could adjust it too far, and then as soon as I turned on the ignition key, the car would start moving. Not a good choice.

Anyhow I lived with this for a month or so, as I had a bigger problem.

My 12 volt battery wouldn't stay charged. I tripled, and quadruple checked my wiring, and everything was good. I checked with EV America, and one guy there said I had my DC-DC converter set up correctly. Of course, he's the same guy who sent me the email instructions as to how to hook up the DC-DC converter (as this information wasn't included in my original schematic...why? good question.) So I finally end up talking to the other guy at EV America, the one who actually knows electronics, and it turns out there was a missing relay in my system. Not only a missing relay, but also a missing schematic that even mentioned that I NEEDED a 2nd relay. So they sent me the relay, but only after not 1, but 2 different trips home in the AAA truck with the bug. Not to mention a great deal of humility and embarrassment from my neighbors and family.

So I got the relay hooked up ( the DCDC converter had been sucking the 12 volt battery because the relay wasn't there to switch off the juice), and it's been fine, though I haven't done a measurement on the DCDC converter, measuring input and output. Need to do that.

Next problem was the pedal issue, so I ordered a gold cart pedal from some golf cart parts online store. I saw the pricing for the curtis pedal was around $250-$300. Pricey. Found it on this site for $12.50. Not a typo. Twelve bucks and fifty cents. Must have been in their system wrong, but they sent it to me. It wasn't a Curtis, another brand, but it does the same thing.

Only problem is the size. It's really big. No room to put it where the old pedal was. Think outside of the bug box. So I put it where the clutch pedal was. Yes, was. I used a dremel and cut the clutch pedal off (heresey!) So I fastened the behemoth pedal to the floor with a 2" wide piece of stainless steel, bent at an angle and bolted to the floor. Even on this side, the pedal is too big for my taste. However, I get full juice! I got it up to 50 mpg going thru the tunnel. Much better reaction, but I'll have to put the insides of this pedal into a smaller housing. Someone had the idea to use an old wah wah pedal housing. If you have one, send it to me. I think it'll work. Not a Morely variety, but a CryBaby wah type would work.

It's time to service the batteries now, add some water, etc. Not looking forward to that, just kind of a pain, but part of the deal.

I redid all of the door rubber on the passenger side. Looks great, but damn, my fingers really got cut up on that job. Slipping them inside the door with the window etc, I almost lost my poop.

I have to do the same job on the driver side, and have been putting it off quite a bit. Then I have to replace the ragtop. Another job I've been putting off. I'll get it done soon.

Next post: pictures and maybe some video.

Promise. Totally.