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Good Day Mike,
I'm thinking that in addition to posting links to the charger videos and online info, you are suggesting that we start this new thread for ACTUAL USE of the charger here, yes?

Today I am slightly bummed... :( Tried to start my 3rd charge. After the 2 minute start period the charger shut down. I'm pretty sure the first "R" code was R9. I came back into the house to find user info (thanks for the links!). Went back outside and now have a R14 code.

I'm not surprised that it is too cold outside today. I'm not sure when I will get my garage cleared enough for me to get the car INTO the garage so that the air temp will be warm enough for grid charging.

Sad situation. Heavy sigh....
 

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So I was installing the grid charger on the spare pack on the bench to test it out and get familiar with it, and I noticed this... (attached)

Pretty unacceptable. Might be a good idea to keep an eye out for this while everyone has their packs out.. seal it up with foil tape.

:loco::rantt:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
low and high temperature limits

I just want to go into a bit of detail about why we have set the low temp and the Hi temperature limits we have set for the charging.
Got this from a NIMH battery manual:

Low temperatures (e.g. -15C (5F)) will obviously reduce Ni-Cd and Ni-MH battery discharge rate. At -20C electrolyte is at its freezing point, charge speed will greatly slow down. At low temperature (under -15C (5F)) charge will raise the internal gas pressure and probably unseal the safety vent. Ambient temperature of 5C (41F) to 30C(86F) is the best range to get effective charge. Generally with temperature rising charge efficiency will become higher. But when the temperature rises to 45C (113F)or higher, the materials performance in the battery will be degenerated and battery service life will be shorten greatly.

If we want to charge in the cold, take the car for a ride to get both the car and the pack heated up. If the ambient is very cold, one could put a small electric heater in the car, since we have an AC cord for the charger going in anyways.
The pack heat and the electric heater will keep the car and the pack in the 41-86F range
We also need to consider the situation where the pack is frozen, but the car has warmed up in the sun. I still advise taking a ride to warm up the pack, before charging, as the warm air will take some time to thoroughly thaw the pack.
We do not allow charging when the ambient inlet air temp is < 40F, or >97F or when the outlet temp (battery temp) is < 48 F or >107F . these conservative values will minimize the chances of the pack being charged when in a temperature zone that could damage or otherwise reduce the effectiveness. The Max inlet and max outlet temps are adjustable via the tech edit, but the minimums are fixed constants at this point.
 

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Great explanation

Thank you Mike. I knew there was a good reason for the min / max charge temperature. I just did not know what that reason was.

Tim Glover

I just want to go into a bit of detail about why we have set the low temp and the Hi temperature limits we have set for the charging.
Got this from a NIMH battery manual:

Low temperatures (e.g. -15C (5F)) will obviously reduce Ni-Cd and Ni-MH battery discharge rate. At -20C electrolyte is at its freezing point, charge speed will greatly slow down. At low temperature (under -15C (5F)) charge will raise the internal gas pressure and probably unseal the safety vent. Ambient temperature of 5C (41F) to 30C(86F) is the best range to get effective charge. Generally with temperature rising charge efficiency will become higher. But when the temperature rises to 45C (113F)or higher, the materials performance in the battery will be degenerated and battery service life will be shorten greatly.

If we want to charge in the cold, take the car for a ride to get both the car and the pack heated up. If the ambient is very cold, one could put a small electric heater in the car, since we have an AC cord for the charger going in anyways.
The pack heat and the electric heater will keep the car and the pack in the 41-86F range
We also need to consider the situation where the pack is frozen, but the car has warmed up in the sun. I still advise taking a ride to warm up the pack, before charging, as the warm air will take some time to thoroughly thaw the pack.
We do not allow charging when the ambient inlet air temp is < 40F, or >97F or when the outlet temp (battery temp) is < 48 F or >107F . these conservative values will minimize the chances of the pack being charged when in a temperature zone that could damage or otherwise reduce the effectiveness. The Max inlet and max outlet temps are adjustable via the tech edit, but the minimums are fixed constants at this point.
 

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Interesting. Thanks for the information Mike.

That might be a problem around here, as our average lows in the winter are in the lower 20s. I have noticed that if the battery pack's temperature is below 32 degrees, the battery fan turns on to low. I guess they assume that the human will have the heat on.

I've seen talk here about the car performing a sawtooth pulsed charge when the battery is very cold, theorizing an attempt to warm it up gently. Would that be a feature useful for the grid charger? Sorry, I know it's too late to be thinking of software revisions.. just thinking aloud I guess.
 

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Mike,

It sounds like you're describing a very good reason for having the pack fan running on low in the winter months.... warm the pack while driving.

Jim.
 

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Finished Install

Finished install on Friday. Made my battery lifter out of angle iron. followed Mike's installation video (version) three. Instead of buying a new drill bit for the plug mounting, I just tried my wood 7/8" drill bit and it actually worked great, saved money. Did the extended soak last night for 9 hours.

Is there anything I should be looking for? The battery is the original 2001. Never had any IMA codes, a few recals lately.

I wish everyone good luck in their installs. The video is very good, just make sure you use version 3, I used version 1 and it was missing the part where you install the positive and negative wires. So I found that part on version 3.
 

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Finished install today, have questions

I just finished the charger install today, it was real easy, everything went smooth except the parts where it does not show where to add the high voltage connections, after checking V3 it was very clear where they went.

I'm charging right now, but I chose not to place the covers back on before doing the first charge, I want to check the battery temperatures and see if the fan was working.

As soon as I plugged it in the fan turned on and it's been on for the last 30 minutes... Does the fan is supposed to be on all the time? this may be over 10 hours? I thought it would only come in as needed... Mike any comments?

Can you charge a battery is it's out of the car? do you need all the electronics if the battery is on the bench? I have an extra battery that would like to keep charged.
 

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The fan runs anytime the charger is charging. This is necessary because the grid charger doesn't measure the temperature of the pack directly.

I've been getting familiar with the grid charger using a pack on the bench, it works wonderfully. :)
 

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Eli, did you have to install the boards on the battery on the bench? or is there a way just to connect the charger to the pack?
 

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I installed it exactly the way it would be in a car, except I didn't sticky/screw the boards to the pack. They can just kinda hang out.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The fan will run when charging, unless it is too cold.
It will also run after the charge if the temperature difference in to out is too large.

I have just finished designing and building 4 "test" probes so that people can charge a pack without needing to hard wire the harness onto the pack. A guy has two relatives with a civic and an insight that he wants to give a test charge to before he installs his harness in his car.
Another guy has 4 ot more Insights in storage, and wants to revivi the pack before using the cars.
The long +HV probe allows safe easy connection to the big resistor lead, and the negative is just a large ring with a small #8 ring on the other end, so the harness ends can be converter for quick test connections.
http://99mpg.com/projectcars/gridchargertestada/

The harness is designed to be attached to the pack either on the bench or in the car.
The charger will not run unless the PTC is connected. or a 20 ohm resistor is connected on the PTC input terminals. On the civics that do not have a PTC, we just put a resistor on the input.

I am also testing a SOC reset board that generates the serial command over the obdII port that sends the SOC guage to the 19th bar. Peter was kind enough to let me have the required code.
More on that later.
 

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First grid charge completed, final voltage 167v, total charge time 128 minutes, total charge 1272 mAH, took the car for a test drive, and noticed the difference right away, I can get full assist and the IMA light did not turn on, used heavy assist for the 5 mile test drive.

It was trying to force charge on the way back, but I turned off the charging, plugged it back in and still charging. had not driven the car for about 3 weeks and it was at 0 bars just before pulling the battery.

Just finished the wiring on the spare battery and will be charging that one tonight.

Great work Mike!!! it was worth the wait. :)
 

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I installed mine today, except that I ran out of light before I got the sheet metal bolted back in. The install went great and Mikes instructions were perfect. So was the product. I can't wait to plug it in.

I'd like to pass along a tip about the battery lifter. The 6mm threaded rod is hard to find. Don't bother with Lowe's, Home Depot, or Ace. They won't have 6", 6mm bolts, either. Grainger has it, but they would have to order it, 4 business days away. I wanted to use it the next day. The specialty bolt shops were closed.

I bought a 1/4"-20-12" threaded rod from Lowe's for $1.00 and then threaded over the 1/4-20 threads with a 6mm die. It removed enough metal to make complete threads. I threaded both ends, and then cut it in half, and used 1/4-20 nuts on the top. It tightened up nicely and held the battery weight just fine.

Eli, I'm done with the lifter, so you can use it whenever you're ready.

Sam
 

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I'm close to being ready to charge for the first time. I've had some 1449s and I'm hoping to revive the battery, or at least extend it's life. Is there any current wisdom as to whether I should have the battery charged or discharged before using the charger for the first time? I'm not concerned as to how long it takes to charge.

Thanks!

Sam
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Good to hear that all the work is starting to pay off for all you very patient people.

The software is Version 1.2. we of course tried to think of everything and anticipate everything, but the real world has a way of coming up with the things we did not think of no mater how hard we try.

I did not want to delay the chargers any longer, waiting for the ultimate code, so we made some assumptions on what the best settings for the many variables should be, and expect that as we all start using the chargers we will discover those things that need adjusting, and those that are fine the way they are. This version is quite solid, but we adjusted the variables on the side of being conservative. Almost all the ket variables are editable by you, and the ones hidden in the tech variable area, can also be adjusted in the field, simply by telling me what you want to adjust, and getting the password from me.

We are already working on Version 1.3, which will have easier more natural navigation of the setup and other menus, and a couple of very minor bug fixes.

One of the areas of the code that we made some assumptions on was when to run the fan.

There are a lot of widely different situations that the charger can encounter:

Cold pack cold ambient (car sits all night in freezing garage)

Very cold pack and ambient

Hot pack warm environment that becomes cold as the charger runs (drive home from work in winter, car heated pack warm from use, but car cools quickly while charger running)

Hot environment cool pack (Arizona, Texas)

Hot environment hot pack (Arizona car sits in hot sun all day)

Very hot environment

We can read the inlet and outlet probe temperatures, to get an approximate average temp,and then turn on the fan, wait 2 minutes, and better determine the ambient (inlet) and battery (outlet) temp, to make better decisions.

We are open to suggestions as to how we can improve the charger software as it handles these and other conditions, so by no means should you assume that just because the charger works the way it works now, that this is the end of the code development.

This is just the beginning. You guys are4 the testers, so feel free to honestly critique what you have, so we can strive to make it better.

The fan can be controlled by the charger, so in theory, we can do a slow PWM, where we run the fan for several minutes and turn it off for several, to get an average cooling anywhere from 0 to to 100%,

This thread is where we should bring up the ideas and develop the solutions for the issues that come up.

So far we have some feedback reguarding;
Charger shutdown due to too cold temperatures.
Concern over the fan running all the while the charger is charging.

Sending the serial output out even when not charging, to watch the self discharge.

Some accessories that will be available very soon:

The test adapters will allow people to buy a system, and test it's effectiveness before doing the full install, as well as turning a harness into a test harness for charging non harness equipped packs.

An automatic pack cycler that will discharge the whole pack through some 120V tungsten bulbs, during the interval time of a storage /maintenance charge.
When the voltage drops to a setable value, the load disconnects and the charger goes into a charge.
When the charge is complete, the discharger turns the load back on, and starts another cycle.

A more complete individual subpack cycler, with diagnostics to determine subpack health (bench test tool)

A low cost SOC reset device that sits on the OBDII port, and will reset the SOC to 19 bars after a charge.
Of course The OBDII C&C will do the same with many more features, so either will perform the SOC reset.

Keep the feedback coming, and hopefully enjoy some renewed IMA battery performance.

6mm threaded rod:
http://www.mcmaster.com/#standard-metric-threaded-rods/=f3x603
These guys have everything.
 
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