Archive for February, 2008

Hockey fans?

Friday, February 29th, 2008

I have two tickets to see the Ducks play in Anaheim on Monday. Anyone want them?

EV progress

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Well, things continue to improve.  Today I put on the access covers to the shiny new PVC boxes that I replaced the old crappy/rusting/not outdoor grade metal junction boxes with, lowered the car to the ground, and backed it out into the driveway, then fought with the cooling loop until it agreed to flow again. (Memo to self – next time do not forget expansion res placed higher than rest of car). Then I drove the car from this cul-de-sac to the next one six times, then across Crown Valley to the Shell station. The tags are still dead, so I had a nervious moment when a cop went by, but apparently he wasn’t paying attention. (I did print out a insurance card and bring it with me, so all I would get – I think – is a fix-it ticket for dead tags). I cleaned the windshield, put air in the tires.. (I had to pay $0.75, because it would be kind of hard for me to claim to be a customer – the hood was still off at this point, and just about anyone could tell the car was not powered by gasoline).

So far I haven’t climbed any serious hills nor gone over 35 mph. The power seems okay, the cogging problem on starts seems gone. Tomorrow I’m going to try and drive the car to the local elementary school and back, which at least involves some hillclimbing. If it does that okay, I’m going to try and take it to the DMV and get tags.

I’m trying to decide which of the following projects to tackle next on the car:

1) Top for the rear to cover the battery boxes so car is no longer open to the road in the back (and hence quieter)

2) Rewire hairball of a inverter interface

3)  Get Peltier heat pump array working.

4) Get LCD module talking to mk3 LCD driver, and put back together user interface

All of them are major undertakings, although probably with proper planning none of them involve the car being undrivable for more than a couple of hours.  I also want to take the car to a body shop and get the right headlamp repainted and reaimed, and the marker light replaced, and possibly look into some other minor cosmetic bodywork. I also need to figure out the sunroof switch and wire up something to take it’s place.

Probably the next logical thing to do is to get the mk3eb base code working well.. then I can start using the mk3eb modules everywhere for those little microcontroller-friendly tasks. I also need to get a SBC to replace the peice-o-crap-laptop that finally died. Anyone know a good, easy to develop for SBC? Must have several serial ports, a ethernet jack, and the possibility of adding wifi..

EV progress

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Today I connected back up the front battery pack and started the inverter – the MC closed with a satisfying ‘clunk’. After some debugging, I managed to get the drive to select forward – which really is forward now, so apparently my swap of the motor leads worked as advertised. The motor spun up, and when I selected a forward gear the front tires spun. (They’re off the ground since the car is on jackstands, so it seemed a bad idea to spin them up too much). There’s a lot of dragging noise from the front brake pads which one would expect since the car has been sitting for over a year.

Tomorrow I need to buy some distilled water and put it in the cooling loop, and reconnect the vacuum pump and cooling pump, and charge the traction pack. Unfortunately my house doesn’t have 220 in the garage, so it will be a somewhat time consuming charging process.

I’m all kinds of encouraged by progress. I’m not quite ready to put the hood back on, but I am ready to call Geico and add the car to my insurance.

Gay marriage? Underage sex?

Monday, February 25th, 2008

One might very well wonder why I’m so upset about LiveJournal banning users for having imaginary descriptions of underage sex. One might also wonder, given that I’m not gay, why I’m so consistantly up in arms about this whole gay marriage thing.

Part of my answer is to just insist that it’s not right to ban people for imaginary acts, and that it’s not right to deny group A rights that group B has simply because you’re not comfortable with their lifestyle choices. However, these answers seem more than a little weak given how strongly I feel about it.

I guess in the case of the imaginary sex, it disturbs me that livejournal is playing the censor. My ISP shouldn’t refuse to pass me packets because they don’t like the contents of them, and LiveJournal shouldn’t refuse to host my journal because they don’t like what I write about. That my journal isn’t in violation of anything isn’t the point – the point is that somewhere, someone’s journal is, and that once you start making exceptions to free speech, it isn’t too long before they start coming after people who hate the government i.e. me, people who hate the dominant religion i.e. me again. So I’m speaking up for those pervs over there.. even though in many cases I’d really rather not read the things they’ve written.. because I figure they’re just the beginning. Once you start caring about the advertisers more than the paid users, there’s a slippery slope that turns really steep, really fast. How many advertisers would want their banner ads appearing on <i>my</i> journal?

There are all these things I feel strongly about that don’t directly affect me – for example, I doubt if I will ever get to exercise my right to choose not to have a baby, since I’m not biologically capable of it – but which I nonetheless have very strong opinions on. I wonder where a lot of these attitudes came from – a number of them don’t very closely resemble my parents – they do resemble my friends, but I think that’s more because I select my friends based on my beliefs than the other way around.

By all indications, politically I am in the minority – I am 1 in 100, maybe 1 in 50.. I’m never going to have any real power, and I don’t *want* any real power.. I just want for other people not to have power over me either.

Just for the record, I am absolutely against any nonconsentual sex, or any sex with someone who isn’t capable of comprehending the emotional ramifications of consent. I have no problem with rendered kiddie porn, but I’m strongly against the real thing. (Although, I don’t know that I have a problem with the Lewis Carroll varients that just involve photographing children naked, providing it’s not upsetting the children and providing you don’t hold onto copies of the images if the children request that they be destroyed.)

I sent a email off to LJ commenting that I wasn’t the biggest fan of their pro-censorship policy.. I wonder if that combined with this post will be enough to get my account suspended..


Monday, February 25th, 2008

I notice that my livejournal account is expiring soon.

I will not be renewing, and I again encourage you all to look at LJ’s terms of service, and then make arrangements for a better place to host your journal. LJ has the right to suspend you – and refuse to ever return your journal, or return it only after charging you – for, basically, any reason they like. I would be happy to explain the migration process to WordPress, and give out a copy of my modified WordPress LJ importer that marks friends-only posts private.. (I really need to go through and improve it so that it actually supports friends.. I just haven’t had time to learn that much about the innards of wordpress)

Once more, LJ will suspend you for writing fantasy about underage sex. They will remove your user images if they show a casting of a nipple. They have put themselves in the role of Big Brother, and I’m not interested in having Big Brother telling me what I can and can’t write about my own life – which, by extension, feels like it is telling me what I can and can’t think.

Monday, February 25th, 2008

I live in a world of other people trying to control me, trying to bend me to their whim. Many of these people claim it is for my own good, or that it is so that law and order can reign supreme, or it is because God told them they should be trying to sell me on their questionable batch of isntructions posing as a religion, or any number of other reasons – some of them good and plausable, and some of them questionable in the extreme.

I genuinely want to make people happy, and so I try very hard to do what everyone tells me to, even though I often feel that my needs, thoughts, and desires aren’t being respected. In a disagreement, I will often give up on my side of the argument in order to make people happy. This seems to be programmed into me on a very deep level.

Every time someone tells me not to talk about places where I disagree with the established rule of law – not to argue for gay marriage, legal recreational drugs, the death of money, the end of copyright and patent – or dismisses my arguments as misguided rants, pointless idealism, or childish – it erodes who I am a little bit. I feel deeply eroded – I feel like I’ve never been truly free to be myself – that no matter what I will be enslaved to the bank, to those who’ve been on the planet longer than I have, to the government that I despise, to the ideals of other people that are not mine and their conviction that they are right and I am wrong.

I hate being told that I shouldn’t talk about the laws I break when they are broken after much thought of the issues involved. I live in constant fear of everything, and I don’t wish to add any weight to my fear of The Man.

You can not own ideas. You can not own information. If it can easily be copied, it can not be owned. I do not own the songs that I “wrote”, and it’s likely that somewhere, somewhen, someone else has written, and will write, all of them. If I can deal with the pain of this, surely those who love nothing more than money can deal with the pain of knowing that some people might get the enjoyment out of the intellectual property that artists working for them created without having to pay.

I hate money. I despise the way it leads humans to optimize for the wrong things, over and over and over and over. I hate that I have any power over any other person, and I really, really hate that any other person has any power over me. I live in constant fear of all of you, because you’re stronger than I am and you have already proven that wonderful as you are as individuals, as a group you are, by my standards, evil beyond words.

I hate being told that my words threaten other people – that those near to me are placed in danger by my ideas. What am I supposed to do, stop being myself so that you all can be safe? I never want to hurt anyone, but remaining silent is hurting *me*.

Calling all geeks, this here is the phreak, and we’re about to go a’huntin PEAR…

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

I’m wondering if anyone has any concrete suggestions about a project I want to do.

I want to make a restore DVD for a friend’s laptop that contains a image of the laptop and a small bootable version of linux (i.e. DSL) with perl added, and a perl script that will walk said friend through restoring either from the static image or from a removable drive i.e USB keychain, external hard drive, as well as backing up to the removable drive.

Does anyone have any hints on what the best way to roll your own modified bootable linux distro is? I can see me mounting the iso9660 filesystem via a loopback device and writing to it, if the kernel supports such behavior, and then burning it back to a CD.. is that the way to go?

EV progress continues

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Well, today I got the inverter mounted in the car and connected to everything again. I also changed the wiring to engage the forward drive mode instead of the reverse, fixed a broken coolant line, applied a temporary fix to the 12V wiring to get things powered back up (a permanent fix will have to wait until my reworking-the-inverter-wiring project)

That reminds me

Does anyone know what they call those spade-lug tabs that solder into a PCB?  Or have digi-key part #s? or something?

I’ve more or less decided that I’m going to solder spade lug recepticles on everything in the inverter wiring box, then make a PCB that has pairs of spade lugs that every wire plugs into, some of which also go off to the inverter interface PCB. I need to figure out what a appropriate-sized box is, and buy one. I am *not* looking forward to rewiring that rat’s nest, but it needs done *badly*.

I’ve found a bunch of places where I want to make substantial improvements.. I’m considering getting replacements for the motor-mounts CAM’d out of milled aluminum. I’m definately going to put split-loom over anywhere the high voltage wiring is bare, especially the motor wiring which runs nerve-rackingly close to one of the CV joints.

I’m tempted.. and this is concrete proof that I’ve lost my mind.. to dissassemble the A/C plenum and pull the evaporator and replace it with a handmade assembly of water-cooled/heated peltier devices. However, I can’t imagine that it’s easy to get at..

I should also poke at Lee some more and see if he’ll help me get the charge-shuttling PCB for the mk3s going. If I had charge-shuttling, I could put the things in enclosures, which would make my life much easier.. right now they’re naked circuit boards, which means they need to be held down somehow.. and they got obsenely hot, which means they can’t easily just be shoved into project boxen.

EV progress

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Well, I identified a few items that didn’t make it to the list..

I’ve ordered a replacement for the 12V system battery, because it’s been sitting dead for over a year and is unlikely to take a charge.

I’m thinking more and more about the mk3 inverter interface. So far, here’s what I’ve come up with:

Using one of the mk3 boards with mostly the standard mk3 codebase, wire up inputs to the inverter’s three system failure outputs (via 1k resistor), and wire up outputs to three reed relays – one of which will then drive a pair of paralleled ATO relays to bypass the accessory switch and turn power on to the car’s main 12V bus, and one of which will activate the start switch, and one of which will ground the brown input wire. (I could probably just use a opto for everything but the bypass relay, but the nice thing about relays is that they’re pretty much trouble free). Note to self: do not forget bypass diodes or relays will set fire to microcontroller.

I think that this board will probably get installed before the rest of the BMS – possibly before I take the car to the DMV. Properly programmed, it will remove the requirement for any complicated instructions prior to having someone new drive the car..  and, as another neat trick, it can also close the main contacter on the inverter to let it charge up the 12v battery whenever it gets low.

Mental note to self: probably it would be a good thing if it was not *possible* for the drive enable relay to close while the car is on bypass power. This shouldn’t be that hard to finangle.. if the reed relays are SPDT, I could just have the ground for the enable be provided via the NC contacts on the bypass relay. Maybe I’m overly paranoid here, but I really don’t think I want the car to be able to engage it’s own drive without a key inserted. Kit is cute and all, but…

I also think the inverter interface board will be a good programming exercise to get me back into the mk3 project – probably at first it won’t include a bootloader and won’t actually be able to measure voltages or be network addressable or anything.. then as I get the bugs out of the mk3 codebase, I can make it a proper mk3 node.

I really could kick myself for letting this project drag on so long. I’m a little apprehensive of the paperwork that’s going to be required to get the car street legal again – but once I get the drive to spin up, I will call Geico and put the car on my insurance, then try driving it around the neighborhood to make sure everything’s intact (and hopefully the inverter won’t blow up again)

I’ve decided to leave the pack positive point under the car, although I’m upgrading it to a plastic junction box *with a cover* and a real binding post to connect everything to. I’m also tempted to go ahead and wire back in Bruce’s nifty watthour-meter-widget while I’ve got the whole front of the car taken apart. If anyone wants pictures, let me know 😉

I’ve also been trying to decide what to do about the climate control. My last attempt at peltier devices was kind of dissapointing, but the complexity of a freon system disturbs me. If I were a better hardware hacker, I would just build myself a inverter / motor control and get all the guts out of a commercial heat pump. However, I think I may take another stab at the peltier thing instead because at least there’s no high pressure hosery needed. I’m thinking maybe I will get another motorcycle radiator and install it in the space where the rack for the peltier devices was, then build a cold-plate sandwitch of two peices of aluminum with holes drilled in them, then run two seperate liquid loops. Anyone know where I can get small, quiet, low-flow 12V pumps? Ideally for a very low price? 😉

Obviously climate control is not a very high priority..  but recently I’ve been reminded that even in SoCal, cars need heat.

I seem to be returning to my 2002 obsessing on this. I don’t know what that means, but it’s better than some of the other things I’ve obsessed about since then.

Making my EV mobile again

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Things needed to make the EV mobile again:

1) Complete the positive-side high voltage wiring under the shifter.

(need to get 1″ conduit nipple)

2) Rewire the inverter interface

(first phase: just connect the activation line to FWD instead of REV – need to look up which color FWD is)

(second phase: build interface board for mk3 controller with sensor inputs for all inverter outputs and relays for all inverter inputs.)

3) Fix the power line leading to the water pump and vacuum pump

(Probably temporarily with crimps, because it will need redone as part of the second phase of the inverter interface rewiring)

4) Install HV shield on inverter

5) Reinstall inverter and reconnect cooling system and refill

(Should be no big deal)

6) Reconnect front battery pack

(maybe should order some new washers)

7) Replace access cover on motor

While in the past this has looked completely overwhelming, today I’m not feeling like it’s that much work. I already swapped the L1 and L2 input wires on the motor to deal with the whole forward-reverse thing today. While not as ideal as being on a lift, the jackstands approach I’ve taken seems to be totally viable – I was able to work under the car fairly easily. I’m hoping to have it back on the road by the end of the month. Of course it helps that my #1 job is paying me in stock again, which gives me incentive to work on my own projects instead.