Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea - Page 21 - SailNet Community
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post #201 of 247 Old 05-13-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

Update 5/13/2019

I got a fair bit accomplished in spite of the weather this weekend.

The smart plug has replaced the old twist lock shore power connection, and the old cable was re-headed with the new connector. I highly recommend doing this, especially if you have kids that help you. It's much easier to say "plug this in until it clicks" than "twist it like that... no the other way... you have to line up the... never mind, I'll do it." I especially like the positive feedback from the locks. When you feel it click into place, you *know* it's right.

I was able to move the waste tank over enough to make installation of the battery box a fairly straightforward task. This was considerably easier than I expected. Once the battery box is in place, I'll just have to re-strap the tank back into place. I only had to move it to install the battery box due to an unfortunately placed elbow.

I assembled the battery box in my garage completely. The batteries are in, the BMS is in, the 48-12V converter is in, and the whole system is connected and running. So far, so good. I'm not super pleased at how the wiring turned out (bending well-insulated 000 cables to your will in a tight space ain't easy), but it works. The BMS sees all 48 cells and reports that they are all good, with a maximum deviation of .2V between the highest and lowest cells. That might decrease as I go through charge cycles and the BMS adjusts each individual cell charge. Still, a .2V high-low in a group of batteries that has never been charged as a unit isn't too bad. I'll have to keep an eye on this during the next few cycles.

I think this box will be Mark I. I can already see how I can make improvements for a Mark II. I also didn't glass it very well. I guess I would call it an adequate first attempt. I've never glassed anything before and kinda fumbled my way through it. I know it's waterproof, as I left the box outside during a downpour and there was no indication of water intrusion afterwards. It sure isn't pretty, though.

I may have found a good multimeter for monitoring the current flow and power consumption over time. This would give me good, solid data on realistic power consumption while under power.

The helm plate and battery installation is on deck this week. I should be able to start that once this spate of bad weather passes. Most of the remaining work is outside work so I'll need at least OK weather to proceed.
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Last edited by Captain Canuck; 05-13-2019 at 11:10 AM.
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post #202 of 247 Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

Update 5/16/2019

I set up the batteries in the box, fully connected and wired to the BMS with cell balancing turned on. Everything was set up as I would have it on the boat - the converter was running the BMS, the BMS was managing all 48 cells in 4 batteries, etc. The only thing I didn't do was put the charger on.

I checked on it last night. Much to my chagrin, it looks like the BMS has become unstable. It reads like a heat issue. If I leave the BMS off for a few hours, then use it, it works perfectly for a few minutes, then gets fritzy, showing garbled characters, then stops responding at all. I've been going back and forth with Thunderstruck about it.

The good news is that the cells are much more balanced now. They've gone from a max variation of .2V to .07V, with an average variation of .02V, so the BMS seems to be doing it's job. We'll see if that variation levels out even more during charge/discharge cycles.

Hopefully I can get the BMS replaced quickly.
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

Update 5/17/2019

After many conversations with thunderstruck, I've ordered a new USB serial cable. It's possible the cable was damaged and the BMS was not. If that's the case, I'll be installing everything this weekend. If not, I'll have to wait until a new BMS comes in.

I also dug into the grounding issue with the converter. Apparently that's a feature, not a bug. I didn't know the converter I ordered wasn't an "isolated" type. Apparently "common ground" is the norm for these things, and that's OK 99% of the time. However, the BMS is *so* sensitive (voltages are detected to 3 decimal places), that even a slight variation in voltage can cause problems. The long and short of it is I'm going to have to run the BMS off of a battery or buy a fully isolated converter, which is 5x more expensive than the one I have. Since I already have batteries, I'll run the BMS off of that for now.
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

Update 5/21/2019

USB serial cable was the problem. The BMS is now working perfectly.
The battery box is assembled and in the boat, but not yet nailed down.
The new helm plate is installed with one raymarine unit removed and the key and multimeter installed. The multimeter shows voltage, amperage, KWH used, KWH remaining, and a host of other useful info. Added bonus - it runs off of the 48V pack.
I've had to abandon the converter idea for now and go back to my AGM batteries for the house bank. The BMS will be running off of that. I'll have to have two chargers, one for each battery bank, but that's OK for now.
Everything is fully connected and I've started testing. Which leads us to....

*MOTOR FAILURE* <sad trombone sound>

Once I had everything set up, I fired up the system and gently pushed the throttle forward. I went all the way up to 36A and the motor wouldn't turn. I assumed I'd messed something up, made something too tight, or whatever, so I completely decoupled everything. With the motor completely free, it still took 6A to start it turning. The motor was also very loud. I got on the horn and called Thunderstruck, talked to their motor engineer and asked him how many amps it should take to start the motor turning. They set up their system on their end (same as mine) and tested it. 1/2A to turn both the motor and the gear reducer.

They are sending me a new encoder. Its a postage-stamp sized circuit board that goes on the back of the motor and relays information on motor position to the controller so the motor can turn smoothly. This is most likely the issue. Unfortunately, they sent it ground, so it won't be here until next Tuesday. Ugh.

Nothing like being stopped 1 yard from the finish line.

My wife and I are finalizing our new decal for the boat. That should be here by the end of the week.

After the new encoder arrives, I can finish my tests, screw everything down, and get Khaleesea relaunched. Then the sea trials can begin. Finally.
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

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Originally Posted by Captain Canuck View Post
They are sending me a new encoder. Its a postage-stamp sized circuit board that goes on the back of the motor and relays information on motor position to the controller so the motor can turn smoothly.
Devilish little buggers, those encoders!

We had a million dollar machine sit idle for nearly a month while we fought with Allen Bradley and various software engineers to get an encoder working properly on a new electric motor.

This was all custom stuff, here's hoping yours is plug 'n play.

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on a starboard tack
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

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Devilish little buggers, those encoders!

We had a million dollar machine sit idle for nearly a month while we fought with Allen Bradley and various software engineers to get an encoder working properly on a new electric motor.

This was all custom stuff, here's hoping yours is plug 'n play.
I know, right? Nothing like a $1M machine held up buy a $2 part.

The fact that thunderstruck had one on hand in stock to send tells me that they've had this problem in the past and they bought spares just in case.

I'm just happy they shipped me a part within an hour of me reporting it. They've obviously seen this problem before. Makes sense though - it's the only electronic part in the motor. Everything else is windings and magnets.
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

How about some pictures Captain?
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

Here are some pics.

New SmartPower connector for shore power.
Dual-chain coupler on the prop shaft
Cell monitoring software output
Motor and gear reducer
Inside of the battery box mark I minus the batteries to show details. The little black boxes are the BMS and Satellite (you need one box for every 24 cells). The white cables are the BMS cell monitoring cables. The thick red and black cables are the 48V cables. And the mad scientist gloves are for safety.

I'll take more pictures once everything is in place. I've made a few changes since these were taken.
Attached Thumbnails
57913596044__5A9E7B06-0444-4032-832A-153E6DA8A49F.JPG   57463886021__A9445739-63A9-4E8C-B2DC-5E584CB136B5.JPG   IMG_1303.JPG   IMG_1259.JPG   IMG_1307.JPG  

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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

So the customer is dead in the water, literally, and the vendor is sending out a replacement part the size of a matchbook...and couldn't splurge on the eight bucks it would have cost to send that out via priority mail? Or any similar rush?

Over the years I've had a number of companies step up way better on the "Hero or zero?" scale, and when they step up, with or without being asked, to expedite something like that, it makes a LONG impression on me. (Yeah, I'm a hard customer. But a loyal one, if they at least TRY to earn it.)
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Re: Electric Conversion log for Kahleesea

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
So the customer is dead in the water, literally, and the vendor is sending out a replacement part the size of a matchbook...and couldn't splurge on the eight bucks it would have cost to send that out via priority mail? Or any similar rush?

Over the years I've had a number of companies step up way better on the "Hero or zero?" scale, and when they step up, with or without being asked, to expedite something like that, it makes a LONG impression on me. (Yeah, I'm a hard customer. But a loyal one, if they at least TRY to earn it.)
Yep, that sums it up.

At least they shipped it out within an hour of me telling them what was going on, and they have given me basically unlimited technical support for the issues I've had. They've been very helpful, and taken the time to explain anything I didn't understand.

I offered to rewrite one of their awful technical documents for merch, but hey didn't bite. Pity, technical writing is one of my strengths. I'm meticulous about breaking steps down so an average person can understand it.

Last edited by Captain Canuck; 3 Weeks Ago at 10:31 AM.
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