GM's new Volt

Alternative energy sources
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The usual. As I have two large solar PV systems here, and my lab assistant just put one in, and others are interested in things like this, here's where that stuff goes. This is mostly for things that work now, not "gee someday a fusor will do this" -- we know that, but it's not someday yet.
The hope is to save anyone embarking on this sort of thing a lot of wasted time and money, as at least I have been off the grid since 1980 and have had a lot of practice (and made mistakes you won't have to).

Re: GM's new Volt

Postby Doug Coulter » Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:04 am

Yeah on the linear acceleration, though there's actually a bump at about 20 and another at about 50 with the engine running and the hammer down where things kind of change. I don't know about times - these new cars with the laggy speedos are tough to get that measurement on, but compared to the Cruze, the distance to speed is a lot less - say a 5 car lengths or so to 50 mph. That "no lag" thing is a fairly big deal there, and now I need not fear turning left across traffic. The Cruze "seemed" faster because of all that winding and shifting and vibrating, but were it counts, maybe not! You really do need to find a twisty road to check it out on. While it's no Camaro, it's not shabby at all on the river road you had a little fun on last time - you might make the trip in about the same time in this, with less sweat on your brow. That low CG and the good tires - no body roll, very good gees, extremely nice traction control. I''m not missing the hot rod, this is good enough - and you can see out of it a lot better. I'm hoping for more snow now that I can turn off the traction control. When I tried to do "twirl the car" with it on, I plain failed to get it loose! With it off, you can get a nice burnout on pavement...you have to try a little (left turn or a puddle) but once going you can get all the smoke you'd want.

I'm doing a major solar system upgrade here to support more and quicker charging of mine. I'll be detailing that in the place for it soon. What I found out that might be of interest to the machinists here, is that the standard inverter I got - easily supports generating 3 phase if you use 3 of them. You can chain them in various ways up to 30kw (average, a few times that peak) and get pretty much what you want out of them, they've advanced since the last one I got - which was no slouch. They, the charge controllers, the remote control panel, generator autostart, and the internet gateway (yeah!) all connect on a CAN type bus with no fuss! That's pretty cool.

The brand is now called Schneider, but was Xantrex before, and Trace before that. Man, those guys make some seriously high quality stuff. At any rate, what I'm doing is putting in a semi-dedicated 240v circuit to just run the car charger, the welders and lathe (which is all my 240v stuff) - most of those aren't on at the same time. And oh yes, the fusor, which is run off 240 - and that Spellman can eat 5kw on peaks. I'm going to toss that crap stepup transformer I was using as far as I can. http://www.affordable-solar.com/store/s ... er-Charger Note, don't drop this one on your foot as I did. Ow!
The feature set is amazing - you can sell back to the grid, simply shave off peak amp draw from the grid to avoid surcharges, have it "help out" a generator it's using for charging when there are peak loads, all manner of fancy stuff like that - full auto switchover at power zero crossings - the ultimate UPS. Their solar controllers "impedance match" panels to the battery and get about 20-30% more power than direct wiring.

And, I got a cable on order to make my own car charger that will have proportional output - eg I can set it to just use up *extra* power, not a fixed load...maybe I can get it to talk on the XanBus (really a CAN Bus) to do that automatically - but there are a couple of ways, we'll see how it comes out. Man, that connector aint' cheap - $300 bucks roughly for it and 8 meters of #8 wire with shipping. So, yet another use for the PIC board perhaps.

Meanwhile, since I got it charged yesterday, time to go out and buy all those little electrical gizzies I forgot, like things to put in the knockouts for the boxes here, and get to wiring up all the new stuff.
Posting as just me, not as the forum owner. Everything I say is "in my opinion" and YMMV -- which should go for everyone without saying.
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby Joe Jarski » Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:29 pm

Not to get off topic, but about those inverters - back when I was initially looking at these I noticed that the one that you're using now (Trance/Xantrex) had a huge surge rating for a few milliseconds that allowed you to handle some large starting loads. These newer Schneider inverters only have *lower* surge ratings for 10s and don't show anything for shorter/higher loads. Have you found any info on the real peaks that they can handle for inrush current?

The three phase generation is pretty cool - I don't think I caught that part when I was looking at them.
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby Doug Coulter » Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:38 pm

The three phase stuff is buried deep in the owners manual, but it looks real easy to do - and you can have either 120 or 240/phase (for the two normal 3 phase voltages). I've not tested this new one yet under brutal loads, so I'll have to do that and report, because that's what I got it for in the first place.

Could it be the wimpy autoformer I was using before to run my lathe was kind of protecting the other inverter? Nah.

In general, what I've found with these (the older ones) is that the battery and cable to it are the limit (I'm using 4/0 wire here) - they'll really eat some horrible stuff and do fine - I see around 300 amps peak battery draw from one when my air compressor starts for example, far more than it's supposed to handle - even though the book says "don't think you can start over 1hp motors on this" - it handles 5hp no sweat whatever for that, and 3 for the lathe, and all the welders (but not all at once). You have to truly dead short one of the older ones through short-fat wire to make it shut down. A short at the end of say, 50 ft of #12 wire - burns up the wire(!). We'll see...
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby Doug Coulter » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:31 am

Someone finally got it right in a commercial - leave it to the Aussies I guess, because here we evidently don't even know about a car we make here and why it is the way it is.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgd69GQh2Cc


It's more car than just electric...The GM slogan is ignorant.
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby Joe Jarski » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:28 pm

I was at a local electrical supply house yesterday testing some vision (camera) measurement systems for work. Anyway, we left from a different door than we came in and I noticed a Volt on the charging station in the parking lot. It's the first one I've seen in person.
IMG_5009.jpg
Volt charging station
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby Doug Coulter » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:00 pm

Neat, a lotta people like black, I'm just not one of them - too hard to keep looking nice for me. They are selling pretty well these days so we should be seeing more of them. Not quite as sexy as a Tesla model S, but then...you can't take a road trip in one of those, really (and they do cost over twice as much). But wow - at least Tesla knows how to make an advert.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... 0CBJQw5rvw
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby Joe Jarski » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:21 pm

Haha... I like how the stereo goes to '11'!
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby johnf » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:33 pm

Good article on the Volt in EDN magazine
http://www.edn.com/design/automotive/43 ... ic-secrets

Gives the designer/makers of various circuits in the beast
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby Doug Coulter » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:02 pm

Thought I'd linked this elsewhere, but couldn't find it on searching, so here goes again:
http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11984

This is long but worth watching. The two true pioneers of electric cars with Charlie Rose. You gotta love how Elon stomped Lutz on global warming, no matter which side of that one you're on. Masterful.
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Re: GM's new Volt

Postby chrismb » Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:14 am

I watched it - had 1/4 hour to drink a coffee - can't say I saw a stomping there. There is no 'experiment' being run - mammals and primates evolved on this planet when the CO2 content was still over 2,000ppm. At that time, the temperature was still dropping and the planet then entered an ice age (that we're still in).

The argument that we'll reach some unrecoverable 'tipping point' is based on no reason whatsoever that I can follow. The evidence shows the planet is quite capable of cooling down from even 97% CO2 content, this being the original atmospheric content of earth before life started up here.

Based on what we know of the history of the planet, there is no logical reason whatsoever that we will produce an irreversible effect. These risks only appear in simulations. If they simulated the planet 60 million years ago then according to those models the planet would never recover and now be like Venus. Clearly the models are wrong. There is no way you can predict long term trends within an interglacial period, as we're in, because we know that such periods have very unstable climates. The trend we know is that we will come out of the ice age we're in as/and the planet will warm.

Why try to simulate the effects of atmospheric conditions at 2,000ppm when we actually have the records of what happens?.....

I'm not saying that there isn't a temp/CO2 relationship (but nor am I saying it is a simple non-modal relationship) and that climate change (whatever its cause) doesn't bring problems. Just that the argument of an unrecoverable scenario seems quite daft to me.

The thing they missed out on discussing was where the electrical energy comes from. It's great that there is a whole band of solar-powered chaps like you, Doug, that are running these things 'with free energy', but that's a finite market. The majority of people live in urban environments where it is impossible to get the real-estate to install sufficient panels. I rather suspect you also get quite a bit more (and better average, over the year) solar energy than in the more cloud-covered and dark wintered northern latitudes. Discussing the ultimate motive energy for electric vehicles is always part of the story. Nuclear should be able to fulfil that requirement, but you'll need a GW station for each major city. Will that ever be acceptable whilst there is still oil to burn?

Personally I think it is immoral to continue to burn such a valuable resource as fossil fuels and I always call for 100% nuclear power, now!, in such discussions. It beggars belief that humans are still wasting this stuff that humanity will need in its future. Burning fossil fuels in preference to building nuclear is simply ignoring the needs of future human generations. Leaving a 100,000 year radioactive dump legacy is immaterial - we won't be surviving 1,000 years unless we can stop wasting fossil fuels.

I guess I'm beginning to side with a solar-powered view that has essentially the whole of the 4 corner states/sahara covered with solar panels, and connected to US/Europe (respectively) by long distance HVDC lines. Clearly an engineering effort to build and continue to operate in those conditions is mind-boggling, but if that's what needs to be done, then that's what needs to be done. That or nuclear. What other options are there to run EV's?
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