Monday, August 10, 2009

Flurries in August?

Big flurry of activity over the last week. The guys at VisionSteel have been busy with their day jobs, but put together the rest of the "bracketry" and the front battery box.

The picture on the left is the big picture. There are four batteries up front. My contribution to manufacturing so far has been to cut the plywood for the control board. It will reside over the motor. Clearance for contactors, fuses, and the controller should be a lot easier in this rear position. For the first pass, I'm using plywood. once the layout is proven out, I'll probably go with a plastic board, similar to a chopping block.

It's tricky to get the batteries in here, but we came up with a combo layout:

  • two upright on the bottom, tall & narrow

  • two sideways on top, flat and wide.

This picture shows how the front box fits in, just behind the AC evaporator. There's still good clearance between the batteries and the ODE shaft where the belt driving the AC Compressor will spin.

Here's where we put the aux pumps. The 12V vacuum pump (replacing manifold vacuum) for the brakes is on the left toward the rear. The Power Steering pump, also 12V, on the right, just over the steering box. It was salvaged off a 2002ish Toyota MR2 and has the reservoir built right onto the pump unit. Additionally, this unit has a speed input so that the boost varies inversely to the speed.

I've finally ordered the cabling/lugs & connectors. I did pick up some 3/4" flex conduit to run from the rear battery box to the front. That was interesting. I stopped by the electrical section of the local Lowe's, priced the fancy purpose built UL conduit, and went on thinking that I'd wind up with normal clear vinyl tubing. On to the plumbing section to price the normal household tubing, and it was twice as much! So, I'll have the robust, UL listed stuff like I wanted. Schweet.

It's been great working with James, Dave, (and now William) at VisionSteel. They've really tried to make sure that the structural parts are robust, but haven't lost sight of the craftsmanship. Go back to the May 10th post, and check out the picture of the rear battery box. Even though these batteries aren't wet, I still wanted to minimize the chance of battery stuff coming forward in the event of a rear-ender. After all, that's where the cuties ride. We'd discussed putting a plate across the front of the box, just behind the rear seatbacks. Check out the picture below of the flashy cover they came up with to address the issue:

So, Progress Continues, if slowly.