Friday, November 20, 2015

A Pinch of This, A Dash of That

The Porsche's been home for going on three weeks now, and I'm getting accustomed to driving it. It's been a bit disconcerting to be out on the road with no instrumentation, though; no clue about the voltage, current consumption, temperatures, or state of charge. Only the speedometer from the classic gauge panel functioned, and rather poorly at that.

Pretty as the they are, the old gauges need to be replaced with something a bit more in keeping with electrifying nature of the car. I chose an Andromeda EVIC (Electric Vehicle Interface Controller) display that is custom designed for the GEVCU controller at the heart of my electric drive. This single display panel covers all of the useful driver information, save for speed.
The speedometer should be at least generally compatible with the digital nature of the EVIC, so an Intellitronix Digital GPS unit in a complementary blue hue was chosen. This speedo also has performance tracking and will measure 0-60, quarter mile, and top speed, along with a trip and cumulative odometer. Add turn signal, high beam, and precharge indicator lights and we have a full complement of function for the replacement dashboard.

To build the new dashboard, we start with ... a board! A scrap of 1/4" plywood will do nicely. I dug out my trusty 40 year old jig saw, got a new blade for it, and proceeded to ruin two blanks before I got to this point. I did cheat and got a 3 1/4" hole saw for the speedometer. Since the speedo needs a 3 3/8" opening, I also picked up a rotary rasp for my drill. New power tools will always warm my heart.

So here's a trial fit with most of the bits in place:

And here's the final fitting after many coats of flat black from a rattle can:

Yet another terminal board was needed to manage all of the connections. The large black box is the GPS controller for the speedometer. The relay turns on the brake lights under regenerative braking. That was actually the first thing I did on this dashboard project because with the aggressive regen produced by the Siemens motor, you can literally drive with only the power pedal. I don't want drivers behind me crawling up my tailpipe (sorry, no tailpipe) when I stop without signaling. The terminal board was installed under the dash in the space vacated by the gas engine Electronic Control Module.

The unit looks pretty nice when in place, but getting it there was a multi-day effort and wiring everything took hours of laying on my back with my feet in the air and squeezing my hands into very tight places with sharp edges.
All of it was worth the effort, because the effect is really quite stunning.

Now I need to figure out what's up with the Ah reading, but the rest of the info looks like it's accurate. I was a bit concerned about daytime visibility, but it appears to be a non-issue today in bright sunlight, and even is readable with sunglasses on - all good. Took the opportunity to remount the steering wheel in a more straight ahead position so I don't feel like I'm driving crabwise down the road. This has been a satisfying refinement of the car, next item will be to dampen the sound on the power brake vacuum pump.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

On the Road Again

Bob called yesterday to let me know the Porsche was ready to be picked up. Pro Automotive had delivered on everything I asked of them and much more!

In front of the shop with my Leaf in the background

Here's the team that made it all possible: on the left are Colton, Bob, and Keith, three generations of a wonderful family business, with Robert on the right. Many thanks, Guys!
Master Craftsman Robert Juarez in front of his creation. Robert did all the fabrication, body, and paint work. He's taken a very personal interest in both of my EV projects and has been a source of great ideas and practical applications.

PorschEV arrives at home after the short jaunt up Highway 620 and down Anderson Mill Road. The car drives great!

The PorschEV takes its place alongside its sister ship, the evTD, both products of the care and craftsmanship of Pro Automotive.

And I can't overlook the role played by Jack Rickard and EVTV. The EVTV Store was the source for nearly all of the major components inside the PorchEV, and it is Jack's vision, persistence, and the programming skills of the team he's assembled that are making OEM quality parts available for custom conversions like the PorschEV.

A project like this is never finished, and there is still much to refine, but this can now be done in small chunks while the car is in service. Not The End ...

Monday, November 2, 2015

Details and More Details

Went over to Pro Automotive this morning to do some under-hood work in preparation for the air conditioner bring-up. Found Robert hard at work on the rubber window channels and waist seals.

The old ones were hardened and brittle to the point they crumbled when they should have flexed. The new rubber is supple and dark and should seal the windows and prevent rattling. A bit of a struggle to install, but Robert figured out how to bend and guide the new parts into the two separate channels in the window frame.

My job this morning was to move the power brake vacuum pump valve out of the way. It was directly over and blocking access to one of the air conditioner fill valves.

Also on today's work list is finishing the high voltage wiring for the electric ac compressor so we can test it after it gets its freon charge.

With the terminal connections done, all that remains is to run some orange accordion loom over the wiring so we're consistent in identifying high voltage cable runs for emergency response personnel. Hope we never need it!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

I Love it When a Plan Comes Together

Only one picture today, but it's beyond exciting!

After two years of gathering parts, planning, head scratching, thinking and rethinking, and trial and error, Robert sends me this and says that the hood closed with plenty of clearance.

I can't get over how beautiful the front end looks!

I'm heading over to Pro Automotive tomorrow morning to finish the wiring for the air conditioning compressor. Now I'm anxious to have a look. There are still many details to take care of, but I think by the end of the week we'll be able to declare victory!