Friday, July 20, 2007

Step 6: Installing the Controller

Description: Mounting the Controller and shunt to mounting plate on the front of the engine compartment.
Estimated Time: 5 - 6 hours.
Tools needed: drill, hex wrench, hammer, Rivnut tool, various wrenches, wire cutter, wire stripper, heat gun, crimper, anti-corrosion compound, heatsink compound.
Caveats: Patience required.
Purpose of This Part: The controller controls how much electricity is put into the motor at any one time. The shunt measures this electrical output and will connect to a guage in the car so that you can always tell how much electrical amperage is being put out by the controller. This will, among other things, tell you when to switch gears if you have reached max output from the controller (presumably used in the same way a tachometer is used in a combustion engine).

It was nice to really get started on the installation. This part took a long time for a few reasons, but mostly because there was a bit of a learning curve for several things. I am sure I could do it again in less than half the time.
From this point forward, I am using the ElectroAutomotive instruction manual for the conversion and I won't just rehash that on here. I'll just stick to the highlights and anything I think needs more explanation.
My initial impression of the manual is that it is generally quite good and detailed. It could use a little elaboration in places, though. For example, they have you bolt the controller onto the mount, then they tell you to take it off, again. They could explain that you are just doing it temporarily to set the correct orientation for a particular wire. Anyway, if you just plod through the instructions, things make more sense while you are doing them, even if they seemed a bit confusing when I read them over beforehand.

Here is the place where the controller is installed. It is the front of the engine compartment, directly behind the passenger seat of the car. A mount is set out from the wall so that the controller can fit snugly. Note the little piece of metal ribbon right in the middle, there. I ended up chiseling that off.
ElectroAutomotive provides templates to tell you where to drill the holes for the controller mount. They suggest you use a center punch, but I just marked through it with a magic marker. I made back-up copies of these templates in case I screwed up. Once you have the holes marked, you drill through to the passenger side, using progressively larger drill bits.
This requires safety goggles, which I didn't have, so I ended up using my swim goggles. Okay, that's kind of dorky and they fogged up a lot, but they did provide a nice blue tint to the work environment.

The bottom drilled holes are not accessible from the passenger side, so you need to set in rivnuts to screw into the blind holes. What are rivnuts, you might ask? A rivnut has a small thread with a bit of soft metal above that. When you use a rivnut tool on it, it causes that soft metal to collapse on the other side of the sheet metal, preventing it from being pulled back out, while still keeping the screw threads. It basically allows you to screw something right into sheet metal or other spaces where you don't have access to the other side to put in a nut and washer.
Here is a pre and post rivnutted rivnut (post is on the right). These rivnuts are for one of the mounting standoffs, which is used to set the mount out to where the controller can be attached. Here it is attached to the wall, with the two rivnuts in the outer arm. The instruction manual doesn't make this clear, but you will need to drill the outer standoff holes bigger to fit the required rivnut.

You then install the left standoff using a similar method and eventually the mounting plate that the controller will be mounted on. This is a little out of order, because you first need to set up the wire that will run from the controller to the shunt. For that, you need to cut of piece of wire, strip the end, put on a lug filled with anticorrosion goop and crimp it to the wire. Then you use a heat gun and cover up the lug/wire attachment with some heat shrink tubing. Here is a photo collage of that procedure:

Finally, you put the controller on the controller mount (First you add some heatsink zinc to the back to protect it).

This is the completed project. The slanted piece above the controller is the shunt. The wire connects the top left negative terminal to the shunt. One thing I should point out is that the instructions just say to screw the mounting bolts in and they do screw in tight, but I added some locking nuts to the bottom bolts to make sure the bolt mounts are kept in place (I'd do the same for top, but they aren't very accessible). Also, the "high performance" 1231C controller (which I am using), has 5 bolt mounts rather than 4.

I even had time to do a little fishing. Here is the catch of the day. I finally got that fuel pump and filter out of there!

No comments: