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    Daox Member

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    Christmas came a bit early this year for me. Of course it all starts with a story, so here goes. I'd been tracking the packages since they shipped. The kit contains 4 packages total. FedEx's site claimed they delivered two of them last night. I get home from work, no packages. :mad: I was not a happy camper. I called them up and asked what the heck was going on. They confirmed that the two packages had been delivered, obviously to the wrong house and would check with the driver. Anyway, it snowed last night and I was out shoveling this morning and my neighbor yells to me that he has two packages for me in his garage. Phew, glad to have them.

    Anyway, I drug them inside (one was ~70lbs) and started opening! Here are the pics. If anyone has any requests, let me know.


    Boxes!
    [IMG]



    The small box had a lot of little goodies in it. The copper bars to connect the batteries together, the battery balancer harnesses, some mounting hardware and a wrench for assembly.
    [IMG]



    The larger box contained the stainless box that holds all the goodies in the car. The build quality is pretty good, however most of the bolts I had to take out didn't really come out with the greatest of ease. I had to use the wrench to get them all the way out, no spinning them just with my fingers. This was and still is a concern of mine. This entire thing is Chinese made, its only real downside IMO. However, everything does seem to line up pretty good. I know I've had some cheap computer cases that have stuff don't really line up and its a pain to assemble. This kit doesn't seem to have that problem at least from the tiny bit I've look at it so far.
    [IMG]
    [IMG]
    [IMG]
    [IMG]



    Popping the box open shows that it wasn't shipped empty. All the main components are there.
    [IMG]



    The DC to DC converter.
    [IMG]



    The charger.
    [IMG]



    100A breaker.
    [IMG]



    Cell balancer.
    [IMG]




    So, it looks like the only thing I'm waiting on is the batteries to put in the box. We'll see if they get here today or not.

    In the mean time I'm feeling quite tempted to crack open that 3000W DC to DC converter to see whats inside... :)
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    Daox Member

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    One thing I'm not happy with is I was expecting to get 4 cell balancers with the 4kWh kit. A few days after ordering, I got an email from Jack saying I needed to wire the balancers in parallel as shown below. IMO this is NOT what you want. One cell could go bad or even just age faster than the other that it is in parallel with and the balancer would be useless in detecting this problem until both cells go bad.

    [IMG]
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    Rokeby Member

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    Doax,

    Many thanks for starting this thread. I've been waiting/waiting to be able to
    follow a DIY PHEV conversion from the git-go. :cheer2:

    Why did you choose the 4kWh battery over the 2, 6, and 8 ones offered?

    On the balancer issue; could the different cells be balanced separately
    by selecting them individually with an A-B switch in the circuit?

    Thanks especially for the pix. I'll be looking in on you frequently.

    Who knows, if all goes well -- both for your install, and for me --I could be
    doing the same in the not too distant future. :rockon:
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    Daox Member

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    I went with the 4kWh kit because it was on sale for the most, but was still quite affordable. I didn't want to jump up to the 6kWh kit and am not sure I even need that much capacity for daily travel.
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    banshee08 Member

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    Daox,

    Actually I have 4kWh wired in the buddy pairs and the system is much easier to balance. I think this arrangement is working much better than when it was setup with two banks of 48V in parallel. I had lots of balancing issues with the old format using 4 balancers. I have been using the buddy system for about 2 weeks now and have had a very well balance charge and discharge for about 2 weeks. Balancing the batteries is the critical part of this kit. I have 8kWh of batteries but I will be adding the other 4kWh when I feel the system is fairly well balance since it is a pain to get into the tire well with everything installed. I will actually be testing out using 4 cells buddies instead of 2 with 8kWh of batter to see if that will get me a better balance. One advise is to balance at the bottom of about 3.1V at first before the first charge. Balancing at the bottom seems to be safest.


    -Chan

    -Chan
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    Daox Member

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    Could you elaborate on why you think the parallel cell balancing is better and why you were having problems with the 4 cell balancers?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but with parallel balancing, you can balance the batteries fine (as I'd assume the 4 cell balancers work). But, with parallel balancing, problem detection is not as good since one good cell will mask one bad cell's problem.
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    Daox Member

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    After a little back and forth with FedEx, the driver had to return today and I got half of the batteries. Even though lithium is considered light, its still a bit on the heavy side, another 70 lb package.

    [IMG]



    A little pry bar action and we find these beauties inside.
    [IMG]



    Lifting is made easy by some cords on the batteries. On two of the battery groups, the zip tie broke. Easy enough fix though.
    [IMG]
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    Daox Member

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    Hurray, the rest of the batteries found their way here today. According to the FedEx site they were scheduled to be delivered on the 30th.

    I also fixed the zip tie problem. I combined the old ones together to fix one of them, and used some other zip ties I had around on the other group of cells.

    [IMG]
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    Rokeby Member

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    Let the fun begin, eh!

    Do you have any kind of a feeling for how long the install will take?

    As a point of interest, do the batteries have to be broken-in or
    conditioned before use?

    "Balancing the cells," how often is that required?
    How long does it take -- on a cold, dark windy night?

    I am not conversant with matters electrical, :noidea:
    so although some of my questions may appear too simple to be true, :eek:
    I am just keenly interested. :rockon:
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    Daox Member

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    I'm fairly confident I can get it done in an afternoon with a little prep work. I'm going to have a friend of mine (Ben Nelson, owner of the electro-metro) come over and help. However, he isn't available until Sunday, so I'll be doing some things in the mean time to get things ready to go. This should speed things up come Sunday.

    Per the kit's instructions, I just need to let the pack charge up and balance itself overnight and it should be ready to go. We'll see if there is a break in time though. I'm not too familiar with lithium technology, but lead acid needs to be in use to be kept in peak working efficiency. Batteries that sit take a few cycles to kind of wake up. In any case, I plan on balancing and charging the batteries before the install since I have a few days.

    Balancing happens continually as far as I know. It continually monitors and re-balances the cells as needed.
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    dan2l 2014 Prius v wagon

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    Hi Doax,

    It looks in the pictures like the Batteries are not set up for Buddy cell. So either you need 2 more balancers or you need a bunch of copper straps and cables. Is this true?

    By the way Thanks for all the pictures. This is really helpful to us that are planning to do this over the next few months.

    I see in other threads that there have been some problems with bad cells. Be very careful with balancing. I am convinced that some users have damaged cells. Do not do unattended charging until you are sure that everything is balanced. The beeps are important. When you hear a beep from the balancer be sure to turn off what you are doing. The system is designed to self correct but it needs Off time to do that.

    Please continue to provide Data and Pictures as you do your installation. We all learn from that. I will do the same when I get my kit.

    Thanks,
    Dan Lander
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    Daox Member

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    You are correct, the cells are not setup for the buddy cell setup. I will need to reconfigure them. I'm actually working on it as I type this. The kit did come with some extra straps, so I should be okay there.

    Thanks for the warning, I'll be charging up the batteries inside hopefully today so I should be able to monitor any problems and deal with them right away.
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    Rokeby Member

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    dan2l 2014 Prius v wagon

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    Hi Rokeby,
    I suggest that you read the following threads
    [IMG] Enginer PHEV Technical Information
    [IMG][IMG] [IMG] Enginer kit proper break-in charging cycles



    The 2kwhr enginer design includes 16 cells at 3v each to get 48v total. The 4kwhr system doubles this puting two battery packs in parallel. In actuallity each cell charges to higher voltages and discrages to lower voltages. Voltages of 2.8v to 3.75v are OK. Above or below these levels can cause damage to a cell. The charger will charge to 58v and the converter will drain down to 46v. If all cells are at the same level, then 56v/16=3.63v and 46v/16=2.88v so if all cells are at the same level then you are OK.

    However, all cells are not the same. New cells will need to be balanced. In addition, if you have a weak cell it may go up faster and then go down faster.

    If the battery pack is out of balance then you can have one cell go above the 3.75v before the chager sees 58v so the charger can keep putting power into the pack and damage that cell. When this cell goes above 3.75, the balancer will beep but will not stop the charging. Be sure to turn of the charger if this happens. Then the balancer will draw 300ma out of the high cell(s) until all the cells on that balancer are at the same level. This will take hours the first time.

    A symilar condition happens during discharge. When you are running the car, the pack will go down in voltage until it hits a total of 46v. at that point the converter will shut down. If your cells are out of balance while running the car one of the cells could hit 2.8v before the converter shuts down. If this happens the balancer will beep. At that point you need to shut done the system using the switch on your dash. You can then drive home and charge the system and then wait for the balancers to re-balance the cells.

    The balancing process will become automatic once the system has been exercized. As long and you do not have a week cell, you will not ever hear a beep again. However, if you do hear a beep it is important to shut down what you are doing and check the system.

    The Buddy Cell system pair cells together. This pair of cells is more likely to stay in balance. The down side of Buddy Cells is that this could hide a defective cell.

    Hope this explaination helps.

    Thanks,
    Dan
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    Rokeby Member

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    Dan2|,

    Thanks for your post.

    I've spent the better part of the day reading the various threads here
    on the Enginer conversion.

    The balancers are inside the SS case, under rear hatch floor. It seems
    like hearing the all-important single warning beep could be an iffy
    thing. Any likelihood the beeper could be moved forward to the dash?

    From all I've seen, the 4 KwH pack fits under the hatch area floor. Is
    that true for the 6 kWh pack too? -- that's the one that would best
    meet my needs.

    My head is spinning. It will be visions of balancers, kWhs, etc, not
    sugarplums that will dance in my head tonight. :p
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    Daox Member

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    I read this thread as well. From reading it, it seems like more than a few people are having cell balancing issues. This makes me think there is a quality problem with the cells. They shouldn't be that out of wack from the factory. This even more so reinforces my idea that every cell needs to be monitored with a balancer, not two cells in parallel.
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    banshee08 Member

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    The 6 and 8 kWh kits should all fit at least in the 2010 prius. I was able to put 4kWh of batteries in the spare tire well and 4 kWh in the steel box.

    It is rather difficult to hear the balancer beeps. I extended all the cables for my balancers and moved them outside the metal box so I can hear the beeps and shutdown the system while I am driving.
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    Daox Member

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    As of right now, two of the four packs are on the balancers. When they are both done, I will charge them up and monitor voltages as they charge. We'll see if any of the cells charge faster than the others and if I get any alarms.

    Last night I had reconfigured one pack to run in the 'buddy pair' setup. But, I think I'm just going to setup to run with the two balancers and just run half the pack so I don't have any cells in parallel. This will allow me to monitor every single battery and show if there is any problems.

    [IMG]
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    dan2l 2014 Prius v wagon

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    Merry Christmas Doax,
    What you are proposing is the same as if you had bought the 2kwhr system. When I look throught all the threads, I get the feeling that the 2kwhr systems have had more damaged cells. I think this is because the charger is putting all 15.5 amps into one string of batteries so they charge faster. This is OK but be sure to pay attention to the beeps. I am pretty sure you will get a warning on the first charge. Just turn off the charger and wait over night. It will self correct.

    By the way. New batteries are always the worst for balance. They get better as they are exercized. Out of balance when taken out of the box does not mean they are bad or weak.

    Thanks,
    Dan
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    Daox Member

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    Good point, with less cells in parallel amperage will be increased. This leaves less time for the balancers to equalize the voltages. I think I will bug Enginer to get more balancers. They say the kit comes with them on the site and I am believing more and more that they are necessary.

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