Enginer Product Quality as of April 2011

Discussion in 'Prius PHEV Plug-In Modifications' started by tfrain, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. tfrain

    tfrain Prius Rookie

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    So I've been looking on these boards daily for various things. One thing I have been searching for is info on the supposed "improvements" to the Enginer kit. I read all sorts of things related to "improvements coming" or the "latest converter" or the "better balancers" - but I just can't seem to find anything definitive saying "Hey, I received one of the improved Enginer kits and it is better because blah blah blah" - or - "The improved components have really made a difference in the product" - or anything of that nature. I talked with Norm at length via email about a BMS+ conversion and he keeps trying to point me towards an Enginer kit (he is a terribly salesman of his product, but a great guy - ha ha!!!) - but we both agreed that we cannot find anything related to the supposed improvements anywhere on-line. Are the kits better now? If so, how? What batteries are being used now? Does anybody have the latest and greatest and wish to share?
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    from what i've heard, they are getting better, but still not plug n play.
     
  3. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    There have been improvements since the kit came out in 2008.

    Today kits have a whole array of things mine never had: Overcharge protection at the cell level which can shut down the charger, overcharge protection at the pack level, a bms which can log data, easily accessible adjustments, upgradeable BMS, remote bms monitor, integrated battery packs with a single Anderson connector, a 5000W converter, and more.

    That said, there can still be quality control issues from the factory at times. Enginer is always willing to stand behind the product if any component fails and sends replacements. But patience will be required since at times there can be a while before receiving certain parts.

    Enginer is aware of the QC issues and is switching to a new manufacturer in order to address them.

    Feel free to call me to discuss any time. 608-729-4082
     
  4. mrbigh

    mrbigh Prius Absolutum Dominium

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    and this is an honest answer..............
    wait until the "....21" man shows up.:rolleyes:
     
  5. Flaninacupboard

    Flaninacupboard Senior Member

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    The quality is poor. It is not even consumer electronics grade, never mind automotive. I only know of one user that hasn't had any failures, every other user i know of has had one or more component failures. That's fine so long as you can use a screwdriver and don't mind waiting for a replacement. It's recently come to light that the current BMS (16D) has a faulty design, and it will slowly destroy your battery pack. i wouldn't advise buying one until that is resolved.

    All sounds bad so far, right? the flipside is that when it works, it works GREAT. Filled with fuel last night, drove home, and then drove to work this morning. the computer is saying 25 miles at 99.9MPG. I have no idea how high the number really is.
     
  6. lopezjm2001

    lopezjm2001 Senior Member

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    Their not plug n play. They are plug and pay. I have spent more money getting the kit to work properly than the actual value of the kit itself when I bought it. :mad:
     
  7. Octane

    Octane Proud Member of 100 MPG Club

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    While I believe that Enginer deserves the harsh responses they are getting, I find this comment to be quite a stretch. About the only thing that is available outside of Enginer are cell balancers at approximately $250. You can't buy a boost converter, Enginer replaces bad batteries and the charger is very specific to their system. So, given the Enginer was either $2K or $3.5K, please explain to us all how you've spent more than $2000. If you've put $500 into it, I'd be surprised.

    As Flan points out, the quality and failures are as annoying as hell. But, when it works, it works phenomenally. On my last uptime bout, I had 100 miles with the Toyota MFD useless because I exceeded the 99.9 MPG display and the bar graph was completely yellow with no drops at all. My Scangauge reported 142 MPG. I then did 400 miles averaging 92 MPG.

    Then my DC converter cooling mods failed and I'm back to 67 MPG and waiting for my 48 volt case fans to arrive.
     
  8. MJFrog

    MJFrog Active Member

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    Do you have a link re the issues with the BMS16D? Mine <seems> to be working just fine and the log data is very interesting. It shows that one particular cell keeps going much higher than the others during charging, and drops lower than the others while in use. The BMS will cut off the charger when this cell reaches/exceeds ~3.75v. The log shows that this cell will occasionally drop to 2.5v during a heavy discharge period, then recover to near 3.0v 3-5 mins later.

    I'm particularly pleased that the remote display will beep when the total charge or individual cell level drops too low. I could never hear the DB8s alarming when voltage went out of range.

    There are two other cells that are not quite in lock-step with the others, but not to the extent as the above cell.

    I have found that the voltage readings shown on the BMS appear to be .25v to .5v lower than the reading I get with my DVM. However, it's a cheapie Radio Shack volt meter and is not necessarily calibrated correctly either.
     
  9. Flaninacupboard

    Flaninacupboard Senior Member

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    The Enginer User Forum is full of people reporting the same thing, Cell 15 and Cell 16 are terminating charging, are always being balance charged, and generaly terminate discharge because they "go low". I have already had to replace Cell 15 and 16 because of this beahviour.

    If you have the Mottcells with overhcarge protection then it will work "ok", since the mottcells allow some top balancing to happen. it's probably still weakening C15 and 16 and they will fail before the others. If you have the Realforce pack with no overcharge protection then the 16D will damage it quite quickly.
     
  10. Octane

    Octane Proud Member of 100 MPG Club

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    It is very important that you confirm the BMS voltage readings with an external meter or CellLogs. I have not seen enough BMS data to assess whether the inaccuracies are inherent to the calibration procedure Enginer uses or whether they are random due to some other poor design. But, they are real, nonetheless. And of course, if you are making changes through either automatic or manual cell balancing based on bad data, you are doing harm to your battery pack. Most of the voltage data obtained with a DVM shows that the battery pack is very uniform and stable (with the exception of the last cell pair which is discussed here.). One very unscientific analysis I've done on a few datasets show that the BMS data has twice the standard deviation that an external volt meter demonstrates.
     
  11. epa5epa

    epa5epa Junior Member

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    I got an email from enginer 4 days ago. < When we repaired your BMS, the new firmware V3.2 was released yet. Please return the BMS and the display unit for firmware upgrade. >
    I am glad to their service although I sent BMS back twice within one month.
    During the past week, My fully charged 100% SOC always decreased to 92% about 8 hr later, to 84% about 16 hr later. I suspect there was a possibility of just repaired BMS 16D short circuit.

    Here is the cell data:

    The display in the morning showed 92% T52.9 A3.31 :
    3.32 3.29 3.29 3.32 3.33 3.32 3.28 3.27
    3.3 3.31 3.29 3.31 3.31 3.3 3.3 3.38

    In the afternoon showed 84% T52.8 A3.30 :
    3.32 3.26 3.31 3.32 3.33 3.31 3.28 3.27
    3.3 3.31 3.29 3.3 3.32 3.3 3.3 3.37
    and I checked 9pin by DVM showed:
    3.26 3.27 3.27 3.27 3.26 3.26 3.27 3.27
    3.26 3.27 3.27 3.27 3.26 3.26 3.27 3.31

    The cell 16 has higher voltage in the 3 series(> 2SD as Octane's calaculation), and it is the always cause of HVC. I think the internal resistance of C16 is quite different from others.
    The aberration may be an original faults of RFE battery packs scince C16 HVC event was happened from my first charging circle.

    The BMS 16D is still much to be improved such as the poor voltage reading and balancing. The mileage is great when the kit is working normally. It is worth at it's price if you have time and patience.
    Thanks
     
  12. Floyd2

    Floyd2 progressio per sententia

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    On monday I sent off my BMS for an upgrade (v3.2) because the capacity of the batteries were rapidly decreasing, I was able to charge them with only 2.3 kWh at most the last time.
    Because I still had an old vesion 3.0 BMS which updated the xls file every 20 seconds instead of 10 seonds but is otherwise fine, I used that one.

    To my surprise I was able to charge using 2.5 kWh on Monday, 2.7 kWh yesterday and 2.9 today. It seems the batteries a slowly recovering.

    So why did they not just fix the problem with version 3.0: cells 1 - 4 getting low? Instead the version 3.1 creates another problem: causing a high voltage cut off in the right side battery pack.
     
  13. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    They are fixing things based on what is reported from the field.
    As you see, Enginer has been responsive to adjusting the system based on customer feedback. The downside of such quick response means that there is not a lot of testing before things are shipped out to customers.
     
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  14. Floyd2

    Floyd2 progressio per sententia

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    You are right Eric, Enginer is very responsive and I have to add that their customer service is very good.

    Also, like Flan and Octane already mentioned, when it works it works just great! Despite the decreasing capacity I was still able to get an average mileage of 117 mpg from the start of this last tankfull, now around 250 miles. Only at innercity and low speeds of 40 mph or less, but that is my daily commute and this is when the Enginer kit will give the most improvement on fuel economy. And that is more than I had hoped for, so overall I am a very happy customer.

    I still don't quite understand how the BMS is supposed to work. What surprised me is that it is balancing during charging, I would expect the balancing would stop automatically untill fully charged. Maybe the upgrade will fix that.

    What I also noticed is that on the display there is a + sign next to the cells that are receiving balancing current. I've been watching that for a while but that are usually cells that have a higher voltage already. So why would they need extra charge? Or is the BMS looking at the real voltage, which could be lower than the one displayed?
     
  15. pfmahoney

    pfmahoney New Member

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    I haven't had a component failure with my Dec. 2010 kit. But I am seeing the C15/C16 high-voltage cut-off, low-voltage cut-off reducing my range. But aside from the reduced range, things are working well. The suggestion on the Engineer forum was to delay the start of my charge so I'll be using a timer to start the charging after 2am tomorrow and I'll let that go for a couple of days.
     
  16. mgm_az

    mgm_az New Member

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    I have very similar situation to PFMAHONEY : my late 2010 system has performed respectably so far (4 mos in service) but the BMS data does show some cells spiking during charging or going low during discharge. Some days that seems to translate to a low charge and/or early system shutdown.

    The kit takes some manual labor to install, though you probably won't be able to buy it without installation in the future.
     
  17. DBusch

    DBusch Junior Member

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    I am starting to question the quick response point. I have contacted Jack five times since last week and have gotten no response. Initially things were quite good, but now I don't know what is going on. My system has been down for a week.
     
  18. SFGiant-and-Plugin-Fan

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    The Enginer kit has a lot of potential, but users are still the beta testers at this point. Personally, given how little we paid relative to the other systems out there, I don't mind the tinkering, as long as the problems get ironed out and I have a working system by the end of my warranty period in two years.
     
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  19. coulomb

    coulomb Junior Member

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    I'm not familiar with this BMS, but in general balancing current is current taken away from cells, to reduce their SOC, not extra current to increase their SOC. So it's expected that the cells that come up to higher voltage first would get balance current first, to save them from over voltage. These cells get "held back" to allow the others to "catch up".
     
  20. Flaninacupboard

    Flaninacupboard Senior Member

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    The BMS16D does not have top balancing (removing power from the cells) but bottom balancing (adding power to cells).

    Floyd, the voltage of the cell -will- increase when being balance charged, and the 16D is guessing what it's true voltage should be. it doesn't do a very good job.
     
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