Rain, virus’s & lock-ins

One great advantage of being in the 2020 Covid ‘lock-down’ (or lock-in) is that I was able to construct a new roof over the whole of the garden decking, which works along with my plan for home charging. In total I have 2.5kw of high quality solar panels which even on a dull day produces power via the MPPT 180 amp controller. This is being fed into 4 wet ‘leisure’ cells each with a capacity of 220amp/hr. The solar system is working brilliantly BUT….. when it comes to converting the stored power to 30amp at 240volts – what a bloody nightmare, so be warned if you are interested….

Charging the two EV’s… why not use SOLAR??

25volts to 240v
2 – 240volt inverters, one 24volt, one 12volt source power

EBAY is a great source of British and foreign supplies. Searching for an 8kw 25 volt inverter proved a trial. Already used for a few years, my 12volt 2.5Kw inverter worked well (looking after deep-freezers, external lighting etc:) However, the jump to the new 25 volt system and needing over 3Kw is HUGE in both mechanics and cost.

How is it possible for a 12v 2500watt inverter weighing in at just 1.7kilos to be overshadowed by a 17.6 kilo monster that INFERS ‘4000watt’ by its title and 4Kw by its spec’ – BUT with a warning afterthought limiting output to just 1000watt???? Bloody Chinese jiggerypokerey. Totally pissed-off, I repacked it and discovered the return would cost over £60!!!!.

Lumbered with it, I set it up to see what it will actually supply…., I tested the output to its max (4Kw)….Fail!! OK try 3kw, so I plugged in a fan heater, it worked well and I will settle for 3kw. Perhaps if I was to set ALL the various settings I could get more power, but in the long term, I’ll have to seek an 8kw inverter and that will need a lot more batteries.

For two years – it’s been a trial…….

I’ve had the stripped bare bones of the Austin languishing in the dry garage, but rain has been one of my biggest problems. The small rented garage is simply packed to the rafters, so I have to work outside…. It’s not been easy.

In the meantime, I have refurbished the cards for the doors, and added various additions which have been made in my house workshop – I have not been idle, but the project is taking time…… I gave a talk on the A7 conversion to my fellow members of ‘Cheshire 7’s

A new club member of Cheshire 7’s, has been bought a 1934 Austin 7 convertible by his family. Being technically minded and trained, he has shown deep interest in MY endeavours, and although his A7 is beautiful, he wishes to go ‘EV’ – but before the traditionalist cry “Boo, Hiss, Boo” he will not be destroying any way of reinstalling the ICE engine and says he’s using the gearbox to stay as authentic as possible. Personally, I feel his car is one of the rarer A7’s – my RP saloon was a dog anyway, so I have no guilt at going ‘EV’…….

Progrees on ‘Frankie’

The motor heatsink
Note the heavy aluminium heatsink plate, suporting the controller

Having no radiator, the space offered an alternative position to mount the motor controller. Being 3 phase and 6Kw, the controller needs cooling. You can see the huge current carrying cables needed to cater for over 200amps.

As time has moved on and having the FALSE petrol tank, I’ve decided to add a second set of batteries to offer reserve power. These will not offer more than (say) 25 miles, but will help when charging cannot be found.

My experience with huge batteries stems from owning a 40ft Bermudan Cutter (and sailing the Caribbean for 5 years). The boats batteries had a rotary switch which allowed charging and using – House / Running / and starting batteries. With this useful configuartion in mind, I have ordered a 400 amp 4 way isolation switch which will offer a similar battery backup and split charging (plus total isolation). The cables can be seen in the above photo [2 red and 2 black heavy duty cables].

Next it will be the speed controller

My brief to the Belgium suppliers was that I didn’t wish to rip the spokes out of the vintage wheels, and I didn’t wish to accelerate 0 – 60 mph in 3 seconds. The 3 phase motor has a sophisticated pre-programmed power to speed curve, a gradual take-off and a smooth limited power curve.

Made in 1933, the lightweight body has no seatbelts and the chassis is truly quite crude. The top speed was only around 45 mph but the old brakes wouldn’t be able to stop the car safely if speeds exceeding 45.

The whole point of converting the Austin 7 has been mentioned, but basically the 30’s was an excellent year for Austin and the RP style [vertical screen, chrome radiator and 19″ wheels] its a beautiful vintage car but the mechanics are abysmal. Electric is the best way of combining the old characture with the new battery revolution.

When stripping the car of its power train, the one thing I left in situ was the accellerator linkage. The photo below is of the Curtis electrtonic speed control. It is perfect to marry the old linkage to the Curtis swing arm. The ‘travel’ is only about 3 inches and there is a ‘regen’ microswitch to employ which is also connected to the brake linkage. ‘feathering’ the old throttle pedal should allow the inertia to be pumped back into the batteries…..[ha ha ha “Should”…… I live in eternal hope]

I now face a head scratching time with the wiring loom

more later…………………………….

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