Phoenix ESC Test Run 2

nasukaren's picture

I put the Phoenix HV-110 ESC in the same aluminium project box that houses my low-voltage electronics. I mounted a temperature controlled CPU fan on it and ran the fan off the 12V line on the low-voltage converter.

The fan was in a "blow" configuration but I think I will change it to a "suck" config as I think that is more efficient for this type of fan.

The servo tester is mounted on my handlebars. Once my Magura throttle comes in (backordered), I'll be able to use that as a regular motorcycle throttle. The switch on the dashboard is for the lights. I have two high-power LEDs mounted in the headlights. The new white LEDs are so efficient that I can use a 5V 1 watt bulb instead of the old 6 volt 10 watt incandescent.

Everything was mounted on with duct tape and the batteries put in a small canvas bag that I had and I was ready for test drive #2 with the Phoenix HV-110 and HXT outrunner motor.

Notes on the test run:

  • I was very surprised that my lights and the CPU fan cut out on full throttle! Coming back home, I later realized that the DC-DC converter at the heart of my low-voltage system is rated 36-75V. I'm running the bike on a 38.4V NiMH system, but at full throttle I have enough voltage sag that the power module cuts out. I'm ordering a new 15-40V --> 12VDC power converter from Digikey and that should solve that problem. Redoing my low-voltage module is a pain.
  • Argh. If I was able to use 48V with the Phoenix ESC than I could've gotten away with the current 36-75 volt DC-DC converter. Double phoeey.
  • With 38.4 VDC 3.8 Ah, I was able to go approximately 3km (2 miles) at 20 kph (15 mph). I think I'll get 3 more of these packs, which would give me a total range of 12 km (8 miles).
  • Dang my NiMHs were hot coming off the test ride. I really need more packs in parallel to take some of the stress off the single large pack that I'm using. Still no good charging solution, I'll most probably just have to use a bank of 19.2V chargers.
  • The ESC was not warm at all, so it looks like the fan is working well. The aluminium enclosure also helps with heat dissipation.
  • There was a rattle in my belt-drive system that I narrowed down to a slip caused by the difference between the 1/2" pulley and the 12 mm spindle. Half an inch is 12.5 mm, so there is a 0.5 mm gap that is rattling. I think I'll shim it with some copper shim material I have lying around.

I'd love comments!

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Re: Phoenix ESC Test Run 2

Two ideas ran through my head while reading this. First is Vicor DC-DC converters are being sold on ebay damn cheap lately. Secondly have you thought much about water poofing? I knew that fan would be a blessing.

Re: Phoenix ESC Test Run 2

That motor has no sensors on it right? The controller just uses the back emf to run it? When you apply power from a stop does it ever jerk back a tiny bit? What happens if you apply power while you're rolling backwards?

Re: Phoenix ESC Test Run 2

I had originally bought a nice Tyco DC-DC on ebay, but the problem was that it was 36-75 volts. Since I had thought this would be a 48V machine, I thought I'd be in the clear. But since my ESC can only go to 40V, I'm in trouble with the voltage sag.

I might just go ahead and make my own DC-DC converter. Digikey has a nice little buck converter (LM2576HVT-12-ND) that can handle 4-60 volts @ 3 amps with a few extra components.

I'm only running a few things off the low-voltage system:

1) The ESC -- but I have a UBEC that handles the 5V output for that (it's on a separate system, thank god or I would have lost control when the voltage sagged)
2) The headlights and taillights -- running at 5 volts.
3) The cooling fans @ 12 volts.

I haven't thought too much of waterproofing just yet, but when I get everything finished I'm hoping to place the LV converters + ESC into the area underneath the seat where currently the gas tank sits. It's nice and protected and waterproof.

Karen

Re: Phoenix ESC Test Run 2

sparc5 wrote:

That motor has no sensors on it right? The controller just uses the back emf to run it? When you apply power from a stop does it ever jerk back a tiny bit? What happens if you apply power while you're rolling backwards?

Yes, it has no Hall sensors.

I have a centrifugal clutch so the motor has to spin up to a couple hundred RPM before it engages. So I don't know if it hesitates when starting or not....

K

Re: Phoenix ESC Test Run 2

I believe the c-clutch is saving your system from destruction at this point. Are you sure you can't put more volts in that esc since you are cooling it? Or does it shut down allegedly?
Jeff K.

Re: Phoenix ESC Test Run 2

Karen,

When you get a moment - if you could do a quick BOM I'd be interested. I think it would be fun to put together a kit (and/or open sourced DIY instructions) for this - I'm seeing a lot of these step thrus running around Ann Arbor these days. I'll start putting a flyer on each one I see :-)

Congrats. It's coming together nicely.

Re: Phoenix ESC Test Run 2

Building DC-DC switching converters is kinda an art. I cant wait to see how yours turns out.

Re: Phoenix ESC Test Run 2

I believe the c-clutch is saving your system from destruction at this point. Are you sure you can't put more volts in that esc since you are cooling it? Or does it shut down allegedly?
Jeff K.

Re: Phoenix ESC Test Run 2

Jeff -

I'm hesitant to overvolt the ESC over 40V right now, but I'll dash off a letter to Castle Creations and ask them about it.

I don't think I absolutely need the c-clutch. As long as you have the rear gear on a freewheel so that it can handle rotating the wrong way for a brief second, you could use this directly in a bicycle with no problems.

BOM will come in a later blog post. I'm afraid to add it all up!

Karen

Re: Phoenix ESC Test Run 2

I dashed off the following letter to Castle Creations technical support:

Quote:

Dear Castle Creations -

I'm using your wonderful Phoenix HV-110 ESC off-label in converting my 1960s era Piaggio Boxer moped into an electric vehicle. I'm almost finished with the conversion, you can read about it on my blog here:

http://visforvoltage.org/blog/nasukaren

I had just a few questions about the HV that I was wondering if you could answer:

1) It would be very useful to me if I could run the HV-110 on 48 volts, either through 40 NiMH cells or 4 SLA batteries. You rate the controller as a max of 50 volts (which seems like 48 should be ok), but then limit it to 36 NiMH cells which is considerably less than 50 volts. Could you please clarify the maximum volt / cell limit -- both the recommended / warranteed one as well as the well-you're-using-it-off-label-so-theres-no-warrantee-anyway one?

2) When my moped decelerates, there's considerable back-EMF generated by the motor as it "engine brakes." I'm concerned that the HV-110 won't be able to handle this back EMF. Could you please let me know if: a) there's nothing to worry about or b) There is something to worry about and maybe I should put diodes, SCRs, or contactors between the motor leads and the ESC that will cut out when the brakes are applied.

Thanks very much,

We'll see what they say!

K

Re: Phoenix ESC Test Run 2

Castle Creations wrote back to me (what nice people!) and had this to say about the Phoenix HV-110:

Quote:

Max voltage is 50.4v exactly. Make sure your fully charged battery voltage is not higher than this and you're set.

So it looks like 4 SLAs and 40 NiMH cells won't work as their max charged voltage > 50 volts.... Oh well!

My care-package from Digikey arrived and I made a new DC-DC converter using a LM2576HVT-12 buck converter. This new DC-DC converter will be good from 14V - 60V which pretty much covers all of the possible voltages I might use. It'll deliver 12VDC @ 3 amps continuous with 88% efficiency. As long as my lousy soldering joints hold out, it looks like it'll be perfect for the task.

My 3 x 18Ah SLAs also arrived in the morning and I was able to do a quick test run. Even though I gave the batteries a full charge before going out, they didn't hold a full charge and only gave me a little less than 7 Ah @ 36 volts. I went around 8 km and my Cycle Analyst tells me that my energy efficiency was around 25 Wh / km. If my batteries break in and give me their full 18 Ah (or so), I should be able to go around 20 km (15 miles) on a single charge.

More test runs today!

Karen

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