Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

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MEroller
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

Thanks Soyouz for the size info!

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reikiman
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

Not all BMS's draw power constantly.

A BMS only has to draw power while it's monitoring or balancing. If the vehicle is OFF there is no need for the BMS to do either function. Okay, I suppose some BMS's might also be tracking environmental things like temperature, and turning on heating or cooling even if the vehicle is OFF.

The BMS on my car only turns on when a) the car is turned on, b) the charging system turns on. To do the latter it has a 120v/240v->5 volt power brick that gives the BMS power when the charging system is plugged in.

I've been driving my car in its current incarnation for about 10,000 miles. I haven't looked at the Minddrive car to see how it differs - I almost met them a month ago, but wasn't able to pull it off.

There are a lot of KG's listed on the evalbum website.

To get back to the original subject. The Leaf modules are in 2S2P configuration with a voltage named above. I wonder if some BMS's are not able to handle that voltage.

That is, BMS's function by recognizing high and low values - for example, during charging when a cell reaches a high voltage then the bleeding resistor for that cell needs to turn on. In some BMS's these threshold voltages are customizable. But the BMS may have been designed assuming cell nominal voltage is in the neighborhood of 3.2 volts, and not able to handle a cell voltage in the neighborhood of 7.6 volts.

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heathyoung
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

You would use a Lithium Ion BMS, not LiFePo4 - the centre pole is the BMS balance connection (ie - 3.7V between it and each terminal).

From data here and from ES - the best range would be 3.0 as absolute LVC, and 4.1 would be HVC - you would aim to charge at 4.05 per cell, only increasing this to 4.1 when you need to balance.

I've just pulled the trigger on 19 Leaf cells that are coming by slow boat from the USA, when they arrive I'll document the conversion process in detail. Another lithium conversion :)

There is nothing wrong with my 43S 40AH thundersky conversion, just need the extra range and charge speed these cells afford.

I'll probably build a custom BMS unit for these cells.

spoonman
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

Howdy all,

Newby to the forum - can't seem to find an introductions thread, and don't have privilages to start a new thread so I've simply picked this one as a starting point as it's roughly relavent to my reason for joining you guys.

Bit of background in case that's expected - I'm a Nissan Leaf owner since May 2012 and have clocked up ~105000km since then (battery health currently stands at 84% for those interested). I'm also an Electronic Engineer and work as a Senior Tech in Trinity College in Dublin, I've been at that for 10 years now - off the back of that I've built a smart charger for the leaf based on the openEVSE code availabe on Github but modified to autoconfigure current draw depending on the socket type it's plugged into (domestic or 16A).
I also purchased an unfinished CBR600F2 conversion about 1.5 years ago, finished that and use it as a configuration testbed. .. think that's all the highlights.. oh, I'm also heavily involved in sustainable energy research with a primary focus on wave energy systems.

Anyways - to the point - there's a VX-1 going for a song in need of a battery refit and I'm inclined towards purchasing it and installing a bank of Leaf modules. I've trawled the forum here to glean what information I can about the practice but this place is a bit hard to follow.

SO - What I'm hoping for is a synopsis of what I'm potentially getting myself into.
-I have a Win8.1 machine, which it seems is ok according to some threads, yes/no?
-I'll buy the PCan adapter if I decide to go ahead with this.
-There's mention of a scooterdiag software, in various versions, I'd be most grateful for direction on how one should go about aquiring it?
-The VX-1 I'm looking at is a '08 registration so potentially a '07 model - does that make a difference to the software I should be looking for?
-The pack I'm intent on installing will be in the region of 60Ah (single series of Leaf modules), what's the definitive word on charger reconfiguration or is there one?
-WRT the firmware versions available, is there a repository of such or is it a PM and ask thing?
-The potential application for the prospective project is a 150km roundtrip daily commute including motorways, discounting the battery would the VX be up to that do ye think?

...I think that's the most of my questions for now... apologies for the barrage, but as I mentioned I haven't been able to located an "Idiots guide" for want of a better description.

oh, has anyone looked into the incorperation of a ChaDeMo interface to the wee beast?

Many thanks and fair play to you all on the cultivation of a fantastic community resource - I look forward to helping to expand it farther.

Cheers.

Soyouz
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

Hello

@Reikiman
Even when a BMS is OFF, it draws a little current as the µC are permanently connected to cell for voltage check. Only communication part of BMS is OFF, the one that check voltage can't be disconnected as there are no mechanical switches. Then, depending of BMS quality it makes some µA or mA...
BMS is compatible with leaf module, because there is a connection in the middle to get the intermediate 2S voltage. It is a M4 nut whereas + and - are M6 nuts.

@spoonman
Welcome here !
- I think that you must have a look to Matt's video. It is for Calb 40Ah conversion but it is very useful to understand how the battery can be changed.
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCFDD8780E3FBEFD5
- PC can adpater is this one : IPEH-002021, http://www.peak-system.com/PCAN-USB.199.0.html?&L=2. You will need a female/female RS232 adapter too.
- I will PM you the scooterdiag software. You may have to download a dll on CAN adapter site to be compatible with.
- A '08 or '07 VX is equiped with ESD charger, compatible with software change, good news!
- You can put either 19 or 18 modules. 18 modules is more compatible with VX original characteristics. 19 is better range but increase bike voltage, that limits regenerative breaking.
- Firmware is a PM ask to The Laird. If he is OK I can send you the version that he has done for me (19 modules).
- 150 km will be difficult to achieve, because the software charges the modules to 80% (4,05V per cell). If you charge to 100% (4,2V) it may be OK but battery life will be shortened, and you will have to put a good BMS to protect precisely from overcharge. Can you charge in the middle? 70 km is completely OK at full speed.

spoonman
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

@Soyouz - many thanks for that. Yes, the commute is 75km each way and I can charge at the office, round trip capability would mostly have been a bonus, although the constuction of a shunting BMS for top balance on that number of cells wouldn't be a terribly big job assuming that the charger can accept a flag from such a system.

Might be that I'll make do with 80% capacity in the initial and then upgrade to a custom BMS later.

That's great news on the charger firmware though, I'll fire a PM over to The Laird now so.

Many thanks again, better give the lad a bell so.

Jeff Spooner
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

I am close to doing the Leaf battery conversion, & have been soaking up info from past posts on this forum. Presently focusing on picking the best ICL method for when I re-connect the Leaf Lithium pack to the main controller. Many thanks to Matt for the informative videos made available for Vectrix battery removal/installation. This might be a dumb question (from a mechanical guy), but why isn't it possible/practical to do a battery swap, by having a 140v battery/DC power source kept on the feeds to the MC board (in parallel, thus keeping the capacitors charged). I realize insulated tools & more precautions would be required, just thought I'd throw it out there for discussion. Ok back to the established ICL methods. Maybe I am over thinking this a bit? With the Leaf battery setup all in one layer, isn't it as simple as this? Here's a quick image with markup, showing a battery disconnect to turn on the juice after the light bulb has glowed & then dimmed. For those who have done the Leaf conversions, was there a ICL setup that you favored?Vectrix Leaf Battery.jpg

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Jeff Spooner
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

For Lithium Vectrix & Soyouz: Does the issue of losing initial regenerative braking using 19 Leaf modules apply only to 80% charge (max allowed by Laird's firmware)? I understand the hazards, & experience that now with my Think City Car. Regen does not kick in until about 5% of the full charge is depleted.

For Soyouz: Thanks for the link for the 3rd party charging option. I have sourced 19 leaf cells from Usa & the pack has arrived with the threaded rods & end plates. I have borrowed your image & done some crude editing in image editer to show how I imagine to precharge the capacitors prior to connect the main cables. I am just wondering if this is how you hooked yours up (I'm thinking of adding a battery disconnect as shown so it is simple to spin down the knob to connect battery after the bulb glows/dims)? Thanks.
Jeff S.
Vectrix Leaf Battery.jpg

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Jeff Spooner
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

Hello Heathyoung,

I just received a pack of Leaf 19 modules, & they came with steel end plates & threaded rods clamping it (hardware for mounting in the Leaf Cars). The need to compress the Leaf modules to avert expansion was not critical according to the guy at Hybrid Auto Center where I got my batteries. He thought it was more important to do so to ensure mechanical integrity within the battery bay.

I like the idea of using lower cost 36V chargers in series. Did you also look into some of the lower cost 36V scooter chargers on ebay? Many can be had for about $15. Not sure how long they would hold up but wouldn't they work ok for a backup charger? These are about 1.5 amps so would at least be an overnight charge. Thanks,

Jeff S.

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LithiumVectrix
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

Hi Jeff,
The Regen braking on Vectrix is effected at 146 volts. No braking at 149 v or higher.
The Leaf batteries are 4 pouch cells in an aluminium can. They do not need to be under compression only mounted firmly so they don't lift over speed bumps. 18 Leaf modules will be protected by motor controller in run flat situations. Manual balancing does work in this application with once a month to every 3 months depending on riding style. The other choices are NiMH balancing, electronic balance board or full BMS.

MEroller
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

Jeff, the bulb is such a dead simple ICL solution I would not waste another split-second of thought on keeping your MC-capacitors at voltage artificially ;-) The bulb works perfectly every time AND even has a visual feedback on the progress of capacitor charging - what more would you want?

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Peter Faulkner
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

Hi Newbie here

Has anyone got a "buy list" for a Leaf conversion. Bought a 12k miles 2008 Vectrix yesterday, looks like battery packs are gonezo!!

Thanks

Peter

Peter Faulkner
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

@Soyouz - many thanks for that. Yes, the commute is 75km each way and I can charge at the office, round trip capability would mostly have been a bonus, although the constuction of a shunting BMS for top balance on that number of cells wouldn't be a terribly big job assuming that the charger can accept a flag from such a system.

Might be that I'll make do with 80% capacity in the initial and then upgrade to a custom BMS later.

That's great news on the charger firmware though, I'll fire a PM over to The Laird now so.

Many thanks again, better give the lad a bell so.

OOPs @spoonman!!

I just bought the Red 08 in Rathfarnham Dublin yesterday!! Hope it is not the same one. Looking seriously at a leaf conversion but have no real idea how to go about it. i just want it for local pottering about and trips in and out of town (Dalkey-City centre).

I need to buy 18 cells, remove the fans, buy a charger ( what type/voltage/current/conditioning and balancing?), Get and load Laird software?
is that it?

Any advice most welcome as I am a complete newbie to EV but do have access to a great electronic drive/motion control engineer.

Mik
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

It's debatable if the Vectrix VX-1 is suitable for highway riding, or not.

With the Laird's charger software, only one MC firmware version will work, and that excludes the 110km/h version that would otherwise be available. Without the Laird's charger software, you can go 110km/h, but the charger will destroy your batteries fairly soon (or not charge Li batteries in the first place).

Mik

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

antiscab
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

With the Laird's charger software, only one MC firmware version will work, and that excludes the 110km/h version that would otherwise be available. Without the Laird's charger software, you can go 110km/h, but the charger will destroy your batteries fairly soon (or not charge Li batteries in the first place).

This is actually only true if you want to keep the original fuel gauge

The Laird has supplied me (and probably you too if you ask) a firmware version that just charges until the voltage gets high enough (perfect for lithium conversions).

with that firmware, you can use which ever MC firmware you happen to feel like, which in my case is the 110kmh version (although it reads 113kmh at top speed)

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst 2 x TC Charger & MC
conversion

Soyouz
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

To make a 'LEAF conversion', based on '08 VX (ESD charger):

You have to get :

  • 19 or 18 leaf modules, (I have enough left for you)
  • 18 or 17 busbars. Those from NiMh are a bit too long but can be ok with some work or by putting 2mm wood plate between module
  • one 35 mm², 60 cm long wire to connect MC to the terminal that will be on front of battery
  • A BMS system if you want to or a safety relay if you want to avoid BMS, I put this one : http://fr.rs-online.com/web/p/relais-de-surveillance/0261987/ .This relay must be put on main wire to shut down charge if voltage goes above determined voltage (avoid overcharge)
  • Some stuff as screws, polystyrene, wood....

Mechanical :

  1. remove NiMh battery
  2. remove battery fans and plastic parts that are with
  3. Isolate the pack with polystyrène (better battery efficiency for cold weather)
  4. balance every cells in modules around 3,150V (with RC charger/discharger)
  5. install the modules in pack, either with Nissan method : studs and compression plate, or like I did : put the module and compress slightly with wood blocks.
  6. connect every module in serial with busbars (careful whith short-circuit!)
  7. plug the wire from one of the MC wire to front battery terminal
  8. connect thermal sensor if you want to keep it, if not software change mandatory
  9. Install either the BMS or the relay
  10. connect the battery to MC, just after having charging MC capacitor through a light bulb.
  11. Turn on the bike, it should live !

Software :

  1. install scooterdiag
  2. upload the adapted charger software to the bike, software to get from Sandy.

Close the battery pack and ride !

Of course it is a quick summary but I can detail every step, as other "converted" can also do.

If you have a Runke charger :

  • You do the same WITH 19 Modules (18 is forbidden, too low voltage, overcharge risk) without software change step. With original software you will charge battery to only 60%, that will double autonomy with 20 kg less compared to NiMh and no power limitation. It is not the best but anyway better.
  • Or you remove original charger and replace it by this one :http://www.green-vision.fr/catalogue/Produit/77/16/batteries-lithium-lifepo4/chargeur-lithium/chargeur-lithium-1200w.html. I didn't try myself but know someone that is doing it ( not finished)
  • Or you buy an external charger and charge externaly
  • Or you find someone that can program Runke charger ;-)

I may be not complete or people can have comments or better idea, feel free to add !

Soyouz
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

To make a 'LEAF conversion', based on '08 VX (ESD charger):

You have to get :

  • 19 or 18 leaf modules, (I have enough left for you)
  • 18 or 17 busbars. Those from NiMh are a bit too long but can be ok with some work or by putting 2mm wood plate between module
  • one 35 mm², 60 cm long wire to connect MC to the terminal that will be on front of battery
  • A BMS system if you want to or a safety relay if you want to avoid BMS, I put this one : http://fr.rs-online.com/web/p/relais-de-surveillance/0261987/ .This relay must be put on main wire to shut down charge if voltage goes above determined voltage (avoid overcharge)
  • Some stuff as screws, polystyrene, wood....

Mechanical :

  1. remove NiMh battery
  2. remove battery fans and plastic parts that are with
  3. Isolate the pack with polystyrène (better battery efficiency for cold weather)
  4. balance every cells in modules around 3,150V (with RC charger/discharger)
  5. install the modules in pack, either with Nissan method : studs and compression plate, or like I did : put the module and compress slightly with wood blocks.
  6. connect every module in serial with busbars (careful whith short-circuit!)
  7. plug the wire from one of the MC wire to front battery terminal
  8. connect thermal sensor if you want to keep it, if not software change mandatory
  9. Install either the BMS or the relay
  10. connect the battery to MC, just after having charging MC capacitor through a light bulb.
  11. Turn on the bike, it should live !

Software :

  1. install scooterdiag
  2. upload the adapted charger software to the bike, software to get from Sandy.

Close the battery pack and ride !

Of course it is a quick summary but I can detail every step, as other "converted" can also do.

If you have a Runke charger :

  • You do the same WITH 19 Modules (18 is forbidden, too low voltage, overcharge risk) without software change step. With original software you will charge battery to only 60%, that will double autonomy with 20 kg less compared to NiMh and no power limitation. It is not the best but anyway better.
  • Or you remove original charger and replace it by this one :http://www.green-vision.fr/catalogue/Produit/77/16/batteries-lithium-lifepo4/chargeur-lithium/chargeur-lithium-1200w.html. I didn't try myself but know someone that is doing it ( not finished)
  • Or you buy an external charger and charge externaly
  • Or you find someone that can program Runke charger ;-)

I may be not complete or people can have comments or better idea, feel free to add !

Peter Faulkner
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

Thank you so much, a very comprehensive list!! I have sent you an email regarding the cells you have offered. My bike is being delivered today and I have arranged to get hold of a 0-150v DC variable power supply to see if I can revive the old NiMH cells for some instant gratification while I get the stuff for the Leaf battery up grade project.
This forum is a really fantastic resource and the whole EV topic is most interesting, even for me a committed 4 wheel petrol-head with a 30 year car racing career (ended in 1998!!) behind him!!

No doubt I will be back with more novice questions and feel free to shoot me if I ask the same one twice!!

Thanks again

Peter

spoonman
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

I had wondered who nabbed it on me. :P

You quite literally got in there about 2 hours before I had all the info I wanted before committing to it.

No worries, the lads on here have been a great help to my investigation of it already and it seems it's the right model to have.
I'll be more than happy to help out any way that I can - where about's are you based?

Peter Faulkner
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

I am in Dalkey.. Trevor delivered it an hour ago. All the functions, lights indicators, horn etc appear to work fine, inly thing that is not working is the glove box electric "pop" opener and sadly NO Drive despite the GO on the display.!!! When I try throttle reverse, the R reverse indicator drive lamp lights up!! It is showing about 42 on the speedo when charging but never any bars or range mileage. It was running until very recently, I am thinking blown main fuse or some heavy power cable termination corrosion. any suggestions?

antiscab
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

sadly NO Drive despite the GO on the display.!!! When I try throttle reverse, the R reverse indicator drive lamp lights up!! It is showing about 42 on the speedo when charging but never any bars or range mileage. It was running until very recently, I am thinking blown main fuse or some heavy power cable termination corrosion. any suggestions?

dead MC - if the main fuse blows the bike won't turn on at all
if any of the other fuses blow you get an error message

sorry mate - if you're lucky it may just need an IGBT swap

out of curiosity - if you manually spin the back wheel while the bike is on, does the speedo move?

If you're willing to grab the MC out I can have a crack at fixing it

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst 2 x TC Charger & MC
conversion

spoonman
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

Peter, I'll be knocking around the city both Monday and Tuesday this week at the least, I could grab some tools from the lab and pop on over to you and help you give it a good electrical shakedown if you like?

I'll PM on my details and you can drop me a line if that's of any use.

Peter Faulkner
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

Hi antiscab, thanks for the post and offer, I am in Ireland and you are in the Southern hemisphere!! I take it an IGBT is a component on the motor controller (MC)? Could I get thios done locally, I have a good industrial ac/dc drives/controls electronics guy who has done commercial work for me for years on production machinery.

I will get MC out no problem, once I identify it!!

I will try rear wheel speedo test later and post.

Thanks

Peter

spoonman
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

IGBT == Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor.

They supply current to the motor phases and comprise the output stage of the motor controller.
The MC aught to be easy enough to spot, it'll have great big thick wires going from directly it to the motor on one side, and similarly thick wires coming to it from the battery on the other side as well as a control loom plug somewhere about it most likely.

Got your PM, sent back mine - hopefully chat soon. ;)

linuxpenguin
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

Just for sake of reference here: if anyone is looking for a BMS that works with Nissan Leaf cells, the OrionBMS (www.orionbms.com) works quite well with them.

Peter Faulkner
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

Now all display items are on view with all tell tale lights flickering!! no movement of speedo when rear wheel rotated

Peter :(

please do not post here on my current problems. I have caused this thread to go badly off topic. Please post on my thread Main Fuse? Thanks Peter

Jeff Spooner
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

Just a quick update with progress on my Leaf Battery install in my 2007 Vectrix. It lives again! I ended up putting in 18 modules rather than 19 (the extra module is slated for the next project). The ICL light bulb procedure worked without any issues, & the bike started up & ran better than it ever had. I'm just going to use a voltmeter for battery SOC & range prediction for now, as well as manual balancing. Plan to do the firmware upgrade soon however.

As previously mentioned external charging is done with nine 12V solar panels (they actually put out 14V-17V). Make that eight panels, since one seems to have died.
With about 6 hours of charging today, the voltage in the pack climbed from about 134V to 137.5V in a few hours, then never got any higher after another 2 hours. This has got me wondering where the pack will level off once I get #9 panel back online? Will it still be susceptible to overcharge with this setup? If my math is right it should peak at about 153V, by getting solar panel #9 fixed/replaced. I'll get another pic or 2 of the completed install uploaded soon, for now I'll attach one showing the modules going in & being attached to the compression rods. Thanks for the help guys for getting me to this point!
Vectrix Leaf Battery1.jpg

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elevatorguy
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

I wish I would have waited on my conversion and been able to put the leaf cells in, looks like they fit great. Perhaps the other bike..
I think you voltage will be about right with the #9 panel on line.

antiscab
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

[quote=Jeff Spooner
As previously mentioned external charging is done with nine 12V solar panels (they actually put out 14V-17V). Make that eight panels, since one seems to have died.
With about 6 hours of charging today, the voltage in the pack climbed from about 134V to 137.5V in a few hours, then never got any higher after another 2 hours. This has got me wondering where the pack will level off once I get #9 panel back online? Will it still be susceptible to overcharge with this setup? If my math is right it should peak at about 153V, by getting solar panel #9 fixed/replaced. [/quote]

Absolutely yes it will be susceptible to overcharging - the OCV you just said is ~19.1V per panel (137.5/8 = 19.125v)

so peak with 9 panels is 172V

Vmp is probably 14-17v depending upon temperature, but OCV is the one to worry about here

18 leaf modules should not be taken above 151v (just shy of 8.4v per module), and that's only if the battery is 100% top balanced as 8.4v is the limit of each module

If you manually top balance first, you will need a way to disconnect the panels *automatically* once the voltage reaches 151v

If you don't manually top balance first, you will need a way to disconnect automatically when the *first* module reaches 8.4v

Matt

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst 2 x TC Charger & MC
conversion

Jeff Spooner
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Re: Nissan Leaf Modules Li Conversion - Questions

The OCV was near 180V today with peak sun & the 9th panel back in the array. I was thinking that the OCV was not as important as the output voltage under load, but since it is, I'll need to get a cut off relay or something, like Soyouz had suggest back in the thread here.

On a positive note, todays 15 mile ride (country roads 30-50 mph) depleted the pack from 35.5V to 29.5V, which is 6V/15mi, or .4V/1mi. With a 30V drop available (150V to 120V), that should extrapolate out as: (1mi/.4V) X 30V = 30/.4 = 75 miles? :) ?

I have attached another image of the install. Still things to wrap up including setting up most convenient way to check cells occasionally. I would like to point out that using the threaded compression rods was handy for the installation of the bus bar strip. The distance between the cell posts needs to match the bus bar strip spacing, & adjusting the rod compression was necessary in my case. The install goes quick once lined up, by snapping it down then installing the bolts. The bus bars are thin & flexible, which will not stress the post connections if there is movement or misalignment.
Vectrix Leaf Battery3.jpg

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