Best resources for doing a Leaf upgrade?

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israndy
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Best resources for doing a Leaf upgrade?

OK, the price finally went sub $1000 for 19 Leaf cells delivered, should arrive today in about 5 boxes according to the tracking numbers. Already have the battery tester to see if they are all the same and then I can get the correct rods to tie them together (if they don't come with them) and busbars to make them into a big battery.

But really that's all I know. I have seen pictures of 19 batteries being lowered into a bike with a hoist. Hoping I can lift the pack myself as I don't have such technology.

What is everyone's favorite run-thru on doing this upgrade? Is there a great thread here with pictures? Is there a series on Youtube that demonstrates the best way to do the upgrade? Should I be looking for a 19S BMS? I am hoping this is all pretty easy for someone with a screwdriver and a TON of time on his hands.

Bikemad
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Re: Best resources for doing a Leaf upgrade?

Check out Ben's leaf install for further information.

19 modules weighing 3.8kg each is 72.2kg in total or 159lbs and that's without the clamping plates, threaded rods, interconnecting links, bolts and cables etc.
Perhaps two people using a rope and a length of 2x4 could manage it by sharing the load equally, but I don't honestly think you will be able to lift this in on your own. Simply lifting it off the ground is one thing, but lifting it high enough to get it over and into the battery compartment would be a whole lot more difficult.

I wish I could get 19 leaf modules delivered for a similar price in the UK.

Alan

Mel
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Re: Best resources for doing a Leaf upgrade?

I made a simple lifting attachment out of steel u-section. I bolted this to two threaded rods on the battery pack. I didn't have an engine hoist so I just attached my lifting tool to a beam on my garage roof via a block and tackle. I set the block and tackle to give a four-fold gain and this made it a one-man job. Basically hoist up the pack, push the bike into position under the battery. (I just lashed the fall from the block to a hook on the wall to keep it in place). Then I could lower the pack nice and slowly into place. This worked v nicely but its quite a mass, so a decent set of blocks is needed. I used the same idea to remove and replace the original packs back in the day when I needed to extract them for service and maintenance.

Blue VX-1, 2008.

Kevin_in_VA
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Re: Best resources for doing a Leaf upgrade?

I made lifting handles out of 1" wide nylon straps and some wide washers on the ends of the threaded rods: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48927260382_b60eb4ed78_o_d.jpg. Took two people to lift it into the frame.

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2007 Vectrix VX-1 (19 gen2 Leaf modules, ESD charger)
2009 Miles ZX40S-AD

israndy
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Re: Best resources for doing a Leaf upgrade?

Cool. but is 16 cells enough?

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Kevin_in_VA
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Re: Best resources for doing a Leaf upgrade?

19 works great in my conversion. Why would you want to use only 16?

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2007 Vectrix VX-1 (19 gen2 Leaf modules, ESD charger)
2009 Miles ZX40S-AD

Bikemad
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Re: Best resources for doing a Leaf upgrade?

Randy, where did the "16 cells" come from?

Kevin used 19 Leaf modules, which is actually 76 cells connected as a Series of 38 Parallelled cell pairs (38S2P).
Each Gen 2 leaf module contains 4 cells 2S2P with a nominal voltage of 7.6V (3.8V/cell) and a fully charged voltage of 8.4V (4.2V/cell)

A 19 module pack has a nominal voltage of 144.4V and a maximum charging voltage of 159.6V, although a maximum charging voltage of ~156V (4.1v/cell) is commonly used if no BMS is fitted. This allows for a slight variation in individual cell voltages without any cell exceeding the 4.2V safe maximum voltage (hopefully).

Alan

antiscab
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Re: Best resources for doing a Leaf upgrade?

I normally use 18 modules, mainly because the my BMS works with groups of 6 modules.
Note: more modules means weaker regen due to the higher system voltage

Are you using the original charger?
If so, a Vectrix BMS will give the cleanest install, thought I still have yet to use one (working original chargers are rare as hens teeth here)
I strongly recommend using a BMS (even if it's not one I supply)

If working without a BMS, you will need to make sure a cell voltages are within limits both at full charge, and at full discharge (and hope you don't have any leakers, as that leads to fire)

Easiest way to connect the furthest terminal back to the MC is to use the Blue Anderson with the long leads from the original nimh battery. cut it in half and modify the plastic guides so the two halves can plug into each other.

While you have the battery out, it's a good time to swap the MC phase terminals over from the steel studs to copper sleeves.

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

israndy
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Re: Best resources for doing a Leaf upgrade?

'Randy, where did the "16 cells" come from?'

From the picture he posted, with the nylon handles, I counted 16 cells three times, did I miscount?

Thanks AntiScab, I'll use 18 batteries per your advice. I purchased 19 Leaf batteries left over after the recall that says they replace batteries that are below 70% capacity, so these will not charge as much as they once did. I have them on my SkyRC B6AC charging to 8.2v with a tested capacity so far of just under 40a/h's, got a lot of boxes full of batteries to test yet.

What's this Vectrix BMS of which you speak?

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Kevin_in_VA
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Re: Best resources for doing a Leaf upgrade?

Ah, the straps in my picture are concealing some of the battery terminals. There are definitely 19 there otherwise.

I'm guessing this is the BMS to which was referred: http://www.shop.vectrixparts.com/vx1-bms-board.html

______________________________________________
2007 Vectrix VX-1 (19 gen2 Leaf modules, ESD charger)
2009 Miles ZX40S-AD

antiscab
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Re: Best resources for doing a Leaf upgrade?

Yep, that's the one

I haven't had the opportunity to try one, though I have heard good things from my European friends

I did actually buy one at one stage.
I don't think I will get an opportunity to use it, given it's unlikely for me to come across a Vectrix with an original charger, and a new Vectrix charger costs me about as much as a TC Charger and bms combined.
The one I have is setup for 36 cells (or 18 leaf modules), though I do see on their website they can set one up for 38 cells (or 19 leaf modules), which may better suit your situation.
The thing is, you would likely need their firmware for both your charger and motorcontroller

Reading through their installation instructions: https://vectrixparts.userecho.com/knowledge-bases/2/articles/209-vx-1-conversion-from-nimh-to-new-li-ion-batteries-sx-conv
looks like there's a need to order new cables, and get the original charger modified (if ESD).

I'm on the fence as to whether to send mine back for a refund, or whether to buy a new ESD charger (and hope the modifications have made it more reliable) for the next conversion

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

israndy
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Re: Best resources for doing a Leaf upgrade?

Antiscab, what BMS do you use for 18 cells? That would be a 36s BMS? or an 18s BMS? Perhaps an 18s2p BMS? I see lots of BMS's like the ANT BMS that have lots more than 19 connections, but I am not sure what to do with the pin in the middle? Ignore it? What if half the cell goes out of balance?

I finally got a cell discharge tool so I am going thru all the cells I got and measuring their capacity. Hopefully, I have all good cells, I will probably use 19 if they are, but I wanna find a BMS to balance and protect the cells. Or I could just do it by hand occasionally and trust that the cells behave the rest of the time.

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antiscab
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Re: Best resources for doing a Leaf upgrade?

you will need a 36s or 38s BMS for 18 or 19 modules, as they are internally wired 2s2p.
The tab in the middle is the midpoint connection between the 2 internal groups of cells.

I currently use the www.zeva.com.au BMS
I cut up the original leaf wiring harness to splice in the ZEVA BMS connectors.
If using the original charger or a non-CAN charger, I have the BMS disconnect the AC power if any cell group goes out of bounds.
If using a TC Charger, the BMS is connected via CAN and can change the charger voltage and current set points
Aside from the display telling you of a low cell voltage, theres no stopping you from overdischarging though

The Vectrix BMS is better integrated though.
in addition to controlling the charger, it tells the motorcontroller to limit discharge to protect the weakest cell (a pack level low voltage limit does not do this)

Measuring the capacity of each module is useful, though more important is difference in self discharge rate.
That's harder to measure

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

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