Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator?

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding the building and creation of mutant vehicles in Black Rock City
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SunshineDaydream
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Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator?

Postby SunshineDaydream » Thu May 21, 2015 10:38 am

Hi Brainiacs,

I have an old 36v mutant vehicle that runs out of juice all the time no matter how often I upgrade its T-105 batteries, so I want to extend its range on playa. I would like to run a small quiet Honda generator to power the vehicle's charger and charge the batteries while the vehicle runs off of them. Is that feasible?

A 2k Honda puts out 1600W nominal which is enough to power the charger at full load (it draws 12 amps AC for fully-drained batteries), but I would like to use a 1k Honda, which puts out 900W @ 120V (7.5 amps AC). I do not expect to run the on-board genny with fully drained batteries, but I am wondering what happens when the charger would like more than 7.5A - does it just charge at a lower rate limited by the genny output, or blow fuses on the genny, or?

Thanks for any insights!! I understand the math, but not the real-world impacts of running these things together on the edge, in the dust...

Sunshine
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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby Molotov » Thu May 21, 2015 11:03 am

Honda generators will typically go off-line when subjected to a load greater than their designed capacity. Go with the 2000-it will give you a lot of versatility to run lights and other systems in addition to your charger, without much increase in noise.

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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby Captain Goddammit » Thu May 21, 2015 11:19 am

I've owned both EU1000 and EU2000 Hondas for a long time. The Sheik is right, go with the 2000.
You won't get the full sea-level power output up on the almost-mile-high playa.
The 1000 is just too damn weak. When you overload a Honda, it shuts off its output. You have to stop it and restart it to reset it.
Even if your batteries aren't fully discharged, the charger might have a pretty big load on it if it's on while you're using the motor.
And I can only imagine you might want to take advantage of having the generator for lights too.

It'll work but don't go with the 1000.
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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby FIGJAM » Thu May 21, 2015 12:25 pm

Sounds like you have a golf cart.

I've been doing some research, and if you can bypass some of the relays, you can run it on lower voltage.

Example: if it will go 15 mph on 36 volts, it will do 10 mph on 24 volts, and 5 mph on 12 volts.

This might give you the option for a more powerful 12 volt charger, or use 1 battery at a time, and when you switch to the third one, get back to camp for a recharge.
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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby Captain Goddammit » Thu May 21, 2015 9:25 pm

FIGJAM wrote:This might give you the option for a more powerful 12 volt charger, or use 1 battery at a time, and when you switch to the third one, get back to camp for a recharge.


But that won't extend the range, it'll just give him more warning that he's going dead.
If his charger draws 12 amps AC, he can't run a more powerful charger off an EU2000. A 12 amp draw at 120VAC is 1440 watts, which is about all you can get from an EU2000 at mile-high playa altitude.

The bottom line is that battery power sucks for M/Vs in BRC. The on-board charging idea is a fairly good one, especially since you might be on the far side of the playa when you go dead. But I'll reiterate: DON'T go with the under-powered EU1000.
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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby Ed Banks » Fri May 22, 2015 8:56 am

I'm not sure if you have the generator on hand already but, why not take the $1000-2000 and buy a gas powered cart, then transfer the mutation onto that. Generator -> charger -> batteries/motor seems rather inefficient, prone to failure and would take up a good bit of real estate on a golf cart.

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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby mdmf007 » Fri May 22, 2015 3:59 pm

FIGJAM wrote:Sounds like you have a golf cart.

I've been doing some research, and if you can bypass some of the relays, you can run it on lower voltage.

Example: if it will go 15 mph on 36 volts, it will do 10 mph on 24 volts, and 5 mph on 12 volts.

This might give you the option for a more powerful 12 volt charger, or use 1 battery at a time, and when you switch to the third one, get back to camp for a recharge.


Hacking the voltage on your golf at motor will stress the motor and risk burning it when your drawing too many amps. The reason for the higher voltage is to drop the amps. aka heat and raise the efficiency. Gas powered carts are fairly cheap as are riding lawnmowers. both are cheaper than new batteries for your cart.
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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby Colonel Monk » Sat May 23, 2015 7:29 pm

Not sure I agree with some of the info here.... which is OK.

Since you're driving at 5 mph max you're not going to get anything out of going to 8 volt batteries. Those would give you a higher speed, as higher volts = higher RPM of motor, but the batteries themselves probably don't have extra capacity.

IF you added two more 6 volt batteries for a total of 8, that would add capacity (and range). But something tells me you might need a different controller. I'm not a golf cart expert, but I play one on the internet..... If it's a modern controller (like a PWM motor controller) chances are you would not want to do that. If it's a pretty OLD cart with an analog speed controller you might be able to get away with it, or modify it. But you'd definitely want to look into this in depth.

I don't see why running the Honda wouldn't work for you. There is dang shore MVs out there doing it.

One solution you're not seeing, is that you *could* get a lower amperage charger, and then run it with a less powerful honda generator. I mean, at 5 mph you certainly do not need that much charging current. Lemme work this out with fuzzy math which if course does not consider the efficiency losses that you have running a charger.....

12 amps x 120 V = 1440W
1440W/36V = 40A charging current.

It's more likely this is a 30A golf cart charger, yes? that other 10A is yer efficiency waste

I'm sure that a smaller charger with smaller honda genny running full time would give you the extra power you need to get around. You could test the current your motor requires to go 5 mph yourself, and then figure out what you need to run at a slight enough deficit that you'll get where you need to go.

My electric-assist trike runs off a 12-24V PWM controller, running a pmag motor. I have 4 12V batteries in series parallel supplying 24V. I believe it's about 460 amp-hour at 12V. I guess that's 230@24V.... Anyway, my vehicle is lighter than a golf cart, but with the wagon I pull I can move up to 11 people on it and it runs all night long. That's with few batteries than a golf cart. Seems the cart's weight must be an issue, but it brings me to a question:

Just how many hours or miles of run time are you getting? Since 5 mph is a really slow draw on the pack I'd think it would run a very long time....
dust.

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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby Zubeneschamali » Sun May 24, 2015 8:22 am

My EU2000 puts out 13.3 amps. If he is using a similar genie, would that bottleneck the charging system an make it less efficient?

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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun May 24, 2015 8:53 am

It puts out 13 amps at sea level. At 4900 feet (BRC) 11 or 12-ish is more realistic. Thinner air means less power from its engine. I've bench tested electric loads at home that were no problem and been unable to sustain them on the playa.
The Honda's 12 amp output is at 120 volts.
The charger's input amps are within range because it's about 12 amps at 120 volts. 12 amps x 120 volts = 1440 watts.
The charger's output amps are at 36 volts. 40 amps x 36 volts = (drum roll please..... ) 1440 watts!

Check this out, it makes all the electric biz super simple: https://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic.php?f=278&t=65368&hilit
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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby Stickygreen » Sun May 24, 2015 5:46 pm

Just get a second set of batteries, and swap them out when you get back to camp.
Charge while out on adventure.


But really this is why you don't get electric golf carts for the playa..
)'(

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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun May 24, 2015 6:22 pm

That solution doesn't extend the range, it just reduces recharge time. And swapping out the batteries in a golf cart is a whole lot bigger pain in the ass than it sounds.
You're right, electric carts aren't ideal in BRC at all. But he's gotta work with what he's got.
I was trying not to say "ditch the battery cart and get something gas powered", and dammit, I'm not going to! Even though it's what I'd do.
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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby Zubeneschamali » Mon May 25, 2015 8:23 am

Thanks Captain, that helps. A couple of friends dropped by last night for bbq and beer, and the topic of the night was my current project to add an electric drive to my tandem trike. FYI, we geeked out pretty hard to your posting.

It really is a blessing to find a resource forum that is playa specific. Many times manufacturers publicize "best case scenarios" and user blogs are rosy 5 star fluff. Fuck that, tell me what you really thought, give me facts, and how you fixed it.

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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby GreyCoyote » Mon May 25, 2015 4:25 pm

Likely the most important issue comes down to using the right charger. You want one that can act both as a power supply (ie, powering the wheels) and still charge batteries properly. And it needs to have a 100% duty cycle and be self-limiting on current. This is harder than you may think, and it takes out virtually all of the box-store offerings (they get confused when the battery being charged is connected to any load).

Check out Iota Engineering chargers if you plan on making this work. Not terribly expensive, but just about bulletproof. Talk to their tech support guys and tell them what you are doing. They can give you some straight answers about product application. The alternative energy crowd swears by these things, as do many folks in RVs, and amateur radio operators.
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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby zerzura » Mon May 25, 2015 10:04 pm

SunshineDaydream wrote:I have an old 36v mutant vehicle that runs out of juice all the time no matter how often I upgrade its T-105 batteries, so I want to extend its range on playa. I would like to run a small quiet Honda generator to power the vehicle's charger and charge the batteries while the vehicle runs off of them. Is that feasible?


Our electric vehicles have this setup. They are 36v Taylor Dunn carts loaded with LEDs and carry a Honda EU2000 generator. We can charge them while running, but we mainly turn the generator on and plug the battery charger into it (yes, we carry the charger with us) when we stop for any length of time. This worked very well, and we didn't have to have the generator running constantly. Electric vehicles definitely need more thought and planning around charging, but it is also nice to have such a quiet vehicle.

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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby TheScout » Sun Jul 19, 2015 4:47 pm

zerzura, would you mind putting specs/model numbers on here? Specifically, the charger model number. I have a EU2000 and I need to get a charger that will do exactly what you're doing. I have 6 6v batteries, but would happily swap them to 12v if I knew that I was moving to a proved setup. I'd really like to stay all electric (minus the genny), but I'm in over my head.

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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby rmc50 » Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:20 pm

You are making a hybrid. Should work fine.

The key element is the "battery charger". You do NOT connect the generator directly to anything other than the battery charger. The output of the generator needs to be a little more than what the battery charger needs. It won't make any difference to the generator if the batteries are full or dead, or the car is in full operation or stopped. The generator only sees the battery charger.

I would expect that you would get by with a much smaller generator than you would think. The reason is that the generator can continue to run and charge the batteries while the vehicle is stopped.

A 2000 watt generator would easily handle a 36v 25 amp battery charger, which I would expect would keep the batteries topped off always. I would expect a 10 amp charger to be sufficient if you didn't make long distance, high speed runs very often.

R. Mc.

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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby Token » Sat Jul 25, 2015 3:48 pm

rmc50,

Your making some statements here that are misleading.

It won't make any difference to the generator if the batteries are full or dead, or the car is in full operation or stopped. The generator only sees the battery charger.


That is in fact not true. You are connecting allot of things together both in series and parallel. You can't make that type of generalized statement because none of the components are isolated.

Stick with facts please.

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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Postby rmc50 » Thu Jul 30, 2015 12:04 pm

Token wrote:rmc50,

.



FACT: A battery charger will have ratings, one of which will be the maximum input current. Unless the battery charger malfunctions, or the manufacturer lied, the generator will never see more than the maximum input current as load, regardless of the charge state of the batteries or if the vehicle is operating or not.

The battery charger provides isolation beween the generator and the battery/motor.

The generator only needs to be rated sufficiently to handle the max input current of the loads connected to it.

Rod


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