Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator?

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SunshineDaydream
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Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator?

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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 ... 5368&hilit
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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by 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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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator?

Post by reed » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:16 pm

Do the chargers care if the batteries are being discharged simultaneously? And do the batteries work ok being both discharged and charged at the same time? Or does the current just flow into the motor from the charger when driving?

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

Post by Token » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:52 am

reed wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:16 pm
Do the chargers care if the batteries are being discharged simultaneously? And do the batteries work ok being both discharged and charged at the same time? Or does the current just flow into the motor from the charger when driving?
Yes, they do care. Chargers expect a rather specific impedance from the batteries plus most modern chargers have mapped charging protocols with bulk, soak, trickle, tend cycles.

Based on the impedance, modern Charger microprocessors “sense” the state of the battery and run a specific charging scheme based on their mapping.

If you want to rig a “live” driving and charging system, you are better off with static power supplies that have built in over-current limiters.

Another option is to have multiple battery banks, one used for driving while the other charges. Then you can manually switch over when needed.

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

Post by reed » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:39 pm

Thanks, that's helpful. I'll stick to charging when parked.

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

Post by Token » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:55 am

reed wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:39 pm
Thanks, that's helpful. I'll stick to charging when parked.
If you park often when out on the town and have room in the MV for the generator ... you can recharge on the road as opportunities present.

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

Post by Canoe » Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:45 pm

Token wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2015 3:48 pm
... 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. ...
That can get very very nasty.
reed wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:39 pm
Thanks, that's helpful. I'll stick to charging when parked.
Nice & safe, and reliable. Everything sees what it expects to see, doing what it expects it to be doing.
Just make sure the terminals and connections are well protected from getting shorted.
zerzura wrote:
Mon May 25, 2015 10:04 pm
... 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. ...
Some people wire the charger up to the battery terminals/bus so they're not repeatedly playing with alligators, with an appropriate and appropriately sized safety switch to take the charger 'off' the battery. This also means you can set it up with no live metal exposed.
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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:06 pm

There’s a lot of overthinking going on here.
You absolutely can charge and discharge your battery at the same time.
What do you think happens every day when you drive your car? Headlights on, heater fan blowing, wipers and seat heaters etc. all drawing lots of current and the alternator is simultaneously charging the battery.

You can run your battery charger while driving your electric MV. There may be technical things that aren’t a zillion percent perfect but in actual practice it’ll work and it won’t blow up.
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Re: Extending Electric Mutant Range Using On-Board Generator?

Post by Token » Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:44 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:06 pm

You can run your battery charger while driving your electric MV. There may be technical things that aren’t a zillion percent perfect but in actual practice it’ll work and it won’t blow up.
30 years ago, sure. My 30 pound “portable” Schneider solid state transistor and big-ass transformer battery charger didn’t sense, didn’t compute, it just pumped 13.8V.

Now days we have the cheap PWM computer controlled switching gizmos that try to be smart and stop charging when they “sense” anything not in the table of answers.

Now if the question was: “Can I rig an alternator from a big ass diesel truck to my Briggs riding mower engine and ...”, I’d be “Hell Yeah, put a muffler on it and inject some fuel for flame effects”.

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

Post by chucked » Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:41 pm

so i run my MV as a series hybrid like you describe. facebook.com/vibeapple
the KEY is finding a 'dumb' charger, as modern microporcessor controlled chargers will get confused when you go full throttle and just self protect and turn off .

i found this archaic semi-dumb charger from the 60s, bought it for 50$, from a facebook mutant vehicle group post i made. (the guy has since switched to full gas so he might have an extra one to sell, he runs the game-train)

i have never run out of power when in hybrid mode, even when i drain my batts in full EV mode, then turn on the genny and run the charger, im able to cruise around at 5mph without any obvious issues.

last year i ran a champion 3100w genny for the system (alongside a lot of lighting), this year im running two honda 2000 in parralell (alongside 2000w of leds and 8000w of audio (its a balancing act trying to eek out the most i can from the systems lol) ). i highly recommend you get the 2000w over the 1000, i got both of mine for 500$ each on craigslist.

just for reference, im a battery mechanical design engineer for an electric supercar company.

i think this is a great solution, keep at it brother!

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

Post by chucked » Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:43 pm

trying to post an image of the spec sheet of my lester-matic 8600 charger

failed to do so on here. heres a link to a random image hosting service i uploaded it to.
https://postimg.cc/image/v5n0azc5p/

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