Blog
I created this page with a dual purpose, one of which was to remind me what my day to day duties consist of as a
hardware manufacturer. The other was to give a glimpse to the viewer what's going on here as well. I hope to update
it at least weekly.
Where's the rest of the blog?
Right here
Thoughts? Ideas? email me here
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12/15 The next charger tests didn't fare as well, primarily due to diode recovery noise affecting the PFC max current
level. It seems that the diode parameter variation is wider (probably since there is no max spec, only typical) so the
mfgr has no maximum limit to call parts 'bad'. By not specifying a max spec, most parts can ship, aside from those that
don't meet voltage limits. For boost applications, there are a few parameters that matter most, but max values are
often avoided on the spec, hence the push for new technologies as silicon carbide. But there, the cost goes up 5x for
the benefits. So the designer typically has to add more filtering just to accommodate part variations.  Back to work!  
12/21 With another 800A system packed up and ready to ship out, the balance of outstanding charger hardware is
focus will be on getting more 240VAC power out of the charger, the quieter things are to begin with, the better. The
concept is to get 2.4kW/charger section with the dual PFC input configuration. That would equate to 4.8kW on the
240VAC input side! With that much power, internal cooling will have to be upgraded to handle it, so more
investigation will be needed there as well. Opening up the case to be aircooled invites all sorts of stuff coming inside.
Back to work!
12/29 Testing the PFC section with the new SiC diode looks promising. Much less diode recovery noise and it should
be quieter from the AC line standpoint. Updating some old web pages and the WarP motor pricing page as well. Have
some boards to fab this week with some component changes. I really don't like the TO-220 packages, and switching
to a bridge rectifier in the isolated package will eliminate the case to heatsink isolation barrier. Other than that, hope
you all had a Merry Christmas, hopefully the coming new year will be more rewarding than this one. Back to work!
of where things are at with individual PCB designs and system assemblies) along with a few equipment purchases
and a few repairs to do (power supplies occasionally get reversed...) and thinking on the looming new paperless
sales tax forms (online) which is fun having dialup. With 2 PCB revisions to finish up and 3 2.4kW chargers to finish
1/6/10 Started off the New Year on the slow side of things, getting caught up on internal blogs (keeping a track record
up and a Flooded PbA system to build, I've got some things to get finished up this month. Hope you all had a safe
entry into the New Year! For me, I've got to get back to work!
1/12/10 Modified the output rectifier PCB to accommodate a full wave bridge (built in heatsink) to get rid of TO-220
packages. They're prone to cutting through the heatpad (noted during the assembly process) and with one left to
contend with, it should make things much more reliable isolation wise. Also modified the PFC PCB to eliminate extra
circuitry no longer needed, and created a high power output rectifier stage for an upcoming power increase on the
dual PFC charger hardware. Still pushing the remaining build forward, intend to incorporate some changes into
chargers presently in the queue. Need to locate a better clamping mechanism (aside from the screw / bushing) on the
remaining TO-220 package. Back to work!
1/21/10 Just realized my last web update crash resulted in my blog entry being lost. Now trying to remember what I
and part of today for 26 hours. Fortunately I had 144V at 155Ah on reserve for the dyno, used around 100Ah for the
furnace, fridge, some lighting and TV/internet use. Now that the power pole down the street was replaced, its nice to
be 'online' power-wise. I have yet to build a well pump power supply, which is now added to the list. Tried to run it at
30Hz and 120VAC, but it didn't do much. It wants MORE POWER! I also have an upcoming opportunity to use some
lab space here for work coming in from my former employer, so it will be nice to refill the bank tank. Sure would like to
get a set of LiFePO4's for the Scirocco someday and dump the lead-sled approach and see how it runs on less
weight. Projects are moving along, I'm noticing minimum qty's for things like wire are 2x higher this year. I hate when
that happens, what I could have ordered last year is now 2x more this year (don't need 2x qty) so it makes things a
little tighter than I would like. Factory stock seem to be on the decline, likely due to stagnant inventory. I sure hope
things get moving industry-wise, or its going to end up like the banking industry. Had an interesting issue with the
DC-DC that was due to a large amp controller with a small bus capacitance. It was blowing a power trace on the PCB
just before the bulk cap, likely due to the DC-DC cap being 50X larger than the controller's bulk cap! A series
inductor fixed it, and its noted on the web for the DC-DC converter. The changes made to the charger have been
operational for 2 units, so its looking good thus far. Its getting time for - more power. I've had 1 complaint due to the
website, text and pics are overlapping. If there are others having this issue, let me know. I need more ammo for
Sitebuilder feedback. Back to work!  
1/28/10 With power restored and stable, the sun finally breaking through the clouds to help dry out, things have been
getting back to normal. Builds are progressing along, with PFC boards made to use the smaller SiC diode package. A
few charger G2 upgrades have been performed, slowing progress a bit. Not too much to report since some of the
time slot for build labor was consumed due to weather related issues, and finalizing sales tax spreadsheets. Getting
part quotes for new builds is getting crazy. One vendor quoted 1k piece quantity pricing, which costs far too much to
accommodate financially. There is a slow pinching effect between high cost-low volume, or higher volume and the
accompanying higher cost for that quantity. It would be a different story if the economy was blazing along and sales
on the rise. I don't think its going to be small businesses speeding the economic recovery as some would hope.
Yahoo Sitebuilder has been made aware for issues related to their tool and overlapping text boxes. Time to get back
to work!
2/6/10 Revised a relay board for the stand alone DC-DC to tighten up the autostart thresholds for use with LifePO4's
while lowering standby power to 1/4W
@ 150Vin. Now 3 modes of operation can be done with this revision, full
autostart from powerup, remote enable with soft-start, and remote enable (currently used in charging systems). The
build is moving along, and its time to divert some effort in finishing the dyno setup with the new pack installed. The
current hardware build is moving forward only to compete in time for these other things on the get done list. No
response from Yahoo sitebuilder, I think its pretty much a moot point with them. Seems their web customer service is
no longer existent. Might be time to find another web host with better service. Also need to update the website with
the 800A system info and pricing! Time to get back to work!
2/18/10 With board mods behind and build progressing, Belktronix will be embarking on utilizing some lab space for
component testing. Part of this week's activity is to move things around to make room to use an existing workbench
for my former employer. This in turn drives the need for another usable workbench, forcing the creation of a foyer
equipment storage area. A silicon manufacturer I used to work for came up with a win-win scenario, I do some test
work in exchange for a bank-tank refill. Since the market is typically slower in the winter time, I figured it would be a
good time to go ahead with it. With all their equipment installed and near ready for making amps (up to 200A for a
high performance microprocessor) things will likely get warmer in the lab. The build will still progress as before, since
I'm  lacking a work commute and mandatory breaks leaves ample time to get things done. Time to get back to work!
wireless broadband to be installed. Now surfing the web is a joy to do in far less time than before. Try surfing at dialup
speeds now a days with web page content much larger than 5 years ago. It will make revising the website easier as
well. With 1 charger done and 2 to go, along with a controller and system build to do, there's still much going on.
Getting a insurance policy is as tough as getting a loan, it all ties back into risk. Seems to be a common thread these
days. Hopefully I can squeeze in some pack recharge time with a new charger design. Time to get back to work!
3/8/10 Been busy with time sharing on board fabs, board builds, testing, finishing up the dyno configuration, and
getting ready to dyno a controller, and doing some side work to keep the bills paid. Looking at ways to speed
LionMon calibration times as well to increase throughput in the lab, as well as general cleanup and resetting the shop
to flow better when build orders arrive. Usually this time of year is when R&D is going on since new orders are
historically slow in the winter months, usually 'till until it warms up outside and tax refund checks have arrived in the
mail. Time to get back to work and finish up the to-do list for the day!
3/20/10 Shipped part of a system build this week and finishing up a split pack charging system that will be using 100A
LiFePO4's in combination with 13 Exide Orbitals. Should make for some fast 1/4mi trips down the race track! Other
items in the news, test time is less with a new build method for LiFePO4 monitors. Previously parts were pre-sorted
and essentially calibration was being verified and tweaked at the testing stage on the boards. Now calibration is last
with no pre-calibration to save a little on build times. A order for a 800A controller (swap with a 500A unit) is being
built up as well, so the front page build counter stays the same with only a date change. Board builds for kits are
being assembled to speed up new order builds as well. More to do, back to work...
4/2/10 The new LionMon calibration is easier than before, will build another set to have them on the shelf in the for
the months ahead. Started to sell some unused EV stuff on ebay but 2 out of 3 auctions ended with no bids,
compared to a few years ago, things were moving. Market doesn't seem as good as some tout. Traded a land line
and switching to a Internet phone is surely different, tends to break up now and then, but having high speed Internet
means less time to wait for things to download. Remaining builds are progressing along. More to do, back to work...
4/17/10 Progressing on existing builds, parts are definitely moving into larger tier backorders. In other words, if its not
presently on the shelf, you may have to meet a larger volume purchase to get parts. This is even true with heatsink
material. Finally got through some software issues on the other work in the lab, so now things can be more efficient in
that work space. Have some shuffling around to do to get more bench space, and schedule some time for charger
R&D (2.4kW/AC input at 240VAC) Looking to eventually squeeze a WarP9 into the Scirocco to see how much
different 60ft/lbs is compared to 120ft/lbs with only a motor change...Still need to update the purchasing page for the
800A system pricing. More to do, back to work...
4/23/10 The present build has slowed a bit, due to lab-sharing and small part orders, but its still moving ahead. Even
the weekends are filled with planning ahead for next week...So with that going on, along with pressing needs to keep
things (like the lawn) from reaching skyward, the squeeze to extract the maximum effort from the time on hand is
tough, still manageable. With that in mind, consider this as a possibility: How about a 50Ah LiFePO4 cell that had 10C
capability for 15Sec, and a 3C constant current rating? And could cycle between the 2 'C' ratings for city driving? And
priced proportionately to existing 100Ah cells? Less than 5lbs/cell? And swap-able with existing 100Ah cells if 2X
range is needed later? Are you ready to ditch lead once and for all? Ok, I've got more to do, back to work...
5/2/10 -Pausing for a commercial interruption- Things have recently gotten interesting in the EV market, whether a
supplier is heading out of business, or a manufacturer takes pot shots at your product (while hiding their own issues
of huge ripple currents from the spotlight) and want you to help sell their product. One thing is for sure, sometimes
things are downright disappointing, sometimes laughable. In any case, one thing I've seen is the EV market has
slowed and its starting to show up in places you would least suspect.  - Back to your normally scheduled blog - Build
is progressing with a dual charger sent out last week. Lab timeshare is time consuming but still manageable. 10-12
hour days aren't hard when you can take a break when you need to. Ok, I've got more to do, back to work...
5/9/10 Shipping out the first half of a system to Florida tomorrow, finishing up a 800A controller to the UK hopefully
this week along with a DC-DC build. I need to get some test time on a 2.4kW single charger circuit as well. When
done, a dual AC input Gen 2 charger will produce up to 4.8kW on a 220V AC input for the larger 200Ah LiFePO4
packs. To all the moms out there, take a break and get some rest. Though many comparisons can be made to
owning a business, the one that stands out is, there is no paycheck handed out for a job well done. Ok, I've got more
to do, time to plan for this week's workload...
5/18/10 Shipped out a 800A controller/potbox upgrade yesterday to the UK, finishing up a DC-DC build this week. Still
need some R& D time for new projects. My lab sharing is not on this week, so some spare time will get some other as
well. More to do, back to work!
5/28/10 Shipped out a DC-DC build this week. Finishing up a charger upgrade and getting ready for some LabView
work to interface to a new cell/battery tester design. Most of the parts are in house, still waiting on some huge
heatsink material to arrive next week. The goal is to be able to test LiFePO4's up to 1000A, and see who's datasheet
reflects what they are shipping you. Results to be posted when testing is complete. Are you ready for $4+/gal fuel
prices this summer? Wanted a live feed on the webpage, but SiteBuilder isn't that friendly. More to do, back to work.
6/4/10 Spent part of the week on the 2.4kW charger design, checking thermals and currents. Runs a tad hotter than
my existing 1.2kW design, understandably why. May have to get a larger internal fan to circulate the heat. Got the
supersized heatsinks in and deciding on drilling 4 holes/module, or use a truss bracket over 5. Ordered more bracket
material just in case. Also testing a simpler G1.5-G2 charger upgrade configuration. More to do, back to work.