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strangeangel

Strangeangel's Citroënic Shenanigans (featuring the Autoshite BX, Ami Break and some bikes) 26/3 Ami fettling

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The commutator does have a lot of scorching and possible arc damage but there does not appear to be much wear; give it a rub with some wet and dry before condemning it. It's probably worth seeing if those motor reconditioning places can furnish generic brushes, the price you quoted seems a little salty for a service item.

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Been reading about the Aixam with interest. The commutator looks potentially saveable with a clean up. I doubt that a failed stator or rotor winding has caused the damage but it wouldn't harm doing a simple resistance test of the windings (compare with the good motor if you can). Expect kilo-ohms to megohms for the windings, also make sure the rotor & stator windings aren't shorted to the armature or the case.

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2 hours ago, dozeydustman said:

Been reading about the Aixam with interest. The commutator looks potentially saveable with a clean up. I doubt that a failed stator or rotor winding has caused the damage but it wouldn't harm doing a simple resistance test of the windings (compare with the good motor if you can). Expect kilo-ohms to megohms for the windings, also make sure the rotor & stator windings aren't shorted to the armature or the case.

 

Cheers, hope it can reward your interest with a successful run out before too long! I do appreciate all the nuggets of information posted throughout the thread; I came to this car from a position of complete ignorance, but I've learned a good deal already!

 

I'll stash the failed motor away to look at another time, because by the time I'd read the thread, I had set about installing the new one:

 

IMG_1960.thumb.JPG.c33a162049dabb1374df644f08c2b931.JPG

 

A (second) trolley jack and a block of wood were a big help here, although refitting was quite straightforward. Meanwhile, enjoy Aixam Design Feature #9828347234. Yes, that is the gearbox filler cap, directly under the big metal plate that houses all the electrical gubbins.

 

IMG_1961.thumb.JPG.895c758ed6badcebccf62e74a42aa3bd.JPG

 

I would have changed the oil this morning but I don't know what type or how much to use. I plan to do it before putting the front back on the car anyway. These gearboxes are known for failing in use, and this retarded piece of design is most likely the reason why.

 

Next job is to lace up the battery pack again and see if the car moves!

 

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Loving the updates on this. I’m commuting on a DIY electric bike at the moment, the tech on mine is very basic but I’m planning to upgrade it to use a nice torque sensing bottom bracket and fancy control system from these guys: https://www.ebikes.ca

I mention it because lots of people are using their modular control system (cycle analyst V3) as the brains and dashboard of all sorts of weird and wonderful electric vehicles. They have some great info about all sorts of stuff on their website... maybe might come in handy if you need to start thinking about replacing bits. 

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1 hour ago, Fabergé Greggs said:

Loving the updates on this. I’m commuting on a DIY electric bike at the moment, the tech on mine is very basic but I’m planning to upgrade it to use a nice torque sensing bottom bracket and fancy control system from these guys: https://www.ebikes.ca

 

 

I bet it's not as basic as the tech in this car! Does your DIY bike have a thread yet??

 

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Good start to the day with an MOT pass for my DN-01, nice to be back on two wheels again.

 

Things continued in the same vein, too; I hooked all the batteries up on the Aixam, got 50V at the main switch - so the batteries seem OK - switched everything on... and it worked! It's still too slow, and there are other issues:

- the instruments stay lit up all the time with the charge light flashing and the red exclamation mark warning light on.

- the Aixam ECU box is flashing up some sort of error code, but I don't have any documentation for this unit, so fuck knows what its problem is.

- the original Aixam charger is knackered (like that when I got the car), and the 12V Halfords job is now also dead. I may have caused all the above problems by inadvertently connecting said charger up the wrong way round like a proper dickhead, Ho hum.

 

Next job is to restore charging. I picked up a new 48V charger not long ago in a cheap job lot of EV stuff; I'm going to remove the shagged Aixam one and see what connections there are and if - here's hoping - it'll be a straight swap or not. Another bit of good news is that the documentation I bought for a 2008 Mega Van seems to match the components in my car exactly. Amongst other things it reckoned I could disconnect he Aixam ECU and the car would till run, albeit with no instrument lights etc. This proved to be correct,

 

I might have another go a this tomorrow, or I might crack on with rebuilding the beige BX's carb. We'll see how it goes,

 

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Another exciting day in the company of The World's Shittest Electric Car (TM).

 

Flush with the success of actually getting the Aixam to run again, I decided to spend today trying to get it charging the traction batteries once more. Previous attempts have ended with the ECU (it's not really an ECU, but for the sake of simplicity I shall refer to it as such; it's what passes for the Aixam's wizened little brain anyway) getting stuck in charge mode. What this means is that the instruments all light up as if the car is charging, even when it's not, and if the car is connected to the mains it doesn't charge up.

 

Today's first effort was no different. So I decided to swap the ECU for the one I got from the scrapper. And it worked! For about three hours, at which point charging stopped, and the ECU stuck in charge mode and started flashing the same code as the first one (51). If only I knew what they meant! I'm gutted now, because I've broken both of the fucking things. Nothing to lose, then, let's get the top off one of them.

 

board.thumb.jpeg.cc6480afb80a497772f78f1f61851c9f.jpeg

 

Hey look, there's a jumper at the back there (just in front of the LED)! The bastard was glued in place 🙄 but any thoughts I had of there being a really good reason for that had long passed. I got the pliers and yanked it off the pins. Moved it to the other position, powered the car down and back up... the LED flashes furiously and RESET OCCURS! The display goes off and returns to normal mode. I repeat the same process with the other unit and discover that I have, in fact, destroyed neither of them.

 

PLAY PLAYER ONE.

 

Now the charger. Aixam chargers are notoriously shit, even by the low standards of the rest of the car. It's hardly surprising that they fail, though; not when you consider that they are mounted under the bonnet of a car, with a bit of old sound deadening mat as weather protection. They even have a sticker on FFS:

 

water.thumb.jpeg.b110933d9ba8749f2c7e47efbb342a89.jpeg

 

To be fair - what chance did they stand?? My charger has a 240V fan from some sort of industrial application stuffed in front of it to compensate for the fact that the two fans in the charger are DEED. I would really rather not have this Heath Robinson device anywhere near the car, and it is unbolted and put to one side.

 

shitfan.thumb.jpeg.fded5d74c500c4606185fa1fdbe0ad7e.jpeg

 

Surely I can fix the fans in the charger, or at least replace them? Let's have a look.

 

charger.thumb.jpeg.8e7b2482439b07af43829ce688cac70b.jpeg

 

Bodgery aside - someone's clearly replaced the fans before - this doesn't look too bad. 2 x 24V fans. I test them. One is fucked, and the other - which had only one surviving connection - worked! I fixed the wiring and plugged everything else back in, only to find that it's whatever provides 24V to the fans inside the charger that's toast. Arse. These capacitors look a bit fucking phat as well:

 

caps.thumb.jpeg.32961cd6ae6602954cab959836932428.jpeg

 

Less than great, then. And I still have the problem that the whole system crashes the ECU after a few hours of charging. I'm getting pissed off now, yet I - perhaps inexplicably - resist the urge to get my best fireman's axe and chop the car into little pieces, almost like something @dave21478 might have done in his heyday.

 

I sit quietly instead and RTFM. The documentation I purchased off eBay for a 2008 Mega Truck has proven that these shitheaps are almost identical under the skin, and it suggests that the car can function perfectly well without the ECU. The ECU and charger are inexorably related as - apart from the power cables - there's a 6-way connector between the two of them. Outstanding. I wonder if the car will function without either of these POS? I disconnect the lot and the car not only drives, but has a full range of lights, horn etc. which suggest that the hated ECU/charger units can go. The only thing that doesn't work is the dash (except for the mechanical speedo) but the documentaton suggests that even this can be by-passed. Awesome. But what will I put in their place, I hear you ask? This.

 

newcharger.thumb.jpeg.7758221d8cfb397773b45ed5afb91a5d.jpeg

 

It's a brand new 48V EV charger, acquired in a job lot purchase you can read about in this very thread, a few pages ago. Given all that I know now, I can see no reason not to bin the Aixam charger and ECU* and simply fit this instead. As ever, I am more than happy to receive advice from the sage contributors to this thread - I wouldn't have got this far without you.

 

Well, that was a long one - I'm off for a well-deserved glass of red. Cheers!

 

*or, better yet, sell them on eBay for PROFIT.

 

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One has to question what the electronic gubbins is even for really, I guess it's just for battery/charging management and spurious error codes.

Is the forward motion control side just a big variable resistor connected to the pedal and an on/off switch for volts?

I feel it must be restated that this is top level futureshiting, and when you consider that after all this our intrepid hero has still only got a 20mph plastic death trap, I am compelled to award the GOLD STAR for sheer masochism.

More batteries and speed soon?

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19 minutes ago, Dave_Q said:

One has to question what the electronic gubbins is even for really, I guess it's just for battery/charging management and spurious error codes.

Is the forward motion control side just a big variable resistor connected to the pedal and an on/off switch for volts?

I feel it must be restated that this is top level futureshiting, and when you consider that after all this our intrepid hero has still only got a 20mph plastic death trap, I am compelled to award the GOLD STAR for sheer masochism.

More batteries and speed soon?

 

The go pedal is connected to a Curtis 48V speed controller which is, in all probability, as sofistikated as you describe.

 

More batteries and more speed was always the plan, but it's been such a trial to get the little bastard to actually work that those lofty dreams seem such a long way away. Have to say I'm feeling a little more confident after today, though ;)

 

Onwards!

 

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Had work this morning, but after lunch I got back on with the Aixam. I was a bit previous yesterday, saying that everything worked without the charger; checking properly revealed that although the hazards work the indicators don't (logic FTW) and neither does the cabin heater. Still, there's no option - the current system doesn't work, and the charger in particular is in a right state. Out it comes then:

 

oldch.thumb.jpeg.8f9a97805a6cc45a50a3147b42ff1615.jpeg

 

The new one's too big to fit under the bonnet, which prompted some head-scratching. But then why does it need to go under the bonnet? It'd end up like the other one pretty quickly. No, I've got a better idea.

 

newch.thumb.jpeg.ed0f9e825327ad0e94ebf7956e79772c.jpeg

 

The charging leads are long enough to reach to the batteries under the seats (I'll get some flexi conduit ordered), and the 240V lead can be kept short as the OSR is where the charger plug is. This is where the extra batteries and controller will live eventually.

 

While I'm waiting for the conduit, I need to find a way of getting the indicators (and, less importantly, the heater) working. I've got some wiring diagrams, but getting a better look wouldn't hurt. Unbelievably, the dash was really easy to get off - it just pushes onto two clips on each side:

 

dash.thumb.jpeg.288189798f114456ae4843b4ea9eeb67.jpeg

 

Prise one more clip out of the top leading edge of the panel, undo a self-tapper at the bottom and it's off. Just unscrew the control stalks and remove the steering wheel and it's done. WCPGW? Well, Aixam might have secured the fucking steering wheel with something other than a MAHOOSIVE Torx bolt...

 

wheel.thumb.jpeg.0119b357e833d2679ca67c33a06464de.jpeg

 

It doesn't look much, but that's bigger than the largest one I have (T40). Bollocks. Best add a set of Torx bits to that eBay order then!

 

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Is there a multi ribbon connector between the charging circuit and the battery? I assume the battery pack is made from multiple cells and if so it's really important to have a battery management system that can trickle charge individual groups of cells at the end of the charging process, which it does via the ribbon. 

Edit: Actually, what kind of battery is it? 

Your battery management system might be within the battery itself though,  in which case ignore me. 

If your batteries are lithium then I think you need a constant current/ constant voltage charger- it does the bulk of the charging at high current, then switches to CV at the end to trickle. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Fabergé Greggs said:

Is there a multi ribbon connector between the charging circuit and the battery? I assume the battery pack is made from multiple cells and if so it's really important to have a battery management system that can trickle charge individual groups of cells at the end of the charging process. 

Your battery management system might be within the battery itself though,  in which case ignore me. 

 

 

No, it's got nothing like that - the Aixam charger is just connected to the +ve and -ve terminals of the battery pack where it connects to the speed controller (-) and the switched side of the huge relay thing that turns it on (+). The car is really low tech - the battery pack is 12 x big old lead acid batteries under the seats!

 

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Just now, strangeangel said:

 

No, it's got nothing like that - the Aixam charger is just connected to the +ve and -ve terminals of the battery pack where it connects to the speed controller (-) and the switched side of the huge relay thing that turns it on (+). The car is really low tech - the battery pack is 12 x big old lead acid batteries under the seats!

 

In which case, ignore me! 

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Today's update is brought to you by the power of the West Yorkshire sunshine, or more precisely my solar-powered Acer Aspire 1:

 

acer.thumb.jpeg.61cc70cc814ac7f17f61855f987b5ddf.jpeg

 

The dirty work's done now, and the rest of the Ami's floor is finally getting two coats of Bilt Hamber Deox.

 

floor.thumb.jpeg.4b28e17822de00ab612619fb9c64dee2.jpeg

 

Off to do the second one now, then it's Zinc 182 tomorrow!

 

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