Sparky the Electric Samurai

The converting, maintenance, and operation of a Suzuki Samurai conversion to Electric power.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Post mortem

There are captioned photos at and . Here can be seen the origins which seem to be lost from the blog. The albums are public so there should be no access problems.

In retrospect, upgrading from the golf cart batteries to NMh was a mistake. The lead acid are very hardy. They will put up with environmental  difficulties that will destroy the more expensive alternatives. I don't know about the lithium batteries other than they are still very expensive but lighter. I guess there is a reason that all the golf carts are still using lead. I have replaced the destroyed 2011 Volt with a 2012 model thanks to Amica Insurance. If you are looking for a company that treats you right, I would recommend them highly! Anyway, the environmental care GM gives those batteries is overwhelming. Never fully charged or fully discharged. Temperature controlled to a narrow range. Pretty tough for a home builder.

It is worth noting that the "range anxiety" so much talked about really isn't a problem for EV operators. You don't try to go further than you know you can.

If you are going to build an EV, don't buy the batteries until you are ready to install them. Everything will take longer and cost more than you expect. The battery charger will probably be one of the biggest expenses. Be sure you have the capability to charge on 120V. Outlets are available everywhere. 240s are harder to find. Obviously, 240 is nicer. Volts X Amps=Watts. You can figure about 3 miles/kilowatt. contact me at stormc at iname period com if I can possibly be of help.
Storm Connors


There has been some recent interest in the electric Samurai. Apparently, the blog is not accessable so I am hoping that adding a post will make it available again. The earliest posts seem to be gone.

The blog only makes sense from the bottom up.

Friday, September 2, 2011

RIP Sparky

No cause has been determined. Definitely not the Volt. This is the front of the garage.The back of the house. Solar collectors visible at top right were undamaged. Hard to believe that the fire dept was able to save this house!Bye, bye Sparky. Hope you weren't the cause of the fire. Certainly were a victim. :-(

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fire destroys 2 EVs
So far, no cause of the fire has been detected. Volt has been pretty well vindicated. Suzuki charge system checks ok.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Garage fire burns new Volt and Suzuki conversion

Ya gotta love the media and the public's perceptions. Tis true that the Volt
was suspected of causing the fire. So was the Suzuki, the electrical wiring, candles, discarded ashes, oily rags and any other possible ignition source. We have been reviewed by the Fire marshal, the state fire marshal, the CT State Police forensics group, the National auto safety board, 5 engineers from GM; all of whom seem pretty sure that the Volt did not cause the fire. A state electrical investigator spent 4 hours examining the wiring to the Suzuki charger and gave it a clean bill of health.
It will be quite a while before we will be able to occupy the house, despite Heather's observation. Smoke odor is the biggest problem, but we still have no electricity. The local fire department did a super job in confining the fire to the attached garage.
My advice would be to have a smoke detector in the garage, clean the junk out of the garage, and take lots of pictures. It is really hard to remember what stuff you had before the fire.
Storm Connors

Saturday, December 25, 2010

GM 1968 Hybrid

I found a copy of Popular Science from December 1968. Looks like the Volt concept.

Friday, September 10, 2010


I had to send a 24V module out for replacement by the vendor. This means I have a 132V pack and a charger that has 144 and 156V settings. How to charge? I decided to try a "bad boy" charger. A bridge rectifier is connected to the 120V AC with the battery pack connected to the + and - of the rectifier. This bridge rectifier is about an inch square and consists of 4 diodes connected such that the AC is converted to DC. It works out to about 160V of pulsating DC. It can be used to charge batteries from 96V up to about 144V. 144V won't fully charge.

This is certainly not a recommended safe practice.

Bolt the rectifier to a chunk of sheet aluminum to act as a heat sink. Make the connections to the battery pack. Hook together all the extension cords you can find and plug in the rectifier. See what the charge rate is in amps. If it is over 10 amps, borrow some more extension cords. (The extension cords lower the voltage.)

Mine turned out to be 2 amps. I kept removing cords. One short cord worked fine. 10 amps when the batteries were low tapering down to 5 when the batteries approached full.

I recommend that you have a timer that will shut off the power when you expect the battery pack will be fully charged. If you don't have a timer, set an alarm clock to remind you to turn it off. I use the alarm on my cell phone to remind me to check on them every couple hours. Remember, the max voltage you should charge to depends on temperature.

A ways back I explained how to use a transformer in buck or boost mode to give better output voltage control.

Please be careful. I am not recommending anyone do this. Electricity is dangerous. Touching bare wires and connections can cause shocks which can be fatal. Don't set your lawyers on me! You've been warned.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

NiMH cooling

Here is the tank installed near the firewall. You can see the water flowing out each hose. The red hose is because I ran out of plastic. The copper tubing is a U that is supposed to feed the pump. Once it was primed, it worked fine.
See the next post for the solution. I am using the charger set up for lead acid batteries. The cooling system comes on when charging nears completion. It seldom comes on when driving. It comes on at 90 degrees, so we will have to see what hot weather does to it.

Here we go again! Having the usual problems with blogger.

My pump was not self priming so I had to eliminate the copper tube U that I had tried. In my marine supplies, I found a thru hull fitting that I fitted into the bottom of the resevoir.

I found the tank at Ocean States Job Lots. It was sold as a pasta cooker. 88 cents. I guess I will put the other picture in the next post.

NiMH cooling

Formatting pages is driving me buggy! Everything I add goes to the top and move doesn't seem to work. So here's the completed cooling system. Finding a fan proved difficult. My neighbor was using this in his office and donated it to the cause.
Big radiator fans are available and little computer fans, but I needed one around 6". I made a shroud to fit the fan to the radiator.

I cut a hole in the floor under the passenger seat and installed a radiator. I t hink it was a heater core. I found a pump on Ebay that was being sold to the hydrogen generation for injection crowd.
The relay in the front of the radiator turns on the pump and fan when the thermostat in the battery box turns off.
Hope you can see what I did in spite of the formatting problems.