Chevy Bolt EV Cheaper than a Honda Civic!?

by Ben N on January 9, 2023

When will electric cars be as cheap as gas cars?

That’s the question I recently got on Facebook. The poster continued suggesting how inexpensive some gas cars can be.

It seems to me that anytime somebody tries to compare one car to another on price, they compare it to what they THINK a Honda Civic costs! The car has been the poster-child for a well-built, inexpensive car for a long time.

Frankly, I don’t even know what a new Civic costs.
So, I looked it up, hitting the Honda web page and then the GM one to compare the costs of the “bare-bones” versions of the Civic and the Bolt EV. After a little digging, I was able to find the ACTUAL costs, including hidden but mandatory Freight/Destination fee.

The Chevy Bolt EV (no options, lowest trim) costs $26,595. The Honda Civic (no options, lowest trim) costs $26,145.
It’s only $450 less than the Bolt!


So, at this very moment, a very popular electric car IS NEARLY as inexpensive as one of the most popular gas ones WITHOUT taking in to account tax incentives, fuel, maintenance, or anything else.

But it gets better. We know that electricity is a less expensive fuel than gasoline. And we can use the information on the cost of fuels and how far we usually drive a car to figure out what the cost of operating the vehicle will really come to!

While it’s not my strong suite, I started punching some of this information into a spreadsheet to track the data.

Here’s the spreadsheet I made, you you can punch your own numbers in to it! (Mac Numbers and Microsoft Excel)


Fuel economy on vehicles (including electric) is available at FuelEconomy.gov
The web page also allows you to compare a number of different vehicles side by side. I pulled up the Bolt and the Civic and noted fuel economy and other information.

I also pulled up how many miles the average American drives. Turns out it’s actually a little complicated. It actually varies a fair amount based on age and gender. I used the cumulative average, but you could always use what applies to you or your ACTUAL annual mileage, such as if you track yours for work.

Running the numbers for both cars, and then charting it, it was easy to see that the Civic is SLIGHTLY less expensive right at the purchase, but than almost instantly becomes more expensive, just based on the cost of gasoline. That’s not even including oil changes or other maintenance.

The Bolt EV saves about $1,000 PER YEAR vs the Honda Civic.

It’s hands-down the clear price winner.

On the purchase of my particular Chevy Bolt EV, I was able to get a $2,000 electric vehicle discount from a third party, and I fully expect to be able to collect the entire $7,500 U.S. Federal Tax Incentive. That puts the Bolt over $9,000 LESS than the Civic!

What about some other electric car?
The Tesla Model Y is a fantastic vehicle, one I’d love to own. It’s also considerably more expensive. I ran the numbers the same way for the Model Y. It simply NEVER saves money vs the Civic, simply because it’s more expensive. If you want to buy a Model Y to save gas – DON’T.
But many people DO buy gas cars in the same price range as a Model Y. If that’s you, then buying a Model Y will save on gas AND it’s an amazing vehicle.

So, there you have it! Electric Cars ARE cheaper than gassers. Er, kinda. Well, at least some of them are. It depends how you figure it, and what models you are comparing…
And your mileage may vary!

But for now, I’ll enjoy my fuel savings.

Until next time, stay charged up!
-Ben Nelson

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We got a BRAND NEW Electric Car!

by Ben N on January 6, 2023

We just bought a BRAND NEW Electric Car!

What did we get? It’s a 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV!

This electric car has a 66kWh battery and is rated for 259 miles of range.

The one we purchased is the 2LT trim level, which includes leather seats, fancier rims, and a birds-eye-view camera system. It also has quite a few driver safety and assistance features, such as blind-spot alerts and lane-keep.

I bought the car at a dealership over 200 miles away. A friend drove me there (in his Tesla Model 3,) I purchased the car and drove it home, making just one stop at a DC Fast Charger. In good weather, I should have been able to make the trip without stopping at all. The temperature was just above freezing. We had slush on the ground at the start of the trip and rain as well.

This is about a $30,000 car.
MSRP on this exact one was $30,485, including destination charge and options.
I was able to get a $2,000 discount through Uber and I fully expect to be able to take the full $7,500 Federal Tax Credit. This brings the cost of the car down to $20,985 – plus tax, title, and license.

Although there are sometimes State or Utility rebates available, I unfortunately do NOT have any of those in my area. We were also NOT able to get the Costco discount or any of several $500 GM “Appreciation” discounts.

It’s too early to tell you all the little things that I love (or don’t) about the car, as I really did just get it.

A couple of things I did notice right away…

Wireless Apple CarPlay is super-cool! It automatically turns the large center display of the car into a giant version of my smart phone. So, my maps, music, calendar, and more are right there – easy to see and use.

Also, I LOVE One-Pedal-Driving!
At the push of a button, you can completely control the car with just the accelerator. Letting off applies firm regenerative braking which can bring the vehicle to a complete stop and hold it there (and of course it turns on the brake lights!)

I like the overall look of the car. The “slit” daytime running lights double as a semi-animated turn signal. The newer front-end feels modern and the blue color really pops.

When it really comes down to it, more than anything, it’s a great big battery on wheels! 66kWh of battery means my wife will never have to worry about the state of charge – just hop in the car and drive.

The fast Level 2 Charge Rate – up to 11.5kW, or 48A@240V, means that even on a completely empty battery, I can charge to 100% full, all while on an overnight “Off-Peak” electric rate. That means the car is CHEAP to fuel!

That same big battery would also be extremely useful in event of a power emergency. That much juice could power my house for days in a blackout! (Look for a future video of me setting up the car to do this!)

Well, that’s it for now. But you can look forward to more videos about this vehicle, my likes and dislikes, and what can be done with it OTHER than simply driving the vehicle!

Until then, stay charged-up!
-Ben Nelson

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SHOCKFLO EVSE Review

by Ben N on December 22, 2022

I recently got the chance to try out the SHOCKFLO 16A dual-voltage electric car charging unit. It’s very inexpensive,($160 as of this writing,) but is it any good? Let’s take a look!

The very first thing that I noticed is that it feels solid. The body of the unit has a nice textured finish. The J1772 end feels good in my hand, and the 20 foot cord has the feel of flexible rubber, rather than stiff vinyl. (People in cold-weather states know why this is important!)

The SHOCKFLO arrived in its own zipper bag and includes a NEMA 6-20 to 5-15 adapter. This lets you plug in to a 240V outlet OR a 120V outlet. Even if you don’t have a 6-20 (240V) outlet, you could also use an adapter to go to a 14-50 or other higher power 240V outlet.

I tested the SHOCKFLO ON three different cars. My two cars max out at about 13A of charging, so I also had a friend stop by with his late model Nissan Leaf, with a higher powered charger.

The EVSE is “Plug and Play” – there are no buttons on the unit, nor any settings that need to be changed. Just plug it in to the wall and the other end in to the car. It’s as simple as that.

The SHOCKFLO is very compact, easily half the size of my original Chevy Volt EVSE, which was 120V only!

On the body are two LEDs – one green and one red. The green LED gives an indication of power and ready to charge, charging the car, and charge complete. If there are any errors or unusual conditions, the red LED lets you know what it is. The basic information for the LEDs is right on the back of the body of the EVSE, and the additional error and protection codes are in the included instruction manual.

Listed among the features of the product is an IP65 rating. That essentially means it’s weatherproof. I opened it up to take a look inside. There’s a silicone gasket between the two halves of the case, and the strain-relief for both cords also acts as a seal against the weather. It’s no problem using this outdoors on a regular basis without worrying about rain.

The spec sheet also lists a large number of safety protection features, ranging from lightning protection to overheat protection. While I didn’t have an easy way to test against lightning, I did see that it would be pretty straight-forward to test for overheating and an improper ground. For the ground, I simply plugged in through a cube tap with a broken ground pin. Right away, the red LED lit up indicating a grounding issue. This is an “alert” – it still provides power, but it lets you know there’s an issue. A car like my 2012 Mitsubishi iMiEV can still charge, ignoring the ground, while my friend’s Nissan Leaf did not. (Keep in mind that grounding varies by car. It’s actually a GOOD thing that the EVSE alerts you to it, but will still provide power.)

I also tested the overheat protection. I already had the EVSE open to examine the waterproofing. So, while it was open, I simply pointed my heat gun at the electronics. It didn’t take long to start flashing the red LED and kill the power output. Looks like overheat protection works the way it’s supposed to.

With the cover off the SHOCKFLO I had a good view of the electronics inside. Overall, it looked very good. Soldering was clean, terminals were tight, and it had good build quality.

The EVSE provides up to a maximum of 16 amps of current to the vehicle.
That’s perfect for me, as our vehicles can only draw about 13A maximum anyways. Full power on 240V is 3,600 watts. Many cars now have higher power chargers, and can accept 32 or even 40A. We charged the newer Nissan Leaf and saw that it did indeed max out at 16A.

Now here’s the interesting part. The SHOCKFLO still went all the way to 16A while on 120V. There’s no reduction of current. So, you still get maximum power whatever your voltage. The other thing this means is that you want to make sure to plug in to a 20A circuit while on 120V if your car can draw at least 16A. The other option is that many cars allow you to adjust your current draw while charging on 120V. Simply drop the current a bit, and then you can also charge on any 15A/120 circuit. While that’s not the fastest way to charge, it DOES let you charge from any of literally MILLIONS of electric outlets.

The EVSE does not have any web connectivity or a related app. Personally, I love that. Some more expensive EVSEs have these, but since similar features are built into most cars now, I don’t really see the point. As far as I’m concerned the more straight-forward, the better.

Things I like about the SHOCKFLO:
Great Price!
Compact
Feels Solid
Simple/Easy-to-Use
Weatherproof
Tested Protections worked well
Includes case and cord adapter

Things it is NOT:
It’s not a higher power EVSE. If you want REALLY fast charging, and your car can handle it, buy a more expensive, high power EVSE and pay your electrician to wire up a NEMA 14-50 outlet or wire up a permanent connection to a high-power circuit.

The unit IS FCC certified. The actual CORD to the wall is UL listed, and the cord to the car is TUV listed. (That’s the German/European agency, similar to UL.) Inside the SHOCKFLO, all the components looked clean and high-quality, but as far as I can tell, the entire unit all together is NOT UL listed. Personally, this doesn’t bother me at all, but it does matter to some people.

Overall, this is a GREAT little unit, especially at the price you pay. Excellent value. It’s perfect to keep in your car, use for travel, or keep at work or some other location you regularly spend time at.

Available through Amazon: https://amzn.to/3hLKlq1


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3D-Printing Time-Lapse

by Ben N on November 6, 2022

While I’m no master of C.A.D. or 3D-Printing, I sure think those time-lapses of 3D prints look AMAZING. So, I decided to figure out how I could do it with my own 3D Printer.

My 3D Printed test object – the Low-Poly Fox
First successful Time-Lapse Video.

A while back, I bought an Ender 3 S1 printer. (https://amzn.to/3fGq0Bt)
A friend of mine runs a small electronics business and had purchased SIX of them, so I decided it was the printer to go with. $400 seemed pretty reasonable, and the printer worked very well right out of the box.

I read a few articles and watched several YouTube videos to find the best approach. It seemed like the best way to do it was to have the PRINT HEAD physically press a button on a camera remote. The camera I would use is a Canon M50 mkii.
https://amzn.to/3Ta4kv5

That camera is smaller than a Canon Rebel, and more importantly, it’s MIRRORLESS. Essentially, it has all of the manual controls and features of a DSLR, only WITHOUT a mechanical mirror which has to flip out of the way. Time-lapses require MANY still images, and over the long-run, could actually wear out a DSLR!

I purchased a third-party wireless remote for the camera.
https://amzn.to/3fB6vds

It features a nice round shutter release button, which would be easy for me to target.

Next, I had to figure out how to mount the remote.
I took measurements of it with my calipers and then 3D modeled a basic shape which would hold it.

Holder for the camera remote control

I then printed that out on my 3D printer, and tested it. The remote fit pretty well. I designed the “hook” of this part to fit over an existing 3D file that I got off Thingiverse. That was a camera mount designed to clip onto the printer. Of course, now that I’m looking for it, I can find it, but it was similar to this one: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5487703

The remote could slide up and down in the holder, and the holder could slide side to side on the part connecting it to the printer.

Now, all I had to do was have a 3D printed “poking stick” mounted to the print head. I had previously downloaded and printed one. (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3676341) However, it was designed for the Ender 3, NOT the Ender 3 S1, so I had to slightly modify it with a knife.

I could then manually control the position of the print head to see exactly where I would need to adjust the position of the remote. Once I did, I locked it in place by simply placing a 2″ spring clamp over it.

The software that came with my 3D printer is Creality Slicer.
In the software, there is a “Post Processing Plugin”. This can essentially add in G-Code automatically to the G-Code that the slicer software creates from the 3D model.

In this case, I’m adding in G-Code when there is a layer change. Every time that happens, the custom code runs. The code I added was:

G90

G1 F9000 X220 Y215

G1 F1000 X230

G4 P500

G1 F9000 X220

This essentially moves the print head almost all the way to the right very quickly, then moves the last centimeter more slowly to press the button, pauses for half a second for the photo to be taken, and then moves away from the button.

After that, the script continues for the 3D print shape. As the print head moves all the way to the right, the bed also slides all the way forward (Y215) so that the print is in the same spot for every photo.

I set up the camera, blasted a light at the ceiling, and ran a 3D object with the time-lapse G-code as part of it. Sure enough, it worked! The print head moved over, pressed the button, and the camera took a photo!

My first test of this was a 1″ cube, which isn’t very exciting, but it does print relatively quick and shows me if everything is working or not.

Very first test – just a boring 1″ cube.


I did find that there was a little bit of an issue with “Stringing”. As the print head moves to the right, the pressure on the molten plastic causes just a little bit to ooze out. That, and the movement away of the print head stretches out a string of plastic. Not the end of the world, but it doesn’t look good and leaves imperfections in the print.

I experimented with the G-Code to retract the filament before moving the print head, and then re-extruding it on return, but with poor results. Most of the time, the filament ended up retracting too far and actually coming out of the hot end! Adjusting the settings in the G-Code didn’t seem to help. I’ll have to address this issue later to figure out the best fix.

So, I 3D printed the Low-Poly Fox while still having the stringing issue. But this time, I had good lighting and a longer print. Other than running out of filament mid-print, and NOT having more of the same color, the print and time-lapse went well.

I brought in all the still photos as an image sequence into my video editing software. From there, I could re-time them, add pan and zoom, and some background music.

Not bad for my first real 3D Printing Time-Lapse!

If you want to more thoughts on trying this type of time-lapse, take a look at the same videos I did. I found these two to be the most helpful:

Well, that’s it for now!
As I work on future projects, I should be able to make some cool time-lapses when I create my 3D prints!

Until next time, stay charged up!
-Ben

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Thrift Store Solar+Storage!

by Ben N on October 16, 2022

Wow, what a week it’s been! The real highlight was stumbling on the thrift store score of the century…

Let me start off saying that it was an unusual set of circumstances.

The job I was going to be working on earlier this week was cancelled last minute. That job was more than an hour drive away in a direction I’m not usually traveling. However, I decided to head that way anyhow to do a few miles on a hiking trail there, part of the Ice Age Trail.

I’ve been working on that both for general exercise and continuing long term recovery from a vehicular collision in 2018, as well as a challenge the Ice Age Trail Foundation has going on right now.

I brought my electric bike with so that I’d be able to hike one direction, and then bicycle back to my car.

After my hike, I thought I’d stop by the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. That’s a thrift store with a focus on home materials. You can often find doors, flooring, tools, light fixtures and similar.

What I wasn’t expecting to find was an entire Generac PWRCell Solar Inverter and Battery system!

I turned right after walking into the store and the very first thing I saw was solar components sitting on the floor in the corner by the manager’s office. His door was open and he was on the phone. I took a quick look at the components and noticed there was no price or other information.

Once the manager was off the phone, I asked him about the solar equipment. He said it was recently donated and the previous owner said the one inverter worked while the other didn’t, and the batteries were two and a half years old. The store was asking $1,000 for everything.

Of course, the other issue with this is there would be no warranty, it wasn’t a “turn-key” system, and a person would actually need to know what they were doing.

Fortunately, I had done some sub-contracting work with a solar company and helped install the first two of these systems in the state, back when it was Pika, who Generac bought the system from.

My rule of thumb with thrift stores is that if you see something you like, BUY IT, because it won’t be there when you come back! I also didn’t have any room in the car, as my electric bicycle was taking up all the cargo space!

I asked the manager if they ever get in any bike racks. He said they did occassionally, and pointed me to where in the store they might have one. Sure enough! There was one for sale, a Yakima 4-bike rack that mounts into a 2″ hitch receiver! That’s pretty much EXACTLY what I would have been looking for anyways!

I paid for the bike rack and solar equipment. Then I took the rack outside, removed the bike, and made space for the solar gear.

After that, a store employee and I loaded all the solar equipment into the car. It took up ALL the cargo space, including having the back seats removed and the passenger seat slid forward. I hooked up the bike rack and mounted the bike to it.

Once home, I unloaded everything, but any testing work would have to wait. I was going to be very busy with work the next day and had to take care of things for that.

Four sections of lithium battery. Each rated at 2.5 kWh capacity.

Another day later, I had a chance to take a look at the gear. I wanted to set it up for testing. Unfortunately, doing it right really means a full-install, which is a lot of work, and NOT what I wanted just to test. So, I simply had the inverter laid out on what space I had – the floor or the hood of my (electric) lawn tractor!

I installed some temporary pig-tails of NEMA 14-50 for an input and a 30A twist-lock output. Running power to either inverter, both had the display and backlight turn on.

I started going through the menu and check out the programming.

I also built the battery. The battery is a large vertical rack with wiring, a black-start 12V battery, communications, and some other parts. Four to six battery sections mount inside that and then a cover goes over everything. I leaned the case up against the wall and starting building the whole thing. The battery sections are heavy, and there’s a number of clamps and grounding connections that need to be installed.

Battery pack, assembled but without the cover yet in place.


Then I ran wiring from the battery to inverter. This system runs everything on a DC BUS at about 360VDC, so I made sure to use wiring rated with 600V insulation. The upside is that at high voltage, it’s pretty low current, so some 12 gauge wiring would be fine for testing.

It took a bit of troubleshooting to activate the inverter and connect the battery. But when I did, IT WORKED!

I was able to try several modes and got the inverter to run from the battery in a simulated blackout situation – which was just me turning off the breaker powering the inverter.

Even better than that was AC COUPLING!
The inverter is “Grid-Forming”, meaning that it makes a nice stable 60 hz 120/240VAC, every bit as good (or in some cases, better than) as what comes in from the grid. This allows my Enphase micro-inverters to power on. Normally, grid-tie inverters automatically power OFF when disconnected from the grid as a safety feature. The down-side of that is the solar panels are USELESS during a blackout! No power from them at all!

I was now able to get the solar panels to turn on, and directly use the AC power output from my micro-inverters.

But what if I made more power than I’m using and the extra wouldn’t be able to go out to the grid? To my surprise and delight, the extra automatically went through the Generac inverter and IN TO the BATTERY! I was able to get 4,000 watts of power charging it! (The full amount I was producing on a not completely sunny day.)

My solar panels are rated at 5,400 watts on the AC side of things. The battery is 10kWh capacity. So, in the middle of a sunny day, I could charge the battery from 0-100% in about 2 hours! (See the video in the link!)

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/MKsmuTTA3Zk

I’ll need to do some further testing and after I’m done, do a proper equipment installation, but I sure am excited about this!

For $1,000 I got the equivalent of a $12K-15K system which not only adds battery backup power but ALSO means my solar panels are useful in a blackout. What a great upgrade!

It also means I’d like to add more solar panels. I already have the solar trailer in the back yard. Using this system to add in those panels to use them for grid-tie to reduce my electric bill further would be fantastic! That would likely also mean some trenching and purchasing the DC Optimizer for the Generac system.

Until next time, stay charged up!
I sure will!
-Ben

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Ryobi 3D Printed Lamp Holder

April 3, 2022

And here’s the lampshade that I made to go with it. You can find the 3D model for the Ryobi Bulb Holder at: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5331517 The hub for the lampshade now includes clips to snap on to the lightbulb: https://www.tinkercad.com/things/fRzEAO9mrK8 I’m still tinkering with the lampshade brim file, and will make an update here when I […]

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Greenworks Electric Chainsaw

March 12, 2022

See the entire review of this chainsaw at: https://300mpg.org/greenworks-80v-chainsaw-review/ Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook Buzz it up Share on Linkedin Share via MySpace share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tumblr it Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this post Tell a friend

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CHAdeMO Relay Hack, Switch, and Testing

November 11, 2021

Continuing work on my CHAdeMO Vehicle to Home project… On the Mitsubishi iMiEV electric car, it’s totally possible to activate power to the CHAdeMO port WITHOUT needing to use CAN bus signals. It can be done completely analog, with just a few simple 12V signals. Part of the reason why is that the relay which […]

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Converting Tractor Hydraulics from engine to Electric

August 10, 2021

Tractors are mechanically complicated.Besides a transmission, there’s also the connection for the Power Take-Off (PTO) and an engine-driven pump which powers the hydraulics. Since there’s no longer an engine, we’ll have to replace the source of power for the hydraulics. Probably the easiest way to do this is with an electric motor and pump salvaged […]

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Solar Trailer: Tilt Lock Redesign

August 5, 2021

My first test tow of the trailer went well, but one thing I still wasn’t happy with was the mechanism for locking the angle of the panels. So, it was time for a redesign! The major thing seemed to be the fact that the tilt lock only had two points of contact. That meant that […]

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Building a Solar Trailer, Part 1

August 1, 2021

Recently, I had a day or two available to work while waiting on things for other projects. For some time, I had the idea of a “Solar Trailer” in the back of my mind. I had seen a number of commercially-built solar trailers go up for auction, but at prices more than I could afford!So, […]

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Tractor Work Resumes

June 6, 2021

After a long hiatus, I’m working on the Electric Tractor Conversion again.This past year was a bad one, with COVID, a couple of deaths in the family, and other issues. One of the most difficult for working on the tractor was probably the fact that I was cut off from my typical resources for working […]

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February Solar Electric Bill

March 7, 2021

How much did electricity cost me this month when I have solar panels? And how long do they take to cover their own cost? Find out in this video! What does this month’s electric bill come to? February is a dark month. We still have many days of solid gray clouds, although not as much […]

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Towing a camping trailer with a Tesla

February 20, 2021

When I was at Fully Charged LIVE, one of the more interesting displays was a private owner of a Tesla Model X and Casita travel trailer showing off his rig. Mike Zuteck gave me a tour of his towing setup. As he’s in the aeronautics industry, he was especially interested in modifying his trailer to […]

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Massive DC Forklift Motor

December 1, 2020

Forklift motors have been popular for a long time in DIY Electric Vehicle Conversions. They tend to be Series-Wound DC motors, which offer tremendous torque at low speeds and are common enough that that can often be found at junk yards. A few years ago, my friend, Tom, and I scrapped out a 6,000 lb […]

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August Solar Electric Bill

October 1, 2020

Today, I opened my August electric bill. It was NOT what I expected! So, I’m a little late. I got my bill nearly a month ago. However, personal and family matters have kept me busy from making videos lately. So, the bill sat until now, when I finally got a chance to open it on […]

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CHRGET Universal Mobile Charger

June 13, 2020

I was recently contacted by the folks at CHRGET. They said they were coming out with a new EVSE, and asked if they could send me one for review. Of course, I said yes! *Full Disclosure – Why would they send me one for free? Well, they would want the advertising, as they are doing […]

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Liquid Cooling for Nissan Leaf motor

May 24, 2020

I’m getting ready to bench test the Nissan Leaf motor, but both the motor and inverter use LIQUID COOLING! I doubt the motor and inverter will make much heat at all when bench testing. However, since I have to figure this out sometime anyways, I thought I would get it taken care of right now. […]

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April 2020 Electric Bill

May 15, 2020

At this time of year, it’s always fun to open my electric bill, to see how much money the power company OWES ME! Last month, I had a credit of over eleven dollars. This month, we have had more sunny days, and the sun is getting higher in the sky. So, I expect even better […]

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Welding frame rails / Rolling the Tractor

May 13, 2020

Converting this International Harvester 300 Utility tractor to electric has had a few challenges. One of them is that the engine is structural and connects the front axle (and everything connected to it) to the transmission. I found a relatively quick and easy answer when I discovered that some other tractors have frame rails that […]

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Nissan Leaf Transmission Tear Down

March 17, 2020

I recently disassembled a Nissan Leaf driveline. That was essentially just taking apart the main components of the charger, inverter, motor and gearbox. After doing that, several viewers requested seeing inside the gearbox. I was also interested in seeing inside and was curious if I could use part of it to mate with the motor […]

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Nissan Leaf Electric Motor from Junk Yard

February 19, 2020

Pretty excited that I just picked up a Nissan Leaf Motor! Yesterday, I drove to Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin to Diamond Auto parts to pick up not just a motor, but also the gearbox and inverter for a Nissan Leaf. The Leaf motor packs quite a bit of power into a small package, and they […]

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Suzuki SV650 Electric Motorcycle

February 9, 2020

One of the joys of going to FULLY CHARGED LIVE (Feb 1 & 2, 2020 in Austin, Texas, USA) was meeting people in the real world who I otherwise only knew via the internet. Robert Powell is one such person. We met up with him before the event opened and got a chance to see […]

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Chevy Volt Dent Repair

January 3, 2020

After installing the new doors on the Volt, it was road-worthy, but I still didn’t like the dent in the back fender. There were a few dings above the rear door as well. So, I set to work to figure out how to pull out the dents. I had already played around a bit with […]

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Fixing a Crashed Chevy Volt

December 28, 2019

I just purchased a Chevy Volt!While I’m excited about that, the only reason I got it was because it was cheap. And it was cheap because it needed a bunch of work… Not long ago, an acquaintance of mine was driving his 2012 Chevy Volt when a deer hit him. (No, he didn’t hit the […]

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Prepping to remove the Loader

November 20, 2019

I removed the sheet metal “Hood” of the tractor to get a quick look at the engine. Pretty simple under there, but both the loader arm AND the loader frame really block working on it. Clearly the loader has to come off right away. In the front, the loader is bolted to the tractor with […]

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Tractor Arrives!

November 15, 2019

Today’s excitement is that the tractor arrived!When we went to look at the International Harvester 300 Utility tractor, one of the appealing things about it was that the seller offered to be able to deliver it.So, today, I’m waiting for the tractor to show up on a gooseneck trailer. The seller, Wayne, showed up right […]

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Winter Projects

November 13, 2019

Winter hit hard and fast here in south-eastern Wisconsin, with 6 inches of snow in October and it’s 6℉ as I write this in early November. So, that means it’s time to button down our winter projects! CRASHED MITSUBISHI IMIEV AUCTIONIn the last video update, I mentioned a crashed Mitsubishi iMiEV that was up for […]

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October Electric Bill and Time of Use

November 12, 2019

I just got my October electric bill! Let’s look inside and see what it comes to. Since I have solar on my garage, my electric bill is far less than it used to be. I typically look forward to getting my bill and taking my best guess as to what it will come to. Overall, […]

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Ford 8N Tractor for Electric Conversion?

October 29, 2019

Today, I stopped over at a friend’s farm property to check out a couple of tractors. I’ve recently been researching which tractors might make good candidates for an electric conversion, but what I really needed to do is just go out and see some. A family friend, Linda, had two old tractors on her property. […]

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DIY Teardrop Trailer Tour

October 9, 2019

About 15 years ago, I built a teardrop trailer. At the time, I never dreamed I would tow it with an electric car! But here we are, living in the future! A teardrop is a retro style of camping trailer with a shape, you guessed it, like a teardrop. These were popular after World War […]

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Tesla Implant!

October 1, 2019

I recently met up with John Olson. He implanted himself with an RFID chip which would allow him to unlock and drive his Tesla Model 3 just by holding his hand up to his car! I met him at the Milwaukee Makerspace for a video interview. One of the reasons we met there was that […]

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Solar Savings – August 2019

September 9, 2019

I just got my electric bill for this past month. Let’s open it up and see what it comes to! August was relatively cool, so we didn’t use the air-conditioning much. That’s important, as what I PAY for electricity is simply the difference between how much I make with the solar and how much I […]

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Wheelie Poppin’ Tractor for Junk Parade!

September 2, 2019

This year, I made it. I got my overpowered piece of junk electric tractor into The World’s Greatest Junk Parade! Last year, I took this old GE Elec-Trak frame and added a forklift motor and 6 Nissan Leaf Cell Modules. The driveline was a little complicated, and I didn’t get it working in time for […]

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Lithium Battery Communications

August 26, 2019

I just got my laptop to communicate with the Valence lithium batteries in the Ford Ranger EV pickup truck! The truck’s instrumentation is pretty basic – just a “Miles to Go” and “Percent Charged” meter, which were designed to work with lead-acid batteries. I wanted to be able to communicate directly with the lithium batteries […]

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Electric ATV Repair and Upgrade

August 11, 2019

Not long ago, a neighbor was cleaning out his garage. Among the things he was getting rid of was an old kids electric ATV. It was in poor condition, but looked like a fun “fixer-upper”! My daughter is also now eight-years old and has outgrown her Solar-Powered PowerWheels. So, a Razor brand ATV looked like […]

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Electric Truck Lithium Battery Upgrade

August 10, 2019

I upgraded the Electric Ford Ranger to Lithium Batteries!The truck had Group 24 Lead-Acid batteries in the bed. The batteries pulled from the Smith electric truck are Valence brand Group 27 batteries designed as 12V replacements. So, the logical thing to do was simply pull out the lead and put in the lithium in it’s […]

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July 2019 Electric Bill

August 8, 2019

I just got my July electric bill. Time to open it on camera so that you and I get to see what it is at the same time! In July, we finally started getting some nice summer days! (June was surprisingly rainy and cloudy!) But along with the sun was HEAT. We used our central […]

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Battery Pack Disassembly

April 18, 2019

Once we finally made it back from North Carolina, we needed to unload the batteries. While we had a forklift to LOAD the batteries, we didn’t have one at my place and had to resort to an engine hoist, furniture dollies, and finally, steel pipes. Getting 2,000 pounds of batteries off the trailer was no […]

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Removing the Batteries from the Smith Electric Truck

April 15, 2019

Well, it’s been an adventure so far…I was originally asked by my friend, Seth, to accompany him on a road trip to buy a commercial electric truck. The Copart auction had already taken place. He just had to drive 900 miles to get the truck and drag it back home. In the highlight of the […]

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