Controller settings and traction batteries

ZEV240RearShotinEricSt sml

" I've realised that the settings can be tweaked to either maximise battery life OR power at the wheels, and now I know what I prefer " 

Most good controllers allow you change of their settings easily enough. On the 1000A Zilla controller in the ZEV240, you simply plug your laptop in to an ethernet plug. In fact you can even make changes whilst driving; but the safety people would prefer that someone else was doing the actual driving. Now I've learned to take more care with  condition of the pack, I've realised that the settings can be tweaked to either maximise battery life or power at the wheels, and now I know what I prefer.

As I described in learning to manage a traction pack, the weaker members of the pack were undermined by their stronger brothers, and they had to be replaced. This was done a long time ago, and things have settled down remarkably. In fact I'm getting good performance these days. The pack is ticket-boo after every nightly charge and I'm getting about the same distance as ever. I have no way of knowing whether the prediction by the manufacturer of 3000 recharges is going to be right (that is about 300 a year for 10 years i.e. most nights in a year), but so far a ten year battery life is looking impressively on target. And if its not that long, I would only be able to tell you when replacement time comes around.

What I did not make clear at the time was that I was realised that changing the settings was a critical part of managing the pack. The original settings were great for speed (I recall Rob saying, "It'll go like a *@*%!*ing cracker", or words to that effect) but they can be tweaked to put less pressure on the battery pack and still give good performance. And that is what Ive done… So getting the same distances is  the result of more conservative settings in the controller. 

The controller settings are managed by an interface to the Zilla system called the Hairball 2. I have recently installed a serial cable (6 cable RJ12 connector on the Hairball), to Serial DB9  plug so I can talk to the Zilla via the built-in Comms program on my trusty old Psion Series 5mx palmtop computer. I say trusty cos it dates from an early school experiment in smaller computer systems for younger students which we ran in the early 1990s in WA - a precursor to my PhD 5 years later, in hindsight - and today I am impressed by the elegance and software that Psion Inc. squeezed into such a tiny folding case with a pop-out keyboard. And it still works a treat. Sadly the screen is gradually darkening and contrast isn't so good any more - see the pic, or perhaps its my eyes these days! 

SO here is a photograph of the Main Menu, and without boring you with the details, trust me when I say that being in Valet Mode hasn't made a significant difference to much except to improve the distances I regularly get now. 

IMG 9096

© bdc 2014