hacknspark
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:33 am
Delivery Date: 22 Aug 2020

Greetings! Am I allowed to ask about hacking/repurposing?

Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:55 am

Greetings Leaf enthusiasts!

My name is Caleb... I am an electrical engineering student, EV enthusiast and have a strong interest in off-grid living. I have recently purchased a 350sq ft barn to convert into a tiny home. To much dismay, installing electrical power will be very environmentally destructive to the rural site where the plot of land is. The utility proposes 6-8 power poles, and clearing a swath of untouched forest 3 meters wide for 300 meters of line. I just can't...

So I've turned to doing what I do best which is repurposing things. An insurance/crash/salvage/auction Leaf is extremely reasonable in cost, has copious amounts of battery and air conditioning onboard for my needs, water heating, excessive 12v ability (for LED interior lighting, phone charging, radio, entertaiment, etc), and a HOOOOOOJ inverter. Any body parts, glass, interior, and the traction motor could be sold off to help recover the cost of acquiring the car.

I ran across you fine folks here tracking down CAN information on the drivetrain and inverter, and your forum has been a wealth of information. Thank you all for your contributions... in 2 afternoons of deep delving research I feel a high likelihood of being able to accomplish my goals.

A few remaining issues I have are with charging via solar, and the traction motor inverter:

What would be the best method to introduce solar energy into the battery/inverter chain, while in operation?
Could the inverter be made to output 60hz AC 3 phase near any US standard? Some voltage and frequency variation would be tolerable as it wouldn't be grid connected. I couldn't find any info on the type of output (sPWM, pulse, etc) or the voltage levels available. I have thought of attaching a generator head to the traction motor and setting the cruise control but this is a rather desperate measure and would be hugely inefficient.

I'd love to ask questions like this and delve in with your knowledgeable members, test and tinker in new waters, expand my knowledge of EV's and solar.

Thanks
Caleb

rmay635703
Posts: 563
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:43 pm

Re: Greetings! Am I allowed to ask about hacking/repurposing?

Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:13 am

I am no help on the technical side of the Leaf but historically in the good ol days there were a few folks here that were modifying Leafs.

I would recommend looking at the following
(Even though these aren’t exactly what you are looking to do)

https://openinverter.org/forum/viewforu ... 8fbf85c20e

https://www.diyelectriccar.com/threads/ ... er.203564/

https://www.diyelectriccar.com/threads/ ... on.201049/


Best to follow a shotgun approach with forums and see what sticks, lots of knowledge but getting them to help is another matter

Good Luck

goldbrick
Posts: 1020
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:33 pm
Delivery Date: 01 Aug 2017
Leaf Number: 311806
Location: Boulder, CO

Re: Greetings! Am I allowed to ask about hacking/repurposing?

Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:00 am

I would suggest to forget the idea of using the inverter to generate AC power. At best, it would be a huge and very technical project for an expert.

I would sell the inverter to recoup some cost and just buy an inverter that will work with the cells from the Leaf.

hacknspark
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:33 am
Delivery Date: 22 Aug 2020

Re: Greetings! Am I allowed to ask about hacking/repurposing?

Sat Aug 22, 2020 2:04 pm

rmay> Thanks for the suggestions, did the reading

goldbrick> I know it sounds just that easy but no one makes an off grid inverter with a 400VDC bus. Danfoss HLX4.4 requires a grid sync signal, which could be derrived from a smaller 12v buck inverter from the LA battery/DC-DC system. Any other option requires rearranging the pack into lower DC volts... meaning bulkier cables, throwing away the air conditioner, DC to DC, etc. Thats a lot of the fruit of the project. The "expert" of the work is probably just at the edge of my abilities and my circle of technical friends but I'm willing to seek out expertise where I fall short. Considering that junk yards are going to be littered with these as toxic e-waste in short order, I'd love to assign them a new purpose and am willing to put in the work necessary. I have seen several boards made by EVers that are repurposing the inverter to more basic controls and also Ive seen people turning the motor with CAN signals to an as-is inverter. The inverter itself is good from 0-7000hz, so 60hz is well within specification. Output voltage can be adjusted by transformer as well as smoothing the output.

I could also, almost, get away with just having the 12v 1000w inverter kits available but I like my 220v kettle. :mrgreen:

GerryAZ
Gold Member
Posts: 2631
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:47 pm
Delivery Date: 12 Jun 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Greetings! Am I allowed to ask about hacking/repurposing?

Sat Aug 22, 2020 2:58 pm

If you keep the battery pack intact, then the charging energy would need to go through either the J1772 port or the CHAdeMO port. The traction motor is a 3-phase synchronous motor with permanent magnet rotor so speed is varied by varying frequency. Torque is controlled by controlling voltage and current. The DC side of the inverter operates at full battery voltage (ranges from about 280 at very low charge to about 400 volts at full charge). Therefore, I don't think it is feasible to use the inverter to create normal 3-phase AC at typical utilization voltages.
Gerry
Silver LEAF 2011 SL rear ended (totaled) by in-attentive driver 1/4/2015 at 50,422 miles
Silver LEAF 2015 SL purchased 2/7/2015; traded 8/10/2019 at 82,436 miles
White LEAF 2019 SL Plus purchased 8/10/2019

goldbrick
Posts: 1020
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:33 pm
Delivery Date: 01 Aug 2017
Leaf Number: 311806
Location: Boulder, CO

Re: Greetings! Am I allowed to ask about hacking/repurposing?

Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:19 pm

Are you sure no one makes a 400V inverter? I'm not an expert but it seems to me that is a fairly common input voltage for grid-tied inverters. Eg. see https://documents.wholesalesolar.com/me ... 1598155532 I realize you aren't planning to connect to the grid but if generating a 60Hz pilot signal is beyond your means then I don't see how this project would ever be safely completed.

And as for the Leaf's motor, again I'm no expert but I have worked professionally with 3-phase permanent magnet motors before and the ones I worked with had quite a bit of firmware required to start the motor and accelerate it to speed. Also, in these motors, the driving elements needed to be synchronized to the magnets so there were periodic time intervals where the motor's BEMF signal was monitored to find the zero-crossing point of the un-driven phase. In short, I don't see how that could be turned into a generator unless you had a mechanical source of power to drive the motor rather than a DC power source. It's possible the power components could be disassembled and repurposed in other ways but as I said before, that sounds like a very big project to me.

I don't mean to be discouraging and I know there is an active DIY community that is willing to share etc but I think you are under estimating the complexity of what you are proposing.

User avatar
Nubo
Posts: 5800
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:01 am
Delivery Date: 31 Oct 2014
Location: Vallejo, CA

Re: Greetings! Am I allowed to ask about hacking/repurposing?

Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:45 pm

There's a wealth of info at EVTV.ME where the proprietor has been working on something he calls "selfish solar" for a few years now.
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

DougWantsALeaf
Posts: 2198
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 8:21 pm
Delivery Date: 18 May 2013
Leaf Number: 407811
Location: Chicago North Side

Re: Greetings! Am I allowed to ask about hacking/repurposing?

Sun Aug 23, 2020 6:53 am

I dont known if this is relevant, but there is one crazy you tuber who has sllar working with his traction battery (in a volt).

"Real Solar Cars" in the name.

https://youtu.be/fX3QDPlve00

https://youtu.be/Nmr8WVmRbv4
2019 S Plus (98.06% SOH) & 2019 SV Plus (94.77% SOH) Both Silver
2013 Leaf SV sold 2019 with 11 bars
100 Mile Club Member (Number 87)
Max Miles on 13 Leaf: 120 miles
Max Miles on 19 SV+: 242 Highway miles @ 4.5 miles/kWh

rmay635703
Posts: 563
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:43 pm

Re: Greetings! Am I allowed to ask about hacking/repurposing?

Sun Aug 23, 2020 8:41 am

Although this might sound excessively obvious if your 110vac needs are at best “slight” like mine you could just use the leaf EXACTLY as designed and use a larger 12v deep cycle bank to run your 110vac through a cheap traditional inverter,
your leaf and solar could top the 12 volt pack using the leaf 12v dcdc and you would just need to cycle between charge and discharge modes

More losses but by far the path of least resistance and lowest cost.

User avatar
Nubo
Posts: 5800
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:01 am
Delivery Date: 31 Oct 2014
Location: Vallejo, CA

Re: Greetings! Am I allowed to ask about hacking/repurposing?

Sun Aug 23, 2020 10:24 am

rmay635703 wrote:
Sun Aug 23, 2020 8:41 am
Although this might sound excessively obvious if your 110vac needs are at best “slight” like mine you could just use the leaf EXACTLY as designed and use a larger 12v deep cycle bank to run your 110vac through a cheap traditional inverter,
your leaf and solar could top the 12 volt pack using the leaf 12v dcdc and you would just need to cycle between charge and discharge modes

More losses but by far the path of least resistance and lowest cost.
Definitely the easiest route if needs are modest. There are threads on the forum with details.

If I may discuss the premise though -- a narrow path cut through woods isn't necessarily destructive. It creates an "edge" environment which can actually be quite productive with brambles and berries, for instance, which provide good food sources for wildlife.
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

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