Saturday, June 6, 2009

Power Steering!

Today was Power Steering day. If you may recall, last year, I bought an electric power steering pump kit from CanEv. I fiddled with a few things, making a rack to mount it on, but never got it hooked up. I finally got a high pressure hose crimped at my local Parker Store, but other projects got in the way. But finally I got it put in.

Here is the pump, mounted in its home. The thick red wire gets power from a relay and circuit breaker. The thick black wire goes to ground. The black hose with green stripes is the high pressure hose that goes from the pump to the steering box. The thinner blue hose is the low pressure return line from the steering box to the fluid reservoir. The thicker blue hose goes from the reservoir to the pump.

Here is the reservoir, tucked in a corner near the most negative battery in the pack. It is not permanently mounted yet - it's just kind of resting there. This obviously needs to get fixed before driving... Here you can see the three hoses I discussed earlier:

Here are the electronics which turn on the pump. The box on the left is a high power (100A) resettable circuit breaker. The box on the right is a high power relay. The relay is turned on when the key switch is turned on, causing the power steering pump to run. This is all shown on the 12V circuit diagram.

Also this week I have been doing some battery tuneups. The charger I had been using to top off the batteries was clearly inadequate - it never got the voltage up above 14.1V, and the whole pack was dragging at around 12.4V - 12.5V per battery, giving a total pack voltage when "fully charged" of around 318V. The worst thing was that the battery levels were pretty far apart, making bulk charging a risky proposition. So, I got a pair of higher-tech chargers that claim to be able to desulphate batteries - BatteryMINDer:

They actually seem to work well. I have not given any of the batteries the desulphation treatment yet - I'm going to let them all rest until Monday morning and see which ones have sagged the worst. But, as you can see, the fresh charge gets up very close to full now (where "full" is roughly 330V for 26 12-volt batteries):

Next up - power brakes... and cleaning up the rat's nest in the front compartment.

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