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Just saying HI project: Adding a carputer to my EV conversion

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  • Just saying HI project: Adding a carputer to my EV conversion

    Greetings from Indy!
    I've been reading the site for a couple of weeks, just purchased some gear, & wanted to say HI.

    I've got a little project underway to convert a 2000 Honda CR-V to an all-electric vehicle. Realized commuting 50mi/daily in my Tahoe (which I really, really enjoyed) wasn't helping the climate crisis (or wallet) at all. And while tearing into it...thought....wouldn't it be great to get some of that cool tech from the Prius in there too?

    If you haven't ridden in a Prius recently, they've done a nice job integrating a navigation system, Bluetooth phone, limited voice recognition, software tuned AM/FM, rear camera, and keyless entry & start. (The list goes on...)

    Didn't really think it was too feasible until I came across Manny's EV conversion that had a touchscreen. Running something called RoadRunner.....huh...what's that?

    I then found your site and was really jazzed. Great research, reporting, excellent project cars, and I love the worklogs. Kudos guys!

    I'm already confident that your successes & experience will help make my project possible. I hope I can share & do the same for others.

    Quick stats on my EV Conversion
    Bought a 2000 Honda CR-V 5-speed w/ 183K miles for $2900 in June 2007
    Found a great EV builder, Nick Harless, at Midwest Electric Vehicles to assist with the project
    Yanked & sold the engine, ripped out all the ICE parts (radiator, exhaust manifold, cat converter, gas tank, ...)
    Pulled & set aside the power steering, A/C, wiring harness, rear seats, dash, rear cargo deck,... for later...

    Bought a ton of parts (and good measure of advice) from Ryan Bohm at EVSource (highly recommended)
    Bolted a NetGain WarP 9" DC motor to the tranny with a custom aluminum motor-trans adapter and flywheel fabbed by Indy Custom Machine (really great guys, beautiful work).
    Took the grinder & sawzall to the rear cargo area and rear seat decks and dropped in welded battery boxes (with the talents of Denney Carmichael)
    Bought 24 Odyssey PC2150 (12V) sealed lead acid batteries for fuel
    and very soon...
    Mounting the Zilla Z2K motor controller & cabling with 3/0 cable throughout
    Dual Iota DC-DC converters will provide 12V for all low-power vehicle & accessory needs
    On-board battery charger system from EVSource and (hopefully) Manzanita Micro to juice the batts at home & destination
    Heating, cooling, & power steering will be added back in before long!
    (the list goes on....Koni shocks, Hypercoil springs, new lo-pro tires & Privat wheels....)

    AND NOW.....a carputer from with loads of excellent advice from you guys...
    So I can get my EV & VODCar podcasts sync'd down to the car, with nav system, and eventually Bluetooth hands-free phone and (let us pray) full HD radio integration someday...

    The carputer, with assistance from a few FusionBrain boards, will help monitor battery temperatures, integrate motor controller status and battery charger status normally displayed on PalmPilot, and control battery HVAC !
    (and i wonder why i get to bed nightly after 2am....)

    Carputer stats
    AOpen MP945-VDR w/ 1.83GHz Intel dual core, 2GB RAM, 250GB drive, DVD/CD player, Xenarc 1020TSV touchscreen, BU-353 GPS, CarNetix P2140 PSU, SpecResearch wireless keyboard/mouse, and ...
    (the whole wireless / 3G-EVDO subsystem is a bit complicated ...still on the drawing board... I'm sure I'll get a bit of advice on it...!)

    Well....Rob W & Adam suggested I start a worklog ...thought some folks might be interested in the EV build....and definitely so I can share & be aided in the Carputer implementation...

    So I think I'll wrap it up & share more soon (with pics).

    Looking forward to working in this excellent forum you've all built.


  • #2

    Sounds like quite a project. I would like to know the final specs of the EV (range, top speed, acceleration, etc), as well as a broken-down individual-component cost, if possible. I was thinking about doing a similar project myself (just with a smaller car). I would also like to know just how complicated the project was.



    • #3
      Progress report -- how is the EV going?

      Wanted to check in to see how the progress is going. Also wanted to see what sort of features you may have added to your carputer to track charge/distance/efficiency for your EV.


      • #4
        It would be a very interesting project.
        I'd like to know the cost for the conversion as well.

        Any special reason why you chose cr-v instead of a sedan?
        dsatx in voompc 2 case <HERE>


        • #5
          Craving Amps Update

          OK...queue the Beatles Long and Winding Road song for background music... ;-)

          My EV conversion project is still going strong. I have one web page out in the EV Album with some specs and progress...
          And yes, I'm chided frequently for not blogging (I have one perpetually under construction) nor posting more here in

          It's admittedly twice the project I thought it would be, but I'd still embark on it today despite the personal toll a big project exacts from you. Especially when you're already committing 40-60hrs/wk at your real job, have a family, and would like to retain your husband & Dad status.

          Many have converted in less than a year, but my grasp of the root cause for my delays is now much clearer. It's all about how many items in your conversion, (and every item is something of an engineering challenge), do you rework to get it just "right".

          Not talking about hyper-perfectionism....but just whether your first designs really work or don't. My classic example is the 120V re-coiling extension cord that I designed to be pulled from the front bumper to "destination" charge at work. First design using flexible hose conduit created too much friction to pull the extension cord. Second design using PVC created too much friction to pull the extension cord. THIRD design using blue PEX tubing is GREAT.
          With assembly / disassembly, implementation and yanking it out, trips and more trips to Lowes and Home took a frickin' month. (OK...deep's all good... :-)

          Another key learning is...complexity is your enemy.
          My EV conversion with higher than average traction pack voltage and simultaneous CarPC project is not abiding by that rule...and no surprise ... it's taking too longgggg.........

          SO...why a Honda CR-V?
          Many criteria came into play...but I'd always loved SUVs since I do a bunch of DIY stuff...and often I have to stop at the big boxes on the way home from work.
          Also..your vehicle must sustain any extra weight in your design. With my fairly high pack voltage and decision to use sealed lead acid batteries....I needed a differential in curb weight and gross vehicular weight that many cars didn't have. In fact, i compromised on that i didn't want to go with a Jeep Cherokee, Explorer, etc vehicle due to their high boxy shapes that created considerable wind resistance.
          But the final deciding factor was finding a CR-V with a blown engine. Which is a great thing since you get a better car for a pretty low price.
          After months of looking at junkers (and you don't want frame damage or rust)...and knowing that Toyota produced RAV4 EVs in the past (essentially the same vehicle as a CR-V)...I jumped at the CR-V.

 much does it cost?
          I do believe you can do a budget conversion for $12K - $15K that gets you a reliable EV.
          This is not that conversion. My motor controller alone cost $5K ( a 1200cc street can't really justify I won't try)
          Occasionally I allow my mind to recall the'd never want to build a car from spare parts because it would cost you a fortune. But I quickly shut out such negative thoughts and crack open another SoBe NoFear.

          I'll just share that I'm north of my originally planned budget ... not to exceed the cost of a 2007 Toyota Prius (our other recent purchase)...which is roughly $26K.
          I can share more in a Skype phone call or direct e-mail if you are interested in a higher end conversion but want to ensure you won't have to crack your retirement account to fund it.

          Tracking all things EV via the CarPC
          YES...that is my goal...although not completely worked out. I currently monitor charging amps via a Kill-A-Watt device, but it's not capable of being interfaced to a pc.
          I'm excited about the FusionBrain products, including current sensors I've purchased to potentially address this gap.
          "Drive-time" telemetry will be pulled off the Cafe Electric Zilla motor controller. It streams quite a bit of information (motor amps, battery amps, voltages, rpms, etc) at 10x/sec via RS-232 to my AOpen MP945-VDR.

          Now...what i haven't done is worked out the graphical displays I'd like to use to monitor the info during driving and charging.
          Actually...I'm still grinding my teeth about committing to using StreetDeck (which I haven't even activated yet)...and then seeing all the feedback about product support, etc. So I'll check the mp3car forums again, then likely contrast use of RoadRunner vs Centrafuse for my needs.

          ok....gotta replacement NetGain WarP motor has arrived and Koni shock/Hypercoil suspension will be picked up tomorrow. There's work to do!!!



          • #6
            This sounds great! Could you please post pics when you have a minute? Thanks.