ElectroClassic EV
Classic Cars Reborn into the Electric Future

Batteries Included

Finally, the time has come to install the batteries in their first, and most likely final home. Visible above is a test fit of numbered cells in the motor bay, with positive and negative terminals labeled and covered for safety. Using precise battery dimensions, the racks were built to hold the cells snugly when lowered into position, with barely room for a breath. Things looked great on paper, but they turned out slightly more complicated in real life.

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Case-in-point: If the racks had been constructed from angle steel, it’s possible that single-sided outer welds would have been sturdy enough. But for angle aluminum, welds were made on both outer and inner sides for added strength. Unfortunately, each weld raised an 1/8 inch radius bead on the inside of every joint, preventing the corner cells from seating snugly in the rack. One possible fix was to grind down the welds and square-up the inside of every corner, but that would weaken the joints. The quickest and easiest solution was to file a small bit of plastic from the feet of the corner cells to eliminate any binding. Sort of like clipping Cinderella’s toenails to make the glass slipper fit, only more labor intensive. I wasn’t worried about compromising the cell case, since the small portions being removed were just edges of extruded ribs.

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The batteries need to be strapped together to keep them secure and immobilized. So I scored a used strapping tensioner on eBay, and bought some polyester strapping material and wire buckles from McMaster-Carr. Thankfully, they sell these items in less-than-Costco quantities. I was able to buy buckles in packs of 50 rather than 1000, and the poly strapping material came in 400 rather than 3000 foot rolls. The airflow channels on the battery cases make perfect guides for the straps while cinching them together. The cells above were bundled using the 5/8 inch wide horizontal channels. After cells were strapped together in smaller modules, they were lowered into the racks.

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Here the batteries are strapped to the racks using the 1/2 inch wide vertical air channels. I bought a roll of strapping material in widths for both airflow channel sizes. Securing the cells to the racks will prevent hopping caused by road vibration, which could result in incremental damage to the cell terminals. The vertical strapping was tensioned from under the racks, so the buckles were hidden from view.

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Here is how the motor bay batteries were strapped together horizontally, and then vertically to the rack. My goal was to bundle the cells into a solid block that will resist jostling from road bumps. Every attempt was made to hide the buckles for appearance points. In this case, they are on the backside of the cells, and also under the rack. Here’s a link demonstrating the use of strapping tools that you might find entertaining (if that’s your thing).

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