Tuesday, December 13, 2011

No Charge

I just finished repairing the on-board charging system in the GEM this week. Maybe I should back up just a bit - we knew when we received the GEM that there was very likely a problem with the charging system. With all 6 batteries in poor condition, we couldn't be sure about anything until we replaced them. Once that was done, we drove the vehicle around a little bit and tried to charge it. The extension cord was plugged in and - nothing. Drat. I won't explain what was wrong here because my plan is to re-create the problem when the new class starts and set them loose to diagnose and repair it as a training exercise. I will tell you that I removed the charging unit, disassembled it and traced down and repaired the problem.

Insides of the Zivan charger

It's hard to see, but the gauge shows 100% charge.

Once everything was reassembled, the system was plugged in again and voila! The cooling fan within the unit started running and charging of the batteries commenced. 

Final exams for the fall semester are being held this week, but when things calm down and the weather permits, we will put some miles on the GEM and charge the batteries again. It may take a few discharge/recharge cycles to bring the batteries up to full strength. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A New Opportunity

An exciting new opportunity presented itself to us yesterday in the form of a new partnership with Square One Education Network. Karl Klimek visited our facility to invite us to join him at next year's Innovative Vehicle Design event at Michigan International Speedway. Fellow instructor Jerry Beatty, myself and students of the 2012 NMC Hybrid Electric Vehicle class will be traveling to Brooklyn, Michigan with our hybrid trainer vehicle (AKA The AntiPrius) to attend the event. Square One provides grant funding for schools in an effort to provide science, technology, engineering and mathematics opportunities for students, encouraging them to pursue careers in technology oriented fields. You can find more information and video of previous IVD events at squareonenetwork.org. The highlight of our visit will be driving the hybrid trainer project around the MIS track. Can't wait!

From left: Jerry Beatty, myself and Karl Klimek