Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Seeing Green

You may recall that the Gamera Nine motor was reborn in Zilla Green, in honor of the world's fastest DC EV controllers, the Zilla series of scorching silicon by Cafe Electric.
Well, since the Karmann Eclectric is all about (revisionist) history, a simple off-the shelf model wouldn't quite fit the bill. Instead, the EV Gods saw fit to bless us with a truly historic controller, Godzilla serial #003.
This device is one of Otmar's first generation controllers, handed down to the Eclectric by John Wayland. Zilla #3 powered the White Zombie to many records, including it's first 100 mph run in the quarter mile. Zilla III is rated for a battery pack of 240 volts nominal, and will pass up to 1800 amperes, when cooled by ice water! 1400 amps is it's normal duty rating. Pushed by a stiff pack of nicads, this Grandpa Godzilla should give any new model a kick in the pants. After all, if it could push that square Datsun to 100 mph, just imagine the potential of a sleek Ghia!
Thanks go out again to John Wayland.
EVers should take note that the first generation of Zilla controllers was not equipped with all of the safety features now offered, and this controller was never supported for street use. As a calculated risk, I'm using this model, but with added safety features, such as redundant contactors and a rev limiter, so that I can hit the clutch without hesitation (due to a fear of motor grenading), should the controller ever fail full-on.

The next greenie will be a PFC-20 battery charger by Manzanita Micro. This unit, #33, also has a history, purchased by an EV pioneer who never abandoned the old ways, and didn't get around to using it! PFC #33 will soon be pumping up to 4400 watts into my pack.


The last, and shiniest device on today's tour is the Ghia Monster Transaxle, finally at home in Karmann Eclectric. It arrived from it's long sleep in a drab black factory paint, and I just needed to have it all shiny, 'like them that they show in the dune buggy rags'. So, a great deal more time than originally expected was expended on sanding, polishing, masking, painting, and clearcoating, to produce one beautiful Tranny! Thanks again to Steve Marks.


Yes, I will wipe off that bit 'o green from the output flange with a bit 'o carb cleaner in order to get a perfect junction with the CV joint..

You've no doubt noticed that the controller, charger, and transaxle aren't all the same shade of green. That's right- the world's two leading DC EV electronics designers can agree on a 336 volt maximum system voltage, but not on a color of green! Come on guys! ;-p Thankfully, this gauche display will be minimized by isolating the battery charger far forward, out of sight of it's Godzilla green cousins... Though the tranny and controller look pretty close in these pics, even they turned out a bit different. You see, I planned in advance for powdercoating the Gamera in Zilla green, and ordered plenty of paint for the accessories, but the earliest Godzilla controllers were painted in a custom hue, as this was before good old Oat settled on a standard selection from the powder palette..

One must pay a price when choosing to repeat history...

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