Monday, August 30, 2010

Completing the main battery box

The batteries have been loaded into the main battery box.  Here's how it went.

I previously showed connecting the exhaust vent and fan to the rear of the box and to the back of the trunk.  On the front side of the box I had previously made a cutout for the battery cables to run through.  Using a hodge-podge of electrical and plumbing fixtures and adapters, I cobbled together something which connects the conduit which I had previously installed in the hump and the front of the battery box.  Here's a picture of the hodge-podge in place.
Next I caulked around the edges of the wood pieces inside the box.  I will probably regret this later when I decide to rebuild the box, but I used silicone caulking (white, no less).  Hopefully it won't be too ugly to remove.  Once that was cured I started loading batteries, starting with the batteries in the rearmost positions.  It was a pretty awkward situation, and since the batteries weigh 87 lbs each I could not lift them into the back box.  I considered some elaborate hoist that could levitate the batteries into position, but then snapped out of it and placed a piece of plywood to act as a ramp from the forward lip to the rear of the box.  Worked like a dream.
I had previously designed battery tie-downs to keep them from jumping and sliding around while I'm driving, but I also want to constrain them from the bottom as well.  I bought some rectangular HDPE extrusions (3/8" x 1") to use as guides - I figured I'd screw them in to the bottom wood to give myself a positive stop when positioning the batteries.  Here's a view of the guide at the back of the box.
Here's a view of the "side guide" for the back of the box.  I hung this one from the side because the gap was too narrow to use the full width on the bottom.
Here's a view of guides that are just wedged in between the batteries.  (Not a press fit, just snug)
Here's a view of the front guides in the rear section.
I used the same technique to create guides in the front section as well.  Some screwed into the bottom wood before the batteries are installed, others slid into place after the batteries are loaded.  In this case, the batteries were designed to be snug against the front wood so no shims were required there.
With all the batteries in place, it looks like this:
Here's a close-up of one of the tie-downs:
So, now that the car is fully loaded I can see how good my calculations were for the strength of the new rear springs.  The rear end is about an inch taller than the front.  Not too bad.  I may have to adjust those at some point - just have to wait and see how it looks from a distance.
Next stop: battery cables.

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