[Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

New vid :)

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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by arber333 »

Hm... why not use a relay instead of that switch? Of course you would start relay with PP connected to GND.
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

arber333 wrote: Tue Jan 30, 2024 10:26 pm Hm... why not use a relay instead of that switch? Of course you would start relay with PP connected to GND.
Good question! :)
I should have mentioned in the video that the switch was already there for a different purpose but was no longer needed, so when I realised the issue with the pump it was an easy way to stop it. I need to do more work on automating charge start and stop along with tidying up the LV junction box so that is on the long (and strangely growing) list of things to do.
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

Last couple of weeks I've been working on getting a heater for the cabin. I've been on the Mitsubishi Phev heater thread and finally got some heat.
Here is a link to the thread.

viewtopic.php?p=66607#p66607

Now I need to gather up the inclination to install it.
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

I haven't done much to the car last couple of weeks except drive it as I got some work replacing Routers in Post Offices so kinda tired at night.

I did manage to edit a video that was made a couple of weeks ago so here you go.

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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

So today I managed to pretty much complete the LV junction box and get the car working again (spinning the motor while in neutral and charging). I made a couple of minor errors with the location of some wires but they were easily sorted and no harm done. Before connecting the battery properly I hooked it up through a 12V bulb to confirm there were no shorts.

In the photo below you can see how I've tried to tidy things up a bit with the fuse holders. As it turned out I'd have been better off with 3 smaller 6 or 8 way fuse boxes than two 12 way as I had to resort to Wagos for wires going to ignition position 1 but it is still much neater than before.
IMG_20240318_133912602_HDR.jpg
I have been documenting every wire as they were connected so hopefully when I go back to add stuff or make changes it will be a lot easier.

Then to see what would happen I connected the heater up and Woo Hoo, we have heat! Nice warm air coming through the vents with the heater on. Now I need to route the controller through the bulkhead and mount it in the cabin.
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

And of course it wouldn't be an update from me if I didn't run into a problem. :oops:
The brake boost started playing up so I'm having to reconfigure the vac plumbing. I had originally plumbed it with a vac sensor that was controlled by an Arduino but the setup was always a bit leaky and the pump would kick in every ten minutes or so. Today it was kicking in every 30 seconds or minute and was getting more and more erratic so I'm replacing the sensor with a Volvo vac switch that is either on or off. I had ordered it months ago but it was slow to arrive so I went with the original setup. I'll wire it through a relay to drive the vac pump and hopefully simplify everything. Others here have used a similar vac switch and recommend it so hear's hoping.
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

I got it installed after my last post and so far so good with the vac boost. :)
Of course a couple of other issues have cropped up but hopefully should be simple to sort. I know what one of them is as I had the same problem before, when I turn on the lights I hear a relay dropping so that is a simple voltage glitch that needs some rewiring. The other is the heater isn't working so I need to do some digging to figure it out. Hopefully it is simply a bad connection somewhere as I had it working before.
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

So the great news is we are back on the road again after more than two weeks major organ surgery (cabin heater) and some plastic surgery to the LV junction box.
The vac boost is working a treat and so far everything else is too.
The cabin heater issue was entirely self inflicted as I had the Arduino unprotected as I was soldering wires for the LV JB and I think I may have dropped a piece of solder on it but whatever the cause the Arduino was toast.
Now I need to get the controller and display for the heater installed and tidy up a few things.
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

This is a copy and paste from the Outlander heater thread.

Here is a quick update of the heater situation now I have it installed.

It works! :D

The longer version includes a minor disaster and a change in design.
While testing I managed to drop some solder on the board while it was running. This caused the operation to be somewhat sub-optimal so after first replacing the MCP2515 I then had to replace the Arduino and of course it was no longer soldered to the vero board.
Originally I had planned to mount the board under the bonnet and feed wires through to the dash but while staring at the new pile of wires I had an idea.
IMG_20240323_135944263 (1).jpg
IMG_20240323_140040908 (1).jpg
IMG_20240324_132329160 (1).jpg
IMG_20240324_132338036 (1).jpg
IMG_20240324_132348088_HDR.jpg
IMG_20240324_132451868_HDR.jpg
IMG_20240325_183157618.jpg
OK so neat it isn't but this was more a proof of concept than a final installation. In order to tweak the code I will need to remove the Arduino as I didn't give myself enough room to plug in a cable but that can wait a bit. I have plenty of other things to work at in the meantime.

Jamie/TurboPete's code works great however in my application I might need to adjust the temperature difference before the heater switches to half power. It looks like it switches to half power while around 10°C below requested temp. This means if I request 55°C it only gets to around 50°C which is not quite enough. I find myself turning it up to 61 or 62°C to get the desired 55°C.
I assume this will change as we get into late Spring so for now I am keeping the adjustment and code as is. I have a second ash tray that I can use if I decide to use Arber333's code without a POT.
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

Latest video



And I put a few miles on the car over the weekend.

I always wanted this to be a practical workhorse that I don't need to be too precious about
IMG_20240420_104050671_HDR.jpg
Every time I use it to tow a trailer it's another time I don't burn out a little bit more of SMBO's Kuga clutch.
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Jacobsmess »

good news that things are all running smoothly! Acouple of Qs, people always talk about EVs cant tow, which you're obviously proving wrong, how does it effect the range?
Also, do you have the Leaf BMS working in your conversion yet? I'm looking to implement it in mine but would be interested to see other examples, there both an abundance of information out there but few examples of a concrete, "this is how you do it" somewhat unsurprisingly. If I can I'd like to add a proper "how to" to the wiki, but at first I need to know how!
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

Thanks, I've now done almost 500 miles since it pigged on me (technical term) and it's been driving great.
For people to say EV's can't tow is just stupid, to say they can't tow very far is a bit less stupid, especially if the load is bulky and/or heavy, also if you need to recharge with a trailer attached it is not easy. In my case I have only towed for a few miles so it is difficult to say how much difference it makes.
Keeping this car 4WD and keeping the towbar were two priorities for me as I wanted it to be as practical as possible. I plan to go to a town 4 or 5 miles from home next week to collect stone to fill holes in our lane. It's a job that needs done every year and I usually get 1 tonne at a time.
The BMS will be happening this summer but I have concerns over the layout of my batteries. The LEAF BMS is designed for a split in the pack at cell 48/49 but my pack splits at a different point so I need to come up with a plan to prevent the BMS going up in smoke.
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

The last few days I've been struggling to get my head around the BMS again. Although it probably won't be able be able to keep the pack balanced it's a good idea to have it working as I can use a simple Bluetooth dongle and App called LeafSpy to monitor the voltages of each cell. Having the BMS working means I'll be able to see if any cells are out of balance and if necessary I can intervene manually. I really should have had it sorted months ago but I knew it was going to be a pain so kept putting it off. I had it connected and working a couple of years ago on the bench but that was with all the modules in one place. Now I have some in the front, some in the fuel tank area and some in the boot so it's not so simple.
During the week I spent several evenings working on it and then pretty much the entire day yesterday soldering testing, pulling apart and resoldering cause I messed up.
This was the mess I was in earlier.
IMG_20240518_095218713 (1).jpg
After many cockups, a few poor decisions and some generally dodgy workmanship I think I have it sorted.
Some time ago I made up a spreadsheet to give me the expected voltage at every connection for any given cell voltage. I was able to test all the voltages and even discovered a fault in the spreadsheet so today I'll sort out a 12V supply for the BMS, hook up the CAN leads and hopefully see the condition of the battery pack.

My confusion was caused by the numbering convention by Nissan, they count the most positive cell as cell 1 and most negative as cell 96. The lowest number cell in the boot is 41 so I started there when I should have started at 96. I figured trying to meter and count the voltage from cell 96 to 41 would be too complicated so I metered from the most positive end and managed to confuse myself completely. Eventually I dug out the spreadsheet and once I had this in front of me it all started to make sense.
Screenshot from 2024-05-19 08-35-27.png
I got the connection numbers from the Nissan Leaf service manual and it worked before so I'm confident it is correct but another complication is at cell 48. There is an extra negative connection for cell 48 because the BMS is galvanically isolated between cells 48 and 49, to protect it from stray current drain when the HV service disconnect is pulled. Basically if this was not there the BMS would be shorting out the HV service disconnect, thereby maintaining the HV circuit, This would not only be dangerous but if there were a stray power drain it would melt the BMS.
My service disconnect and contactors break the pack at cell 41/42 so I have to try and figure out a way to ensure the BMS is never connected when the contactors are open. I'll probably use a relay to make/break the connection to cell 49 and ensure it is only ever active while the car is in drive mode.

Has anyone ever tried this before? I had heard I am likely to cook the BMS with the battery layout I'm using but I don't have much choice as moving battery modules to the front of the car is not an option without a LOT of work.
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by johu »

You could move the "negative" contactor between 48 and 49 and move positive and precharge to the end of the pack. Don't break between 41 and 42, by Murphys law this can and will go wrong
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

johu wrote: Sun May 19, 2024 8:45 am You could move the "negative" contactor between 48 and 49 and move positive and precharge to the end of the pack. Don't break between 41 and 42, by Murphys law this can and will go wrong
That's a great idea thanks. I already have two contactors in the rear battery box breaking the neg and pos as well as in the HV junction box so it should just a matter of reconnecting the neg.
I was concerned there would be positive voltage on the cable and connector If I broke the pos and neg at 48 but it never occurred to put only the neg contactor in there.
Thanks again. 👍
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

So good and bad news for the BMS.
The good news is it's working. I can see every cell and have been able to manually drain a few that were too high. They were maybe 40 or 50mV higher than average so not disastrous but bad enough to potentially do harm if the pack were fully charged as they could have been slightly over 4.2V. This is not a major issue so long as they don't drift higher and get really out of balance. I'm pretty certain that I've caught them in time.

The bad news is that with my pack layout the BMS can only be accurate at around 0A so I will need to disable it when driving or charging which is not ideal. This is due to the resistance of the contactors cable and fuse in the wrong position as far as the bms is concerned and the length of the cable. I think moving the neg contactor to between cells 48 and 49 will protect it from harm when the car is turned off but can't help when it is on. There should be almost zero resistance between all the cells and I have a measurable resistance between cells 40 and 41 due to a fuse, contactor, manual disconnect and around 5m of cable being between them.
I'll probably fit a switch somewhere to turn the BMS on and off when I want to check the pack but in the meantime I'll just pull the fuse for the BMS once I'm happy the pack is balanced.


This was the output from LeafSpy earlier (While charging) You can see cell 40 looks odd but this is because of the resistance in the cable etc.
Three of the modules are higher the the rest, two 4S and one 2S.
Screenshot_20240521-121554.png
This is it while not charging so very little current and cell 40 is not so odd looking. The voltage of each cell in LeafSpy jumps around a lot so don't take these figures as 100% correct. Cell 95 was much better looking after I balanced the module it is in.
Screenshot_20240521-130320.png
And this is it now, I'm still draining the two highest cells with a buck converter set to 150mA so the two higher ones are not there yet.
Screenshot_20240521-174353.png
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by JaniK »

So you are manually balancing the cells when needed..?

Maybe move the upper and lower limits a bit tighter to allow for more drift in the individual cell voltages?
With slight loss of range, but more peace of mind?
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

JaniK wrote: Thu May 23, 2024 7:45 am So you are manually balancing the cells when needed..?

Maybe move the upper and lower limits a bit tighter to allow for more drift in the individual cell voltages?
With slight loss of range, but more peace of mind?
Yes mate, as far as I know the Leaf BMS balances with only 10mA so virtually nothing. I have been trying to drain 50mV from the two cell module using the BMS wires and after more than 10 hours it has hardly changed. I'm using a CC buck converter to draw 150mA so at 10mA the BMS wouldn't have much effect.
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by JaniK »

Oh, them BMS systems really don't hurry with the balancing it seems.
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Grafter6 »

I've read this project through, and very impressed at how you approached and completed your project :D

I wonder if you know or heard off anyone doing a classic range rover, as this is what I'd love to do. Just wondering how useful/feasible the Lexus gearbox idea is for a classic.
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

Grafter6 wrote: Tue May 28, 2024 7:47 pm I've read this project through, and very impressed at how you approached and completed your project :D

I wonder if you know or heard off anyone doing a classic range rover, as this is what I'd love to do. Just wondering how useful/feasible the Lexus gearbox idea is for a classic.
Thanks but Freelanders are very different to Classic RR's. I think most LR conversions are done using a Tesla drive unit mounted between the front and rear axles. Not sure how the lexus gearbox could be connected to the 4WD.
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

I had a big day yesterday in my Freelander EV as I drove it to a MG dealer approx 39 miles from home to see a MG5.
TBH I had no intention of buying it but I wanted to have a test drive in one as I am thinking of replacing my old C Class estate and the MG5 seems to fit the bill. The problem with the one I went to see is the range as it is the smaller battery 52kWh model and for my work I really need the 62kWh version. The charging infrastructure in Northern Ireland is pretty poor and for work I often end up driving up to 200 miles in rural areas so having a range of 150 to 180 miles is just not enough.
Realistically the 62kWh model has a summer range of 220 to 240 miles if driven sensibly but a winter range of 200 miles max but this is enough for me to make it home 99% of the time. I should be able to give it a 10 or 15 min top up on the way home if necessary.
The great news is I was shocked by how nice the MG5 is to drive. It was comfortable, quick, had all the toys I want, didn't feel at all cheap, and even passed the Mrs test so I am actively on the lookout for a suitable car in this country. Unfortunately there are very few around so it is a waiting game. The one I looked at yesterday was a 2021 model with around 35k miles and they were only looking £11k for it which I thought was a great price.

The other big news is the Freelander was fantastic for the 78 miles drive and we made it home with plenty of power to spare.
I charged it today to the same level it was at before we left and it took 28kWh to refill with electrons.
So if it took 28kWh to drive 78 miles that is 2.8 miles per kWh, which is pretty amazing for a DIY EV conversion of a not very aerodynamic car. The journey was approx 60% dual carriageway at 60 mph, 30% country roads at 50ish and 10% town driving.
In theory with a mpkWh of 2.8 and a battery capacity of 38kWh the range is 106 miles and I'm fairly confident that would be possible but I should probably say 90 miles is the range and have a 10 to 15 mile buffer.

The thing I need to be careful of is the odometer is around 7% off because of the smaller tyres I have at the moment. When we got home the odometer was reading 85 miles for our 78 mile (according to Google Maps) journey so this is something I need to take into account until I get new tyres fitted.
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

Alibro wrote: Thu May 23, 2024 7:55 am Yes mate, as far as I know the Leaf BMS balances with only 10mA so virtually nothing. I have been trying to drain 50mV from the two cell module using the BMS wires and after more than 10 hours it has hardly changed. I'm using a CC buck converter to draw 150mA so at 10mA the BMS wouldn't have much effect.
So the manual balancing helped a lot as the imbalance is now down to 40mV when fully charged and 30mV when mostly discharged. I don't know if that is good or bad but at least I now have a BMS so I can keep an eye on it and intervene if necessary.
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Re: [Driving] Freelander EV With Gen1 Leaf electrics and EVBMW VCU

Post by Alibro »

Another new video made a couple of months ago but just posted now.

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