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Lionstrike
30 December 2010, 1420
I forgot what number my stupid questions are up to...

So I am thinking that I might start out my bike at 36v just to try it out. I am using a 24v contactor right now and from what I understand, I'll need a 36v contactor coil voltage.

So what about this one:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Kilovac-EV200-Series-Contactor-Tyco-EV200AAANA-/200558010114?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eb2305f02

Sounds reasonable. But two things bother me.

From what I understand about contactors, their function is to break the connection if the battery voltage gets too low. So with a coil voltage of 9-36v... how does that help exactly? If the system voltage drops to let's say 28 volts, more than enough to break a 36v contactor connection, this one would in theory still hold on being within the range of 9-36v right? So then.. how does this work?

Another thing that disturbs me is this thread right here:
http://www.elmoto.net/showthread.php?157-High-Amp-Kilovac-Contactor-%28another-unit%29

"Incompatible with Curtis controller".... that's disturbing. I am using a Curtis 1204-404 controller. I am not exactly sure how a contactor and controller would be incompatible except in the way of system voltage, but if I pay $70 for this contactor, I want it to work with my controller.

Opinions anyone?

Barron
30 December 2010, 1558
You could use them to disconnect power when the voltage goes too low but most controllers can be programmed to do that at a voltage of your choosing. I don't think I'd want to rely on a contactor to give me accurate low voltage disconnect capability though. The contactors primary function is to reliably connect and disconnect the high power circuit via a low power (and often low voltage) coil. Using a coil that operates at 12V gives you opportunities to cut power/ prevent power being applied via existing 12V rated motorcycle equipment such as the kill switch or side stand.

Lionstrike
30 December 2010, 1825
Ahhh!!! I get it. Thanks. I might get one because for my modest needs it should work.

Plus it would be fun to play around with. I am still puzzled though why the post above said that it wouldn't work with a Curtis controller. I have no idea why. Perhaps mismatched battery pack -- coil voltage?

lugnut
30 December 2010, 1846
I am still puzzled though why the post above said that it wouldn't work with a Curtis controller. I have no idea why. Perhaps mismatched battery pack -- coil voltage?

I am not sure about that specific case, but I do know that some Curtis controllers, like the SepEx models and AC (I think) will take over the pre-charge and contactor coil drive functions. And I think are set up to use 24V coils. The older (cheaper) Curtis designs like the 1204 do not power the contactor. The contactor is completely up to the user. You can find how to wire the contactor in the manual available on the Curtis website.

A contactor is just a big relay. It has a main contact set (switch) for high current which is activated by a coil working at low current. The coil and contact set are electrically isolated. So you can have a simple switch turn-on 12V at 1 amp to energize the coil in the contactor which will then close and conduct hundreds of amperes and be able to open (stop) hundreds of amps at 100s of volts just by removing that 12V, 1 amp from the coil. Very handy to have because you don't have to run those heavy cables up to the hand grip to turn your bike on :-)

Lionstrike
30 December 2010, 1908
O.k., I am a real novice with this stuff, but I think that I understand. So since the Curtis 1204 does not have any association with the contactor, I should be o.k. with transferring my precharge resistor over to the Tyco contactor and keeping my other connections the same. (That's if I understand correctly. If my inner EV newbie is showing itself to be my outer EV newbie please stop me). From what I've researched, there's no need for a polarity protection diode with that contactor so that much should be o.k.

I think that I understand the contactor physics now, thanks. I think that I might click the buy it now button on that auction.

lugnut
31 December 2010, 0718
From what I've researched, there's no need for a polarity protection diode with that contactor so that much should be o.k.

The Tyco EV200AAANA contactor has the coil economizer. So it has a red and black wire for the coil. Use positive on the red. There is no need for a diode on the coil for this contactor.

Lionstrike
31 December 2010, 0913
Got it. Going to go buy one now :)

frodus
31 December 2010, 1601
36V of batteries is actually higher voltage than that..... 12V batteries are more like 13.8V or so, so 3 batteries would be over 40V and it won't work, it'l be too high of a voltage. Tap off of the first battery.

Lionstrike
31 December 2010, 1625
Many thanks Frodus, and you know I trust your opinion implicitly but that gives me even more questions.

So... if the coil voltage is 9-36 input why would overvoltage of two or three volts be a problem in closing the contactor? I scan see why undervoltage wouldn't be strong enough to make the electromagnet work, but overvoltage by 3 volts should be o.k. shouldn't it?

I was under the impression that contactors allow for slight variation. An Albright 24v contactor I am sure takes into consideration that it may in fact be 26v and I am sure the same could be said of the other voltages as well.

And if I were to tap one battery for the contactor circuit, wouldn't that create balancing issues with charging? I talked to a mechanic down at the University shop the other day and he said tapping a single battery is not a great idea because it creates all kinds of charging problems. Was he right?

Sorry for the barrage of questions man, but I've gotta know. 9-36v... there's room in there for the nominal range of battery voltages isn't there?

Lionstrike
31 December 2010, 1628
...Or would overvoltage damage the contactor in some way?

EVcycle
31 December 2010, 1631
I forgot what number my stupid questions are up to...




Zero.


Keep asking away.

Lionstrike
31 December 2010, 1755
Thanks Ed :) I am sure I'll think of some more common knowledge type of questions that are so simple that it makes people facepalm.

I've learned so much from you guys on this forum, I think that in a year or so at this rate I should be eligible for some kind of certification in electronics LOL.

DaveAK
31 December 2010, 1803
I think that in a year or so at this rate I should be eligible for some kind of certification in electronics LOL.
Not until you blow something up. :)

Lionstrike
31 December 2010, 1851
Not until you blow something up. :)

If I would have known that it was this much fun to work with electronics... I'd perhaps changed my college major.

We get to blow stuff up?

lugnut
31 December 2010, 1900
...Or would overvoltage damage the contactor in some way?

I am not sure with that particular device. But if the spec sheet says 36V max, listen to it. Most bikes need a 12V auxiliary system for headlamps, stereos and such. Just use your 12V aux. Or as fordus says, tap off the number one battery at 12V. With the economizer circuit, I think the holding current is like 1/4th amp. With any type of decent battery charge/management system, it should be able to compensate.

Lionstrike
31 December 2010, 1949
I am not sure with that particular device. But if the spec sheet says 36V max, listen to it. Most bikes need a 12V auxiliary system for headlamps, stereos and such. Just use your 12V aux. Or as fordus says, tap off the number one battery at 12V. With the economizer circuit, I think the holding current is like 1/4th amp. With any type of decent battery charge/management system, it should be able to compensate.

Cool. I guess I'll just tap a battery then. ...Or have an extra 12v. I just didn't want charging problems.

Thanks guys!

frodus
03 January 2011, 0921
I am not sure with that particular device. But if the spec sheet says 36V max, listen to it. .......... With the economizer circuit, I think the holding current is like 1/4th amp. With any type of decent battery charge/management system, it should be able to compensate.

Exactly. There is a coil economizer on there with components that may not allow for that extra voltage. Most contactors are JUST a contactor, but this particular one has a small circuit board that will use PWM to drop the current to about 1/4A holding current. The problem with some of the curtis AC and Sepex controllers is that they ALSO control the current, so they don't work together. If you are using it standalone, you're fine. Just don't go over 36V.

Now, for balancing, it will discharge that battery quicker, but its a very small current (250mA). If you want, I have a Vicor 200W 72V DC-DC converter you can use for some of your aux stuff.

Lionstrike
03 January 2011, 1118
Ahhhh I see!! Thanks again Frodus.

And also, thanks for the offer, but I am goin' at 36v. That DC-DC converter wouldn't work would it?
Even if it did, I don't think that I am ready for that yet.. That was going to be another question I had way down the line... the proper wiring of DC-DC converters. A lot of folks seem to have them wired to shunts (of which I am not exactly sure what a shunt even is or why it's needed) which is another thing I don't have.

I think talking DC-DC converters for me is WAAAAAY down the line for me (although I am planning to get a cycle analyst , which includes a shunt). I think I oughta just tap a battery like you said.

frodus
03 January 2011, 1138
oh crap, nope. The range is 55-100V. I do have a 48V to 15V, but it's range is 42-60V. Neither is gonna work. Just tap off at 12V or just use a small gel cell.

Lionstrike
03 January 2011, 1147
Will do. Thanks anyway man.