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Thread: 1994 Suzuki RF600 Senior Design project Leaf conversion

  1. #21
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Bay Area
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    New Batteries!

    Christmas came early this year yesterday as I heard the rumble of a freight truck outside:

    The driver scared me good when he rolled the 600 pound leaf battery onto the lift gate full speed after just having said "man this thing is heavy". I thought I was going to see a good chunk of change end up on the pavement much quicker than it should. With a little help from me and a strap we got the battery up into the garage.

    I noticed some damage to the right rear corner, which came into play later when splitting the case. Additionally, the left side vent hole was totally open to the inside of the battery- meaning if these things were sitting outside at the salvage yard someone could get electrocuted... I still have to call the yard to let them know about that/ see what they can do about the damage.

    Splitting the case was a bear. I ended up buying an air hammer for $15 from Tractor supply and sharpening the chisel to cut away the gasket around the case. There is a good tall lip to the case, so you don't have to worry about accidentally punching through and hitting anything scary.


    When it came time to lift the cover off the damaged corner was stuck, and I realized one of the bolts from the rear battery stack had punctured the case and was getting hung up- another area where the waterproof seal had been breached. Good thing no one bought this to actually put in their car!!

    Disassembly was done carefully after checkng the full pack voltage. I removed the service disconnect, which splits the pack into 2x 200V packs. Then unhooked the orange cables from the rear pack to get to one 200V pack still hooked up (the front stacks). Then it was a matter of removing bus bars to keep splitting them up into smaller voltages. I made sure to wrap my tools in electrical tape and wear 500V insulated gloves. They do a fantastic job of keeping all the shocky bits covered in orange plastic, though.

    without an engine hoist, getting the modules out was a work of leverage. I used the steel crossbar from the middle of the pack as a lever to lift one 6 module stack up, then snuck a small block under it to keep it high enough where I could undo the terminal covers and bus bars. Once those are off you can unbolt the modules from their stacks and take them out one at a time. This was the same for both sides.

    The rear 12 module stack was a real pain. I stopped my timelapse recordings because I realized it would have been a video of me thinking for about an hour and a half on how to get it out LOL! I ended up using leverage to my advantage again. After unbolting all but two of the bolts that hold down the big stack, I rolled the entire battery case end over end onto a piece of plywood with a towel for cushioning. Then I unbolted the last two bolts and used an ATV jack as a dolly to lift the battery case off of the 12 module stack and roll it out of the way.

    This may seem like a lot of writing for a simple disassembly job, but the whole process took about 11 hours! I'm no stranger to tools and taking stuff apart, but adding in high voltage and a lack of schematics really slows it all down.
    Last edited by jhaggerty; 13 November 2019 at 1238.

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