Moroso: Palm Beach Road Race Classic

Saturday, Nov. 17, 2007

We unload the car from the trailer, fully charged and ready for qualifying. Power is set to 500 amps. Tire pressures are checked and we move the car to the pit lane to wait for the start of qualifying.

I do not push through traffic in the 'Out' lap. I want to go slow through the chicane and take a good look. Another driver claimed that you can put a wheel inside the exit berm and come out faster. I do not think this is possible at any reasonable ride height.

I get my look. The exit berm is huge. It would smash the front of the car if I were to try and short cut it in the Electric Imp.

 

Enough sight-seeing. Time to go fast. I start to fight my way through the traffic.

 
traffic
 

The car is turning in well. There is still too much understeer mid-phase.

 
The regen feels a little weak and we seem to have too much front brake bias; but we catch and pass one of the dreaded super light "Mini-Cup" cars so we are not slow.
 
Traffic is fairly light on lap 4. We turn a 1:44.763.
 
I catch traffic the next lap, try too hard and lock the front tires going into the chicane.
 
Lap 6 is pretty clean except that regen braking earlier does not slow the car as much as I expect into the chicane and I lock the front tires again.
 
Lap 7, I drop to a 1:48. The car feels slower.
 
Checker flag and the session ends. My last lap is another 2 seconds slower. The motors have reached 175 degrees Celsius and are cutting power. Battery temps are close to their limit at 57.8 degrees C.
 

Timing and Scoring is having some problems picking up our transponder signal so they can not credit us with the 1:44.763 lap. They can track a 1:45.817 lap. We have won pole in the SPU class by 0.3 seconds over Chuck Penachio's Mini-Cup car.

 
Back at the paddock, we open the hood to place a fan to cool the batteries. The top of the air box has blown off and the filter has blown out. This is clearly part of the reason for the over-heating motors.
 
It takes two hours to cool the batteries down to 45 C to allow us to start charging.
 
The pack is at 337 volts and we need to put back 23.396 kW-hrs. We turn on the charger.
 
After less than ten minutes, smoke billows from the charger. We unplug everything, then pull the cover off of the charger.
 
PFC50 exposed
 

A fairly small capacitor seems to be the source of all that smoke.

 
dead capacitor
 
We contact Matt Graham, owner of Joule Injected. He has helped us before and cheerfully agrees to lend us his PFC30. If we can get it quickly and put the car on charge, we should be able to race tomorrow.
 

A few hours later, we are back on charge. We watch anxiously as a steady 15 amps flows into the pack.

 
the PFC30 doing it's work
 
...5 minutes pass.
 
.....10 Minutes pass.
.....People get bored and wander off.
 
........15 Minutes pass.
........The wires are cool.
........The pack is charging.
........The voltage is climbing slowly.
 
And then -
.............this charger dies!
 


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