Random tools and EV related projects

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ElectricGod   10 MW

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Milliohm meters and component testers

Post by ElectricGod » Jan 09 2018 1:52pm

Some time back on my Power Velocity controller thread I stated that I was seeing inconsistent results in AOT290 mosfets. People criticized me and basically said I didn't know what I was talking about. I attempted to get people to refute my tests with testing on their part and none of the critics would in any way present actual test results.

In the process of that discussion, I bought 3 devices. An inexpensive component tester that measures Rds, a 2 wire milli ohm meter and a 4 wire milli ohm meter. I'll state right up front that of course the 4 wire meter is going to do the best job of measuring very low resistances. That was never in question for me despite the many critics claiming I thought otherwise. I just wanted to prove if the 2 wire meter could do the job or not.

So then here's my results...

This is my 2 most recent component testers and a bunch of components that I had that were unknown. They both cost less than $30 and do a great job of identifying loads of 3 legged or 2 legged parts. I highly recommend getting one if you want to quickly determine if your part works or have no idea what something is and want to determine quickly what some component is. I like the tester on the left better than the one on the right. It has far more functionality and the screen is easier to read. The right unit however is capable of measuring Rds...down to about 5 milli ohms. This is not useful for measuring Rds in mosfets used in controllers. Either meter will tell you what kind of component you have and lots of other specs on that part. I use these testers when ever I get a new batch of mosfets. In seconds I know which mosfets are matched and which ones are not. I also find that commonly mosfets are out of spec. Both of these testers on the same component are within 1-2% accuracy of each other.

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I haven't gotten around to further mosfet tests yet, but several critics refused to accept that I could test new mosfets on my component testers and see results that were well outside of specs. I pointed out that I was testing on my component testers and that after 3 of these testers, they were quite consistent with their test results despite being 3 different designs and made in 2015, 2016 and 2017. None of that mattered. I "had" to be doing something wrong, frying them with static...whatever, but the parts were sacred and holy and always 100% in spec. LOL! OK...believe what you like. I've tested mosfets so I'm not confused on this subject.

If you want to test components to see generally if they work or not or to determine what it is, get a Chinese component tester. They work great for most 2 or 3 legged electronic part. Some exceptions should be noted. Quite a few 3 legged parts are actually an integrated circuit and NOT just a single component inside. Voltage regulators and halls are great examples of this. It is not uncommon for these testers to NOT be able to identify them since they are multiple components integrated together into a 3 legged package. Don't assume that because your part is displayed as Unknown or bad that it is bad. Go look up it's data sheet to be sure it's not a 3 legged IC. Things like mosfets, resistors, caps, transistors, diodes, LED's, inductors should all read correctly. If any of them come back as unknown or bad, then that's an actual bad part.

This is a mosfet I tested...looks good!

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I bought a $40 2 wire milli ohm meter. I wanted to see if it would do the job of measuring down to 1 milli ohm or not. It's spec's say it should...so why not? The meter I purchased is really for testing capacitor resistance, but I already knew it would measure the resistance of anything and it does. Of course the critics leapt on the meter like it was a plague to be extinguished. LOL! I knew it wasn't going to do as well as a 4 wire meter, but that wasn't the point. Was it good enough to measure mosfet Rds or a shunt? I have to say that NO it's not, but if all you need is 10 milli ohm resolution then it's good enough for you. The original meter came with cheap alligator clips that would not consistently "grab" a component so they didn't measure low resistances consistently. I replaced the factory alligators with Kelvin clips and then connected both jaws together with some solder braid. The meter is much more consistent now, but it still doesn't reliably measure down into the sub 10 milli ohm range.

This is the meter testing a .005 ohm shunt. As you can see, the factory leads measure it as .012 ohms...just about 250% too high. LOL! If I jiggle the leads, the meter will sometimes actually measure .005 ohms, but most of the time it would display something much higher like this.

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The kelvin clips arrived a few days ago so I upgraded the meter leads and now I don't have to wiggle and jiggle to get consistent readings. Of course it still doesn't do sub 10 milli ohms very well, but it can. What do you want for a $40 2 wire meter?

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I paid about $100 for this 4 wire resistance meter. They get lots more expensive than this! All it does is measure very low resistances. It too uses Kelvin clips, but each side of the jaws is a separate test lead. Testing a precision .005 ohm shunt gets me pretty close to what the part should be. No surprises there.

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Why would someone want a meter that can only measure very low resistances and what is a milli ohm? A typical DMM measures down to about 1 ohm. That's enough resolution for checking your car speakers or for general continuity testing. What do you do when you want to measure lower resistances? Lets say you want to check some switch or relay contacts and you are concerned that they might be scorched. The $40 meter will test that. If you get anything above 100 milli ohms, those contacts are probably damaged. So then what is a milli ohm. Milli indicates 1 thousand or in this context 1/1000. So imagine your car speakers are 3 ohms each and you wanted measure the resistance of the speaker cable. Are they really "low ohm" cables? The $40 meter will tell you that close enough that it won't matter.

What if I want to test the resistance of a mosfet or a shunt? Now we are getting down into the very low milli ohm range. Modern mosfets such as the IRF4110, AOT290 and so on are used in motor controllers and BMS and are designed to have almost no resistance from source to drain (Rds). Achieving ever lower resistances across the switched junctions in a mosfet is something every mosfet manufacturer is seeking. For measuring this low of a resistance, you really need a 4 wire milli ohm meter. The 2 wire meters just can't do the job reliably. My tests show that's the case and I was already suspicious it was true, but hey test and now I know for sure. The next question is why do you care about the drain to source junction resistance? Resistance is loss and loss usually means heat in mosfets. The mosfets in your controller or BMS can only handle so much heat and then they die. Quite often they get too hot while still operating well under their current handling limits. Using mosfets that can handle more heat and also have very little Rds means they can run much closer to their current limits for more time than a mosfet that has a much higher Rds and less heat handling. Let's look at the the AOT290 vs the IRF4110. Both have similar Rds at 3.5 and 3.7 milli ohms, but the AOT290 can handle 500 watts of heat while the IRF4110 can handle 370 watts. The AOT290 can run hotter for longer than the IRF4110. Now lets talk about the AOT290 vs an IRF4115. The IRF4115 has 9.3 mill ohms Rds and 380 watts of heat dissipation. This is 2.6X more resistance than the AOT290. Resistance=loss=heat. The IRF4115 running at the same amperage and voltage as the AOT290 will get 2.6X hotter and also can't handle as much heat as the venerable AOT290. So low Rds keeps your mosfets running cool which means they can run harder and longer. The lower the junction resistance just means your controller won't overheat as easily as it would with higher Rds mosfets...and that is good for you!

So then why not just get low Rds mosfets and plug them into your controller. Great idea! Do it. But, I want to know if they are actually within manufacturer specs or not. That is where the component tester and 4 wire meter comes into play. Now I can measure all the mosfets specs and Rds for myself and then pick the mosfets that most closely match up. OR!!! I can buy loads of a specific mosfet and then find the ones with the lowest Rds and use them in my controller. Remember... resistance=loss=heat.
Last edited by ElectricGod on Jan 27 2018 4:30pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Mosfet testing

Post by ElectricGod » Jan 09 2018 3:08pm

I'm moving this over here and that helps keep the Power Velocity controller thread cleaner and on topic.

Supposedly A $30 component tester can't test a mosfet and get real results. Supposedly only the manufacturer of that part can test accurately and you can't. LOL...OK...believe what ever you want, but I know better. I have purchased several pieces of test equipment for this test. I'm going to test a bunch of mosfets and let the chips fall as they may.

I am testing 10 new of each mosfet: All mosfets are purchased from digikey, mouser or arrow except the ebay IRF4110's. Values in parenthesis are for identifying each mosfet of each type. They are in order of cost where number one is the cheapest mosfet.

If you know of another mosfet that has a low Rds, low on time, 100 volt and high current, high wattage, please post them. I'm willing to test other mosfets. If your suggestion is less than 375 watts, I'm going to ignore it if it doesn't also have a less than 3 milli ohm Rds.

1. Chinese IRF4110 purchased on ebay (C1 to C10)
2. IRF4110 (I1 to I10)
3. AOT290 (A1 to A10)
4. IXFP180N10T2 (X1 to X10)
5. CSD19536KCS (S1 to S10)

The tests consist of several things.
1. Put each mosfet labeled 1 to 10 in 2 component testers, record it's measured specs.
2. Set my bench PSU to Vt, put a .3 ohm resistance in series with the mosfet source and 15 volts on the drain. Measure the voltage drop across the resistor. Do I get 250uA across the resistor? If this matches what the component testers measure, that's proof the testers work as expected.
3. Set my PSU to Vgs(th) min/max and test Rds. This is just for curiosity. Do all mosfets of the same kind turn on the same?
4. Set the PSU to 10 volts at the mosfet gate and measure Rds.

A note about Vgs(th)...
I have seen this value vary widely in AOT290's. In my testing with component testers, this value can be way over specs. In testing the AOT290, I have seen a few mosfets at the minimum value of 2.9 volts, quite a few at or near the typical spec of 3.5 volts and many at or above the maximum of 4.1 volts. I've been told by the critics how this is not possible, but my testing shows what it shows.

For anyone who cares, here's a great PDF on mosfet testing.
https://www.vishay.com/docs/90715/an957.pdf

A few specs from the spec sheets. Sometimes they don't list all the values so this is what I have to work with.
IRF4110:
Rds: typical=3.7 milli ohms, max=4.5 milli ohms
Vgs(th): minimum=2.0v, maximum=4.0v

AOT290:
Rds: typical=2.5 milli ohms, max=3.2 milli ohms
Vgs(th): minimum=2.9v, typical=3.5v, maximum=4.1v

IXFP180N10T2:
Rds: max=6 milli ohms
Vgs(th): minimum=2.0v, maximum=4.0v

The results will be tabulated and presented here. As posted many times before, the results will be the results!
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MINI BUCK converter and XM-L2's

Post by ElectricGod » Jan 14 2018 4:01am

More LED work done...

I got these little adjustable BUCK boards on ebay for 50 cents each. They work perfectly for driving XM-L2's. I'll be adding them to the XM-L2 lights soon. They take up to 24 volts in and convert it down to as low as 1 volt.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/10pcs-Mini360- ... 2749.l2649

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This XM-L2 is driving from 3.5 volts. It's running on the 6S pack it's sitting on with the BUCK dropping that to 3.5 volts.

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Last edited by ElectricGod on Jan 27 2018 4:31pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Handlebar Switch Clusters

Post by ElectricGod » Jan 26 2018 1:32am

I don't know about anyone else out there, but invariably I have more lights and accessories than what a single switch cluster will handle. My throttle will have a switch on it. The left side of my handlebars commonly have 2 sets of clusters becasue one isn't enough. I came across a couple of interesting products on ebay that finally address my switch issues.

This is commonly how my left side handle bar looks. One cluster is never enough. None of these directional switches are very clicky and it's easy to miss the off position.

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The above switches are the sort of cluster that I typically find and they are fine for headlights horn and directionals. They are never particularly tactiile for directionals. I always have at least 2 more sets of lights and commonly there's something else too.

This is a really nice cluster and the shell is metal, not plastic like so many others. The directional switch is super clicky which makes finding the off position easy and tactile so that I don't have to look down to find it. The toggle is for the head lights. If it was replaced with a 3 way switch, it could do off, low and high. This is probably the best 3 switch cluster I've ever found. At less than $6, that's a deal!

https://www.ebay.com/itm/7-8-22mm-Alumi ... 2749.l2649

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This is an all plastic 5 switch cluster I found. It's probably going to serve most folks well enough who need more than 3 switches. The bottom completely comes off which makes removing it from your handle bars easy since you don't need to slide it off the end of the bar to remove it. At $8 it's still pretty cheap. If you want a single left side switch cluster, then you will want to remove one of the switches and replace it with an on-off-on switch. It also has 2 momentary switches. Most people really only need one momentary switch for their horn. Moving one of the locking switches in place of the second momentary switch and then filling the empty hole with a 3 way switch would make this usable for most people who need a couple more switches and want a single all in one solution.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Motorcycle-7-8 ... 2749.l2649

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I found this 7 switch cluster. I can't imagine needing more than this! It only has 2 locking switches and the rest are momentary. I had to buy more locking switches and replaced all of them except the one in the horn position and of course I added a 3 way toggle switch for directionals. The toggle is reasonably clicky. It has a metal shell and the bottom is held on by 2 M6 screws. There's 2 switches on the underside. It's fairly well constructed. AT $17 it's a bit expensive and especially since I have to replace all but 1 of the momentary switches. I think after I was done modding it, It cost me about $24. However, now it does everything I want.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1x-7-8-Motorcy ... 2749.l2649

I added a JST connector so I could completely disconnect the bottom from the top. 5 locking switches is quite a lot and I don't think I need more than that ever. All switches have a single wire in common except for the 3 way switch.

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More LED stuff

Post by ElectricGod » Jan 31 2018 1:41am

Not really EV related, but a fun LED side project never the less. I'd like to see one of those expensive key chain lights be any brighter than this!

I bought 2 rechargeable LED keychain lights. They come with a chinese XP-L2 that had a strong blue hue to it...about 6K. They were decently bright, but I knew that I had real CREE XP-L2 LED's which were going to get put in these tiny lights. I reflowed a single LED so I could compare before and after results.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-LED-Brigh ... 2749.l2649

This is how they came to me from China. The black light is all aluminum with an aluminum reflector except the LED carrier which is brass. The other one is all stainless with an aluminum reflector and brass LED carrier. They include an internal micro USB port for charging the battery. It contains a tiny lithium cell.

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Once I had it apart and removed the Chinese LED, I compared a real CREE XP-L2 with the one in the light. It's obvious that the Chinese LED is NOT on the same par as the real part.

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Once I had one of the CREE LED's flowed onto the carrier, I took this picture. The real CREE LED is significantly brighter. For the comparison, I made sure both batteries were fully charged to be sure the brightness test was fair. The real LED's look downright yellow next to the 6K chinese LED. The real XP-L2 are 4K LED's. There's no doubt that this LED swap was well worth it. It looks like it's 3X brighter at least.

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I've had the beat up red light for a long time. I upgraded the LED in it some time ago with a much larger one that tripled it's brightness. Despite it having a really cheap LED in it, it's nearly as bright as these new lights before the XP-L2 swap out.

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This is one of the upgraded lights next to the beat up red light. Definitely much brighter.

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Quadlock adapter

Post by ElectricGod » Jul 25 2018 10:24pm

I like quadlock products. They hold really well. BUT they make mounts for a limited selection of phones. Most people are relegated to either buying the narrow band of supported phones or using the universal mounting kit. All of my phones fit into that category. That means attaching a quadlock wart to the back of the phone if I want to use it on my EV's. Personally I think it sucks as it makes the phone nearly twice as thick and it can't sit flat anymore. When I got a new phone a few weeks ago, I was NOT going to put another wart on it!

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I have lots of neo magnets so I used some to make a magnetic mount possible. Now the phone doesn't need a Quadlock wart on it. I found these stick on magnet plates for phones on amazon. I paid $5 for 10 of them. They stick to any flat and clean surface. That old quadlock wart is getting pulled off my old phone! BTW...once you stick a quadlock to something, good luck getting it pulled off! That glue is really good stuff.

This is the back of the phone now. I can't tell it's there since the phone still lays perfectly flat.

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I bought another quadlock universal mount. These things are NOT cheap at $15 each for a piece of plastic!

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I used another of the stick-on steel plates and super glued 8 neo's to it and then trimmed off the extra plate to make this.

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I then peelled of the backing on the quadlock adapter and off the back of the steel plate and stuck them together to make this. I may add some electrical tape on top of the magnets so the surface is less slick and can't scratch anything.

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On the back of my phone. 100% removable and attachable to anything else with a steel plate on it. It holds my phone quite well and I will never need to buy another quadlock universal adapter wart ever again.

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Re: Random tools and EV related projects

Post by ElectricGod » Aug 30 2018 6:25pm

That magnetic quadlock adapter has worked super well. My phone might as well be glued down!
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