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Azure Dynamics Transport Connect - I have one

Posted: May 28 2017 12:11pm
by methods
If anyone wants to work together I learned a lot but still have a lot to learn.

4,000 miles... campus vehicle
Started with intermittent charging.
Escalated to a wont charge state

Got the software package and dongles
Cleared out all sorts of errors
Got down to a reported Isolation fault on one of the two ESS (BMS) boards

Dropped battery and performed troubleshooting... problem followed BMS hardware... but could not get a known good swap.
Sat for a year

Went back to it yesterday - towed it to the warehouse
Pack is still in PERFECT shape. LVC (0% SOC) on the pack is like... 3.4V on the cells... so no degradation. Not even a single cell below or near 3V

EVTV was talking about charge control modules being an issue. Picked one up.

Put the battery back into play (by placing the battery under the van just close enough to reach the wires)
Duplicated the old error
Replaced the module
Old error went away

Now... charger will turn on for anywhere from 0seconds to 4 seconds

We hear the CLICK CLICK CLICK of the contactors coming on
I can read 1.4A of charge current going into each bank
Then the final THUD of the interlock blowing
No indication as to why in the software or dash

Do that for a while and I can blow a High Voltage Interlock error.

Presumably the car will still run... as it did before... tho now I have a turtle and wrench flashing... Need to manually charge the battery up to 5% SOC I suspect... need a 350V supply or stack of supplies and some big diodes.

Anyhow - trying to sort out if my new issues are due to taking everything apart.

Battery was perfectly reassembled
Battery Main line 1, main line 2, round data connector, ground wire, and both interlocks (locked) are in place.
I had opened the HV interconnect box which has an interlock... looked through schematics and found all sorts of fuses and relays inline with these interlocks.

Electrical is a mix of half-hacked Ford stuff mixed in with AZD stuff... omfg...

Checked all the primary AZD fuses, need to check all the Ford fuses... documentation is incomplete and inaccurate.
Read a post about someone fouling up a jump start, blowing out fuses to components, blowing TVS and protection diodes in components...

Currently I have the software working in Windows 10 (buggy as hell) but it is not showing large chunks of data on the main vehicle computer.
My understanding is that the VCU (or whatever they call it) for the standard Transit is different than the one for the Electric.
Seems it must be working to me... but ... have to fiddle it and see.

Some component in the system is killing my charge after a second or three.

What I would do is just run two wires to the HV interconnect box and throw a new charger on the thing... then just charge in traction mode. DONE.
What I need to do since its a customer vehicle is actually diagnose and repair the OEM problem.

AZD was no help... I even contacted their former head of HR on Linkedin as well as every person I could find who once worked there.
I contacted the Battery manufacturer too... they were extra un-helpful. Johnson Controls. Beautiful battery - shit support of those who ended up with them.

Sigh... Why the hell does an EV need to get so complicated.
Motor
Controller
Battery with BMS
Charging System
Cooling system
Interlocks and safety
DC-DC's
Power saving modes
interfacing with OEM rolling chassis
CAN buss
oh yea... I remember now... sigh.

Whatever - I will be that old guy who can fix any EV from way back in the day with hay wires and bubble gum.

-methods

Re: Azure Dynamics Transport Connect - I have one

Posted: May 28 2017 12:18pm
by methods
It just hit me....

Its a deadman timer.

Someone on the CAN buss is not checking in on time or their message has too many errors.

Yes - I have a component that is either non-functional or has too much noise to heartbeat the CAN bus.
Thats what it is... thats why there is no error thrown.

Ok - Next bet is to confirm that each and every component that belongs on the CAN buss is on the can buss.

I know all this... its just buried under old NDA's, threats about secrecy, non-competition contracts, man wtf? I never want to sign another one of those again. You know how much work it is hinting at what may be a good or bad path forward instead of just saying "HEY, this is how the pro's do it". Lame. Capitalism.

P.S. A guy is doing a lot of the footwork with me. Its his van, he procured the software, he arranged the tow, he did the research on the part, he researched some postings... Just FYI I am only reporting on our findings and doing the hands on HV work. Lol... I will let you guess on how we were able to get the battery pack under the rear axle with no ramps or jacks in the shop lol... would have made an epic safety video.

thanks,
-methods

Re: Azure Dynamics Transport Connect - I have one

Posted: May 28 2017 1:05pm
by neptronix
What a huge and unnecessary pain in the ass.

My first gen Honda insight had similar kinds of locks to prevent even tinkering, and that nobody has figured out how to crack that yet.. and i've heard that commercial EVs have just got worse from there.

Won't touch new EVs unless they are mass produced and the company is not just producing them for tax credits or compliance reasons. I bet small production cars like this from the big guys are the worst.

Re: Azure Dynamics Transport Connect - I have one

Posted: May 28 2017 1:12pm
by methods
It's a nightmare of wading through unknowns
The opposite of working on a Honda with a Factory Helms manual.

I take it as a learning exercise and reverse engineering opportunity.

The battery teardown was very interesting...

My next big step is figuring out how to be compliant with the commercial chargers. Hmmm.. probably kits for that by now eh?

-methods

Re: Azure Dynamics Transport Connect - I have one

Posted: May 28 2017 9:08pm
by liveforphysics
If it can charge from 208-277vac input range, I've got an extra J1772 socket you have. My DSR runs 4 of them now with a Tesla destination plug as well. :-)

Re: Azure Dynamics Transport Connect - I have one

Posted: May 29 2017 3:05am
by okashira
I was literally about to post a new topic on this.
We also picked up a 2012 transit. Only 82 miles on the clock, straight from the dealer.
Our battery was dead - two over-discharged cells from sitting.
We are replacing the cells and doing some testing in the coming few weeks.

First you need to get the diagnostic software and adapter. Ill post something in a minute. I got it from EVTV (I know..shudders..)

I am actually pretty over all impressed with the design save some minor quibbles (like the battery pack layout - WTF)
The documentation is decent if you look at it from a component standpoint (ignoring the BMS!) because most of the major components are - charger/inverter/dc dc are from Azure with decent documentation, combined with the diagnostic software I think it won't be too bad to keep it running, even mod it.

That is worrying about your "BMS board" faults. Can you tell it is specific to a "BMS board" ie one of the 16 total BMS boards or some sort of other "isolation fault"?

Worst case I have considered is stripping the bms and building a custom one, and reprogramming the inverter from "scratch" to interface with throttle/using key to power bms, controller/throttle

Re: Azure Dynamics Transport Connect - I have one

Posted: Jun 04 2017 9:58pm
by oatnet
Nice to seeya methy, curious to see how this goes!

-JD

Re: Azure Dynamics Transport Connect - I have one

Posted: Jun 12 2017 2:44pm
by methods
Somehow I was not notified of reply.

We have the full diagnostic package, passwords, and documentation packet.

After replacing the Charge Controller module the error changed from BMS 2 Isolation fault... to something different.
Progress.

Its not the BMS.... its some sort of deadman timer.
Another component is either FUBAR or the CAN buss is FUBAR or something else similar

We have some fields non-pop in the software.
No time for unpaid work at the moment.

Pack is in perfect shape. A bit worried about all the coolant system warnings... apparently if you leave bubbles in there parts fail in other subsystems.

The project is at that point where "I know it is going to work".
No rush.

Credit to the EVTV guys who dropped a few hints along the way and made the Charge Controller available (whether that was the original problem or not)
I dont like some of their theory... like BOTTOM BALANCING ... but they are going for it.

A note... I called their shop to ask if I could return the part I was paying $350 for if it did not rectify the problem.
They treated me like a punk noob, said no, and that was that.

I told them that I was an EE, had the battery open, had the diag software, had the problem diagnosed
The guy on the phone yells across the shop something to the tune of: "Customer on phone, has not diagnosed, does not know what he is doing, wants to be able to return part"

Meh - they can do what they want.

-methods

Re: Azure Dynamics Transport Connect - I have one

Posted: Jun 12 2017 2:48pm
by methods
liveforphysics wrote:If it can charge from 208-277vac input range, I've got an extra J1772 socket you have. My DSR runs 4 of them now with a Tesla destination plug as well. :-)
I noticed that in one of the pictures you sent on Hangouts...
Nice.

One of my next big hurtles (after I solve the basic BMS riddle again) is to tap into the two primary charging standards.
I have not yet looked... but am guessing... that we are starting to see kits for doing this that are low cost.

I broke open a few level 2 chargers... OMFG... it looks like a project kit from Fry's in there.
NOTHING IN THERE...
Things are like $50 bucks in parts

Once the code sets are mature and open source the price on those things will converge on under $100 for certain.

As for Better Standards...
Like the Tesla Plug

Mmmmmm... yea... who the hell wants a plug the size of your wrist that costs so much?
It is just not needed.

How about good old alligator clips :!:
Nothing like hooking up 350V by hand.

-methods

Re: Azure Dynamics Transport Connect - I have one

Posted: Jun 12 2017 4:14pm
by grindz145
Cars are always needlessly complicated my friend :D

Re: Azure Dynamics Transport Connect - I have one

Posted: Jun 13 2017 9:41am
by neptronix
methods wrote:Mmmmmm... yea... who the hell wants a plug the size of your wrist that costs so much?
It is just not needed.

How about good old alligator clips :!:
Nothing like hooking up 350V by hand.

-methods
:lol: :lol: :lol:

Re: Azure Dynamics Transport Connect - I have one

Posted: Jun 14 2017 9:41am
by Warren
Ford has no interest in EVs, but keep hooking up with others to look involved. This time the German post office!

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2017/06 ... .html#more

Re: Azure Dynamics Transport Connect - I have one

Posted: Jun 14 2017 9:47am
by methods
Workas LukeMan sent a breakdown over email on the lastest charging hacks.
Hundred or two in parts and a contactor
Plugs into 240V and supports various standards

Looking promising. I will implement one when my BMS is done.
Part of why I am combining Discharge and Charge into one is to allow for super high charge rates... up to thermal limits

Pop your battery and blow smoke everywhere :twisted:

-methods

Re: Azure Dynamics Transport Connect - I have one

Posted: Sep 13 2017 9:13pm
by Charliea
Hi methods,

I just saw your post - I have an AZD Transit Connect as well. It is not running. Appears to be a problem with the charging process. At the moment I am flying blind. I have a Kvaser CAN interface but I don't have all the AZD software. I downloaded the drivers from the link at EVTV site, but I haven't been able to get the other msi files that are posted on their site.

I've been trying to get access to the forum from the EVTV guys but they have been non responsive for the last couple of months to my multiple requests and phone calls. Do you know where I can find this software at an alternative download site? It sounds like you have found all the software.

Re: Azure Dynamics Transport Connect - I have one

Posted: Nov 11 2017 10:04pm
by okashira
Charliea wrote:Hi methods,

I just saw your post - I have an AZD Transit Connect as well. It is not running. Appears to be a problem with the charging process. At the moment I am flying blind. I have a Kvaser CAN interface but I don't have all the AZD software. I downloaded the drivers from the link at EVTV site, but I haven't been able to get the other msi files that are posted on their site.

I've been trying to get access to the forum from the EVTV guys but they have been non responsive for the last couple of months to my multiple requests and phone calls. Do you know where I can find this software at an alternative download site? It sounds like you have found all the software.
i have the software working. PM me

Re: Azure Dynamics Transport Connect - I have one

Posted: Nov 12 2017 1:53am
by Hwy89
I was a stock holder of Azure Dynamics when they went under. Lost a lot of money. Always wanted an electric transit connect. Feel like I paid for one but never got it. Good luck, hope you figure out how to get it running.

Re: Azure Dynamics Transport Connect - I have one

Posted: Apr 14 2018 10:12am
by methods
Time flies...

I still have one of these torn apart over at Google.

The battery (last checked) was dead nuts perfect in every way shape and form.

The only problem (as far as I can tell...) is that one of the modules in the system is not reporting.
Likely - worst case... a few hundred bucks to replace a module.

If you are clever - my understanding... is that there is a protection diode in the module in question
It shorts
Crowbars
Will not allow the system to run

Easy fix
De-solder and replace (or just de-solder)

Pay the owner what the vehicle is worth (quite a bit... if you consider the piece parts. Its is worth MUCH more salvage than complete)
If we have a serious buyer (we are talking - uh... duh know... $12k?)

I will facilitate the handoff.

Battery is on a pallet where it can be opened for inspection.
Battery can be reinstalled by two guys in a couple hours
Need some of the factory coolant or equ
Need to do the coolant purge (apparently its a big deal) - and...

IF we throw a charge at the battery manually (need something like a 400V supply) the car will drive out of the shop.

AT PRESENT

It will not charge factory due to the interlocks.

(NOTE: You will need to sign an NDA before coming on site. The vehicle is located in a ... eh... well... "Test Area")

I want it off my radar

-methods