Need Advice for ME1616 controller (96v)

Jan 19, 2024
Austin, Texas
I am currently working on a 28kwh 96v buggy. I already have the battery pack and motor and tried to get a Kelly 8080NPS working, but the documentation is confusing, and it failed during angle identification, and I think I bricked it. Now I want to try a Sevcon gen4 controller but I have heard they are difficult to program and software/gear is expensive. I was also considering Curtis ones, but I haven't read too much about them in this forum. Also, I heard they don't support individuals but only OEMs. I plan on using an orion2 bms. I emailed one of those companies that makes the kits asking for a kit without the motor and am yet to receive a response, but I will keep you all updated. Now, if anyone has any advice for a controller or just any advice for a newbie with a me1616, please give it to me. Also, ask questions, any questions, please. if something is unclear please ask! Thank you.
  • 28.6kWh
  • 96v nominal
  • 32x 280k Eve prismatic cells.
  • ME1616
  • TBD Controller
  • Probably Orion2 BMS
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Are you looking for someone to come help you, or are you starting a project thread for advice?

If the former this is the right place for it, otherwise the Large EV section is probably better, and I can move it there for you.

I'm not sure which controller would be best for your project; we don't know how much power you need, or what kind of features you're after. There are different ways for a controller to drive a motor (square/trap, sine (lookuptable type), and FOC, for instance). There are other features such as forms of electric braking, or the ability to send info to a dashboard display and/or receive commands from one, or various types of control inputs, or safety features, etc. Some may have better autotunes (for FOC types), or more parameters you can manually tune, etc. Often the more things a controller can do, the harder it is to setup and the longer it takes to get it matched up to your needs and system (Sevcon as an example)...but the more perfectly you can match it to your setup and not have to limit your project because of things it can't do.

If you don't already know how much power your system will use to do the job it has to do, I'd recommend sitting down and making a list of all the conditions, terrain, speed, weight of system, wind, etc. that the buggy has to operate in and at, and use that info in simulators or calculators such as those at to guesstimate how much power it will take to do that job.


From the many forum posts about them here, Sevcons don't seem to be easy to setup even if you already have the right files for the specific motor you're using, as you still have to setup all the options to match your other system components and wiring, and the hardware and software to set it up is not cheap, either. There are companies out there that sell services of setting these up for people, for that reason; I expect those services are also not cheap.

Kelly has some controllers that can brick themselves if you spin the motor while it's attached to the setup software/computer; there are notes in the manuals for these, such as this one from the KLS manual (AFAICR it's also in the 8080):
"Anyway please try to do identification angle operation before running the motor.And please don't try to connect the controller to user program while the motor is still running,letalone change the setting in user program or Android App.That is to say,if you want to connectcontroller to user program or try to do programming,please stop the motor first.This is the most important thing."
Where it *should* be created so that problems from that can't happen, and/or it detects any conditions that will cause a problem and prevent operation of the setup program.
Thank you, you can go ahead and move my post. As for the other stuff, I found a local EV Conversion company (Moment Motor Company) that uses Curtis Controllers, so I've reached out to them for more information and any advice because it would be handy to have local help. the ME1616 is a 55kw PMAC sin/cosin motor, and I loosely based my build off of James Biggar's electric buggy, opting for a used chassis instead. He uses a Kelly Controller, so I decided it would be a good call. Mine is smaller, though, and I will get pictures tomorrow when the sun is out.

After doing more research and reading through the Curtis marketing material, they seem promising, and having an OEM nearby is helpful. There definitely is a gap in the market for professional-grade consumer simplicity motor controllers, but R&D costs and niche markets might not be profitable.

I'd love to hear any information you have about Curtis Controllers, too, and I'll keep this thread updated for anyone who encounters similar issues.