Mike Brown's Hands-On Battery Seminar

By Bill Moore

Posted: 06 Jan 2010

Tired of sitting and listening to a bunch of "suits" talking about batteries? Want to actually get your hands on some, understand them, work with them?

Then, brother -- and sister -- have I got a seminar for you. His EV-conversion eminence, Mike Brown, called me this week asking if I could help him get the word out about the latest seminar he and the equally eminent Shari Prange, co-authors of the long-live "bible" of electric car conversions, Convert It! are hosting this month in sunny Santa Cruz on California's Pacific Coast. These two have done so much to introduce layman to electric vehicles over the last two decades since the book was first published in 1993 that I immediately agreed to help. I asked Mike to draft an article highlighting the day-long seminar featuring Jim Ramos and Andy Burk and he dutifully responded with the following missive.

So, get off your duff and give Mike a call. If had the money, I and my wife would be on the next flight out of the snow fields of Omaha and headed to the California coast where its got to be warmer than it is here (current air temperature outside is 14F... and its snowing yet again.)

Here's Mike's plug for the event:

Mike Brown explaining the basics of attaching a DC motor to a automotive transmission

Practical Battery Information for Conversions

The battery pack is physically the largest component of an electric vehicle, one of the costliest, and one of the most critical in determining the vehicle’s performance. Lead acid batteries have been the staple of conversions for decades, but they have evolved and advanced so that there are several choices in types of lead acid batteries, each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Also, lithium batteries have got past early teething problems and are becoming a major player.

Now, for the first time, a seminar will offer detailed practical information about these batteries that is tailored specifically for home conversions on Jan. 30 in Santa Cruz, California. Three knowledgeable speakers will present information on the topics of lead acid batteries, lithium batteries, and battery installation issues. There will be ample time for questions, so participants are guaranteed to come away with information that will have useful application on their projects.

Jim Ramos, of American Battery Company in Hayward, California, will speak on the fine points of lead acid batteries, based on thirty years of experience in manufacturing and selling lead acid batteries, and observing their strengths and weaknesses in actual operation under a wide variety of conditions. He can explain how subtle differences in internal structures and chemical compositions of anodes, cathodes, and electrolyte will result in different performance. He will compare the traditional flooded batteries (and variations between brands) with various types of sealed batteries, including which applications suit them best, and what is the optimum care and feeding regimen.

Dr. Andrew Burke, of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis, will speak on the emerging lithium battery technology based on his thirty-five years of experience in rigorous controlled testing and evaluation of batteries. His focus in recent years has been on lithium batteries. He will address the lithium batteries that are currently available at the home conversion level, separating speculation from verifiable facts.

Michael Brown, of Electro Automotive, will speak on battery installation and containment in the vehicle, based on his thirty years in the conversion business. How the batteries are placed and secured is critical not only for vehicle handling and crash safety, but also for getting optimum performance from the batteries. Some require “elbow room” while others require tight compression, some need to be kept warm while others need to be kept cool.

This is a rare opportunity for EV people at the home conversion level to take advantage of nearly a century of combined electric vehicle battery expertise to answer any and all questions. There is a $100 registration fee for the seminar, and advance registration is required. For more details, see HYPERLINK "http://www.electroauto.com/batteryseminar.shtml" http://www.electroauto.com/batteryseminar.shtml or call 831-429-1989.

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