My brother is an emergency room physician by profession. He is also an extremely competent automotive mechanic and DIY engineer. Over the last few years, he’s been building an electric sports car he calls Freedom. He bought the empty shell and chassis of a Rossion. Then he installed and integrated a high-powered electric motor, a high voltage battery system, a control system, and everything else it needed to become a high-end, 100% electric sports car. He asked my daughters and I to provide some specialized display and monitoring electronics for him. We loved working on the project. Sadly, during the recent wildfires in California, the car was in the workshop when the fires swept through the property. My brother and his family managed to save their horses, but were unable to save Freedom. It literally melted into a puddle of aluminum. He lost the car, most his other vehicles, his house, his barn, his workshop, and everything else he owned. So this post is a loving tribute to the fast and awesome Freedom car that once prowled the backroads of Northern California.
THE MAIN ELECTRONICS BOX WE CREATED FOR THE FREEDOM CAR: It includes an Arduino Mega, two CAN-BUS interface modules, an MP3 player, voltage regulators, relays, sensors, a small LCD strip, RGB LED light controller for interior lighting, and other electronics (mostly from Sparkfun, Adafruit, and other sources)
GENEVIEVE SOLDERING THE LIGHT CONTROLLER FOR THE LIGHT BAR
CLOSE UP OF THE VOLTAGE SENSORS AND VOLTAGE REGULATORS
USING OUR FIRST CNC MILL, WE MACHINED A CUSTOM DASHBOARD DISPLAY PANEL FROM A BLOCK OF CHERRY WOOD
THE PANEL DISPLAYED THE CAR’S BATTERY MANAGEMENT STATISTICS ON THE LEFT. THE BAR IN THE MIDDLE DYNAMICALLY DISPLAYED THE AMOUNT OF CURRENT BEING PULLED FROM THE BATTERY AS YOU HIT THE ACCELERATOR
THE PANEL ON THE RIGHT DISPLAYED INFO FROM THE MOTOR CONTROL SYSTEM. THIS WAS OUR FIRST TIME USING A CAN-BUS INTERFACE TO CONNECT INTO A CAR’S DIAGNOSTICS AND MONITORING DATA
WE MACHINED THIS CLASSIC-STYLED “BRASS PLATE” FOR THE MOTOR
THIS IS THE BACK OF THE DISPLAY PANEL WITH THE LCD UNITS INSTALLED
WE ALSO PROVIDED CUSTOM RUNNING BOARDS, ALSO MACHINED FROM CHERRY WOOD
VOLTAGE SENSORS, HACKED UP TO REDUCE THEIR SIZE, THEN CONNECTED TOGETHER AND SOLDERED UP
OUR ORIGINAL EXPERIMENTATION WITH THE LIGHT BAR
GENEVIEVE SOLDERING SOME OF THE ELECTRONICS
WHAT’S UNDER THE HOOD OF THE FREEDOM CAR. NOW THOSE ARE SOME BIG WIRES!
THE BOOT-UP SCREEN ON THE DISPLAY
AS WE WERE WORKING ON THE FREEDOM CAR, IT OFTEN LOOKED LIKE THIS! HERE IT IS IN THE OPEN-AIR TIMBER FRAME WORKSHOP (ALSO BUILT BY MY BROTHER, AND ALSO BURNED DOWN). NOTE THE BACK END OF THE CAR IS TAKEN APART WHILE WE WORK ON THE ELECTRONICS.
THIS WAS US TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO INTEGRATE THE BATTERY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM WITH THE MOTOR CONTROL SYSTEM. NOTE THE VOLTMETER. LIKE, WHAT DOES THIS WHITE WIRE DO AGAIN?
TESTING THE BMS AND LIGHT BAR