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Electronics for Electric Sports Car

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

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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)

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GENEVIEVE SOLDERING THE LIGHT CONTROLLER FOR THE LIGHT BAR

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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

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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

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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

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WE MACHINED THIS CLASSIC-STYLED “BRASS PLATE” FOR THE MOTOR

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THIS IS THE BACK OF THE DISPLAY PANEL WITH THE LCD UNITS INSTALLED

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WE ALSO PROVIDED CUSTOM RUNNING BOARDS, ALSO MACHINED FROM CHERRY WOOD

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VOLTAGE SENSORS, HACKED UP TO REDUCE THEIR SIZE, THEN CONNECTED TOGETHER AND SOLDERED UP

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OUR ORIGINAL EXPERIMENTATION WITH THE LIGHT BAR

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GENEVIEVE SOLDERING SOME OF THE ELECTRONICS

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THE SPARKFUN ARDUINO MEGA BACKLIT WITH LEDS

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ORIGINAL TESTING ON THE LIGHT BAR

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MY BROTHER PAUL (ON THE RIGHT) TALKING TO MY BROTHER CHRIS (ON THE LEFT)  ABOUT THE FREEDOM CAR’S POWER SYSTEM (IN FOREGROUND)

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WHAT’S UNDER THE HOOD OF THE FREEDOM CAR. NOW THOSE ARE SOME BIG WIRES!

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THE BOOT-UP SCREEN ON THE DISPLAY

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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.

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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?

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TESTING THE BMS AND LIGHT BAR

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Comments (9)

  1. Evan
    December 2nd, 2015

    I never saw the dashboard installed–it looks GORGEOUS.

    So, so heartbreaking.

  2. Bob Bell
    December 2nd, 2015

    So sorry for your loss. The car and craftsmanship looked amazing. I can only hope your brother can recover from such a terrible experience and continue creating revolutionary machines. Peace…Bob

  3. ali
    December 4th, 2015

    i am visiting your website sometimes. i hope you brother can recover soon. it seems he is strong man and i am sure he will recover. you are great team, i hope successful future for your family.

  4. Sam Ng
    December 6th, 2015

    Very Cool!!!

  5. Sam Ng
    December 6th, 2015

    Very Cool project!!! You team is ideal model to tell what maker is to Hong Kong people. It is not necessary to have a big team to do a great work!

  6. haze
    December 17th, 2015

    Hello from France. I follow your blog sometimes. It’s very cool project. I would like to know if possible to do a video of your project. Thank you.

  7. Fred
    May 13th, 2016

    i was wondering why you dont have red hair but your daughters do. Now i saw your brother in that picture and he has red hair, so i think you have a recessive red hair gene and so your wife haha. Freedom was pretty beautiful btw. Regards from spain

  8. Robert
    May 13th, 2016

    Yes, both my wife and I have a recessive red hair gene. Our grandmothers had red hair, now our kids have red hair. When I grow a heard, it’s partially red. 🙂

  9. Robert
    August 17th, 2016

    I had tears in my eyes when I read what had happened. This was a wonderful project. Hope you have great success with future projects.

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