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SnowBelt Energy Center —Amherst, WI



2500 watts output, includes battery charger, List price $1,990.00 ea. 1 - HEART INVERTER, MODEL FREEDOM-25/24 VOLT $1,245.00

1 - HEART INVERTER, MODEL HD-2800-24 $999.00

2800 watt output as 220VAC, 24VDC input, List price $1999.00

2 - HEART INVERTER, MODEL HF24-2500XCP $1,245.00 ea.

2500 watt output at 110/220VAC, 24VDC input, List $1,990.00

1 - HEART INVERTER, MODEL HD-600-12 $465.00

600 watt output, 12VDC input, List price $600.00



1 - KYOCERA 51 watt PV MODULE $325.00

2 - AMORPHOUS 10 watt PV MODULES $79.00 ea.

1 - Simpler Ceiling Fan 12VDC $199.00


1 - 200W Battery Charger, 24VDC output, 120/240VAC input $199.00

2 - Heart Inverters, Model HF24-2500XCP $1100.00 ea.

1 - Sun Selector NDR-30 controller mounted in a metal box $250.00

1 - Remote meter panel 24VDC $50.00

1 - Pair of 35A Mercury Contactors mounted in a metal box $75.00

24 - 30VDC incandescent light bulbs $.50 ea.

6 - 30VDC, 13W compact fluorescent light bulbs w/ballasts $15.00 ea.

6 - Thinlite 40w, 24VDC fluorescent fixtures w/lamps $39.00 ea.

1 - 16cf. Refrigerator w/freezer, 24VDC, super insulated, very nice $750.00

Note: all the above product is in working order and is in like-new condition — cash sales only — all sales final — ask for Bob —refer to this ad when calling FOB Amherst, WI

Real Goods SnowBelt

286 Wilson St. Amherst, WI 54406

SolaVolt SV8500 Hi Performance & Value 16.5% Efficiency @ Thin Film Pricing


Complete Systems Your Wireless Connection 20903 E. 32nd St Broken Arrow, OK 74014 Phone 918-834-6500



Above: The first electric car to break 100 mph lap speed at PIR was this '85 Indy Lola conversion sponsored by

EXIDE batteries and piloted by Billy Roe. Photo: Paul Brasch

Electric Cars:

Toys or Reality?

Paul H. Brasch

Street legal electric cars are a joke: How long is the cord? They are no more than golf-carts or handicapped vehicles. Electricity could never power a car for freeway use or for more than a very few miles. If they were "practicalwhy don't I see them on the road? They don't go far enough and they cost too much. It takes too long to recharge. You can't use electricity for a motorcycle,

The statements above are the perceptions in the minds of the public. The REALITY is very different. Let's look at the facts.

Myth: Electric Vehicles (EVs) can't go very fast.

The reality is that the present land speed record for an EV was set way back in 1974 at 175 miles per hour at Bonneville by Silicon Valley engineer, Roger Hedlund. (editor's note: The new record of 183 mph was set by a streamlined GM Impact on March 11, 1994. MH) There is a newly built vehicle soon to break 200 mph that has been built by Ed Rannberg of Eye Ball Engineering in the Los Angeles area.

What about motorcycles? Ed Rannberg also built an electric drag bike. It was written up in the Feb. '92 Cycleworld. It does 0 to 110 mph in 11 seconds flat.

There also has been full-scale auto racing at the Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) for the past 4 years. Put on by the Solar & Electric Racing Association and sponsored by Arizona Public Service (a utility), the top speeds at the March '93 event broke 100 mph. (The track record at PIR is about 175 mph set by Michael Andretti in a methanol Lola Indy style car.) The batteries in some racing vehicles have been exchanged in as little as 13.5 seconds, faster than most Indy pit stops. Eighty to one hundred vehicles have been competing in these races.

Myth: EVs don't go far enough.

A typical gasoline to electric conversion will give you a 50 - 70 mile per charge range. A poor conversion job may only give you a 40 mile range, while a good job on a good car will yield 80 - 100+ mile range. A Porsche 914 conversion I have driven has a 100-mile range at 60 miles per hour on the freeway and a top speed of 90 mph.

I gave a talk about EVs at a Rotary luncheon. An auto dealer who was in attendance took the position that a car must be able to travel more than 100 miles at a time. Several editions of the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Highway Administration from 1969 to 1990 show that the national average travel per vehicle is less than 25 miles a day.

The auto dealer simply refused to accept this and claimed that California's average was 15,000 miles/year. I dispute that but even so this is only about 42 miles a day. So what is wrong with a 50 - 70 mile per charge car? Such a car is only using today's golf-cart, deep cycle lead-acid batteries.

A major improvement to the lead-acid battery goes into production by an Austin, Texas company — Electrosource. Their battery promises about a 90% improvement in energy capacity and more than 900 deep discharge cycles. New charging technology allows this and other batteries to be recharged in 8 minutes to 50% and 30 min. to 100% of charge. If you can recharge in little more time than it takes to fill up with gas, where is the problem?

It is true that to recharge in 8 minutes, special equipment is needed. This could be available at "service stations" just as gasoline is. Try filling your gas tank at home! It is not practical. With an EV, you can do most or all of your recharging at your convenience at home. Recharging at home off a 230 volt dryer outlet would take 4 - 5 hours for a complete "fill" from "empty". In practice, much less is needed in normal daily use. This could usually be done at night which actually helps the electrical utilities. They even offer reduced rates for this nighttime use.

Myth: EVs cost more to buy.

The auto industry, backed by the oil industry, is less prone to say that a practical EV cannot be built since GM demonstrated their "Impact" EV in January '90. This is something that private individuals had been doing for 20+ years, even if they could not match the Impact's 0 - 60 in 8 seconds acceleration. Now, the auto industry says that they can do it but an EV will cost from 2-5 times as much to build and sell.

This is all jive. With less than 1/10 the precision machined parts in the drive train, there is a big savings here in production, which is partly offset by the battery cost. Newly manufactured EVs should cost LESS to produce in full production than today's gas buggies. Evidence to support this statement is that conversion kits to change a gas drive to electric drive sell for $4,000 — $7,000 in single quantities. With Federal and some states' tax credits for doing this, it can be done for about $5,000 — $6,000. So why should a new EV sell for $50,000 — $100,000? It's preposterous.

Below: Veteran Indianapolis 500 winner Tom Sneva (in driver's seat) talks to his crew during a pit stop.

Below: Veteran Indianapolis 500 winner Tom Sneva (in driver's seat) talks to his crew during a pit stop.

Director of Ford's EV program, Dennis Wilkie, admitted that "any college student with a voltmeter and a battery pack can make a working electric car." With some technical help, such a car can go 80 - 100+ miles on a charge for 1-2 dollars of electricity.

Myth: EVs will put people out of work.

Back to the auto dealer. He was terrified when I said that an EV could last 20 years as it needs only tire and brake maintenance, chassis lubes and battery replacement (this but once every 3 - 5 years with golf-cart batteries and potentially twice as long for the new Electrosource battery). He asked what do we do with all the unemployed maintenance people?

This is what they said about buggy whips 100 years ago. Ten to 20 years ago, with the advent of the microprocessor, people thought that everyone was going to lose their job. But look at the size of the electronics and computer industries today. Many more jobs were created. The electronics industry, just in the past 2 years, has started to realize that there is an enormous worldwide market for "electronic cars".

Myth: EVs cost more to operate.

A member of the Electric Auto Association determined that his total ownership cost for his electric Karman Ghia was only 8-10 cents per mile. Compare that with 20-25 cents per mile for his 40 mpg gas car!

Myth: If they are so "practical" why don't I see them on the road?

The simple fact is that unless a gas to electric conversion has some sort of identifying markings like "electric car", you cannot identify it from the outside. There is an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 EVs on the nation's streets that private individuals have converted.

What still needs to be done to improve today's EVs? Better battery chargers. Motor speed controllers with improved power capacity, reduced cost, and a regenerative braking feature. Better instrumentation and information for the driver. I have developed the first Hall-effect instrument to quantify the energy removed or returned to a battery pack.

So the next time someone asks "how long is the cord?" you can reply that there is no cord — batteries are included, and smile on your way to the bank. The joke is on them because of the expensive smog-belcher that they are driving.


Paul H. Brasch, the creator of the Electric Auto Association's publication Current EVents and a 22-year member of the 26 year old organization, died August 13, 1994. This is the last article he wrote.

Midway Labs

Bob Hoffmann, of Midway Labs, takes time out from a PV-powered water pumping job in Mexico. You bet he's checked the expiration issue on his mailing label.

Don't miss an issue of Home Power. The last issue number of your subscription is printed in plain English on your mailing label.

Come Celebrate Summer Solstice

Featuring the Solar & Wind Powered Fairgrounds

Walk through a model home demonstrating energy efficient construction, appliances and renewable power & heating.

See, handle, and purchase products that will help you conserve energy, protect the environment, and save money.

See Vehicles Powered by Alternative Energy

Network with others who share similar interests

Keynote Speaker: Michael Potts, builder, writer, energy theorist, author of The Independent Home. Speaking on self-sufficiency coming home to more folks every day.

Bus tours of Alternative Energy Homes.

Entertainment: Common Faces plays a wide variety of danceable eclectic music including Latin, R & B, Reggae, Calypso, Pop, Country, Folk, Soul, and Rock.

For More Information:

Midwest Renewable Energy Association PO Box 249, Amherst, WI 54406 (715) 824-5166


Attend workshops (beginner to advanced) presented by experts from across the country. Wind Electricity Construction Techniques Solar Electricity Weatherization Solar & Electric Cars Composting Toilets Solar Cooking Living with Renewables Solar Water Heating Green Investing Wood Burning Teacher Curriculum

Admission Fees: Daily Weekend

Children (12 & Under) Free Free

* Evening Entertainment Requires an Admission Fee.

Children participate in active, hands-on "Next Generation" workshops

Paper Making Lego - Power of the Sun Sun Art

Worm Composting

Teacher Curriculum Workshops

Energy education through story telling

Wisconsin Energy Cycle

Education Program Collaborative Energy Curriculum

Development Family Entertainment: Stuart Stotts

$35.00 yearly MREAmembership includes: entrance to 1995 Energy Fair, 1995 Energy Fair T-Shirt, quarterly newsletter subscription, and more.

Electricworm Converted
Above: A Porsche Spider converted to electric by MendoMotive.

EV Battery Charger Issues

Gary Flo and Michael Hackleman

©1995 Gary Flo

As an EV conversion shop, we have to evaluate all the potential products available. The K&W charger, as mentioned in Shari Prange's article on EV chargers (HP #40, Electric Vehicle Chargers, pg 6668) is sold by all the main EV parts retailers. It is transformerless, lightweight, automatic, and somewhat reasonably priced. However, there are other options and a number of important issues to address, too.

Despite the attractiveness of their light weight, transformerless chargers have invoked a great deal of controversy in the engineering community. Some people think they will be outlawed when EV regulations are written. Why? During charging, any battery post becomes "live" with respect to ground. A person touching one battery terminal could get a 110-volt (AC) shock if the circuit is completed to ground through the body because of bare feet or a wet floor. Also, the body or chassis of the car could become live if there was any leakage between the battery terminals and metal battery racks, etc.

To protect against these hazards, transformerless chargers (including the K & W unit) are equipped with a Ground Fault Interrupt (GFI) switch which disables the charger when the conditions exist.

Unfortunately, EVs with metal battery racks experience "nuisance tripping" of the GFI. During charging, acid mist vents from the batteries and is deposited on the battery tops. This provides a handy conducive path from the battery terminals to the metal battery racks, tripping the GFI. This can also occur when the battery fluid is too high and electrolyte overflows during charging, wetting the battery tops. As well, colleagues who have worked on EVs with transformerless chargers report getting "zapped" before the GFI trips.

Regularly washing the battery tops with an alkaline solution (such as baking soda) will minimize GFI trips. It may be a required procedure if the GFI won't permit the continuation of a charge without tripping.

To circumvent this situation, some EV builders that use transformerless chargers, such as Electro-Automotive, have wisely gone to plywood or polypropylene boxes for the battery pack. Others, such as Solar Car Corporation (Florida) and U.S. Electricar (California) refuse to use transformerless chargers altogether due to liability and safety questions. Our company (MendoMotive) is considering using transformerless chargers, but only in a fiberglass-bodied kit car. We already take other safety precautions such as rubber-coating metal battery racks, rubber caps for all battery terminals, and lexan covers for all exposed highvoltage areas.

One merit of transformers in chargers is that they provide isolation from the 110 vac line so that nothing

Below: From left to right, Stephen Heckeroth, Dick Hamilton, Norm Fluhrer, and Gary Flo.

in the car is "live" to ground (except the incoming wires). Another merit is that by selecting the number of primary and secondary windings,you can get any voltage. Finally, an "extra" secondary winding can supply the needed recharge current for a battery in the EV's 12-volt system for lights and other accessories.

The primary disadvantage of chargers with transformers is their weight. At 50100 lbs, these are real "boat anchors". Bycan and Lester make some very reliable chargers of this type, and they are suitable and reasonably priced. They are fully regulated, and come in 110 v or 220 v AC versions, or both (Lester makes a great dual). They are often used "offboard", but may be found onboard in EV pickup trucks and the old Electra-vans.

The emerging EV industry is providing new options. American Monarch has entered the EV charger market with a 43-lb, 1500-watt transformer charger using their patented "gas point detection" system for greater battery life. Here at MendoMotive, we have been using a crude transformer charger with an Elveco toroidal transformer that weights only 30 pounds. It puts out 15 A (1800 watts) on low, and 24 A (2880 watts) on high. If the secondary voltage is chosen properly, even an unregulated transformer charger can charge the batteries correctly. The 150-volt tap on our transformer, through a rectifier, charges twenty T-125 batteries (120 volts) perfectly to 150 volts in about 8-10 hours. It tapers down to 2 Amps at the end simply due to greater battery resistance. For the DIY'er (Do It Yourself'er), transformers are readily available through surplus catalogs for building your own charger. All it takes is a transformer, rectifier, and some fuses.

Future EV chargers will use high-frequency transformers working up to 20 kHz (20,000 cycles) to achieve high power at low weight while retaining isolation. Chargers from Hughes Aircraft use this method. A Santa Rosa company is developing a 5,000-watt charger using a 2-pound transformer. Other companies offering chargers are New Concepts,

Norvik, Solectria, and Enerpro. Solar Car Company is working with Todd Engineering on both chargers and converters.

Two new products will soon be available in the USA: the Zivan K2 and the K & W BC-250. Both use high-frequency (20-100 kHz), isolated transformers. The Zivan K2 charger will weigh eight (8) pounds with a 2,500 watt output. It is available in 110 v or 220 v AC versions for battery packs of 12-180 VDC, and retails at $685. The K&W BC-250 weighs sixteen (16) pounds and will yield 4,000 watts. It will operate on an input range of 110-250 vac, charge a 96-160 VDC pack, and retail at $1,095.


Author: Gary Flo, MendoMotive Electric Vehicles, 110 W Elm St., Ft. Bragg, CA 95437. Phone 707-964-1331 FAX 707-964-6500. ^


"Most efficient and dependable ram made"

A ram pump is a water pump that uses the energy of flowing water from a stream, pond, or spring to pump a portion of that water to a point higher than that of the supply. It operates automatically and continuously without electricity, fuel, or other sources of power.

The Folk Water Powered Ram has no rotating parts or springs, only two simple valves alternately closed by water pressure and the flowing water to cause pumping action.

FOLK Water Powered Ram Pumps can pump thousands of gallons per day for a distance of thousands of feet; or to a height of 500 feet; or to pressures over 200 P.S.I. at no operating cost. FOLK RAM PUMPS are used for:

A. Watering the family garden or a larger area when several rams are used in parallel.

B. Supplying water to a pond that has an inadequate supply.

C. Pumping water from a lower level pond to an upper level pond as often done in fish farming.

D. Watering livestock, supplying dairy barns, and poultry houses.

E. For household use and fire protection, especially in undeveloped areas. What conditions are needed to operate a ram pump?

1. A supply of water at least two gallons per minute for a 1" ram pump.

2. The ram must be at least three feet lower than "water source". (This is the "fall".) NOTE: With more "fall" a higher percentage of water can be pumped.

3. The "delivery" height should not be more than fifteen times the "fall" height.

To estimate the amount a specific ram installation will deliver: multiple the "fall" in feet times the supply in gallons; then divide by the "delivery" height in feet, then multiple times .61. These rams are of high quality. The castings are of rustproof, high strength aluminum alloy, and all bolts, nuts and valve stems are stainless steel. Folk Rams are more efficient because they do not need to pump a part air mixture, and because they have larger air tanks and valve ports. Accept no imitations.

INTAKE (Drive) Pipe 1"


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Hybrid Cars The Whole Truth Revealed

Hybrid Cars The Whole Truth Revealed

Hybrid Cars! Man! Is that a HOT topic right now! There are some good reasons why hybrids are so hot. If you’ve pulled your present car or SUV or truck up next to a gas pumpand inserted the nozzle, you know exactly what I mean! I written this book to give you some basic information on some things<br />you may have been wondering about.

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