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Moderate powered system for electric car

Old 02-17-2009, 11:02 PM
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Moderate powered system for electric car

Hi folks,

I've been out of the car stereo world for quite a while, and would like some advice as to how to get started with a new project I've been working on.

I'm converting a 1996 Ford Aspire to electric drive, and currently have it sitting engine and transmissionless, stripped to the floorboards in my garage. Since it'll be a pretty unique car when it's done as it is, I'd like to put a decent stereo into it as well.

The issue is that since the car is electric, any power for the stereo has to come from the main drive battery (144V, probably 160Ah) via a big DC-DC converter, and will detract from the driving range. As such, I'd like advice as to what sort of amplifiers and speakers to look at that are easy on the power consumption side of things, while still providing a good SQ system.

The last car I worked on was an Aspire as well, so I know the car pretty well. That system was Clarion Pro 5.25 components up front in custom glass kick pods via Clarion amps, and 2 PPI 8" subs in back in a sealed enclosure. Sounded okay. I still have the amps (APA5241 and APA1200), but they're a little on the huge side now I guess.

I can easily build new kick pods for something in the 5.25" size again (or put something like that in the dash I guess), and the doors will take a 6" midbass if I do a bit of rework. I'd like to stick with one or two 8" subs in back mounted in the sides of the rear cargo area, since the main drive battery dominates the entire floor (cut into the floor, and possibly even under the rear seat). If I got creative (like went headunit-less and used an Ipod and line amp instead, maybe with an RCA switch for sat radio as well), I might be able to fit a single 8" sub up front instead.

Any suggestions for components to check out would be gratefully appreciated. If I can keep things to about $1500 for speakers and amps, that would be ideal.

Thanks guys,
Adam
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Old 02-19-2009, 09:43 PM
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Tough bird!
I presume there's a minor typo on the Battery voltage 14.4V? not 144Volts.
The problem is going to be in how long the system will play before both engine and stereo, drain the batteries.
So, subs should be out of the equation, as the amplifier to drive them will use up most of the power. Consider a good quality 5.25, or modify for 6" speakers( suggest Morel ). Properly mounted on wood baffles, they should provide for adequate bass response, especially if it's a "long throw" design woofer, rather than a shallow speaker.
A 30-40w/ch Amplifier should be enough to provide good ambient levels, considering there's no audible engine noise.
Class "D" is most efficient design in amplification, but most manufacturers use Class "D" design for subwoofer application.
Consider a separate battery for the stereo, with solar power charger?
Let us know how the project is coming along if you can. Any pictures?
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Old 02-19-2009, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Eli47 View Post
Tough bird!
Yeah, it's a bit out of the ordinary. I chose it because the ratio of curb weight (2000lbs) to gross vehicle weight (2900 lbs) approached that of some light pickups, which gave me lots to play with in terms of batteries. It's really just cooincidence that I owned one before, but it does mean I'm pretty familiar with the thing.

Originally Posted by Eli47 View Post
I presume there's a minor typo on the Battery voltage 14.4V? not 144Volts.
Nope, no typo The main pack will probably be a bit over 40, 160Ah lithium ion cells, for a pack voltage of 144V. It'll be a fully highway capable car, with better acceleration than the gas version (no that that's saying much, but still).

I actually have quite a bit of power to play with, I'm just trying to save as much as I can for the drive motor. The DC - DC converter steps the 144V down to about 13-14V, depending on pot settings and such.

Originally Posted by Eli47 View Post
The problem is going to be in how long the system will play before both engine and stereo, drain the batteries.
Long time - Even 1000W is just (1000/144)= 7A out of the main pack (+ converter losses). The motor will draw up to 300A in hard acceleration.

Originally Posted by Eli47 View Post
So, subs should be out of the equation, as the amplifier to drive them will use up most of the power.
I don't think so, though I'd like to stay low powered if I can.

Originally Posted by Eli47 View Post
Consider a good quality 5.25, or modify for 6" speakers( suggest Morel ). Properly mounted on wood baffles, they should provide for adequate bass response, especially if it's a "long throw" design woofer, rather than a shallow speaker.
I'll check into Morel...have to confess that's not one I'm familiar with.

Originally Posted by Eli47 View Post
A 30-40w/ch Amplifier should be enough to provide good ambient levels, considering there's no audible engine noise.
Road noise is about it accoustically, I'm just not sure how r/f noise is going to figure in. Other converters have said you can forget most radio, for example, due to the noise that the motor controller kicks off. There will be welding cable carrying drive power from the batteries in the rear running down the middle of the car, so I'll have to work around those.

Originally Posted by Eli47 View Post
Class "D" is most efficient design in amplification, but most manufacturers use Class "D" design for subwoofer application.
I'd read that. I'll aim for that style of amp if possible.

Originally Posted by Eli47 View Post
Consider a separate battery for the stereo, with solar power charger?
Solar isn't really worth it right now...most auto sized panels give no more than 180W in full sunlight at 12V, for $2k or so.

I could use a separate battery, or one that's bigger than the "alternator" (DC converter in my case) can supply while driving, but then that's another battery to charge separately from the main pack. Sort of a pain, but possible.

Originally Posted by Eli47 View Post
Let us know how the project is coming along if you can. Any pictures?
Sure, I'll try to do so. I haven't done much yet save strip the car, and even that isn't done. I figured that the whole project is so time consuming that it's worth eliminating all the rust that's already here, and on a 12 yr old car, it's a big job. I also plan to repaint the thing, since faded Korean red paint isn't cutting it for me right now.

Photos from tonight (pulled the front doors and hatch after work):





Thanks for your thoughts!
Adam
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Old 02-20-2009, 07:53 AM
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you can use a PDX amp from alpine. the full range amp are class D. witch i dont know how they did it when its designed for subs hahaahhaa

also you could add like 2 to 4 batterys if you can and seperate them from the drive system so you can still go far without interference.


and what you might be albe to do if you want is get a good 8" midbass/sub and make a solid door pod for it. then do kick pods with the mid and high the size of your choice and you can prob run all that on a PDX 4.150 or .100 witchever it is lol


BTW nice project
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Old 02-20-2009, 01:15 PM
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2 way 4inch component set and 8" midbass drivers, an efficient 4 channel amp and a good head unit is all you should need.
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Old 02-20-2009, 01:28 PM
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^^that sounds good! I'll just add; a class D full range available from Alpine, eclipse, pioneer, etc... and put the 8's in a ported box for maximum efficiency with the lower power...that is if you use them as subs. If they're in the doors, you could still consider doing door mounted ported enclosures for more low end, otherwise seal the doors really well, and sound deaden.

Last edited by veeman; 02-20-2009 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 02-20-2009, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by veeman View Post
^^that sounds good! I'll just add; a class D full range available from Alpine, eclipse, pioneer, etc... and put the 8's in a ported box for maximum efficiency with the lower power...that is if you use them as subs. If they're in the doors, you could still consider doing door mounted ported enclosures for more low end, otherwise seal the doors really well, and sound deaden.
dont forget guys that when you add more weight to the car the total distance will go down dramatically, all those batteries are a lot of weight too. -a big box for a sub should be a no no in this application... stay with the doors and use discretion on the sound deadening!
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Old 02-20-2009, 07:23 PM
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X2 ^^
The 2 8's will do well in a proper cabinet Maybe someone here will be kind enough to design u a proper cabinet for the 8's( make it light weight, and brace the heck out of it, and the woofers). A stiffening capacitor should take care of sudden current draw.
A separate battery may be a nice idea, but is it needed in comparison to it's needs weight/space?
Looks like a nice project.
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:28 PM
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Thanks for the feedback guys.

I'm comfortable doing a custom box out of fibreglass, so that shouldn't be a big deal. Would need to do a single test box to see how heavy it is, and then maybe do a second if that works out okay.

Regarding sound deadening, is the loose wool material in this photo worth keeping in:



It's only on the firewall so I wasn't sure if it was for noise or vibration (or temp, I guess). It's laid in there pretty loosely, so I don't know how much good it's doing. Would replacing it with a sticky-back material be a better use of the weight involved?

Here's where it's sitting right now - supposed to be -29 tomorrow and 15 cm of snow today. No more work for a while!

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