2011 Ranger EV Charge Issue

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  #1  
Old 07-03-13, 07:21 PM
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2011 Ranger EV Charge Issue

I've got a charge issue on a 2011 Polairs Ranger EV;

It's got a 48 volt charger mounted under the hood with 12 gage wire ran up under the seat to charge the 8 12 volt batteries.

This 12 gage wire has a mini ATM 48 volt 20 amp blade fuse, It's positioned about 3" from the end where it connects to the positive battery post.

The Problem;

Unit came in 41 hours ago (has 190 hrs total) with this mini fuse melted and blown so the charger was inop, I installed a "updated" charger per Polaris with a new fuse. It's back now with the same problem and more, Melted/blown fuse-charger power cord plug discolored from heat and a burnt charge wire connector at the positive battery post.

With a new charger cord-battery connector and fuse, When you plug the charger in to recharge the over 3/4 full batteries as shown on the dash mounted discharge gauge (not low or dead) this 20 amp fuse gets hot enough to BURN your fingers with-in one minutes time.

My question;

They run 48 volts through this 12 gage wire into a mini ATM 20 amp fuse into the battery bank.

Here's a pic of the 12 gage wire and a fuse with plastic removed;



I can't help but think the thin link between the two fuse legs is WAY too small and causing too much resistance and my heating up/melting issue.....

Here's a pic of a 48 volt 25 amp fuse that's been used in 48 volt golf carts for years;





You see how BIG the center link is in this one, And it's round not flat. Oh..... For size sake this fuse is about golf ball size.

Am I right in thinking this little ATM fuse is just too small for this application (poor design) or am I out in left field somewhere ?????

I can't give this machine back to the customer knowing it will be back in a couple months with another melted/blown fuse or possibly burn his barn down.

Thanks for any input.....

31
 
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  #2  
Old 07-03-13, 10:00 PM
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I was never a fan of those little fuses BUT it's rated for 20 amps and it should be able to do it's job.

How many amps is that charger ?
If it's a 20 amp charger then the wiring and fuse should be larger.
Have you put a current meter on the wire to see what it's charging at ?

A 20 amp fuse run at 20 amps will get hot.
If that charger is charging at 20 amps then that is a design flaw with the charging cord.

Just a thought..... the voltage of the charger is matching the voltage of what it's connected to..... right ?
 
  #3  
Old 07-04-13, 04:58 AM
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Thanks PJmax,

How many amps is that charger ?
The decal on the charger says 18 amp output, Polaris says it normally puts out 14 amps.

Have you put a current meter on the wire to see what it's charging at ?
No, Problem is..... I haven't needed a amp clamp in 36 years of being in the repair business, I can't condone buying one now just to check this one machine.

the voltage of the charger is matching the voltage of what it's connected to..... right ?
All I can tell you is the OEM 48 volt charger is hooked to a bank of eight 12 volt batteries.

I went as far as making my own 10 gage charger leads using the same mini 20 amp fuse bypassing the factory wire harness, The fuse still got HOT enough to burn your finger with-in a minute. Even after this test Polaris had me replace the entire factory wire harness which I knew wouldn't solve the issue.

Polaris has more or less washed their hands of the issue, Saying all the testing I've done shows them the machine functioning correctly...... Well, Melting fuses is not correct.....

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  #4  
Old 07-04-13, 06:00 AM
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If you are certain everything else is correct there is nothing wrong with installing a different type of fuse and it could not hurt to try. Larger wire would not hurt but I would take a look at the connections on the existing wire first. A bit of corrosion could be increasing the resistance.

---
I work on pinball machines, many of them quite old, and undersized wiring and corroded connections are a huge problem. The machines operated for decades with undersized wiring but the connectors and the wire's attachment to the connectors are a common problem as the slightest bit of corrosion increases the resistance causing them to heat up and burn connectors which also increases the load on the power supply. Most are much lower voltage like 12 or 5v so connection quality is even more important but they would use properly sized wire sometimes and then a crappy connection so there was much less connection between the wire and the socket forming a choke point.

I once had the tips of my fingers blistered when I tried removing a round 2 amp glass fuse. You'd think there could not be enough current there to heat it up like that and certainly not without blowing the fuse but there was much more current going to it. Not through the fuse, but up to it. The corroded connection caused a lot resistance and heated up.
 
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Old 07-04-13, 06:21 AM
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Thanks Pilot Dane,

I would take a look at the connections on the existing wire first. A bit of corrosion could be increasing the resistance
I made my own new charge leads then installed a new complete harness per Polaris using dielectric grease, So all connections new and clean.....

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  #6  
Old 07-04-13, 11:12 AM
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I haven't needed a amp clamp in 36 years of being in the repair business, I can't condone buying one now just to check this one machine.
Nor do you need one for this job. You can use a wired ammeter, pick one up at the local auto parts store for less that $20 (maybe less that $10, I haven't look at one for many years) and temporarily wire it into the battery connection.


All I can tell you is the OEM 48 volt charger is hooked to a bank of eight 12 volt batteries.
Obviously a series/parallel arrangement. Have you checked each individual battery for voltage and shorted cells? Done a load test on each battery? Checked ALL the interconnections?
 
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Old 07-04-13, 06:12 PM
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Thanks Furd,

Have you checked each individual battery for voltage and shorted cells? Done a load test on each battery? Checked ALL the interconnections?

Yes to all, These were the first steps taken in which all checked fine. The batteries and connections looked new but were checked/cleaned anyway.

You can use a wired ammeter, pick one up at the local auto parts store for less that $20
I had thought of this but was under the impression a 12 volt amp gauge hooked to 48 volts would smoke in milliseconds...... Will this really work ?

Thanks,

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  #8  
Old 07-04-13, 10:58 PM
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Ammeters are not voltage specific, the same one can be used on 6, 8, 12, 24, 36 and 48 volt systems. You might have an internal insulation problem using a standard automotive ammeter on a 72 or 96 volts system but less than 50 volts is fine. Do remember that an ammeter goes in series with the load and voltmeters go in parallel. Connect an ammeter across a voltage source and it will blow, sometimes catastrophically.

How did you do the load check on the batteries, carbon pile adjustable resistor, fixed resistor bank or something else? Are these sealed batteries or can you check the electrolyte specific gravity?
 
  #9  
Old 07-05-13, 03:57 AM
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Thanks Furd,

I have a ammeter in another piece of equipment I'll remove and test this unit with, Batteries are not sealed and electrolyte specific gravity is good.

Each battery was load tested by power braking the machine 8 seconds each time per Polaris.

Thanks,

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  #10  
Old 07-06-13, 08:58 AM
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Mr Furd,

I did indeed install the ammeter and found the charger putting out 14 amps as Polaris said it would, So it doesn't appear to be a overcharge issue.

Any other ideas ?

Thanks,

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  #11  
Old 07-06-13, 11:50 PM
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Not at the moment. I'm still a bit concerned about a bad battery or individual cell in a battery.
 
  #12  
Old 07-07-13, 06:30 AM
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Mr Furd,

Battery test as follows;

Off Charge........On Charge.........8 Sec. Power Brake Load

1) 12.42.............12.80.........................11.73
2) 12.38.............12.80.........................11.68
3) 12.37.............12.77.........................11.61
4) 12.41.............12.85.........................11.60
5) 12.35.............12.63.........................11.50
6) 12.43.............12.77.........................11.56
7) 12.40.............12.74.........................11.49
8) 12.47.............12.87.........................11.58

I put the unit on charge for 6 hrs yesterday (shop opening to closing), The fuse got HOT and is showing signs of discoloration in the plastic, But after 4 hrs the charger started dropping output amps and the fuse cooled down some. The charger is mounted about 3" under the plastic hood, The hood above the charger was warm to the touch. You could NOT lay your hand on the painted charger case.

In the back of my mind there is something is wrong with this picture, Polaris says it's operating correctly. So..... As it is, This customer is going to end up driving 120 miles every 2 or so months and pay $138 to have a melted/blown fuse-burned contactor plug and charger cord replaced.....


Thanks,

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  #13  
Old 07-07-13, 01:40 PM
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It would not be the first time a manufacturer has undersized components. Are you thinking of upgrading the charging cord, connectors and fuse?
 
  #14  
Old 07-07-13, 04:48 PM
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Pilot Dane,

Believe me, I wanted to install the larger golf cart fuse over a week ago..... But my boss countered with, If I modify this machine with non OEM parts and it did catch fire and burn the customer's barn down we could be held liable.

I know for FACT..... If this were my machine, I'd rip all that charger crap out install THIS and get me a golf cart charger......

Thanks,

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  #15  
Old 07-07-13, 06:33 PM
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Well, your boss is right even though your modification would be a definite improvement over the original. I was going to suggest a different fuse and heavier wire but your boss has taken that off the table.

That's all I have. Sorry.
 
  #16  
Old 07-08-13, 05:32 AM
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Thanks Furd,


It really bugs the crap out of me having to let a machine leave knowing there's a issue and will likely return, But at this point my hands are tied..... The harder part may be trying to explain to the customer why he's having to pay for another repair just a couple months after getting it back....


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