February 2007

Zilla FAQ20 Feb 2007 12:14 am

A previous post to the EV list:

Hello All,
There’s been a bit of talk about the speed sensor the Hairball likes to see, and some of it has been described in a way that is particular to one situation, so I figure it’s time I lay down the core data so you all can determine what might work for you.

1) A speed sensor is not required to run the Zilla controller, but it is highly recommended. It is required in order to use the over-speed cutoff as well as the “stall detect” which protects your motor commutator from people who try to “hill hold” with the motor.

2) The 2171 Hall effect sensor that I sell works quite well, but it does not fit well for everyone. Pictures that clarify the installation requirements are here: Speed Sensor
If you mount it like that then it should work well and you can ignore the rest of this message.

3) The speed sensor input to the Hairball requires four pulses per revolution. The Hairball pulls the sensor line up to 12V with a 2.61K ohm resistor and the sensor pulls it low. It normally does this when the magnet is in front of the sensor.

4) I stock a stand alone hall effect sensor with loose magnets. This is a experimental setup that can be made to work in situations where the end of the motor shaft is not as accessible. Picture of the sensor here: Exp Speed Sensor

This is the one that Roland is using, and I’ve not heard how well it’s working and I don’t know if he has checked to insure it doesn’t drop out at very high RPM. But this is good for those who do not shy away from making a ring of magnets and testing the system. If someone else wants to try to fabricate around this system I do have sensors and magnets in stock. Be aware though that I consider it experimental since I have not checked the limits of such a system myself yet. (since this was written, many people are using it with good results).

5) For those people who are not using the 2171S stock sensor and want to make something else work this is the important timing information:
Since the signal needs to be filtered to remove noise from the wiring, it is designed to work up to 12,000 RPM at 50% duty cycle. You sharp ones have probably already figured out that you can drop either the high or low duty cycle to 25% if you only need 6000 RPM. But leave yourself at least a couple thousand RPM over your expected max RPM for security.

Kirk at Shift EV has made a video with a great example of a custom speed sensor installation using our experimental kit, have a look at it here:
Customizing Speed Sensor

Hopefully this covers most of the questions and makes it clear why normal low duty cycle CDI pickups will not drive the input at higher RPM.


Zilla FAQ20 Feb 2007 12:04 am

Q: At what voltage do the 1223 and 1224 errors get triggered.

A: 1223 and 1224 errors relate to the 14V supply to the Hairball dropping too low for the Hairball to insure safe operation. 1223 is just a warning that you are getting low (if your check engine light lights when you hit the brake lights, check your DC-DC pretty soon!). When a 1224 error happens it indicates that the controller actually was shut down due to too little voltage on the 14V supply.

1223 // SLI battery below warning threshold. This should happen at about 10V
1224 // SLI battery too low and caused shut down of controller. This happens at about 9V.

If you are looking at the DAQ, these voltages should show up at about .0625V per bit.

At this time there is a known issue with Hairballs running code versions prior to 2.12 potentially corrupting their own settings if the 12V supply falls too rapidly while the key is on. The only time we’ve seen this is on cars with loose connections or those not running a 12V backup battery in addition to the DC to DC converter. This happens when the Hairball is in the middle of saving a low voltage error when the power fails completely. If you suspect this may have happened to yours then the repair is to reset the “Defaults” in the “Special” menu and then go back and reset the settings to those of your choosing.

Zilla FAQ19 Feb 2007 11:57 pm

Q: I was wondering how the Hairball relates to the controller. If you had a Z2K-HV Hairball connected to a Z1K-HV controller and didn’t have the setting right for the Z1K would it try to get 2000 Amps out of the Z1K controller?

A: No, the controller will never let the output go over its’ safe rating.

I’ve tried to standardize the parts on the Zillas as much as possible. Part of this means that the Hairball and the control board inside the Zillas are identical, run the same code and they are even calibrated the same for the Z1K and Z2K models. The only difference is that the shunt inside the Z2K controller is twice as big as the one in the Z1K and so allows twice as much current for the same measured values.

Anytime the Hairball requests a “ampoid” value of 200, the controller puts out full current. The Z1K reads the 200 at 5 amps per count for 1000 amps, and the Z2K reads it at 10 amps per count for 2000 amps.

The Z1K scaling option in the Hairball only changes how that value is displayed to the user. You can toggle it and see the displayed values change. So if you set the bit for a Z2K (scaling off) and set the current to 1600 amps while running a Z1K, you will get 800 amps at the output.

On the other hand, what once happened to Gone Postal is that they had it hooked to a Z2K controller while the Hairball was set for a Z1K. In that case entering 1000 amps on the terminal made the Z2K put out 2000 amps!

I hope this makes sense. When in doubt, listen to Rich:
At 11:45 AM -0800 1-30-05, Rich Rudman wrote:
I don’t mess with the 1k/2k bit anymore…..


Zilla FAQ19 Feb 2007 11:49 pm

I am trying to change some setting on my Zilla and have a palm. I’m at the last part where I’ve picked a new number , got it in and it says “enter amps 250 ” but I can’t find enter anywhere , looked on keyboard , tried all the other buttons , hitting most just puts me back to the beginning. I tried other setting and always get to the same point , where it says enter xxx then the number I put in.

Hi Steve,

After typing the value of the current you want, it wants a “return” key.

I usually use the Graffiti input on the Palm to enter data so I didn’t realize that this can be a place to get stuck until recently when I tried to teach another racer how to do this. We discovered that when using the “KBD” option to enter data, the “return” key does not work. So this is one key that you’ll need to learn to do in Graffiti. Graffiti is the name of the Palms handwriting recognition system.

To type a “return” in Graffiti you need to draw a slash from the upper right to the lower left of the text entry area. Like a normal “/”.  The text entry area is the lower left “box” that has “abc” printed in the lower left corner of it.  Give that a try and see if it works for you.

The Palm also has a pretty good tutorial program on how to write Graffiti. I find it easy to use for most entries. The program is called Graffiti and you can get to it by hitting the picture of a house, and then the icon called Graffiti.

And the latest update if you have a palm preprogrammed from me:

I’ve learned a new trick!
I was just discussing this with another customer who has a preprogrammed Palm from me. He mentioned that he had the same problem and was trying out all kinds of things. He eventually stumbled upon this solution:

Press the lower right button on the Palm. (yes, the notepad button)

It’s as simple as that. When I programmed the Palms, I also set the settings so that pressing the lower right button brings up ptelnet instead of the notepad. What I didn’t know is that when you press that button it also sends a “return” or “enter”, I don’t know which. But it works and doesn’t require remembering which way to make the slash mark in Graffiti.

Zilla FAQ19 Feb 2007 11:39 pm

Claudio Natoli made a program for viewing DAQ4 data. It’s not supported by Cafe Electric but is very handy:

The DAQ function was made for development of the controller. It was not originally designed for the general public but many people find it useful despite the cryptic hexadecimal format. When one of the DAQs is running, it sends out sets of data ten times per second.  The listing of which column represents which data is listed in the owners manual.

For more technical details see the comments.

Zilla FAQ19 Feb 2007 11:38 pm

As soon as I finish the Tri-Zilla, a three phase Zilla. (don’t hold your breath for that)

In my experience braking with a DC motor in a full size EV just destroys the brushes and often destroys the commutator as well. This happens either in regen or plug braking. That is why I no longer make regen controllers.
In my opinion the only real option for DC systems over 108V at this time is adding a generator/alternator on the end of the motor.


Zilla FAQ19 Feb 2007 11:35 pm

Which end gets S1 and which gets S2 for forward vs reverse depends on the internal motor construction. This is why I don’t list it on the drawing. There should be some wiring indication relevant to direction on the motor prints. The forward contactor will go up when energized, and that will connect A2 to one of the field connections. Which one just determines which direction you end up moving. It’s not uncommon to get it backwards the first time and have to swap them.

Zilla FAQ19 Feb 2007 11:34 pm

I figure it’s time to get some of the FAQs answered.

Since some recent discussion has been around how to build a controller and how they work I figure I’d share a pretty good link that someone shared with me.

OK, so maybe I’m not sure of how good the link is, the truth is I only skimmed the text, but the images and concept all seem right on (as long as the reversing is taking about PM motors).