Fixing up a Old Electric Car Conversion

by Richard Aronson
(Vancouver, Washington)

I have just bought a 72 pinto electric car conversion that was converted in the early 90's by an eastern Oregon college. I had lots of large ups batteries just sitting around and said, what the heck, why not?

First problem is the dc contactor a 400amp SPST that I just had quoted from tyco electronics for 7312.00. whats up with that? Where can I get a contactor that will take 8 12 volt batteries and let me play whith this car?

Next, what are the odds that the curtis controller is any good? I was told that it was used for several months after leaving the college and that the batteries went bad and it sat for 10-12 years.

Did I just throw 500 bucks down the drain?

Hi, Richard!
Call up Electric Motorsport in Alameda, CA or KTA Services in Ramona, CA and tell them what you've got and what you need. They'll help you out, don't be shy!

You'll probably wind up with an Albright SW200B contactor, which will cost you about 150 bucks. Better than 7300, huh? What's up with it is probably the difference between "continuous" and "intermittent". I don't know for sure, that's the only thing that pops into my pretty little head at the moment. But at any rate, you don't need to spend that much money. The Albright (or something like it) will do just fine.

Next, sorry to rain on your parade, but the UPS batteries are probably not going to do the job for long. They're heavy - I'll bet you already noticed that - and more importantly, they don't like being bounced around, as in an automotive environment. They like to sit still and wait for the sun to shine (solar storage applications).

But hey, they ARE free. That's a pretty good price.

The controller, unless it got wet, is probably fine. Eastern Oregon is pretty dry. Should be okay still, I'd think, but there's only one way to find out!

And finally, no, you didn't waste your money. You got a great deal!

Buying an old electric car conversion after the batteries go bad is the EV world's best kept secret. Even if you've got to replace some things, you're way ahead of the game.


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