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Electric Supercharger Install + Testing + Q&A

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  • #16
    Subscribed! (if that's what it's called)

    I want to see how this goes
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    SLAYING THE COVENANT SINCE 2001

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    • #17
      I wanna see too

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      "Rumbuck"

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      • #18
        The electric motor is still too small, it looks plausible, but the gains will be extremely meager (if any at all), its just not powerfull enough. Needs at least 5x more power.
        Modifying is a lifestyle!
        Originally posted by milkchicken
        Oh man I hate it when the bolts on my car decide to strip, its so awkward.. I'm like dude I've got a partner I can't be seen doing this...

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        • #19
          Originally posted by leadfoot View Post
          after watching some of his videos it seems this system is designed to be used like nos at full throttle what would be good is if he developed it to vary the charger speed by throttle so that say there is always 5 psi available from idle to redline
          In the conversations I've had with him, this is exactly how he describes the usage. I think there's more to it than just the lack of control though. I get the impression that controlling the motor speed to maintain pressure wouldn't be all that difficult, but the big issue would become heat generation and maintaining power to it.

          A regular turbo or supercharger will make your engine act like a larger engine. Even at part throttle you'll get some boost so basically, the whole powerband is punching above it's weight class, right? I can't see something similar happening with this because you just wouldn't be able to maintain the power in the batteries.

          Originally posted by Jenga View Post
          That'd be possible (assuming the supercharger itself does anything), there are plenty of brushless motor controllers out there. Some kind of feedback controller would make it so that it would provide a constant amount of boost, rather than heaps at low RPM and petering off towards redline.
          So on the premise that it's still meant only for WOT use rather than a constant helper, this is probably something he should work on in the future. Basically, if all went well, you could just choose your boost level, program it in, and away you go.

          For the moment though, we're just looking to see if it creates useful boost at all. My little test jaunt yesterday tells me it's likely, which makes me hopeful. As it seems to me, step 1 is "does it work" and then, if it does, step 2 will be figuring out how to apply it. If, at the beginning, it's just full-power at all times, then you need to fit the right size to the right size engine. It will taper off at the top of the RPM range for sure, so you'd need to decide how much is acceptable.

          If you read through the thread on the Mazda3 forum, you'll get a a rather amusing part in the middle. I was speculating about this exact scenario. I was wondering how much it might drop toward redline and made a comment along the lines of "if it doesn't hold at least 2 psi at the end of the rev range, then it may well be 'working' but is it really worth using?"

          A couple days later a bigger one showed up in the mail.

          I think Rob is determined to show that this works as a concept and isn't just another e-blower scam. If that gets established, there will certainly be a whole slew of new questions about who would want one and how it should be used.

          And I'll be honest here... at this point, I WANT this to work. I just couldn't imagine him sending me all this stuff if it didn't, and I would LOVE to be able to update my scam-busting page with a proper working alternative that people could then compare the scams to. Up until now, all I've had to go on are the Thomas Knight systems from years ago that nobody I've ever heard of has ever even used.
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          • #20
            Originally posted by AlexanderB View Post
            The electric motor is still too small, it looks plausible, but the gains will be extremely meager (if any at all), its just not powerfull enough. Needs at least 5x more power.
            I can't say much about this as I don't really have a clue how much power they're making. Someone on the Mazda forum asked what they were. There's just no markings or anything on them. Once I have results, I'm sure Rob will start getting involved in the conversation and then it'll be up to him to give whatever details he wants. Meanwhile, we'll just see what it does. Did you see the pics of the bigger one?

            Incidentally... WRT Rob himself... when we started talking about testing this stuff, I hadn't planned on really posting about it until I was done. It was going to be a big "I tested an e-turbo and look what happened" posting whether the thing worked or not. He doesn't have any say in how I show the results. That's just the way the world works. If it doesn't work and I completely throw him under the bus... well... so be it. Along the way though, I asked if he minded me posting about the whole process rather than just posting at the end. He said that was fine, and here we are.

            I AM talking with him about all the details about how to install it and how to use it and what to expect from it. It's only fair. If this was a kit that was already available for sale, then I'd just go on my merry way, follow the instructions, and test away. Since this is still under development, however, it's only fair that he gets to work with me and be on board with everything having to do with the installation before I go ahead and post results. If my bit of hoonage yesterday hadn't produced what I thought were positive results, I wouldn't have posted about it yet.

            So one thing that I asked from him was that he not get involved in these threads until all the testing is complete. I'm betting he's sitting and reading this stuff and just going bananas trying to get his 2 cents in here and there, but I asked him not to. I just don't want it to turn into a big technical discussion and, frankly, a flame war before I've got some real world results to point to.

            Hell, I've TORN APART people in the past pushing e-blower crap online and without proof, it's just impossible to convince anyone whether it's going to work or not. I didn't want to muddy the discussion like that. What I really wanted was pretty much exactly what we've got here and on the Mazda3 forum. The group is already splitting into those who are quite adamant that it can't work, and those that are hopeful that it might. Hopefully ALL of you are at least amused by the whole thing.

            And hey... I get to be the attention-whore for a little while as the whole thing plays out. Anyone who knows me from my j-body days will know that suits me just fine.
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            • #21
              Originally posted by Wild Weasel View Post
              I can't say much about this as I don't really have a clue how much power they're making.
              From quite some experience with electric airplane models, that looks like about 2kw worth of electric motor, controller. (so far so good)
              But 2kw of electric power is going to make maybe 6 kw at the wheels. (rough estimate.)
              However, when I buy a turbo or supercharger and jump through all the hoops to make it work, I want a lot more power from it.. So like I said, needs at least 5x more power, then it'd be a quite noticeable boost on performance.
              Modifying is a lifestyle!
              Originally posted by milkchicken
              Oh man I hate it when the bolts on my car decide to strip, its so awkward.. I'm like dude I've got a partner I can't be seen doing this...

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              • #22
                Originally posted by AlexanderB View Post
                However, when I buy a turbo or supercharger and jump through all the hoops to make it work, I want a lot more power from it.
                Yeah... make no mistake... this would NOT be a reasonable alternative to a proper turbo. If this works, I'd see it as a big step up for the people buying cold air intakes and trying to get more power without too much effort. Basically, all the suckers that have been taken by all the scams out there... this would be a proper solution for them.

                IF it works, consider the implications of having more boost. If you push over 4 psi or so, then you have to dive deep into the tuning to get the engine to work properly and avoid problems. Otherwise you're either going to lean out and potentially cause damage, or you're going to throw a code and go into limp mode. The average person trying to get a bit more power (and if it can push 3-4 psi, it should be noticeable power) wouldn't want to or be capable of dealing with that.

                Now, if you put one in and later DID decide to go down that road, you could very easily replace it with the bigger one and not have to replace any of the other bits. When the bigger one showed up in the mail, that's all there was. I just need to unplug the smaller one and plug in the bigger one and should be good to go.

                My impression is that Rob's plan is to size them for the engine in such a way that they'll work with minimal other changes, so the small one would be for a 1.8 to 2.2L or so with the big one being for larger 4-cylinders or V6's. If the bigger one pushes proportionately more air, I kinda expect it to be too much for a regular 4-cylinder NA engine to handle without problems. Mine's set up for boost, so it's going to be a fun proof-of-concept.

                IF in the future he could come up with a reliable way to control the electric motor based on boost readings in front of it though... well that would be very interesting indeed!

                If nothing else, YAY DRAMA, right?
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                • #23
                  thing is for a system like this with the right gearing and provided there isn't to much resistance to the system he could use a motor as small as a silvercan electric motor commonly found in hobby grade rc cars and cordless drills. now that's a 6v - 12v motor. that spins up to 10k rpm so a 20:1 gearing would result in a 200k compressor speed from what is a very small motor.

                  my example uses the same concept as a true centrifugal gear up the incoming engine rpm to make usable power the only limitation here is the amount of torque required. to ensure the compressor keeps spinning.
                  the build it started as show and quickly turned into GO!

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                  right next to my Silvia was an old Mitsubishi colt that had somehow managed to dodge the flames and was fine! absolutely perfect. every ugly panel of it. i could almost feel the Mitsubishi badge laughing at me and I've hated them ever since.

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                  • #24
                    I'm happy to see you're at least entertaining the notion that this might work. That's exactly how I've been approaching it. Loads of skepticism and an open mind.

                    Note that it's running off a 24v battery pack, for what that's worth.
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                    • #25
                      I think the way that Thomas Knight describes his solution matches the concept the best and sets the best expectations:

                      It's like having a short duration nitro shot to give you a quick boost in acceleration that recharges as you drive the car.
                      (paraphrased, but that was the general gist of the message)

                      The post was on a Porsche forum somewhere. I'll find it if needed.
                      The concept is sound and I think it could definitely be developed into a workable solution, as long as the expectations are correct.

                      When the electric motor is not engaged, does it generate any drag on the system? I'd imagine something like the clutch from an A/C system could be used to limit the drag from spinning that compressor with manifold vacuum.
                      I'm interested in finding out how this performs and how much additional power it generates when compared to the weight of the system and it's effects on fuel economy (both driving the car without engaging the boost at all and with the boost engaged as often as you can)

                      In your test rig, have you been able to work out how long it would take to recharge the batteries from flat? I'm assuming it's using the stock alternator.
                      Also, how long can the system run on the provided batteries?
                      1983 Porsche 944 (DIY Engine rebuild)
                      Webmaster, tech and content guy at http://www.vmotorsport.com.au

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by leadfoot View Post
                        thing is for a system like this with the right gearing and provided there isn't to much resistance to the system he could use a motor as small as a silvercan electric motor commonly found in hobby grade rc cars and cordless drills. now that's a 6v - 12v motor. that spins up to 10k rpm so a 20:1 gearing would result in a 200k compressor speed from what is a very small motor.
                        Thats not how thermodynamics works..
                        Modifying is a lifestyle!
                        Originally posted by milkchicken
                        Oh man I hate it when the bolts on my car decide to strip, its so awkward.. I'm like dude I've got a partner I can't be seen doing this...

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Fara View Post
                          It's like having a short duration nitro shot to give you a quick boost in acceleration that recharges as you drive the car.
                          (paraphrased, but that was the general gist of the message)
                          This is how Rob describes the system as well. I'm not sure whether I mentioned it above in this thread or whether it was on the Mazda3 forum. It's different from a regular supercharger or turbo in that those will essentially make the engine act as though it were a larger engine. Since this is only engaging at WOT, it acts as more of a big torque boost only when you want maximum power. Through the rest of your TPS range, the engine should act much as it did before.

                          Originally posted by Fara View Post
                          When the electric motor is not engaged, does it generate any drag on the system? I'd imagine something like the clutch from an A/C system could be used to limit the drag from spinning that compressor with manifold vacuum.
                          I'm interested in finding out how this performs and how much additional power it generates when compared to the weight of the system and it's effects on fuel economy (both driving the car without engaging the boost at all and with the boost engaged as often as you can)
                          This is something I've actually discussed with Rob to some extent, as this was one of my biggest worries about the system. There's no issue when it comes to fuel economy. The engine is going to burn the appropriate amount of fuel for the air going into it. If there's a restriction in the intake, then you may need the TB open a tad bit further to allow in the same amount of air, but the end result is the same. My concerns were with that "tad bit further" but after more thought on the matter, I've decided that from my own point of view it won't make a lick of difference, AS LONG as the blower works at the top end.

                          I described this scenario in detail on the Mazda forum. Just imagine for a moment what you're doing while driving normally. You never "press the throttle down 10%" when you're driving. What you do is press the throttle until the car does what you want it to do. You press it until it's accelerating at the rate you want to accelerate. So if you need to press it 1% or 2% further to get that response, you're not going to notice. You're just going to do it. If you want to accelerate a little harder, you press it a little further. So long as you've got more pedal travel to press, then all is well.

                          Now... if there's a restriction in the intake and you've pushed the pedal all the way to the floor... well then you've got a problem since you're getting as much air through as you can. This is where aftermarket intakes come into play, allowing better airflow and, thus, giving you more power when you want it. Despite what we'd like to believe, they don't help fuel economy at all. In fact, they'll make you use more fuel since you can now make more power. So again... if you've got a restriction in the intake and you can't press the pedal any further, then you've got a problem. But if you get near the end of the pedal travel and suddenly the blower kicks in and provides MUCH MORE air than you'd have otherwise had (BOOST!), then all is well. You've got MORE power than you'd have had before and otherwise everything is much the same.

                          Now, for what it's worth, in the discussion with Rob about this, he says it's possible to monitor the pressure in front of and behind the blower and, if there's a difference, to apply a low voltage to the motor to eliminate it. While this option takes this bit of skepticism off the table, I told him that frankly it's ridiculous and over-engineered. Of course... if he can do THAT, then he could be on his way toward controlling the motor in such a way as to create even boost all through the rev range with the bigger blower, but I expect that's all further down the road. Right now, I'm just looking to find out whether it does or doesn't make useful boost. If it doesn't, then this argument becomes a deal-breaker.

                          Originally posted by Fara View Post
                          In your test rig, have you been able to work out how long it would take to recharge the batteries from flat? I'm assuming it's using the stock alternator.
                          Also, how long can the system run on the provided batteries?
                          I haven't. My "test rig" is my car, and all I've done so far is a few full-throttle pulls on a side street. To be honest, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to test this at all. Unfortunately, I can't go out on a nice highway run since I'm just not insured for it and am not looking at taking any undue risks. I've driven the car around the neighbourhood, but that's the extent of it. I don't want to cause trouble for myself or anyone else.

                          So I have to defer to Rob's analysis on this one. He says I should get up to a minute's use out of it and that it charges at a rate of about 7 to 1. It's charging from the alternator, but power first goes into the control box where it does some sort of hocus pokus to turn it into the 24V that the battery pack needs. In the few runs I did, I'll be honest in that I didn't pay too much attention to the volt meter to see whether it was decreasing at an appreciable rate. I think I need another person in the car for that. There's too much to pay attention to all at once while driving. It's easy enough to monitor. There's a volt meter measuring the 24V pack right on the arming switch, and all I've seen it say is 28.something so far.

                          Now obviously this wouldn't work if you're going to run Watkins Glen for the afternoon. But for the drag strip, and for everyday driving on the streets, this sounds to me like more than you'd ever need. If you're doubtful and think that YOU need far more than that, please pay close attention next time you're out driving on a normal day. Try to get an idea of how much time you actually spend at WOT. Passing on the highway. On ramps. Just some spirited acceleration from a stoplight. I think you'll find that it's not really all that much time at all compared to the more casual time in between.
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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Fara View Post
                            When the electric motor is not engaged, does it generate any drag on the system? I'd imagine something like the clutch from an A/C system could be used to limit the drag from spinning that compressor with manifold vacuum.
                            I just want to touch on this again for a moment. With the A/C compressor, you're using power from the engine to turn it, so disengaging it completely while not in use is a necessity or it's going to cause parasitic drag and rob you of power. The same goes for my M45 supercharger. When you don't need it, you don't want it using more than the bare minimum of power which is why it has the bypass valve to allow it to spin freely.

                            With this, the engine isn't turning it. As long as you've got vacuum in the intake, you're basically holding back the engine from performing better. You're not using power to pull the air into the engine. You're just ALLOWING that air to go in by opening the throttle. The engine is trying to take in as much as it can at all times.

                            You know... as I'm writing that... I'm realizing that I really am pulling that explanation out of my ass, so if anyone has an issue with it I'm all ears.
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                            • #29
                              Be aware that I don't have a doctorate of fluid dynamics, so I can't claim to be the go to source for this topic, however:

                              My understanding of pumping losses relating to an engine is that the more vacuum generated in the intake manifold at part throttle, the less efficient an engine is going to be.

                              By having the engine spin the ESC when it's not engaged (and the vacuum will spin it, just less directly than if it were directly attached to the belts), the engine is having to expend more energy than it would if the ESC is not in place. The reasoning is that the force has to come from somewhere, in this case rather than coming from the crank (via the belts) like a standard supercharger, it's being taken from the intake stroke of each cylinder.
                              Of course, this could only be confirmed if you were to measure the vacuum before and after the ESC while operating the engine at part throttle and WOT without the ESC engaged. If there's a difference in vacuum, then the ESC is essentially acting as a parasitic drag on the engine, in addition to the drag created by a throttle plate.
                              1983 Porsche 944 (DIY Engine rebuild)
                              Webmaster, tech and content guy at http://www.vmotorsport.com.au

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                              • #30
                                That's the thing though... you WANT drag on the incoming air... until you don't. That's all the TB is there for. To cause a restriction on the intake air. That's what I was referring to earlier when talking about just opening the throttle a little get allow more air in if you need to.

                                Incidentally, the small blower might turn in the wind... maybe... but I'd be willing to bet that the big one won't at all. I can barely turn it with my hand. The air is just going to flow through and around the impeller. It's definitely in the way... but not an issue so long as it doesn't stay in the way all the way to the end of your throttle range. And that's a big problem with all the scams out there. They're STILL in the way when you want maximum power, which makes them not only useless, but a hindrance.

                                Incidentally, I paid for Torque Pro and once the weather is nice again I'll do a quick test to see if I can get better data points. I tried turning on the "faster communication" option but then it said my OBD adapter might be faulty. But just sitting there, it seemed to be updating every half second or so rather than about every 9/10ths like my earlier logs seemed to be doing. At least the Pro version saves the log settings. Having to reconfigure it each time was annoying.
                                Last edited by Wild Weasel; 30-04-2013, 11:11 AM.
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