Corbin's Treehouse - Corbin Dunn, Santa Cruz, CA
Plug Bug

Archive for 2012

Plug Bug: Bad cell

Well…lost a good post on my bad cell. Long story short: one cell has been sagging really badly, so I replaced it. About 20,500 miles. The bad cell had high resistance, and was swelling at the top slightly. The cells were never really abused. Never overcharged (although, at first I was charging them to 4.0v, per the spec that came with them. I now charge to 3.7 or so).

Plug Bug: Transmission replaced

Some updates on the electric bug. Back on Thanksgiving I was on a slight hill pointed downwards (at Nathan’s house). I put the car in reverse, but missed the gear and stepped no throttle. The car didn’t move, but the motor sped up quite a bit, however, I couldn’t hear it. I slammed it hard into reverse, without using the clutch, and the car made a big “thunk” noise as it went into gear really hard. Ever since that happened, the car would not stay in second gear, and kept popping out quite frequently. It appears I damaged the tranny.... [read more]

Photography: Uni up the pass

Uni up the pass, Switzerland 2012

BMS Display part 4 – graph

I updated my BMS display software to actually respond to the buttons I have. Now I have another screen of data, graphing each cell. The graph goes from 2.0v at the bottom to 4.0v at the top and shows the min and max cell numbers (and the voltage). My cell #38 is dying. It is starting to trip my BMS when my pack is only 50% charged. Actually, it shouldn’t be tripping the BMS because it does sag to a pretty low voltage, but it always comes back up to > 3.00v when resting (i.e.: under no load). The updated... [read more]

How to make an Elithion BMS Display

Here is directions to make your own Elithion BMS Display. Use at your own risk! Parts required: Arduino UNO – (the Leonardo will NOT work) – ~$30 Sparkfun CAN Bus shield– $45 Adafruit proto shield – $12.50 Adafruit 2.2″ TFT LCD Display – $30 Extra long male/female header pins for the Arduino 8 wire shielded cord – $3 (Frys Electronics) Serial port + wire to tap into your can bus (or plug directly into the Elithion CAN bus output) NOTE: this project could be made *much* more cheaply by using a different display, and making your own CAN Bus setup... [read more]

Elithion BMS Display – part 3 pictures

Elithion BMS Display in my car, showing the basic features (State of Charge, amps out or in, pack voltage, min/avg/max cell voltage): Notice there are 5 buttons below; those will be wired up to the arduino to control more functions, but for now, the 1.0 release seems to be working well enough. The display shows errors/warnings at the top when they occur (and given that I have a dying cell, I see them). For example, here it is showing what happens when it can’t find the BMS (ignore the lower red line…that was testing): The display housing is 1/8″ aluminum.... [read more]

Elithion BMS Display – part 2

I did a lot of work on my display and now it is working! If anyone else is interested in the code, it is all at Good information to learn more about CAN bus and the Elithion spec: PIDs for the Elithion can be found here: The Can bus shield:

Plug Bug: Charger Control Updates

I made some updates to my charger control project. I discovered my EVSE didn’t like the way I was testing for the proximity switch on the plug latch to be closed. Whenever the Arduino was on, I had the 5v line running through a 2.yk resistor to ground in order to detect it not plugged in. There was another line going into the Vehicle J1772 inlet. That goes into a circuit inside the plug that looks like this: What happens here is the resistance to ground changes once the J1772 plug is plugged in, and changes again once the latch... [read more]

Elithion BMS Display – part 1

I want a better BMS display for my car. I have the Elithion BMS “Pro“, which has worked pretty well in my conversion. Sometimes it gives faults earlier than I would want, and sometimes I’ve had bank communication errors that really shouldn’t happen (all connections are tight, and I don’t have excessive noise in my environment). There are a few displays out there listed on the Elithion website. I have the round small one made by elithion; it is lacking in features and doesn’t have the ability to show fine grained state of charge. There are simply 10 bars, and... [read more]

EV Converstions and white Clean Air Stickers

In California, EVs can get a clean air sticker and the right to use the carpool lane while solo (also called the High Occupancy Vehicle lane, or HOV). I love the fact that California is promoting clean energy. Apparently the DMV has stopped giving out the white stickers to DIY conversions (based on this post from! I think I got really lucky in getting mine. One thing to note from this page on the DMV Website: 12. Q: I want to convert my gasoline powered vehicle to a qualifying fuel type so I can qualify for CAV decals. What... [read more]

Electric Bug: Charger Control – Design

Based on my requirements, I made some hardware the will more intelligently control my Manzanita charger. It is powered by an Arduino, and has a little LCD to tell me what is going on and accept input settings: First off, everything is on It solves the problems I previously listed, by implementing J1772 (minus respecting the amperage that the charging station provides — since I can’t control that in the Manzanita charger) and implements a timer. I bought an Arduino last winter and learned how to do basic hardware programming. I then used EAGLE PCB software (free) to design... [read more]

Electric Bug: Charger Control – What I want

I’m using the Manzanita Micro PFC-30 charger to charge my car. It basically has technology from 10 years ago, and drastically needs some updates. Now, they are slowly updating the charger, but it still doesn’t have the features I really want. Things I want in a charger: * J1772 support. This is the ability to turn on and off an Electric Vehicle charging station, and provide some safety measures when charging. I already have this J1772 adapter box that I’m using. The adapter box works great, but it has no safety measure to respect the proximity setting. Normally, when someone... [read more]

Photography: Venice Sunlight

Venice Sunlight

More old car work!

I had to do some work on the Electric Bug lately. I replaced the right rear wheel bearing (I did the left a while ago). It was starting to get sloppy. My steering box was leaking oil, and it had vertical slop where the arm attached to the box. I think this can somewhat be adjusted out…but the leaking would have been hard to fix. Turning in corners was starting to shake quite a bit, so I needed to do something. So, I bought a new EMPI one (unfortunately, the quality is kind of crap, it seems to have more... [read more]

Cyr wheel @ Burning Man

It’s funny to be looking on the internet and find a video of yourself that someone else took at burning man! Here’s me at Circus Boot Camp 2012:

Where to buy a cyr wheel / roue cyr

Where to buy a cyr wheel / roue cyr / simple wheel. Do you want to buy a cyr wheel? Here is a list of all the known retailers/manufacturers. There is no particular order to people in the list, and people will ship worldwide. Check out my video of my LED Cyr Wheel — and support my website by clicking on ads! Sam Tribble – – based on Orange County, California. Contact information for Sam. Sam uses solid aluminum inserts, or zinc plated steel (zinc plating prevents corrosion and is essential for differing metals). Sam can do light weight 3-piece wheels and... [read more]

Roue Cyr at Burning Man 2012

Roue Cyr at Burning Man 2012 (That’s me!) Photo by Tristan Savatier – – used by permission. (Thanks Tristan!)

Roue Cyr v3

I needed a 5 piece wheel for traveling with my roué cyr and decided to make a new one for the Chicago Big Wheel Weekend. My prior wheels were three pieces, but five seems to be much better. It provides a more solid wheel, with less flex (due to more solid inserts), and it is more portable. I picked up metal in my truck from the Metal Supermarket in San Jose. As usual, I bought 20′ pieces of 6061 aluminum; 1.5″ diameter tubing, with 1/8″ sidewall. And a 12′ piece of 1.25″ solid stock for making inserts. I bent the... [read more]

Old times…

For about 7 years I drove a 1967 Ford Mustang around. I miss that car! It would have been a cool conversion to electric. I just scanned some old pictures I came across and thought I’d toss them on the internets. \

Homesteading: Easy apple coring

So I was manually coring some apples at my house to dry them using a knife and commenting to my friend Rosannah how much of a pain it was to do so. She suggested using a technique that her dad does; just sharpen a piece of copper pipe and use that to core the apple. So, a quick trip to my garage and a few minutes later I now have an easy apple coring setup. The sharpened copper pipe easily pushes out the core, and the wooden spoon handle is used to push the core out of the pipe. Mmmm..... [read more]

Plug Bug: PFC-30 Charger Failed Again

Back in May 2011 my Manzanita Micro PFC-30 Charger stopped charging for no apparent reason. It recently just happened again! And darn it, it was out of warranty *again* and I had to pay to get it fixed for a second time. This involves taking it out of my car, boxing it up and mailing it to Washington to get it fixed. The process to get it fixed has always been fast (thanks Manzanita Micro!), however, I haven’t ever received a reason why it has failed twice for me. Well, I did talk to someone on the phone last year,... [read more]

Photography: San Francisco Unicycle Tour 2012

Nathan and Aaron in the Sun

Cyr Wheel Performance at Berkeley Juggling and Unicycle Festival

Here’s my act I made up. Thanks to Jay for filming it!

Midnight Burn – Roue Cyr / Cyr Wheel

One of my friends, Corinne, put on a fundraiser for the 418 Project (a dance studio in Santa Cruz). It was a blacklight/LED performance, followed by a midnight fire show. I did a simple cyr wheel act in it, and it was a lot of fun! Ideally I should have posted this before the show to try to get more people to go, but that wasn’t necessary as they were totally packed and had to turn people away! One of the guys filmed my act. I messed up in a few spots, and the floor wasn’t as “sticky” as I... [read more]

Photography: Dolomites v2

Dolomites v2, Italy

Photography: Dolomites, Italy

Dolomites, Italy

Photography: Venice Main Canal

Venice Main Canal

Photography: Venice Canal

Venice Canal

Photography: High Saturation Venice

High Saturation Venice

Photography: Aged Venice

Aged Venice From Venice, Italy. 07-25-2012. 5 exposures taken with the Canon 5D.

(c) 2008-2017 Corbin Dunn

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