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Author Topic: Brand new Nissan LEAF, a leap of faith  (Read 6257 times)
AA4N
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Posts: 154




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« on: July 20, 2015, 07:50:32 PM »

Well, I bought a new leaf.   It's a plug-in electric car, no reciprocating engine, just battery, inverter, electric motor.  I wasn't sure how it would play with a transceiver, couldn't find anything on the interwebs about it.

So, I just got out a drill and put an NMO mount right in the middle of the roof.   In for a penny, in for a pound.  I fished the coax down behind the side curtain airbags and inside the right hand B pillar to the floor.

Turns out that the car has a regular 12v battery, in addition to the 400+v one.   It runs the regular car accesories like lights, radio, hvac bowers, etc..  The 12v battery charges off the big battery as necessary, probably a switching type charger, there's no alternator.  So, I pulled power off the little battery and ran it under the front passenger seat where the rig is sort of velcroed to the carpet.  It's a yaesu 7800 dual bander.

So, it turns out that despite the high power inverter, the 12v battery charger, and the highly computerized car systems...  It all works just fine.   No problems at all so far.  Ive asked folks for critical reports and no one can make out any noise in my audio.  The car doesn't react at all to the transmitter at 50 watts out.   And, With 24kwh of battery capacity, I don't have to worry much about talk time. 

So, if anyone else out there was wondering how an all electric car would play with a 2m/440 rig,   In my case, it's all good.

73,  mike
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M0GVZ
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Posts: 388




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« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2015, 06:18:56 AM »

I would expect common mode RFI would be a big issue on this car, not for the radio but for the car electronics, so a fixed mount is probably going to be more of a necessity than with other vehicles.

Thanks for the information Mike. As you say, information is sparse to none existent.

I wonder if anyone will do the same to a Tesla.  Grin
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K0BG
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« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2015, 06:44:21 AM »

FM operation is one thing (assuming a decent FM transceiver is used), but HF is a whole new ball game.

One Leaf lessee wrote to me about this, and I wasn't surprised at his comments. They were essentially the same as all of the others I have received with respect to hybrid and/or battery-only vehicles—background hash from the inverter is overwhelming.
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W8JX
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Posts: 13268




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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2015, 07:00:33 AM »

We have had a Chevy Volt for a year now with no regrets but then it does not have range limitations as it can function in extended mode indefinitely if need be and gets low 40's in mpg doing it. Leafs range is much less than Tesla and was never a option as XYL's commute to work is 50 miles and further when she runs errands. Leaf also has had a history of battery life issues because it does not have a advanced heating and cooling system for its battery like Tesla and Volt has. (Nissan is upgrading batteries in 2017 Leaf to extend range beyond 100 miles and upgrade thermal control of it too) I do commend you taking the first step. Electric cars can spoil you with their smoothness. We love how smooth and quiet Volt is even on engine power for extended range. I feel a mistake that both Tesla and Nissan made was not at least offering the option of a small on board 2 or 3kw generator that could at least give you 8 to 10 miles of range per hour of charge if you were stranded without a charging station. I have no plans for HF in Volt but might do VHF/UHF FM one day. (i think HF is a lost cause in a electric car) I hope you install a good level two charger at home as 120v wall charger is weak for Leaf. BTW there is a mod for Leaf wall charge that makes it dual voltage and can charge at 12 amp at 120 or 240v with a change of wall adapter after mod. I have 3 chargers for Volt. One that mostly stays with car or at second home we own, one that stays at main home and a 240v level 2 charger at main home too that we use only when a quick charge is needed.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
AA4N
Member

Posts: 154




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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2015, 11:30:24 AM »

Yep, the 2015 model year has the 3rd generation Leaf battery (I think they are calling it the lizard battery for some reason).   It's supposed to be more temperature resistant and more tolerant of sloppy charging habits.

I did, indeed, install a L2 charger.   It's a Siemens 240V 30A unit.   It really makes a difference.   I also use the charge timer so that it doesn't start charging at night until such time when the charging will finish up at 7am.

Since I only have a 4.5 mile daily commute to work, I really couldn't think of any reason not to go with an electric car.   Honestly, if I was really being a concerned world citizen, I would bicycle to work.   I'm just too lazy to get up 20 minutes early and I hate getting to the office all sweaty Smiley

73,  mike
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W8JX
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Posts: 13268




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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2015, 01:32:55 PM »

Yep, the 2015 model year has the 3rd generation Leaf battery (I think they are calling it the lizard battery for some reason).   It's supposed to be more temperature resistant and more tolerant of sloppy charging habits.

I did, indeed, install a L2 charger.   It's a Siemens 240V 30A unit.   It really makes a difference.   I also use the charge timer so that it doesn't start charging at night until such time when the charging will finish up at 7am.

Since I only have a 4.5 mile daily commute to work, I really couldn't think of any reason not to go with an electric car.   Honestly, if I was really being a concerned world citizen, I would bicycle to work.   I'm just too lazy to get up 20 minutes early and I hate getting to the office all sweaty Smiley

73,  mike

We have taken Volt on many 200 mile day trips. May drive it to Florida this fall. We can get about 45 miles on a charge except in winter and sometimes some places we go has a free level 2 charger. Yes Nissan did try to make battery more heat resistant but it really needs active cooling which it supposed to get in 2017. Tesla and Volt use liquid based cooling and heating of battery. Nissan uses air. I do strongly suggest that you do not use 240v charger when topping off charge when 120v charger will do it in time. It will put less heat stress on battery. When I plug Volt in I can hear active cooling running sometimes.  If you have a android check out EV ChargeHub app.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
KM4CRR
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Posts: 5




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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2015, 10:23:38 AM »

Hello, gents.  This is my first post here, and as I am a Leaf owner I thought I'd chime in on my experience.

I have a 2014 Leaf, and my current mobile set up is a Wouxon KG-UV3D HT with a mag mount.  I have a battery eliminator plugged into the cigarette outlet.  I don't do a lot of talking on it, and I've never asked for a signal report on it.  Never heard any complaints though.  On the Rx side it works fine.  I've heard people full quiet into the repeater with no noise created by interference from the car.  I will say this, however:  I am a relatively new ham and have little experience and therefore little to compare it to, other than the same set up in a previous SUV.  So, take this data point for what it is.

I do, however, want to upgrade my mobile station.  I'm thinking about getting D-Star, either a ID-880h or the 23cm rig.  Will report back how that turns out.
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AA4N
Member

Posts: 154




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« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2015, 08:07:13 PM »

Yep, I used an HT with mag mount on my leaf for the first week or so.  It's the setup that I use when I'm on the road in a company car.   Honestly, it works just fine.  But the ergonomics of a proper mobile rig are so much better.  Also, having the coax slammed in a rear door and draped across the back seats gets old pretty fast.

I'm a big fan of the NMO mount.  Nobody said a word about the rubber plug in the middle of the trunk on the car that I traded in.  They were too busy trying to sell me the new one.

73. Mike
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W8JX
Member

Posts: 13268




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« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2015, 04:38:39 AM »

Never tried any ham gear in our Chevy Volt. May try a HT in it to listen for RFI but have no plans of ever doing HF from it. I suspect it is likely pretty clean though as On Star calls work flawlessly and clear and sharp everywhere and when using Bluetooth to phone in car never a hint of RFI even if signal is briefly washing out.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
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