Thursday, November 5, 2009

PakTrakr Woes and Wows

I'm beginning to feel like a klutz or I'm just really unlucky. A few days ago I received my PakTrakr display replacement and went ahead and installed it along with my newly built noise filter. I paid special attention to ensure nothing was shorting and that the noise filter was well insulated and connected. Unfortunately, the display unit wasn't powering up and I noticed that one of my five PakTrakr remotes stopped flashing indicating a problem. I felt major disappointment and could not figure out what went wrong at that moment. I was stumped and sent off a few emails for assistance.

Since the in line noise filter uses capacitors, I was told that it is always a good practice to disconnect the power (at least the black PakTrakr wire that connects to the first battery in the series) or to pre-charge the capacitor(s) using a 9v battery prior to connecting the filter.

The extent of the damage to the remote is not known at this point and I am even questioning the cause as I have heard that these remotes are very sensitive (especially to static) and can pop at any given time. I have also read several forum posts about users who have seen their PakTrakr remotes die on them for no apparent reason. In my case I am hoping it is only the fuse. The fuse is located at the remote's black battery lead (ring terminal) just under the shrink tubing. As instructed by Ken, I will attempt to replace the fuse (1A or less). If the remote is still dead, it will have to be sent in for repair or replacement.

On a brighter note, I recently came across an attractive looking display that translates the PakTrakr battery monitor data to a color graphical format. It's called EV Dashboard and it uses a five inch GPS color display running on Windows CE 5.0. The data from the PaKTrakr system is captured by the EV Dashboard via a serial to Bluetooth adapter. Anyone interested in giving this a try can contact John who is open to suggestions on improving this display solution.


3 comments:

Electricfly said...

Have you also seen the Woodward Enhanced Paktrakr Display with logging for the PakTrakr? Between these two - there is a pretty good amount of information that can be shown! http://www.myelectricfly.com/instruments.php

I have not hadd any failure or 'popping' events with my remotes to this date - and have had them in my 'electricfly' for some time now!

Electricfly said...

I have been using the PakTrakr Remotes for some time now on my car (seen at www.myelectricfly.com and at http://nogas96volts.blogspot.com ) and also incorporated and Amp sensor and an optional serial out feed to a Woodward Paktrakr Display! ( www.myelectricfly.com/instruments.php ) and found that the combination of the two - along with the SD Card Datalogging to anaylse in Excel - has been very informative. Robert (Electricman) Weekley

Jim and Elizabeth Karamalis said...

Robert,

I have not been as lucky as you with the PakTrakr. Actually, I recently sent in one of my malfunctioning remotes for repair but a day or two after getting it back it started malfunctioning again. I know of several other users who have had bad remotes. Now I am counting on getting a new replacement which will hopefully last.

Thanks for mentioning the Woodward display and providing the link to your site. Nice to see yet another EV on the road.

Jim