Converting eGator to Lithium Batteries - John Deere Gator Forums
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-09-2019, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Converting eGator to Lithium Batteries

I finally got round to converting our 2005 eGator to lithium batteries from the old lead acid ones.
After reading lots of information around the 'net, here's what I decided to go with:

Nissan Leaf battery modules
Chargery c10325 charger (the JD charger isn't what you want to use on Lithium batteries)
Chargery BMS16 Battery Management System.
Voltmeter/State of Charge (SOC) meter (the original 'voltmeter/hour meter' doesn't really work with the lithium batteries. I left it in to use the hour meter though)

I bought a complete battery out of a wrecked 2015 Nissan Leaf and had it shipped 2,975 miles to me. The battery is basically the floor of the car.
Internally it consists of 48 modules with a rated capacity of 24 kilowatts. Each module is nominally 7.6 volts (made up of 4 lithium cells arranged 2 in series, 2 in parallel). Seven of these modules gives one a '48 volt' pack (really around 56 volts). Currently I have one pack installed. It weighs about 60 lbs. The eight (8) 6 volt batteries I removed weigh 62 lbs each for a total of 496 lbs. The original eGator is spec'd at 1,395 lbs with batteries so quite a saving. I will install the second pack in parallel once I have a some more connectors to allow me to switch the BMS between packs. You want a BMS to manage the individual cells.

I have been using the eGator around the farm (95 acres) this week and am really happy. It is performing much better (the old batteries were getting long in the tooth). It has lots of power. The charge is lasting better than I hoped (its another story about how much to charge it and how far to run the lithium batteries down). Maybe one downside is I don't have as much weight in the back as before and you can spin the tires easily. Yes I did get it stuck once (spraying my orchard, ground was soft and even being lighter it was leaving 2 inch deep ruts). All it took was a push by me and my wife drove it out.

I am running with the Curtis Controller 1268-5403 that it came with. I talked to Curtis and they said it would be fine. From reading I understand it should be fine to 60 volts. What I haven't been able to confirm is what it is programmed for the low voltage cutoff limit.

A big bonus to my plans was finding that the 48 modules in the battery pack were arranged in groups - one of 24, 2 sets of 4&8. In the car the modules are 'wired' in series. What I found was the bus bars and BMS wiring on the '8 set' was completely usable. What I did was replace one of the eight modules with a plywood dummy so I would have my seven needed for a nominal 48v. The bus bars and BMS wiring was all usable!
You need to compress the modules (basically bolt them together). Again the factory pack had metal frames and bolts that i could just use. I just had to cut the set of 4&8 into a 4 and an 8.

Having 'created' my 7 module pack, wiring the BMS to the bms wiring, I dropped it into the battery space on a piece of plywood, wired up the positive and negative cables and bingo!

After playing for a few days, I installed the new SOC/Voltmeter in the dash.

What's left to do is:
I) install the second pack
ii) build a metal battery box to hold the two lithium packs (weather, safety, etc)
iii) decide how to set up the charging cable/plug. I'll probably install a new connection for it and leave the existing JD one though I'll likely cover it.

I sold the lead batteries for 50% more than scrap ($30 each, scrap is $20 around here) - listed them on FB and they were gone in 5 minutes.
I'll probably sell the charger with the proprietary JD Plug.
I will also likely sell some of the remaining Leaf modules though will likely keep the block of 24 (12KW) and build it into my existing solar system.
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post #2 of 5 Old 05-09-2019, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Here's some photos of the Nissan Leaf Modules showing how I used the factory 'wiring'
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post #3 of 5 Old 05-09-2019, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Here's the before and after battery compartment
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post #4 of 5 Old 05-09-2019, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Here is a shot of the BMS display (don't believe the temperatures etc - I hadn't hooked up the thermocouples or shunt yet)
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Last edited by JohnN; 05-09-2019 at 08:48 PM.
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post #5 of 5 Old 05-10-2019, 01:01 AM
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Fantastic write up! Thank you

2012 Gator 825i (new engine at 1700 hours) Power Steering-Sport Exhaust- Deluxe Cab-Heater- Work Lights On Top Front And Rear- Hella HID Driving Lights-Warn ProVantage 4500 synthetic winch-Electric Dump- Gillmore Seat Covers
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