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Message started by Jim on Nov 22nd, 2013 at 2:30pm

Title: Help Troubleshooting
Post by Jim on Nov 22nd, 2013 at 2:30pm
A couple of months ago, I purchased a CitiCar -- Serial Number 075SR2185. It is a an SV/48 model, built in 1975, and is the 1,185th CitiCar built.

It was in operating condition when loaded onto the delivery truck, but was inoperative when it arrived -- completely dead, no lights on the dash, or anything, even though the batteries were fully charged. On the seller's advice, we replaced the 12-volt motorcycle battery under the dash and everything now lights up but, despite the fully charged batteries, when we press on the "gas" pedal, all we get us a single click.
Can anyone tell from my description what the problem is? Or what steps we should follow to isolate the problem? Or where to look? Also, what type of electrician do we contact to trouble-shoot the car when it breaks down?
The car's electrical system, charger, motors, and so on, had been updated by the previous owner, so you'd think it would be operating. But nooooooooo!.
ABo Beaumont and his wife and family were neighbors of mine when I lived in Columbia, MD, and we became good friends. So it has been a passion of mine to own and operate one of his cars. When I saw that this one had been rebuilt, I jumped at the chance to buy it.
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Jim Schmitt

Title: Re: Help Troubleshooting
Post by System Administrator on Nov 27th, 2013 at 5:09am
You didn't say how "updated" it was and if most things were kept as original as possible.  Does it still use relays or does it now use a PWM controller system? The fact that most systems turn on is due to the motorcycle battery alone.  The motion or traction comes from the 36V or 48V that comes from all the rest of the batteries. By the way, the citicars that I've seen get there 12V for all systems from tapping into the main battery chain and not a separate battery.
Regular car mechanics aren't trained in this type of system and can do more harm than good.  You might have some luck going to a golf cart repair center.
You stated that because everything was changed out that it should work.  I've seen some pretty weird wiring done on these vehicles from people that thought they knew what they were doing.  I would double check the wiring.
One last note - One CitiCar I fixed for a friend kept blowing fuses (wouldn't move).  After looking at it, someone had put in a fuse that was half the amperage that it should have had!  The result was that it would run for a while and then blow the fuse.
I'm an electrical engineer and became an ASE certified car mechanic just for fun.  If I can help please don't hesitate to ask.
Good luck, Leo

Title: Re: Help Troubleshooting
Post by Herman on Oct 22nd, 2014 at 5:10pm
Most likely problem is that you have a loose or corroded battery connection, blown fuse, or open battery. Not totally unexpected after transport. If you haven't done so, check the battery voltage at the input to the Series/Parallel Speed control relay (this is likely the one click you hear).  Assuming 48V system it should be 48 volts or better.  If no power there check for power at the + and - terminals of each battery pack (if two groups of 4 batteries you should have 24V).  If you just have a bunch of batteries wired this way and that (early Citi) check all connections and that each battery shows voltage.  Same for each battery group.  If no voltage you have a bad connection or battery. If it is a relay system check the input and output side of the fuse.     Be careful you can get juiced and make lots of sparks.  You can make these checks with the Forward/Reverse switch in neutral. If you have power at these points, get the rear wheels off the ground, put in Forward and trace the power through the relays to the motor.  If you have power at the motor you have a bad brush or other motor issue.  Best if you can find an electrician that is familiar with industrial controls.  Many house type electricians do not have the background for these control circuits and may do more harm than good.

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