Mazda MX5 Conversion Blog


16 June 2008: Front equipment shelf

I've had less time than I would have liked to work on the car over the last month, but I'm still making progress bit by bit. The main section I have been working on over the last month has been the front equipment shelf, which sits at the back of the engine bay, behind the front battery box and above the motor. On it mounts the main contactor, main fuse, a new fuse panel (for extra the 12V items added), the controller, the reversing contactor and the current shunt.

As usual I did a quick prototype from MDF before copying the design in 10mm polycarbonate sheet. I'm a big fan of polycarbonate (aka lexan/plexiglass) because it machines well and is so robust - it's the same stuff they make bulletproof windows out of. And it always looks nice.

The extra fuse panel is shown in the first picture. It uses a relay activated by the old ignition line to power on the controller, main contactor, reversing contactor, vacuum pump, heater relay and extra instrumentation all from the vehicle's 12V system. The Kelly controller also needs an isolated 12V supply for its power so I'm using a little 20W 12V-12C isolated DC/DC for the purpose - its a bit of a pain but it keeps the power circuit isolated from the 12V system (and car body) so is a Good Thing. The next few pics show the development of the front shelf from MDF prototype through to the final polycarbonate unit with components wired in.

It's starting to look like the Kelly controller will be woefully inadequate for the job, so I've resurrected my old motor controller project and will endeavour to get something in there to replace the Kelly ASAP (and to provide as replacements for the few Kellys that ZEVA has sold so far! They're just not as good as they need to be..)

The final picture below shows the brackets I'll have to get TIG welded onto the front battery box so it can be mounted onto the motor frame, as well as brackets for holding bars across the top of the battery rows to hold them down (which will double as lift points). The front battery box will sit on the front of the motor frame and be held in place with the four high tensile M10 bolts you can see in the picture. Hopefully the licensing department will consider that sufficient restraint for the pack!


(1) The extra 12V fuse panel

(2) Test fitting components on the prototype MDF shelf

(3) Test fitting the polycarbonate shelf (plastic wrap still on it)

(4) Mounting of the components

(5) Test fitting with components in place

(6) Shelf held in a bench vice while the wiring is done

(7) Power wiring in progress...

(8) Completed power wiring, with dummy motor terminal board visible in background

(9) The front battery box (upside down) showing brackets to be attached

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--> Continue reading: Wiring it all up, reinstalling the interior.. and the first drive!


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