Electric Morris Minor

This blog post is about my design suggestions for an electric Morris Minor.

There have already been some prototype electric Morris Minor conversions already, which i will discuss.

In addition I have designed alternative ways to successfully convert classic cars such as the Morris Minor.

The Morris Minor is a British car designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, that was launched in 1948.

The Morris Minor originally was produced with an 918cc Side valve Petrol engine, but this was replaced in the early 1950s by an Overhead Valve (OHV) engine.

The OHV engine was improved and its size increased during the remainder of its production. and the later models were 1098cc in cubic capacity size.

The standard Morris Minor had the engine connected to a four speed longitudinal mounted gearbox, attached at the back of the engine.

The gearbox output is connected to a long single drive shaft, which runs underneath the car.

The drive shaft connects the gearbox to the rear axle.

The rear axle incorporates a ‘differential’ which fixes the speed ratio, between the rotational speed of the drive shaft, and the rotational speed of the road wheels.

Therefore as the engine power is transferred via the gearbox and drive shaft, to the rear axle, it is a rear wheel drive car.

Any design for an electric Morris Minor, will probably stick with the rear wheel drive configuration.

The reason for keeping the electric Morris Minor as Rear Wheel Drive, or RHD for short, is engineering design simplicity.

The front suspension on a Morris Minor was advanced for a British car of its time (1948).

The front suspension used torsion bars, as the springs, and featured ‘rack and pinion’ suspension, that is still used in modern cars.

The shock absorbers are different to the type used in modern cars, and are known as ‘lever arm shock absorbers’.

To convert an electric Morris Minor into powering the front wheels, known as front wheel drive, would require major suspension modifications.

This is because the original Morris Minor steering and front suspension system, would need a lot of component changes.

Of course its possible to make a front wheel drive Morris Minor, but more expensive, and also changes the cars handling characteristics.

If however you are hell bent on a front wheel drive electric Morris Minor then get in touch, as I have a design solution.

So let’s decide to stick to the original rear wheel drive layout for our electric Morris Minor.

There are four ways that you could configure the electric motor layout. This also applies to many other classic cars, which share the same basic layout.

Firstly, the original internal combustion engine can be removed, whilst leaving the Morris Minor gearbox, driveshaft and rear axle (Inc differential) in place.

An electric motor is then attached to the original Morris Minor gearbox.

Some electric motor conversions that use this layout configuration, are clutch less in design. The torque & high rev range of many electric motors mean that the car can be driven in the same gear for most of the time.

Other electric car conversion designs still incorporate a conventional clutch.

The advantages of retaining a clutch are better motor speed control, and more importantly more retention of the original Classic Car experience.

A second option for mounting the electric motor in your Morris Minor, would be by removing the gearbox and either mounting the electric motor at the front end of the drive shaft, and directly attached to its front end.

Or alternatively the drive shaft could be removed, and the motor mounted directly to the reap axle differential input shaft.

This second method of attaching the electric motor directly to the rear axle differential connection, has advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage is a saving of weight, by removing the drive shaft which runs underneath the car, from front to back.

Less weight is a good thing for performance of your electric car.

The disadvantage is that it makes it a bit harder to mount, than if you mounted the electric motor at the front end, and retained the driveshaft.

It is harder to mount, because you need to create a mounting cradle which attaches to the rear axle, and supports the weight of the electric motor.

Part 2 of this blog post will be coming soon.


Electric Alfa Romeo GTV

The Alfa Romeo (916) GTV was produced between 1995 – 2004, with only around 40,000 GTV models, and a similar amount of the open top Spiders, being manufactured during the whole period.

alfa romeo gtv electric
Alfa Romeo GTV

I have decided to re-engineer my own Alfa GTV, to run on an electric motor, rather than the original petrol engine, which emits a high CO2 level of 220.

I will be improving and updating this blog post on a regular basis, so check back regularly.

Why am I doing this? – Well for starters there is the high CO2 level.

The car failed its MOT in December 2012 on emissions and a small hole on the underside inner sill.

The car was put into my garage shortly after, and almost forgotten about, until recently.

Although I have successfully managed to get the engine going, the car would need a new rear exhaust silencer, radiator (as in poor condition), and new cambelt and balancer belts (not a cheap job).

The last items, are the main reason I took the car off the road after it failed its MOT in 2012.

The belts need replacing every three years, or 36,000 miles according to Alfa Specialists, and mine were way over due (time wise).

A second reason for wanting to convert my Alfa Romeo GTV to be powered by an electric motor is performance, yes you did read that correctly.

The Alfa Romeo GTV came in two basic variants, four cylinder, and six cylinder (V6) petrol variants.

The original 2 litre four cylinder version that I have, is a fantastic high revving motor, with a unique Alfa Romeo 8 spark plug design.

However it gets overshadowed (unfairly in my opinion), by the tyre shredding V6 version.

My objective is to create an Electric Alfa Romeo GTV that has faster acceleration, than the V6 versions.

But aren’t electric cars those off looking slow things, that oddball eccentrics drive? Electric cars have come a long way in recent years, due to advances in technology.

Just look at the acceleration figures for a Tesla Car, if you have any doubts.

The second part of this blog post on the Electric Alfa GTV project will appear soon.

Electric Alfa GTV – Electric Motor Conversion Choices

So far in my previous blog post, I talked about the history of the Alfa Romeo (916) GTV.

I also talked about my intention to convert into an electric vehicle.

In this blog post we will look at the various types of electric motors commonly used in electric vehicle conversions.

DC or AC Electric Motors?

Lets first understand what the heck I am talking about.

DC stands for Direct Current, whereas AC stands for Alternating Current.

In Direct Current, the positive (+) terminal is always positive, and the negative (-) terminal is always negative.

With AC Current, in a two wire system (known as a ‘Single Phase’ supply system), the electricity alternates, so that sometimes one wire has a positive voltage, and sometimes the ‘other’ wire instead.

The rate at which the voltage changes fully between the two wires, is known as the Frequency, and is measured in Hertz (Hz).

Notice I used the word ‘fully’, as the voltage does not instantly change from one wire to the other, but changes over a very short time period.

If you were to measure an AC voltage using a multimeter set to measure AC voltage, you would measure the RMS.

RMS is short for Root Mean Square, and is 0.707 of the peak voltage that occurs during a alternating cycle.

So if ‘wire A’ had a peak voltage of 100 volts AC, then the volt meter would read 0.707 of 100 volts, and therefore 70.7 volts AC.

It is necessary to measure the RMS figure because unlike DC, AC voltage is constantly changing (Alternating, hence the name Alternating Current).Single and Three Phase AC Motors

So now you hopefully understand what AC electricity is, lets look at the two main types of AC motor supplies you will come across.

Firstly ‘Single Phase’ is the two wire AC supply system that I described previously.

It is called Single Phase because it has a ‘phase wire’ which is often called the ‘live’ by the public.

Of course it has a second wire, known as the Neutral also.

Three Phase Supply systems have three Phase wires.

To understand better, first consider the Single phase AC system. The electricity is represented as a single sine wave, which goes up and down, above and below to zero volts point, over a period of time (picture to follow soon).

By contrast, a Three Phase AC system has three Sine waves, representing the three individual phases.

These three phases are 120 degrees apart (3 x 120 = 360 degrees), and therefore ‘peak voltage’ of each one occurs in sequence, at different time periods.

Three phase systems are the type that you will most likely be using in an electric vehicle build, as bigger more powerful motors, use three phase supplies.

DC Motors… to be continued, check back soon.

Superyacht Radio New Competitor

The New Radio from Entel, could be the perfect Superyacht Radio.

Expecting the best from all areas of life is something that owners of Superyachts expect, and demand.

This not only encompasses yacht decor and culinary standards, but also the more subtle things too.

There are literally thousands of radio communications suppliers globally, from a ‘one man band’, to large corporate suppliers.

Most of these companies are unfortunately not experienced in the Marine  & yachting Industry.

A few years ago we had an unusual phone call from a man who was calling from a vessel located off the eastern coast of the UK.

Click here to read more, at Yesway.co.uk website.


Tips for Replacing Car Brake Pads

Tips for Replacing Car Brake Pads

My car recently failed its annual MOT inspection on worn front brake pads.

Being an experienced engineer, and having even taught GCSE Motor Vehicle studies, I decided to do the work myself.

brake caliper
Brake caliper resting on brake disc to avoid strain on brake hose

The first issue was getting the locking wheel nuts off, as the key was slipping.

A tip for doing this is to use youtube, and search for removal of locking wheel nuts for your particular car.

Once you have removed the wheel nuts, you may come up against the next challenge, wheel stuck on hub.

If you have jacked up the car (and used axle stands to support) removed the wheel nuts, and the wheel wont come off, this is my tip.

Loosely screw the wheel nuts back on about half way. Then (after removing the axle stand) slowly lower the car jack down.

The weight of the car being put onto the wheel, should help loosen the wheel from the hub. You can gently rock the wheel, which may help.

Remember it is vitally important (for safety) that the wheel nuts are screwed on enough to hold the wheel in place, but not so tight that the wheel is tightened against the hub.

So now hopefully you have managed to remove the front wheel, and have the car supported on suitable axle stands.

The next job is to remove the brake caliper, which is held in place with two 13mm (on my car) bolts.

On a previous car I owned, the bolts had been rounded and damaged, and would not come out using a normal spanner or socket.

A tip for removing the bolts, is to use reverse thread ‘bolt grips’. These are special sockets, that ‘bite’ into the rounded bolt, and grip tighter the more torque is applied to them.

Manufacturers of these are Irwin and Ebauer, and they are available from tool supplier, such as Toolstation & Screwfix, among others.

A car manual will be useful if you are not familiar with fitting brake pads, and I accept no liability if you do it incorrectly.

Once you have removed the brake caliper, be careful not to stretch the brake hose, which could cause damage to it.

In the picture below, I rested the brake caliper on top of the brake disc, but you could also tie it up to suspend it, to avoid strain to the brake hose.

Tips for Replacing Car Brake Pads
Brake pad replacement

The existing brake pads should push out of their slots, but you may need to use a large flat blade screwdriver, or similar to prise them out.

Before you can fit the new brake pads, you will need to move the part of the brake caliper that pushes against the brake pad, back fully inside the caliper.

This is because the new brake pads are thicker than the old worn pads, and the caliper has moved outwards to remain in contact with the brake pad, as it wears.

A tip for pushing the caliper ‘piston’ back inside the caliper casing, is to use a ‘G-Clamp’ as shown in the picture.

By screwing in the clamp, the piston will be compressed back into the caliper body.

Be careful to do it slowly and gently, and ensure that the piston is going back inside evenly. If it start to go at an angle, you can move the G-Clamp to the other side, to compensate.

Once the caliper piston is back level with the caliper casing, you are ready to fit the new brake pads. Use a little brake grease on the contact metal edges, to avoid brake squeal, but never get it onto the brake pad, or brake disc surfaces.

Refer to your car workshop manual, if needed, and fit them in place.

Connect any wear sensor connection wiring, if your car has these.

You should then be able to replace the brake caliper over the new pads, and back into place.

Put a bit of ‘thread lock’ onto the threads of the caliper bolts, and tighten to the manufacturers torque settings (you will need a torque wrench for this).

Spin the brake disc to ensure that it turns freely, and then refit wheel.

Job done!!!

It should be noted that the above instructions are only for replacing the brake pads.

Brake pads should always be replaced in axle pairs, in other words don’t just fit one on the front near side (UK kerb side), but not do the other front wheel side.

Brake discs, which are the round part that the brake pad squeezes against, also wear, and may also need replacing.

You should check the manufacturers brake disc data, and replace if they have worn thinner that acceptable, or are badly weakened or scored.

You can use a tool called a micrometer to measure brake disc thickness.

car brake disc
Car Brake Disc



This article is for information only, and the author accepts not responsibility for injury, damage or loss caused by following its instructions.

The article and photos are also copyright  2018 (C) Craig Miles



Photo of industrial history at papplewick Pumping Station, Nottinghamshire

old machinery from victorian times
Victorian Technology

Papplewick Pumping Station

Papplewick Pumping station is located near the City of Nottingham, in the east of England.

Papplewick was built in the late Victorian era to supply fresh water to the nearby city of Nottingham.

The site includes an underground brick built reservoir, that visitors can go down, with a guide.

The main site is beautiful in a way that the Victorians often made their buildings.

Despite being a public utility, that few people would see, they incorporated beautiful design features into the building and grounds.

On bank holidays, the boilers are fired up, and the pumping station can be seen operating, which is well worth a visit.


Flying Transmitters – Part 1

Increasing radio coverage range

Radio communications at frequencies above 30 Mhz normally travel between transmitter and receiver, in what is known as ‘line of sight’.

In other words they don’t bounce off the atmospheric layers, or the ground, as they can do below 30 Mhz.

You may have noticed that if you are listening to an old radio receiver that has Medium  Wave (MW) & Long Wave (LW) wavebands, that you can hear ‘foreign’ radio stations at night.

This is because despite being called medium and long wave, both frequencies are below 30 Mhz. This means that the radio waves between transmitter and receiver can ‘bounce’, which increases range.

So why don’t we use frequencies below 30 Mhz to achieve long range?

Well for a start the antenna length would be too long.

This is because the the lower the frequency, the longer the antenna needs to be, to be ‘resonant’.

It would therefore be impractical for handheld or vehicle communications systems, to use low frequencies.

Why do ‘Line of Sight’ communications only go a short distance?

The simple answer is that the earth is round, and there are objects such as buildings and hill in the way.

If two people were talking on handheld ‘walkie talkies’ and started walking away from each other, gradually the curvature of the earth would come between them, and stop communication.

Buildings and other objects can also either reduce or prevent radio signals from getting between the transmitter and a receiver.

Therefore to overcome the reduction or complete blocking of the radio signal, antennas are often put on high masts, or high buildings.

This increase in height helps overcome the curvature of the earth, and also objects in the line of sight, between the transmitter and the receiver.

This principle is used effectively by space satellites.

Space Satellites receive a radio signal from a Satellite ground station, and rebroadcast the transmission back down to earth over a large coverage area, known as the satellites ‘footprint’.


What happens when you pour water on an induction motor

Pouring water on an Induction Motor may stop it working, due to the lowering of the insulation resistance of the internal motor coil windings.

The coil windings are located inside the metal case of the induction motor, and are what generates a magnetic field, which makes the motor turn.

This article will focus on what are known as ‘three phase’ Induction Motors, which have three sets of coil windings inside the motor.

The internal motor windings are wound together in a component known as a ‘Stator’.

Each winding is electrically separated by an insulation layer on the copper wire that makes up a stator winding.

Therefore there should be a high level of electrical resistance between each of the three coils.

This ‘Insulation Resistance’ is typically above 2 Mega Ohms in a correctly operating Induction Motor.

However if the coil windings became wet, then the insulation resistance would drop to a low level, which would prevent the motor from operating, due to a short circuit between the coil windings.

The good news is that induction motors can usually be dried out, and therefore returned to having a high insulation resistance between the Stator coils.

It is of course vital that the motor is disconnected from the electricity supply, and that only a qualified person carries out the work.


Motivation – What Motivates You?

What Motivates You (Passions)

I regularly ask myself the question ‘what motivates me in life’.

So far have always ‘heard’ back the same voice in my head, telling me the answer.

The answer that the voice in my head tells me, is three things:-

  1. Property
  2. Adventure
  3. Travel

I am happy and motivated when at least one of the three above motivations are present.

My main long term career has been in teaching technical subjects.

On the face of it that may not sound like it fits in with any of my three motivations (passions), but teaching can provide both adventure and travel. This is why my teaching career has been so successful.

I have also been involved in Bulgarian property investment, which ticks all three motivations, as there was the buying and selling of property.

There was also the adventure of traveling to a new country, and experiencing a new culture, including staying in ordinary Bulgarians houses.

Successfully Buying and selling property, setting up bank accounts and learning the language were also amazing experiences.

What Motivates You Then?

Have you asked yourself what motivates you?

In this culture, we are told in radio adverts and the media, that we are busy.

I know people who actually feel guilty if they aren’t constantly busy and doing things.

Its true that we are always doing something, but taking time to relax and listen to your inner quiet voice is surely worthwhile.

As I previously said, I asked myself what motivates me, and got the answer back, from my quiet inner voice.

Why not try it for yourself.

Just ask yourself the question over a few weeks, and listen to the answer.

For me it has been worthwhile, as I now have a decision template, that I can check new potential decisions against.

These are my ideas, and you may have other (even better) ideas, so get in touch and share.