By Jok Nicholson
fter we installed the V-Battery 16-volt batteries in our project dragsters last month I told you I would report how they performed and if there were any things that would be a problem. We broke them in in a rather rude way, the Moroso 5-Day Bracket Championships. Here is my follow-up report.
Since we had not even started one of the cars with the 16-volt system hooked up we did not know what to expect when we arrived at the Moroso event. We started by checking the voltage on the batteries after they had been in the dragsters for a week and never touched. Andy’s read 17.25 volts and mine was 17.36 volts. Andy got the first opportunity to start his dragster for the Sunday test and tune. It spun over faster than ever before and came to life instantly. Pretty good sign when you have an alcohol carburetor. He ran it through the warm-up cycle and about two gallons of methanol driving around the pits. He ran the water pump during warm-up and no problems. He then flipped the switch up to run both the water pump and the fan and we popped the fuse. It was only a 15-amp fuse and I am not sure if it was the battery voltage that caused it to blow or not. We replaced it with a 20-amp fuse and it ran all weekend with no problems.
Then I got the bigger engine ready to start. It has always turned over sort of slow and we have tried about four different high performance starters. It never seems to make any difference. It seems that once every race day it “kicks back” and sounds like it is going to rip the starter off. Luckily that hasn’t happened yet. I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about hitting the ignition button once I got it spinning with the 16-volt.
WOW! I was impressed at how fast it spun over. It wasn’t just a little faster, it sounded like a normal engine again cranking over. As soon as I hit the ignition switch it fired off and idled perfectly. The way it started was all I needed to hear to know I will not be going back to a 12-volt battery again. All my electronics worked great in warm-up, just like they did on Andy’s car.
The next test would be to see how they performed on the track. Would the trans-brake solenoid work okay? How about the ignition and electric shifters? Simply put, everything worked excellent. Andy’s car is equipped with an RPM Performance Products Basic data-logger. For test and tune we ran the drive shaft sensor, but not during the race week. It also records battery voltage and that is what I was interested in on the first run -- I’ll tell you about the engine and drive shaft RPM in a couple minutes.
With the dual Optima Red batteries we would leave the pit area with 12.7 volts on the volt gauge. After Andy started it a couple times and had done the burnout and had the water pump running it was consistently reading 12.2-12.3 volts. At the shift we would see 11.15 volts! Remember, this was with two 12-volt batteries. How efficient and especially
With the V-Battery 16-volt system the data recorder showed us 17.2 volts at the release of the trans-brake and it fell to only 14.9 on the shift. MSD, shifter, were all at maximum efficiency. The voltage recovered during the run to 17.18 at the finish line. Andy made four runs that day and six more before we even put the charger on. Even when we did, the battery still showed 16.9 after the 10 runs. The V-Battery charger topped the battery off in about 25 minutes and shutdown to the maintenance mode.