A couple of months ago a friend said that he'd recently ordered and fitted a new lightweight battery to his R500. Lightweight - that's right up my street, so I had to buy one. I purchased the battery on next day delivery and it has sat in the garage since the day it was delivered.
There is a reason for the lengthy fitment time though. I ordered the Odyssey Extreme PC680 Battery from Powervamp racing and this included an alloy cage to fit the battery to the scuttle. Having spoken to one of the chaps at Powervamp at the time of placing my order, I enquired if they had a carbon version of the mounting bracket, and he suggested they were having one made, but it wasn't available just yet.
That got me thinking... and researching - I as I now had some NEED for that carbon battery holder. I called some carbon manufacturers to see if they could make me one, and it turned out after a few calls that I stumbled upon the guy who had made the mould already - perfect what a result. Anyway, he was reluctant to make it for me as it was quite a long job for a small part. The carbon cage arrived earlier this week, and so this weekend was the first opportunity to fit everything.
Onto the Battery Swap and Fitting Guide:-
This fitting guide is the easiest solution I could come up with as I have a heater, a 12V master switch (which means less slack on the +/-ve leads) and I didn't want to drill holes into my scuttle. I'm not saying this is the way everyone should do it, but it seemed the most logical for my requirements.
The first step was to ensure the track day master switch was off, remove the negative, then the positive lead and the top of the cage holding the battery in place.
|OEM Banner battery in Caterham R500D engine bay.|
|Standard Battery Tray in Caterham R500.|
I thought it would be a good idea to see how much lightness I was adding with this new battery, so weighed the cage - which weight nearly half a kilo - 464g to be exact.
|Battery Cage removed and weighed in at 464g|
I had to use our suitcase scales to weigh the banner battery, and the readings varied from 8.2kg to 9.2kg, so I took a picture of the lowest weight.
|Banner Battery weighing in at 9.2kg|
I then figured out that the cage to hold the battery was really suited for mounting the battery on horizontally on the scuttle (which I didn't want to do) so I measured up and figured out that if I made a bracket to attach the cage to, I could get the battery into the standard location without drilling any extra holes, so for the lightest solution I decided to make a carbon bracket.
Manufacturing the carbon bracket:-Firstly, I purchased an all in one carbon fibre laminating starter kit from easy composites link here for around £40.
I then needed a mould to lay my carbon fibre onto, so measured up a rough template and got Nigel from Specialist Sheet Metal in Stevenage link here to make me one.
|Carbon Fibre bracket template|
The kit arrived, and there was a link to download the instructions from their site in the box, but the link didn't work which was annoying. As I've never made anything out of Carbon Fibre before I was kinda stuck without the instructions and it was late on Friday night, so I couldn't call their helpdesk to ask the questions I needed answering.
|Carbon Fibre Laminating Starter Kit from Easy Composites|
Nevertheless, a search on youtube found the video below from their sister company Carbon Mods (who sell pre-made Caterham Carbon Fibre part). So I watched the video a couple of times to familiarise myself with the process and began work.
First thing is to cover your mould with their supplied release agent with a thin, but even coat, then alloy it to dry for around 20 minutes.
|Epoxy Resin and Hardener being weighed|
|Mould covered with one coat of the adhesive solution|
|First sheet of carbon laid onto mould, with another coat of adhesive solution|
|Second coat of carbon fibre sheet laid with another coat of adhesive solution|
|Third and final sheet of carbon fibre laid|
With the part completely hardened, I could out the cardboard I'd used to protect my flooring (as the adhesive went everywhere this was a good idea!) and then gently prised the part I'd made away from the template using a wall paper scraper.
|My first carbon fibre part ready for removing from it's mould|
|Battery, cage and bracket in place and marked ready for cutting|
|Carbon battery cage and bracket weighed in at just 282g|
|Odyssey Extreme Battery with Bespoke Cage and Housing in Caterham R500|