John Brett

John is a professional engineer with 50 years experience.

John has designed and built many cars, trucks, and vehicle assembly facilities.

John has worked on design of roads, bridges, cranes, transmission towers, and buildings, and operation, maintenance and upgrade of hydro and gas turbine power stations.

John was a LVV Certifier for 13 years. John has long been a whistle-blower, expressing the view that the LVV system is dangerously deficient. John's authority was revoked in December 2012.

John rides a 1992 Yamaha FJ1200ABS, and is also a keen road and off road cyclist.

APOLOGY

“The LVVTA has brought it to my attention that statements I have made in relation to it and its employees may have been perceived as defamatory.

I sincerely regret that and apologise for any harm caused. I have taken down the statements identified by the LVVTA of concern to it.

I have strong views about the low volume vehicle certification process and intend in the future to direct my energies into the public inquiry now being held in relation to it.”

John Brett 7th October 2015

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“Fair Go” programme taken on by LVV Certifier

NEWS- NZ Patent granted- see http://thebatteryclinic.co.nz/power-jockey-start/

Fair Go have been getting it all wrong, attacking a NZ business “The Battery Clinic” which reconditions battery packs for Hybrid cars, and which had developed the revolutionary “Power Jockey” which both extends the life of the battery packs, increases the cars performance, and makes big improvements to the already amazing economy of these cars.

The one weakness of these vehicles is the economics of the battery pack. The vehicles can do huge mileages without problem, however the battery packs begin to fail at 5 to 7 years of age, and replacement battery packs are sold by Toyota for around $10,000, which pretty much demolishes the used value of a Toyota Prius.
Now we all know that car manufacturers expect to make their profits from the sale of spare parts, especially if they are the exclusive supplier.
Toyota rather amazingly suddenly started offering replacement battery packs for only $3500, to owners who had installed the Power Jockey, and were then shamed into offering the same price to all Series 1 and 2 Prius owners. Isn’t it interesting how the competitive market works!

There are always ‘know-alls’ who think they know all about cars- unfortunately Fair Go programme found a couple and interviewed them to discredit “The Battery Clinic”
As the Video above will show, the Toyota Prius (and most other hybrid cars) are a very clever piece of engineering, a little beyond the understanding of most amateurs.

I wrote the following letter for Patrick Phan of “The Battery Clinic” to dispel some of the more ridiculous claims being made.

Patrick Phan
The Battery Clinic
133 Great South Road
Otahuhu
AUCKLAND
New Zealand

Dear Patrick
Subject: Comment on Power Jockey and Hybrid Battery repair

My comment is in reply to comments made by Fair Go programme, Professor John Boys (a University academic) and Peter Leijen (Engineering Student).

First therefore I need to establish my own qualification to comment.

I am a practising Engineer, qualified with NZCE Mechanical and Electrical, and a Registered Engineering Associate. These are both practical based qualifications and require a qualifying number of years practising in the discipline.

I have 50 years Engineering Design experience, divided between Heavy Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, including design and construction of motor vehicles.

For the last 12 years I have been a Low Volume Vehicle Certifier, and agent for NZ Transport Agency, Certifying modified vehicles of all types. In that time I have Certified some 4,500 modified and scratch built vehicles, including many Electric and Hybrid vehicles.

Prior to that I was employed for 10 years as “Generation Engineer Gas Turbines”, in charge of operation and maintenance of Stratford, Whirinaki and Otahuhu Gas Turbine Power Stations.

Prior to that I was an Engineering Officer, designing High Voltage Power lines and substation equipment such as the 200 kV Huntly to Otahuhu line that runs alongside the Auckland Southern Motorway.

Before that for I was Production Process Engineer at the Ford Motor Company, responsible for developing and implementing Assembly Engineering processes for their range of vehicles in New Zealand

Prior to that I was Tooling and Equipment Engineer at Todd Motor Industries, responsible for the design and implementation of all their vehicle production facilities, including assembly tooling, welding systems, paint systems, material handling systems.

Prior to that I have designed High Voltage Power transformers, High Voltage Substation and switching equipment, worked on construction of Benmore and Aviemore dams, and the DC Link to the North Island. I have also designed and built vehicles such as Ready Mix Concrete trucks, Penstock transporters, Electric mining locomotives and many other specialized vehicles.

In summary, I have a comprehensive knowledge of Motor Vehicle Engineering, and also of High Voltage Electrical systems.

Vehicle Compliance in New Zealand

Vehicle Standards in new Zealand are mandated by the
Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Standards Compliance 2002, and subordinate rules.
Amongst these are the Low Volume Vehicle Code, and the subordinate Low Volume Vehicle Standards, which include the:

Low Volume Vehicle Standard 75-00 Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

Administering all of these standards is an army of Inspectors and Specialised Certifiers who are rigorously audited on a regular basis.

There are approximately 50 Low Volume Vehicle Certifiers, who are all Engineers who have spent years designing, building and modifying vehicles

I am a LVV Certifier and hold the required category for Electric and Hybrid vehicles.

The repair and reconditioning of battery packs DOES NOT require any Certification of any type

The addition of the Power Jockey is BELOW THE MODIFICATION THRESHOLD for Low Volume Vehicle Certification, and so DOES NOT require LVV Certification

There is no need to seek unqualified amateur opinions on the subject

Regarding the claims made about the work of Mr Phan, and the Battery Clinic

1 AECS, represented as “the company which trains the top electronic technicians in the country” is a company which sells diagnostic equipment, and trains technicians to use this equipment.

AECS do not represent themselves as having any special expertise in this issue, and there is no statement attributed to anyone from that company.

2 Peter Leijen is represented as a Master of Electrical Engineering is in fact a student who will be starting his masters in engineering this year. University Engineering Students are notorious for their lack of practical engineering experience, and I have trained many of them.

His comment that

“The main issue is that he found the terminals of the power jockey were live with a potentially deadly 275 volts sitting behind the carpet in the boot of the car”

My comment:- The terminals indicated are correctly installed 12 volt cables, which are quite safe to touch, as anyone who has had to jump-start a car will know.

He also says that

The missing bolts could mean the battery pack might press against the metal frame of the back passenger seat in an accident.

My comment:- The insulated plastic case of the battery pack presses against the seat frame at all times, and presents no hazard of short-circuit, fire, or anything else.

Heavy components need to be properly restrained to withstand 20 G loadings in a frontal impact, the normal fixings will have been tested for this loading.

Mr Leijens comments that:

There is an additional concern with the safety mechanism. He says the way the system is wired when the air bags go off in the event of an accident that the power jockey will keep the wires live endangering emergency services.

My comment :- The airbag systems are a 12 volt system, and have no connection to the power circuits. In an accident, emergency services are not exposed to any additional hazards, compared to a conventional or hybrid car.

If there is an accident waiting to happen it is Mr Leijens being let loose on the world believing that his first class honours BE degree means that he knows what he doing around electrical equipment.

Fair Go makes the claim that “the HV battery can explode like a bomb.”

Mr Phan correctly comments that:- The cells in the HV battery are D cells with 1 a/hr in capacity. If it shorts there is not enough energy in the 1 D cell to do any damage. All that will happen is some gas escaping the vents with a squeak. The cells sticks are in channels in a polycarbonate case. There is no way for the cell sticks to touch each other even in a crash.

I comment that all batteries have the potential to explode- given the wrong conditions. You are more at risk from the batteries in your Cell phone, computer, camera, or hearing aid than from the batteries in a Hybrid car. If you are worried about explosive hazards in motor cars you would be better to ban such devices from being used inside vehicles. Fair Go are conspicuously silent about the potential hazards from Lead Acid batteries in cars, from fuel tanks, from LPG gas tanks, all of which present hazards if not properly managed.

Regarding the function of the Power Jockey

The principle on which the Power Jockey operates is to act as a smoothing device on the power demands to the Hybrid batteries.

It uses the energy of the small lead acid battery, converted to correct voltage, to reduce the amplitude of the peaks and troughs in the demand curve that result from events such as vehicle accelleration.

A Lead Acid starting battery is eminently suitable for this usage pattern, and the Power Jockey reduces stresses on the expensive battery packs of the Hybrid vehicle, thus prolonging their life.

The Power Jockey does not introduce any risks or hazards to the vehicle, provided that it is correctly installed in a tradesmanlike manner, and that wiring and insulation is in accordance with accepted standards. The installations that I have seen all meet these standards.

I do not have sufficient knowledge or experience with the Hybrid battery packs to be able to judge how much benefit would be provided, or what life extension would result. The best evidence would be results from vehicles with the Power Jockey installed.

Summary

Fair Go has done a beat-up on a local business, based on immoderate, wild, unsubstantiated claims from unqualified individuals who should know better than to make “ex cathedra” pronouncements on subjects which are far from their areas of expertise.

Yours sincerely

John Brett
LOW VOLUME VEHICLE ENGINEER
NZCE Mechanical
Registered Engineering Associate
LVV Certifier JB1