Friday, November 20, 2009

New work TBD (ToBeDone)

OK, so it is almost a year since I "completed" the bike project, rode it around a few times, and unveiled it at work. I since accepted that my BMS that took me hours and hours of soldering to complete, was no good. Not because it didn't work, but because I didn't have a good way to test it. The BMS is the most important part of the machine. It protects the cells, and if one burns, we are looking at several hours of work and at least $100 to fix it.

To remedy the situation I coughed up $600 to buy a BMS from ElectricMotorsport. This way, I can take parts back to them if anything isn't working correctly. Their BMS also has a datalogger in it which can profile all cells. The datalogger will start and stop automatically every time the pack is charged and discharged, respectively. I also changed the chain from #525 RK "x" ring racing chain to #40 stainless industrial chain. The industrial chain absorbs much less energy and will weigh less overall. The #525 was overkill and difficult to work with.

Right now, I've got all the cells out of the bike, they are balance charging. I have determined that three cells burned out last time on my spirited ride though the woods. One cell bubbled out so badly that I had to cut it in half with a sawsall to get it out of the cage! Lithium batteries smell like acetone when you break them open. No sparks, no fire, just fumes and lithium dust (don't know how toxic it is, just kept my face and hands away). I will need to buy two more cells, the price has already dropped to $80/cell. I have gotten rid of the A123 pack because it will just confuse the BMS. Next is to install the cells back in the cages, hook up the new BMS (which means creating a new enclosure for some of it) and put it all back in the bike with the charger again. Hopefully, after careful balance riding, the bike will actually work for a while. Any buyers?

Friday, April 3, 2009

New work list

Take battery cages out of bike.
Take all cells out of the cages.
Throw out cell #2, it's dead, I killed it on the highway.
Put all cells, including the A123s in parallel and balance them using my new balancing
File the lugs on the hipower cells down so they are flat across the top
construct a physical mounting system for the new cells
Wire the new cells into a harness, now BMS sense wires can have a dual purpose
Install all cells back into bike, use aluminum screws for hipowers
Install a new 400A fuse
Set it all up so the BMS is on the bike, but the charger is not.
Ride, ride like lightning

My Faith, restored

So I had the good luck to have a work day scheduled in Santa Rosa, home of the electric motorcycle shop Thunderstruck. The father and son operation know their shit. Bryan, the owner, works 12 hour days, and has built several electric racing machines. I also had a young co-worker with who likes me and is a fellow motorcycle enthusiast. Furthermore, we had to kill a bunch of time in the middle of the day up there, waiting for some solar trackers to do their thing at sundown.

It was great! We loaded up the electric boogie at sunrise and headed up to Santa Rosa. We got to Thunderstruck and unloaded the bike around 10 AM. Bryan told me what I had to do to make the bike everything I dreamed of. Apparantly, I was experiencing a lot of loss through the steel bolts I was using in the battery lugs. He also suggested that I buy and disassemble some Dewalt battery packs to put more cells in parallel with the ones I alreadyly have. Finally, Bryan programmed my controller in such a way for me to have max current without f-ing up the cells.

So I have a new list of work to do on the machine. Bryan restored my faith and made me realize that the Electric Boogie can be everything I've wanted it to be. He said I should be able to go 30 miles, but not straight highway miles. He said I'd have to keep it under forty to get that kind of range. I've got five Dewalt 36V, packs in the mail. Apparantly, they utilize A123 cells which are also the shit. The cheapest price you can get on those cells is available when you buy dewalt packs and take them apart. I will put 2 of these cells in parallel with each of my hipower cells. This way, short blasts can come out of the smaller cells and the hipowers will pick up the rest. I can't wait! Bryan said "it will be like a rocket." I look forward to that...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

First test

OK, so I designed this machine to get me to work, 17 miles from my home. After the first ride, I drained the pack to the point of damaging a few of the cells. It was a very expensive ride indeed. This happened especially because the front brakes somehow managed to lock down on their own, drawing many wasted amps from the pack. One of the cells managed to bubble past the cage I made for it, so I will have to do a bit of work to get this thing back to its awesome state where it belongs. Needless to say, it does not do what I need it to do so I have decided to sell the machine. Someone will be very happy to own this vehicle, maybe this will finance my next one?

To do list:

1) install metal sheets in the end of the cages to resist battery bulge
2) re-test the BMS, I think I may have damaged one or two of the cell shunts
3) Back off the front brake caliper adjustment.
4) Apply "EFZR16kW" decals that should arrive this week.
5) Bring it to Thunderstruck Motors to get the controller programed
6) Sell it, preferably for a profit considering my time and cash investment

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How it started

I have always thought, what would happen if we couldn't get any gasoline? With oil being something that we have finite supplies of, I realized this will be a reality one day, yet, no one seems to be preparing for this eventual fate. This seemed really dumb to me so I decided I would build a vehicle that could "weather the storm" so to speak. I did research for a few years around diesel engines. I learned they can burn lots of different things, and this seemed like a suitable choice for a post-apocolyptic vehicle. I have always loved motorcycles, cars seem like a boring waste of space to me, that is why I own four motorcycles and no cars! One thing I love about motorcycles is that they go FAST. After going through a lot of specs on a lot of diesel engines, I realized it would be beyond my skills to make a fast diesel bike. It would either be huge, heavy, highly engineered and somewhat quick; or small, reliable and slow as slugs. It was at this point that I started looking into Electric motors as a new choice for the ride of the afterworld. Electricity can also be made (and stolen) from many sources. So I started in on my research in electric vehicle technology. I realized that the new constraint here would be cash money. The motor and batteries I wound up using cost me almost $6000! I could have fit another $4000 worth of batteries into the frame I used, but, I am happy with the performance and weight of the machine I built. Lets move on...

Better Late than Never

OK, so now that my electric bike is Complete, running, insured, and ON THE ROAD, I will share with you how I did it and what inspired me. Let's start in the begining....