Frankenbike rides again!

just got back from my first ride on the bike in almost 2 years!
I’ve been rebuilding the bike over the last couple of weeks – I had to do away with the “Atomic Bomb” battery box as it was just too snug a fit for all the additional wiring (plus, the new infineon controller was larger and wouldn’t fit snugly on the front. So, I’d been working in a 9L “Really Useful Box” mounted on the pannier rack which had been great – loads of space to play with.

However, I hadn’t really realised how top-heavy it was, so when I took it out of the shed and stood it on it’s stand it promptly fell over – shattering the battery box and wrecking my hopes for another week.

Smashed up my old battery box

Fell of it's stand and smashed up the Work in Progress battery box

However, I got right back on with it – It’s been 3 years I’ve been building this sodding thing, so a little setback like that means nothing – I learned my lesson about both plastic AND centre of gravity so got on with building a wooden box into the frame – I really like it – it’s kinda Doctor Emmett Brown mixed with 50′s beach boy “woody” – plus it makes the bike handle much better.

Building a new battery box with better C of G

Building a new battery box with better C of G

Mini-me looks on

Mini-me looks on

Connected everything up like I should and true to form it wouldn’t start – it turns out one of my 36v batteries is now giving out 22v – which means it’s cutting out. I’ve removed the battery for now and took it out on just the one battery – I’d forgotten how good it feels to be pulled along up a hill ;-) I’m probably going to leave it as it is for now – I want to get some benefit out of it before I try the other battery again – plus I’ve got some other projects queued up (making an iMac G4 17″ into a secondary monitor for my MBP is number one)

Creeeeeeeeeaaaaak!

>>opens rusty old door on e-bike blog<<

>>blows off nearly 12 months of cobwebs and dust<<

>>carefully unwraps new packages from China<<

>>smiles<<

New Box of Tricks (only 9 months later!)

Got my inventory of items off of Geoff

Got my inventory of items off of Geoff


Well, I did say it was a waiting game(!) I’m actually quite excited by all this, even though I can’t actually do anything with them until I get replacement BMS’s and chargers for the ones I blew up last year. (And build the shed). In the Meantime, they’re going into my box of stuff marked “BIKE”

hiatus (again)

Yes. The site hasn’t been updated for MONTHS – that’s because the bike hasn’t either – I just couldn’t keep the back room in the state it was in. I have decided to build a shed instead (to finish the bike in) – follow the shed build here: http://www.onegranddesigns.com

Battery Box

Built myself a new battery box to take the two batteries…

putting the battery box together

putting the battery box together

The new front panel showing controller

The new front panel showing controller

reverse of panel showing connections

reverse of panel showing connections

Panel back shown with battery box

Panel back shown with battery box

The battery box completed – I modeled it on the atomic bombs shown in just about every hollywood blockbuster since 1982(!)

The Completed battery box - its heavy, but it fits on the rear rack

The Completed battery box - it's heavy, but it fits on the rear rack

72v ebike shopping list

OK, so I have stuff coming in thick and fast – but it seems as soon as I think of something, then there’s something else I need which is crucial to this 72v build… SO, as part aide-memoire, part a starting point for anybody else looking to put together a 72v ebike from scratch here’s a list of what you’re gonna need.

  • The Bike – I’m using an aluminium framed 700c wheeled hybrid which I had in my shed – you might want to consider a 26inch wheel mountain bike as the torque required from the motor is less. Also, full suspension will help – you’re effectively building a moped – mopeds have suspension for a reason!
  • Upgraded brakes – You’re gonna have to stop from 30 mph, so discs or very good v brakes are required [ done] {£50 off ebay}
  • e-brakes – a set of switches or pre-built e-brakes to ensure you don’t haul on the anchors while you’ve still got your motor whirring (these cut power to the motor to stop shredding gears) – [done] {$40} off endless sphere
  • Motor – I’m using a Bafang 350w 28″ brushless, front wheel hub motor which I am assured will take the strain (apart perhaps from the gears -see below) [done] {£75 imported from China}
  • Replacement motor gears – Entirely dependent upon the motor you’re using, but in my case I’m using a 350w Bafang unit with nylon gears in 28″ wheels – that’s a lot of torque (remember with 72v you’ll be putting 2000w throught that 350w motor) to be putting through nylon gears and they have been known to strip threads very easily – the word on the street seems to be – talk to your nearest gear cutter – you can’t buy them on ebay. [to do] {£??}
  • wire – you’re wiring two batteries together which will be putting out lots of amps – 35A wire (10AWG) is a minimum [done] {£17 maplin}
  • battery power – 72V worth (obviously) [done] {£350 off ebay – and I bought cheap (2x 36v 10ah batteries from mp3hk) which lead to more expense}
  • controller – In my case a multi-voltage infineon controller from ecrazyman via knuckles. [on order] {£70}
  • Cycle Analyst – the computer which makes sense of all the stuff you’re doing (not essential, but highly recommended) [on order] {$150 inc postage from Canada}
  • Connectors – high quality connectors and switchgear rated for 35a or higher – Anderson connectors are recommended [done] {total ~ £50}
  • Fuses – you’ll need 35A fuses between your batteries and your controller [done] {inline blade automotive fuseholders/fuses  -£6 halfords}
  • Some kind of box to put it all in – I’ve tried various plastic boxes but it’s hard to find one which fits everything – I ended up buying a sheet of steel (£30) and a pop-rivet gun (£14)
  • You’re going to need tools – standard bike tools obviously, but a good quality soldering iron and volt meter are also essential [don] {£30 – Maplin}

You do the Maths – this isn’t a cheap exercise – I could have bought a cheap motorcycle for significantly less than this project has cost – I reckon it’s getting on for £800 in total (and that doesn’t include the donor bike) – I’ve spent it over 4 months, and justified it by quitting smoking and what it will save me in petrol – but I’ve only had 2 weeks worth of cycling yet (on a 36v bike at 18mph – which proved the concept fabulously – this bike cost roughly half of the total thus far and is an excellent place to start – count out the second battery, the cycle analyst and half the price of the controller).

The biggest frustration in building an ebike is the waiting – for parts to arrive from all over the globe so a well organised bill of materials and schedule will no doubt cut down the build time I’ve had so far – but then this is a hobby, not a job!

OK – after a nutso week or so working flat out on two projects, catching a nasty cold and developing a rather worrying pain in my jaw, I have some new stuff to bolt onto my bike!

Got me a new battery – which arrived suprisingly quickly, surprisingly cheaply and looks surprisingly good – I had been worried about the supplier after following a thread devoted to him on endless-sphere, but he really seems to have come good this time – £93 for a 36v 10ah LiFePO4 battery with, waht seems at first sight like a much better BMS seems like a pretty good deal to me…

New battery - with better BMS

New battery - with better BMS

Also bought a buch of anderson connectors, some big fat wire and a sheet of steel which I’m going to turn into a manly box to hide it all in.

The amped bikes torque arm also showed up (although I was expecting two?) – it looks like a fairly seriouos piece o’ kit

On the blower to Geoff at team hybrid and Justin at ebikes.ca now to try and get the new controller and cycle analyst over to complete the package

Trying to remember how to code

Sinclair ZX81 - my first computer

Sinclair ZX81 - my first computer

I’m not a natural programmer, I seem to have stumbled into it over the years. At age 11 I wanted to design cars for a living; I spent hours up in my room transposing isometric drawings the hard way – with ruler and compasses.

Until, that is I was given one of these for Christmas – a Sinclair ZX81 – I remember seeing the ad for it in the Sunday Times and being utterly mesmerized.

The joy with which I hammered in my first

10 PRINT “HELLO DOMINIC”

20 GOTO 10

RUN

will always stay with me, indeed I still have that same feeling when I hit the “debug” button – it will never cease to amaze me how I can make these machines do exactly what I tell them…

…or not.

I’ll certainly never forget the grinding disappointment of spending literally DAYS typing machine code from the latest copy of “your Computer” (why such a crappy wikipedia entry? just a single listing could take it up to 20 pages!) into the ZX, hunched over with numb finger-ends from hammering the unresponsive flat plastic keypad, being oh-so-careful not to nudge the wobbly 16k RAM pack (my first mail order purchase) in case I lost everything… hoping against hope that when it was finished I would have a fully featured, working copy of Frogger only to get… nothing. No error message – just a black unresponsive screen.

This has been weighing on my mind since it became all too painfully obvious that I was going to have to pick up a .Net project that I haven’t looked at for 18 months – indeed it was 18months ago that I last opened Visual Studio and I’ll be honest – I have been panicking… my memory is not good at the best of times – it reminds me a little of that 16k RAM pack – small to start with and too hard a nudge and it’s all gone.

In my usual sphere of interest (design/vb-script/ASP/tridion – which tends to be a notepad environment) I all to often find myself stumbling over syntax – I know what I need to do, but I don’t know how to say it – I miss commas or famously spell “obj” as “obl”…

So wasn’t I pleasantly surprised?! As a fresh starter to VS I didn’t get intellisense at all – what was the point in it throwing all that green guff at me if I didn’t understand it? 18 months on it was like a gentle reminder that I had indeed learned all this stuff and this was what I had been going on about… It’s actually kind of like a supremely complex Sinclair Basic – you push the button and it writes what you want….

…Now all I have to do is convince the client that

“HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC” “HELLO DOMINIC”…

Is a worthwhile user interface…

Hiatus

Waiting… waiting… Waiting for a battery from China, for torque arms from Amped Bikes for the Cycle Analyst guys in Canada to get in touch, for a controller from America and for the electronics Gods at endless sphere to suggest what I might have done to my current battery…

I’ve got a parcel waiting for me at the post office which I think might be the suspension stem I’ve been waiting on…

submitted by email

testing an email submitted=20
post