Sunday, October 26, 2008

Battery and Motor Mock Up

According to my research, every EV project has to do a cardboard mockup of the engine and battery placement. The point of the mockup is to get a good idea of what is going to fit, and what is just not going to work out.

Even though I'm planning on replicating the frame in a solid modeling program, I thought it was a worthwhile exercise, revealing a couple of potential problems. Note the can of Sherwin-Williams finest representing the motor (same diameter as a D&D or Advanced DC).

My first cardboard revelation was that it's a lot tighter fit than I thought it would be. I modeled the 60AH ThunderSky batteries, but they are a smidge too big to fit in some orientations. The second eye opener was that a few of the original mounting lugs will need to be ground off, to let the batteries sit higher. I hate to grind anything off, but there is just no way to utilize the space between the frame rails without doing it. I think the remaining lugs will be sufficient to hold the motor and battery frame.

The motor will fit decently, assuming I use an ADC or D&D type. The paint can is 6.75" in diameter, compared to 6.7" for the D&D. An Etek-RT will just make it, but it will be a tight squeeze at 8.07". There is no way a Perm132 will fit inside the rails (8.75"), and I'm not wild about mounting the motor outside the cage.

I'm planning on mounting the controller and other electrical connections between the upper frame rails. The hollowed out gas tank will cover everything nicely, but may need some venting, or a fan to keep everything cool.
The prolific use of duct tape, although not permanent, would make Red Green proud.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weighing in on a few things.

Today I loaded up El Gixxer along with all his pieces and put him on a freight scale. The whole bundle weighed in at 230 pounds, a little more than I was hoping for. One of us may need to go on a diet. OK we both could stand to lose a few.

I've been struggling to commit to an engine and battery combination. A Permanent Magnet motor and 40AmpHour batteries, will give me a very light bike, but will sacrifice durability and range. On the other hand, a 6.7" Series Wound motor with 60 AH batteries will give me the durability and range, but the extra weight means less acceleration.

The bottom line for weight is staying true to the project goals. The end result has to be a "bolt-in" kit. The average gearhead/propellerhead should be able take his Gixxer and yank the ICE motor, put in my battery frame and motor mount, then attach the components of his choice. If the project is significantly heavier or lighter than the original factory weight, the suspension components will need reworking ($$$).

So here's the weights as measured or estimated (*) assuming the heavier motor and batteries:

Rolling Frame 160
Brackets & Fasteners 32
Body Work 38
Battery & Motor 188
Missing Cosmetics 10*
Motor & Batt. Mount 20*
Chain & Sprockets 15*
Electronics 10*
Charger (external) 0*
Total 473 ( Factory Dry Weight: 456 lbs )

The PM motors are about 20 lbs lighter, so that would allow the kitted EV bike to use either motor without being too far off base.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Look Ma! No brakes!

It seems like I've done almost nothing since the last post. I did manage to get all the hydraulics off the bike over the last few days. Calipers, brake lines and master cylinders all gone. In each caliper I noticed one brake pad worn almost to the metal, and the other looked almost new.

I've also been attacking the various frame areas where black spray paint was applied (or mis-applied). After trying a few cleaning methods, the one I use the most is Orange GoJo hand cleaner. Rubbing gently with a rag or paper towel seems to dissolve the gunk and lightly abrades the aluminum, leaving a clean layer of metal.

It looks like the wheels were also painted a few times. Needless to say, none of the paint applications were well done. In fact, the wheels look like they were painted with a brush. It's hard to tell from the posted picture, but if you look close, there are some purple and white spots showing through on the edge of the rims.
Sometimes I think that all this attention to finish details is a waste. But I'm not a good enough mechanic to blaze through the disassembling and have everything committed to memory. Soo, I will continue to obsess and document.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Motor Decisons.

You probably can't tell by the photos, but I've removed dozens of bracket from the bike. I've also cleaned most of the chain lube gunk off. I've taken almost everything off the rolling chassis but the brakes. I've been avoiding the brakes, because that mean draining the brake fluid.

I've had some interesting discussions on motor choices lately, but I am still not committed. My head (& project goals) tells me to stick with the Etek-RT, but my heart says go with something a little bigger, like the Advanced DC / SepEx. I suppose we could make sure the bolt patterns for both kinds are on the motor mount, that way I can quit worrying about it. Makes more sense for a kit to accommodate several different motor choices. The extra holes will save weight too.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Adios Mr. Chain.

I couldn't stand looking at the chain or working around it. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a master link on the chain, and don't have a chain-breaker in my sparsely equipped toolbox. I ground the head off two of the pins, and then drove a screwdriver between adjacent plates. Crude, but effective.

I removed several brackets around the rear end, and stopped to take some pics. Hopefully, the pictures will prevent re-assembly brain glitches ("where the heck does this go"?). While taking the pictures, I noticed the lack of clearance between the face of the chain sprocket and the swing arm. Not a lot of room for a belt pulley.... hmm. I will be measuring this area very carefully.

I've been emailing questions to Phil at Supermax, to get some more details on their pulleys. The pulleys look awesome, but their website is pain to navigate, and no dimensional specs are listed anywhere. Fortunately, they respond to inquiries quickly and seem very nice.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Chain Lube Cleanup

I started preliminary cleanup, focusing on the engine bay, so I can get a feel for motor layout. Unfortunately, the caked on chain lube is everywhere. The more time I spend trying to get that junk off, the more I realize a chain drive is just not going to happen on my bike.

Harley's and other cruisers have used belts for a long time. Years ago, I had a Kawasaki GPz305 with a belt drive. Ever since that bike, I couldn't understand why anyone would want a chain. No lube, no adjustment, no mess and super quiet.

The downside is that a belt drive limits how small the size of the front sprocket, because the belt can't bend around a small sprocket (pulley) without seriously affecting life span of the belt. So this means a jackshaft will be needed to reduce the speed of the final drive, adding some costs and complexity to the project.