Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Place To Call Home

My AllTrax controller got booted from its home when I mounted the upper battery tray.  So it was high time to re-locate the controller, and a provide some mounting surfaces for the other electrical components. 

I really liked the previous location under the tank. Because it was toward the rear of the steel tank, it shielded the rider from a meltdown.  So my plan is basically put it in the same place, but a little higher to clear the battery tray fasteners.

I found a cool piece of 3/8" thick acrylic in a salvage pile.  It had several holes cut into it, probably to hold or display something.  Perfect for mounting the electrical components, however, not strong enough to hold the controller. But it was so cool looking, so I had to use it.

 I trimmed the Acrylic to fit the front 3/4 of the frame opening. Conveniently a couple of threaded inserts were already located  on the front edge (formerly for some rubber pads to support the tank). I drilled and tapped a few more spots on the frame rail to finish securing the piece.

I trimmed a scrap of 3/8" aluminum plate(leftover from my motor mounts) to span the frame rails and support the controller. Some creative filing and grinding was required to work around the welds. A few drilled and tapped holes later, the controller is mounted.

I even had a little time to mount the Contactor and do a little wiring.  The precharge resistor and main fuse are mounted directly to the contactor.  Color coding the high-current wires (#2 gauge welding cable), keeps me from getting my wires crossed. 

NOTE: much of this wiring layout is only temporary to shakedown the powertrain.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lost in the Electric Forest

I've been stalled for a while, primarily because I'm not sure of my direction to take with the batteries and chargers.  I follow the Yahoo Thundersky group, and it seems the more I read, the dumber I become.  I know that Lithum Batteries are a must, but the lack of reliable chargers and management systems make me very nervous.  It's bad enough the only way to get lithium batteries is from china, so I hate to source a charger the same way.  I placed inquiries with Schumacher and Deltran and neither has a product for charging Lithium chemistry.

The old saying goes: "hard to see the forest for the trees" (or something like that).  It's now clear to me that I'm getting bogged down in details but not making any progress.  So, I'm going to focus on getting things running without wasting too much money. (wait have I said that before?) 

I have these B&B 17AH SLA batteries sitting in my garage, salvaged from a  Data Center UPS.  From the start, I've wanted to use them to get educated and test things out, but hadn't figured out the charging method that would worlk for them and Lithum. Occasionally I hook them up to my Battery Tender Plus, to keep them in shape, but there is no way I'm putting six of those on the bike, just for short term use.  Fortunately, one of my brethren on El Moto was selling six of the ACI SuperChargers at a reasonable price.

After getting the chargers, I plugged them all in to make sure they are charging properly.  Now I'm taking turns connecting one of the Gixxer's headlamps to each battery for about 30 minutes, then connecting the charger and a volt meter to observe the charging cycle.