Saturday, March 13, 2010

Frankenstein Rides Again

Technically, I've got dozens of things to finish up before El Gixxer is road worthy, but I just can't wait. In EV Motorcycle lingo the first ride has been coined "Frankenstein Mode". Components are are jury rigged and zip tied just good enough to get you down the block. It's not pretty but it works.

Acceleration with my 17AH battery pack is pathetic, and top speed seems to be about 20MPH. Nevertheless, it was just as thrilling as hitting triple digits on any other bike.

After four trips down my street and back (probably 1.5 miles total) the batteries were definately done, but it was enough to put that mile-wide EV grin on my face.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It's Alive

An early morning wiring session got me to the point where I need to fire it up. I connected the negative side of the battery pack for the first time, and cautiously flipped the breaker: No smoke.

The Alltrax had the the LED indicating green, but when I twisted the throttle gently nothing happened. Fully opening the throttle turned the LED red. Panic!

I then realized I hadn't engaged the contactor. A flip of the switch and the contactor clicked closed. Now the rear wheel spins happily in response to my twisting wrist.

Cue Oingo Boingo's song "Weird Science"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Burn Notice

Seems like every EV project has one of these episodes.  I thought I was being real careful with my connections.  But my grip on a connecting cable slipped and the end of it managed to contact the wrong spot.  It immidiately lit up a bright-white arc and proceeded to burn anything close for a fraction of a second.

The damage to the terminal and the nearby finger were minor.  But I think another helping of caution pie will do me some good.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Vanity and Power

As is often the case with a well used bike, many pieces are not quite original or altogether missing.  Such was the case for my mirrors:  missing in action.  Truth be told, I never liked the the Gixxer stock mirrors from the 80's and early 90's.  I went searching for something a little more fashionable.  I found this "blingin" set for a reasonable price at  The chrome is a little over the top, but matches the fasteners I've been putting on the body work. I'm fairly sure my kids are horrified by my sense (or lack) of style.

I started playing with the battery layout.  The six 17AH units fit with room to spare in the upper battery tray.   The maze of wires is starting to hit home.

The "dedicated charger for each battery" scheme has one serious drawback - cable management.  Where am I supposed to stuff these things?