Tuesday, August 31, 2010

thanks for the encouragement Doc, but I'm no expert. I learn from my mistakes and lately most of them come from listening to other people. Not all the advice I get is bad. I get some really great advice.

In spite of all the negativity, I keep plugging away at the nimh battery pack. I have made it from aa and c cells meant for toys. If they draw current one to one, then I am approaching the critical mass. The would be the point where they would run the bike. The problem is I just don't believe these batteries have the guts of the lead acid ones. I can get to the point where the bike runs good, but can I ever get to the point that it runs as if it were running hot (right off the charger) lead acid ones.

All the guy who swear by the lithium batteries either can't or won't answer that. Does this new battery technology have the balls of the lead acid. It if is going to whimp along, even if it does the max the bike can do, then maybe I wouldn't really want it anyway. I like the feel of that surge when I kick the lead acid in he ass.
My wife and I were going to the store this morning so I rode to the bike trail just before we left... Big big mistake. School has started and the road were full of housewives in nightgown driving their babies to school. It was pretty awful.

The ride itself was fun but the trip down and back was pretty hairy. The bike and trailer performed flawlessly. I think I have figured out the best configuration for the rhino drive. I need a frame for a 24" bike with gears. I need to remove the rear wheel and replace it with a 20" coaster brake wheel.

The smaller wheel will do two things. It will make getting on and off the bike a thousand times easier and it will open up the rear bike frame cross bar to be used to mount the rhino drive. If I leave the dérailleur, I think I can use the front chain ring changer. If so I will have a three speed pedal assist system.

It would be ideal to have the drive hinge mounted with hinge tension bars. If I had that I could just loosen the bolts on the side tension mounts and swing the motor off the wheel in case I needed to pedal it home. Since my batteries are on a trailer I could just drop the trailer somewhere safe and come back for it in the car. I think the next version will have those features.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I wonder why it is that men think they need to keep looking for bigger and better stuff. It must be in our genes. Somebody throw me a life raft before I drown in my own gene pool.

I rode the rebuilt rhino drive to the lake just now. It ran better than the chain drive and came home with power left in the double battery pack that I have to have for the chain drive as well. It pulls the hills much better than the chain drive.

Don't get me wrong the chain drive with the 36v power supply and heavy duty controller is a fine bike. I am sure those who have that motor with the 26" wheel and gears have a better performing bike than mine. But my bike as it sits now is not nearly as good a drive system as the rhino.

I built the chain drive because I listened to a bunch of experts on a forum and their generic advice. Friction drive is the least efficient of all drives, they said. Well I'm here to tell you that is not always true. Some friction drive might be but the rhino drive is a better drive than my chain drive. My hub motor is pure crap so I make no judgments on it.

The current incarnation has the rhino motor on top of a 12 speed rear wheel. I can gear it down to creep along the bike trail for some calorie burning or wind it up in high and even then I can barely assist it on the steepest of hills. It just runs that good.

The trailer I built with the twenty inch wheels has finally gotten it's act together. The side mount is the way to go with them. When they are mounted in the center the get wonkie on me. For some reason the oscillation of the trailer makes the bike very unstable back there. I'm sure it oscillates on the side as well but the bike is hardly effected at all. I can not explain it except that the side mount is right beside the axle. Maybe that has something to do with it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I rode the bike trail this morning on the rhino drive bike. I also used the new twenty inch wheeled trailer. The combo does pretty darn good. It did so well that I came home to redesign the battery packs so that I could carry both sla packs on the new trailers, should I decide to go to the lake on it. I think it might be a high energy consumption bike though.

The bike and drive themselves are heavy, that might make a difference in the performance. It does pull the hills just fine though, so who knows. It was my first real world test of it. The bike requires a minor amount of right compensation but it isn't wonkie like it was before. The side mount trailer is the way to go. The center mount is truly wonkie. Why that is I have no idea.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It took about five hours but the rhino bike is back together and appears to be in reasonable shape. I rode it and it performed better than I expected so I'm ready to run it on the trail tomorrow. I swear that is the best homemade design I have ever seen even if I did build the first one without any plans at all. I'm proud of the design.

I also redid a small light trailer to carry along on the trail ride. I need it for stability and to carry the battery pack. The big heavy trailer I built all last week, should be good for parts at least.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I worked on the push trailer today for a while. I got it to run a couple of times then decided that I didn't like it enough to keep it. I really want to take tomorrow and rebuild the rhino drive bike. I think I will work on getting it right and making sure it requires little to no effort to keep it right.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I took a ride out to the lake this morning on my chain driven ebike. It's the one I built from parts from a mongoose electric 20" inch. I like it pretty well but frankly it needs to be at least a three speed. I think I can accomplish that by finding a 21 speed bike then removing the rear wheel but leaving all the dérailleur and crank changing parts in place. I should be able to change the gears using just the front three cranks that way.

I have it geared down so much that I have to wait until the bike is almost stopped to begin pedal assisting it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Today I overheated a scooter motor. It is the first one that I have ever had do that. It wasn't a currie motor but a clone. I had it over volted yes and probably too many amps running through it as well, but whatever the reason, it was smoking and slipping instead of pulling.

I had been smelling something overheating for a while but it smelled like plastic so I assumed that it was the new plastic type duct tape. It probably is for the best. I am upgrading the push trailer to 20" wheels and the motor to a 600 watt currie motor with clutch. The motor that I overheated had no clutch.

I did have to order a near rear sprocket and chain break, so it will be a few days before I have it finished. The sprocket is reasonably small so the trailer is going to be more about speed than torque, but this is the system that can go on any bike so it should allow for good gearing of the bike to help it along.

I found that I miss that gear change on the ebike that I run with the curried geared bike motor. If I ever run across one of those Izip rear wheels with the six speeds I'm going to switch it out.
I can only imagine how riding in a hot air balloon must feel. I can remember how it was when I rode in a small bell helicopter after I got home from Vietnam. In Nam I never noticed anything except looking down on the jungle. On that bell chopper I noticed everything because compared to a huey it was a toy.

The thing I remember most was the sense that I wasn't really going up, but that the ground was falling away from me. It was really strange. I took the ride to make a picture of a cemetery for the owners.

Today I am going to the bike trail to ride a little with the new pusher trailer. I have redesigned that hitch three times now. this is the closest I have gotten to one with a serious control with just a little fishtailing. We shall see what happens.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

thats the best offer I have had ........ever..

I rode the pusher bike this afternoon. I think I have the tilt and swing pretty much under control, but it doesn't ride like a bike I think it rides more like a trike. The small weight shifts I make riding a bike to handle minor balance changes are impossible with the pusher. So I think it will take a little getting used to.

well about the ugly welds, I wore out a light weight grinder in about a year. I bought a heavy duty angle grinder this time. So I can pretty much clean the welds up, so that the blobs of metal don't interfere with movements.

I have become the neighborhood bike fixer. It's kind of cool but I do worry that the kids parents might misunderstand. Still a kid with a bike that he can't ride is sad. I do it so that my wife is around or other kids so that there is no question. Too much evil in this world.

I can remember when I was in photo school. One of the assignments was to go to the park to make pictures of kids on the jungle gyms and swings. I would bet a hundred bucks that isn't an assignment any more. Maybe in high school but not grown up education.

Now that I have the trailer working, I want to see about the best size and look for it. I would kind of like it to look like a civil war caisson sort of thing. That won't happen with this propulsion system. If I ever build one using my axle motor mount I could do that. Those actually are the best motors and mounts for this project.
Hot air balloon now I am jealous.... I rode out to the lake today just to see if I could. It was a great ride and the battery pack I put together last night seemed to do quite well.

The darn thing will be charging all day though I expect. Since one pack is 12ah and one is 17ah I am going to check the 12 hour pack earlier if I can remember. I really am enjoying the playing with the darn thing.

Oh yeah I met a gentleman on the bike trail the other day. He saw some of my piss poor welding and gave me a tip. His tip worked like gangbusters. My welds actually hold now. The still look like hell but that is okay. I just want them to stay together.
Thanks Doc, but I honestly didn't know I needed them since I had no idea they made them that large. I have seen huge wing nuts used to tie spare tires down but never gave it a thought for a trailer.

I am still trying to find a way to allow a little swing and tilt without the bike fishtailing. I did some welding last night just before dark. I couldn't see a thing. I expect that I will have to do it again today. Man getting old is a bitch.

I have decided that a trailer full of sla is the power supply I am most comfortable with. Those things will take a hell of a lot of abuse and still perform. I know they are heavy and their power ratio isn't great but they seem to work for me as long as I keep them up. I do need to find me a 36v charger that will charge at more than one amp though. I have some twelve amp maintainers that I like for balancing batteries but to charge after a ride I like the 36v if it had about 3 or 4 amp input. I think that spread out over several batteries in the back is not so much to over charge them.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I was in home depot yesterday to get some duct tape and wiring stuff. While there I found some wing nuts. I had no idea they made a 3/8" wing nut. It should make hooking the trailer a lot easier since it is hard to get a wrench into the trailer hitch area.

Just something new I learned. I do a lot of new thing learning since I started to build bikes. I think I am going to tray taking the trailer to the park, dropping it an then seeing how far I can ride the bike along the trail. Since there is nothing on the bike itself, it should be pretty easy to pedal. The trail is more or less flat, but only a ride can tell how flat it really is. I might try that soon.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I went back to the trailer. The friction drive worked just fine but I would have had to strip the electronics from the pusher to get it back to where it used to be. I wasn't quite finished with the pusher yet.

Doc the problem with the trailer seems to be in the hitch. For the bike to handle normaly the trailer has to swing and tilt. And a pull trailer does that very well, the problem comes in when the trailer is powered I think. It it pushes the bike even a little while out of line the rear of the bike takes off and it all begins to fishtail.

When I built the bobtail pusher I didn't have the problem but it was almost impossible to make a right turn. However balance of the bike wasn't an issue since the trailer was always in line with the rear wheel. When the bike leaned the rear wheel leaned. With the two wheel trailer such is not the case.

I have tried several hitch designs and now it is getting closer. The latest incarnation of the hitch is a three point hitch. The main connection more or less lines up with the rear wheel of the bike. then there are two secondary connections from each corner of the trailer to a point farther up the hitch. The hitch is actually a frame that encloses the rear bike wheel. So far it allows for some lean of the bike, which helps with control. It does not allow for very much swing which seems to help. I'm going to keep testing it to see if I can just get used to the way it handles.

I build this one from a ebike I bought off craigs list but they would be easier to build from a 16" bike using both wheels and just weld a #25 sprocket over the bike sprocket so that you could take advantage of the freewheel already in place. I have a couple of motors and mounts that attach to the bile axle and that would work great. It's how I build the bobtail pushers.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I pulled the trailer off the bike and went back with my friction drive unit. I was never able to tame that trailer. I might go back to it or do something else with it but I just don't know right now.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

another day

I redid the trailer connection to the bike and it does much better. I piggy backed a 12 ah nimh battery pack onto the sla pack I have and it did nothing detectable with the meter. Since it did draw down amps they are going somewhere so I'm going to keep fooling around with them.

Tomorrow I am going to ride the bike down the bike trail if the weather cooperates.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I finished the complete power assist trailer build today. Actually it's a lot like victory in Iraq it is finished but I'm sure a lot of adjustments will be required. I has everything mounted in the trailer. The only thing that runs to the bike is the throttle. I will eventually add a emergency kill switch as well.

I rode the bike. The trailer has to be secured so that it is rigid. Which makes it a lot like a tricycle. You aren't going to have a lot of maneuverability but it is possible to ride it quite comfortably. I plan to take it trail riding as soon as I test the battery pack tomorrow. I have a reading for two miles with just the sla pack. I want to add a nimh pack as well and read the battery results.

Friday, August 13, 2010

at least I'm getting closer to having the bike trailer running. It is actually running fine. The problem is in the tracking. If I get it a hundred percent stable it is impossible to turn or maneuver. However if I leave it loose it is like a death trap. It causes the rear end of the bike to shimmy dangerously. I am about at the compromise point now. The trailer itself does it's job quite well it seems.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I tried everything with that craigs list bike. It is just too hinky, so I decided to junk it for parts. Then I decided to use them to build a pusher trailer. I am going to build it capable of being self contained with just a throttle on the bike. I doubt that I will rig it that way, but it will be an option. I have the trailer built but I am modifying it. It is going to end up being a bob trailer with it's own sidecar. for the batteries. the drive wheel will be in line with the rear bike wheel and the side wheel will stick out on the traffic side. I will call it the suicide trailer since most likely an auto will hit the sidecar while trying to pass me in the middle of oncoming traffic.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I have made a heck of a lot of small corrections to the bike, it was in awful shape. I can ride it pedaling but the bike is very unstable with the trailer. I am trying to remount the trailer. Instead of the side mount, I'm going to try to mount it from the seat post. I have no idea if it will help or not. But I am afraid of the bike without some kind of stability.
I keep finding little things on the new bike to fix but it is a nice fast little bike even at 16" wheels. Kicking it up to 36v is the reason I'm sure. My issue now is control. The bike is not stable. I hope it was the trailer I built to pull the batteries. I have redone the tongue so maybe that will help who knows

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I bought an ebike today. I was looking over craigs list and saw one in my town. It was a trail bike. The guy tried to tell me put a new battery in it and it will take right off. I didn't believe him for a minute. I paid 25 bucks for it. I converted it from 24v to 36v with a new controller. I couldn't get the old one to work. I wouldn't have a 24v bike anyway. Tomorrow I will try it out with a light load in the trailer from the rhino. I took it apart because it was an energy hog.

I am going to build a light weight trailer tomorrow for the new bike, if it seems to do okay with those little 16" wheels. I noticed that some of the new factory ebikes have them so I'm not too concerned. Jacking it up to 36v should help out some as well. I'll give it a test tomorrow and let you know.

I also had to put a new brake handle on the bike. It had seen some rough times. Still the frame is big so it should do okay.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I piggy backed the new 12ah set with the old 17ah set and tossed in a nimh 12ah set for good measure. Then I headed for the lake. I have never been able to to do that without dragging home at the end but not today. Today it sailed through it with battery power to spare. I did it on the chain drive bike. I tried the rhino this afternoon on the bike trail and found that I had misadjusted it again, I need to test it a few times before I head out that far. Also I need a light weight trailer for it. The one I have is too heavy I think. I think tomorrow I will ride it to home depot and look for some light weight materials.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The batteries arrived and I got them wired and setup to go. Now I just need them to get charged overnight, then I'm going to load up three sets and take off for the lake. I am going to ride nice and slowly but I'm definitely going to the lake.

I tried out the rhino after all the repairs and got terrible range. I had the tension too tight I"m pretty sure so I redid the supports and tomorrow I might get a chance to check it out. If not for sure next week sometime they will be finished with the trail I'm told.
I have a new set of sla batteries on ups truck now. When they arrive I have to wire them up in a pack then charge them over night I suppose. I have yet to decide how to use them. I will have to just wing it I suppose.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

the local bike trail I try to ride it everyday.. copy and paste http://img265.imageshack.us/gal.php?g=pict0002ga.jpg
I met a man on the bike trail today. He was riding a pedal bike. We started to talk and I had him stop by the house. I gave him a motor to get him started on an ebike... diy of course. He has the skill set and the desire, so I expect to see him humming along any time now.

I spent the morning rebuilding then re=re-building my rhino bike. It seems to be doing okay at the moment, so I am charging batteries and taking the afternoon off. I might ride a little later but no more work on bikes for today. At least that is the plan for now.