After a day of heavy rains, I decided to ride in today in the light mist. I have to say that the bike feels completely different and much better with 48V of batteries. I can keep up with traffic and the hills become much more manageable. The extra weight of the 12V lead acid battery isn't significant and the bike still feels very agile. I'm tempted to rearrange my 36V Bosch Fat Pack cells into a 55.5V 8.0AH pack to see if 55.5V feels better than the 48V pack now.
I spent about 3 hours last night rewiring my new Bosch Fat Pack 36V batteries for my new commute today. It fits nicely into the Topeak MTX rack bag and the wires are almost invisible. I used about 6.5AH of power on the way in at 36V, it didn't feel as peppy as my old 48V SLA setup, however, the lightness of the pack at around 15 lbs certainly made the bike feel much peppier and much easier to lift and move when stationary. I think I'll need to up the voltage to at least 48 if not 55.5V to increase my power since there are many more significant hills going across town.
I was on my way in to work this morning and I passed a school bus full of kids on it's way to Nicholas Orem Middle School. As I passed, I heard some kids yelling at me. I smiled and continued on my way. As the bus passed me again, something flew out of the bus and hit my backpack! I thought it was just road debris at first, but then realized it was something the kids threw. I'll be sure to be more careful next time!
I started at my new job today in New Carrollton. It's a 12.5 mile commute and it's a LOT more challenging to get to work. In my old job, I could head straight down Connecticut Avenue for 8 miles and be in to work in about half an hour. Now, I travel across town through a series of smaller streets with many more traffic lights and narrower streets. It's a lot hillier as well. There is one particular hill that is about a mile away from my new office that is very challenging both for myself and my eBike. I'll need to beef up the battery and my legs! :-)
I was very happy to have mounted the rear motor onto my eBike over the weekend. I didn't have a chance to actually wire it in for power, but at least I could use it as a rear wheel!
I took off for work on Monday morning only to find something was making a noise. First, it was fairly quiet, but the more I rode, the louder the sound became. Until it became unbearable about half a mile from the house. I had to turn around and head home and take the eGO in.
I then spent the evening trying to figure out what was wrong. Here's a sample of the sounds the ebike was making:
I called Jason at eBikeKit.com and he will be shipping me out another rear motor, one that he has tuned. The problem is that in this latest batch of motors, 9C (the OEM in China) used the same length spokes when they should have used 2 different legths of spokes. By using only one, the longer ones were not seated correctly in the rim and would squeak very loudly once weight is applied to the bike.
I've found a very nice bike route mapping website called www.mapmyride.com. It's handy for finding distance and terrain information about a route that you are planning. It's based on Google Maps so it's very comprehensive. Here's my new route:
I started to install my new rear motor over the weekend and ran into a couple of issues. First, the disc wheel rubbed against the frame. A quick email to ebikekit.com got me a response. I need to put more spacers in the axle to move the disc away from the frame. Simple.
That worked pretty well except that I can't get the disc caliper to center on the wheel now. However, while this is going on, I've got an ebike with two hub motors! This is highly unusual and needs to be documented! (Of course, I won't be riding it like this, but it sure is fun to look at!
I returned some equipment to REI to find that they are having a sale this weekend. I picked up a new Topeak MTX rear pack that fits on my Topeak Explorer MTX Disc Mount compatible rack. There's a slide mount for the pack that makes installing and removing the pack a snap.
Also, my new Bosch Fat Pack 36V batteries (all 6) fit in the pack absolutely perfectly. It's as if they were made for each other!
With the purchase and eventual installation of the eBikeKit rear hub motor with disc brakes, I will need to upgrade my rear rack to the Topeak disc brake compatible Explorer rack. The major (and only) difference between the disc brake and no disc brake model is the installation of the spacers where the rack attaches to the frame. The disc brake model has about a one inch spacer which allows the disc brake to be mounted to the frame.
In my long range plan, I wish to move the front hub motor to the rear as well as mount the new Bosch battery in the bike's frame triangle which should help distribute the load from it's high rear center of gravity to a more balanced COG. To that end I've puchased a rear 6 cassette rear hub motor from eBikeKit.com. The plan is to replace the front wheel with either the Tidalforce front hub battery or with a front wheel with disc brakes. The new motor has disc brake mounts and a new disc brake unit. That should help eliminate the rapid brake wear that I'm experiencing now and hopefully improving stopping distances!
My next project is to build a powerful red tail light. One of the biggest problems with most bike accidents involves drivers not being able to see cyclists. Many cyclists don't even wear helmets let alone put lights on their bikes to aid visibility. I am firmly in the camp of "the more the merrier."
So far, I've got two lights on my helmet: a Planet Bike Superflash rear blinking LED light and a front mounted Coast 1W LED head light. On the front of the bike is the Magic Shine HA-III P7 900 lumen headlight. On the rear is a cheap Bell tail ight which is why I'm building "The Blinder."
The Blinder is 3 high powered red LEDs mounted in it's own case that puts out a brilliant amount of light. The driver circuitry will produce 6 patterns and use a LiFePO4 3.6V 5 AH battery pack. The three LEDs and one driver board look like this now.
Eventually, they will be mounted inside a small waterproof housing pointed to the back. That should keep drivers away! I may also mount three facing in different directions since each one is bright enough to be seen easily all by itself. With 3 pointing in different directions, I increase my chances of being seen.
Here's a photo of my new/used ThudBuster. I was able to grab it off of eBay for $43 shipped which is about $100 less than new. These haven't changed functionally since they were introduced in 1996. I'm very happy with the ride so far.
I replaced my Vpower.HK batteries with a set of Bosch Fat Pack 36V BAT836 6.6Ah batteries. They are much smaller and significantly lighter than the Vpower.HK LiFePO4 batteries. They can handle huge amperage outputs and are self balancing so no BMS is necessary. Simpler is always better.
Included with the packs are 2 Tenergy chargers so I don't have to lug them to and from the office.
The best part of all this is that I can wire the packs up to be 72V 6.6AH which should really speed up my commute to work!
I wasn't happy with the power that the Vpower.hk 36V 20AH battery was giving me so I sold it on eBay. I got pretty much what I paid for it so I'm happy. I'm now looking for a 48V or higher 10AH battery since that's all that I really need. I'm trying to reduce the weight and increase the power and reliability of the battery pack. This all started when I tried my 48V 3.3AH NiMH battery pack with my eBike. The power was amazing and the ride was wonderful since the bike was a fairly normal weight. The weight of the sealed lead-acid battery is a bit much at times, resulting in sluggish starts and a very bumpy ride.
As soon as I've found what I'm looking for, I'll post something.
The Thudbuster I bought on eBay last week arrived yesterday. It looks very much like the one above. I installed it last night. I had to improvise a shim for it since the post is a smaller diameter than my previous seatpost. I used a long strip of some aluminum duct sheathing to form a shim. I took it for my usual commute in this morning and it works surprisingly well. The biggest surprise is that you don't really feel it working. I noticed that I didn't need to raise my butt off of the seat when going over bumps now. I just don't feel them in my backside!
My wrists are still getting the brunt of it though since I don't have a suspension front fork. That is next on the agenda since I am planning on switching to a rear hub motor. The combination of the front suspension fork and the rear hub motor should produce a nice smooth ride.
Bill on the TF forums was nice enough to offer first-come, first-served, a free used TF front battery hub. I quickly asked him for it and it finally arrived a few days ago. This guy is hefty! I'm not sure what condition it is in, but I suspect that it isn't working very well. I plan on taking it apart to see what's going on inside and to either replace the batteries (there are 30 8AH NiMH D sized cells) or gut it and just use it as a front wheel.
After many months and many failed attempts to find a used Thudbuster seatpost, I finally won one on eBay! YEAH!
If you don't know, the ThudBuster suspension seatpost is a very unique device. It is based on a cantilever design rather than the typical spring loaded design of other suspension seatposts. With the cantilever, there is no "stiction" for the seatpost to actually start working. Stiction is the phenomena of momentum not activating a compression until a certain threshold of downward force is applied. With the ThudBuster, the suspension is free to start compressing with very little force. This means a much smoother ride than a typical spring loaded seatpost.
The other very important factor in the ThudBuster's superiority is that it has 3" of suspension travel. Most other spring loaded seatposts have between .75" to 1" of suspension travel. The word most often associated with the ThudBuster is "plush!"