Piaggio Boxer-EV conversion (almost) finished

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

My replacement servo-tester finally came in yesterday. I immediately tore it apart and replaced the potentiometer in it with a cable so that it could plug into my Magura throttle. The design of this replacement looks very simple. All discrete components: a 555 timer IC, rectifier, and some caps. I think I'll try to reverse engineer it so that I can just build it myself next time.

While I was waiting for the replacement to arrive (two weeks!), I took my Boxer almost entirely apart and placed the ESC and other electronics in the compartment where the old gas tank used to be. I also made a pannier for the batteries on the side. The result is a pretty clean ride:

The bike is very stock looking, which was one of my key goals. From the outside, the only indication that it perhaps isn't gasoline powered are the two SLA batteries in the panniers. The only real work that needs to be done is to clean up the remaining wiring for the servo-tester / throttle.

This is a neighborhood kid who helped me make the battery carrier. He insisted on being in the photo.

I'd like to revise the battery carrier to be a little more stealth. This first version was just a hack-up to get the things mounted.

Right now I only have batteries mounted on the right side. Two SLAs (2 x 12V = 24V @ 18 Ah) give me a top speed of 30 kph (20mph) which is just fine for the type of intracity commuting that I made this bike for. The bike has such good starting torque that it's low max speed isn't that noticeable.

I originally planned to mount a third battery or perhaps fourth on the left side. However, two batteries are giving me the speed that I want so I might put a regular pannier on the left so that I can carry groceries.

The following are some screen shots of the CycleAnalyst after my first test ride in this new configuration.

My range was 6.5 km on almost fully recharged batteries. This surprised me. I only pulled out just over 7.5 Ah before the batteries died. The batteries are rated at 18 Ah (20 hr) nominal and around 12Ah (1 hr). I was sucking juice out of them pretty fast, still I expected a little more capacity.

The Wh/km of this bike is excellent as it's very light and not all that fast.

The speed here is given in km/h. So that would be around 20 mph max and 15 mph average.

The batteries were seemingly dead at the end of the test run. As you can see, Vmin was 15 volts (this includes voltage sag/drop from power use) which was causing my CycleAnalyst to reboot sporadically and the ESC to cut in and out. Very bad.

Yet when I hooked the SLAs back up to my smart charger, it said that they were 42% full. Which is about right as I pulled 7.5 Ah out of an 18 Ah battery. Still, there was really no juice left in them. Maybe if I had let them rest a little bit, I could've gone a few more kilometers.

I'm trying to figure out what to do. The max speed is fine but the current range is a bit lower than what I had wanted. I wanted a range of around 12 km so that I could go to work and back without recharging. Some people mentioned that AGM SLAs take a while to "break in" so I guess I'll try to see if that's true and if performance gets better as time goes along.

p.s. Just a side note, Amax was 129 amps @ 24 volts = 3000 watts or 4 electric horsepower! This was just starting torque, when I was cruising it was sipping around 300 watts to keep me going.

0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Piaggio Boxer-EV conversion (almost) finished.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.photoethnography.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/740

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on August 30, 2008 8:01 AM.

Moped laws in CT was the previous entry in this blog.

Bill of Materials is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.