So now it's time to sort out the battery situation !
Tje cyclone 500w kit requries a 24v pack.
Seen above are 4 x 24v 12ah LiFePo4 battery packs.
( See Red Hornet for details )
2 of these packs are currently in regular use on my E-BMX
And the 2 other packs that were going to be paralelled up with those for 48v 24ah on the chopper have a bad cell in each pack. So surgery will be required.. more on that in a bit.
Mounting the battery pack to the bike.
That was one detail I had been avoiding until now, but now that the motor is mounted, throttle is sorted out, jockey wheel redone properly. I must mount the battery !
I think stuff like this is why my house is such a mess.. when I get going with ideas .. Plan B.. C.. D..
The pile below condains plan E. F and G..
My neighbor dropped in and had his version of how it should go.. I had mine.. Angle iron.. Threaded rod.. Nylong cutting board.. Lexan.. cardboard. .. yeah.. the pile got pretty big.
When all of a sudden !
June 28, 2008
It's saturday !
Before going any further, I decided to take the bike ( without battery ) out for a test ride.
Happy to report that it works like a charm !
Pedaled a km or so, tested the gears, shifts well. I like this rear 3 speed hub thing !!
Made a cardboard template for the hole required by the ballancing and discharge wires on the battery pack. Cut with a dremel ( cutting disks and a dremel are a great thing !!! ) Then a coat of primer, and black paint.
Then the battery situation.
When I first received these cells, they were configured in 2P-16S ( 2 in paralell and 16 of those in series for 32 cells total ).
One of the 2P sections arrived at 1.5v however, and the other 15 were all showing 2.9v . ( kinda confusing, but long story short.. 2 cells were below mas low voltage of 2.0v for LiFePo4 ) I charged every cell, and they took a charge, however, the damage was done, and that's that.
Above Left : The 2 packs that have bad cell no.7's . When I last put these packs together, I had no plans to ever take them apart again.. covering the cells is Armstrong Flooring peel'n stick tile, under that is Commercial grade hot glue, holding all that is nylong filament tape and more glue .. yikes.
When working with batteries, remove all jewelry, watches, anything conductive.. and clear your work area of metal objects, like tools etc.... You don't realize the amount of energy contained in these green cells until you short one !!! Trust me it's a shocking experience ! To be avoided at all costs !
Carefully.. poked at the hot glue, pulled out one piece at a time, damn that stuff is tough ! Took about an hour but I managed to assemble an 8 pack of good cells !
Before I wrap them all up again, time to bench test the pack ! Starting with a full charge.
On the right, you can see a whole pile of single cell chargers. got these from www.voltphreaks.com . 2 amp LiFe single cell chargers.
Why single cell chargers ?
Because ..The whole idea behind using Lithium batteries, is that they weigh less, smaller, capable of high power output, fast charge, but cost alot of $$$ initially.
Batteries are chemical boxes, you have Anodes and Cathodes.. and seperators.. Not to detract too far off course, but lithium batteries, like others, have limitations. Charge them properly and they will last a very long time.. Charge them incorrectly and they will die a quick death.
Per Cell :
12 ah - 3.2v Lithium Iron Phosphate
- Full charge : 3.65v
- Minimum Voltage : 2.0v
- Max discharge rate : 5C ( 5 x their rated capacity per hour )
- Rated cycle life before less than 80 % of their capacity : 1000 + cycles.
The first chargers I received ,failed within 4 hours of use.. the replacements I never even bothered to use. Some people charge their LiFePo4 cells in groups of 4, using SLA chargers. Some people use a BMS and a dedicated charger.. etc.. many ways to do it. Problem is that not many are very reliable.
Using single cell chargers is a solution to 2 big problems..
1- Ballancing : All cells in the pack get 100 % fully charged, on every charge cycle.
2- Over-Charge Protection : When charging with a " bulk " charger, all the cells in series are not always at the same voltage, when the total of the cells provide the max voltage, the charger stops. Some of the cells can get over-charged.. while others never get fully charged.. this can reduce the life of an expensive pack in many ways.
Discharge Results = 11 ah ! ... sweeeet !
Alright.. so we have a battery pack.
Cell no.2 is the slacker of the bunch, but these cells have not been cycled many times yet.. There are less than a dozen shallow cycles since i've had them ( Previously used by the seller on his own e-scooter.. i'm told were used only a few times ) So how long these work in daily use is the next thing to figure out !Hopefully many 1000's of of km's !
I'm confident that the motor mounts will stay in place.. however.. something i've learned over many projects is that extra insurance never hurts. Using some very tough nylon cutting board material I fashioned some wedges for each side of the frame to prevent left to right shifting of the bracket.. Then I made a spacer to fit between the top blocks.. And yet another piece on top of the 4 threaded rods to protect the rider's heels from sharp metal and it also holds the 4 bolts in their fixed position.
Tomorrow I plan to paint these blocks black to match the frame, figure out the velcro details on the battery side.. seal the battery in it's box and... well........ oh. mount a CA meter ( Cycle Analyst ).. and that's it for now !
If after all that.. this thing still throws a chain.. I call it quits for the Cyclone kit !
Otherwise .. i'll be test riding this on sunday !
Just so happens that it's the national Atlantic motorcycle event this weekend.. Harleys and low riders are all over the place.. I migth just have to go show them what real cruising in comfort and quiet should be like. Somehow, I don't think I'll find many supporters.
June 29 , 2008
Got the CA meter bolted on... there is a handlebar under all that. i think..
I Sealed up the motor wires. I have been told by a few that this is very important, the rubber gromet used on this motor will not prevent water from getting in. And since the controller for the cyclong is built into the motor.. must be kept dry.. I used " Goop " , found at Canadian Tire stores and most automotive parts places. excellent stuff.. I patched a pair of rubber boots with this stuff 2 years ago and it's still holding on strong.. it smells strong tho until it dries.
Riding an Ebike in the rain is not the most fun, you are very unlikely to eletrocute yourself, ( uhmm.. well at least i've never heard of it happening.. ) , as long as you take the time to seal things up, keep the battery dry, and in the worst of situations ( like absolute downpours) It depends on how close to home you are. When I get caught in the rain, I remove the battery from the bike as soon as i get home, and wipe it down if it has any water on it.. other than that you let it dry and keep on rolling.
Painted the nylon pieces black.. looks much better already.
The aluminum frame made the hot-glue difficult to work with.. One of the reasons I like hot glue so much is that you don't have to wait for it to dry.. just let it cool and it's ready to go. The big aluminum tube sinks heat so well that the glue instantly solidified before i could get the block in place.. I had to use a Heat Gun and warm up a 2 ft section of frame in order to allowt he glue to stay liquid long enough to get the nylon blocks in place. But she's tight now !
Finished glueing and taping the battery pack.. ( I'm sure i've added a whole pound worth of glue on this project )
Sealed the metal box with JB-weld and some Goop.. Waiting for that to dry right now so i can box the pack and then finish the velcro. and .... well.... like wow.. I think it's time to give it back !!!! ( Weather permitting.. I'd like to take this rig to work tomorrow ! )
All sealed up !
Took a piece of black foam rubber and double sided tape, covered the top of the pack. Hot glued a big piece of 2" velcro to the top of that.
Hot glued a matching strip to the underside of the frame.. and.. ...
June 30, 2008
1st Successful ride !
Pouring rain this morning, got a drive to work, and took the bus home.
Wasted no time, zip tied the wires securely enough to get the bike tested !
And headed out !
Adjusted the seat for my leg lenght, tripple checked my wires.. reset the Cycle Analyst to null..
Pedaled off and gently applied power, WRRRrrrrrrrr.. and away we go. No grind, no crunch, no skips or jumps.. just smooth power. Thumb throttle needs a position adjustment. But everything went very well.
Used up 6ah in a 30 minute run, went all the way up a long incline at the end of my street. I need to do this again tomorrow with my GPS.. but felt good.
Sound level was a bit higher than I expected, not crazy loud, but similar to a cordless drill sound. The polycarb fairing amplifies the sound by reflecting it back into the bubble, but at low RPM it's not as bad.. only when it rev's up high.
The CA meter says that the controller will alow a peak of 38amps, draws constant 30's up hills if you don't pedal, 20 with pedal input at full throttle and 10 or less with throttle self-control and pedal assist..
Projections say that one could burn up a charge cycle in 20 to 30 minutes riding like a maniac, or 2 hrs with pulse and glide riding.
One great thing is the freewheeling ability, pedaling this bike with the motor OFF is really not a chore at all, no resistance added, and only the clickety click of the freewheel on the motor shaft.
With 12ah, 24v of Lithium, this bike is a lightweight compared to my other machines with 48v + hub motors.
More testing requried !
July 1 , 2008
Happy Canada Day !
All done and ready to go.
I cut the motor power wires shorter, and crimped Anderson Powerpoles instead of the cheap plastic connector provided in the kit. Added a 12" section of wire to the spedometer for the CA meter, cleaned the fairing, charged the battery pack.. and Test Ride 2
Top speed = 45 km/h
Power Consumption = 10 wh/km with minimal pedal input.
For anyone considering a cyclone 500w kit.. forget 12ah SLA's.. The 40amp draw this motor will take would reduce the range and have those SLA's for lunch..
Lithium, capable of 40 amps is the way to go !
Jan 1, 2009 ( Happy New Year !! )
On November 29 I got an email.!
Quote " I may have damaged my battery - I inadvertently left the controller plugged in... ... ... "
When you connect a battery to a motor controller ( black box that allows you to use a throttle to regulate power to the motor ) there is a very small amount of power used even if you are not using the throttle.. it's not much, but if your last ride used almost all the capacity of the battery, it may be almost completely empty and this tiny draw from the controller is enough to make the weakest cell die..
Above you can see the 8 cells with the one marked in Blue , this was the weakest cell and it sat at 0 volts. The smaller black box below is the 5 cell booster from my Chopper !
All batteries have a " Working Voltage Range ", for these LiFePo4 cells this is 3.65v to 2.0v.
Once the voltage goes below 2.0v there is no more power left in the cell and if the battery is not disconected the voltage will go from 2.0 down to 0v very quickly and ruin the cell.
Above, opening up these packs was not easy, you cant just " Turn off " a battery so it's always Live, notice the clean work space, no metal objects that don't have to be there.. etc..My blade knife worked pretty good for cutting thru the hot glue, bit by bit...
I am sending one of these cells along with a couple PSI cells to a friend in Quebec for comparison testing, so i removed 2 cells from the chopper pack..
Removed the bad cell, put the new one back in, on the chargers to ballance the pack and a bench test.. Then if all is well it goes back in the box !
I drained 4ah, charged fully, and left sitting overnight, next day after work I cycled it again an got 11ah holding 24v at 3 amps ( c/4 )
Back in the box it goes !