Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Electric Bike

Several years ago for fathers day I bought myself a kit to convert a bike to be electric powered. The problem is that I cheaped out and didn't get a battery to go with it. I figured since I was the battery guy at Kyocera I could make my own battery. It was actually a good idea but to make a battery that was the right capacity using cell phone batteries would take a hundred or so cells which would include a lot of welding (which we weren't really set up to do) and then I would have to build a custom protection circuit for it so it wouldn't blow up. This meant that my electric motor and motor controller just sat there for a very long time. Finally I got tired of looking at it in the corner of my bedroom and last spring I sat down and ordered some gel cells on-line. When the gel cells came in one had a big crack in it but it took another three months before I actually got a box suitable to hold the batteries in. When I finally tried it all out it worked but the motor kept cutting out. I finally figured out that the damaged battery had a high self discharge rate and was causing a low voltage. I called up the people I bought the battery from and they wouldn't take it back so I negotiated a discount on a replacement battery. Unfortunately they didn't have any batteries in stock. I think they were lying to me and just didn't want to give me a new battery. I asked them to let me know when the batteries came in but of course I've heard nothing from them. I finally got tired of waiting for them so a couple of weeks ago I just bought myself a battery here in town so now I was ready to go. Well as I was pumping up my tire I noticed that I had two broken spokes. Since the motor and the batteries are both very heavy I decided that I shouldn't ride on broken spokes so I stopped at the local bike shop and bought me some spokes and a new tire. When I sat down to replace my spokes I realized that I had to take my sprocket off to replace the spokes but I didn't have the right tool. I finally broke down and took the whole wheel in to the bike shop and had them do it for me. A few hours later I got a call from the bike shop telling me that he broke two more spokes trying to fix up my wheel and that I just needed a complete new wheel.

Well it's cost a lot more than I was planning but yesterday I rode my newly converted electric bike to work. I run's like a charm and I rode it again today. The amazing thing is that I can ride this bike in about the same time it takes me to drive in traffic. I'm actually faster than traffic if it is bad. Without the motor I can ride in an hour but with the motor I can be there in half an hour. I love it. The best part is, if I drive it costs me about $5.00 in gas ($7.50 if you include taxes, insurance and depreciation on the car). If I ride my bike it takes about $0.03 of electricity. How do you like that?

Most people trust a scientist more than they trust other people.


Fred ... said...

wow!!! I had no idea that it was such a dilemma to get your bike up and working. It does look cool ... and Evan thinks that he played a huge role in the repairs :-)

Fred ... said...

oh that last comment was made by ME (Kira), who is obviously still under your name right now.

Lynn said...

Wow. A lot of dominoes had to fall to get you where you are with it right now......but that is SO cool!

What amazes me is you look like you are still in the midst of summer there. You wouldn't be able to ride that there here right now! ; D

Peter and Mandy said...

Wow that is too cool! What will your next project be?