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Open source technolgy & dead vehicle makers

This afternoon my mind wandered into a patch of thinking I'd gone over several times before. It has to do with open source and green technology.

Here's how I reason this out ... "green" is a bad word because it's too vague to make sense of what we mean. The better word is "Sustainable", which has a fairly obvious meaning long term survivability, long term existence, etc. There's a lot of talk about Sustainability nowadays as a desired goal so it's useful to think about some aspects of sustainability.

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Electric bicycle touring in Ireland

Wow! GoEco is an electric bicycle dealer in Ireland (they say they're the only such) who is selling some wild looking trailers, and offering electric bicycle support for trekking around Ireland. Very tempting looking. - technorati: FHFZ84SC3QBA

They call these "midget bicycle campers". It's a cargo trailer that looks well built which can comes along with a tent. They also have a picture of a tent that appears to be built onto a camping cot.

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Test posting with MarsEdit

Testing use of MarsEdit to post to my blog on V

MarsEdit automatically detects settings. I simply told it the URL for V, http://visforvoltage.org/, and it autodetected that this is a Drupal site. The only change to make is in the Settings dialog to change "Blog Id" from "1" to "blog". Then you can log in using MarsEdit and your V user ID and password.

This should work with other blog editors. On Windoze a popular one is named w.bloggar IIRC.

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How many amps?

The curiosity I've been having for awhile is what is the actual power use on my motorcycle. The curiosity is partly due to the range I've been getting (actually not getting) since in the past it had a hard time delivering more than 10 miles range whereas other e-motorcycles such as on the evalbum are supposedly delivering more like 20 miles range with an equal size pack to what's on the Lectra. However a couple weeks ago I fiddled with the rear end, put a little bit of slack into the chain, and the performance improved dramatically and it's now easy to get 10 miles range.

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Traveling without driving

I'm traveling for a couple days and am in Sacramento for the national Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) conference. Maybe it's odd for peak oil advocates to travel from around the country to meet, who knows, but I chose to travel without driving. The conference is in Downtown Sacramento and there is an Amtrak station right in downtown, and it's relatively easy to get to Amtrak from my home, so I walked to the train station, dragging a small bag with my clothes, rode the train, and then walked the 1 block from Amtrak station to my hotel.

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Idea: Site to facilitate development of open source green vehicle projects

One of the ideas I've been pondering is: Open Green .. It would be a place to facilitate open source green vehicle related projects. I've been scribbling ideas in a notebook for a couple months and while I'm not convinced about this it seems to be a good idea with some merit.

Goal: increase the availability of 'green' technology .. engage the people themselves in solving the issues of sustainable technology, because it seems if we leave it to the big companies they'll twist it to not be green nor sustainable ..

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Li-ION possibilities for either Lectra or a new motorcycle

I've been pondering the next major phase of my Lectra motorcycle. I'm sure the battery pack will croak "soon" because SLA batteries supposedly have a life of 300 charge cycles (or so) and every time I ride the Lectra to work it is two deep charge cycles and while I haven't been keeping count it's likely the pack I have has 70-100 charge cycles in it right now.

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Open source ponderings

My day job is involved with open source software advocacy. While many think the company I work for (Sun Microsystems) doesn't "get" open source software there are many of us working here who do, and many of us work on open source software full time (as I do). Sooo....

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It's alive...

Among my too-many-projects is a three wheel electric motorcycle that I bought around the same time as I got the Lectra (Aug 2006). Link is below to an earlier blog posting on this.

It's a 1978 Suzuki motorcycle which a guy had converted to electric by welding on the rear end (axle etc) of a golf cart. The motor is running at 48v and with regular car tires. I'd taken it around my neighborhood last year and got up to 40 miles/hr with it (maybe a bit more?) He said the rear end & motor were the most powerful he could find.

I started to get it registered last year and then had some kind of mistake happen while working on the wiring and it stopped running. Sooo... I focused on the Lectra to get it running and the three wheeler has been sitting there. And the last couple weeks I've fiddled around with it and got it running again.

I had to replace the controller and most of the power cables. And I had to figure out how the forward-reverse switch works, and along the way I finally worked out why a series motor is called a series motor. There was also an issue with the throttle where even with the throttle at 0 the controller saw a bit over 0 ohms and the controller would never go to 0 speed, so I pulled out the pot box, looked at it, put it back, and now it works right.

Currently it's configured with a 48v 400A Logisystems controller .. the forward-reverse switch works .. 48v 80ah battery pack .. the 12v system doesn't work so there's no lights, no horn, no turn signals .. and there are no mirrors .. so there are a few things left to do before I'll go back to the DMV and restart the registration process.

Where it'd been left last year I was to take it to the CHP office for an inspection. But, since it wasn't working, I didn't do the inspection. Last year the CHP officer thought I couldn't register it because it's a golf cart. I've since talked with this fellow who lives down the street ..and.. owns a three wheel electric motorcycle himself. He said that's silly and that my mistake obviously was to say "golf cart". He said all the CHP really needs to do is since the "engine" doesn't have the normal engine number, they need to generate a faked up engine number, which will be a sticker I'm supposed to attach to the motor. Not a big deal.

So it sounds as if rather soon I'll be having yet another EV running.

Probably I need to sell off a few of these vehicles..

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Prague Thoughts

I was just in Prague for the last 1 1/2 weeks. Most of the time I was spending 12+ hrs/day in a pair of conferences (open source software).. but I did manage to see quite a bit of the city.

Prague is an old city having been settled over 1000 years ago. That sure gives an interesting perspective on "history" considering that "historical" buildings in California tend to be about 100 yrs old, having 1000+ years of history behind a city puts a very different spin on it.

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