reikiman's blog

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Letting the Lectra out of the Garage

My Lectra has been on the motorcycle stand for so long I'd forgotten what it looks like on the ground. It's a squat little motorcycle.

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Re-Lectra Success, and so fracking close it's not funny

I made a major milestone this evening and wanted to share with y'all the status.

I'm working to rejeuvenate a Lectra motorcycle. Look back in my blog postings for previous status updates. This motorcycle is gonna be way cool when phase 2 is finished. At the moment though I'm still working on getting phase 1 finished, namely to have the motorcycle functioning and running on the road.

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Bleah, not enough amps

Dang. The Lectra is still so close I can taste it.. but... The two major pieces left before it could be taken on the street is a) wiring the manual on-off switch I mentioned before, and b) getting the lights to work. I got the switch and am pondering choices on mounting it on the bike. But today I wanted to get into the lighting system.

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Main power switch choice

In another forum posting I mentioned a problem with the solenoid/contactor on my Lectra. The ratings on the contactor is 60v @ 300A continuous. I'd thought that would be sufficient for a 60 volt pack going through a 400A controller. But the solenoid is stuck in the ON position all the time, indicating the contacts have welded shut.

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My Lectra project

DaveB mentioned my Lectra project, and it struck me I haven't written much of anything about it. Unfortunately I don't have pictures handy and in any case the pictures I have are just showing a frame with a mess of wires hanging all over the place.

The Lectra Motorcycle is quasi-historical. They were made by Electric Motorbike (EMB) during the 1990's and that company was later bought by ZAP. I remember seeing them listed on the ZAP website for awhile, and I remember attending a ZAP shareholder meeting where they unveiled the VR36 motorcycle. The Lectra was a 24 volt design and somehow they reworked it to be a 36 volt system. But that vehicle never reached the market, and ZAP kinda mismanaged the product to death. There were about 100 Lectra's made.

I bought it a year ago as a bare frame .. no batteries, no controller, but with a motor and the original wiring. This is a link to the evalbum entry for the previous owner of this bike You'll see batteries in the picture etc, they were Delphi 8v batteries which were basically dead, and Lawrence removed all of them along with the controller before selling me the bike.

I've bought a battery pack of Powersonic 12v 26ah SLA batteries. I chose them because of the bike's geometry. To get to a 60 volt pack there's a section just in front of the motor, where EMB had installed the controller, but into which I'm putting batteries. Those 26ah batteries are skinny enough to fit there. The pack is 10 of those batteries, wired as buddy-pairs so that it's a 60 volt 50ah pack. The pack weight is a bit over 200 lbs.

It has a 72v 400A Alltrax controller which I'm mounting under the seat. The motor is not the original Lectra motor, but an Advanced DC A89. (EVPart's listing for the A89 replacement)

What's wired right now is the batteries, controller, solenoid, throttle, a key switch, a DC-DC converter, some switches to control the keyswitch input on the controller, and the horn. What's left to wire is the headlights and turn lights. Oh, and I need to replace the solenoid because it appears to be ON all the time.

I have original Lectra body panels from Lawrence. But he also sold me something else which is really intriguing.

I've mentioned Craig Vetter and his full fairing's before. He ran a contest for several years for the highest miles/gallon rating that could be achieved with a motorcycle. The winners used a full fairing around the motorcycle, as well as pulling a few tricks like using a "small" (250cc) motorcycle with a motor jimmied for high mileage.

Leaning against my garage wall is one of those fairings. The idea is to cut the plastic bubble to the desired fairing shape and bolt it into place on the motorcycle frame.

So this is rather exciting really. Some portion of that high miles/gallon rating came from the fairing. Motorcycles are, after all, horrible at being streamlined. Having the Lectra streamlined should make for great range improvements.

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It's okay to ask questions

I've been having an issue over the last year.. I have two electric motorcycles, one is a Lectra, the other a home built three-wheeler. But I haven't been able to get them running. I'd get a controller, wire it up according to the instructions, twist the throttle, and nothing happens. Very frustrating, really.

I've gone through several controllers, and I have two alltrax controllers and two logisystems controllers. I wasn't sure if.. each time I hooked up a controller there'd been some sparking, and I wasn't sure if I'd zapped the controller and that's why nothing spun.

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My upcoming new project

For most of the year I've been pondering the usefulness of different types of vehicles. I have a 10 mile commute, a range that's pretty easily bikeable, especially with an electric assist. I see my waistline and I think I'd like to be skinnier, and I like riding a bicycle, etc. Which makes me think if I put all these ideas together, I'd like to be biking to work regularly rather than riding. Sure, riding a motorcycle you're out in the open air etc, but it's not much in the way of exercise.

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Electric Honda Elite

A couple months ago I found an old Honda Elite frame available for real cheap on Craigslist. I'd just gotten a motor from deafscooter when he was clearing his garage for the trip to China, and was wondering what to do with it. This motor was said to be 48 volt, 4000 watts, and so this Honda Elite frame seemed like the perfect thing. It came already stripped, and when I picked it up the guy turned out to be an EV person himself. His daily driver is a Solectria Force and this Honda Elite was something he'd converted to electric years and years earlier, but he wanted to get rid of.

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Süd-Chemie to Invest C$35M to Boost Lithium Iron Phosphate Production for Li-Ion Batteries

Süd-Chemie, a global chemical company, will invest C$35 million (US$30 million) in 2007 and 2008 in one of its Canadian affiliates to increase lithium iron phosphate production capacity for use in new generations of lithium-ion batteries to 1,500 metric tons per year.

Phostech Lithium Inc., Boucherville/Canada, an affiliate of Süd-Chemie, is already investing C$6 million to expand its production capacity from 300 metric tons per year of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) to 900 metric tons per year.

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Electric drag racers open season next Friday

Electric drag racers open season next Friday - Filed under: , The Battery Beach Burnout is on for next weekend at Moroso Motorsports Park in West Palm Beach, Florida.

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