ZapGuy's Electric Bike

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ZapGuy
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ZapGuy's Electric Bike

I answered a craigslist ad for an electric mountain bike.

I call and find out that either the batteries, the charger, or the controller are shot. The motor should still work.

So I pick it up, bring it home, and I start poking at it.

GOT MOTOR?
Motor

Connected it to a 12v battery for a car Jumpstart pack, and it spins!

:?: Can anyone identify this motor for me?

I was told it was "the 24v version of this Wilderness Energy kit:"

http://wildernessenergy.com/product_info.php?cPath=24&products_id=31&osCsid=8dd758d7eb61f76130f9d093a6ad890e

But I don't know what that means, exactly....is it a 24v motor? can I feed it 48v?

GOT JUICE?

When I first plugged the charger in to the batteries, nothing seemed to happen. I looked up some guides as to what the charger ought to do, and that confirmed no charging was going on.

I plugged the battery tender for my motorcycle into each 12v battery. That seemed to revive them. Now the charger pulses (I can see noise pulsing on my TV with clicks coming from the charger) and keeps the batteries charged.

Pair of 12v Batteries

[INDENT]Battery details:
First Power
FP23230 (12v 12Ah/20Hr)
Sealed Lead Battery
[/INDENT]
They weigh about 7 pounds each!

GOT CONTROLS?
I tried to get any readings out of the controller or the thumb throttle, but my meter just stared back at me with nothing to say.

After some digging around in the garage, I came up with a replacement car horn button. It's about as crude as you can get, but I figured it would let me test things out. I wired it thru the keyswitch for some safety -- don't want it to take off "full throttle" because someone bumps the button.

Button and Keyswitch to Motor

After an evening on the charger, I took it out for a spin.
There's just not enough there to get over the hills around my house.

:cool: Slideshow:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/29316210@N02/sets/72157607317648219/show/

:?: Questions:

:?: Am I going to fry things by omitting the controller [using that horn button instead]?

:?: Should I look for one more matching 12v FirstPower battery -- or would I be better off if I look for a totally different kind of 36v battery?

I know I'll need all new controls, and charger, for 36v.

Thanks for any information you can provide about this little project I've picked up!

wakataka
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Re: ZapGuy's Electric Bike

ZapGuy - Welcome to the e-bike club!

I had a similar experience. Bought my first e-bike of Craigslist without knowing much about them. Mine was running but the batteries had been abused and neglected. It was a 36v system with same motor as yours. I bought a desulfator off e-bay that helped the old batteries some. I'm still able to use them for short (<5 mi) rides The seller is no longer listing them but here is the link to the one I bought:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&item=300229535515

I also bought some new batteries from this e-bay seller:
http://cgi.ebay.com/36-volt-electric-bicycle-motor-hub-kit-battery-pack_W0QQitemZ320300364313QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item32030036431...
These batteries should fit in your battery case. All you'll need to do is fab up a jumper wire with some slip on connectors to wire in the 3rd battery. Use 12 gauge wire or larger. You can buy the connectors at ACE hardware. I soldered mine on because they kept slipping off.

A lot of people dis the sealed lead acid (SLA) batteries. They're heavy, they don't provide all the amp hours they should if you draw them down rapidly, they don't last as long as others, and you need to charge them immediately every time you ride if you want them to last. This is all true, but for my purpose, a relatively short 3 mile commute without any killer hills, they are by far the most economical battery. I don't discharge them below about 80%. With this light duty cycle, I expect to get at least 500 charge cycles out of them. SLA is a good way to get started if you have any doubts about this whole e-bike thing. Once you've sorted out what you really want your bike to do (and if you find SLA isn't doing it for you), you may decide it's worth the investment for more exotic and expensive battery chemistry.

The chargers sold by WE (Cansai) are junk. I bought a scooter charger and just soldered on a RCA socket that matched my WE battery pack. It has the same charging cycle as the Cansai, puts out more amps, runs a lot cooler, and seems to be better quality overall. Here's the link:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/36-Volt-battery-Charger-for-Gas-Scooter-ATV-Dirt-Bike_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742Q2em153Q2el1...

Your hub motor is a Wilderness Energy BD-24, which I've read is the exact same motor as the BD-36. If so, it should run on anything between 24 and 48v. At 36v, you should get a little over 20 mph on flat ground with fully pumped up tires. It still won't pull you up any steep hills without pedaling, but it will make the pedaling a whole lot easier. It is a brushed motor, so be sure you're looking at controllers for brushed motors. Brushless ones are entirely different. BEWARE - when wiring up your new controller, pay special attention to keeping the positive and negative straight. The wires coming out of the old WE controller have the colors reversed on the two that I've seen. Black is positive on the controller side of the connector. The colors are right on the connector coming out of the battery pack.

Your throttle may be OK or not. I really don't know how to check them. Some work off variable resistance and some have hall sensors that need some excitation voltage to be able to work. The throttles work on 5v, so don't try hooking it directly to your battery pack. If it has hall sensors, possibly you could feed it a 5v signal and check to see if the voltage changed as you moved the throttle lever. There's probably some info on this board somewhere about how to check a throttle out. If not, check out the discussion boards here http://endless-sphere.com/forums/

If your batteries are old and with unkonwn care and feeding, I wouldn't try to integrate a new one into the pack. You would have an imbalance in charge as soon as you started using them and you wouldn't get full efficiency from your new battery.

I can't tell from the pictures if the dropouts on your forks are steel or not. If not, be careful with upping the voltage. There are lots of stories about the torque from the motor breaking the relatively soft aluminum dropouts and the front wheel departing the bike. Pay a lot of attention to the tightness of the bolts and the condition of your dropouts. Better yet, get a torque arm to take some of the stress off the dropouts. The one near the bottom of this page looks like the best one available to me:
http://ampedbikes.com/buynow.html

With the 24v setup, you could probably run with the horn button without damaging things so long as you don't bog the motor down. Pedal first when you start out and don't let it bog on the hills. If the motor is not getting hot, you won't damage it. You might draw your batteries down faster than is healthy, but I think you've pretty much written them off anyway. The motors can get pretty hot, like hotter than you want to hold your hand on, without damage.

Hope you enjoy your new bike. It looks like with a little work, you could have a keeper there.

ZapGuy
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Re: ZapGuy's Electric Bike

I don't know what kind of range I want or need, yet. Yes, I consider whatever use I get from these used and abused batteries pure luck.

What you describe about "help uphill" is about right. I didn't expect it to fly uphill...but I did hope for more than it's doing. Considering the added weight of the motor and battery pack...I think it's pulling it's own weight and not much more than that! This bike is (was) very light. All alloy stuff.

I was just hoping someone would be able to recognize this motor and steer me to a target (aka Maximum) voltage.
I am sure "battery tech" is a whole 'nother story for a whole other thread.

}:) Now I need to know where to find 48v [with a charger] that will fit in that battery pack. }:)

And thank you for the warning about the aluminum forks.
Yup. I have em.
Yikes!

wakataka
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Re: ZapGuy's Electric Bike

You might be happy with 36v if your hills are not really steep and long. Personally, I like to pedal, but I don't like to arrive at work dripping with sweat. With 36v I find I can take moderate hills at 10 to 12 mph running in on the middle front sprocket and small rear sprocket. I usually just run on the small rear sprocket and switch between the big and middle sprocket on the front. On the flats, I cruise easily at 23 to 25 mph. I could go faster if I had taller gearing, but that seems fast enough on an unsprung bike. Even if I only peddle a minimum amount, I'm always moving fast enough to get a good breeze and stay comfortable, even in 100+ heat. It's a dry heat here in Redding, though. The bike is definitely pulling a lot more than it's own weight. I can easily accelerate across an intersection as fast as the cars next to me. The front wheel will sometimes start to spin when I'm riding up a steep dirt trail. The motor is putting out a significant but not overly abundant amount of torque. It will stall on steep hills and you can overpower it by really clamping on the brake (if you ever had the throttle stick or something). I'm pretty happy at 36v for kind of riding I do.

If you go with more than 36v, you're probably going to want to look at something other than SLA. 4 SLA cells are just too heavy to lug around unless you build a special rack for them. Search for "Ping" on this site and you'll find a lot of info on his line of lithium batteries that you can buy direct from him in China or sometimes off of e-Bay. Most people swear by his stuff and he stands behind it. There are apparently some substandard/borderline scam battery vendors operating form China at present, so be careful who you are dealing with. If you're really looking for a project, you can find info on how to build up a lithium battery pack using high-end electric drill batteries. Probably wouldn't be any cheaper than you could buy a Ping pack for, but it could be higher performance. Lithium is pricey. A 48v pack would likely run more than you paid for the bike.

Check out this thread for some good info on running a BD36 at 48v:

http://visforvoltage.org/forum-topic/bicycles-and-pedelecs/811-wilderness-energy-bd36-running-48v

dogman
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Re: ZapGuy's Electric Bike

That is the Wilderness Energy BD motor for sure, Link and a few others are running them at voltages above 48v. I don't think its a real good idea to run them too hard for long distances or time though. I melted one this summer riding for one hour in extreme hot conditions. Now that cooler weather is around hot motors will not be a problem for quite awhile.

It will go around 24mph on 36v and 29 mph at 48. If you read the threads you will get a lot of info on 48v but as long as the controller is ok with it, it's a good fast motor at that voltage. The stock WE controller is happy at 36v or 48 v. The trade off with sla's is the weight of 4 batteries.

The lithium batteries at ebay are great, but only needed for long rides. With 3 sla's and wide open throttle riding, you will have around 6 mile range, and up to about 9 miles if you keep it under 15 mph.

The forks may be a problem, big motors and big voltage on medium motors can break the dropouts. Most folks running the fast stuff use a torque arm. Ampedbikes has the best ones I've seen. Others report normal voltage is no problem for these forks with motors like yours. Normal, being 36v. I tend to agree, BUT, one little bubble in the casting on aluminum, and one fine day you could go one way and the wheel the other. If that happens a touque arm may hold it together just long enough to stop safely. The thing about the alloy forks is when they break, they smap like glass, no warning at all. I wouldn't park the bike exactly, but I'd get a pair of torque arms or a steel fork on it soon. Another option that reqires a bit of fabrication is making it a rear hub. To do that you need a rear hub crystalite motor cover. A few new holes drilled to make it fit, and a freewheel can be put on the hub and run it as a rear motor.

Chargers are a problem. I went trough several before I finally got two, one stays at work, that are reliable. Scooter parts retailers online, and ebay are good places to look for one, and just rewire the plug to fit what you have. A cheap voltmeter from a hardware store is kind of a must have tool to check on battery health and wire polarity.

This motor is getting a bit rare, I haven't seen new ones for sale lately. But controllers for other motors that are brushed are avaliable in many places. There are many retailers for WE and some still have parts, like brushes and controllers for the BD 36. Using the controller is best for the health of the batteries, but if the bike was only used on flat ground, the go button method would work on 24v. At 36v, things like switches start to melt pretty easy. Other controllers for brushless motors will not work with this brushed motor.

Be the pack leader.
36 volt sla schwinn beach cruiser
36 volt lifepo4 mongoose mtb
24 volt sla + nicad EV Global

whome
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Re: ZapGuy's Electric Bike

Another option before you invest more in SLA's, which I do not see mentioned much at all on the forums are NiCad batteries. They can be found very cheap if you look around. I recently purchased a BL-36 and had been using 3x12v 18ah batteries, and they do a great job. I have not even approached finding their limit on range, but they weigh about 39 lbs, so I had to find another solution.

NiCad's!

I found a great deal on some 14.4v NiCad tool batteries. I bought dozens of them and reassembled into my own homemade 48v 1.5ah battery packs with tape and am charging them with a 48v Nimh/NiCad charger I found on powerstream. I just rode to work today for the first time, on just 2 of these packs and averaged 25mph for a short trip of 2.5 miles. I found out once I was in my office that I was really only running on one of them. The other had come unplugged at some point and was not even warm.

The batteries in the tool packs are sub c and are 1500mah. So to get a total of 9ah you would need 6 battery packs. Which at 3lbs a piece weighs in at roughly half the weight of the SLA's I was using and 12v more at 48volts.

I actually was going to go ahead and try 60-72v with a Crystalite controller, but had to scrap that plan for now, because I am not sure how to charge a 72v NiCad pack and have not been able to find a charger over 48v. Also the BL-36 hub I have appears to be a newer model and only has three wires from the controller and I have no clue how I would adapt that to a 72v Crystalite controller if my WE controller burned up. I already made a 72v pack just because it was so easy (5X14.4). I'd like to figure out how to rig up something with it for a booster to use on hills or starts. Challenges for later, but if anyone has any ideas . . . . please let me know.

Good luck with your new project.

Whome

ZapGuy
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Re: ZapGuy's Electric Bike

Spring is finally here, and I'm playing with this thing again.
I have ordered some side-baskets and plan on putting four 12v SLA's in them.

From what I've read, it sounds like a Sealed Lead Acid battery would hold up [best] to the insane discharge load I'm putting on the batteries with that horn button.
Anything "smart" with Battery Management, I'm going to fry it's brain.

Not sure where I should pick them up.
Not sure what I should expect to pay: prices seem all over the place both for batteries and for shipping.

As you could guess, I've been shopping around a bit online.
Also would be willing to visit a brick-and-mortar around Tacoma/Seattle.
Was wondering if maybe a golf-cart parts place would be a good source for this stuff?

Suggestions for suppliers of batteries/chargers are still most welcome!!!

ZapGuy
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Re: ZapGuy's Electric Bike

My farkles from Amazon arrived last night!

Baskets: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000TVI1UG
Top of the rack is not as wide as my old rack, but it does fit my bike okay. The velcro for the old battery bag is allowing it to still go on.
It's chromed, instead of black like my old one. Seems a whole lot stronger. Doesn't wiggle side-to-side like the old rack.
I was pleased to find already threaded holes in my frame near the rear axle that fit my new basket screws perfectly!
2 Batteries (almost) fit in the bottoms of each the baskets. (my 2 old SLAs)
The baskets are a bit smaller on the bottom than the top, but it makes for a very snug fit.
I should be able to put a "shelf" over the tops of the batteries, on the bar that wraps around the middle, and still have half my basket's depth.

Someone had mentioned putting batteries on the bottom outsides of rear baskets. When I get new batteries, I may try that...

Mirrors to see you: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001600YZ4
Oh YEAH! These fit my bars great! Had 2 different sized rubber plugs to go into the bar.

Blinky light to see me: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000KBEH1W
Whoa, this thing is BRIGHT!!! The amazon.com videos show it very well.

ZapGuy
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Re: ZapGuy's Electric Bike

yup, you will need a new controller. If the horn button works at all, it will likely be welded shut and you better be able to reach the battery wires to yank em out. But possibly the damage you are doing to the battery will get you a bms cutoff that saves your butt.

Get either a new brushed controller and throttle from somebody who sells the kits and has parts, or a brushed motor controller and throttle from a scooter parts supplier or an ebay seller. The WE controller is 35 amp, so don't buy a 10 amp scooter controller if you want to have some power. The WE is known to usually run at 48v fine. The WE controller will plug into the throttle with no wiring to figure out, and come with the right length of wire, so it may be a bargain compared to having to make a wiring harness and get connectors etc.

Whoa. I put four 12v 12ah batteries in the baskets, charged them last night, and that's exactly what happened. Fried that button in a beautiful blue arc, and it welded shut.

I had a keyswitch in line that I shut off...but just had to say you called it. EXACTLY. lol

Now to find myself a real controller....

ZapGuy
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Re: ZapGuy's Electric Bike

Updated my Flickr slideshow
http://www.flickr.com/photos/29316210@N02/sets/72157607317648219/show/

Blurry phone pictures, but you see what I've done so far.

ZapGuy
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Re: ZapGuy's Electric Bike

Get either a new brushed controller and throttle from somebody who sells the kits and has parts, or a brushed motor controller and throttle from a scooter parts supplier or an ebay seller. The WE controller is 35 amp, so don't buy a 10 amp scooter controller if you want to have some power. The WE is known to usually run at 48v fine.

Anyone have anything to say about this controller, before I bid on it?

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&item=260362843595

Item Description:
Rated Voltage: 48 Volts
Rated Power: 800 watts
Under Voltage Protection: 41.5 Volts
Maximum Current: 33 Amps
Usable Motor: 800 Watts brushed motor.

Operating Conditions: -20℃-45℃
Size: 125*73*39mm

function: this item Suitable for electric bike & scooter (brushed motor)

dogman
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Re: ZapGuy's Electric Bike

That will do the trick. Once it comes, I hope you aren't running it on the aluminum forks. It will have some good power at 48v, enough for it to hurt if the wheel leaves the bike.

Be the pack leader.
36 volt sla schwinn beach cruiser
36 volt lifepo4 mongoose mtb
24 volt sla + nicad EV Global

ZapGuy
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Re: ZapGuy's Electric Bike

Just eBay'ed a new controller, throttle, and 48v charger from ecrazyman.
Emailed him ahead of time, and he's going to knock a few bucks off of shipping. That was cool.

Power? yah. I can't wait to actually ride it. My allergies are kicking my butt this weekend, so no rides, yet.

That was quite impressive the few seconds I ran it before that button scared me with it's lightshow.
I knew my old batteries were old...but I didn't quite expect this jump in power.
Now? yah, I can see that wheel just rolling away without the bike.
A friend of mine has a set of forks we're going to try out to get away from the aluminum ones I have now. I just hope they fit!

I've also just ordered a pair of torque arms from http://ampedbikes.com/buynow.html . Those will go on when I figure out which forks I'll use.

Thanks, again, for all the advice! This is a lot of fun!

ZapGuy
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Re: ZapGuy's Electric Bike

All my parts are on their way, but I couldn't wait.

I was bored so I took it out for a little spin with the welded shut button just to see what I've done.

According to my iPhone clamped on the bars: 28 mph on the flats, and things get real wobbly around 30 mph.

Kids, don't try this at home. Wasn't always easy to reach that keyswitch at higher speeds! Yeehaw!

ZapGuy
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Re: ZapGuy's Electric Bike

Installed the controller and twist-grip throttle.
I expected a drop in speed from the melted horn button, but iPhone speedometer says top speed of 33 mph (downhill, I'm sure), average speed of 19 mph.
SO Much better than where I started. I am so excited! I tinkered all day yesterday!

Just by removing the bar extension things and moving the grips out by an inch made a big improvement in control.
Going to get a friend (who's done this before) to help true up that front wheel so I don't weeble down the road.
And, finally, I'll get the torque arms put on after we have that wheel straight.

-edit 6/5-

Took it out for about a 10 mile ride yesterday. It was about 80-85 degrees F out. Everything got warm to hot, but nothing so hot I couldn't leave my hand on it.
Speeds were still good, up steep hills I felt I should hit the pedals a bit, but the range was fantastic.

Tried to install the torque arm, but it wouldn't fit my forks.
(very precise fit - a good part, shipped very fast - just won't work in this application)
My forks have too many curvy bits for that flat steel bracket to fit anywhere.

Note to self -- check these torque arms out:

http://www.poweridestore.com/Hub-Motor-Torque-Arm
http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1664


http://ebikes.ca/store/store_connectors.php
http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=8189&start=0

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