Putting my XM3K through the wringer....

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tabloid
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Putting my XM3K through the wringer....

I just want to relay a story of what happened to me a few days ago - fortunately there is a happy ending (at least so far it's happy...)

I live in Norfolk, VA. I started a new job about 6 months ago (auto technician), and also just recently moved to a new house that is about 2 miles away from where I work. I use my XM3K as much as possible for commuting back and forth, since I really don't need to carry anything with me unless I need to stop at the grocery store on the way home from work. My scooter has been trouble-free for the last year, the only mods I've done is adding a Cycle Analyst and added bank-charge capability (as well as leaving the original string charge scheme intact). I opportunity charge this scooter at work when I arrive in the morning, and will bank-charge at home if running low on juice.

Wednesday of this week started like any other summer day - hot and humid. The weather was nice that morning, and I usually don't bother checking the weather forecasts before heading out to start my day. I figure that if the weather turns nasty toward the end of the day when I'm ready to go home from work, I can always call the wife and have her pick me up, leaving the scooter at work. I should have listened to my own common sense, as you'll see.

About 2PM that afternoon, the skies turned grey, with heavy, ugly clouds from horizon to horizon. We listen to one of the local FM radio stations in the shop at work, and I do recall hearing at least two of those "emergency alert" announcements that are put out by the weather-guessers. They were announcing heavy rain with flooding likely. Somewhere around 3PM, the bottom fell out of the clouds - and it was torrential! (reading the newspaper the next day revealed that we had close to 5 inches of rain inside of a two-hour period) We also had some strong winds as that cold front slowly moved through the area. There was one time that the rain was practically falling HORIZONTALLY because the wind was so strong! The weather is so crappy that we have no customers coming in (all work we had is already completed) - so I decide this is a good time to check out the problem with one of my headlights on my scooter not operating at the correct intensity. Of course this project takes a turn for the worse, and now I have no headlamps at all - but running lamps are still working. That's a project for another day.

Fast forward a few hours until 5PM. The heaviest of the rain and wind has passed, it is now a gentle sprinkling but no sign of letting up any time soon. The shopping mall area around my work has lots of standing water in the parking lot, and we (myself and my co-workers) are watching a lot of drivers entering the mall area and stopping to turn around because the water is deep. It's time to go home, and I'm talking with my co-workers about how good I am at dodging the raindrops. Bravado kicks in and I decide that I'm a big enough man to drive in the rain, so I don my helmet, turn the key, and away I go. (That's mistake #1)

I haven't travelled even 500 yards out of our parking lot (following a car) when the car suddenly comes to a stop in front of me. I look to see why and there is a lot of water on the roadway in front of the car. Hell, that doesn't scare me! Stupid car driver is afraid of a little bit of water? Watch this! (Mistake #2) I plow into the water and within 50 feet, the water is up and over the bottom platform of the scooter and rising! I'm thinking to myself, "Okay, this is deep, but probably won't get much deeper", so I keep moving forward. Mistake #3! Another 100 feet and now the water level is almost even with the bottom of the glovebox on the front fork! Now I'm starting to panic, but at least this is the deepest part of the water and I'm deathly afraid that the scooter is going to stop and I'll have to push it out. I keep on the throttle and am creating an impressive wake as I power through the water to the far side. I should have paid attention to the car that stopped before this, shouldn't I??

Okay, so I've managed to get through that puddle without the scooter failing - I'm now back on "dry" asphalt. Ignoring the other drivers that are laughing at me as a shake the water out of my boots, I continue down the road toward the house. The remainder of the road going home is not flooded, and I'm travelling along just fine around 30mph until I reach my neighborhood. I pass a city police cruiser going the other way about half way to the house, and am thankful that he didn't try to make an issue of the fact that I was running down the road with no headlamps in the pouring rain.

The neighborhood has just one single entrance into the area - but I can shave off about 1/4 mile of travel if I take a pedestrian shortcut. I'm already soaked to the bone, but figured I may as well minimize my misery and took the shortcut. Mistake #4 - I've never been through this section of the neighborhood during heavy rain, and it's flooded just as deep as the parking lot adjacent to my work. So again, I play motorboat plowing through the water for at least two city block's length before again reaching "dry" road.

I finally arrive at the house, and of course the wife has closed the garage door and I don't have a remote for the door mounted on the bike. No biggie, just an aggrevation that I have to get off the scooter, run around the side of the house to the side entrance, go inside and push the button to open the big garage door for entry. I drove the scooter in, put down the kickstand, turned off the key, and hollered at my wife to bring me a big bath towel and a robe. No need for a shower today, I've already taken a very long one on the way home.

This morning it's STILL miserable weather - rain again all afternoon long. I haven't ridden the scooter for the last two days, but I did check to see if it would still operate this morning before driving the big, air-conditioned and watertight truck to work. Yup, the scooter still seems to be just fine, sans headlamps. My co-workers sure ribbed me hard at work yesterday - asking things like "Didn't you get shocked riding in the rain?" or "Did you get wet riding the bike home?" Duh..... But it's reassuring to know that even though we're early adopters of this new technology of electric mobility, it works well even after being tortured by the elements and stupid operators!!

Mik
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Re: Putting my XM3K through the wringer....

Nice read!

On the rare occasions that I drive my car (instead of the electric scoot) these days, I often get a freight, thinking I forgot to put petrol in, just because it's typically several months between filling up. I cannot remember when I last filled the car up and quickly check the gauge, phew (!), of course it's still 3/4 full!

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

antiscab
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Re: Putting my XM3K through the wringer....

a good read tabloid
rain never caused me much greif electricity wise, though ive never tried to use my emax as a boat :p

a few times i didn't drive my car in so long it battery went flat

Matt

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst 2 x TC Charger & MC
conversion

Iccarus
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Re: Putting my XM3K through the wringer....

Great story, and to think I get nervous with just a little rain. Nice to know it can take it. The cycle analyst is great isn't it? We should compare some figures. I have a 3500li running 28 40AH cells. What kind of regen figures and WH/MI are you getting. I'm getting up to 14.5% regen and as low as 28wh/mi on city driving 20/30mph and 45/50mph= about68wh/mi. Try to find this stuff called ACF-50 it's a great corrosion inhibitor. You could spray the relevant parts as a precaution. That stuff is amazing and I've tried everything.

I wonder if you could pull a water skier...let us know ;)

2008 XM3500li Mods/Kelly KBL12251/84v 28cell 40AH pack/ Variable regen brake trigger on left brake handle/Givi/Cycle Analyst/Homemade BMS

KMX Typhoon Home build (recumbent pedelec) with two Astro Brushless 3220motors/twin castle Phoenix ICEHV 160/ Cycl

tabloid
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Re: Putting my XM3K through the wringer....

Oh, don't take me wrong - I avoid riding it if I know there is any rain in the forecast. But I honestly didn't expect THAT kind of problem going the two and some miles from work to home that day. I won't be making that mistake again - at least I learn the first time around. The cycle analyst is a great little device to have, much more information at your fingertips than just a "fuel gauge" on the dashboard. The XM3K does not have regen capability, so that is a feature that I simply ignore on the CA. As far as WH/mi go, I typically see it in the 70-80 range. Unless I'm just cruising around in my neighborhood, it's pretty much wide open throttle running back and forth plus lots of traffic lights with stop/go traffic. That just sucks the juice right out of the batteries and I'm not a little boy. One of my co-workers describes me as a circus bear on a bicycle when I'm riding it. I'm still stock with the original 27Ah Greensaver batteries forming a 60V stack, a little over 1000Ah total used, 157 cycles @906 miles (I opportunity charge whenever I can). I didn't install my CA until I already had over 100 miles on the scocoter, so I can honestly say I'm past the 1000 mile mark. I typically don't ride more than 10 miles max before charging, so I can't report the top range on it. The one time I ran it all the way down to LVC I managed to squeak around 25 miles out of it.

Water-skiing, huh? Well, it did put up a pretty good wake - I suspect that we could put that little squirrel on skis up on plane!

(No longer) XM3K, Bank charging using Vector 2-4-6 smart chargers, Cycle Analyst
Official member of the "I laid it down and I felt stupid" club

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