Lectra

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reikiman's picture

Gauges installed on Lectra

Today I installed some of the gauges on the Lectra. I don't quite like how these came out so I'll probably be redoing it later. I have a spedometer, a volt meter, and an ammeter. The last two are analog gauges which came with the bike.

Dunno if the gauges are accurate but it was interesting watching them while riding. The trouble is it's real dark out and they were hard to read. Anyway, if it's accurate, hitting the throttle at full off the line makes for a 350A draw for a couple seconds which then backs off pretty rapidly to 200A, and cruising at speed draws anywhere between 0-100A.

The spedometer, if accurate, is showing it's very easy to go 40 miles/hr and I had some moments at 50 miles/hr.

I stopped downtown for dinner and when getting ready to ride away some guys noticed this strange motorcycle with wires hanging out all over it, and they asked "uh.. is that electric?". So we talked about it for a couple minutes. One thought it looked dangerous, and I said "it's no more dangerous than any other motorcycle" .. I thought somehow this guy thought the batteries were dangerous or something. Well, he said with the wires hanging out all over like they are, that's what he thought was dangerous.

The bike is in an advanced state of incompleteness. The wiring is mostly tied down but there's a few things I haven't straightened out yet. And there isn't a cover in the area that would be the gas tank on a regular motorcycle. So, yeah, there's a few wires hanging out right now. It's still being finished...

As they walked away I thought to myself -- this is Silicon Valley, of course there's gonna be some geek riding an electric motorcycle that looks like a rolling science experiment.

reikiman's picture

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.

Okay, the last set of things to do had one small set of things which would be the minimal to get it running. So here's what I did last night and this morning... clean up and tie down the wiring, making sure it's all well-routed. Well, most of it.. there's one clump which I just kinda velcro'd into a ball to take care of later. :) I redid some of the main power cables including the long one to the controller which used to have a solenoid in the middle. Reattached the rear lights, the seat, took it down off the motorcycle stand, and rolled it out into the driveway.

So.. Wow is this thing neat. More silent than I thought it'd be.. I'm accustomed to the pure silence of the EVT (no chain) but even with a chain this is pretty darn quiet. Accelerates great. The rear brake is a little weak and I hope that's a simple adjustment. It handles extremely well, much better than my Honda Rebel.

reikiman's picture

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.

I had recently been posting about the DC-DC converter etc.. those questions are settled. The DC-DC converter from Powerstream is doing the job excellently. It's a 12.5 Amp unit which will be giving ample power for the light system. Then for a combination of emergency disconnect and manual contactor, I have two huge switches. One has a big red button, the other has a lever that also functions as a key. Both are rated for well over 500 Amps continuous and will be more than sufficient for this motorcycle. I haven't yet figured out exactly where they'll be mounted.

The major success this evening is the lighting system. I've been puzzling over the maze of wires as implemented in the original wiring harness... and.. while Lawrence promises me the original wiring harness was perfectly functional, I couldn't figure it out. And I could see ways to simplify the wiring harness. So... I cut the old wiring harness out, and have wired up the simplified harness for the lighting system. As of this evening the headlights, horn, and turn signals are working, and the tail/brake lights is within reach to do very quickly.

The other thing I'm working on right now is a box to hold the speedometer and paktrakr display. What I'm planning is a plexiglass box which will mount on this post between the handlebars which held the previous dashboard. The box is about halfway finished.

What's left?

Besides the dashboard... As I said, there's the issue of mounting the manual contactor. I'm thinking to make another plexiglass box, mounting it in the place which would normally have the gas tank. The contactor could be mounted on that box, and I've got a couple other meters and whatnot which can be mounted on this box. Like the keyswitch. And the wiring needs to be cleaned up, and tied down properly. And the body panels need to be remounted. And I have to get it insured, and once it's insured I need to go to the DMV to reinstate the registration.

reikiman's picture

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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