Welcome to my blog! This blog is about the conversion project of my quad bike from gas to fully electric. Every time there's some progress with the project you can find the updates here. On the page About you can read more information about myself and this project. All pictures and videos taken during this project can also be found seperately.
Time really flies, it's already been over 2 years since my last post here. I think it's about time I give you all an update. And what better way to do that than by sharing a video of a nice sunny ride in autumn. As you can see the quad bike and me are still doing well. :)
Since I solved the temperature problem 2 years ago I didn't run into any real problems anymore. I've just been enjoying all the rides I could do with it without any needed maintenance whatsoever.
But part of this no maintenance has to do with a pretty sad problem, the range. You'd think that in 2 years time I'd have quite some mileage on it, but that's far from the truth. The problem here is that, with my current battery pack, I was expecting a range of about 60 miles / 100 km. In reality I'm not even getting half of that, maybe if I'm very conservative.
So the result is that I can't really take it out for long and also can't even get to work with it. I guess you could say it's a miscalculation for the capacity of the battery pack that I needed. But it actually is pretty close in terms of capacity to some electric motorcycles that get much further on a charge. What I didn't really account for was the enormous drag / wind resistance you get on a quad bike while driving at high speed on the road. And ofcourse the rear tyres being connected by a solid axle instead of a differential doesn't help for the range either.
This will one day be fixed by upgrading the battery pack to a larger one. But this will be quite a costly upgrade and right now I have some other priorities that will also cost me money. So for now it'll have to stay like this while still enjoying the short rides around town. Lets just say it's not a problem that can't be fixed, it's just that it is the most expensive problem you can have with an electric conversion. ;)
Other than that it's all been good but some parts did get swapped out. One of them being the Trailtech Striker tachometer which unfortunately broke down not too long ago and it was just outside of the warranty period. But I have a new one now and it's been working great again. I also replaced the Tracopower DC/DC converter with a Sevcon. I needed a little bit more power since the Tracopower couldn't really handle the load without getting very hot. Again, no more issues after replacing. I've also made some small changes to the 12V electric system, mainly to make the charging process a bit easier and to remove some components that weren't really being used anymore. But that's about it. The only thing I'm still thinking about is converting the chain to a belt since the chain grease is hard to get off the beautiful white frame. ;)
So that concludes my update. I'm not sure but I think it might be a while again before you see another update here. Probably next year around this time there'll be an update about the other priorities I was talking about but I can't really say too much about that yet right now. So it's a goodbye again for now. :)
Posted on 7 September 2015 at 09:00 pm (CET)
Category: Website updates
After a long time the website has been upgraded again. Desktop and laptop users won't notice much difference but for tablet and smartphone users the website will look a lot different now. Zooming and scrolling horizontally won't be needed anymore, all information will be adjusted to the screen that's being used by you. Or to sum it all up, a responsive design is being used now.
This design I actually wanted to use at the beginning of the website already but since I rather spent my free time on the project back then instead of on the website it just didn't happen. Since the project has been completed now I finally had some extra time so I still chose to change the design of the website. I noticed that even with the old design there were still a lot of mobile users visiting this site. Ofcourse I couldn't ignore this, now with this new design it really is a lot easier for the mobile users.
There's nothing wrong with the desktop/laptop version, so no changes there. But since it is a pretty big upgrade I did place 3 new images in the banner which are a bit more recent as to make it look a bit nicer again.
Soon there'll be some updates of the quad bike again, the weather wasn't really coÃ¶perative these last few days. But I have been able to do a few rides again and I was also finally able to collect some data on the road.
Posted on 17 August 2015 at 11:26 pm (CET)
Category: Electric motor
Last weekend I've been busy again with the cooling for the motor. The 3 fans I had placed below the motor I turned around so they draw out air from the motor.
The in-line blower I also turned around so it's blowing cool air into the motor. Ofcourse I needed an air filter for this so I went and bought a big one that has the same diameter as the fan itself. This is what it looks like now.
I turned on the in-line blower for a short moment to test how much air would come out of it. And I was very pleased with it, I was just blowing away everything that was lying on the floor. Since it's going from a big to small diameter there's quite some air pressure. After this I placed the whole thing on the quad bike again and when it stopped raining outside I went for another test run.
Ofcourse I expected it to work a little better than how it was before. With the blower on I actually felt air coming out of the motor. The air is being blown everywhere through the motor now and also passes the brushes so they're being cooled constantly. But during testing I just couldn't get the temperature to go above 51 degrees celsius. Every time I let go of the throttle I saw the temperature drop below 50 degrees celsius again. And when I stood still for a moment the temperature dropped to 30 degrees celsius within just a minute.
It actually seemed too good to be true. So I went for another lap after this and now with full power while accelerating. Again it didn't go above 50 degrees celsius while during the last test run it actually was at 73 degrees celsius and that wasn't even the maximum. But that 50 degrees celsius actually does seem to be the maximum temperature now for normal driving. Ofcourse it probably will be a bit higher if I really use that full power a bit more but if it drops down to 50 degrees celsius again after that then I'm more than happy. So I think I can say with some degree of certainty that the temperature problem of the motor is finally solved! :)
I now still want to try removing those 3 fans below the motor because I have a feeling that these aren't really helping that much and that only the in-line blower will be enough. Also still have to see how I can properly mount that in-line blower. I definately want to place some rubber inbetween since it vibrates pretty much.
I also want to ride a longer distance now to see if the temperature will actually stay around that 50 degrees celsius, even with 80 km/h (50 mph). But I don't really expect any problems anymore with the temperature now.
After making a few modifications the motor gets cooled a little better now. The motor doesn't get warm as quickly now and when standing still the temperature drops rather quick. But still the motor does get a little too warm after riding for a while, even on continuous power.
First modification is 3 fans right below the motor, these blow air from below through the motor. For testing I just attached them with some velcro.
I just have the idea that it doesn't really work that great while driving since the airflow is probably pushing all of the air out of the way. So I'll have to close this off a bit with some kind of air intake on the bottom, should work a bit better then. I also ordered the wrong fans, these don't have enough airflow. I've now ordered some that have double the airflow and are a little bigger.
The second modification is a hole in the protective cover of the motor. I just placed a hose on there with the in-line blower. This one sucks the hot air out of the brush area.
This seems to be working pretty well, just makes a lot of noise. But even like this the motor still gets a bit too warm (73 degrees celsius on continuous power). I could still try to turn around the in-line blower to push air into the motor. Just still have to add an air filter then.
But at least for testing I can now ride a bit longer distance. I've done this a few times already. Here's a video again of last weekend. Went out for a ride in the evening, came across 3 very nice classic cars just within 15 minutes of riding time. Also did one more lap in the dark, thought that was pretty amazing. :)
This update is a little bit late but I needed some time to edit the video. Last weekend I finally had a lot of fun with the first few road legal runs. They were just still test runs though since the problem with the motor temperature is still present. In the beginning I could barely make 2 laps around town (1 small and 1 bigger lap) before the motor got to 85 degrees celsius. I'll keep doing these 2 laps for testing, that way it's easy to see if there's any improvements after making some changes. Only when I'm satisfied I'll go try a longer distance.
Here are some pictures before I rode off. You can also see something new, I placed daytime running lights right below the headlights. I'm still not sure if I'll keep it this way but for now I'm liking it.
For the parking lights, low beam and high beam I also have different lights, the light on these is a bit more white than the standard ones that were in there.
First I tried removing the protective cover from the motor, this way the heat of the carbon brushes can escape. Ofcourse it won't stay like this, there's voltage on all of it while riding. But for testing it's necessary for now.
In the evening I went for another 2 laps. The difference was definately noticeable, ended up with 75 degrees celsius, already 10 degrees less. So it's clear that most of the heat has to be removed from this area. Another few pictures before I rode off.
When I returned it was already getting a bit dark, nice picture for the lights. And again you can see something I added, a second brake light in the top case. I could barely fit a whole LED strip in there and it's quite well visible. I think it's also safer since the rear light is always on. It's sometimes hard to see the brake light then, but like this it's always clear to see when I'm braking.
After these runs one thing is pretty obvious, the motor will need active cooling one way or another. The bottom of the motor and swing arm is wide open so that would be a good place to pass air through.
There's also plenty of space below the swing arm.
What I've already tried is leading an air hose to the front so wind will be caught in it and blown through the motor.
This just didn't seem to make a lot of difference, I think the opening of the air hose is just too small for it. I have now added an in-line blower and filter which constantly blows air through the motor.
The motor does get a little bit less warm now while riding and it also cools down faster when standing still. But I'm still not satisfied. I now want to try placing 3 fans right below the swing arm and using the in-line blower to extract hot air from the brush area to the rear. Don't think I can do any more than that, so I hope it'll work like that. I'm just waiting for the parts now so I probably won't be able to continue with it untill next week.
All runs I did I have filmed again, I tried with the camera on the helmet now and not on the quad bike itself and also with 60 fps instead of 30. Not very exciting yet but these still are the first few road legal kilometers.
Soon hopefully some longer runs once the cooling for the motor is on there.