Blog / February 2015
I continued again solving the problems that I still had.
I was able to place the temperature sensor of Trailtech in the motor, attached it with JB Weld, will be stuck on there forever. Also tested it already and it seems to work well. Will find out on the next test ride if it really works properly.
I tightened all of the nuts in the motor again and added Loctite inbetween. Then I placed another nut on all of the nuts that are holding the connection points of the motor and the carbon brushes, again with Loctite. I don't really expect this to come loose again. Also lengthened the wires for the temperature sensor.
After that I placed the motor back on the quad bike again and connected the orange wires in a better way. They have a lot more play now with suspension travel of the rear swingarm, should be almost no pressure anymore on the connection points of the motor.
I noticed that there were big sparks between the contacts of the small 12 V relays when disengaging the contactors. I used some diodes for this, the contactors open a bit slower now but at least there are no more sparks anymore in the relays. Don't want to keep replacing the relays when they break.
Also added a capacitor and resistor so the contactor between the battery packs uses less power, now it doesn't get so warm anymore.
On the contactors for forward and reverse I only used the diodes since these won't be engaged for such a long time, heat won't be an issue here.
I've now fixed all of the problems that I ran into. Hopefully there won't be more coming soon since I really want to go the RDW this coming month for the road approval test. But before I go there I want to test at least once more. Tomorrow the weather would be nice and the quad bike is rideable again so I already charged the batteries a bit. ;)
Apparently I hadn't found all problems yet that arised after the test ride. I'm glad I found them now though or the next test ride probably wouldn't have gone so well. For pretty much all of the problems I had to buy these few things.
A few bolts of the front swingarms had come loose. I didn't put any Loctite on them just yet since I wasn't sure how tight they should be. I suddenly saw that there was some space inbetween, that's never good. So I loosened them all, put some Loctite inbetween and tightened them again. Should not come loose anymore now unless I really want to myself.
On the rear something also came loose, the 2 big nuts that keep the sprocket adapter stuck to the rear axle. Because of this the sprocket adapter was ale to move freely on the axle. I did already tighten this with blue Loctite inbetween but apparently that was not strong enough for the forces it has to endure. Also noticed that there was some play between the sprocket adapter and the axle. So I first used Loctite Quick Metal to fill up the space. Then I used red Loctite again to tighten the nuts. This should also not come loose anymore.
After that I continued again with the orange wire hoses. It's pretty hard with these thicker wires, especially the bends. It also still barely fits between the mounts.
On the side of the controller I already placed the RFI filters to reduce noise, also neccessary again for the road approval test at the RDW.
While I was busy with the wire hoses on the wires that go to the motor I suddenly discovered a very big problem. I noticed that there was some play on the connection points of the motor. I immediately took off the protective cover to see what was going on. To my surprise I saw that literally all of the nuts inside were loose. So the connections to the carbon brushes were also all loose. This is something that should never happen, If I would've pushed full power through the motor something would've certainly gone wrong. You can't really see it on the picture but really all of these nuts were loose.
The cause of this is very simple, it's because of the stiff orange wires that didn't have enough space during suspension travel of the rear swingarm. Will have to completely change this because like this there will be too much pressure on the connection points of the motor. I'm first trying to place the wires in a straighter line to the connection points and not all the way through the frame anymore. I will also tighten all of the nuts with Loctite so these hopefully never come loose again.
But ofcourse I couldn't easily reach it anymore so unfortunately I had to take the motor off the quad bike once again. Thankfully this is still pretty easy to do, I really only have to jack it up and remove the suspension. Can just take out the motor together with the motor plate after that.
Since I have the motor out now anyway I also checked if I could replace the temperature sensor with the one from Trailtech. That way I can be sure that I get to see the right temperature on my display. I'm just not really sure yet how I'm going to attach it and if I can even use this sensor this way. Will have to contact the supplier of the motor again for this.
I hope that these were the last few problems for now. It's not really fun to discover these things knowing that the quad bike is almost all finished. But on the other hand it's definately better to see it now than when it's too late.
Seeing as a few things have broken during the test ride I've already had to do some repairs. The most important is the DC-DC converter. Ofcourse it was just out of warranty, already bought it a bit longer than 2 years ago so getting it replaced wasn't possible anymore. But I already wasn't satisfied with it since the output voltage was too low (11,9 V). So I bought a different one now, a Traco Power TEP 150. Same power, bigger input range, better isolated and an adjustable output voltage. Unfortunately it was a bit more expensive but for this price I don't think there's a better one. One more difference, it's a lot smaller.
A fusebox also broke because of the heavy 12 V battery I placed in the top case during the test ride.
Replaced it and lengthened the wires for the new DC-DC converter.
And here it's all connected. It also has the option to turn it on and off with a 12 V signal but for now I'll leave it always on.
Then something I forgot about. Before the test ride I still wrapped the whole wire harness with wire hoses. Quite a lot of work with so many wires coming together.
After that I put tape all around it.
And placed it back again. Think it looks pretty nice like this.
Currently working on putting wire hoses on all of the orange wires as well. It's for added safety and probably necessary again for the road approval test at the RDW.
The only 2 problems I still have right now are a contactor that's getting quite warm and not getting the temperature sensor in the motor to work with my Trailtech display. For this sensor I still have to contact Trailtech to see if there's a way to calibrate.
As for the contactor I've already contacted the supplier and for now they say that this is normal. Just still have to give them the complete part number so they can confirm it. But most likely it's working just fine, I just still think it's getting too warm myself. Still have to find a solution for this so it gets less warm. It now goes up to about 51,5 degrees celcius with an opened enclosure. With the enclosure closed it'll probably go up to about 70-80 degrees celcius. For the contactor itself this might not be a problem but for the other components that I've placed in the same enclosure it might.
That's about it again. Hopefully I can solve these last few things quickly so I can already make the second test ride at real full power very soon.
Posted on 1 February 2015 at 10:09 pm (CET)
So yesterday I was finally able to have a test ride on the quad bike after a bit more than 2 years of working on it. It was a really great experience. Even though I started with very little power I already really enjoyed it. I didn't test it anywhere close here but at the place where my sister works and on a short road. So I had to get the quad bike on the trailer here at home first. It all went well but I'm going to make some modifications to the ramps since I don't think they're very safe. But after half an hour the quad bike was stuck on there and I could drive off.
Thankfully I also arrived safely at the place where I could test.
Not too long after that I rode the quad bike off it and started testing at half power. Looking back at it I'm not even sure if that was actually half power, I think it was more like 1/8th of the power. I didn't see more than 50 A while 200 A should have been possible at half power. But it was pretty fun already and a good way to get to know the quad bike a bit.
Then I changed the controller settings a few times to be able to get full power. The acceleration did feel a bit faster but on the gauge I still didn't see much of a difference compared to half power. Unfortunately during these tests the DC-DC converter passed away which resulted in quite an exciting moment. I was just riding around the corner when suddenly all power was gone, the rear wheels slipped a little. :)
Thankfully I was still able to continue after that since I took an extra 12 V battery with me. Placed this in the top case and connected it, it just barely fit. After that the quad bike worked perfectly again. But still I didn't quite feel and see the power that I actually should be getting. The top speed at that moment was around 45 km/h and the motor was also running at a bit less than half RPM. So I was pretty sure that something wasn't right. I even used my phone to check the speed with GPS and my sister rode her scooter right next to me. But the speed was actually right.
To be sure I checked the controller settings again. I just changed one thing and tried again. Right away when I took off I felt that it was all good now, I suddenly had much more power. So the controller settings were just wrong all this time, it was not giving the full power to the motor but holding back instead. I also did see on my gauge that it was going above 100 A now. So after that I lowered that same setting again and I was suddenly reaching 250 A. So much power suddenly, it was really amazing. I was just riding with a big smile on my face the whole time now. Also tried a bit on the short road again and the quad bike just kept pulling. I just had to get on the brakes every time I hit 60 km/h since the road wasn't longer. But I'm sure that 85-90 km/h is definately possible with the current gearing. And I wasn't even at full power yet so the acceleration will also only get better once I find the right setting.
After that I still did 2 quick runs on the lot but then I called it a day. The quad bike really has a lot of grip even though the ground was quite damp, also really nice to ride on. Was quite exiting too since it was actually the first time riding a quad bike and also the first time on/in an electric vehicle. But as it turns out I love both and I really cannot wait untill I'm allowed to go onto the roads legally with it. :D I just did notice that the tires aren't really that great, I'll be replacing these with some good quality tires soon.
But after this whole story you all just want to see one thing ofcourse and that's the video. ;) So here it is. In the beginning it might be a bit boring but in the end you can really see the difference in power. You can even hear it while there's not really much noise coming from it. :D
My sister also still filmed a bit. Most of it is at low power as well, just from a different view. The last minute is with more power but is pretty much the same as in the video above, but my sister was also standing in the same spot. :)
Unfortunately the onboard camera was already empty fast and the other camera's memory was also full quite fast so there's not as much footage with more power. But it'll be alright, maybe I'll try again soon and then not forget to take my laptop with me. Then I can see all the data of the controller while riding and see why exactly the full power is not reaching the motor.