Blog / Rides
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. :)
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.
Posted on 15 March 2015 at 07:03 pm (CET)
You don't have to wait any longer, I will now show what the quad bike looks like after working on it for almost 2,5 years. I'm really happy that I chose these colors, everything matches really good and it just looks really great. When I started this project I did have an idea of how I wanted it but it's become even better than I expected. Well, here it is. :)
Ofcourse it's nice that it all looks so good but what's more important is that it did really good again during the third test ride yesterday. This time I went to the industrial area again where my sister works, there's a nice long road there with a dead end so there's not much traffic. I've only tested at high speed now, mainly to see if the motor would get as warm again. This past week I've ran the motor for 12,5 hours at 1000 RPM so the brushes should be seated by now.
But unfortunately it already got too warm again (90 degrees celsius) just after going up and down the road twice in Sport mode. Meanwhile I did reach a new top speed of 84,7 km/h (52,6 mph) though. And it should be able to go a little faster. I think 88-90 km/h (54-56 mph) should be possible. Which is good as that's exactly the speed I had in mind when I selected the sprockets. It rides a lot better as well now, it's fitted with 4 new tyres (Toyo Proxes T1-R) and the wheels have been balanced. You can really notice the difference is at high speed.
After the motor got so warm I only still tested on Eco mode. Was a bit less fun but necessary to see if the motor would still get warm with just half the power. This is also the nominal power which the motor should be able to run at continuously. While it did take a bit longer it unfortunately still got to 85 degrees celsius after going up and down the road 6 times. So something is not right and I already have a few ideas what could be causing it. I'll look into this in the coming days.
Another problem is that the gauge which shows me voltage and current has broken for the second time. And not even during the test ride but just here at home while I was charging the quad bike a bit. I don't really have any faith in it anymore so I'll be replacing it with a different one. I'll just have to take a few fenders off again but this just needs to work properly for the road approval test.
But for the rest I'm very satisfied, the quad bike is working just fine and on Sport mode it's a real pleasure to ride on it. Ofcourse I made another video again so you can see it all as well. :)
Just a few more modifications and then on to the RDW. ;)
Posted on 1 March 2015 at 12:58 pm (CET)
Yesterday I went testing for the second time. First I went to a boatyard's parking lot nearby. Usually you can drive all the way around but since the water was high this unfortunately wasn't possible now. But the asphalt also wasn't as good as I thought, because of this it turned out to be a good test to check if any bolts or nuts would still come loose though. ;)
I rode around here for a while and it was very fun again. Could really notice that I had a lot more power now than during the last test. Acceleration was much quicker now. But I still don't think I had the full power. The highest I've seen is 315 A while everything is set up for 400 A. But I also couldn't keep looking at the gauge the whole time since I had to keep looking where I was riding. For the next test I'll just place the camera in front of it, then I can at least see everything at home.
But everything went well, nothing came loose anymore and nothing broke either. The temperature sensor in the motor is working fine as well. Only problem was that the motor got pretty warm quickly and I had to let it cool off a few times. It's probably because the brushes aren't properly seated yet so I'll just have to wait and see. On the parking lot I also couldn't really reach a high speed and was really only accelerating and braking the whole time. So I left there and since I couldn't resist I did a few quick runs on the road. :)
The real fun started here since this was actually the first time at higher speed. The quad bike again did very well here, it all felt great and it just kept accelerating nicely. It definately has more than enough power. First I tested at low power (Eco mode) so the motor wouldn't get so warm right away. Accelerates less quickly then but on that road I was able to get up to 75 km/h (46 mph).
But I knew that it could do more so after that I tested again but this time at high power (Sport mode). I reached 75 km/h (46 mph) very quickly now and was able to get a maximum speed of 82,6 km/h (51 mph). That was pretty much the goal of this test, getting above 80 km/h (50 mph) for the first time. And that has also succeeded. :)
In total I rode almost 10 km (6 miles) again, so the same as the last test. Only the ride time was a bit less this time since the quad bike was much faster now. ;) Only thing I need to keep an eye on for now is the temperature of the motor, at the moment this is getting a bit too high.
Ofcourse I brought the cameras with me again and made a video again. Think you can see really good that the quad bike has more power now. :)
This coming week I'll order the new tyres so the Chinese tyres can go off. And I'll also completely finish the quad bike by adding the fenders on. I'll probably test once more before I go the RDW but for now it's all looking good. If I don't run into any problems anymore during the next test then I also don't really expect any problems at the RDW. It'll definately be very exciting.