Sorry for the crappy camera angle… While waiting for the next spring (it’s a loooong wait), I realized I had earlier taken some lousy video of my driving to work with my eHonda. This is the best I’ve got so far (saying it’s the only one). Next spring I’ll borrow a Gopro (or similar) helmet camera so that I can get proper POV driving video. But the sound in this short clip is pretty decent, quite close to how it sounds in the real life. In the 80-90km/h speed the motor sound fades away and is replaced only by the noise of the wind, which I love. And of course it’s also pretty easy to hear all the other traffic.
Today was the day I took the first test drive! And oh boy it’s so smooth to drive… Feels like a much lighter bike than it previously did (it should as it has lost quite a lot of weight), and the throttle was smooth as butter. Amps were set to only 30% of the full controller power and the “throttle up rate” was also toned down, so it ramped up amps gradually. Everything seems to work great and there was no odd behaviour. I think I can now say with confidence that the conversion was a success! Next up: inspection… After that: “beauty pass”.
The batteries are now in place and everything works! The battery case structure seems really sturdy and I think it’ll do great. Only because it was in the middle of the night (literally) and I was dead tired, I decided against taking a small test drive with the bike. I really need to go through everything I’ve done (tighten any loose bolts and zip-tie wires etc) in daylight and figure out some sort of proper mounting for the DC-DC converter (which in the picture sits on top of the bike for the time being). With the batteries in place the converter doesn’t fit anymore below the gas tank. There’s enough room behind the upper box but I need to mount it there somehow. I might drill some holes to upper battery box (batteries removed) so that I can mount it on it’s side. I’m thinking of drilling the sloped corner areas in the top box as there’s room for bolt ends inside and I can first bolt some sort of a mounting plate there where I can bolt the converter on to. But in the long run I might actually consider a more expensive but a lot smaller converter to replace this bulky chinese one…
Finally! This saturday I took my bike on a trailer to the welder (Stadin Metalli) so that we could make the battery box connection tabs that can be attached to the frame. We didn’t have time to finish the boxes on saturday, but yesterday I got the finished boxes. Thanks Sami! They are both made from pretty thick (4mm) aluminum sheet and seem to be a really tough construction. (They look like they could withstand a nuclear war.) The lower box will be bolted to the original engine mounting points with 10mm threaded rods and the upper box is bolted to the lower box with 10mm bolts. The lower box also has a tab that is bolted to the motor adapter plate. This is mainly to support the motor plate to the boxes (not the other way around) and should make sure that the motor mount is stable. There are also some additional tabs on the upper box that will be used to mount the fiberglass fairings (still to be done) to cover these clunky things from prying eyes. And the upper box will have a fiberglass cover that will be latched on top of it.
Late yesterday evening I drilled some holes to act as cable conduits and cut them open upwards. Then I used steel wool to roughen all the surfaces for painting, washed them dust-free and then layered the black primer paint in several passes. This morning I went to see how they were, and as they looked really great, I layered the final glossy black paint on top of the primer. And this evening I will cut an adhesive rubber mat that will isolate the lower compartment battery poles from touching the upper box and will make sure there won’t be any kind of possibilities for any other unwanted “special effects”.
I’m hoping the boxes will be dry enough this evening so that I can finally start placing the batteries inside the bike. And maybe even take a first test drive! (We’ll see.)
Yesterday I finished up some final cleanup and tried to figure out why the 12V battery had drained dead while the bike had sat there for couple of days. I suspect the DC-DC as everything else is key-switched (the converter has key signal switch too and should be shut down, but who knows)… I’ve now isolated even the 12V negative side from the DC-DC with a relay when the bike is shut down. And I’ve also added a physical battery cut-off switch for the 12V system, at least until I can be sure there’s nothing there draining the battery, when everything should be shut down.
I also got the aluminum battery boxes and test fitted them in the frame. Tomorrow I’ll transport the bike to the welder so we can create the attachment tabs so that they can be bolted down. They’re welded from 4mm aluminum so they should be pretty bomb-proof. Hoping to be able to make some test driving tomorrow… We’ll see.
And today I called to the inspection office and talked with the technician about the inspection. Hopefully this will be pretty straight-forward and the bike will become street legal (if nothing profound needs to be corrected). Then the real fun begins…
Yesterday I reached a major milestone. With the help of my sister’s husband, we changed the rear sprocket, cleaned up the rear wheel hub and installed the new chain. And before that I had finally finished up the wiring and gotten the motor running. I brought the batteries besides the bike so that we could test the motor spinning the wheel. Now the bike is pretty much ready for road once I can get the batteries mounted up!
As some extra good news, I contacted another welding company and they should be able to do the aluminum battery cases during the next week. I think I’ll chill out before that and concentrate on my family for the time being. Finishing touches can wait until I get the cases.
Bad things first. The battery boxes aren’t still ready. They were supposed to be ready last thursday and I had planned to take my bike to the welder so that we would have fitted the attachment points to the boxes. The welding company doing the boxes has been way too busy with other deals, as they’ve had people sick and “more important” customers in line. Yeah, life is like that… I know. (But it’s still annoying as hell.)
But on my personal front I’ve been busy fighting my own battles. During the last friday, weekend and yesterday evening, I’ve built a sort of “motherboard” for the bike where I’ve bolted down the major components, installed it into the bike and started wiring things together. Yesterday I got 95% finished with that. Only a little bit of finishing and double (and triple) checking all the connections, and I should be ready for the first test spin of the motor. Tomorrow I should be installing the chain and the new rear sprocket, so that we could see the wheel spinning too. Only if I could get the battery boxes as soon as possible, and I could actually be driving it for the first time…
Above: Tentacle monster, waiting to be installed into the bike!
I decided to ditch the previous battery isolation switch and bought a sturdier one, with easier structure to be bolted on to the “motherboard”. Kudos to Jarkko for tipping me about it. Below are some pics of the progress. Kinda feels the same as assembling a computer… (The whole mess of wires will be hidden below the seat and gas tank, as well as behind the side panels. And the loose wires will be zipped down tight.)