This is all about augmentations of human energy with electric power for cycling
as the most sustainable form of human transportations

Monday, June 28, 2010

More Practice report

Sun finally smiled at us Sunday evening after three days of continuous rain. So I could take the trike out for a ride.

After reaching the tar road, I rode three round trips on a 6 km stretch so that total distance covered was about 36 km in about two hours. It was a good experience as I gradually became aware of strengths and limitations of power assist systems.

After about 20 km my distance data suddenly got reset and so I couldn’t say exact total distance covered today. Luckily other data was intact and not lost. I used two third capacity of one battery to cover about 40 km. Power consumption was about 6.2 Wh / km which is pretty good figure. Total power consumption was about 250 Wh and my battery capacity is 370 Wh. That mean I can easily do 50 to 60 km per battery charge. This confirmation is very helpful to look ahead.

Dogs chasing me was a frequent irritant today and I have to work out a strategy to encounter them.

My max speed today was 31 km and average was about 18 km.

Today I had to go to Puttur to drop children to their schools and it was about 1130 when I reached home. I immediately installed charged batteries and got trike ready.

I pedaled about one hour, covered 20 km and consumed about 4 Ah battery power. At one, I decided to come home for lunch.

Afternoon I started @ 2.50 PM and took National Highway towards Uppinangady and covered about 15.5 km one way which took me 43 minutes. I was scared of bus and trucks. Luckily they were giving me wide berth and gradually I became more comfortable. I was pedaling at around 20 kmph on an average and on some downhill speed touched 40 km too. It was very thrilling ride and bit scary too if the road surface was rough.

It consumed 10 Ah battery power covering about 50 km in the afternoon session. More average speed means more battery consumption. I happened to meet Anilkumar on the way & he took some photographs. I could have made another ten to fifteen km if I had continued with pedaling. It looked like it is going to rain too and so I decided to come back.

I am quite comfortable now with twisting throttle on left hand that also has to control front shifter. I could be one of few who feels left hand controls tolerable as normally vehicles are having throttle on right hand or right leg.

People on the road were giving me amazed look most of the way. Many wanted to stop me ands ask dumb questions which I had to refuse with a smile.

So totally I had covered 70 km today. If I had started early instead of 11.30 AM I would have crossed 100 km mark. Sun was shining most part of the day. Same problem about kilometer reading reset did repeat today also but I was frequently noting the readings and so it did not harm too much. Total km covered maybe a km more or less, that is all. Luckily more crucial power monitoring was not affected.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Brief report on first test ride

Thanks to rain god, there was a window of opportunity to test my power assisted trike on Wednesday. Three days after that were rainy days.

First part involved steep climb in slippery mud road near my house and so consumed bit more power. 3.94 km consumed 28 Wh averaging 7.1 Wh/km.

first power assist trike trial at EveryTrail

Click on the red button to see the photo taken just before I started from home.

Second part was along same but black top part of the road and basically riding to and fro to compensate climbing power usage. I rode 11.28 km in 43 minutes averaging 15.5 kmph. Power consumption was 56 Wh with Wh/ km average 5.2. This is tolerably good considering trike has three wheels and more rolling resistance. I had pedaled trying to conserve power and I am confident I can maintain this average for tolerably long time.

Shankaranna had asked me tell him when I had put together whole thing. I suddenly remembered this and told him by mobile phone – I am near highway. Come if you are free. He said he will be coming soon. This photo was taken in his mobile phone.

I got drenched by heavy rain due to sudden downpour. Learnt a lesson in this. The throttle in my trike is designed to be mounted horizontally in normal bicycle. So water seeped in because of vertical mount thereby limiting power flow thereafter. It was okay after it got dry.

I could have done much faster. My idea was stretching the available energy. More speed would have meant more power consumption. This was comfortable pace for my leg muscles too. Now I can carry on preparations with more confidence.

Pedal assist unit installed

I had decided to test the eZee motor on Monday. There was lot to be done and I had to move with care. First I mounted the carrier bought from UK along with the trike. Then put the eZee supplied bag on that. Convinced that I have made arrangement to carry battery, I started installing the motorized wheel.

Actually this is job for two normal people. I started working alone as nobody was around. As a new feature in the 2010 model they have installed the parking brake on the trike. The wider motorised wheel was difficult to be pushed. So I released the brake spring & somehow got it in place.

When I finally got the wheel to its place, realized the chain that had to go in had been left out. So lifted the back side of the trike again, got the chain inside and positioned the wheel properly. This is a tricky job as we have to manage derailleur that comes in the way. This simple ten minutes job took almost half hour and lot of frustration as I had to squat alternatively on both sides every other minute.

I looked around for my 22 mm spanner to tighten the axle nut and it is nowhere to be seen. Then I felt driving to Bheemannas house nearby easier than searching for the elusive spanner. When I started from there with borrowed spanner, I remembered the place where I had left the spanner after a small job couple of days back after fixing tire to ATV trailer. . Finally the axle bolts were tightened and the whole set up was closely observed as mistakes can be expensive and difficult to get around.

To get around certain practical problems I had to fix throttle above left handle bar which is bit awkward to control. The front derailleur shifter is also located there. I had not logical alternative. As we drive on the left side of the road, the back view mirror invariably had to go to he right handle bar. I also found it convenient to fix the meter so that I can easily keep eye on both.

Convinced everything is okay I switched on the battery. A freak incident took place and the motor stated moving and bike hurtled forward. Luckily the battery wire got disconnected and there was no damage.

After that incident, I sat on the seat and switched the battery on. Everything worked perfectly and I had a beautiful half hour ride around my yard. It consumed about 0.4 Amps but this doesn’t not indicate much. The motor really helps in gathering speed and I had to get used to that. It was really heartening experience and I was satisfied with the performance.

I  have  omitted  mentioning  some  compatibility  problems  as  they  are  bit  technical  and  confusing.  I  will have  less  gear ratios  at  my  disposal  now   but  I  am  confident  I  can   manage  with  that.

Trike is assembled

After long waiting, this week saw some activity connected with the trike and my forthcoming trip. The trike was delivered on Thursday 17th June and UPS took a month to bring it over from factory in UK to my home. It was kept in Hyderabad for twenty days for no logical explanations. Anyway I am happy that it is here and there was no damage while on transit.

From the beginning itself I tried to work methodologically on assembly with little scope for backtracking. Since the trike and motor came from different sources from different corners of the world, I had to work on delicate matching several components.

I planned to instal pedaling sensor before fitting boom to the trike but the new design did not allow any space to mount it. So decided to use throttle and discard the original idea. I did not know then if circuit design had absolutely required pedal sensor but I decided to take a chance.

Finally the trike assembly was completed on Sunday and my younger son Sunil was test pilot and I was observing if everything was working well. Luckily it was a sunny day and both boys and myself could enjoy the trike riding in our front yard most part of day.