Customising a cheap 15FET Motor Controller

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Several Ebay vendors offer cheap 12FET, 15FET and 18FET motor controllers for electric mopeds. Aside from the obvious price advantage, compared to the usual, programmable, ‘Infineon’ motor controllers, some of these controllers work sensored and sensorless. Upsides: -dirt cheap (around … Continue reading

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100km/h Electric Mobility Scooter

Couldn’t stop laughing watching it…

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The Black ICE is back on commuter duty

After a mere 86 weeks of maintenance and updates, my old black Sprint is finally back on the road. Lets say, it took ‘slightly’ longer than anticipated.

She got a 2-speed Patterson drive, new XT 9-speed derailleur, a new 15 FET controller, ‘updated’ front wheels, new fenders and basically every other worn part replaced.

Two weeks commuting in foul weather and she already looks like a mess again.

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Tony Seba: Clean Disruption – Energy & Transportation

Food for thought…

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New Fender for ‘Nasty’

I’ve finally managed to order a new rear fender for the Vortex. Well, actually its a SKS front fender.

The old fender was a tiny bit too short and its silver color didn’t quite fit as well.

I think it looks much prettier with the black fender. The little ‘spoiler’ on the slightly longer fender doesn’t block the rear light anymore, either.

The only thing left to ‘finish’ Nasty, are changing the currently mounted old Trice kingpins to ICE kingpins. While the Trice kingpins work, they are designed for 1″ screw-in headsets and current ICE trikes, like the Vortex, use 1″ FSA Orbit-X headsets.

Well, to actually finish the trike, I should spend the used Vortex front frame a new powder coating. Its original white powder coating looks rather ratty. Since I haven’t decided on the colour yet, that will probably take some time. The most obvious choice would be black, though.

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Drum Brake Renovation

The drum brakes on the Blue ICE started acting up after a mere 8.650km of heavy use.

Braking performance was still good, but the left brake was starting to get stuck. That’s normally a sure sign that the brake pads are at the end of their life. If this happens, you can extend their service life by putting some shims under the little hardened steel ‘shoes’ that sit between the brake pads and the brake lever shaft (see image 2).

Since both of my prefered ‘drum brake vendors’ where closed for Summer holidays, I’ve cannibalized the new brake plates from the Black ICE (at this rate, the Black ICE is probably back on the road in Summer 2047 *sigh*).

Yesterday, I took a closer look at the old brakes. Since I’ve already put 0.5mm shims into the ‘brake shoes’ some 2,500km ago, I didn’t have high hopes, though.
As it turned out, the brake pad diameter was still quite similar to new (88.5mm) and they only needed a thorough cleaning and lubrication.

This is when you run into some trouble with the Sturmey Archer drum brakes. They (understandably) choose easy production and assembly over maintainance when they used these Starlock lock rings on the axles. They are virtually impossible to remove undamaged and the big one for the 11mm diameter bolt are pretty hard to come by.

Comparison between customised bolt with Seeger clip ring (left) vs original Starlock ring.

I had some Seeger clip rings and a couple of 0.1mm shim rings at hand. The only thing missing was a notch for the clip ring in one of the bolts. A metal saw fixed the missing notches. I’ve used a couple of 12mm washers as guide to saw the notch around the bolt. The shim rings allowed to adjust the axial play of the brake pads on the bolt.

I’ve put the brakes back into the trike and did an extended test ride. All good and the brakes feel like new again.

Update August 27, 2017:
The renovated brakes don’t play ball. They do brake, but the hand force necessary to make them behave is quite high after about 100km. While its normal that they need a new braking-in period to settle, the dust that’s wearing-off the brake pads shouldn’t stick to them. I cleaned the brake pads with brake cleaner, maybe that’s the problem (that didn’t work too well before, but I forgot).
Today I’ve used acetone for cleaning. Lets hope that’s working better…

Update September 2, 2017
Cleaning the brake pads with acetone did the trick.
Note to self: Never use brake cleaner again!

Now, I’m thinking about water-cooled drum brakes. Stay tuned… 😉

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Blue ICE got a Nose

Since this summer is fairly wet, I’ve mounted the KingCycle nose fairing to the Blue ICE.

The nose fairing looks quite nice with the white Ortlieb X-Press panniers.

The mirrors mounted to the fairing offer a perfect rear view.

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EM3EV Battery Factory Tour

I always like to recommend EM3EV, since Paul has a very good reputation at Endless-Sphere and is known for his great customer service.

Check-out this video about how EM3EV designs and produces their batteries. The next time I need new batteries for my trikes, I have to order from Paul. That is a completely different level of battery design and build quality, compared to my current batteries.

(the camera man/moderator guy is pretty annoying, though)

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Arcus Velomobile on Tour

Arto Joutsimäki and two friends started their German tour with a Arcus velomobile and two trikes yesterday. They are retracing the bicycle tour Finnish photographer I. K. Inha did in 1886.

I went to Ratzeburg to accompany them on their first ride day of the tour from Lübeck to Arlenburg. Fortunately, they where not particularly hard to find.

A HPV Scorpion FS 20, Azub Tricon and Arcus velomobile waiting patiently in front of the Turkish Restaurant in Ratzeburg, who graciously led us charge our batteries.

The Arcus velomobile

The Arcus velomobile is actually a velomobile shell for a full suspended ICE Sprint trike, designed by Arto Joutsimäki. If you want to fit a different trike model to the Arcus, you should contact Arto which other trikes models will fit as well.

Arto and his Arcus

The three Finnish musketeers, eeh…, recumbent riders. Freshly strengthened by pizza.

After showing-off my outstanding navigational skills (I led them astray on the way out of Ratzeburg), Arto chose to rely on his smart phone to find the right way (good choice!).

Next stop was in Mölln, where Arto had to change a front tyre with a badly worn sidewall.

The bad tyre

In Güster we had a small break to eat some cake.

The next stop was at the Gasthaus Lanzer See for dinner (and a little recharge), but they are closed on Mondays. Fortunately for the guys, there was a live plug.

Jörn came with his DF velomobile to pilot us to Arlenburg. They met in Finnland in 2014 on the Great Baltic Sea Ride.

I’ve really enjoyed the ride with these guy’s! I hope they have a great time and don’t encounter too much rain in the next two weeks.

My round trip from Hamburg to Ratzeburg, further to Arlenburg and back home was 162km with a 25.7km/h average. Overall cunsumption was 1,777Wh or 10.9Wh/km.

Check out Arto’s Day 3 tour report in his Arcus Velomobile German Tour travel blog and the track on RideWithGPS:

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ICE Sprint DIY Battery Bracket

Sometimes comes the question, where and how to mount the battery to a trike.

The best place I found, is mounting the battery directly to the seat tubes, hanging low under the seat for enhanced cornering stability. The worst place for a heavy battery is on the rear rack, followed by mounting the battery on the front boom.

This is my DIY battery bracket. The right hand side bracket in this case, shown from both sides. Two half coupler mounted to a 100mm wide, 3mm thick aluminium plate.

And here the battery bracket mounted to the trike seat. If you use two of them, they leave enough space the mount the motor controller between them.

My batteries are inside waterproof Ortlieb outer pockets size L.

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