This is the update from Don for 2010 for his solar powered electric scooter project. Its five plus years old and still going strong.
The main page on Don's Electric Scooter is here...
2010 updates on Scooter:
Replaced batteries this year. Life on original batteries was very good, thanks, I think, to a constant charge every day from the solar panels keeping them topped off. Maybe all battery charged vehicles, including ordinary car batteries, should have a 12 volt trickle charge every day. Would give them a boost in cold weather, keeping them warm and topped off all the time. I was not nice to the scooter, leaving it outside summer and winter. I have several photos of the snow as deep as the top of the wheels each winter. Temps as cold as 20 below were survived. I was not able to find the batteries locally even through Interstate Batteries. I had to order them. The best price was from Sound Speed Scooters. They arrived in a week and were in a ton of bubble wrap.
I rode the scooter to Earth day 2010, at the University of Michigan, Flint, MI. http://www.mcc.edu/earthday/earthday_gallery.php
Round trip was 36 miles and the day was cloudy so minimum charge was obtained at the event. Upon return, I hit a bad pot hole. everything seemed ok until I was about 1000 feet from my house (my dirt driveway is 2,600 (1/2 mile) feet long, and I noticed the panels were crooked in my mirror. I stopped and found one of the vertical pipes had snapped at the base, just above the elbow. I broke a small piece of tree branch and placed in in the elbow, up the pipe as a brace to drive the last few feet to my house.
I had work commitments for a couple of weeks so left the machine parked on my porch. When I had time to fix it, the batteries had drained to empty for some reason. Thought I had bad batteries, but apparently not. I moved the bike to the front of my greenhouse and parked it there to charge. A few days later everything was fine, the panels and charge controller worked well recovering the batteries and no problems since.
I first started to charge them with my 120 volt charger, but it began smoking and I found one of the two charger sides (2 chargers inside one box I learned with a disassembly) is fried. I will have to get a new charger, or find someone with a broken one I can combine and make one good one. $400.00+ is a lot for a charger, and the inside does not look very high tech as far as cost of parts, not $400.00+ worth. It appears that a capacitor blew out, parts of it are on control boards inside, maybe nearly dead batteries pull too many amps for the charger to handle?
The panels are pretty tough. When I started to dissemble the set, the stick I had used to splint the pipes broke and the panels on that side of the bike dropped to the ground. Nothing broke.
Replacing the pipe was easy. I purchased a new length of black pipe, a new elbow, and another tube of red Locktite. I unhooked the panel hinge on the broken side, removed the elbow, and then replaced it and the length of pipe. I just eyeballed the two sides to be even and the re-drilled the holes for the hinge. The entire switch was only about an hour and a half, taking my time.
I have since rode a few trips to town, some with my wife on board, and given my 2 year old grandson a bunch of rides on the driveway. He calls the scooter "beep beep" and loves to honk the horn. His mom recently bought him a bike and helmet, Which I make him wear on the scooter. He has mom put the helmet in the car every time they come over hoping he can ride "beep beep". He stands on the floorboard and holds the handles by grandpa's hands. He knows which key to start it and what every button does.
New Three Wheeler Project:
I hope the annual update of the life
of this bike finds interest with some. All in all I can say the ride has been
fun and my hopes to build a 3 wheeler in the future will meet the same overall
success I have had with this bike. If anyone has any questions, feel free to
send a note to my e-mail address. If anyone has the means to fund a project, I
would be willing to take that help. The entire project would be in the
neighborhood of $10,000 to 12,000. This for a 3 wheel, 2 passenger vehicle (to
keep the class of motorcycle) and powered by the sun and possibly wind combined.
More updates will be sent as things happen with "beep beep"
If you have any questions on building the scooter you can email Don here: organicgrower AT earthlink DOT net replace AT with an @, and DOT with a period.
Gary August 8, 2010