Friday, May 14, 2010

Shed update

Finally, six weeks late we have our shed kit on site.

After suffering weeks of BS from the agent I finally lost patience and rang head office a couple of times. The second of those calls produced the desired result. The agent rang yesterday with a tale of woe that went on for about ten minutes and almost had me on the floor splitting my sides with laughter. Anyway, the upshot was that the shed was to arrive on site crack of dawn today, and, I was to get one of his men to help with construction free of charge.
Crack of dawn turned out to be after lunch (mid afternoon actually) and the offer of free help was turned down because I really don't want any more dealings with this guy, enough is enough.

My fearless leader is looking brighter now that the new sewing room is in sight and come Monday morning we will be cracking on. I think we should be able to handle it ourselves.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pedal power

On my last post LS from Down and Out In A Brave New World asked about the E- bike and I promised a reply post, so for you mate and anyone else interested here it is.
The e-bike is built around an old mountain bike frame that has been fitted with a hub motor. This motor is laced into the middle of the bikes front wheel. The axle of the motor is then secured to the bikes front forks. When power is provided it spins the wheel around the axle, driving the bike forward. This is a brush-less hub motor and is designed to provide peak efficiency rating of around 85%.

The hub motor was part of a kit I brought from DLM Energy (since vanished from view but you can get the same stuff here) and came already laced/spoked into a 26 inch rim. The kit included three 12AH 12V lead acid batteries in a battery bag, controller with connectors, twist grip throttle, battery cables and electric brakes. The batteries are wired in series to provide 36V, officially the motor is 200 watts  ;-).  Also provided was a charger, extra long stand and pack rack.

The cost of the kit was $850 and I think well worth the money, when compared with the registration and running cost of a car. The e-bike is incredibly cheap to run, costing only about 2c per kilometer. With batteries full, it will travel around 32 kilometers without peddling or around 55 kilometers in pedal assist mode. No taxes, no parking problems, no licensing, no pollution and the motor is virtually silent.

This bike can scoot along a bit and the granny that rides it has been clocked at 40km/h on the flat. She scares the bejezzes out of the local triathlon riders on their training ride as she breezes past them like they were standing still. She also had the local BMX kids stonkered as to why they couldn't keep up with her, until I spilled the beans to one of them in an unguarded moment.

The e bike is Jan's work bike and because she works shifts it gets used a bit at night, a decent light is a must. The lights I use on all my bikes are home made 12volt 20W-halogen with a 23-degree spread. The spotlights, switches and connectors I buy from Jaycar electronics and mount the whole set-up in a piece of tube from a broken hang glider keel. The lights were initially run off a cheap battery drill pack that provided about 30 minutes of light, more than enough for Jan to get to work and back. I have since made up my own battery packs that run a bit longer per charge. Anyone interested in building their own bike light set-up can find information here at the The fat hippy's home made bike lights.

I'll do the rest of my bikes in another post sometime soon.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Rellie Attack

We have over the last week or so been entertaining Jans' two sisters who popped over from NZ for a short visit. As a result blogging and blog cruising has taken a back seat, but we are back on track now so off we go.
While they were here we made them ride bikes everywhere as that is the way we like to get around, unless it's hosing down rain, then we take the car and of course out of town trips are also car days (it's 150km's to anywhere out here).

As luck would have it I happen to have a spare bike or two so finding a seat wasn't a problem. Just a quick tidy up needed and they where on the road (the bikes not the girls). ;-)

While I was at it I shouted the electric bike a new battery set as the last unit had shorted out and caught fire one day when Jan was coming home from work. It caused a bit of excitement amongst a few tourists who were crossing the bridge at the time, they noticed the flames coming from the rear and thought the rider was rocket propelled.

With the new battery pack I have changed from NM-HI to Sealed Lead Acid Batteries. I think they are a better bang for the buck system. The SLA's are less expensive and easy to maintain. A small ply box was built to contain the new battery set that should keep the whole system waterproof and trouble free. I think the cause of the fire may have been some dampness in the vinyl bag the NMHI were in.

The electric bike has been on the road now for about seven years and has been remarkably trouble free. Apart from three battery sets the only other problem was the controller shorting out when the main power leads got caught on an obstruction and where ripped out of a connector.

The next job is to build a new battery pack for the Fat hippy bike light.

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