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Electric 3-wheel adult bike.....

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Shari, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    I need a little help with an electric bike we have for hubby's use. We bought this a couple of years ago and found it just didn't have enough 'power' for his taste.

    Has anyone ever worked on an electric bike that could give us guidance as to what size motor we need to move my 210# hubby up a slight uphill (10% max) grade over 500 feet using only electric power?

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  2. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    To size the HP rating of the motor, one needs to know how fast said husband desires to travel up the grade.
  3. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    "A fast walk" would be fine. Anything faster would not be good.
  4. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    You'll have to convert watts to HP, but this should work well for you. Then size the DC motor's HP rating or wattage to to fit. I come up with about 1/2 HP.

    1 watt =
    0.00134102209 hp

    http://bikecalculator.com/examples.html
  5. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    I have a feeling that the battery is going to be your biggest challenge, not the motor. Post pics and other info as you keep working on your design. THis sounds like a very interesting project!

    -SF
  6. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    I don't know much about anything electric (hey, I took secretarial courses in high school :) but he's got a really large cargo basket on the rear of the bike which would probably fit 3-4 riding mower sized batteries or 2 deep cell marine batteries but then we would have to account for the weight of the batteries.

    We aren't starting from scratch as the bike was built as an electric so we have a motor, etc. but just found it undersized for his weight. This is not to say we will probably have to do some major mods to get it where hubby wants it.

    Let me look around for my camera and, if found, will post some pictures.
  7. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Batteries will impact duration. Higher HP motor will impact speed and "zippiness". If the RPMs are the same should be as simple as hooking up a new motor using existing gearing and wiring. Got to be careful the new motor doesn't draw more amperage than your wiring can handle though.
  8. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Shari, although they don't sell electric bikes (I don't think so anyway) I'd still call the Hostel Shoppe there in WI. 800-233-4340

    In the meantime I'll contact a couple other places to see if they can help. I know a couple really good people who own bike shops.
  9. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Is the motor one built into the wheel hub (hub motor)? If so I'm guessing one rear wheel has a motor? If a hub motor, what size wheel is it?
    Many hub motors are around 250 watts but range in size up to more than 3 times that. You may just be able to buy a new wheel with motor and then add batteries in parallel to provide more capacity.
  10. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    Guys, Thanks for all the replies. Let me locate my camera and I will post pictures which (hopefully) will answer questions posed.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  12. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Lower gearing?
  14. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I was thinking that traction between the front wheel and ground might be an issue.

    Edit:hub motors aren't geared. They're direct drive.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I hear ya. The unit I posted said it was a 3-speed, but I think that is for the pedal power assist. The other alternative would be reverse, but I don't see that option. ;lol
  16. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    Well, the search for the camera has been in vain...... but I did get some info on his bike.

    The model name is "Lightning Trike".

    Here's one link: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Worksman-Lightning-Trike-Electric-Tricycle/5691453

    and another: http://fubike.blogspot.com/2013/06/worksman-adult-port-o-trike-lightning.html

    The above links say it is now manufactured by "Worksman" whereas ours says "Electric Mobility Corp." - but then again I think ours is the 1989 version.

    There appears to be at least appearance changes: Our switch is different - ours contains on/off for a headlight and a horn. There is a somewhat similar front hub like in the links above and a motor is mounted behind the pedals. Battery power is simply a deep cell marine battery. New models fold for storage, ours does not.

    Ours is a 3-speed shift like a regular bike w/electric as an option - which I think is different from the above links. Max weight limit is 300#.

    Numbers on our motor are: 478487 12v 2033427MO3O6M.

    We had (unsuccessful) "help" when we were having problems with the switch and it hasn't been looked at in at least a year.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    A 12V motor is going to be wimpy. Most modern units are 36-48v including the modern Workman that you posted the link to.
  18. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    Yes - therein lies our current problem. I'm thinking a whole new electrical kit is what I should be looking for but I know zip about what to look for.

    I found a Schwinn electrical kit - but it goes up to around 14 mph and I think that is too fast for hubby to handle.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I don't think he'll be going 14 mph uphill! :)
  20. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    Probably not - but where there is an uphill there is also a downhill. :) Seriously though, I know he'd like to go on a fairly long bike ride and considering I would pedaling (non-electric) next to him I'd rather an electrical unit that one can set various speeds on. I'm not sure but I think a twist grip style might be a variable speed so I think that's what I'm looking for. The one he has now is 'full speed ahead', only on or off and I'd like to get away from that style.
  21. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Shari, sorry but my other contacts were not of any help.
  22. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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  23. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    Semipro - Thanks for the link. I read through it and a lot sounded greek to me but I am learning a little. I did notice no batteries are included. The charger is rated for lead-acid batteris (I think I am leaning toward Lithium batteries) and then I read this "We offer one year warranty period due to quality problem" which kind of turned me off on the item.
  24. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Lithium batteries are nice for energy density (weight versus stored energy) but they'll cost you. They'll also require a new charger.
    You can definitely buy better quality kits than the one at the link above but you'll pay for quality. Bionix makes quality stuff. I've been eying one of their conversion systems for a while. http://www.bionxinternational.com/na-en/products/
  25. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    If you're just looking for a boost up grade the "easiest" mod would be to add a starter motor with friction drive to one or both of the rear wheels.
    Would require some welding&wiring but the parts are fairly cheap

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