SolarCycle


5/10/14

Complete

On Thursday we finished everything up and completed the bike. Our final presentations and open house went great and we enjoyed the chance to talk to people about what we have been working on. It has been a great year, and we are excited for graduation in just two weeks.













5/6/14

Finishing Touches

Recently we have been working on a few smaller things that should be finished by the end of the week. We have been installing new gauges and indicators to replace some of the previous ones, such as the RPM dial and gear indicator. We have taken these out and installed a voltmeter, ammeter, battery indicator, switches, and even a USB port to charge a phone. We have also finished wiring the solar panels and installed a standard battery charger inside the original gas tank. A toggle switch changes between the two charging options when the bike is not in use. Tomorrow we will try to finish up everything and complete the project.









5/6/14

The Final Week

We only have one more week left and we are just putting a few finishing touches on the motorcycle. First, the bad news. For the past week we have been trying to fix our electric motor but could not get it running anymore. We ordered a new motor on Sunday and that arrived on Tuesday. This new motor is a little larger and faster but fit right in the spot of the old one. We have also finished installing the solar panels and battery chargers and are just adding some finishing touches before we show it off on Sunday.










4/29/14

Eleven Days

Right now we only have eleven days remaining and just a few more things to do. Most recently we have installed the gas tank which will hold the charging components for the bike. A few top speed tests have also been performed and we have gotten to bike to a maximum speed around 39mph. This week we have some things to clean up. We discovered that some dirt had gotten into our motor so we need to clean that out and protect this from happening again. It was also discovered that our battery tender was broken so we had to send that in for repairs. We will also be mounting the solar panels onto the bike and running some various tests. Finally, if we have time, we will be creating a fiberglass shell to protect the electronics inside of the bike and we will give it a fresh coat of paint.





4/15/14

Project Logo

In order to make our final presentation and reports look more professional, we have designed a team logo. The logo is centered around a circle with the top half representing a sun and the bottom half representing a motorcycle wheel, showing our fusion of solar power and transportation.














4/9/14

It Moves!

After many more weeks we finally got all of the required components on the bike and got everything hooked up. There is still a lot to work on in the next month, but it was so satisfying to finally see our bike move (and even more fun to ride it!). Now we need to finish up mounting the solar panels, integrate the bike's 12V electronics with our battery pack, run various tests, and improve the aesthetics of the bike. You can see a picture of the bike with all the main components installed on the right and you can download a short video of our first ride on the links page.








3/14/14

It Works!

Today for Fridays At Calvin we connected all of our electronic components and got the motor running. Everything worked perfectly, apart from one problem - it still isn't on the bike. Over the next few weeks we will be working on mounting the batteries and the controller so we can actually get the motorcycle moving. You can view a video of the motorcycle running on the links page.












3/10/14

Shaft Modifications

Today we welded on our new bearing so we can easily connect the motor to the shaft of the motorcycle. It works great and now we just need to mount the motor so we can get everything connected. By Friday we hope to get everything working so we can spin our wheel using the motor controller, although we do not expect to have everything on the motorcycle by then.










3/5/14

Controller

Our controller arrived today! It looks great and we are excited to get everything working.
















2/24/14

Batteries and Controller

This morning our batteries arrived and we had almost every piece required to start testing out our motor. Sadly, we discovered that our old motor controller was broken. With some help from Professor Kim we found that some parts in the controller were blown and would need to be replaced. This would take a lot of time and effort so we looked into finding a replacement controller. After a few phone calls we found out that Alltrax Inc, a company in Oregon that produces motor controllers, would gladly donate a controller to our project. We are very thankful to VMAX and Alltrax for the donations that they have made for our project and we can not wait to get our motorcycle running.







2/19/14

The New Year

We have started a new semester and have been hard at work on our project. Currently we are working on finalizing our electrical circuit and designing a drivetrain. We have also received a donation of four batteries from VMAX USA (which are currently in the mail). Once we receive these batteries we will be able to run our motor through some tests and finally mount it to the motorcycle. Tests have already been completed to determine the amperage required by the various instruments on the motorcycle. In the meantime we are designing a method to mount the motor and connect it to the shaft of the motorcycle. We have done some calculations to select a good gear ratio and have found some sprockets and a chain to use. In the image you can see the sprocket that will connect to the shaft that drives the rear wheel. This will be connected by chain to the motor. If the batteries arrive soon we hope to have the bike running in the middle of March.





11/20/13

Motorcycle Teardown

This month we have had time to work on the motorcycle that was purchased back in October. Recently we worked on removing all of the parts that we would not need for our project, and we also sold these parts in order to gain more money for batteries and solar panels. The bike in its current state can be seen in the picture on the right. A 3D model of the frame is also being created in order to see how our components fit into the frame. Throughout the semester we have also continued to research components in order to select the correct batteries, solar panels, and other miscellaneous pieces for our project. We have decided to purchase four 12V batteries and wire them in series in order to create a 48V system. We will also probably be ordering two solar panels with a rating of approximately 100W in order to charge these batteries, but we would first like to text the motor and controller once we acquire batteries.



10/21/13

Motor Selection

After lots of research, and one quick trip to the closet upstairs in the engineering building, we found a motor. The motor that we acquired was much larger than what we were looking for. We were trying to find something with around 5hp, and we ended up finding a Briggs and Stratton Etek 15hp electric motor. The motor is small and light and should fit perfectly in the frame of our bike. After a few quick calculation we found out that the extra horsepower will guarantee that we will be able to meet our speed requirements, and the next step is to calculate how many batteries will be needed to meet our range requirement.








10/13/13

We Got a Bike!

Today we went to pick up our motorcycle. We found a 1984 Honda Nighthawk 700s from a on Craigslist. The transmission is broken, but we will be stripping most of those parts anyway. It is a shaft driven bike, so we will have to do some extra design work to select how we should mount the motor, but we are ready for challenge. This is the centerpiece of our project and we can't wait to get started.