CroBorg Super Commuter

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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Alan B   100 GW

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by Alan B » Apr 11 2016 12:38pm

It has been awhile since I took the Borg out for a spin, or updated this thread. We've had more than usual rainfall here in the Bay Area, which is a good thing since we've had a multi-year drought, but I'm not fond of ebiking in the rain.

Having a daily commute was a great way to get a lot of use from the Borg machine. These days too many trips aren't good for the ebike, or the destination isn't safe. It really makes me appreciate the safe parking haven I had at the workplace. I see too many on here with lost ebikes in their sigs. Really sad. I'll drive the gas hog rather than risk theft of an ebike. A central part of planning each ebike trip is how to keep the machine safe during the entire operation.

I'm working on my other ebikes at the moment, updating and upgrading the Novara and the BikeE. I'm working on a Throttle Manager to convert PWM type controllers to torque mode and support AWD/2WD. I'm looking into building a battery welder so I can make my own 18650 packs, which I now have two of from Luna. They are amazingly light and can be configured in so many ways. Ultimate flexibility.

For the Borg I'm considering putting a 12V regulator on it to supply horn and low voltage lights.

I'm looking into building a ham radio equipped trike. Need to get up to Sacramento and take a test ride.

The Ridge Runner is doing well, though it needs a bath, and a chain cleaning and lubing. The rain makes the trails muddy and the bike manages to collect some every trip. It sure does climb. :)

The Xootr Swift is sitting here with the crank removed, waiting for the mid drive procurement. That's going to require some special fabrication to make it all work. It will be soon.

I'm wondering, when the taxes are all done, whether I'm going to have to raid my ebike funds to pay them, or whether I'll see a return windfall that might accelerate some of my projects. This is the first time I'm having someone else do them and the suspense is... This is also a strange tax year with the transition from work to retirement, and I'm still not accustomed to taking funds out of those accounts we've been saving into since forever. :)

Drive Safely Onward!

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Alan B   100 GW

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by Alan B » Jul 22 2016 10:23pm

Time to top up the Borg batteries. I put it away partially discharged and haven't touched it for months. The Sabvoton is still connected, though the keyswitch is off, so we have the leakage current of the cap bank and FETs. With the Xie Chang controllers their bleed resistor will, in some weeks, run down a pack and ruin it. Unless there's a BMS to shut things off. But with the Sabvoton there's not much current when "off". Very nice.

So the three banks were about 3.9 volts, with the extreme cell groups within 30mV (3 counts on the Battery Medic), and I balance charged them with the BC168 to 4.0V. It took about 5 amp hours and 2.5 hours at 2 amps. For each of the three banks. Now they're all balanced. :)

Need to go for a ride!

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by Alan B » Jul 25 2016 3:28pm

Today I dug out the chain stretch tool (Amazon Bikehand $7) and checked all the bike chains in my stable. One advantage of Hubmotors is excellent chain life. This Borg has the better part of 10k miles on, and the chain is still not taking the 0.75% stretch chain gauge. I guess I don't pedal enough, but when I do pedal for effect, I pedal hard on starting up or climbing something steep. But the load on the chain is usually short term as the speed rises and I no longer provide much horsepower.

Ride Safe!

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crimp pro advice

Post by John Bozi » Sep 02 2016 3:02pm

HI Alan, I am a newb to crimping

I came across this build searching for answers about my crimp, gauge dies questions.

I see you have used them well in the past and hope its ok to ask here... I could PM if you prefer....

I recently bought an ebay 8 ton $30 http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/152117702022 ... EBIDX%3AIT
which came with a bunch of dies.

The page includes a reference table of

10mm2 for 8 AWG which the wire that I am working with. I presume (often incorrectly so want to check) it means if I wanted to extend / join 8awg I would use a 10mm sleeve right?

So I I wanted to parallel in a Y shape you would overlap 3 x 10mm2 so I'd need a 30mm2 sleeve? On the site linked below they only have 35mm or 25mm, would they be too loose or too tight?

Sorry if this is way obvious but I often miss tiny things in calculations and blow cash on something that I don't need.

Is there a technique to follow apart from sticking the ends in and hoping for the best?

Do you have a favourite store you buy sleeves from? The only one I found costs more in shipping than the sleeves....

I bought some 10mm from http://www.imensa.com.au/electrical-accessories/links/

the pricing is so crazy I guess depending on popularity not size.

Thanks again

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by Alan B » Sep 03 2016 1:59am

The sleeves need to be larger than the wire, the crimping will make it small enough.

I mostly use sleeves from the hardware store, only a couple sizes available.

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by alec » Dec 04 2017 5:21pm

I'm bumping this thread because I just got a CroBorg and the amount of information here from Alan's build is beyond useful for me.

We should meet up sometime, Alan! I'm in Fresno but frequent the Bay Area.
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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by Alan B » Dec 04 2017 5:31pm

That would be fun alec, I haven't been riding mine much since my commuting ended a couple years ago. Glad this has been useful.

I still want to finish some projects on it but haven't found the time. The batteries are probably going to go bad due to dis-use. It's a great machine, if a bit on the heavy side.

It might be fun to make an 18650 pack for it, could probably pack in a bunch more capacity with the flexibility of the packaging, but there would be a lot of welding involved. :)

Right now I'm designing and making parts with a new 3D printer, I could make some nice upgrade bits for the Borg with that now too.

Do you have a thread for your build?

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by alec » Dec 04 2017 7:09pm

Alan B wrote:
Dec 04 2017 5:31pm
That would be fun alec, I haven't been riding mine much since my commuting ended a couple years ago. Glad this has been useful.

I still want to finish some projects on it but haven't found the time. The batteries are probably going to go bad due to dis-use. It's a great machine, if a bit on the heavy side.

It might be fun to make an 18650 pack for it, could probably pack in a bunch more capacity with the flexibility of the packaging, but there would be a lot of welding involved. :)

Right now I'm designing and making parts with a new 3D printer, I could make some nice upgrade bits for the Borg with that now too.

Do you have a thread for your build?
Ooh; 3D printer! I could make very good use of that. :shock:

Here's the build, mostly done by another ES user –

Image

Greyborg(v2) frame, Zero handlebars and wheels, Cromotor(v3), Greentime controller (about to be switched to 96V MQCON soon), 99.6V20Ah pack (16s+8s EIG cells). I am waiting in the mail for some hybrid-plastic/rubber latches so I can attach the fairings on in a way that doesn't use fasteners or zipties and will be easy to take off/on.

Image

I need to make a build thread ASAP.
❝ With great power comes an even greater PG&E bill.
12kW+ Greyborg, Cromotor V3, SSC96150
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wire.bike [personal projects]

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by Alan B » Dec 04 2017 8:53pm

OK, I saw a Borg for sale in California, is it that one?

I also need a better solution for the covers as well (as you realize), so anxious to see how that works out! I've got a brand new set waiting here for that project.

I just designed a few new parts for a non ES project, this 3D printer is something I should have done years ago. Actually I did buy a kit in 2014 but got hung up on some issues and didn't get it running. I'll have to get it finished so I can do more production.

The 3D printed parts are good for some things, not good for others. Brackets and spacers can really be amazing but if you need strength then CNC alloy is probably better. I've got a start on a CNC mill conversion, but that's a bigger project that will take awhile. I don't have room for the mill cleared out yet, but I do have most of the electronics collected and partially tested out.

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CroBorg Battery Surprise

Post by Alan B » Jun 26 2018 10:19pm

It has been a very long time since I dusted off the Borg and measured or charged the batteries. Just did a measurement, and the cell group voltages are surprising:

3.86 x17
3.85 x1

It has been connected to the Sabvoton this whole time, probably well over a year, and keyed off which turns off the control circuits of the controller while leaving the cap bank and FETs energized, so a very small current flows.

This battery is made up of a dozen 6S 8AH Multistar bricks, 3 series and 4 parallel for 18S 75V 32 amp hours. The pack is some years old, details earlier in this thread.

I'm balance charging them all to 3.9V now, we'll see if their thirst is also balanced.

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Multistar Lipos Balanced

Post by Alan B » Jun 27 2018 12:39pm

These Multistars are really amazing.

To charge them slightly (to 3.90 volts) and bring them into balance took between 1256 and 1610 milliampere hours. The difference is 354 mAH out of 32000 mAH rated capacity, or an unbalance of 1.1%. After sitting for more than a year.

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Multistar Longevity

Post by Alan B » Jun 27 2018 12:42pm

The Multistars were installed in March 2015 (a few pages back). So they are in excess of 3 years old.

I don't have a precise record of charging but it could easily be two or more years since this was last balanced. I stopped commuting three years ago, and have ridden this ebike very little since.

Refresher on the Battery Configuration

There is no BMS on this battery, this is a manual function. Generally I bulk charge the Borg battery with either the one BmsBattery bulk charger that still works (the other having failed), or more likely with the Meanwell HLG LED supplies at 25V 12A per each of the three sections. So each 8AH brick gets 3 amps at 25V. Periodically I balance the sections witha single BC168 which charges 6S through the balance wires. It is used for each section, 4.15V, at 2 or 3 amps to prevent heating in the thin balance wires, which are paralleled in the pack with methods circuit boards (with HVC/LVC). Other voltages may be used to minimize the balance time, just a bit higher than the pack's present value is enough.

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by Alan B » Sep 06 2019 2:12am

I dusted off the Borg, aired up the tires and took it out for a short spin earlier, making a run to the post office.

It still generates that ebike grin. :)

I'm charging the battery, at least the section I started with was pretty well balanced after sitting a year or so. I'm shure some capacity has been lost, but it is still working.

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by John in CR » Sep 06 2019 3:12am

Hi Alan,

I hope you're not riding around in a steel cage while your CroBorg gets dusty. Despite more rain the last couple of years, I've just become more hardcore. My van hasn't budged in a year, and that was only to use it during our move, so other than that tank of gas I haven't been to a gas station for more than air in a tire for about 3 years. I can't imagine ever going back to sitting in traffic like the suckers I laugh at every day.

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by Alan B » Sep 06 2019 3:55am

Hi John,

After I retired I picked up a used electric car (Nissan Leaf). I choose my trip timing so rarely ever sit in traffic. When I do get slowed down the efficiency of the Leaf goes way up, so one way or the other it's a win. While ebikes were perfect for my commute they are not as suitable for most of my trips these days, due to passengers, payload or distance/time to tennis practice, matches or other destinations. I rarely go to a gas station, if I need more range than the Leaf has I use the wife's 50 mpg Hybrid, but that's pretty rare. I got electric yard tools so most of the 2 strokes are silent.

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by John in CR » Sep 06 2019 2:13pm

Alan B wrote:
Sep 06 2019 3:55am
Hi John,

After I retired I picked up a used electric car (Nissan Leaf). I choose my trip timing so rarely ever sit in traffic. When I do get slowed down the efficiency of the Leaf goes way up, so one way or the other it's a win. While ebikes were perfect for my commute they are not as suitable for most of my trips these days, due to passengers, payload or distance/time to tennis practice, matches or other destinations. I rarely go to a gas station, if I need more range than the Leaf has I use the wife's 50 mpg Hybrid, but that's pretty rare. I got electric yard tools so most of the 2 strokes are silent.
You're off the hook for using clean transport, but you need some extra fun factor. How about doing a high power controller for your Leaf?...Something along the lines of Arlo1's super controller for a Leaf motor, but dial performance down a few notches for the sake of safety and reliability? :mrgreen:

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Alan B   100 GW

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Re: 2013 Leaf Upgrades (off topic)

Post by Alan B » Sep 06 2019 3:16pm

That would be fun. What the older Leaf really needs is more range rather than more performance. Unfortunately the new batteries from the factory aren't compatible, and the aftermarket hasn't stepped up to improving batteries aside from some poor solutions to just add more. The 600 pound battery really needs a major capacity upgrade to double or triple the range. For my uses the range is mostly adequate, but a double range would improve that a lot. It claims 75-95 miles range but realistically 60 miles is solid and usable and anything beyond that is getting into low battery territory. Most of my trips are under 50 miles total and it is good for that, but no more, and only one of the longer trips per day. Charging is best done in the midnight to 8am timeframe but soon they will widen that to 3pm in which case a morning trip might be recovered from before afternoon-evening trips.

Anyway, off to lunch on the Borg when it finishes the annual balance charging.

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Alan B   100 GW

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by Alan B » Sep 07 2019 8:38pm

BorgCharging20190907_182600.jpg
Borg Charging
BorgCharging20190907_182600.jpg (115.38 KiB) Viewed 187 times

It's been a long time since I used this kilowatt charger. 25V at 12A times three. Looks like it needs to be rebalanced a bit, small differences in the output voltages make a noticeable difference in the charging current, but it evens out at the end as they all ramp down to zero. Did a more accurate cell balance on the pack after drawing it down very slightly with a couple of short trips. So the cells are matched but these three supplies are not quite identical. Hard to get them exact, and not really too important as long as they're close. A few miles of local trips hardly dropped the pack voltage at all, this thing is a beast with the 66V (75V peak) 32AH pack.

Off to the right we can just see the edge of the Daystate LC-110 4500 psi compressor. :)

So now the Borg is set up for fairly easy access to encourage more use. I removed the pedal from the Bonanza Bulldozer AWD eBike behind it to make departures a little less fiddly.

I made a 3D printed cover for the garage door opener remote to reduce false triggers. The remote is protected and the button recessed. This also makes departures and arrivals much easier.

garageRemote20190907_183502.jpg
Garage Remote Protector
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Alan B   100 GW

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Balance Charging the Borg

Post by Alan B » Sep 08 2019 12:34pm

CB86plus20190908_101936.jpg
CB86 Plus Balancing Charger
CB86plus20190908_101936.jpg (143.75 KiB) Viewed 170 times

Periodically balancing the pack is handled with this RadioLink CB86 Plus charger. The old BC86 still works, but this RadioLink has a better display and user interface. In either case the current is limited to 3 amps to avoid overheating the small wires and connectors. Key to doing this in a short time is to partially bulk charge the pack but stop a little shy of done, and do just the last bit with the balancing charger. Each bank here is 6S by 8 amp hours times four in parallel.

These chargers have six individual DC-DC converters so each cell is charged independently to the chosen voltage, there is no time and energy wasting bleeding. They charge for a bit, then stop and measure each cell with no charge current flowing to get an accurate reading, then restart the charging. Folks have tried to use more than one of these chargers at the same time but this doesn't work well since they don't stop charging simultaneously and this causes less accurate readings. Use a single charger and do each bank separately. Here I have 3 banks of six series cells so three hookups and charge cycles are required.

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Alan B   100 GW

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Airing Tires up Really Fast

Post by Alan B » Sep 08 2019 12:58pm

68ci4500tireFiller20190827_170744.jpg
68 cubic inches of 4500 psi air
68ci4500tireFiller20190827_170744.jpg (188.4 KiB) Viewed 169 times

For those frustrated with slow portable electric compressors, and cold CO2 that leaks out in a few days.

This little 7" by 4" carbon fiber tank holds 1.1 liters of water or 340 liters of compressed air at 4500 psi. The regulator on the bottle brings it down to 800 psi and the PowerTank PowerShot valve controls the flow into your tire. It is way faster than a compressor, but could easily overpressure a small tire.

A 26 by 2.3" mountain bike tire has a volume of about 5 liters, so 15 liters would fill it to about 45 psi (3 atmospheres). So this tank could fill over 20 of those. In a few seconds. :)

They have smaller tanks, like a 13 cubic inch 3000 psi tank that would be more suitable for carrying. It holds over 40 liters of air.

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by John in CR » Sep 10 2019 9:09pm

Cool little air tank. I've never heard of those. How do you refill it to 4500psi?

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Alan B   100 GW

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OT - High Pressure Air Refilling

Post by Alan B » Sep 10 2019 9:28pm

Refill the HPA bottles at a paintball store, scuba shop, fire extinguisher service, fire department, airgun club or shop, or in your garage:

DaystateLC110-20190819_120735.jpg
Daystate LC-110
DaystateLC110-20190819_120735.jpg (152.23 KiB) Viewed 136 times

Above is a Scuba compressor set up for airgun/paintball HPA. It shuts off automatically at 4500 psi.

There are special 3 or 4 stage hand pumps that can do it, but it takes a lot of pumping. There are some inexpensive compressors as well, search for "Yong Heng".

Some bottles take only 3000 psi (the aluminum ones), the one shown above takes up to 4500 psi (carbon fiber).

There are also CO2 cartridges up to 88 or 90 grams instead of the tiny 12 or 16 gram ones, or paintball CO2 bottles of various sizes from about 9 to 24 ounces. However I find CO2 doesn't stay in the tire as well as air, and I have to buy that whereas the air is "free".

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by amberwolf » Sep 10 2019 11:05pm

Hmmm...at least at one time, I had, maybe still have, a tank just like that here somewhere, though I don't have a compressor that could pressurize it. If I still have that tank, I also have a couple of aluminum ones in a more fire-extinguisher-shaped style.

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OT - HPA Bottles

Post by Alan B » Sep 10 2019 11:41pm

They should be hydro tested periodically to make sure they are safe, and some bottles expire (carbon fiber) and need to be destroyed. The working pressure should be stamped on the bottle. 1500-1800 psi or thereabouts is for CO2, 3000-4500 for HPA. Then you need adapters/regulators to get the pressure and flow down to something safe and useful for tires. Some bottles deliver at full pressure, these made for paintball have regulators generally at 800 psi to simulate CO2 which the paintball gear is generally compatible with.

I'm not familiar with the fire extinguisher bottles, but they are also used for air supply bottles by some folks.

It is probably too expensive to be worthwhile, a small electric pump like the Ryobi P737 is really better for bike tires in general. But for my 80 psi truck and trailer tires the electric pumps struggle, overheat and take a long time. Using HPA puts in a psi per second or so which speeds up the job a lot. My knees appreciate a quick fill, and I might have 8 tires to top up a few pounds. The little P737 doesn't really do much on an 80 psi tire, and my larger 12V compressor needs to clamp to a car battery for 30A. I have a 13 volt LiFePO4 battery to power it but have to carry the battery and compressor to each tire. Then it takes awhile to raise the pressure. This small 4500 psi tank is much easier to carry around and fills much faster. I used to lug around a 15 pound CO2 tank which is about 35 pounds including CO2, tank and regulator. That fills fairly fast, but it gets very cold and has to be stored somewhere, it takes quite a bit of space. Plus it has to be hauled to a place to get filled, can't do that at home. For all the complaining about too much CO2 it is a very small fraction of the air so the folks that liquefy it have to go to places like powerplants that have a lot of CO2 in their exhaust. Most other gases like Nitrogen, Oxygen and Argon are just captured from air.

So if one is in a hurry to put air in a tire and willing to pay for the luxury of HPA it can be done. Not everyone will want to do it or pay the cost, but most folks don't even know how easy it is to do these days. If you get a hand pump you can also mark it off as an exercise program.

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Re: CroBorg Super Commuter

Post by RunForTheHills » Sep 11 2019 10:14am

That bottle seems like more trouble than it is worth. I carry two of the 25g CO2 cartridges. They are small and easy to carry. CO2 does leak out faster than air, but they will get me home if I get a flat and then I replace the air with a hand pump at home. I do have a small compressor at home that I use for the car tires, but I usually just use the hand pump to top off the air in the bicycle tires. 3-4 pumps per tire is all it takes every few days.

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