Solar Catrike Road conversion

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adam333   1 kW

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Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by adam333 » Apr 12 2021 8:59pm

Updated. Final result, see construction details bellow
Image

Against all odds, Michel Mercier convinced me to help him convert his Catrike Road into a Solar trike!

This is a lot of time and money, but definitively a challenging and exciting project for me!

The main goal for this bike is to make long distance while caring enough material to camp along the way.

If you have suggestions or if you see something that seems completely wrong, please let me know, this is my 1st attempt at going solar on a bike.

Components:
1 x Catrike Road 20 in, bought from Catrike
1 x BOB Gear Ibex trailer, bought from BOB Gear
1 x Rear 500W Gmac 10T Geared motor, bought from Grintech.
1 x Baserunner_L10 controller, bought from Grintech.
2 x 48V 20Ah LiPo battery, in parallel, bought from Aliexpress.
1 x Cycle Analyst v3, bought from Grintech.
3 x Genasun 48V Solar MPPT, to minimize shading issues, bought from Grintech.
1 x Solar Current Sense, bought from Grintech.
3 x Sunpower Solar panels (170W ea), bought from Grintech.
1 x ERider T9 Torque sensing bottom bracket, bought from Grintech


Step 1, 3D scan and solar panel evaluation.


Choice #1 : Catrike Road + BOB Gear Ibex trailer + 360W of Solar panel
Image

Choice #2 : Catrike Road + BOB Gear Ibex trailer + 510W of Solar panel
Image

Since more is usually better, and the solar panel are not wider than the trike, we went with the 3 x 170W for a total of 510W configuration.


Step 2, Interfacing the Solar panels with the trike.


I like the "bolt on kit" approach, since there is no possibility for the aluminum welds to crack due to stress and vibrations.

Front:
Image
Image

Rear:
Image
Image

Top:
Here, I am testing a folded sheet panel in 2.5mm thk aluminum. The 2 MPPT will be attached underneath.
Front and rear lightning will also be attached to this assembly.
Image
Image
Here with 2 x 170W Sunpower Solar panel bolted on.
Image


Step 3, Battery attachment to the trike.


I had good results with my previous Catrike 700 battery attachment, so this modified version for the Road should also go well.
The goal is to keep the center of gravity as low as possible.
Image



Step 4, BOB Ibex trailer Solar conversion :


Here, the mandate was to have 1 solar panel on the trailer.
It was also required to have the Solar panel remotely tilt-able to optimize the power output. ( with a small 12V motor )
I designed the sleeve bearing in PETG with a small interference just to make sure there is no rattle while riding.
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

I will 3D print the pieces to make a fit test before doing those in Aluminum.

To be continued...
Last edited by adam333 on Sep 30 2021 12:07pm, edited 6 times in total.

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adam333   1 kW

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by adam333 » Apr 12 2021 8:59pm

Edited
Black anodized aluminum pieces for the Solar Catrike Road :
Image

Carbon fiber nylon parts for the trailer:
Image

Starting to look like a Solar trike finally, still a lot more work to be done though.
Ibex trailer is fully assembled, but untested.
Image
Image

Custom battery mount:
Image

So far, I 'm happy with the rigidity of the canopy:
Image

Carbon fiber nylon bracket for the Cycle analyst.
Image

MPPT and cable management under the folded aluminum frame.
Image

Carbon fiber nylon herringbone gear to tilt the rear solar panel.
(the intial design in PETG was not strong enough)
Image

Solar Catrike Road conversion completed.
2 x 170W on the trike + 170W on the trailer for a total of 510W possible.
2 x 1Kwh battery pack ( 48V, 40Ah total )
Image

With the BOB Ibex trailer.
Image

Rear panel tilted:
Image

Trike fully loaded.
Image

More statistic will come as the solar shunt is dead right now, but so far, I saw 450W maximum coming from the 3 panels.
The average consumption is 11Wh/km @ 32km/h with the trailer.

Short video showing the trike and trailer:
Last edited by adam333 on Sep 30 2021 12:45pm, edited 5 times in total.

goatman   1 GW

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by goatman » Apr 12 2021 10:20pm

did you look at the Burley Coho XC trailer
it has the rear rack thats fixed to the frame and a front double leg kickstand
looks like an easy platform to build on

theres a video on this link

https://www.amazon.com/Burley-Design-93 ... B07DX9NXNK

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silicium   10 W

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by silicium » Apr 13 2021 9:53am

For my two 170Wc Sunpower solarpanel, I moved the junction box to the bottom side and I shortened those by 9 cm :D
See here in french:

https://vae-tech.forumactif.org/t ... -panneau
RH205, A123 4P12S with BMS http://vae-tech.forumactif.org/t8-un-bms-home-made (in french)

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adam333   1 kW

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by adam333 » Apr 13 2021 8:15pm

goatman wrote:
Apr 12 2021 10:20pm
did you look at the Burley Coho XC trailer?
Nice trailer indeed. It would be easier to attach the solar panel on this one!
Thanks for the link
silicium wrote:
Apr 13 2021 9:53am
For my two 170Wc Sunpower solarpanel, I moved the junction box to the bottom side and I shortened those by 9 cm :D
See here in french:
Nice execution! thanks for the suggestion and link, the length and weight reduction i indeed very tempting!
I will see with Michel if we go this way or not.

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by JackFlorey » Apr 13 2021 9:47pm

adam333 wrote:
Apr 13 2021 8:15pm
goatman wrote:
Apr 12 2021 10:20pm
did you look at the Burley Coho XC trailer?
Nice trailer indeed. It would be easier to attach the solar panel on this one!
I second the Coho. With that much weight up high, a good kickstand solution will be important. And it's a very solid trailer.

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by fatty » Apr 13 2021 10:54pm

JackFlorey wrote:
Apr 13 2021 9:47pm
I second the Coho. With that much weight up high, a good kickstand solution will be important. And it's a very solid trailer.
Wow, that does look like a great trailer.

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by want to build » Apr 13 2021 11:12pm

fatty wrote:
Apr 13 2021 10:54pm
JackFlorey wrote:
Apr 13 2021 9:47pm
I second the Coho. With that much weight up high, a good kickstand solution will be important. And it's a very solid trailer.
Wow, that does look like a great trailer.
hi guys went across this thread cause im trying to find a way to attache the coho xc on xiongda 12mm axle.. still searching a solution lol .
here is the piece i can give you if it helps you : the kick stand is very important and i know another trailer that has one that seems to be sturdy it is called maya trailer.
this maya also brings me question on how to attach it to the xiongda but i guess i have more searching to do.
the maya is like a bob wich i tried in the past with another bike and bob having no leg is a pain in the .. cause the bike often falls down and it bends the attach, even on a tree it is a unstable setup, not fun really. Also went you have to cross a train track or you have to get to a site camp full of holes . you have to detach the trailer ans good luck to manoever the bob with you hand . neighter pushing not pulling it is easy it wobbles falls a side it is not fun . so the maya being a wheelborrow look really usefull.
the burley also seems to be easier to hand manipulate compared to the bob. i hope those info help you in your quest.

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by want to build » Apr 13 2021 11:16pm

adam333 wrote:
Apr 12 2021 8:59pm
Against all odds, Michel Mercier convinced me to help him convert his Catrike Road into a Solar trike!

This is a lot of time and money, but definitively a challenging and exciting project for me!

The main goal for this bike is to make long distance while caring enough material to camp along the way.

If you have suggestions or if you see something that seems completely wrong, please let me know, this is my 1st attempt at going solar on a bike.

Components:
1 x Catrike Road 20 in, bought from Catrike
1 x BOB Gear Ibex trailer, bought from BOB Gear
1 x Rear 350W Hub motor for assist purpose, bought from Grintech.
1 x Baserunner_Z9 controller, bought from Grintech.
3 x 48V 14Ah eZee LiPo battery, in parallel, bought from Grintech.
1 x Cycle Analyst v3, bought from Grintech.
3 x Genasun 48V Solar MPPT, to minimize shading issues, bought from Grintech.
1 x Solar Current Sense, bought from Grintech.
3 x Sunpower Solar panels (170W ea), bought from Grintech.


Step 1, 3D scan and solar panel evaluation.


Choice #1 : Catrike Road + BOB Gear Ibex trailer + 360W of Solar panel
Image

Choice #2 : Catrike Road + BOB Gear Ibex trailer + 510W of Solar panel
Image

Since more is usually better, and the solar panel are not wider than the trike, we went with the 3 x 170W for a total of 510W configuration.


Step 2, Interfacing the Solar panels with the trike.


I like the "bolt on kit" approach, since there is no possibility for the aluminum welds to crack due to stress and vibrations.

Front:
Image
Image

Rear:
Image
Image

Top:
Here, I am testing a folded sheet panel in 2.5mm thk aluminum. The 2 MPPT will be attached underneath.
Front and rear lightning will also be attached to this assembly.
Image
Image
Here with 2 x 170W Sunpower Solar panel bolted on.
Image


Step 3, Battery attachment to the trike.


I had good results with my previous Catrike 700 battery attachment, so this modified version for the Road should also go well.
The goal is to keep the center of gravity as low as possible.
Image

To be continued...
hi what is the axel of your motor? i strongly encourage you to research how you will be able to attach the bob to the motor axle.
the bob nutz come in limited choice . look if there nut fit you axle otherwise, well you are in the same situation as i am me plannig to use 12mm axle xiongda not having compatible nutx .. gnnnnnnnnnn :cry:

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adam333   1 kW

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by adam333 » Apr 14 2021 12:14pm

want to build wrote:
Apr 13 2021 11:12pm
hi what is the axel of your motor? i strongly encourage you to research how you will be able to attach the bob to the motor axle.
This Motor axle is M10 x 1

The BOB nut BN9610 was purchased but it was a bit to large, so I had to mill away 3,8mm from each sides.
Now it fit perfectly though:
Image

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by want to build » Apr 15 2021 11:36pm

adam333 wrote:
Apr 14 2021 12:14pm
want to build wrote:
Apr 13 2021 11:12pm
hi what is the axel of your motor? i strongly encourage you to research how you will be able to attach the bob to the motor axle.
This Motor axle is M10 x 1

The BOB nut BN9610 was purchased but it was a bit to large, so I had to mill away 3,8mm from each sides.
Now it fit perfectly though:
Image
hi do you mean you modified the bob nut or added stuff to gain distance from the hub? would you know anyone here or on the net that could retread a bob nut from M10 to M12 1,25 and send it to me? i would pay for that

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adam333   1 kW

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by adam333 » Apr 16 2021 1:10am

want to build wrote:
Apr 15 2021 11:36pm

hi do you mean you modified the bob nut or added stuff to gain distance from the hub? would you know anyone here or on the net that could retread a bob nut from M10 to M12 1,25 and send it to me? i would pay for that
In my case, the bob nutz were too large and I had to remove material using the milling.
If you only need to increase the width slightly, you could use one additional washer.
Did you contact the company to see if they can make one tapped M12 x 1.25 for you ? The tap alone is 30$+ shipping and I don't own one myself.

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by want to build » Apr 18 2021 12:34am

they said all is on web site and that emotor are not compatible with it .
hi did n seem to want the trailer to be use with a hub motor for reason he didnt explain
i told him i can have the wire come out on the side and not at the end.
At first he said his team can rethread but its like he chanded his mind . weird , not sure
maybe a english native speacker could have a better expression for him .

Another thing to verify is since the xiongda si 202 mm long axle , if the trailer can close on this (it is a different prob than the way it attaches nuts..) on the site it says
Adjustable width yoke allows for simple, tool-free adjustment and installation on a wide range of hub widths (126-197mm)
i imagine 202 would be close enough for 197 if the nut protudes not too much

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adam333   1 kW

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by adam333 » May 08 2021 1:35am


BOB Ibex trailer Solar conversion :


Here, the mandate was to have 1 solar panel on the trailer.
It was also required to have the Solar panel remotely tilt-able to optimize the power output. ( with a small 12V motor )
I designed the sleeve bearing in PETG with a small interference just to make sure there is no rattle while riding.
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

I will 3D print the pieces to make a fit test before doing those in Aluminum.

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by SlowCo » May 08 2021 4:40am

adam333 wrote:
Apr 12 2021 8:59pm
Against all odds, Michel Mercier convinced me to help him convert his Catrike Road into a Solar trike!
That will be a nice conversion :thumb:

The only thought I have is the height of the solar panels. If you can place them lower it will be safer in strong winds trying to tip the trike and trailer over. If I look at the headrest there should be enough room to put them lower. The shorter the "arm" is from top of the panels to the contact patches of the tires to the road the less "lever" the wind has and the lower the force that can work on it.
I don't know how high the gear will be stacked on the trailer but if you have room there also to lower the panel it would help as the tilted solar panel will act as a sail even more than the horizontal panels on top of the trike.

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by adam333 » May 08 2021 1:58pm

SlowCo wrote:
May 08 2021 4:40am

That will be a nice conversion :thumb:

The only thought I have is the height of the solar panels. If you can place them lower it will be safer in strong winds trying to tip the trike and trailer over. If I look at the headrest there should be enough room to put them lower.
Thanks for the kind words and suggestions.

Yes, I totally agree with you, the solar panels must be as low as possible. Michel is really tall though, and we had to adjust the height accordingly.
For the trailer, if we limit the panel max angle, it will be possible to lower the solar panel's height.

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by adam333 » Jul 11 2021 7:03pm

I posted a few pictures on page one's second post, the assembly have started:
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=111336&p=1649517#p1649518

Image

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by SlowCo » Jul 12 2021 1:51am

Nice to see this being built now. And curious to learn how much energy will be generated during rides.

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by AF7JA » Jul 12 2021 12:46pm

Having built something similar, your setup looks great.

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by adam333 » Sep 30 2021 12:37pm

AF7JA wrote:
Jul 12 2021 12:46pm
Having built something similar, your setup looks great.
Thanks!

Solar Catrike Road and trailer conversion finally completed.
2 x 170W on the trike + 170W on the trailer for a total of 510W possible.
2 x 1Kwh battery pack ( 48V, 40Ah total )
Image
Image

See post 1 and 2 for updated pictures and details:
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=111336&p=1679369#p1649517
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=111336&p=1679369#p1649518

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Re: Solar Catrike Road conversion

Post by BalorNG » Oct 01 2021 5:00am

Extremely impressive!
I also like no-weld bolted technology - using laser cut plates and cheaper filament to create blocks that are extremely strong (if not exactly light). I'll have them replaced with carbon "lugs" once finalized.

Image

I'll be adding a solar roof too, not as impressive of course, just a couple of 100w panels.

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