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Leaf 1000W on a Tour Easy recumbent

Posted: May 23 2016 1:36am
by dasingleton
I now have about 500 miles on my build completed in April and everything is working well enough that I am ready to call it a success.

Original bike: Easy Racer Tour Easy, vintage about 2002. The only major upgrade was the back rim about three years back – most of one’s weight is on the back wheel and the original rim was too flimsy. I had about 5000 miles on the bike pre-electric, but the 9-mile each way commute would take 45-50 minutes each way and that is hard to do all the time. Now it takes 22-25 minutes, less than five minutes longer than it takes me in my truck, and I can do it more often.

Motor / controller kit: Leaf bike “Newest 20 inch 48V 1000W” with their default winding.
$283 + some oh my god cost for shipping. Actually, it was only $143 for shipping.
$18 for a torque arm. Leaf seems perfectly happy to provide a custom winding and in retrospect I would ask for a slower winding with more torque; though I don’t face many hills here I might someday want to.
IMG_0731.jpg
Leaf 1000W kit on Tour Easy Recumbent
I know that everyone says that rear-wheel drive is better but I really very much like the feel of the front wheel drive on the recumbent. It pulls you through curves, and having some extra weight in front feels more balanced than the original, where I was always worried about the light front slipping. The two-wheel drive goes well on grass and gravel, though a recumbent is never going to be a mountain bike.

A Tour Easy is designed to be stable at speed, and this really works. The fastest I have gone on flat ground is 35 mph, and I routinely run 30 on smooth low-traffic roads on my way home from work. This is completely comfortable and I feel totally in control. These speeds are with me peddling in the highest gear, adding 100-200 watts at most. I still have a fairing to put on to add to the speed / efficiency.

The biggest trouble I had in the installation was that the original brake-shifters are integrated. I moved them forward and I now have extra brake handles that do nothing. The shifters are now in a bit awkward position but with the motor I only rarely shift out of the highest gear.

I did not install the peddle assist. The throttle is a bit sensitive but I use the cruise control a lot of the time. I have still not figured out how to turn on or use the regen brake ability that is supposedly there.

The wires are all to long for where I have the controller but they are too short to get the controller back to behind the seat. They are a bit ugly but I wanted to make sure on the controller placement before I did anything drastic. I may shorten the wires some rainy day.

Battery: 23.4 amp-hour 48 V. I made this from 13s9p 2600mah cells. Here are the batteries:
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/32pcs-lo ... 78553.html
and I have found they meet spec on testing.
Here is the BMS:
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Electric ... 13150.html
I am listing the sources just because I think it would have helped me the first time. Here are a few other minor parts and the charger:
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/1-PC-1M- ... 80149.html
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/54-6V2A- ... 97147.html
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/4-18650- ... 03364.html
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Flat-Wid ... 67182.html
The battery box is made from acrylic sheets and with clear shrink-wrap, clear tape, and clear silicone, you can see everything in the box clearly, including all my bad solders and spot welds..
I have about $400 in the battery, plus an infinite amount of time. It is a hobby.
IMG_0732.JPG
23.4 amp-hour 13s9p battery in acrylic sheets and clear wrap
Headlight: $6.20 on ebay.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/111410166376?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT
It is 300 lumens, which is ok. I have to bike home from work after dark pretty often and an ordinary bike light just doesn’t do it. I extended the wires with lamp wire and a DC 2.1 plug and I hook this directly into the charger port of the battery.

I have bought both a new front and new rear tire, total about $45. I wanted something wider and with more tread than the originals.

I figure I spent about $50 on wires, shrink-wrap, waterproofing, pull-ties, etc.

So total out-of-pocket was around $960. I figure that every day that I ride it to work instead of taking my truck I am making a payment on the bike, and it will have paid for itself by sometime next spring.

Dan

Re: Leaf 1000W on a Tour Easy recumbent

Posted: May 23 2016 4:14am
by tec9
dasingleton wrote: Leaf seems perfectly happy to provide a custom winding and in retrospect I would ask for a slower winding with more torque; though I don’t face many hills here I might someday want to.
Nice build, As your front wheel diameter is 20 inches and I think the default winding from leaf is a 4 turn? so you already have the ideal winding for that wheel size, a slower winding won't give you more torque.

Re: Leaf 1000W on a Tour Easy recumbent

Posted: May 23 2016 8:52am
by dasingleton
tec9 wrote: Nice build, As your front wheel diameter is 20 inches and I think the default winding from leaf is a 4 turn? so you already have the ideal winding for that wheel size, a slower winding won't give you more torque.
Thanks.

It seems they automatically change the winding depending on the rim size. They quote a speed of 42.7 mph for a 29 inch rim, which is about 495 rpm. They quote a speed of 45 for a 26 inch rim, which is about 580 rpm. They quote 43.3 mph for my 20 inch rim, which is about 730 rpm. I can't verify the first two, but the last one seems about right in an unloaded spin on a pedestal. I might have gone for their 26 inch motor in a 20 inch rim.

Re: Leaf 1000W on a Tour Easy recumbent

Posted: May 23 2016 10:38am
by jkbrigman
dasingleton wrote:I now have about 500 miles on my build completed in April and everything is working well enough that I am ready to call it a success.

Original bike: Easy Racer Tour Easy, vintage about 2002. The only major upgrade was the back rim about three years back – most of one’s weight is on the back wheel and the original rim was too flimsy. I had about 5000 miles on the bike pre-electric, but the 9-mile each way commute would take 45-50 minutes each way and that is hard to do all the time. Now it takes 22-25 minutes, less than five minutes longer than it takes me in my truck, and I can do it more often

....(other stuff was here)....
Dan, great build, great build. You've got a very nice, efficient motor on that bike. Can you give us some idea of what Wh/mi numbers you are seeing with the LWB recumbent? I'm betting you are doing 13Wh/mi or less. With that massive battery and your pedal imput, what would you estimate your range to be (and at what estimated average speed?)

Thanks for the posting. I'm hoping to follow you with another LWB recumbent ebike build.

Re: Leaf 1000W on a Tour Easy recumbent

Posted: May 23 2016 11:03am
by dasingleton
Thanks!

I have gotten back and forth to work three times on one charge, about 52 miles, without any particular care. The power gauge was low but it is just a series of bars and I don't know exactly how close I was to running out of power.

Over the course of the next few days I will try to measure efficiency carefully. I was thinking that I would aim for a consistent 20 mph, minimize gunning it, and see how far a charge takes me. Any better test? The recumbent gains advantage at greater speeds - should I go faster?

Re: Leaf 1000W on a Tour Easy recumbent

Posted: May 23 2016 11:37am
by jkbrigman
dasingleton wrote:Thanks!

I have gotten back and forth to work three times on one charge, about 52 miles, without any particular care. The power gauge was low but it is just a series of bars and I don't know exactly how close I was to running out of power.

Over the course of the next few days I will try to measure efficiency carefully. I was thinking that I would aim for a consistent 20 mph, minimize gunning it, and see how far a charge takes me. Any better test? The recumbent gains advantage at greater speeds - should I go faster?
I think aiming for a consistent 20mph is a good idea. Most hubmotors have a "sweet spot" between 20-23mph that maximizes power utilization. (Forgive me the generalization, but it's what I see that on MY ebikes anyway.)

On an upright bike, I can cruise on flat ground at 22mph eating 250-320 watts while pedaling. I'm thinking you could cruise 20mph at 200-250 watts.

Re: Leaf 1000W on a Tour Easy recumbent

Posted: May 23 2016 12:09pm
by cal3thousand
dasingleton wrote:Thanks!

I have gotten back and forth to work three times on one charge, about 52 miles, without any particular care. The power gauge was low but it is just a series of bars and I don't know exactly how close I was to running out of power.

Over the course of the next few days I will try to measure efficiency carefully. I was thinking that I would aim for a consistent 20 mph, minimize gunning it, and see how far a charge takes me. Any better test? The recumbent gains advantage at greater speeds - should I go faster?
You should get a watt meter to know how much juice you are using. You'll start to get an idea of how much you have in the 'tank'. Also, this will give us a Wh/mi efficiency if you can accurately measure the distance traveled.

Re: Leaf 1000W on a Tour Easy recumbent

Posted: May 23 2016 4:18pm
by dasingleton
I just ordered a cheap Watt meter off ebay - I wasn't ready to spend 10% of my costs on a Cycle Analyst. I won't be able to place the meter well but perhaps I can see it if I hook it to my seat below my right arm.

Re: Leaf 1000W on a Tour Easy recumbent

Posted: May 24 2016 10:35am
by dasingleton
Arrgh, it is now so hard to limit my riding to 20 mph for the efficiency test. I have gotten used to 30. How am I ever going to go back to a regular bike, where I used to feel good when I could average 14?

Re: Leaf 1000W on a Tour Easy recumbent

Posted: May 24 2016 8:17pm
by jkbrigman
dasingleton wrote:Arrgh, it is now so hard to limit my riding to 20 mph for the efficiency test. I have gotten used to 30. How am I ever going to go back to a regular bike, where I used to feel good when I could average 14?
BTW: I know I suggested 20-23mph, but that's the "sweet spot speed" I see on an upright bike. I encourage you to take Wh readings at whatever speed works. Maybe 30mph is that much easier for a recumbent to maintain?!?!

Re: Leaf 1000W on a Tour Easy recumbent

Posted: Jun 22 2016 12:23am
by dasingleton
Ok, so I have tried to figure out my efficiency but decided it isn't really an easy question.

First, I just figured out my range. Holding my speed down to 20 MPH and always peddling, I got 73.3 miles out of my theoretical 23.4 amp-hour 48V battery. That number is a good one for me to know, but no reader will know how much or little I am contributing. The answer is that I peddle all the time but I am not working my butt off, if that means anything.

Then I got in a watt meter. Over about 28.7 miles I used 428 watts, so that is about 14.9 watts per mile. That is not as good as some, but again it is a question of how much I contribute. It seems like a better measure will come at a greater speed, but then small changes in the speed will make a big difference in the efficiency.

I will soon be reporting on two new bikes that I have made from Specialized Rolls, one more me and one for my wife.