Solar Cargo Bike

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the e wind   1 W

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Solar Cargo Bike

Post by the e wind » Jul 25 2018 12:53pm

Here we go, in preparation for the Sun Trip Tour 2019 I bring you the build thread for our longtail solar cargo bike. If all goes according to plan (lots of plans), than this is the bike that my lovely woman/teammate Rain will be using for the tour.

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It's gonna have (at first) a 9C rear hub, & 40a Grinfineon controller w/ a 48v 13.5ah battery. It also has 2 backup 36v batteries, all 3 of which total just over 1kwh of battery. It's nice to have the 36v to switch to when you need to go up a big mountain, because the bike will top out at ~28 instead of ~34mph (relatively high Kv motor). Because I have an imagination, I left some space in the rear triangle for an RC mid drive to be installed later if I can get around to it in time. I dream to one day use an Astro Flight down in there.

Anyways, this bike will be using the Cycle Analyst v3 solar edition.I downloaded the latest firmware, Alpha release, from a different thread on EF. it works really well. It's super nice to get the mental math out of your head. Yeah, by the way, I'm going to attempt to fit 200w of solar panels on the back and front gear racks. We shall see how much I end up fitting on there.
Last edited by the e wind on Jul 25 2018 1:59pm, edited 2 times in total.
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the e wind   1 W

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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by the e wind » Jul 25 2018 1:09pm

If you zoom in on that first picture above, you may be able to see the dropouts. They are two-piece replaceable dropouts that double as torque arms because of their thickness (5/16 7005-T32 Al!). They are also sliding, so it's easier to install a hubbie or single speed. The replaceable axle/derailleur/disc brake hangars can be changed out to accommodate, for instance, a hollow axle, a derailleur-hangar-delete, or maybe even fatter motors (cromotor?). I mostly wanted them to be replaceable in the event the motor comes loose and messes up the axle hangar - there's too many labor hours in this frame to see it die from something little like that. I once witnessed a guy ruin a very expensive SWB recumbent bike frame b/c he didn't use a good enough torque arm, and messed up his axle hangar. We machined the dropouts on a 2-axis CNC router at our local makerspace (@ Mixxer - Winston Salem, NC) using DraftSight, Fusion 360, and then some home brewed g-code interpreter my friend got off of a forum (free+free+free software LOL). I faced the right side axle hangar 3mm so I was able to make my hub spacing 138mm instead of 135mm. This is because my motor is the 9C that's slightly too fat for a disc brake, and thus, I'm having to do that sucky 3mm washer mod. Again.

Heres a couple action shots with Jon, the intern from Appalachian State U. He's a winner!

Mitering
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Positioning
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Tack glued w/quick set epoxy
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Last edited by the e wind on Jul 25 2018 2:08pm, edited 2 times in total.
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the e wind   1 W

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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by the e wind » Jul 25 2018 1:40pm

Where's the weeed at?

Oh, right...
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[insert bad joke about 'rolling it up']
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the e wind   1 W

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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by the e wind » Jul 25 2018 1:58pm

This build is progressing just like any other home-built bamboo bike w/unique geometry, so there's lots of info out there on the interwebs if you want more info about the particular steps we're taking. We CNC'd the frame fixture set (I'm told that the word jig is not ok to use in the south) out of scrap MDF (spoil boards from the router table), but you can also buy a set online for pretty cheap from Bamboo Bicycle club, or rent one from Calfee. The Calfee DIY video series is probably the single best resource out there. One of the only minor changes we're trying is to use bleeder cloth instead of electrical tape for compression. I'll let you know tomorrow if that was a good or bad idea...

Image

Image
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solarEbike   10 W

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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by solarEbike » Jul 26 2018 12:27am

Nice! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
the e wind wrote:
Jul 25 2018 12:53pm
...40a Grinfineon controller w/ a 48v 13.5ah battery
Assuming you mean lithium, what's your plan for getting access to a 48v 13.5ah battery pack in Europe? Are you arranging to have it shipped before you leave? Will you leave it there when you're done?
SWB recumbent, Grin all-axle hub (5T in 20" wheel), Phaserunner, 6x LiGo battery, 330 watt sun-tracking solar trailer with 3 Genasun MPPT boost controllers (in progress), CA3 (SolarAnalyst firmware), GPS Analogger, Rohloff IGH. Solar ebike build, Website, Instagram, YouTube

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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by the e wind » Jul 26 2018 9:22am

Great question - last time I flew over with a 48v, 7ah LiFePO4 pack in my F'ing carry on. I disconnected it, taped the terminals w/clear tape, etc, to make 4x 12v, 7ah bricks (each @84wh, the limit is 100wh per battery), but I still had to prove to the TSA as well as the airline that I was following all the rules. I was literally flying with a buddy pass ticket provided by one of the airline's current pilots, yet the guy at the check-in counter refused to give me a boarding pass. After showing him the batteries, he actually put a block on my reservation due to my scary looking 'hazardous materials,' called the Hazmat squad, got himself in a real wad. After 5 hours waiting, pulling my hair out, almost cancelled the trip, that guy went home, a happier-looking guy started working, I didn't say anything about my batteries, and he removed the hold and let me on. I just told him that my bike was 'heavy,' nothing about the electric motor. The fist guy had also told me I wan't allowed to take an e-bike on the plane, even with batteries removed. Thanks hoverboards... With about 23 minutes before takeoff, I got in the TSA line. Literally ~12 minutes before takeoff, these guys bust out a binder and try to tell me I can only bring 2 of the 4 cells. I said 'show me the binder.' He pointed to the wrong paragraph, where it talks about 100-160wh spare laptop batteries, meaning you can only have 2 of them. I said dude, look at the next one down, the one that is HIGHLIGHTED IN YOUR GDAM MANUAL!!!! He said ok, let me just swipe for bombs then you can be on your way. And if that wasn't enough, they held the plane for a couple minutes & were making announcements because a lady in first class was late! I had 5 different people tell me I wasn't allowed to do what I was doing, even though I followed every publised rule to the T. This is a warning.

I will never do that again if I can help it!!!!!!!!!! After arriving at the airport 6 hours early, I had to sprint through about 12 terminals, got on JUST in time, and didn't sleep for almost 3 days thru all this b/c I had already stayed up the night before to finish building the bike. I had a ~49lb backpacking backpack, a 49 pound bike box, a separate 25lb box containing solar panels, and a ~25 lb carry on. I dragged all this sh!t through Amtrak stations (they thought my bike was too heavy and got really pissed), the Dulles+Geneva airports, TGV & SNCF trains, and seemingly miles down hallways, streets, omg... I fell over, ripped my pants, bumped into people, probably looked like a str8 hobo, and the TSA had all but destroyed my bike boxes while sniffing for AK47's (how they found time to search these boxes is just beyond me). Thank you Anick from the Sun Trip for recognizing my fatigue, and letting me crash in Chambery after arrival in France - I just wasn't gonna make it all the way to Clermont-Ferrand in my sleepless, zombie state. She literally had to translate my American into English for people b/c I was so out of it...

I should say that Guillaume of the Sun Trip offered to loan me a bike because of the issue I almost had at the airport. He had also previously offered to loan me a 48v battery, which I should have done lol.

Story time over; I hope that anecdote helps at least 1 person looking to travel internationally with their e-bike. Take it seriously, and prepare adequately. If, for instance, you are using LiGo batteries, do your homework to make sure your airline will allow e-drive technology on board - many airlines have banned e-bikes, even with the batteries removed, b/c of (unfounded & misinformed) safety concerns. Again, blame cheap hoverboards for this issue.

Next time, I plan to work with a company called iContainer, and ship our bikes via an LCL shipment from Charlotte, NC, to the port of Marsailles in France. We will then start the trip early in Marsailles and do a little ride testing otw to Le Puy. I spoke with them once so far, and she told me that after I provide a MSDS for the battery, and a filled out bill of lading, then she can make me a quote for the shipment after consulting w/ their agent in FR. I think this only works if the batteries are 'contained in equipment,' so that's how I'll pack the bike. She also mentioned that they like to do there-and-back shipments, or two way, so the return is looking promising as well. Most restrictions for lithium batteries are for air shipping; sea shipping does also have rules, but they're a little more lax than the air reqt's. When I used to work at Organic Transit, this is how we shipped ELF's overseas, although maybe they used a different logistics company. It's still a headache, but a lot easier than normal, say, FedEx type shipping. I'm guessing that this wil come out to $~500, or around $800 for two complete solar bikes. Not cheap. But neither is the plane ticket...
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the e wind   1 W

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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by the e wind » Jul 26 2018 9:28am

BTW your sun-tracking trailer could be in a tech museum, that rig is beautiful. Best o luck with the world tour, and please use my experience to avoid a similar one for yourself.
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the e wind   1 W

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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by the e wind » Jul 26 2018 9:30am

After reading about the solar cycle analyst on your bike, I was able to implement it on mine. I haven't done a lot of miles with it yet, but I really like how much easier it makes things. Thx for the quality info about your build, it helps everyone out.
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LockH   100 GW

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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by LockH » Jul 26 2018 9:36am

:mrgreen: BIG fan of solar... but where's yer Spanker? (ESB "Search found 13 matches: spanker sail") :wink:
ES changed my life (for the waaaaay better).

Eff. June, 2014 Phoenix Ebike Promotions

(Current ride? High speed lawn chair.)
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=57408

Phoenix Ebike Promotions conversion kit (work in progress. More drink holders, etc etc)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=60564

Joined yer local chapter of EA yet?
(Ebikers Anonymous - Where we're all miserable failures, but the parties are hilarious...)

the e wind   1 W

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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by the e wind » Jul 26 2018 11:13am

LOL I have never seen one in real life, but my friend built one and toured around the coast of Scotland with it. Apparently he only fell over 3 times haha. He wanted to use this bike for a Sun Trip, but they vetoed it due to safety concerns!
https://www.thesuntrip.com/participants ... el-joguet/
He said it's great on the beach, but realllly tough on the mountain hills (w/no wind). I can only imagine...
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solarEbike   10 W

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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by solarEbike » Jul 26 2018 12:40pm

the e wind wrote:
Jul 26 2018 9:22am
Great question - last time I flew over with a 48v, 7ah LiFePO4 pack in my F'ing carry on....
Whoa. I wasn't expecting that. My knowledge about transporting Lithium batteries over oceans is entirely theoretical at this point so I appreciate you sharing your first-hand experience.

I was well on my way to designing and building a custom battery pack which would fit inside the boom tube of my trailer when I discovered the LiGo battery. It was a relief to abandon the self-built battery project as I already had my hands full with the tilting trailer. My creation would have almost certainly looked like an improvised explosive device. I imagined airport experiences similar to your own, except with snarling dogs and plastic handcuffs.

Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that a number of travelers have passed through airport security checkpoints relatively unmolested with LiGo batteries. I'm just hoping the current regulations don't change before I finish my tour. (Are there any accounts of someone being denied boarding with a LiGo battery??)

To get a global overview of airline bike policies, I've been reading through this list as well as going to individual airlines' websites for more details. I've seen that some airlines don't want to transport ebikes at all, even with battery removed, but until they can tell me why such a bike is a problem they don't need to know it's an ebike. In a pinch, I could simply put the front wheel with the hub motor in a separate piece of luggage and then it's no longer an ebike.

The 50 lb weight limit will be a challenge. I'm designing the trailer and bike modifications like the tail box fairing around airline luggage size constraints. Every piece need to collapse or fold or roll up and fit into a virtual box I keep next to the bike in the CAD model.

PS: Assuming that rats-nest-in-a-box is in fact hemp fiber, did you have to get in a time machine and order it on the Silk Road darknet or does it just come that way from your local eBay artisanal composites purveyor?
SWB recumbent, Grin all-axle hub (5T in 20" wheel), Phaserunner, 6x LiGo battery, 330 watt sun-tracking solar trailer with 3 Genasun MPPT boost controllers (in progress), CA3 (SolarAnalyst firmware), GPS Analogger, Rohloff IGH. Solar ebike build, Website, Instagram, YouTube

the e wind   1 W

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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by the e wind » Jul 26 2018 4:03pm

LOL I got it from a company that promptly went out of business. Has anyone heard of what happened to 'bamboobikesupplies.com?' IDK, expired domain. I am talking with a local company (in Winston-Salem) who can provide hemp fibers, they're called American Hemp, LLC, and the guy's name is Patrique. Nice guy, he says he can do 50lb packages of hemp bast fiber (that hairy ratty looking stuff) for a good price. I mostly made the connection with him in hopes that I can get access to the first North Carolina hemp harvest; he's currently importing. The first one since the mid 1930's in our lil state... there's a new pilot growing program in NC that's recently been fully authorized, first by fed in 2014, then by state of NC in 2016. The state authorized a grow program, but refused to fund a regulatory board, so you know what happened? a group of mostly former tobbacco farmers got $4million together, and funded the regulatory boad all by their damn selves, because they want access to that money crop. Very exiting. It'd be a nice compliment to the fact that my bamboo comes from an actual Japanese guy (no offense, he's a bamboo expert, makes beautiful Shakuhachis, etc) living in Western North Carolina. I wanted to build the bamboo bike for Sun Trip 2017, even got funded by a business idea competition. But as you know, the time it takes to R&D something tends to be much longer than when you initially write the plan on paper, hence it took me over a year of research to be able to build a quality frame.

Yeah, I really like the idea of using LiGo batteries, I just also like to use 48v b/c I like speed. There's not a great travel battery in 48v, so I have a hair brained wish to switch LiGo's from 36 to 72v using arduino+relays for A) ultra efficient cruising, B) ultra naughty fast commuting.
Last edited by the e wind on Jul 27 2018 11:17am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by the e wind » Jul 26 2018 4:04pm

Also, even if you forget the travel aspect, I think LiGos are a good purchase because of the quality and thoughtfullness of the BMS and potting
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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by the e wind » Aug 21 2018 1:11pm

A lil progress for ya, should be assembling the bike by the end of this week! I got some new pedals and doo dads in from Amazon the other day so now I'm extra exited to put this thing together. Plus I can stop riding the bus to work...

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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by Ebuilt » Aug 26 2018 1:18am

That looks so rad.

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solarEbike   10 W

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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by solarEbike » Aug 26 2018 12:32pm

the e wind wrote:
Aug 21 2018 1:11pm
A lil progress for ya, should be assembling the bike by the end of this week!
I'm getting kind of a Cronenberg vibe. I like it.

Is the hoop winding along the entire length of each tube primarily a structural or aesthetic choice? From what I've been reading about carbon fiber tubing, for most applications the bulk of your fibers will be in the 0° orientation to maximize bending stiffness. I suppose your underlying bamboo fibers are mostly 0° and the outer 90° hoop winding would mainly be there to resist crushing loads and keep the tube from buckling?

Fiber orientations.jpg
  • 0° Fibers maximize bending stiffness. Consider bending the tube over your knee.
  • 45° Fibers maximize torsional stiffness. Typically plied together in an opposing manner, i.e. ±45°. Consider twisting the tube like a vehicle's driveshaft.
  • 90° Fibers maximize crushing stiffness and generally assist in overall tube strength. Consider laying the tube on the ground and stepping on it.
Source: Rockwest Composites
SWB recumbent, Grin all-axle hub (5T in 20" wheel), Phaserunner, 6x LiGo battery, 330 watt sun-tracking solar trailer with 3 Genasun MPPT boost controllers (in progress), CA3 (SolarAnalyst firmware), GPS Analogger, Rohloff IGH. Solar ebike build, Website, Instagram, YouTube

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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by John in CR » Aug 27 2018 7:52pm

Cool bike. I'm with SolarEbike and don't understand the full length winding of the bamboo. Cured boo is strong and rigid, so I'd think it only needs reinforcement fiber and resin at the joints.

the e wind   1 W

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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by the e wind » Aug 30 2018 7:08am

Yeah it is mostly an aesthetic choice; I wanted the frame to look like composite construction, more like carbon, instead of some kichy, gilligans island style bike. Bamboo bikes are really, um, cute, but I wanted something that looks just a tad more grown up. I think that doing an epoxy pigment with this type of frame would have great results; I want to try colors like black, orange, light blue, but such that you can still see through to the fibers.

Other reasons:
- it is definitely acting as reinforcement; yes, the bamboo is on a 0deg bias, so the hemp essentially turns one of bamboo's weak points into an asset.
- the full wrap will make the frame more resistant to cracking. This would never really be an issue on a regular bike, or even a regular e-bike, but I wanted this thing to have some real utility capability & a ridiculous safety factor (passenger on rear, towing, doing stupid stuff, going >45mph down a hill, bumping around offroad, upgrade to 72v, u name it)
- even if I do get a crack in the bamboo, you wouldn't be able to see it, or even notice for that matter... with bamboo, you're often able to ignore small frame cracks since most strength comes from the long fibers. Since this is only my 2nd frame build, I'm just going overboard in every aspect to make sure it'll ride right when I need it to.
- I'd like to do a little bit of crude strength testing, b/c I have a theory that I'd be able to slim down the diameter of my bamboo tubes if they're wrapped with the hemp also. That should yield a lighter weight frame overall with very similar, or even better ride quality to a regular bamboo bike. But hey, I gotta wait until the concrete breaker is available for that test...
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Re: Solar Cargo Bike

Post by the e wind » Nov 09 2018 1:52am

Ok, so finally got to the clear coat. Onto preparing head tube: I was 1mm off, so I ordered a Cyclus head tube reamer. It's much cheaper than the Park Tool version, just took a week or so to get here.
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Finallyyyy
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It ain't done yet, but I can't not ride it...
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