Solar Trike

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the e wind   1 W

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Solar Trike

Post by the e wind » Feb 25 2018 10:06am

Hey all,

Here I will be documenting a solar trike build. I've been wanting to build a solar trike/velomobile for several years, but this project is only happening now because 1) my car broke down (need of transportation options), and 2) a friend is letting me borrow the trike itself (sheer luck). I have all the necessary electrical components in my shop from previous projects, so it feels sort of like a 'Junkyard Wars' type challenge.

I will be running a 25a Grinfineon controller with two batteries: a 36v 11.5ah AllCell, as well as a 36v 10ah generic chinese battery as backup. The design allows for me to hop up to 72v in the future if desired, and I will also be able to manipulate the top speed through changing the gears on the reduction. (I can't shake the idea of eventually using a relay-based voltage switcher on some LiGo batteries, which would enable me to switch the battery connections with a button and jump from 36v to 72v).

Attached is a picture of the trike as it currently sits; all I have done so far was install a new crank boom, tighten the brakes, and mount a rear rack.
E-Bikes are like E-mail.
Current Ride - Solar Cargo Bike (almost done!) viewtopic.php?f=6&t=95452

Cephalotus   1 kW

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Re: Solar Trike

Post by Cephalotus » Mar 04 2018 1:28pm

sadly I can not see a picture.

I'm very interested in your project.

the e wind   1 W

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Re: Solar Trike

Post by the e wind » Jun 12 2018 3:07pm

Hey sorry,

here it is. I finally got imgur working ok.

Image
E-Bikes are like E-mail.
Current Ride - Solar Cargo Bike (almost done!) viewtopic.php?f=6&t=95452

AF7JA   100 W

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Re: Solar Trike

Post by AF7JA » Jun 12 2018 3:37pm

I hope to see your build. I built one and rode it from Kansas to Utah (Including over the Rockies, I never plugged in, not even once). This coming year I expect to build another. However, this new one is going to have the panels on a trailer.

the e wind   1 W

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Re: Solar Trike

Post by the e wind » Jun 14 2018 8:41am

Just curious: Why are you electing to put them on a trailer? Is it so you can use the solar to charge different bikes, or is it for stability reasons?
E-Bikes are like E-mail.
Current Ride - Solar Cargo Bike (almost done!) viewtopic.php?f=6&t=95452

AF7JA   100 W

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Re: Solar Trike

Post by AF7JA » Jun 14 2018 2:41pm

the e wind wrote:
Jun 14 2018 8:41am
Just curious: Why are you electing to put them on a trailer? Is it so you can use the solar to charge different bikes, or is it for stability reasons?
Mostly stability. What you can't see in my pictures is that the panels took on a list to the right. It wasn't a trip ender; but I was frequently reaching up to steady them. I had a trailer on the trip anyways, this would just make it more useful.

Otherwise, I want to be able to easily angle the panels to catch the morning sun. I general, I just think it will work better on a trailer. Also I think it would be easier for just using the trike as a runabout.

I am also playing with the idea of leaving clear space for lying on the trailer with the panels angled to the sun.

I liked having the panels overhead as a sun, and rain, shade. It isn't all one is best; I just want to give it a try on a trailer.

the e wind   1 W

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Re: Solar Trike

Post by the e wind » Jun 14 2018 3:23pm

I would of course like to have panels over my trike, but have thought about doing a trailer as well b/c I can already barely fit the trike into my basement (where my e-bikes live). As is, have to pickup the trike and carry it in sideways. This will be impossible if I do a normal solar canopy, and very difficult at best if I opt for a more velomobile-style shape. Plus if the solar is on a trailer, I can use different bikes depending on different adventures. I know a couple guys with solar trikes who had issues with their panel mounts flopping around.

We'll see what happens. If I can design a velomobile body that fits through a door, then maybe I'll do it, but otherwise, it'll probably end up being a trailer.
E-Bikes are like E-mail.
Current Ride - Solar Cargo Bike (almost done!) viewtopic.php?f=6&t=95452

the e wind   1 W

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Re: Solar Trike

Post by the e wind » Jun 14 2018 3:26pm

Here is a picture of my friend's trike, dubbed the 'Sexy Rocket.' You had to have been there to get the name, it's a lot funner when the Swiss guy says it.

Image

The battery capacity limit, as per the Sun Trip Tour regulations, was 1100wh, so he has 1082. That gives you an idea of how well thought out this build is. He used cedar as the PV mount b/c he maintains it was a better material for the application than aluminum.
E-Bikes are like E-mail.
Current Ride - Solar Cargo Bike (almost done!) viewtopic.php?f=6&t=95452

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The Toecutter   1 kW

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Re: Solar Trike

Post by The Toecutter » Aug 30 2018 11:12am

the e wind wrote:
Jun 14 2018 3:23pm
If I can design a velomobile body that fits through a door, then maybe I'll do it, but otherwise, it'll probably end up being a trailer.
That's not an impossible task. My KMX with added front suspension is 39" wide, and I designed a body shell that fits on it that allows me to rotate the trike sideways and fit it through a doorway.

Old Pics:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=66772&start=150#p1350635

A description of how I would fit it through my doorway:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=66772&start=150#p1350932

Videos of it going down the street at 30 mph:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=66772&start=175#p1402653

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