October 25, 2010
Much thanks to D&G Green Products for their support http://www.dggreenproducts.com/
My team and I are building a solar powered trike for a solar innovation contest. I do not have much information as of now, but i did pick up the solar panels today. I am still working out the finer details. I know i will need some lead acid batteries, a motor, a trike, speed control, and a charging circuit. If you have any advice, feel free to leave it in a comment :) No i dont get to keep the solar panels, they are the school's :(
I went driving around town looking for an adult tricycle to buy. Well i found a store that sells tricycles but they were a bit steep for a school project budget, but the goldmine i hit was the owner of this store. His whole house runs on solar power, he has made many electric trikes before, he has all the components to do exactly what i need. He is basically an expert in this. I lucked out finding such a person in my town.
He led me to his back storage where he was able to sell me a scooter which has most of the parts we need for $30.
The scooter didnt have a chance...
What i needed from it was its control box...
... 36v motor...
and maybe chain and sprocket
The batteries are shot
The throttle, key switch ( I left the keys at the guys shop), motor, and batteries plug into the control box. This will read the throttle and control the speed of the motor. Easy enough.
I still need to acquire a trike, batteries, and a charging circuit. The last 2 i can get from the guy. Then the building can really begin.
Maybe next year we will do a solar powered unicycle ;)
Well the trike is running on electricity!
"wait, the last update was when you took apart the scooter and now you have an electric trike?" YES!
The biggest hassle was not building it, that only took 2 days. The hardest part was finding a cheap tricycle, that took months.
The whole thing was basically built with those scooter parts which is pretty cool i think. Motor, chain, sprocket, motor mount, throttle, key switch, and speed controller came from that scooter. The batteries came from another scooter also.
Sorry no real construction photos because like I said, it was built extremely fast.
The hardest part of the build was the motor mount. The best place to put it was in the back so the chain did not have to be broken (It had no master link). The chain and sprocket is from the scooter since it was made to fit the motor.
You can still pedal the bike also, due to some fancy bike part that I do not know the name of. It is the thing that the sprocket is bolted to and that slips on the axel. (seen below) Basically when the motor is spinning, it spins the sprocket and the axel making the tires move. When you are pedaling, that magical bike part free spins and does not spin the motor's shaft.
The trike has a shifter on the right handle bar because this is a 3 speed. I did not want to tamper with that so i put the right hand throttle on the left handle bar ( I am a lefty anyway)
Everything else goes in the basket.
you have the key switch
The batteries costs $5 for all three. They are old but have been de-sulfated so it was a very good deal considering new ones are $40 a piece. They are 12v 12AH and are wired in series.
So there you have it for now. It runs good. Next I need to add the solar panels.
I have the solar chargers now. I bought 3 of them, one for each battery. Next i have to make a cart for the solar panels to sit on and be pulled behind the trike. I will have to change some of the wiring but that should be easy.
The cart is almost done.
We had a $20 trike we bought laying around so we figured the back end was good enough to use as the cart. Sorry no photos before it was ripped in half and painted, you can imagine...
The tires where garbage
So with support from the same local bike shop, we had all new wheels, tires, and a shaft lended to us for the project. We shouldnt need the cart after we give the solar panels back, unless some one wants to donate solar panels :).
So in the end, with a shiny coat of paint you have this
Wheels still have the price tag on them
Next the trike has to be hitched to the trike, but here is an idea of what it will look like. Bars will run across the cart to hold the solar panels.