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Author Topic: guity's gpr-s experience  (Read 26999 times)

guity

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New charger has arrived
« Reply #30 on: September 23, 2009, 12:59:52 AM »

The new charger is massive.  It made by Zivan, apparently, but then re-marketed in the U.S. by a company called ElCon (Electric Conversions TRaction Power Electronics) in Sacramento.  The  model I received says it is an industrial charger, the PFC 1500, 1200 watts at 115 VAC.  Just spoke to Martin over the phone about it, and Martin mentioned that the typical charger for a bike like mine would have been the NG1 model.  My speculation is that once EM figured out that the NG1 was not going to fit inside the bike, they opted for a really large one for unknown reasons.  (Hopefully one of the reasons would be that the big charger can charge really fast.)

The charger has a very short output cord on it, maybe 18-24 inches, so the only way I can charge is to set the charger on the seat of the bike with the output end as close as possible to the bike's plug.  I called EM (Martin) because once I plugged the charger into the bike plug, the led light on the charger glowed a steady red.   There was no mention either in the manual or in the text on the side of the charger as far as what steady red meant.  

The text on the side of the charger only states that flashing red means less than 80% charged, flashing yellow means more than 80% charged, and flashing green means 100% charged.  So I called Martin to see what steady red means.  Martin wasn't really familiar with this particular model of charger.  But his opinion was that the steady red meant the same as flashing red, which is that the batteries are less than 80% charged.  But Martin also mentioned that there is a specific order to plug things in, and that the last thing to be plugged in is the wall outlet.  Otherwise there is danger of ruining the charger.  

So I had plugged the new charger in, in the wrong sequence.  (I had plugged the charger into the electrical outlet and then plugged the charger into the bike plug.)  Oops!  Hope I didn't mess something up...

In the mean time, I spent some time peering in to the space between the top of the gas tank and the top of the highest batteries -- it is quite substantial.  Certainly not big enough for this charger (which is about 14" by 7" by 5.5"), but perhaps large enough for some smaller model which does not perhaps charge as quickly...

***********************
Went back to the bike after it had been charging for 30-60 minutes, and as I was watching it, the charger, which has grown significantly warm, started flashing red in 1-second intervals. 
« Last Edit: September 23, 2009, 01:06:16 AM by guity »
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guity

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Bad start for new charger
« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2009, 08:32:00 AM »

Upon return from an afternoon car ride, 6-7 hours after getting the new charger going, the green light was on steadily (rather than flashing).  Upon firing up the bike, voltage reading was a scant 87.7, a couple volts less than the temporary charger was achieving.  (Martin had predicted, and I had separately calculated, that the new charger would charge the 23 batteries up to their maximum 4.2 volts for a total voltage in the high 90's.)   Drove the bike a mile or so up the hill and back, to see what the voltage would look like when the excess was drained off -- around 78V.  This doesn't bode well for my hopes that the new charger would provide a 10% range increase...

Started the charger up again at around 7PM and will let it run all night to see if all the extra time will allow it to trickle charge a few extra volts into the batteries by tomorrow morning...
« Last Edit: September 28, 2009, 09:08:39 PM by guity »
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guity

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Charger questions
« Reply #32 on: September 23, 2009, 09:15:58 PM »

I am attaching some pictures that may help show what seems to be going on with the new charger.  The highest it seems to be able to charge the batteries to is the high 80's.
 
It appears that the charger is programmed to have 10 options of charging curves (shown in PFC 1500 Curves 40 percent.jpg) .  The only curve that fits with a 60 AH battery is curve 4, I presume, which appears to charge to 3.8v per cell (when I charged with it yesterday, it charged to 23 times 3.8v, or around 87 volts, a couple volts less than the small temporary charger).  
 
I don't know exactly what I am missing by not charging the cells to 4.2 each.  I did follow the manual instructions that you can see in "Choice of Charging Curve.JPG" and did determine that the red light flashed 4 times before it turned green, showing that it is indeed currently set up to use curve 4.
 
The "Choosing another Curve.JPG" picture shows how to change to another curve, but I assume that would not be safe because none of the other curves appear to be set up for handling 60 AH batteries. Otherwise curve 5 at least appears to charge the cells to 4.0 v...
 
One question this brings up with me is the big charger (I measured it at 14" by 5.5 inch by 7") can't fit in the bike, and doesn't charge to a greater capacity than the little charger.  I assume the big charger's only advantage is that it is faster.  But the little charger will fit in the bike and eventually charge to greater capacity.  So the question in my mind is whether there might be some other charger out there that can fit inside the bike, can better utilize the charge capacity of the batteries, and charge fast as well?
« Last Edit: September 23, 2009, 10:00:33 PM by guity »
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guity

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the GPR-S dream road
« Reply #33 on: September 25, 2009, 04:13:53 AM »

Today the GPR-S got to drive on its dream road, Topanga Canyon road, an alternate route for traveling between the beach and the Valley.  It's a twisty road that crosses the small Santa Monica mountains, lots of up and down hill, but you you can go for miles and miles without a single stop.  Starting from a full charge, here were its stats:

76.1 volts left
45.26 AH used
42.81 miles traveled
watt hours 3377
watt hours per mile 79
aMin -6.0
aMax 249.9
vMin 68.6
maxS 52
avgS 32.9
1 hour 17 mins driving time

Note the nearly one-to-one ratio of amp hours to miles, which is by far the best ratio I have ever gotten.  If I drove that road for the 76 amp-hours I used up on September 16, I probably would have gone for more than 70 miles.
Since the drive was probably 60% up or down hill, to me this points out that the killer for these bikes is the energy demanded to put the bike into motion again after a stop.   Nowadays I am looking way ahead for stop signs and red lights and letting up on the throttle way early, and mentally it is getting tougher and toughter for me to come to a full stop at stop signs...
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guity

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New charger stats
« Reply #34 on: September 25, 2009, 07:23:15 AM »

After using up 45 amp-hours I hooked up the new Zivan charger and checked in on it every half hour.  By the time 3 1/2 hours had passed, the led was indicating charge complete.  Also, the number changed very quickly, but it appeared that the initial voltage reading upon turning on the bike was 99, which quickly dropped to 90 and then into the 80's...

******************
Note: next two days I paid VERY close attention to the cycle analyst starting BEFORE I turned the bike on.  Each time it was a 90 that came up at first, nothing more.  The 98 or 99 was probably wishful thinking...
« Last Edit: September 27, 2009, 08:00:09 AM by guity »
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guity

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Top speed
« Reply #35 on: September 26, 2009, 08:26:18 PM »

Going down the 3-mile incline from my place, frustrated that I could never get the bike to go more than 59 mph on the flat, I twisted the throttle all the way.  This is a hill that 10-speeds coast down at about 50 mph.  The motorcycle still only got up to 63 mph!  Is the controller limiting the top speed?  Is the gearing set up in such a way that it requires infinite amounts of energy to go faster than 60?  Is the motor limited to an rpm range that can only yield 63 mph at most?  With the throttle twisted all the way I was only drawing about 70 amps.  Then, when the incline got less steep, the speed remained at 63 mph, while the amps drawn increased to around 130...
« Last Edit: September 27, 2009, 12:18:24 AM by guity »
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TK

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Re: guity's gpr-s experience
« Reply #36 on: September 28, 2009, 08:40:53 PM »

63 MPH is what the bike is geared to for the best acceleration and range.  The bike can be geared anywhere between 45 - 70 mph however gearing to 70 mph will decrease acceleration and range some.  Changing the dive gear for higher speed is not hard however it is not good to gear up all the way until the motor has had a chance to break in.   

TK
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guity

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Re: Top Speed
« Reply #37 on: September 28, 2009, 09:42:53 PM »

Nice!  Thanks TK!  How long does the motor need to break in?  Currently I have 454 miles on the bike and 675 amp-hours...

I really don't want to give up too much acceleration speed to gain top speed, so this isn't a no-brainer for me.  Maybe if it was geared to go 65 mph, that would not subtract too much from its pep off the line?  

Can you tell me what the present gearing ratio is?  I read in a couple of places that the "sweet spot" for a street bike like this would be 5 to 1.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2009, 05:38:35 AM by guity »
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guity

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The joy of GPR-S
« Reply #38 on: September 30, 2009, 09:13:39 AM »

In the last 2 months I have only driven my car once, for a short weekend vacation trip.  I have kept my 1984 Honda XL350R for hauling groceries, and to help me remember and compare between the two bikes.  I'm glad I did because there is a lot of sorting for me to do about what I love about the GPR-S and what I might love about any modern bike.

For instance it is is a huge luxury for me to drive on a bike with working turn signals.  It is equally luxurious to drive on a bike that doesn't have to be kick started.  But just about any bike nowadays has those features, so I can't recommend the GPR-S based on that.  In addition, my commute has been reduced from about an hour average round trip to about 40 minutes round trip.  Rather than parking several hundred yards away from the building where I work if I am lucky to find a spot, I now park forty yards away and so far have always found a spot during the worst parking period of the year.  But again, I could have achieved all these things with any motorcycle.

There is some irony that my commuting time has been cut down, because I actually would prefer to be driving the machine longer, rather than less.  I keep trying to compare the GPR-S to my XL350R to discover why I like it better.  The GPR-S doesn't sit high off the ground and afford a bit of a view like the 350, and it is threatened by small bumps in the road that the 350 wouldn't even notice.

But the GPR-S is much more attractive to drive than the 350, even though I haven't lost my attraction for the older machine.  It's not greenness.  I'm not that kind of guy.  If I get my recyclable plastic and glass distributed into the correct bins I tend to feel more resentful that I had to bother with worrying about that kind of crap rather than smug and self-satisfied about being "green".  

I'm pretty sure it is the noise and vibration, or lack of it, that really make the difference.  You can't ride a gas motorcycle if you don't get used to the noise and vibration, and sooner or later you associate the noise and vibration with an accumulation of bike-riding pleasure so that you start to feel happy at the roar of an engine just like Pavlov's dog drools when the dinner bell rings.  But no matter how much you associate that noise with pleasure, no matter how many times you feel like it's become such a part of you that you can't even hear it or feel it any more, it's still there.  Hundreds of tiny explosions are occurring immediately beneath your butt every minute.  It's brutal, primitive.  An implacable, roaring steel monster had to be summoned and commanded for you to enjoy your gas motorcycle ride.

But the battery-powered machine doesn't shake you and blast your ears.  It floats all smooth and effortless like a magic carpet rather than a quivering, snorting, armored war horse.  There comes a time on the 2 bikes, for me, though, when neither one feels much better than the other.  Around 50 miles an hour, the wind is blowing hard enough so the sound of the XL350 isn't much louder than the sound of the GPR-S.  At that point the bikes are almost equal, and as the speeds rise from there,  the XL350R starts to feel stronger because it still has a little bit more throttle left before it tops out in speed.  

But it's been a long time since I made up some lame excuse that I needed something at the store just so that I could go out and kick start the old XL350R monster...
« Last Edit: October 01, 2009, 12:43:37 AM by guity »
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skadamo

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Re: The joy of GPR-S
« Reply #39 on: September 30, 2009, 08:47:36 PM »


But the GPR-S is much more atttractive to drive than the 350, even though I haven't lost my attraction for the older machine.  It's not greenness.  I'm not that kind of guy.  

This observation is critical to the success of electric motorcycles. Really glad to hear it.

Thanks a lot for all the updates!
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guity

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Re: guity's gpr-s experience
« Reply #40 on: October 01, 2009, 01:28:43 AM »

Hey Skadamo, thanks for the thanks.  I know I'm kind of just filling in blog space, but just in case some schmo like me is trying trying to figure out whether to buy an electric motorcycle, hopefully he can use all this as one more data point for or against...
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guity

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GPR-S
« Reply #41 on: October 01, 2009, 06:07:49 AM »

Damn, I was googling gear ratio and it turned out the best thing for me to be looking at was on the Electric Motorsport web site in the parts section under "sprockets".   I'm thinking the default values in this file match my GPR-S as it is currently set up.  I guess the question is if I move the sprocket size up to 15 or 16, how badly does the torque suffer?
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guity

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Stats after 2 weeks
« Reply #42 on: October 01, 2009, 08:56:31 AM »

This was done after driving to work and back.  Getting lucky at green lights got me through the 9 miles going to work using only a little more than 10 amp hours.

76.4 volts left
18.2 mi driven
25.19 ah used
1842.6 watt hours
101.7 watt hours/mile
aMin -4.0
aMax 257.4
vMin 67.8
maxS 511
avgS 35.8
30 mins 50 seconds driving
cycl 18
total ah 786
total mi 522
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guity

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Accident
« Reply #43 on: October 01, 2009, 09:36:19 AM »

I feel kind of bad about this because even though I don't pretend to represent the EV community, I ran into about 3 cars in busy traffic tonight and anybody who noticed the bike was electric could not have been impressed.

I was splitting lanes to get to a stoplight and was about 3 or 4 cars away when the light turned green.  I started paying more attention to reaching a clear spot in traffic than to where my mirror and the cars' mirrors were in relation to each other, and I also sped up slightly.  My mirror clipped a car's mirror and perhaps something else hit and sent the motorcycle careening into the corner of an SUV ahead and to the right, breaking its taillight lens.  The careening had caused my hand to jerk the throttle which then sent the bike into the right rear corner of an SUV to the left of the first SUV.  I believe the bike struck the second SUV first with the bike's left mirror and then the tire, and sent me over the handlebars to splat flat against the upper rear corner of the second SUV, and then drop to the ground.

The bike fell down on the ground next to the passenger side of the second SUV.  I jumped up off the ground and for some reason all I could think of was that I had to pick the bike up and get it out of the way of traffic.  But in picking the bike up I was stupid enough to not hit the kill switch.  I twisted the throttle while wrestling the bike up off the ground, and the bike did what it is supposed to do, which is lurch forward.  This did the most damage of all, totally broadsiding the second SUV and placing a huge dent in its side.

Needless to say this was a total embarassment, and as icing on the cake it turned out that the owner of the car whose mirror hit mine is someone who is a co-worker (not high odds this would be the case in Los Angeles).  Paramedics were called, a cop showed up, and traffic was probably blocked for a huge stretch all the way back to the Santa Monica freeway and beyond.   

The bike has scratches on its lower left side, the speedometer was broken free of its mounting, and there was an ominous screech caused by the little metal bracket holding the speedomter/odometer magnets close to the wheel.  The bracket was bent inward enough so that it was causing the magnets to scrape against the wheel.  There were scratches all over the front fender and around the headlights.  The seat had been kind of half way torn out of its mount in the back.  There was a piece of the first SUV's taillight lens wedged between the bike's frame and the headlight fairing.  But the bike still ran and after all the information was exchanged and I assured the cop that despite a sore neck I didn't need any medical attention, I went on home.  Body-wise I was lucky -- sore hand, sore neck, scrapes on the forehead and upper foot.  Big bash mark just above the left side of the helmet visor, either from hitting the third SUV or hitting the ground afterward.

First street accident on a motorcycle.  Better be the last, or the next one might be the last without my getting a choice in the matter...

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picasso

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Re: guity's gpr-s experience
« Reply #44 on: October 01, 2009, 09:47:43 AM »

Glad you are OK, Wishing you had a helmet cam...
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