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Monday, September 3, 2007

Desired Features

1-- A way to keep as constant motor load as possible. Right now, that calls for using the drivetrain from a bike, including derailers and sprockets, to shift gears to keep as optimum a gear-ratio as possible. Unfortunately it'll be manual shifting for now, which will be difficult to do in addition to the shifting for the pedal-drivetrain, which must be used as well.

2-- At least a 10-mile range, double that if possible. 10 should be fine as long as I can charge at my destination(s), but that won't always be possible.

3-- Security: Everything must be as integral to the bike as possible, so it's harder to steal a part off of it. Looking really crappy is fine, as it makes it less attractive a target, in many cases. I'd love to be able to simply have the whole motor, controller, and batteries be quick-disconnects so I could take them into a store in a bag while shopping, but unfortunately shoplifters have caused most stores to not allow bags to be brought in at all, because the owners/managers don't want the responsibility of watching over them at a counter, and they also don't want to risk losing merchandise (both problems I understand). But since I have no way to "lock them up" other than making them as integral to the bike as possible, and then securing the bike itself as thoroughly as possible, that's pretty much the best I can do in most situations. Of course, they can always steal the whole thing, but I couldn't do much about that even if it wasn't modified, that I'm not already. (need a better bike cable/lock, though)

3a-- Alarm: Placed in a sealed part of the controller case, so if someone starts to cut the cable or whatever, it goes off. If I could get that to set off a radio-receiver alert I could carry with me, it'd be good, too, but just the noise should help. Ideally, I'd like to add a celphone with GPS tracking enabled to it that autodials 911, maybe the police would catch them and recover the bike if I did. :-) I'd probably get in trouble for that one, though.

4-- Panniers: I've got baskets right now, on all 4 quadrants. These are centered above the wheel axles, and thus cause balance problems while loaded with anything (like groceries). They need to be replaced with secure hardcased panniers, centered about the axles, with just enough clearance above ground to allow for turns and such. Maybe 5-6 inches. The tops should be about that far from the wheel tops, too. I'd like the lids to open outward, so I can latch them down to the sides, and carry tall stuff where needed. They need to be completely enclosed, and stick no farther out than the ends of the handlebars.

5-- Lights: I've already got a fluorescent lamp headlight with milkplex diffuser, converted from a filmstrip/slide scanner adapter off a dead HP scanner. It gives me a very wide area of illumination, and lets cars see me from quite a ways away, with no point source to blind them (which I'd have if I went all-LED, unless I put the same diffuser in front of them, too). Tailight is at the moment just a flashing standard bike red LED light, with trim around the edges of the rear baskets made of red EL wire out of an old case-mod PC drive cable--this is only there to let people close to me in traffic see where the edges of my bike are, if the reflectors are not in their headlight beams (common when I'm not right in front of them, like when they're passing me). The LED taillight runs on it's own pair of AAA batteries right now, and the other two are powered by a 1400mAh 12v gelcell. Haven't tested it's actual limits yet, but it runs for at least an hour with no drop in brightnesses, and the same again next day without charging up again. I'll keep the separate battery for lights even when I have batts for the motor, just so I know each will work on it's own. Gotta have lights at night, even if I have no motor. Roadkill might happen otherwise.

6-- A really comfortable seat that still allows me to pedal easily. I have tried a number of different things, but all give me the numb-cheek-stumble when I get off the bike after a couple of miles or so. Along this same line, handlegrips that are comfortable, and don't make my hands numb after a couple of miles (less on bumpy gravel and such). I'm guessing part of it might be the handlebars' angle, but I'm not sure. Different grip materials cause the problem to lesser or greater degrees, but so far none have been great. I have not yet tried casting my own from gel silicone, which is certainly an option.

7-- Regenerative braking as an addition to the friction brakes already on the bike. As I understand it, Regen would work better at faster speeds, and I know the friction brakes don't work as well at those speeds, so where one falls off the other will work better. That ought to help me slow down very quickly in the many situations that will need it. This complicates the design again, and it's not *necessary*, but I'd like to have it. If it would greatly simplify things to not have it, or would unecessarily complicate things to have it, I'll leave this out.

8-- For Regen to work, I need to use PMDC (permanent magnet direct current) Brushed type motors, AFAIK. So finding a cheap but quiet and hopefully reliable motor would be useful. If not using Regen, then Brushless DC motors are the next choice, as they're supposed to be more efficient than brushed motors (due to less friction from not having a commutator, I think).

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