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Friday, August 28, 2009

Care Package--Christmas in August

JEB, a very generous person that found my project via Endless Sphere's EV forums, sent me a care package of some things that might be useful. I didn't really have any idea what to expect; mostly I figured it might be scrap bike parts and stuff like that, leftover from his own projects.

But it was better than that. :-)

That's the box, on the kitchen table.

Of course, it was opened as carefully as possible, not knowing the contents. This USPS box design is pretty good; it has a couple of straps that pass up from the bottom that can be secured to the inner flaps to hold them down, making it a lot more secure in shipping than if it only was taped together on the outer flaps. I think you could ship a couple of lead-brick wheelchair batteries in here. Seriously.

Not much popcorn. Generally that means that with a box this full, there must be lots of goodies. ;-)

This is the overview of what's in there. Just the stuff closer than the computer tower and cooking implements.

There's an HF battery cutoff switch, which I've been needing (all I really had before that'd be appropriate for that was some household-circuit-breaker sized switch/breakers, from a stage lighting system, but which each weigh a lot more than I'd want to use just for a cutoff switch (plus whatever mounting method I'd have to use).

Radio Shack analog meter. I love analog displays. They just have a...visual texture to them that digital ones can't meet. :) I used to have one by some other company, similar to it but larger, but I have not seen it in years (I also had abused it before I understood enough about how to use it to have damaged it some, so it never gave accurate readings).

Even though digital gauges might be more accurate than analog, and easier to instantaneously read a value from, the analog response is faster, usually, and you can see swings in the readings
that you do not get to see in the digital ones. Having both would be the best ideal, but that's only easily achieved in software with a pixellated display. Then the response time is slowed, because it's still being sampled and digitized and then displayed.

Perhaps it will become a part of the bike instrumentation panel, to monitor battery pack voltage and the like.

There's two angle grinders look serviceable, though the note explains they're old and not used for years, so I'll probably check and clean bearings and such before trying them out. Same for the straight grinder, which is potentially even more useful, as it's like a heavy-duty version of my Dremel (minus the variable speeds).

Even the variable speeds can be done, because I still have the power controller out of the treadmill my motor came from, which simply took rectified AC and switched it on and off. If this motor will take DC (haven't checked yet, but most power tools will), then I can simply put an AC-style outlet on the treadmill controller board, plug it into the grinder, and have a variable speed controller for the grinder. :) It's slightly more complicated than that, but not much.

The 30A-range panel meter is going to go on the bike today, so I can see what current draw I have directly during operation. I just have to splice it into the battery line or motor power supply line. (I am considering making it switchable between the two). At the moment I'm more interested in motor current, so I'll probably do that first.

The nuts and bolts and washers--very useful. I've been running out of matching ones large enough to be usable for the bike without being too large for the purpose. These are identical in threading and size to some I'm already using, including those on the wheelchair battery posts. There's at least two lengths of the same thread/size bolt, plus nuts and washers that match.

The cutoff wheels are an amusing thing, because I had just a day or so ago been looking around for and not finding the identical pack of them I am *sure* I had around here somewhere, and had to use a modified 3" wheel instead (had to bore out the center hole to fit the arbor). The smaller wheels sure don't last very long. :)

All the other wheels/etc (even the well-used ones) are helpful, because they will be used until there is no more nub left. :) The brush should really help with cleaning up some of my welds and such. Much easier than the manual method.

There's also some small brushes and some electrical tape (can't ever have too many rolls of that around, as it is nearly as handy as duct tape and zip ties).

Then there is the big surprise: A Curtis 1204-410 motor controller.

48V/125A 1-hour rating (200A 5-minute rating, 275A 2-minute rating). I presume it's dead, since it's been opened up, but haven't tested it. There's no obvious blown parts or anything, so whatever is wrong is probably going to take some work to find. It should be very useful once fixed. I'll have to check it out and see what's wrong soon. I'd hoped to find schematics available online, even if just reverse-engineered, but there weren't any in about 30 minutes searching. Otmar of (home of the Zilla) has partial documentation of a different model, and that will probably help some since I'm sure the engineering culture is similar enough between the two to figure things out from there.

There are also pics of his own projects (since he doesn't have a web presence for them), which are very interesting; a regular recumbent with ICE on an extension frame, a recumbent trike with electric assist, and an electric pusher trailer, amongh others.

I like his style of doing things in these projects; they're much better made than mine, but also appear to be salvage at least in some part.

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