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Soyachips' Electric Vespa

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    Posted: 10 August 2010 at 10:12pm
Chassis                   1967 Vespa 150 (VBB)
Motor                      Briggs and Stratton Etek brushed DC motor
Transmission           2-stage ANSI #40 chain
Speed Controller     Alltrax AXE4834
Batteries                 GP Batteries GP30EVLF, 16 cells, 51.2 volts, 1.5kWh
Throttle                   Magura 0-5k twist grip

Top Speed              70km/h estimated
Range                     30km estimated

I started this project with a friend just over a year ago and we are now going through the process of getting it registered. The trickiest bits have been modifying the original swing arm to attach the motor (whilst keeping the original look of the scooter) and working out how to do the throttle. Once it’s registered I’ll be able to see what the actual top speed is but it already feels like I’ll have to reduce the gearing to get up to 70km/h. Also very interested to see what the range is like.

Edited by soyachips - 10 August 2010 at 10:40pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote soyachips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2010 at 10:37pm
One of the first things we did was look at how we could attach the motor to the original swing arm and have it fit under the cowling.

Initially we tried a single-stage transmission with the motor shaft facing out but the drive sprocket would have been quite bit and would have stuck out too far.

We ended up facing the motor in and using a 2-stage transmission which was more complicated but it meant everything would fit and the second stage chain and sprockets are hidden away.



View of the first set of sprockets and chain.



Smaller version to reposition the motor.



Testing with the cowling on.



Edited by soyachips - 22 August 2010 at 3:56pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote soyachips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2010 at 11:23pm
After working out where the motor was meant to go, we then played around with different designs for the position of the counter/jack shaft, how to hold the bearings, how to adjust chain tension, etc. before getting it fabricated.

For a while we thought about doing the work (or some of the work) ourselves but we didn't have the right tools or expertise to do it properly. In the end we got Extreme Creations (http://www.extremecreations.com.au/) who customise motorcycles to fabricate the motor mount. Although it was a bit expensive, it's the most important mechanical part of the whole conversion and I'd rather have peace of mind than something go wrong at 70km/h! The quality of their work is excellent and I'd highly recommend them.

We supplied CAD drawings which were used to machine the two aluminium plates. One of the plates is welded to the swing arm whilst the other is bolted on to form a box structure. We used 16mm aluminium which seems a bit overkill but the bearings are recessed into them.

Machining the inside plate that the motor attaches to.





The slots are to adjust the tension of the chain.



Machining the outside plate.







The whole swing arm and motor weighs less than the original ICE and no more oil or petrol to worry about!



Edit: Added link to Extreme Creations.

Edited by soyachips - 12 August 2010 at 10:19pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote soyachips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2010 at 11:28pm
While this was going on we had the body cleaned up and spray painted.



Edited by soyachips - 10 August 2010 at 11:36pm
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Putting the new swing arm back into the frame for the first time.



Wheels back on for the first time in 6 months!



Off the stand.



Cowling on.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Johny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 August 2010 at 8:59am
How great to see the old Vespa reborn! Very tidy conversion.
Where are the batteries hiding?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote a4x4kiwi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 August 2010 at 9:52am
Very nicely done!

Did you purchase your batteries through GPB direct, or elsewhere? I have been eying up there NiMH, and the cells you have used.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote soyachips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 August 2010 at 6:24pm
Originally posted by Johny Johny wrote:

Where are the batteries hiding?

Good question! The pack is divided into 4 modules with 4 cells in each held together with steel straps. Each module weighs about 5 kg.



Two of them are under the left cowling along with the 12V accessories battery. The fuses are also here which can be accessed through a door on the cowling.







The other two modules go under the seat where the fuel tank used to be. One of them sits vertically and the other one lies at an angle against the inside wall.



We made up some aluminium brackets to hold the batteries in place and provide somewhere for the speed controller to sit. The contactor and BMS also go in here so it's a pretty tight fit!



Final battery locations, test wiring and main circuit fuse.



Edited by soyachips - 11 August 2010 at 6:29pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote soyachips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 August 2010 at 8:12pm
Originally posted by a4x4kiwi a4x4kiwi wrote:

Did you purchase your batteries through GPB direct, or elsewhere? I have been eying up there NiMH, and the cells you have used.

I got the batteries directly through EVB Technology which is part of GP Batteries. The GP30EVLF cells cost US$80 each.

If you're interested, the person to talk to is:

Ming Chu
Business Manager
EVB Technology LTD
4/F., Gold Peak Building, 30 Kawi Wing Road, Kwai Chung, N.T., Hong Kong
Email: ming_chu@goldpeak.com
Tel : +852 2484 3674
Website: http://www.evbtech.com/

Edited by soyachips - 12 August 2010 at 8:16pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 7circle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 August 2010 at 5:37pm
(Edit:Oops ..LF = Lithium + Iron 3.2V per cell and $80/cell
All below is stuff up... for NiMH)

So the battery pack was $80 per block of 4 (1.2Vcells)

google cache spec GP30EVLF
(couldn't get onto the evtech site)

1.1kg each so x4 4.4kg + terminal links and straps 5kg x 4 = 20kg plus accessory battery.
4x $80 =$320 for (4 x 4.8V= 19.2V) x 30Ah = 576Wh
$320/576Wh = 55.6¢/Wh (Edit: should be $1280 / (51.2V x 30Ah) = 83¢/kWh)[Edit again 83¢/Wh ge' it write/right typo terror of error]
Sorry, couldn't help myself, just wondering about the NiMh costings.

Where did you hide the motor controller?
And did you use a switch on the brake lever?

Looks great. Look forward to a Vid.

[Edit: Sorry Soyachips, my ignorance of your System voltage was blinkered)

Edited by 7circle - 21 August 2010 at 1:21am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote antiscab Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 August 2010 at 8:49pm
although those batteries look like the nimh cells from a vectrix,
they very much are lifepo4...

$80 for 30Ah is quite pricey...
soyachips, was there anything in particular that drew you to Gold Peak LiFePO4? (patents, warranty, etc?)


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote soyachips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 August 2010 at 8:53pm
The cost per Wh isn't quite as good as that. Each cell is US$80 so block of 4 is US$320 and the nominal voltage is 3.2V not 1.2V so the calculations are more like:

16 x US$80 = US$1,280 for (16 x 3.2V = 51.2V) x 30Ah = 1,536Wh
US$1,280/1,536Wh = 83.3¢/Wh

No idea about the NiMh costings.

The controller sits just above the batteries under the seat.





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote soyachips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 August 2010 at 5:39pm
The motor is being run CCW which is the opposite to the way it was designed to run. I've read about some people having problems with this, mainly to do with wearing through the brushes faster than normal so I wanted to see what they look like new. Was also curious how difficult it would be to clean it all out.

Brush cover off.



View of the armature inside. There's a great video here with a guy from LEMCO motors explaining the design of these type of motors.



There are 8 brushes with alternating polarities. The brushes are designed for CW rotation. When we first started running the motor CCW it was a bit noisy/squeaky but after a bit of running in it's much quieter.



Need to make sure they don't wear down too close to the brass? holders.



Edit: Added link to LEMCO motors video

Edited by soyachips - 16 August 2010 at 1:00am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote soyachips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 August 2010 at 9:46pm
Originally posted by antiscab antiscab wrote:

$80 for 30Ah is quite pricey...
soyachips, was there anything in particular that drew you to Gold Peak LiFePO4? (patents, warranty, etc?)Matt

Unfortunately there's not much space to put batteries so I had to use something that gave me at least 48V and would fit. I also looked at the 40Ah Thunder Sky LiFePO4 cells but they were too big. The GP batteries are a bit smaller and they only just fit, especially under the seat.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 7circle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 August 2010 at 1:16am
Yonu might have beat many Vetrix owners to have Lithium Iron.

Pity about the motor rotation.
The wear would shift dust into the center instead of throwing is away from the center.

Have you felt the copper commutator surface. It may be angled like a grater and your brushes may end up like parmisane cheese.
But I've never had one of these motors in my hand, so don't quote me
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote soyachips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 August 2010 at 8:25am
Thanks for the input ... I'll keep a close eye on it once I start riding it around more to see how the brushes are wearing and also to see how much dust there is. I've been wondering if I should have gone for a brushless DC motor like the Mars ME0201013001 instead. Looks almost exactly the same so it would probably still fit under the cowling.

Edit: Fixed Mars motor model number and added link to manufacturer's website.

Edited by soyachips - 16 August 2010 at 8:31am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote soyachips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 August 2010 at 10:23pm
Wiring diagram

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote soyachips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 September 2010 at 12:00am
Got the scooter registered yesterday so I'm now legal ... wohoo!!!!

Took it for a ride last night but my 12V battery got so low that the contactor wouldn't stay closed and I ended up having to push the scooter home

I then charged it up for about an hour and took it out for another run and the same thing happened. Could be that I'm not waiting long enough for it to charge, there's a problem with my wiring or I've got an unhealthy 12V battery. Need to do some investigation on the weekend.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 7circle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 September 2010 at 2:36am
Congrates, are you going to get personalised Rego Plates ?
Might have to get my Vespa Singlet Signed by you.
It's got an orange vespa of the same era as yours.
A friend gave it to me.

Your mentioning of a low 12V battery prompts me about frequent thoughts on the BMS blead off and how else to use that energy and value.

Any way I'll start a new thread for it

So with your 12V battery, it looks like a Gel Lead Acid 12V / 18Ah.
What is the voltage before and after charging.
Like a car battery you want it to be over 13.5 V when full.

It might be worth investing in a cheap DC clamp meter. My cheap one is a bit of pain as you need to zero before any measurements and it drifts in 15 seconds. But I still recon its ace as I don't need to pull apart the wires.

Jaycar QM1562. 40A DC range with 0.01A steps.
They may have better ones now.

And how was the registration process.
Did they ask a thousand questions or was it a dream.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote soyachips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 September 2010 at 10:32pm
Registration wasn't too bad. The blue slip was pretty straight forward checking things like lights, horn, brakes, no rattling in the headset, etc. For the engineering certificate we took a mockup of the modified swing arm and motor mount to the engineer to review the design and get his input early on so he was aware of what we were doing and we kept in touch throughout fabrication with questions we had. The inspection itself went smoothly. The actual registration at the RTA took a long time. Not exactly sure why but something to do with reviewing the engineering certificate which was already in the system before moving onto the next step which was causing some problems. At one stage there were four people crowded around the one computer trying to work out what to do. There was also a bit of hesitation about what to enter for some of the questions like number of cylinders, etc. but their computer system seems set up to process EVs without any problems which is great.

Hadn't really thought about personalised number plates before but might see what's available. Will check the voltage after charging tonight to see if it's getting up to 13.5 V, thanks for the tip!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EV2Go Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2010 at 4:21am
Congrats soyachips on a tidy looking conversion, I hope it brings you many miles of hassle free riding.
I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather, not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acmotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2010 at 8:39am
Great re-birth of a classic ! Well done soyachips

Is that a 6Ah SLA for the 12V system ?
It won't hold up the system for long.
Yes, measure the 12V current with headlights on as well. Maybe 10A?
The SLA would only last 10 minutes at that rate. A DC-DC would be required off the main traction pack to keep it charged ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote soyachips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 September 2010 at 10:59am
Thanks for the feedback guys!

Regarding the 12V battery, its only a 5Ah SLA ... not sure what the current draw with headlights on is but it's only lasting around 10 minutes as you said. After charging overnight the voltage is 12.7V which isn't quite 13.5V as 7circle said it should be but I'm not sure how unhealthy this is. I could get a bigger battery but I'm leaning towards a DC-DC converter.

Of the DC-DC converters I've seen, the cheaper ones are non-isolated and the more expensive ones are isolated. If I'm using the frame to ground my 12V circuit, is it a bad idea to use a non-isolated converter?

Also is using the frame to ground the 12V circuit a bad idea? Is this mainly because of resistance? Any idea how big a difference would it make if I didn't use the frame to ground?

Thanks!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 7circle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 September 2010 at 2:32am
Wow, only 5Ah, The GP batteries are smaller than I was imagining.
So the Pb 12V/5Ah is the size of a coffee cup.
Cheap similar battery from Jaycar Spec 12V 4.5AH pdf
Was the charger connected when you measured the 12.7V?
If it was with the charger disconnected and the key-switch in ON position then the battery is okay.

ACmotor's spot on, it wont hold up long with 10A load.

As 10A is 2C (10/C=5Ahr) the Jaycar spec graph shows 11.4A is flat in only a 8 minutes. (Flamin' 100W head lights)

The poor battery will be drained to past 30% SOC often, leading to battery failure far to quickly.

Their 18Ah 12V will last 60Min with 10A load.
Fitting bigger battery could be cheaper initially.

Would you agree with:
The main reason for having a separate 12V battery is to allow for brake light, indicators, head lights and tail lights to continue to operate if the main traction battery has a failure.
Once you have moved the scooter to a safe place then you might leave an indicator ON.


So if you use the 5Ah battery without a DC/DC you will have limited backup power when you need it, as it could have drained to below 50%SOC when you need to use it.

I'm not sure if have to have a back up batttery.
The Vectrix doesn't have a separate battery.
As the Vespa originally had one, it may make registration easier to keep it in-line with original vehicle manufacturing.
NCOP-14 §2.5 talks about single power source and priority of power to brakes and headlights.

If you are considering the DC/DC instead of a much bigger 12V battery, what power rating would you need.
Or can you use a more efficient light source for the head lamp?
Either way what does it cost?

So what DC/DC's have you looked at?
You mentioned that some are isolated and are more expensive.
And what were the ones that aren't isolated?
It's unclear to me that the Traction battery needs to be electrically isolated from the accessory battery circuit. It "could" be taken that "isolated" means "not interfering with the operation of".

What size 42-60V DC to 13.8VDC Max/Adjusted step-down DC/DC power supply. 150W?
If the headlamp is 100W 13.8V/7.2A
And other loads are less than 2.8A then power is 138W

Also, you could consider a parallel diode and resistor circuit for charging so that the DC/DC won't over charge the Lead Acid battery.

Hopefully a 150W power supply can be found for under $100.
Try:
AMTEX PAH150S48 - 15: -40% to +10% trim. Bolted to chassis for heat sink.
SNAPTEC 120W GB2-120-4813.8,
or others. (not easy to find locally)
Fully sealed, no fan, overload protected etc...

Also did you sort out the Cycle analyst Min Voltage reading?

And you may consider fuses feeding the 12V control circuit as not shown in schematic.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acmotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 September 2010 at 9:19am
Typically you need a 12V system to operate contactors etc to bring up the traction system. (otherwise the traction pack system and DC-DC would need to be live all the time)

The vespa headlight is likely to be 40W? ( you could fit a 35W HID )

At the 51.5V, nominal I'd not be too concerned about actually grounding to chassis the -ve of the traction pack and using a non isolated DC-DC. Its not quite the danger of a higher voltage pack. You'd make the traction pack -ve connection to chassis by a say 3A fuse that would blow to protect things. The 12V system could not rise much in voltage with the SLA across it and the fuse would blow in the case of a fault.
You can always add a power zener (15V) across the 12V system.
The risk is that of spanner work and also the risk of blowing the 12V system if just one short of traction to 12V +ves if the -ves are already connected.
All that aside, the intention of NCOP14 is that the traction pack voltages are kept as separate as possible from the chassis and 12V system and that there is battery capacity to operate the accessories if the traction pack is flat or faulty.   

So go the isolated DC-DC.

The 5Ah SLA is fine in capacity if there is a DC-DC.
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