The scary insides of my electric motor

19 04 2010

My Wisper Sport has a Suzhou Bafang Electric Motor Science Technology Company 36V 250W permanent magnet brushless high speed hub motor, and I took it apart to see if I could get to the worn wires coming out of the axle.

And here’s the front plate taken off exposing the copper coils, which are tied together with string. String, string, string everybody loves string.

This is the inside of the hub.

And it takes these gears.

but I couldn’t get to the wires at the other end, back at the string end of things.

So thank goodness for heat shrink.

I might get this thing to work yet, but I’m not out of the woods yet. It’d help if my el-cheapo soldering iron could have got hot enough to melt solder the second time I turned it on.

Number 1 requirement of any future electric bike purchase is going to have to be serviceability and availability of spare parts.


I hope this ends well

18 04 2010

It’s gone quiet here lately at Wellington Region Cycleways because of a technical glitch, otherwise known as the wires coming out of my motor losing  some of their insulation when I took the wheel off to fix a puncture, and now when I turn the throttle they short and the wheel doesn’t spin. To move the bike I’d have to do all the pedalling myself, and that’d kind of suck. So I guess I’m learning about the down side of being an electric bike owner when bike shop owners don’t want to touch an electric bike.

I always thought that it was a design flaw to not have a plug and socket on the wires leading to the rear wheel motor of the Wisper Sport. It’d be handy when it was time to change the back tube or tyre. But it actually does. There’s a plug and socket up under the removable plate under the battery and by removing the 4 hex screws of the face plate and cutting the 3 cable ties then it comes free. If you don’t know this you could end up twisting the wires too much like I did, when I took off the back wheel. It’d have been so much easier if I’d known to cut the 3 cable ties. It looks like this:

But I’ve decided to put an additional plug and socket on closer to the motor. So in for a penny in for a pound. This is scary surgery. I still need to remove the cassette of gears to get access to some screws on the motor so I can (hopefully) replace the exposed wires, and I need to visit a bike shop for help with getting the cassette off.

Bike shops here keep the sabbath. In the meantime I’ve readied one end of the plug and socket remembering my 25 year old childhood electronics skills. There’s 8 wires, which I’ve soldered and insulated with heat shrink. I did a better job of it than my camera did of focusing.

I hope this all ends well.

Something to be proud of New Zealand

12 04 2010

Apparently New Zealand roads are unsafe, and our drivers are aggressive and dangerous. The German Embassy is considering issuing  a travel advisory telling it’s citizens that it is unsafe to cycle in New Zealand. Two German cycle tourists have been killed in the last year. Here is the story in the Dominion post.

And back in Adelaide, yet another cyclist has been killed on the roads and the comments are once again interesting, because apparently it is all the cyclists faults because they just don’t get out of the way of the speeding truckies and motorists who think they own the roads.

Contrast this to this blog post in the Netherlands. It’s in Dutch of course, but look at the photo. Between Zuidhorn and Groningen this cycle lane is being replaced with a better one, because it isn’t good enough. In New Zealand we can only dream of having anything half as good as what isn’t good enough for the Dutch.

So there you go. If you live in Germany, save on the airfare, and have a cycling holiday in Holland. It’s safer, and you’ll be saved of all the embarassing Lord of the Rings references too. Afterwards in your holiday photos you can photoshop in some mountains and just pretend you came to New Zealand. It could save your life.

Good news and bad news about the bicycle in Australia

4 04 2010

Bad News

As an Adelaidean, living for the moment outside of Australia, it is sometimes hard seeing things back home and wondering what the hell is going on back there. Australia is already viewed by the rest of the world as a place where cyclists are hated, and where the helmet laws are viewed as an example of what not to do. And Australian kids are amongst the fattest on Earth.

Which is all why stories like this of the Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce calling for bike licenses (and the comments it inspires) are disheartening.

But at least one bit of good news is that the Victorian Roads Minister (note, not a Conservative, but a Labor politician) doesn’t buy it for a second :

Roads Minister Tim Pallas said he did not support the idea of registering bikes.

“There’s not one country in the world that has in place a licensing or registration system for bikes,” he said.

“We’re about encouraging people to look at cycling as a viable transport option.”

Good News

There is some good news coming out of Adelaide: This Greenways and Cycle Paths Policy Document from the South Australian Labor Party. They were facing re-election, and they won, so it looks like the Adelaide to Marino Rocks Greenway is going to get built. Curiously on the map I don’t know why the old steam train route to Glenelg that is now the East-West Bikeway isn’t on the map. I had a few nice rides on that in ye olde days (and a Hope Valley to Glenelg walk once, where no one would sit next to me on a packed tram on the ride home)

So everyone in Adelaide, and in Melbourne keep cycling, and keep voting to keep those evil Chamber of Commerce type people out of positions of power.