My Giant Conversion
This Giant Cypress has been my commuter bike for 7 years. Last year it spent the year outside at a subway station as my back-up beater.
This spring I decided to take the hub off my trike and spend the summer commuting 42 kms on the Giant. Wish me luck, first run is Tuesday, May 22. The shot on the right is of my waterproof housing (I hope) for my NiCad battery charger.
Just a geek
How's it working out for you?
I'm just starting my second week. I've got an odometer now and find I am actually travelling 48 kms a day. The NiCads get a bit hot if I use them a lot, such as when I have steep hills AND a head wind.
If I was going to start this whole project again I think I'd get a rear hub and attach it to a bike with front shocks.
To get to work in an hour I have to have the speedo reading 30 km/hr much of the time. City of Toronto roads need some TLC, so aluminum frame and only a seatpost shock still make it a pretty rough ride.
The problem (in my opinion) with rear hubs is that you end up with the weight of the hub motor and batteries all on the rear. If the roads in your area are rough, having all of that weight on one wheel is asking for trouble. Better to spread the weight out.
Thanks for sharing. a few questions.
Is it recommended that nicads be drained periodically? I know SLAs need to be kept topped off.
Do you take your charger with you or have one at work?
How much heavier are sealed lead acids than nicads?
I'm considering a similar setup.
They used to say NiCads had a memory, and if you gave them the same charge each time from the same drain, after a while they'd only charge to the maximum they remember. Manufacturers now say that's not true, but I drain mine once a week for a full charge, and I find the day after I do, I have more assistive power.
With SLA batteries you can't drain them all the way because it shortens their life. Also they don't like not being kept charged all the time. The story goes they typically last from 6 to 12 months and have a maximum of 500 charges.
I take my charger to work, except on Friday (Fridays are the full drained day).
The NiCads are at least a thrid lighter and smaller.
By the by, because Ontario has legalized ebikes there are lots for sale and I have observed (via Craigslist) that the Canadian Tire type bikes go up for sale within a year. People have killed the SLA battery and after 2 years the brushes need replacing.
I think brushless and NiCad (or NiMH if you have deeper pockets) is the way to go
What do you think of battery desulfators? There are a few being sold on ebay. They are supposed to keep your old SLAs at 80% of original capacity for a long time. REgardless of how far down they go.
I'm not that technically proficient so my question is for a 2-12Volt setup, would I need 1 or 2 desulfators. You are supposed to be able to tie them to the terminals and you're good to go.
I'll take a pass on that. I'm not an expert on lead acid batteries, I just use them.
Originally Posted by bugmenot
Anyone out there want to comment?
"desulfators"? Sounds like snake oil to me.
I've been doing some more research on these "desulfators". I found some bulletin boards of, I don't know, battery experts/nerds that bemoan the fact that a lot of people throw away perfectly good SLAs, car and other types of batteries. They've come up with schematics and homebrew gadgets that "restore" old batteries to almost new states. These desulfators "shake" whatever buildup the SLAs get that prevents them from getting an almost full charge. Also, some of these guys "build in" the desulfator to the charger, which works well.
Because I don't want to be buying new batteries every 4 months or so, I'm going to research it further. I emailed one of the ebay sellers and he said I needed 2 units, which sounds like a salesman ploy.
I probably need to buy one of those voltage measurers at Radio Shack to begin and test my 2 new SLAs. I'll try to post something this later.
Here's a flavor:
Last edited by bugmenot; 06-06-07 at 12:19 PM.
Desulfate one battery in your pack and don't do the other one. Let us know if the test battery lasts longer.
I work in Jaycar which is sort of like RadioShack in Australia, the Lead-Acid Battery Zappers or desulfators do work very well.
All you need is the Zapper/Desulfator, a power supply for the Desulfator and i would recommend a multimeter.
This is half an artical out of "Silicon Chip" an Australian electronics Mag, it explains what the zapper does and how it works, you can also get details about how to build one from scratch.
I once read that when these batteries age, little stalagtites and stalagmites form bridges between the plates which sort of short circuit the battery over time as they become more numerous.
It said that this could be remedied by dropping the batteries to break these bridges.
hmmm...i am not to sure about that, but there is a limit on bringing a battery back to life, resently dead SLR batteries can easily be fixed but old ones that are dead and have been sitting around doing noting for a while e.g. 1+ year old have a much lower success rate...having a perminate short circit would kill them for sure..