Thursday, July 29, 2010

Running out of juice!

Tonight I couldn't make it up the hill!  I charged for about an hour and was hitting 400v running my regen down the hill on the way to the grocery store.  When I take my finger off the regen it dropped down to 380, still a respectably charge to get around town.  Unfortunately, I still have a lot to learn because the range indicator only showed 7 miles, when it usually shows 16.  The battery light went on at the bottom of the hill, which I now know is a death warrant.  We were peddling like hell, but as we approached our turn I pulled to the side and lightened my load.  I had Kristin hop out and take the groceries while I let the batteries rest.  The Voltages climbed up to about 320 and I gunned it and made it over the last hill and rolled home beating Kristin who was on foot with the groceries.

Morals of the story
#1. Know where you need to be beyond when the battery light goes on to make it home.
#2. Pulling over and letting the batteries rest gives you another jolt
#3. One person peddling up a hill is easier for the Twike than two, due to weight.

I took this opportunity to run the batteries to empty.  When you hit bottom the computer shows a batteries empty message and restarts.  I decided to just plug it in and let it trickle charge for two days.

Now to rest my legs!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

California License Plates!

After my long awaiting appointment at the Santa Monica DMV I left with a shiny new motorcycle plate for the Twike.   I whited out my license plate #, just incase someone would want to find and steel me! j/k  Notice the red plate fragment behind the new Cali plate.  The holes in the Twike are for a standard Automotive License plate so that is an old Arkansas fragment with holes in it to accommodate the motorcycle plate done by the previous owner.

I'm fully street legal now!  I just need to fish a passenger seat belt out of an old mercedes (REPA Seat belts were used in the Twike) or other german car that fits so my passengers feel safe.  With motorcycle plates do they need to be wearing one, though?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Trip to the CHP! I passed!

So today was very stressful because I had to take the Twike on a 20+ mile round trip.  The way there was fairly easy, all downhill.  I wasn't smart and started off with only 379V, but I haven't seen the 420 charge since my initial trickle charge and the other day at 401V starting out I caused an "Overcharge Fault" by using the regenerative breaks in the driveway!  (just causes the system to restart - lock you out of being able to use the throttle for 10 seconds*)

Back to my journey!  So the DMV couldn't find the engine # so they referred me to the Highway Patrol. Unfortunately, the nearest office is 10 miles from my house and I didn't plug in early enough so I had an estimated 17.5 mile range!   I set out anyways peddling like crazy!  Google maps now shows bike lanes so I planned my trip using those and keeping my top speed around 25mph to cut down on energy use.  The officer was really helpful and even printed off some internet references so the DMV could complete my application.

So heading home I knew it'd be a close call (I had 355V leaving the CHP) so I pulled into a Whole Foods parking lot and found a nice empty plug behind a soda machine.  I had to park in the Fire Lane since I couldn't get the Twike up on the curb.  No one seemed to mind and of course people were taking pics and asking lots of questions.  Luckily, I have been getting great advice from another USA Twike owner Matt.  He let me know about the soda machine trick and also about hitting the JOG button to fast forward directly to the charge cycle and bump it up to 10Amps.  So I put in about 30Vs while eating some grains, fueled both of us up!

I figured before I attracted too much more attention it was time to split!  I made it safely home and the battery light went on as I was powering up the hill.  I think I could have just about made it w/o the stop at Whole Foods, but it was a lot less stressful.  Next post should be my license plates!