View Full Version : E15 Magna

09 March 2012, 2004
Well, I've been lurking around for long enough, both here in particular and 'EV land' in general. It's time for me to get moving.

With that in mind, I picked up a 1985 Honda V30 Magna with a thrown rod this past Sunday. ...and so it begins. :D


I'm picking up a used HPEVS AC-15 motor with a Curtis 6501 controller through frodus, which should give me a good amount of kick on this originally 400lb bike. :cool:

I have a 55-65 mile commute (depending on route and traffic), so given the voltage limit of the controller I am currently looking at a 96V nominal (for LFP), 120Ah pack. For batteries, I would like to use 60 of Sinopoly's SP-LFPAHA (B) cells (30S2P), because I like the large-format LiFePO cell and these in particular provide about a 40% volume advantage over, say, the GBS cells. We'll have to see what they quote me for the order though...if they respond.. Anyone have any experience dealing with Sinopoly since the split?

So, here's the start. Updates to follow. I'm planning to pull the engine/etc this weekend, and get a good feel for what kind of space I have available for the battery pack...see if the Sinopooly's will even fit.. I think they will, but before I put down any money on them I want to make damn sure.

09 March 2012, 2017
Welcome X.

Looks like a cool project. Don't see many of the V30 Magna's around anymore. Still see a few V45's.
Keep us posted on the progress.

10 March 2012, 0833
The magnas are very similar to interceptors, and we've had a few of those. You might be able to share ideas. Good luck with it.

I think it's pretty cool that new projects are starting out like this rather than doing v1.0 using lead, and then doing it all over again with something better.

10 March 2012, 1022
The magnas are very similar to interceptors

The V-4 engines were similar, but since he's pulling that out, I fear it has lost all commonality with the Interceptor. Since he's got a V65 Sabre in the background, it looks like x88x is a fan of the Honda V-4, and may be intimate with any common parts.

I'm also curious to see if he can fit all those batteries (96v & 120AH) into a 500cc chassis.

10 March 2012, 1454
The V-4 engines were similar, but since he's pulling that out, I fear it has lost all commonality with the Interceptor. Since he's got a V65 Sabre in the background, it looks like x88x is a fan of the Honda V-4, and may be intimate with any common parts.

I'm also curious to see if he can fit all those batteries (96v & 120AH) into a 500cc chassis.

Good eye on the Sabre. Though it's actually a VF700C, not a V65...silly tariffs. :P It's actually a new acquisition (found it while looking for a roller and fell in love), so not that familiar with it yet, but will be getting more so. My dad actually has an '84 V45 Magna that I helped him rebuild, so I am fairly familiar with the Magnas. Also have an '80 CM400T that the Sabre is replacing, but that'll be going to a friend later this month.

I'm also curious to see if I can fit all the batteries in there. :D

I skipped lead because, well, I have a 55-65 mile round-trip commute with no guarantee of charging at work. I'm going to talk to the building management company and see if I can get something worked out, but planning to not have that option. But given that needed range, with lead I would have ended up with probably at least an 800lb beast, and that just wasn't that appealing to me. ;)

10 March 2012, 1839
Welcome x88x


10 March 2012, 1905
Welcome dude! Motor should be good to go! Can't wait to see whatcha got!

I do think it'll be impossible to fit the batteries in there without side-bags or something, 11.5kwh is nothing to sneeze at, most of the bikes at the TTXGP didn't have that much and most of them used lipo.

15 March 2012, 2251
Been slammed at work and haven't been able to get much done on this yet. I did start stripping it down over the weekend though. Basically just started taking things off as they became accessible. Next step is the cooling system, exhaust, and chain/guard, then finally the motor. Probably also the instrument cluster.


I'll hold off on saying for sure, but I did some initial measurements and I think I will be able to fit them all if I use the new Sinopoly 60Ah cells. I'm hoping to drop the motor tomorrow or Sunday, so should be able to say for sure if they will fit or not soon.

16 March 2012, 0658
Hey X, I just noticed that you list your location as central MD. Whereabouts? I'm in College Park.

16 March 2012, 0714
:cool: welcome X - im going to keep an eye on this one - you have the same forks that i do, and im curious as to how you set it up...

if you need magna parts let me know - i have harley, shadow and magna parts crawling out of my skin...

16 March 2012, 0957
Hey X, I just noticed that you list your location as central MD. Whereabouts? I'm in College Park.
I'm in Glenn Dale. Right off 193, a few miles outside the beltway.

:cool: welcome X - im going to keep an eye on this one - you have the same forks that i do, and im curious as to how you set it up...

if you need magna parts let me know - i have harley, shadow and magna parts crawling out of my skin...
I might take you up on that. I know I'll at least need to replace the brak master cylinder. The hydralic system was drained when I got it (made taking it down off my truck interesting), and upon further inspection, the drain hole is a mass of jb-weld...yeah... The clutch hydraulics are shot too, but I'm not exactly worried about those. ;)

16 March 2012, 1159
I'm in Glenn Dale. Right off 193, a few miles outside the beltway.

I can practically walk to your house. I'd love to come see the bike when you get a little further along. My bike is disassembled right now, but planning to reassemble in the next few weeks. You're welcome to come check it out once it's running.

16 March 2012, 1728
Awesome! Yeah, you're welcome to stop by any time I'm there.

18 March 2012, 1606
Picked up your motor today and tested it. Had a faulty serial-usb adapter when I went out there so Had to take it home to test. Fired right up and I even made a backup of the parameter files for you, just in case they get hosed later :)

Lets just say, I've learned my lesson a time or two ;)

18 March 2012, 1858
Awesome! I'm stopping by my bank tomorrow to sort out the paperwork, so hopefully will be able to get you the balance within a few days.

18 March 2012, 2206
No huge rush, it's here though! I'll take some pictures tomorrow if I can.

20 March 2012, 2202
Sweet, pics are always welcome. :D

Got a little bit of time to work on this on Sunday and pulled the cooling system off...forgot to take pics though.

Tonight worked on it, rather later than I should have, I'm sure. Ah well, who wants to sleep when you can have fun playing with motorcycles? :D

Got the carbs off...mindtrip, that..had to call my Dad, who has the same year/model...and a manual... Also stripped off the instrument cluster and controls. Both hydraulic master cylinders were shot (ditching the clutch, but do need to get a new one for the front brake), all the buttons were shot from sitting out in the weather for however long it did, and I decided I don't want to keep the instruments. Gonna go with an Android tablet instead. :D ..at least that's the current plan; we'll see how that works out.


Interesting thing about this bike; the engine is too big to fit through any of the normal openings in the frame, so the left side of the engine-support frame section actually detaches and the engine comes out the side. I'm thinking this should make the battery box design easier; let me do it more in one piece, and just slide it in and close the frame up behind it.

...I also ran across something interesting...who the hell thought this was a good place for the fuse box?!?!?
(NOTE: Normally facing forwards, right under the headlight.)

Anyways, that's my progress so far; will keep y'all posted on future developments.

25 March 2012, 1307
Ran into a bit of a problem dropping the engine. I had a friend helping me and we took the side frame piece out and got the engine free-floating, but cannot for the life of me figure out how to get it out of there... Problem is, since the engine is wider than the frame, even with that section out, it still needs to move to the side before it can get free...and it doesn't help that the mufflers are rusted on to the accumulator...I may end up just taking an angle grinder to the accumulator if I can't work it out; it's mostly rusted to hell anyways, so I'm not trying to salvage it and if chopping it up lets me get the engine out then chop away.

25 March 2012, 1510
I have had to put the bike the bike on its side and then lift the frame off to get it to all "fall out".
You look to have plenty of space so I cannot see what is holding it in.

Too bad you are not closer... :)

27 March 2012, 0837
whats weird is, it doesnt take much to keep a part from coming out... but i agree cut what ever you need too, and laying the bike its side will definitely help move the engine, its like wrestling with a heavy octopus...

removing the forks will take a lot of weight off the bike too, helping you to maneuver the bike easier...

27 March 2012, 0925
are you going to convert your foot brake to a hand lever brake - the clutch cylinder on the handle bars from i got from a Free Spirit Honda Shadow, works great for me - that way it enables you to eliminated the forward controls...

in my thread, i have started custom building new foot peg mounts that eliminates all that stuff...

just a thought...

27 March 2012, 1023
are you going to convert your foot brake to a hand lever brake - the clutch cylinder on the handle bars from i got from a Free Spirit Honda Shadow, works great for me - that way it enables you to eliminated the forward controls...

in my thread, i have started custom building new foot peg mounts that eliminates all that stuff...

just a thought...

IDK, haven't decided yet ..need to get on that though..38 days and counting.. The rear brake is a cable brake, so it would be fairly easy to do; just need to get a cable the sufficient length and go. I even have a lever I could use off a parts bike I have that I could stick on there. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I like the idea...moving all controls to the handlebars..hmmm..

27 March 2012, 1947
w00tz! Finally got the engine out!

I cut off the mufflers (rather, cut through the accumulator before the mufflers...mufflers are actually in decent shape), but still ended up having to drop the bike on its side to get the damn thing out. Finally out though, so it's all good. :D

Got measurements, now I just need to figure out what I can fit in there.

27 March 2012, 2011
Ok...so, I ran some numbers, sized some stuff, and...LiFePO4 ain't gonna fit...even headways...damn.. Hmmm, well, I'd been playing with the idea of LiPo anyway, since it would cut ~100lb off the pack weight. I guess the frame made the decision for me. ...now to nail down how to do this without killing myself...

04 April 2012, 1122
Been off on ES for a bit, working out what I want to do with the batteries. I've come to peace with the batteries I'll be using (5S 20C 5Ah Turnigy packs (http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__15008__Turnigy_5000mAh_5S_20C_Lipo_Pack_USA_Ware house_.html)), and am working on the battery module design.

From design thread there (http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=38309):

Ok, starting on actually designing the modules (intro here (http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=38120)) for a ~11kWh lipo pack I am building for my electric motorcycle conversion. Pack will be 25S and at least 24P (as wide as I can make it, basically), constructed from a crapton of 5S 5Ah Turnigy lipo packs. These packs will be formed into 5 modules, each module being a load of packs in parallel. These 5 modules will then be connected in series to complete the pack. Each module will contain one of methods' LVC/HVC boards, managing the cells in the module.

I'll see what I can put together in sketchup tomorrow, but for the moment a text description will have to do.

Basically what I'm envisioning is 3 rows of packs, with a copper bus bar down each side, and one down between each border. Like so:

Each pack will be connected to the adjacent bus bars with ring terminals, and the leads shortened as much as possible to minimize the resistance between the pack and the bar. I'm currently thinking 3/16x3/4" copper bar for the bus bars. This should give me a conductor cross-section area of between 3/0 and 4/0, so I'm thinking that should be fine. ;) Currently thinking 2/0 for the inter-module links.

For the shell, I'm thinking some sort of high density plastic, held together with bolts. I ordered some 0.5" HDPE and some M6 socket flat head bolts (http://www.boltdepot.com/Metric_socket_flat_head_Stainless_steel_18-8_6mm_x_1.0mm.aspx) to experiment with, so we'll see how that goes. In the mean time though, I wanted to put together a cheaper, lighter, easier to modify mock-up to get an idea for what I'm looking at. Enter foam-board.

I found an arts and crafts store near me today and went to pick some up. Found some nice 0.5" stuff for not unreasonably much, so picked up a few sheets of that to work with. Based on my measurements, I came up with this:
(turned out a little short, thus the little bit tacked on the end)

Pack in box:
(yes, I know it looks too wide; box is designed for 5S, that's a 6S)

I'm hoping to be able to cut a bit off the top; gonna pick up some aluminum bar tomorrow the see what I can work out.

Comments/concerns/recommendations/etc are welcome and appreciated.


Since then, I have received the HDPE sheet I ordered....and realized how strong and tough the stuff is...and heavy...and placed a new order for a couple sheet of 1/4". Really nice material though; I'm sure I'll find something fun to do with it. :D

04 April 2012, 1123
Oh, and the motor's on the way! :D

04 April 2012, 1143
Yes it is. Sorry it took a few days. Moving is a PITA

Nuts & Volts
04 April 2012, 1359
Looks like a good plan.

I like that you are going to use copper instead of aluminum busbar. This will avoid a bit of heat developing inside the boxes. Be sure to design a easy mounting system for this busbar especially if you are going to screwing into it. You want to be rigid and mounted so it doesnt short anywhere, but you also want to be able to safety install everything and remove it. Also note that these busbars will add quite a bit of weight so it may be good to optimize them as best you can.

I would suggest moving to smaller plastic sheet and using #4 bolts. This will save weight. Especially if they are going to be mounted to the bike in some kind of aluminum rigid frame. This then means that the plastic doesn't ever really get loaded and can be fairly weak material or fairly light. Even more so if you package everything so that it acts as one rigid body. The accumulated strength of all the materials (battery cell, plastic, metal cage) will make for a very stiff and lower vibration system.

Why did you pick HDPE over other plastics? I am guessing cost. Here is a nice table comparing a ton of plastic specs http://www.machinist-materials.com/comparison_table_for_plastics.htm

I really love to see people building these large packs, but be sure the test the LiPo beforehand as I am sure you know

04 April 2012, 1643
My thinking at the moment is to try and distribute the strength between the module bodies and the aluminum frame that will hold them, in an effort to minimize the aluminum frame as well as keeping the modules strong enough that if I do lay it down, the batteries have a bit of protection.

As I mentioned above, I've already ordered some 1/4" sheets which should (I think) get me the balance I want.

You're correct; I went with the material I did largely because of cost; I'm not very familiar with the different materials, tbh. The stuff I got is actually King Starboard.

Oh, and yes, I will most definitely be testing all the packs before assembly. ;)

Nuts & Volts
04 April 2012, 1716
I really like your train of thought with the distribution of strength and thus mass and cost between the module and the frame. Pretty much exactly what I have been trying to design for in another build.

The big players for material (structural plastics) in my opinion are acetal (delrin), polycarbonate (lexan), and some nylons. This is from minimial research and some ME background, im no expert. The biggest issue I have with the HDPE is that it has a relatively low hardness and low strength this concerns me when you have to thread for very small screws. Lexan gives you about 100% increase in strength and only a 25% in weight at what I think is about the same cost??

I am currently working on a design with lexan which offers good strength while being lighter and less expensive than the acetal which I originally planned to use. You can also play around with making the top and bottom a little bit thinner to save some weight. This means you only have threaded holes in the sides and just through holes on the top and bottom for your fasteners.

Oh and I threw that testing bit in just in case a newbie may read that post

04 April 2012, 2242
IDK, we'll have to see how the 1/4" looks and how well it holds a thread. I'll try some test threads tomorrow on the 1/2" sheet I already have; see what it looks like.

04 April 2012, 2248
Heheh, on another note, I was in Lowes today and saw they're selling the GE WattStation now! ...kinda a cheap feeling thing, but hey, progress is progress. :D That's one step further in consumer education and availability.

Nuts & Volts
05 April 2012, 0659
IDK, we'll have to see how the 1/4" looks and how well it holds a thread. I'll try some test threads tomorrow on the 1/2" sheet I already have; see what it looks like.

Good because I dont really know if it will be a problem. I have just been trying to think of the ways a plastic battery box can fail and am trying to prevent them as much as I can. Wish I had to time at the moment to test this too

Edit: so it seems from reading that threaded failure is more a function of tensile and shear strength of both materials. The hardness not as much of a factor as I originally thought, my bad haha

09 April 2012, 2116
I came home from an Easter weekend with family today to find something fun waiting for me. :D

Gee, I wonder what's inside these boxes? One sure was heavy!

w00tz! Motor and controller! :D

The old and the new:

It's awesome to think that this little 46lb motor will generate more than twice the torque of that V4.

One thing I'm really quite excited about, once I have this done, is that since my dad actually has this exact same bike, I'll be able to do a side-by-side comparison of the VF500C engine vs the AC-15/6501 I'm putting in it; see how the reality compares to the numbers. ;)

09 April 2012, 2145
Glad ya got it fine!

12 April 2012, 0953
I finally got my credit card yesterday, so I was able to start ordering parts in earnest.

So I have some good news and some bad news with regards to the batteries...

Good news is I placed several very large orders on Hobbyking for batteries. :D (They only let you order a certain weight in one order.)

Bad news is I wasn't able to place as many orders as I wanted to. :( They ran out of packs...and they don't have any in stock at their Hong Kong warehouse either...so if anybody wanted to buy 5Ah 5S Turnigy 20C packs, you're out of luck..:rolleyes:

Ah well, I was able to get 57 packs (was trying to get 150), so I should be able to get a ~30 mile pack until the get more in stock. And these are pretty popular packs, so hopefully that won't be very long.

15 April 2012, 0731
Came home last night to a nice big package waiting for me. :D

What could it be?

All in their own little boxes.

And out. That pile will represent one module once I am able to order all that I need.

I have to say, while they're not quite as compact as my 6S Zippys (the 6S Zippys are only ~1/8-3/16" thicker than these 5S Turnigys), they do feel better constructed. Little things, mainly. Thin foam padding on the ends instead of just fiber-tape, nicer wire hookups (especially on the balance leads), etc.

15 April 2012, 2131
I started on the motor mount prototype tonight. I told you I would find something to do with that 1/2" HDPE. ;) That stuff really is a pleasure to work with. Got a first go mocked up.

Lined up pretty well.

Obviously I don't want to wind that motor up on the HDPE mount, but it's plenty strong enough to help me nail down design and dimensions.

23 April 2012, 0908
Been a while since I've been able to update on this; got stuck working 5 days straight of 12 hour shifts....not fun...

So, updates.. Got my Powerlab in; that thing is serious nice...even if it wasn't obvious that it needed to be running off a battery to discharge more than 100W. -_^

I also got the rest of the batteries (for now). 5kWh of yummy, yummy, lipo. :D

Now the fun job of testing all of them. They ship at 50% charge, so I have to charge them up, balancing, and then switch Powerlab profiles and run through two cycles of 40A (8C) discharge, 10A (2C) charge. All told it takes about 80 minutes each. Well, three down, 52 to go...

My test setup:

Got just about everything else I need for the build coming in the mail; I just need to get the motor brackets sorted out...

21 May 2012, 2314
Well, it's been a while, but I finally have some exciting updates! :D

In case it's not obvious, I unfortunately did not get it ready in time for Electropalooza. :( Was still fun even though, even only a few people actually showed up...oh well, I needed the vacation anyway. :P

I finally finished testing all the battery packs for phase 1 (ie, smaller pack while I wait for them to re-stock the US warehouse)! And a beautiful sight it is too. :D

I ended up being 3 packs short, so I did break down and order 6 from the Hong Kong warehouse...shipping came to almost half what I paid in shipping for each of the 27-cell shipments from the US warehouse! O_O

So, now that I finally know how many I have to work with in this pack, I started working on the battery box. I tweaked my initial design a bit after experimenting with the plastic-only construction...was just too hard to make and not quite strong enough for my liking. So I I went with 1/16"x3/4" aluminum angle for the corners. Bolts go through the alu and thread into the plastic. Seems to be holding together nicely...I do need to get myself a real M4 tap though; the 8-32 I'm using is close, but not quite there. Good enough for a prototype though. :D

I've already found some points I need to address...needs to be about an inch taller to start... Oh well, the materials are relatively cheap, and this is why we make prototypes, neh? :D Does look pretty sweet though, if I do say so myself. :D

29 May 2012, 2259
Still waiting on the motor adapter and rear sprocket, and still working on finalizing the battery box design, but I got some mockups put together for the battery boxes and got them put in place on the bike.


The Controller will go on top under the tank. The charger will go under the seat...it will require some trimming of the heatsink, but it will fit. And the DC-DC is either going under the seat with the charger or under the tank with the controller...depends where I have space.

I know, I know, 'But how are you going to fit 2.7x that capacity on the frame?' ...well, that's a good question...and that's a bridge I'll cross when I come to it...I am working on that though.

30 May 2012, 0621
:confused: i tried to figure that out myself with the shadow frame, :D fortunately i decided to build the bike around the battery pack.

so if you get them to fit, your doing good...

:cool: your project does look like its coming along.

:cool: nicely done...

30 May 2012, 0714
:confused: what is it about honda EV builders - their motorcycles seem to end up being worked on inside the house...

30 May 2012, 1256

:confused: what is it about honda EV builders - their motorcycles seem to end up being worked on inside the house...

Lol, that one was just because I don't have a garage and I didn't feel like leaving it outside once the motor was mounted...and didn't feel like taking the motor out every day...

31 May 2012, 0515
:D i hear you x88x its all good, mine sits in my living room, mainly for protection and also so i can show it the love...

13 June 2012, 2154
Finally got the sprocket yesterday! :D

Took them long enough (30 days), but I am very happy with the end product. It looks very nice, feels very strong, and I'm pretty sure (haven't actually weighed either) it's lighter than the drive sprocket I'm using. :P

Original 44-tooth sprocket:

New 60-tooth sprocket (not actually mounted yet; have to rig up a jig to get myself the leverage I need to get the mounting nuts off):

Now, in the process of getting the wheel off, I got a closer look at the tire, and...it's got cracks forming in the sidewall. :( So this weekend I'll be taking the wheels to a local motorcycle shop and getting new tires fitted.

..also found the rear brake pads are pretty well shot, so gonna be ordering a full set of new pads. Front aren't too bad, but I've got it off the bike for the new tire anyways, so I might as well.

I'll also be calling around the next few days to find a new machine shop....who will actually talk to me and not just ignore me for 3 weeks... -_^

On the battery front, the US warehouse still hasn't been restocked yet but I got the 5 more packs I ordered from the Honk Kong warehouse, so I am now set to go with a full 50 packs, fully tested and approved. I've been doing a bit of a re-think on the way I'll be doing the bus-bars, in my eternal quest for simplicity. ;) I'll post updates on that at some point in the next few days.

06 October 2012, 1144
Well, it's been quite a while since I updated this. Life and work been getting in the way.. I do have some updates though.

On the battery front, got a good few updates.

I ended up tweaking the module enclosure a bit in order to decrease complexity and increase strength. I'm using closed-end blind rivets on most of the connections instead of screws, and only using screws to hold the top on.

I also finalized my design for the bus bars and parallel boards.

Bus bar (3/4x1/8" C110 copper bar), cut and prepped for drilling:

Main hookup hole drilled (this will take a 2/0 AWG terminal, bolted on with a 3/8" bolt):

I forgot to take a shot of one fully drilled, tapped, and sanded, but there will be plenty more for me to get those.

Now, for the parallel boards that will let me only need to feed one nice 7-conductor, shielded, wire from each module to the control module with the high/low cut-off boards.


And much soldering later, all 5 done:

Module fully wired (except for the hookups). I think I'm going to shorten the positive leads on the batteries...in case you hadn't guessed, this was not how I originally planned to do the hookups...much more compact though.

And closed up, with mock-up cables (don't worry, they're not far enough into the box to touch the bars):

This is one of the small modules. I will have one more like this,and one big module that will basically be three of these in series. I have some 1.5x1/8" C110 copper bar on order for the two series connection bus bars.

...speaking of that bigger module... :twisted:

On the mechanical front, I've gotten all the frame bits cleaned up nicely, sprocket mounted, and I finally got that motor adapter plate. Still need to work out a rear support...that hopefully will not have to involve another chunk of aluminum machined to size..but might..

This past week-ish, I've been driving all over the eastern half of the country, getting myself to and from southern MO for EVCCON (http://www.evtv.me/evccon.html), an electric vehicle conversion convention put on by the guys behind EVTV (http://www.evtv.me/index.html). All about cars, not motorcycles, but let's be honest..of those of us who either have done, are doing, or are planning, a motorcycle conversion, who has not as least thought about doing a car? ;) I would highly recommend it to anyone interested. I know I'll have my bike there next year; I'd love to see others there as well. Regardless of where the focus was (there was even a panel on boats!), just the chance to hang out with other EV nuts for 4 days was priceless. ...besides, it gave me lots of ideas for an upcoming car conversion I'm planning. :p

06 October 2012, 1146
On the note of EVCCON (since apparently I can only put 10 images in a single post...), I'm sure there are better pictures out there, but here's a some video I got of the end of a parade on the last day of the event (pulling into a hotel parking lot, if you must know :P ).
Every car you see turn into the parking lot in this video is electric, with the exception of the silver truck (though the purple car it is towing is electric..it was having controller troubles).
http://i428.photobucket.com/albums/qq3/x13931x/th_evccon_parade.jpg (http://s428.photobucket.com/albums/qq3/x13931x/?action=view&current=evccon_parade.mp4)

There was an empty parking lot down the hill that seemed appropriate for a group shot. ;)


07 October 2012, 2150