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Thread: My '85 Honda VF500F Interceptor conversion: Electriceptor

              
   
   
  1. #1
    Senior Member __Tango's Avatar
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    My '85 Honda VF500F Interceptor conversion: Electriceptor

    Hey folks.

    I started a project last year and posted a bunch of information about it here in Elmoto 1.0. I've also kept (am trying to keep) a blog up at http://electriceptor.wordpress.com. I was going to repost some (all?) of my blog posts here because i thought it would be good to get the full trail of information here on this site for...i'm not sure why.

    But, i think i'll just point y'all at the blog (again, http://electriceptor.wordpress.com).

    If folks really want me to repost stuff here, let me know and i'll do it.

    In any case, i'll give a semi-quick recap of my project so far:

    Iím a bit of an environmentalist...ok maybe more than a bit.

    In any case, for the past couple of years, iíve been trying to figure out a way to reduce the amount of gas i use on a day to day basis. Iíve been patiently (well, sometimes not so patiently) waiting for an electric car to be produced that wasnít a NEV (Neighborhood Electric VehicleÖone that can only go like 25 miles an hour) and that also didnít cost more than my house.

    Around June of last year, I was getting excited about some electric cars, in particular:

    • The Aptera three-wheeled super-slick car
    • The Tesla-S sedan
    • The Nissan Leaf
    • The City-Zenn


    All of these cars were promising, but none were going to be in production last year. Hell, even now, the only one that's close to production is the LEAF (and i'm committed to buying one!). There were some others that were going to be coming sooner, but they were well out of my price range.

    Around that June timeframe, I was talking to someone about this, and she mentioned she and her husband had bought an electric scooter. It was a great thing for them, it went like 20 miles per hour, which isnít very fast, but got them to the store and back, cost less than $1000.

    That got me thinking about electric scooters and motorcycles. I had never ridden a motorcycle, however i do ride bicyles a lot. That actually doesnít mean much, but i figure it at least gives me some experience being on a road with much larger vehicles. I figured iíd go for it (a scooter), so went off to take the Motorcycle Safety Class and get my moto license.

    Being the OCD guy that i am, i researched scooters for a couple of weeks. I wasnít interested in going on the highway, but did want to be able to use it for most of my daily stuff. My commute is <4 miles one way, but i do spend a lot of time in a town thatís about 8 miles away. I can take surface streets to all of my destinations, so the fastest theyíre rated is 45mph. I figured iíd be able to get away with a scooter that did around 40mph and got around a 20 mile range.

    So, I ended up finding a good deal on a Zapino electric scooter made by Zap (images to follow at some point). Itís supposed to go 35mph, and have a 25 mile range.

    After i bought the zapino, i found out that it only goes about 15 miles on a full charge when going at full throttle, and that 35mph really isnít fast enogh. Actually, the scooter goes 40mph, and thatís not really fast enough either. itís not that i feel like i need to be a speed demon, but in my commute to work, thereís a stretch of road about 2 miles long thatís basically one lane in each direction. the posted speed limit is 40mph, but everyone else goes at least 45Öusually 50 mph on it. When youíre the only thing doing 40 and everyone else wants to do 45 or 50, itís not such a good feeling.

    So, i started researching larger scooters like the XM3500-Li and the Current Motor Company offering as well as Electric Motorycles such as the Electric Motorsport GPR-S. This was before Brammo released the enertia and Zero started producing the Zero S in any numbers. After cruising around the net for a while, i found you guys here at Elmoto.net (while looking up info about the GPRS i believe). At that point, i started reading about conversions, and decided that instead of buying one, i'd try to build my own. I'm not really sure why i made that call. One part of me thought i'd be able to do it for cheaper while still getting the specs i'm looking for. Another part of me knew that purchasing a motorcycle wouldn't go over so with my wife, but building one would be a little easier. In any case, i decided to go the conversion route.

    At that point in time, i didn't know how to weld, so i wanted to try to pick a project that wouldn't require much welding, especially of the motorcycle frame itself. my father in law has a MIG welder, so i figured he could help if needed. I figured i'd be able to build a battery frame that could use existing engine mounts and not have to figure out how to mount an electric motor in the frame.

    So, when trying to figure out the initial specs for my conversion, i decided i wanted a sportbike of some sort, but not a super aggressive positioning one. Being that i didn't want to modify the motorcycle frame itself, and that I'd been using my scooter (which has a hub motor), when i came across Enertrac motors and their 10KW hub motor for motorcycles, i was sold. I think i ran across their motor through endless-sphere, and by finding RemoteContact's Ninja250 conversion using the enertrac motor here on Elmoto 1.0 as well. Some other technical specs are that I wanted:
    • 65-70mph top speed
    • at least 60 miles per charge
    • have enough acceleration to beat out your average car from a stop when driving in traffic. This isnít particularly hard since most people donít gun it from the line at a stop light. But my scooter is underpowered so accelerates pretty slowly


    Since the Thundersky's were the cheapest of the LiFePO4 batteries, i decided to use them, and purchased mine from (from EVComponents before they imploded). Somewhere in my pea brain, i figured i wanted range, so i'd get more batteries. I ended up getting 36 TS 60Ah batteries for a nominal pack of something like 6.9kWh for the pack. This was ambitious to say the least.

    OK, that's it for now, i'll post more about my project's history tomorrow.

    PS, most of this information is covered in my blog at: http://electriceptor.wordpress.com/2009/11/09/17/ and http://electriceptor.wordpress.com/2...-requirements/

    PPS: i take back that part about this being a "semi-quick" recap...
    Last edited by __Tango; 08 November 2010 at 0023. Reason: fixed formatting
    EVs: 2007 Zapino Scooter, Honda VF500 Conversion (electriceptor.wordpress.com), Red Nissan LEAF SL (Arrived!)

  2. #2
    Senior Member __Tango's Avatar
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    Ok, back to my little trip down memory lane...

    As for a donor motorcycle, some of you may recall i had an opportunity to get a 84 rebel 250 for free from my brother in law, but I ended up deciding i'd rather get a sportbike instead. I found a '85 Honda VF500F Interceptor on craigslist that was a decent price (but no title, and that cost me...oh well).

    Here's a pic of it when i first purchased it:



    and more can be seen at http://electriceptor.wordpress.com/2...11/first-pics/, and also an introduction video can be seen at http://electriceptor.wordpress.com/2...duction-video/

    With the batteries purchased, and knowing i'd use a hub motor and 36 batteries, i spent hours and hours and even more hours figuring out how to build a battery frame and get it mounted. I made cardboard mockups and a couple of illustrator drawings of what i thought the layout might be. This original mockup is only holding 30 batteries, not 36. At this point, i thought i'd put the last 6 in a "saddlebag" configuration.



    I drew it up and figured out a better possible solution:



    Note, this one now has 36 batteries.

    I even drew it up using Google Sketchup (a 3D cad program):



    There's a lot more about this design and yet another video at http://electriceptor.wordpress.com/2...-cad-drawings/.

    More to follow as i've used up my requisite 4 images already...
    EVs: 2007 Zapino Scooter, Honda VF500 Conversion (electriceptor.wordpress.com), Red Nissan LEAF SL (Arrived!)

  3. #3
    Senior Member __Tango's Avatar
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    Note, that the configuration i drew up looked great on one level, but i didn't consider how i'd mount the battery trays to themselves nor the moto frame. I blogged about this problem here: http://electriceptor.wordpress.com/2...rame-so-close/, and came up with a new set of drawings that took this into account. I figured i'd use 1" square tubing and 1/2" x 1" rectangle tubing with 1/8" thickness for subframe. Here was the working diagram for many months:



    and also with the batteries:



    This is where i've been in the design stage since april. The execution of this plan has been another story. I mentioned earlier how I didn't know how to weld. Well, I've always wanted to learn...it seems like one of those "manly" things that I should know, because...well...i'm a man (insert old-spice ad here).

    I found a place locally that would allow you to use their welder (amongst many other tools) called the TechShop (http://www.techshop.ws). I took some classes and started practicing TIG welding aluminum. I spent months trying to get up there to practice whenever i could. Unfortunately, things like work and the fact that my baby turned 1 and learned how to walk all conspired against my ability to work on the project.

    I'll talk about welding more in another post.

    In this timeperiod, i also made progress by:



    Though, the welding was the thing i spent the most amount of time on

    and that will follow in another post.
    EVs: 2007 Zapino Scooter, Honda VF500 Conversion (electriceptor.wordpress.com), Red Nissan LEAF SL (Arrived!)

  4. #4
    Senior Member __Tango's Avatar
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    Bench Testing is a bust

    So, i've been working on bench testing using 30V pack, but have been having problems getting it working. This is being covered in more detail in this thread: http://www.elmoto.net/showthread.php...Enertrac-MH602)

    The latest news is that i've got a firmware update from Kelly, but haven't applied it yet.

    More news when it appears...
    EVs: 2007 Zapino Scooter, Honda VF500 Conversion (electriceptor.wordpress.com), Red Nissan LEAF SL (Arrived!)

  5. #5
    Senior Member __Tango's Avatar
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    As i mentioned in the other thread, I got it spinning! Woohoo! pics forthcoming...
    EVs: 2007 Zapino Scooter, Honda VF500 Conversion (electriceptor.wordpress.com), Red Nissan LEAF SL (Arrived!)

  6. #6
    Senior Member __Tango's Avatar
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    So, now that the motor is running, there is something a little odd (or maybe not) with the controller.

    I would expect that you get "full throttle" when you twist the throttle to its maximum.

    On my bench test setup now, I get "full throttle" when the throttle is only twisted maybe 1/3 of the way.

    I verified with a multimeter that the 0-5V throttle wiper wire is going from 0 to 5V at the maximum twist. However, the controller is going to maximum when the voltage on the wiper wire is only about 1.6V.

    Any ideas?
    EVs: 2007 Zapino Scooter, Honda VF500 Conversion (electriceptor.wordpress.com), Red Nissan LEAF SL (Arrived!)

  7. #7
    Senior Member __Tango's Avatar
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    Just wondering, could it be because there's no load on the motor? would it not be running at full speed if it was actually pushing the bike?
    EVs: 2007 Zapino Scooter, Honda VF500 Conversion (electriceptor.wordpress.com), Red Nissan LEAF SL (Arrived!)

  8. #8
    electrician
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    I am following your project with interest. keep it up

  9. #9
    Senior Member __Tango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrician View Post
    I am following your project with interest. keep it up
    Thanks man. Where in norcal are you?
    EVs: 2007 Zapino Scooter, Honda VF500 Conversion (electriceptor.wordpress.com), Red Nissan LEAF SL (Arrived!)

  10. #10
    Empulse R #24 frodus's Avatar
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    thats probably because the controller that you're using runs in torque mode. Meaning the throttle doesn't go 0-100% RPM, it goes 0-100% torque. See how it feels once you get it on the road.

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