Once again, Team A+ members split up to complete the many projects they had taken on. The first group worked on Galileo, preparing the tower pieces for repainting. While two students worked on sandblasting the metal pieces, two other students struggled to straighten the iron beams that had sustained damage. This proved quite a challenge, but sweat and muscle and determination prevailed.
Coating the turntable with black rust paint
While some group members were working on the metal pieces used for Galileo, other members operated on the throttle and controller for the electric motorcycle. After a successful dry run using light bulbs and a 50K potentiometer, heavy gauge wires were used to replace the thinner wires used for the bench test. This replacement is necessary to enable the connection of the motorcycle motor to the controller. This motor draws a lot of amps. The size of a wire is correlated to the amount of current it can carry.
Another task worked on by Team A+ was creating a prototype mount on the bike for securing the motor, batteries and controller. This task included carving different pieces of wood that would help secure the motor, batteries and controller.
Mounting the motor to the bike frame
The final task on June 8th, 2010 was rebuilding and testing the front braking system. After connecting the brake lines and refilling the brake fluid, the pistons appeared to be seized with rust. One volunteer will work on this problem exclusively until it is solved. After all, safely stopping the motorbike is as important as running it.
On June 3rd, 2010 Team A+ group members split up into two groups to complete two separate projects. One group worked on the Electric Motorcycle, while the other group worked on Galileo (The Turning Tree).
Bench testing the motor controller
The first group invited Bob Martin from Windsor Starter’s Powerhouse to advise them in wiring the controller. Bob Martin had been a part of the project since its inception, and the students working on the motorcycle learned a lot from him. Bob answered crucial questions about the system, and now Team A+ is wiring the controller to light bulbs to bench test it. If the controller works properly, Team A+ should be able to control the dimness and brightness of the lamps. A powerful DC series motor will replace the light bulbs in the final project.
Loading the trees onto the trailer
Team A+ also packed up all the trees that had been removed from the on top of the turning tree into a trailer and in Noel’s car. The trees are being transferred to Guelph, where they will be replanted on top of the Galileo once it is rebuilt. Team A+ experienced difficulty while attempting to replace the V-belt when Galileo was fully assembled. The team is working on a solution to this problem so that the V-belt can easily be replaced once Galileo has been reconstructed in its new home.
A+ Team members remove the rotating platform from the Galileo tower structure
The stormy weather paused just long enough to allow A+ Team to tear down Noel Harding’s Galileo. With the aid of scaffolding on loan from Band-Ayd Systems, the brave students were able to safely remove the potted trees and large rotating platform from the 4m tall tower. Once the turntable was comfortably on the ground, removing the bolts and disassembling the steel tower was a simple procedure.
Securing the steel components to Rod Strickland's pickup truck
The next step will be cleaning and preparing the metal parts and redesigning the rotating mechanism so that the sculpture can be erected in Guelph. Hopefully the weather will be as kind during the next outdoor mission.
Detail of an Electric Throttle
The electric motorcycle has increased in popularity within the last few years, due in part to a drastic increase in gas prices. Also referred to as the green bike, electric motorcycles are environmentally friendly, and a big money saver!
Putting together an electric motorcycle can be a bit challenging. One problem facing the Green Corridor students A+ Team is diagramming the controller/throttle and installing it on the electric motorcycle. The motor controller delivers and regulates the energy from the battery to the motor. Think of it as a transmission and gearshift. The throttle is a mechanism that sends electrical signals to the controller which then determines how much energy to deliver to the motor.
Because the majority of electric bikes don’t have gears or a clutch, one must be very careful with the throttle. Electric motorcycles like the Zero S accelerate at speeds comparable to gas motorcycles with just a touch of the throttle. Controlling the speed of the electric motorcycle is a crucial component to remaining safe and enjoying all the benefits of the electric bike.
A+ TEAM GETS DOWN AND DIRTY
Hooking up the motor and battery for a dry run
Tuesday, May 25, 2010 Team A+ attacked the electric motorcycle project with full force. Converting a motorcycle from gas power to electric can be both simple and complicated. Previously, students registered in the Green Corridor program stripped a Yamaha motorcycle of its engine, fuel tank, and transmission, and stretched the bike frame. They also collected most of the required components needed to get the bike running, leaving behind a good diagram of how the different components are supposed to be installed.
During the past week Team A+ successfully assembled the motor and battery for a dry run. For simplicity and reliability, the motor was directly coupled to the drive shaft. Team A+ also worked on the front braking system of the motorcycle. The bike tire ran smoothly, with the only problem being controlling the speed of the motor. In an effort to control the speed of the motorcycle, Team A+ is currently wiring the controller and testing the throttle. The first bench test of the control! system was unsuccessful, but everything is a learning experience.
Throughout the week Team A+ also continued work on the “Turning Tree” project. On Tuesday, May 25, 2010, the team opened the gear head of the drive motor to clean and refill the oil. This process will help ensure that the motor is in good running condition when the sculpture is reassembled.
On Thursday May 27th, 2010, Team A+ will present a midterm progress report to the other Green Corridor groups. We look forward to receiving lots of feedback to help us improve our various projects.
BADASS ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLES
courtesy of www.zeromotorcycles.com
Green vehicles have a poor reputation. They are often laughed at because of their lack of speed and power. These myths were shattered thanks to a new line of green motorcycles that performed at speeds comparable to regular motorcycles. On May 16, 2010 green motorcycle riders competed in North America’s first ever electric motorcycle championship series road race held at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma County, California.
Aside from the obvious benefits of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants released into the environment, reducing health problems such as heart disease and lung cancer, and combating global warming, zero emissions motorcycles are quieter, easier to operate, less expensive to run and maintain, and accelerate much faster than their gas powered cousins.
GETTING THE TURNING TREE TURNING
Galileo by Noel Harding Photo by Walter Willems
Galileo by Noel Harding is a solar powered kinetic sculpture built in 2008 with the assistance of Green Corridor students and volunteers. The piece generates electricity from solar panels to power the turning tree mechanism, demonstrating the integration of engineering and nature. Located on Huron Church Road, the main purpose of this mechanism was to help produce awareness for solar technology.
Team A+ removes the worn V-belt Photo by Emmanuel Asamoah
The current status of the mechanism was uncertain as the “Turning Tree” had stopped turning. Team A+, made up of engineering and art students, is determined to “GET THE TURNING TREE TURNING”. In-depth analysis of the “Turning Tree” helped identify the problems associated with the mechanism. After several months of exposure to the elements the Galileo requires a new V-belt and some additional lubrication.
The “Turning Tree” mechanism is not only a reflection of engineering concepts, but it is also a testament of hard work and determination by students and professors at the University of Windsor. Throughout the semester (Intersession, 2010) Team A+ is dedicated to “GETTING THE TURNING TREE TURNING” once again.