Final Presentation

On June 17th 2010, Team A+ members completed their final presentation in front a group which included professors and fellow classmates. Team A+ came very close to completing all of the goals they had set for themselves at the beginning of the semester. Their tasks were to assemble the electric motorcycle, and tear down and refurbish Galileo to reassemble it in Guelph.

Fine tuning the E-Bike throttle

Despite the shortened semester, the team successfully assembled and tested a crude prototype of the E-bike. At the same time they managed to disassemble and refurbish Galileo while making a few revisions to the turntable mechanism, and package the entire structure for delivery to Guelph. An instruction booklet combined with the intuitive design of the tower should make it a simple matter for any volunteers in Guelph to reassemble the structure.

Testing the Galileo turntable

Like every Green Corridor group, Team A+ faced many obstacles during the semester, but they worked together to overcome them. Team A+ put together an extensive legacy report highlighting all of their achievements, while offering suggestions for future students who may want to continue on with the projects. Team A+ gave an A+ effort from start to finish. The group enjoyed the Green Corridor course very much. It truly was a unique learning experience.

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Finishing Touches

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.

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Separation Anxiety

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.

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Speed Control

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.

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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.

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courtesy of

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.

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Wrapping It Up

The Electric Motorcycle team has made great progress over the past week. With almost all the required components acquired the bike is ready to be assembled. Team member Xiong is busy wiring and bench testing the control unit for the bike. Shown below is Xiong with Bob Martin, from Windsor’s Starter Powerhouse, who is giving advice on the wiring of batteries, motor and control unit. The final drive shaft and pulley are currently being machined by green corridor partner Advantage Engineering. This shaft and pulleys will be assembled with motor, two pillow block bearings and the motor into a steel plate to form the drive system for the bike. With time running out on the semester the team is working hard to make the bike as complete as possible to hand over to a future team.

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Chop Cut Rebuild!

Progress is being seen on the E-Motorcycle. This past week the team began elongating the frame to make more space for the batteries and to give the bike a ‘chopper’ look. On Tuesday of the last week, the frame was cut in half after the top and bottom frame rails were welded together to provide structural support. Shown below, team member Xiong cuts the frame apart with a cut-off wheel. With the frame cut apart the team cut tube to size and welded it into the frame. The top tube required bending to fit the frame back together. The next step for the team will be to mount the batteries in the elongated frame and wire them to the control unit and the motor. The team is excited with the progress and will continue to work hard to achieve their goals!

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Putting It Together

The E-Motorcycle team enjoyed a successful week. The team received the electric motor, control unit and 3 batteries at a special price from Green Corridor partner, Windsor Starter’s Powerhouse. Also, donated to the team from Scoot-A-Long, was an electric throttle and brake switch. The team was busy on Thursday planning out the precise placement of all the components in the bare motorcycle frame which was completely stripped of all the existing wiring and non essential components. After the final placement of the components is finished, the required wiring to complete the circuit can be acquired. A pillow bearing, belt and pulleys are still required to transfer power from the electric motor to the driveshaft. The team is excited to spend the last weeks of the semester assembling and fabricating the electric motorcycle.

Team members Xiong and Albion bring the electric motor, batteries and control unit into the workshop

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Muffins for Motors

The E Motorcycle team has had a successful run at a bake sale this past Thursday. The team pulled in $184 to put towards the procurement of electrical components for the E-Bike. A special thanks goes out to the entire Novak family for their time and effort baking, decorating and helping to sell at the bake sale. Also, this past Thursday, the team visited local electrical manufacturer Electrozad, who graciously donated two switches, an emergency stop and weather proof PVC box for the Bike. The team is still working hard towards procuring the rest of the essential materials to have their designs come to fruition. This has proved to be a formidable task as the selected 4 horsepower DC motor is not used as a common industrial applications. Despite this the team will fight on to finish what they’ve started.

Ashley Novak serves some satisfied customers

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