Bling it on…

In time-honoured tradition I’ve ripped off yet another idea:  Adding a little flair to the final product. However, while Ian favoured the stock ‘Turbo Sport‘ motif, I have gone so far as to assemble the entire three letters required for my own catchy sub-heading – a stroke of genius, non? (Stick-on chrome lettering available here).

The ‘Ego’ sticker will have to go, though, I’ve decided. I’ll have to find some cool, chrome futuristic-type logo to go in its place. Possibly like some emblem from Stargate SG1, but not as nerdy.

More on Controllers and Wiring

Last night I decided to do a bit of house-keeping, and also to finally prep and try out my spare controller to see how it measured up to my existing one. The only difference that this ‘chatparts.com’ controller seems to have with my existing one is that:

  • The wires all come out of two separate holes at the end of the controller case, rather than one big one in the middle.
  • There are no ring connectors for the phase wires, just a 4-way ceramic block much like the one used for the main motor power wires on the 48V factory bike.
  • It says on its sticker that it’s rated for 50±2A, rather than 40±2A
  • Chatparts.com, assure me that it does indeed come with regenerative braking, which – they say – will just spring to life as soon as I connect it up.

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY!!

Most important, though, is one thing that was very much the same as my existing 72V controller – the big banana-skin of that throttle connector with the reversed wires.

Watch out for that hinky throttle connection!

Just like the other 72V controller, the Green(/White) – Black(/White) – Red(/White) throttle connector on the loom (bottom), corresponded to the Black-Green-Red on the controller’s own connector (top). This should be Green-Black-Red, NOT Black-Green-Red, so that they match their counterparts on the loom. On both occasions, the black and green wires on the controller’s three-way connector needed ‘picking’ so that these wires could be reversed.

The problem, of course, may not take this form on every machine, or even exist at all, but whatever your configuration you need to make sure that the colours match up either side of the connectors.

Thanks to the Dharma of Mike and Ian, I was spared the Red Herring of switching around phase wires at random (which seems to be the first response of choice to a completely dead system), and had this throttle wire problem pointed out to me straight off the bat, courtesy of Ian’s kindly-volunteered phone tech-support. Rumours are abound that there is sometimes a problem like this with the phase wires (even though each is specifically colour-coded) but I’ve not seen this on either of the controllers I’ve now tried out.

With the chatparts.com controller I was also left with the same useless (for the Ego’s purposes) plastic three-way connector housing the main motor power wires (left & right), and the low current power supply for the controller (top), which shares a two-way connector with the brake cut-off wire on the old 48V controller.

I am certain that both of these plastic connectors will still be lying somewhere in my toolbox when I’m 93, – too potentially useful to discard, but too actually useless to ever realistically find a function for.

The main power wires that used to live here were dutifully rigged up to another Anderson connector as described in my previous entry, and the controller power-feed was put aside for when I put on a proper connector to replace the existing, temporary one.

First thing, though, was to take care of the phase wires, which – once removed from the useless ceramic block – were just bare wires requiring the 6mm ring connectors that the ego’s junction block is all set up for. The problem is, of course, that the smallish guage phase wires are way too small to suit the large bore of a standard 6mm ring connector. They are just the right size, though, for one of the many bullet connectors in my handy megapack of connectors.

The plastic bothered me briefly, but it turns out that just two or three seconds under a lighter softens it enough to slide off with very little pursuasion, and with no gooey mess…

which is great if you want to add a smidgeon of solder to the resulting crimp, like I did, to make sure the connection is as solid as possible.

With the phase wire bullet connection duly crimped and soldered, I then shoved it into the bore of the 6mm ring connector (not forgetting to slide a length of heat-shrink down the wire first).

Next I used the honking great crimper to crush it into a nice, solidly fused mass, then packed the heatshrink around the resulting join.

The final stage was to do a proper job on that two-way connector that serves the controller power-feed and the brake cut-off. If you recall, I’d settled for a bit of a dog’s dinner of a temporary connection to tide me over until I had some more mini-connector bits.

To the right is the red controller power feed, and the white brake cut-off wires, spliced in via a couple of spade connectors to the male two-way that I just hacked off of the old controller. This has all been squared away now:

A proper connector replaces the red/violet two-way that ran from the old 48V controller, and which now holds the equivalent red/white connections from the 72V controller.

And back on the Road…

Once I’d remembered to connect my makeshift 12V cable, everything came to life just as it had before, and I was hoping to finally experience the long-awaited phenomenon of regenerative braking.

Alas it was not to be. The bike ran, handled, and made exactly the same noises as it had with the old controller, but there was no sign of any of the torquiness that is supposed to accompany the regen function. The “oh, just plug it all together and it works” claim was evidentlly untrue, and despite a total of ten or so emails to the sellers of both of these controllers, I have yet to be furnished with any useable information that might yield a clue as to how to enable this function – even my English translation of that Cantonese schematic coud not unearth any mention of regen braking.

One unexpected – but happy – result was that the vendor of my first controller got so fed up of my complaints and endless requests for clarification about the many undocumented connectors on these 72V controllers, that they gave me a full refund just to make me go away 🙂

I’ve also managed to procure what the chatparts.com engineers assure me (hmm) are full electrical schematics of the controller. Very useful if you know how to read them, and have the no-doubt hideously expensive software (called Protel) that can read them, but not much good otherwise. So it’s back to the Electric Motoring Forum to see if Mike or any other electronics fanatic might be interested in perusing these .SCH files that are currently languishing on my hard drive…

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