Saturday, February 18, 2012

High or Low?

There are two places that the AC-20 can go. Down low where the transmission was, or up high where the gas tank used to be under the seat. I'll have to do some figuring to see which one will work out to be the best position.

The first set of pictures show the motor mounted low. The bottom of the motor would be at the same level where the exhaust pipes used to be. The face of the motor is on a fairly close plane to the face of the drive shaft. 

The second set of pictures show the motor mounted high, under the seat. The face of the motor is a few inches forward of the face of the drive shaft.

This last set of pictures shows the relative size of the motor and batteries in the bike frame. The "tank" is actually just a plastic air cleaner cover. That entire area is open, I will probably be putting the Curtis 1238 controller and the battery charger under there.

The battery mockups are of the Sinopoly 60(b) cells, as you can see there is room for a lot of them. I'm going to also mock up some 100's to see how they fit.

And it is outta there...

Thanks to one of the local members of, Ken H, the motor is now out of the bike. I have two different manuals for the ST1100, the factory one and one from Haynes. Both listed the same steps for removing the engine, with the Haynes one being slightly more detailed and having pictures. Neither listed what I actually had to do to get the engine out...

At Ken's suggestion, I removed the right timing belt cover. That gave just enough clearance to lever the engine out with a pry bar. With the engine out of the way, I can start measuring for motor placement and batteries.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Busted knuckles...

Last week was very frustrating. I'm still fighting with the engine, and it is still winning. The manual says it should come out, other people say they have gotten their engine out, but I can't seem to get the right incantation to get it to come out.

Several people on the ST-Owners forum recommended that I try taking the Swingarm off. This requires a custom tool from Honda and a 17mm Hex Allen key. I didn't want to spend the $80 that Honda wants for the tool and then wait for it to ship, and there are several examples of people taking 1-1/8" sockets and cutting them down to make a tool that will fit. The local pawn shop had just the socket I needed for only a few bucks, so I went to measuring and grinding, grinding and measuring, then grinding some more until I got the socket to fit (mostly). It turns out I should have gotten the 1-1/16" socket... this cheap Chinese socket had very thick walls. I tried to remove the swingarm lock nut and ended up banging my knuckles when the socket slipped... twice.

I decided that I really should have the right tool for the job, especially when I needed to reassemble the bike, so I searched on ebay for the tools and ended up getting both an third party swingarm locknut tool and an axle tool for less than Honda wants for just the swingarm locknut tool.

After I finish with this project, I'm going to donate both of these to Mellow, the Admin of This will let any of the local DFW Honda DIYers borrow them when they need them. 

Hopefully I'll have the engine out this weekend.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Juice... lots of juice.

I've been looking at all sorts of chargers for this project and haven't liked any of the commercial options available. They are either too expensive... or too cheap. Too big, too heavy, too poorly designed or cost more than the rest of the bike. Blech.

I've been reading about a DIY, open source charger that has been refined over the last couple of years and is now available in a variety of forms from Electric Motor Works. I've been chatting with Valery Miftakhov, PhD (Physics),  founder of EMW, and I'll be ordering a water cooled version of his 10kW/60A PFC charger kit.

My current plan is to mount the EMW charger on one side of a cold water plate, and the Curtis 1238 on the other side. This will sandwich the cold plate between them, and since the charger and controller will never be operating at the same time I should have no problem of ever overloading the cooling capacity of the plate.

EMW offers a fully assembled version of their charger, and I was considering ordering that. My soldering skills are frankly pretty poor. I was discussing this with some of the Dallas Makerspace members, and one of them has offered to take the time to help me with the charger build, and teach me how to properly solder. By ordering the kit, rather than the completed charger, I can put the savings (~$1000) toward batteries.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

More Bits and Pieces.

I'm still fighting that blasted engine. According to the manual, it should just come out to the left now that all the mounting bolts are out and the sub-frame is off. It looks like it lacks about 1/8th of an inch to just fall out onto the floor, but I can't make it budge. One of the members of suggested that I may need to remove the swing arm to get the engine out. I was hoping to avoid that. If I don't get it out by the weekend, "Mellow" the admin of ST-Owners has volunteered to come give me a hand on Saturday. It turns out he is a local, and a really nice guy.

More stuff came in this week. I wasn't expecting it to show up so soon, but the AC-20 kit arrived at the Dallas Makerspace on Monday. Luckily one of the members happened to be there and was able to sign for it... I was still waiting for a tracking number from HPEVS and had no idea it had even shipped! Travis with Electro Motive Force was proactive on chasing down the package, HPEVS just dropped the ball on sending out the tracking info when they drop-shipped the motor.

That motor is a lot heavier than it looks. I knew it was over 50 pounds, but I was still surprised at how heavy it felt when I picked it up. The controller has a few scrapes on the plastic at the corners, and has a small chip on the plastic lip of the cable connector. It looks like it was maybe dropped before packing, the packing showed no signs of damage.

The Mean Well DC-DC converter also arrived. I'll need to fabricate some sort of cover for the terminal end.
The $38 Programmable Volt Meter from is an interesting little gadget that I heard about from Jack on EVTV. It has two programmable relays built in, and you can set a high/low voltage for each. With a suitable relay and resistor, it will make a dandy little cell balancer. They also have a Programmable Current Meter for the same price.