24v Front wheel drive Tricycle

front revisited front revisited

Installing the crank chain

     The front crank on Tricycles that use a front hub motor drive do not utilize Electric drive on the axle or rear wheels. As such, the crank has a chain fitted between the crank gear and a single 3" sprocket on the drive axle. Our tricycle in this case has a 16 tooth 3" sprocket on the axle lined up with the main gear of the crank pedal assembly. It uses a 1/2" chain and a 3" 16 tooth sprocket again designed for 1/2" chains.
     A chain break is used to open the chain. The chain is then shortened such that it rounds the Chain gear and sprocket. We allow 1/2" slack in the chain and place a chain link for 1/2" chains to rejoin the ends. The chain for the axle to drive wheel is a 3/8's chain and has a 15 tooth 3" sprocket fitted to the outter end of the drive sprocket. This sprocket must line up with the selected gear at the rear wheel. There are 7 sprocket in the rear wheel cassette. Larger gears will drive the trike slower and smaller gears will drive faster. It is put on in a similar fashion to the previous chain but using a 3/8's chain link link. Last thing to do is place the chain guard in place to complete the installation.
front crank
The ADULT Tricycle
     The final hurrah! I have a ridable trike ready for conversion to a fully electric unit.

Electric front wheel drive (applies to 48v and 24v systems)

24v drive hub
     Installation of the drive wheel up front is fast and simple. You remove the non-electric front wheel and mount the new Wheel with embedded drive motor onto the front forks. The selected hub wheel must fit the forks and wheel fender of the tricycle. Wiring for the motor goes on the right as seen fron the seated position. It comes up the forks in a manor such the it does not interfere with turning or contact with the tire. This wiring has to pass along the frame past the seat down pipe and joiner and feed into the basket at the front where it must then enter the right hand electronics compartment. There will be 3 motor power wires and 5 sensor wires. The sensor wires tell the controler the relative position of the wheels rotation so the control can better manage speed. Some ebike kits also include a magnetic sensor that mounts with a magnet on the wheel spokes and a sensor lined up on the front fork to send rotation data for speed sense to controller. In this case you will have 7 wires going to the electronics compartment.
     All the circuits of the trike operate from either 6v or 24v on this trike. The battery pack supplies both required voltages. More on this later.

Electric Accelerator, Electric Brakes (applies to all E-trikes)

     To facilitate acceleration and braking we will use right hand grip brake lever from the conversion kit to control the front brake. This grip has a brake magnetic switch wire set to signal motor inhibit. The right hand grip has an aceleration potentiometer with 3 wires to pass speed control info to the controller. Instead of using the other supplied hand grip we will add a second accelerator grip to the left side and repurpose it as an electric brake for the rear wheels.

     To accelerate, you turn the grip back towards you. to brake, you pull the right brake lever for the front wheel and rotate the left grip forward away from you to brake the back wheels. This is kinda the reverse of a normal bike break which has left control front and right controlling rear. The 3 Accelerate throttle wires go to the back controller. The 2 right brake wires, and 3 brake throttle wires go to the front controller.
     We will only have partial electronic braking for two reasons. Firstly, without manufacturing an electric caliper for disc or rim brakes or machining an electric drum piston/shoes, we can't apply the pads to perform the stopping. This means while we can run a servo to electrically move an actuator, the actuator has to still pull a cable to the caliper unit. As such the best we can do is limit cable lengths to be shorter, precisely apply both rear brakes in one motion, trigger motor stop from either brake handle, and attenuate the brake pressure by the amount of brake handle movement.
     A second reason for not having full electric brakes is that if we loose power for any reason, we still need some way to stop the trike even if not efficiently. So for this second reason, we must retain the front brake as cable driven to either a rim brake or disc brake system. The right hand grip will be changed to a twist throttle as per normal. It's brake lever will be changed to one with a built in microswitch or hall sensor or magnetic reed switch so it can notify the system to cut motor power. But this handle will have a brake cable going to the caliper of the front wheel. It's wiring must pass to the lighting control unit along with the accelerator wiring.

     A PWM control system takes the amount of pressure to apply and sends a signal to the servo to push a lever which in turn pulls two cables to activate the brakes.

Signal / horn switch (applies to all E-trikes)

     At the left handgrip we mount a custom enclosure that holds our DPDT-CO switch for turn signals and a momentary switch for the horn. These wires go to our lighting control unit. We will need it to be as small as possible with a handlebar clamp to secure it. The 5 wires from it along with wires from the Brake system need to travel along the handlebar and into the Lighting control box.

     And there you have it, a custom signal switch with horn button. The last image says I am either going blind and can't measure right or was in too much of hurry to do a great job. What remains is to add the 5 wires, some rubber sealant, a few pop rivets and four tiny lid screws. You will note I also bent the metal the wrong direct so the horn button faces front instead of back which I hope won't be a problem. For the horn you have your hand on the brake handgrip and can flip the signal with yor thumb but instead of also being able to press the horn with your thumb, you have to press using your index finger.

Front Lighting control (applies to all E-trikes)

      It gets it's 6v operating power from a 6.3v tap at the batteries, and it's 48v Light power from the mains. A slope top cabinet houses the lighting control, Master key lock (not shown), Headlight switch, and Hazard switch. The front will have the left turn, right turn, cylon / Kitt-car eye assembly mounted through the windshield. Battery voltage and status mounts to the top surface as does the speed/odometer display.
     The board fits nicely using 5.4" x 5.75" of the 8.75" x 6.85" console. Opperation of the board is done using the 6.3v battery tap. Lighting is done using relays so the baard handles 24v or 48v systems with the only caviet being that lighting strings attached must match the correct 24v or 48v system.
     The schematic below does all including the brake lights, brake control, and motor cut-off of our system. Front turn signals and markers and cylon eye mount to the front edge of the board. Switches mount to a pin header in the middle and rear lights mount on the right side. The two signal leds will actually mount to the top lid. The headlight and horn mount to the bottom of the light control unit. A PWM Brake solenoid connection powers the brakes as needed. At bottom left provides power from the Main control unit in the electrical compartment. Finally the key Switch connector provides for Master system power the location of the key switch can be on the front control unit, Right handlebar grip or anywhere else found desirable.

     At the left are the switch and sensor inputs that come in on the pin header. All switches and sensors run from +6v @ 20ma max. Four opto isolators handle motor cut-out if either brake handle is activated and at the same time powers the brake lights. Where the accelerator at the right controls speed and is not part of this board, the left decelerate at the left hand grip does come into this board and feeds the PWM circuit to regulate the amount of braking to occur.
     The heart of the lighting control is a flasher timer. It runs as long as the trike is powered. It has a speed adjustment to set the flash rate. The cylon eye uses this flash rate to move the eye back and forth by lighting individual leds. This is accomplished by 74191 binary up down counter and a 74151 1 of 16 demultiplexer. Half of a 7473 jk flip flop changes the count direction. Two dpdt relays are used to provide 4 corner signals. The signals are flashed by use of signal light switches that connect the flasher to the appropriate relay. If the hazard button is pressed both relays get the flash pulses. Each string of LEDs demands 48v @20ma. As such each light string has 48 super bright LEDs. For the marker lights, there are 14 at the front, 2 groups of 6 on each side and two groups of 7 at the back all wired in series. For the 24v systems, there are 24 LEDs per string instead of the 48 in this plan.

     So our front wiring is established. From the left handlebar we have 8 22ga wires to the front controller. From the right handlebar we have 5 22ga wires to the controller. The front lighting will mount later to the front of the control cabinet and it's 15 wires directly connect into the cabinet. 8 18ga wires, 8 22ga wires pass from the control cabinet to the electrical compartment and 5 to 7 wires from the hub motor and speed sensor pass to the ebike controller. Thats 23 wires that have to pass from the center of the handlebars to the rear frame.

Electric E-Trike controller

     The heart of the Electric Trike is the control unit that fits in the back Electronics bay on the right hand side. On an E-Bike it is both the heart and brain but, and there is always a but, this is a super E-Trike. As a super E-Trike the controller takes direction from a brain called the Main controller. The main controller handles E-Trike drive, Lighting, braking, AC charging, solar charging, and power Inversion. So in this case, the E-Trike controller is powered from Main controller. The Key lock wiring of the controller can be bridged or wired as a secondary key switch. 5 hall effect wires go to the drive motor in the front wheel as does the 3 phrase wires. The throttle takes 3 wires and two sets of 2 wires run to the brake handles as motor cut-out switches.      Since I have decided to go with a different motor drive system, The wires coming from the front must connect to the corresponding connections on the ebike controller. The key switch wires and battery connections wire to the main charge controller rather than directly to a keyswitch and battery.

Battery Packs (applies only to 24v systems)

     Lets talk space for batteries. Above each wheel at the back there is 28" L x 5" H x 4" W on each side and 8" L x 8" W x 13" H in a dedicated battery compartment. This is enough space for 8 blocks in series of 10 paralleled cells (80 cells @ 60Ah) above each rear wheel and 8 blocks in series of 10 paralleled cells (80 cells @ 60Ah) in the battery compartment. We need 8 cells in series of 4 paralleled cells to make our 24v 24Ah (576watt) battery system. For economy it would be best to use 3.2v 6000mAh cells (32700 type) rather than the normal 3.2v 1100mAh to 1500mAh (18650). The 32700 cells are 1" diameter x 2.5" instead of 0.72" x 2.15" for the 18650 cells. 1152 watts is higher than the required 600 watts but I am upping it even higher to 1440 watts for range of 244kms. Fully expanded the trike could have a range of 720kms with 180Ah which is phenomenal. At $9 per cell, 24Ah is $576 but at 180Ah cost are bumped to over $2,295. A happy medium is to target 60Ah for $720. This will provide a satisfactory range of 244km++.

     When you place the batteries into a protective enclosure, you will need a positive terminal and a negative terminal and 8 wires going to the cells for monitoring and charging. In low end E-bikes they seldom have BMS charge protection and the charger is seldom carried with the E-Bike. At best, you will find avid E-bike users will carry a second battery pack to swap in as needed. I am not normal so mine will have BMS and onboard charge from AC and / or solar!

BMS charge monitoring (applies only to 24v systems)

     Our E-Trike will have BMS to protect the Batteries. Depicted below is a Passive BMS charge monitor board that can monitor 8 cell blocks. As a passive system, when a block is fully charged, it's LED lights and charging stops on that group diverting charge to the remaining groups. While all groups are charged initially together, any block that reaches full charge ahead of others stops charging.

     I included a four pin battery connection to service needs of the E-Trike and the 8 pin connection for individual battery charge monitoring. Due to the potential charge and drain currents, the four pin connector will need heavier wiring direct to the battery.
     The wiring schematic for the BMS boards is shown below. There are 8 identical circuits that each monitor a 3.2v group of cells.


Electrical Compartment

In the original plan I was going to use a series of off the shelf units but, and there is always a but, this proved to be expensive and overkill in some aspects and lacking in others.

The cell logger would cycle showing the voltage level at each cell and sound an alarm when any cell drops below 2.8volts. It would take 2 units for 15 cell groups. Instead, we will use a voltage display up front. It will show 48v at full charge and 43v when depleted. There will also be battery state display.

A fancy solar charger shows volts and amps from the solar panel, and blocks draining the batteries when the sun goes down. A simple pair of diodes does the same job for under $1

A balance charger can handle 8 groups at a time, but using passive BMS and our custom charger we can do all 8 groups at once.

An inverter converts 24vDC to 120 vAC but again is bulky and costly. Our custom controller takes less space, less expense, and will give limited but adequate power.

The ebike controller is all we must have and it comes with our mid drive motor.
     This is new. E-Bikes and E-trikes generally don't reserve space (due to lack of it) for a dedicated compartment. Coming into this compartment are 3 wires from the battery pack array, and two wires (+/-) from the solar array. Inside this compartment will be our system controller, and the E-Bike controller. Passing through this compartment will be wiring for the lights. Unlike an E-Bike or E-Trike, we will have on-board charging, power inversion, and solar charging. We will have electric braking control, powered high luminous lights.

     On the face, there is a mode switch, 120v AC single outlet, and charge port. The Mode switch selects charge battery, charge from AC, AC power out, or E-Trike drive mode, and of course Off.

     The E-trike controller is going to be the hard part in wiring. The mode switch tie the 24v Battery bank into the ebike controller from the main controller but everything else from the controller has to be run to the amenities. We are talking 5 wires to the pedal sense, 8 wires to the front hub (5 sense/3 power), Accelerate, brake, signal & light power, Speed & battery state and Key switch all up at the handlebars.

The Main controller

The Circuit Objective

     This is a combining and rework of systems outlined by Swagatam Innovations featured in homemade-circuits.com. Using 3 independent circuits outlined, I reworked them such that where circuit 1 took 230v AC shore power which activated 2 relays (one was with momentary delay) to supply 230v AC to an appliance and also supplied a 230v AC to 12v DC half wave charger for a 12v battery. Now circuit 1 takes 120v AC and supplies 120v AC to an appliance, uses a 120v AC to 30v AC non center tapped transformer instead of a 12-0-12 230v AC transformer to supply a full bridge rectified battery charge at 30v DC.
     The Inverter stage of circuit 1 used a simple oscillator driving 2 mosfets which fed a center tapped transformer in the reverse direction with directional control provided by the 2 relays mentioned above. Now by using a non center tapped transformer, 6 P-channel mosfets and 2 N-channel mosfets to provide the inversion. Thusly, circuit 1 and 2 are combined with a notable exception. Circuit 2 used a third relay to switch the battery from charge to invert and it was changed to the mode switch so that I can achieve an off state when no charging and no inversion is desired. Due to cost and availability issues handling relays with 5A and switches with 5A to 10A ratings, the board was revised to use opto-isolated Triacs and Triac switching stage. Now 6v @0.02A handles all switching.
     With the third circuit, we add solar charge/run, Ebike drive power, and Battery bank charge or assist from solar. When solar is deployed (uncovered) solar power charges the battery. The load output of the third circuit goes to the Ebike controller which can now draw from solar and or battery.

     At about 5" square the system board is fairly compact with an off board transformer being the biggest part.
     From our compartment box we have to pass the wiring along the lower frame to the center where it must then pass to the front section and be routed through our moved upper frame section and out to the handlebars. The pedal sense wires come down the seat down pipe to the sprocket. Thus far we can have all the wiring concealed. At the handlebars we then have a huge clump of wires going to brake levers, display, throttle, master key switch, our yet to be included lighting package, and from this lighting package to horn, front markers/signal, rear marker, signal,brakes, and headlights.

Charger / Inverter
     This adapted bad boy controller has a lot of integrated systems in it for total E-bike control. Comprised of 6 sections, It handles AC Input, Solar Input, Battery In/Out, AC out, Oscillator, And Inverter.

     Function Mode Switch While this is not a system, it does determine what systems work and when. In the charge position, you have AC charge when the AC power cord is connected which also provides AC appliance output, Solar charge with solar available for run assist, E Bike Run. In the inverter mode AC appliance runs from battery, and if solar power is available it too can supply both inverter and Ebike power.

     AC Line cord when plugged in to land power makes AC charge mode available at the switch. It can supply the Appliance power and Battery charge directly. An off board breaker limits current to 5A @ 120v AC input with up to 5A available for appliance use and up to 10A for DC 10A charging of the Battery.

     Solar charge / run when the solar panels are deployed and given enough solar energy, the 30v Solar panels can supply 6A of charge and run power to the system. The E-trike demands 10A to go 40 to 50 kms so technically, having 6A assist should ideally extend travel to 60 kms on a bright sunny day, or reduce depletion of the battery.

     E-Bike drive is given it's power from one of or all of the Solar Panels (30v @6Ah), or Battery 24v @60Ah. The controller for the E Bike takes a 24v to 30v input as it's drive power through a master key switch at the handlebars. This same key switch controls all functions of the E-Trike.

     Battery supplies 24v @60Ah for either running the E Bike or Running the inverter in Inverter mode. It is charged with BMS with balancing function at the Battery pack and gets the charge power from the Solar panels or the AC charger.

     Inverter when the switch is in inverter mode, the Battery supplies power to the oscillator and the inverter drive to convert 24v DC to 120v AC @5A maximum for up to 2 hours.

     Oscillator supplies a 60Hz multi-vibrator control to the inverter mosfet stage of the inverter. As a multi vibrator circuit it supplies 60 positive going pulses and 60 negative going pulses in an alternating fashion.

The charge / Inverter defined here uses a single Transformer that works both as an inverter and a battery charger.

E-Trike Charge and control Schematic

    Typically, a transformer is used when going AC to DC or DC to AC and in this design we are planning for a single transformer to do both. If primary voltage is 120v @5A, output is 30v @22A on the selected transformer. Wattage remains the same. Transformers are rated by their wattage spec above all. So in our case 120v AC @5A is 600watts. The selected transformer has a dual primary and dual secondary and a 625watt rating when both primary and secondarys are in parallel. The bridge drops 2.7v leaving 27.3v for charging. In inverter mode 24v is inverted to 96v AC @5A which isn't ideal but for running some power tools will suffice. The batteries can be charged up to 6A each but doing 8 groups, the charge at each battery is only 740mA.
    Two views of the schematic from two CAD programs. On the left is the reworked design which had problems handling currents. On the right is a corrected circuit designed to fix the problems.The oscillator and inverter stage is kept. But instead of using an AC to DC from the AC input and relays to provide the switching, it uses a low voltage - low current switch that powers a set of opto isolated triacs to handle AC switching at up to 15A. We use a 6.4v tap at the battery pack to supply the selector switch which in turn supplies the selected opto-triacs with about 20ma. In invert mode, this same supply feeds the oscilator.

    The look of the resulting PCB board reveals DC connections across the top and AC on the left side with selection at the bottom left. The front of the compartment has a surface area of 6.5"W x 12.5" so if I make a metal cabinet 6"W x 9"H x 3.5"D, I can mount the AC In and Out sockets and protective weatherproof cover at the top with the circuit board rotated 180 degrees below it. the left side (from the back) can hold the terzoid transformer and the right side the Mode switch and Circuit breaker. The DC connections come in through the bottom and the unit can then mount against the outside surface. The E-Trike controller can mount against the back wall so there is a home for everything.

The PCB layout is a single sided through hole design, measuring 5 inches by 5 inches. 7 PCB connectors are used. 1 for AC input, 1 for AC output, I for Battery, 1 for solar in, 1 for EBike, 1 for Front of bike power and 1 for the mode switch.
AC main comes from the AC external socket through a reset able circuit breaker to the AC input. AC out connects to a single outlet receptacle. Both in and out sockets have weather proof covers. Wiring for the battery, solar, and ebike pass through the enclosure and go to their respective systems.
     Wiring for the master control is abbreviated here. As can be seen, the solar and battery simply connect direct to the board although for servicing it would be prudent to wire to a barrier strip. The ebike controller also is shown as direct connection although it in reality has a key lock switch up front. The transformer has dual primary and dual secondary and these are wired in parallel resulting in 120v-ac to 30v-ac. The AC in and out needs a circuit breaker for in and out. The depiction below is an old one before I fixed the problem with current ratings.
     A simple metal enclosure will suffice to hold the board and provide mounting surface for the transformer, barrier strip, and panel mount circuit breakers. For the E-trike I moved the doors to the side and mounted the electronics to the front surface as it worked better.

Solar Array Installation

     Using the plans set out in Vol 2 on the making of a solar panel for an etrike, we will construct a 2 panel, 24v 6A solar charger. The 2 panels will mount to the top behind the bike seat end and fold up one on top of the other when not in use for charging.

     The tables below form the foundation for available space and cell count and arrangement.
Solar array area:
# of panels width lengthcell width cell length cells/panel cells/array
1 46" 36" 42.5 34.5 168 168
2 46" 18" 42.5 16.5 84 168
3 46" 12" 42.5 10.5 42 126
     The area specs above determine total space for inclusion of 4" x 2" cells. It includes the spacing between cells and accomodation of the framing. It does not cover how the cells are wired or their configuration.
Solar charge requirements:
     As can be seen, in a 36" x 46" charge area, we can handle up to 4 amps @ 24v system without doing anything special. we are 12 cells short to make a 6A 24v system. We are restricted to the 46" tricycle width but can go another 6" past the end of the trike with a foldout panel for 6A @ 24v. If it isn't clear, when I talk of a 24v system then charge requirements is 30v.
Solar wiring.
     Each row of cells develops 10.5v in series, so a 24v system needs 3 rows per string. Using 18" panels we can have 4 rows per panel so 1 series string uses .75 panels for 24v. 2 series strings is 1.5 panels for 24v. 3 series strings 2.25 panels for 24v @ 6A. A micro switch needs to be incorporated to switch the panel into circuit when it is deployed.

Solar construction

     For the frame structure you need Alluminum 'U' chanel that can accomodate .75" of material I.D and given that Aluminum 'U' chanel is typically .125" thick you need to have 1" x .6.25" O.D. "U" chanel. You will be building 2 boxes that are 18" x 46". The panel substate (backing for the cells) is .5" Plywood cut to fit snug in the boxes. This will leave .25" space to accomodate .125" spacer and .125" of drop ceiling lens. I glued .5" x .125" lens to the edges of the plywood then drilled and screwed 3 of the 4 edges of the "U" chanel to the plywood. The fourth edge will be applied after the lens and cells are done. If all goes well you have a plywood surface 16.5" x 44.5" to place the 4" x 2" cells. Tabbing wire is soldered to the back of each cell and is the (-) of the cell. The tops have the (+) of the cells.
     The polycrystaline cells are very fragile. To start each row of cells, Solder a Buss tap to the two negative tab wires of a cell. align and glue the cell into place. It is prudent to draw the cell placements onto the plywood such that each row can have 21 cells with 1/8th " spacing on all sides. As you add cells, cut the tab wire such that they do not extend all the way to the edge of the previous cell. You solder the tab wire (-) to the top of the previous cell (+) and glue the cell down observing the 1/8" spacing. I added a bead of rubber cement at the edge of the previous cell to eliminate chance of shorting the positive and negative of the privious cell together. At the end of a row, solder 2 tab wire to the positive of the last cell and add a Buss wire that must carry over to the next row (-). In this fashion, the first cell (-) will be at the oposite end as the previous cell row. Doing 20 cells per row will take 3 rows for 24v. The fourth row starts the next string of cells at add 2A more to the array. You start this fourth row just like the first row. Connect the fourth row (-) Buss the (-) of the first row Buss and also feed this (-) into the second panel. The (+) at the ebd of the fourth row wires into the second panel as does the (+) of the end of the third row of panel 1. The (+) of row 3 and the (-) of row 1 go into the electronics cabinet to supply solar power.
     To join one panel to the next, we need to connect the buss tap (+) of the last cell of row 4 to the negative of the first cell of the first row in the new panel with a wire. In the second panel it wires up just like the first but, and there is always a but, This time we use two rows of 20. The solar array (+) from the end of the second row feeds into the first panel (+) end of row 3. To go further and add 2A to make a 6A system, connect the (+) end of row2 panel2 to one side of a 2 pin socket to the add=on panel. Connect the negative buss of panel 1 to the third row starting cell. Rows 3 and four wire normally and the ending (+) of the third row connects to the other side pf the socket.
     If you are lucky and can get pin hinges, We need 20 cells (1 row) in the add-on panel. So a 6" wide panel will do and wires in a similar fashion to panel 2 except it will have a plug connector. In the end you have 6A of charge.
     The controller will have a 30v 6A diode to block the panels from discharging the battery pack when there is not enough light to induce charging. When the panels are not deployed a simple micro switch will prevent them from connecting into the circuit. Where the charge current from the solar array is 6A maximum, this provides a small charge at 0.75A to each cell which is very low. It would take 24 hours of continuous charge to come close to a full charge. Given that there is less than 8 hours of usable sunlight in a day, there is no risk of overcharging.
     When riding the bicycle, you are using 10A to go 40km out of the battery. 6A of charge adding to the main line, may reduce the battery draw by 6A to be 4A of battery depletion over the 1 hour trip. Then while sitting at the destination for an hour would further recharge 6A and thusly replenish the battery. In this manor, range is somewhat extended. Where you would expect a 80km trip to deplete 20A from the battery pack, a 3 hour round trip with solar charge at peak would result in 4A use on first leg of trip, 4A recovery waiting to return, and 4A ideal drain on the return. So total power used was not 20A but only 4A.
     As stated under the Battery section, we are planning on raising the battery from 20Ah to 60Ah so our range has gone from 80km to 244km++. Under ideal conditions, we could see 120km in 3 hours with 30A draw but supplemented with 18A from solar meaning we only used 12A. This leaves us with only 48A available if we turned around and head right back. Our battery would still have 18A left if we lacked good sunlight. But we do have on board 120V AC charging at 10A so if we could plug in on the trip at the destination, we could replenish the charge in 2 hours.

Finishing Up: Lights first

     At this point we have the completed E-trike with one exception. To be street legal we need full lighting package, and a full working braking system. A Windshield, helmet, and gloves also will be needed.      Now for our custom lights. The concept here is that I have the lights assembled and tested on their circuit board. A piece of clear 1/16 " Plexiglas is formed into a 5 sided box made to accommodate the PCB. PCB wires are fed through the base and box is filled with clear epoxy resin. Another clear Plexiglas is secured to the open side with acetate glue. The finished assembly can be drilled and mounted as a sealed weatherproof fixture. These lights are specific to 24v systems
     For the front we have a left turn / right turn / marker / cylon eye board image followed by the size spec the top and bottom board layouts and the schematic.

     For the markers, we take the front marker line feed it into one marker board, connect the output to a terminal strip, and also feed that strip with a blank wire, Left signal, left brake, and Ground. A sixth wire goes on the terminal strip and then all six pass to the other side. On the other side we take the marker wire and feed it into the marker board and take marker output and all the other wires down to the left tail lights. On the right side we feed Right brake, Right turn, +24v, and the blank wire to the right tail light.

     Each of the two tailight assemblies are the same just oriented so the LED arrows face out.

Making the electrical compartment

     Below we have the front of the electronics cabinet. At 6.5" x 8.75" it will be a tight fit between the 0.75" compartment frame uprights. It is secured to the outer compartment skin and has mount holes for the PCB and Mode switch and the two almost square AC connectors through both the skin and the front of cabinet surface. The AC socket connectors are designed to just pass through the cover plate such that the cover closes flush. There is tiny mount tab on the switch that must be sealed to prevent water seepage into the cabinet.

     The top, bottom, left, and right of the cabinet extend at least 2" into the enclosure. A push button circuit breaker mounts through the back and the back screws onto the cabinet.
     Above are most of dimensions for mounting the items.

Wiring it all up.

     All is for not without wiring it all up. I have talked about a fair number of systems and features of this E-Trike and it is time to try to interconnect them all.
     The left and right handlebar wiring goes to the Lighting control box on the handlebars. However, the throttle wires go to the ebike controller in the electronics compartment. Headlight, horn, front turn signal unit fit directly onto the Lighting control unit which also contains the the headlight switch, Hazard switch, and main key lock switch. This Lighting control unit has the Lighting and brake PWM PCB. The brake PWM has the job of monitoring both brake levers to report to the ebike when to stop the motor power and to generate a PWM servo signal to apply brakes.
     From the lighting control we have 4 possibly 5 cables that come towards the back electronics cabinet. The PWM cable stops at the brake servo at the front to back frame joiner. One or two cables (for accelerator and optionally PAS) goes to the ebike controller. Of the two remaining cables, one goes to our main controller and the other to marker and tail lights. Finally there is 6v and 24v and key lock and GND which works something like this, The Battery has 48v which travels first to the key lock switch. A 75v 10A diode is across the switch so that the battery may be charged even with the key off. The 24v from the key lock then goes to the Light and Brake PWM PCB before going to the electronics compartment. The Battery 6v line connects to the board before going to the electronics compartment.
     Front lighting control marker(+) goes to Right side marker (-), Right side marker (+) goes to Left side marker (-), Left side marker (+) goes to Left rear marker (-), Left rear marker(+) goes back up the left side and across to the right side and down to Right rear marker(-) and finally Right rear marker (+) goes to +24v. Left Brake, Left Turn, GND go down the left side to the tail light. Right Brake, Right Turn, GND, and +24v go down the right side to the tail light.
     Two wires from the solar panel go to the electronics compartment. A 5A circuit breaker connects to the AC in plug hot line and to the main control board. The AC in Ret line and both AC out lines go to the main control board. Both AC neutral connect to the chassis frame. The main control board then gets +24v, +6v, GND from the front lighting control. A 6 position switch at the compartment wires direct to the board. The solar panel and the ETrike control connect to the board.
     Finally, The E-Trike controller which gets it's power from the main control board, has the 3 wires from the throttle, 2 wires from the mid drive motor, the brake cut-out line and possibly wires for POS (Pedal assist) , speed, and battery status if so equipped.

Windshield & Containers round up the finishing.

     For this Tricycle project there comes a need for custom containers for Batteries, Controllers, and the Windshield itself. Poly carbonate (Lexan) or Acrylic (Plexiglas) are the go to resources that can accomplish this. While we can make the containers using 3D printed forms, the lack of a 3D printer and CAD skills makes it more prudent to go with plastic sheeting which we need for the windshield anyways. Below is my research in such plastic sheets.

Battery bank case

     For the batteries, we will have 80 cells arranged as 4 groups of 20 cells with 10 cells in parallel and 2 sets in series per group. Each group will measure 6.75" x 6.75" x 3". So to make the battery pack we need 7" x 7" x 9.375" minimum plastic box size. Material wise we need 22" x 9.375" x .125" bent to form a 'U' shape, 2 ends 7" x 7.5" x .125", and 1 top cover 7.5" x 10.375". Provisions are included for a .5" top cover mounting lip. Acetate glue will mount the ends, and .125" x .5" block separation inside the 'U' form as below.

Lighting control Unit

     Moving on to the lighting control unit up front, we will need to house the cylon eye, it's control board with switches, and provide for speed and battery status. I am estimating a 5" square footprint, so a box 1" x 5" x 5" and have chosen an available slope front container.

     When desiring to mate two boards (in our case the light panel to controller) it is essential to match up things in the design stage before you make the production ones. The mock-up can identify possible problems before committing resources.

     Actual size of our front display identifies a height of 4" and width of 7.3" mating with a control board 5.2". Our original case plan of 5" square won't do. A better approach is to make the case 7.5" wide and keep the depth only minorly changed to 5.25" plus thickness of the plastic of the case. Also, instead of a shaped LED case, a rectangular will ease mounting and construction.
     So when we make the plastic enclosure there are many ways you can do it. I prefer a taper that is higher at the windshield and lower at the handlebars so that the displays can be viewed more naturally. Remember on the top surface you need 2 Turn signal LED's, A main power key switch, a headlight switch, a hazard switch, Battery voltage and charge level displays, and speedometer.
     At the time of this writing, I did not have the front panel components (weather tight switches, volt and charge displays or speedometer) so we will only discuss the concept for the case. At 7.5" width with a 5.2" circuit board mating to it there exists .5" down the right side and 1.8" down the left side. The key switch is the deepest at over 1.25" and a diameter of .75" so it needs to be placed outside the circuit board space. It can be mounted either on the side or top-left of the case. Four way flasher (hazard) and headlight push buttons need to go on top so care needs to taken if placing over the PCB area. Ultimately the speedo, volt meter and charge gauge will most assuredly be over the PCB. Their depth into the case will determine the minimum height at the windshield end of the case. So lets say the Volt meter is 1.5" deep, then the height must be more than 2.5" since we need 1" minimum for the circuit board.

The Windshield

     Conceptually, this is what we want (pardon my shacky hands)

     First we need a pattern that identifies the shape and the angles of curves to be done.

     Overall width is 22.6" and tapers to 15" down at the lower front forks. The top curves back toward the rider with 11" of height with a 3" bend. There is a 1" flat section then the lower sections curves back 2 to 2.5" toward the bottom. The sides curve as well. To mount the windshield, we will use threaded rod 1/4" bent to suit mounting to 1" conduit claps at the handlebars and the fork struts. The windshield provides wind deflection, easier movement at higher speeds, and stops both rain, snow, and bugs from splattering all over you as you ride.
1) Molding acrylic plastic is not hard to do, and the material is readily available.  This one has a slight compound curve (bend in two directions) but most windshields are just a simple curve.

2) This type of windshield would probably work for most any bike. It is mounted with four struts of 1/4" all-thread, bolted through the plastic. It should hold steady at up to 75 MPH, with no vibration or movement.

3) For the plastic part of the windshield I use clear acrylic, .125" thick.  A 24" x 36" piece was large enough. It is sold in home improvement stores for replacing glass in windows.

4) These are the materials that are used for the mounting hardware.  This will vary from bike to bike, depending on what is available to attach it to.  I will attach to the forks and the handlebars.
  • 4 Electrical Conduit Clamps - plated (Select size to fit on the forks and/or handlebars)
  • 2 feet  1/4"-20 All-thread Rod - plated  (struts)
  • 4  1/4"-20 Acorn Nuts - stainless steel or chrome plated
  • 8  1/4" washers - stainless steel
  • 12  1/4"-20 Nuts - stainless steel
  • 4  Rubber Grommets - 1/8" ID, for 1/8" thick material.
  • 2 feet  1/4" dia. Black Shrink Tubing (to cover the all-thread rod)
  • 1  Inner Tube (to cut into pads to isolate the clamps from your forks and handlebar)
  • 1 yard  Felt Cloth - synthetic or wool
Consumables which you will need:
  • Sandpaper:  Various grits from 200 to 800 or 1000, depending on how shiny you want the edges.
  • Masking Tape
  • Cardboard.  The exact size and type will depend on the shape and size of your windshield.
  • Razor blades, Dremel cut-off disks, saw blades, etc.
  • Contact or rubber cement.  This is to glue the rubber to the clamps
Tools Required:
  • Full size baking oven. (soften the plastic)
    1800watt hair dryer

  • Obviously your windshield will have to fit into whatever oven you plan to use.
  • Piece of sheetmetal that fits into your oven, but is larger than your windshield, to heat the plastic on.  This should be clean and smooth, no paint, preferably galvanized.
  • A sabre (reciprocating) saw, jig saw, or coping saw, to cut the plastic. (use a fresh metal-cutting blade for the saw)
  • Drill; manual or electric.  A stepped drill bit is very good for drilling plastic. If not available you will need at least a 1/8", a 1/4", a 3/8", a 1/2" and a 9/16".
  • Hack saw and Files, course and fine.
  • Wrenches to fit nuts.
  • Vice: for bending the struts.
5)The layout for the windshield is based on measurements taken from the bike.  Generaly you want to be looking over the top of the windshield.  Other than that, just make it like you want it.
     My layout was made by measuring and drafted by hand onto construction paper. Then I transferred it to cardboard and adjusted till it looked right.
     I then recreated it using Gimp (GNU Image Manipulation Program [freely downloadable])
       I could have taken the Gimp file to Rileys reproduction or Staples to have a full size print made, but lacking transportation this was not an option.
     Cut out the pattern and align it on the plastic.  Trace the outline with a permanent marker. Cut just outside the line with your saw.  Use a course file, working lengthwise along the edge, to cut down to the line and smooth out any inconsistencies.  Use a fine file to remove the course file marks, then sand with progressively finer sandpaper on a sanding block, to make a smooth edge.  Use a hard sanding block for this, or you will tend to round off the edge.
     I do not recommend using a flame to polish the edge of the windshield.  This is quick and makes a nice edge, but the plastic will craze and crack if it ever comes into contact with a solvent.  Acrylic adhesive and alcohol are two common solvents which can cause crazing.  Check YouTube for videos showing this effect.

     When the plastic is heated it will be flexible like a thick, heavy sheet of rubber.  We need to lay this hot plastic in a form to hold it in shape until it cools.

Heating the Plastic

6) There are two ways to proceed now. If you have an oven large enough to do the job of heating you can heat the Plastic and lift it to a form for molding it, or you can construct a form out of wood and heat the plastic with a hair dryer or heat gun with the plastic laying on the form. So lets talk about the form first, then we can heat and mold it to the form.

     Two or three things have to happen with our form. Firstly, we need our cross ways curve (side to side), and then we need the upper and lower length ways curve. Using corrugated cardboard larger than the Plastic stock and laying flat on the work surface we prepare to fix standoffs. Down the left and right sides we want a 3" curve up.
     Using a piece of heavy corrugated cardboard for a mold base.  A table top or plywood would work as well.  My windshield was to have a rise at the edges of about 3", so start by making two 3" tall struts out of corrugated cardboard, doubled over for strength.  These were taped down to the base, parallel to each other, and a couple inches further apart than the width of the windshield. 
     A piece of card stock is then laid across these two struts, and taped down to the board in the center and to the struts at the edges.  This defines the major crosswise curve of the windshield.

     You could stop at this point and have a functional mold with a simple curve.  I wanted the bottom of the windshield to curve back, so add two pieces of card stock, tight to the mold surface on one edge, and 2" above the surface at the corners. 
     It is most important that the mold be symmetrical.  If one side is higher than the other the curve will be off, and it will look odd on the bike.

     When a satisfactory curve has been achieved the mold is lined with two layers of felt cloth.  This prevents the hot plastic from picking up the pattern of the tape and seams in the mold.  To ensure that the plastic is correctly positioned the paper pattern is laid on the felt in the mold, and the outline is traced onto the felt with a marker.

Oven Method

     Place the piece of sheet metal in the oven on a single rack at about the center of the oven.  The oven used is gas fired.  Preheat the oven to about 325 F degrees.  Remove the protective paper or plastic film from your windshield plastic, and wipe it down carefully.  You do not want bits of plastic stuck to the surface.
     Make sure your mold is ready, and you can easily move the hot plastic from the oven to the mold.  Wear long sleeves and long oven gloves to protect your hands from the hot plastic.  Be very careful.  You can easily burn yourself.
     Place the plastic flat in the center of the sheet metal in the oven, close it up, and wait about 20 minutes.  You should NOT smell plastic.  If you do, it is getting too hot.
     When the time is up, open the oven and lift the plastic gently off the sheet metal and lay it directly in the mold with a minimum of handling.  Slide the plastic around in the mold to align with the outline of the windshield, and leave it to cool for about 30 minutes.  If all goes well, you have a molded windshield!

Hair Dryer Method

     For this to work, You need to take care to place the plastic in line with your pattern drawn on the felt. Using the high heat setting of the hair dryer and a 2 to 3 inch distance, move the hairdryer nozzle back and forth over a larger area and avoid staying in one place too long. It is slow as in very slow to do the shaping this way. In time the plastic will begin to bend to the form. Warning it will still retain heat and get hot even in this slow form method. Where the oven method can take upwards of 30 minutes to cool, The Hair dryer method can cool in under 12 minutes.

Windshield Mounts

     The mounts for your windshield are probably going to different from mine.  Using #4 electrical conduit clamps on the fork tubes to attach to the bike.  Before installing these cut pieces of rubber from an inner tube and glued them to the inside of the clamps where they touch the forks.  This provides better grip, reduces the possibility of scratches on the tubes, and allows for some movement.

     Locate the holes to allow for a straight line from the bend to the clamp.  Drill very carefully.  The stepped drill bit will make a clean hole without risk of cracking the plastic.  Otherwise drill successively larger holes to minimize chipping.
     The struts run from the holes in the ends of the clamps to grommets installed in drilled holes in the windshield.  It can take a great deal of trial and error to determine where the holes needed to be, and how to bend the all-thread rod.  The idea is to orient the bend in the rod so that it penetrates the windshield perpendicular to the surface of the plastic at that point.
     The strut assembly consists of a bent piece of all-thread, with a nut on each side of the hole in the clamp, a nut after the bend, where the rod penetrates the grommet in the windshield, and an acorn nut on the outside of the windshield.  Put a washer on both sides of the grommet to keep the nuts from pulling through.
     All-thread rod bends fairly easily using a vice.  If you thread a nut onto the rod down to the point where you want the bend, and put another nut right at the end of the rod, you can clamp both nuts in the vice.  This lets you clamp the rod without ruining the threads.  If you put a piece of tubing over the other end of the rod, down to the point of the bend, you can get a clean bend without curving the rest of the rod.
     When everything was fitted correctly take the struts out one at a time and slide heat-shrink tubing over them.  A lit match pulls the plastic tight, and covers the threads.  This looks better, and it keeps the plating from rubbing off.  It also protects any cables (throttle, brake, wiring, and speedometer cables) that might touch the strut.

The headlight and Cylon/Signal Lights

     Ideally we want the Cylon eye generally inline with the handlebar at the center. The lighting unit needs to be perpendicular to the windshield and mount to the handlebar and windshield. The headlight needs to be through the windshield probably below the Cylon eye because the control unit has switches and displays on it's top.

Bill of Materials

     Section      Item      Estimate$      E-Total$      Actual$      A-Total$
Basic Trike bike 1
bike 2
bike 3
$200.00 $0.00
   With the changes along the way I was able to acquire 2 donated bikes and reworked the design such that only 2 bikes were needed. The front 26" wheel is changed to a 26" electric hub wheel. The other bike had 24" fat wheels and became the rear wheels. One of these wheels needed a new tube. The first bikes 26" wheels became the wheels for the trailer.
Trike Framing 0.5" x 48" Sq Steel Tubing (25)
20ga Metal skin ()
Welding $2/joint
. . . 120 cut brackets
Compartment Locks (6)
Piano Hinge (8ft)

$558.00 $195.00

Building the frame took considerable reworking. Firstly, the .5" square tubing got changed out to .75" square tubing, and instead of getting 25pcs x 48" I only received 23 pcs cut to almost exact lengths. Welding was replaced by 120 cut .5" x 1" 'L' brackets and 480 rivets.
Driveline 1" x 48" Steel Rod (1pc)
1" Pillow Bearings (2pcs)
15T Sprocket (2pcs)
Chain (15ft)
$130.21 $38.95
The steel rod was much more expensive than planned. We are only driving one rear wheel instead of both so sprockets become 2 not 3 and the existing chains are resized to work.
Brakes Brake F Caliper
Brake L Caliper
Brake R Caliper
Servo moyor
   A little reworking and I was able to reuse the brakes from the donated bikes to facilitate the braking of the three wheels. The front brake remained unchanged. The former rear brake of bike one became a transfer caliper on the center mount frame. The transfer caliper then fed the two rear brake cables such that when the rear brake is applied it pulls on the middle caliper which in turn pulls two brake cables to the rear wheels that use the brakes from the second bike Now with electric braking the front brake cable to the center is gone as is the middle 'Y' caliper to be replacred with a pivot and servo.
Lighting Ctrl (1) DPDT-co-sw Paddle switch
(1) SPST-mom Horn Sw
(2) Push on/off haz/hlight
(1) IC 555 timer ic
(1) socket 8pin dip
(1) PCB Perfbrd
(1) Tr1 2N2222A
(1) vr1 100k
(2) rly1,2 SPDT Relay
(2) r1,2 1kr
(1) r3 12kr
(2) r4,5 470R
(1) c1 1uf
(1) c2 .01uf
(4) diodes 1N4148
(1) Projectbox
(2) Pheonix screw terminal 8p
PWM Brake:
(1) IC 555 timer ic
(1) socket 8pin dip
(1) IC ILQ2 optocoupler
(1) socket 16pin dip
(1) diodes 1N4001

(2) diodes 1N4148
(1) resister 10KR
(2) resister 100KR
(1) resister 10R

(1) 5v zener
(2) 100uf
(1) 10uf

(1) Pheonix PCB screw terminal 2p
(1) 2p header male
(1) 16p header male

(1) Key switch
(1) Rly3 spst
(1) 74ls73 jk Flip-Flop
(1) 74ls191 4 bit up down counter
(1) 74ls154 16 line demultiplex
(1) socket 14pin dip
(1) socket 16pin dip
(1) socket 24pin dip
(13) LED's


$100.79 $2.99



Lighting control reworked into a windshield mounted unit at handlebars with only turn switch at left handlegrip.
Lighting (1) Headlight
(2) Tail lights
. . . (208) LEDs
. . . PCB stock for 6 displays
. . . Epoxy case
(2) Turn Light
. . . (80) LEDs have 11 of 80
. . . Epoxy case
(4) Marker
. . . (16) LEDs
. . . Epoxy case






   Purchasing a high luminous LED headlight and creating custom signal and tail-lights made more work but made for a unique and less expensive solution.
Accessories Helmet
. . . 24" x 36" Plexiglas
. . . 4 Electrical Conduit Clamps - plated (Select size to fit on the forks and/or handlebars)
. . . 2 feet 1/4"-20 All-thread Rod - plated (struts)
. . . 4 1/4"-20 Acorn Nuts - stainless steel or chrome plated
. . . 8 1/4" washers - stainless steel
. . . 12 1/4"-20 Nuts - stainless steel
. . . 4 Rubber Grommets - 1/8" ID, for 1/8" thick material.
. . . 2 feet 1/4" dia. Black Shrink Tubing (to cover the all-thread rod)
. . . 1 Inner Tube (to cut into pads to isolate the clamps from your forks and handlebar)
. . . 1 yard Felt Cloth - synthetic or wool

$112.00 $45.00

   We kept the mirror from the first bike, used a high db horn as part of the lighting control system, and made a custom windshield.
E-Trike Convert 24v 750W Front Wheel Kit
     The E-bike front wheel kit consists of the wheel with embedded hub motor, controller unit, brake handles, keyswitch and monitor.
Battery Pack
   48v @36Ah
   144km Range
   Wght 12 lbs
(15x6) 3.2v 6A Cells type 32700
(30x3) Cell forms
2m x 8mm Nickel Strip
Plexiglas case
(90) x $9.63 = $866.70
(90) x $1.29 = $110.70
$1012.40 $
     The most expensive part of the project is the making of the battery pack(s)
Electronics (2) Cell Logger
. . . Changed to (1) voltage display up front
. . . add (1) led voltage level up front
(1) 1Charge 208B
. . . (15) BD140 transistor $12.45
. . . (15) 20k vr4 pots $1.50
. . . (15) TL431 zr1 $10.65
. . . (30) 20k resistor $1.50
. . . (15) 1k resistor $0.75
. . . (15) LED's $2.85
. . . (15) 330R resistor $0.75
. . . (60) 1N4007 diode $17.40
(1) Solar Ctrl
. . . 4k7-5w
. . . 240R
. . . TIP142
. . . (2) 1N4007 Diode
(1) 48v120 Inverter
. . . 2w10BD bridge rectifier
. . . (6) IFR9540 Mosfet
. . . (2) IFR540 Mosfet
. . . (3) 1N4007
. . . (1) 1uf Capacitor
. . . (2) 2N547 transistors
. . . (2) .01uf Capacitor
. . . (1) 120-60-625w transformer
. . . (1) 12vRelay-10a contacts
. . . (4) 470R
. . . (2) 1KR
. . . (9) 2pos pcb connectors
(1) 120v48v Charger
. . . 2w10BD bridge rectifier
. . . (1) 1uf Capacitor
. . . (2) .01uf Capacitor
. . . (1) 12vRelay-10a contacts
(1) EBike Ctrl
was $6.04
now $4.60
and $1.20








     With our custom electronics we have better control over charging, distribution and monitoring. It also doesn't hurt to be a fraction of the cost.
Solar Array
   48v 2Ah    96W
0.5" U Channel 30Ft
(112) Polycrystaline Cells
16ga Wire
Tab wire
$112.00 $44.00
The solar array also under went some radical change. Instead of 3 panels with two folding over the first panel, I changed from 3 x 1'x 4' panels to 2 x 1.5' x 4' panels that fold up vertically behind the seat. The change means that 220 cells can be worked in to provide 4A of charge instead of 2A.
Other Pop Rivets
Class 5 Bolts (7)
Primer (3 cans)
Blue Paint (3 cans)
Acetate glue
Epoxy/ resin 8oz to 16oz
3 * $6.95
3 * $6.95
$49.86 $3.49
3 * $6.95
3 * $6.95
$3114.42 $2332.91

Adding things up:

For a rough total of $3114.00
for a full featured ETrike with a 144km range at 50km/hour. It will be basically maintenance free for a span of 4 to 5 years then may require $885.00 to go another 4 to 5 years. Not to shabby! 60 months for under $41.00 per month and 120 months (10 years) for under an average of $28 per month.
     I'd say that is a far cry from using an ICE car for simple trip commuting at a monthly cost of $1000 per month for 5 yrs not including maintenance.
Who'd of thought transportation costs of $60,000 over 5 years could be done for $3000. Provide free travel without need for insurance, fossil fuels, and high maintenance charges which aren't included in this report.