With the normalization of Nickel prices and the desire for larger and large capacity batteries, we decided to resume carrying the popular and dependable 2D NiMH battery packs from Nexcell. Our order was placed in September and has been delayed several times but is expected to arrive either in late December or early January.
January Update - The shipment has arrived. Please see the store site for the selection of 24V and 36V 18Ah NiMH packs, as well as the 36V and 48V 13Ah batteries.
There is no end of discussion in the electric vehicle world about recent innovations in lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery technology. The promises of charge cycles measured in the thousands, high inherent safety, and general tolerance to abuse are appealing. Indeed many of our customers have been running their ebikes off A123 cells pulled from DeWalt packs and similar.
Unfortunately most of the larger capacity LiFePO4 batteries from China are poorly built, with tangles of wires and low C-rate performance. However, there is one manufacturer we have been beta testing for the past 2 months that actually delivers, with 4C discharge currents and tidy and robust pack builds. We placed a large order for these in early Oct 2007 and are expecting arrival in January Feb 20th 2008. Price will be approximately $900 for 48V 12Ah, and $700 for 36V 12Ah.
After a summer of being in low on batteries, we finally we have some new batteries to announce, just in time for... uh, Hallowe'en? Well, better late than never. The raw material costs have somewhat stabilized again, so we've been able to order additional high-rate NiCad batteries along with a few lithium orders that are scheduled for intensive testing in a (not so) secret laboratory here in Vancouver. Additionally, batteries from our older shipments are to be sold at discounted prices to clear out our old stock - check our battery sale page for details.
Engineering diagrams for all of our motors, as well as the pinouts of the connectorsthat we use. Additionally, clicking on any controller picture will show you exactly what to expect so that there are no surprises. The work on the web site has been of glacial speed of late, but if tonight is any indication, much more content will be added in coming weeks.
We are so not out of stock!
The big summer shipment from Crystalyte has finally been delivered. A container was dropped off with more hub motors, controllers, and accessories than we can possibly fit in the little store. Update: The store got bigger. Problem solved.
Plus the Cycle Analysts have landed - We're now pleased to say that the Cycle Analyst units are available now, either as a stand alone model or plug-in and precalibrated to one of our controllers. More information is available at the Cycle Analyst page.
In January 2007 we took the exciting step of signing a commercial lease for a small 388 square foot room in a nondescript brick building, 4570 Main Street, on the same block as my two favorite stores, Lee's Electronics and Main Electronics. We expected to spend 2 months renovating and setting up shop, and then have a grand opening. Well it's been a little longer than that and we still don't have a sign out, but you can see from the pictures below that it's not for lack of working.
When we first got the space, the rooms were filled with appliances, old dishes, and 1970's furniture that the land lady didn't know quite what to do with. Even the carpet cleaner wouldn't touch the floor and advised us to tear it up and lay something new
Removing the carpet was one thing, but scraping off the dried carpet glue to get down to usable tiles was quite another. There were two solid days of floor scraping on our hands and knees before we decided to bite the bullet and rent a belt sander and then just paint the whole floor over.
The industrial grade red paint looked good, but it was oil based, and the air intake for the building's ventilation system is right on our floor. So the noxious fumes smoked out the tenants in the residential suite upstairs. Oops. After that we used low VOC paint only.
The lease in our old storage room holding all our inventory ended early in February, so we had to have the shelves built at the new shop to accommodate the motors and batteries in fairly short order.
It was only after loading all the boxes on that we decided painting them might be a good idea.
Boy, was it a nice moment to receive another small sea shipment of hub motors and find that we had perfectly sized shelving in place to store it all in an orderly fashion.
During the time that we're renovating the shop, the city of Vancouver appeared to be renovating Main Street to be more pedestrian and transit friendly. One day our sidewalk was torn up, next week they started pouring new concrete, and I thought, "Damn, what a rare opportunity to leave a pro-bicycle impression."
Initially we had planned to do this surreptitiously, but found that the city planners and engineers were more than willing to entertain our plans! So a frantic weekend was spent cutting out bicycle and tricycle stencils in the garage in time for a Monday pour. The construction crew built a special framed box in the sidewalk and took pride in making sure our patterns turned out.
One important goal in the new shop was to build and efficient and automated battery testing station. This bench can charge and discharge cycle up to 8 battery packs at a time, with provisions in place for handling 16 batteries fairly soon. The two silver boxes at the top are custom built load banks which can dissipate up to 6000 watts of battery power.
When the two summer co-op students arrived at the beginning of May, one of the first jobs for them was to build the necessary work spaces they'd need. Here's Anthony screwing together the frame for what soon became a ceiling mounted magnetic tool rack.