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    Solar charging for E-Bike

    I need to build a 26" conversion on my wifes Schwinn three wheeler. Many options available but our most important criteria is we need to charge the batteries via a solar panel. She's 68 years so we don't need speed just assist for say five miles a day for ten days on flat ground "Playa". I am looking for the what type batteries and charging system are most conducive to charging off grid. I have 2 solar 80watt panels to charge infrastructure while camping and intend to upgrade if I need to accommodate her e-bike conversion. I have no problem keeping 12volt batteries charged and wonder if just a small 12volt car battery or deep cycle wouldn't be best system because since her bike is a three wheeler if has a big basket on back to haul most any battery pack. We just need to go slow and steady. First time here so any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

    #2
    Interesting challenge :)

    What is your level of technical expertise? As you say the easiest would probably be to use two 12 volt lead acid batteries in series for a 24 volt system. 24 volt lead acid systems are plug and play from solar vendors. 24 volt systems are also very common among low powered ebike systems. Your wife wouldn't be setting any land speed records with the system, but it would be simple and reliable because it could be assembled from standard components.

    It is definitely possible to do a more advanced system, but that would take a bit more tinkering if you are comfortable with that.

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      #3
      Professional tinkerer here. Restoring old motorcycles and stuff like that. I should be able to install anything but need guidance on the most effective way to charge off solar panels. I already charge 12volt batteries off grid so I just thought that would be easiest without fancy chargers and inverter. And yes, no need for speed here. Now if we need 24volts obviously I can't haul around two car batteries on bicycles. Do you have any kits in mind for a 26" front wheel conversion?
      Thanks

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        #4
        it would be a lot safer to use an inverter and a regular battery charger. That way it won't over-charge and cause a melt-down. Even 12 volt car batteries can be overcharged, so some kind of controller is recommended.

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          #5
          I have a BBSHD at 52v that I recharge via solar when on long remote rides. I use a Genasun charge controller that charges lithium ion batteries directly. Having two batteries I can charge one while running off the other for almost unlimited range. The weight of the solar system is only nine pounds. Picture shows system with only two of three panels deployed. This system is for sale, $500 which includes three 50watt panels the Genasun charge controller and includes shipping. will charge 52v batteries to 90%, 48v to 100%.
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            #6
            Interesting, would you mind taking a few pictures of the guts of your trailer so we can figure out what you did? Which genasun controller are you using. I wasted more time than I care to publically admit searching for 48-52V lithium ion solar controllers last night.

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              #7
              I used this charge controller;
              https://genasun.com/all-products/sol...-mppt-lithium/
              The solar array is off of the trailer right now so I can't send pix of the mount I used without reassembling it. Are you wanting to know how the trailer is built or how the solar array was mounted or what?

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                #8
                I am just curious about the overall solution. It looks like a clever solution to the 'solar problem.'

                A couple of pictures might help the OP figure out how to implement something similar on his wife's trike... or he might just decide to buy your trailer. Either way, a good solution is preserved for the next person who searches the forum.

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                  #9
                  My solar panels are always run through a controller charging 12volt batteries. I can buy a different controller to charge different batteries. I.e. Lo Po, NiCad, Lead acid Etc. I guess my question is - concerning E-Bikes what is the most efficient batteries to charge on say a 100watt solar panel. Seems to me using an inverter takes power to run but might be beneficial in the long run on certain batteries needed to run an E-Bike. Again, we definitely don't need speed just a few miles a day on flat ground. I kinda realize the difference between the different battery types like faster charge, longer lasting, and burst of power instead of deep cycle. Once I know what kind of battery is most efficient to charge I will pursue that type of 26" front wheel conversion kit. "My next thread"

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                    #10
                    There is a good introductory thead on batteries at http://www.ebikeschool.com/electric-...cid-batteries/

                    The challenge is that most solar systems are stationary. Mass produced (inexpensive yet reliable) solar controllers are for charging lead acid batteries. However, lead acid batteries are big and heavy. Lithium ion batteries are preferred on ebikes.

                    The controller Rix Ryds lists above is a somewhat unusual in that it charges lithium batteries from solar panels.

                    Hope that helps.

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                      #11
                      Thin film flexble solar under 1/2 lb per square foot approximate 8 foot by 3 foot gives 350 watts. 17.5 % efficiency also 8 foot by 14.5 inch is 125 watts. Stainless foil adhesive backed solar cell. From miasol. This has possibilities..

                      Comment


                        #12

                        Originally posted by funwithbikes View Post
                        I am just curious about the overall solution. It looks like a clever solution to the 'solar problem.'

                        A couple of pictures might help the OP figure out how to implement something similar on his wife's trike... or he might just decide to buy your trailer. Either way, a good solution is preserved for the next person who searches the forum.
                        OK, for those that are curious, here are some pix that show how it all goes together. lots of ways to do this, but this was the easiest for me with what I had on hand or could easily acquire.
                        This is the charge controller.
                        https://genasun.com/all-products/sol...-mppt-lithium/
                        The solar Panels are HQST panels from Ebay 18volt 50watt in series. They are similar to these.
                        http://www.ebay.com/itm/Solar-Panels...0AAOSwSlBYu7Q-
                        With 3 panels at 18v 50watts in series I get 56.8v from the charge controller at 2.5 amps. 3 more panels could be added in a 3s2p system to deliver 5 amps of charge current .
                        I get almost 1 amp in total shade on cloudy days under a car port. Total solar system weight is 9lbs. I have ridden more than 80 miles a day with this setup and never run out of power. I use two 11.5Ah shark packs, charging one while I run on the other. I sometimes run with a single shark pack and a 20Ah triangle battery when I absolutely can NOT run out of power. The deserts of west Texas are very unforgiving!
                        The trailer frame is electrical conduit. I went with a 29" tire for a smooth ride over obstructions and single wheel for better handling on rutted roads in remote areas.

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                        If you have any questions, I will be glad to help you build your own!
                        Attached Files

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                          #13
                          I recommend building the bike you want with a 36 to 52v lithium battery and then use a small inverter (I use a discarded computer UPS) and 3 amp luna charger to charge it off of your existing 12 v system when you are in camp.

                          Edit: The 3 amp Luna charger with the 3 position switch does not like modified sine wave inverters very much and may shut down/be damaged by them. My original Luna Chargers (larger black case with no switches or displays) work fine on the modified sine wave inverter but do seem to heat up a lot more than when powered by household power.
                          Last edited by wrongon8; 04-24-2018, 09:21 AM.

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                            #14
                            I now primarily use a 24v solar panel and a charge controller (MPT-7210a) to charge. This charge controller will also work when connected to a 12 volt battery. It is programmable so you can save different programs for different batteries and SOCs.

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by wrongon8 View Post
                              I now primarily use a 24v solar panel and a charge controller (MPT-7210a) to charge. This charge controller will also work when connected to a 12 volt battery. It is programmable so you can save different programs for different batteries and SOCs.
                              How long does it take to charge batteries with your set up? what solar panels did you use?

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