Monday, February 23, 2009

A rudimentary to-do list

Now that we have the kart in our garage, it is time to settle on an initial plan of attack, choosing some high priority jobs. Obviously, most of the energetic discussions about the project over the last weekend have revolved around pimping the kart with lights, a boom box, shiny painting skills, and whatnot, ignoring the vital requirement of having a kart that you can actually ride around. So here's an initial plan on how to get it up and running, with some to-dos that need to be done before bringing in the pimp shizzle.
  1. The kart is currently out of a seat. In order to fit in all the (large) components, such as the batteries and the electric motor, it would be wise to know how much space a seat would take up, so we can figure out where to install all the vital components. Putting in a seat is supposed to be an easy and inexpensive first task.
  2. A frame will have to be constructed that allows to attach four 12V car batteries to the kart (2 batteries on either side), providing us with 48V for the motor. But in order to start constructing this part, we need to know the batteries that are to be used, and their dimensions. I think it is best to weld a rack to the kart that can hold a few batteries with tie down straps, and can then be flexibly be replaced by other battery types if this is needed later on.
  3. As for our motor, we would like to use an Etek R motor, which provides us with 4800W of power, consuming 100A to deliver about 10hp or providing 15hp peak power while consuming up to 200-300A. A mount for the engine, in order to be able to attach it to the frame is needed as well. Standard kart engine mounts exist and can be bought quite expensively from kart shops, but they are probably not well suited for fitting our motor to the kart frame, so we'll be welding our own mount there as well, as in the diagram below.
  4. Other parts, like the controller (we're probably going to choose an AllTrax AXE controller), a potentiometer near the gas pedal and miscellaneous wiring -- although equally vital to the construction of an electric kart -- will be a lot easier to integrate in comparison to the batteries and motor. With some wiring, we'll set up a separate motor circuit first and then integrate it when the construction of frames is ready.

If we can finish the above steps, we would have a running kart, in theory. There's probably 200 little details that are going to be in the way of the above installation procedures, but they're there to learn from.

Here's a temporary shopping list of stuff that needs to be integrated
  1. A seat and brackets for its installation
  2. 4 batteries that can deliver about 100Ah over 48V, L-shaped bars (welded into a rack) and tie down straps to mount the batteries to the frame
  3. A motor and some metal plating welded and transformed into an engine mount
  4. A controller, wiring and electronics to make it all work

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