Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Mini" Project

A former student generously donated a 1960's Heathkit mini bike to the HEV program today. Adam Parzych asked only that we return the gasoline engine to him - no problem, as this project will not involve gasoline, oil or any fluids at all! Our next class will be converting it to electric power. Normally, a project like this would be involve a few flooded lead acid batteries, a simple speed controller and a DC motor. It would no doubt scoot around and be a blast to drive, but have limited range and a low WOW factor. Our plan is much more ambitious. Roll this around in your head for a minute: let's power this way cool classic with nickle metal hydride battery modules scavenged from a Honda Civic Hybrid battery package. Instead of a direct current motor and simple control unit, let's install a three phase AC induction motor. A special control unit / power inverter will convert the DC power to AC and handle the speed control duties. The process will include hours of fabrication - not only the electrical system but metal work for brackets to mount the batteries, motor, controls, etc. As with the AntiPrius project, we will get this one running, then disassemble everything for paint and powder coat. I'm thinking that the same wild green color that graces the AntiPrius would look great right here. But we have plenty of time to change our minds. In our  lab, all input from students and faculty are considered and I can't wait to start hearing everyone's ideas for bringing this former 60's throwback into the modern world.

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