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Author Topic: Electric Trike  (Read 4341 times)
19th Century Space Pilot
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« on: August 18, 2008, 05:49:06 pm »

I'm planning on building myself a clockwork trike, in an effort to circumvent the UKs age restriction laws on driving. Such a trike would come under the same legal restrictions as Bicycles, and so won't need an age permit. Since it *is* a Clockpunk style vehicle, and I want to make it as obvious as possible, I thought I'd post here.

The Trike willl have two seats, and pedals (hidden) to pump in extra energy. I'm planning on using essentially a setup similat to Wind-up watches, to allow me to put energy into it while still dirving. I plan on having an electric motor to charge up the spring when I'm at home (so I can plug it in and charge it). I'll need a small battery for lights, but at least there won't be a radio included, just lights. I wonder what the legal status of steam powered trike-busses would be....

I haven't started building a model yet, but I'll post pictures when I have them.

[Edit: It turns out that I can't get round the UKs law that way. I'm better off with an Electric trike.]
« Last Edit: August 19, 2008, 09:02:35 pm by 19th Century Space Pilot » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2008, 05:59:37 pm »

I think the hardest part for any large spring powered device will be the ability (or lack thereof) of regulating the power output. Spring drives are ideally suited to provide relatively standard torque output for the duration of wind. In a clock, this is a desirable power characteristic, as the regulation allows for small discrete impulses to be passed on to the working train.   I think you'll find that springs that are not restrained or regulated want to dump all their energy at once, and that will be your main problem.
Not saying it can;'t be done, just that it'll be, for lack of a better word, interesting..

Cheers
Harold
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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2008, 06:19:23 pm »

I'm planning on building myself a clockwork trike,

I am rapidly discovering that large spring-powered devices be an unique kind o’ madness.   Grin

I be working on an apparatus that demands a big one (and does not need regulation o' power, just instant release; yay for the ‘Sea Catch’ mechanism) and it be worrisome when bolts snap and metal chunks fly about.   Embarrassed  A minor word of warning (in case ya don't know, no offense meant) that the forces working in yer models will not always scale up linearly to the full-sized one.

Be fun to see yer bike models/drawings whenever ya get around to posting!

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Tommy Thumbscrew
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« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2008, 06:28:33 pm »

Mayhap power storage via flywheel may be more easily done.  By initially getting the flywheel spinning (at a pretty high speed, no doubt) electrically, it could be maintained via pedals and it's rotational speed geared down to drive the wheel(s) via a compund pulley system.  Failing that, your clockwork design will generally work more smoothly with the rotational mass of a flywheel in the system.  Look at the early internal combustion cars/trikes of Damiler for some big flywheels, belts, bellcranks and gears to drive them.
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Dauntless
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« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2008, 06:33:54 pm »

Here you go mate.... all the way from modernmechanix.com

http://blog.modernmechanix.com/2008/02/18/rubber-bands-drive-this-baby-auto-three-miles/#more-3859

a 3 mile range sounds quite reasonable to me....

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popuptoaster
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« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2008, 06:39:08 pm »

it dont have to be a trike by the way, you can have as many wheels as you like, its down to how fast it will go as to when you need to be licensed to drive a powered vehicle in the uk, otherwise the ol' grannies couldnt drive about in 4 wheel electric buggies.
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19th Century Space Pilot
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« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2008, 06:46:25 pm »

Thanks for the link.

My understanding of the law is that over three wheels it becomes legally recognized as a car. Which I don't want. Plus, trikes have advantages in stability when the two wheels are at the front.
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Der Tinkermann
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« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2008, 06:51:17 pm »

But what is the status of the Robin Reliant then?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliant_Robin
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19th Century Space Pilot
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« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2008, 07:08:15 pm »

Motorcycle. That was the reason it was built, to allow people who have only got a motorcycle licence to drive.
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Smaggers
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« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2008, 07:44:28 pm »

Even four wheels is no guarantee as to legal status, cyclecars count as motorcycles in the EU despite having four.

Mind you I'm not sure what qualifies as a cyclecar.
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19th Century Space Pilot
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« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2008, 07:47:15 pm »

Yes. The UK hasn't become intergrated enough into the EU for that. And its something I am glad for.
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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2008, 07:52:10 pm »

Even four wheels is no guarantee as to legal status, cyclecars count as motorcycles in the EU despite having four.

Mind you I'm not sure what qualifies as a cyclecar.

Uk law means that a four wheeled car under 500kilos is a Quardracycle and may be driven on a full B1 licence (which also qualified you to ride a motorcycle)...i know 'cos i do it!
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19th Century Space Pilot
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« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2008, 10:45:41 pm »

I think there might be a Clockwork shop here in Carnforth, so I'll nip in tomorrow (if it exists) for some gears and springs for the model.
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Siliconous Skumins
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« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2008, 02:24:49 am »

You can drive a pedal powered quadracycle, and with a combination of pedal and / or electric motor powered (250W max output for trike or quadracycle, 200W for a bicycle) with a maximum speed of 15MPH when powered (motor is not supposed to help past this speed (built in cut-out - but this is not applicable to "self built" vehicles....still not supposed to go faster than 16MPH legal limit though!), OR as fast as you can pedal...30MPH pedal power is allowed!.... Wink

In all honesty, you would probably be better off sticking with an electric motor (can be scavenged for free) with a 200 or 250W rating, some relatively inexpensive lead acid batteries (SLA - Sealed Lead Acid, available from alarm companies, Maplins, RS, etc.) and a simple motor speed controller (either build yourself or buy from the internet if beyond your abilities).  You will have a longer range, easier build - and less dangerous - and although not as nice as a clockwork drive, it's all still very steampunk period (lead acid batteries and commutating electric motors were all in use in the latter part of the Victorian age!).

It then qualifies same as an "electric assist" bicycle, so require all the same things as legally needed for a bike (reflectors, lights, etc.), and can be used by anyone over 14 years of age.


I'm actually doing this exact same thing myself, mine is a trike built from scavenged / scrap parts I found for free.  I have a 250W motor from a washing machine (in the UK these are usually "universal" series wound motor - so they run on DC as well as AC Wink ), although my motor is now far from "original" spec....though the ratings plate still says it's 250W *ahem* technically it is...*ahem - cough*, and I'm building my own simple motor controller - also from scrap parts......I live near a rather well known electronic motor controller manufacturer.... (heheh, dumpster diving!).  Grin

Mine is just for fun (I have a car), but the way petrol prices are increasing......it's looking more likely to be a more common mode of transport for me soon!  Roll Eyes

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« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2008, 02:30:45 am »

I think there might be a Clockwork shop here in Carnforth, so I'll nip in tomorrow (if it exists) for some gears and springs for the model.
One word of advice.. Clock mainsprings can be a bit dangerous. There's a fair amount of energy stored in them, and the steel can be a bit snap if you push it the wrong way.. DO yourself a favour, were eye protection.. 

Cheers
Harold

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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2008, 10:30:37 am »

On electricity and bikes and power... my 900w electric bike motor is to weedy to get up Cornish hills. So beware a 200W motor in anywhere with hills! battery's are easily the hardest thing to "find" mines a 36 volt thing so three car battery's woudl be needed, or smaller shorter duration battery's can be used but, well they run out of puff too early!

This ( http://revopower.com/ ) seems a much more practical thing, though it woudl in the Uk have to be registered etc...

Clockwork, seems impractical. It would need a HUGE spring containing a whole lot of energy that could easily take a leg off if it let go.
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elShoggotho
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« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2008, 10:50:00 am »

I recall the noise as that alarm clock mainspring had an episode of explosive unwinding and whizzed past my ear. Since then, I always wear my goggles when tinkering.

Oh, it's fitted to my hat band now.
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19th Century Space Pilot
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« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2008, 12:29:49 pm »

The entire spring idea came out of my speed requirements (faster than 15 mph without breaking the law). I'm considering having a dual power method (batteries and spring). I wonder what it's legal status would be if the batteries just stored energy to keep the spring wound? That would allow me to circumvent the law and keep a good speed/range.
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« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2008, 01:31:30 pm »

More than 15mph is coincidentally the speed at which a driven vehicle is considered motorised,  that's why electric bicycles are limited to this speed.
You might want to consider going at 15mph rather than above.
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19th Century Space Pilot
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« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2008, 01:41:56 pm »

So above 15 mph it's considered motorised, no matter what drives it?
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Siliconous Skumins
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« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2008, 02:26:31 pm »

On electricity and bikes and power... my 900w electric bike motor is to weedy to get up Cornish hills. So beware a 200W motor in anywhere with hills! battery's are easily the hardest thing to "find" mines a 36 volt thing so three car battery's woudl be needed, or smaller shorter duration battery's can be used but, well they run out of puff too early!

This ( http://revopower.com/ ) seems a much more practical thing, though it woudl in the Uk have to be registered etc...



746watts = 1Horsepower..... you would require at least 2HP for any decent sized hill without pedaling (even then it would not be ideal...).  The whole point of the UK law of 200W for a bicycle or 250W for a trike / quadracycle is that it prevents the vehicle being used as a motorbike / car replacement without requiring insurance, road tax, MOT test / SVA approval, registration, etc, etc, etc,.....  The minimum that would be usefull as a vehicle, just happens to fall straight in at the "Moped" class of vehicles - in other words, if it's usefull - you have to pay for it.
The 250W max limit is the maximum amount of power an average human rider is able to exert for a reasonable amount of time, thus between your 250W and the 250W of the motor, you have a combined power of 500W (a little more for some, a little less for others). So if the bike is ridden in 'powered' mode (no pedaling) then the bike will only be able to go as fast as an average cyclist can travel.

Small point about that bike in the link, that 25CC engine is still only 1HP (746 watts)....if 900W of electric motor (full torque available over entire speed range, unlike petrol engines which only occurs at top speed) can't make it up Cornish hills, then that little petrol engine hasn't got a hope in hell either!   Wink



The entire spring idea came out of my speed requirements (faster than 15 mph without breaking the law). I'm considering having a dual power method (batteries and spring). I wonder what it's legal status would be if the batteries just stored energy to keep the spring wound? That would allow me to circumvent the law and keep a good speed/range.


Your still restricted to the 15MPH (actually it's "not over 16MPH") speed limit for any powered vehicle that falls into the bicycle class, regardless of it's mode of power. Also the spring would have to be governed (restricted) to ensure that the mechanism can not produce more that 250W of output power at any one time...

As to the legal status, it depends - the vehicle may fall under the "assisted bicycle" classification, in which case you MUST comply with the above (or be summoned to court for driving an uninsured, unregistered and untaxed vehicle, without a driving licence..... and possibly a large fine, and having the vehicle crushed!).  If the clockwork power is not seen as falling under the "assisted" bike law, then technically it will be completely illegal - just the same as attaching a petrol engine to a normal bike is! (and then you end up in court....)


SS
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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2008, 03:26:42 pm »

Yes Cornish hills are pretty steep in places! Mind you switching the motor on was like someone fit getting on the back and peddling hard. And the standard battery pack was too small to get to the next big town.

A hybrid is an interesting idea, though i think too complicated and heavy probably.
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19th Century Space Pilot
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« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2008, 07:30:44 pm »

Thanks for clearing that up for me.

Damn you British government!
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« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2008, 11:44:39 pm »

Don't let that little problem put you off though, the rules for a DIY build are quite relaxed, basically you can just attach a motor, battery pack and an on / off switch - and it will be legal! DIY rules do not require the motor to reduce power or stop past 16MPH, but you are still not meant to exceed that speed on motor alone (same as a car can do over 100MPH, but your only allowed 70MPH legally), so there is a little bit of slack there.  Wink 

There are also many ways of hiding modifications that will enable higher speeds (I would fit mirrors and keep a watch out for police if going faster than 20MPH without pedaling though). As long as you are sensable, and don't draw attention to yourself....then the police probably wouldn't even be interested in the slightest.

Unless you *really* need to travel everywhere at 30MPH, or live in a really hilly area, then a 250W setup is still quite usable (more so if connected to selectable gears). Besides, anything over 20MPH really needs the standard rubber rim brakes to be upgraded to hub disks and calipers (£££).  A legal 250W system is still better than walking, or pedaling hard and arriving covered in sweat, and you can always have slightly stronger motor with a "250W"  rated plate on it (electric motors can vary a lot from the "rated" specs, they can often handle double the rated power without problems, and even much more for short periods of time - so easy enough to get away with it...).  Wink

SS
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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2008, 09:39:54 am »

Indeed a local guy who was into electric recumbants was taken to court and was off in no time with the defence of "i was peddling" he was clocked at 40mph! My 900w motor is exactly the same as the 250w on the outside anyway...
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