Building My Own E-Bike

By Robert J. Eastman

Summer and Two-Wheeled Exercise

I am a retired technician and you can take the technician out of the shop but... well, you probably know the rest. One winter, in the foothills of Maine, I built an E-Bike and I was looking forward to a sun-filled summer and some two-wheeled exercise. Here is my story.

eBike

Why an E-Bike?

From the moment I learned to ride a bike at age 11, I've always had a strong interest in bikes. Back then a motorized version seemed impossible, but with the advent of rare earth magnets, the technology has really evolved. These magnets are so strong, they are capable of putting a big hurt on any finger that is caught between a positive and negative pole. Battery technology has also evolved; total ride time and horse power (wattage rating) keep inching upward. The motor is just enough to get me up some steep hills, out-run loose dogs and get me home when my human batteries start to run dry.

Collecting Components

Like with most projects, the shopping list seemed to keep growing as additional required parts kept popping up. By the time I was finished and my E-Bike was road worthy, the component list had just about doubled in size from that first list.

I chose a Victory single speed bicycle. It's listed as a "touring" bicycle with a rear coaster brake. I ordered it from a huge online version of your neighborhood box store. The manufacturer name on the carton is Cycle Force, (side note: I also ordered an optional front caliper brake to give me more stopping power).

The battery, motor controller module and other component parts are mounted inside a 16" diamond plate tote box. The top handle was removed for cosmetic reasons. The homebuilt seat cushion for the top of the tote box is optional; I suggest plugging the four empty screw holes to keep the weather out.

Some of the parts I used in this project were:
Enclosure (I used a 16" tote box)
12V Rechargeable Batteries (2)
24V Motor Controller
Main Power Switch (keyed)
Lights Power Switch
Hookup Wire
Voltage Blocking Diode
Lights

When I finally took my flying machine for its maiden flight, it was really a lot of fun. The local streets are filled with bumps and tar patches from the annual frost heaves we get here in Maine every spring. My handle bar mounted camera took quite a beating and eventually the plastic just couldn't take the stress and broke off, but the camera had a safety lanyard hooked to the handlebar so there was no damage.

The bike performed flawlessly. I had a couple of small hills and I did peddle a bit but with the motor engaged, it was a breeze and I am very pleased with the final results. It will give me good exercise on the flats or, if I get lazy or tired, I can just squeeze the speed control and off I'll go. It goes about 18 miles/hour.

Get more details and watch my maiden ride here.
E-bike Battery BoxE-Bike Battery Box

BeforeBefore
AfterAfter


Robert J. Eastman is a retired technician and lives in Maine. A long time Jameco customer, he now spends his summers tooling around on his E-Bike and his winters looking for new projects.

If you have an electronics story you'd like to share, please send it to [email protected].