Tag Archives: Throttle

Speedometer Cable

Now that I’m using a GPS speedometer, the existing speedometer cable is no longer needed. The cable was entering the floor next to where the new throttle was installed, and I was fairly concerned that it could get caught up on the arm. It also clears up the mess of wires behind the dashboard a bit.

Speedometer cable entering car through floor next to throttle pot box

There was a bunch of black rubbery caulk where it entered through the floor. Once the caulk was removed, I saw that the throttle I installed covered part of the opening. It was difficult with the room remaining – but after working with it, I was able to pull the end with the bolt out.

The next part was pulling the cable off of the underside of the car. It was threaded above the brake lines and emergency break. Once I got most of it pulled through and hanging out of the front of the car, the next step was to remove the other end.

I was able to unbolt the speedometer cable by reaching down into the battery compartment. It was a tight area trying to get a good grip with some pliers, but it was easier than pulling the bolt through the floor.

Speedometer cable zip tied to underside of CitiCar frame

I thought I was home free as the wire started sliding freely under the carriage until I hit a snag. It was in a tight spot that I couldn’t see. I got out my phone and looked around. A zip-tie was holding it against the frame. After confirming that no other wires were being held in place, I jacked up the car enough that I could reach up with some tin-snips and cut the zip tie.

The cable is fairly sturdy and doesn’t like bending much. It was holding its shape pretty well after being removed from the car. Each end has a metal shaft that spins to indicate how fast the motor is spinning. It may seem like a simple task, but its another step forward. Progress.

In other news

I took my SUV into a car dealership. I’ve had two people “fix” it already, and it feels like I’m losing money on temporary fixes. The professionals took a look at it. Although only a fastener on the transmission was broken, I was told that the shifter cable needed to be replaced as well since it’s more of a combination of the cable and fastener.

The parts will be in tomorrow morning. I had the option to bring it home, but I was told that the vehicle broke again as they parked it. I felt lucky that I was able to get it to the dealership, and wasn’t about to tempt fate again driving it home and back. The walk home was about three miles. I sense another long walk in my immediate future.

The walk home had me thinking of what options I may have to haul the CiitCar on a small trailer, that the CitiCar could haul on its own. It would have to be very lightweight and support the CitiCars weight. It would give me the option of hauling it to a destination where the towing vehicle can be dropped off. Both of my primary vehicles have a hitch. I would need to determine where I could install a hitch on the CitiCar.

Another thing to look into is if the trailer could serve as some kind of car jack that would make it easier for me to get underneath of the car to make upgrades and repairs. Of course, I would have to stabilize the trailer – but it would seam to be a safer way to jack it up, and to a higher level.

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Ten Miles

I awoke to the sound of construction in my quiet little subdivision. I peered out the window and saw road paving equipment. My mind was racing in determining how to move my vehicles off the road. Upon further investigation, I soon realized the construction crew was digging holes in the middle of the road for the fiber optic installation and patching them over. Crisis averted.

On my lunch break, I picked up a battery for my car. Teddy and I came back home with 8.5 miles on the trip odometer. I decided to zip around the neighborhood and bump the trip past 10 miles. The roads in the neighborhood were more bumpier than I had thought. I think Teddy had just as much fun as me, sticking his head out the window.

We made it home with a new record of 10.2 miles for the trip, and the lowest battery voltage recorded at 47.1 volts. The car was still driving just fine without showing signs of slowing down.

I later installed the new car battery into my other car and was able to move it to the driveway. As for the SUV, I contacted a local dealership, inquiring about repairs. I’ve had two people give it a temporary fix, and I need something more permanent.

Throttle Installation

I finished installing the new throttle tonight. Most of the delays were associated with trying to figure out how to put the throttle in the car, fabricating parts, and waiting for parts to arrive.

Curtis PB-8 Throttle Potbox installed in-line with Sebring-Vanguard CitiCar step controller

Tonight I assembled an aluminium bar with a clevis pin and a cotter pin. I used spacers to elevate it. I divided one of the spacers in half so that I could fit them both in between the aluminum rod and the throttles arm. Bolting the throttle to the floor was a bit difficult due to the awkward position of trying to drill while the hood (or lack there of) was in the way.

In Other News

I’ve decided to go ahead and get the Lester Summit Series II charger. I was set on it before it was recommended that I get the Schauer charger I have now. The Lester charger has a few things over the Schauer charger:

  • QD Lockout
  • Ability to change battery profiles
  • Bluetooth
  • Waterproof
  • Dropproof

I’ll be able to use it with the four 12 volt sealed lead acid batteries as 48 volts. I believe I can also use it with the lithium batteries as well. The BMS modules are setup to be compatible with other chargers as well.

CitiCar Throttle Upgrade

Final Destination

A few things are moving forward with the car. I’ve been taking little trips to parks around town fairly often.

Traffic Light Sensor

On my way to Chimney Field park, I was stranded at the light. The light cycled through its traffic pattern eleven times before it turned green for me during fairly busy traffic. I’m under the impression that the CitiCars aluminum frame isn’t able to trip traffic light induction sensors in the pavement. Someone mentioned in the C-Car forums that motorcyclists with this problem will get strong earth magnets to attach to the bottom of the frame.

Pot Box

I took a look at what I had to work with to find an appropriate spot to place the pot box. I prefer to keep the existing throttle switch so that I can swap between and original 3 speed and new gradual controlled driving styles.

Looking around, I found it difficult to find a spot to bolt the pot box. The floor is made of plastic, and even if I removed the original speed switch, I’m uncertain where I could bolt the pot box. I have an idea of using a bicycle cable for brakes/gear shifting so that I can put the pot box anywhere, but the cable itself still needs a place to secure it.

Charge Controller

I unbolted the charge controller, disconnected all the wires, and removed it from the car. The thing is heavy, weighing in at 26.8 pounds. Inside is a giant winding of copper and a little circuit board with an interlock switch to prevent the motor from operating when charging.

Original On-Board charge controller

On the back, I saw the previous owners name, company, address and a note:

Please Fix Low Voltage about 36v Book says should be 57½v

It’s comforting to know it wasn’t just me having a hard time getting the charger to work properly.

I had a bit of trouble determining how to wire the car back up to operate without it. Once I figured out what wires connect where, I crimped some spade terminals that fit very loosely into two of the original female connectors.

The CitiCar cabin light shining bright

One unintentional side effect is that my cabin light now works. Apparently it wasn’t hooked up to the charge controller properly. The connector looks a bit… melted or deteriorated.

Eastham Park

My primary usage of the car it to take Teddy for walks at various parks and events around town. My ultimate goal was to make it to Eastham Park because it has a Dog Park. The Royal Shenandoah Greenway runs through the park along the South Fork Shenandoah River. Not only is it far compared to my limited range, but there is a long and large hill to go back up a half mile on the way home.

Either due to my weight loss, driving style, 24/7 battery floating charge, “breaking in” the batteries, or a combination there of, the cars range appears to be improving. I decided that since I had free time this weekend, I’d give it a go and push the car to its limit.

Eastham Park trail under railroad tracks

It’s been a misty day with light rain at times. My shoes got fairly wet. There weren’t many people out, so Teddy had the whole dog park to himself. We also walked up to the end of the path at the high school before heading back. I let Teddy walk around in the South Fork Shenandoah river as well. On the way back, I could see people walking around and peering inside the CitiCar.

Loss of Power

The last part of the trip home today was an adventure in itself. As I made a hard left at a traffic light, the two loose spade terminals disconnected. The main contactor switch disengaged, and I lost power to the motor and lights – including the hazard lights. Fortunately I was in the slow lane, rarely used, highly visible, and pulled as close to the rail as I could before the car stopped.

I leaned over, connected the spade terminals, and was back on my way. I rewired a more secure connection after I arrived home. Eventually I need to rewire the whole car.

Although I’m going to upgrade the car to have a DC-2-DC system on board for my 12 volt power supply, I’m also considering using the small 12v battery I have now as a fail-safe backup for the hazard lights, signals lights, and flash relay. I feel that out of everything else on the car, I absolutely need the lights to signal that I’m having a problem if power is lost.

Longest Trip

I made it home without any other issues. This felt like one of the longest trips I’ve been on. The GPS speedometer is accurate compared to my prior one, so the trips appear shorter compared to prior trips. My old speedometer often registered 4 miles faster than my actual speed.

My trips to the town square are 0.8 miles less with the new speedometer (8.7 miles is now 6.9 miles). In all, my trip via GPS was only 8.6 miles, but I suspect the original speedometer would have registered just under 10 miles for the maximum distance on one charge. I arrived home with 48.3 volts at 54% charge.

Future Driving Goals

  • Cruising Speed (self powered)
    • 35 mph
    • 40 mph
    • 45 mph
  • Destinations
    • Checkers + Public Charger
    • Pet store
    • Rockland Park
    • Winchester
    • Dicky Ridge Visitors Center
  • Events
    • Parade
    • Car Show