“Watt’s Up” Meter & Power Analyzer Model # WU100 Version 2
I am constantly fascinated at the wide variety of parts & equipment available through Amazon.com and at consistently great prices to boot.
So fascinated in fact that I’m going to make “My Picks Page” a regular feature in EZgo-Now.com. For right now however I’ll continue with where I started as I tend to get easily side tracked. And one more thing …
I really want a Cycle Analyst for my E-Bike. I can’t continue strapping my $400.00 Fluke Meter to my handle bars. Unfortunately $120.00 is not in the budget at the moment. So… In the process of checking out some of the components I might use for building something similar I discovered that Amazon.com had the “Watt’s Up” meter for $52.37 + $4.75 shipping. That’s a good price.
The Watt’s Up meter has been very popular with hobbyist & electronics buffs for years & more recently has been adopted by many in the E-Bike community. For some of the many uses of a Watt’s Up meter on your E-Bike visit Endless Sphere.com & do a search for the “Watt’s Up Meter” The Watt’s Up WU100 Version 2 Watt Meter & Power Analyzer is just that, a volt/watt meter & power analyzer. Many of the inexpensive meters I have found that are similar to this unit will not handle the power the average E-Bike uses, nor are they weather proof. This meter will work up to 60 volts. It will continually monitor the battery capacity & output. By giving you the battery voltage under load you’ll know when it’s time to start pedaling more or back in the direction from which you came. It measures both amps and watts at the moment & over time along with minimum voltage and peak currents. It is also weather resistant. I’m pretty sure you will be delighted with this meter on day number one. More importantly however, is that after a few days of use you’ll wonder how you ever got along with out one. You probably wouldn’t drive your car with out a fuel gauge for fear of being stranded. Well your E-Bike is no different. (OK, it does have pedals) continue reading…
Last week I decided to bite the bullet & plunk down $100 or so for a decent headlight for my bike. Between a recent move, up grading my 36v e-bike battery to 48v & the short winter days. (That and just about impaling myself on a mailbox the other night) You can imagine how happy I was to discover that I would be able to do this for under $50.00 and still have a good light that was plenty bright and great to look at.
1200 Lumen CREE XML T6 LED Bicycle HeadLight (Amazon.com)
After about an hour of searching for “Bike Lights” & reading reviews I decided on a CREE XML T6 LED. Now with all of this newly acquired knowledge you would think that placing my order should be quick & easy. Sadly, this was not the case and this is one of the main motivators for writing this article.
For those of you that don’t necessarily want to read my entire article, use the short list below for what you must know before comparing one seemingly identical light to another. The number one thing to remember! … These are rarely identical. They look the same but there not the same. The second is a CREE XML T6 LED is a tiny little light bulb that goes inside the bike light you’re looking to buy. IT IS NOT THE PRODUCT! A hot light bulb with a tiny battery makes a tiny light. Finally this is in NOT an article trying to steer you away from a CREE XML T6 LED Bike Light or any other CREE Lighting Product. On the contrary these are fantastic products. This article is intended only to help you choose the best CREE XML T6 LED Bike Light for your money. Click here to see some of the lights available through Amazon. OR use the Red “Quick Search” Box on your right.
Steps for getting the Bike Light You Need & Want
- Read the reviews.
- The scientific measurement term “lumens” is rarely used scientifically in advertisements. Never base your decision on this # alone.
- Pay close attention to the battery type & pack size. I have seen some very cheap prices only to find that batteries were not even included.
- If you’re in the US & purchasing from Ebay be sure to buy from US Ebay sellers. In the event of a problem the ability to communicate is paramount.
- Use a credit card or PayPal. NEVER EVER USE YOUR BANK CARD! EVER.
- Read the reviews.
- Pay close attention to shipping charges & delivery times.
- Most of the product descriptions & specifications are translated from Chinese. If it sounds funny be sure to verify it.
- Copy & paste the package contents from each light you’re considering. Then compare & sort each of these items to be sure each package contains everything you need or want.
- Read the reviews.
- Look at the pictures closely & compare to the contents list. The O-ring fasteners with the pull tab are much nicer to use than the regular O-ring.
- Read the reviews. continue reading…
Five years ago putting a kickstand on my road bike or mountain bike would have been sacrilegious.
Five years ago I also rode my bikes for fun or exercise when I had the time, which is to say, not very often. For the sake of conveyance I also carried an 8″ Velcro strap which I used as a parking brake in the rare event that I actually had to park my bike during a ride.
A few years ago I had a huge re-awaking and discovered that even as an adult a bicycle could be used for transportation much like when I was 14 and used it to go everywhere. E-bikes played a big role in this re-awaking but whether its electric power or pedal power a bicycle is fantastic way to get around at least 50% of the time for 80% of my trips.
This new adult and socially responsible approach to bicycling however did require a slight change to my old world philosophy of “If it doesn’t make it go faster it’s not needed”. Kickstands where right up there with saddle bags when it came to the things “that weren’t needed”. Nowadays, I wouldn’t want to be without either one of them. At the same time, however, lighter is still better, the ability to quickly install & remove something is quite important and a quality look & feel are paramount.
That said, let me tell you about this little gem of a kickstand I found on Amazon.com. It meets all three of those requirements and it will arrive in your mailbox for under ten bucks. There are a ton of kickstands available and many of them are very good. Most good kick stands are going to cost at least $20 delivered. If your LOADED bike weighs more than 70Lbs. (the majority of e-bikes) however you really shouldn’t even consider anything other than a proper center stand. Most rear kickstands are just not up to the task. A decent center stand will cost between $30 & $60 delivered. They are however worth their weight in gold when you’re trying to load your bike up with grocery bags & other items after a shopping trip. Sadly they are not something you take on & off in a matter of minutes and they can be pretty clunky looking. continue reading…
That is the Question.
The bicycle is the most efficient vehicle ever devised; a human on a bicycle is more efficient (in calories expended per pound and per mile) than a train, truck, airplane, boat, car, motorcycle or jet pack.
Nearly half of all trips in the US are three miles or less; more than a quarter are less than a mile, distances easily covered by bike while saving you money and getting you fit.
Every mile traveled by bike rather than by car keeps one pound of climate-damaging carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, while reducing cash draining stops at the pump.
Those are just three of the many reasons given in “Seven Wonders for a Cool Planet” by Eric Sorensen and the staff at Sightline Institute. For the rest of them click here: Sightline Institute.
In addition, anybody that has ever lived near a high school zone have no doubt been astonished by the endless parade of school buses filled with students entering the highway at 3:15 PM. This is immediately followed by a mile long line of automobiles being driven by the remaining students.
Now if you also happen to live in a college town you may have noticed the huge amount of parking space dedicated to automobiles. Take this a step further and observe the number of bicycles you don’t see parked or in use and you’ll probably see where I’m going with this.
The last straw came this spring when GM ran an automobile advertisement targeted to college students. Perhaps you remember it. “Reality Sucks” LUCKILY THE GM COLLEGE DISCOUNT DOESN’T. The thrust of the ad was that no college male should be caught dead riding his bike on campus else the girls would consider him a complete nerd. GM quickly pulled the ad but it highlighted the much bigger problem with American culture. We simply do not consider biking as a reasonable alternative to driving. It’s a mindset that has run its course and the consequences are everywhere.
We have to change our outlook towards bikes & biking. Bikes ARE NOT UN-COOL.! continue reading…
Bicycle Tire Pump
I’m sorry about this post but I just couldn’t help myself. I was looking for some clip art on bicycle tools. Specifically the bicycle tire pump on your left when I ran across the bike pictures shown below. These photos are from Stock.xchng.com. (Click for Web-Site) They are royalty free providing their used following their license agreement. The captions are mine.
I hope you enjoy these and I’d love to see Your’s. If you have a picture that you’d like to share please include the link (right click pic. select copy image url & paste) along with anything you’d like to say to in the “Leave a Comment” box at the bottom of the page or use the “Contact Us” links at the top or side of the page.
Get Back Here Damit !
Lubricate Yearly or as Needed.
Aw Shit !
Bigger Bicycle Baskets are Better.
Where’s the Flippin Instructions.
Enter to Win
I was going to start this article with my personal list of reasons for riding your bicycle more often. That is until I did Google search looking for ideas and saw that everybody & their brother had already done this. Google ” top 10 reasons for riding your bike” & you’ll see what I mean. OK, so if this blog’s focus is on e bike kits I’ll write something like 7 good reasons to electrify your ride. Ditto, …. It too has been done to death. All right then, I’ll write about my thoughts about how fun, work and riding your bike relate to one another. Anyway, if you don’t think of your own reasons for doing something you probably won’t be doing that “something” for very long.
OK, lets assume that fun should be factored into everything we do. It’s no secret that if you want to stay healthy and have a productive, successful & stress free life you need to enjoy yourself. And that’s all the time, at work, at home or at play, when your alone and when your with others. No matter what, you need to be able to enjoy yourself.
Yes, we all want & need to have fun. It doesn’t matter what you call it or how you phrase it, what your mind-set is or whether you’re a type A, B, or C personality. We are all wired to crave some degree of pleasure. That said, it stands to reason that the more fun we can have while doing all the stuff necessary for living, working & staying healthy, the better off we’ll be.
Enter the bicycle. For the most part, biking is fun, regardless of what type of bike your using or your reasons for riding it. But if your bike isn’t easily accessible, isn’t set-up to do the things you need it to do, and or your riding conditions aren’t favorable, using your bike may require more effort than it’s worth. Imagine however that your bike is all ready to go and your riding is all down hill, that effort would disappear. continue reading…
Available with SLA or Li-ion Batteries
Learning by doing.
Two weeks ago I wrote an article titled “My Choice for Batteries”. Click link for article. It explains my though process when it came to deciding on a specific vendor and battery type for the battery pack I wanted to build and ultimately re-sell from my e bike shop in Carlisle, PA. As I said in my first article I ordered my supplies from ELifeBike.com in China. They have the most basic of web-sites and do not carry a wide range of products. The web-site also does not have the additional product information or instructions that people have come to expect from a web-site. They did have for download what I would call Identification Charts for showing which wires did what. A thorough search of the Internet proved their legitimacy and did not find any negative commits. They also had just what I needed for this order and with excellent prices on their products and shipping charges I decided to go for it.
Since this is my first battery pack build (outside of SLA batteries) I had decided on what ELifeBike calls a DIY Battery Pack for ebikes. I thought this would give me a good list of all the items I would need for building future battery packs. However, having purchased and built dozens of electronic kits over the years, what I got is not what I expected. More on that a bit later.
I placed my order on Saturday evening 8/18/12 and it arrived the following Friday on 8/24/12. This order also contained an e bike kit. Because of the HAZMAT RATING in shipping lithium batteries I was afraid the e bike kit would arrive much later but it didn’t. It all came well packaged in one big box. The packing slip matched the contents, matched my order and the pricing was exactly as promised. So far so good. continue reading…
After countless hours of research and agonizing over the thought of purchasing products from China I have finally taken the plunge and purchased what I need to build my first battery pack. I decided to go with a 24 volt 10amp battery pack because I currently have a ladies bike I set up with a 24 volt 12ah SLA battery pack. I purchased the batteries and charger for this locally. Consequently this will give me a great opportunity to run side by side comparisons test for both cost and performance.
Ultimately I will be selling two types of Li-Ion batteries from two manufacturers. For local sales I will be using Headway LiFePO4 batteries (lithium ion iron phosphate ) manufactured by Zhejiang Headway Communication Equipment Manufacturing Co., Ltd. in mainland China. These have become a very popular choice for EV’s. They do not have the power density of LiNCM batteries but they operate at lower temperatures and therefore are inherently safer to use. Especially when your building your own battery packs.
For Internet sales I will be using ALLCELL lithium-ion battery packs distributed by E-BikeKits. These are made using LiNCM battery cells not LiFePO4. They have a higher power density than LiFePO4 batteries but are more prone to overheating and what is called thermal runaway. (3 mile island on a tiny scale) Some companies will not knowingly sell these batteries for use in consumer built battery packs. ALLCELL solves the thermal problem by using their patented PCM technology in all of their battery packs. Consequently you will not be buying these cells individually. See ALLCELL Technologies and PCM evaluation.
ALL LITHIUM BATTERIES REQUIRE SOME FORM OF BATTERY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (BMS) FOR SAFE OPERATION & LONG LIFE. Cheap lithium battery packs with no BMS may turn out to be the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make ! BUYER BEWARE ! continue reading…
Required knowledge for making a successful ebike kit purchase.
Read “How to buy a motorized bike kit” for additional details and information on ebike kits & “E-bike conversions” for some purchasing suggestions. For specific questions on anything ebike related or just to get some ideas on ebikes visit the two forums listed below. If you can’t find an answer there you probably don’t need to know it. For a short explanation about e bikes click HERE. Finally, if you would just like to know what everybody is talking about, please read on.
V is for voltage
Electric bicycle technology is growing and improving at a rapid rate. A state of the art ebike component this year is probably not going to be the state of the art component for next year. That’s not to say ebikes are subjected to “Moore’s Law” in the way that your PC is, but if your taking up on your ebike research from 2010 you would be wise to update your findings. The following is not a comprehensive list of the terminology used in the ebike industry nor a primer on building an ebike. (For that go here) It is however complete in such a way that that you’ll be better able to understand the information that is presented by the ebike kit builders.
I broke my list down by the basic components required to turn your bike into an ebike. Many of these terms will be used in describing multiple components even though I have explained them only once. Read this page by Electricbike.com for detailed information and reviews on some of these components.
Most advertised ebike kit prices do not include the battery or the shipping charge. These are two of the major reasons for the huge price discrepancies you’ll find in ebike kits. The cost for either one of these can exceed the cost of the ebike kit alone. DO NOT BE LURED BY CHEAP PRICES.
Two final notes – The vast majority of ebike kits are coming from China. The translation from Chinese to English is often so inaccurate as to be barely understandable. In addition to the often accidental mis-information is the deliberate mis-information. (When is a lie not a lie?) These companies are usually very small mom & pop organizations and are not governed by the same rules as their American, Canadian and European counterparts. With that thought in mind, ALWAYS AND WITHOUT EXCEPTION ! Use PayPal or a Credit Card. DO NOT USE YOUR BANK CARD ! It may say VISA but it does not offer the same protection. In the event of a problem, at the very best, you’ll be stuck with bank fees. continue reading…
Say NO to Internet Garbage
And that pretty much works for everything. From products you buy to web-sites you browse. Think about it. Junk does not last so you need more of it. Buy junk, replace junk, more garbage. Buy quality own it a lifetime no more garbage.
I spend a huge amount of my time browsing the Internet for anything that relates to electric bicycles and cycling. Directly or indirectly, specifically or in a general way if it catches my attention I’ll click it. I have been doing this type of research long enough to know what or what not to click on. Even so I still have to sort through far more garbage than I care to. It’s this seemingly endless amount of information and web sites and my ability to effectively sort through the garbage that leads me to my current subject.
At first I was going to highlight my best (worst) examples of scam reviews and informational garbage articles and follow-up with a list of words & phrases to look for in order to avoid them. Well, …. useful perhaps but I quickly decided it was too much like complaining so I decided to go in the other direction. There are hundreds of web sites that are geared towards electric bikes. Out of those there are dozens of useful sites. Out of those there is in my opinion less than two dozen that are truly good web sites or blogs dedicated to e bikes and practical cycling. I keep this small group of “truly good web sites” appropriately labeled & saved in my favorites. Over the course of a month it’s more than likely I’ll land on their pages at least once. continue reading…