E-bike mobile ground station project

This is the beginning of a project I've been thinking about for awhile. I'm making this blog post to encourage myself to get going on it. Spring is coming to Colorado, and I want to be out filming in the wild and remote reaches as soon as the snow melts!

This is a Surly Troll frame with an Xtracycle FreeRadical cargo attachment. I laced a lower kv hub-motor into a Surly Large Marge 65mm wide rim, that will allow me to run a big fat tire underneath all the weight I'll be carrying.

I have two separate battery packs in mind (depending on the mission), both are LiFePO4 16s for ~53V. One pack will be made up of 40Ah cells and the second one 10Ah. A voltage regulator will give me 12V for all the ground station needs.





The 10Ah pack is built already, including battery management system(BMS).

It will be necessary to modify the FreeRadical structure to make room for the 10Ah pack just in front of the rear wheel. The 40Ah pack will need to be mounted on the outside of the frame.

These Pelican cases will figure in to the mix somehow.


Maybe not the huge case, it's kind of ridiculously large.

This is the 40A ESC for the hub-motor




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Comment by Joshua Ott on March 8, 2013 at 7:43pm

Sorry about the sad photo quality, I published this from my phone and didn't realize they looked so bad. I'll re-shoot these with some more light and a real camera tomorrow.

I also need to include some info on the solar module that will be incorporated into this contraption, for recharging in the field.

The other thing I forgot to mention: put a steering-servo and some training wheels on this baby and an APM could drive it for me!

Comment by Greg Fletcher on March 8, 2013 at 10:45pm

That's really awesome. I allwas wanted an electric bike. Where did you get the hub motor and controller?

Comment by Harry on March 8, 2013 at 11:15pm

Nice, I motorized a $20.00 craiglst cruiser with a 2 stroke and always wanted to try a hub motor.  Have prices come down on electric bike components?

Comment by Greg Fletcher on March 8, 2013 at 11:40pm

Joshua, If you have an APM driving you won't need training wheels, just a little more code :)

Comment by Jordi Orlando on March 9, 2013 at 7:12am

I really like your use of Anderson Powerpoles, they are always my connector of choice. Also, this project sounds very interesting, I'll be sure to keep an eye on it :)

Comment by Carl La France on March 9, 2013 at 7:53am

Joshua, everybody at diy is doing something! Interesting project, as for the solar collectors if you go with higher voltage panel and regulate it down however you still run the risk if using up the energy faster than you produce it

have a great day!

Comment by Nick Gregory on March 9, 2013 at 12:02pm

Joshua, this looks like a very interesting project.  I'm completely new to this community.  I'm sure it's obvious to most readers, but would you mind explaining what your new bike will do?  I gather it'll be useful for filming.  Is it a motorized bike with the ability to power your camera equipment?  Or is it more of a platform for filming from, like you'd ride the bike to your destination then hop off, mount your camera to the bike, and use it to steady your shot?  Best of luck!

Comment by Joshua Ott on March 9, 2013 at 1:07pm

I've purchased most of my E-bike parts from ebikes.ca over the years. They are really good about testing the products they carry and weeding out the stuff that does not work. I don't mind paying some extra shipping for the added value of tried and tested products.

These particular components are not the latest and greatest by any means, I've had them for some time. I know that a lot of RC and robot components will migrate over to the small electric vehicle world. Batteries, brushless-motors, and electronic speed-controls are going to get better and better at a rapid pace--they will be everywhere.

The mission profile for this vehicle is about getting aerial-cinema gear and power to remote locations, for mountain bike filming and the like. Once on location, the ground station can be set-up and then powered via the relatively large battery capacity on the bike: computer, video receiver, monitor/goggles, recharging the robot's flight batteries, etc.

The intention with the solar is to replenish some Watts back into the pack while everything is parked for the day's work. I'm not expecting net zero, unless there is a day or two with limited travel and full sun to top off the "tank".

I have 165W of solar cells to configure into a module with a form-factor optimized to this rig, rugged and stow-able.

elad o,

That gyro stabilized motorcycle is pretty cool, I wonder how much juice the gyros consume to make 1,300 ft-lbs of torque? 

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Comment by John Arne Birkeland on March 9, 2013 at 3:01pm

There seem to be some eBike enthusiasts here (me included). I guess it's a natural progression from R/C. :)

Comment by Joshua Ott on March 9, 2013 at 8:40pm

Yes John,

It seems that the electro-motive revolution covers the gamut.

I know that if I could go back in time and show myself all the really cool stuff I'm making as a "grown-up", the child version of me would be very impressed!


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