So this Palmer Twosome is a bit of a conundrum for me now. It’s built like a beast. It’s 27 years old! It wouldn’t have made it this long had it not been built rock solid.
The problem I’m encountering now is that this rock solid 27 yr. old electric technology is a bit hard to come by today. I can find an electrical controllers from China for $79 that seem to do the same job as 50 pieces in this trike. Since the Palmer is a 12v system, it’s largely incompatible with parts from golf carts or scooters, which all seem to run on 24v, 26v, 48v, or 60v.
While disassembling, the motor busted a plate on the inside and I had to pull it open. the brushings are nearly gone and I need to find a replacement piece that I broke. So far I can’t find any info on this motor online. It seems that it’s no longer on the market.
Why are modern electric vehicle systems running on higher voltage? Time for me to investigate.
The first and most comprehensible info I’ve found is at Pedego Electric bikes.
What is VOLTAGE and which Voltage is best?
Voltage can be thought of as the pressure or strength of electric power. All things being equal (see AMPS below), the higher the voltage the better, because high voltages pass more efficiently through wires and motors. Very high voltages (100+ volts) can give you a nasty shock because they also travel through people rather well, but the sort of voltages found on electric bicycles (12 – 36 volts) are quite safe. As a rule, a 12 volt system is fine for low-powered motors, but more powerful machines work better with 36 volts.
The article goes on to discuss AMPS and Watts in a very comprehensible way. All of the info is useful for me.
With our existing 12V system, the Palmer Twosome is slow. On a slight incline with 2 people on board, it moves at a walking pace. On flat ground it might hit running speed, maybe. It’s sounding like the 12v motor is potentially part of the speed constraint. I’d think that with it’s beefy transmission and huge battery bank, it would still be able to hustle but that just doesn’t seem to be the case. This might encourage me to switch.
The same Pedego article also talked about battery capacity. Battery capacity is rated in Amp/hours. There’s some weird factor about a 20h piece of that equation that I’m not bothering to understand right now. The important thing for me to note is that I should double the capacity theoretically needed due to system inefficiency. Once I get down to the nuts and bolts, I’ll revisit this part of the equation and really determine what I need.
The batteries that came with the Palmer are two Sea Volt Deep Cycle 215s. They’re 6 volts and have a capacity of 215 Amp/hours. To compare apples to apples, I’m gonna look at Watt/hours on all batteries and figure out how many watt/hours my system needs. After a quick refresher on my math skills,
Watt = Volts X Amps
Amps = Watts/Volts
215 X (Watts/Volts) / Hours X 6V
215 X (Watts/Volts) ÷ (Hours/1) X 6V
1290 W/hr in each battery
These batteries are over $240 a piece and after testing them at O’Reilly Autoparts, they seem to be in good condition. I’m not anxious to drop a $480 component of the system. Two 6V batteries only gives me a 12v system and I’m fairly confident these batteries aren’t gonna play well in series with any other type of battery to up my voltage.