All Posts for materials

cycling on solar power

When preparing for this trip I made a rough calculation that I would need 3 panels to power my bicycle. At each stop I would set up the 3 panels aim them at the sun collecting between 120..200W (total output of 3 panels) . While cycling I can still collect some power from the top panel but it is not sufficient for the trip. Usually I would collect less than 200Wh for a day trip from the horzontal top panel while the trip itself consumes 800 to 1000Wh.

On average the calculation worked out well but it is still a challenge to get the most out of the available daylight. In…

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Navigation system


The ideal navigation system for me would select the best and safest roads without distracting my attention from the traffic too much. Unfortunately I have not found such a system yet.

I started my journey with a Garmin Origon 700. This device enabled me to plan trip ahead on a laptop using Garmins planning software : Basecamp. Each day I would recharge two sets of AA batteries and connect the device to my laptop for loading routes that I planned.

It seems Garmin is…

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Travelling with a recumbent bicycle

In France, Spain and Portugal people often react very surprised when they a see a recumbent bicycle. Leaning backward on a recumbent, looking at the scenery and waving at all the surprised people is fantastic.

In comparison with a normal bicycle there is less stress on wrists and bottom. No special pants are needed. The only disadvantage is its reduced manoeuvring capability and not being able to look back without a mirror. That disadvantage is felt most in narrow streets of a city where there are frequent stops.

It is also…

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Johan recommended to increase the size of my battery and I was glad I listened to him. There were those days that the sun just did not appear and I wanted to escape from places where I did not want to be; like overcrowded campings. At such moments that extra energy is very welcome.

My battery is made up of a 100 type 18650 cells. The 18650 cells format is the most common on the market and are used for laptops, bicycles and even cars. 10 cells in parallel and 10 of these banks in series. Such a configuration is sometimes called 10p10s.

Example 3p2s:

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Solar panels

Unlike panels that are normally used of roof of buildings the panels that I use are lighter and can flex a bit. The individual cells , encapsulated in very stiff plastic (ETFE) are made of Silicium, which is a material like glass thsat can break.

When this flex panel has no rigid underground it will break easily by for instance by hail stones. The result is very much reduced output. Johan experienced this. To inspect a panel for micro-cracks put a bright light behind it in a dark room and view the panel from the front. When you see micro cracks it is not good news for the panel. You may stil…

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The vehicle

* AZUB Six recumbent bicycle. Reason: A recumbent bicycle is very comfortable and lets you enjoy the scenery instead of the tarmac

* Schlumpf speed drive front gearing enabling intant gear shifting by a ratio of 1:2.5.
Reason : being able to shift gear instantly enables me to maintain speed instead of swaying over the road in that wrong gear. So increased safety.

* Gearless hub motor in the rear wheel. 500 W, Brand: MXUS XF39 XF40. The motor has a large diameter for higher torque performance

* Lithium battery pack : 36V / 35 Ah, which equals about 1.2 kWh of energy

* 3…

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