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Buckeye56 05-18-2014 06:41 AM

Isle of Man TT 2014
In one week Buckeye Current, the Ohio State University electric motorcycle team will be heading back to the Isle of Man for the 2014 TT Zero electric race. Last year we finished in third place and we hope to do as well this year.

We are still using the 2006 CBR1000RR frame but we completely rebuilt the battery assembly and in the process reduced the weight by 30 pounds even though we added three more battery cells. We did a lot of Dyno testing and believe we have excised the software demons that plagued us the entire time last year. The software simulations are showing a substantial increase in lap average speed. It would be great to top the ton on lap average but that remains to be seen if we have enough energy in the battery pack. Lots of back and forth in emails on gearing best and worst case aero drag and other fascinating topics.

You may follow us on the web at http:/, on Facebook at Buckeye Current Racing or on Twitter at @BuckeyeCurrent

EKIN 05-18-2014 06:50 AM

I just watched the movie Charge on Netflix this week. After watching the Ebikes at Indi GP last year in person, learning more about the technology in the movie Charge, I am excited to see many of the teams get the 100mph average TT lap this year.

Totally different type of motorcycle racing without the noise, but racing none the less which is fun to see coming to life.

Best of luck!:clap

beechum1 05-18-2014 08:25 AM

stekell 05-18-2014 08:40 AM

Only 11 days to go and I'll be heading of to shangri la. The excitements causing a nervous disorder within me.Who's riding your bike in the zero TT

Buckeye56 05-18-2014 03:32 PM


Originally Posted by stekell (Post 24191355)
Only 11 days to go and I'll be heading of to shragri la. The excitements causing a nervous disorder within me.Who's riding your bike in the zero TT

Rob Barber is riding for us again this year. I believe we will be in Paddock B again, won't know for sure until Sunday when we get to the Isle.

stekell 05-19-2014 01:10 PM


Originally Posted by Buckeye56 (Post 24193366)
Rob Barber is riding for us again this year.

That's great, a tremendously talented and experienced rider, good luck . A ton up lap would be a fantastic achievement.

Mtn Man 05-20-2014 12:25 PM

Any way to get coverage in the US?

stekell 05-20-2014 02:52 PM

You could try using this, if it works coverage will begin from the middle of next week on channel ITV4.
10 Nov 2011 - Uploaded by bbflboy that enables overseas users to watch ITV Player abroad. ... and ...

No live coverage but 1 hour highlights programme each day.

RonkoRider 05-20-2014 04:22 PM

:lurk and on twitter:lurk

Mtn Man 05-22-2014 02:52 PM

Great, thanks! I will give it a shot. Heading over next year and the excitement is already building, wanting to see more and more!

Buckeye56 05-26-2014 11:17 PM

We arrived Sunday midday and get settled in the house. Later we walked down to the paddock to say hi to Rob and his crew. It is so nice to see them all again! His paddock space is in the "B" section at the Far East end near the southeast corner. There is a Buckeye Current banner outside his awning. Feel free to stop by and have a look at the bike. Assuming we a re not knee deep in work, we will gladly bore you to tears talking about it! :)

We had a fairly major set back over night (Sunday). There was a short in the battery sensing system that wire traces to burn on one of the buss boards. So we now have more work to do before we can begin testing. :(

We made good progress in fixing the buss board that was damaged last night. The electrical team had to by pass two burned traces with wires and coated the rest with RTV to prevent any more incidents. The mechanical team figured out the brake vibration we have had all year. The new rotors we bought are not the right ones for our bike. So we have to use rotors off of a CBR600 as that's all we have available. Not a big deal as the 600's are only 10 mm smaller in diameter. We also re-geared for the first practice on Friday.

We won't be able to use the Jurby track due to a car event being held they this weekend. But the folks we are staying with work at the local driving school so we can do some testing there. Lee also said that there may a blanket exemption that allows the race bikes to run on public roads outside of scheduled practices. If that is true we can get a feel for how the bike handles and what ground clearance issues we have if any.

The electrical guys are reinstalling the buss boards and reconnecting the damaged sensor connector. After that we need to fill the cooling system with water and we are ready to get a little run time on RW2.x.

Buckeye56 05-28-2014 10:37 PM

Today we took the bike to the driver training school in Douglas so Rob could test the brakes. Good news is swapping out for the 600RR rotors has taken care of the brake issues. Plus Rob is really happy with the way the bike handles with the revamped suspension. But we have a problem with one of the cells being way out of balance to the point that we have to swap in another battery cell to take its place. It is at the bottom of the pack making the job very difficult. And we need to have the bike at Laxey for a PR event at 1pm. Time is getting short for us to have the bike ready for the first practice on Friday evening, the pressure is definitely ramping up.

Buckeye56 05-28-2014 10:39 PM

As we have been working on the failed buss board, we have become aware that there are issues with badly unbalanced batteries in the pack. Last night the decision was made to swap out the bad unit. It was located in a vertical stack near the bottom. We were not even sure we could get it out without disassembling the entire pack assembly. Not good news as. We had a PR event to take the bike to today.

So the electrical team went to work after dinner stabilizing the pack and disconnecting the main buss cables between blocks of batteries. The mechanical team got up at 5am, was in the paddock at 6 and started to work. We decided to try the easier option first just in case we would get lucky and not tear the entire bike apart! And wouldn't you know it worked! What we had feared would be a half day's labor was done in under 1 hour! So the electrical team was able to rebus the entire pack prior to us transporting RW2.x to Salmon Lake Centre for the interview.

There's still much to do regarding charging and balancing the battery pack. But now we are feeling a whole lot better about being ready to go for the first practice on Friday. I am continually impressed with how much effort the students are wiling to put into this project, even to the point of worrying about them not getting enough sleep. This is a special and talented group of young engineers and I am proud to work with them!

BOOTLACE 05-28-2014 11:06 PM

Good stuff! Really enjoying the updates, keep em coming.....:1drink

Buckeye56 05-30-2014 12:26 AM

May 29

Today was a busy and long day for Buckeye Current. Work continued on getting the battery pack in top operating condition. The electrical team had the bike for most of the day starting once the morning meeting and breakfast was over, the mechanical team was off duty until balancing was completed.

I should explain what balancing the batteries means, I will start off by saying that I don't fully understand it but basically you want all of the cells to be as close to the same voltage level as possible. This will vary do to production differences, age of the cells, number of charging cycles, etc. This is a gross over simplification but that is the essence of it.

Lee and Sally Helwich, our hosts, and his family have been real troopers in sharing their home with us. Lee, whose job schedule is flexible, has been very kind in driving us around Douglas so we can get all the bits and pieces that we forgot to pack in the crate. We were in need of a variety so screws so he took me to a builder's supply house to get them. I had gone to a local home improvement store that day before but struck out. I was glad he offered as driving here stresses me out! It's really not all that hard to get used to right hand drive but since we are borrowing Sally's car I was happy to be chauffeured!

It was late afternoon by the time the electrical guys where satisfied with balancing, now we could begin the final tightening and safety wiring of RW2.x and affixing the sponsor decals to the bodywork. Before that happened, Tm Monahan, a software engineer from Mission Motors, stopped by to check out our bike. They supply the motor and motor controller for Mugen and he is here to assist with any issues that crop up. He seemed very interested in the bike and spent a long time talking to the team. Thanks to Colin Whittamore of Mugen Europe for sending him our way. While I always like to see interest in RW2.x, it is especially nice when folks in the business are impressed with what we have accomplished. Once he left we pulled the wheels to have a new set of Dunlop D212GP tires that Rob prefers.

Since Rob's paddock is so crowded, we ended up working in shifts starting with the decals. Those of us on the race prep side hiked back to the house, had dinner and waited for the call to return to the paddock. By midnight we had completed checking all of the fasteners and safety wiring where needed. Tomorrow is our first practice at 20:30 (8:30pm), tech inspection is approximately 2 hours before that. It will be a relief to get the bike on the track to see how it performs. With any luck, all we will need to do is tweak the gearing to give Rob as much speed as we can without over discharging the pack on race day. Oh yeah, it would be nice if there were no more "surprises'!

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