The Electric Chair

 

Background

I started this vehicle in 1993. It was designed to improve on a 4 wheel loco based on the going electric articles in Model Engineer Mar 1989. The first loco worked well but wasn't powerful enough to pull more than two adults at a reasonable speed, hence it could not be used as a passenger hauling loco at the club track. The options were to rebuild it with twice the power or build a single seat fun vehicle. The more powerful option was dropped because of its size and weight and a single seat design started. Much head scratching produced the vehicle shown below.

Originally a car battery was used but this proved inadequate so a leisure battery was used instead. This picture was taken during the reconstruction required to fit the larger battery.

Details

The chassis is supported on two 4 wheel bogies. They are not sprung but transfer the weight of the body via rubber blocks. The rear bogie has a Sinclair C5 motor driving both axles via a toothed belt. The padded seat is secured by two screws and is removable for ease of transport. Under the seat is a compartment for the drive electronics. The battery compartment is in the middle and has a hinged lid on which is mounted the power control knob, direction switch, horn button and current monitor display. Above the front bogie is a foot rest behind which is the horn. Only the rear bogie is braked via a lever behind the seat.

Front and rear lights are fitted and change colour according to the direction selected. The control system was design to enable multiple unit operation. as yet I have not built the second unit!

Being a lazy individual the position and angle of the seat and footrest were very carefully calculated for maximum comfort. The only problem was where to put the controls. Their final position between your knees is not too ungainly and is much better than the alternatives. The design works, I know because it is rare that I get a ride on it without having to prise someone else off.

Battery life is about 3 hours on a full charge, around 6 miles on our track. Top speed is around 10 mph on the flat.

Improvements required

Reduce the weight of the chassis. (Easier to transport to and from the track)

Make the seat position adjustable for those with shorter legs. (Younger members are frequent drivers)

Electric brakes controlled by the power control knob (i.e. change it to a speed control)

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