Have any HCF-305 Scooter stories, gripes, adventures, modified rigs,
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I've been tempted to re-fit my HCF-305 with two, switchable, 40 Amp Lithium-Iron Phosphate battery
packs (one main + one reserve), to more than triple the range -without increasing the weight, or overloading
the electronic controller. But, quite frankly, am not willing to spend my time driving my vehicle more than one hour while doing
local errands, so I settled on upgrading to just one 40 Amp Lithium-Iron Phosphate battery pack. A more provocative
-and fun, idea is investing the extra cash in a 24 Volt, 450 Watt wind generator and 110W solar panel combo, a $
1,500.00 package that also includes tower hardware and an electronic charging panel:
|ARI 450 watt 24 volt wind generator
|(click picture to go directly to their website)
Installing an ARI 450 watt 24 volt wind generator, with a 110 watt solar
panel should keep your HCF-305 fully charged, if used for cross-town errands 2 or 3 times a week, and you live in
an area that experiences normal sunlight and there seems to have enough wind for sailboating and kite flying. The
450 watt wind generator is the maximum size unit the handyman should attempt to loft on a tower, as the spinning
blades are extremely dangerous. The spinning blades also create a wind-force equal to a virtual disk 1.4
meters (4'7") in diameter, putting a surprising amount of pressure and strain on the tower, much like a sail, especially
in strong winds.
|ARI 110 watt mono-crystalline solar panel
|(click picture to go directly to their website)
To charge your HCF-305, with solar power alone, would require about 11
of these 52" x 26-1/2", 110 watt panels (6, if mounted on a motorized sun tracker), which places the idea of solar
power on the realm of absurd. The purpose of installing one 110 watt solar panel is to gain a simple introduction
to solar power -and its limitations, with an unusually quick and easy hookup to the ARI Charge Controller, which
comes bundled with the ARI-450 Wind Generator. The ARI-450 controller can only handle 2 solar panels anyway. Besides, the
rush is on, in the solar industry, to develop and manufacture the full-spectrum solar panel, which will generate at least
220 watts of power from the same size panel, condemning those present, cumbersome, unsightly, and pitiful solar
panels to the flea markets and yard sales. In light of this, it might be a better idea hold off on buying more than
one solar panel, for now. It has been predicted that full-spectrum solar panels will be cost-efective (they now
cost about $ 1,000,000.00 per square meter), for home use, in about 10 years or so. But the orient has always been
up-to-the-minute in technological innovation, so don't be surprised if they find a way to manufacture these in a year or two.
I also suspect Chinese astronauts will beat America in the race back to the moon.
After reading the above, it should become obvious that most urban homes
and property simply lack the size and area to set up a windmill farm and solar panel array that would be adequate for providing
the electrical needs of, say, a family of four. And that's assuming one would want to clutter up their house in
the first place -and the neighbors would tolerate it.
Even if the the home lighting system is changed over to a LED system,
a super-efficient open-top chest refrigerator/freezer installed, a clothesline set up in the yard, the electrical
demand would still be well above the ability to generate on location. Just to power a washing machine would require another
wind generator and solar panel system, as the one described above to charge the HCF-305 -provided
the washer ran on cold water only.
Firewood would have to be chopped for cooking, to warm up water for
batheing, and to frugally heat the home to 50 degrees Fahrenheit in winter. Rooftop solar water heaters could be installed,
but these have, historically, been high maintenance and problematic, and almost all such systems have since been removed.
To make a long story short, it would be quite impossible, in an urban setting, to wind-solar
home charge a 2,000 pound, 4 passenger electric car that had any reasonable range and speed capability. But such
a vehicle could be charged, at least partially, with renewable energy, via the local power grid. Many power utilities
these days are using a mix coal-fired generators, nuclear reactors, hydro-electric, geo-thermal, solar and wind generators,
all working together to send a 120V/240V alternating current to your house. And many power utilities allow customers
to opt for a slightly more expensive green option. That is, your electric bill, if on the green option, would contribute
to solely to the maintenance and expansion of sustainable, renewable means of generating electricity. And things are definitely
improving. Those large-scale wind generator farms, of the past, were plagued with serious maintenance issues and downtime,
with almost half of the generators not operating. That ratio is now down to about 10% of the wind generators shut down for routine
maintenance and repairs. And, after reading the above information, it should become obvious that mounting solar
panels on an electric car is a waste of time and materials, with today's technology. But there are some who strongly advocate
mounting thin, flexible, and lightweight film solar panels on electric cars, to simply maintain a constant float (aka trickle)
charge on the battery pack, adding "pep" to the vehicle's performance.
In our energy-scarce future, even the HCF-305 one passenger electric vehicle may even
be viewed as an extravagant possession.
"To maintain the average American at present comfort levels requires 21,600
pounds of nonmetal resources such as sand and gravel and salt, 1,450 pounds of metal substances and 18,600 pounds of fossil
fuels, plus a little less than one ounce of uranium each year. That amount of energy, nearly twice what the average European
uses in a year, is the equivalent of each citizen having 300 slaves working 24 hours a day." - Wilson Clark
And the above figures don't include the amount of forest products and 660,430 U.S. gallons of
water consumed in the United States per capita, per year.
|The Story of Stuff
|(click picture to go directly to the Story of Stuff website)
What is the Story of Stuff?
From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in
our lives affects
communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The
Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside
of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes
the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues,
and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach
you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.
We're living in an era where people are driving around in 5,000 pound
electric cars and 3,000 gas-electric hybrid cars -and truly feel that they're doing good for the environment. But if
you take the time to think about it, such vehicles seem more like an ecological pea-in-the-nutshell game.
It's quite interesting to note that small, strange, lightweight, and
gas-mizing, one passenger internal combustion engine powered vehicles have been in widespread use in Europe, since the
Still, the idea of a practical electric car, weighing in at just
under 200 pounds, will require some major changes in our attitudes and preconceptions as to what truly sustainable electric
transportation looks like.
... And while we're on the subject of ecological pea-in-the-nutshell games:
|(click this logo to go directly to the YouTube video)
Helping you, because you can't help yourself.
CheatNeutral is about offsetting infidelity:
Are you cheating on your partner or spouse?
CheatNeutral can help you
offset your indiscretions.
Are you loyal and faithful?
Become an offset project and get paid for
These two British chaps are really on to something.
|Alex & Christian, of CheatNeutral (filmed by Beth)
|(click photo to go directly to the YouTube video)
Be sure to watch their hilarious 12:42 minute video clip. Filmed and produced
by Beth Stratford, my wife and I first saw it at the Oakland Museum's annual "Earth Dance - Short Attention Span Film
Festival" -where it was an absolute hit.
Their premise may be crass, but their questioning of carbon offset credits
(a truly obscene concept) is dead on: Carbon offsetting is about paying, for the right, to continue to emit carbon.
The Carbon offset industry sold $ 118,830,472.00 (£60 million) of offsets
last year, and is rapidly growing.
- Carbon offsetting tries to make it acceptable to continue to emit excess
- Carbon offsetting does very little to reduce global carbon emissions.
- With carbon offsetting, there is currently no practical, feasible way of
measuring how much carbon offset projects actually save.
- If the carbon offsetters persuade you that it's possible to offset your
emissions, you'll continue to emit excess carbon through your lifestyle rather than think about truly reducing your emissions.
- Carbon offsetting is fundamentally
the wrong way to go about tackling climate change.
*** Their www.cheatneutral.com website doesn't seem to be working, so just view their uploaded YouTube video.
Read this, if you feel that your commute is too far for an electric car:
Let's talk seriously about true commuting costs, to and from work.
It makes no sense to discuss efficient electric transportation, when there
are more serious social issues in our society that completely rule out
electric cars from ever being seriously considered as a viable option for everyday transportation.
Specifically, the fact that long commutes, and even regional gridlock, is caused, in part, by the hiring practices of
Yes, you are more likely to be offered a job that requires an extreme commute,
than one that is close to home.
It's been observed that many employers will often pick over a group of equally
qualified job applicants and choose the one who has the longest commute.
This explains why many out-of-work souls land jobs that require unbelievable commuting times and distances.
There are six reasons for this very common, yet irrational behavior:
1. The most obvious: You're the best one for the job (but, more than likely, just a little
bit better than the other applicants). But while this simple reality is flattering, it can also be intoxicating. You have
the job, but you now have to deal with a damaging commute. And your new employer obviously hasn't given any
thought to that part of the scenario. It doesn't cost him anything anyway.
2. The employer has foolishly set up for business in a region that has the
potential for great profit, but unfortunately, is also in an area that
does not have affordable housing. And virtually all of the qualified applicants for the position(s) will have to commute from other parts of an already gridlocked region to work there. The employer's
initial marketing research, while correctly assessing the potential for
business, failed to address a crucial lack of available talent.
3. The employer is a malicious sort, one who mistreats employees as much
as the law allows. And creating an unbelievably numbing commute for someone,
for them, is a good start. Two-thirds of all new businesses fail within
six years. And one of the reasons is that it's virtually impossible to
compete with a "deep pockets" competitor. That is, too many businesses these days are simply
a hobby, a diversion, a pasttime, of the owner -and some, of which, are quite unsavory. And with the latter, they
see employees as being there for their amusement. Fair wages are not to
be found in their workplace. Salaries and commission based compensations
are their preferred mode of operation, to legally work their employees evenings and weekends -without paying them for it. And many desperate job seekers fall prey to what seems, at first glance,
to be a fair, up-front salary. The State of California has enacted strict laws specifically targeted at such unscrupulous
employers, to end their time-honored practice of trashing their ex-employees and attempting to bar them from employment.
4. This type of employer is actually a decent, careing person, at heart.
They've just had a bad education. For them, life is simple -if you
simply don't think about it. Pouring over a group of qualified applicants, they will single out the one who would have to
commute the farthest, and exclaim "Wow! What dedication! We need this one on our staff!" Never mind the fact that the poor applicant is willing to drive 70 miles, from their home, to their job
-and has, therefore, declared themself to be mentally deficient. And when
that dedicated oaf is driving... driving... and driving... they're certainly
5. Employers who mistreat their employees and experience rapid turnover
are simply reluctant to hire local talent and generate ill will in their
community. Hiring employees who commute great distances insures that their despicable management
practices will not come back to embarrass them in their personal and community lives.
6. The real kingpin in the above scenarios is the job seeker. No employer
can abuse or take advantage of you without your cooperation. And no matter
how difficult the job search becomes, you need to always gather yourself, and think the process through,
as a rational adult. Only then will you connect with employers who possess the same values and mindset. And a good start is to focus your job search within a half-hour commute of where you live. If
you live in an urban area, there is a galaxy of businesses within a half-hour
drive of where you live. You need to truly understand that getting side-tracked by job
opportunties that are far from home is not a true opportunity, but a sign of momentary weakness, going astray from your mission. Really. You're NOT the only skilled talent within a 60 mile radius of that
potential job. They may want to hire you -but for the wrong reasons.
Oh well... you've, somehow, just interviewed for a job that you definitely
want, but discovered that the rush hour commute is one and a half hours
-each way! ...But you definitely want the job.
There is a way to quickly calculate the commuting expense, add it to what
you feel is fair pay for such a job, and then compare the total to the
actual pay that the position offers. Follow the simple steps below to arrive at a fair cost:
1. Deduct a half-hour from the actual, one-way commuting time. Half an hour
is generally accepted as a normal commute, and, as such, is not payable
by an employer. Bear in mind that this generally rules out a commute, using an electric vehicle. You're
now slipping back into the old internal-combustion-engine mode. And the State Unemployment Compensation Department is paying
you to devote your time and energies to avoiding this type of situation.
2. Take the result (any time over a half-hour) and multiply it by 2 (for
commuting both ways).
3. Calculate the amount desired pay, per hour, and multiply that times the
hours in step #2. Then multiply that amount by 1.75, because that is for
overtime pay, for commuting. I know that most people generally regard 1.5 as fair overtime pay, but don't forget that the
1.5 figure is simply what the law has set as the minimum compensation for overtime. And any accountant
(or astute bookkeeper) will advise you that 1.5 is just not fair, and not enough. But if charging that much makes you break into a cold sweat and causes you to shake in your boots, then factor
in 1.5... or 1.0???
4. Determine how many miles are driven each way, and prorate the miles over
and above the normal half-hour commute. Multiply the additional miles,
times 2 (= both ways), and multiply the result times $ 0.58 per mile. This is what the Internal Revenue Service has determined what it costs to drive a cheap, sub-compact car per mile. It factors
in the cost of the car, tires, registration, gas, motor oil, bank loan expense, car insurance, and normal maintenance. But
many larger cars cost almost twice as much, per mile, to operate. And whether or not you're driving an old car that is paid for, is none of your employer's business.
5. If you will be
required to find, and pay for, your own parking, carefully determine how much it costs.
6. If you will have to pay for more than one bridge toll for your commute,
figure the amount that is over and above one toll fee.
7. Total the amounts from step#3 + step#4 + step#5 + step#6 to give you
a fair, and proven, amount to add, over and above, to the pay that you
will require for the job.
1-1/2 hour commute - 1/2 hour (normal commute) x 2 ways = 2 hours.
2 hours x $ 25.00 per hour = $ 50.00 x 1.75 (overtime) = $ 87.50.
60 miles each way = 40 miles over and above a normal commute.
40 miles x 2 ways = 80 miles x $ 0.58 per mile = $ 46.40.
$ 10.00 parking + $ 3.00 2nd bridge toll (over and above the 1st
bridge toll) = $ 13.00.
$ 87.50 + $ 36.40 + $ 13.00 = $ 144.90 daily commuting expense!
Multiply this dollar amount by 21.67 (the number of working days in a typical
month) and add it to the salary that you will need to be happy and support your lifestyle. And, if you're
lucky, you just may get the job.
But your price may also knock you out of the running. But that is simply
an accepted fact of doing business. All businesses experience a similar
brick wall, almost every day, when they try to generate new business that is too far away from their base of operations. The astute businesses calculate in the costs of messenger trips, sales
expense, and shipping costs -all in an effort to decide if it's
even worth the effort to service a distant customer. And you need to train yourself to think along the
same lines. It's always better to walk away from a money-losing proposition. There
are always exceptions to the rule. For example, a workplace that is near a subway station will allow you to use the commuting time to read the newspaper -or a book, which is clearly not a waste
of your valuable time and does not need to be dollarized and added to the base pay.
Do your best, but don't subsidize your employer. It will
only delude the poor soul -and the community, into thinking he's some sort of business whiz (over your ashes, of course).
My Portable Homemade Clock Driven Sun Tracker:
|Heart of the tracker: Intermatic® 12 Hour Spring Wound Wall Timer
I've just designed built a homemade solar tracker than can accurately align
the solar panel to the angle of the sun, at high noon, as it changes with the seasons, plus a greared-down, spring-wound,
clock drive that will track (follow) the sun, from sunrise to sunset.
The details are described at the following link:
While too small to charge the HCF-305 mobility scooter, the portable tracker is so unorthodox
that I felt that it just may be of interest to the visitors of this site.
The solar altitude (north-south noon panel angle) of the device, once set,
needs to be adjusted every two days or so. And, while lightweight and stowable, the rig has a large footprint that holds everything
rock-steady in strong winds.
The heart of the device is a Intermatic® 12 Hour Spring Wound Wall
Timer (Model FD12HC), with a 21 tooth spur gear mounted on the 3/16" diameter knob shaft, and a 36 tooth spur gear mounted
on the 1/4" threaded axis that holds and rotates the solar panel. The electrical contacts of the Intermatic® device were gutted
to reduce drag. The mass of the 12 Volt, 12 Watt lightweight mono-crystalline solar panel, delicately balanced, slows
the speed of the clock mechanism less than a third of one percent.
To quickly and accurately orient the sun tracker to true north, I prefer
to use the "Sun Compass version 1.8" (freeware), on my Palm TX pda. The
simple and intuitive program asks for input of your local time (it compensates for daylight savings), as well as your location
-selected from a long list of cities. That's all.
To use, just open the program and the stylized "sun" will always be in the
Holding the pda stylus perpendicular to the horizontal screen, to create
a thin shadow across the screen, and then rotating the pda until the shadow
crosses both the center of the "sun" and the center of the compass rose, will always provide very accurate, and fool-proof results.
A standard, traditional compass, even when set for magnetic declination,
can all-to-often be affected by nearby power lines and metallic objects,
producing faulty readings.
And my digital compass will simply not give a reading if any localized
magnetic interference is detected.
And my trusty, vintage handheld GPS device will not funtion as a compass,
when standing still.
Unlike orienting the rig to true north, or facing the solar panel into
the sun, accurately aligning the clock-driven rotating axis of the solar panel to the declination (angle, or "altitude") of
the Sun is NOT intuitive. And as the solar angle changes wildly with the seasons, it needs to be calculated. But,
to keep things simpler, I used University of Oregon's "Online sun path chart program":
Their user-friendly online program will ask for your zip code, and
then generate a chart that shows the angle of the sun, in your area, for different months of the year. Don't be distracted by the hours on the chart, as 12:00pm, high noon, is the only time you need to be
90 degrees on the chart is straight above (but, really, only happens
at the equator, in spring or fall). And 0 degrees, on the chart, is on the horizon (but, really, only happens at
the north or south pole, in spring or fall).
Subtracting the chart's "angle of the sun", from 90 degrees, will give you
the proper angle of the rotating axis of the solar panel (formed by the
angle of the rotating axis and the ground, keeping the solar panel perpendicular to the sun's rays), at high noon. The end of the rotating axis, that holds the solar panel, will then always
point directly to the north star (if in the northern hemisphere).
Even on a winter day, if sunny, the small unit, a real work horse, will
easily charge both of my 12 Volt portable power stations: One is 8.5 amp-hours, and the other is 4 amp-hours capacity.
Both have basic, built-in charge controllers, but, oddly, can still discharge back through the solar panel in low
light, so I soldered a Radio Shack #276-1141 Epoxy Rectifier Diode, 3 amps, 50 Volts, inside both units,
to prevent any back-flow of power, after sunset, or heavy cloud cover temporarily blocking out the sun.
My Portable Homemade 12 Volt, 17 Watt Wind Generator, with Automatic
I've just designed and built a practical, portable 12 Volt 17 Watt wind
generator that is ideal for setting up in campgrounds, parks, and Earth Day exhibitions.
The details are described at the following link:
A 48VDC, 1,600 rpm brushed permanent magnet motor, with a 5/16 inch diameter
shaft, was fitted with a Grainger Shaft Arbor, 3/8-24 right hand (Grainger Item# 3ZN05), to use as a 12 Volt generator, @
550 rpm, when turned clockwise, as well as counter-clockwise.
After running the "generator" through a series of bench tests, I realized
that I would not very likely be able to easily develop and refine a set of small, lightweight blades that would achieve such
speeds, on my own, so I purchased a matched set of three Air-X Airfoil blades. 22-3/16 inches long, and designed for
a clockwise rotation, when viewed from the front (shaft end), each with two .25" holes spaced at 23mm (25/32") on center.
Lacking the torque of the much larger Air-X generator, the 17 watt generator spins very easily, in the slightest of breezes.
After a series of tests with the Air-X Airfoil blades, I then mounted the
generator to a National® Spring Hinge (Model# N190-736 V122). Lacking the strength to act as a vertical-furling device,
the lightweight spring hinge worked quite well as a side-furling device. A 1-1/2" diameter nylon wheel was also mounted
to support of the 5" furling radius of the furling device.
The furled generator maxes out at 24VDC -no matter how fast the wind
blows. A charge controller can take in up to 25VDC and process it into a safe 14VDC - 17VDC for the sealed lead acid
But, even in mild wind conditions, the Air-X blades spin quite fast
-so fast that it actually makes my skin crawl. The thin, sharp, dense blades could easily kill anyone who gets in their
way. I painted the blade tips fluorescent orange and used fluorescent orange guy-lines to brace and support the mast.
The generator blades are now well out of harm's way, with adequate, visible rigging in between.
Some quick math indicates that the improvised generator, without furling,
could possibly generate 70VDC, 100 watts, @ 32mph. But such voltage is beyond the ability to harness into any practical,
portable capacity -not to mention designing a portable tower that could stand up to such a wind, without furling.
The 3-blade arrangements self-start @ 11 mph constant wind, and @ 13 mph
gusting wind, with the flywheel action of the thin, but dense, 3-blade arrangement sustains spinning of the blades down to
Designed to fully take advantage of gusting wind conditions, the wind generator
has an unusually large tail fin, as well as a mast roller bearing fitting, to quickly seek out and turn into the next wind
The generator, wooden mount, tail fin, 24" stainless steel mast-pivot tube,
and power cord weighs in at 9-1/2 pounds, and lightly mounts on top of an extendable 10 foot tall fiberglass mast pole (actually
a modified tree pruning pole). 4 guy-lines and hardware mount complete the rig. The generator, from tip to tail,
measures 45 inches.
Stay posted for more information and updates.