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Tech Tips

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*****Note: Currie scooters include Flyer, Phat-e, Phantom, and Scoot-e

  1)  Changing the Currie Scooter Rear Tire
  2)  Removing Stubborn Zappy Brake Drums!
  3)  Safety Check Zappy Front Fender
  4) 
Cool Down that Currie Scooter Motor 
  5)  Add Range to Your Currie Scooter Inexpensively!
  6)  20 Mile Range Currie Scooter!
  7) Adjusting the Currie Chain
  8) Adjusting the Rear Wheel Bearings on the Currie Scooter
  9) Zappy Drive Belt Tensioning Tool  
10) Speedometer Problems? 
11) Low speed, poor charging, stops and starts? 
12) "Special Needs" battery pack? 
13) Stress Cracks on Hot Scoot Motor Flange

 

 

 

CHANGING THE REAR TIRE (PHAT-E AND PHANTOM)

          

Tools required: 15mm box or open end wrench
                        5mm hex wrench
                        8mm box or open end wrench
                        Phillips screwdriver
                        Your favorite tire changing stuff!

                                       

                           

1) Remove the outer nut from the kickstand side of axle. (left) Slide kickstand down and  off   of axle. Remove outer nut from right side of axle. Spread fender support bracket off both ends of axle.


           axle retainer

2) Remove axle retainer from right side of axle. Remove 2 bolts and nuts (8mm) from top of fender, and remove bracket.


Torque arm retaining bolt (center)

3) Remove torque arm retaining bolt and washer. (5mm hex)

**NOTE: You may need to open the brake caliper to perform the next step.

 
Left side axle retainer INSIDE frame

4) Note that the left axle retainer clip is on the inside of the left frame member! Push the left side axle retainer clip tab out of the hole in the frame. The tab can be seen about 1/3 of the way from the left in the picture above. While supporting the motor with one hand, pull the entire assembly from the rear of the frame.


 Place wheel assembly in this position

5) The tire can be replaced without further disassembly. 

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Removing Stubborn Zappy Brake Drums!

After communicating with a list member (who will remain anonymous) last evening, and finding out what a difficult time he had removing the Zappy brake drum from his scooter, I decided to share a few helpful hints with members of this list who like to "do it themselves."
 
Because the brake drum is threaded onto the wheel mechanism, any braking you do tends to tighten the drum. (for obvious reasons) After months of jumping, sliding, and general scooting, the drum is firmly locked against the wheel assembly. Removing it may seem almost impossible at first glance. It's round, and too large to grab with regular pliers. It's difficult to hold the wheel, and at the same time somehow try to unscrew this slippery little pain in the butt.
 
There are two simple solutions: When I first encountered this problem, my first inclination was to make myself a "spanner" wrench. And so I did! The "wrench" is simply a 1 foot piece of steel bar stock, with a pair of 5/16" threaded studs drilled and bolted in place. The two studs are spaced to fit in the matching holes of the brake drum. Holding the wheel assembly securely in a vice, you insert the studs in the drum holes and twist it off! (it's a standard right hand thread. Turn counterclockwise to loosen) Even the most stubborn drums can be removed with this tool. For easier removal, you may want to use an 18" bar to make the tool. (see attached jpg pix)
 
After thinking about the problem again last night, I realized that a ready made solution is also available! Just go to your local auto parts dealer, and pick up a "small" size filter cartridge tool for under $10! The one I bought is shown below in the jpg pix. This tool will undo all but the tightest brake drums! Good luck!
 

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Safety Check Zappy Front Fender

Someone emailed the group earlier, and related a potentially dangerous condition regarding the possible detachment of the Zappy front fender. This, of course, "could" lead to a wheel jam and "you know what!" After reading the message, I opened one of my Zappy stock and took off the fender. Sure enough, even on a brand new unit, the fender was slightly loose. After removing the wheel assembly, I found the fender held in position by a lone screw. (no, not bolt!) As the other writer mentioned, the screw head had compressed the plastic to about half its normal thickness. (on a new, out of the box unit) I added a flat washer to the screw, and reinstalled everything.
 
RECOMMENDATION: Take the time to remove your fender and add the washer if it does not exist. It could save you a nasty spill! :(

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Currie Motor Overheating?

If the thermal protection of your Flyer, Phat-E, Scoot-e or Phantom seems to activate before you think it should, it's time to take a look at the motor mounting hardware. 

PasteMotor.jpg (58072 bytes)Start by checking for properly tightened bolts attaching the motor and protective cage to the drive plate. Since the large surface area of the drive assembly helps radiate heat from the motor, the physical connection between the motor and plate is critical. I have found a number of these allen head bolts loose straight from the factory. If yours are loose, you will need a 5mm allen wrench to tighten them. If this solves the problem, fine. However, there is a better solution.

PasteApply.jpg (51944 bytes)    PasteSpread.jpg (45767 bytes)    PasteReplace.jpg (49384 bytes)

Remove the three bolts holding the motor to the plate. Carefully withdraw the motor slightly from the assembly, and look for a coating of white heat sink compound between the motor and mounting plate. If none exists, remove the motor, and clean the two mating surfaces with alcohol. A thin layer of compound should be applied to the motor face where it contacts the mounting plate.  Reassemble and firmly tighten the three mounting bolts. 

EVdeals has a limited supply of Therolink heat sink compound available in handy
applicator syringes with snap-on re-closable tops. These syringes are normally sold
for $7-$8 dollars each. Limited time offer at $3.00! (see Specialty Products)  

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Add Range to ANY Currie Scooter Inexpensively!

For a few dollars, and some assembly time, you can add upwards of 40% range to your scooter!  Of course, this added mileage doesn't come without a price. What's the price? Top speed! You may or may not like this trade-off, but if you don't mind sacrificing a little top end speed and power, you can probably add that mile or two you've been falling short on the way to the office!

Although the throttle controller is a great feature of the Currie scooters, it does have a downside in the range department. Most of us tend to use full throttle when the "road is clear", reserving lower throttle settings for negotiating turns, people, etc. Then there's the inevitable bumps and dips that cause sudden "bursts" of speed as your thumb moves the throttle inadvertently from the moderate speed position you're trying to maintain. 

The following modification was tested, and works! In my test set-up, the Phat-E racked up about 8.2 miles at full speed. (average over the course was approximately 15 mph) After the modification, the same scooter completed 10.3 miles! That's a 25% increase in range. The cost in average speed was negligible. (average over the course was about 12.1 mph with the modification)

If this sounds like a modification you can live with, here's how to build the "range booster".


     
"Range Boost" Device

The "booster" consists of a simple plug-in device that inserts directly in the throttle plug assembly on the side of the Currie scooter. Simply unplug the throttle output plug from the motor input, and install the "booster". In my set-up, I've used Molex connectors that mate with the male and female connectors normally used on Currie scooters, so the device can be installed or removed in seconds. As you can see from the picture above, two of the wires between the connectors are simple jumpers. The third connection (bottom) consists of two resistive elements. In the example shown in the picture, I've added a potentiometer in series with a fixed resistor. This was done only for experimental purposes, and is not necessary for a normal installation. The variable pot allowed me to determine the best possible resistance for optimum speed limiting. If you decide to make your own "booster", only a single fixed resistor is required. 

To duplicate the device, you will need a three circuit female Molex connector and three receptacle pins, a three circuit male Molex connector and three plug pins, a 4k 1/8 W resistor, and some hook-up wire. The connections are made according to the picture above. NOTE: The picture shows the Molex connectors viewed from their top side, that is, the side with the locking clips. It is essential that the resistor be in the correct leg of the circuit! In this application, the resistor is in the B+ (positive 5V side) of the throttle pot. Installation of the resistor in the wrong leg of the throttle circuit may damage your motor!

 

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20 Mile Range Currie Scooter!

You can double the range of your scooter with the addition of a Currie Range Extender battery pack for $149.00! This Range Extender Pack (shown below) is completely self contained. Comes with 2 12V-10A/Hr batteries, aluminum chassis battery holder, on/off switch, 18" motor power cable with connector, charging port for Currie charger, pilot light, and double zippered bag with Velcro straps and carrying handle!

         
Click to go to Accessories\Currie

The bag contains a pair of Long WP10-12E batteries wired to produce a 24V-10AHr output. Total weight of the system is under 16lbs. 

This Currie Range Extender is designed to provide additional range for the Currie Pro-Drive electric bicycle system. However, with a small change to the Phat-E wiring, it can double the range of the 24V-10AHr battery that comes with the scooter.  In the picture below, you can see  I've simply relocated the motor power plug from inside the battery box, to the outside. This is done by compressing and removing the strain relief fitting around the motor power cable, then sliding the male/female connection through the hole to the outside. Replace the strain relief fitting to prevent chaffing. **On later model Currie scooters, the power plug is already outside the battery box! 

    In the picture to the left, I've mounted the Range Extender kit with bungee cords to the triple frame members at the front end of the deck plate. 

Since the original 10AHr batteries are the same capacity as the Extender Pack 10AHr units, you can parallel the two sets. For this test, though, I simply ran the original 10AHr batteries till they were nearly exhausted, then unplugged them (that's why the motor plug was moved outside the case) and plugged in the Extender batteries! The Phat-E was then ready for another 8 or 9 miles!

Total range of the scooter using both battery systems was just under 20 miles. All testing was done at ~12MPH using the throttle to get maximum range. 
 

 Click to go to Accessories\Currie

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Adjusting the Currie Scooter Chain

It is necessary to adjust the chain  occasionally to increase its useful life and reduce noise. I recommend that you remove the aluminum deck before attempting this adjustment. 

Chain_cam1.jpg (31249 bytes)

Chain_cam2.jpg (19993 bytes)

There is a ~1 inch black nylon "cam" shaped device bolted to the black metal backing plate to which the motor is mounted. This chain adjusting "cam" is just under the motor pinion sprocket. Loosen the bolt holding it, and rotate the "cam" against the chain, removing most of the slack. Not too tight. Just enough to remove 90% of the excess slop. Retighten the bolt.
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Adjusting the Rear Wheel Bearings on Currie Scooters

Bearing2.jpg (28402 bytes)Bearing1.jpg (25042 bytes)Rear wheel wobble probably requires that the bearings be adjusted. You need to loosen and remove the right outer axle nut first. (upper pix) Just inside the frame, there is a  locknut holding a ~1" spacer tube against another nut next to the wheel. Using two wrenches, loosen this locknut. (lower pix) Back it off a few turns. This will allow you to tighten the inner nut (clockwise) gently till it removes the slop from the bearing. Do not tighten! Just snug it up till it resists turning, then back it off about an 1/8 turn. Wiggle the wheel, and adjust this inner nut till excess wheel play is gone. Tighten the outer locknut against the 1" spacer while using a second wrench to prevent the bearing adjusting nut from turning. The wheel should turn freely, without a wobble. It may be necessary to repeat this  procedure a few times to get it just right.
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Zappy Drive Belt Tensioning Tool 

When it comes to changing the drive belt on a Zappy scooter, the final step in the process often generates the most questions from new owners. (and experienced ones as well!) When is it too tight? Too loose? Will the motor bearings be damaged if I set the belt incorrectly? How can I maximize the life of my drive belt?

Some time ago, I read an article outlining various tensioning methods for Gates belts. One technique employed "twisting" the tensioned belt, and measuring the force required. The tool I developed is based on this principle.

The tool is simple, and requires no springs or calibration. It is based on the fact that a properly tensioned belt will resist a twisting force with a measurable, opposing force. Rather than a spring device, I decided to use a fixed weight to provide the "calibrated" twisting force. 
                       belttoolfull.jpg (27927 bytes)                              belttoolend.jpg (35269 bytes)
                                                     (click to expand pix)

A flat bar of mild steel was formed as shown in the pictures above. A stack of plates, made of the same material, was gradually added to the tool handle to provide the twisting force to the belt. The number and size of these plates was determined by application of the tool to a series of factory tensioned belts on new Zappy scooters.  (I relied on the assumption that the Zappy factory properly tensions the belts on there outgoing product) At the "business" end of the tool, a formed walnut block is attached to provide the proper clearance to accept the belt thickness. The semi-circular cutout in the wooden block provides clearance for the side rail of the chassis when the tool is in the horizontal position.

                   belttoolonbeltlong.jpg (50191 bytes)                                          belttoolonbeltclose.jpg (42138 bytes)
                                                    (click to expand pix)

I designed the tool so that removal of the deck and plastic body is unnecessary. Simply invert the scooter,  prop up the front wheel high enough to align the belt horizontally, and install the tool on the belt between the motor and wheel pulley. Adjust the tensioning cams on the rear axle until the tool is horizontal. That's all there is to it! EVdeals 2000
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                       Speedometer Problems? 

> My speedo stopped working.  It seems that the
> computer/display part is all working fine, so I think
> it's the sensor.  Any suggestions for troubleshooting
> (I'm not positive it's the sensor) and for fixing the
> problem.  Also, where can I get more of those magnets
> for the speedo.  Does it require any special kind of
> magnet to work?

The sensor provides a momentary contact closure as the magnet passes by. To
simulate this, remove the speedo display and look for the two little
electrical contact buttons on the back side. With a jumper wire held against
one of the contacts, touch the opposite end of the wire to the other contact
briefly. (just a tap). Do this about 3 times per second. The speed display
should indicate a speed reading if the unit is working.

If it seems OK, then check the contacts in the display holder on the handle
bar. They sometimes need prying up slightly to make firm contact with the
buttons on the rear of the display.

Finally, spend some time re-arranging the position of the magnet and sensor
head. The smallest possible gap is best. Also, position it to pass by
different parts of the sensor till it works.

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Low speed, poor charging, stops and starts?

After spending lots of time writing e-mails and talking  to customers on the phone, I've come to the conclusion that this public notice may be helpful to Currie scooter and bike owners. Although this problem has been addressed in earlier posts, I think it's necessary to restate the technical tip as follows:
 
If you are experiencing poor battery performance from your Flyer, Scoot-e, Phat-E, Phantom, or Pro-Drive Bike,  (charging problems, slow speed, low range, etc.) there may be a simple cure. In some cases, I have found the "push-on" battery connectors on these products quite loose as they come from the factory. This loose connector problem can cause any of the above mentioned difficulties, as well as intermittent operation or losing power after going over bumps, etc.
 
If you have experienced any of the above problems, I recommend that you spend a few minutes tightening these battery connectors. Open the battery compartment and remove the push-on connectors from each battery ONE AT A TIME. Using pliers, squeeze the connector to improve its tightness, and reinsert onto the battery tab.
 
I consider this tip important enough to have added it to my dealer prep list for all products leaving my shop. I'm convinced that the added prep time I spend will result in fewer problems down the line. 
 

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                                 "Special Needs" battery pack?

When series connected (2 or more) batteries are charged, each battery
does not achieve exactly the same total charge level. This can be due to
internal differences among them or connector resistances in the
interconnecting jumpers. The more batteries and jumpers, the greater the
potential for this differing charge state.

Once in a while (1 or 2 month intervals?) I would check the voltage of each
battery individually. (do this about an hour after the batteries have been
fully charged, removed from the charger) Record the readings for future
reference. Check each of the battery connections for tightness. If necessary
clean and tighten. If you find  a battery that reads lower than the rest,
keep an eye on it next time you test. If it gets worse, try swapping its
position in the battery pack.

BUT, don't fiddle with things unnecessarily! Just check the voltages,
connector tightness, and write down the numbers. Watch for "trends" over
time, especially if the scooter starts losing range or speed.


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                             Stress Cracks on Hot Scoot Motor Flange

I've recently discovered stress fractures in the motor flange of my demo Hot Scoot.  This scooter has not been ridden hard or jumped, so I'm a bit concerned that other owners may have similar problems as yet undetected.  I discovered the cracks while fabricating a new motor mount system that provides an easier method of belt tension adjustment. The crack runs completely through the flange from front to back between the 2 mounting holes.

The problem is obviously caused by the inadequately supported motor body flexing the motor flange as the scooter encounters even the slightest bumps in the road. I would advise all Hot Scoot owners to check the motor flange for signs of cracking in the area between the two motor mounting holes.  See photo below:

                                                   HSmotorCrack.jpg (56278 bytes)

 


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