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captainslug 09-19-2008 06:17 AM

Xtreme XB-600 (electric scooter mods)
I live all of 3 miles from work. I could walk or bike, but I have arthritis and on many days of the year I just can't manage exercise of any kind.

Last year after researching the DMV laws for my state and discovering that anything under 1,000 watts does not have to be titled, insured, or licensed. That's much more generous than the 750 watt restriction of the Federal law.

I poked around and decided on the Xtreme XB-600 mainly because it was really cheap at the time ($800 shipped) and offered pretty much the same specifications as other models. It's now priced at $975 shipped through

I was previously managing okay with a scooter that had only 10 miles in range and a max speed of 16 MPH, but got tired of that one not being able to climb the hill inbetween home and work.
Photo from November 07

Modification #1
The first problem I had with it was that the fuse for the 12Volt system kept blowing out really easily whenever the scooter drove in even a light drizzle.
And the fuse in question was shoved up into the middle of the front wheel well and had to be changed blind with one hand.

I later traced the short to the exposed connectors in the rear wheel well. So I bundled them together and sealed them into a modified rubbermaid container.

A few weeks later I get pulled over by a cop in a really foul mood. I show him a print out of the DMV code after handing him the ID he requested and he called in and was really disappointed to hear he couldn't ticket me over anything. He scolds me driving on the sidewalk, which I explained I don't really have any alternative because I can't maintain the speed limit and having cars try to pass me on a two-lane road in a 25-mph zone is dangerous.

Modification #2
Not wanting to be mistaken for a normal scooter again and being unhappy with the location of the fuse I end up removing all of the cosmetic body panels. I relocated the charger receptacle and motor controller to the seat bucket, replaced the stock headlights with a single headlight on a custom bracket, trimmed the rear mud guard, and cut down the back of the front column. Couldn't get rid of it because it also acts as a mud guard.

I also relocated the horn, fuse, and all of the excess wiring from the front column into the dash clamshell, which was surprisingly empty. While doing this I found a single gray wire that connects to the speedometer. When connected it limits your top speed to 20mph in order to comply with the Federal law. When disconnected your top speed can reach up to 26mph on a slight downgrade.

It could be wired to a switch, but I just leave it disconnected. :D
Photo from March 08

And the problem I had most recently is that after several months of commuting back-and-forth the underside of the seat bucket broke open and the seat was no longer firmly attached to the frame. I went about replacing the seat bucket by making a bolt-on frame extension out of scrap aluminum found at work. Then secured and enclosed the controller, cabling, and charger receptacle.

Motor: 48V 600watts ?hp
Batteries 12v 20ah x4
Top Speed: 25 mph
Range: 24 miles

There's a great deal of empty space now. I'm thinking about adding another set of batteries to increase the range.
I'm also mentally toying with the idea of adding a second motor and controller which I could drive the rear wheel with through the axle that optional pedals are supposed to attach to. If I were to use the in-wheel motor for acceleration I could gear the secondary motor for higher top speed and theoretically be able to top out at 50 mph using only a 48V 3.2 HP Golf cart motor.

Biking is very popular around here because of the W&OD trail, which I could even drive this on if I simply get a permit to do so. So if I were to add another set of batteries to this I could also use it to get all the way to a Metro station and back on a single charge.

bennelson 09-19-2008 12:09 PM

Cool bike!

It's starting to look a bit like a Honda Ruckus.

I like the way those have under seat storage and an open frame.

You could add more batteries in series for better total energy capacity. OR you could try over-volting your system by adding another battery in series. Some setups you CAN do this with, others you can't.

I know a lot of guys will add one additional battery to a ZAP Xebra because it gets them extra speed (and a little more range too) and there is enough margin in the voltage of the Alltrax controller that the controller still works. Then they just add in a 12V charger seperate for that one battery and charge the rest on the original charger.

Adding a whole 'nuther motor sounds complicated, but if you think you can, why not try it?

Daox 09-19-2008 12:22 PM

Sounds like a very fun project. I like what you've done.

captainslug 09-19-2008 06:39 PM

I over-volted my previous one (a Razor brand standing scooter with an optional seat) from 24V to 36V and it fried the motor controller after a few months.
The motor on this model seems very robust, but I'm not so sure about the controller itself. I would have to take it apart and investigate first.

The next upgrade (in a month or so) will be to weld on a more permanent steel frame repair, replace the seat, and maybe add battery trays. Added range will allow me to more easily reach public transportation since the buses in this area run within very limited commuter hours. After that I'll probably consider replacing the included motor controller if it turns out to be too weak to run at a higher voltage.

captainslug 10-23-2008 05:10 PM

Got pulled over by the cops in the next county who weren't happy with me riding on the sidewalk. They couldn't ticket me even if they wanted to though.

I'm going to take the plunge and see if I can over-volt this thing. First part to source is a beefier DC-DC converter so that I can replace the existing 48V input model.

Then I will add another battery to try 60V for a while.

There's really no need for me to have a full-size vehicle at the moment. Everywhere I want to go is within a 6 mile reach of my house. If I want to go further I'm very near to public transportation access. I only need the extra speed so I can avoid being passed on roads that do not have a usable shoulder.

One thing I did do last week was use an angle grinder to cut off all of the unused steel tabs from the frame that were previously used to attach the plastic body panels. Without the body panels attached their only function was snagging my pants.

MetroMPG 10-23-2008 06:29 PM

Interesting stuff. Subscribed...

captainslug 10-28-2008 03:04 AM

After researching options I think it may be best to replace the existing controller, which is 48V 800W maximum.
I will also need a new DC-DC converter.

First I will have to dissect the existing controller and the gauge console to see where the turn signal relay is, and what wiring will need to be changed.
At the same time I'll probably work on replacing the brake light and turn signals with LED arrays.

captainslug 10-30-2008 11:30 PM

Well the money I was going to spend on an extra battery and controller is going towards replacing the dead high voltage power supply in my CRT projector.

So for now the only part I will be replacing soon is the horribly inaccurate speedometer, which I will replace with a bike computer. The stock speedometer seems to be the only part I can't rewire, so it just has to be replaced completely.

I will also work on replacing the incandescent brake lights and turn indicators with LED arrays since I already have a huge collection of LEDs on hand.

captainslug 10-31-2008 11:48 PM

Tore apart the center console.
The Speedometer is confusing.
The gauge itself has an adjustment pot that only adjusted what the peak speed was reported at full throttle. So even if I were to roll downhill with full throttle application it would never report above the preset maximum. I'm not quite sure what it's measuring, not that I really care though since I'm replacing it with a $30 Bike computer.
The battery indicator is unsurprisingly a voltmeter. The only surprise is that on a full charge after traveling 3 miles it was reading out at 52.5 volts. I will be replacing this gauge with a voltmeter with a much wider range.
I started trying to tidy up the wiring a little bit.
I untangled the ones that were really bad by unpinning and repinning connectors. I then by process of elimination labeled which connectors went to which functions/devices.

The DC-DC convertor that came with the bike actually has an input range from 30VDC to 60VDC. However if I add another battery the pack at full charge will probably be outputting more than 60V and would likely fry the stock DC-DC converter. It's atleast nice to see that it's over-engineered enough to survive normal use.

The other bit of work I started was making an LED array to replace the rear brake light and turn signals. I got most of the way through the process today but will have to finish the rest of it tomorrow.
Excluding only the headlamp, I will be replacing all of the incandescent bulbs with high-brightness LED arrays so that I can reduce the energy consumption requirement of the DC-DC converter I will eventually need to buy to replace the stock one.

captainslug 11-01-2008 06:34 PM

Tail light is finished. I cut a sheet of polyethylene sheet to fit the reflector area for the old bulb, then drill holes in a spacing pattern. I then soldered one resistor onto each positive LED leg and each negative leg to a common ground for each mode set.
The result is just as bright as the original bulb, albeit slightly more directional in focus.
The array of 32 red 3mm ultrabright LEDs consumes 9.6 / 3 watts instead of the original 21 / 5 watts.

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