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captainslug 09-19-2008 07:17 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 01:09 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 01:22 PM

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

captainslug 09-19-2008 07:39 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 06:10 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 07:29 PM

Interesting stuff. Subscribed...

captainslug 10-28-2008 04:04 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 10-31-2008 12:30 AM

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 11-01-2008 12:48 AM

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 07:34 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.

MetroMPG 11-01-2008 09:42 PM

Looks good to me!

captainslug 11-01-2008 10:08 PM

+ Red segment LED voltmeter
+ Cheap 12v to 5v DC-DC converter (to power voltmeter)
+ pair of high-bright yellow turn signals to replace the front turn signal indicator bulbs.
+ replacement turn signal relay

Hunting for
+ Good deal on a 36V-72V IN 12V Out DC-DC Converter

Waiting to order
+ Bike Computer

The only thing I don't like about Bike computers is how small most of them are. But they're the only option I have.

bennelson 11-02-2008 10:39 AM

9 watts of tail-lights! Make sure you don't blind the guy behind you when you hit your brakes at night!

As for small DC/DC converters, I have one very similar to this one currently posted on Ebay.

DC-to-DC Converter 100W 48V to 3.3V, 12V, 12V Very Nice - eBay (item 220301819466 end time Nov-02-08 17:13:02 PST)

I was able to get mine for $10, and the guy had a couple of them, so I bought two. The original is on my electric motorcycle, and I am planning to use the other one on my Citicar.

This one posted has two 50 watt outputs on it. Maybe run one to your headlight, and one to everything else, or both to your battery.
That 3.3 V output might also be useful for directly running LEDs?

captainslug 11-02-2008 04:49 PM


Originally Posted by bennelson (Post 70471)
That 3.3 V output might also be useful for directly running LEDs?

I find that I get the most consistent results by powering the LEDs from 12V with a 510ohm resistor. Also saves me from having to redo any wiring from the switches.

I just found a treasure trove of XB-600 related work over at visforvoltage forums and it looks like you can get 30mph at 60v and 36mph at 72v. Probably even better for me since I'm at the low end of the weight scale.

All I have to do to increase the output of the controller from 70amp to 95amps is shunt a few connections on the controller itself. This will save me $40.
If I want to go up to 72v I would need to replace all of the mosfets.

Based on the experiences of others I probably do not need to replace the DC-DC converter either. I am still going to be replacing the stock voltmeter, speedometer, and turn signal relay though.

All very good news because now all that is left for me to purchase is an extra battery and a new charger.

captainslug 11-04-2008 06:19 PM

I performed the shunt mod on the controller yesterday. The acceleration improvement was easily noticed even without a working speedometer onboard.

Today I had to ride home in the wet again. Something most XB-600 are not willing to do, but I've done fairly frequently because I put a good deal of effort into water-proofing everything.
I forgot to put my camera in my bag before leaving so I didn't take any in-progress shots unfortunately.

I took the front wheel off the front fork and made a bracket out of sheet aluminum to hold the sensor. I then drilled and tapped a hole in the rim to screw the magnet into.
Since the bike computer turns itself on and off I don't really need free access to its buttons all the time. So I installed it into the gauge console where the voltmeter used to be.
I soldered leads onto the contacts of one of the panel illumination bulbs and wired in some red LEDs to illuminate the bike computer since it doesn't include a backlight. I also replaced the indicator bulbs with LEDs by simply adding a resistor to them, heat-shrinking the resistor, then wedging the LED into the original socket.

After measuring the wheel radius with me sitting on the bike and then inputing the circumference from that measurement, my top speed on level ground is displaying at 19.5mph. The stock speedometer was optimistically off by about 4mph.

What is coming next will depend on what shows up in the mail first.

captainslug 11-17-2008 06:28 PM

Got quite a bit done today.
Here's a better look underneath the seat at the frame bar I made to replace the seat bucket.
Adapter plate that secures the frame bar to the old seat latch.
Machine some 3-inch aluminum spacers and a side plate to hold the 5th battery in place. I then wired an IEC320 extension inbetween the 48v pack and the motor controller power input.
The 60V charger to replace the 48V one.
I still need to add replacement turn signals.
I ran some tests prior to starting to charge the 5th battery so these speeds represent a running voltage that's likely lower than that of a fully charged set of batteries.

New top speed on level ground @ 62.5 volts: 23 mph
Old top speed on level ground: 18mph

New top speed downhill: 29mph
Old top downhill: 24 mph

Better than the top speed is the shorter acceleration curve and the improvement in hill climbing ability. Even when climbing steep hills that used to lower my speed to 9mph, I'm now climbing them all at 16mph.

Will update with a finalized list of speeds tomorrow. I'm starting to get to NEV performance levels. All with a sub-$1,500 e-bike.

captainslug 11-19-2008 06:52 PM

I just finished some more extensive reworking of the gauge panel.
+ Ground off the excess plastic from the gauge console bucket to make room for the new parts
+ Rewired the turn signal indicator LEDs
+ Replaced the turn signal relay with one made specifically for LED turn signals
+ Wired in a dc-dc converter for the led segment display voltmeter
+ Made a mounting plate for the voltmeter and original speedometer face

I'll take more pictures of the work I did inside tomorrow, because right now I'm really tired of opening and closing the center console.
I might still have space to put the original speedometer back in.

captainslug 11-19-2008 11:54 PM

Started machining parts to make LED turn signals because I don't like any of the after-market ones. I will be using ultra-bright white LEDs through fluorescent orange acrylic lenses.

captainslug 11-21-2008 06:46 PM
The wiring is kind of a mess, but at least I have everything labeled at each connector.

captainslug 12-01-2008 06:36 PM

Hooray! Finished making my replacement LED turn signals. Turns out the original turn signal relay CANNOT be replaced with a standard automotive type. So I ended up desoldering the annoying speaker from the original one and putting it back in.
Arrays of ultrabright 3mm white LEDs mounted in white polyethylene behind fluorescent amber acrylic.
I was using a tripod and a handheld light this time so the photos turned out much better.
Tomorrow I will be using an angle grinder to cut the bike pedal axle off.

Video of the turn signals

bennelson 12-01-2008 07:51 PM

LED Turn Signals look good!!!

captainslug 12-01-2008 08:39 PM

Indeed. And for some reason the ones I make myself always turn out so much better (and brighter) than the aftermarket ones I've tried.

If you ever want to make your own here's where I tend to order my LEDs from in quantities of 50 or 100 at a time.
eBay Store - Chi Wing LED product shop: LED: 1000 UV Ultra Violet LED- 5mm free shipment

They're not hard to make. Just tedious and repetitive soldering of a parallel array of LEDs.

Edit: Just ordered parts to make an LED headlight that can output 450 lumens @ only 8-1/2 watts! Compared to the current headlight, that's 30% more light at half the power consumption.

captainslug 12-02-2008 06:39 PM

Ordered the parts to make an all-LED headlight.
The 435 lumen 8.5 watt "high-beam" will be a white Luxeon Endor Rebel Tri-Emitter with a 25degree lens.
The 120 lumen 2 watt running-light will be a ring-shaped array of 20 6000mcd white LEDs.

I'm going to be replacing the headlight fixture while I'm at it because the current one was picked out kind of hastily. Chrome doesn't match the rest of the scooter at all now.
Flat black on the other hand does.

bennelson 12-02-2008 07:13 PM

Keep the details coming as you make the LED headlight.

I was interested in doing an LED headight for my Electric Motorcycle, but wanted to have something bright enough, and at least looked street-legal.

I would love to piggy-back off what you do for yours!

captainslug 12-02-2008 07:17 PM

I'll make sure to take more pictures this time. I tend to get absorbed in the work and forget to take progress shots.
The LEDs will be replacing a 310 lumen 18 watt bulb.

captainslug 12-05-2008 07:57 PM

Well today certainly was a mixed bag. First I cut off the axle, chain, and bushings for the pedal assist. I then took apart the original battery box.
I made a battery tray out of scrap steel, and then proceeded to weld it to the frame.
However, I had neglected to remove the controller from the frame. So after I got the batteries strapped in and wired together the bike no longer turns on. The controller was killed by the welding current passing through the frame.
I'll have to order a replacement controller, install it, and then see if the DC-DC converters are dead too.

$65 error

bennelson 12-05-2008 09:53 PM


Sorry to hear about the controller!

But, since the old one fried, maybe you want to upgrade? A used golf-cart controller could be pretty slick!

Those are all over E-bay for pretty cheap.

captainslug 12-05-2008 10:04 PM

I don't know.
If I swap out controllers then I'd have to swap out the front wheel and add a disc brake. Because without the motor brake that the stock controller has, this thing is very difficult to stop.

A replacement controller is only $65. And they can be upgraded to run at 72 volts by simply replacing the mosfets.
There's someone on the VisforVoltage forum that probably has a spare controller I can get for a lower price.

bennelson 12-05-2008 10:31 PM

Re-reading the thread, it looks like you want to stay under the magic 1K to remain in the electric bicycle class.

Your cycle is so light, you could make it into a sleeper if you wanted to!

At 72 volts, anything 14 amps or over would be past the electric bike official rating! That also means your bike is going to be a real amp-sipper.

The thing will get about the equivelent of a thousand miles per gallon!

captainslug 12-05-2008 10:42 PM

Total weight of it with five 12v 20ah batteries is around 130lb.
The stock controller can only output 1KW (if modified), and the motor maxes out at about the same point.

Even if I'm a little bit over 1KW I highly doubt the police are going to bother chasing after me with a multimeter. Because I'm still not going to be able to get above 35MPH, which would automatically make me a regular motorcycle no matter what specifications I may or may not be meeting.
I'm quite happy with not having to have a license plate or insurance.

Consider I weigh the same as the bike I'm pretty sure I'm already getting over 1,000mpg. I haven't gotten around to buying a Kill-a-Watt in order to find out though.

Once I do go to 72 volts it's going to be interesting because with the change over to all LED lighting I won't need anywhere near as powerful of a replacement DC-DC converter. The whole lighting system will draw 2 amps Maximum.

So that DC-DC converter you recommended earlier will be perfect. It can power all of the lights from just one 12v 2.5A output, and power the voltmeter from the 5V out.

captainslug 12-06-2008 06:04 PM

I was looking at the 48V 1KW Regenerative Braking motor controller than Golden Motor offers.
But they won't answer any questions about whether or not it could handle 60 volts. The stock controller for this scooter has motor braking, but it doesn't utilize the current to recharge the batteries.
Golden Motor also offers a 48V 1KW hub motor in a 16" cast aluminum rim that could be a direct replacement for my current one.
A 1KW motor and 1KW motor would result in having a 24 MPH top speed on level ground at only 48V instead of 60V. At higher voltages it would probably end up at a non-legal speed.

But, I think I want to continue on the path of having high voltage and low amperage. I think that will net me a much higher total range, and I'll have the performance figures I'll be happier with (29mph on level ground, 25MPH uphill, 35-40 miles range).

When I do go to 72V I'll probably mount the charger(s) on the scooter.

captainslug 12-09-2008 09:38 AM

Made a replacement platform/battery cover.
I'm going to be consolidating the batteries, wiring, and controller into the floor of the frame.
Which will leave the area under the seat really empty. At a later date I might make a cargo box for under the seat.
And I cut a mounting hole in the seat frame for the charger receptacle.

bennelson 12-09-2008 09:51 AM


Originally Posted by captainslug (Post 77022)
But, I think I want to continue on the path of having high voltage and low amperage.

That sounds like a good idea. Will all the electric car guys I talk to, High Voltage/Low Amps is the big concept I hear over and over.

My first EV was a mountain bike frame with a Golden Motor front wheel hub motor kit. It worked well, I was happy with it.

That project got me started on my electric motorcycle. The motorcycle has been fine on 48 volts, but I would LOVE 72!!!!

A guess my advice is to go with the highest voltage you can afford!

captainslug 12-09-2008 11:17 AM

Upgrading to 72 volts will involve replacing $40 worth of components in the controller, and buying another battery ($40).
I'll get around to it eventually. It may take me a while to convince myself to desolder and resolder than many connections. (15 x 3 + 8 = 53 pins )

Then I'll have to mount and wire in the 60V charger for the 5-pack and a 12V charger for the 6th battery. 72V chargers are just too expensive, especially considering the small size of these 20ah batteries.

MazdaMatt 12-09-2008 02:06 PM

Just a thought regarding power savings and LED lights. You may get better power consumption AND less tedius crappy soldering/heatshrinking if you used the LEDs in series with a single resistor at the end of the string.

You are using 12V supply, a LED (assume 2V drop) and a resistor. There is a 10V drop across the resistor (510ohm) so you're pushing about 0.02A through the LEDs, that's 0.2W per resistor wasted.

If instead you were to string 5 LEDs in series, you'd have a 10V drop across the LEDs, leaving you with 2V to burn off in a resistor. To get 0.02A across a resistor at 2V you'd need a 100ohm resistor, and you'd be burning off 0.04W per FIVE leds as waste.

If you wanted to do without the 12V headache altogether, you could run 23 LED's in series to the 48V supply... you'd be left with 2V, so you use a 100ohm resistor and you've got 0.04W burned off for 23 LEDs.

Adjust my math based on the actual current usage of the LEDs you are using.

MazdaMatt 12-09-2008 02:09 PM

Oh yeah... if you did the 23 LED string, the intensity would be severely battery-voltage dependant... if you hit 45 volts, the LEDs may not even turn on... but the other idea is still valid.

captainslug 12-09-2008 02:48 PM

Yeah, I understand all of that. I will be wiring the LED running headlight in sets of 4 LEDs with a 180ohm resistor for each set.
One resistor per LED will will end up wasting a good deal of power relative to the LEDs themselves. I didn't realize that when I made the brake light array, so I will be replacing it with two sets of four 14 lumen LEDs.

There's not much voltage drift in the power supplied by the DC-DC converter, so I don't have to make my arrays for as wide of a voltage as I would to power them from a battery.

captainslug 12-10-2008 05:42 AM

The headlight fixture arrived. I got the images for the first few steps of the LED headlight process done. Will post the write-up after the headlight is finished.
I'm not sure when the Luxeon LED will arrive.

MazdaMatt 12-10-2008 09:21 AM

Rather than strings of four, you ought to find out how much voltage drop there is across the LED and use the largest number possible while staying under your source voltage. ie, if they are 2V and you have a 12V supply, use 5, if they are 1.6, use 7 of them. This gives you the best efficiency out of the circuit.

bennelson 12-10-2008 10:40 AM

Captain Slug,

Your LED headlight is cool enough that you could almost make your own thread just about the headlight!

You may also want to put something about it out on Instructables. Everyone LOVES LEDs on there!

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