Electric speeder?

Discussion about RDC's, "doodlebugs," gas-electrics, etc.

Electric speeder?

Postby RussNelson » Sun May 11, 2008 12:22 pm

Has anybody ever made an electric speeder? There are tons of companies which sell the necessary parts. The speeds and range are compatible with an electric vehicle. A quiet vehicle will let you experience so much more of the wilds that the typical railroad goes through.
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Electric Speeder

Postby tae » Sun May 11, 2008 7:05 pm

Not to my knowledge. Being a speeder owner i don't see a need. The noise from the steel wheels and joited rail far exceed the exaust noise from a Onan powered speeder. Now a larger ROC powered speeder with no muffler is a different story. The other downside of an electric would be the weight and size of the batteries required for any type of range plus electric for recharging is nonexistant on the rails.
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Postby Ken W2KB » Sun May 11, 2008 7:34 pm

Plus NARCOA rules for safety and insurability purposes do not permit homemade speeders. The one exception might be if an existing gasoline motor were to be replaced with an electric, but as pointed out, noise from a muffled 4-stroke engine is not that extreme.
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Postby mtuandrew » Mon May 12, 2008 2:20 pm

The Minnesota Streetcar Museum built their own electric speeder a couple decades ago. It uses a motor and controller from a Cushman or a golf cart, several deep-cycle batteries and a welded frame above four speeder wheels. It can travel several miles on a full charge (not sure exactly how long, since the line is only a mile and a half), and reaches speeds around 20 mph. It'll also pull a respectable load of ties, the tower car, volunteers, and/or tools at 15 mph.

We use the electric speeder both because of noise issues (the museum's in an upscale neighborhood), and also because we're used to electric equipment. You probably won't get as long of a range as the equivalent weight gas speeder though, unless you get into funny business with regenerative braking and such.
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Re: Electric speeder?

Postby RussNelson » Fri Jun 13, 2008 9:45 pm

Steamer has done exactly what I was thinking of: viewtopic.php?p=544357#p544357
As a backup, you can always just pedal it.
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Re: Electric speeder?

Postby RussNelson » Sun Jun 22, 2008 10:50 am

woo hoo! Steamer and I went for a ride on his electric Rail-Rider on the UHRR yesterday! (In exchange for the privilege we had to pick up trash, which wasn't much of a hardship.) Pictures and a map of our route are here:
http://blog.russnelson.com/bicycling/1214054521.html 30 miles with no sign of strain on the batteries, plus we didn't even bring the backup battery. Since the Rail-Rider has polyurethane wheels, they run very quietly. Most of the noise was from the electric motor, and Steamer and I could talk over it easily. If we had really wanted quiet, we could have pedalled.
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Re: Electric speeder?

Postby kpkirsch » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:43 am

the tricks are the nylon wheels but in using them the rig needs to be very light because they wear out rapidly. If you are riding in the Adirondacks be aware of track widths. Just north of Tupper there are 2 spots where a light weight speeder will jump the tracks and the width of the nylon wheels is not enough to trim in to accommodate the issue. We built a gas powered engine and double mufflered it to reduce the noise and for spark arresting. Since then I have installed a muffler similiar to a honda generator which make the engine noise less than the chain noise and definitly less than the wheel noise (aluminum wheels). You can see the rig at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pc3Zop2luY4 Full brakes, lights, horn and comfy seats. Obviously built on a budget.
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