GRV-2 Jet Bike Project  10/18/09

Posted on October 18, 2009

       I have been very busy organizing the big trial run day for the GRV-2. I am extremely excited about testing the bike and I can’t wait to get out to the dry lake bed to wring out the Turbochopper :0) My brother Mike and a couple of my good friends Kent and Andreas have agreed to help me with the trial runs. I should have everything I need to test the bike however I still have a couple of items to “polish” while I am waiting for the lake bed trials. 

       One of the items I wanted to address is the headlight lamp. The H4 type halogen lamp in the headlight is quite bright but at a cost. The lamp draws about 4.5 amps from the battery and with the “current” load from the engine is a little too much.

       The panel & gauge lamps (seen below) draw very little current compared to the H4 lamp. My real concern is to reduce the current draw from the headlight to conserve battery power should I run the bike at night.

       Here is the culprit, the standard halogen H4 headlight lamp (seen below). It is really bright but way too much lamp for what I need.

       I decided to swap out the halogen for a LED type H4 replacement lamp. I acquired a couple of white light LED lamps on eBay for about $20. They fit the same socket at the H4 but are not as bright as the halogen lamp. Actually there are several makes of this LED H4 lamp including ones with 68 LEDs in one lamp. This type of lamp features 18-.07 watt LED modules that are clustered on a hexagonal PC board base.

       At first I was not impressed with the brightness of the single 18 LED lamp. The intensity of the lamp was about in the range of a standard flashlight. I decided to fix this problem by building a “supercharged” lamp. I parted out the two lamps I already had in an attempt to build a 36 LED headlight lamp for the GRV-2..................what else can I say, I was bored ;0)      

       Using a piece of PVC pipe (not shown) I was able to glue all ten LED boards together to make a larger lamp. I then soldered the boards together with bare hookup wire and connected the old ballast resistors in parallel for power.

       I connected the new LED lamp to my multimeter and measured 185 mA @ 13 volts which is incredibly low for the light it produces.

       I installed the new lamp into the headlight assembly to see how it would look. With the flick of the switch I could tell that the new lamp was going to work well :0) This modification will save me 4.3 amps and give the headlight a HID look as well.

       Having more time to kill before test day had left me restless. I was looking for things I could do to the bike that would eventually need to be done anyway. The most obvious task would be to paint the bike but with less than a week to test day I was not sure I could pull it off. I decided to go for it and try to tear down the bike for paint :oP

       What did I get myself into?????

       About six hours later the bike was stripped down. I spent some time sanding the primer to knock down any imperfections before setting up to spray the frame.

       I used an automotive “rattle can” spray paint to finish the bike parts. This is the same “gunmetal” colored paint used on the GRV-1 project (I had some left :0) I allowed the paint to cure for 24 hours before I started assembling the bike.

       I started out by assembling the engine. I was very careful not to scratch the paint as I was bolting in all of the pieces. The hardest part was remembering where everything went :0P

       I now had about 13 hours into the painting project and was beginning to wonder if I would get the bike back together in time for the lake bed trials.

       With sheer determination I finished the bike in less than three days! Now the bike will look good on it’s maiden run ;0)

   See a time lapse video of the tear down and rebuild here!!!

       I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a photo on the bike :0)

       I am super happy with the overall appearance of the Turbochopper. So many hours of work has lead up to this point and it is really rewarding to finally see my creation in the sunlight :0) I can only hope the bike will perform as well as it looks.

       The lake bed trials are now only a couple of days away. I will finally be able to see if the GR-7 engine has enough power to push this 295 pound creation accost the desert........

       Please join me again on the next installment as I continue on my quest to expand my understanding of gas turbine engines. Till then live well and prosper my friends!!!

Don R. Giandomenico


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