Instructables

Electric GoKart

I built this electric go kart over the course of a few years.  I got the frame on Craigslist, and spent a long time restoring it.  The original frame came with a roll cage, but I removed it because it was a little to small for me.Then I bought the majority of the other components from scooter and Go Kart supply stores.  The motor is 36v and 1000w.  The controller is meant for an electric scooter, but I controlled it using a hall-effect pedal I found, instead of a wrist controlled throttle.  The seat is a tractor seat I bought from a friend.  I custom-made a box with a voltmeter to show battery charge, a key switch for ignition, fuse, and the charging outlet.  The batteries are 12v, 14ah sealed lead acid, and are wired in series.  I built the wheel assembly for the drive wheel myself.  All the wheels and tires are go kart wheels I bought on Ebay, and as of now are my main problem, as the bearing are low quality and keep wearing out.  In terms of performance, it has a top speed of about 25 miles per hour, can complete a U-Turn in a neighborhood street, and can brake from top speed in about 20 feet.  Please feel free to ask me any questions about this project!

 

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That's Cool!

ragrawal54 months ago
Hey...i m too thinking of working on dis project...i had a doubt... cud v use a small generator to charge d batteries while d wheels rotate d axle of generator...it wud make it self charging!!??
___ (author)  ragrawal54 months ago

The First Law of Thermodynamics tells us that it is impossible for a contraption like that to work indefinitely, no matter how helpful it would be. There is always going to be some loss of energy in the system. However, you can use something similar that extends the range of the electric vehicle (not indefinitely) by recharging the batteries with the motor when the brakes are applied. Some of the energy of the cart goes back into the batteries, allowing the vehicle to operate longer. This device is called a regenerative brake, and is used by many major electric vehicle designers. The Wikipedia article will give you a good idea of its uses and limitations. Electric vehicle designs can be very complex but simple designs can be successful and useful to learn from. Please reply with any questions you may have!

ragrawal5 ___4 months ago
Thnxx fr such nice explanation and a quick reply...can you please suggest me the whole wiring including the battery controller motor. And pls tell me what gear ratio to use?? What type and rating of voltage/ power battery and motor to use? (keeping it in mind dat i cud at least drive for 50 minutes at avg 25 km/hr.. fyi m a bit heavy)
___ (author)  ragrawal53 months ago

I've answered most of these questions in other comments, but keep in mind range is related to the capacity of your batteries as well as the power draw of the motor. Wiring will depend on the controller you are using.

Also can you please suggest wether i should put on some cooling fan for the heating motor? Thnx in advance!!
___ (author)  ragrawal53 months ago

Some motors have fans built in. If the motor you are using is getting to hot, then you should confirm that you are supplying the correct current to the motor, and if you are, then try using a cooling system.

gautham0073 months ago

bro,can you give me the full specifications of motor,batteries and the stearing mechanism of this go kart i want to build the same thing....and also how to apply the motor contoler and gear to the motor......

___ (author)  gautham0073 months ago

Motor: 36v, 1,000 watts

Batteries: 3x 12v, 48ah wired in series

The steering is just the standard tie-rod mechanism that is common with go karts. The wiring for the controller depends on the controller itself, but most should have a diagram. The wheel is driven by the motor with a scooter chain. Good luck on your project, and please let me know if you any more questions.

automobi4 months ago

simply amazing :)

as i gone through all mentions about this project, i would like to know how to determine the basic idea to select-

battery type

motor type

what if i want to build a kart weighs (frame=25kg + avg driver=60 kg) near about 100 kg. and desired speed = 35-40 km/ph .so,what will be the ideal categories and specifications of motor and battery (data) to select in order to get DESIRED WORK MODEL

___ (author)  automobi4 months ago
What kind of frame do you have? Is it a racing kart, homemade, wood, or some other thing?
Louis_Flinn4 months ago

This may sound like a complete rookie question but do you know if you can use one controller for two motors because i am aiming to give mine two 1000w motor for higher top speed as i live in a very hilly area

___ (author)  Louis_Flinn4 months ago

Not a bad question at all! Dual motors setups are a great way to increase power, but they have a few caveats. Regardless of the number of controllers you use, you should make sure that you use a live axle. A live axle spins with the wheels, ensuring that each rotation of a wheel is matched with an equal rotation of the other wheel. If you don't have a live axle, you will run into problems with two wheels running at different speeds. It's manageable in some cases, but a live axle is always better. But in terms of controllers, you should be able to get away with one controller, as long as you make sure that it is rated for the power that both motors will draw, and you wire it correctly. Feel free to ask for any clarification. I'm glad to help.

samurai965 months ago

Hi, was just wondering about your electronics setup, where did you get the motor controller from and what was the circuit like, for example batteries wired to controller wired to motor? I'm building a small electric kart with some friends and we have the motor, batteries and wire but aren't sure how to connect it. Thanks in advance

___ (author)  samurai964 months ago

I got the motor from a scooter supply store. Make sure that you purchase the correct controller for the power of the motor you have. The wiring depends on the controller. Good luck on your project!

ntahasildar5 months ago
hey nice kart there, i have just started on my own projct n already running into trouble with weight the kart along with one person is gona weigh 150kg you think a 800 watts motor can pull it?
___ (author)  ntahasildar5 months ago
Probably not man. I'd say a kilowatt is the acceptable minimum.
ntahasildar ___5 months ago
hey i have already placed the order for the motor isnt there anyway i can use the motor its for a college project and its fine if it only moves slowly
___ (author)  ntahasildar5 months ago
As long as you use the correct controller you should be fine.
ntahasildar ___5 months ago
the kart you build how much does it weigh approx?
___ (author)  ntahasildar5 months ago

This is a complete estimate, but probably around 100 pounds without a rider.

Glenn_F9 months ago
How fast will it go and how far on a single charge?
___ (author)  Glenn_F9 months ago
It has a top speed of 25 mph and a range of around 10-12 miles.
blake12511 months ago
What did u search to find the frame and how much did it cost u
___ (author)  blake12511 months ago
I found the frame on Craigslist in fairly poor condition. I believe I searched "Go Kart" or "Go Kart Frame." I don't remember exactly how much it costed me, but it was probably in the neighborhood of 40 USD, which was reasonable considering the amount of rust on it.
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___ (author)  DELETED_timmyu3211 months ago
Not particularly. As long as it feels comfortable, the size makes little difference. However, a larger wheels gives you slightly more leverage and control, but this wouldn't really matter enough for it to make a significant difference.
camjnaw11 months ago
Thanks! I am using my garmin hiking gps and have also ridden beside the kart on my bike and both seem to show 30-32 km/h. At the moment the brakes are flintstone style (pads on the tires) but I am getting a disk for it soon. (for some reason I can't seem to reply to a comment, the captcha box is underneath the comment box...)
camjnaw1 year ago
Here are some pics. The first one is of the cart when I bought it (It was electric already believe it or not, but it had an old rusty wheelchair motor and some car batteries). The next couple are of the completed cart. I know what you mean about the bearings- I actually used power wheelchair tires and rims as the bearings are WAY better quality than those cheap 2 ply tires from the hardware stores. I would recommend you go to a repair shop for scooters and find some new or used rims. I believe I used a 13 tooth sprocket on the motor and a 63 tooth on the wheel (I used 10" like yours) and I achieved a top speed of ~30km/h. Strange how our speeds are different! Maybe you have a better controller?
gokart1.JPGDSCN0425.jpgDSCN0429.jpgDSCN0430.jpg
___ (author)  camjnaw11 months ago
Congratulations on your awesome project! It looks great and I'm sure you learned a lot while you were building it, which is part of the fun! I'm digging the studded steel plate look. How did you measure your speed? That could be partially causing the discrepancy. What kind of brake did you use? Again, great job; I'm really impressed.
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___ (author)  DELETED_timmyu3211 months ago
Sure, I'd be happy to help! The wheels, tires, and bearings all came together as one piece. I ordered them off of Amazon, but you could probably get them I'm many other places. The wheels are 10" and are meant primarily for dollies and such. I've been having some problems with them though, so I would recommend taking an alternate route. User camjnaw commented earlier that he/she has had success with power chair wheels, so you might want to look into those. Thanks for the comment and feel free to ask me anything else.
camjnaw1 year ago
Hey man, awesome go kart! I built one very similiar and I can send you a pic or two if you like. I used the same 1000w unite motor and I have 3 35Ah SLA batteries and a generic chinese scooter controller. On flat land, my top speed is about 30 km/h (Im Canadian so you'll have to convert that) and the run time is over an hour or a 20km range.

Anyways, I have a couple of questions about your cart- what model is your controller, and how many amps does it put out? Also, is your 25mph or 40km/h top speed on flat road? If so what gear ratio are you using for the sprockets, and your tire diameter? And I assume you're using 8mm chain as well... Look forward to hearing from you!
___ (author)  camjnaw1 year ago
Cool job and congrats on the project! I'd love to see some pictures! In response to your questions:
Unfortunately I removed the sticker from my controller, so I can not give you the brand or model. However if I remember correctly it was rated at 30 amps. The top speed is probably closer to 24 or 23 mph (38 kph). And yes, that is on flat road. The sprocket ratio is approximately 1:5 with 11 teeth on the motor. The wheels are 10" in diameter (25.4 cm.) I think you are correct in chain size--if I remember correctly it was 8mm.

Thanks for your comment and please really do post some pictures!
Macattacku1 year ago
Umm. Good project, but... With those batterys wouldnt the run time be about 10-15 minutes? Wouldnt it be better to grab 3 105 ah marine batteries? Then u could have about 3 hours of run time. Or 1 and 1/2 if u want long battery life.
___ (author)  Macattacku1 year ago
36 volts at 1000 watts means a 27.7 amp draw from the motor (P=IV). The batteries are 14 amp hours so I would get a little over 30 minute run time ideally, not 10-15 minutes. Yes, there are small inefficiencies in the electronics, but those are mostly balanced with a lower average power draw. This endurance is adequate for my needs. However, the real problem is the weight. Three 105 ah batteries would weigh over 150 pounds. In the end this extra weight gain would not be worth it in the end. The only truly effective way to get a longer range would be to use a different battery type. Lithium ion batteries would work, but would be very expensive. Feel free to ask any more questions.
Macattacku ___1 year ago
Ahh. But your wrong see. Lead battery capacity goes down when current draw gos up. When being drawn at double its capacity as u are, 27 amps from a 14 amphour battery is roughly double, when drawn at double cap it only last roughly half as long. At 27 amps it would roughly act as a ~7 ah battery. Where as the oppisite is true. If if drawn at half battery capacity it would act as a 20 ah battery at 7 amp draw. Lead battery capacity decreases with more draw. So a 15 minute run time would be about right.
___ (author)  Macattacku1 year ago
I believe what you are referring to is the the "Peukert Effect."  I included the formula that attempts to address the issue you are referring to, and included the link to the wikipedia article in case you wanted to learn more about it.  Although the Peukert constant will actually vary and the discharge rate differs, evaluating the equation with the actual variable results in an approximately 24 minute run time.  This is why I said a 30 minute run time would be ideal.  Once again, however, this would be 24 minutes with the motor drawing a full kilowatt.  Even at full throttle, the various limitations of the different devices, most importantly the controller, would not allow that much drain on the battery, leading to a longer final run time.  With electronics, engineering, and science in general, experimental observations are just as, if not more, important than theoretical calculations.  Both are crucial in the end, and it is always interesting to see how they compare.  The most conclusive and official evidence that can be drawn about the capacity of the batteries is from actually driving the go kart itself.  From this alone I can tell you than these batteries will power the go kart in excess of 30 minutes, most likley due to the reasons mentioned earlier. As a side note, I would like to remind you that Instructables has a "be nice" comment policy, and comments such as "your wrong" are not only grammatically incorrect, but also rude.  If you would like to continue this discussion, please PM me to keep this comment section as  focused as possible.  Thank you
peukert.png
shagerott1 year ago
Thanks for a great article! I'm working on one as well. Can you provide a product link to the motor and controller you purchased?
___ (author)  shagerott1 year ago
They are very generic chinese brands, but just for reference:
http://tncscooters.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=41_74
are the category of contollers i used. And
http://tncscooters.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=52_56&product_id=344
is similar to my motor. There are many different retailers... just search "scooter supply."
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