Bench Test

I cleared off my workbench and set out each component.  I made high-current cables with the welding cable for each segment of the drive path.  I made the two cables leading from the controller to the motor three feet long, due to the note on the AXE PM motor wiring diagram:
For the other cables, I envisioned how long the cable would be on the motorcycle, added a little, than cut the wire and crimped the lugs.  I also applied heat-shrink tubing to the lug connections.

My hope was that most of the cables used in the bench test could also be used on the motorcycle.  If a cable turned out to be too long, I could cut one end and crimp on another lug.  I knew there would be some waste, but it would have been a mess doing the bench test with jumper cables, and I was concerned that a poor connection in the drive path could arc and damage an expensive component.

My Leaf batteries included an unequal number of left/right configured modules, so I also had to make some diagonal wires from welding cable, in lieu of busbars.


The best detailed information on making the cables is on Noah Podolefsky’s GSX-E website in the “How To” section.  He also has great info on general wiring and tools.

I used a variety of copper wire to connect the other components, with the heaviest gauge (10 AWG) on the charger, and smaller wires everywhere else.  I used a number of ring terminals and female disconnect terminals from a variety pack to match the various connectors on the components.  I also made up many test leads from wire and alligator clips for some of the low-current connections.

Test leads

I made a bench test switch box using two switches and two 12V lights.  One switch substituted for the key switch on the motorcycle, and the other for the run/kill switch.  One light would represent the 12V system, turning on to simulate that it was active.  The other light would only come on when the relay coil was energized, signifying that the drive system was active.

Test switch box

I included all fuses and diodes and every other component in the bench test.  There was no reason to leave anything out, and no reason to risk component damage.

I turned on the first switch (the key switch surrogate), and the 12V indicator light came on.  So far, so good.  I turned on the second switch (the run switch surrogate), and everything came on as expected:  the ready light, the controller, and the Cycle Analyst.  Gently twisting the throttle caused the motor to turn and voltage and current info to display on the Cycle Analyst.  It worked just as planned.

The bench test gave me confidence that all the components were working and the design was solid.  It also familiarized me with the physical format of each component and how they connect.  After the bench test, I felt ready to install the components on the motorcycle.

 Next:  Build the Frame