You will need to enter some data for your machine. Some cells can be left at zero (or their default value). Others must be filled in for the calculation to make sense – these are tinted.
- A robot could enter a gradient of zero or some small number, with a fast acceleration, maybe 0.5 seconds, or even less.
- A golf buggy could use a steep hill, maybe 30%, with a longer acceleration time, maybe 5 seconds.
- A Loco would have a small gradient, 1% perhaps, a large overall weight and a long time to accelerate.
All controllers have current/time specifications. E.g “one minute rating”. This should tell you whether the controller you want will give the current peaks you calculate below.
The page is here for you to experiment with to get the feel of how the values will affect your vehicle’s performance. The cells to experiment with are:
- Vehicle Speed. This is the speed the machine would go when unloaded and with full battery voltage on the motor, i.e. without any controller. Enter the value either in miles per hour, Km per hour or Metres per second. Make sure the calculator know which you have chosen!If you cannot easily measure your vehicle’s speed, you should calculate it. See our Vehicle Road Speed Calculator.
- Vehicle Weight. This should be the full laden weight under the worst condition you wish to use the vehicle.
- Passengers. If the Vehicle Weight does not include passengers, enter the number of Adults and Children you wish to carry. If they are included in the overall weight, leave these set to zero.
- Nominal Battery voltage. Usually 12, 24 36 or 48v, but enter whatever you wish, to see how it affects the answer.
- Weight of one battery. This may be already included in the overall vehicle weight, if so leave it as zero. However, you may be toying with doubling the number of batteries, which will increase the overall weight (unless you use smaller batteries). It’s here for you to experiment with. If you enter anything here, this must be the weigh of one 12v battery as that’s the normal amount you will want to alter.
- Motor current on level ground. This is a difficult one as you usually cannot guess or measure it until after you’ve finished making the vehicle. But it does affect the calculation, so is really required. If in doubt, make a guess or use our figure. It’s likely to be a fairly small part of the total.
- Hill climbing ability. Your machine must be able to climb some sort of gradients. For locos, 1% is usual, 2% quite extreme. For a golf buggy, 30% is about the worst. Try various values and see the results on the motor current. Gradient here is the sine of the angle of inclination, or the rise per length of travel along the surface.
- Length of hill. You do not need to enter this but, combined with the vehicle’s top speed, it tells you how long you will need the peak current for. This can give you good indication of the controller you need.
- Acceleration. Time (in seconds) in which you want the controller to accelerate the machine to full speed.