Electric Rail Kart Experience
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This is a collection of things I learned from test driving my electric rail kart. It will be updated as I learn new things and make adjustments.
- I used 5 mm thick steel discs as wheel flanges. They protrude around 50 mm below the top of the rail, while normal rail wheels only protrude around 30 mm. This has both advantages and disadvantages.
- The thin discs cut through slight to moderately dense dirt (e.g. on level crossings) relatively easily
- The vehicle stays on the track even when running over some moderately thick vegetation
- Because they protrude so deep, on some tracks, they hit bolts, the guide rail on some level crossings (causing the vehicle to roll on the wheel flanges instead of the main wheel surface) or other obstacles.
- One of the screws I used to mount the wheel flanges to the motors got loose and jammed between the aluminium extrusion and the wheel flange. I subsequently put thread locker on all those screws to prevent this from happening again.
- The 3D-printed protective covers for the motor control boards were not strong enough to withstand an impact with sturdy vegetation. A better cover needs to be designed.
- Despite tying down the motor wiring, some leaves and small branches still got stuck between the wires. To prevent the wires from being ripped off, another protective cover might be a good idea.
- The vehicle runs best when the wheel flanges have a lateral distance to the rails of around 3 to 5 mm on each side, which is the maximum I have allowed in my design.
- Dirt might get stuck in the open joysticks, causing them to jam or not return to their default position, which might lead to uncontrollable acceleration. A circular protective shield incorporated into the design should prevent that.