Dusty Diner Progress

Many thanks to Stacy who suggested the project name “Dusty Diner”!

Platform Trike

Options. The Worksman Cycles Model STPT front-loading Platform Trike has several options. I’m considering these:

  • Parking Brake — to prevent it from rolling downwind
  • Kevlar-Belted Tires and Puncture-Resistant Tubes – to avoid changing tires
  • Extra Wide Saddle – for added comfort
  • 28-Tooth Front Sprocket – to make it easier to get home after the battery dies

Worksman is determining which of their three STPT frames will best fit a 135-mm rear hub motor. Once I know that, I can place the order.

Rear wheel. I’ll need to re-lace the trike’s rear rim with the new hub motor. I see that 12-gauge spokes are available both by mail order and through a local bike shop, and so I’ll probably take that route and re-lace the wheel myself.

Brakes. Worksman tells me that the calipers for the parking brake are inadequate for stopping, and so I’ll need to add a rear disc brake to the hub motor. This will require either attaching an adapter to the frame for the disc caliper or brazing a bracket or tabs to the frame. Once the platform trike arrives I’ll decide on the approach that I’ll use.


Battery. I’ve finished testing all of the used battery cells that were donated by Pacific Ave Cycles, and I have identified the cells that I’ll use to create a single 36-volt, 7-amp-hour battery. Consequently one of my next projects is to assemble a usable battery by connected those cells together with a new battery management system. I’ll use the resulting battery for testing (and maybe for my own commute bike), but for reliable power on the playa, I’ll build another battery from entirely new cells. The number of cells in that new battery will depend on the desired range.

Range. Using the Grin Technologies on-line hub-motor simulator I’ve estimated that with a 36-volt battery and a full passenger load, the Dusty Diner has one kilometer (km) of range per amp-hour (Ah) of battery capacity. Since getting from camp to the outer trash fence is about 3.6 km, the 7-Ah battery that I’ll be making from used cells will take me out to the trash fence and back only once. So for the new battery, I’ll want to have at least twice that range plus another 50% of battery capacity for nighttime lighting, which is 21 Ah. Since each 18650 cell has about 3 Ah of capacity, I’ll need 7p (that is, seven cells in parallel), which, along with 10s (the 10 series cells needed for 36 volts) means 70 cells total. This battery capacity is a minimum. I may go to 8p.

Lighting. Since the 36-volt battery also will supply lighting at night, I’ll need a headlamp as well as overall illumination for visibility. It appears that the best way to provide lighting for the Dusty Diner is use 36-volt circuits, each created from three 12-volt LED lamps wired in series. I’ll probably have two such lighting circuits:

  1. Headlamp and overall art illumination while traveling. These will use substantial current.
  2. Parking lights to maintain visibility while parked. These will use less current.

Since some of the 12-volt lighting will come from LED strips, it’s possible to adjust their current draw by adjusting their lengths.

For the headlamp, I looked at LED headlamps for scooters, but reviews show that they are not reliable. Instead I’ll considering using a low-voltage landscaping LED spot light.

Horn. I’d like to have an electronic horn. I’m trying to find a simple audio sample that will play when a button is pressed. Of course there’s Elvis’s “thank you very much,” and I’ve read that I may be able to find an Elvis “excuse me,” which I’d prefer. However, I’m not yet satisfied in what I’ve found to date, and so I’ll keep looking.

Juke Box

I’ve been listening to popular 1950s music. At this point, I’ve selected 57 songs. Among these, some of my favorites are

I’ve discovered that I need to include at least a few tunes from the early 1960s, such as

I haven’t listed any of the half dozen Elvis Presley songs that are on the list.

The juke box itself at this point may be just a boom box with its own batteries and an iPod, since that’s an easy solution.

Diner Table

I’ve identified the necessary parts to create a nice-looking diner table (which actually is more of a shelf) with boomerang-pattern laminate and vintage aluminum edging. But after summing the parts cost, I see that it may be less expensive for me just to order a custom table top. Ignoring shipping, a completed custom table appears to be the half the price of the laminate and edging. (This is because there are minimum order quantities for these materials.) I’ll contact the vendor of custom diner table tops after I’ve settled on the desired dimensions. Then I’ll obtain the price and decide what I’m going to do.

Coffee Bike?

I wonder whether I should serve coffee at some point. This idea was inspired by John Freyer’s Rams-in-Recovery Coffee Bike, which served free pour-over coffee in Richmond, Virginia. He chose to serve pour-over coffee because it’s a slow process that requires people to hang around, giving folks time to chat. In addition, he serves the coffee in cups that can’t be taken away, giving more time for conversation. I haven’t yet decided whether I want to do this, and so I’ll keep this part of the project on the back burner for a while.