Solar-Powered WIKE Bike Trailer Project

Hey everyone; very belated happy new year. One person who recently visited my YouTube channel asked for a specific wiring diagram on my solar paneled bicycle trailer. So here goes.

The kit was purchased from a Canadian company called WIKE. They are online and sell quality bicycle trailer kits. WIKE sells the main fiber glass fastener unit and stainless steel nuts and bolts. The purchaser supplies his/her own wood or aluminum tubing to build the main frame, and any additional fasteners they may need for the project. I purchased the “high-walled” kit.

WIKE bicycle trailer kit
WIKE high-walled trailer kit: finished project.

Above is the finished kit. It was big fun to build and is a breeze to tow. Here’s a link to the video where the build was explained.

On rough gravel it is a bit noisy, but quiets down on smooth pavement. Most of noise are the wheel axles rattling inside the mounting hardware. The black panel is the controller. The switch below the controller turns the inverter on or off. Two reflectors are peel-and-stick. The tail light is battery powered. Below is a diagram of how it is all wired up.

Solar panel wiring diagram

Forgive my drawing. I know I use to draw better than this. The components are not physically positioned in this exact representation and are not to scale. However, the wiring is correct. Small arrows indicate current flow.

Components are linked together via the electrical distribution block (C). The batteries are wired in parallel (negative to negative/positive to positive.) One battery’s negative pole goes to the negative input side of the block; the positive pole of the other battery goes to the positive input side of the block. This gives me one battery of 12 volts and 16 amp hours. If you use more than one battery (i.e. three) make sure the positive pole from the battery on the end of the bank and the negative pole of the battery on the other end of the bank are connected to the controller. DO NOT connect only one battery’s poles into the electrical network, even though they are all connected in parallel. You must spread the load evenly across all batteries used.

The batteries are connected to the “input” side of the block (right side in the drawing). Two rows on the positive end and two rows on the negative end are wired together. From here the distribution block is connected directly to the controller panel (C). This is the only aspect of this setup I don’t like. The battery bank (D) is connected to the panel (C) 24/7, supplying power to the panels in order to display battery voltage, amp hours, current charging amperage, i.e. This will eventually drain the battery bank. In order to counter act this, I place the trailer in bright sunlight as often as possible. Otherwise, I disconnect the battery bank from the controller via an Anderson plug. I did have a switch installed here but decided it was not needed. (Thinking about re-installing this switch.)

From the other two live ports available on the “outgoing” side of the distribution block (C) wires go to a switch (E), then to the inverter (F). The inverter has two plugs for 120 volts output as well as USB outputs.

In conclusion, I don’t think this is the most efficient way to store/move electrical power. It might be better, for instance to simply buy another bicycle battery and connect it directly to the solar panel via the controller. However, now we are talking about another $650+ and 8 lbs. of weight. However, the system works exactly as expected. During testing I have run an electric drill on this system as well as charge my bicycle battery, using its charger plugged into the inverter. When the battery bank’s charged state drops too low, the inverter sounds an alarm and shuts the charging process down.

After using the trailer for a while I think I will eventually purchase a larger solar panel (60 watts) and add one more battery to the bank.

Anyway, thanks for visiting. Leave comments, suggestions, or advice. Take care. God bless you and yours.

UPDATE (May 4, 2021)

Since posting this story I have gone back to a two-switch system on the trailer. One switch turns the inverter on and off; the other disconnects the batteries from the solar panel controller. When in long-term storage the batteries will not be subject to constant discharge when connected. I have also re-wired an electrical outlet back into the circuit for access to 120 volts from outside of the trailer.

However, after adding the outlet and the second switch, testing indicated that the inverter is only putting out 85 to 90 volts AC. I am trying figure out why that is; all of the wiring seems correct. Maybe there are too many connections and splices. Frustrated right now, but I’ll see if I can get it to work.

Update (May 12, 2021)

Okay; I have converted the trailer back to its original, non-powered state.

After removing the rear panel I examined all of the wiring and connections and found a loose connection at one of the switches. This is why I was getting no output from the inverter.

After tightening the screw, I reconnected everything and ran a test. I was able to run a corded electric drill from the sockets wired to the inverter.

Evidently the screw had vibrated loose during road tests. This is going to be a problem over time. Connections are going to need a bolt and nut, used with Lock-Tite to keep the connections tight. Also the battery connections are not ideal as they are held together with friction.

While the system is disassembled I think I will upgrade some components. One reader suggested I should go to a larger solar panel, maybe 60 watts. Will do! I will also add another battery to the bank and perhaps switch to connection which use a bolt and nut. After I have tested the new system I will reinstall everything back onto the trailer for testing. I’ll keep you posted.

Thoughts for the New Year

It has been truly bewildering trying to make sense of the crazy times we have lived through this past year. Our country is in turmoil from within, tearing itself apart. One of my dilemmas is trying to ascertain where I fit in as a Christian. Specifically, do I speak up for rationality and clear thought? Do I say something when I hear hateful speech and lies? How much should I argue with anyone about anything? Will it matter? Good questions all. Ultimately God will have His way here on earth, just as it is in heaven. It’s determined! So how much should I engage? Is it worth the risk?

It’s a balancing act for those of us who are trying to love God. I’ve heard some say that to raise our voices at all is tantamount to having no faith. They say, “we must follow Christ’s example.” Indeed, faith is required – it’s what protects us, but I believe faith does not require that we be absolutely silent in the face of lying and false accusations or evil. We are called upon to defend the poor, widows, and less fortunate. In order to fulfill His mission Christ did just that.

On the other hand, Christ’s anger did rise up a bit sometimes. In Luke 12:50 His words were,

“I have come to cast fire on the earth; and how I wish it was already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished.”

Jesus held Himself in check because He knew why he had come and what he had to do. Otherwise, His holy boot-heels would already be planted in the appropriate places on His enemies. Thank God they will be soon. So what does that mean for me as Christian?

Well, I already know the anger of man does not accomplish the will of God. Experience as taught me that in my case, that is especially true. I am in no position to judge anyone at all. Humility must comes first and foremost. God abases the proud, but lifts up the humble. He hates a haughty look and an arrogant heart. It’s all over scripture. I’m working those things out in my spirit. However, do I speak or not speak?

Proverbs 9:7-8 says:

“He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself. Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you. Reprove a wise man and he will love you.”

Proverbs 23:9 says:

“Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.”

I know I am in no position to judge people to determine who is foolish or not. We know from scripture there is only one Lawgiver and Judge. My job is to be slow to speak, and slow to anger. If we listen, we can hear.

However, faith does not require that we cower in fear and let evil run rough-shod over us. Faith might mean having the courage to speak truth when the time comes. When someone says something so against God’s Word and laws, it might be time to speak up for the Word, to protest for love. There is plenty of encouragement within the scriptures for defending our faith.

In 1 Peter 3:15 it says,

“but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

For me, that last part is difficult.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says,

“for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Notice that it says, “our warfare are not of the flesh” – to me that means street confrontations are not required. The fortresses we are destroying are spiritual ones, invisible ones, those of the mind.

So for me the best strategy is putting on the complete armor of God: Faith, Love, Peace. Pray constantly, be kind when you can, look out for your neighbor, be on guard against evil, and as much as I can be, “be wise as fox and gentle as dove.”

Anyway, enough said. Happy New Year to your and yours if you happen to be reading this post. May God bless you and yours this coming new year, keep you safe and sound and under the protection of His care. I pray you find peace and love. Take care.Sign up for notifications of new posts if you like.

Don’t Do Crime

Here’s a message to all who truly believe the police of our nation are evil and out to kill and wound as many black American citizens as they can: stop doing crime! Do good; the police may not even notice that you exist. That’s how I survived for 70+ years in a country that is “systemically racist”. Yes, my tongue is in my cheek.

Let’s get real. The Word of God says:

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority: Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

Romans13:1-4

Now we all know that God uses nations and leaders of nations for his own purposes. He told the Egyptians that they were raised up for the very purpose of demonstrating who He was. Thus, He hardened the heart of Pharaoh to the point where he just would not listen to Moses, then did what He had to do to free His people. You all know the story. In a like manner I truly believe that the police are God’s servants, used for the purpose mentioned in the scriptures above. However, we all honestly know there are some truly bad policeman. I have personally met a few myself. Check this out.

Once, shortly after our family had moved to Covina, CA, a policeman pulled up to the curb in front of a park at Barranca and Roland Aves. next to the McDonald’s. He got out of his cruiser, walked into the park and up to a young black boy (yours truly) who was relishing his 18 cent cheese burgers, took his name with pen and paper, and told him that all drugs dealers would be rooted from the city. What?!

I have been stopped several times for “driving while black”. The officer (also from the Covina department) chased me and my wife onto a freeway on-ramp. He pulled us over and demanded license and registration. Once produced, he demanded to know whose car we were driving. I told him it was mine. He wanted to know why my wife’s name was on the registration. I told him because the car was registered in her name also. Frustrated and angry, having no actual reason for stopping us, he tossed our papers back into the car and with tires screaming drove up the on-ramp.

You’ll love this one. I had a friend, Donald, who needed help balancing his checkbook. We went to the local Bank of America on Citrus Ave in Covina (again), where we both had active checking accounts in good standing. We went up to the teller to get a register sheet (or something) then took a seat in the middle of the bank where benches were set up for the customers. Evidently it was too much for the tellers to take. Two black guys sitting in the bank looking over paper work just did not feel right.

I happened to look up and noticed the abject fear in everyone’s eyes. I told Donald something was going on and we had better leave. Once in our car, the terrified bank personnel had their faces pressed against the glass of the now locked bank door. Soon enough, we were pulled over and surrounded by a S.W.A.T. team, complete with a barking German Shepard dog, snarling 15” from our faces. Donald started mouthing off, threatening to kill the dog. I told him to remain calm and to realize the officers already knew they had screwed up. The cop with the dog did not like my commentary and ordered me to shut up. I did. We spent hours in jail until late evening when we were finally released on our OR. Later, after multiple court appearances the charges (if there ever were any) were dropped.

What’s my point? It’s this: yes there are bad cops. The good cops know who they are. I was a great teacher (now retired) and I certainly knew who the bad teachers were. Some people are just racist. Shortly after starting my job at Glendora High School, one of my colleagues (who will remain nameless) brought her class into the computer lab and said, “Boy, help my students.” I had to straighten her our front of her class. I particularly remember one Hispanic student who eyes got big as saucers when he heard his teacher’s comment. He probably thought he was about to witness a fight. Later that month, some other old fart came up to me and said, “This would not have happened in the old days.” meaning a black man would not have been hired by the district. I told him it’s a good thing the old days just eventually fade away.

So, yes I understand the genuine anger of some black people. I get it. However, for all my 70 years, I generally have not lived in fear of the police. I respect them, but live my life in such a way as to minimize contact with them. I don’t do crime. I would not want their job, because I already know I would not have the patience to deal with the people they have to deal with daily on the job. Right now we live next door to a policeman, with his wife and children. They are wonderful people. The son of one my dearest colleagues is a policeman. Again – awesome people.

However, which one of you would go out onto your front lawn with a T-bone steak around your neck if you knew where was starving man-eating tiger outside? If I honestly thought every cop was out to kill me, I would not go around doing anything that would attract their attention. I certainly would not dive into their patrol car and try to wrestle their firearm from them. I would not fight with them during an arrest and try to take their weapons from them. I would not shoot down my brothers in the street. I would not steal, or assault my fellow citizens. If a policeman said, “Sit on the curb”, that’s what I would do until I was told to do otherwise. God willing, at least I would be alive and not in jail. How about using some common sense?

I am not making any excuses whatsoever for ANY police misconduct. Evil is evil, especially when you are a police officer who has sworn to uphold the law, then gone back on your promise. You will answer to the Father in heaven. But to all the good cops out there, you know who you are; don’t loose heart. Whether you realize it or not, you are a minister of the Father for good, and to render punishment for those who break the law. We need you. Don’t give up. Don’t let this current foolishness crush your spirit. All will be made right.

To my brothers, please, stop doing crime. Do good. Further in the same chapter of Romans it says:

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. for this, “You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Romans 13:8-10

That’s how this old black man has survived. Avoid evil when you can, do good, don’t do crime. It’s a good formula for living in this less-than-perfect world, while waiting for the King to return and administer true and righteous justice. Amen!

The Foolishness of the Gospel

Psalm 53

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice;
There is no one who does good.
God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men,
To see if there is anyone who understands,
Who seeks after God.
Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
There is no one who does good, not even one.

I’ve been watching the news lately, as I’m sure you have been also. The above scripture sums up what I’ve seen on my television screen; from the police officer that murdered a man under the color of authority to the rioters who pretend they are outraged over the deed.

I hear people has say, “We must come together; we must do better.” It’s a platitude, heartfelt in its utterance, true even, but completely void of meaning and power. Tragically, no one wants to hear the SIMPLE truth. We are sick and corrupt in heart, and too many of us refuse to turn to God to heal our souls. Instead we more rightly fit the description of Psalm 52:

Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man?
The lovingkindness of God endures all day long.
Your tongue devises destruction, like sharp razor,
O worker of deceit.
You love evil more than good,
Falsehood more than speaking what is right.
You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue.

How sadly true, from our elected leaders right down the least of us who follow them. When will we realize there will be no peace on earth until we recognize the corruption and hatred in our own hearts, then repent, ask God for forgiveness, and then begin to strive after righteousness? A rhetorical question indeed, but you know the answer. However, for some the answer is just too simple, too easy. It’s mocked and derided.

However, remember what is scripture says in 1 Corinthians:

Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe?
Where is the debater of this age?
Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not come know God, God was well-please through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
For indeed, Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews and stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness.
But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Here is my point. After the smoke, fire, and broken glass has been cleared, and all the wise men start blabbing about what needs to happen, be wiser than they. Don’t let anyone deprive you of the only true and effective and answer to the evil done in the world. His name is Jesus, the Son of the Most High God. His eyes are in every place, beholding the evil and the good, and when He returns as King, He will render unto each person according to his or her works.

It all starts with the man in the mirror. Too simple for some, but 100% effective for fixing what’s broken in our nation. Amen!

That’s the Good News Only.