Vectrix scooter batteries

I bought the Vectrix scooter yesterday. The batteries will not charge. The scooter has been stored for quite some time.

Is there any way to refurbish the NiMH batteries that came originally in the Vectrix.

New battereis cost $2,600.

Any information on the possibility of revitalizing the original batteries would be great !

Thank you

Tom Connell

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Re: Vectrix scooter batteries

See http://visforvoltage.org/forum/11525-50ah-li-ion-conversion-successful
,42cell of 50AH LFP battery is around 3000 dollars including freight costs.......

It will double your range !

lfpbattery@gmail.com

Re: Vectrix scooter batteries

tconnell wrote:

I bought the Vectrix scooter yesterday. The batteries will not charge. The scooter has been stored for quite some time.

Is there any way to refurbish the NiMH batteries that came originally in the Vectrix.

New battereis cost $2,600.

Any information on the possibility of revitalizing the original batteries would be great !

Thank you

Tom Connell

Hi Tom,
Congrats on your Vectrix, once it's running I'm sure you'll love it! I just helped another guy get his bike going -- he had a blown charger...
OK, I'm finding the NiMH's to be more sturdy than people might think. I just revived a pack that sat at zero for over a year, collectively output .6V! and now they are doing fine. The guy I just helped had the same thing, batteries (all 102) output a total of 6.2V... after a 3 hour recharge he was able to run his bike 150 yards. Two more recharges and he went 15 miles(!) the next day, and had about 11 miles to go to empty. But here's the thing, the charger will not kick-in unless the voltage is over 100V +/-.

So I (and also the guy I helped) built 140+ volt booster charger (also called a Freddy charger, 3rd World Charger, Bad(der) Boy charger)... all are arguably just types of power supplies. I built mine for $70 using parts from eBay and Radio Shack (a 140V Variac (150v is better), full bridge rectifier and 100Ohm 10Watt resistor, or lightbulb). So basically you charge the batteries (while disconnected from the bike) using this booster charger until they are over 100V or so (I went to 130+), then you must use a special device and procedure to reconnect the batteries called "ICL" (in rush current limiter -- I used a 25 watt 125V lightbulb), search the forums, and there's video too. Of course you want to check the batteries to see if they are under 100V before doing this! There are tons of discussions on the forums describing how to get to the batteries, disconnect, externally boost charge them, and reconnect using the ICL device & method. Once you do this, hopefully the charger will work. If not, then you probably have a bad charger. They have been known to burn up an internal resistor, and I'm told they can be repaired sometimes. The guy I helped had his burn up. Once the batteries were boosted and the charger replaced, he was off and running. He was lucky and found a charger leftover from a lithium upgrade and got it cheap. If your batteries do charge, but seem to drain fast, then you may have damaged cells. You can damage a charger trying to charge bad cells, and also damage good cells in the process. I think it's always a good idea to inspect your batteries, looking for damaged or bloated "cold" batteries. Replace those. Once the pack is charged, test the voltage on each cell, any that are way out of band should be drained, charged (using an RC model charger), drained, charged until it reaches normal full voltage (like 1.2 to 1.4V no load). You have to balance the entire pack if any batteries are out of whack. There are any number of ways to do this, such as ride the bike until it's dead, then drain the batteries further with resistors, re-assemble and charge all at once, then test each cell again.
As for batteries that don't come back to life and are not physically damaged as far as you can tell:
I've heard of tricks like freezing the NiMH batteries in super cold freezers, trickle charge for a super long time, charge/drain cycle... some are plain voodoo. A slow ramp up charge and drain, repeat a few times is probably as good as anything. Don't try things like hitting them with high-voltage or high amperage (and low voltage) such as a TiG/MiG welder... I've seen that work on NiCads, but NiMH are likely to go boom. All too often the internal membranes that function as separators fail (due to heat, air leaks or whatever) and the battery is toast.

If you find damaged or dead batteries that don't come back to life, let me know, I may have some leftover. I've got a full spare pack, and might pick up another just to have on hand.

Scotter

Re: Vectrix scooter batteries

Scotter, your story is exactly like the story of I guy I spent a lot of time helping last month, who I only know as "HA". Are you the same guy?

-JD

Re: Vectrix scooter batteries

Thats right,

the best way might be to build / have a little unregulated charger with ~150-160V DC in open slope which can load with a small current like 0,1 to 0,3A some days. That should help for the start.
If you can not get some cells to work anymore you can than exchange only this cells with some used ones.
If only one cell doesn't work well anymore, you can simply shorten it at its terminals for the time until you managed to get a new one.

Klaus

Re: Vectrix scooter batteries

Hi JD,
"Ha" wasn't me. -- I helped a guy last summer named "Joe" in San Diego. All correspondence was email and text messages, but started out on this site -- we had a few high-five voice "yippie it works" calls. I was trying to get my scooter going too, only mine had blown fuses on the MC, his was a bad charger. But the story I tell is very similar to many others using the freddy-charger approach. If Joe referred to me as "Ha", I have no recollection of that name.
If you have questions for want to chat about it, PM me as you please.
Best!
Scotter

Re: Vectrix scooter batteries

The shorting trick works. I was going down the road one day (yeah I know that's the words to a song), and my scooter shows 100% charge on the gauge. Then all the sudden it dropped to zero and the battery light came on and the scooter started losing power quickly. I was 10 miles from home, but at the top of a very long hill. So I coasted down the hill with the key off to the main road, I didn't trust regen to not do more damage. This put me only 5 miles from home and all on the flat. So I limped along at 10mph, scooter getting weaker and weaker. I was just reaching down to shut it off and pull over, when I heard a loud "pop". Then all the sudden the scooter leaps forward hard, almost throws me off the seat! All the power was back! I zipped home no problem at 35 to 50 mph. Pulled the batteries out, and 4 of them had bloated, and a 5th one was a dead short. So until it shorted out, it was dragging down the rest of the batteries. Once shorted, that battery was no longer an issue. Fortunately I have a lot of spares right now.

Drained them all to the same voltage, using a bank of 12v lightbulbs, then charged 6 at a time on a high-end RC model airplane charger, that has a revive cycle and NiMH charging modes. I have several of these chargers, so I was able to do 24 batteries at a time, took almost a week to do the full cycle on all the batteries. Put the scooter back together and had no problem since. The batteries seem to be staying in balance, for now. I wish I had a good battery testing/refresh station with logging capability -- but I hear they are very expensive.

--Scotter

Re: Vectrix scooter batteries

Hi All

I am new here but could not find a way to start a new thread!! I bought a 2008 Vectrix today which is not running but has been laid up for a while. The dealer selling it says it runs sometimes after charging and not other.
As a complete newbie, I love the concept and the machine. How do I post my specific questions?

Thanks

Peter

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