Newbie with a bionx kit

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thommango
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Joined: 04/07/2011
Points: 8

Hi All,
I'm new to this board and new to e bikes. I just added a bionx pL350 to my Trek 7200 and I'm loving it. I decided to buy the kit when I changed jobs and cycling to work changed from a 9km ride with a single hill and a change in altitude of about 30m to a 14km ride with several steep hills to cross and an overall altitude gain of 70m. I tried the ride a few times without bionx and found that it took almost an hour and left me wiped. Instead, I would ride my bike about 9kms then shower at a gym and ride the subway the rest of the way. Getting the bionx kit has made it possible for me to the ride daily with relative ease and complete the ride in about 35 minutes.

My route is mostly along ravine paths which are bumpy, muddy and until this week, snowy in parts. Despite the elements and bumps, the bionx kit is performing flawlessly so far. None of the glitches that others have spoke about, but it is early days. The kit is of the older style with the four pin connector. I haven't made any changes to the configuration and I don't think i'll bother. I do think it would be nice if the system helped me maintain those speeds of 45km as the curve starts to point upwards instead of not pitching in until I'm back down below 32km, but so far, that's my only complaint.

Cheers,

Thom

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davew
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Re: Newbie with a bionx kit

Sounds like you are nearly the ideal candidate for the Bionx. Glad you're enjoying it!

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Al the nuker
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Joined: 01/16/2011
Points: 7
Re: Newbie with a bionx kit

Hi Thom
I got your note regarding more info on the modifications that I am making to my PL350 Bionx system mounted on my Gary Fischer Hybrid bike. I agree with you that Bionx is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

As an update to my earlier note on this forum, I have mounted 6 Ryobi 18V batteries on my bike and tapped it into the wiring harness for the motor hub. The batteries are wired up in 3 pairs with diode protection between pairs to give 36 volt auxillary power source. I have a switch under my bike seat that allows me to power the back wheel with either the Bionx battery or with the Ryobi batteries. I'm doing this because my daily route to work is 58 km round trip and I have to charge my Bionx battery twice per day (at home at night and in the office during the day). The battery charge would last longer if I use a lower assist level than 4, but I prefer to travel as fast as possible in an attempt to keep up with the traffic between stop lights. Since the bionx battery is rated for 500 charges only, this means I would have to pay about $1000 for a replacement battery as early as 250 daily trips to work. So far, I have travelled about 100 trips since last spring when I bought the system. In my view, the replacement battery cost is a significant shortcoming to the Bionx system.

Now the energy charge in the Bionx is about 10 Ah and the Ryobi batteries are rated at 2.2 Ah each. So with 6 batteries, I should be able to travel about 30% further between charges relative to the Bionx battery...if I've done the math correctly.

Since springtime is somewhat delayed this year, I have only been able to make two bike trial runs to work so far.

On the first day I selected level assist #4 and the Ryobi batteries ran out of juice about half way to work when I had to switch over to Bionx. On the way home, I was able to use Ryobi batteries for about 30% of the way home before switching again to Bionx. This is not totally unexpected because my Ryobi batteries are NiCd which means the voltage drops during discharge and the batteries tend recover 2-3 extra volts (per pair) after a few hours of rest.

On the second trip, I opted for level assist #1 and the Ryobi batteries lasted about 80% of the way to work and were absolutely depleted on the return trip.

After arriving home, the Ryobi batteries were not able to power the rear wheel, but they still worked fine on my power tools. I think this means that the Bionx systems require high voltage, probably 35 volts minimum to power the back wheel.

The solution is to use LiIon Ryobi batteries that maintain their rated voltage while discharging. However, there is a significant difference in costs. 6 Ryobi battery back pack will cost about $500 for LiIon and only $200 for NiCd. Since the LiIon batteries are relatively new technology, I would expect that the price will come down in an year or so...I can wait. In the interim, I am designing an additional battery system that will add 3-4 volts to my NiCd system which I can activate with another switch under the seat. This should allow me to get more energy out of my 6 pack.

I had to deal with other problems over the winter, like speeding up the charging process by modifying my Ryobi chargers to charge more than one battery at a time. After destroying and rebuilding two of my chargers and melting one of my batteries, I now have a means for charging 3 batteries at a time which I do outside now for fear of burning the house down. All this was in vain because I discovered last month that Ryobi now sells (at Home Depot in USA) light weight chargers that charge 6 batteries at a time which is exactly what I need. So I will buy one (about $80) when I go fishing in the US in June.

My goal is to be able ride about 200 km in one day on my Ryobi/Bionx system bike at an average speed of 20 km/h. To do this, I might have to carry an extra 6 to 12 Ryobi batteries in my back pack, all wired up to my bike. Since I will likely look like a suicide bomber, I would expect the cars to give me ample clearance.

...to be continued
Al

thommango
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Joined: 04/07/2011
Points: 8
Re: Newbie with a bionx kit

Thanks Al. That is is quite the project you have going. I would be particularly interested in hearing about how you hooked up the new battery to your system. I'm on charge #20 or so, I think. No complaints so far. The system is taking to work and back with a bit of charge left over. I ride on level 2 most of the time. My ride has almost no stops at all, so the big energy spend is on the hills.

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thommango
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Joined: 04/07/2011
Points: 8
Re: Newbie with a bionx kit

Just a quick update:

I've been doing my 28km/day ride pretty much each day since writing last. No complaints about the system. My ride has been extremely wet and muddy this spring, and the system doesn't seem to mind a bit. The only bit of odd behaviour I've noticed is that if you are regen'ing down a steep, long hill, the system will do some weird vibrating for the first couple of seconds after switching back to assist modes. Since writing last I've replaced the rear tire and repaired or replaced the tube 3 times. I've also replaced the freewheel and will replace the rear derailer cable this week. I don't know why I keep getting flats this spring. Must be some nails someehere.

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Al the nuker
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Joined: 01/16/2011
Points: 7
Re: Newbie with a bionx kit

Hi Thom
It's been a while since I sent messages on Voltage, but I was wondering how your Bionx bike was working.
My project of adding 8 Ryobi Lithium-ion 18V batteries (4 pairs of 37V) to my 350 PL Bionx electric assist bike is working better than expected. I can now travel up 150km in one day on a single charge. During the summer I inadvertently did a crash test at 20 km/h by swerving to avoid running over a frog on the Caledon trail while en route to Orillia. Both my bags and I went flying but all the batteries remained on the bike. Other than having a few brush burns from landing on the gravel, the ebike worked just fine.
Next step will be to add 6 more Ryobi batteries on the front rack so that I can meet my goal of 200 km/day on one charge.
Al

thommango
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Joined: 04/07/2011
Points: 8
Re: Newbie with a bionx kit

Hi Al,

I'd love to see a picture of this set up of yours. I don't think I will be following suit any time soon. My bike is doing very well and I'm able to make my 28km commute (that's the daily distance) without any issues. My route is is mostly through, the ravines. it is very muddy down there and there is a lot of banging around on the trails. but I've never had any trouble with the bicycle. it works flawlessly. I always seem to have power to spare.

Cheers,

Thom

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In Toronto

Al the nuker
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Joined: 01/16/2011
Points: 7
Re: Newbie with a bionx kit

http://visforvoltage.org/sites/default/files/u7191/DSCN0429.JPG

Hi Thom
I'm glad to hear your Bionx system is working well. It is a really good design and I love making changes to it!

I was able to set up a link to one of my photos taken earlier this year of my Ryobi/Bionx set up. If I've done it right, you will see that I mounted a "saddle" on the horizontal tube bar where I can attached 8 18V Lithium Ion Ryobi batteries (model P104). Just to the left of the saddle and under the seat is a switch that I use to drive my 350 watt motor using either the Bionx or Ryobi batteries. The 8 batteries increases my electrical capacity by (8x45=360 Wh). I usually get 8 to 12 km per Ryobi battery depending on the bike speed. The Ryobi batteries have a built in safety circuit which does not allow for regeneration from the Bionx system. That's not a big deal because I usually flip the switch under the seat to Bionx for charging when I go down steep hills.

This setup has worked better than expected and has allowed me to go 152 km in one day (Georgetown to Orillia) on one charge at an averaqe speed of about 18 km/h. All batteries were just about depleted when I arrived in Orillia. Last weekend, I added 6 more batteries to the front carrier which allowed me to go to St Catharines (102 km) in top gear, averaging about 24 km/h. After the trip I still had charge left. Although I haven't tried it yet, I'm sure I could go 200 km per day on one charge. I'll probably do that test next summer.

The batteries and bike weighed about 100 lb but that increased to about 120 lb with the 14 Ryobi battery auxillary packs. I've had to use a larger tire size on the back to give me more stability on the roads. Over the winter, I plan to use thicker spokes on the back wheel to handle the extra weight when I move the extra 6 Ryobi batteries to the rear carrier.

Stay in Touch
Al

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