Call me mad.... but

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ofx210p
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Call me mad.... but after being a member of this forum for (apparently) 2 years and 34 weeks and reading all about the woes of the Vectrix batteries...

I've just paid for my vectrix (NiMh version from Charles ex Vectrix.com.au)

My wife just gives me that - oh god look
My friends think i'm just a nerd / geek but my work collegues at a harley-davidson dealership (no names here lol) think im certifiable.
All being well it should be here around the 7th of July.

I've got some serious reading to do on how to make the batteries last until i can afford to replace with LiFePo's

Excited now for sure

Chris

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AndY1
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Make sure you have post Oct 2008 software and don't charge the battery if it's temperature is above 30°C.

turok
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Welcome to the club of madmen then..

the joy I already had from my V exceeds the total cost.. by far.

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ofx210p
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Is there a way to check what date software ?

Mik
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Re: Call me mad.... but

ofx210p wrote:

Is there a way to check what date software ?

Yes, there is. Sort of, anyway. The latest software versions come in 100km/h and 110km/h flavours. They will show highest present battery temperature sensor reading and present battery voltage when the kill switch is OFF and the left brake lever is pulled.

All older software versions do not do this.

How much do they sell for now?

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michaelt
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Yes you are mad.....but aren't we all. Glad you finally have made it to the dark side....

GregFoster
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Welcome top the "MAD" club. My wife thinks I have totally lost my mind. She may be right!!

GregFoster
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Welcome top the "MAD" club. My wife thinks I have totally lost my mind. She may be right!!

oley
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Welcome to mad world ! :)

I've just replace my old NiMh Vectrix to a Lithium one !

Regards,
a Vectrix fan.

oobflyer
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Congrats on the new toy. Despite the bumps in the road - I have no regrets. Not only would I do it again - I'm investing more $ into the VX-1 by putting new batteries into it. I now have about 11,000 miles on it, and counting. If I get another 11,000 miles after the conversion I'll be satisfied.

22,000 miles... and not one drop... of gasoline... priceless...

:-)

antiscab
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Re: Call me mad.... but

congrats on the buy :D

A friend of mine just bought a Vectrix that wouldn't charge aswell :)

don't worry, the path of Vectrix ownership is well beaten now:

we have access to the software (I can even lend you a CAN cable since you are within the same country)
spare cells and even whole batteries are available cheaply
details of modifications are out and about

I am a tinkerer by nature, and even I appreciate the reliability of the Vectrix (I've owned some real rubbish before).

I just passed 32'000km incidentally, in just 21 months.

Matt

__________________

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst replacement TC Charger
conversion
Spent so far: $5800 + $7000 + $1720 + $960 + $320 + $720 + $140 + $600
Cost to do it again: $2500 + $5600 + $1720 + $960 + $320 + $720 + $140 + $600
Cost for a Petrol bike:$6000 + + $1440 + $6000 + $800 + $1400 + $3200 servicing
Total spent: $17260
Total to do again: $12560
Total to have used a petrol bike: $18840
Total distance travelled so far: 79'120km

ofx210p
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Thanks all for the words of encouragement.

Had my first round of ribbing at work this afternoon and the bike hasnt even arrived yet. lol bring it on!

sparker
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Re: Call me mad.... but

I endured (and still do!) a lot of ribbing. However, after 3 years and over 12,000 petrol free miles, they have mostly stopped now. There are some good Vectrix out there so fingers crossed that yours will be one of them.

oobflyer
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Re: Call me mad.... but

This may be why my battery pack didn't last longer:

Make sure you have post Oct 2008 software and don't charge the battery if it's temperature is above 30°C.

I live in the San Joaquin Valley (California) where the ambient temperature is in the 30's and 40's (Centigrade) all summer. If I waited until the battery pack cooled below 30C, I would never be able to charge it or ride it!

The Vectrix owner's manual claims that the batteries will work fine all the way up to 50C... but the manual doesn't talk much about heat vs. battery longevity.

IMG_2194.JPG
(my typical ride home from work)

ofx210p
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Michaelt popped into my work today with his vectrix, thanks for that mate. Got a few interesting comments from staff... I have to say i loved the sound it made when you left. Delivery of mine is around the 7th july all being well... tick tick tick clock watching ...me - nah !

ofx210p
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Ok... bike arrived this morning, unfortunately i was in training all day. However at lunch i managed to get to work to uncrate it - and power it up and spin it around the carpark a few times. Got called lots of names including Gay and Chris Jetson.... however after the first batch of ribbing it calmed down to quiet appreciation of the size of the machine and several staff members showed a fair amount of interest in it (sorry just to remind you i work at a Harley dealership )

Upon first plug-in to top up the charge the lights and dash all lit up for a few mins - fans started whirring and after about umm a few mins everything turned off. Is this the cooling period or what? as it literally looked completely turned off. If it technically was just a programmed off time then great no worries.

Anyhow - shortly after that, i had to power it up and take it to vehicle compliance where unfortunately it will stay for the weekend until monday when they will have staff who can make sure it complies to NZ road safety standards. Something that i thought would simply be a paper stamping exercise (as its complied for australia) turns out isn't. So i have to wait 'til monday when there is someone there to do the compliance.

bugger.... really wanted to ride it this weekend

Would it matter if it was left plugged in all weekend ? I assume not, but i thought i'd ask the collective.

Cheers all

Chris

antiscab
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Hi Chris

ofx210p wrote:

after the first batch of ribbing it calmed down to quiet appreciation of the size of the machine and several staff members showed a fair amount of interest in it (sorry just to remind you i work at a Harley dealership )

yep, its the biggest electric scooter I have seen yet (and its still smaller than a Harley)

ofx210p wrote:

Upon first plug-in to top up the charge the lights and dash all lit up for a few mins - fans started whirring and after about umm a few mins everything turned off. Is this the cooling period or what? as it literally looked completely turned off. If it technically was just a programmed off time then great no worries.

When you turned the bike off before plugging it in, were you holding either of the brake levers?

To set a charge delay, before turning the bike off:
holding the right brake sets a 30 minute delay
holding the left brake sets a delay of whatever has been user-programmed (between 15mins and 7 hours)

ofx210p wrote:

Anyhow - shortly after that, i had to power it up and take it to vehicle compliance where unfortunately it will stay for the weekend until monday when they will have staff who can make sure it complies to NZ road safety standards. Something that i thought would simply be a paper stamping exercise (as its complied for australia) turns out isn't. So i have to wait 'til monday when there is someone there to do the compliance.

*snip*

Would it matter if it was left plugged in all weekend ? I assume not, but i thought i'd ask the collective.

I would not have that it would be too much of an issue, given every bike worldwide is the same.

The bike will be fine plugged in all weekend:
some power will be wasted in the charger as it draws 50W continuously.

I recommend not charging it until just before you want to go for a ride however (mainly to keep self discharge in check).
a timer greatly helps with this.

Matt

__________________

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst replacement TC Charger
conversion
Spent so far: $5800 + $7000 + $1720 + $960 + $320 + $720 + $140 + $600
Cost to do it again: $2500 + $5600 + $1720 + $960 + $320 + $720 + $140 + $600
Cost for a Petrol bike:$6000 + + $1440 + $6000 + $800 + $1400 + $3200 servicing
Total spent: $17260
Total to do again: $12560
Total to have used a petrol bike: $18840
Total distance travelled so far: 79'120km

Aircon
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Re: Call me mad.... but

antiscab wrote:

.

I recommend not charging it until just before you want to go for a ride however (mainly to keep self discharge in check).
a timer greatly helps with this.

Matt

I can't stress enough what a useful bit of information that has been. Thanks Matt

I now just give it one hour charges as needed. I have almost zero discharge (certainly compared to when it's fully charged)....the amount of wasted electricity by fully charging and then NOT riding for a day or two, which I was always doing, must be staggering!

Mik
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Aircon wrote:
antiscab wrote:

.

I recommend not charging it until just before you want to go for a ride however (mainly to keep self discharge in check).
a timer greatly helps with this.

Matt

I can't stress enough what a useful bit of information that has been. Thanks Matt

I now just give it one hour charges as needed. I have almost zero discharge (certainly compared to when it's fully charged)....the amount of wasted electricity by fully charging and then NOT riding for a day or two, which I was always doing, must be staggering!

The tricky bit is that there still seems to be a cumulative discrepancy between actual SOC and displayed SOC, unless charging is allowed to include the 1hr CC stage quite regularly. I think the trick is to charge just long enough until a little bit of battery heating occurs.

All these problems are much more pronounced if the Vectrix is standing still a lot. If used every day, it is much easier.

My main advice for "breaking in" a "new" vectrix that has been standing idle for years is this:

Take it very easy initially! Only use 1/3rd of the capacity, down to about 12/17th, then do a full recharge including at least the CC stage, better even the EQ stage if/when it is occurring. Repeat this several times to allow any imbalance between cell SOC to slowly equalise.

Avoid any full acceleration at speed above 50km/h when the battery is not near completely full until you have done at least 5 charge/discharge cycles and the cells are more likely equalised.

Slowly increase the depth of discharge until you find out where the real empty point is, as opposed to the claimed range on the tank display. This range might well increase for several weeks with gentle use, but pushing the battery when it is possibly unequalised can do severe permanent damage immediately.

Hopefully the Vectrix Australia staff have been reading this forum and learned a few things, including how to build an EQ charger and how to use it before delivering a Vectrix to a customer, but I would not bet on it.

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ofx210p
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Thanks for all that info guys I'll definitely be taking it easy for a few weeks. The big issue for me is that i'd like to use this for an 18km journey to work (thats what, about 12miles) 36/24 round trip. I've got the option of keeping in town rather than using the motorway route which during rush hour is not motorway speeds) so i'm guessing running it to work daily in the 50kmh range will be better for it to begin with. To keep it to 1/3 capacity could be tricky unless going the 'through town' route actually keeps the depletion fairly low due to lack of high current discharge.

I guess in the end - although battery life is dependant upon initial care, the NiMh batteries or the charging mechanism/lack of BMS is essentially in the end a flawed system.

However - regardless - i'm still desperate to get on the thing and play

Mik
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Go for a short ride before and after work, then charge fully. After a few days you will be ready to go the 36km at city speeds, if your battery is in a reasonably good condition.

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ofx210p
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Ok that sounds perfectly reasonable -
What, however, is the definition of short ? 2,4,8,16 km ?
or gradually increasing - 4km first day, 8km next - etc ?

Thanks for this info

Cheers

Chris

AndY1
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Re: Call me mad.... but

My suggestion would be to drive down to 12-10 battery bars. Because if you drain it only to 13 bars or above, then the CP stage lasts 5-6 minutes longer than usual and skips CC stage entirely.

ofx210p
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Well to be honest the ability to drive to the 12 - 10 bars would mean i'd get to the end of my road (about 300 meters)

I've been running this bike for a week now and its been a bit kak so far.

I was told - it'd get better with each ride. But the range is amazingly bad at the moment.

I am literally getting 7-10km range from charged before the battery is hitting the red light.

So far i've taken the bike out every evening (we're in mid winter here presently so ambient temp is about 12 degrees C)
The bike is brilliant to ride for the first 5km then is low on power for about 2km and then struggles towards the last couple of km.
I have ridden it around the 50kmh range all the time and with the occasional momentary burst of acceleration but not a lot i've never had it over 70kmh at all, i actually dont think it would be capable.

Battery levels are literally all over the range whilst running and the moment i get to the end of the road it shows about 2/3 battery. The range indicator has said 0 km range since day one.

For the whole week i have been in touch with the seller and he's just said it will get better with use. I fear that at this stage i am beginning to feel that despite his claims to have maintained these batteries that in reality they are fubar. Which is quite upsetting as i hoped to get at least a year out of them before having to replace with lithiums.

Shame really.

Mik
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Re: Call me mad.... but

I think there is more wrong than just a bad battery.

Do you mean to say that the 17-bar fuel gauge goes up and down during riding,, not just down? It should not do that.

Similarly, even with reduced battery capacity, there should be a few km of range being indicated, not continuously zero.

When you flick the killswitch to OFF and then pull the left brake lever, does it show temperature and voltage on the left display?

Have you observed what happens during charging?

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ofx210p
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Whilst riding battery levels drop very rapidly whenever any current draw is happening. upon coasting they return to a reasonable level and even after the 10k ride they will return to 3/4 levels within a few seconds. Allbeit there is now power remaining.

The charging sequence seems to consist of plug in - powers up , all lights come on front and rear, 5-mins later (havent timed it) power goes off. 10 mins later power comes on for say 10 mins fans whirr all lights come on as before and then it repeats the process and for all i know it could be doing this constantly.

None of the displays that are shown (temp / charge level voltage etc) are shown at any time.

If i hit the kill switch and hold the left brake the centre dial spins to about 45kmh

Antiscab has already suggested its possibly very early firmware which is a shame if true as i was told they'd put the latest they had into it before it was collected for shipping to me.

antiscab
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Re: Call me mad.... but

ofx210p wrote:

Whilst riding battery levels drop very rapidly whenever any current draw is happening. upon coasting they return to a reasonable level and even after the 10k ride they will return to 3/4 levels within a few seconds. Allbeit there is now power remaining.

*snip*

Antiscab has already suggested its possibly very early firmware which is a shame if true as i was told they'd put the latest they had into it before it was collected for shipping to me.

My internet access has been patchy of late, so apologies for slow replies,

Have you received the diagnostic software I sent you?

If not, I need an email address that is not run by Gmail

Google in their infinite wisdom have decided you can't receive any attachments that are programs.......

anyway:
when the charger fails to report state of charge to the CAN bus in the correct way, the Motorcontroller takes over and converts the charge meter to a volt meter.
Ie, the voltage goes up and down depending upon what is happening riding wise.

If the firmware versions don't match, thats exactly what happens.

flashing the firmware is the fastest and easiest way to sort out the software problems.

the battery is probably a separate issue, but with funky firmware its anyones guess.
it could be good, it could be bad.

Matt

__________________

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst replacement TC Charger
conversion
Spent so far: $5800 + $7000 + $1720 + $960 + $320 + $720 + $140 + $600
Cost to do it again: $2500 + $5600 + $1720 + $960 + $320 + $720 + $140 + $600
Cost for a Petrol bike:$6000 + + $1440 + $6000 + $800 + $1400 + $3200 servicing
Total spent: $17260
Total to do again: $12560
Total to have used a petrol bike: $18840
Total distance travelled so far: 79'120km

ofx210p
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Re: Call me mad.... but

Thanks matt

Yes i did get your software but i have yet to have the loan of a can bus adaptor but working on that presently.

Hopefully when i get it flashed things will settle down.

time will tell

Cheers all for this. will be in touch when i have more info.

Chris

kingcharles
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Re: Call me mad.... but

The charging sequence doesn't sound right at all. You better stop riding and charging uuntill you sort out the firmware

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Mik
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Re: Call me mad.... but

antiscab wrote:
ofx210p wrote:

Whilst riding battery levels drop very rapidly whenever any current draw is happening. upon coasting they return to a reasonable level and even after the 10k ride they will return to 3/4 levels within a few seconds. Allbeit there is now power remaining.

*snip*

Antiscab has already suggested its possibly very early firmware which is a shame if true as i was told they'd put the latest they had into it before it was collected for shipping to me.

My internet access has been patchy of late, so apologies for slow replies,

Have you received the diagnostic software I sent you?

If not, I need an email address that is not run by Gmail

Google in their infinite wisdom have decided you can't receive any attachments that are programs.......

anyway:
when the charger fails to report state of charge to the CAN bus in the correct way, the Motorcontroller takes over and converts the charge meter to a volt meter.
Ie, the voltage goes up and down depending upon what is happening riding wise.

If the firmware versions don't match, thats exactly what happens.

flashing the firmware is the fastest and easiest way to sort out the software problems.

the battery is probably a separate issue, but with funky firmware its anyones guess.
it could be good, it could be bad.

Matt

I believe Matt is right: Different firmware versions conflicting with each other. If one dis-connects the charger, then the fuel gauge will behave like a voltmeter and drop under load. But then there would be no charging at all. Because you have repeatedly managed to get 10km range, the charger must work somewhat.

I would definitively stop riding until this is sorted out, and forget about the dealer helping you, they are the ones who stuffed it up in all likely hood. Someone has probably "updated to the latest software" by changing the MC firmware to the 110km/h version, but without updating the other firmware parts that need to be updated together. Only certain combinations of firmware work together. Most combinations will not work.

A simple test of the bikes functioning, even a quick glance at the display would have shown a competent dealer that there is something wrong. They should not have sold the Vectrix to you in this condition.

What you need to do is find someone with a Peak Can adapter and the Scooterdiag software. Then read out the firmware versions installed in your Vectrix and post them here for advice. After that, re-install appropriate versions that are compatible with each other.

There are 4 parts: Motor controller, Charger, Display and ICM if I remember correctly.

Re: inability to send .exe files: Add an additional extension like .pdf so it looks like >Filename.exe.pdf< and try to send it. Then remove the incorrect extension after receiving the file. Hope that works.

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ofx210p
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Re: Call me mad.... but

thanks for that

Incidentally on the IT front - an easy way around google's attachement issues is to use winrar and a password with filename obfuscation and creating a rar and attaching that ?

Cheer chris

PS will post info when i know more

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