Xtreme XM-3150 Review
I too was recently bitten by the electric vehicle bug. I began spending most of my time reading about them on the Internet. I live four miles from work and the terrain (near Houston) is flat, and the fastest road I have to handle is a short stretch of 45 mph so a small electric scooter looked very feasible. The ZEV 400 LA would have been my first choice, but it was out of my $2000 budget.. Next I looked at the Zapino but it looked like they were trying to discontinue them so I began looking at the Extreme line up. The XM-3000 series had a bit of a rough reputation but the latest revision (the XM-3150) promised (of course) to be much improved. Even though I couldn’t find any recent reviews of this model, I bit the bullet and ordered it online from Advanced Electric Scooters (dot com), for $1999, which included free shipping to my door.
I ordered it on a Thursday evening and immediately received a confirmation e-mail along with another one the next day from Green Max also confirming the order. On Monday, UPS Freight called to set up a deliver date for Wednesday between 5 and 7 pm. While I was still at work, the truck driver called to ask if he could drop it off early (3:30 pm) and I took off work a little early to meet the bike.
The driver already had it in my driveway when I arrived and I was glad to see it was in good shape. After I cut away the carton I saw that the metal crate was the same cheesy quality as the one that brought my generic 150cc GY6 scooter in 2008, but this time they used lock nuts and strapped to a real live wooden pallet. The result both times was no damage. The manufacture date was 3/10/2010
I plugged the charger in while I figured out a way to get it out of the crate, which I eventually did by myself. Thank goodness the welds are cheap and most can be broken with a claw hammer. I got the feeling they were made by elementary school children learning to weld with Harbor Freight cracker boxes. Anyway….
My patience lasted until the 85% charge LED was lit before I ventured out for a test ride. My first impressions were very smooth, quiet, and powerful. The infamous 2 speed “power/economy” switch (which was not mentioned at all by the manual) was located under the seat nearby the circuit breaker and the charger port. It is a three position rocker switch labeled I, O, and II. I is low speed, II is high speed (I haven’t tried ‘O’)
After a full overnight charge, Day two observations are that, while it is still smooth, quiet, and powerful, it handles weird and takes some getting used to. Despite adjustable (for ride height) shocks, it still sits relatively high on the lowest setting and might benefit from some shorter shocks. Of course, that might make the steering even more heavy, who knows. Be sure and check your tire pressure - mine came with 58 psi in the front and 68 in the back. I dropped mine to 38 front, 40 rear.
The other issue is throttle sensitivity - Acceleration is so strong and the fly by wire twist grip is so light that it is hard to regulate over bumps. I’m starting to wonder if it has a problem. Also, my range is not looking too great. It seems to need an hour of charge for every five miles that you travel. My first trips were only 5,5,& 10 miles while I attempt to ‘condition’ the batteries. Along with a cable driven odometer / speedometer, it has an analog voltmeter with only green, yellow, and red areas to monitor charge. I’ll know more as I gain experience. The one area that doesn’t need improvement is performance. This thing is fast. It’ll blow my 38 mph 50cc Yamaha Vino in the weeds. Be careful who you let drive it. Power is strong and can be abrupt even on the low setting..
Fit and finish are generally great where you can see, but if you poke around underneath, not so much. It has a few nice un-advertised features like a turn signal beeper. Also included are some LEDs. The red one indicates that ‘power is on”. There are two more little blue ones. The left one comes on anytime the brake or kickstand is activated. The right on comes on if the motor is overheated. The left one is so laser bright that it will blind you at night when you put the brakes on. The charger looks like it has been upgraded. The way the manual reads, the builder is obviously proud of its advanced capabilities, however the translations still have a long way to go.
Overall, I’m very pleased. it’s a lot of electric scooter for $1999. I think I’ll put off that 72 volt mod and look for some shorter shocks. And of course we’ll have to find a way to enable that regen! Sparc5, do you know how?
I'm not sure what you mean about 'trying to condition' the batteries, as this uses sealed lead-acid (SLA) batteries like my XM-3000, and they just need a few normal cycles to reach full capacity. I guess it's a big improvement over mine, though, in that it arrived in working order (I had to have the hub motor replaced, and had the ECU done at the same time, even though it was probably ok. The accessory wiring was also completely screwed up). However, having the power selector switch under the seat isn't just stupid, it's dangerous. Like my Lepton, these scooters have too little acceleration from stop to quickly cross a busy intersection in Low. Unless maybe they really upped the power in Low on yours, in which case the range claim would be completely bogus... I hope that they also fixed the center stand, which on my model will attempt, very seriously, to kill you if you try to raise it while actually on the scooter.
A word of advice on the batteries: don't discharge them below 50% if you can possibly avoid it (that would be just into the yellow at half throttle) ans *always* fully recharge them immediately after riding.
I too was recently bitten by the electric vehicle bug.
Welcome to the club - the EV bug can be a very powerful thing! I bought an XM-2000 as my first EV.
Overall, I’m very pleased. it’s a lot of electric scooter for $1999. I think I’ll put off that 72 volt mod and look for some shorter shocks. And of course we’ll have to find a way to enable that regen! Sparc5, do you know how?
From reading your review it sounds like you've got a realistic set of expectations and a good technical / "hands-on" bacground. That alone will go a long way to increasing your odds at having an overall positive experience.
Do you know how long it sat in a discharged state before you bought it? If I were you, here's what I'd do...
1) After your next 5 or 10 mile ride use 5 chargers and charge each battery separately. Make a note of the time difference between when the first one registers full vs. the last one. This will tell you the relative state of health of your batteries (i.e. if one or two are weaker than the rest - they'll all age differently).
2) On an ongoing basis my preference is for 5 separate chargers. But I know Leftie has achieved great results with the stock charger.
3) Consider investing in a Kill-A-Watt meter. Keep an eye on the amount of watt-hours your putting into the pack. That's just for info purposes - the efficiency of the bike won't change dramatically (unless you change your riding habits). However, you can see when the batteries start accepting less charge.
4) If you're a geek (like me!) then check out something like this: http://www.ladyada.net/make/tweetawatt/
Welcome to the EV owners club! And above all else - have fun!
I thought that the xm-3150 was Lithium. No?
I have 3160 miles on my xm-4000li and it did take several charges for the batteries to condition. Initially, the battery strength indicator would go into the red and flash under acceleration even under full charge. After the first 500 or 600 miles, she ran much stronger and didn't even come close to the red under strong acceleration, or even drop below half. My best range to date is 47.5 miles, but that was after 1800 miles and several charge sequences.
In my opinion, the quality of the xm-4000li is outstanding. Incredible power. Silent and smooth.
throttle sensitivity - Acceleration is so strong and the fly by wire twist grip is so light that it is hard to regulate over bumps.
I felt that way too with my XB600. I have gotten used to it now (it took about a week) and it seems normal now.
As to handling, the weight is VERY much over the rear wheel, with predictable results. I would check the steering tube bearings to make sure that they are properly tensioned; if there is ANY slop, it can be a deathtrap.
If you're willing to take the time, I really think setting up a series / parallel charging setup is worth it. You get the best of both worlds: balanced charging and easy hookup.
The specs I saw in an online ad for the XM3150 say it has "silicone" batteries, which means lead-acid gel cell type, with the silicone being the gelling agent. Just like my 3000. If that's the case then the five charger idea is fine - if you have five good, preferably identical chargers! You can also use one good charger five times, and note how long it takes each battery to charge, and what the beginning and end voltages are for each.
Remember to disconnect them from each other first. ;-)
Day 3 Update
Everything is still good. Thanks for everyone’s input. I did pick up a Kill a Watt meter. Thanks John. I hear you on ‘bank charging’, but I’m not quite ready to dig inside just yet. The batteries appear to be charging normally from the stock charger, which seems to do a good job of accessing and charging. It has LEDs for 100%, 85%, 70%, 50%, and <30%. If I run it 10 ‘normal’ miles (which include some runs at 40-45mph), it knocks it back to 50% when I plug it in and it takes 2 hours to get back to 100% and voltage is then 64.8 and the ‘battery meter‘ is at the top of the green. Top speed is an indicated 47 sitting up, no wind, flat road, and I weigh around 175. When I get some more cycles maybe I’ll test the range a little more.
I’m still wondering why the rear end sits so high. I don’t see any reason for it other than maybe to accommodate two adults, which I don‘t need to do. Everything looks like its tipped forward un-necessarily so from the luggage rack to the seat to the floorboards. I took one of the shocks off and it dropped the rear ride height about 1 ½ inch. I took it for a very easy ride on a very smooth street and everything looked and felt much better. I ordered some shocks that are 10 inches eye to eye instead of the stock 11 ½. The only clearance issue is one of the tangs for the left ‘swing arm cover’ interferes with the controller. I’ll probably lop it off with the cut off wheel - I never liked the looks of the swing arm covers anyway. I never did mount them. Anyway, I’ll let you know how that works out.
The jerky throttle is still an issue. If I put it in econo mode, then I can just ride around the neighborhood wide open no problem but then I have to stop and change it over to get on the boulevard. It makes me wish the mode switch was still on the handlebar. Does anybody have the straight skinny on these throttles. Most of them seem to be called ‘hall effect’, but I thought that type of sensor was for on-off stuff like camshaft position sensors. It seems like a potentiometer (like a throttle position sensor) would be more suitable. Its got three wires. My guess one is +5v, one is ‘ground’, and the other is the signal return (0-5v). If I get a chance, I think I’ll look at them with the voltmeter. Or maybe I could just try another one from a different source - they’re cheap enough.
Talk to you later.
@Leftie - you don't need to disconnect the batteries from each other to use 5 separate chargers. The potential difference still ensures that the current flows in the right direction...
I’m still wondering why the rear end sits so high.
I think it's really just lack of attention to detail. Most of the import scooters seem to suffer from really stiff rear-end shocks and most of the 3150 size of bikes from most manufacturers seem to sit unnecessarily high. Let us know how those 10" shocks work out for you. I might replace mine.
The only clearance issue is one of the tangs for the left ‘swing arm cover’ interferes with the controller. I’ll probably lop it off with the cut off wheel - I never liked the looks of the swing arm covers anyway. I never did mount them. Anyway, I’ll let you know how that works out.
Yeah, I never fitted those dopey swing arm covers either!!!
The jerky throttle is still an issue. If I put it in econo mode, then I can just ride around the neighborhood wide open no problem but then I have to stop and change it over to get on the boulevard. It makes me wish the mode switch was still on the handlebar.
It should be pretty easy to put a switch on the handlebar for the econo-mode - you can just get an appropriate switch from Radio Shack.
Does anybody have the straight skinny on these throttles. Most of them seem to be called ‘hall effect’, but I thought that type of sensor was for on-off stuff like camshaft position sensors. It seems like a potentiometer (like a throttle position sensor) would be more suitable. Its got three wires. My guess one is +5v, one is ‘ground’, and the other is the signal return (0-5v). If I get a chance, I think I’ll look at them with the voltmeter. Or maybe I could just try another one from a different source - they’re cheap enough.
Essentially the hall sensor throttle will behave just like a potentiometer. "Hall effect" is based on moving a magnet relative to an electric field and is supposedly more reliable than a standard potentiometer. (That's my understanding anyways). So, it really is a Hall sensor - and you're dead on about the three signal wires.
I wouldn't bother replacing the throttle - I bet the issue is more to do with the controller programming (which can't be changed). I also think you'll get used to it. However, test the throttle and see if it seems like a linear response. If the throttle's OK then to "fix" this you'd have to put something between the throttle and the controller to give you the throttle response you want. I *think* the latest Cycle Analyst has this feature?
Thanks for your choice of Efun products,XM-3150 is all the same as 2008 Zapino with 5 pcs BB Lead-acid batteries,not "silicon"batteries.
Please keep on charging in time after every discharging,battery cells will be activated.
Take care if the motor/controller cables(in a narrow space between battery-box bottom and swing arm) are always well or not after your replacing with the 10 inches shocks? Any more questions,pls feel free to contact with me:firstname.lastname@example.org
Also congratulations Pete,did you purchase XM-4000Li from BEST BUY store?http://www.bestbuy.com/site/X-Treme+-+Luxury+Electric+Moped/1259665.p;jsessionid=9BE71127557CC295AEDFD385F9E3233D.bbolsp-app04-48?id=1218255653003&skuId=1259665
Well done,John.Thank you!
Xiamen, any comments on the apparent lack of any best buy stores carrying the 4000? I check 3 locations. Store pick up only yet no stores seem to carry them.
Dear Jason Taylor,more informations about XM-4000Li in which BestBuy store,please contact "Greg GreenMax Dist" or from the website:http://www.x-tremescooters.com/electric_mopeds/electric_mopeds.html.
Day 4 Updates
I’m starting to push the envelope a little. It went 18 miles today and the needle was right between the green and yellow at no load, which measured 60.7 volts. The charger showed 50% discharge and took 3 hours to bring it up to 100% and the Kill a Watt meter showed 1.05 kwh used. I noticed something about the charger - besides tapering as it reaches 85% and shutting off at 100%, it then goes into a pulse mode where it comes on every 10 minutes with a full 4-5 amp blast which quickly tapers off and is gone in 40 seconds. After getting ‘pulsed’ all night the kwh meter was at 1.18. This evening Max (my toy poodle) and I took it 21 miles and it took 1.25 khw (not including what gets pulsed into it tonight). Miles per kwh has increased with each ride from 14 to 16. It looks like 20 miles is a good working range, more than enough for my uses.
Throttle sensitivity is still an issue. I don’t see why it can’t be silky smooth. I wanted to probe the throttle wires but they’re not easy to get at. And what about this power / economy switch - it doesn’t show up in any of the wiring diagrams I’ve seen. Does it report straight to the controller or is it in series with the throttle signal line and adds a fixed resistance. At least its somewhat easy to get to and a good probe point. I want to see that signal on the voltmeter while I twist the throttle and see if its smooth or not. I might take another look at it next weekend.
More miscellaneous observations. Brakes are great (for a scooter). Way better than my Vino or the Generic GY6 I had. The rear is better than the front and can even be locked, which is fine with me. What is inside that ‘ABS‘ module they insist on including. My suggestion would be remove it or make the fittings so that I can easily remove it. The suspension is very good - supple and well damped - light years ahead of my other scooters. There are no rattles whatsoever over any bump. My steering head bearings are a little tight. I’m going to wait and see if they loosen up before trying to adjust them.
One more thing - this bike needs a better name. What are you supposed to call it anyway - The Alpha Products International Incorporated XM-3150 E-Moped from Extreme Scooters? It needs a name like it used to have or hire the guys at Kia to name it (or have a naming contest).
Oh, here’s a tip I learned - if the bike won’t go forward at all but all the lights are normal, check the econo /power switch in the storage compartment. One might have accidentally bumped into it while one was fumbling around in there and be advised that the “O” in the middle of “I” and “II” stands for no power whatsoever.
I took one of the shocks off and it dropped the rear ride height about 1 ½ inch.
Do you mean you took a shock off one side of the scooter's swing arm? If you did, you are putting a hell of a bending moment (and torsion at the pivot point) on one of the swing arm legs that it was never designed to take. You might soon find the rear wheel cocking over sideways, and the scooter going out of control, next good bump you hit...
You're right PJD, I don't recommend running with just one shock! Here are my day 7 updates:
As you might recall one of my first impressions of the bike was that it was much too tall in the back. I found some 10“ eye to eye “Dirt Bike - ATV Shocks” (part # 173-22) at Parts for Scooters dot com for $29 each so I ordered a couple. The shocks came in today and I was a little dismayed when I felt the box - it was so light it felt like there was only one in there. There were two but they were much smaller than I expected - almost toy like. I put them on anyway which was very easy - the nuts for the shocks are welded on the inside so you don’t even need a back up wrench - just a 14mm wrench or socket. I did have to saw off the left forward swing arm cover bracket to clear the controller and removed the plastic inner fender as well (it will need to be cut back for clearance). As Mr Chen suggested, I checked the wiring but there was no problem. When I brought it off the center stand I was again disappointed - the bike bounced like a pogo stick. Absolutely no damping whatsoever. Oh well. I took it out for a ride not expecting much and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was quite an improvement. Over smooth roads its great - even more supple than before. Irregular ruts and bumps are no problem but sometimes if you hit just the right series of wavy road it gets jouncy but still no worse than my Yamaha Vino. Evidently scooters don’t need a lot of damping.
As I had hoped, the ride height was a big improvement. I’m 5’9”, and now I can easily plant both feet flat on the ground. The seat is more comfortable as you’re sitting more in the middle of it and you no longer feel like you’re being tilted over the front. The floorboards and luggage rack are much closer to level now. Another big improvement was the steering. The bike now feels relaxed and goes where you want it to go, which it never did before. The bike is much more enjoyable to ride now. I won’t be putting the stock shocks back on, but I will be on the look out for some higher quality 10” shocks - let me know if you find any.
One other miscellaneous observation - has anyone noticed that the bike resists rolling backwards with the key on? Mine does. When I roll it back out of the garage and hit the key it feels almost like mild regen or something. Speaking of which, anybody know how we can get this to happen? I know I only paid $2K for this scooter and there’s not much benefit but I’ve got several stop signs and red lights on my commute and it bothers me to spend that energy heating up the brake rotors instead of putting it back in the battery. If I had regen maybe I would be less tempted to run yellow lights and roll stop signs.
I took my overvolted Currie e-zip 750 for a spin this evening and was reminded of how throttle response should be. I’m going to try and look at my throttle sensor volt signal this weekend. If I can smooth this out, this thing is on the verge of becoming a magic carpet. I must say I’m having a lot of fun playing with this scooter!
Nice review of the scooter Chasbro. I just got an XM-3150 a few weeks ago as well. I found this while searching for some of the issues I've been having.
My throttle is the same way. It's really annoying. its almost like an on/off switch. I'll turn it and turn it and nothing happens, then turn it 1 degree more and the bike takes off at full speed. If i'm driving down the street trying to keep it at 25mph i have to pulse the throttle on and off.
I also get have similar issues with the battery. I charge it up over night so it's 100% full. I drive it to work and back which is a 3 mile trip and when i get home the charger says it's at 50%. I hope it get's better after charging it several times, but right now I'm wondering if there's a bad battery in the scooter. It's running down to 50% after 3-5 miles and dropping below 30% after about 10 miles. Also it acts really weird after I drive it 2 or 3 miles. I'll come to a stop at a traffic light and when it turns green i hit the throttle and the bike goes for a second and then dies. If i let go of the throttle and hit it again it'll go for a sec and then die. I have to start it rolling with my feet and then apply the throttle to get it to go. Once i'm going its fine it just wont start from a standstill. It seems like it's not getting enough power and overloads and cuts out.
It looks like you have one defect that may be endemic to this model (a too-touchy throttle, even worse than the one on the XM-3000), one defect that may or may not be similar to one on the XM series (that 'stall' in high power mode. Mine does it too, but I don't have to roll the bike to get it going, just close and open the throttle again) and one problem that possibly isn't, by itself, a problem. The High power mode really eats up battery reserves, so if you are running with mostly wide open throttle in High, the range you are seeing may be a function of that. Try using Low power mode (I do it most of the time now, saving High for only when I need the extra speed) and see if the range dramatically increases. If it does then you just need to be able to better control your throttle action in High. I find that even running at full throttle almost all the time, Low gives the scooter fantastic range (I estimate nearly 40 miles), and since I'm used to running flat-out at 28MPH on my old Lepton, 28MPH doesn't really seem slow to me - unless I have cars behind me on a city street who want to go 30 or 35... Anyway, I'd ask for a new throttle first, and if that does no good, then either most of those throttles are bad or you have a borderline-bad ECU, IMO. If it's the throttle on your model you might want to try the one from the XM-3000. It isn't great, but it isn't as bad as yours!
Thanks for the reply leftiebiker. I guess that makes sense. Since the throttle is so ultra sensitive it's basically a switch so I always have it either full throttle of off. I guess that could be draining battery faster. I'd think though that even with full throttle in high power mode I'd get more than 3 or 4 miles to hit 50% battery.
I switched it to economy mode on my way to work this morning and didn't notice any difference in the throttle. The only thing I noticed was that it capped out at around 32mph on a flat road where it'd usually top out at 45. I'll try economy for a few days and see if i get a noticeable improvement in the battery. So if I understand it correctly it just cuts in half the max voltage that the throttle can send to the ECU? It'd be nice to have that switch on the handlebar since I drive in traffic all the way to work and I don't want to annoy all the cars on the road by going 25mph. Though I guess if the throttle had a smooth transition it wouldn't be necessary as you could use the throttle to keep it at 50% power.
The stalling is probably the biggest concern. Several times I've been stopped at a red light at a busy intersection and when the light turns green I start to go and just just stalls and stalls and stalls so I have to stand up and walk the bike across a major intersection.It seems to happen only when the battery is around 50% or lower. but since that's normally after 3 miles I hit that point every day on my way home from work so the stalling happens to me every afternoon. I emailed the place I bought the scooter from to see if they could advise me about fixing it but I haven;t heard back. Will X-treme work with you even if you didn't buy directly from them?
I bought mine from a dealer on Ebay who pressured API / X-TReme to send me the parts I needed, so I don't know how well you will do.
I've read that the scooter's range (mine) using High only, at full speed, is only about 10 miles, so I still think that may be the problem. If using Low doesn't solve it, though, then it isn't just high power consumption. I'm surprised that using Low doesn't solve the 'stalling' problem, as mine is MUCH smoother in Low. BTW, the handlebar-mounted Power switch comes mounted on a little separate ring that also has the headlight switch on it, IIRC. You should be able to wire it to the existing switch wiring using long jumpers.
To get some perspective on the"50%" problem, get a Kill-a-Watt power meter. That way you'll be able to monitor how much electricity is needed for recharging. Remember that you will be monitoring power INTO the charger, so the amount actually seen by your batteries is about ~80% of that.
You can calculate the theoretical maximum power in your pack by multiplying the pack voltage by the AH rating on the batteries. Remember that the AH rating is generated at a 20hour rate, while you will be using the pack at a ~1 hour rate. Thanks to Peukert, you will get far less power at the rate you are actually using.
Finally, your "stall" problems may be the low voltage cutout activating as the voltage sags at startup. As you've discovered, gently accelerating will avoid this (and the twitchy throttle will make this worse). This is either because of discharged batteries or (very common) loose terminals. Try putting your hand on each terminal just after a heavy current draw. ANY warmth or looseness in a terminal means a loose connection and a source of resistance.
I think Mark is right. The stalling is caused by the low voltage cut off of the controller. Try to make the same thing happen and measure the voltage when the scooter is on the main stands. The controller of my scooter is allowing only for smooth acceleration when leaving from a stand still. If the controller of your scooter is different it will allow the huge amount of current to be drawn from your batteries, this way activating the low voltage cut off.
I replaced the malfunctioning throttle of my scooter with this one. It is cheap, easy to do and it works.
Just a general advise: always keep the batteries as charged as possible. Even after a 6 miles tour, do recharge. NEVER leave the batteries standing in discharged condition.
I opened the scooter to be able to get to the batteries individually. I connected thin wires (2,5 mm2) to the battery poles. That made 5 wires for 4 batteries. This way I am able to measure the individual voltage and if neccessary charge the batteries individually. Just an advice.
Final Summary - OK I changed the throttle to a TNC unit (as outlined in the throttle response thread) and I’m happy with the scooter now. I looked for some high quality 10” shocks but they wanted real money so I managed to rearrange the spring collars on the stock shocks and lower the height by 11/16” It’s nice to have the damping back. I e-mailed Advanced Electric Scooters for the MSO and they forwarded it to Green Mountain. About 10 days later I got the MSO and a bill of sale in the mail and didn’t have any problem registering it. I would like to thank Advanced Electric Scooters and all the people who designed and built this thing. Good job.
I charged up the bike all weekend long and drove it to work today in economy mode. When I got home the charger showed 30%! Strange since the meter on the bike was almost pegged to the top of the green bar. So one of the meters is not correct...I suspect the charger would be the one to believe. I guess I'll have to break down and buy a kill-a-watt to verify how much it takes to charge it up.
I think the stalling was indeed due to the bike drawing too much power since it has never happened in economy mode. I think like you guys were saying, since the throttle is so finicky its jumping straight to full power from a stop and on a low battery it hits the low voltage threshold. I guess I should look into getting a replacement throttle and also find out whats up with the battery charge. I'm going only 4 miles in economy mode on flat ground and it's dropping to 30%. Is there an easy way to access the batteries or do I have to take apart the entire back of the bike?
I contacted the vendor I got it from and they said they opened a service ticket with X-treme but I haven't heard anything back yet...
To me it sounds like you might have a bad battery (or two). My bike has gone over 20 miles a couple of times and I’ve never had the charger show less than 50%. You’ll need to get a voltmeter across each of the 5 batteries and I doubt it will be easy to access them. I seem to remember a Zapino thread that described how to take the bodywork off. In the meantime, get the Kill a Watt meter (I found a Kill a Watt EZ discontinued at Radio Shack for $20) and continue to let the charger recondition the batteries. My range wasn’t very good at first either.
If the 3150 is built like the 3000, you can access at least three of the batteries by removing the underseat compartment. I wish my charger showed state of charge, but OTOH it's been reliable, which matters more to me.
Just to show how much range you are losing: I rode my 3000 for about 40km yesterday, all in Low power mode. Going by the gauge it was at or just below 50% when I was done. Call it 40%. This included climbing hills. It may be that the gauge is optimistic, but I now know that I can ride at least 25 miles, and probably 30 with a little less throttle when I don't need it wide open.
I've been emailing back and forth with X-treme. They had me check a lot of things to find out if anything was wrong with the bike.
First, like was reccomended here was just checking the fully charged voltage of the batteries. I charged the scooter up for 2 days. I unplugged it and dismantled it and read the batteries after 1hr, 2hrs and 3hrs.
battery 1h 2hr 3hr
1 12.95 12.92 12.92
2 12.93 12.89 12.89
3 12.92 12.89 12.89
4 12.92 12.89 12.89
5 12.91 12.90 12.89
total 64.5 64.4
Then since they checked out ok I did a load test on the batteries. They started out at 12.8v and dropped to 11.2-11.4 under load. I also checked the output of the charger while it was charging the batteries and it was at 73v.
The motor seems fine since I can go 30mph in economy mode and 45+ in fast mode. I figured the only way to really tell how far the bike can go on a charge is to drive the bike until it stops.
I took the scooter out on a weekend and drove it until it wouldn't go anymore. Actually it would still go just very very slow and stuttered when I'd try to accelerate. I got almost exactly 30 miles. It was just me (165lbs), the bike was switched to economy mode, and i tried to keep it on a flat road but there were 2 or 3 very small hills. It was also a little windy and I was in the city so there were quite a lot of traffic lights.
The dash meter was just into the red and the charger showed <30% when I plugged it in. It took 6 hours to charge back up. I put a kill-a-watt meter on the plug and it showed that it took 1.87kwh to recharge the bike. I believe that should be pretty close to full use of the batteries since 5 batteries at 12v rated 35Ah should be 2.1kwh total...if I'm doing the math right.
From what I can tell the bike seems to be running great now. It has definitely gotten much better after passing 200 miles on the odometer. Perhaps the batteries needed some breaking in or conditioning.
I know they say it can go 50 miles on a charge but I think that's under perfect conditions. Does 30 miles sound pretty normal?
One new problem I've noticed is that the brakes squeak a lot and most times they'll pulse when I apply them, kinda like the rotor is warped though I can't see any distortion of the rotor. I can feel on one spot on the rotor it's like it has extra friction and grabs at that spot. not sure what that means...
I hope that those weren't lead-acid or lead-acid-silicone batteries you ran that low. That won't kill those, but it will shorten their lifespan. As for the brake rotor, that seems to be a known issue. You could try having it shaved at a cycle shop, but since the problem seems to be caused or at least aggravated by heat, having a thinner rotor would probably result in it warping again. I try to use the front brake only when I really need to on my 3000...
XM-3150 1000 Mile update
Just thought I’d let everyone know how my XM3150 is holding up. It’s doing great - no problems. I’ve been running it to work and back twice a day (I come home for lunch) so that’s about 15 miles. Once I’m home from work I put it on the charger for about an hour or two and then go out again in the evening for about a ten mile pleasure ride with the dog and the parrot. Back on the charger when we get home and if it’s full when I go to bed I turn it off, otherwise I let it charge all night.
I think my batteries are in good shape. I measured them after a charge and they were all 12.95 plus or minus .02. The stock charger seems to be doing a good job of keeping them balanced. I’ve never seen it indicate less than 50% when I plug it in but then I’ve never really pressed it for range. I’ve never had the low voltage cut-out come on.
I’ve made a few modifications. Of course I changed the throttle control, which is well documented in another thread. I also added a power meter called a “Doc Wattson.” The best way to describe it is its a poor mans Cycle Analyst. First, I wanted to find a way to get some regenerative braking, but after looking around, I don’t think that’s going to be easy or cheap. My XM-3150 appears to have a six phase hub motor (its got six big wires going into it) and I’m beginning to suspect that the motor and controller are well engineered and maybe I ought to leave well enough alone (at least for the time being). So without the need to record regen data, the Doc Wattson looked like an economical alterative. Buying it was easy. Installing it was a major project. It almost needs a thread of its own. If you decide to add one to your XM-3150, here’s some tips: Even though the Doc is small (about the size of a bic lighter), the XM dashboard doesn’t have much space. I cut out a rectangle just above the instrument panel and mounted it in there, tucked in below the cowl. I had trouble coming up with a suitable bracket until finally I found a blue plastic shallow single gang switchbox at the hardware store that would work. You have to cut it up quite a bit but it has ears you can screw it underneath the dash plate and it becomes sort of a sunken tray. Some double sided tape on the bottom will keep it from rattling around. I covered the rectangle with some clear plastic and used Velcro to trim it and hide the cuts and screws. It looks good. The wires were a major hurdle too. This unit doesn’t use a shunt. It wants all the current to pass through it’s two black wires. That means big wires from the battery all the way up to the meter and back. At the home improvement store I found a six foot range cord that had 10 gauge stranded copper wire for about 15 bucks. I cut the sheath off and got the red and black wires out and taped them back together. It turns out that they were just the right length and already had suitable terminals for the battery end. After considerable effort, I managed to run the cable under the floorboard, up the steering neck, and spliced them to the meter with ordinary yellow butt connectors. The meter has two red wires but only one of them needs to be hooked up. It just wants to sense positive battery voltage so I connected it to the positive side of the voltmeter.
It was a lot of effort, but it works great. I’m seeing about 66.5 amps (3950 watts) at full throttle. Any kind of acceleration sure draws the amps. I’m satisfied with 10 gauge, but the meter itself has only 14 gauge lead wires. The specs say its good for 50 amps continuous and 100 amps for short periods. I hope so. I also need to add a dash light. It’s not backlit at all so you can’t see it at night. Another weird thing is it doesn’t seem to measure the current to the DC-DC converter. When you turn on the lights, the amp draw doesn’t change at all. You can see the voltage dip a couple of tenths. I thought the meter was bad or insensitive to small drains but it saw the test light I put across the first battery. Maybe the DC-DC converter draws its power in high frequency bursts or something. Anyway, somehow its smuggling its current across the meter because there‘s no other way to the negative terminal of the battery pack.
Speaking of night, I also changed out the headlight bulb. I replaced it with a common H4 bulb I found at an auto supply for $10. It has 55/60 watts compared to the stocker’s 35/35. It clips right in. Its brighter than stock, but the DC-DC converter looks like its sagging a little under the additional load.
That’s about it for now. Next I want to add a sixth battery. That will need a thread of its own.
Been a long time since I checked in. Everything had been going great until lately. The bike ran trouble-free for over a year. The speedo cable failed at 3300 miles (in spite having been lubricated). The batteries slowly lost range - down about 50% capacity but it was still making it to Walmart and back. But then I let my son ride it.
I don’t know what he did, he said he was trying to climb a curb or something, but the controller gave up big time. Not only that, but he pushed it home with the help of my grandson on the Yamaha scooter and he said it felt like the brakes were dragging. I went out and looked at it - the overheat LED was on (first time I’d ever seen that) and the big circuit breaker was tripped. I let it cool and reset the breaker, but all I got was the infamous “thump” and another breaker trip.
I spun the motor on the center stand and noticed that it didn’t spin freely - until I disconnected the six big phase wires and then it did. Next I investigated the hall sensors. I made a checker from a radio shack “learning lab”. All showed good and it was fun at watching the LEDs blink. Each bank (or group) appears to have what they call 120 degree hall spacing (the 3 LEDs are neither all off or all on at the same time). And the two banks are staggered one pole apart. So every three degrees of rear wheel rotation, one of the six LEDs changes state. Interesting.
Oh well. I took the controller apart. After reading about other xtreme six phase motors I halfway expected to find two controllers inside the large housing but there was just one. It definitely had two banks though - with 12 no name MOSFETS each, 24 total. Eight of them were smoked. Plus some other small damage. I started researching everything I could find on controllers - six phase in particular. Cheap skate that I am, I considered trying to run two inexpensive controllers - one on each phase. But it looked sketchy. The stuff looks like it has to be shipped from China. Who knows what components.
Instead I e-mailed Ed Lyen for his recommendation. He appeared to have a good reputation. He responded immediately and suggested his Mark II 18 FET IRFB 4110 “Overclocker” for $199. I told him my scooter had six phases and didn’t I need two? He seemed very familiar with the XM3150 and said it would be fine to run it in the “3 phase mode” using just one set of the windings. It seemed strange to me but his experience was far greater than mine so I ordered one. I let him set it up (I had enough on my plate) and didn’t bother with the programming cable, although the connectors are there for that and a cycle analyst. meter. The package came 3 days later in a USPS cardboard envelope which easily fits in standard mailbox.
Installation was another major project. I must have made 50 trips to the hardware store, home depot, radio shack, auto supply, etc. Anyway I got it in there to my satisfaction. The unit is smaller that stock but a little longer. I looked all over for a place to mount it before coming to the conclusion that the stock location is best. That way the wires are near the swing arm pivot, which is crucial to keep flex to a minimum. I mounted it up high, allowing room underneath it for another one in the future.
Figuring out the hall and phase wiring was the biggest challenge. I got a terminal strip (called a “barrier strip”) from radio shack and screwed it vertically to a plywood board to stabilize it. On the left side I temporarily installed leads from the controller. I put the phase wires on top (Yellow, Green, Blue) then the hall power wires (red, black), and then the hall wires (again yellow, green blue). On the right side I put all the leads to the motor. Then I made up temporary power wiring to the controller (which has to be done carefully as it is 72 volts in my case). I actually installed a house light switch (in a plastic box) on the plywood board to power up the controller. Also don’t forget to “precharge” the controller with a resister (110 volt light bulb) before applying power to the big red and black controller wires. And bleed the controller the same way after disconnecting. Its all very complicated and not without stress.
Normally, with a three phase motor there are 36 combinations. With a six phase there are a lot more than that. But I was able to look at the controller and deduce which hall bundle belonged with which phase bundle (I call them group 1 and 2). I made a nice spreadsheet listing all the combinations and prepared to test group 1, which had the yellow, green, blue phase wires (group 2 had red, black, white). To keep current under control, I used a car headlight in series with the big red power wire. Basically the test procedure is you hook it up, give it a little gas, and see what happens. If it does anything other than run smoothly in the correct direction with minimal current draw, its wrong. You mark the spreadsheet and try again. I popped two headlights before I got smart and added a 5 amp auto fuse in line.
Actually I was lucky and came across the correct solution on the sixth try. Smooth forward rotation with only 2.3 amps of current draw at wide open throttle (as long as you open it slowly). Here is the combo that worked for me:
Controller to Motor
Yellow - Yellow
Green - Green
Blue - Blue
Yellow - Blue
Green - Yellow
Blue - Green
Because I already had the apparatus set up I checked group 2. The halls were the same but the phase are:
Group 2 Phase
Motor to controller
Yellow - Red
Green - Black
Blue - White
After finding the solution, then you get to actually wire everything up permanently. Lots of tedious terminal work. Not to mention when you shorten the hall wires you cross a set of splices where the wires change colors. That translates to Yellow - Purple, Green - White, Blue - Blue.
Long story short, I finished everything up and took it for a ride. It works! Performance is about the same as before, which was good. It has regen now. For the first time, I can watch my voltmeter go up when I slow down. I adjusted my brake light switches to come on early (which wasn’t easy btw) and now I can use the jake brake. I’m sure the benefit is negligible, but psychologically, to me, it’s huge. It growls a fair amount, but that doesn’t bother me.
The only concern I had was the controller was getting pretty warm. My multimeter came with a temp probe so I tucked that in between the fins of the controller near the heat sink screws and went for a ride. It was a very hot afternoon (95F) and after several stop signs and red lights it climbed up to 170F max. I e-mailed Ed and he agreed that it was too warm for comfort. So in an effort to improve cooling I relocated the controller down into the airstream and added a fan (just a simple $12 auto face fan from Walmart). I improved the thermocouple connection with some heat conducting grease and took it for another ride. Big improvement. Max temp is now 150F and it is much cooler than that most of the time. This controller both heats and cools very quickly - most of the time it runs between 135 - 140. Stopping for a red light the fan will drop the temperature 10 to 20 degrees. After watching how it responds, I am comfortable with the temperature now. I powered the fan from the top battery in my stack, which is charged by a separate charger. It only draws 10 watts so I let it run while I’m going in the store.
Once I became confident that the scooter was viable again, I decided to go ahead and replace the batteries. I was hoping Lithium would have come down into my price range but evidently not. I found a local supplier and bought six U-1 SLA batteries for $62 each. Installing them turned out to be a pain because these had connector lugs where the originals had sunken threaded connector holes. I had to turn the front battery around and space another battery up some but in the end I got them in there. What an improvement! I guess I hadn’t realized how bad the old batteries were. Now the voltmeter stays in the green even at top speed (although barely). Speaking of top speed, I have a Samsung tablet with a marine GPS application on it. I turned on the tracker and put it in the egg crate and took off. When I got back I reviewed the track - 40.7 knots max speed or 46.8 MPH. And that’s with a tall windshield.
Anyway, the moral of this story is that if your controller goes out it can successfully be replaced with an aftermarket unit. I reinstalled my watts up watt meter (I had it on the sailboat for a while) and was surprised to see only 45.5 amps max draw. With the old controller it would show 60 - 65 amps. I haven’t done a range test. This particular speedo cable is hard to find in stock. There is still lots of places to experiment. I haven’t tried the other set of windings. They may be wound different (delta instead of wye). I’m still intrigued with the idea of running two controllers but Ed hasn’t been supportive of that idea. I’ve got the cable now to reprogram the controller, but it runs so good now I think I’ll just leave it alone and ride it.
Great to hear of such a successful (yet arduous...) controller conversion! The 6-phase Efun motors have both windings in star configuration, but they differ in the number of turns. One is a high torque / low rpm winding with more turns, the other a low torque / high rpm one with less turns. Usually those scooters have an additional switch somewhere around the underseat compartment with which the controller is either limited to the low speed winding for 40 to 45km/h (25...28mph) top speed, or to the high speed winding and possibly a combination of both with some speed-dependent switching point for the "open" version.
Most hub motors come with only one winding and work, too, so your motor should be fine while using just one winding. But it might be interesting to feel/measure the differences between the two windings, powered by the same controller.
It seems I can't create a new post, so i'll reply here since it's somewhat related...hopefully.
The other day I was driving my XM-3150 and I was trying to get over a curb. I guess it was too much for the motor because it just squealed a little bit and then died. I checked the circuit breaker inside the seat and it had tripped. I flipped it back on and when I turned the throttle the motor moved for half a second and tripped the breaker again. from that point on the breaker wouldn't ever click back into the on position. I took the breaker out and tested it and it wouldn't pass any current even if I held it to the on position. So I went ahead and ordered a replacement breaker. I got it in today and installed it and the bike kinda works now. it'll go but the motor stutters pretty bad, especially when it starts from a standstill. once i get up to 20 or 30mph its just a hum but starting up it it pretty jerky. It doesn't really seem to affect the speed since I got it up to 45mph but obviously something is wrong. It seems like maybe only 2 of the 3 windings on the motor are being used? I don't know if thats a sign of a problem with the motor or with the controller. I suspect the controller since after I drive it I can smell a burnt electronics smell coming from the controller box...though it's not abnormally hot.
Any advice would be appreciated. and if it is a bad controller where the best place to get a replacement.