I've got the range back

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Suddenly I have the range back that I had when my scooter was new 8000km ago. I have no idea why. All of a sudden it's charging up to 150v again, where before it was stopping at 142v or so. I'm now back to riding a regular 40km ride mostly at 80kph and getting home with 125v. (red light comes on at 121v, so plenty in reserve)

Go figure.

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Re: I've got the range back

Great news.... congrats

Incidentally what range is that ?

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Re: I've got the range back

That particular trip is 42km, and I estimate another 5-8km in hand.

There was a time when I ran out of power with 7km to go!

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Re: I've got the range back

Amazing - the Vectrix healed itself...

R
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Re: I've got the range back

All of a sudden it's charging up to 150v again,

This is quite familiar to me...
Sure I'm wrong but:
The battery ages and has its real capacity reduced. However, the system tries to insert the same quantity of energy inside the battery (Not exacly the same, but according to my experience the battery ages faster than expected). In the beginning it only reaches 143-145v. As the capacity is reduced, that same amount of energy brings the voltage to the limit, 150v. At this voltage, the battery is equalized every time it is recharged, therefore the weak cells are fully recharged. In consequence, the battery, as pack, performs much better, but in my opinion this situation won't last for long: Your cells are stressed and overheated, this is the beginning of the end.;-) Enjoy your vectrix, but I suggest you start thinking on a battery replacement;
another option, replace your weak cells and manually reduce you battery capacity with the scooterdiag.
Or recharge the battery at slow speed with external charger, avoiding unnecessary stress. Vectrix staff, what about programming a slow charging mode?

Mik
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Re: I've got the range back

R wrote:

...
...
Or recharge the battery at slow speed with external charger, avoiding unnecessary stress. Vectrix staff, what about programming a slow charging mode?

The Laird has made software modifications that work well for this purpose (charging at lower currents).

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Mik
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Re: I've got the range back

Aircon wrote:

Suddenly I have the range back that I had when my scooter was new 8000km ago. I have no idea why. All of a sudden it's charging up to 150v again, where before it was stopping at 142v or so. I'm now back to riding a regular 40km ride mostly at 80kph and getting home with 125v. (red light comes on at 121v, so plenty in reserve)

Go figure.

Could this be due to a change in the frequency of use?

If a NiMH Vectrix is used frequently (=about daily), then the range improves, because the self discharge might be less pronounced, causing the SOC to rise incrementally with each charge.

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Re: I've got the range back

R wrote:

All of a sudden it's charging up to 150v again,

This is quite familiar to me...
Sure I'm wrong but:
The battery ages and has its real capacity reduced. However, the system tries to insert the same quantity of energy inside the battery (Not exacly the same, but according to my experience the battery ages faster than expected). In the beginning it only reaches 143-145v. As the capacity is reduced, that same amount of energy brings the voltage to the limit, 150v. At this voltage, the battery is equalized every time it is recharged, therefore the weak cells are fully recharged. In consequence, the battery, as pack, performs much better, but in my opinion this situation won't last for long: Your cells are stressed and overheated, this is the beginning of the end.;-) Enjoy your vectrix, but I suggest you start thinking on a battery replacement;
another option, replace your weak cells and manually reduce you battery capacity with the scooterdiag.
Or recharge the battery at slow speed with external charger, avoiding unnecessary stress. Vectrix staff, what about programming a slow charging mode?

If there's overheating, there's certainly no sign of it. I've never seen a battery temp more than 10 over ambient. I realise that's not definitive though.

Anyway...I'm not stressed about it. I know there are replacements available.

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Re: I've got the range back

Mik wrote:
Aircon wrote:

Suddenly I have the range back that I had when my scooter was new 8000km ago. I have no idea why. All of a sudden it's charging up to 150v again, where before it was stopping at 142v or so. I'm now back to riding a regular 40km ride mostly at 80kph and getting home with 125v. (red light comes on at 121v, so plenty in reserve)

Go figure.

Could this be due to a change in the frequency of use?

If a NiMH Vectrix is used frequently (=about daily), then the range improves, because the self discharge might be less pronounced, causing the SOC to rise incrementally with each charge.

Actually, that is a possibility.

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Re: I've got the range back

R wrote:

All of a sudden it's charging up to 150v again,

This is quite familiar to me...
Sure I'm wrong but:
The battery ages and has its real capacity reduced. However, the system tries to insert the same quantity of energy inside the battery (Not exacly the same, but according to my experience the battery ages faster than expected). In the beginning it only reaches 143-145v. As the capacity is reduced, that same amount of energy brings the voltage to the limit, 150v. At this voltage, the battery is equalized every time it is recharged, therefore the weak cells are fully recharged. In consequence, the battery, as pack, performs much better, but in my opinion this situation won't last for long: Your cells are stressed and overheated, this is the beginning of the end.;-) Enjoy your vectrix, but I suggest you start thinking on a battery replacement;
another option, replace your weak cells and manually reduce you battery capacity with the scooterdiag.
Or recharge the battery at slow speed with external charger, avoiding unnecessary stress. Vectrix staff, what about programming a slow charging mode?

So, how can we know if we already have dead cells? Reading the voltage values is enough?

Which are the standard voltages we must see in each recharging phase?

Regards

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Re: I've got the range back

Dead cells will severely limit your range.
The battery is composed of 102 cells in series and the weakest will determine the overall capacity of the packs. Just like the weakest link of a chain will determine its lifting capacity.
A weak cell will be discharged first and may go into reverse charge when riding, the other cells pour energy in to the dead cell as well as trying to power the motor controller.
Then when recharging, its reverse charge must be overcome first before the forward charge is commenced for the dead cell and the rest of the battery. The charger monitors the total of charge energy, and finishes charging when enough kW/hours have been poured in (proximately 5.5kW/h). Of course some of this charge energy has just gone into the dead cell to bring its voltage from the negative through to zero and into positive, with very little overall gain. The net result is overheating of the dead cell and an incomplete charge in the battery as a whole.
The resultant battery voltage will be low (maybe 140v) and the range will drop dramatically. One time my range dropped to 3km with three dead cells on board.
As for temperature, there are only 12 temperature sensors in the whole battery compartment, so if a dead cell is at the end of a row, the V charger and canbus system may never know. The dash display is also therefore compromised.
Don't know about the sudden return of range, but in my experience, the only times that range has improved was after cell replacement and following a 'retraining ' regime with the V to equalize the battery.
By retraining I mean a return to a regular daily routine of riding, charging and never fully depleting the battery as well as long cool down periods whenever possible before riding and charging. I don't do the 'ride till battery light' thing as this stresses the cells.
Cell bypassing has achieved good results, but one can only go so far with this method.
Cell replacement is not for the faint hearted, but an enthusiastic armature with an awareness and respect of lethal voltages can have success. I have replaced about a dozen cells over the last 2 years and my range is a steady 25km. With 23000km on the clock, my V is still going reasonably well.

40+km range! I would kill for a range like that!
Even with a brand new V three years ago, my range was less than 40km.

Cheers

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R
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Re: I've got the range back

40+km range! I would kill for a range like that!

My 3rd pack was initally perfect, it gave me over 70 km range. I managed to travel 97 km at 40 km/h until red light. I assumed 10 km+ of extra range at that speed, but didn't want to test further! The advertisment about 110 km at 40 km/h is true... but only when all 102 cells are in perfect shape, and equally charged.

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Re: I've got the range back

Is it possible to detect if any cell is dead by the total voltage values?

Mik
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Re: I've got the range back

RuFuS wrote:

Is it possible to detect if any cell is dead by the total voltage values?

Yes, but only if it is really "Dead as a Dodo".

Mostly cells are on "life support" for quite a while, draining the rest of the battery of energy whilst contributing next to nothing, but that makes them undetectable when using crude methods (like watching the voltage governed by the stock charger).

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Re: I've got the range back

Mik wrote:
RuFuS wrote:

Is it possible to detect if any cell is dead by the total voltage values?

Yes, but only if it is really "Dead as a Dodo".

Mostly cells are on "life support" for quite a while, draining the rest of the battery of energy whilst contributing next to nothing, but that makes them undetectable when using crude methods (like watching the voltage governed by the stock charger).

So, which is the easiest way to detect a dead cell?

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Re: I've got the range back

RuFuS wrote:

So, which is the easiest way to detect a dead cell?

ride to red battery light,
dismantle your battery, load the cells and look for the ones at 0v.

Unfortunately there is no easy way to check :(

Matt

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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

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Re: I've got the range back

Hi, as mentioned, the damaged cells are often swolen. It looks like this:
one cell is swolen on the side the other on the small side, both are below
5 Ah. One was mine, the other a collateral damage of the burnt pack.

Dead as a Dodo should look like this... I´m happy it was not my pack!

Greetings Mike

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Re: I've got the range back

I was caught out when the red light came on unexpectedly and expected to be stranded on the side of the road. Much to my surprise, I travelled the 8km to my destination at 50-60kph with no real sign that stopping was imminent, although I suspect it was.

What do some of you get out of your bike once the red light comes on?

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Re: I've got the range back

I get enough out of the bike to charge the iPhone so I can call for the wife to bring the RV and recharge the bike from the generator. I don't like riding on the red light, I fear that is much of what contributed to my original pack's demise. I didn't know better and I didn't wanna walk so I rode it until it was going slower than I could walk and I was up on the sidewalk to avoid blocking traffic. Always got me home eventually. It helped that the bike already had a bad pack and would drop from a half a charge to nothing unexpectedly.

-Randy

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Re: I've got the range back

I get 5k after the red light comes on. 2nd battery pack, about 4000 miles on it. Range a reliable 38miles in hilly terrain going about 40-45mph. Never had that range on the original battery.

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Re: I've got the range back

Hi Folks,

Interesting posts and some interesting theories.

Some time back I had a battery which was failing (pre the modified software days). I was returning home having traveled some 18 miles and was nearing the top of the final climb before the homeward descent. The battery was flagging and I was running it real slow trying to conserve the last of the energy hoping to make the top of the hill. The battery temperature was running high (about 10 degrees over ambient). I was getting frustrated with the slow ride and wound the throttle full open thinking to myself, sod it, if the battery is into failure it can go big style, when suddenly the bike took off as though it had just been charged.

What had happened was that a faulty cell had gone completely short circuit allowing the batteries energy to flow correctly once more. This was discovered when the battery was dismantled for repair. What seems to have happened is that one cell had become empty and began reverse charging, the reverse charge voltage had subtracted from the available battery voltage and the motor controller had seen a low enough voltage to close down the current to the motor, hence the lack of power. When the faulty cell went short circuit the overall battery voltage rose sufficiently to allow the motor controller to supply more power to the motor.

I regret to say that any battery that suddenly appears to have miraculously recovered its energy in this way, is almost certain to have had one or more cells go completely short circuit. Sorry folks, thats what happens. The cells haven't mended themselves they just died totally and irrecoverably.

Having re-built the battery last spring, I have a regular range of between 40 and 60 kilometers with a full charge and the 'red' light not yet on. When the 'red' light appears I have about 1 to 2 kilometers to run before total failure. In a well balanced pack, all of the cell voltages should drop together and the motor controller will see this and take power off the motor and light up the red light. In an unbalanced battery, the cells will drop voltage at different times and the result will be more miles after the red light but with more damage to those cells which have lost voltage first.

This will not cheer you up but then, that's life.

Best wishes,

The Laird

(Telling it like it is, as always).

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Re: I've got the range back

I have the exact same behavior. I rebuild my battery with 21 replacement cells. Range went from 14 miles to aout 32-35. However, once you reach the end of the range, it dropped to limp mode almost instantaneously and won't climb any hills. Unless I am within a mile from my house I am toast. Compare that to my 2008 Vectrix that received a new battery 4000 miles ago. It is still perfectly balanced and when the red light comes on I have at least 5 miles of actual range and for at least 3-4 I have good power.

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Re: I've got the range back

The Laird wrote:

I regret to say that any battery that suddenly appears to have miraculously recovered its energy in this way, is almost certain to have had one or more cells go completely short circuit. Sorry folks, thats what happens. The cells haven't mended themselves they just died totally and irrecoverably.

Having re-built the battery last spring, I have a regular range of between 40 and 60 kilometers with a full charge and the 'red' light not yet on. When the 'red' light appears I have about 1 to 2 kilometers to run before total failure. In a well balanced pack, all of the cell voltages should drop together and the motor controller will see this and take power off the motor and light up the red light. In an unbalanced battery, the cells will drop voltage at different times and the result will be more miles after the red light but with more damage to those cells which have lost voltage first.

This will not cheer you up but then, that's life.

Best wishes,

The Laird

(Telling it like it is, as always).

In my case, I believe it's better battery management by me and understanding what the hell is going on with it. I think the lack of use after giving it a full charge was taking its toll on range, as in the end, full charge was only 139v, and I never took it down to red light to 'reset'. Now, as has been suggested, I only fully charge it just before I'm doing my weekly 40km ride. The rest of the time, I just charge if for an hour once it gets down to about 126-128v, and that's enough for a few days.

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Re: I've got the range back

I wonder what sort of storage ability the NiMh's have, I only ask because when i received my bike from charles this july it had a week old but charged battery and this bike had done only 44km in 4 years. However (aside from the other issues with the bike) upon full charge my first ride was 4km from full to empty - second was about 6km, 3rd was 6 or 7 and so on until eventually it got up to the 50km range it has now. Is there a way to store these NiMhs long term in a flat state ? and then give them a long slow charge to get some energy into them. The reason i ask is because if there was - i'd assume this was what happened to mine and the repeated daily charge/discharge brought them up to potential !

Just 2p worth

bm3
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Re: I've got the range back

I wonder if your battery was realy fully charged at the very beginning. The Vectrix might have registered a full charge but much days ago and this was a calculation without the self discharge happened each day to it while it was not in use. So you had the full bars but a nearly empty battery at the beginning.
If you drove it than and charged it again for many times it got a little bit better charged every day.

Klaus

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Re: I've got the range back

bm3 wrote:

I wonder if your battery was realy fully charged at the very beginning. The Vectrix might have registered a full charge but much days ago and this was a calculation without the self discharge happened each day to it while it was not in use. So you had the full bars but a nearly empty battery at the beginning.
If you drove it than and charged it again for many times it got a little bit better charged every day.

Klaus

Overcoming that problem is what got my range back. "just keep plugging in" is what I was told....that was not good advice.

Of course, it's a pity that we have to intervene in anyway, but it is what it is.

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