Motor controller fan failure while driving

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kingcharles
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This evening on my way home I had a strange loss of power for a fraction of a second. No yellow spanner so I wondered what it could be.
As I arrived home I noticed that the motor controller fan was no longer working. I assumed it stopped working after the power loss which happened on the motorway. This meant that I did at least 15km at high speed with a few hard accelerations to high speeds. Can the motor controller handle this? I made it home so I assume yes but it probably doesn't help the health of the MC.
I switched off the bike and plugged it in with the timed delay and immediately the motor controller fan started blowing fast. The bike healed itself :-)
So my question is did I do damage to the MC driving hard with no fan?

And a warning to all : make sure you check your MC fan when you experience a power loss while driving and the yellow spanner doesn't appear!

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Mik
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Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

Have you tried booting the bike up without the charger plugged in, yet?

The fan might still not work unless the charger is on, but I'm just speculating here to be on the safe side.

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antiscab
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Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

kingcharles wrote:

And a warning to all : make sure you check your MC fan when you experience a power loss while driving and the yellow spanner doesn't appear!

When you lost power, did you also feel as though the motor started to brake for a moment?

I get this when I accelerate hard, usually from a stop
Only other time I have encountered it was when I was on the freeway and used 25Ah in 15 mins, the MC heatsink was so hit it burnt me when I touched it, despite the ambient temp being only 5 deg C.

I suspect its the IGBT module getting too hot, and shutting down to protect itself, but the cooling is sufficient to pull the temp back into range relatively quickly

I can't be certain though....

Matt

__________________

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst 2 x TC Charger & MC
conversion
Spent so far: $5800 + $7000 + $2040 + $1200 + $425 + $800 + $140 + $3000
Cost to do it again: $1000 + $3800 + $2040 + $1200 + $425 + $800 + $140 + $1500 (lasts longer)
Cost for a Petrol bike:$6000 + + $1440 + $7560 + $1000 + $1600 + $4000 servicing
Total spent: $20405
Total to do again: $10905
Total to have used a petrol bike: $21600
Total distance travelled so far: 102'120km

Other vehicles:
2008 Mazda 2 conversion
2009 Blade Electron
1997 Prius - plugin hybrid mod

kingcharles
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Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

Mik wrote:

Have you tried booting the bike up without the charger plugged in, yet?

The fan might still not work unless the charger is on, but I'm just speculating here to be on the safe side.

Yes, I tried that and the fan works as always. Like nothing happened

antiscab wrote:

When you lost power, did you also feel as though the motor started to brake for a moment?

I get this when I accelerate hard, usually from a stop
Only other time I have encountered it was when I was on the freeway and used 25Ah in 15 mins, the MC heatsink was so hit it burnt me when I touched it, despite the ambient temp being only 5 deg C.

I suspect its the IGBT module getting too hot, and shutting down to protect itself, but the cooling is sufficient to pull the temp back into range relatively quickly

I can't be certain though....

Matt

Yes, it did feel like braking, but it all happened really fast. And after that I could keep my speed easy (was doing 105km/h). It happened to me when I was just going at a steady speed of around 105 km/h. I always ride at that speed.

So if I understand you right it can happen when the IGBT gets too hot. But then how is it possible to make it home without the fan working? (ambient temperature was 15 deg C)

Would I help to clean the MC heatsink?
My bike is now almost 2 years in use (2007 model bought new in Dec. 2009) with 20.000km and latest firmware. Original battery and still good range (35 all motorway km)
Thanks

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X Vectrix
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Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

Kingcharles
I have seen this happen when there is a microprossesor reset (uP RSt). The fan fails to come back on. The IGBT then heats up and the internal thermal protection kicks in and turns off the IGBT momentarily as antiscab noted. Cycling the key resets everything. The motorcontroller should be fine.

kingcharles
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Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

X Vectrix wrote:

Kingcharles
I have seen this happen when there is a microprossesor reset (uP RSt). The fan fails to come back on. The IGBT then heats up and the internal thermal protection kicks in and turns off the IGBT momentarily as antiscab noted. Cycling the key resets everything. The motorcontroller should be fine.

Thanks for the reassurance.
But the thing is that I did not cycle the key to reset everything until I came home (15km of hard driving later!) So I am still a bit worried that the MC took a nasty hit :-(
Also there was no yellow spanner or any message in the display.

But the bike works fine for now although I keep this nasty feeling that something might break soon...

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X Vectrix
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Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

I think you should be alright. The MC will reduce the power as the temperature goes up, minimizing the potential for damage. Did you notice any power loss?

kingcharles
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Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

I did notice reduced power but that was close to home getting away from the traffic lights. I thought the batteries were running low but it could have been the MC.

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antiscab
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Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

X Vectrix wrote:

I think you should be alright. The MC will reduce the power as the temperature goes up, minimizing the potential for damage. Did you notice any power loss?

On my Vectrix, the thermal bond between IGBT and heatsink has been compromised due to the high temperature, so mine cuts out all the time now when I take off as fast as possible :(

X Vectrix - do you happen to know what paste is used between the IGBT and heatsink?
I know there is a plastic spacer to keep the heatsink electrically isolated, so im concerned if I use silver paste it will squeeze out the sides and compromise the isolation.

cheers,
Matt

__________________

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst 2 x TC Charger & MC
conversion
Spent so far: $5800 + $7000 + $2040 + $1200 + $425 + $800 + $140 + $3000
Cost to do it again: $1000 + $3800 + $2040 + $1200 + $425 + $800 + $140 + $1500 (lasts longer)
Cost for a Petrol bike:$6000 + + $1440 + $7560 + $1000 + $1600 + $4000 servicing
Total spent: $20405
Total to do again: $10905
Total to have used a petrol bike: $21600
Total distance travelled so far: 102'120km

Other vehicles:
2008 Mazda 2 conversion
2009 Blade Electron
1997 Prius - plugin hybrid mod

X Vectrix
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Points: 297
Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

Antiscab...cuts out how? Do you have to reenable?
The IGBT is not electrically isolated from the heatsink. Some have a thin foil coated with thermal grease some just have thermal grease. I prefer the thermal grease. You might want to just be sure that the 4 bolts securing the IGBT to heatsink are tight. You access them thru holes in the PCB.

heathyoung
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Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

Yep, there is a thin foil (indium?) that is used sometimes, you can remove it. Clean up the surfaces with brake cleaner or pcb cleaner - they need to be scrupulously clean - any dirt particles means insulation.

Both the IGBT and DC:DC converter are isolated and so do NOT need to be insulated from the heatsink.

The thermal compound to use is the normal white stuff (thermal grease, aluminium oxide) you get from Jaycar. Apply a THIN coat with your finger (you still want to be able to see metal) on both surfaces. You want a thermal interface, not a thermal insulator. Press the two surfaces together, and rub slightly to break surface tension and release any trapped air.

If the rear of the IGBT is warped from heat or over-tightening you can lap the rear flat again with wet-n-dry sandpaper (500 or so grit) on a sheet of glass, much like you would lap a heatsink for a computer processor.

This stuff is messy, and gets everywhere, so don't wear your sunday best, as they say.

antiscab
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Points: 1686
Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

Thanks guys,

X Vectrix wrote:

Antiscab...cuts out how? Do you have to reenable?

When it cuts out, it brakes for a moment, then restarts by itself.

If I am still on the throttle, it cuts out again, but if I back off it continues as if nothing happened

The IGBT is bolted onto the heatsink fairly tightly, but there wasn't much in the way of thermal grease.
I will apply more next time I have it off.

Matt

__________________

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst 2 x TC Charger & MC
conversion
Spent so far: $5800 + $7000 + $2040 + $1200 + $425 + $800 + $140 + $3000
Cost to do it again: $1000 + $3800 + $2040 + $1200 + $425 + $800 + $140 + $1500 (lasts longer)
Cost for a Petrol bike:$6000 + + $1440 + $7560 + $1000 + $1600 + $4000 servicing
Total spent: $20405
Total to do again: $10905
Total to have used a petrol bike: $21600
Total distance travelled so far: 102'120km

Other vehicles:
2008 Mazda 2 conversion
2009 Blade Electron
1997 Prius - plugin hybrid mod

X Vectrix
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Joined: 08/04/2009
Points: 297
Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

OK so that is definitely the IGBT turning off and on. One thing you might want to check is that the IGBT screws are not bottoming out in the heatsink. It feels like the are tight but they arent actually compressing the IGBT and heatsink. (I have seen this happen before).
And yes, that thermal grease will get everywhere, its very messy no matter how hard you try to be neat.

Kocho
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Points: 488
Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

Adding to this thread - I too experienced the Up rSeT error recently. I've never had that before for about 1,200 miles, but had it show-up twice in the past couple of hundred miles. In both cases it happened during highway speed, perhaps with some acceleration.

Feels like the power was abruptly cut-off for a split second. Yellow wrench shows on the dash both times. The first time I just continued to ride (it was mostly downhill after the power loss), and on the next up-hill a few minutes later I gradually lost power over the course of a few seconds to a point where the bike crawled to a stop. The fans on the controller were not working. Restarted the bike, the fans started to work, I waited in place for a minute or so, and cooled things off quickly, power came normal and I got home.

Today it happened again. Cool weather, 60F, highway speed (60mph) and after a slight incline. I was not exceeding 80-90A though (I was looking at it just for information while riding that slight up-hill). Same symptoms - power cut-off for a split second. This time I immediately coasted to a stop on the side of the road and restarted the bike. The following 2-3 miles at 60-68mph were fine.

I suppose I'll have to check the IGBTs, though I suspect they are fine. Apparently the issue is with the MC fans not restarting after the reset. If the fans work fine, even in hot (90F+ weather), the air coming out of the MC is never worryingly hot. So I think they do a really good job cooling the MC (unlike the motor itself, which of course does not have active cooling, and I think gets hotter than ideal - not burning hot, but pretty hot to the touch on the outside).

EDIT. Now that I think about it, in both cases I had "floored" it for just a few seconds (so 150-180A for 2-4 seconds) accelerating off merging ramps from about 30mph to 60mph, then continued to ride "gently" at a 60-65mph at whatever Amps it takes to maintain that. So, likely the IGBTs did indeed try to protect themselves. I imagine the heat sensor are not built-inside the IGBTs and operate with a slight delay? Is that so or could the protection be instantaneous? If there is a slight delay, that would explain why I experienced the power cut-off not at full power but slightly after that.

X Vectrix
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Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

Funny...I had the uPreset today also, at hiway speed. Havnt had it in a while. I just cycle the key immediately to reenable the fans.
This is not an IGBT or heat issue. It has to do with the processor CANbus module locking up and the bike safety mechanism kicking in. This particular processor can enter a state where it no longer receives CAN messages. The MC firmware is designed to detect loss of throttle data over CAN and respond accordingly. The firmware also keeps track of the last state the system was in..forward motion, regen etc. If an unexpected reset occurs the SW will revert back to that mode. This is why you feel the momentary loss of power (uPreset) then it continues. There is still the lingering mystery as to why the MC fans dont come back on. The processor goes thru a complete reset of all fuctions but the fan control PWM gets locked in the off state. Only a hardware reset clears it.

Kocho
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Points: 488
Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

Thanks! Good to know that the reset does not seem to be caused by heat/IGBT (i.e., overly enthusiastic riding). It has never happened to me during the couple of thousand miles on my first old NiMh bike I had and has only happened twice so far, but all during the last 200 miles of a total of 2,400 miles that I've put on my new bike since I bought it last year (the 1,200 miles in my message above are approximately the miles I've put on the bike since my Li conversion and with the current MC firmware that's on the bike).

Rob_Matthies_Va...
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Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

I don't own that scooter, but from experience with my elecrtric pickup, yes you can.

We add our own fans on the electric pickup, and the Ego scooter, which got hot in the chassis all the time) , hard-wired to the battery, with manual connectors. Tedious, but didn't lose any more motors or controllers.

hybride
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Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

Happened me today; 'uP rst'. I was accelerating in the first KM drive from a 'cold' start. While i didn't know yet about this error i slowly continued driving with lost power and got a 'HS hot'. Stopped. MC Heatsink HOT. Resetted the scoot and the MC fan started to blow max. I drived home without further problems. Any new insights to prevent this? Bad contact on the MC plugs, moisture?

R
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Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

Any new insights to prevent this? Bad contact on the MC plugs, moisture?

Hello, it is a known problem of generation MC 20xx firmwares. When UP rst is diplayed, the fan stops working. Stop immediately and reset the vectrix.

framuga
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Re: Motor controller fan failure while driving

"UpRst" is a bug present in firmwares 2042_4 and Dugas. It is produced by a processor reset randomly, with instant power requested. ATTENTION. when the temperature control occurs MC funciaonar stops. You have to stop and restart the bike off to prevent overheating.

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