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Flat Battery (i think...)

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Having babied the batteries on a 2007 Vectrix, looks like an extended time away from the bike and poor instructions to a friend to "plug it in from time to time", not "leave it plugged in" has resulted in a flat battery pack. Now, when plugging it in, a few clicky noises occur from the front of the bike and nothing happens. I assume the pack is drained. I called a dealer in Portland, OR., and they were not very keen on servicing the Vectrix. All the Seattle dealers are done with Vectrix...

Trolling through this site, I notice bits and pieces about making something that will get the pack with enough voltage to start charging. However, I have not been able to wrap my head around what is needed. With that, are there any details anyone could share about what is necessary to do this? I look forward to purchasing Matt's conversion in 2012, but would like to salvage as much of what I have in the mean time.

Any advice or guidance is appreciated.

Many thanks!

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

To begin with I would recomend pulling apart the anderson connectors to stop the small battery drain present when they are connected. Note don't reconnect it without using a ICL (inrush current limiter) first.

Also I would only atempt building the freddy charger if you have soldering experience.

I can make a list of parts and sources (USA) I used to make a charger, bought the parts but I have not assembled it yet.

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

Look for a regulated DC power supply that gives you 150V or more. I bought on on eBay and have seen some for under $100 from time to time. All you need to do is clip this to the pos and neg of your battery for 10 min and you probably have the voltage high enough to make the charger go.
There is a really good one albeit expensive on eBay right now. SORENSEN DCR 150-3B 0-150V@ 0-3A VARIABLE REGULATED DC LAB METERED POWER SUPPLY. That what I have and it works great.

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

Actually, look for item number 220804611723
Which is an $85

Acopian A150MT100 Regulated Power Supply 150V Output
Just what you need

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

I second the disconnect the andersons idea if you can't charge straight away.
The longer a nimh cell is held reversed, the greater its self discharge rate.
accelerated self discharge in a few cells tends to render them useless and will need to be bridged out.
Many high self discharge cells in a pack renders the pack useless :(

A relatively simple way to get enough charge in is to simply use a bridge rectifier across the mains, with a light bulb in series for current limiting.

Don't do that while the MC is still connected though.

Once there is enough charge in the pack (pack voltage above 115V), disconnect the rectifier bridge, and use the light bulb to do precharge, then wire the MC back in.

__________________

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: Flat Battery (i think...)

antiscab wrote:

A relatively simple way to get enough charge in is to simply use a bridge rectifier across the mains, with a light bulb in series for current limiting.

The power supplies mentioned above are even easier come to think of it.
Not as cheap though, a bridge rectifier and light bulb are ~$5, but a bit more complicated to wire up.

If using a power supply, just make sure it does current limiting, as the battery may burn it out if it does voltage limiting only.

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

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

Excellent point Matt, both of the above quoted power supplies do have current limiting
from the manufacturers page
Electronic current limiting and provision for remote voltage sensing are standard features; overvoltage protection is available as a built-in option.

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

Thanks for the feedback. So, I'll purchase the device Harry recommended. The order of operations would then be:

1. Follow Matt's disassemble procedure in one of his videos to gain access to the batteries.
2. Unplug the anderson cables
3. Provide AC input to the device (I assume using a plug wired to the device?)
4. Provide DC output cables and clip to the battery packs +/- terminals (are there particular terminals to choose since the packs are stacked?)
5. Let run for 10 min or so to get pack's voltage to a point where it will charge back up.
6. Unplug AC input into device
7. Disconnect DC side of device from battery
8. Reassemble bike (can I charge without reassembly?)

Done?

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

No,
Much easier. Don't take the andersons apart. In fact you can't charge the battery with them apart. Just open the battery box, clamp pos and negative cables to the pos and negative on the top left and right rear battery, and turn you charger on for a few minutes. In fact, I would probably charge for an hour. Just make sure you don't touch the hot leads. You will have 125-150V on the battery. If you are worried, just wear a pair of rubber gloves. Take the charger off, and measure the battery voltage. If it is over 100V, plug the Vectrix in and charge.

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

sneak-y wrote:

Thanks for the feedback. So, I'll purchase the device Harry recommended. The order of operations would then be:

5. Let run for 10 min or so to get pack's voltage to a point where it will charge back up.
Done?

One mistake is step 5, is to only let it charge for 10 minutes it should be more like a day or until all the cells are fully charged. The main reason the freddy charger (http://visforvoltage.org/forum/7912-nimh-battery-problems-and-cures ) was designed was to equalize all the cells by charging them at a low enough amperage .3 amps to not overheat them. I noticed that the Acopian A150MT100 output is 1 amp wich I think is to much but if you added the right resistance it might work.

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

1A is ok for a continuous charge, its just the battery will be a bit warmer than it otherwise could be charging at 0.3A.

Incidentally,
These cells are designed to take 3A continuous overcharge, and I use 2.5A during testing.

If you use the powersupply to fully charge the pack, you will need some way to set the fuel guage to full.

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

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

Thanks everyone for the helpful input. I've ordered the converter and hope to have it by next week. We'll see how it goes. I'll provide the details when it is all said and done.

Regards,
Jeff

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

Thanks fellas for the tip about the regulated power supplys. I purcased a KEPCO 150 volt 0.3 amp regulated power supply. I don't have a battery problem yet since I have only put about 340 miles on this scooter since I bought it new (31 miles)in nov 2009, I have been busy with so many other projects(three electric trikes- schwinn meridian) and finishing my (1966 IMPALA SS PROJECT ,it's almost finished-owned since 1974) anyway I have been also trying to design and build my VECTRIX into a trike-almost except 1 wheel in front and three wheels in the back. I joined this forum over a year ago and do try to read up on almost everything in the vectrix links.I have enjoyed all of your posts. BTW my MERIDIAN TRIKES are running 72volt and 60 volt THUNDERSKY BATS.since I retired in 2008(be 68yrs old in DEC.)and the have been my main mode of transportation here in TAMPA FL.anyway thanks again COOPER.

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

Battery is being charged by the internal charger! Received the converter, dismantled the bike and attached the converter. Here's what has transpired tonight:

1. Attached the converter to the +/- of the battery for about an hour.
2. Removed converter, plugged in the bike.
3. Bike powered on reporting 138v and all but 2 bars full, but the wrench and battery lights came on after which the bike powered down and would not power back up.
4. Reattached the converter again to the +/- of the battery for about 5 min.
5. Removed converter, bike powered on and began a CP charge at 153v/~11A.
6. Bike charged for about 10 min, then stopped with the front fan still running.
7. Unplugged bike, plugged it back in after which bike began CP charge at 153v/~11A for about 2 min. Bike then went into CC charge at 153v/~3A and continues to charge as I write with temp reporting 19c.

I'll report the final in the morning. I assume the charger may be confused regarding the state of charge? Unfortunately, I didn't have a volt meter to measure the voltage at the terminals prior to charging with the converter and after charging.

Since the bike is still dismantled, any input on next steps with any particular testing is welcomed. I can source a volt meter if necessary.

Thanks for everyone's help! Too bad Vectrix cannot be there to support its customers in the same fashion this forum does....

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

I suggest to do a "Swedish reset" that's what it is called on my Saab. Disconnect the battery by pulling the Anderson connector apart. Reconnect with the light bulb as inrush limiter. You can build one really easy. I bought a nightlight with a build in switch. I plugged it into the receptacle of one of those $1 extension cords, cut off the plug and replaced it with to piercing clamps one on each lead. Now all you do is hook each of the piercing clamps to the positive flat cables on each side of the Anderson connector. You need a second cable with piercing connectors for the negative cables. If you don't have piercing connectors, you can rigg something up with tacks that you sodded to your cable then stick them through the insulated cable. Just make sure that you put electric tape on their back so you don't get shocked.
A disconnect from the batty should fix any confusion that the charger may have.

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

I'm not the best one to give you advise but it sounds like you have a number of weak to bad cells that are not accepting a charge which causes the battery to seem to charge very fast but what is realy happening is the bad cell's voltage is much higher than the healthy ones only while being charged, and when the battery voltage reached 153 volts the Vectrix's BMS shuts off the charger. It can charge now because the bad cell's voltage isn't as high as it was when it was being charged at 11 amps.

When the charger turns off the healthy cells won't be fully charged because the bad cell's voltage was higher than normal while being charged therefore I advise you to not ride the scooter or you risk reverse charging good battery cells.

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

Okay, thanks for the info. So, simply using the scooter until the battery light comes on is not an option?

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

You can run the scooter but it will probably be empty after a very short while.
Best is to wait for the charge cycle to finish and check what the voltage is after 1 or 2 hours. If it is around 142 - 144V you can take a short ride but no accellerations and stay close to home :-)
Check the voltage every few hundred metres. As soon as you reach 128V go home and try to be home before you get to 120V.
ride it really slow!

If 1 to 2 hours after the charge cycle the voltage has dropped below 135V you probably have a damaged pack. You could still ride it but it will most likely not get you very far :-(

If your test ride goes well you will need to repeat it untill the capacity of the battery is stable again. You should notice little increase in range after each charge cycle.

Another alternative is to use your external charger. You say it is a 0.3 Amp. If you leave that connected to the bike for 4 days it should have completely filled the batteries and balanced them nicely too!

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

kingcharles wrote:

...
...
Another alternative is to use your external charger. You say it is a 0.3 Amp. If you leave that connected to the bike for 4 days it should have completely filled the batteries and balanced them nicely too!

That is indeed the right way to go about it, if you have a secure place to do it in. You also need to connect a 12V DC supply to the input for the cooling impellers, otherwise the battery might overheat. If it's in a cold environment, then 150V x 0.3A = 50W might not overheat the battery, but in a warm environment it will.

If I understand this correctly, then the charge indicator shown nearly full, but the battery is not. This could be adjusted with the diagnostic software, or by resetting it by driving until the red light (if you have the newer software) or by actually matching the SOC to the perceived SOC. That's what the external charger will do.

Running to the red light with a severely imbalanced battery would risk permanent damage to the battery.

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

My thought was what KING CHARLES said. this is the reason why you need the power supply. I would stop and get a good volt meter.now check the voltage after it has settled down and then use the power supply and leave it on until the battery is fully charge and the cells are balanced. My power supply is 150volt and 0.3 amps (APOX 300MILAMP) and it's regulated. the one he bought may not be the same.

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

The power supply is a Acopian A150MT100, which is 1A continuous. What I'll do is test the battery at the rear terminals, reassemble and drive it around for a while, observe the voltage drop, then charge for a couple of days. The weather is rather cool right now, so overheating is very doubtful.

Thanks again for the input!

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

So much for that plan.... An internal component of the Acopian melted. Land lady had to unplug after discovering smoke. Pretty sad.

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Re: Flat Battery (i think...)

HI SNEAK-Y: I was able to speak to (DAVID RIDDEL) the owner of the company that re-buildS these very expensive power supply's and he made a point to(ADD A SUITABLE BLOCKING DIOED AND AT LEAST 1 AMP FUSE) IN THE POSITIVE CABLE BECAUSE IF THE BATTERY VILTAGE IS EVER HIGHER THAN OUTPUT VOLTAGE IT WILL COOK SOMETHING IN THE POWER SUPPLY. sorry for your mishaps. GOOD DAY COOPER

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