Replaced controller

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DavdiLKline
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Joined: 04/20/2008
Points: 5

Glad I found this forum. Thought I was all alone. Rode Z-20 for a few blocks, then, after a pause, throttle died, though horn and lights worked. A minute or so later it came back on. This happened twice. On parking stand motor ran fine. Following Andy's instructions, I took of front plastic and checked wires. Then rear same. Then received new controller which I installed. Then nothing. No motor at all even on parking stand. Horn and lights fine. Awaiting further instructions.

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peasler
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Joined: 12/12/2007
Points: 11
Re: Replaced controller

I had almost the same problem. I had about 650 miles (i think they are KM) on the bike and took the bike out to go to work one morning and everything would work, lights, horn, start up beep, signal lights, but the motor would turn. Andy said he thought it was a controller and he sent me one and I replace it but the motor would not turn. I check all the connectors again and notice that one set of wires that were loose on the circuit breaker were not screwed down properly, once that was done, I tried the throtle and the motor turned over. I have put around 50 kms on it since the controller replacement and it runs fine except for a slightly lounder motor growl. Hope this helps.

DavdiLKline
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Joined: 04/20/2008
Points: 5
Re: Replaced controller

Happy to hear you're rolling again. No luck for me. Checked the wire to circuit breaker. Sure enough it was loose. Stripped a little more of the insulation, inserted and tightened the set screw. Same as before. Horn, lights work but no action from the throttle. Andy sent me a new throttle along with the controller. Plugged it in to the relevant connector, still no effect. Haven't heard from Andy.

peasler
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Joined: 12/12/2007
Points: 11
Re: Replaced controller

David - make sure those wires are placed at the top of the slot of the circuit breaker to make contact with the metal bracket, sounds simple but it might happen.

DavdiLKline
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Joined: 04/20/2008
Points: 5
Re: Replaced controller

Thanks peasler. Right. It's counter intuitive but I got it in above the bracket. Rock solid.
I have turned in the license tag so as not to pay the learner's permit insurance while the scooter sits in my garage for who knows how long.

mikejuv
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Joined: 12/12/2007
Points: 53
Re: Replaced controller

DavdiLKline wrote:

Horn, lights work but no action from the throttle.

I'm a novice with electrical stuff, but have you tried using a digital multimeter to determine where the power stops?

I would test to see if there is current going through the breaker and DC-DC converter. If those are both good, test the wires into and out of the throttle. Perhaps others with more technical skill can give specifics or provide a better suggestion on the best way to debug the problem.

Overload
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Joined: 02/04/2008
Points: 24
Re: Replaced controller

Problem could also be the sidestand switch or the brake switches, all of which seem to cut out the throttle.
Overload in CO

__________________

Overload in CO

DavdiLKline
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Joined: 04/20/2008
Points: 5
Re: Replaced controller

Thanks. I did my best to check kick stand and brake switches. Scooter is now in the hands of a pro at motors and wiring. He picked it up yesterday. I found him by Google and put him in touch with Andy. Hoping for speedy best.

Weee
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Joined: 07/26/2007
Points: 49
Re: Replaced controller

Just chiming in with my Z-20 experience so far.

I've gone through 2 controllers and 3 DC to DC converters. I've finally hit my limit on how much time and energy I've put into the bike and asked that EVTA get my bike to a shop that can do repairs from now on. It's been in the shop for 1 week. I think the shop is handling things well. We'll see how long it takes to get it back.

Weee

DWrath
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Joined: 09/10/2007
Points: 55
Re: Replaced controller

I'm also replacing my controller. First it was my throttle, got a replacement and it ran much better. The new problems began when the battery was about 3/4 drained, the bike would cut-out/loose power under acceleration; I'd have to back of the throttle and re-accelerate. Emailed Andy, who forwarded to the crack engineers in China who thought it was a controller problem. So now I have a "new" controller that I need to install. I'll let you know how it operates after the replacement.
BTW, my wife rode the scooter about a week ago; on leaving the driveway, she froze holding open the accelerator. She took off across the street, jumped the curb, and landed sideways in the neighbors yard. She was a bit bruised up, but no blood or broken bones, but the bike wasn't running, great. After taking the bike apart, I found that the the bottom battery's cable came off during impact with the curb; of course it had to be the bottom battery. Reattached the cable and it's running like before. Now to see if the new controller makes it run even better than before.

Weee
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Joined: 07/26/2007
Points: 49
Re: Replaced controller

I got my bike back from the shop today (MC Electric for anybody who's interested). It is working like a champ. Of course, I have only rode about 15 miles thus far, so the jury is still out.

A few words to all those who have questions about EVTA from a customer who will not profit from EVTA's successes or failures:

1. The product has a lot that can go wrong with it. I do believe that EVTA's QA is lacking. Be aware that if you order from them, it may be a headache with all the fixes.

2. When it's running, the bike is an absolute joy to ride. I can attest that it can carry 300 lbs and keep up with 35 mph (posted 35 mph) traffic areas pretty well. However, you will not be blasting by cars or hitting the stated 45 mph max speed. It can settle in at 40 or 41 on straight , flat roads (maybe higher on a good day). Otherwise, it's a 35 mph "real world" max speed.

3. Response time in customer service is completely random. Sometimes, I hear nothing for days or weeks on end. Other times, I get responses and resolutions to my problems within 15 minutes.

4. The Pruna brothers are not evil, scheming businessman. I've had many, many (TOO MANY) conversations with them over the phone regarding their business, my bike and, of course, my breakdown issues. They are just two guys trying to run a good business, but have under-estimated the amount of risk involved. They're trying to do the right thing, but they are just a couple of guys in Florida - not a multi-billion dollar auto manufacturer. Keep this in mind when thinking about purchasing and future service.

I will post more as I have more operational time with the bike. I've owned the bike for 5 months and have put less than 50 miles on it. Lots of breakdown issues, but I hope to have those behind me now.

For those who's bikes are working (DonC, DWrath, and others) - how are you guys getting along?

Great weather these days! Live free. Ride hard!

Weee

isleoftiki
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Joined: 05/29/2008
Points: 4
Re: Replaced controller

I am new to this forum and I wish I had a better reason for joining, but here's the situation. I have had my Z-20 since mid-January, 2008. I have never ridden it. It has never worked since I got it. I have gotten nothing but the run-around from the Prunas. They have given me every excuse in the book. The last I heard from them was 3 weeks ago, when I was told that Andy would be in the Los Angeles area visiting his relatives and would stop by to fix my bike. I've contacted him and Fernando numerous times via email and phone messages and not heard a thing from them since. Supposedly, Andy was going to be in L.A. LAST WEEK! I strongly urge anyone considering purchasing a bike from them to reconsider. You will not get any satisfaction from their abominable "customer service".

DWrath
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Joined: 09/10/2007
Points: 55
Re: Replaced controller

Sorry to hear about your bad experience. If you go into a bit more detail about your bike problem, we might be able to help you out, especially what you've looked at and ruled out as possible sources. I've had to replace both my throttle and controller on my bike and now it's running pretty well. Andy is not the quickest to respond to emails, best is to try to get him on the phone. Hopefully you'll be up and running soon, January is a long time to wait.

Weee
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Joined: 07/26/2007
Points: 49
Re: Replaced controller

Hey, Isle,

I second what DWrath is saying. It's taken a lot of persistence on my part to get the Prunas to make good on their "customer service." In the end, I've gone through a few controllers, even more converters and a lot of heartache. However, the thing is up and running now and it's doing well. 280 lbs uphill and it makes it (not fast, but it makes it). Let us know your situation and we might be able to help. All us Z/R owners have put MORE time that we'd have wanted into our bikes.

isleoftiki
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Joined: 05/29/2008
Points: 4
Re: Replaced controller

DWrath and Weee, thanks to both of you for offering to help. i'm a single mom who works full time, and I don't have loads of free time to spend on mechanics. i'm quite capable of most repair work and own a full array of tools, but have no specific knowledge of electric vehicles. i do understand basic electrical functions, though, and after much waiting I was sent a throttle and controller to try, after ascertaining that the problem wasn't a kill switch issue in the kick-stand. All lights, horn and alarm work. the first thing i tried was the throttle replacement. they sent me the wrong throttle! so i considered going ahead with the controller replacement but when i was finally sent the instructions, i balked. not only do i not have the time or the inclination to attempt dismantling the entire bike to get at the controller, i was afraid i'd break something in the process. lots of little pieces of plastic have already broken off just by touching them. anyway, i decided there was no reason i should have to go through all this and asked them to refer me to a repair facility in my area, but they haven't done anything except tell me Andy would come out to fix it. then nothing . . . If anyone knows of a reliable repair shop in the Los Angeles area, i would love to get a recommendation. thanks again!

jstibal
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Joined: 03/17/2008
Points: 45
Re: Replaced controller

isleoftiki,

Having experienced a failed DC-DC converter then a failed controller, I have to agree with DWrath and Weee. This scooter has been more work than I expected, but I've actually had decent responses from EVT (specifically Andres Pruna). I was very worried when the converter failed, because I hadn't noticed until then the requirement on their FAQ page about registering the scooter with them within ten days of receiving it or the warranty was void; I'd had the scooter for a few months before the converter went out and hadn't registered it with them. When I contacted them about it, they gave me no problems, and said it was already registered (I'm still not sure what the registration procedure is). When I subsequently described the problem with the converter and gave details of the troubleshooting I had done, Andres shipped a new one to me, no questions asked, and without requiring I return the old one. When the controller failed, after I sent an email describing the situation and the troubleshooting I had done they responded quickly that they would ship a replacement out, which I received without having to first return the failed controller for testing.

Perhaps the difference in customer service is the labor that EVT has been willing to provide. I've done all my own diagnostics and labor (I've spent so much time on the scooter my wife refers to it as my mistress), and basically just asked EVT to provide parts under warranty. For anyone considering getting one of these scooters, I would definitely recommend they be comfortable with a wrench, voltmeter and soldering iron, or have a scooter shop nearby that can do the work. Maybe the next generation of scooters will be better (they've already discontinued the Z-20a in favor of the Z-20b, and reportedly have other engineering changes lined up) or better yet a major player will get involved in electric scooters (are you listening, Honda?).

In summary, I'm sorry that your experience with their customer service has been so poor, but although the quality of my Z-20 wasn't what I had initially hoped for, my experience with the scooter and their customer services has been positive overall and I'm riding the scooter as often as possible now.

Good Luck.

(Incidentally, has anyone else repaired/modified a failed DC-DC converter by substituting a replaceable, externally accessible fuse for the one soldered to the circuit board?)

__________________

Jon Stibal
2008 EVT America Z-20A
2011 CMC C130 - my daily driver:

isleoftiki
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Joined: 05/29/2008
Points: 4
Re: Replaced controller

jstsibal,
thanks for the added info, but labor can't be the entire story. up until i decided to bail on replacing the controller myself, i did all the diagnostics and labor myself too. that was about 4 months into the whole debacle. Here, I've read one person after another say that they were sent a controller right away, no problem. it took months for them to send me the throttle (wrong part was sent) and controller, and much complaining came along with it. about how i was being "unreasonable" (i gave them the benefit of the doubt for months before i lost my patience), and how i was 1 of only 3 people who were having trouble with the controller (evidence to the contrary on this thread alone!). Then, after THEY had told ME that the problem was my controller, and after I hadn't heard from them for a prolonged period, they came back with an email to the effect of "what made ME think it was the controller? we can't just be sending out controllers based on YOUR opinion!", etc. just bad news all around. but i'm happy for all the rest of you who have at least been able to ride their bikes. it must be nice . . .

DWrath
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Joined: 09/10/2007
Points: 55
Re: Replaced controller

Replacing the controller looks a bit daunting if you haven't pulled apart your bike yet, but it really isn't too bad. It took me the better part of a morning to do it. A couple of caveats: the controller is a pretty tight fit and the wires coming out of the new controller might be coming out of a different location compared to the old controller, so just look at the colors of the wires. For the tight fit, you can either cut back on the plastic entry housing so the wires lay closer to the controller (looks like this is what they did at the assembly "plant") or you could push the controller as far back as it will go; this requires shaving off a bit more of the top of the housing (luckily it is aluminum and a file quickly shaves it down) and redrilling a couple of holes where the back bolts attach. One additional item, the instructions on the site doesn't mention this, but it becomes pretty obvious, the top batteries need to be removed when replacing the controller. When working with DC try to only touch one wire at a time and not to rest your hand on anything else on the bike when touching a wire. Another good idea is to buy some electrical tape (not black) and a sharpie pen. As you disconnect a wire, wrap the exposed wire with tape and label it and the area you removed it from, i.e. A-A, B-B, etc.

Weee
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Joined: 07/26/2007
Points: 49
Re: Replaced controller

Hello all,

Latest status on my Z-20b is that it is dead again (for the 3rd time). This is the 3rd controller I've been through. Again, it died while charging. Unlike the other ones, however, this one made it about 50 real world miles before dying. I did call EVTA with my complaint and they seem to be backing away from the situation, whereas they were very helpful before in helping me diagnose and fix the problem. Perhaps they respond poorly to criticism?

To be clear, they have been fairly prompt in sending replacement parts. The only problem is, the replacement parts keep dying too!

Isle, I also got the same response from them: "How do we know it's the controller just because you said so?" Funny, it was EVTA that suggested that the controller was the problem the first 2 times around. Why wouldn't it be the controller the 3rd time - since the bike is exhibiting the exact same behavior as the first two times?

I am wondering if there is something else on my bike that is burning out the controllers. As low-quality as these controllers seem to be, it seems odd that I'd go through 3 of them so quickly while others have theirs running for several hundred miles now.

I know somebody has put a non-EVTA controller into a Z-20/R-20 before. Could anybody with info on that process post their process and results for the rest of us? I am very interested in placing a non-EVTA controller into my bike. However, I am afraid that whatever is burning out my EVTA controllers will burn out the new ones as well. Anybody know what the problem might be? Is it really just faulty controllers (my bad luck), or is there something else on the bike that is causing controller after controller to break?

Thanks! Any help is greatly appreciated!

isleoftiki
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Joined: 05/29/2008
Points: 4
Re: Replaced controller

Dear Weee,
i'm really sorry to hear about your problems. 3 controllers dying is just totally unacceptable in my book. it does seem that there may be another element in the mix that is causing it though, as you theorize. in any case, i would suggest that you only communicate with EVTA in writing and you keep all copies as a "paper trail" of your problems. they are supposed to be contacting me on Monday to finally fix my "new" bike. i'll let you all know what comes of it.

aajax
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Joined: 06/14/2008
Points: 1
Re: Replaced controller

Perhaps the key to getting good service is to be an active member of this forum. ;)

vinnie
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Joined: 07/27/2007
Points: 161
Re: Replaced controller

As for the after-market controller...there are several threads going on across the board about Kelly controllers. Just do a search for 'Kelly controller' and you'll find them or PM me for all the links and phone numbers as I am about to install one as well.

__________________

Vinnie
Broomfield, CO

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