Ego Won't Charge
I noticed last riding season that I was getting less and less range from my bike. I commute just under 5 miles round trip to work. It was getting to where I couldn't make that distance full throttle in 'go fast' mode with a full charge. I was a heavy 240 lbs back then (30 lbs lighter now), but the range shouldn't be THAT short.
Since it was the end of the season, I didn't fret about it and at the start of this season, I bought two fresh batteries. I put them in and charged them overnight and then tried to ride the bike. I had a full set of bars but by the end of the driveway I had nothing but one bar and a blinking bar. When I shut everything off, I got 4 bars. Let it charge for a week and tried it today, same thing.
I just put the other batteries in to see if it is the batteries (I didn't think to test them before I removed them) and I will test them tomorrow.
I read some on this in another topic and the charger light is behaving in the same way, constant green, never going to amber. (I haven't tried disconnecting the batteries and plugging it in; it is dark now, but I will try that tomorrow).
If it is the charger, what do I test? I have a nice voltmeter, but do not understand it that well. If someone could give me a clue on what setting I need it on and what terminals to test that would be great. I want to be sure it is the charger since that is an expensive article to replace and I just put down over $150 on the batteries already.
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
Set the multimeter to the appropriate voltage range and test to see if there is voltage coming out of the charger's plug. Then do the same thing for the batteries connector (be careful not to short it out accidentally with the probes).
If you get no voltage out of the charger, you'll probably have to get a new one. If you get no voltage out of the batteries' plug, there's likely a broken connection somewhere on that end. That's pretty easy to fix; just take it apart and solder/heatshrink the wire.
If both seem fine, then it could still be a problem with the charger.
It is possible to get new bad batteries. You may need to get them replaced under warranty.
To test the charger, the open circuit voltage is sometimes not helpful, because the charger may need feedback from the batteries to supply any voltage. What you'll need to do is remove the cover to the batteries, and then plug the charger in. Measure the voltage of the main positive (+), and negative (-) terminals of the battery pack. If the batteries are at all drained, then this should gradually come up to about 28.8 to 30v, and then hold that voltage for a while. After a while, the voltage should drop to 27.2 to 27.6v which is float mode.
Check for any bad connections while your at it. The battery connections need to be tight. Any high resistance points will cause heat, and you may see or smell something being melted or burnt.
Testing the DC voltage on the batteries, they read in the 14 - 15 volt range. When I plugged the bike in it started to go up slowly. Checking the new batteries that I pulled out, they were in the 16-17 range
Can you please clarify if this is while on the charger? If they measure 14-15v or 16-17v each open circuit (off of the charger), then it sounds like the charger severely damaged them. If they measured 14-15v while on the charger, then this is normal. They should measure about 13v open circuit when fully charged.
Based on this information, it sounds to me like the charger is the culprit. I'll bet the charger took the voltage way too high and damaged both sets of batteries.
You could warranty the new batteries, but they probably weren't defective. And this would mean sending them back and waiting a long time for replacements while the bike sits idle. Additionally, they may determine that the batteries were abused, and not replace them. I would add about 1 ml distilled water per cell to the batteries, but removing the vent covers may void the warranty. Since the batteries are new, and they have not been overcharged for very long, then I think there is a reasonable chance of reconditioning them by adding water. I would first add 1 ml to every cell of each battery, then add in 1/2 ml increments, charging each battery each time with a good 12v smart charger. After being fully charged, then taken off for a minute, and provided the battery is cool, the open circuit voltage should be about 13v. When it reaches that low, then you'll know the water "level" is about right.
1 ml is a very small amount of water. You need a way to measure this precisely, and a way to add it to the cells through the vent caps. I like to use a dropper. And, only use distilled water.
BTW, since your charger is bad, and you'll need a new charger I would get two smart chargers for charging each battery separately, setup series/parallel switching of the batteries, or use a BattEQ unit. This will keep them in balance. From what I remember reading a while back, ego users aren't getting great battery life, and this may be due to battery balance issues leading to battery damage.
You need to determine whether your charger is working properly. Fortunately Ego has a procedure for this purpose on their website. Here's the link:
Do this procedure and let us know the results. You don't want to ignore a potentially bad charger. Mine went bad last year and ruined a set of one year old batteries - a very expensive failure.
hope this helps,
You can try charging them with the trickle charger, but you need to be careful. Watch the voltage as they charge. As soon as it rises above 14.5v, then remove them from the charger. Beyond that, the voltage will quickly rise and the batteries can be overcharged. It looks like that charger is just a taper transformer charger, which will not charge AGMs properly, but it will put some charge in them for diagnostic purposes.
Sorry for jumping to conclusions. I don't know what the problem is yet. That open circuit voltage is still pretty high though.
And you seem to be suggesting that my batteries are already fully charged. Maybe the indicator is wrong? I mean it couldn't be the controller could it? What would be definitive on the batteries?
Yes, I am suggesting they are fully charged because the indicator on your ego seemed to suggest that. If batteries are significantly discharged then they will have a lower open circuit votlage, and this will show up on your indicator.
Maybe the indicator is wrong?
Unlikely, but it is possible.
I mean it couldn't be the controller could it?
I really don't have enough information to say.
What would be definitive on the batteries?
The only 100% definitive test on the batteries would be a capacity test which takes some expensive equipment. However, you can get enough information to know if they are the problem in this case by doing a short duration load test. First, the batteries need to be fully charged. The best way to define full charge is if the charge voltage is held constant at 14.7v for a 12v battery, and the current tapers to .01C or about .35 amps for 35 ah batteries. With your taper charger, if the voltage reaches 14.5v at 2 amps, then the battery will be almost fully charged and you can proceed.
A load test can be done with a load tester. You probably don't have one of these, so you can use your car and a set of jumper cables. First, disconnect the car's battery, then connect one of your ego batteries to the car with the jumper cables. Run the headlights on high and any other accessories for a few minutes. If it maintains voltage and keeps the headlights on, then we at least know that the batteries are good enough to run your ego for more than a few feet, and the immediate problem is not the batteries.
Replace the battery in the multimeter and see if that helps.
For what it's worth, I think you're getting side tracked here with the batteries. You need to first eliminate the charger as a possible source of the trouble.
I'd suggest you put the new batteries back in the scooter and, leaving it unplugged, put the key in and turn on the headlight for about 30 minutes. This will drain the batteries down enough to trigger the amber light if the charger is okay and give you a good point from which to run the Ego "Troubleshooting a Charger Failure" procedure I linked above. If the charger and its fuse check out okay, then start looking at your batteries in more depth. Until you vindicate your charger I'd be very hesitant to use it for fear of overcharging your batteries.
hope this helps,
My "other car" is a Prius so I am loathe to try that. :)
Yea definitely don't try that on a Prius!
tedd had a good idea about using the headlight to do a test. If the light is staying on for a few minutes, then the batteries are good enough to run the ego for more than a few feet.
The multimeter is bad, or needs a new battery. Those readings just don't add up.
I'm an eGO dealer and eGO service professional. Odds are your issue is with the fuse in the negative lead from the charger to the controller. Coming out of the top of the charger are three wires two black and one red. One black one and the red one will go down to connect on the front of the controller. Follow these two wires, on each one you will find an inline fuse holder for ATO automotive blade fuses. Replace both of these fuses (10 amp) and see if that amber light comes on when you plug it in afterwards. Odds are it will!
The charger is the black box on the left (as you sit on the bike) the controller is snuggled up against in on the right. You can't miss them they are in front of the batteries.
Sure no problem.
I'm sure you will be back in business once it's replaced. Just for future use, this is pretty common. If you are like me you want to know what blew the fuse.
On the eGO the only path to the chassis ground for the battery circuit is through the charger. Mostly it's a slip by someone changing batteries or otherwise working in the compartment. It's incredibly easy to do when working on the bike. All it takes is a split second contact of any power in the system to the aluminum chassis to blow this fuse. It can even happen from the power held in the controller capacitors with the batteries disconnected. If the B+ anywhere on the bike makes contact with the chassis the fuse in the negative charger lead blows. then the charger can't "see" the batteries and doesn't charge them.
Let me know if you need anything else. The eGO scooter forum on yahoo is probably a better place to look for help on your eGO. You will have the input of a couple of dealers and some very experienced owners to help trouble shoot.