Vectrix low battery blues

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AndY1
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Something strange happened to me this morning.

My battery was 7/17 full and I plugged-in charging. At 3:00 hours of charging, TR153 Voltage at 144V, battery at 17/17 the LCDs froze and it wouldn't move from there. Nothing changed on the LCDs. I disconnected the plug, waited a minute and connected it again. It changed instantly from CP to CC to EC and countdown from 5 minutes then it shut down.

If I left it unattended (it was obviously still charging, but I guess the charger froze), could it damage the battery by not stop charging it?

oobflyer
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Bad news, unfortunately. I rode the Vectrix, after the firmware upgrade (Oct 2008) down to 4 bars of charge/9 miles of remaining range. At this point, the red battery light came on, the 'busalt' error message came on, and the power dropped significantly. After another mile of riding (slowly), the remaining 4 bars disappeared, the range went from 8 miles to 0 miles and the power dropped again. I limped that last mile home at about 20 MPH.
In other words, there was no change from before and after the firmware upgrade (other than the cooling delays mentioned previously).
Needless to say, I was disappointed. I'm not sure what to do at this point. It's a 200 mile round-trip for me to haul the Vectrix to the dealer. Should I bring it back, again? Should I just accept this problem and keep it charged up?
What have others done?
I will call the dealer, again, tomorrow and report what they say.

AndY1
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Did the dealer say that you have to do multiple full-discharge cycles for the software to calibrate? That's what it says in the software upgrade documentation volt76 posted. Have you done that?

http://visforvoltage.org/forum/5135-newest-vectrix-firmware-updates

Quote:

The SW also measures the actual battery capacity during a full discharge cycle immediately following a full charge cycle. This capacity is then shared with the charger so that the charging profile can be matched to the battery pack. In addition the charger uses this value to accurately scale the fuel gauge. Although the SW performs this measurement on an ongoing basis it is critical to follow the initialization procedure to insure that the SW learns the pack capacity in the first few charge cycles.

Vectrix-NH
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Hi
dose the bike get you where you what to go .
I hope it dose . as you would never run the gas tank as low as some of you seam to do the battery on your Vectrix.
I sill have the old soft ware in my Vectrix I know exactly how far I can go on each bar. and yes the bottom is used up fast. as the gas gage on your car dose too. you will get use to what ever you have .
Again I hope your Vectrix dose what you need it to , and the gage is just anoying .

Happy riding , Herb

oobflyer
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

The dealer (Marin BMW, San Rafael, CA) didn't say anything. They just installed the firmware upgrade and said it was finished. I plan on sending an email to Vectrix service too.
Meanwhile, AndY1 mentioned that maybe I should do some more charging cycles, which, of course I will do. I did do the deep discharge/recharge cycle once, since the upgrade, but maybe it will improve with more charges.
BUT, my question is this: have others exerpienced this? How have you dealt with it? If everyone has the same experience maybe it's just a limitation of the new technology. If I'm the only one then maybe something is wrong with my bike - if so I'd like to take care of it while it'a still under warranty.
Thanks!

undead
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

My documentation given for the firmware upgrade from vectrix tells me to run the bike down until the battery light is constantly on (which I have tonight) - then do a full charge which will then run an equilisation charge afterwards (up to 4 hours on top of normal charge time), then do it again.

Vectrix should email you the docs if you ask them

Mik
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

undead wrote:

My documentation given for the firmware upgrade from vectrix tells me to run the bike down until the battery light is constantly on (which I have tonight) - then do a full charge which will then run an equilisation charge afterwards (up to 4 hours on top of normal charge time), then do it again.

Vectrix should email you the docs if you ask them

The equivalent of this 4hr equalisation charge is what you can achieve by doing repeated shallow discharges (to about 5km or 15-16/17), followed by complete recharging each time, which lets the charger enter the CC and EC modes after a brief CP charge. That works with the older software and should be the preferred initialisation procedure. This applies also to re-initialisation after inactivity periods of more than a few days, particularly in hot ambient temperature conditions.

I doubt very much if the SW update is capable of taking self-discharge into account.

With varying self-discharge rates between cells within a battery pack you can get a very unbalanced pack. The supposed "equalisation" every so many riding hours in the new SW will only fix this in some circumstances. If the scooter has been standing around for weeks (like before sale) then the pack will most likely be unbalanced and the first medium-depth discharge could do irreparable damage to the lower SOC cells by reverse charging them.

The equalisation needs to happen before deep discharging!

And standing hours (including the battery temperature during standing) need to be counted as well as riding hours to manage these batteries well!

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oobflyer
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

I have been stranded a couple of times - the remaining charged has disappeared without warning every time. The amount of charge varies however. 3-4 bars is the lowest I've ever gotten. Sometimes the last 6-7 bars disappears. Luckily I was able to find an outlet when I was stranded - I didn't have to push it home.
It's not a matter of getting used to the gauge - it's not like a car gas gauge. But I know what you mean. Some cars will run out of gas as soon as the needle touches the 'E' and other will run until the gauge is well below the 'E'.
If my Vectrix lost power at the last level of charge I wouldn't mind at all. But when the gauge says I have 30-40% of a charge and I head down the street only to find myself stranded... it's more than just annoying!
But, I don't want to give the impression that I don't love my Vectrix - it's still the coolest toy I ever owned. I love riding along on electricity - especially when I pass some big SUV.
Since I haven't seen much on the blogs about this problem - I'm thinking more and more that I must have defective bike. If the gauge doesn't start doing what it's supposed to do - soon - I'll be bringing it back to the dealer for another service.

oobflyer
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Another strange thing happened today - I completed the 2nd full charge after the firmware upgrade. The charge took about 6 hours. But when the charge was 'completed' and stopped automatically - the final bar never filled-in. Maybe this is part of the initialization of the new SoftWare? After 1 mile of riding the 2nd bar from the top dropped-off. It seems strange... we'll see what happens when I get down to the bottom.

Mik
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

eyeinthesky wrote:

Hey Mik
Has the 4 top up charges after a few ks worked for you,
did it increase your distance,
the clean green machine has 12,500 klms traveled and no mechanical problems or electrical clitches the last 10,000

Pete

http://visforvoltage.org/forum/4318-vectrix-low-battery-blues#comment-27170

I wrote:

I have tried out the "break in" procedure discussed here over about two weeks, but there was no obvious improvement whatsoever as a result.
Today the last 5 bars disappeared again in one hit at 42.2km trip distance.
(A BaLPoR just like before the procedure.)

I still recommend it as the procedure for a new Vectrix or after being unused for a while.

How is the range of your clean green machine now?

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Mik
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

oobflyer wrote:

Since I haven't seen much on the blogs about this problem - I'm thinking more and more that I must have defective bike. If the gauge doesn't start doing what it's supposed to do - soon - I'll be bringing it back to the dealer for another service.

Yes, you have defective cells in your battery pack.

But it is not a rare problem.

In my opinion the latest software update (as described by Volts67) is a double edged sword in regards to the "disappearing bars syndrome".

Whilst the update might slow down further deterioration of the affected cells, it does not reverse the damage and the capacity of the damaged cells is permanently lost. Only 10-15% can in my experience be recouped with slow and careful reconditioning of the individual cells.
Because these cells were more than 40% reduced in capacity compared to the good cells it means that even after reconditioning they remain 31% below full capacity, at least!

And that means that the whole pack is limited to 69% (after reconditioning) or 60% of range - and that is the point in time when the bars disappear suddenly. It will only get worse!

A new Vectrix -even with the new software- is still at risk of damage to some cells if deep discharges are done early on before the pack has equalised due to repeat6ed trickle charging.

Now back to the double edged sword:

If you already have damaged cells (= mediocre range and disappearing bars at the end of the ride) then the software update will hide this and protect the weak cells possibly just long enough until the warranty period is over!
But they will IMO fail much earlier than the advertised 80000km or 10 years.
That is because the weak cells are in effect being deeply cycled most of the time, and sometimes they will get over-charged much more than the other cells during the "equalisation charges". They get hot and age quicker.

If you continue to ride without the update then the batteries might fail before the warranty period is over and they would have to give you a new battery or used replacement battery.

I would not be surprised at all if they soon announce that owners need to install the update or their warranty will be void.....or is that already in the warranty conditions?

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myocardia
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Hi guys, brand new member. I must say that after reading this entire thread, I'm absolutely surprised at the responses I've read. I would have thought that people who actually own EV's would know slightly more about battery technology than the general public, instead of less. Seriously, ask your next door neighbor if it's a good idea to discharge the battery in his ICE vehicle until it will no longer burn the headlights on a regular basis/daily. I'm willing to bet that he'll know better, no matter how mechanically uninclined he happens to be.

While the lead acid battery in his ICE is a bit different from the NiMh batteries in your Vectrix scooters, it isn't THAT much different. Every battery ever manufactured, by any manufacturer, and of every type, performs better and lasts many times as long when it's kept as near it's optimal voltage as possible. The only exception to that "rule" is any of the lithium-based batteries, when being stored without being used.

What does this mean to you, the owners of the nicest, most expensive EV scooters yet made? It means that you should be charging them every chance you get, not when the "fuel guage" is nearing empty. That's okay to do with vehicles that actually burn fuel, but for anything that's battery powered, it's (battery) suicide. Want your batteries to last twice as long as the manufacturer says they will? Never discharge below 50% of their capability. Want them to last 4x as long as the manufacturer rates them? Never let them discharge below 75% of their capability. Want them to last 1/2 as long, if not less? Run them down to 1/4 or less on a regular basis.

A guy I know that knows more about batteries than I probably ever will, says that you should think of a battery like a bank account. The more you take out each time, the less time the money in that account is going to last. Oh, and don't think that I made this post to show you how much I know about batteries, because that isn't the case at all. Think of it as a wakeup call; your batteries should be charged as many times per day as possible*. The more often they are charged, the longer they will last, and the better performance you'll get from them during that lifespan.

Robert

* edit: This only applies to people who haven't already damaged their battery packs by continually over-discharging them, obviously.

moccasin
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Welcome aboard, Myocardia, and thanks for your input. Actually, get used to the fact that many Vectrix owners will NOT know the technology behind the machine, because FINALLY, somebody built a user friendly EV that you don't HAVE to be an electrical engineer to own. :-)

As for battery maintenance, the best rule of thumb is to follow the manufacturer's recommendation, which is plainly spelled out in the owner's manual, and pretty much mirrors your statements. However, there are a few things that stick in my head, and only time will tell if they are worth mulling over:

1.) The manual actually recommends five "deep discharges" to "condition" the battery. It doesn't say "Complete Discharge" but at the same time, it does not actually specify to us newbies what exactly constitutes a deep discharge, so we're left with a bit of guess work there.

2.) While the manual specicially states that the Vectrix "Likes to be charged" and recommends opportunity charging, it also states that the battery life is rated at around "1700 Cycles". However, there is no specific definition of a "cycle".

If I ride 5 miles today, and charge the bike, is that one cycle? And if it is, would I have not been kinder to the battery to ride 5 more miles tomorrow before charging, which would have given me two days on one cycle while still not significantly depleting the battery?

I still maintain the idea that those who require absolute maximum range out of the Vectrix every day are buying the wrong machine because of the extreme cycling of the battery, and I assume that those who require two charges per day, will only see half the battery life of mine. From what I have been able to learn about the Toyota Prius, the key to it's ten year warranty on its battery is the fact that it is never depleted over 80% and never completely topped off either, keeping the battery in it's most comfortable working zone. (I could be wrong).

I am trying to strike a good balance between too many cyles and too deep cycling, so my daily needs of around 15 to 25 miles only get a single charge per day (during the cooler night temps).

I absolutely love this bike, and certainly would not want to do anything to shorten its lifespan, so I am glad to see threads like this and input from you and others who surely have more of a clue than me.

I also see the disappearing bars issue as a non-issue. We have always relied on fuel guages to tell us how much fuel we have, but as a lifelong motorcycle rider, I learned a long time ago to rely on the odometer for range and not the fuel amount. Keep track of your miles and forget about the bar graph. All that thing does is remind me if the bike has been charged since its last ride. Regardless of how the bars drop off, you're still only going to get X number of miles per charge.

AndY1
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Thank you for all that useful information myocardia.

Since I see you know a lot about NiMH batteries, can I ask you one thing about the battery. I don't know if you read it or not, but there are 2 battery packs in the Vectrix. Each has a fan of it's own to cool the battery down.
My fan for the front battery wasn't working when I received it. I couldn't have possibly known that, since I didn't have a reference Vectrix to compare it to and since there was one fan working, I couldn't have known, what the problem was, otherwise it would happen what did happen.
What did happen was, that at two full recharges, the front battery pack (the one without fan working) heated up to 44'C at one charge and to the BATHOT condition the charge after the first one. BATHOT means 50'C or more. The tech, that repaired my bike told me that charging stops when the battery is BATHOT.
When I entered the garage in the morning, and turned the bike ON, I got a BATHOT, that's why I rode it outside for faster cooling, since the outside temperature was 5'C.

Now, could the battery temperature over 50'C damage the front battery in a way of reduced capacity? Thank you for your reply.

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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

moccasin wrote:

I also see the disappearing bars issue as a non-issue.

But you only see it that way because your scooter does not have damaged cells causing it!

The disappearing bars problem is not just an incorrect fuel gauge - it's a smaller tank that keeps shrinking each time you empty it or fill it completely (to stay with your ICE tank analogy).

I'm quite sure you would have complained about such a problem with any of your ICE bikes!

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Mik
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

AndY1 wrote:

Now, could the battery temperature over 50'C damage the front battery in a way of reduced capacity? Thank you for your reply.

Did you check the Celsidots when the tech had the cooling fan housing off the batteries?

If they have turned black then damage is likely.

Because only one in 8 cells in the front battery have a temperature sensor on them (same ratio as Celsidots) there could of course still have been cells that got much hotter than the others, which would not necessarily have tripped the 45degC overtemp protection.

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AndY1
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

The tech showed me the some white circle sticker on the rear battery and he told me if the battery would be damaged, it would turn black. It was white, but he showed me only the one sticker on the one of the rear cells.
Are there more than one? If there are, than the rest of the cells must be ok, since he checked the whole pack and he said that the battery packs are ok and I trust him. If there are more than one, I'm sorry I didn't personally checked them, but I completely trust the man, because he really was very knowledgable person.

So if those stickers were white, no gas was released and I shouldn't worry, right? :-)

Mik
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

AndY1 wrote:

The tech showed me the some white circle sticker on the rear battery and he told me if the battery would be damaged, it would turn black. It was white, but he showed me only the one sticker on the one of the rear cells.

There are 12 Celsidots, one on each centre or near-centre cell in each of the 12 modules,
I doubt the technician would have checked the Celsidots in the middle and bottom layer, it's a lot of work to get there...you would have seen it.
The Celsidots in your rear battery would of course be OK, the front fan was out of order! They turn black and stay black if they ever reach 60deg C (if they are the same as in the Vectux).

Quote:

Are there more than one? If there are, than the rest of the cells must be ok, since he checked the whole pack and he said that the battery packs are ok and I trust him. If there are more than one, I'm sorry I didn't personally checked them, but I completely trust the man, because he really was very knowledgable person.

As above - you re a very trusting fella!

Quote:

So if those stickers were white, no gas was released and I shouldn't worry, right? :-)

I think he only checked the top 4 Celsidots.
All a white celsidot proves is that the temperature at the Celsidot was never above 59dC. It does not tell you if a cell has vented. But probably nothing too bad happened, just a bit of premature ageing. Nothing compared to the premature ageing caused by regularly recharging at the upper temp limit in hot climates.

The proof is in the pudding: If you get good range (over 55km with reasonably gentle driving) and no disappearing bars, then your battery is fine. But every time you check this by deeply discharging you risk the real damage caused by reverse charging of the weakest cells.

I bet that Vectrix will very soon announce that deep discharges should be avoided.

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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

I wish I had known about the stickers before. I will give them a thorough check on the next check-up.

I'm getting a good range. Aprox. 5 km/bar. I think that's ok.

Mik
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

AndY1 wrote:

I wish I had known about the stickers before. I will give them a thorough check on the next check-up.

Thoughtfully I wrote:

Google "Celsidot".

There are 12 celsidots (60dC)in the pack. The technician ́can at least see 4 of them without too much hassle.

http://visforvoltage.org/forum/5052-uneven-distribution-weak-vectrix-cells-within-battery-pack-why#comment-29978

But I do not think it would have made a difference, anyway.

You have got a good battery, be happy!

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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

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But you only see it that way because your scooter does not have damaged cells causing it!

The disappearing bars problem is not just an incorrect fuel gauge - it's a smaller tank that keeps shrinking each time you empty it or fill it completely (to stay with your ICE tank analogy).

What does concern me is that people will read stuff like this and immediately assume that their brand new bike is messed up, when in fact, the disappearing bars are simply a syncronization issue and have nothing to do with diminishing battery capacity, so newbies will be flying to their dealers demanding battery replacements.

While I'm sure you are correct in that bad cells will create issues with the bar graph, it would also adversely effect actual range. When new people come on here and ask about disappearing bars near the end of the graph, do we want them to think they have a battery problem, or do we want to teach them the proper way to syncronize the guage? I believe there are threads on here where people have been advised to run their bikes down to where they won't move, then hold the throttle wide open for so many seconds. That is probably more damaging to cells than anything else.

My interpretation of the five deep discharges is to run the bike until the last bars disappear and show zero range left, then charge it without interruption. I'm not an expert, I just read the stuff that comes with the bike.

oobflyer
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Quote:

What does concern me is that people will read stuff like this and immediately assume that their brand new bike is messed up, when in fact, the disappearing bars are simply a syncronization issue and have nothing to do with diminishing battery capacity, so newbies will be flying to their dealers demanding battery replacements.

I don't consider myself a "newbie" at this point. I've been riding my Vectrix for about 4 months now.

In addition to the required initial 5 deep charge/discharge cycles the Vectrix Owner's manual says,

"Occasionally the estimated range and fuel gauge may drop from a few miles/kilometers and a few bars to zero. This means your charger memory and battery level need to be synchronized - see troubleshooting guide. If this 'drop off' continues to occur on a regular basis it may indicate a problem with the battery - contact an authorized dealer"

As I've posted before: this hasn't happened occasionally with my Vectrix - it has happened every singe time that I've ridden it to the point where the charge is 25-30%.

Having whined about this problem for months now - I hope I haven't discouraged anyone from buying a Vectrix. As I've also previously mentioned: I love my Vectrix. But, I don't think it's an unfair criticism to make - if there is a problem - either with the design, or the implementation, or simply with my bike - people need to know what to expect, what to avoid, etc. Isn't that the point of blogging? To share information? I'm sure someone from Vectrix checks these blogs too - they may be able to use the information to improve the bike.

So far I've put about 700 miles on the Vectrix - that's 700 miles NOT put on an ICE vehicle! Vectrix Rocks!

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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Quote:

Every battery ever manufactured, by any manufacturer, and of every type, performs better and lasts many times as long when it's kept as near it's optimal voltage as possible.

Are you sure about this? Is your friend sure about this? Why are we always told that NiMH batteries have a "memory" and should be fully discharged occasionally to prevent the "memory" of the battery to be set at an inefficient level? When NiMH batteries were being used in cell phones and laptops the instructions spelled this phenomenon out in detail and explained how to avoid long-term problems with the batteries by conditioning them (just like the Vectrix owner's manual does). An engineer at my work told me that the batteries in my Vectrix will have an over-all longer life-span if I continue to do a deep-cycle charge/discharge (on occasion), rather than just the initial 5 times.

Hmmm... who to believe...

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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

moccasin wrote:

As for battery maintenance, the best rule of thumb is to follow the manufacturer's recommendation, which is plainly spelled out in the owner's manual, and pretty much mirrors your statements.

Okay, I haven't read or even seen the Vectrix manual, so I wasn't aware of that.

Quote:

1.) The manual actually recommends five "deep discharges" to "condition" the battery. It doesn't say "Complete Discharge" but at the same time, it does not actually specify to us newbies what exactly constitutes a deep discharge, so we're left with a bit of guess work there.

Well, with an NiMh battery, a deep discharge would be anything 75% or more discharged. Now, all batteries are more resilient when they're new, so discharging a battery that's built to be able to be deep discharged, like the Vectrix batteries, discharging them 100% a few times when they're brand new isn't going to ruin them. If I owned a Vectrix, I would probably discharge the battery to ~25% three or four times, and discharge it completely the fifth time, to "reset" the battery guage. Also realize that since it's a NiMh, it needs to be discharged completely occasionally because of memory issues, as oobflyer points out.

Quote:

2.) While the manual specicially states that the Vectrix "Likes to be charged" and recommends opportunity charging, it also states that the battery life is rated at around "1700 Cycles". However, there is no specific definition of a "cycle".

If I ride 5 miles today, and charge the bike, is that one cycle? And if it is, would I have not been kinder to the battery to ride 5 more miles tomorrow before charging, which would have given me two days on one cycle while still not significantly depleting the battery?

Yeah, that isn't very rare anymore, especially when the lawyers tell them that they need to devote 75% of the manual to WARNINGS. Thing is, a "cycle" isn't a charge. A cycle is a deep discharge, and honestly, if they're rating that battery for 1,700 cycles, they're almost certainly calling anything below in the neighborhood of 60-70% (30-40% until completely depleted) a cycle. I've owned many NiMh batteries over the years, and like I was saying earlier, they love to be charged. There's absolutely no way it's even possible to build an NiMh battery that could be discharged down to 10-15% or below 1,700 times. But, they can be charged nearly countless times, if you never discharge them more than say 10% (90% full), only deep discharging often enough to keep from developing memory effect. Of course, that's not at all realistic for an EV, but that's just how all batteries work. The more time they spend at or near 100% charge, the longer they last.

Quote:

I still maintain the idea that those who require absolute maximum range out of the Vectrix every day are buying the wrong machine because of the extreme cycling of the battery, and I assume that those who require two charges per day, will only see half the battery life of mine. From what I have been able to learn about the Toyota Prius, the key to it's ten year warranty on its battery is the fact that it is never depleted over 80% and never completely topped off either, keeping the battery in it's most comfortable working zone. (I could be wrong).

Hmm, that would depend on what you mean by "those who require two charges per day". If you mean people who are riding twice as far as you, and are discharging the batteries to roughly the same amount as you, then you're absolutely right. If you mean people who are riding roughly the same miles as you, but are charging twice as often, then that isn't correct at all. Batteries love to be charged, I promise.

Quote:

I am trying to strike a good balance between too many cyles and too deep cycling, so my daily needs of around 15 to 25 miles only get a single charge per day (during the cooler night temps).

Wouldn't 25 miles put you @ ~50% discharge? If so, you have nothing to worry about. A 50% discharge isn't particularly harmful to a a NiMh, as opposed to a wet cell lead acid battery. Is it more damaging than a ~25% discharge? Yes, but not enough for you to get an ulcer over. If I had to guess, I'd say you'll most likely get at least the amount of longevity out of your batteries that Vectrix says you should get. I'd never personally discharge a NiMh battery more than 50% on a regular basis, though, with the exception noted above. You weren't the reason I wrote my first post, though.;)

oobflyer wrote:
Quote:

Every battery ever manufactured, by any manufacturer, and of every type, performs better and lasts many times as long when it's kept as near it's optimal voltage as possible.

Are you sure about this? Is your friend sure about this? Why are we always told that NiMH batteries have a "memory" and should be fully discharged occasionally to prevent the "memory" of the battery to be set at an inefficient level? When NiMH batteries were being used in cell phones and laptops the instructions spelled this phenomenon out in detail and explained how to avoid long-term problems with the batteries by conditioning them (just like the Vectrix owner's manual does). An engineer at my work told me that the batteries in my Vectrix will have an over-all longer life-span if I continue to do a deep-cycle charge/discharge (on occasion), rather than just the initial 5 times.

You know, I knew there was something I was leaving out of my original post. Thanks for catching that. The purpose of forums like these are to help each other, and if/when someone leaves something important out of a post, it's good to bring it up. Yes, charge your batteries as often as reasonably possible. You definitely need to discharge NiMh's completely occasionally, to keep from losing charge capacity from their unfortunate memories.:)

Quote:

Hmmm... who to believe...

Both, I would hope.

AndY1
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Joined: 06/17/2008
Points: 1071
Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Now here(above posts) is some good information about our batteries we needed. That's what we've been missing for all this time. If we sum it all up:

1. 5 initial deep discharges: 4 discharges only to below 25% discharged, 5th discharge to red battery telltale so the OS syncs with the battery
- Do not start with the initial deep-discharge immediately, but do some (2-3) 75% battery-full discharges and recharges so the cells balance
- 5 initial deep-discharges do not need do be done one after another (maybe one per week)
2. Charge the battery as often as you can (opportunity charging)
3. Once in every 3 months, discharge the battery to the point of the red battery telltale so the OS syncs with the battery and to avoid memory effect
4. Avoid hot battery temperature charging; new software will take care of the hot battery after the ride, because it will cool down the battery prior to charging. It will also allow us to check the battery temperature and voltage before the charging (something that the current software doesn't provide)
5. Before storing the Vectrix for a long period, fully charge the battery. Check the battery charge every now and then. If it self-discharges below 75% full, recharge the battery

If I left out something, please contribute and correct me. We need to make a full guide about taking care of the Vectrix battery and make a sticky post. Maybe a moderator can help with the sticky ;-)

moccasin
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Joined: 07/11/2008
Points: 494
Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Quote:

Wouldn't 25 miles put you @ ~50% discharge?

Nope. With my hills, my traffic, and the number of stops and starts on an average day, she won't give me more than 30 miles, and she starts crawling at 28. Most days, I only use about 16 and on my shortest days about 7 miles. I usually charge overnight anyway, simply because I never know how many miles tomorrow is going to require, so I like to start out full.

With my goal of 150 days per year use, and a more realistic 125 days, 1700 cycles will last me well over the ten years that it will take this bike to pay for itself in gas savings, so short day charging really isn't an issue with me, but for those who require 40 or more miles per day, they will likely be forced to do mid trip charging, which will surely reduce the battery life by some measure. Even so, I expect the financial calculations that I used for fuel savings would still hold true for those with more charge requirements, because they are running more miles, saving more gas than me.

Mik
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Points: 3726
Re: Vectrix low battery blues

AndY1 wrote:

Now here(above posts) is some good information about our batteries we needed. That's what we've been missing for all this time. If we sum it all up:

1. 5 initial deep discharges: 4 discharges only to below 25% discharged, 5th discharge to red battery telltale so the OS syncs with the battery
- Do not start with the initial deep-discharge immediately, but do some (2-3) 75% battery-full discharges and recharges so the cells balance
- 5 initial deep-discharges do not need do be done one after another (maybe one per week)

This is basically right, but the red battery telltale illuminating does not resynchronise battery and display.(Nothing does if there are damaged cells!) For a BaLPoR to occur you need to hold the throttle wide open for several seconds whilst the battery telltale and "buSVLt" is displayed. And hope that the reserve capacity of your weakest cells is not being used up completely in the process whilst they are being charged in reverse....

Quote:

2. Charge the battery as often as you can (opportunity charging)

This contradicts your point 4. But I disagree somewhat with point 4, anyway!

I suggest you consider limiting the opportunity charging to less than 90% SOC (State of Charge).

Quote:

3. Once in every 3 months, discharge the battery to the point of the red battery telltale so the OS syncs with the battery and to avoid memory effect.

As above, this alone does not synchronise the display. Neither does it counter-act the memory effect, because it only discharges the weakest cells deeply. Too deep, in all likelihood.

Quote:

4. Avoid hot battery temperature charging; new software will take care of the hot battery after the ride, because it will cool down the battery prior to charging. It will also allow us to check the battery temperature and voltage before the charging (something that the current software doesn't provide)

I disagree with this: Charge immediately when your battery is hot! The initial charging stage does not cause heating of the cells, but the fans running cause the cells to be cooled (unless it is very very hot outside the scooter). Waiting for the battery to cool down without the fans running is futile, they are too well insulated and take too long to spontaneously loose significant heat!

The new software could potentially cause damage to the weak cells: The DC/DC converter will most likely continue to run even if the string voltage is low, as evidenced by the completely unaffected operation of electronics and fans even when the battery is too low to move the scooter an inch! So if you have a hot battery because you drained the battery riding hard until the power dropped, and then crawled home with the last bit of charge in your battery, then the new software will happily charge your weakest cell in reverse until it finally turns on the charger. (Only if the description by Volts67 is correct, of course). The power for cooling the batteries should be provided from the grid whenever possible to avoid this (and other) problems, as described by me at: ABCool 12V power supply

Quote:

5. Before storing the Vectrix for a long period, fully charge the battery. Check the battery charge every now and then. If it self-discharges below 75% full, recharge the battery

Sorry, but this is also incorrect as far as I know.
For longer term storage the recommended SOC for NiMH cells is about 40%.

Quote:

If I left out something, please contribute and correct me. We need to make a full guide about taking care of the Vectrix battery and make a sticky post. Maybe a moderator can help with the sticky ;-)

I agree. But we got to get the content right, first!

__________________

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

marsupi
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Joined: 10/01/2008
Points: 51
Re: Vectrix low battery blues

FYI for the newbies who didn't follow the following threadhttp://visforvoltage.org/forum/4935-battery-performance
our GP 30Ah battery specs sheet:
http://www.evbtech.com/data/10GP30EVH04.pdf
and GP Batteries NIMH manual:
http://www.gpbatteries.com/html/pdf/NiMH_technical.pdf
Those two documents tell you everything you need to know and more about taking care of the pack at least in theory.

__________________

07 Vectrix, Vego 600 mod.48V 800W, Arcade Alu E-Cycle 24VSachs Hub

AndY1
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Joined: 06/17/2008
Points: 1071
Re: Vectrix low battery blues

1. So you do it while driving with limited power and BUSVLT and have to hold the throttle wide open for 10 seconds?
4. I think the fans will run with taking electricity from AC power. That would be logical.
5. That's what the manual says. While the above is true for LiPO, is it true for NiMH?

undead
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Joined: 06/23/2008
Points: 283
Re: Vectrix low battery blues

AndY1 wrote:

1. So you do it while driving with limited power and BUSVLT and have to hold the throttle wide open for 10 seconds?
4. I think the fans will run with taking electricity from AC power. That would be logical.
5. That's what the manual says. While the above is true for LiPO, is it true for NiMH?

4. My firmware upgrade sheet specifies that it runs off the batteries on its precooling cycle.

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