Entire Charge Disappeared

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oobflyer's picture
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I was riding this afternoon with a full charge (16/17 bars) and the entire charge disappeared. The estimated mileage went from 30 miles to 0. Anybody else experience this? It seems that there must be a short in the batteries. I have an appointment to bring the Vectrix to the shop this weekend.

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Mik
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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

Did it also loose power?

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

Yes, it lost power, but in fits and starts. It reminded me of my old carbureted Ford I had as a teenager - when it was cold you would press the gas pedal and there would be a 1 second delay, then it would lurch forward with full power, only to do it again at the next stop sign.
I limped home last night, but ultimately I was able to slowly accelerate up to about 50 MPH, which is more than I could do before, when the last few bars droped off. I made it home OK.

When I got home last night I plugged in the Vectrix and left it plugged in overnight. It quit charging automatically at 1/2 charge (9/17 bars). I rode to work today (2 miles - only burned 1 bar) and plugged in again. After work I found that it had again stopped charging automatically, this time at 13/17 charge.

I plan on leaving the Vectrix at the dealer this weekend - I hope they can find out what's wrong.

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

oobflyer wrote:

Yes, it lost power, but in fits and starts. It reminded me of my old carbureted Ford I had as a teenager - when it was cold you would press the gas pedal and there would be a 1 second delay, then it would lurch forward with full power, only to do it again at the next stop sign.
I limped home last night, but ultimately I was able to slowly accelerate up to about 50 MPH, which is more than I could do before, when the last few bars droped off. I made it home OK.

When I got home last night I plugged in the Vectrix and left it plugged in overnight. It quit charging automatically at 1/2 charge (9/17 bars). I rode to work today (2 miles - only burned 1 bar) and plugged in again. After work I found that it had again stopped charging automatically, this time at 13/17 charge.

I plan on leaving the Vectrix at the dealer this weekend - I hope they can find out what's wrong.

That sounds like it might be a loose conection between modules inside the battery, or between cells, or between motor controller and positive or negative end of the string.

When I reassembled the Vectux battery I found that the soldered ends of the braided connectors between the 12 modules need to be tightened repeatedly until they hold at the specified torque of 10Nm. I believe that was the reason for the battery recall.

A poor connection will also create heat, and a lot of it, which is what you described earlier, I think. Maybe it's not dead cells, but poor connection between them. Or both.

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

Thats what my bike did before it fused. Didnt notice the display as I was desperately looking for somewhere to pull over - did what you explained above for about 15 seconds then dead.

I wonder if you are the next fuse victim we will have?

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

undead wrote:

Thats what my bike did before it fused. Didnt notice the display as I was desperately looking for somewhere to pull over - did what you explained above for about 15 seconds then dead.

I wonder if you are the next fuse victim we will have?

If that's the case, then I wonder if the fuse did it's job, as in: That sounds as if there was a valid reason for a fuse to blow: rapid fluctuations in currents/performance/voltage???

Maybe the fuse actually had to blow to protect something.

In my three blown fuse cases there was NO indication of impeding trouble whatsoever, just a silent and complete loss of all functions of the bike (other than coasting, HAHA!).
Well, actually, the first time this was followed by a flicker of the display and the lights all coming on as if rebooting. The second and third time there was simply no acceleration when pulling the throttle and the speedo needle stayed stuck at the speed where it happened.
It always happened at about 60km/h under less than 50% load.

Here is a video of fuse failure Nr. 2: (It happens at 3:30 min)

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

Mik wrote:

In my three blown fuse cases there was NO indication of impeding trouble whatsoever, just a silent and complete loss of all functions of the bike (other than coasting, HAHA!).

Haha - Yep, I got coasting too...oh and brakes, errrr steering, yep steering too, just about, aaaaand suspension, definitely suspension, but the silence was the most impressive.

Quite noisy these Vectrixes are under normal circumstances. LOL!

Oh, I'm so looking forward to getting mine back. I didn't realise how nasty my C1 is. Or how lovely my Vectrix is.

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

I took my Vectrix to the shop today - the service tech rode it around the block and got the red battery light (it had a full charge), so he said there is definitely something wrong. I don't think it's a fuse - wouldn't it have died until the fuse was replaced? Mine would charge back up, but bit by bit. It was still running, but with strange performance (slowing and lurching) and strange readings (battery gauge).
In any case - I left my toy at the shop. The tech said he'd have to call Vectrix next week to see what to do to fix it. I'll post again when I hear something new.
Oh, by the way, I plugged back in last night, after getting the multiple partial charges and it finally appeared to charge fully (17/17 bars). Third time's the charm...
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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

oobflyer wrote:

I don't think it's a fuse - wouldn't it have died until the fuse was replaced?

Right, the fuse is still intact. When the motor controller fuse blows, then all electrical functions are permanently absent.

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

My Bike is still in the shop - day 8. I called after 1 week to see if it was fixed, but the service department told me that they are still waiting to hear from the Vectrix headquarters to find out what do to do fix it.

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

Bike is still in the shop. Day 13. I called for an update. I was told, word for word, exactly the same thing they told me last time, "We are waiting for Vectrix to call us to tell us what to do to fix it."
I sent an email to Vectrix last week to see if they had been in contact with the local dealer and to get more information. No response.

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

Get on the phone. Their corporate number is in your owner's manual. Corporate headquarters seems very concerned about customer satisfaction.

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

moccasin wrote:

Get on the phone. Their corporate number is in your owner's manual. Corporate headquarters seems very concerned about customer satisfaction.

I agree. When the word gets to proper people, they very much care for the customer satisfaction. They even sent an engineer from Poland to fix my front battery fan by replacing the whole air plenum. But he had all new stuff with him in the car in case anything else was wrong (battery, new motherboard,...)

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Contacting Vectrix

I have tried calling Vectrix several times, for various reasons and have not had good experience with them calling me back. I did talk to Jon T. on the phone once - he told me to call any time, but when I took him up on his offer - he didn't return my phone calls. I called twice within the last month with questions about the upgrade - no response.

I haven't tried to call them since my Vectrix has been in the shop, however, maybe that will be the motivating factor to return my phone calls (?)

I'm glad to see that others have had good experiences - this gives me some hope that they will come through for me. Maybe, hopefully, they are so busy selling the Vectrix by the truckload that they just don't have time to check their voicemail!

I will try again on Monday and post again.

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

The verdict is in - finally! The news is not good, but the mystery is solved. It turns out the battery did have a problem. I talked to Andrew E. in Massachusetts yesterday (Monday). He didn't say that there was a "short" in the battery pack, but he said the the battery needed replacement and they shipped a new battery out today. Hopefully the dealer will receive it tomorrow (I didn't ask if it was going to be overnight shipping). The good news is that it's under warranty (I just bought it 5 months ago). Maybe I'll get my bike back soon!

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

oobflyer wrote:

The verdict is in - finally! The news is not good, but the mystery is solved. It turns out the battery did have a problem. I talked to Andrew E. in Massachusetts yesterday (Monday). He didn't say that there was a "short" in the battery pack, but he said the the battery needed replacement and they shipped a new battery out today. Hopefully the dealer will receive it tomorrow (I didn't ask if it was going to be overnight shipping). The good news is that it's under warranty (I just bought it 5 months ago). Maybe I'll get my bike back soon!

Good news for you - at least if it's a brand new battery and the dealer is capable of installing it properly.

This really sounds like the scenario that was to be addressed by the battery recall, i.e. loosening connectors between parts of the battery. The opposite of a short, an intermittent opening of the circuit.

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

Yes, I'll be glad to know that I have a brand-new battery.
My Vectrix is an '07(overstock) that I bought last summer, '08. I wonder if it was sitting too long in a warehouse somewhere.
It's been in the shop 3 weeks now. Today I talked to the dealer and they told me it could take as long as 3 more weeks. Wow.
Andrew, at the Vectrix headquarters, told me that the battery shipped out on Wednesday (2 days ago), but the dealer said that it can take 2 or 3 weeks to receive it here on the west coast, as it comes from the east coast. I guess that answers the question of whether or not it was shipped, "overnight". Ha!
I'm trying to be patient... (I miss my toy!)

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

oobflyer wrote:

Yes, I'll be glad to know that I have a brand-new battery.
My Vectrix is an '07(overstock) that I bought last summer, '08. I wonder if it was sitting too long in a warehouse somewhere.

My understanding is that it would not matter if it was sitting for a long time (a year or so), but only if the cells get fully, slowly recharged to equalize the entire string of cells before being used again. There are bound to be small differences in self-discharge rate between cells, and they make a massive difference if the scooter is used to it's limits before the cells are properly equalized after a long "rest".
The cells with a higher self-discharge rate get charged in reverse before the rudimentary BMS notices any imbalance, their self discharge rate increases further due to this abuse, etc etc until some cells fail and bring the whole pack down.

I don't know if the Oct '08 software update fixes this problem. Something was mentioned about an equalization charge every so many riding hours. That's a worry because you need an equalization charge every so many sitting hours as well, or even more so!

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

IMO, the best way to keep the batteries well as long as we can is to discharge them to below 4/17 bars as rarely as possible.

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

hi mik.
looking at the new NBTB0814-1Rv 2 Software Upgrade - English 17 Dec 08.doc
just a quickey.. erm i have just had my beloverd scooter back from vectrix
welldone lads if your watching ?????
well have been told that new battreys fitted yeh.. gude gude erm and new software fitted so now can ajust few things like
erm time delay 1 hour left handel squized then turn ignition off or squize the right side brake lever and just get 30 min charge delay so
to let the 101 little babeys cool down the batteries
also sounds like the fan cooling system seems to be quiter and more powerfull defanatley throwing moor air out the front middle mybe cooling the charging system ???
but air intakes defo sucking well
+ i asked for the the top speed to be keeped as i want to take my test on it
so on first impressions the bike seems to be quick off the mark but i never floor it /boot it
as i am an easy rider. but but seems to be a long progresive speed to 60 mph think i like this..
as it doesn't feel dangerous when going on a round about and can easley keep infront of speeding vehacals from behind
have been told that with the first test they did that with all types of roads that they acheved 40 miles range and thats with only
the first main charge i have to do another two to build the battery up and not do any little charges as to build propper memory in to battery
as after this scooter had new software installed that they needed to do tree propper discharges so they only managed one
all do the rest .when i received the vectrix back i only managed 33 miles range thats over 3 days and thats around 3 to 10 Celsius
so i hope the next time i ride the scooter i maybe get better range by way i wasn't riding it like a old bird
.kev

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

Well, it's been a month now (day 30) since my toy has been in the shop. I haven't heard anything for 10 days or so, but the dealer promised to contact me as soon as they have the new battery installed.

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

I was told by Vectrix dealer, Marin BMW, that any time the batteries or the controller are replaced, they need to have a special tool from Vectrix to prevent damage to the controller from a surge from the batteries. Unfortunately there are only a few of these tools (maybe 2 in the US), and when the dealer is finished, they have to send it to another dealer. Marin BMW has done 1 battery replacement so far, and they then sent the tool to Texas. They are currently waiting for the tool again for another battery replacement and a controller replacement. Over a week ago I was told to bring my bike into San Jose BMW (also a Vectrix dealer) to have my batteries replaced. They are waiting for the same tool, so I took my bike home to keep using it until the dealer actually has the tool.

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

The dealer is waiting for an "inrush current limiter". Whenever the battery is disconnected/connected it must be used. When the battery is connected, three huge capicitors (part of the motor controller) get charged, drawing up to 500 amps. This current passes through the main fuse which may withstand 300 amps for a very short time. The fuse may not blow but it will be weakend. Replacing the battery, motor controller, or main fuse requires its use. Vectrix would do a lot better for customer satisfaction if they supplied many more inrush limiters to their dealers. Has Vectrix ever heard of "overnight delivery" to get the existing limiters to the dealers that need them. The limiter is rather small and light (shipping costs).

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

volts76 wrote:

The dealer is waiting for an "inrush current limiter". Whenever the battery is disconnected/connected it must be used. When the battery is connected, three huge capicitors (part of the motor controller) get charged, drawing up to 500 amps. This current passes through the main fuse which may withstand 300 amps for a very short time. The fuse may not blow but it will be weakend. Replacing the battery, motor controller, or main fuse requires its use. Vectrix would do a lot better for customer satisfaction if they supplied many more inrush limiters to their dealers. Has Vectrix ever heard of "overnight delivery" to get the existing limiters to the dealers that need them. The limiter is rather small and light (shipping costs).

I also heard another explanation: A fuse in the charger could blow if the battery is re-connected without the inrush current limiter. But the main fuse seems a more likely explanation. That could also explain why so many fuses fail.

I use two cables as the inrush current limiter, one of which has 3 x 820Ohm resistors in series and an empty blade fuse holder in it.
The other cable is just a thin cable with alligator clips on each end.
Click to enlarge.
Once it is all connected, I bridge the empty fuse holder with an ammeter set to milliamp range. Initially the current is about 50mA, it then falls for about 30s until it becomes stable at around 7mA. Then I disconnect the cables and reconnect the blue Andersons connectors immediately.

The inrush current increases again immediately when the bridging cable is removed, within seconds it will be back up to original levels.

I will probably build an inrush current limiter which I can connect, leave connected, then connect the Andersons connectors, then disconnect the inrush current limiter. That would be cheaper than the current limiter with two 120A Andersons connectors on it, and better.

Here is a picture of the capacitors:
]
Click to enlarge the image. The other images in the folder are also public.

Thinking of it now, the resistors are probably too large. I'll try less than 2460Ohm next time. That will cause a higher initial inrush than 50mA, no problem. Maybe that way the capacitors get charged more completely and then there will be less arcing when the 120A Andersons connectors are put together.

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

Wow! Thanks for the information. I understand now why it takes soooo long. It really doesn't make sense that the dealers have to share a tool. Shouldn't that be part of the dealership arrangements? Anyway - my only complaint in this whole thing has been the lack of communication. I have whined and complained to Vectrix and the dealer about the complete silence/limbo. Since it appears to be common knowledge that the Vectrix dealers have to share this special tool for battery changing... why wouldn't the dealer shoot me an email, or give me a phone call to explain? Or, perhaps Vectrix could do the same? It seems so strange to me, in this era of global electronic communication that this basic information cannot be transmitted to customers.... OK, I'll quit whining now.
So, I'll keep trying to be patient :-)
Happy riding!

Mik
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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

I came across another picture of my home built "Inrush Current Limiter":

It's probably all ridiculously over-dimensioned, but I like to approach stuff from the safer side when and where I am given the opportunity to do so....

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

I have unpacked the bike from winter sleep and I have an interesting problem now.

I guess the software overestimated self-discharge (it was 4-5'C in the garage) and now, when I fully charge the bike, it gets to 153V cutoff at 13/17 bars and then it switched between CP, TR and CC.

Would complete discharge to BALPOR and complete recharge resolve this?

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

AndY1 wrote:

I have unpacked the bike from winter sleep and I have an interesting problem now.

I guess the software overestimated self-discharge (it was 4-5'C in the garage) and now, when I fully charge the bike, it gets to 153V cutoff at 13/17 bars and then it switched between CP, TR and CC.

Would complete discharge to BALPOR and complete recharge resolve this?

How hot did it get during charging?

I would not do a deep discharge. It is likely that some cells are less charged than others, they would get charged in reverse.

I had similar problems several times after battery and fuse repairs. Once I had a full battery and an empty display! It is easily fixed by turning the charger off when the battery is full (153V in cold weather) but it still tries to push 10A into the battery, heating it up.
Then ride until it is 1/3 to 1/2 empty and charge again until it starts to switch between CP and tr repeatedly after reaching 153V. Just turn it off again. It will by then have about 14 or 15/17 on the display. Each time you do this the display will show more charge level when it reaches the top voltage, until after 2 or 3 or 4 cycles it will reach 16/17 and then switch to tr and CC and EC to fill and equalise the battery.

I would avoid deep discharges whenever possible.

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

Thank you from preventing me doing a mistake (by doing deep-discharge until all cells are fully equalized).

The battery didn't get to hot. It was 11'C in the garage and they warmed up only up to 14'C when doing CC at 13/17.

I will do as you suggest. I will drive until 1/3 or 1/2 empty and do full charges then. I will do those charges during the night, because it might take some time to fully charge the battery with CC-TR-CC cycles from 13/17 battery gauge full.

Thanx again!

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

I agree with Mik, the best way to put a stored bike back into service is to ease it back up to par by making several short, and progressively longer trips, charging each time, until you get it back up to your normal range needs.

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Re: Entire Charge Disappeared

I got my baby back! It took a full 6 weeks, but they got the new battery in and it appears to be working fine.
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