Lashout Cuts Out!
My Lashout Cuts Out!
I recently purchased a Lashout electric bike used on craigslist. It has a standard 24 volt SLA battery setup and has a 600 watt motor (I think). It's about 3 - 4 years old, but does not appear to be abused and is in good cosmetic shape. I live in some pretty good hills near San Francisco. The block in front of my house is a 10% grade. The first time I took it out I was able to get up the hill with a lot of pedaling. After that I took it into some nice rolling up & down hills - nothing too bad, but after some coasting and some pedaling it started to cut out. I could always get it running again by turning the power switch off for a few seconds and then it would run again. It cut out 5 or 6 times. I felt the motor and controller area but they were not very warm at all.
I figured that it was due for some fresh batteries as the ones it came with would not charge up past 13 volts each. I took the Battery Pack apart to assess the condition of the batteries after charging; Left Battery = 12.82, Right Battery = 12.99 volts.
So I ordered new B&B 12volt 12 amp replacement batteries. After installing and charging the new ones up, the voltage now is about 28volts combined. Today I took it for another test spin around the same area. This time it still cut out, but not as much – maybe twice instead of six times. Again I felt the motor and controller area but they were not very warm, certainly not hot. An improvement for sure, but is this the best I can expect?
Any ideas as to what the cause is of this cutting out problems? Is this normal for this bike? Is the controller weak or underpowered? I weigh about 230 lbs. so that might factor in. I need to know, as I might consider just replacing the entire motor with a Phoenix Cruiser or Brute, but not if it’s not called for. Any suggestions will be appreciated!
I can only lend a guess but in a quick Google search I saw one reference to Lashout having a "Good" controller and one that had some issues. That's all I saw in that regard but I have a hunch that the controller is able to supply the current needed to pull SF type terrain only so long before it is tripping an overload breaker (or low voltage cut-out). I'm not familiar with the Lashout controller so take this with a grain of salt if you will. I've experienced similar symptoms with an underpowered controller on my bike prior to putting on my current (Higher Amperage rating) controller. At least your controller appears to have a built-in breaker (or cut-out) to protect itself ... my 100A Navitas didn't and all the blue smoke escaped.
The 600 Watt motor, if that's what it truly is would, IMHO, be a bit undersized for both the hills and load and should probably be treated as a "pedal assist" rather than doing all the work itself. If this were my bike under the same conditions, I think I would consider getting a heavy duty controller like a golf cart controller and keeping your current motor. If you later decide that you want more hp then you can always swap out motors later.
Controllers can be expensive. They are, however, the central nervous system of the system and is certainly the weak link in most systems.
I have a 3/4 hp motor and although mine is a brushed motor and I'm sure the drive train is different than your lashout, I purchased a Alltrax AXE 2434 300 Amp controller and couldn't be happier. I chose it for a number of reasons, one being that it will sense and work with a 24V or 36V system. The electronics are all potted so it's virtually weatherproof and this particular model is also programmable (I hook it up to my laptop and use the provided software) for low voltage cut-out, high voltage, ramp up and ramp down speed and a number of other neat features that let me tailor it to my system (motor and batteries). It was expensive, however, I think I paid aroung $270 for it. They probably have some less expensive ones that are still in the same Voltage/ Amperage range. I made sure to put a 100A fuse in-line on the positive lead from the batteries to the + on the controller. http://www.alltraxinc.com/Products_AXE.html
This might be overkill for your current motor but as noted previously, you may decide to upgrade at a later date or even go to a 36V system, both of which this controller would handle.
Before you purchase one, should you decide to do so, check all wires and connections to make sure that every one is clean and secure.
do some testing on your throttle (with an ohmmeter) to make sure that there isn't any corrosion or oxidation that is causing problems there. Check the connections at the motor too. If the bike has been sitting for a while it may just have some build-up at the connections, especially if it's ever been near the ocean air or left outside for any period of time.
For the record, I am in no way affiliated with Alltrax or other manufacturers or vendors, I just like their product and feel I can highly recommend this controller since I have one and although I don't abuse it, I don't baby it either, I ride up some pretty steep long hills myself at times and it sees it's share of weather.
Best of luck in tracking down the problem, you've got a nice bike there, I've looked the lashout over online and really like the way they are designed. Plus they look cool too ;) Get a good padlock and cable. I bought one of those spring seat stems and some nice Big Apple Balloon tires as well for an extra smooth ride.
Good Luck, hope this helps get you back on the road again.
Dave - Thanks for your detailed reply. I think you are probably right about the controller being the problem. Unfortunately, it is my understanding that the Lashout controller is built into the motor housing. So I would have to upgrade the controller outside of the motor housing and most likely have to upgrade the motor to 1000watts and then go to 48 volts on the batteries. I looked at the Alltrax AXE 2434 300 Amp controller. On the same page I spotted another one, the 4844, which can handle 48volts and 44amps! Maybe that is the ticket! It would certainly allow greater flexibility for future upgrades. But you say that the 36volt system is enough for you similar needs in a hilly area, is that correct?
I was contemplating installation of a Crystalyte Phoenix Cruiser hub motor at 48 volts with a 4840 controller. I was wondering what you think of that as a solution. It IS expensive, but maybe you have a better idea. I like the Lashout bike frame as a foundation, so I think I am good there. - Steve
I'm not sure what controller will work with your motor, I'm sure the built-in one could be bypassed but I think that's prpbably a Pulse Width Modulator type controller so the one I suggested my not work at all, not sure.
I think 48V would be preferable, I just wasn't sure if the 48V one will also work for a 24V system ... maybe ... probably, I guess ... you'd need to check that out if you want to try to use your existing batteries and motor for now.
I don't have any experience with Hub motors or with brushless motors for that matter so you would want to get more opinions before going that route. My vague recollection is that there should be lots of info about various hub motors here though.
Yup, I like the Lashout frame too, it's a keeper!
Hopefully others will chime in here to help on the built-in controller, brushless motor and possible hub motor for you.
Wish I knew more about those but I don't.
I think most people are pretty happy with the hub motors, even at the higher price. They do make a lot of sense and keep your bike from being bulky, nice low center of gravity etc. I prefer rear wheel drive but for icy roads I guess the front wheel drive would be much better.
Best of luck in your build!
I found this 1000watt BMC Brushless Motor at the Superkids.com.
http://www.thesuperkids.com/10wabmc36vor.html It seems like it might be a great upgrade for the Lashout. It comes with a controller too. I think I would run it at 48 volts since I already have two 24 volt battery packs. Does anyone have any experience with this motor-controller combination? Or is there a similar but more powerful motor out there that would be a direct replacement?
Looks like a good choice for plug & play for the Lashout, don't have any experience with these motors or the vendor so I'd do some searches to see if you find any comments one way or the other on them before forking out $350 for it. Seems a little high on the price but Wt may be that's just what a 1000W brushless costs these days.
Like anything else on the net, I'd make sure they are easy to contact and give you a brick and mortar address etc.
I bet the Lashout will like the 1000W and be nice and responsive, just remember that the higher wattage will probably drop your riding time down a little if you are heavy on the throttle.
Hopefully someone else will comment here that has some experience with BMC motors so you can be assured that they are worth the investment.
Best of luck,
Dave - I think that the $350 cost includes the controller. Is that such a bad deal?
Hi again Aktivator,
Considering that I paid around $270 for my controller alone your deal is sounding better all the time.
Take my comment regarding what I said about 'seeming a bit high priced' with a few grains of salt ... ;)
... for one, I have never purchased a similar (brushless) motor (or in this case motor with controller) and to me, everything seems high priced right now. (I've been out of work for a while now since the housing market took a dive)
Sorry, I didn't mean to give you a bum steer on that.
When I did a casual search, the price you quoted was the best I found for the set. (Like I said before, I just don't know anything about the dealer or this particular motor/ controller).
I don't know if they would be listed at http://www.resellerratings.com/ or not but I like to check a dealer out when I can before a purchase.
I think if you can't find any complaints listed about the dealer or the motor/ controller I wouldn't give it a second thought ... you will end up with a very nice bike by going this route.
Don't recall if you said you've ever had an ebike before or not but either way, You're going to love riding it. For one, most people won't even notice that it's got a motor unless they are familiar with ebikes. Make sure you've got a good (3 stage is best) charger to keep your new batteries in peak condition. Don't ever let them get down below 50% SOC (State Of Charge) and preferably don't let them go below about 70% for a much longer life. Most importantly, charge them back to full charge as soon as possible after a ride.
Keeping this in mind they'll last you a good long time.
I got a little Watts-Up meter for my bike. It is nice because it shows not only Voltage and Amp draw but AmpHours and WattHours which can be a very useful gauge of how your batteries are doing as you use them. It was a bit spendy but worth it in my opinion.
I think there is another meter that they make called a "Doc Wattson" that is slightly different and may be a better choice.
Best of luck in all,