DOA Vectrix from ebay

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rmillman
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I just recieved a Vectrix I got on ebay for $2500: time will tell whether this is a steal of a bust.
Dealer said batteries need replacing but did not have any other information (100 miles on it). Our local Vectrix dealer says he was told not to even look at a Vectrix until things wrok out at the company.
On to the bike:
I plug it in and nothing happens and nothing lights. I have power from the outlet.
What are the first thing for me to check?
Any help would be very much thanked.

Robert in Boston

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marylandbob
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

Could be the ignition switch! Try spraying "WD40" inside the keyhole, and working it on-off with the key. The switch is somewhat sensitive to water, and if it is contaminated/corroded it can prevent charger activation. (Probably because VECTRIX did not utilize a 12 volt auxillary battery, and the switch may operate at 125 VDC, which makes it more susceptible to moisture related problems)--Bob Curry

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marylandbob
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

Note: I forgot to add: switch must be "OFF" to charge, and normally there is a small delay after plugging in, then things light op, and charging begins.-Bob

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rmillman
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

When I plug in the charger (no key in ignition) nothing lights up as if it is charging so not likely a key problem. Could it be the main fuse?

marylandbob
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

As stated, switch must be off, no key! ClEAN the switch with WD40 and try it! Water/moisture will make the controller think the switch is "ON", and the charger will NOT work!---TRY it, you have little to lose, it will not hurt!--Bob (301-439-3873)

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Robert M. Curry

undead
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

If the main fuse had gone when the bike was being ridden, the speedo will be hung on whatever speed they were doing when it blew, did on mine anyway.

tom5007
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

Try accessing the batteries and measure the voltage. The charging may not start as the batteries are totally drained. I had this behaviour once with a mobile phone. The only way of getting it out of ths state was to charge the batteries seperately. Once there is a minimum charge in the battery (voltage) the mobile phone was able to continue the charging process.

Magendanz
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

My guess would be a blown motor controller fuse. If so, it's a cheap fix and you got a steal. Just remember that you need an inrush current limiter (ICL) to reconnect, and these are a bit hard to come by.

Mik
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

What is your background? What skills, tools and safety equipment do you have?

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rmillman
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

I tried the ignition switch fix and no help. There is nothing lit up on the dash when plugged in and no horns, signals etc with the key in.
When I plug it in, I do not even hear a charger buzz or any fan. Total DOA but in perfect condition.

I have too little of an experience set working with these voltages to be working to the level of various posts. We have a Zap Xebra which I humbly installed a bms system but thats about it.

Having heard from Bob earlier today about the need to limit current using a resistor or light bulb clearly had me thinking I have a garage ornament until vetrix comes out of the cold, someone in the Boston area can look at it, or I list it for sale somewhere.

Thanks.
Robert in Boston

winged_racer
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

Your batteries are below the minimum threshold to accept a charge, this normally being 85 volts. Unfortunately there is no 'easy' way to charge the batteries as the software will not allow a charge to commence. The batteries will have to be charged seperately at a very slow rate to bring them back above the 85 volts and then the charger can be used. This is not a case of simply connecting a car type charger as using one will cause damage and possible injury, so don't even think about it. Batteries are usually replaced/exchanged and the 'dead' ones returned to the factory to be disassembled, inspected and recharged.

The lesson here is do not allow your batteries to run down. Even just sitting the batteries slowly deplete themselves. So when putting your bike away for the winter (if that's what you do!) firstly charge the bike fully. Then ideally put it on charge once a month (recommended) or at the very most 3 months.

It sounds like the seller you got the bike from just let it sit. You got a steal on the bike and I'm sure we can come up with a solution to your problem. The worst case scenario is you put the bike in your lounge and have a lovely bit of art as a conversation piece!! LOL

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rmillman
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

The dealer said it at for months (8) after its last ride and no one charged it. Would the batteeries drain to zero or just a real low V?

Is there a way to test battery voltage with just opening the battery access panel? Does the white three prong connector on top of the access panel read current if the packs are need dead?

It would be great if there was an easy fix since the one local dealer has basically closed shop on looking at Vectrix.

Anyone in this board in the New England/Boston Area?

As a parts bike/ bike that may need an easy fix will I be able to sell it for my $2500? Kind or large for living room art but looks nice in the garage.

Thanks for the help.

HCT
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May be able to help !

Robert
I am in CT Oxford 06478,how far away are you?
Have experience with batteries,mostly the nickel chemistries (NC, NZ,NMH ), your's I believe are NMH(Nickel Metal Hydride),if I was in your shoe,would start with measuring the voltage on the whole pack, then each individual cells, next a impedance measurement of the pack and then each cell,most very likely have several cell with high impedance, which will prevent any charging or discharging of the whole pack whatsoever.
The most important thing is to locate the defective cells,remove them or bypass them ( depending on the numbers may still be able to run the system)

Goal is to find the defective cells,no simple task from I read on "Mik" posting .
Unless you are very experienced working with high voltage batteries pack, recommend that you get some technician to do the voltage testing.

Depending on the distance,I may be interested to take a run up to your place and taking a look at the pack,very interested to see the assembly and getting impedance readings.
Reading "Mik" past comments regarding access to the batteries, it is not easy at all and quite dangerous if you do not take safety precaution such insulated tools and glove etc....

Let me know can be reached at (203)627-8426 .Andre

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Mik
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

The VX-1 motor controller has a design fault which causes a constant current draw, probably until the battery is totally empty.
That is one of the reasons behind the overall poor battery performance - they were left for months in storage, then arrive deeply discharged and unbalanced at the customer.

The current draw is 7mA continuously, do the maths how long it will take to zero charge.... That is of course on top of the self-discharge of NiMH batteries.

Just to increase our diagnostic knowledge database, could you please do the following:

1) Park in quiet environment, not in full sun, darker is better.

2) open under seat storage compartment.

3) plug in charging chord and turn on power.

4) listen carefully and look at the boot courtesy light to see if it flickers.

5) do this for about 1 or 2 minutes.

When the main fuse is blown and you do this, then you can hear the occasional clicking, like a relay, and the boot light comes on for short periods. Sometimes the fans start to run for a split second, too.

I assume it might be similar with a totally empty battery, but it would be good to find out.

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kevin smith
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

if lets say you was to send me and my girlfrend two return tickets to your place we could have one week holiday and one
week having a go to fix ya scooter .kev

rmillman
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Re: May be able to help !

Thanks: I am in downtown Boston.
I am at least d\feeling more comfortable that there is little chance of shock at this point if I were to access the batteries since by all accounts, they are drained of all life.
Even if I were to access them, I would not have the means to do a Mik job on them to bring them back to life zapping energy.
Sounds like I either wait until Vectix re-emerges or I sell it.

rmillman
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

Thanks for the offer but I do not have the needed equipmnent to do what would be needed once the pack is removed.

X Vectrix
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

millman
I am in your area and can help you revive it.

moccasin
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

X Vectrix wrote:

millman
I am in your area and can help you revive it.

If it turns out to be just a low battery (that's what it sounds like), can you give us some info as to what would be involved with "revival"?. This will surely happen to many Vectrix bikes at some point in the future.

Mik
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

moccasin wrote:

If it turns out to be just a low battery (that's what it sounds like), can you give us some info as to what would be involved with "revival"?. This will surely happen to many Vectrix bikes at some point in the future.

The battery needs to be charged very slowly. Extremely slowly at first if it is totally empty.

I would buy a Vectrix like that immediately if it was somewhere close to me and I had the money.

For an extra $500.- or so one can buy the gear needed to revive it.

I'd stay away from taking the battery apart and analyzing individual cells. Instead, I'd measure the battery voltage with the Andersons connector closed, wearing electricians gloves and safety glasses in case a tool got accidentally dropped and vaporized if the battery is not totally empty.

Then I would try to charge the entire battery with a Vario, an isolating 1:1 transformer, a bridge rectifier and an ammeter in series. I'd turn the voltage to just above the battery voltage, so that maybe 0.1A or so are running through the battery, then gradually increase the voltage to keep the current going at that slow rate. After maybe 12 hrs of this I would increase the voltage so that the current goes up to 0.3A (=C/100).

I would continue this very slowly for several days, until the battery has reached about 148V .

I would not use the on-board charger at all for the first few recharges.

All initial discharges should be extremely gentle, and maybe just discharge to 1/3 empty (2/3 full) or so; and the recharges should be very slow (C/20 or less), each time very slowly overcharging the battery.

Something like 30hrs at 1.5A for the second recharge.

The main problem with a totally empty NiMH battery is that it can initially not accept charge current.

If you force current through it, all of the electrical energy will be converted to heat instead of being stored as chemical energy which can be released again during discharging.

Charging extremely slowly gives the weakest cells the best chance to come back to life.

This approach is probably over-cautious, but because I have never done it before, I'd rather be safe than sorry!

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X Vectrix
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

As stated before it is just a matter of bringing the voltage up to the point where the charger can take over. The capacity after will depend on the condition of the pack prior to the discharge. The discharge rate drops as the pack voltage drops and at these low rates the risk of cell reversal is less (again dependent on the initial condition...ie was the pack charged or discharged before storing it?). Once the voltage is raised, do a couple full charge/discharge cycles (till the battery icon comes on) and let the SW measure the actual capacity. This assumes the latest SW is installed.

rmillman
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

Mik:
Plugged it in in a quiet and dark place. Nothing, no sound, no light. Let it sit plugged in and checked it sevel times over the next hour, each time listening and watching for a few minutes. Still nothing, no sound, no lights in the boot, nothing different than if it were to remain unplugged.
Does the charging process you describe require removing the battery pack or is this something that can be done "in the bike"? If it is in the bike, wold you need to discount everything else from the batteries to do it? Just wondering but I will not attempt since the wife has put down the line and said I do not get to work with lethal voltages.
It sounds like this is still a great deal if I can find some in in my area to fix or I will need to pass it on to someone else to try.
Thanks

Mik
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

X Vectrix wrote:

As stated before it is just a matter of bringing the voltage up to the point where the charger can take over. The capacity after will depend on the condition of the pack prior to the discharge. The discharge rate drops as the pack voltage drops and at these low rates the risk of cell reversal is less (again dependent on the initial condition...ie was the pack charged or discharged before storing it?). Once the voltage is raised, do a couple full charge/discharge cycles (till the battery icon comes on) and let the SW measure the actual capacity. This assumes the latest SW is installed.

The voltage could be brought up above the threshold immediately, even if the cells (or some of them) would not be able to absorb significant current. The on-board charger (with it's present programming) would then pump 11-12A through all cells, potentially doing more damage.

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Mik
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

rmillman wrote:

Mik:
Plugged it in in a quiet and dark place. Nothing, no sound, no light. Let it sit plugged in and checked it sevel times over the next hour, each time listening and watching for a few minutes. Still nothing, no sound, no lights in the boot, nothing different than if it were to remain unplugged.
Does the charging process you describe require removing the battery pack or is this something that can be done "in the bike"? If it is in the bike, wold you need to discount everything else from the batteries to do it? Just wondering but I will not attempt since the wife has put down the line and said I do not get to work with lethal voltages.
It sounds like this is still a great deal if I can find some in in my area to fix or I will need to pass it on to someone else to try.
Thanks

Thank you, that will help diagnosing empty battery vs. blown motor controller fuse remotely!

Not disconnecting anything is only possible if you have a charger capable of producing a high enough voltage to charge the entire battery. It also carries the highest risk of shorting and electrocution.

But if you separate the two batteries, you could use chargers with lower voltages. But then you would need an inrush current limiter to reconnect the Andersons connector without damaging the main fuse.

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X Vectrix
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

Mik wrote:
X Vectrix wrote:

As stated before it is just a matter of bringing the voltage up to the point where the charger can take over. The capacity after will depend on the condition of the pack prior to the discharge. The discharge rate drops as the pack voltage drops and at these low rates the risk of cell reversal is less (again dependent on the initial condition...ie was the pack charged or discharged before storing it?). Once the voltage is raised, do a couple full charge/discharge cycles (till the battery icon comes on) and let the SW measure the actual capacity. This assumes the latest SW is installed.

The voltage could be brought up above the threshold immediately, even if the cells (or some of them) would not be able to absorb significant current. The on-board charger (with it's present programming) would then pump 11-12A through all cells, potentially doing more damage.

True, indicating high impedance of the cells. In this case, during charge the cutoff voltage would be reached very quickly and the charge would terminate. An indicator that the pack is probably not recoverable.

rmillman
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

X Vectrix:
thanks as well for the info. Are you near boston? I pinged you an email yesterday to try and connect with you.
Thanks

Mik
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

X Vectrix wrote:

...

True, indicating high impedance of the cells. In this case, during charge the cutoff voltage would be reached very quickly and the charge would terminate. An indicator that the pack is probably not recoverable.

First, and belated: Welcome to the forum!

We have been waiting, hoping for and expecting open participation by ex-Vectrix people.

Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge!

.

Back to the empty NiMH batteries:

In my limited experience NiMH cells have a temporary resistance to charge current when they have been deeply discharged, which reduces after a few minutes of gentle charging. Technically it is increased impedance, but it is different from the impedance (or internal resistance) usually meant by the term, because it is potentially reversible (by several gentle charge-discharge cycles).

Forcing a high current through the cells with temporary high impedance might well be causing irreversibly high impedance.

I'd go gently. If you have a current source that can bring the battery to above 85V (as per Winged Racer - welcome to you too!), then you might as well wait a bit longer and give the weaker cells the best chance they can have to recover! It'll be the few weak ones that bring the whole pack down later on!

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dexion
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

any updates? Did you get it to come back?

rmillman
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

Nothing to update yet: still dead.
I was able to connect with X vectrix via email who is 30 miles of so from me and he has offered to assist in VBR (vectrix battery resusitation). I am hoping to connect live with him in the next month and see what can be done.

turok
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Re: DOA Vectrix from ebay

if you got a headache yet, I'll offer you 1500$ for it :-)

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