WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

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winged_racer
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WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

As winter draws near and many are unable to ride their Vectrix it comes time to put your baby away. One major point to remember is to keep your batteries charged! NiMh batteries do self discharge and if left for several months or more will be below the 85 volts minimum to allow the charger to bring them back up. A once a month plug in and recharge to full is highly recommended. In fact is mandatory if you want to ride your bike in the spring. Leaving your V plugged in will not maintain the batteries. Once the charge cycle has completed it will not resume by itself. You have to physically remove the plug from the socket and plug it back in for the cycle to begin again, unless you have a timer you can set to restart every few weeks!

The proceedure is simple (like paying the rent/mortgage/gas bill) mark it on your calendar, put it in your Outlook Calendar, have your significant other slap you up the back of the head. CHARGE YOUR BATTERIES ONCE A MONTH! You would not believe how many calls I have received from owners who have left their V (one for over a year) and wondered why nothing happens when they turn on the key.

Merry Christmas/Seasons Greetings/Happy New Year or whatever is politically correct (a little bit early I know!) but spring will soon be here!!! Trust me, I've seen it before.

R
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

thanks for this post! You cannot possibly imagine how I missed a vectrix manual detailing battery care procedures. One question, NI MH cells are recomended to be stored at half charge?
What's better: should the battery be stored at full charge and be recharged once per month, or it should be stored at half charge and recharge only slightly above half charge every two weeks?

moccasin
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

thanks for this post! You cannot possibly imagine how I missed a vectrix manual detailing battery care procedures. One question, NI MH cells are recomended to be stored at half charge?
What's better: should the battery be stored at full charge and be recharged once per month, or it should be stored at half charge and recharge only slightly above half charge every two weeks?

Don't confuse storing batteries with storing bikes!! As a raw battery, sitting on a manufacturers shelf, the rules are WAY different than a battery sitting in a bike with a charger attached that will quit below 85 volts.

CHARGE IT UP!

In the spring, or when you start riding again, don't forget that you'll have to "wake up" the battery by conditioning it over several rides to get it back up to maximum range. The first time you ride it, it may only go a few miles from full to empty!

AndY1
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

This is my 2nd winter with my beloved Vectrix. I have it parked in the 2nd floor of the underground garage, where the lowest temperature is 4'C. I regularly charge once per month (there's a charging plug in the 1st and 2nd floor of the garage) and do a little drive around in the garage, to exercise tires.
In spring, when sunny days come, I like to start to ride my bike when it's above 0 degrees.

Is it safe, for batteries, to ride Vectrix, when the battery temperature is 4'C?
Is it safe, for batteries, to charge them, when the battery temperature is 4'C?

Thanx in advance!

turok
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

I was planning to ride mine all winter.
It rarely gets below -5 C here.

but if it gets really cold like that, can any damage occur?
-when I ride it?
-when it's just parked outside? (probably with a cover over it) (charging is no problem)

"doing nothin = doing nothing wrong" is invalid when the subject is environment

founder
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

Why winter storage?!?
You showed on the EICMA 2006 already nice winter gadgets

http://car.pege.org/2006-eicma-vectrix/bundle-up.htm

Post better something about winter tires

I have on my E-Max S electric scooter always winter tires

http://car.pege.org/2006-long-time-test-e-max-s/winter-tires.htm

Mik
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

The winter in Australia is over, but for now I have still nice, cool nights where I live on the Gold Coast. But the day temperatures are hitting 30degC already. For springtime, I will do a partial recharge at work during the day, to avoid overheating, then do a (almost?) full charge in the early morning when the air is coolest. For now it seems to stay at about 20degC in the garage, but soon it will be warmer in the garage than outside during the nights; I'll have to move the Vectux outside then to prolong the riding season.

I (and other people in hot climates) have to consider a summer break rather than a winter break. A balance between usability and battery damage due to heat related aging needs to be struck. We also need to keep in mind that the cooling impeller manufacturers are out of business now, and it might be difficult to find suitable replacement parts for impellers worn out due to massively increased workloads. But I think batteries are likely harder to get and more expensive than impellers and I'll make them work hard to keep the average battery temperature down.
The theoretical limit for riding during hot weather periods is reached when continuous operation of the cooling impellers does not result in sufficient battery cooling any longer.
There is also the fact that the ambient temperature can be higher than the battery temperature, so impeller activation should be avoided during such times.

I believe a summer break is only feasible if you have a well shaded (or better, indoor) parking spot. A Vectrix parked in the sun without charging for several weeks in summer will probably be battery-dead. At the least the battery will be severely imbalanced and will get damaged by normal riding or normal charging if it was parked in the sun for long periods. So if you really have trouble with heat, and no place to hide your Vectrix out of the sun, then you might be better off if you can ride and charge almost daily to prevent massive overheating and imbalance.

An important difference between summer and winter breaks is that there are likely going to be occasions here and there when the weather is cooler and you can use the Vectrix for a day or a few days. Or times when it is possible to use it every second day, or every third day etc. It all depends on what balance you want to strike between battery longevity/heat damage and usability.
It all depends on what value you set for X in this sentence: "Do not charge if battery is warmer than X degC".

If I accept the "do not charge if the battery temperature is higher than 30degC" advice that is bouncing around here sometimes, then I (and most other Australians) will have many days (or even continuous weeks) each summer when the Vectux cannot be used. It takes some planning and foresight to optimize the usage in summer, because the heat generated in the battery is hard to get rid off, and it needs to be gotten rid off in the day (or days) following the heat producing event.
For example, one could go for a fast, hilly ride at the start of what will be the first really hot day in a series of hot days to come. It might have been just possible to keep the battery temperature below 30degC until then, but that ride might easily end with a battery temperature of 40degC, with the air temperature rising rapidly towards (and maybe past) that temperature. Too late now, you've done it, the heat is in the battery and you cannot get it back out easily!
You have to think at least 12hrs to 48hrs ahead to manage the Vectrix battery heat in heat wave conditions.

Why post this in the "Winter break thread"???

Because the advice about storing the scooter after fully charging the battery is likely incorrect for summer storage scenarios, due to the above reasons.

Many riders might simply apply the advice given for winter storage to summer storage situations and would in my opinion get a bad result from it!

If the weather gets too hot for the Vectrix, do not charge it fully for storage! If anything, charge it only until the end of the CP phase, avoid the CC and equalization charge stages! This would heat the battery, and in combination with the high ambient temperature it would increase self discharge rates so much that your battery would loose at least all of the charge added during the CC or equalization stages again in the first few days!
And you would have caused it to stand several days with a very warm battery, aging it disproportionately for no good gain.
I suggest to store it with about a half-full battery instead. Less is no problem either if you can (partially) charge it a few days later when the temperature is more manageable.

Another bonus of storing a Vectrix with half full battery for summer storage is that you can always start a charging process that puts some real amp-hours into the battery. Of course, if you wait months before the next ride, you might get the same problems with the charger being unable to start a charging process as described by Winged Racer. But the break is not likely going to be that long!

In my experience, the Vectrix electronics underestimate the self discharge rate of the batteries. If the gauge shows full prior to storage, then only one bar will disappear due to a 2 week break; but in reality much more charge is missing! But when you plug it in, it will only charge until the gauge shows 17/17, resulting in a hard to predict SOC. All you know for sure is that there is 1 or 2/17th in the battery, the amount lost to self discharge is variable and hard to predict.
If, on the other hand, the gauge was showing 12/17th bars at the start of storage, then this might drop to 10/17th after a 2 week break. It probably still underestimates the self discharge rate, but it will put 7/17th worth of Ah into the battery when you plug the charger in. At least you then know for sure that the SOC will be sufficient for 7/17th worth of your usual riding! And that will allow you to discharge the battery by normal riding, back down to 10/17th, without risk of cell reversal. This also allows repeated charge/discharge cycles that will gradually fix the discrepancy between real and software-perceived SOC. It will get you to the next programmed equalization charge (if your Vectrix is running new software and the weather has cooled down to allow it) or gradually fixes the SOC discrepancy if you are running older software.
No fuss, no dangerous crawling in traffic or unpredictable low range!

By the way, self discharge is only partially to blame for the Vectrix storage problem, winter or summer. The self discharge rate of NiMH cells is dependent on state-of-charge and on cell temperature. The self discharge rate is highest at the beginning, then reduces more and more as the battery empties. There is usually very little self discharge once the batteries are almost empty, so that the voltage will remain around the nominal battery voltage even if the batteries get to the point when they are incapable of discharging much useful energy any longer. But the charger would be able to start charging after a complete 4 to 6 month winter break!
The battery might be empty then, but the voltage would still be around 125V, or at least above 80V!

What really causes the storage difficulties of the Vectrix is the "Constant On" state of the Vectrix motor controller. It draws about 8mA continuously, and that is what causes the continuing decline of battery SOC past the empty state and past nominal voltage. That is why the batteries get so empty that the charger cannot start the charging process any more.

This constant on motor controller is also likely one of the main factors why there have been so many battery problems and why Vectrix as a business failed.

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

AndY1
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

That is 5.76Ah in 30 days, if someone thinks, that 8mA is a small current. Remember, new battery has 30Ah of capacity. Add a self discharge and you're there with an empty pack.

It's like all our home's standby power consumption. 2W here, 1W there and very quickly you have a constant 15W consumption for appliances (TV, DVD, Router, Modem, HiFi, PC (even on standby)...), that just wait. 15W of consumption = 10.8kWh in 30 days! That's a lot of lost energy.

That's why, during the winter, you have to fully charge the Vectrix once a month and try to turn off 'Stand By' consumers at a 'hard' switch from the wall plug.

myvectrix2008
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

I'd love to get one of those leg warmer things (plus a few other accessories) but haven't found anywhere that stocks them.

undead
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

I am very nervous about riding the bike in Winter, the main fuse when when it was regularly +3 to -4 celcius, dont know whether it was coincidence I don't know (fuse became brittle from rapid cooling and heating?) but this time round Vectrix may not be aronund to fix it...

R
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

very interesting post mik!
I'm just wondering, if you dig an underground garage you'll have surrounding temperature around 15 C... maybe you can use the vectrix for short trips and cool it down again in this garage's cold environment...

R
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

My main fuse blown with +25 C, you just need to know if you have the 200 Ah fuse upgrade. If you have it, don't worry. If you have the 125 Ah fuse, drive carefully, avoid hard accelerations. If you have a chance, get it replaced.

Mik
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

This thread has been added to the Vectrix Collaborative Handbook, please stay on topic!

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

AndY1
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

I did my first winter monthly recharge yesterday after 4 weeks of inactivity.

The bike is parked in 2nd floor of underground garage and battery temperature was/is 8°C. The CP charge started at 13 bars - 135V, lasted for 46 minutes and ended at 149V - 9°C, CC phase of charging was skipped.

X Vectrix
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

FYI...Many bikes out in the field do not have the constant 8mA draw by the motor controller. This was eliminated some time ago and many bikes have shipped since then. So the only thing you are contending with during storage is the self discharge rate (actually not totally true, the MC draw was reduced, not eliminated, to about 300uA or so). The only way you can tell which version you have is to measure the current or look at the upper left of the MC (as it sits in bike) and if you see a small daughter PCB on the main PCB then you have the fix.
Riding while cold is fine, I ride mine whenever I can, just dont expect the same performance.

Mik
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

FYI...Many bikes out in the field do not have the constant 8mA draw by the motor controller. This was eliminated some time ago and many bikes have shipped since then. So the only thing you are contending with during storage is the self discharge rate (actually not totally true, the MC draw was reduced, not eliminated, to about 300uA or so). The only way you can tell which version you have is to measure the current or look at the upper left of the MC (as it sits in bike) and if you see a small daughter PCB on the main PCB then you have the fix.
Riding while cold is fine, I ride mine whenever I can, just dont expect the same performance.

Could this daughter-board be retro-fitted?

Has anyone seen one on their motor controller who would be prepared to post some pictures?

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

mikemitbike
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

... So the only thing you are contending with during storage is the self discharge rate (actually not totally true, the MC draw was reduced, not eliminated, to about 300uA or so). The only way you can tell which version you have is to measure the current or look at the upper left of the MC (as it sits in bike) and if you see a small daughter PCB on the main PCB then you have the fix...

Dam I haven´t read this last spring when I revised the battery of my bike...

This Winter I decidet to make 2-3 short charges a week each lasting about 15 min in CC Mode (3A).
Although quite a waste of energy (summed up some KWh´s) the battery seems to be in a more balaced
condition than last spring. During charging and riding down to a low SOC the temp keeps lower, so
it seems that the 12 modules reach their full charge-status near in time. Even the "after-charge-
heating" effect is much lower now, when checked 2-3 hours after the chargeing.
By the way I did one deep discharge last week. 2/3 outside town max speed ~70Km/h the rest in town
50 Km/h max with lot stop and go. It made 63 Km and the temp rose from 17°C to about 21°C when the
battery telltale lit. This is more than ~58 km I reached last year under such conditions. Maybe
the batteries are in a good condition because of the treatment during winter, a second reason might
be that I changed the oil in the gearbox (oil mentioned in the specs + moton geartune gt 100 (something
simmilar to lubriloy)).

Greetings Mike

Caruso
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

I just did a search on Winter Storage and thought I'd resurrect this thread for the benefit of our northern hemisphere members.

I was planning to use mine throughout the winter, but have had a bit of an accident and won't be able to ride it till February.

Spaceangel
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

I have neglected to drive my VX-1 this year. Every so often I would charge pack when it was 5 bars down. During Open House I figured I would take it for a drive with it only 12 bars remaining. Within a 100 to 200 feet the red battery indicator came on and top speed was maybe 20 MPH or so. Then it died. As in "DEAD". So I called a HAM radio operator in the DC area who owns a VX-1 and some Gold wing 6 cyl scoots and he suggested using a TORK clock or any timer and put in a charge maybe once a week or more often than I have been doing. Just because it say 5 bars down and 17 miles remaining it is OK. After an initial charge of 30 minutes with a long long extension cord, I got it to go up our hill to the garage. It took still 3 hours to turn off and I unplugged it BEFORE CC mode kicked in I took it for a ride. I still had to wait for cool down of HOT pack to allow bike to drive. It appears to have done "normal" now. I am wiring up timer for a weekly charge of 1 hour. I usually ride an XM-3000 or 3100 more often. I can get around on it better. I only go to the store once or twice a week for paper and milk. If the range is still around 17 miles estimated it is OK with me. It used to be 38 to 52. Wow, an old post too and still important.

KB1UKU

scowarn
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

If the charger won't turn on because the bike was left plugged in for an extended period, is there any way to bring it back to life?

scowarn
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

Due to not riding for several months, my battery is dead.
Is there a way to get the battery to a point where the onboard charger would then take over?

MEroller
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Re: WINTER! Storage of your Vectrix

Just search the Vectrix forum for "trickle charger", it has been covered dozens of times ;-)

My rides:
2017 Zero S ZF6.5 11kW, erider Thunder 5kW

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