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Oops, sorry! I am little disappointed that Darus would even have contemplated putting lead sleds on the road with his constant "we have the best/fastest/strongest/highest range electric scooter on the planet" slogans...
2017 Zero S ZF6.5 11kW, erider Thunder 5kW
These are Greensaver lead-silicate batteries. There is apparently no sulfur in the electrolyte, and this is supposed to eliminate sulfation. The idea is that you get the same number of AHs as the medium priced lithium bikes, with more weight but cheaper, the same range and the ability to park it for the day without needing immediate recharging. I haven't tested that last claim (not made directly by Darus, but implied by the supposed lack of sulfation). So far I haven't had complaints about the motor(s) or batteries, and while the controller gets unpleasant in Low after a mile or two, and High has only very limited use, the drivetrain has been fine. Hopefully it still is. The bike has about the same range as a Vectrix (25 miles under realistic conditions), possibly a slightly higher top speed, and replacement batteries are, by lithium and NiMH standards, inexpensive. They should also be more robust than the other chemistries if not abused. The biggest disadvantage with these batteries is the same as regular lead-acid: they are too slow to recharge. I can't hope for more than 20% recharge at most after an hour, and a full recharge can take 8 or more hours. (Or, with the present charger, up to a week.)
I took it off the charger this evening again. Immediate reading after disconnect was 81.0 volts. After half an hour it was 79.6. So either the normal rest voltage is about 78, or I do have a battery problem as well as a charger problem. I'll find out when the new charger arrives.
I still haven't received the replacement charger from ZEV. I didn't bother to check the pack voltage today; we're in a heat wave, and I used the relatively mild morning weather to run some longer-distance errands on the Suzuki. It's great to get on a bike and know that you have at least a hundred miles of range left (using the trip meter as a gas gauge), can easily ride at 65MPH (even though I find 40-50 most pleasant) can "recharge" in 4 minutes, and probably won't break down, even though the bike is 30 years old. When you guys put out an EV like that, I'll buy another new one. Maybe the Leaf will be the one...
Getting back to eScooters: it's been so hot at night that my housemate has accepted my offers to give her rides to and from the house 3/4 of a mile away where she is feeding cats for a sister away on a trip. The XM-3000 handles our combined weight (about 360lbs, I guess) with amazing ease. I've used only Low, and have no need to even think about High. It doesn't even go noticeably slower than with me alone, even climbing hills... The headlight, of course, sucks, but Low beam isn't as obviously inadequate as High.
I really don´t get why you are trying to sell us gas bikes, we are all born and raised with them and know the advantages.
Actually, I don't think that's true. A lot of people come to eScooters from bicycles and scooter-bikes, and others start with them. The point I'm trying to make is that the bar is being set too low to develop a real market for these vehicles. Vectrix tried to raise it, but apparently left their charging and BMS systems design to somebody's kid or nephew. Until there are electrics that can at least match a 30 year old economy motorcycle, this will just be an expensive hobby.
The charger sent for the ZEV went missing en route, but showed up today, looking like it (the box) was used as a soccer ball. I'll open it tomorrow and go for a ride.
Of course there's sulphate in the electrolyte - its a lead acid battery!!
I have taken these things apart before and sure enoguh there's lead and acid, the silicon is just there to hold it together, same as a gel battery (but silicon instead of gel)
you still get peukets, you still don't get rated capacity at EV discharge rates and you don't get the same range
I'm so tired of the wild marketing claims......
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah in July 2010. Done 194'000km
If you're sure that the electrolyte is sulfuric acid, then a complaint to the BBB at least would be in order. The marketing claims are all I have to go on. The company that makes the batteries supposedly has a vegetable garden fertilized with used electrolyte...
Last evening I got a chance to test the new charger (it works, and has the same voltage display as the one I originally had), and take the bike for a long ride to test the batteries and everything else. Fist the good news:
The batteries are fine. If anything, the range increased a bit after a week of being trickle-charged. I noticed, for future reference, that the voltmeter on the charger reads about 2 volts higher than the voltage measured at the charging port, using a digital voltmeter, with the charger disconnected. I noted the odometer reading (640km, after almost a year) and rode to my Sister's house about 18km away. I used Low until it became too annoying above 25MPH, then switched to using Low in low speed areas, and "2" ("Normal"?) albeit at fairly slow speeds, everyplace else. I didn't use High at all. On the way over the bike behaved fine, both in powertrain performance and handling. There remained a slight vibration in the front end, but nothing like the "death wobble" it had before I adjusted the steering bearing. It sat for about 15 minutes while I visitd my Sister, then I started back home.
Now for the bad news. On the ride back, I started to get a wobble when I let go of the bars, and could sometimes still feel it even with hands on, depending on the pavement. Not nearly as bad as before, but the bearing has clearly loosed again, after only about 50 miles. Then, while approaching home, the turn signal beeping turned into a steady shriek, meaning that the flasher unit (the second one, with the first one having failed at about 100 miles) had failed. Realizing that the bike wasn't going back on the road immediately, and seeing that I still had plenty of charge, I decided to try to at least salvage a 'range estimation" ride. Avoiding the front brake and using hand signals (which I usually do anyway), I tried for a mix of high (45-50MPH indicated) and lower (20-30) speeds. I rode it in my area until the pack voltage had just about, but not quite, reached the level at which the controller starts to do that dangerous cutoff while starting from a stop. I managed an even 60 kilometers, or about 37.25 miles. Not bad at all for warm but not hot weather. It's a shame I can't seem to take more than one ride without something going South on the bike. Oh, speaking of which, it may not be the flasher unit: when I arrived home I noticed that the left rear signal light was dangling by its wires. The rear fender is still skewed about an inch to one side from that shipping damage, and apparently the light mount was weakened as well. The bike now has 700 kilometers on it.
I haven't fixed the turn signal flasher or re-tightened the steering head again (no helper available at the moment), but I did take the ZEV out for a ride yesterday, sticking to my country road route and not worrying much about range because of the 18 miles or so distance. I mainly avoided using the front brake. The bike is still fun to ride at 15-50MPH in 2nd, and will willingly run up to an indicated 53MPH or so with the new motor. It's nice not having to shift like I do with the Suzuki, although riding both bikes has me trying to footbrake and downshift the ZEV, and feeling like the front end on the GS450 is too slow - I've gotten used to little scooter wheels! Anyway, I did 41KM with no new issues and no range anxiety - I could have gone at least another 8-10km.
I took the Suzuki out this evening, and when I ran briskly up the gears and hit 6th, I looked down at the speedo, and I was screaming along at... 60MPH. I'm getting *old*...
Update on the ZEV: I installed the last spare flasher unit I have (if anyone knows of a reliable unit, beeping or silent, please let me know!), and while I was in there I again tightened the steering bearing. I'm not sure, but it seemed as if the main nut had loosened a bit. It was hard to tell because I have to use vicegrips to loosen the locknut, and that obscures the view. The glue I used to re-secure the left rear turn signal unit to its rubber stalk seems to be holding, so hoping I had the bike up to snuff I went for a ride. Unfortunately, the steering is still vibrating. No death wobble, although the bars do begin to wobble if I remove my hands from the wheel, and there is more vibration than I'd like when using the front brake. I've decided that hand signals will be the norm for signaling a turn, and the wobble doesn't exactly help with that. The morning after I got back I checked the tire pressures. I'd set them at about 35psi a few months back (meaning about 100km), and the rear tire was still at that pressure. The front one, which felt normally hard, was at roughly 10psi. It's a damned good thing I can't go really fast, or I'd probably be dead. I re-inflated it and checked it before the next ride. It appeared to be down to about 26psi from the 30 I'd set it at, so it looks like a I have a tire or wheel leak. Increasing the pressure to the normal range didn't affect the front wobble one way or the other. I may try some green glop I bought last year that is supposed to both seal leaks and balance tires....
Before you put your green goo to use first get a hold of a water basin big and deep enough to get the valve of the front wheel under water. Those tend to fail first nowadays on our Chinese rides, and your goo will probably not help much in that area.
2017 Zero S ZF6.5 11kW, erider Thunder 5kW
I don't think I can find a way to immerse it, but I will definitely either try another way to test the valve (like the old soapy water trick, or maybe taping a plastic bag to it and filling it with clear water) or will replace it first. Do those pop out, grommet-style, or do the wheel and tire have to be removed first to take it out from the other side?
I went for another ride last night (after re-inflating the wheel to 32psi from 26), and it was a good long ride, except for the wobble. Coming home, though, I don't know if it was the drugs or the gods pranking me again, but I swear that for the last few miles the bike was behaving as advertised in "1". It was smoothly delivering power, and plenty of it. No cutting out and coming back on irregularly above 25MPH, and no killing the power completely when the needle hit the edge of the red line. If it keeps behaving like that I may develop the will to keep working on the thing.
Not sure about how they come out, but something tells me the tire must be removed in order to remove/replace it. Your tire is a tuebless type, I suppose?
2017 Zero S ZF6.5 11kW, erider Thunder 5kW
I don't see it on the tire (although it may be there, along with "Design in Taiwan"), but the rim has "DOT", "Tubeless" and even the size (3.50 x 13, IIRC) stamped clearly on it.
I think the controller is having issues. I mentioned that Low has improved, but Medium ("2"), which used to be a delight, is now reluctant to hold a speed in the 30-40MPh range. It wants to be either accelerating or off in that range. It's also making a high-pitched whine that I at first thought was normal, and was actually enjoying a bit (think "Bat Cycle") but it's almost at the point where it's too loud, and that worries me. It happens under load.
I had the ZEV out running errands yesterday morning, but mostly just cruising some country roads before the 90 degree heat arrived later in the day. The front end wobble is no better, but hopefully no worse, either. I may have a motorcycle check the wheel balance out. Speaking of which, I think I got lucky on the leaking tire stem, and just had a sticking valve. Each time I added air it lost less, and now it seems to have stopped leaking, so I'm hoping that the valve just needed to be cycled a few times to get it to reseal properly. I had just mounted a big plastic "milk crate" on the luggage rack, as I can't seem to find a top box that doesn't rattle like hell - including the nice lighted, locking, removable KG box my old GS850 had. A bit of shimming with sponge rubber, put the bungee cords and cargo net under the seat, and it's pretty quiet. I mounted it the long way on the rack, to keep all of it in my slipstream, and that seems to work: I was able to carry 8 or 9 vegetable plants in it at up to 45MPH or so without damage to them.
The only bad bit came after I got home. When I plugged the charger in and turned it on, I got a gibberish reading for the voltage: 08.2. After some sobbing, gnashing of teeth, etc, I finally discovered that the tiny little unmarked switch on the front of the charger apparently got moved as I carried it. It appears that this switch switches the reading from 'volts going into the pack' to 'amps going into the pack'. I was so relieved I wasn't even mad anymore. I may take it out again this morning, as it's supposed to be another hot evening. Oh, and as for the whine from the controller(?): it was the same.
With all components and sub-assemblies for ZEV bikes coming from factories in China, it's understandable that problems should develop (everywhere, eventually) in the bike. It's a continuous uphill battle they are incapable of winning. Even larger OEMs struggle in this area, but ZEV, IMHO, will inevitably be forced into hiding by their inability to handle the tsunami of warranty claims. The more units they sell, the deeper they go into the hole. The only way ZEV can attract new buyers is by continuously introducing higher-performance models aimed at early adopters who are so wowed by the "technology" that they are willing to take risks in other areas (safety, reliability, etc...). I doubt very much many people are likely to buy a 2nd ZEV. Would you?
Given my unusual circumstances (the bike being badly damaged in shipping and then only partially repaired instead of replaced or totally gone over and rebuilt) I wouldn't buy another one. However, even on mine the drive has proven to be very good (especially given the reasonable price) and the batteries fine. There are two other ZEV owners who have posted here: one (6100) loves his bike and regularly defends the brand. The other (7100) only made a couple of posts, but hasn't been back to complain. So I'm not sure about that 'tsunami of warranty claims' aside from the terribly short-lived turn signal flashers, and being on my third charger. I think that if some of the secondary components were resourced, the ZEV would be the best bike/scooter at the lower-middle end of the market. It's just my luck that I haven't been able to really enjoy mine.
I passed 1000kms yesterday morning. I took the ZEV to the supermarket for a small plant for my Mom's grave, then carried it and a new solar light (the previous one was either stolen or thrown out after the groundskeepers destroyed it. I digress...) to the cemetery, then shortly afterwards I proceeded up the same highway (Rts 4 & 32) along the Upper Hudson River to see if the Saratoga Battlefield State Park was within my range. There is a section of long, level highway on that route that, when I was a teen, was used by local hotrodders and foolish kids to make top speed runs. The road is now in such terrible shape that, even though the ZEV's suspension was handling it as best as could be expected, I decided to hopefully take another road home.
I did reach the park's Visitor Center, which turned out to be 23km from my house, and cruised around the parking lot a bit, looking for power outlets for future outings. The charger wasn't with me, but the park has a 7 mile long toll road, with gorgeous scenery, lots of wildlife, and some historic landmarks, and I wanted to be able to carry a passenger there, partially recharge for 45-60 minutes, and then take the tour and head home. I had earlier sent an email to the park, asking about recharging, and I spotted what seemed to be two outdoor power outlets, but they were off the path and covered, so I didn't verify them. A Park Ranger happened to be walking by, and I asked him. He assured me that the only outlets were up the hill at the Visitor's Center itself. He was quite friendly, but I really didn't believe him. I don't know why park staff are so unwilling to let people recharge at 'their' parks, but it's all too common here.
I was pretty sure I could get home by another road (Rt 32 splits off from Rt4 just before the bad stretch), so I left the park another way, and had a very pleasant ride through the hilly terrain just above the Hudson River between Stillwater and Schuylerville NY, rejoining the highway along the river just where I expected. I took it easy, but did most of the ride on the middle power setting, occasionally dropping down to Low for hills. I had it up to an indicated 50MPH for some of the highway, but more often rode at 45. The only Downer was the wobbly front forks, which had me using mainly the rear brake, and cornering with more care than I'd usually need. I basically took the long way home, making sure I rode enough extra miles to simulate a ride through the toll road at the park. I got home with plenty of juice left (the pack read 74 volts on the charger) and no real range anxiety. I'll definitely be riding through the park in the near future, even if alone.
Postscript: there was a reply to my email waiting for me, from one of the park's public contact people. She was both friendly and encouraging, saying that next year they will have solar lights, with power outlets! I'll be amazed if these prove to be adequate for EV charging, but she also mentioned an old outlet near the parking lot (almost certainly one of the ones I spotted) and would see if it was still working, then get back to me. Fingers crossed!
Oh, I forgot: total trip length was 48.5km. Even with the hills I could have gone to 55 or 60, albeit with range anxiety and lower power above 55km. I'd guess my average speed was about 37MPH, and most common speed 40MPH. Top speed for the trip was an indicated 53. Top sustained speed was 50. The original 5000 watt motor hit a wall at 50 on the middle power setting, but the 8500 watt unit will try to get to 60, stopping at about 58 if I leave the throttle wide open long enough on level ground.
OK, question: You've had your bike for about a year. ZEV says they have a 2-year warranty. The front fork stem is obviously defective - hence, the wobble. Where's the warranty service?
It should have been checked at the shop when it was returned, but the builder says he rode it and detected nothing. It was very mild at first, growing worse over time. He has since told me to adjust (tighten) the steering bearing, and that does help. To further complicate things, this is apparently a common problem, and one that doesn't always get fixed. Ask MEroller. A lot of these scooters use the same fork assembly, and apparently it isn't very well made. That would be the #1 component I would have resourced. The other regular ZEV poster here hasn't encountered it, so I think it was a case of a weak assembly being compromised by the shipping damage, which appears to have thrown the bike around inside the crate. I'm thinking about having a cycle shop look at it, but first I have to find a good one within range.
Just want to meantion that 2 new front forks are on their way from Mountain Chen for mine and Klas´s Eriders.
Sourced from Taiwan they should handle much better according to Chen.
That's a very good explanation of the problem, but it doesn't really address the matter of the 2-year warranty. Is it in force or not? If it is in force, then ZEV is obligated to fix the bike (I would say, replace the fork assembly). Whether the damage was caused by shipping or (as seems to be likely, based on reports by others) a defect should not enter into it. Warranty service would involve, in my view, either having the bike shipped back to ZEV for repairs and then returned to you at no charge, or ZEV shipping you the parts and paying for the labor to have them installed at a local repair shop. Unless it's just a parts warranty, of course, which means you'd have to pay the labor or do the job yourself - but should still get the replacement parts shipped to you. Which is it?
When you say, "A lot of these scooters use the same fork assembly, and apparently it isn't very well made", you return to my earlier point about the gaping hole in ZEV's business plan. Chinese manufacturers are so far removed from the end-user that they bear very little risk from buying the cheapest components, regardless of quality, for their vehicles that they can. The ZEV 2-year warranty is between ZEV and its customers, not between the actual manufacturer in Zhejiang that puts sub-par fork assemblies on the bikes. The brand name on the bikes is ZEV, not Jonway or Erato or Zap, or e-fun, etc...., so the factory doesn't give a hoot what happens to ZEV in the long run. All they want to do is fill up containers of bikes and ship them to a customer, somewhere, anywhere, and get payment in full in advance of shipment.
I hope ZEV has product liability insurance, because it's very likely that one of these days somebody is going to be seriously hurt or killed by the failure of a critical part, such as one of these fork stems, and in the USA courts you can't just say, "Oh, sorry, a lot of these scooters use the same fork assembly, and apparently it isn't very well made", and walk away with your shirt on.
You are making several questionable assumptions here. The first is that I *know* that it's the forks causing the problem, and can prove it in court. The second is that the US court system works well. The last is that I can simply request a new fork assembly without removing and testing the current one, which is beyond my ability. As I wrote earlier, I need to find a shop that can check out the front end on the bike. It could be a damaged steering bearing instead of, or in addition to, mediocre forks that may have gotten damaged. Unlike a lot of the folks here I didn't buy this scooter so I could spend my free time working on it, and things are moving slowly with it. I've also wasted time and money partially installing a "Cycle Analyst", a bicycle computer that is not ready for Prime Time on anything faster than a bicycle. So instead of flooding me with accusations and assertions, how about waiting until I know more about the problem, and you know more about how buying vehicles over the internet actually works?
Another ride today, about 48km again, but this time to a farmers market (waste of time but a nice enough ride) in a nearby town. I'm slowly getting a feel for how far various places are from home in terms of actual distance traveled on roads, and this is reducing my range anxiety. Oh, and the nice woman from the Saratoga Battlefield park told me to go ahead and try any outlets I find there. I'll make sure to have her name and phone number with me when I do. ;-)
It's your bike, your problem, so by all means do what you want. I was not accusing you of anything - just trying to point out that if the bike is under 2 years old and has a dangerous wobble in the front-end, there should be a warranty of some sort (can't find any detailed terms on the ZEV website, except that it's 2-years, and "the best in the industry") that hopefully amounts to more than, "find out exactly what's wrong (yourself) and maybe we'll send you some parts to fix it (yourself)". Cheers and best of luck to you!
It may have been the best warranty in the industry when the website was last updated. I don't know about now. Anyway, the way it works is: I tell the owner of the company that a part is bad. If it's minor he just sends me a new one. If it's a major part, I have to jump through a few hoops to establish that it's really that part that needs replacing, at which point he then sends me it. The main reason I'm unhappy is that the bike was already back at the factory for shipping damage repair, and the only thing done to the front end was a bent speedo drive was straightened, despite my having told them that there was a vibration in the front. If the front end was damaged in shipping, or was defective, that's one case in which I would probably ask for labor compensation as well as the part(s), but only if it were really expensive by my standards. Say over $100 for labor. It's a bit foolish to order a scooter over the internet and expect labor costs for every repair. In most cases this applies to *any* repair. It may not be right, but it's the industry norm.
That sounds like you ordered the standard CA with the little shunt. The only two bad things I can say about the large screen high current CA + 200A external shunt I ordered and integrated into my Thunder is that only a few weeks into using it the left button quit working, and before one of my log-rides with the Analogger I got a hell of a spark when I attempted to plug in the power supply of the CA into the Analogger's power cable.
The first bit was fixed with Grin Technologies sending me a replacement front enclosure, which simply left me the job of yanking the housing halves apart (there already was sealant in between), unplugging the electrical connector of the front enclosure from the PCB, plugging in the connector of the replacement part, adding some new sealant und reassembling the housing halves. Ever since then it has worked flawlessly.
However, I could not quite figure out how I got an electrical short while plugging in the power supply of the analogger. Part of the connector got burned so badly I first had to clean it out in order to be able to plug it in again, but then it worked as should be. I for my part am a happy CA customer and hardly ever look at the normal speedo nor other instruments anymore :-)
But your front fork needs fixing, that is for sure!
2017 Zero S ZF6.5 11kW, erider Thunder 5kW
Grin Technologies told me to buy the wrong version after I talked with them over email, giving the exact make and model of my scooter. They charged me for express shipping, told me it was shipped the next day, then waited 5 days to ship it - all this while the bike was back at Zee Electric being (partially) fixed). I did have to then order the large shunt for it. Then I discovered that you have to clip a capacitor out of it if you want to use it at faster than bicycle speeds. *Then* I discovered that sometimes you have to also replace the capacitor you clipped with a different one. The thing is crap, meant for a bicycle but sold to anyone they can sell it to. Yours was apparently defective as well. You may be happy with it, but I'm not sure I'll ever connect mine. If I do, I'll enter twice the number of hall sensors, then just double the speed reading.
That means you were planning to use the hall signals from the motor for RPM measurement? Because changing that capacitor would only be necessary if you expect more than 1kHz switching frequency. I used the supplied Reed switch but similarly attached two magnets to my rear wheel and programmed two poles into the CA. Like this I get almost impercievable lag with speed changes, and my max frequency stays below 40Hz, so no need for fiddling with the capacitor. Only during take-off from standstill it takes the CA about 1 second to calculate the first speed reading. But even with 5Hz data logging - when I reduce motor current at full speed, the very next data set already records the speed reduction, after just 0.2 seconds.
It was indeed no customer service to be proud of what Grin staged in your case :-(
But I rather take the flexibilty of the CA as a bonus point because it becomes a very versatile tool this way, at least for geeks like me :-) But it SHOULD be backed up with propper advice from the manufacturer...
2017 Zero S ZF6.5 11kW, erider Thunder 5kW
I'm afraid I have no idea what switching frequency I'd end up with, or even what exactly that means. (Number of reads per unit of time...?) I have been told that the unit will reset at speeds above 35MPH if the capacitor isn't clipped or replaced. I didn't see any decent way to mount the bicycle sensor, but I was looking at the front wheel. If you'd like to explain your approach I'd appreciate it, but keep in mind that the CA connection is low on my list, and whenever it rises a notch, something else on the scooter goes South.
Leftie, check out the Thunder thread around page 2, post #9, to get the details:
CA-Integration in Thunder
Yes, it is number of reads or pulses per second. At least my CA v. 2.23 can deal with up to 1000 pulses per second. If you had one magnet on your 13inch wheel with a 130/60 sized tire that would allow up to a mere 3 479 MPH before the CA would need to be tweaked :-) With my two-magnet setup I reduced that to theoretically 1 739 MPH.
Now with the motor hall sensors, those fire a lot more often than just once or twice per motor revolution. I am led to believe our motors sport around 24 poles, which should yield 24 / 3 = 8 sensor pulses per round for a single sensor. That should still be O.K. for almost 435 MPH. But I DO know Phil Carlton had to fiddle with that capacitor C6 too with his 8000W Scooter while using a motor hallsensor reading - if need be you could check out his findings in that thread, it should be on one of the earlier pages of that monster-thread.
But I would also keep the CA VERY low on my priority list with the other troubles your ZEV still has. For me it was also the very last thing to be fitted after I had (more or less successfully) fought through all the other major issues of my bike...
2017 Zero S ZF6.5 11kW, erider Thunder 5kW