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ZEV Motorcycles & Scooters
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Here is an idea for testing his controller.
I believe he says there are three plugs going into the motor.
Put the bike on it's centerstand and unplug all the plugs marking their correct locations first.
Then plug the plugs into the SAME lead to the motor one at a time, checking to see if the motor works at all with each plug.
You may have to give the rear wheel a little spin to get it started moving since you are only activating a third of the motor at a time.
If all the plugs make the motor work on that one lead you know it is a problem with the motor, not the controller.
If one of the plugs does not work then you know the problem is with the controller and not the motor.
Another way you could check the operation is by just unplugging one lead from the controller to the motor at a time and testing to see which unplugged lead makes no difference in the operation of the motor.
Once you isolate the problem lead/ motor connection you can then unplug all the leads and try switching a good lead to the section of the motor that does not work. If the wheel does not spin with the good lead connected it is the motor that is the problem.
Anyone see a problem with this idea before LeftieBiker gives it a try?
Have a read of " zenids eco scooter blog ", there is a section on testing a hub motor.
It's well written with easy to follow instructions.
It should give you a yay or nay as to if the fault lies in the motor or if the suspected controller needs further investigation.
Hope this helps.
Do you have a link to that blog, or will a search lead right to it? Keep in mind that my mobility is limited, so that and the previous suggestions about testing motor leads, while good, wouldn't work well with the ZEV's wiring. The wires are all in multiple plugs, and while theoretically the individual 'pluglets' come out, most of them seem to be unmoving. I'd be worried about damaging those fine wires trying to get them out of the plug. Still, if I can make jumpers between the plugs so I can connect just one motor lead at a time... are we sure that the motor will turn with just one phase connected? Otherwise I'd have to connect two phases, then rotate between the possible combinations to see if the 'dead zone' is in the motor or the controller.
Here's a link to that section of the (large) blog:
Adapting another 3p brushless DC controller to your scooter is doable, but if you can't obtain a wiring diagram or at least connector pin assignments it will be a lot of work - you will have to do a lot of wire tracing.
I'm having some trouble with both Ebay's software and their 'Live Help,' but I hope to have the ZEV up for auction this Friday or Saturday night. It will be a one week auction, with a likely Buy It Now price of $1995, and a reserve set well below $1500 dollars. In addition, if the winning bidder will be picking the bike up, doesn't want the batteries, and will remove and leave them, I'll buy those back for $200. You can't get a good project bike of this size and power for this price unless you want to try to resurrect a Vectrix. I'll post a link here when the auction is live.
My bad luck just knows no bounds. I've been trying to list the ZEV on Ebay for the last week, as the final 'Review & Submit' page just reloads instead of listing it. After about 4 hours total on the phone with the phone support people at Ebay (some of whom are ok, others of whom should not be working there) I now know that there is a bug in their system that is affecting lots of accounts, and that it may be resolved sometime this week. I wanted an auction that started and ended on Sunday night, but they've ruined that for sure.
So, while I'm waiting to auction the thing, and sick of the whole process before it even really begins: if you can come up with $1500 dollars in cash, and can pick the scooter up, you can have it. This offer is good only until the auction starts, whenever that is. The auction will have no reserve, a fairly low opening price not far from $1500, and a Buy It Now price of $1999. So for a day or three only, you can "Buy It Now" for less.
After 3 weeks and 6+ hours trying to get Ebay's way-offshore "Live Help" department to fix whatever moronic glitch is preventing me from posting an auction listing - it even gives me a preview listing but won't actually list it - I give up. Tomorrow or Wednesday I'm going to try to dismount and open the controller. Assuming I don't wind up bashing this POS glorified Chinese scooter to pieces first (one way to free up the space in the garage), can anyone give me a disassembly sequence for this job? The "plugs" on the controller are fake, I know that much. Is there a way to open the case on the bike, and if not, where do I disconnect the cables?
Every motor controller I've seen you will need to remove the controller to open the case. You've never removed much bodywork off the scooter yet? You will probably need to remove a fair amount of bodywork to get at the controller's connections. I'm not very confident that you will find anything reparable in the controller (burned up FETs tend to ruin the PC board). But once on one of my old scooters, I found some capacitors had shaken until their leads fatigued and broke and was able to get it running again.
I was hoping to avoid removing the side panel, as the seat release is on that side, but if I can't disconnect the controller from top and/or bottom and then dismount it as a unit, I'll try removing the panel. I can only work while sitting in a low chair (I changed the Suzuki's oil this evening, and nearly passed out twice) or standing, so we'll see. Thanks. The last hope for an easy fix is a damaged sensor wire in the cable between the motor cable connection and the controller. Of course, that would leave me with the same lackluster performance, but at least I wouldn't have to spend $500 for a new controller.
Ebay, BTW, is the commercial marketplace equivalent of a Chinese scooter.
You don't need to remove any of the bodywork, all you need to remove is the underseat tray which is held in by 4 10mm bolts, then lift slightly and undo the 2 10mm nuts and bolts holding the 2 tray sections together and remove the main section from the scooter.
You can now get to all the connections from the controller, then remove 3 bolts hold the controller mounting plate to the frame and its done.
Thanks. The tray is already off. Can you tell me the best way to get at the three bolts that hold the controller in place?
One bolt is about 5 or 6 inches to the left of the rear shock and is easily to get to with a ring spanner, the other 2 are at the left hand end of the controller and hidden from view, 1 behind the upper plastic nut that exits the controller and and 1 just level with the bottom of the lower plastic nut, with these 2 its a case of laying down with a ring spanner and going for it.
Added a pic of the controller wiring diagram.
Hope that helps
I've got the diagram already, but the bolt info helps a lot. Thanks! I'll be tackling this over the weekend. Concert tonight, home repairs tomorrow.
I assume a "ring spanner" is what is called a "12-point box wrench" in the US?
Yes, that's Brit for "box wrench."
I got the controller off the bike this evening. I started by switching off the main breaker, then carefully disconnecting and capping the main power wire to the controller - it was reading 37 volts. Then I took some photos of the connectors, separated them, and the real Fun began. One of the three bolts mentioned by 'Uncle Tufty' isn't hard to reach, one had fallen off at some point, and one looked impossible - the bolt tightens with the head against the controller heat sink, and can't be turned. At that point I started reexamining the thing, and here is what I discovered: there are four medium-sized Philips head screws, in recessed 'wells' on the cover, that look like case screws, but are actually the screws that hold the controller onto a bracket that is itself held by the four (not three) bolts I started on. The nuts on those screws aren't anchored, but they do have ridges, and you can remove the screws by keeping them under tension while turning them. I got the controller and associated wiring off undamaged, and the controller was still reading 40 volts on the bench. I guess at least some of the capacitors are still good! I'm going to open it, because I'm still not certain that the problem is with the controller - I'm really hoping to see some burned components or broken wires...
I may reconnect the thing if it looks fine, without remounting it on the bike, in order to try to test it. Are there any bench tests I can try first?
OK, I'll try a question: with a 72/84 volt system, is 40 volts residual in the controller normal?
Not forever, as even the best capacitors have some internal loss of charge. But it tapers down, so the first half of voltage drein goes by pretty fast, whereas the second half can take ages - depending on the capacitor quality.
2017 Zero S ZF6.5 11kW, erider Thunder 5kW
So I guess the next step is to bleed that current off with a light bulb, and open the case...
Yes, that's the way to go :-)
2017 Zero S ZF6.5 11kW, erider Thunder 5kW
I got around to opening the controller case - or, more accurately, trying. The end cap opposite the wired end came off with only a little reluctance, but the heat sink that contains the capacitors & MOSFETs appears to be glued to the top of the case as the assembly is slid into it - I don't think it comes out again. I can see no damage or darkened areas, but then again I can't see all the way to the other end inside. That end represents a Catch 22: the wiring seals can be removed, but since the wires are soldered inside, you can't take it apart to unsolder them. So I still have no idea if it is definitely the controller that went bad...
This is going to sound like a stupid question but, did you remove the label from the front of the case ( spec label with volt / amp info ) as there are 6 screws hidden underneath it that hold the case to the heatsink ?.
Hah! No, but the label on mine is tiny. I'll take a look, but if there are six screws under there I'll be surprised. I will look, though - thanks!
The large label across the front of the controller with volts / amps etc, there are 6 screws under the label, these hold the outer case to the heatsink.
Those 6 screws are the only ones that hold the heatsink to the case, so if both end covers are unscrewed the board should slide out of the case.
Maybe a bit of WD40 ( or whatever it's called in the US ) will loosen the heatsink up enough to release it.
I've been preoccupied with other stuff, but I'll see if I can get to this over the weekend. Thanks again for the info. I'll also look for a crack in the board like you found.
I finally got the controller apart this evening, but still have no answers. The board and components look fine. No cracked joints, bad soldering (it actually looks quite well assembled) or damage to the board. There are two small brown spots on the bottom of the board, but they aren't at any connections, and appear to be stains, not burns. Either the problem is with the controller and is invisible to visual inspection, or it isn't with the controller...
I happened upon one of these in a Craigslist ad, and looked up the model number. It's the same body and running gear used by ZEV, with a different motor.
There are hundreds of generic Chinese scooters out there. Most use one of two body/frames - the one you have and the one I have. I was actually at the place where Darius assembled ZEV scooters, and there are probably few similarities between the scooters beyond appearance and brakes.
Regarding your controller, the great majority failures of electronic parts leave no visible evidence, so I never thought that opening the controller would reveal anything. Most checks could be done from the outside with a multimeter if you could find the procedure.
Did you check the motor wingdings by seeing how the motor turns when the motor leads are connected together? Alternately connect blue-green, green yellow, yellow-blue, then all together, the motor should turn with much increased resistance - particularly with all together.
And the hall sensors should be easy to check with an ohmmeter/diode checker too - do an search on the internet.
I got a good look at the photos of the one on Craigslist, and all of the body parts are identical, excepting the faux drive cover on the left side. I'd be willing to bet that I could swap all the drive parts from the ZEV to that scooter - if I actually had a good drive system! It calls into question how much of the frame is actually unique to ZEV, unless he builds them (the frames) to accept all of the external parts from another scooter. Anyway, I wasn't claiming that ZEV is simply a rebranded Chinese scooter, only that the body and entire front end appears to be just that. One of Mountain Chen's photos from their trip into the mountains had one of these scooter bodies in it, so they may use the parts as well for a model.
I'll be testing the motor lines next. I felt that it was unlikely that it would behave identically on both sets of sensor leads if the problem lay there, so I went after the controller first. Now I have literally no idea where the problem lies. That's why I was hoping for visible damage inside the controller.