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I can get the charger for you. Might have one in hand. If not, I have some of the latest type, the successor in process. Chargers are like everything else, they are slowly getting better.
If the battery is good, you only have BMS, controller, key switch in the system as parts. Motors do not behave like that. Any other cause is a connection.
What bothers me about your bike is that the prior owner took it apart. Sometimes people about half bolt things up. A loose ground will cause a controller to act badly. Make sure all of those bolted cable connections are tight. Sometimes I see people torque them until the threads rip out or gall. Then they feel tight to a wrench, but you can move the cable around.
The nature of your symptoms spell connection. So while its easy to check bolted connections for big cables. What usually gets overlooked is the pins inside push together snap connectors. Those pins have just a little catch on them. When people push them together, the catch releases, and while the connector goes together, one of the pins backs out of the connector slightly. Then the pins touch, but not lock. So take each connector apart, look at the level of the pin tops in both the male and female to see that they are all setting level. Tug on the wire to each pin gently. See if any come out of plastic connector.
In the front -Look at the connector coming out of the key, that runs into the wiring loom, and emerges as the small red wire into the controller. Same for the connector from the throttle at the front, and then under the seat.
If the power is not disconnection, it might be getting shut off. Disconnect the micro switches on the brake levers. Some people unconsciously ride the levers. Sometimes they get grit in them and stick, or water or conductive oil in them. Brake fluid will absorb water if left in the switches. Check the right hand electric control connection. Especially the kill switch wires. Check the kickstand switch that the plunger is going in and out full travel and not hanging up.
Email sent. :)
In posting this description I hoped someone might recognize the combination of intermittent cutting-out, initial hesitation, and a low-pitched growl or roar... i.e., that it's a known problem that isn't necessarily ZEV-specific. So while I work with Darus to troubleshoot — yes, I'll check those connections — if anyone else has solved this particular issue before I'd welcome your suggestions.
Hi Steve - I've ridden my LRC6 about 500 miles now and I've had the torque cut out twice when taking off from a stop light and a couple of times climbing slowly out of my (steep) driveway. It's a little surprising. I've tried to get it to be reproducible, but it's so rare, that I can't. It doesn't actually "feel" like a loose connection - like a loose brake-switch connection, but I could be wrong. I am also supposed to have 3 gears (L/M/H) but can only detect two distinct torque/MAX-MPH/minVoltage states in the bike. Sometimes when I take off from a stop, it's apparently in high gear, then later drops to M or L when I back off on the throttle (the Vmin and MAXtorque change perceptably). The only time I *absolutely* know what gear I am in is when I first turn on the key - in that case, it takes two hits of the gear shifter to get from L -> H, and the first hit changes nothing. It's still rideable. I guess I've had a lot of old bikes.
All of this behavior makes me think "processors/PROMS/ePROMS/etc." Maybe digital power electronics. Based on my laboratory experience in the last decade or so, I would say it could could be related to microprocessors and/or their programming. I know there are some programmable elements to the LRC controller (the "brain"). Perhaps there's even an auto-power-on-test cycle in the controller. It may be that a PROM or a processor is going bad - nowadays we have been seeing these items undergo parametric failure states (not just *poof* and being dead). But I know that doesn't help much.
It's a little frustrating not having the ability to trouble-shoot. I've offered (to Darius) to set up a Private (non-public, invitation only) Facebook page for ZEV owners to discuss/document these things, mostly out of selfishness to get help myself.
The behaviors you describe point to either a failing controller or a bad cell in the pack. The cut-out may be due to low voltage brought on by one or two weak cells in an otherwise normal pack. The "growling" is usually a symptom of controller problems, or sometimes of motor issues. Since it isn't constant I think the controller is the most likely culprit, although it could have that AND a bad cell. It could also be a bad connection. Here's hoping it's the last one.
Based upon my previous experiences I'm tempted to believe it is the controller causing this issues. I get the idea one is too easy in believing in 'bad cell's ' . Take what happened to me for example. When I was decribing the issues I had and was thinking it might be the controller the reactions I got were immediately suggesting bad cells. And in the end it appeared to be the controller!! As it was already the second controller with wich I had the trouble - the first also suddenly broke after first having some issues - I consider myself entitled in thinking of the controller now first ;-)
I don't *believe* cells can be "quickly" intermittent like that (I can ask the battery scientists at work), unless there's a loose contact, which would spark (and smell); a single dead cell stays constantly dead - so it's difficult to explain without the wiring diagram for the bikes. Since there's no local service, those should really come with the bikes - you can buy shop manuals for cars and bikes, but not for the ZEV's.
I believe the electronics probably has feedback sensors (not carrying much current) which wires could be loose or intermittent and interrupt power flow without noticeable arcing. But usually with high power digital electronics, it's the lower-current control IC's that begin to have issues.
I took a class on "hardware" (meaning integrated circuits) security. When you design a custom IC circuit for a specific purpose, like a control circuit, you ship the design somewhere in Asia to a "foundry" who builds it for you. Always there is a lot of logic in these (much more than needed, actually). My thinking in bringing this up is that maybe the foundry which made custom IC's in the LRC might be having cleanliness/reliability issues. Alternatively, there may be issues with the logical design by whomever ran the software to design the IC logic. I presume the motor/controllers are both designed by one supplier, and are not on-shore here in the US. Of course, that doesn't help much. But it does suggest that you could ship the controller or motor back for testing, maybe? If it's an old design, it might not be supported any more :-( I think the main cost of the bike is the battery.
I agree it's likely the controller, but cells don't have to be dead to be defective or damaged. They can be marginal, and act ok when fully charged, but bring down the overall pack voltage as charge drops.
Thanks PattiMichelle, Jean-Bob, and LeftieBiker (and of course, Darus) for your thoughts. Here's a little followup. Bottom line, my S 8500 is working now, without cutting out.
I bought a new charger from ZEV, an unbranded (custom-made?) unit with max output of 102.2 volts and 12 amps. More expensive than other options I read about here, but I wanted to remove any questions about charging. I also bought a surge suppressor/ line conditioner (ESP Next Gen surge protector, model XG-PCS-20D) on Ebay. The ZEV manual clearly advises a surge suppressor, and I confess I didn't use one before — maybe that's why the prior charger died. I then plug everything into a 20 amp GFCI-protected outlet in my garage.
Unlike the old charger, the new one actively top-balances. It runs on full, shuts off, then intermittently comes on at lower amperage for a few seconds at a time. Eventually it stays on longer but at a fraction of an amp. If I understand the process, the charger shuts off when the highest cell exceeds a max voltage, then the BMS in the bike drains the highest cell(s) to other cells with lower voltage, which allows the charger to come back on and charge the pack a bit more. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) In any case, the fully charged resting voltage of the scooter is a good deal higher now, just over 100 volts. And in about 6 miles of bumpy, stop-and-go city testing, it hasn't cut out once. Not a long test so far, but I have my fingers crossed.
By the way, each of the 3 times I charged with the new unit, the GFCI eventually tripped. It never did before with the old charger. My fancy new surge suppressor has an event recorder, which shows 3 surges, then 3 outages (the outages being the GFCI tripping, I assume). Surges would explain why the original charger died, but I wonder if there's another explanation. I don't think surges would trip the GFCI, and I never had trouble with irregular house voltage before. [Edit: I just looked this up. Surge suppressors can trip upstream GFCIs, especially if there are surges but even sometimes if not.]
For now, I believe the cutting-out problem was due to a bad charger that failed to balance the pack, resulting in one or more low-voltage cells triggering the controller to cut power. Of course, I've been wiggling wires and spraying contact cleaner too, so it's "possible" the problem was really a bad connection somewhere. I still can't explain why going over a bump made any difference. But my money's on the charger.
If the cutout was because of battery voltage, wouldn't that show up on the voltmeter on your dashboard?
Also, I got to thinking - one time I had a motorcycle that wouldn't stay running no matter what I did to it. Months later it turned out that the kill/run switch was intermittent. The ZEV has one of these, and also with the ZEV the brake switches cut out power. An intermittent with either of these could cause power to stop unexpectedly.
But at least you're up and running! That's great - I really like the "feel" of the ZEV - so light and nimble. It has no trouble accelerating up the steep hills around here and keeping up with traffic. The reverse gear is a great help in hilly parking here also. All the "bugs" I read about in the lead post for this thread seem to have been fixed, including the throttle smoothness. I've stopped riding my 600cc SilverWing completely. I really hope the ZEV lasts for a long time. Typical Honda/Yamaha bike/scooter lifetimes are in excess of 20 years.
I did notice a few drops of oil weeping out of a few spots on the hubmotor just the other day, but not much. Guess I'll check the torque on the hubmotor sealing bolts. (My SilverWing "weeps" a *lot* more oil than that.)
Glad to hear you are loving your bike.
If your motor is weeping, try tightening the ring of small socket head bolts first. After that, squirt the leak area clean with brake cleaner. Then, if it persistes, an old aircraft weeping gasket trick works -- use an LA-CO OylTite-Stik Its like a crayon, you just rub it where the leak gasket joint is (after cleaning, and it will seal weeps) Back when all motorcycle crankcases split vertically and there was no horizontal split catch pan, a lot of bikers had these to rub on the gaskets and stop the weeping.
Its not a fix for a big leak, but there is no pressure in the hub motor more than 1400 rpm can make the oil fling against the motor OD, so the OylTite is a quick way that usually works. It can handle several psi of pressure and not leak.
The ZEV has one of these, and also with the ZEV the brake switches cut out power. An intermittent with either of these could cause power to stop unexpectedly.
That jogged my memory. I had trouble with the brake kill switches on my ZEV, and I also thought the problem was with low voltage - until it happened at the start of a trip. I had to remove the brake levers and grind some material off of the activation pawls on them, to solve the problem.
Leftie - I'll have to look into the brake switch thing. I can't tell if the fault is the switch or the lever - I think it's the brake lever not returning all the way, because the front brake is so "soft" - it has to 'feed' two calipers, compared to the rear brake which only feeds one caliper. It's the same on my SilverWing - the (firmer) right brake is front-only (single caliper), and the left brake is the "linked" braking system - so it's noticeably softer, feeding two calipers. Maybe some sort of return-spring might be a better arrangement for the brake lever? It might be a better design to have a double-size master cylinder on the ZEV's right brake (although Honda doesn't do that, either).
Darius - thanks for the tip on the weeping case fix. Presumably they left a little air in the case for oil expansion room. I don't think it's a big problem, I just wanted to mention it; but I'll try your suggestions.
I have a friend who races bikes. He says that it's all about being light weight. The ZEV sure fills that bill. It reminds me of riding the Honda XL250 I had - so easy in traffic. Despite being light, it's stable - we get pretty windy days and riding up and down hills in a gusty crosswind is never a problem. I did install a big Pelican case on the back as a large luggage, but it acted like a sail (Pelican cases aren't aerodynamic) so I had to remove it and put on a standard Krauser 50L top box. That is much more aerodynamic and so the bike is stable again. I can carry at least two full bags of groceries now.
The SilverWing is super-porky compared to the LRC; it's not a chopper for sure, but it can be challenging to manage, especially when stopped.
Buffalo - is your charger for Lion or lead-acid batteries?
Patti - My charger is made for the LiFePO4 battery in the scooter. By the way, it's still working great — no more motor cutting out. And with that apparently solved, I'm preparing my old Harley for sale. I went from bicycles, to a moped, to a scooter, to a series of motorcycles including my Harley (1990 fxrs) I rode all over the western US. Then a couple other gas bikes (BMW k1200, Buell xb12s), and now the ZEV... and a bicycle again. A long strange trip indeed.
Ya, I had a chopper once (a honda vulcan) - I don't like heavy bikes, especially in traffic, although I suppose they're nice on cross-country rides. My favorite bike was a honda dual sport (XL600R) - light and nimble. I wish I knew more about the electronics for the LRC, but I don't want to take it apart to learn (even though my degree in physics taught me electronics). I did isolate my cutout problem to the right brake lever. If I release it slowly, sometimes it does not return to full-open. Maybe I'll try installing a spring. What do you think of the kickstand and the center-stand on your LRC?
Your Vulcan (& my Harley) was a "cruiser" not a chopper. A chopper is a customized, not stock, bike with extended forks and an increased rake angle. I never minded the weight of the Harley, 575 lbs. But I was always repairing something on it, and I have to admit it makes a hell of a lot of noise. So I got more reliable "daily riders." As you say, my favorite bike of all is light and nimble: my Buell xb12s. I still use it to get out of town but the transmission is slowly failing, which is why I got the ZEV for daily, mostly around town, riding.
My ZEV is an S-8500, not an LRC. I like the side stand just fine. Only times I used the center stand so far is for maintenance in my garage. In the past I used center stands when parking a bike on a steep hill (uphill of course), as it won't slide backwards. (I never park in gear, just a habit after many years.) The center on the ZEV is fine, I just don't see the need most of the time.
Ah, I see. It had a weird front end - after turning the handlebar about 10 degrees at a standstill, gravity would pull the handlebars to turn further - so it was very unstable at slow turns. I assumed Honda was trying to make it more attractive to the "chopper" wannabe crowd with a long front fork (I think as a result it had bad rake/trail). But it was fully stock.
Oh, and on the topic of bike stability: can you ride your S-8500 with your hands off the handlebars for brief periods? (I'm trying to get an idea of the stability) I had a Yamaha Riva 200 which had a "scooter" (one-sided fork) front end - but my SilverWing has a full-on motorcycle front fork. On smaller scooters with a low-quality suspension (and small tires), you crash at almost any speed if you take both hands off the handlebars. I can take my hands off the handlebars of my SWing and it tracks true, like a sportbike. This is one of the reasons I like the superscooters over smaller scooters - more stability = more safety.
The higher the speeds of vehicles, the more rake and trail should be in the steering head. The trail is the stabilizing factor. The geometry has the tire contact patch behind the projected point of contact with the ground of the forks.
Scooters are often planned to run in lower speed environments compared to cycles, and to be more "nimble" in traffic. That means steeper fork angles and less trail. Quick to respond, either to steering inputs from you, or steering inputs from the road (tank slapper)
Italians and Chinese run steeper fork angles as they usually are running slower and in city compared to big German or American scooters. If you search the net you will see that scooters like the 650 Burgman can run 115 mph and so can a few of the big Italian 750 cc scooters.
Further stability comes from wheelbase, but that means higher lean angles at the same speed in the same radius turn compared to a short wheelbase. So sport type cycles have short wheelbases for max cornering speeds. Cruisers and maxi scooters are not race bikes and run longer wheelbase. The ride is much better and no tendency to oscillate. The sport bikes get away with it to a high degree as very few do not have steering dampers on them.
I would love to add a damper to the LRC-X now that we are able to run past 100 mph. (The speed limiter is set at 93 mph on the flat) Trying to figure out how and be able to make adjustments in the damper given all of the bodywork.
The speed wobble issue is one of the main problems for hobbyists who want to take say a 60 volt scooter, change some parts and turn it into a 30 mph faster scooter. The steering head geometry was just not designed for it. When people come to us for parts package to do something like this, I usually specify a /60 tire over a /70 or /80 on the rear to lower the rear end via the sidewall. If its a short bike, using a one inch shorter rear shock squats the rear suspension slightly also increasing the rake and trail to keep the rider out of trouble.
Interesting! I don't really like speeds above 90 MPH or so (1997 Honda Magna or 2007 SWing) - but won't ride a bike any more that doesn't have excellent stability/balance below those speeds.
I've never experienced head shake, maybe because I don't like going over 100 MPH. I think I had my Magna up to 120 once just to see what that felt like...
When I see sportbikes on the road, they seem to easily ride with no hands (even for old guys). I've never seen a standard Harley so ridden on the road. (Maybe that's just coincidence?) But I do know that I couldn't take my hands off, even momentarily, with either my Vulcan or my Riva, at any speed. But I could easily ride with hands off on my Magna, XL250, XL600, and SWing.
Hands off is very bad driving practice in general, but it is a test which can provide a good indication of intrinsic vehicle stability.
Patti - Darus explained stability (rake/trail, wheelbase) better than I could. Basically, cruisers (and choppers) have a long wheelbase and increased rake angle, making them stable in a straight line but harder to turn. Sport bikes are the opposite. Cruisers are therefore easier than sport bikes to ride hands-free in a straight line (despite your observation above... sport bikers may just try more dangerous stuff). My Buell has a very short wheelbase and very steep rake — and since I don't race it or ride crazy, it has an aftermarket steering damper to make it less temperamental. I don't know much at all about scooters, so Darus' comparison of different country's scooters was interesting. Besides the factors already mentioned, I expect the scooters' smaller wheel size results in somewhat less gyroscopic stability. I've never been inclined to ride the S-8500, or anything else really, hands free.
As luck would have it, I broke my Buell clutch cable while riding back into town about 1 am Sunday morning. Nursed it home in 2nd the whole way, by starting it in gear every time I had to stop. Not fun. No clutch/transmission issues with EVs...
Darus - Sad to report that the cutting-out started up again today. It had been on the charger for 2 or 3 days straight, top-balancing like a champ. Cut out 10 times in 4 miles getting to work, similar on the return. So apparently I was wrong... there must be a bad connection somewhere. Since I was last in the front wiring, behind the headlights, followed by days of flawless operation, I assume that's where the problem is. I'm rechecking/cleaning all the connectors, and took a few pics to send to Darus. Ugh.
I stand corrected...https://arstechnica.com/science/2011/04/moving-bikes-stay-uprightbut-not-for-the-reasons-we-thought/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_and_motorcycle_dynamicshttps://www.google.com/search?q=no+hands+motorcycle+riding&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiV9sfjyo_WAhVElFQKHfytDsgQ_AUIDC...
The speed wobble issue is one of the main problems for hobbyists who want to take say a 60 volt scooter, change some parts and turn it into a 30 mph faster scooter. The steering head geometry was just not designed for it.
MY 60 volt 5000LA scooter developed a death wobble at even low speeds. Repeated steering head bearing adjustments made little difference. It may have had something to do with shipping damage on two separate occasions.
OK, since you guyz know about bike stability and geometry, let me ask a question. I have a bike which is unique among the 7 bikes I've owned in that if I release the handlebars it starts to lean to the left, which initiates a left-hand lane change. This is at speeds above 30 MPH or so where it should track true (straight ahead). I believe this sort of behavior means that the rear wheel is slightly canted toward the right (the angle of the rear tire track line is a little to the right of the axis of the vehicle or direction of travel of the vehicle - I hope that's clear...), so that the rear wheel tracks slightly to the right of the vehicle vector, so the tire travels a little to the right of the center of gravity of the bike, so that the bike leans left. I think adjusting the rear wheel axes can help, but I thought I'd ask. I need to fix this for safety reasons.
"Darus - Sad to report that the cutting-out started up again today. It had been on the charger for 2 or 3 days straight, top-balancing like a champ. Cut out 10 times in 4 miles getting to work, similar on the return. So apparently I was wrong... there must be a bad connection somewhere. Since I was last in the front wiring, behind the headlights, followed by days of flawless operation, I assume that's where the problem is. I'm rechecking/cleaning all the connectors, and took a few pics to send to Darus. Ugh."
Did you try disconnecting the brake light switches and/or the stop switch (the motor cutoff switch) and kickstand cutoff switch from the electrical system? Problems with these can cause the motor to shut off, and they're pretty quick to check - just unplug them.
Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but I don't see how to access those switches themselves without removing all the plastic bodywork. And I don't know which color wires (or which connectors) go with those switches to disconnect them "downstream". If you or Darus would be kind enough to tell me, I would happily disconnect them to test. My latest efforts with the front wiring/connectors hasn't helped.
Before you assume that the bike has an issue, run the tests somewhere on a dead flat poured concrete surface. Roads have what is called crown in them. That is they are not flat. The angle of the crown even varies by State and the speed rating of the road and the amount of rain fall expected. So while you might think you are running on a dead flat, the road is generally angled.
This creates a pulling or tendency to go one way or the other. Which way is generally figured by the tire tread pattern and how much it might be worn. Tire pressure makes a difference too. Generally you will find that the roads you travel or worn tires are the issue.
You surmise that one side of the rear axle is more forward of the other. It could also be equal front to rear but not vertically. The rear could be straight but the steering head off left to right a bit to create the same effect.
A pronounced out of line will make a "feathering" mark on the tire. That usually only happens from a crash damage.
The only real way to tell is to set up levels and angle blocks on a flat steel sheet and measure everything. Start with getting the rims dead vertical.
Unless the pull is really strong, there is no real safety issue. About every car and bike are off a bit from perfect. That is why racers jig up and take the measurements. Things like swingarms and tube frames come out of welding jigs. It used to be that most were perfect when gas welded, but now parts are welded with electric. Stresses build up from the cooling. Racers and aircraft builders use a "rosebud" torch to heat the electric welds to normalize them before coming out. Production bike parts spring out of the jig under clear tension and may have a small amount of twist. Its one of the reasons for milled swingarms and chassis that use machined pickups on engines for alignment on very fast bikes. But even then, racers and perfectionists check. I ream fitted all of the bolts on my Kawasaki so that there was no play between the bolts and motor or bolts and chassis. Production bikes have sloppy holes to a make rapid production possible. Racers use antiseize and beat and screw bolts into place.
Reach in from the side and use needle nosed pliers to disconnect the slide on connectors on the brake switches. The sidestand switch has a connector you can reach through the door between your feet on the left side.
Patti - I can't add much to Darus' notes about your bike leaning left. It can be many factors, on and off the bike. One easy thing to check is "fall-away": Put the bike on the center stand on a level surface, so the front wheel is in the air. Does the front wheel prefer to fall one way more than the other? If so, direct your attention to the front end. Another easy thing to check is weight distribution. If the left side of your bike (cargo, riders) is heavier, it will tend to veer that way.
Darus - There's barely enough clearance to reach a needle-nose between the brake lever and the plastic cowling that covers the handlebars. I was able to slide off the connectors on the right lever. If I can even do it on the left I won't be able to get them back on without further disassembly. (Disconnecting the right brake micro-switch had no effect on the cutting-out.) I see no connector through the "door between my feet". There's a black plastic wiring conduit and medium-thick red and black wires running lengthwise on the left. The lower row of batteries blocks any access to the side stand switch itself. I also still don't know which wires (or connector) go to the kill switch. I sent you email on 9/5 with a few pics of wiring connectors from the front of the scooter, hoping you'd i.d. them for me.
If there's a wiring diagram for this bike, with wire colors indicated, I'd be much obliged. Otherwise I think I'll be taking all the plastic off this thing and drawing one up myself, testing as I go. Believe me, it's not how I want to spend my spare time. (Or my girlfriend/partner's, who rides a Ducati and offered to help me disassemble this frustrating EV.) I'm still wondering how I had 2 trouble-free weeks when I started using the new charger.
Needle nose pliers come in various lengths and size of the "needles". Use the long thin type. You only need to pull off one connector, not both to test.
Otherwise, just take off the plastic handlebar surround. Take out the one bolt. Squeeze the plastic at the bottom on both sides until the latches release, use a knife blade to pop open the top.
There is only one connector with just two wires on the side stand switch. Reach your hand in near the switch from the bottom and tug on it to find it. If you stick your fingers down the side next to the battery you can find it also.
You do not need to pull of the body for wiring. If you cannot find the side stand switch, the one piece of plastic that is over the switch comes off in 3 minutes. Pull up the rubber foot mat and you can see the body color tabs to take the screws out of. One screw on the outside front of the panel. The panel swings like a hinge from the front and you can get to every single wire without exception running rearward on the bike. Its made to be extremely easy so anyone can get in there and get to all wires as if it was the door on a circuit breaker box
This entire thread is getting to be insane. Starting out with a meant to trash test ride about 8 years ago now this thread has encompassed test rides, lots of owners, piles of hubris and garbage, and repairs.
How about we start breaking out these threads so that people looking for repair info can find it, etc., and not all heaped together. Makes it near impossible for a reader to separate and find what they need.
I agree about the thread, and apologize for adding to the rambling. As a new user, I could only comment on an existing thread, not start a new one. If I have more to add (or ask) about my getting my ZEV S-8500 to run right, I'll start a new "repair" or "troubleshooting" thread.
Today I was able to disconnect the brake switches and side stand switch. This had no effect on the motor cutting out. Darus emailed me additional suggestions, e.g., to trace the power from the key-switch to the controller. I'll try that tomorrow. Signing off here.
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