Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

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DanDiego
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

I have a 2007 VX1 with 2300 miles. The charging circuit and motor controller were replaced a few months ago. Last week it died when I accelerated from an intersection. The instrument panel was dead with the speedo stuck at 40MPH and the cooling fans were running. Towed it to the new V dealer in San Diego, CA. Their mechanic got the fans disconnected and called V factory in RI. They diagnosed a bad fuse ( about $80 plus labor) and said one of the two NiMh packs is bad. Estimated replacement cost is $3K. They also said V was coming out with a Lithium model soon, maybe July 2011, and the dealer said they would take trade-ins. So my decision is either pay to replace the NiMh pack, convert to Lithium through you folks, or trade it In for a new Li model. I would love to hear your advice. Thanks!

Dan Wolfson
Danw [at] USA.net
I started Vectrix Riders on Yahoo Groups

DanDiego

Mik
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

I have a 2007 VX1 with 2300 miles. The charging circuit and motor controller were replaced a few months ago. Last week it died when I accelerated from an intersection. The instrument panel was dead with the speedo stuck at 40MPH and the cooling fans were running. Towed it to the new V dealer in San Diego, CA. Their mechanic got the fans disconnected and called V factory in RI. They diagnosed a bad fuse ( about $80 plus labor) and said one of the two NiMh packs is bad. Estimated replacement cost is $3K. They also said V was coming out with a Lithium model soon, maybe July 2011, and the dealer said they would take trade-ins. So my decision is either pay to replace the NiMh pack, convert to Lithium through you folks, or trade it In for a new Li model. I would love to hear your advice. Thanks!

Dan Wolfson
Danw [at] USA.net
I started Vectrix Riders on Yahoo Groups

Did they say which fuse? Usually the main battery fuse on the MC causes these symptoms, but not the running cooling fans. If the main fuse blows completely, then the cooling fans must also go out.

Unless yo were giving them a whole lot more information than what you wrote here, they can also not know if one, both or none of the two battery packs are faulty. Or, if they took them out and tested them, there would have been no need to ring the factory to get a diagnosis of fuse failure.

It sounds to me like they don't know what they are doing and are trying to sell you expensive gear.

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

yamez4u
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

Just curious what did they offer you on the trade in?

DanDiego
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

What I was told by the dealer was that they found a blown fuse which would cost about $79 in parts. They didn't specify which fuse. Just prior to the bike dying, it was showing the a "CAP Cur" message and the Wrench icon. According to Vectrix, that message can be caused by one of the two fuses on the motor controller board, so my guess is the second fuse probably blew. I believe they replaced the fuse and started diagnosing the bike, and they think that one of the two battery packs has died. I'm waiting for an update. I don't know if they actually pulled out the battery packs or just used a meter.

Here is some background: Last year the onboard charger died and bike sat for about 9 months because I couldn't locate parts. When Vectrix re-emerged after their BK and opened an office about 50 miles from San Diego, I trucked the bike up there and they installed a new charger and motor controller. They tested the batteries at that time and said they were fine. When I got the bike back, I was only getting about 25 miles of range on city streets and about 17 miles on the freeway at 68MPH. After a few months with no problems, I started seeing the CAP Cur message randomly. Then it stayed on all the time, and soon after that, the bike died with the fans running and the speedo stuck at 40.

The local dealer is pretty new and they like selling the Vectrix along with their ICE bikes, so I don't think they want to alienate any customers. They pretty much have to call the factory for tech support but their mechanic is learning the bike. San Diego Harbor Police bought two bikes and I believe these guys are the only local dealer.

Thanks for your comments. It is great to have this forum as a resource for us early (and sometimes bleeding-edge) adopters.

DanDiego

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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

The dealer said they would take trade-ins on the new lithium bikes but he did not mention any numbers. He said they were supposed to find out the pricing and availability details from Vectrix in July, so at that time I expect to find out what they are offering.

DanDiego

antiscab
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

What I was told by the dealer was that they found a blown fuse which would cost about $79 in parts. They didn't specify which fuse. Just prior to the bike dying, it was showing the a "CAP Cur" message and the Wrench icon.

Ah, that makes more sense.
So the cap fuses blew, not the main one.

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah in July 2010. Done 194'000km

Mik
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

...
...
Ah, that makes more sense.
So the cap fuses blew, not the main one.

Where are these fuses and what do they look like?

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

DanDiego
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

The bike is at the dealer so I haven't seen any of this.

DanDiego

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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

The San Diego dealer is:
Tork Motors
3655 Camino Del Rio West
San Diego, CA 92110
www.torkmotors.com
ride [at] torkmotors.com
619-294-8884
I spoke with Leo and he seems pretty sharp. Today's update is the motor controller board blew a fuse and the board itself is bad. It was replaced last September with a used one, and apparently this one went bad about eight months later. A new controller costs $3K plus labor so he's trying to locate another used one to save me some money. He's also trying to get pricing and availability on the new lithium models so I can decide whether to fix this one or trade it in on a new lithium model. He said the batteries tested at 130 volts which according to Vectrix HQ is the proper voltage, so they are fine.

DanDiego

antiscab
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit
So the cap fuses blew, not the main one.

Where are these fuses and what do they look like?

IIRC, they are soldered onto the controller board, next to the ceramic caps.

He said the batteries tested at 130 volts which according to Vectrix HQ is the proper voltage, so they are fine.

Thats not a sign of a good battery (or a bad one).
Even a bad battery will show 130v after a charge.

feel free to pass this information on to the dealer:

To test the battery, ride to red battery light.
Then dismantle the battery and test the voltage of every cell while using a small load like a light globe.
The failed ones will fall under 0.5v at load.

This test usually catches out both cells with reduced capacity, and cells with increased self discharge.

If you have the strapping hardware available, you can replace individual cells, otherwise its better to replace the whole 8 or 9 cell block.

the replacement cells don't have to be brand new, just not damaged.

you can get away with shunting out a couple of bad cells (and not bothering to replace them)

Matt

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah in July 2010. Done 194'000km

d2april
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

Hello Matt,

Please reply to this Email Address when you get all those parts for the LiFePO Kit For the Vectrix. I want a Deluxe Kit. Thanks

Doug Davis

214-335-7753

doug.davis [at] d2studios.net

Brutus
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

Mik, many thanks for your helpful suggestion on removing the battery cover - it came off in an instant using your technique - saving me what seemed to be about the most awkward part of the conversion.

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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

Matt, I noticed on removing the fan and cover assembly that there is a whole lot of weight in it. It also looks like it would be easy to remove the fan. Would the weight saving merit the effort? I live at the top of a 9 degree slope and have had to push my vectrix up it a few times - which gave me an appreciation of the energey required to haul that weight up an incline. I note in one of your earlier posts you mention that wind resistance is much more a factor than rolling resistance in terms of determining range; but in this hilly town I am thinking that the weight reduction of this conversion is a big part of the improvement.
What do you think - if it is not used, should I remove it?

regards, Bruce.

antiscab
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

I noticed on removing the fan and cover assembly that there is a whole lot of weight in it. It also looks like it would be easy to remove the fan.

Hi Bruce,

It is very much necessary to remove the fans to fit the top layer of cells in.
so yes, go ahead and remove it :)

Matt

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah in July 2010. Done 194'000km

oobflyer
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

Counting the days until I start the conversion! The batteries (50AH Li-ion) should be on their way from China, maybe two more weeks.

About how long will the kit take to ship from Australia to the U.S.?

antiscab
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

About how long will the kit take to ship from Australia to the U.S.?

6 working days by air mail, I would call it a week and a half

Matt

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah in July 2010. Done 194'000km

oobflyer
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

I ordered the kit today! Thanks Matt!

I'll start a separate thread to track the progress of the conversion when we start the actual process.

The last thing I need is the Cycle Analyst - which I'll order soon.

Matt - I believe you mentioned that you have video of the Cycle Analyst install too - will you be posting that on YouTube as well?

I am sooo looking forward to double the range...

:-)

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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

Matt - I believe you mentioned that you have video of the Cycle Analyst install too - will you be posting that on YouTube as well?

When I do get to video it, I will post it :)

looking at 2 weeks before that happens though (I have the cycle analyst, just need the time).

The last of the parts have arrived, and I will be spending the weekend sorting them out, boxing them, and putting them up for sale.

Matt

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah in July 2010. Done 194'000km

antiscab
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

Hi Guys,

The update you've been waiting for :D

The kits are for sale,

there are three purchase options:

A) buy the kit from ebay here (AUS$1300 + shipping):
http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320712991109
ships in a day or two

or

B) PM me and I will invoice you for AUS$ 1250 + shipping via paypal
also ships in a day or two

or

C) PM me, and I will invoice via paypal for a deposit of AUS$200, and in 6 weeks time when the next batch is ready invoice for a further AUS$1000 + shipping (total is AUS$ 1200 + shipping)

options A and B are good if you already have, or will have your cells very shortly.
option C is best if you are ordering it at the same time as the cells.

If you are inside Australia, you can also buy via bank transfer, in which case I will reduce the price by a further $30.

Matt

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah in July 2010. Done 194'000km

Scotter
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

I bought a second 2007 Vectrix, silver, out of LA (I'm in Seattle), 1800 miles for awesome price! yipee! But I think a battery might be bad -- hence my interest in battery replacement.

The Thundersky batteries, I believe, are less than 100Wh/Kg. I'm working a deal to get 150Wh/Kg Li-Ion batteries into the USA... Cost is about the same for the same wattage. But it would save weight. Match the weight, and in theory you'd get 30%+ more power. But these are not LiFePO4 (LFP), but straight Li-Ion (advanced Li). I'm also told that these batteries are higher quality.

Perhaps I missed something in this thread (it's super long, so I didn't read all of it) -- My concern about any Lithium conversion is that the charging profile for NiMH is different than Li batteries. I talked with Vectrix; they said the conversion would be super expensive as the the charger and controller (plus batteries) would have to be changed and it's not just a re-program. Now... I have built and more importantly programmed microprocessor controlled chargers that can handle NiCad, NiMH, and Lithium batteries all using the same circuits, so I know that a S/W controlled charger could be made to work.

Last item, apparently there's been some breakthrough in China about new NiMH technology, the batteries last longer, hold a charge longer, recharge faster and the energy density went upward of 100Wh/Kg from about 57Wh/Kg. Most EVs that use non-lead-acid batteries are about 80 Wh/Kg. I still think this is hype, but I do know that NiMH technology has a lot of potential (excuse the pun) to increase energy density.

What I want to see if the new super-ultra-capacitor technology take off! Imagine recharging in less than 10 to 20 minutes!

Ok, I'll get off my soap box.

--Scotter and his scooter
2007 Vectrix VX-1 Maroon
2007 Vectrix VX-1 Silver
2008 Vectrix VX-1 Blue
2008 Vectrix VX-1 Silver
Other EV projects in the works

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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

When I was trying to decide which way to go I surfed the net, made some phone calls, wrote some emails and ended up going with the CHL 50AH Li-ion batteries. The gentleman that I spoke with at FalconEV (Andy) was firm in his opinion that the CHL batteries are better than some of the other brands of Li-ion batteries. They are on their way from China now. Antiscab's kit is on the way from Australia. I'll be posting here as I do the conversion (with a friend of mine who knows about electricity).

I don't know about charging profiles, but I don't think Antiscab's conversion kit changes how the charging takes place. I get the impression that the Li-ion chemistry is more flexible compared to that of NiMH.

The new 50AH battery pack will provide 6.25 KWh capacity and will weigh 84Kg. If my calculations are correct that will be about 74 Wh/Kg, a vast improvement over the original 3.7 KWh (90Kg) pack @ about 40 Wh/Kg.
Of course 150 Wh/Kg would be another order of magnitude of improvement - please share with us what you've heard!

Congrats on the new bike - I wanna see the picture of the two VX-1's side-by-side in your garage ;-)

CHL lithium battery
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

All Gentlemen,sorry for silence and delay in shipping to Andy because too much orders for all over the world and our production capacity is limited at the beginning,new machines will come next week and we will come back to regular supply both 40AH and 50AH.

The latest always the best,now the impedance of our 50AH battery have been controlled to be 0.20-025mΩ each cell. This great increased the performance than last 2 months batteries.

Our European office and warehouse will be set up next month and all EC clients would be easily got supply within one week after order.

oobflyer
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

Wow - I had no idea!

All Gentlemen,sorry for silence and delay in shipping to Andy [FalconEV] because too much orders for all over the world and our production capacity is limited at the beginning,new machines will come next week and we will come back to regular supply both 40AH and 50AH.
The latest always the best,now the impedance of our 50AH battery have been controlled to be 0.20-025mΩ each cell. This great increased the performance than last 2 months batteries.
Our European office and warehouse will be set up next month and all EC clients would be easily got supply within one week after order.

I thought the batteries were on their way here!

So, no hurry on the kit Matt :-\

Cyde
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

Well,

Thanks Matt for all the help via phone over the weekend. Hope the feedback I will be supplying will assist in providing clearer documentation for other future conversions.

Having completed my Conversion using Matt's kit & batteries here in Victoria, I can say that I am getting better performance than my old aged Ni Batteries.

First full charge I did about 12 km's at speeds almost entirely at 100km/hr. I then rested the bike (while it was being towed from near Shepperaton to Melbourne) then took the bike in city traffic and roads (with speed limites between 50 and 70 km/hr). I road the bike with no sagging in performance or control until the battery gauge ran out of bars. This got the total (including the first 12km's) to 50.2 km distance. The Estimate that was being displayed was correct as the bars discharge to meet the 50km distance. To be fair at some points the estimate changed to predict ~42km(total) when I was riding in faster 70km zones.

Subsequent re-charge was soooo quiet. I had to go out a number of times to listen for the fan on the front charger if it was going. Normally I just listened for the major fans that sound during the old charging.

Apart from one case of electical blister burns during the conversion, the conversion worked fine.

Hope this feed back helps. will post more details.

-Cyde

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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

Quick update to what I posted already. It seems that the conversion I did didn't sufficiently secure secure the Batteries or cables. And as such the BMS is squealing that there is a problem (based on the info from the video its the BMS status cable has broken some where). most likely on the ride home (where I ride over a number of bumpy normal road things, like tram tracks, railway tracks and over surface hazards).

Due to my lack of dry, covered and well lit work area at my residence, I cant work on it after work, so I will have to wait for a weekend (rain free) before I can open it and fix what ever is wrong, and properly secure the batteries. Also since I cant charge it (who knows what would happen if I charged the Batteries with the BMS not working???) and even if I could, I doubt work would look kindly to having a Motorbike situated outside the corporate head office with the squealing coming from it all the time.

I will let you know of future developments and how easy the issue was to find and fix.

-Cyde

antiscab
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

the BMS is squealing that there is a problem (based on the info from the video its the BMS status cable has broken some where).

This is most likely, although a failed cell is also possible (I hope not).

I cant charge it (who knows what would happen if I charged the Batteries with the BMS not working???)

bypassing the BMS, means you are relying on the charger to stop charging.

I saw my charger "lock up" and continue charging without voltage limit of 3 different occasions while running nimh (its also the most likely cause of the battery fire that lead to the great battery rework).

In a pinch you can charge without the BMS, just don't forget about it.

Just for reference, how many bars was the battery discharged?
if it went near 0 bars, leaving the alarm running for 4 days may discharge the battery too far.
There is a switch on the master module which will turn it off, it will require some dissasembly to get to, but only taking the cover off.

Matt

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah in July 2010. Done 194'000km

oobflyer
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

I was curious about the tie-down of the Li-ion batteries since such a big deal is made of securing the NIMH cells within the original pack with tight straps.

Are they not needed for the Li-ion cells? Do the Li-ion cells not swell when hot? Is there enough room for them to shift around while riding?

Maybe something like this could be adapted to fit inside the Vectrix:

Screen shot 2011-06-14 at 5.22.13 PM.png

[photo from Amazon.com]

CHL lithium battery
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

All Gentlemen,sorry for silence and delay in shipping to Andy because too much orders for all over the world and our production capacity is limited at the beginning,new machines will come next week and we will come back to regular supply both 40AH and 50AH.

The latest always the best,now the impedance of our 50AH battery have been controlled to be 0.20-025mΩ each cell. This great increased the performance than last 2 months batteries.

Our European office and warehouse will be set up next month and all EC clients would be easily got supply within one week after order.

Now new production of 50AH CHL battery impedance only 0.18mΩ , and very balance on all data
DSC03194.JPG
DSC03193.JPG

HarryS
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

Could you offer these in the same form factor as the GB Li batteries which fit 2 side by side in the battery boc of the Vectrix?

CHL lithium battery
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Re: Vectrix Lithium Conversion Kit

pls send us a sample doc ,I don't understand.

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