My C124E bike

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dgalb100
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My C124E bike

Just thought I would post up a quick message about my bike. I love it. I decided I really wanted a digital dashboard so I built one. I've included the link to all the photos as the project "grew". I started just trying to do a 7 segment display with 4 numbers (first two would be charge, second two would be speed). Turns out the 7segments I had weren't very sunlight visible... that is to say, not at all visible. :) So I tweawked some more, learned some more, and the project grew bigger.. and finally turned into a LCD display.

I spent about $40 building it. (And alot of very geeky work with an arduino micro controller to run the LCD).

https://picasaweb.google.com/113478230085186493392/20110301a?authkey=Gv1sRgCIq50u7-woTyXw&feat=directlink

The first few pictures are of the bike after shipping. There was some damage that Current took care of no issues. Then you'll see the display project.

Feel free to ask questions. I'm pretty busy, but I'll get back to answer when I can. Next step, I think I'm going to make the numbers in the SoC (State of Charge) a bigger font. (About half the size of the speed #). I am more than happy to detail out how exactly I built it if people want to build their own. I will warn you that it isn't "simple" and does require soldering/cutting your current dash with a dremel, a bit of cussing and scary moments when you think you might have broken something. But if there is enough interest, I don't mind putting it out there for people to duplicate.

What would be very awsome (I haven't asked yet) is if Current Motor had a source for the dash "insert" that had a cutout with just a square instead of the 3 circles (2 small on the outside, 1 bit in the center). Then they could sell the digital dashboard upgrade that has a full electronic dash in it. Plugin replacement for those of us who think analog gauges are old school. :)

Laters for now,
David.

MikeB
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Re: My C124E bike

Very cool, David.

Can you give just a little more details about the parts and how you handled the incoming signals? Isn't the speedo a standard mechanical input? I don't want a full set of instructions yet, but a summary of the steps would be interesting.

My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.

dgalb100
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Re: My C124E bike

Yes, the speedo is a mechanical input, but it plus the speedo cable get taken out. Turns out that the BCU spits out a diagnostic every second on its serial port. So I just hooked up my micro-controller to the BCU and parse the diag messages. (Run a 4 wire cable from under the seat BCU up to the dashboard where the arduino sits). I get speed, trip distance (since power on), state of charge, brake levers, and so on all from the BCU. (At one second intervals, it might be better at 1/2 second interval, but even at a second its not bad.) Would be nice to have a command to ask the BCU to speed up its diag messages.

One tricky thing is my code needs to save the trip distance, add it onto the digital odometer reading and save that in flash memory. (so it doesn't go away when I lose power). Oh, and you don't want to save it to often since flash has a finite write cycle. So I only "save" it into the flash when the speed goes below 1mph. I figure its unlikely that you'll lose power before you slow the bike down. (I'm sure its possible, but not likely)... If you do, you'll lose that trips distance... (nothing major) I reset the trip meter when the bike goes into "BALANCE" mode on the recharge cycle. (and add it to the ODO reading and save that # in flash). I also get to see all the states (DOOR open, REGEN, BULK charge, BALANCE) and so on.

Here are the main components I used:

http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9220

along with:

http://www.adafruit.com/products/250

And a bit of wiring/programming. The BCU runs at 5v, so I use the 4050 level shifter chip that is included with the LCD to shift the serial from the BCU into the Arduino down to the 3.3V that the arduino and LCD uses. (Makes the wiring a bit easier so you don't have to level shift all the lines going from a 5v Arduino to the 3.3V LCD, just the one from the BCU to the arduino) The adafruit has a very good tutorial on how to wire up the LCD, so I basically started there, and tweaked it a bit.

Have fun,
-d.

jdh2550_1
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Re: My C124E bike

Hi David,

Awesome work. So I guess you don't need the breakdown of the serial stream anymore, eh? Of course if there's anything remaining you want an explanation of - let me know.

1) *** (friendly!) WARNING **** I will likely change the output data stream on the BCU diagnostic port at some point. At which point your code will likely break. Sorry about that. However, when I do that I'll likely up the transmission speed and increase the transmission period plus make the data self-describing (allowing for easier changes in the future). If you speak to me nicely (just kidding!) I can cut you a version of the current software with twice the transmission period ;-) Of course, I'll let you know when the bigger update happens - or if I forget you can just ask.

2) For a better looking dash I think you'd be better off cutting out a template from stiff cardboard or plastic. If we sent you another dash insert you'd have to paint over the unused bits anyway.

3) Our LCD display (still in the making) will mount where the amp gauge is and leave the other gauges as-is. We'll be using a second serial port for that connection (it's on the 12 pin connector where you're currently taking 24V power from). That data stream will be controlled separately from the diagnostic port.

4) The BCU also keeps track of total mileage - it just doesn't spit that out in the BCU data stream.

We're all "geeked" here that our bike has it's first hardware mod - and we're happy to (informally) support you. (informally means when we can find time to answer emails).

Onwards and upwards!!

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas.

dgalb100
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Re: My C124E bike

If you have a breakdown of the diag output handy, it would be nice to confirm my guesses. The temps and what is "hot" is one of the big things I'd like to work on.

As for the output stream changing, shouldn't be to big of a deal, as long as you don't start spitting out some sort of compressed binary output (I had to build something to parse that type of data once from a solar enphase inverter module, not easy :) Keep it text (or at least tell me what your doing) and it shouldn't be to hard to parse. I figure at worse I'm down for a day or so while I rewrite the parsing code. One way to deal with the self describing that wouldn't change the parsing much is to put in a string near the top like:
D,Time Running,Status String,Door Open,Front Brake,Rear Brake, ... ...,Temperature of battery pack#1(<40C), Temp of battery pack2 (<40C), Temp of motor#1 (<30C),
Temp of motor#2(<30C), ... , Speed, Trip Distance, Charge rate, Charger on, Reverse On, ... ...

Another route would be an XML style output, the downside of that is your talking at 9600bps, XML is a little bulky if you want to send a bunch of data though a slow link.

It would be cool if you could output the total milage the BCU knows. That would make it alot easier for me to track the trip readings. (and I wouldn't need to save and build my own ODO reading)

Lets not worry about a version that increases the transmission speed... 1 second is good enough for now, and I have lots of other projects and pieces to put together. Plus I don't want to distract you guys from building bikes. :)

Thanks alot,
-d.

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Re: My C124E bike

It's great that there is a diagnostics stream available. At some point I want to tap into it and log everything to a computer under my seat.

John D.

PJD
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Re: My C124E bike

Technological fetishism...

All I want is a reliable scooter that will get me from A to B without getting me stranded somewhere!

LeThala
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Re: My C124E bike

I want almost the same thing. I want a reliable vehicle the will get me from point A to point B while staying warm and dry and without using gas. For me, the scooter is a platform for driving the technology that will eventually lead to the type of vehicle I ultimately want.

John D.

dgalb100
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Re: My C124E bike

If you just want to log the diag. stream, checkout this little unit, plug it into the BCU, and you will get a log on a microSD card that you can read from your computer later.

http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9530

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Re: My C124E bike

That's perfect, thanks. I can mount it under the charger access door and transfer the logs to a computer via the sd card.

John D.

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Re: My C124E bike

For me, the scooter is a platform for driving the technology that will eventually lead to the type of vehicle I ultimately want.

Yes, but the technological breakthroughs for such a thing lie in the not-so fashionable fields of electrochemistry, and electro-mechanical devices - not gratuitous digital complexity. My e-max's have been 100% reliable for 2 years now, and they have no digital controls whatsoever, and much of the reliability was achieved by removing the unnecessary electronic controls. These are 50CC class scooters, but there is no reason the same concept cannot be scaled up.

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Re: My C124E bike
For me, the scooter is a platform for driving the technology that will eventually lead to the type of vehicle I ultimately want.

Yes, but the technological breakthroughs for such a thing lie in the not-so fashionable fields of electrochemistry, and electro-mechanical devices - not gratuitous digital complexity. My e-max's have been 100% reliable for 2 years now, and they have no digital controls whatsoever, and much of the reliability was achieved by removing the unnecessary electronic controls. These are 50CC class scooters, but there is no reason the same concept cannot be scaled up.

The digital complexity under discussion is for the purpose of collecting and logging data. That's what I mean by a platform for driving the technology. Even those working in the fields of electrochemistry and electro-mechanical devices use test instruments to develop the technology.

John D.

dgalb100
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Re: My C124E bike

Your e-max has a digital controller, maybe not as complex as some, but it has one (From their website, it has at least 2 in the Lithium Ion version). If you don't use a digital controller to manage the batteries, your batteries will not be as reliable and will not last as long. If you don't use a digital controller to drive the motor... well I'm not sure how you plan on making it work then. A digital controller that takes throttle input and creates the correct "pulses" to the motor is required.

I believe digital controllers will add reliability, not subtract from it. They will detect battery pack problems before the entire pack dies. (With out a battery management system, your battery pack will not last near as long as it could). They can spot over heating problems with the motor and limit the bike before a problem causes permanent damage.

If we could make better batteries and better motors, that would be awesome, and I am sure there are plenty of people looking to do that. I want to monitor those devices and make them work at their peak efficiency. Digital controllers help give that ability. There is no inherent reliability problems with digital controllers. There are multiple digital controllers running in every ICE cars build today. And trust me there are even more on the new plugin cars. Are you saying that cars are less reliable today than 10 years ago? The digital controllers are one of the reasons cars are so much more reliable now. They can detect, report and sometimes even fix problems before major damage happens.

Do they create extra problems? Sometimes, but I would argue that is a rare occurrence, not a normal event.

Just some random thoughts.
-d.

jdh2550_1
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Re: My C124E bike

To play the middle ground here - both sides are right...

Paul is expressing the KISS principle. The more "features" you add the more potential failure modes you introduce. If you don't have a motor controller cut-out when the brakes are applied it can't fail. We've seen at least one bike that has a large amount of complexity and has had a large amount of problems (the Vectrix).

David & John are expressing a desire for an open system that they can get at information. Logging that information is useful both for them and for us here at CuMoCo Galaxy HQ (hey, I was going to say World HQ - but, why stop there?? ;-)). Getting at that information could be argued as a non-essential feature.

So, at CMC we have the job of balancing the "neat idea", the "good idea" and the "essential features" to create a reliable system. One strives to make a system that is as simple as possible (but not too simple).

Take our BMS - it's an analog system (but still per cell). Making it a digital system increases complexity but allows for more information to be transmitted to the BCU and thus making the overall system more useful. We started with the easier solution with less features and we're moving to the more complex one with more features.

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas.

PJD
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Re: My C124E bike

I have an "old" e-max - the one with a generic Chinese-scooter body that originally came with the infamous "silicone" batteries. It uses an analog controller. The BMS was in kit form using a simple analog design.

I agree that IC engine controllers are very reliable. Their necessity and design was largely driven by emissions regulations - I'm convinced Detroit would still be making cars with carburetors and point-and-condenser ignition otherwise, but I digress). But, these digital electronic controls were also developed with enormous design and testing resources that CuMOCO will never have.

dgalb100
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Re: My C124E bike

Couple notes. I slid a little bit of the non-hook side of velcro under the windshield where it meets the plastic trim pieces. This seems to have made the squeak /bump/creak/other noises much smaller. Still a little bit of creak/squeak when I hit a bump, but much better now.

On to the milage from the BCU. Would it be possible to output the total milage in the first "power on header block". That way I could just read it on power on.... Then total milage would be what I read first + trip milage the debug lines already spit out... until then...

I figured out how to query the mileage in the BCU by having my Arduino send the command to drop into interactive, then sending a 'M' command to get the mileage the BCU has recorded. (I figured out the problem I was having with the mileage not updating, bug in my code) :)

As for acceleration, top speed. I find the bike's acceleration fine for my needs. I don't feel like I'm gonna get run over on the streets because I'm pulling out of a stop light to slow. I'm not the first one though the light, but usually not the last one either. Pretty much the same way I drive my car. I don't think I've actually driven the bike up to its top speed yet. Just don't travel on any roads that its necessary to (or legally allow it) :)

So all and all, its working just perfect for my commute. The only things that are "bugging" me are very minor: noise when I hit a bump, and the front suspension could use a bit more tuning or work. Neither are anything that would stop me from purchasing again (ie. if the bike were stolen, I'd buy another in a heart beat.), just things to put on the list to work on.

Thanks,
-d.

dgalb100
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Re: My C124E bike

How hot is hot?

I have the 4 temperatures displaying onto my digital display. After a 20 mile ride. I now see that two digits may not be enough for the first temperature. I figured that we'd never get hotter than 99 degrees C... scratch that assumption :)

I saw something between 100 and 110C (don't know what it was since I allocated only two digits, so all I saw on the display was 10 :)

The second temp got as high as 65. Third and fourth temps were around 35 or so.

So... How hot is hot? 100 degree's seems awfully hot, but maybe its fine because thats the temp of the heat sink from the "what is it?"

Should I worry about seeing 100C+ ?

As a side note, took 50% of the battery to do the 20 miles one way, fully charged the bike, then it took 60% of the battery on the way back. The wind and more up than down took its toll on the battery.

Thanks,
David Galbraith

dgalb100
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Re: My C124E bike

I have done some changes to the display. If the charging door is open, instead of the speed it shows you how long it has been in the Bulk and how long its been in balance states. Also tells you what the SoC was when it started.

https://picasaweb.google.com/113478230085186493392/20110301a?authkey=Gv1sRgCIq50u7-woTyXw#5612273396581189346

The number (##) is what the SoC was when it started charging. Then you have the Bulk time and the Balance time. (This was a 1.5 mile test ride so not much charging).

I have the 4 temps displayed also. (they are displayed all the time)

https://picasaweb.google.com/113478230085186493392/20110301a?authkey=Gv1sRgCIq50u7-woTyXw#5612273415950150290

You'll notice I bumped up the size of SoC meter so that its more visible when you are riding. The odo meter is pulled straight from the BCU each time we are powered on. It then adds the trip meter coming from the BCU to the odo reading and displays the new Odo.

Anyway, I think I'm almost done with it. Not much tweaking left. I am considering putting a clock into the display, but that would mean cracking the dashboard back open to actually wire something in (instead of right now I'm just flashing new programming onto the box which I can do though the cable). Anyway... Just thought I'd send an update out.

Laters,
David

PJD
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Re: How Hot is Hot?

Those temperatures seem awful high to me.

Today, following some moderately vigorous riding in a ambient temp. of 85F. I got a two short-one long indication and the scooter went into reduced power mode. Not good. I rode in this mode a couple more miles to my destination where I stopped and manually checked the motor and controller. The controller felt barely lukewarm, the motor did not seem hotter than a normally operating electric motor gets - and less hot as I've gotten the motor on my e-maxs. You could lay your hand on it for 5-7 seconds without undue pain - say, 150F or 50C.

The two short-one long denotes: "Bike control systems are starting to get hot. Available power is reduced by 30% until the bike cools down."

I think John is being a bit over conservative on these over-temperature settings. At least, I hope he is. For now, we need to get rid of that "first-stage" power cut and only provide the warning light. One can get in trouble in traffic until they realize how much power loss has occurred. Better to leave reducing power to the rider.

Also, what is the point of monitoring the temperature of the power leads and batteries? The power leads and connections are either adequate for the current or they are not, and in my 4 years messing with LiFePO4's I've never seen my packs generating any heat in normal use.

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Re: How Hot is Hot?

One reason for monitoring battery temp is to avoid a false LVC triggered by cold riding conditions.

My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.

PJD
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Re: How Hot is Hot?

One reason for monitoring battery temp is to avoid a false LVC triggered by cold riding conditions.

Oh, that's right, the temp sensor is needed for this function. I understand Current has programmed a lower LVC point for lower temperatures. I know first hand how much cold weather can make the voltage sag. The LVC on my e-maxs is permanently set at 2.1 volts for this reason - but this risks over-discharging in warm weather.

But, I suspect that the overtemp trigger is too low. One would think that the windings and hall sensors would be good for some high temperatures. For example may types of transistors are good for up to 175C. In you first version did you actually burn a motor out?

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Re: How Hot is Hot?

Those temperatures seem awful high to me.

If you're refering to the the 38C, 36C and 30C then bear in mind that 30C = 86F and David is in New Mexico - so, I expect he sees ambient temperatures higher than that.

Today, following some moderately vigorous riding in a ambient temp. of 85F. I got a two short-one long indication and the scooter went into reduced power mode. Not good. I rode in this mode a couple more miles to my destination where I stopped and manually checked the motor and controller. The controller felt barely lukewarm, the motor did not seem hotter than a normally operating electric motor gets - and less hot as I've gotten the motor on my e-maxs. You could lay your hand on it for 5-7 seconds without undue pain - say, 150F or 50C.

The two short-one long denotes: "Bike control systems are starting to get hot. Available power is reduced by 30% until the bike cools down."

I think John is being a bit over conservative on these over-temperature settings. At least, I hope he is.

Yes, you're right that it is "not good". However, we're working on solutions to the temperature management. We hope to have a better cooling solution in place within a few weeks. I'm testing it now and the first looks seem good. On a C130 in 30C / 86F ambients I can ride for about 10 minutes at wide open throttle (top speed = 72mph) and then it dials it back to a top speed of 60mph and the temperature remains flat for the rest of the journey (the rest of the journey is at 60mph) - falling slightly but not enough so that the next acceleration run pops it back over the temperature threshold.

The reason the settings are conservative is that with the current setup you're riding even at reduced throttle the temperature continues to climb. It just climbs more slowly. So, I engage temperature control earlier and I am then forced to reduce the throttle more to prevent overheating.

But, fear not! As I said, we hope to have a better cooling solution in place for those who need it within a few weeks.

Also, what is the point of monitoring the temperature of the power leads and batteries? The power leads and connections are either adequate for the current or they are not, and in my 4 years messing with LiFePO4's I've never seen my packs generating any heat in normal use.

Paul, trust us - we have our reasons :-)

1) The power lead temp sensor is a good proxy for motor temperature. So, it gives us redundancy should the motor temp sensor fail. And the lead sensor is in a much less harsh environment (it's easier to replace as well).

2) Pack temperature allows for a dynamic LVC threshold (as noted by Mike B)

3) Pack temperature is also an important safety cut out during charging should the unexpected occur.

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas.

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Re: How Hot is Hot?

In you first version did you actually burn a motor out?

I had hall sensor failure, and it was in hot weather. They changed suppliers to something more robust, as I understand. I also had a problem with the controller overheating too quickly, but we're on a different model controller now. It seems that heat is always a potential problem somewhere, so a well monitored bike is a good thing. I would like a better way to inform the driver of a pending heat issue, hopefully the new LCD can help with that.

My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.

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Re: How Hot is Hot?

John,

The hot temperatures I was referring to were the ones over 100C that David mentioned.

Just so you know, I almost got rear-ended by a car when I turned onto an uphill roadway not aware of how "reduced" the reduced throttle is. My question was, are these rising temperatures actually damaging motors, or are you just being too conservative? As I wrote, the motor didn't seem all that hot to touch.

But I look forward to the improvement. I assume that with the C124, which has a top speed of 60 mph, we won't be normally seeing any power cuts at all then.

This is all I will write about this issue here. I am preparing a weekly report for Current's use with the bugs and glitches I've discovered so far.

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Re: How Hot is Hot?

The hot temperatures I was referring to were the ones over 100C that David mentioned...My question was, are these rising temperatures actually damaging motors, or are you just being too conservative?

Oh, sorry about that.

And also in answer to David's "how hot is hot?" - Ideally we want the motor no higher than 120C to 125C and will shut down completely at 150C.

As I wrote, the motor didn't seem all that hot to touch.

Paradoxically, that's part of the problem. When it's cooling better it may well feel hotter to the touch - the reason being there's not a good "thermal pathway" between the heat in the windings and the air outside.

I turned onto an uphill roadway not aware of how "reduced" the reduced throttle is

Was the LED on the dashboard flashing? If so then it's a more aggressive dialing back of the throttle.

I assume that with the C124, which has a top speed of 60 mph, we won't be normally seeing any power cuts at all then.

With the new software we're going to re-purpose the hi-lo switch. Hi will "open things up wider" and put more onus on the rider to control temperature (but it will still cut off at 150C). Lo will be set to the first level cut-off from the get go - but that cut-off will be higher (say 60mph on a C130 and 50mph on a C124), also the cut off will still allow more amps for off-the-line performance.

With Lo you won't see power cut outs but to ensure that we'll give you a little less to play with from the get go. With Hi it will be more up to your riding style.

Think of "hi" as "sport mode" and "lo" as "commuter mode".

BTW, we have a total of four approaches to the heat issue. Each one is more involved but more effective. If the first one works out then it should be ready by as soon as next week (new motor with higher rating and better BCU software). The second one does work for sure - that's the one I was trying above but requires modifying motors and so requires more testing. That's why we're going to try just with a higher rated motor and BCU software updates (hey, I mean software is free, right ;-) )

Options three and four involve a whole lot more work and we will be doing these for sure - but at least 12 months away. "Watch this space" for news on those.

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas.

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Re: How Hot is Hot?

Thanks,

Yes, the "check engine" light was producing a one short-one long signal. And when the light went off after a long downhill run and visit to a store, the pwoer cut was less severe.

And It just occurred to me last night that with all the windings on the armature and only magnets on the case, there is a lot of insulating dead-air space in a brushless hub motor, with no means to conduct the heat out of the motor.

A certain competetor near where I live claims that his motors are cooled with oil in the motor case. This seems unworkable to me - imagine all that viscous drag.

I assume changing the motor will involve dismounting/re-mounting the tire. Have you dismounted any rear tires yet? The thickness of the motor looks like it might limit the tire-iron pry-angle enough to make dismounting difficult.

By the way, I have found a couple other probable BCU issues on my scooter - my report will go out to you this evening.

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Re: How Hot is Hot?

Yes, the "check engine" light was producing a one short-one long signal. And when the light went off after a long downhill run and visit to a store, the pwoer cut was less severe.

OK - so "FAD" (functioning as designed). However, we know that we need to make fixes.

And It just occurred to me last night that with all the windings on the armature and only magnets on the case, there is a lot of insulating dead-air space in a brushless hub motor, with no means to conduct the heat out of the motor.

Yup, that's the "thermal pathway" issue I was talking about.

A certain competetor near where I live claims that his motors are cooled with oil in the motor case. This seems unworkable to me - imagine all that viscous drag.

Actually, that's choice number 2 that I mentioned above. If you use a very lightweight oil then the viscous drag isn't noticeable in terms of off the line performance - but you're right, it definitely exists. I don't have enough data to say whether it has an impact on the efficiency - because a cooler motor is more efficient than a hotter one (resistance rises with heat). Oil filled motors aren't a new idea and in testing they do dissipate the heat much better - however, we'd rather not go that route if we don't have to. Hence we're looking at a higher rated motor - the testing isn't yet complete.

I assume changing the motor will involve dismounting/re-mounting the tire. Have you dismounted any rear tires yet? The thickness of the motor looks like it might limit the tire-iron pry-angle enough to make dismounting difficult.

Actually, I think we'll be providing a tire already mounted. But yes, we have successfully dismounted and remounted tires.

By the way, I have found a couple other probable BCU issues on my scooter - my report will go out to you this evening.

I got your excellent report - thanks!

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas.

dgalb100
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Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: Sunday, January 30, 2011 - 18:50
Points: 20
Re: My C124E bike

I thought I'd post an update on how my bike is doing. I haven't been riding it as much in the summer (I tend to commute by a non-electric kick scooter, during the summer: http://www.sidewalkerusa.com/Micro.html if I have the time) I have still managed to put on almost 1000 miles on it. So far, the digital display is working great. I have had over-heating problems twice, but it didn't impact me to bad (very slow start up a hill after riding for about 15 miles in the heat). The display showed the temp 110C+, but not sure exactly since I wasn't watching the display that closely, and I still haven't fixed my bug that only displays two digits for temp.. so the display really said 11C which I know was 110-119C...

I have two commutes I do with the bike, one is 20 miles one way, with a long stop and recharge and then 20 miles back... I typically do that one every other weekend... to "fix" the over-heating problem, I just re-planed my route to not have a steep hill that has a stop sign before it, so I do more mileage (22 miles), but I don't have to stop before the climb which seems to be where I got "in trouble". I could go up fine as long as I didn't have to stop right before it...

Mostly I just commute 6 miles one way, bike sits for 6 hours, then I ride 6 miles home.... no heat problems there. (Temps get 70-80C).

I haven't experienced the charger shutting down early yet, but I do have the parts and will install them to fix that problem as soon as I get a chance. The digital dash displays the charge times when the charger door is open, so its easy for me to monitor. (It tells me the % the battery started at, and then how long the charger was in Bulk, and how long it was in Balance). For my 12 mile ride, The SOC is ~60%, and I am in Bulk for 1:05-1:10 and usually an hour or so for balance. (Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less). I do have my digital dashboard reset the SOC back to 100% if the bike sits in balance for more than 10 minutes, and resets the digital trip odometer. (the SOC doesn't get set correctly from the BCU for some reason even with a full charge+full balance). If I don't reset it, then I slowly lose the % charge even though the bike is fully charging. (I would lose 1-2% per ride) I assume that is a bug in the BCU software somewhere...

So basically everything is humming along just fine for me, but I have done a few tweaks... (Like being able to digitally see how much % you have left on the battery, instead of looking at an analog gauge that is a little "fuzzy" in how charged the bike is... and would tend to "drift")

Laters,
-d.

dgalb100
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Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: Sunday, January 30, 2011 - 18:50
Points: 20
Re: My C124E bike

Time for a little followup... One of my friends just got his bike (C130 I believe), and so I got to take it out for a little ride and compare them.

First, what I liked on my bike better...

I really like my digital dash display. Seeing the speed/charge numbers at a glance is very nice, knowing that my charge is 85% and I'm going 42mph instead of some fuzzy SoC meter and speedometer works very well, I look forward to when Current gets the digital display working.... I also like the acceleration of my bike, its not alot different, but it is noticable... Since I don't need the range, I think going with the low end, lighter model was the right choice for me.

Now the things on his bike I liked better...

1. Fit/finish of it was better than mine. I'm glad I rode his, because it convinced me to take apart the front plastic that hides the windshield mounts and look to see why mine rattles so bad. (it has since I got the bike, I decided that was just the way they were)... turns out, the bolts just hadn't been tightend enough... one actually fell out as I pulled off the plastic trim piece... so it was all the way loose. The center one was about 3/4 loose, and the others were not quite as tight as they should be... Once I tightened them all up, put things back together... oh what a difference... just barely a noise when I hit bumps now instead of the horrible scrapping scratching sound I had before...

2. His brake levers feel alot better than mine. I feel like I have to be a strongman to pull my brakes... they immediatly grab the disks when I pull and require pretty high strength to brake hard. His brakes go about 1/4 in before they even get hard to pull, and they feel smooth, very smooth... Is there an adjustment on what I have? or are those new levers that are better?

All in all, I'm glad to see things are getting better, I really want Current to succeed, and it looks like they are slowly working out all the kinks in the bikes. I do wish my build had been alittle "tighter" and that my brake levers worked closer to his... But all in all I've had a happy 1300 miles.... and counting...

Laters,
-d.

ps. The other issue I have is with my mirrors not staying adjusted.. I have finally gotten that solved by adjusting them to where I want them, pulling them off and tightening the bolt in the stem as much as I could.. so they are not adjustable at all now, but they also don't slowly fall down... For a while I was adjusting the mirrors about 3 times a ride... very annoying. Now they are in the perfect place everytime I ride.. course nobody can change them but such is life. :)

jdh2550_1
jdh2550_1's picture
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Last seen: 5 years 9 months ago
Joined: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - 09:35
Points: 2335
Re: My C124E bike

1. Fit/finish of it was better than mine.

My apologies. We are continually improving our assembly processes.

2. His brake levers feel alot better than mine. I feel like I have to be a strongman to pull my brakes... they immediatly grab the disks when I pull and require pretty high strength to brake hard. His brakes go about 1/4 in before they even get hard to pull, and they feel smooth, very smooth... Is there an adjustment on what I have? or are those new levers that are better?

The brakes are the same. There are some adjustments that can be done. Please contact us and we'll explain your options.

3. Loose mirrors

Let me know how the mirrors on Robert's bike hold up. Again, this is an assembly process improvement.

Thanks for your patience and your help as a test pilot. We continue to review the test pilot program and we'll always do what it takes to bring the test pilot bikes up to the quality standard we wish to achieve for the mass production version. However, because of the wide geographical spread of our bikes we only have the resources to do critical fixes immediately. Less critical items will be scheduled some time in the future. Hang in there - we'll see you right!

Happy Riding!

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas.

dgalb100
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Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: Sunday, January 30, 2011 - 18:50
Points: 20
Re: My C124E bike

I know you guys are getting better at this because I look at Rob's bike and can see it, and I know you are taking care of us test pilot people. One of the main reasons I bought my bike is because of the discussions on this forum and fixes that I saw with Mike's bike. I see us test pilot people as "beta users", we should expect some issues... but each "release" or each "bike" that goes out the door gets better. Thats a good thing, and I know you will come back around and update us beginners to "make us whole"... as long as you keep me going back and forth to work, I'm happy :) I also am a geek at heart, and like to see new technologies develop.

I like how close I see you getting to having a finished product that any "motorcycle joe" could buy and ride back and forth to work, and just have it work... Rob's bike is a step above mine in that regard, this isn't a bad thing (about my bike) from my point of view.. its a good thing. You're learning all the right things to do and getting better at it. I didn't buy my bike expecting it to be perfect, I did want it to be good enough to commute to work, and for that is has done a 100% job, it has never let me down. (I shouldn't say that cause now I'm just asking for it :) If I have problems, I expect you to take care of me, and you have also done a 100% job of that. :)

I have had very good support from you guys on all my issues, I hope my message didn't come accross as my being unhappy, I am not. I love the bike. I would buy it again in a heart beat... :) I think you have the right idea of keeping critical fixes the priority, and trust me if I have a critical problem I'll be pushing you to fix it... my issues are really cosmetic at this point. The bike is *running* perfect. For me thats 95% of the battle. At this point I'm tweaking everything else into perfection. :)

I will see how Rob's mirrors do, I warned him that if they start falling at all to immediatly tighten them up, don't do what I did and ignore the problem for a month and then try to tighten them... because that seems to leave them in a state that they won't ever tighten up... (I suspect it creates a groove in the adjustment that even when you tighten the mirror, it still slips, and then you tighten it more but the groove has been made deeper and you create a cycle until you end up where I am with one mirror that I couldn't get to stay adjusted at all)... but my final tightening seems to have done it :)

I'll send you email about the brakes and we'll see if I can get them to work smooth like Rob's :)

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