Battery Voltage Question

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GregFoster
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Battery Voltage Question

I am sure this has been covered but I can't find it. So I am posing again.

I am getting about 20 miles per charge. Usually when I get to 20 miles I will still have half the bars but they vanish once I near 20 miles. I have learned, from day one, that the bars are not accurate.

I have done the red light discharge followed by complete charge. Upon boot I get 141 volts and 21C temp. I think this is fully charged.

I want to start checking the voltage (kill switch + left brake lever) instead of mileage to estimate the remaining mileage.

Its a 2007 VX-1 and the dealer updated the firmware when I bought it in May 2009.

What volt reading (kill switch + left brake lever)would make the red bat light come on?

AndY1
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

A healthy pack = 120V-118V.

antiscab
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

I have done the red light discharge followed by complete charge. Upon boot I get 141 volts and 21C temp. I think this is fully charged.

Was that voltage checked immediately after charge end?
or after some hours?

141v is not a fully charged battery (its around 80%).

145v+ is fully charged.

Matt

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst 2 x TC Charger & MC
conversion

GregFoster
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

It was immediately after charging. I brought the Vectrix into my air conditioned office to charge it. It went thru its charge then the fans turned off. When I heard the fans stop I turned it on while still plugged in and it showed EC. I turned off, unplugged it, turned back on and + left brake lever. It was 141 volts and 21C. We are talking within seconds of the charge completion, unless the fans ran for any considerable time after charge finished.

HarryS
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

At 141V the battery is a far cry from empty and should do more than 20 miles. It is true that a full battery may show 146V immediately after charging if it had been equalized recently. Within just a few charges, however, it drops to 143 or even 142V. For me that still yields a 36-38 mile range. If I unplug the bike before the CC charge, I get 33 miles and the battery shows 140-141V. I find the initial voltage reading not very useful. Under load this drops to 136V anyway. What I suggest is you spend 20$ and but a Kill-a-Watt and measure how much the charging process draws. For reference, for me a red light charge is almost exactly 5000 Watt and yields 36-38 miles. 1/3 of the energy is "overhead" 2/3 make it into the battery, I.e. 3300 watt.

GregFoster
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

When I purchased the bike the dealership did an upgrade on the firmware. After that I had one scheduled service and computer interrogation then my dealer went out of business and there is not another one available to me here in Atlanta. The Vectrix Co. will not sell me the cables and things to do my own. I have called them with this concern and they are ignoring me. They will not reply to emails and when they answer my call I am transferred to someone who is never in. I leave messages but they never respond. I have also recruited scooter/motorcycle shops who are willing to be a service provider but Vectrix Co. requires them to become a full dealership and purchase a considerable number of units up front.

I understand the firmware upgrade the dealership did was supposed to make changes to protect the battery. Would that have caused the charge to stop short a little to protect the battery? Likewise, I understand a full discharge might cause a weak cell to reverse, could the upgrade cause the "RED-LIGHT" to come on at a higher voltage in order to protect the battery?

It just seems to me that I may be loosing charge at both ends which might explain the limited mileage. Of course I may have a bad cell(s) but this is about the same mileage that I have had from the start.

One other thing, my neighborhood is quite hilly. That and the fact that I weigh in at 240lbs might be adding to the situation. Added to these things is the fact that I work 3 miles from home so the vast majority of my rides are 3 to 4 miles. Seems one long ride is better than a number of short ones.

HarryS
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

Greg,
Are you riding to work, let the bike sit, ride back home and repeat the next day with charges every few days? In other words is the range cumulative over a few days? If so, the 20miles would not surprise me. I suggest you charge the bike over night in ccool garage and drive it to empty several times in a row, start on a Friday and do it till Sunday and see if you range and accuracy improves. I also wonder whether the bike is every doing EQ charges. Have you noticed long 8hour charges where the bike says EQ in the display.This is a feature that can be turned off in the software. It is normally on.

GregFoster
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

Harry, that is exactly what I am doing. I ride to work, it sits all day, I ride home. I charge it when I get to 18 - 19 miles. Once I hit 20 miles all the bars vanish. I don't remember ever having an 8 hour charge. I usually set a 6 hour charge delay so it will start charging well in the night. It is always charged when I leave out at 6:30am or so.

I have wondered about the short rides and if that affected my mileage. I am a bit scared to take it far.

I will follow your advice and hope it helps. I will post the outcome. Thanks for your suggestions.

turok
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

Greg,

Before I moved, I used my vectrix in a similar way you do (daily some short trips), except, I rarely used the lower half of the battery capacity. (I charged when my pack was half empty).

My pack doesn't ssuffer from obvious range loss after 11000 km / 2 years.

So if you can avoid using the lower bars, do it.

Occasional deep discharging may be good as long as you pack is balanced (there's no easy way to know that).

"doing nothin = doing nothing wrong" is invalid when the subject is environment

GregFoster
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

OK, today I left work a bit early and rode around until the red "Battery" light came on. I immediately checked the voltage and it was at 125V which is more than I expected. So again I am wondering if the software has trimmed a little off the top and bottom of my charge which would account for the low range.

I still plan to ride it continually, one long ride, long enough to turn on the red "Battery" light and then recharge completely after an appropriate cool down time - 6 hours or more. I plan to repeat this every day until Monday morning. Today is Thursday.

kingcharles
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

Make sure you let it complete its charge after the red light. Take into account that it may take up to 8 hours to finish!

Once you go EV, Gas is history!

GregFoster
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

Today I parked it at 3:00 and set a 6 hour delay. An 8 hour charge after that would finish at 5:00 am unless the battery heats up too much and it suspends the charge until it cools.

Mik
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

The hilly terrain with 120kg "payload" may also be a very significant factor here. The battery may need to be discharged slowly and deeply every now and then, but your terrain and load require near-maximum current draw on a regular basis.
You might find that you would have 10's of kilometres of range remaining at "the end", if you were able to go slow (=40km/h) on flat ground.

Steep hills with heavy load at the end of the ride make it impossible to gently drain the battery completely. You either get stranded, or you demand high current draw which leads to voltage drop and the disappearing bars syndrome.

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

GregFoster
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

Mik, you may be right. The combination of my weight and the hilly terrain around my home may be a major part of my problem. There are some flatter roads around here but a .5 km radius of my home is unavoidably hilly. I have to climb some reasonably steep hills to get home.

I charged it overnight and when I went out this morning to unplug it the voltage read 138V, I have been told full is approx. 146V. I am sure the charge finished a few hours earlier so it sat there a while after EC. The other day when I checked it immediately at EC it read 141V. Yesterday the red light came on at 125V, and I have been told it should be approx 118 - 120V. It still appears to me that the voltage is being trimmed at both ends of the charge: 138V - 125V = 13 usable V for riding. Ideally 146V full charge - 120V red light = 26 usable V for riding. I am getting exactly half of that. I am still thinking the software may be the culprit.

For two days so far I have charged overnight and then ride to red light. I will continue for three more days and see if the range increases. I am also on a diet but I don't expect that to show immediate results!!

I know it does an equalization charge every 12 hours of riding but is there a way to force an equalization charge?

Thank you everyone for your insight and consideration.

HarryS
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

Greg, these voltage values are certainly a bit off. I too would expect to see the final voltage to at least 142-144. Did you check the temperature at the end of the charge? May be you have a couple of shorted cells that begin to cook and the charging is terminated early. Did you ever measure with a Kill-a-watt how much you are actually delivering to the bike, or at least look at howling it stays on the CP charge. When empty you should get at least 2:30min CP charge followed by 15 min transition and 1h of CC charge.
As to forcing EQ that can be done through the software as can a battery capacity measurement and forcing capacity to 30a. Send me a private message. I am in Birmingham and may be able to help.

GregFoster
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

Harry,
I did not check the temp but rarely does it go over 27C while charging, even if it is 30C when I start a charge it drops to 26 or 27C at the end of charge.

I looked at Lowes and HomeDepot for the Kill-a-watt device but what I found looked a bit lite weight as if for small home appliance. I was afraid it might melt down and damage my charger. I am looking for a heavier meter of some sort.

Thanks for the advice.

Mik
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

Harry,
I did not check the temp but rarely does it go over 27C while charging, even if it is 30C when I start a charge it drops to 26 or 27C at the end of charge.

I looked at Lowes and HomeDepot for the Kill-a-watt device but what I found looked a bit lite weight as if for small home appliance. I was afraid it might melt down and damage my charger. I am looking for a heavier meter of some sort.

Thanks for the advice.

Just check the specs of the meter. If it is rated for 2kW continuously (or more), then it should be OK. A hot water kettle, microwave oven or electric heater all draw more power than a charging Vectrix.

Re: Voltage measurement: The voltage drops after the end of CP charging, then it rises again during CC charging, then it fall during the 1hr EC or cooling phase. It probably seems that the charge is still going, because of the noisy fans being on, but the battery voltage is already falling for an hour or more at the end of this. I use a Min/Max voltmeter to record the max voltage that was reached during the charge. You could get a competent person to install resistor protected cables to the positive and negative end of the battery. That allows measurement of voltage (with a small, known error) but does not allow much current to flow if the cables are shorted. A 15kohm resistor in each cable will do the trick.

154V / 30000 ohm = 0.00513A = 5mA = safe but you can still feel it!

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

GregFoster
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

On today's ride the red light again came on at 125V.

I have a brand new symptom: When the red light came on and I checked the voltage the temp was at 40C (too darn hot). I took off my helmet and listened but could not hear the fans. I limped home and plugged in with a 6 hour delay. After the instrument cluster energized the fans then came on, first one and then the other. Both run during charge but maybe not on the road.

So new question: cooling fans????? Now what? Apparently it is not a faulty connector because they come on during charge.

Mik
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

On today's ride the red light again came on at 125V.

I have a brand new symptom: When the red light came on and I checked the voltage the temp was at 40C (too darn hot). I took off my helmet and listened but could not hear the fans. I limped home and plugged in with a 6 hour delay. After the instrument cluster energized the fans then came on, first one and then the other. Both run during charge but maybe not on the road.

So new question: cooling fans????? Now what? Apparently it is not a faulty connector because they come on during charge.

What was the ambient temperature during the ride?

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

GregFoster
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

It was a bit cooler in Hotlanta and probably 23C-24C while I was riding. I don't know exactly. While I was out we got a few light sprinkles of rain - nothing to keep anyone off the road. AND, the red light came on while on a level road and not on an uphill drag.

HarryS
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

At 40 degrees the fans should be running. They kick in at 36 degrees quite reliably. Note, however, that the highest temperature displayed could be from the capacitor on the MCB or one of the six battery temperature sensors. You would only know if you connected the software which seems quite necessary to do on your bike to diagnose.
On you next ride, as you get closer to the 125v empty state, stop every mile and check the temperature. We need to know if you see a sudden dramatic rise near the end.

GregFoster
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

I will log temps on tomorrows ride.

AndY1
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

At 40 degrees the fans should be running.

Not necessarily. When my battery was dieing, it hit 40+°C and the fans wouldn't turn on.

I believe, that the fans turn on, when the average of all temp sensors goes over a certain value. The LCD temp value shows the value of the highest temperature sensor.

R
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

Certainly Andy. There's a damaged cell near a temp board. Greg, your battery is damaged. Shunt that cell immedately, or replace it. Or consider upgrading to lithium. Good luck.

GregFoster
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

I would love to replace with Lithium but thats a bit above my skill level. Where would I buy the battery and does the charger and stuff have to be replaced too?

antiscab
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Re: Battery Voltage Question

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst 2 x TC Charger & MC
conversion

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