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ZEV Motorcycles & Scooters
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Having been forced to pay Darus more than agreed to install the Cycle Analyst shunt (he was complaining about how long it was taking him), I don't think I'll be taking the bike to him - unless he's going to refund all or most of my purchase price. Speaking of the CA, I'd like to offer a counterpoint, again. I think the Cycle Analyst is a ripoff. Selling people a large bicycle computer for their scooters/motorcycles, with them then having to modify the internal components just to make it work for the advertized application, is terrible. Have they finally added a power switch for the display, yet? Anyway, voltmeters work just fine for lead-battery bikes, because the voltage really does show the state of charge fairly well. (The SLA battery meter on my EZIP bicycle actually works better with my Ping lithium pack than it did with the SLA pack, but I realize that's unusual.)I was mislead, by the damaged or defective microswitches on my bike, into thinking I needed a CA. For lithium bikes, I sincerely hope there is a better product than the (Bi)Cycle Analyst.
It rained all day, and I was feeling pretty awful, so I stayed inside. I hope to switch those plugs tomorrow.
I didn't have to change a thing on the internals of the High-Current CA. It worked ok right out of the box, using (in my case) two magnets on my hubmotor case. The missing on/off switch though is truly a drag and takes considerable time and resources to find a good solution for the individual application.
What I have used extensively is the logging possibilities that it enables, I have learnt heaps from analysing those logs :-)
2017 Zero S ZF6.5 11kW, erider Thunder 5kW
Of all the possibilities (smoke, fire, explosion, a cure) I had considered, the one that actually happened was low on the list. I plugged the backup sensors in, and .......... it didn't make any obvious difference. The bike runs on the other set, but acts just the same. So it's either the controller, or two less likely possibilities: the cable developed similar breaks in two corresponding wires only, or the motor has one failed Hall sensor in each set. Any other theories...?
Sorry to hear the problems with yet-another apparently unreliable reseller of Chinese scooters. Imo, this is why electric scooters have failed, by and large.
My experience, with more than 10 electric scooters from China, Thailand, and Taiwan, and electric vehicles, is that you MUST apply and re-apply contact cleaners (such as MG Chemicals Super Contact Cleaner, imo superior to DeOxit) at least one every two years to all connectors and cable terminals. I once got a difficult problem on a big escoot at Eride working in 10 seconds by the MG Chem "pen", which Steve the owner promptly took from me. Get the pen and spray cleaners (both are toxic.) Most electric scooter problems, especially from Asian scooters, are simply "fixed" with the contact cleaners.
The most likely culprit is clearly the controller in this case :-(
Am I right to assume Darus uses a "three speed" controller? If so, how are things in those three "speed" settings? Is only one suffering from the "misfirings", or two, or all three?
2017 Zero S ZF6.5 11kW, erider Thunder 5kW
Three speed controller, yes, and all 3 exhibit the same behavior. A bad controller would be the "best" failure in one respect, as the bike needs a new one anyway, to perform to the capabilities of the bigger motor. As it is it's only slightly faster than it was with the 5kw motor.
Hi, i don't know if this will help but have you tried a different controller ?.
The reason i ask is as follows.
I have a Zev 4100LA that lasted less than 250Km's then the controller died ( purchased from bankrupt stock so no warranty from Zev ), as luck would have it i had purchased the upgrade kit from Darius ( to take 4100LA to 6100LA specs, controller, charger and voltage convertor, the extra battery purchased in the uk ).
After fitting everything and about 2 hours of testing, the new controller( well old stock from 12/11/2012 ) packed up, so after 3 week's and lots of emails back and forth to Darius to get a replacement controller i fitted the Zev with my old battery pack and controller ( 6 x 12v 22ah batteries and 72v 1000w 35amp controller )from my old chinese scooter and filmed it working perfectly )and sent the video file to Darius to prove that there was no problem with the wiring or motor.
My 72v controller is now winging its way across the water to be checked and replaced by Zev.
So my point is this, can you hook up another controller to the bike, if so this will confirm if it's the motor / wiring or the controller at fault.
That would be the obvious way to proceed, but the only other controller I have is from an XM-3000 60 volt scooter, and I'm in no shape to attempt a temporary swap just to diagnose the problem. I was going to ask if anyone has a working used controller for a 6100/7100/8500 to maybe sell me, but I really don't think I can handle the swap. Darus likes to claim that his bikes are owner-repairable, (and clearly from your story and mine he thinks that owners *should* repair their own bikes!) but it isn't as if the controllers are plug & play. They have what look like plugs on them, but they are fake like most other Chinese units. He must have sold that bike to whoever went bankrupt and sold it to you, so your warranty should have been honored. This is not how one builds sales...
I spent about half an hour trying the few things I can, this evening. I used alcohol to swab the male contacts in the motor cable plugs. I disassembled the female plug that is on the controller cable; that has individual (female) min-bullet connectors run through it into individual recesses, but while I could move a couple of them out slightly, most were unmoving, and the wires are fine enough that I didn't want to stress them. The female connectors look pristine, though, and the male ones look like typical copper male prongs - no blackening or severe darkening. Finally, I tried carefully rearranging the layout of the cables, to change the stress points on the wires. After each stage I either rode the bike or stand-ran the motor, all with no difference whatsoever.
Do we now agree that it is almost certainly the controller? Or does anyone still think the cabling may have gone bad?
Here is a link to the local Craigslist ad: http://albany.craigslist.org/mcy/5116608213.html I'm in Upstate NY. If you can't pick the bike up I will cooperate with a shipper (after payment is complete) but can't crate it or load it.
ZEV/Darius Zehrback is not a reseller of Chinese scooters. The scooters are probably 90% China or Taiwan content, but up until 2012 anyway, he was assembling them in a small airport hanger in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. I've been to his shop. I assume that he is also letting out assembly to another party since that shop was pretty small.
I don't think that anyone has claimed that he just unpacks and sells Chinese scooters. I think that the reason the ZEV scooters are *generally* more reliable than typical Chinese units is that they are assembled and tested here. Still, to claim to be a manufacturer when you don't make the parts is a bit misleading, and I've found that he can't even provide individual parts like keys or instrument panel lights - he is only shipped sub-assemblies. Darus is hardly the only one to do this (Prodeco made the same claim about their bicycles, and probably still do, even though they pretty much just assemble them.)
"Rob Mathies_Vancouver", a few posts above, did claim that. I was responding to him. I neglected to make that clear.
For a while, Current Motor they would get any part you might need - but if it was a chassis part not related to the traction or charging syatem, it usually was cheaper to just get the part from an internet Chinese scooter parts dealer.
Oh yeah, I read that, but the rest of the post is what stuck in my mind. We agree.
"You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear", goes the old saying. And it doesn't matter where you make, or assemble, that silk purse.
Chinese-made frames, brakes, wiring, cabling, controls, gauges, lighting, and plastics are ALL unreliable. The place of final assembly and testing of the scooter made from such components is irrelevant.
Example: The Fly Scout.
The Fly Scout was a knock-off of the Honda Super Cub, made by DYK Motorcycle in China. Fly, a fairly reputable American scooter company (now defunct), was said to have gone over prototypes and found lots of quality problems but they "worked those out" with the manufacturer and painstakingly brought it up to acceptable standards before the start of mass production.
But then, unfortunately, somebody who bought one did a detailed inspection of the frame. This is the shocking result:
When you buy a scooter from a manufacturer that sources it's components from China you don't know where the parts came from. Maybe those brake levers were rejected by a larger customer. Maybe those rotors were sourced from a company that, in turn, bought them from another manufacturer and has no idea when, where, or who made them or how they were tested, and doesn't care. Who welded the scooter frames? Skilled welders? Or some unknown guy they hired off the street who knows he will get paid more if he works fast. Low-volume customers (such as ZEV) often get the stuff that other, larger, customers sent back. The motto of the typical Chinese manufacturer seems to be, "If the customer discovers that we shipped them shit, we might have to deal with it in some way (such as changing our company name and phone number) - but if they don't detect it, we're in the clear!"
I've heard of small companies sending engineers to China to oversee the manufacturing of their products, to make sure its done right. The moment they leave for home, the boss comes out and says, "OK, how can we reduce our cost on these so we can make more money?", and the next batch that goes out is markedly different from the previous ones. Large companies can afford to have contracts drawn up that contain comprehensive agreements and stipulations regarding materials and workmanship standards, and the on-site inspectors to do checks at the factory. But small companies typically can't do that. Instead, they have to rely on the integrity, professionalism, and good will of the manufacturer. Unfortunately, such qualities are more the exception than the rule in China.
That's just the way it is.
So, sure, you can get a ZEV whatever, with an amazingly-low price for the speed and range being claimed. But the reason it's such a deal is because the Chinese manufacturers who make the parts and sub-assemblies of ZEV scooters carry little if any downstream risk or responsibility for the quality or reliability of what they shipped out to ZEV. If someday someone gets killed on a ZEV because a brake lever snapped, it's ZEV that will be looking at a product liability lawsuit, not Zhenjiang Happy Go Lucky Industrial Brake Lever and Storm Door Company.
I generally agree with what you are saying, but I have yet to find ANY Chinese or Chinese-part-sourced electric scooter that would even have anything close to an "amazingly low price" - they are all typically almost or more than twice the price of high quality European IC engine scooter. Most of this is becasue the cost of the lithium cells. I was at least hoping that Chinese lithium cells would have gone down in price since 2010, but right now, even high-quality LEAF cell modules can be had for a lower price per kWH than Chinese cells like GBS.
I'm not defending the quality of ZEV scooters - Just saying that they are not assembled in China. Also, the welding defects discussed in the forum discussions you cite are easily fixable by the assembler with a little welding - which they are probably doing anyway to modify it with a battery tray and rear swing arm for battery electric use.
And the Vectrix was entirely US/European made - but look at its quality and eventual demise.
Let's bemoan the lack of ANY electric 2-wheel transportation at an affordable price - and the general N. American rejection of the whole notion of 2-wheel transportation for day-to-day use that also contributes to one business failure after another...
I see your point about Vectrix - although if memory serves I don't think the quality problems were of the same sort as the Chinese scoots - their overall quality was consistently good, but certain subsystems (battery management and that final drive assembly, in particular) had issues. Also, due to the nature of the market in North America, parts distribution and after service were challenges - leading to bikes being taken off the road prematurely or sold on Ebay/Craigslist at big losses to the original owners.
Someday, maybe even soon, "Made in China" on a scooter won't mean what it does today. Not long ago, "Made in Taiwan" on anything used to raise the same doubtful eyebrows, but over the years that has changed, and now "Made in Taiwan" is almost at the same level as "Made in Japan". This is largely due to the Japanese heritage of the scooter industry here (both major domestic brands, Kymco and SYM are offshoots of Honda, and the other major domestic brand is Yamaha), and the fact that consumers here demand quality and reliability and are willing to pay for it. You don't see many China-made scooters in Taiwan because people know they are trouble, regardless of the purchase price.
I can't say I bemoan the rejection of 2-wheel transportation for widespread day-to-day use in North America. Scooters are dangerous - even in countries where they outnumber cars. In the USA we (rightly) complain about bad roads and car drivers that don't seem to "see" motorcycles - here in Asia, truck drivers can see you, but they have a "might makes right" mentality - it's the rider's job to avoid them and not the other way around. Also, the culture here, heavily influenced by superstition and Buddhist concepts of "fate", seems comfortable with the notion that if you are killed or crippled in a traffic accident it was going to happen no matter what, so you might as well just ride like a banshee and get to work half a minute sooner. To ward-off danger you go to the temple and burn some ghost money in front of an idol.
Getting back to my scooter, which controller should I consider if it doesn't sell? It can't be too expensive, but I'd really like high regen on braking, and little or none otherwise. Remember that this is supposedly an 8.5kw motor, although a good ~8kw controller would also be fine.
Possibly the Kelly KEB72101 would fit your scoot's bill. With max. 10kW electrical power it should easily elicit 8.5 mechanical kW out of your hub motor, and it can regen too with brakes, and coast at idle while not braking.
2017 Zero S ZF6.5 11kW, erider Thunder 5kW
That controller would be $500 for the "waterproof" version, plus shipping. If I knew, for a fact, that this controller would cure the bike and make it much faster, then I might grit my teeth and spend 80% of all my reserve cash on it. As it is, it's a no-win situation: if I buy that controller it won't cure the bike and I'll have wasted most of my remaining money. If I buy a cheaper, smaller one, it will maybe cure it, with little or no added power and subsequent regret for not spending more. I'm looking to spend more like $300 total. Anyone have a good used 8 or 10kw controller? I'd really rather avoid a "ZEV" OEM unit, but a controller for, say, a ZEV 7000 or 7100 would also do. I'd just like the bike to have enough power to keep up with a 150cc ICE scooter.
Anybody have a strategy for testing the output on Leftiebiker's controller to make sure it is the problem before he spends his money?
Don't get the "waterproof" version of the Kelly controller! I did and it only lasted until I hit my first good bump. Based on the weight and solid feel, The "waterproofing" is achieved by potting the entire controller case solid with rigid potting - not a good idea at all.
Kelly took the old one back and replaced it at my request with a non waterproof version, but they would not refund me the price difference - telling me that I'm already getting a deal not having to pay for the return shipping, so I should stop complaining. Gotta love Chinese business practices.
I can loan LB my used Kelly - and sell it to him if it fixes the problem. Its only problem was the regen developed a odd rapid on-off cutout at certain temperatures - but that may have been something peculiar to my CuMoCo scooter since the new one does it at certain temperature ranges too.
That's a nice offer, Paul! Can you give me some details on the controller you have, and what you'd want for it? My bike doesn't have temp sensors, so if the issue is related to that it shouldn't be a problem. Thanks for the heads up on the 'cement overshoe' waterproofing. I know Currie pots their bicycle controllers to prevent tampering and that works ok, but I guess that higher loads don't play well with lots of epoxy...
Maybe the folks at Kelly would help - or at least be able to answer whether or not the problem LB is experiencing could be caused by the controller.
An electronics guru friend of mine has looked inside Kelly controllers and remarked that they're not very well designed (component layout) or made. Isn't there another brand out there?
My Kellys have always worked almost flawlessly, so I do not care too much what an electronics guru friend might think of it's layout - it works - basta! :-)
Occasional regen-cockouts I also had with my second motor, anytime regenning above about 50km/h it would immediately quit regenning again. Until I caught the Cycle Analyst flashing something around -80A for a fleeting moment. The motor had very poor workmanship in that the rotor was not properly centered around the stator, so as the ball bearings wore out they came closer and closer at a certain position. This tiny to non-existent (especially the case with a hot motor!) air gap made it rather efficient both going forward and while regenning, which caused such a high regen current spike that the Kelly simply detected a regen fault and stopped regeneration. It is all back to normal with my third motor...
Leftie, such a 10kW Kelly surely is not cheap, so I think PJD's offer is a good way to go for the time being.
2017 Zero S ZF6.5 11kW, erider Thunder 5kW
I agree, as long as it's the right size and type. There is a tiny, tiny chance that I'll be inheriting a little money soon, in which case I might buy a new one, but otherwise I'm very interested in PJD's controller.
Are you adapting this to a bike with a different controller or will it be a swap? Its a Kelly 72401B. (72V, 400A with regen
I was thinking of just loaning it for testing purposes before deciding if I was going to sell it outright. We'll discus the price if it fixes the problem; otherwise, send it back. I was serving as a spare - but then again, enough time has passed that the new controller is well burned-in and unlikely to fail at this point.
Kelly's manuals and their windows configuration app is available from their website.
I can provide some configuration programming tips if you need them.
PM me with mailing and phone contact information.
I appreciate the offer of a loaner, Paul, but I'm not sure I'll be up to both installing and removing a controller, and I'd be concerned about damaging it. I'm worried enough about doing the swap once. This is a ZEV OEM unit, which I don't *think* is made by Kelly - it has that odd "3 speed" button. Still, if I could get someone with experience to help me it would then make sense, so let me see what happens to my finances in the next week or two, and if I can find a skilled "helper." In the meantime, if anyone comes up with a simple test for the controller, please let me know. As I think I mentioned, I have a smaller controller from a 60 volt (mine is 72 nominal, 84 actual) X-Treme XM-3000 scooter. What are the odds it could handle 72 (84) volts under modest loads?