Dead MC board

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allanbairstow
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Dead MC board

Yesterday my Vectrix died. My motor controller board has burnt out just after the fuse. Does anyone know where I can buy a replacement board cheaper than the £1,862 that I have been quoted by Vectrix UK (EFS) ? Any help would be greatly appreciated. My Vectrix is 2008, NiMH battery pack. If you need board details to help please just let me know what you need. Yesterday was a very sad day :-(

martinwinlow
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Re: Dead MC board

Hi Allan, Sorry to hear about your woes and just as summer arrives, too!

Can I ask how many miles it has? And what were you doing at the time it blew (and a bit before)?

I have a 2008 version as well and have already had the charger fail (£500 parts only) and feel it is only a question of time before the MC goes the same way. I know of no alternative sources for a genuine replacement and suspect there isn't any as it is such a tiny market. There are 2 ways round forking out nearly £2K for a proper one - one is to try and get it fixed. If you know any electronics fiends it may be something fairly straight forward (of course, perhaps Vectrix can mend it for a substantially smaller fee?). The other is to use a different PM controller. You would lose all your instrumentation tho. I remember seeing something about this before somewhere.

It would be interesting to poll all the V owners worldwide to see if they would buy another V after their experiences of owning one already. I have a feeling I know what the overwhelming response would be - especially in the light of the competition now available. That said, nothing else comes with a decent fairing & screen... yet.

Good luck and keep us posted, please.

Regards, Martin.

Regards, Martin Winlow
Isle of Colonsay, Scotland
evalbum.com/2092

allanbairstow
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Re: Dead MC board

Hi Martin,

Sure, I don't mind sharing my woes with everyone :-)

My bike has done 22,000+ miles and I have enjoyed every single electric mile. When it blew I was pulling away fairly hard from a junction into moving traffic (after climbing a shallow gradient) when something under the seat went 'poof' and it coasted to a halt. The smell of electrical burning and the escaping blue smoke told me it was terminal. I had only reached the dizzy heights of 17mph when this happened - I know this as the speedo reading is still stuck at that moment in time. Funnily enough, at the same spot about a week ago, the bike cut out (first time ever) but a reboot sorted out that problem, maybe I should have taken a closer look at it then.

I am currently in communication with another owner over a possible repairable board but I am concerned over the cost of such a repair to a component that may or may not work and will probably fail again in the near future. My board definately is not repairable as it is badly burnt (I don't know how to upload a picture unfortunately). It has shaken my faith in owning another Vectrix in more than one way (but thats another story). Despite this set back, I will definately be getting another electric bike but I am looking at alternatives that offer more user definability and possibly a phone app (such as Carwings for the Nissan Leaf).

In the short term I will be keeping an eye out for a secondhand Vectrix that I can canabilise for spares as I am convinced that I have a dodgey cell too that needs swapping out. At least that way I can replace the board and have lots of spares for about half the cost of a new MC board from Vectrix.

The problem with unique dealer parts is that it gives the vendor a licence to print money and rip their customers off. I honestly believe that the board costs less than a hundred pounds/dollars to make. So to charge over £1,800 is immoral. The price fixing Vectrix parts is one of the reasons I might have to go elsewhere.

I'll keep you posted with any developments.

Allan

Electric traction is the future.

mikemitbike
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Re: Dead MC board

...
It would be interesting to poll all the V owners worldwide to see if they would buy another V after their experiences of owning one already.
...

Hi, my first Vectrix endet up in an accident with a corn-harvester last autum (did halt on a street-cross
and roled over my standing V). The Bike (it had 20.000 Km)was not repairable and the Insurance of the other
driver paid, as it was his fault. During winter I was looking for a used one and got one in rather good
condition for the money of the insurance.

Pics oft the accident:

and finaly the "new" one:

Greetings Mike

R
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Re: Dead MC board

£1,862= 2,204€
maybe you can:
1- Offer 2200€ for a vectrix with failing batteries: http://www.milanuncios.com/scooters-de-segunda-mano/vectrix-vx-1-vx1-electric-78282913.htm
2- Replace your death motorcontroller with the new one.
3- Sell the remaining of that vectrix in single pieces for 2000 Eur

total cost: 200+300€ with shipment from spain :-P

ofx210p
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Re: Dead MC board

I love the white bikes !

I'm now on Vectrix VX1 version 2 as the first one i had ended up in the side of a Mercedes. (his fault)

To be honest I'd own a third one if i can get it for the right price.

I've been through another motorcontroller but luckily for me my crashed one was in great nick so it cost me nothing to replace.

I have to say - having a crashed one for parts is very very convenient.

martinwinlow
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Re: Dead MC board

Mike,

Ah, yes. The third option for repair (which I forgot) would be the cannabalism route. I might just start looking for a victim myself as I, too, need some new(er) cells and I am also planning long term for a different make... tho no-one yet does a well-faired EB.

The Zero's and Brammo's of this world are showing the way with power and range... I wonder if V is up to competing?

As for uploading pics... it's a bit of a chore but:-

Put the cursor where you want the up-loaded pic to go
Click on the left-most little graphic above the 'Comment' text box you are typing in (Insert/Edit Image)
Click on Browse
Click on Upload
Click on Choose File and select the image from you computers drives - it will take any file size (but limited types inc jpg) but if it is bigger than 600k or so it takes a while to upload and re-sizes everything too big down to 250k (500x500)
Click on Upload - You can upload other files at this point too.
Make sure your file is highlighted - you get a preview below the list
Click on Send To Editor
Click on OK... and that's it. Check it is OK using the Preview button rather than save.

MW

Regards, Martin Winlow
Isle of Colonsay, Scotland
evalbum.com/2092

allanbairstow
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Re: Dead MC board

Okay, here is my first attempt at uploading a photo.
20130508_162426.jpg
As you can see, the board has blown after the fuse where it attaches to the pole on the main board.

Electric traction is the future.

bm3
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Re: Dead MC board

Hello Allan

well, outgoing from this photo might be still a little chance to repair it ?
can you post us a photo from the backside of the board ?

Klaus

fulia
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Re: Dead MC board

Does anyone know where I can buy a replacement board cheaper than the £1,862 that I have been quoted by Vectrix UK (EFS) ? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

bm3
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Re: Dead MC board

Thats how it looks like at my controller

IMGController.JPG

My first impression is that at your controller where no electronic components blown but only much heat generated by bad (to high) resistance of wires or terminals.
Contact problems
Maybe one can bring your controller easy back to working well again with only replacing some screws, copper and solder ?

martinwinlow
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Re: Dead MC board

Hi Allan,

Interesting. Looks to me like a bad connection has got worse over time (hence your earlier hiccough) and finally gone poof. I don't know if the fuse you were referring to is the big blue thing to the left of the damage in the photo but if so this is a currant sensor.

If you have a look here...

http://s281.photobucket.com/user/Mr_Mik/media/Vectux%20Motor%20Controller/DSC04582.jpg.html

...you can see another V MC board - interestingly the terminal on the far left is starting to show similar heating issues which, if left, will eventually cause the same problem as yours with a fairly significant plasma event.

This pic from the same source shows your connection better...

http://s281.photobucket.com/user/Mr_Mik/media/Vectux%20Motor%20Controller/DSC04037.jpg.html

... and I now see what you mean about the fuse.

You will have to take it apart a bit more to see if the board is salvageable but I doubt it, I'm afraid. Seems like a pretty dim design - mixing very high currant components, relatively flimsy PCB and tiddly components in the same spot. It even looks as thought the post that has melted is screwed through the PCB and this might be why it has failed. Getting a tight enough torque to make a long lasting connection with good conductance might be too much pressure for the PCB material to stand. The PCB breaks down over time, loosening the connection and poof. But I'm speculating.

Sorry to depress you even more! I wonder how many other Vs are out there with this time bomb ticking?

(PS - I found another VIFV post showing these posts in better pictures... see this one ... http://visforvoltage.org/forum/3582-vectux-quotopen-source-vectrixquot )

Regards, M.

Regards, Martin Winlow
Isle of Colonsay, Scotland
evalbum.com/2092

allanbairstow
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Re: Dead MC board

Hi everyone,
I now have the MC board out of the bike and here are the pictures of - front, the burnt terminal will not unscrew, it just rotates :
20130513_091222.jpg
This is the rear shot, the black box (whatever it is) is also badly burnt and damaged.
20130513_091251.jpg
I am resigned to the fact that the board is dead and not salvagable :-(

What to do next ? A brand new board is too expensive. I think my best option is a secondhand bike so I can use it for spares. I'll be keeping my eyes open for such a bike during June when I will have some free time to play.

A new Vectrix is also an option but Vectrix will have to up their game a lot before I buy another (longer warranties, 100+ mile range, MUCH better customer relations, etc).

Its sad but for now my electric riding days are over :-(

Electric traction is the future.

bm3
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Re: Dead MC board

@ Mike

was ist aus deinem Controller im Unfall-Vectrix geworden ? Noch bei dir ?

Shaddle
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Re: Dead MC board

Hi there

at the risk of looking like a shameless advert (!), I'm selling my bike on Ebay and in December it had both a new MC Board AND a Runke Gold Charger too! Commuting plans have changed so it's no longer going to be able to get me there sadly.

And both those parts benefit from 2 year warrenty from EFS who fitted them, so real peace of mind for the purchaser.

In case that's not an option either, I do have the old one which you can have for spares at a much smaller price!...contact me if interested

regards

Aircon
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Re: Dead MC board

(longer warranties, 100+ mile range, MUCH better customer relations, etc).

Its sad but for now my electric riding days are over :-(

Nothing to do with your problem, just curious. Why do you want a range of 100+ miles? Do you do trips that long? If not, why the range?

The Vectrix is just a city commuter as far as I'm concerned. I'd rather the lightness than the weight of 100+ mile batteries.

martinwinlow
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Re: Dead MC board

... and some more...

http://visforvoltage.org/forum/3635-vectux-part-2-open-source-vectrix

This rather in depth analysis suggests my theory is right and that your fault is down to a badly tightened post.

Mik's (the author of the above link) tinkerings have resulted in a repaired MCB but his plasma event occurred at one of the 3 motor phase connections - not, as in your case, at the battery connection. Whilst Mik's repair obviously worked for him I suspect there is a reason that V used this 'clamp-through the PCB' design and that reason is that where the +ve and -ve battery connections are clamped through the MC PCB, power is taken from the clamped connections into the PCB to power its circuits.

In Mik's case, he just drilled out the damaged PCB and because (I assume) there is no electrical connection from the motor phase posts to the PCB it worked. If you try the same thing with yours, you may remove the electrical connection from the post to the PCB and therefore the MC will not work as it has no power. This is just a theory! Of course, you could do what Mik did and then provide an alternative connection route from post to PCB...

The other thing you have have to be careful with is that the big black box (inverter motor control module, apparently) that all these big connections go to appears rely, in part at least, for its mechanical fixing and support on these 5 posts. Removing one or more will weaken its attachment making a repeat plasma event on another post more likely. If you could come up with a way of using the same clamping system but modified to ensure a good high power connection whilst still mechanically supporting the PCB/black box then you might be on to a winner. On the other hand the mechanical support issue may be irrelevant and e.g. using Miks 'drill it out' solution, clamping a ring terminal in the post connection and soldering a wire to it and to the point on the PCB where the post used to clamp to may be all that is needed.

Again, it does seem a rather daft design!

Perhaps you should PM Mik - he might have some suggestions and may not have seen this thread yet. Please let us know how you get on.

Good luck. Martin.

Regards, Martin Winlow
Isle of Colonsay, Scotland
evalbum.com/2092

mikemitbike
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Re: Dead MC board

@ Mike

was ist aus deinem Controller im Unfall-Vectrix geworden ? Noch bei dir ?

Hi Klaus, I decidet to keep the old Scooter for spareparts, so my old MC and the old Charger are not for sale.
Sorry
Mike

heathyoung
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Re: Dead MC board

Looks like the positive (?) terminal of the IGBT is burnt off. Ouch. Not as easy to fix as the motor terminal ones.

Clean up the board around the burnt bit and see if there is any track damage - I don't think there is much that is around there (except the tracks to the DC:DC).

I can probably sort you out with a repaired IGBT if you like.

I had it fail with all three of the motor terminals burnt off - BUT managed to remove the burnt bits and attach some 8GA cable to it - and pot with epoxy - You will need to drill holes where these cables come out, and mount the IGBT back onto the MC board. They are terminated with lugs, so you just bolt the motor wires to them. I was going to put them in a small plastic box, but ended up fixing the bike with a new IGBT (~$650 Aud)

They have to come out through the board as they go through the current sensors.

Give me a PM if you want it, we can work something out. Its not that bad a repair to do.

allanbairstow
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Re: Dead MC board

Hi Aircon,
Having 100+ range is just somthing I believe is a nice round figure and somthing of a goal for me. Various reasons - where I live there are no public charging points anywhere which limits my travel. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my Vectrix but I want to use it for more than going to work and back home again. There are a couple of places I go regularly that are 40 and 70 miles away that I'd prefer to use the bike for rather than the car. Also, when I originaly bought my bike I was promised 60 miles range (I still have my original brochure !), this quickly became only 35 miles in the real world. After more than 5 1/2 years of development I would have thought that Vectrix would have taken the plunge with better batteries and given us a much larger and more reliable range. Its just my 'wish list' ;-)

Electric traction is the future.

allanbairstow
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Re: Dead MC board

Dead MC board update.
I have decided to buy a secondhand slightly damaged board (not as bad as mine) and get a company to repair it here in the UK. I'll keep you posted on the out come.
My thanks to everyone here on V is for Voltage as without your help I would just have a pile of scrap. Many thanks to Dan & Scott for their extra help and at least now I have hope and a smile back on my face :-)

Electric traction is the future.

Aircon
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Re: Dead MC board

Hi Aircon,
Having 100+ range is just somthing I believe is a nice round figure and somthing of a goal for me. Various reasons - where I live there are no public charging points anywhere which limits my travel. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my Vectrix but I want to use it for more than going to work and back home again. There are a couple of places I go regularly that are 40 and 70 miles away that I'd prefer to use the bike for rather than the car. Also, when I originaly bought my bike I was promised 60 miles range (I still have my original brochure !), this quickly became only 35 miles in the real world. After more than 5 1/2 years of development I would have thought that Vectrix would have taken the plunge with better batteries and given us a much larger and more reliable range. Its just my 'wish list' ;-)

Yes...fair enough if you want to use it as anything other than a commuter.

I have a 140km range. I could have saved my money and some battery weight because my longest round trip is usually around 50max. Usually much less. :) However, it's nice NEVER having to think about range.

Mik
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Re: Dead MC board

I would try to clean up the black sooty deposits and then shine a strong focussed light through the MC board. That might show if there are any close-by traces in the MC. If there are no connections, then you can remove the burned plastic and then screw the post directly to the IGBT module.

The repair that I achieved on the motor terminals never caused any trouble again, but I was lucky to detect the problem much earlier, when only a little bit of arcing and burning had occurred.

There are many components close to the location where it burned on your MC, so they might well have been damaged by the heat

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

allanbairstow
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Re: Dead MC board

Hi Everyone,
Okay, here is the latest on my Vectrix dead MC board.
1) I now have the replacement board with bad fuses - I intend to take this to a specialist company for repair. I'll also be taking my original board to see if it is salavagable (I doubt it).
2) Where do I find the information on the 'pre-charge bulb' device ? Does anyone have a photo of how I attach this bulb device before attaching the batteries as I don't want to damage anything.
3) I have decided to get a second electric bike (ZEV 10 LRC with 140 mile range) so if my Vectrix is not salvagable then at least I have a new bike to ride :-)

Electric traction is the future.

Aircon
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Re: Dead MC board

Hi Everyone,
Okay, here is the latest on my Vectrix dead MC board.
1) I now have the replacement board with bad fuses - I intend to take this to a specialist company for repair. I'll also be taking my original board to see if it is salavagable (I doubt it).
2) Where do I find the information on the 'pre-charge bulb' device ? Does anyone have a photo of how I attach this bulb device before attaching the batteries as I don't want to damage anything.
3) I have decided to get a second electric bike (ZEV 10 LRC with 140 mile range) so if my Vectrix is not salvagable then at least I have a new bike to ride :-)

That Zev looks fantastic. I'd never even heard of them.

ofx210p
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Re: Dead MC board

I remember reading about them previously some time ago.

Their specs are reasonably impressive
I don't find them particularly attractive (IMO they look cheap and chinese especially the hub motor)

which makes me also think about the EVT4000e which had a hub motor which can be damaged by pot holes wherease the external motor and rim is repairable.

I do wonder if the motor is basically DC ?

However at the end of the day - still interesting reading.

Range great - wonder what the ride quality and torque is like.

martinwinlow
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Re: Dead MC board

Hi Allan,

Glad to hear you are making progress. You must be pulling your hair out by now. Going back to a car for me would be a real pain - esp with summer (hmmm...) here.

I, too, had not consciously heard about ZEV and def not the 10 LRC. I am a bit surprised as I spend a good deal of time ("Too much!", says Mrs W) reading about EV things. It does look good from the specs compared to the competition - certainly on range/top speed.

Have you any more info on actual UK cost, options and delivery? Have you had a test drive? If so, how did it go? There is not much on the review front for the 10 LRC yet - well, nothing, actually! Even ZEV don'y have any links to any reviews.

If you search for vectrix pre-charge (or precharge) on VIFV you should find more than enough to sort you out. But basically all you are doing is connecting the pack with a 40W 240V light bulb (or similar), in series, using the bulb as a resistor to limit the speed at which the controller capacitors charge up when first connected to the battery. The bulb will start bright and then dim over a few seconds as the caps charge. The tricky bit is disconnecting the bulb from the circuit and re-connecting the battery to the controller quickly enough to prevent the caps discharging again as they do this quite quickly with no power connected.

Again, please keep us all informed about your travails.

Regards, Martin.

Regards, Martin Winlow
Isle of Colonsay, Scotland
evalbum.com/2092

mikemitbike
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Re: Dead MC board

Hi Everyone,
...
2) Where do I find the information on the 'pre-charge bulb' device ? Does anyone have a photo of how I attach this bulb device before attaching the batteries as I don't want to damage anything.
...

Hi try the link to the collaborative handbook. There are some Informations about the ICL´s

Greetings Mike

allanbairstow
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Re: Dead MC board

Okay, here is an update & more problems !
Thanks to this forum I have had some fantastic help, advice and a replacement board that needed a repair. The board is now repaired and in the bike and appears to be functioning :-)
Problem 1 : The main fuse is the older 125amp so I am awaiting a 200amp replacement (4 week delivery !!!).
I decided to charge up the battery pack.
Problem 2 : While it was charging the battery temperature went from 19c to 27c and then to an alarming 47c (about 2 hours) - I shut it off at that point.
I turned the bike on to test the it on the stand.
Problem 3 : For some reason the bike throttle control has been reversed, ie, forward throttle now goes backwards.
What have I done wrong ? Everything is back exactly as it was and I have checked the polarity of the battery and the red lead is definately on the positive side of the battery. Is it simply a matter of reversing the main battery leads or will that damage the bike ?
I don't want to do anything further until I am sure I have done everything correctly. Anybody got any ideas ?
20130621_100351.jpg

Electric traction is the future.

1charan
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Re: Dead MC board

Hello Allen,

whatever you do, DO NOT reverse the battery connectors.I expect this will give you quite a surprise. Probably some condensators that blow up (definitely not healthy), probably a lot of electronics that go boom (not good for your wallet and not for your ears), not to mention the battery itself or at least the fuse that goes boom. It wouldn't surprise me if the bike would not ride anymore at all after that.

I do not know what causes the reversal of the throttle, but it must be higher up in the connectors. Maybe the cause of this is connected to the temperature problem while charging?

good luck,

Charan

martinwinlow
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Re: Dead MC board

Hi Allan,

You are nearly there, so don't give up.

1. Main fuse - you will just have to wait this one out and replace it when the new one arrives (obviously). I can't see any reason why this would have any influence on anything - it has been working fine with the 125A fuse so lets ignore that for now.

2. Temperature - this is rather strange. Did you disconnect the battery pack at all? I'm thinking if any high power connections were undone and re-done that they may not be tight enough and are over heating - especially so if the terminal concerned is one that has one of the temperature probes attached to it. Were you able to see if the pack really was that hot? Ideally, an infrared temperature gun is the best tool to check (or camera, of course) as it avoids touching the battery terminals (which get the hottest - rather than the battery case).

As a last resort, if you wear a pair of rubber wellies and are VERY careful, you would probably get away with touching a terminal with ONE finger and making VERY sure no other part of you (including clothing) is in contact with any other thing especially a part of the bike. I hesitate to suggest this as it is obviously potentially rather dangerous! If you do do this, use the back of your one finger as the shock instinct causes muscles to contract and would pull the finger away from the terminal and have someone with you, adequately briefed - just in case! And remove ALL jewellery etc - plasma events and flesh do not mix well.

3. Reversed Throttle - Very odd!! It may be exactly as Charan suggests and 1. and 2. are related. If so, I suspect the MC repair may have gone a little awry but this would be unlikely - usually a device like this will either work properly or not at all.

Do you have the PEAK Canbus cable and diagnostic software? If so, 'interrogating' the system may give you some clues and will probably be the only definitive method of finding out what is up. Failing that, it will be a job for the professionals... who of course will first attach the PEAK cable and do a diagnostic check! One thing this would tell you is if it is just one sensor that is getting hot or more than one (or all of them). Galago's canbus monitor would do this too, of course. If it is just one sensor it would indicate a localised issue such as the lose connection I mentioned earlier.

You could 'reset' the system again by disconnecting the big connectors at the controller...

Good luck and please don't electrocute yourself! MW

Regards, Martin Winlow
Isle of Colonsay, Scotland
evalbum.com/2092

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