New VX-1 Charging Question

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Vectrix-NH
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

Hi Kocho

I had lost a lot of range. So I changed some cells.
It was charging to good voltage and was holding a charge ok.
And I was not getting a hot battery light.
But when I got in the it I had 1 cell at 0.0 ,power was going right thru it.
The 6 cell around it with voltage that was way to high .
All the other cells voltage were as they should be 102/total voltage.
So Checking all your cells may help .

Have a great day , Herb

Kocho
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

Sandy, answer one question: how does you software "know" the actual capacity of the battery?

Edit. Hint: how does it determine that the battery is fully charged and to terminate the charge before any temperature or time safeguards kick in? I'm pretty sure I know the answer. And based on what I think I know, I believe there is room for further discussion on my original questions to narrow down the issue before I decide if I want to disassemble a battery. I want to hear the answer to my question about the charge termination from you. This way, if I'm wrong in my current understanding, I will know why. And, perhaps, if you missed a piece of information in this thread, you can take a step back and re-assess it. Waiting for your reply!

The Laird
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

Hi Kocho,

You just don't have a clue.
.
Software never 'knows' anything nor does it 'think'. Software is a merely a list of of pre-determined actions which are carried out by an electronic 'machine' (computer).
.
Interesting point that you made there. Computers can't 'think' but can act logically. You can 'think' but can't act logically. Hmmmmmm
.

I have determined the 'actions' to be taken (in the modified software) and the computer (in your charger) is obeying my instructions.
.

I have 'set' the battery (maximum) capacity to 30Ah. However, I have also 'set' the voltage levels which correspond to a good battery (C.P. stops at the voltage corresponding to 80% capacity and C.C. stops when the battery voltage corresponds to 'full').
.
Time and temperature limits are both safety features. The battery temperature should never rise and the time limits are set so that they should never be reached (on a battery in good condition). If either of those limits is being reached (especially on a regular basis) then the battery is showing signs of fault, failure, cell damage.
..............................******************************************.....................................
.
Now Kocho, Time for you to answer MY questions.
.
You have told us that you are using the same software/charger file on two bikes. The 'older' bike (the bike you bought first) is charging correctly. The second bike (your latest purchase) is not charging correctly.
So Logically, Something is different between the two bikes.
.
Is it the battery? - You could check this by swapping the two batteries between the two bikes.
.
Is it the charger? - You could swap the two chargers over and see what happens.
.
It cannot be the software because (you have said) both bikes are using the same software.
- You could prove (or dis-prove) this by re-installing the software on both bikes to see if the strange behaviour continues or not.
.
The above listed items are all logical tests that a proper engineer would consider as part of a logical fault diagnosis procedure. Which of these test have you tried and with what result?
.
When you have established whether it is the Battery, the Charger or the bike in general Then, and only then will you be able to move this fiasco forward.
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Kocho, I have no wish to offend you, BUT you are demonstrating, by your own posts, that you have no idea how to sort out a simple problem. Not only that, But when I explain what is happening and the likely reasons for that, you then argue and question without ever carrying out any of the tests I suggest.
.
I don't know how you ever qualified as an 'Engineer'. You would never have qualified at the college where I taught engineering.
.
Please don't ridicule yourself any further on this topic, it is becoming embarrassing to have to endure your posts.
.
My last suggestion to you. Try doing some real engineering by getting your hands dirty and carrying out some sensible testing. You might learn something to your advantage.
.
The Laird.

. Still telling it like it really is and looking forward to Kocho's answers

X Vectrix
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

Koch
Something definitely doesnt seem right. I dont remember off the top of my head but I think the voltage that is displayed on the left is the voltage measured by the motor controller. The cutoffs in the charger are based on the charger measured voltages. I did notice in one of your pics that the CH voltage was 2V higher than the MC voltage. It may be that what you observe on the dash is not the reality of what is going on in the charger. I'd be curious to see the diag displayed voltages of both during a charge. At one point you mentioned that the charger was in CP but the current was dropping (it was 5A or so). This dosnt make sense since the CP stage usually finishes with max current. Current limiting would only occur if the max power was reached/exceeded which may be the case if the charger voltage is reading too high.

Vectrix-NH
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

Hi Koche

I would say you need to take the battery apart .

I just did mine . my range was down .

It charged to full and held a charge .

and did not get hot battery light.

But when I took it apart , there was 1 cell at 0.000 volts ( it make a solid connetion power just gose through it )

6 cells were way over charged ( 1.487 volts ) all other cell were at 1/ 102 ( 1.275 volts ) of the total voltage ( 130.1 volts ) .

One other thing is that for some reason a lot of people think 1.500 volts par cell is full charge .

The thing is any voltage over 1.450 volts will damage the battery per Gold Peak Group spec.

Have a great day Vectrix-NH

Kocho
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

... I have also 'set' the voltage levels which correspond to a good battery (C.P. stops at the voltage corresponding to 80% capacity and C.C. stops when the battery voltage corresponds to 'full').

That's what I expected you would say and how I expect the charging process to behave. However, it doesn't. Of course, I could dismantle both bikes and start swapping components. That will be my next step, if analysis based on observations to date does not yield additional insight into the problem.

So far we have established that CP terminates due to high voltage cutoff too quickly, well below 80% of the actual capacity is reached. If I measure at the wall around 3.5KWh spent (during two back to back charges without riding the bike), the battery takes it just fine. I can then ride 25 miles with it spiritedly at around 40mph with many stops and some bursts above that. I can travel about 40miles at 25-30mph gently. That corresponds to at least 20Ah capacity, if not more. Yet CP cuts off at well under 10Ah. And CC never reaches the target voltage, unless the charge cycle was started with a mostly full battery. And even then CC stage takes unusually long.

There is something interesting going on here that I'm trying to understand the reasons for. Anyone can swap components and see which one's faulty. Few can predict that by reasoning, apparently...

To XVectrix - yes, there is 2-3 volts difference b/w charger voltage as displayed on the screen while charging and the bus voltage as displayed by pressing the kill switch an left brake (these values are also reflected in ScooterSiag). Before anyone jumps-up, the left brake/kill switch does not work with my current MC firmware, of course. I observed it while I had the newer version installed before now. Now I can only see these in Scooter Diag.

Kocho
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

I'm swapping the chargers tonight to see if that makes a difference in charging and attitudes ;) Stand by ...

Kocho
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

I'm swapping the chargers tonight to see if that makes a difference in charging and attitudes ;) Stand by ...

New bike + old charger. Starting from 0 bars, 127V at rest (about an hour after coming back from a ride where I had 120V at 35mph-ish on level road).

I think this combo is behaving more like it should: 1h56m to the end of CP at 143V, 1.88KWh measured at the wall, 7 bars on the display.

Bus voltage was 0 in Scooter Diag during the charge, not sure why.

I'll stop the charge at 2KWh and continue after work tomorrow to see where some CC takes it, as I can't wait and babysit it all night. But so far I think things look better with this charger.

P.S., whoever put together this new bike either did not know their stuff or hated it - washers on the charger were on the wrong bolts, one stripped bolt on the charger (broke on me trying to remove it, luckily managed to remove the stump with some persuasion and "Liquid Wrench" oil application, then re-threaded it for a new bolt that I have to buy), missing screw on the inside of the charger-side body panel, another bolt on the charger (that had a washer but shouldn't have) was not tightened at all 'cause it was too short to bold with that fat washer... But maybe this shoddy workmanship is the rule rather than the exception - the old bike had even more missing and lose screws than the new one, one of the air ducts was broken (had to patch it-up)... I think these bikes should periodically be taken apart and reassembled with LockTite...

Kocho
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

Time to restart the discussion, based on the new information from swapping the chargers. Assuming my one-time charge observation with the replacement charger is not a fluke, I think we can now shift attention away from the battery being faulty (or "kaput") and certainly stop commenting on each other's qualifications and mental states. Obviously, I will need to do a few more charging cycles with the replacement charger to confirm the observations are repeatable. But for now, just getting the brain cells moving in a new direction :)

Hypothesis I would like to explore as most likely:
There is something wrong with the original charger (because, swapping the charger with a replacement charger appears to have changed the charging behavior significantly). And I'm open to other hypotheses to explore, so speak-up if you have a more likely culprit for the odd charging behavior.

Recapping the measurements:
Compared to the original charger, the replacement charger pumped over 60% more energy into the battery during the CP charge by the time CP ended at 143V due to reaching the voltage target (as indicated by measured consumption at the wall, 1.1KWh for the original vs. 1.8KWh for the replacement charger, and by the bars on the battery display, 4 bars for the original vs. 7 bars reached for the replacement charger). Battery temperature was steady. I have confirmed with ScooterDiag that all firmware versions are shown as being identical so the only change is the physical charger swap.

Here's what I don't understand. Measured amperage drawn from the wall was about the same between the two chargers during the CP stage. So why would it take less time to reach 143V with the original charger vs. the replacement charger (and correspondingly, use-up/store in the battery less energy)? One guess is that there is a difference in how the original and new charger measure voltage. The replacement charger spent considerable amount of time at 143V rather than quit the CP stage as soon as 143 was reached. That quick quitting at 143V I can explain by some sensor or unknown firmware difference. What I mostly don't understand is why the original charger spendt less time to reach 143V than the replacement charger, i.e., the battery voltage measured by the charger raised quicker with the original charger than with the replacement charger (yet for both chargers I measured about the same Amps drawn from the wall during the entire CP stage)...

Archi13
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

Hello Kocho, have you make a test drive and corrected the fuel gauge after that.

Kocho
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

No test ride yet, was raining after the charge. Probably today. Yesterday, I let it finish the charge through EC and the bars went up to about 14 or so, about 4KWh drawn from the wall total. Will probably ride it today to discharge, then charge again and ride tomorrow to work if the weather cooperates.

The charger from the new bike is now in the old bike and I'm going to be observing how it works there. So far I have only determined that the "new" charger measures 2-3V difference b/w the Charger Voltage and the MC Voltage (when mounted on either bike). The old charger only has 1V difference between these two voltages (on either bike). The MC voltage is only measured in ScooterDiag when the bike is on, so I don't know if that affects charging at rest.

The only other thing I have so far observed is that the new charger's voltage display froze at 132V during CP (on the old bike), while the charger voltage in ScooterDiag was measured at 142V (which looked about right given the time it had spent in CP until that point). I should have let it charge past 143 to see if the wrong display value mattered or if it cared about the measured value, but I did not do that. Starting the bike on and off synced the displayed and measured values. Interestingly, the new charger spent almost 2 hours/2KWh in CP on the old bike, as it should, to get to these 142V, which it never did in the new bike. So, a handful of things to watch for over the next few days and to verify the initial observations.

As for opening the battery to check for bad cells as someone suggested via email, I probably won't do that, yet. I don't see uneven heating. The pack has been assembled by Vectrix from supposedly good cells harvested from multiple packs in late 2013, so it is essentially expected to be a relatively "good" pack. Plus, I probably will not be repairing the pack even if it was bad - I have a Li conversion in mind for this new bike when that happens.

Kocho
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

Finished a test-ride. Topped-off this morning (V at rest was 141 before that) until the middle of the CC charge, just as it reached 145V at 12 or 13 bars on the display. Rode for 50Km (30 miles) at fairly constant speeds of 65-70Km/h (35-40 mph). At the end of the first about 40km (25m) I could still maintain 120V at speed of about 70Km/h (40mph) on flat roads. Towards the 50km (30m) mark I had to slow down to a crawling speed around 15Km/h (10mph) on flat. 1 bar left on the battery meter. Keep in mind, that low speed was not limited by the controller - I could go faster if I wanted to, but that would dip my voltage well below 120V, and that's not a good idea for the health of potentially relatively over-discharged cells (unbalanced pack, which I may or may not have, but most likely do). During the entire ride (mostly flat roads with gentle hills, little stopping), I almost never dipped below 120V instantaneous on the display (perhaps 117-119 for a few short seconds) and did not accelerate hard. Used regen gently too - I never use full regen, regardless of speed anyway. So, a fairly gentle ride. Voltage at rest immediately after I stopped at the 50km mark was 123V as shown in the photo and recovered to 124V a few minutes later as seen on the ScooterDiag screen shot (which also shows the MC voltage being equal to the charger voltage - 124V; in reality the MC voltage seems to be just between 123 and 124V - it was flipping on the screen). The second ScooterDiag screen shot shows that I reset the battery capacity to 24Ah (was 30 before, as shown on the first ScooterDiag screen shot). Per the first ScooterDiag screen shot it looks like a couple of places on the battery got a couple of degrees warmer in use than the rest, which I have observed before too (and which does not happen during charging in place - they all equalize to about the same measured temperature during charging).

Will see how it recharges tomorrow, if the weather cooperates.

50km run WP_20140803_14_25_16_Pro.jpg

new bike old charger discharged to 120V.JPG

new bike old charger discharged to 120V3 - 24Ah Force Set.JPG

Kocho
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

Hi Vectrix-NH,

Were any cells bulging/swollen? I think Mik had a write up a few years back that bad cells almost all the time were swollen to the touch.

Hi Koche

I would say you need to take the battery apart .

I just did mine . my range was down .

It charged to full and held a charge .

and did not get hot battery light.

But when I took it apart , there was 1 cell at 0.000 volts ( it make a solid connetion power just gose through it )

6 cells were way over charged ( 1.487 volts ) all other cell were at 1/ 102 ( 1.275 volts ) of the total voltage ( 130.1 volts ) .

One other thing is that for some reason a lot of people think 1.500 volts par cell is full charge .

The thing is any voltage over 1.450 volts will damage the battery per Gold Peak Group spec.

Have a great day Vectrix-NH

Vectrix-NH
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

Hi
Yes the bad cell was swollen , and the cells that had high voltage.

Have a great day

The Laird
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

Hello All,
.
This thread has gone real quiet.
.
What is happening?
.
What has happened?
.
Is anybody there?
.
Just wondering.

The Laird.
(Exercising his curiosity)

Kocho
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

Sandy, Welcome back! Not much has happened. The "old" charger seems to be working as expected in the new bike. It pulls from the wall the expected KWh, which was not the case before (now the CP stage is longer than before and seems to pull the proper amount of electricity to match the voltage at 80% full or whatever the SoC should be after a good CP stage). Range has been good. I've put a couple of hundred miles so far on this combo and until recently, no problems. The "new" charger seems to work OK with the old bike too, though I observed it once "froze" at 130-something volts on the display while according to ScooterDiag it was already at 143 or thereabouts volts. I'm not riding that bike right now, so I don't have enough observations to tell if that's an isolated issue or not and if the gauge fills-up properly or not. No rush, will figure that out in due time.

However, the battery in the new bike seems to be developing some issues lately. Here's what's happening. Since I plan to convert to Li soon and don't particularly care to baby the battery, I have been riding the bike a bit more, shall we say, enthusiastically. I may have allowed during short bursts of acceleration the voltage to dip well below 120V for more than a brief moment. Or to ride at top speed for longer than I normally have to (to shorten my commute). And while I did not allow voltage to dip below 120 for long during high-speed riding, it has been hovering around there often. Not good, I know (the NiMh cells as arranged in the VX1 battery are not adequate for this kind of use). Doing this, I feel I may have damaged come cells: after a ride, I notice the temp on one group of cells has been creeping a bit higher than the rest. Not much though. Today, that group had much bigger temp difference (was 44F vs. 29 for the rest). This was never the case before. I will see if some good charging cycles with EQ will change that behavior. And I'll let off the throttle a bit when using it :) Anyhow, I will take the battery apart fairly soon to see if/how many cells are swollen. I will likely not do it before my Leaf cells arrive in a few weeks, hopefully.

So, you will not see much news from me here until something interesting happens or when I open the battery up.

gasmatt
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New VX-1 Charging Question

Hello folks. Sorry to parasitise this thread, but I can't work out how to start a fresh one, & this seemed the most appropriate.
Finally pulled my NiMeH pack apart after a year's V dormancy & prevarication. If I have swollen cells, they're not nearly as obvious as how I'd have imagined, so difficult to chuck out any as yet.
V fitted with a replacement Runke charger in with later (kinder?) software.
2A constant current chargers arriving imminently (ebay UK 3 PIN DC 12V 2A Power Supply/Charger/Adaptor Plug 3528/5050 LED Strip Lights) & preparing to follow posts detailing pack rebuild & balancing- Drew, expect a begging call soon re salvaged replacement cells...
However, cant help wondering if I shouldn't try to buy an old ESD charger so I can install the Laird's software, as looks like there won't be the Runke equivalent in the lifetime of this pack (or the next one).
I'd contemplate a Li+ rebuild, but again, without a kinder charging setup which doesn't cost the earth, I can't see the point. I'm a domestic electrical bodger & have just rebuilt an MZ TS250 from moribund to nearly new, but that's it in terms of my engineering abilities.
I'm not in a position to make informed decisions re niceties of the route to building a Li+version, but would have to follow someone's lead: The question is who?!
So. Q1 Swap Runke to older, fragile ESD, or plug on with Runke & rebuilt pack?
Q2 Is Runke compatible with Li+ rebuild & a BMS?
Q3 Which BMS?
Q4 Or just leave it as a doorstop & use the MZ until a second hand affordable BMW C Evolution turns up…

Apologies again for not starting this as a fresh thread (new posting button seems to have disappeared).

Yours, Matt

R
R's picture
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

Q1 Swap Runke to older, fragile ESD, or plug on with Runke & rebuilt pack?

I have two 7.5 year old vectrix with EDS. they're the last EDS in Barcelona. They will do their job until they die, and they're fully programmable.
The runke has turned out to be less reliable, but it does not freeze, overcharging the battery.

Q2 Is Runke compatible with Li+ rebuild & a BMS?

As long as somebody programs the Runke and the BMS, yes. Not a real option.

Q3 Which BMS?

I like the Emus BMS, with android app and blue-tooth connection. It tells the app all cell voltages.

Q4 Or just leave it as a doorstop & use the MZ until a second hand affordable BMW C Evolution turns up…

Thats your best choice, but you'll have to wait for a long time...
Kocho
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Re: New VX-1 Charging Question

...
So, you will not see much news from me here until something interesting happens or when I open the battery up.

So, to conclude this thread (at least my portion of it): the "new" charger turned out behaved in the "old" bike similar to how it behaved in the "new" bike. And, the "old" charger in the "new" bike - like it did in the "old" bike. Conclusion: it was the charger, not the battery.

As for the battery in the "new" bike - one cell was indeed damaged (this happened independently of the odd charging issue and has nothing to do with it). I replaced that cell, reassembled the pack, and it worked fine again with the "new" charger in the "new" bike.

So, my "engineering analysis", after all, did correctly dismiss the battery as the source of odd charging behavior. And opening up the bike (before the battery went bad) would not have provided any insight whatsoever as to what was the issue. Take what you need from this thread...

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