Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

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bennelson
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Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Hi Everybody!

Recently, I got a 2007 Vectrix. It was in non-working condition, with the seller saying it had a bad battery pack. He claimed that the range just kept getting worse and worse until the bike just didn't turn on one day.

I bought the cycle and brought it home. Here's the first post about it on my blog. http://300mpg.org/2014/12/02/vextrix-electric-maxi-scooter/

I set to work taking off the covers and getting the batteries out. The entire battery pack was at less than two volts! Yipes. I managed to get some voltage into the pack by manually charging it with a variable voltage charger. I think there's a few bad cells in there, but I haven't stripped down the original NiMH packs to the component level yet.

In the mean time, I used some NiMH cells I got from a Ford Escape Hybrid battery pack to make a 125V nominal battery that I jumper-cabled to the cycle. Using that, I was able to boot up the cycle. I spun the wheel, tested regen, and reverse. All worked fine. After plugging just the temperature sensors from the original NiMH pack back in, I was even able to get all the error lights to turn off.

Here's my second blog post, with several videos.
http://300mpg.org/2014/12/17/vectrix-repair-work-continues/

I have the service manual, which I downloaded from here at V is for Voltage.

I know I'm going to have plenty more questions as I keep going on this project, but here's the first one - where do I get the "talk to the scooter over CAN" software from? I just got my CAN to USB adapter in the mail today and would like to try connecting to the Vectrix.

Thanks in advance for your help!

-Ben Nelson
southestern Wisconsin, United States

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Hi Ben,

Welcome to the forum!

I sent you a link a few minutes ago for the software and the DLL you may need depending on the can adapter you have.
Let me know if you need cells for your pack, I have a lot sitting in the garage available.

Jerry

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Thanks Jerry! Looks like I have to dig up a female-female adapter for the CAN connection too!

In other news, I got the front pack bulk-charged, so I thought, "What the heck, why not try to hook the original battery pack back up?"

I plugged it all in together and turned the cycle on. Everything looked pretty good overall. I plugged in the charger and it turned on, with the speedometer pointing at the 100. The charger did cycle through CP mode and eventually into CC mode, where the needle pointed at 30. Does the meter show charging current? 100 = 10 amps charging and 30 = 3 amps charging? I did run it through a watt meter, and the charger was pulling over 1500 watts, and then later (in the CC mode,) a little under 500 watts.

I also saw while charging that if I pressed the left brake, a series of numbers would cycle through in the position on the left display that usually shows voltage.
YouTube video showing that

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Hi Ben, welcome!
Nimh cells have outstanding endurance, these cells can be recovered. Charge them slowly. 0nce they,re full ride some cycles, you,ll see the range increasing. 30 ah are good to ride 70 km-80 km, with this cells you may get 10-15ah, around 30 km.
After checking out the vectrix is ok, you can decide wich lithium conversion you will do. The leaf cells fit inside perfectly

Your unit has the original esd charger, or it was replaced with the newer gold runke?

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Do get the modified charging software from the Laird (assuming your '07 came with the silver ESD charger). It is gentler on the batteries and will likely help revive them. Still, if you can manually top-balance them with an external charger first, it would be better for them. Having only 500 miles on the bike is a good thing - probably most of your cells are still good and will revive after some good charges and balancing.

But watch the temperature - if the pack goes more than just a few degrees over ambient towards the end of the charge, you got some issues with cooling, or bad individual cells, or just disbalance. And don't run it down to red light - bad for the weaker cells in your pack and will likely damage them on discharge and shorten the life of the good cells as they will "overcharge" during a subsequent full charge. In fact, going below 1/4 charged should probably be best avoided altogether, unless you have a very good pack (with evenly matched cells by capacity of the individual cells).

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Hey Guys,

I haven't gotten the Can to USB working yet. (I think I need to use a different driver still.) However, after my original bulk charging with an external charger, then reconnecting the batteries (including the temperature sensors) The charger looks like it's working.

As far as I know, it's the older charger, the cycle is a 2007, low mileage, and only one owner, so I don't see why ANYTHING on it would be anything but stock original. Can somebody tell me what "ESD Charger" means? Is it the brand-name, the style, or what? Unfortunatley, there are so many forums using specialized terminology and abreviations, that it's hard to learn things if nobody tells you the long version of something!

I haven't taken apart the front of the bike yet (haven't seen any need to,) so I haven't poked under there at the charger yet.

Anyways, I tried cycling through with the charger a couple of times, and I finally got a few bars to show up on the charge-o-meter. I'm just very excited that it's showing something!

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

The "ESD" were the early chargers, which are aluminum (grey) in color. You can look with a flashlight up from below, next to the front right on the suspension. If the charger box is golden metal in color, it is the "Runke" charger, which came later. Go to the handbooks section on this site - you will eventually find your way to some photos of these chargers to see what they look like.

The "free" software from the Laird is available for the ESD, which you likely have. For the Runke you can contact a couple of commercial outfits that can sell you a custom version (I have one, works great).

The main point is that the original factory software, with either charger, will damage the battery eventually and quicker, and is not safe for use with a weak or disbalanced battery.

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Regarding using the PCAN CAN-USB adapter with older software, there was an old DLL I had to find from PCAN
to get things to work after I installed drivers for it. I think I got the link somewhere on this
forum, but I don't remember where.
-Kurt J.
Carlsbad CA. USA

2007 Vectrix VX-1
Carlsbad, CA USA

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

This is ESD aluminium charger, the old one. With The lairds Firmware it extends NIMH cells' life.

DSCF0711.JPG

This one is the newer Runke gold charger. Uploading the lairds firm in it will brick it.
IMG_1420.jpg

Remember to check the main fuse on the MC board. If it is a 125A unit replace it with a 200A fuse

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

duplicate comment

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Duplicate comment

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Duplicate comment. *sigh* this board is a bit frustrating to leave comments on.... Doesn't load, doesn't load, comments the same thing four times....

bennelson
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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Thanks guys!

Is the PCAN the ONLY adapter that works on the Vectrix? I already have a CANUSB adapter. http://www.can232.com/?page_id=16

I have the scooter diagnostic software, but I wasn't able to get it to talk to my computer yet. I think I might not have the right driver on the CAN connector yet.

I noticed that there is not "CONNECT" button in the scooter software or anything like that. Is there something that you have to do in the scooter software to make it connect? Also, does the scooter have to be on/off/run mode to connect to the computer? Which mode should it be in?

IMG_1547.jpg
IMG_1548.jpg
IMG_1550.jpg

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Scooterdiag 2008 2.0?
I recomend you install scoooterdiag 2013 1.1

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

There is no connect button , if drivers are correctly installed, the scooterdiag auto-detects the vectrix when turned on.

Kocho
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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Scooterdiag 2008 2.0?
I recomend you install scoooterdiag 2013 1.1

Isn't the 2013 version for the Li bikes only? I thought that for the NiMh bikes we need 2.1 or 2.0 version. I use version 2.1.

And yes, there is no connect button. With the right cables and bus adapter it should show green in the little field that is red in the pictures above. The bike needs to be On or charging for the connection to work.

I have been told that the PEAK adapter is the only one that has been demonstrated to works with the Vectrix (doesn't mean others won't work, just no one has posted to have been successful as far as I know). Even with the PEAK adapter, usually one or two DLLs need to be manually replaced after the software installation to make it work. Look-up my post on the subject - there were links in there for the "right" DLLs.

The site is quirky - click "Submit" only once, wait a bit, and if it does not work, just close your browser window and reopen. Usually, the message has posted, just the server does not acknowledge. If you do click Submit more than once while waiting, you get dups.

Kocho
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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Here's the post I was thinking about:

http://visforvoltage.org/forum/13771-any-socal-help-switching-lairds-software

And

http://visforvoltage.org/forum/13474-scooter-diagnostic-not-comunicating-vectrix

Edit: I assume you are using whatever ScooterDiag the Laird gave you. That's what I use too and it works (after the DLL swaps/additions), for the most part: some fields are "for future" use, but the core functions you need should be fine: checking voltages, temps, uploading firmware.

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Isn't the 2013 version for the Li bikes only?

Nope, you select the type of bike in the program (li, Ni, vx3,vx2...)

scooterdiag.jpg

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

I've had no luck getting my can adapter to talk to the Vectrix.

Is THIS the correct adapter that everyone is using?
http://gridconnect.com/pcan/can-adapters/can-usb.html

I don't have too much money to spend on this bike at the moment, and I don't want to waste it buying another wrong adapter.

Alternatively, does anyone have the correct CAN adapter they could LOAN me? (I'm in south-east Wisconsin. I could put down a deposit for the value and cover shipping.)

I've gotten some juice into the batteries, but would really like to connect with the Vectrix and find out what it can tell me. Any other Vectrix owners in south-eastern Wisconsin, or maybe Chicago-land area?

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Yes, that's the one. What problems are you seeing? Usually doesn't work without manually downloading a specific DLL, after you have installed the software from PEAK's DVD.

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

See if this info helps:

I use a Windows 7, Service Pack 1, 64 bit version, but I don't think that is critical - would have had the same issues on XP I suspect.

(1) I installed the PEAK drivers so my laptop would see the CANbus adapter - I had solid red light on the adapter, which indicates the computer sees the adapter OK. Problem was that I could not get the ScooterDiag program to run at all. I got an error message that said that the "msvcp71.dll" was missing. After some google time, it turns out this is some Microsoft-provided library that could be coped from other locations on the computer. This I did - just searched my hard drive for it and found several versions of it. I used on that was in the folder for some camera software that I had on my computer - copied that and pasted it in the ScooterDiag folder where the scooterdiag.exe is. There is already a similarly named file there, "msvcr71.dll", which I did not touch. At this point, the ScooterDiag would start without errors.

(2) After I fixed ScooterDiag to run, the second issue occurred. The ScooterDiag was not seeing the CANbus - red in the status window (despite the fact that the computer was seeing the adapter fine, just ScooterDiag wouldn't talk to it properly). On Visiforvoltage I had seen a thread about that issue and the solution there worked for me too:

(a) in the ScooterDiag installation folder there should be a PCAN_USB.dll. rename that to PCAN_USB_old.dll (so you have it as your original, just in case).

(b) Get a different version of the same DLL from the PEAK web site and save it in the ScooterDiag folder where the renamed DLL is. The address to get it from is this: http://www.peak-system.com/produktcd/Develop/PC%20interfaces/Windows/PCAN-Light%20API/Win32/PCAN_USB.dll

That's it - now the software shows green in the status area and sees the CANBus.

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

I don't have the PCAN cable, I have a different one, which I wasn't able to get to work.
It sounds like people have only had luck on the Vectrix's with just that one particular make and model of Canbus cable. I wanted to make sure that was the right one before spending money (and waiting shipping time for the order, etc.) to get the particular adapter that IS known to work.

The adapter that I was using simply would NOT connect to the Vectrix. I tried a number of different settings, etc, but no luck.

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

You need an adapter and a cable.

I think you got the correct adapter in your link above. A generic cable should work, but who knows...

I bought this adapter, which I think is the same you linked to above:

USB CAN Adapter (PCAN-USB) - No Isolation
Part Number: GC-CAN-USB
MPN: IPEH-002021

And I got this cable from gridconnect:
http://gridconnect.com/pcan/pcan-cables-and-terminators/can-bus-terminator.html
CAN 2 Meter Cable with CAN Bus Terminators
Part Number: GC-CAN-CAB-2MT-GC
MPN: Comparable to IPEK-003001

I have seen posts that people use either the terminated or the unterminated cable with success. I also recall from a Vectrix source that the bus in the bike is terminated, so you should not need a terminated cable, but because the bus is so short, a second termination in the cable isn't going to hurt (certainly worked for me).

As for isolated vs. nonisolated adapter, isolated is safer. But nonisolated works (just avoid as a general precaution plugging the power to your laptop and to the bike at the same time if they are connected via nonisolated adapter. I did it by mistake once and nothing bad happened, but some report frying their laptops/adapters...

Last edit: when I bought my adapter and cable from gridconnect, they accepted my vectrix discount code (PM or email me if you want it), good for 10% off their $255 "sale" price on the adapter = $25.50 off and shipping was free, so effectively I got my cable for free.

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

I purchased the Grid Connect adapter, and it showed up yesterday.

It took a little monkeying around, but I got it connected to the Vectrix and my laptop running Windows XP. I loaded the Peak drivers first, and then went and got the other driver that Kocho had the link to.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0wOTukLIHA

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Great! Keep us posted. I checked out your blog and YouTube vids - some cool stuff there. Once you get the Vectrix running, you will be happy, I think. If you liked the Flux, you will like the V even more. Though, it is noisier than it should be, but that's what it is - the planetary gears are not whisper-quiet...

Give the batteries a few charges. If you can get them apart, it may be worth your time to charge each cell individually (or at least monitor each of them while you charge them in blocks as they are packed in 8 or 9 cells) and when it fills-up, do an "equalization charge" cycle at say 1A to 1.44V per cell. At 1A the full cells just barely get warm and so the "late" cells can safely catch-up charging. I'd still put a fan nearby to cool off the pack during this process. And if some cells are really behind, charge them individually before equalizing the whole pack. This way you will have a top-balanced pack to work with. Discharge and monitor that no cell goes lower than the rest. If you are lucky, you should be able to go down to until say 120V total pack voltage. If individual cells start dipping lower than the rest, this means they are weaker and you should stop the discharge at that point. I'd say if after a couple of these cycles you will know if some cells have an issue and decide what to do about them. I have some I can send you for the price of shipping if needed. And of course I have a whole fairly good pack that I took out from my Li conversion last year, which is rather bulky to ship, but can be done. I've been hoping to cell it as a unit, but the market is shrinking as it makes sense for most to upgrade to Li or give-up... Though, if a 25 miles of mixed riding (or 40-50 city) is all one needs, that pack is good for it and a cheap alternative at a couple of hundred bucks... Let me know if you want it.

But I tell you, once you get into the 60 miles mixed range (and 100+ in the city) you would wonder how you lived without it :) I was always worried with the NiMh pack that I'd run out of juice and that I had to use a timer to time my charge so it would be ready just before a ride - too much hassle. Plus, with my work being a 25 miles roundtrip, and my range being just barely that if I rode conservatively, I had very little reserve - if a street gets closed and I had to do a 5 mile detour, I might not be able to make it! With Li, I charge when convenient, and I can go to just about any point in the city now (and back!) and have some juice to spare for a detour or two.

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

I decided that since the vectrix is more or less working right while all apart in the garage, that I would simply put it back together. Yes, I know the batteries aren't great, but it will be a bit easier to deal with some of that in the spring.

Here's a time lapse of me working on it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kl18-w_FRQ

I reassembled the batteries, got them in, and then connected them together through a resistor (a 100 watt light bulb) to pre-charge the controllers capacitors before making that middle connection in the pack.

I got the battery cover back on, put on the seat and trim and took it outside. However, once outside, the scooter doesn't work. It booted up fine, no error messages or anything, but it does not drive. Instead, I get a "Chirp chirp chirp noise" instead of spinning the back wheel. It sounds like it's coming from the motor controller. Did I accidentally whack the controller funny when I put the cover back on? I have no idea what happened.

I thought I would try hooking it back up to the computer to see if I could see any error codes or anything, but realized I had left my CANBUS adapter at home.

Any ideas!? Your help is much appreciated!

See my full blog post at: http://300mpg.org/2015/02/28/vectrix-assemble/

Also, I noticed a small bracket with two screws on it had that had slid down my front brake cable. It' obviously a mount to hold the brake cable out of the way, but I can't seem to see where it goes. I did see a hole on the front of the scooter near the front VIN and official markings, but it doesn't appear to screw in there, as the cable doesn't seem to reach that spot well. Can anyone tell me where this little bracket and screw goes?

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Sorry to hear about the trouble with actually running - no ideas, other than check if you knocked out some wire with the battery - check the three fat wires attached with nits to the controller. I read that many have issues with sloppy workmanship in that area: either loose or overtightened connections, leading to burn spots and shutdowns.

As for the bracket, it attaches to the front fender underside, near the right side of the fork. I can't see exactly where it attaches and don't have room to go near it in the garage (I got it stuffed in a corner for the winter). Try to turn the wheel to the side and look from the rear of the front wheel on the side of the caliper.

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

IMG_0112.JPGHI BEN,ICAN'T HELP WITH MOTOR BUT I CAN HELP WITH BATTERY COVER ACCESS, CUT INTO (2) PCS, THEN IT WILL BE EASIER TO OPEN,THEN JUST TAPE OVER THE SPLIT.IMG_0111_0.JPG

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Here's three videos of what I did yesterday.

Unlike the day before, I had my CANBUS adapter with, so I could connect the cycle to the computer. One nice thing was that I let the cycle charge overnight, so I FINALLY had MORE than half a charge according to the battery display. Estimated range was 35 miles. (No idea how true that actually is or not, but it's the highest estimate I have had so far!)

With the Vectrix plugged-in to the computer, I didn't see any faults. I used the graphing feature, and set that to display anything with "fault" as part of the description, and still didn't see any faults. Next, I set the graph to just show throttle, motor controller voltage, and motor controller current. I could see a correlation between throttle and current, but only the tiniest amount of current. The controller was getting throttle signal, but just wasn't pushing power through for some reason.

The problem occurred sometime between having the cycle all apart on the shop floor and being put back together. So, I reasoned that I should just take it back apart.
Sure enough, after I took it apart, the cycle worked again.

I still haven't pinpointed the problem, but here's what I THINK it was. There is very little room inside the bike back at the motor controller. Something as simple as one cable crossing another can make it "too thick" and when the battery cover goes back on, it can press against the cables, possibly pulling one enough to make a back connection. Also, when torn back apart again, I realized that I had missed a spacer that holds the motor controller cover on. The cover is aluminum (a conductor), very light-weight, and rather flexible. I think that without that one spacer in there, with the battery cover back on, it may have pushed against the motor controller cover and flexed enough to contact some component coming up from the controller board, and grounding the connection.

I took out the rear battery, took off the motor controller cover and reassembled it. Is there any trick to getting and holding those spacers in there? Man, was that a pain!!!!!! There's no room to work, no way to get your hand in there to hold the spacer, get the cover in the right position, and the screw through. And there's THREE screws and spacers! I finally realized that the screw and spacer are both steel, and almost everything else is aluminum, so I put small magnets on the spacer, screw, and my screw-driver to magically hold everything together while I got the motor controller cover back on.

I put the battery back in and re-cabled it up, including using the light bulb as a resistor before making the main quick connection in the middle of the pack.

After I got the battery cover on (and it did feel like it fit better this time, although it's never easy to get on,) I tested the cycle and it was working. Only after that did I reinstall the trunk release bracket, trim, seat, etc.

FINALLY, the Vectrix is working under its own power, with its original batteries inside and the whole thing put together. Of course, by the time I was done with it, it was cold, dark, and late. No time for a maiden run, and I have NO idea of the quality of the batteries, but I hope to shoot some riding video soon.

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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project
bennelson
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Re: Ben's 2007 Vectrix Repair Project

Did maiden voyage on the cycle. It was only up and down a country side street (although the cycle CAN do 55 in a 30 mph zone….)
Overall, I really like it. The seat is comfy and the regen braking works great.

On a full charge, my estimated range was 45 miles, but it dropped by 9 miles on my ride of a little less than 5 actual miles. At that rate, the batteries are giving me HALF of the estimated range, which still isn't bad, considering that I bought the cycle with a shot NiMH pack, and I haven't swapped out any cells.

Full blog entry at: http://300mpg.org/2015/03/02/vectrix-maiden-voyage/

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