Free C130 in Tuscon, AZ, USA

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PJD
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Free C130 in Tuscon, AZ, USA

I am conveying this post from a new user who seem to be locked out of posting in the forum. If interested, PM him at: http://visforvoltage.org/user/mythicalbeast

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Hi PJD,

I just created an account on this forum last week and it says I'm not allowed to post new content. Apparently I can't post replies either, or at least mine never showed up.

I'm in Tucson, AZ and my C130 died about 4 months ago. Terry replied to my first email but hasn't replied to any since. The scooter has just under 10,000 "miles" on it. The battery is fully charged according to the charge indicator and according to my kill-a-watt the last time I charged it. When I turn on the key and accelerate it accelerates normally for a couple of seconds and then goes to limp home mode. The LED indicator shows that the battery is dead but the charge indicator disagrees.

I don't trust this scooter anymore since it has left me stranded a few times. I'd like to get it out of my garage and I'm willing to give it away free to anyone who wants to drive to Tucson with a truck or trailer and pick it up. If you could mention it on the forum I'd appreciate it, or if you know anyone who would be interested and want to take a vacation to beautiful Tucson (although this isn't the ideal time of year).

Roy

PJD
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Re: Free C130 in Tuscon, AZ, USA

Note that the problem is probably a bad BCU microcontroller - which is an off-the-shelf item that can probably be bought and programmed by someone with AVR programming experience.

holmesjtg
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Re: Free C130 in Tuscon, AZ, USA

Hi all,

I'm having what sounds like almost the exact same situation with my C124 - also with about 10k miles. I charge it up and then after a short amount of time riding (last time about 1 min), the battery level gauge goes suddenly down to empty. Does anyone have an idea for the most likely cause? Would it be a bad cell that is falsely indicating a full charge? Along the same lines, what would be the best way to troubleshoot this problem? Are the individual cells fairly easy to check?

Many thanks for any ideas!

Jeff

Jeff Holmes
Wheels: Current Motor Co C124
Work: Encyclopedia of Life www.eol.org

holmesjtg
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Re: Free C130 in Tuscon, AZ, USA

Oh, I see that PJD just mentioned it is likely a bad BCU controller. Is there a good way to confirm this? Anyone have a link to a replacement?

Thanks again!
Jeff

Jeff Holmes
Wheels: Current Motor Co C124
Work: Encyclopedia of Life www.eol.org

PJD
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Re: Free C130 in Tuscon, AZ, USA

The first thing to try would be to re-flash the BCU firmware (the compiled .hex file) onto it. You will need a USB Tiny or other AVR programmer with the 2x3 connector and the driver software for it. I can provide the latest .hex firmware file, the files for the BCU Access software, and the rudimentary users manual that John H. put together. You should look for a USB Tiny on the internet. Also, there is this USB-to-6x1 cable unique to the CuMoCo scooters as far as I know - that is used to change the configuration settings, including calibrating the fuel gauge and other stuff. I could trace the USB-to-6-pin connections and you would have to build such a cable.

The programmer chip itself (as specified in the .bat files used to flash it) is an Atmel ATMEGA1280, which is soldered on the BCU board and replacing it might be difficult - I don't know if the whole board itself is available or not. I would recommend that you find a robot hobbyist or other tech-type who is familiar with the Atmel hardware and programming.

John's original intent was to provide every owner with the hardware and software and documentation needed to update and configure the BCU - but then the investors got involved and were appalled that such "intellectual property" was being given to the owners so they, god forbid, could keep them running by themselves, and put a quick kabosh on it.

It seems that I was the only lucky one who did get these tools. It is the only reason (along with my use of LED lighting and a switch to turn off the main headlights in daytime which prevented the DC-DC converter from cooking the BCU) why my scooter is still running well.

holmesjtg
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Re: Free C130 in Tuscon, AZ, USA

Hi Paul,

Well, I know you've told me this before so I guess I just need to try it! If you could send me some info on how to make up that USB to 6x1 cable, that would be great. Although from the sounds of it, I don't need that to flash the firmware, correct? I think I have the software from when you previously sent it - so will check on that.

Many thanks,
Jeff

Jeff Holmes
Wheels: Current Motor Co C124
Work: Encyclopedia of Life www.eol.org

holmesjtg
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Re: Free C130 in Tuscon, AZ, USA

Hi Paul,

The USB Tiny with the 2x3 connector that you mentioned... could you point me to a suitable source? I'm not sure what it would look like.

Perhaps this one?
http://www.robotshop.com/en/ftdi-usb-to-ttl-serial-cable-5v.html

Or this (significantly cheaper)?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/6pin-FTDI-FT232RL-USB-to-Serial-adapter-module-USB-TO-TTL-RS232-Arduino-Cable-/400356015296

Thanks!
Jeff

Jeff Holmes
Wheels: Current Motor Co C124
Work: Encyclopedia of Life www.eol.org

PJD
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Re: Free C130 in Tuscon, AZ, USA

Yeah, that is the cable used for reading data from the BCU and changing setting (via a menu in BCU Access) in the existing firmware. I don't know whether it is was 5 volt or 3.3 volt - I can check and get back with you.

Lots of different USB Tiny ISP programmers - for flashing the firmware onto the BCU itself can be found here:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=USBTiny&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR3.TRC2.A0.H0.XUSB+Tiny+ISP.TRS0&_...

Oh, I had completely forget that it was you that I sent the software to - I guess it is still up on dropbox.

PJD
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Re: Free C130 in Tuscon, AZ, USA

Yes, the cable is a FTDI 5V USB adapter.

And a different device, a USB Tiny ISP is needed to actually load a fresh copy of the firmware onto the flash memory.

PJD
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Re: Free C130 in Tuscon, AZ, USA

...my scooter is still running well.

I should have knocked on a big piece of sturdy oak before typing that. After another fine unseasonably warm day of riding, my charger (the TC charger that was part of the final upgrade) crapped out.

It looks like I will be testing out whether Current will still provide support...at a cost that isn't way up there...

I still have a working old charger.

MEroller
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Re: Free C130 in Tuscon, AZ, USA

As if knocking on wood, no matter how sturdy, would have saved your TC charger ;-) But you could also get a replacement directly from TC, in case you have no joy with Current.

My rides:
QvR vR one, erider Thunder 5kW

PJD
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Re: Free C130 in Tuscon, AZ, USA

The TC Charger WAS a big improvement over the earlier charger. The only thing about getting one directly from TC is configuring it. The Current scooters charging protocol is: 1. Charge at 10 amps until it gets a signal from the BMS (2 wire open-close or hi-lo, not CANBUS or anything fancy) that a cell has reached about 3.65 volts; then, 2. Switch to 0.5 amps until it gets another signal from another pair of wires that all cells have reached 3.6 to 3.7 volts. Then shut-off. I'm sure there are also some charging voltage settings for safety should the BMS fail, but is basically a CC(high)-CC(low) protocol. Maybe if I could contact the specific engineer in Taiwan who Current worked or works with, I could get one directly from them, Otherwise, I'm going to have to deal Current. I can also see if someone is parting out their scooter - but it has to be 24-cell version, not a 30 cell version.

---------------

Edit: I have to issue a big NEVERMIND. The only problem was a cheap connector for the charging wires to the bcu and pack was melted and half-burned up, and the high resistance was forcing the charger to shut off at its voltage limit. Earlier I had replaced a burned-up fuse holder on these wires and also in the the 13V accessory circuit. Current used some cheap connectors and inadequate size wiring in the "test pilot" scooters. The scooter is ready for more riding - except that winter seems to have finally arrived this afternoon. I dont ride in snow.

MEroller
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Re: Free C130 in Tuscon, AZ, USA

Nice to hear you COULD charge and ride your Current again if you wanted to :-)

My rides:
QvR vR one, erider Thunder 5kW

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