DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

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Jim Lowder
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DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

So I'm a rookie and I know it. But I would like to ask you all if you were given a completely dead Vectrix, what would be your first steps. My neighbor passed away and his wife gave me his Vectrix that has sat UNTOUCHED for 2 years.

So what would you do first,second,third, other that RUN LIKE HECK or GIVE it Back?
I thank you for your help and advice.

Kocho
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

The first thing you already did - found this web community :)

The second step is to carefully attempt to charge the battery to above about 90V, using an external charger. Once you do that, if you are successful, you will try to charge it further using the built-in charger. If that works, you check mechanicals and if all is good, take it for a ride. If the built-in charger does not work, we'll help you do something about it...

This thread here takes you through a process similar to what you will need to follow, and has instructions on boosting the battery to a level where the internal charger will work:

http://visforvoltage.org/forum/14055-multiple-vectrix

Forgot to mention: after you fix it to a running condition, then you will decide if you like it enough to upgrade to something like a Nissan Leaf battery (the upgrade has been done many times already and is the easiest thing to do that can make your Vectrix a viable commuting option with a real world range of 40 miles all-highway riding to 120+ miles in easy riding at low speeds. Regardless of the Leaf upgrade, there are a few small things that pretty much every Vectrix owner needs to fix, such as the falling-off bolt on the kick stand, water ingress through some small holes in the firewall, maybe deal with faulty temperature sensors, upgrade your cargo box hardware if you use one (the original tends to break apart), etc.

Jim Lowder
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

Thank you. I have been on this site looking for rookie steps for 4 days now.

Kocho
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

You are welcome! The site is confusing and the best way to search it is through google. Something like "dead vectrix site:visforvoltage.org"

You can start with step #8 in the thread I sent you: http://visforvoltage.org/forum/14055-multiple-vectrix#comment-75166

See if you have the grey-looking aluminum charger known as "ESD" and for which the instructions in that thread apply, or the golden-looking Runke charger - for the ESD you can get to the plugs and measure the battery voltage easy. For the Runke the plugs are in a different position (but the same plugs) and I think you need to take the front panel off to get to them (which involves removing the headlight too).

Once you get the charger working, consider getting the custom software for it and stop using the original software that came with the bike. The original software tends to kill the battery, especially if the battery is already not in great shape. For this you need to have a CANBus adapter and cable (buy or borrow), and software (free or get a paid custom version) - info on that is plenty on this site, but that's a next step...

Jim Lowder
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

When u say what charger I have, all I can see for now is the cord, and it is silver.

Bikemad
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

If you can see the battery connector plug in the position shown in the photo below you will have the silver ESD charger (the silver unit with the socket that the plug is plugged into):

In which case you can simply follow the instructions in this post to check the battery voltage, which is likely to be very low (or possibly 0V) if it's been stood for two whole years uncharged.

If you cannot see the connector and the charger casing is gold coloured, then it will be the Runke charger, and you will need to do some searching on the forum to find out how to access the battery connector plug on that model.

If the bike has the NiMh battery and was charging and running OK before being left unused, there's a very good chance that the battery will make a full recovery once the voltage has been brought up enough to allow the on board charger to complete a full charge.

However, if it happens to be the Lithium battery (as found in the VX-1 Li and Li+) your only hope of reviving the battery to a usable condition is to fully charge it using a very low current (300mA) instead of using the built in charger's 10~12 Amps when 90+ volts is reached.

Using a high current rate to recharge a severely overdischarged Lithium battery will cause irreversible damage to the cells.

Alan

EDIT: Picture link repaired

PJD
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

The second step is to carefully attempt to charge the battery to above about 90V, using an external charger.

You-all need to start by explaining where one can find a 90 volt charger. I've been messing with 2-wheel EVs for 10 years now and I would not have a clue how to find a commercially (retail) available external charger with that high a voltage. I assume you use a higher-voltage DC bench top power supply of some sort to do this?

Scotter
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

Dangerous stuff -- you must follow high-voltage procedures! Learn this on your own using proper training -- DO NOT follow suggestions from random people. I know two people that had their hearts stopped by touching the batteries in an unsafe way. One suffered heart damage, the other had to be revived. yes I am OK now. :-)

It's a good idea to test each battery and look for damage, bloating, leaks. Do a search for Freddy Charger, or I think also called a 3rd world charger. Do NOT use these unintended. I made one from a 2amp Variac and 115V bridge rectifier from eBay for about $50, you will need a 120V 20W light bulb and attach some wires to it. charge to 100V over about 5 mins, starting at 20V and work your way up to 100V, then drain using the light builb. DO this a few times. Then if the the batteries hold a charge for a few mins you can follow In Rush Current procedures (called IRC, this will use the light bulb again) to reconnect the batteries to the controller -- thus protecting the motor controller from damage. Do a search for the IRC procedure. PM me if you have questions.

--Scotter and his scooter
2007 Vectrix VX-1 Maroon
2007 Vectrix VX-1 Silver
2008 Vectrix VX-1 Blue
2008 Vectrix VX-1 Silver
Other EV projects in the works

Sacko
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

I followed this post earlier on in the month to bring my pack up, I built the 'Power Supply' but opted to take the battery out and charge each group of cells with an Imax B6.

http://visforvoltage.org/forum/12650-topping-charging-300ma-ebay-led-powe-supply

 photo 20150808_124739_zpsvfaz4hrg.jpg

 photo 20150808_124745_zpsiam3diwx.jpg

Kocho
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps
The second step is to carefully attempt to charge the battery to above about 90V, using an external charger.

You-all need to start by explaining where one can find a 90 volt charger. I've been messing with 2-wheel EVs for 10 years now and I would not have a clue how to find a commercially (retail) available external charger with that high a voltage. I assume you use a higher-voltage DC bench top power supply of some sort to do this?

As mentioned in this thread, and in particular, message #11: http://visforvoltage.org/forum/12650-topping-charging-300ma-ebay-led-powe-supply#comment-75598 That gives an example of a constant current low current supply at 150V. At low current the pack will not reach 150V target voltage at low (less than 1A) current. It will equalize. Or as mentioned elsewhere in the thread, combine in series two lower voltage supplies (careful, some can't be used in series safely).

I did take my pack out and used a laboratory variable power supply for $25 off craigslist classifieds. Can precisely charge individual or groups of cells in series at a chosen constant current, constant voltage, etc. Plus, once done, that supply you can resell for what you paid for it, or use it for other projects as it is variable and fairly precise.

And as mentioned, careful! Even a half-charged battery can melt metal or burn or kill if shorted - it won't arch and fry you from a distance like really high voltage stuff can, but touch the wrong places and the current can be deadly high.

Jim Lowder
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

So I have the grey charger as indicated, checked the volts and it showed1.78! I guess I need to round up some parts for charging

Sacko
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

If you are in the UK, i'm more than happy to ship you my charger above.

Jim Lowder
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

That's the one I have, thank you, I will start getting charge stuff readt

Jim Lowder
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

Nope I'm in Texas! Thank you so much though.

Jim Lowder
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

image_2.jpg. I've seen post with light bulbs and now this one! Does it matter, they are both gonna be doing the same thing, charge-discharge-charge-discharge! Is that correct ???

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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

Jim, the light bulb in the other post was used to limit the current flow as Randy was connecting two batteries together (one charged, the other flat) to enable the good battery to charge the poor battery.

Your situation is different, as you will be using a pair of LED power supplies to charge your dead battery and the current flow in your circuit will be limited by the power supplies to 300mA (0.3Amp).

Hopefully this picture will make it easier for you to understand what is required and how the two power supplies should be connected:

//www.arhservices.co.uk/GoldenMotor/Vectrix/Battery%20recovery%20unit_zpsfunvlxqp.JPG)

The connecting leads (mains and battery) are not shown to scale and I suggest you use long enough lengths of two core cable to ensure that nothing is placed under any tension or likely to cause a tripping hazard.

Do not attempt to connect anything until you are 100% sure of what you are doing. If you have any doubts about your ability to do this on your own, then I suggest you find someone with electrical knowledge and ability who can assist you.

Please feel free to ask as many question as necessary to ensure that you know exactly what you are doing, and always consider the very real dangers associated with the potentially lethal high voltage you are dealing with!

Alan

EDIT
Paul, //www.arhservices.co.uk/GoldenMotor/emoticons/everyday_think_230608.GIF)
I had to modify one of the labels on the power supplies copied from your photo in your previous post as it looks like you have one of the units reversed and incorrectly connected with the mains supply going into the output end!

BLUESTREAK
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

BIKEMAD you make the best pictures and the best infomation that make it easy to do things the easy way. THANKS.

Jim Lowder
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

Thank you. I order those 2 items today. Hurry up and WAIT mode.

Sacko
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

Paul, //i812.photobucket.com/albums/zz44/GoldenMotor/emoticons/everyday_think_230608.gif)
I had to modify one of the labels on the power supplies copied from your photo in your previous post as it looks like you have one of the units reversed and incorrectly connected with the mains supply going into the output end!

Thanks for spotting that, it is just where I had removed the modules to solder on the wires and not put the yellow top casing back on correctly.

Excellent write up, as per usual!

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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

BIKEMAD you make the best pictures and the best infomation that make it easy to do things the easy way. THANKS.

I am just trying to avoid any possible confusion in the way I know best, as I find it much easier to understand things when I can see what's involved.

When dealing with high voltages, the last thing you want is any misunderstanding which could result in incorrect wiring and a dangerous outcome.
It's no good saying "Sorry, but that's not what I meant" after someone has followed ambiguous instructions, possibly resulting in major damage (or even worse).

//www.arhservices.co.uk/GoldenMotor/emoticons/sad.GIF)

Alan

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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

please please please be careful. LED power supplies are called LED Drivers -- they are not battery chargers. A proper battery charger senses resistance and shuts down as to not damage the battery. These LED Drivers will keep pumping in juice -- same as a freddy charger. So do not leave unattended, and stop and check voltage frequently. I work a lot with LED drivers. An LED Driver is designed to ensure that the desired current is alway provided to keep the LED producing light. It does this by measuring the amount of volts on negative (-) cable to the current in the positive side (+) then it adjusts the current, the voltage will float a bit. Remember negative IS NOT GROUND in the case of LED drivers. If you combine the negative cables together you could destroy one of the drivers (it's happen to me a couple of times -- I design LED systems for various applications).

Using an LED Driver would not be my first choice... although it's creative one, and relatively cost effective. The other issue I have with using an LED driver is that you cannot gently bring the voltage up. When restoring NiMH batteries that are very low voltage, I start at 5volts, then bring up to 100V over 5 to 10 min. Stopping a couple of times to see if the batteries are even able to hold a charge and not a dead short, or non-conductive high resistance somewhere.

I think I'd do a little more research before deciding that an LED driver is a good choice for restoring old NiMH batteries...

Also, even at 300mAh, how is it a good idea to put 176 volts into a 125 volt battery arrangement? I'm not liking the idea of using LED drivers to charge the VX-1 battery at all... I will ask me electronics genius friend and get back to you.

Scotter

--Scotter and his scooter
2007 Vectrix VX-1 Maroon
2007 Vectrix VX-1 Silver
2008 Vectrix VX-1 Blue
2008 Vectrix VX-1 Silver
Other EV projects in the works

Scotter
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

I made a freddy charger from a used variac just like this one currently on eBay - Only mine was 2A, this one is 10A with a range of 0 to 140V (you only need 100V).
And a full bridge rectifier to convert AC into DC.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/POWERSTAT-L116B-120V-0-10A-VARIAC-VARIABLE-AUTO-TRANSFORMER-T2-D11-/121705874722?hash=item1c563c4522
Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 3.47.58 PM.png

Rectifier like this (capable of 15A 280V ) - here's one currently on eBay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rectifier-Full-Wave-Bridge-15-Amp-280-Volt-AC-RMS-Maximum-Input-Ceramic-3-/391206623093?pt=LH_DefaultDom...
Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 3.56.18 PM.png

It's not as pretty or as cheap as an LED driver, but it can be used to carefully restore NiMH batteries. It will also charge at higher amperage, which means you can bring your batteries up to 100V in minutes compared to many hours or days with a 300mA LED driver.

And you can resell Variac's better than LED drivers...

But it won't be as pretty. When hooking up the rectifier to bare-ended wire, you will need to wrap that whole thing in electrical tape to avoid any exposed metal wire or terminals to avoid being shocked. We want you with us long enough to use your scooter!
Also, please note, these are very fast and powerful scooters. And they are deadly quiet. I once picked up my scooter by the handlebars when it tipped over. It was still turned on. My glove got stuck on the throttle and it turned. The scooter took off with out me on it. Because it doesn't make a sound at idle (like a reg gas engine) it's easy to forget it's live and ready to rumble.

Scott

Always protect life and limb...

Scotter

--Scotter and his scooter
2007 Vectrix VX-1 Maroon
2007 Vectrix VX-1 Silver
2008 Vectrix VX-1 Blue
2008 Vectrix VX-1 Silver
Other EV projects in the works

Kocho
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

But do these constant current supplies actually ever reach those higher voltages at full SoC in our charging application? Or are they capable of bringing the pack's voltage up quickly from minimum SoC at just 300ma current? I doubt it on both counts. As the pack charges from empty, what will be the voltage? I don't know for sure, but I doubt it will be more than a few volts higher than whatever the pack's voltage is if it is disconnected from the charger. As the pack's SoC goes up, so will the driver's supplied voltage, so the same current can be pumped to the battery. As the battery is near full, it will begin to heat-up and the 300ma current won't be enough to charge it to any higher voltage than where it will naturally "stop" at full SoC. I did this with my lab supply on a smaller scale: in CC mode at less than 1A or so, it won't bring an 8 cell pack over it's max voltage - all the excessive energy after the pack is fully charged dissipates as heat, the voltage does not increase further, even though the supply would happily do it if the battery would accept it. CC is just that: keeps the current constant and varies the necessary voltage to maintain it.

I'd be interested to know for sure though, if someone has that info...

Bikemad
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

Also, even at 300mAh, how is it a good idea to put 176 volts into a 125 volt battery arrangement?

You are not actually putting 176V into the battery, the 176 volts shown in the earlier post was the unloaded maximum voltage output from the combined driver outputs, but if connected to a completely flat battery and left for several days I would not expect it to rise much above 140V.

If the voltage did rise higher than 145V in a short period of time with a mere 300mA charge current (Which theoretically should take over 4 days at C/100) then the battery's internal resistance would be much too high. Therefore the battery is likely to be unusable already and this charging process is unlikely to have made it any worse.

The idea is just to bring the voltage of the dead battery up high enough until it can maintain at least 95~100V with the ignition switched on and the charger turned off.
When this target voltage has been achieved, the charger is switched off, unplugged from the mains and then completely disconnected so the battery plug can be reinserted into the charger.

The bike can then be plugged in to the mains as normal to hopefully charge the battery until it is completely full using the bike's inbuilt charger.

Alan

Jim Lowder
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

image_3.jpg

Scotter
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

--Scotter and his scooter
2007 Vectrix VX-1 Maroon
2007 Vectrix VX-1 Silver
2008 Vectrix VX-1 Blue
2008 Vectrix VX-1 Silver
Other EV projects in the works

Jim Lowder
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

Did you have to hack it'? I couldn't find a open one

Jim Lowder
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

Yeap. Stayed up all night doing it. Then found one already unlocked this morning. My luck

israndy
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps
Also, even at 300 *mA*, how is it a good idea to put 176 volts into a 125 volt battery arrangement?

You are not actually putting 176V into the battery, the 176 volts [...] was the unloaded maximum voltage output from the combined driver outputs, but if connected to a completely flat battery and left for several days I would not expect it to rise much above 140V. [...]

Alan

So for my other bike that has the bad charger, but that I am not riding as the new bike is fully working, I COULD attach one of these LED combo supplies and if I only ride it every many days it would be charged by the time I got around to using it, no? The packs would be top balanced at the same time, right?

This would only be until I found an inexpensive ESD charger to replace the broken one, but I would then own a rescue supply if either of my bikes ever get below 100v again, as they will eventually live at different houses.

-Randy

ps. BikeMad, you do some crazy good work on the instructional graphics. I wish I had that power but the only good graphics program I find is Photoshop and I don't wanna pay that kind of money for the limited use I would put in. I wish this site had a "thanks" button so you could see how many of us appreciate your effort.

Also own a 2018 Tesla Model 3 and a 2000 Honda Hybrid Insight

Bikemad
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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

So for my other bike that has the bad charger, but that I am not riding as the new bike is fully working, I COULD attach one of these LED combo supplies and if I only ride it every many days it would be charged by the time I got around to using it, no? The packs would be top balanced at the same time, right?

This would only be until I found an inexpensive ESD charger to replace the broken one, but I would then own a rescue supply if either of my bikes ever get below 100v again, as they will eventually live at different houses.

-Randy

It is not really meant to be used to fully charge the battery although it shouldn't be a problem for the LED drivers which should be designed to run continuously at the set 300mA current. But I seem to recall reading that NiMh batteries do not like being charged at very low rates.

ps. BikeMad, you do some crazy good work on the instructional graphics. I wish I had that power but the only good graphics program I find is Photoshop and I don't wanna pay that kind of money for the limited use I would put in. I wish this site had a "thanks" button so you could see how many of us appreciate your effort.

Regarding the graphics, I couldn't justify the cost of Photoshop either, which is why I use a freeware program to create my diagrams:
Paint.Net

I find it very easy to use and it also contains some very useful features, especially when you consider that it's a freeware program.

It did take a bit of getting used to at first, but after experimenting with its many useful features, I would now struggle to produce diagrams without it.
I suggest you download a copy and give it a try and see how you get on with it as I think it is well within your budget and will hopefully run OK on a PC emulator if you don't have a PC.

I'm glad that I was able to make the first of your two wishes come true, but I am unable to help with your second wish.

Alan

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Re: DEAD Vectrix, what is FIrst steps

BAM! This forum is awesome and gave me the knowledge to get my Vectrix working again. I left it without charging for too long and it would not initialize after plugging it in. I got the LED drivers and connected in series as posted above and trickle charged my bike. It took the voltage from about 25 to 120 in 2 hours. I plugged the bike in and the charger initialized. It's alive again!

John C.

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