A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

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kinchip
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A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

OK, I've reached the point where this no longer makes sense to me, so I need some help.

Forgive the TMI (Too Much Information) but I don't know what is relevant, since this is not making sense to me.

I purchased a 2007 Vectrix last Fall and did the Leaf upgrade with 18 batteries this June. When the batteries arrived from Hybrid Auto, one was dinged . I called Hybrid and they offered to replace it, but they said that in their experience it had no impact on the battery. So after checking to make sure all the voltages were the same, I elected to keep that battery for the install.

The battery install went fine, but the software upgrade was not smooth. I got this dreaded message and thought my Vectrix was Kaput.
Somehow I got the MC software loaded and to celebrate, took a short drive. I got back and could not get the Battery charger software to load and the voltage went down to 118-116v before I got it working.

Here is an image 55min into the first charge, reading 136v and 2 bars from June 29

I have had a problem of the gauge dropping too fast to 2-3 bars after only 30 miles or so. I thought it was a faulty gauge and decided to run the battery below 130v to 'reset' the bars on the gauge. Today when tried to do that I almost ran out of power- the gears kept meshing badly which has happened once or twice in the past and I had little power- was barely able to get home going only 1 mile.

The problem I now have is that the gauge shows me down to 1 bar and yet when I go to charge the battery, it is already at 139v.

My drive to work is only 4 miles, so I can make it both ways on a charge if that is what it takes, but clearly something is wrong.
I do not have a cycle analyst or voltmeter on the battery. I did take the scooter apart and checked all the cells were at 7.99v , which is admittedly at rest and I have no idea what is happening under stress.

So, any ideas on what is my problem here? Do I need to add a cycle analyst? Is one cell bad that is dropping like crazy when under load?
Think a LEAF dealership could help?

I'm stuck thinking about how to handle this and could use some suggestions. Thanks!!

heathyoung
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

8V across the cells gives you 4v per cell, which is reasonably charged.

I would try loading up each cell with a 12V 50W halogen lamp (or 100W car spotlight or something) and measure the loaded voltage. It sounds like a loose connection (high resistance) OR it could be a bad cell.

Check all your connections are tight.

If you measure the voltage across the cells when charging, any weirdness with the cells will show a cell at high voltage. Low capacity or high resistance cells shoot up in voltage really quickly. They also drag the voltage down really quickly as well under load. BUT so does a high resistance JOINT. Look for hot bits.

This is why its really handy to have a voltmeter on the battery, even if you got a cheap multimeter and gaffer taped it to the dash, put the leads into the battery lead that would normally go in the charger (insulate these really carefully) - you need to know what's happening.

R
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

I have had a problem of the gauge dropping too fast to 2-3 bars after only 30 miles

this is not normal behaviour of the Laird Firm.
need more info...
What charger do you have?
What firmware did you have before upload?
what firmware have you tried to upload?
what firmware do you have actually installed?
kinchip
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

That all makes sense- the scientific method, I like it. Thanks heathyoung!

I'm going to try using my temperature gun (wish I had a FLIR)next time I'm charging and see if I can find a hot spot that way.
I wish the scooter showed the voltage as one was riding- that could alternate with the range or something.

I am not going to get to do a stress test on the individual cells for a few weeks. I will try riding it again tomorrow 'fully charged' to work and see how that goes.

BTW, here is the scooter after I fully charged to 146v- note how low the gauge is- the number of bars when fully charged has been slowly declining - it was highest on the first charge and has gone down since then.
And the mystery continues.

kinchip
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

I will get that info and post it here. I have the original bike (not the Runke) and received software from the Laird. I did have problems uploading both bits of software. I really thought I had bricked it ("Kinchip, you moron. Did you rally think you could do this?") followed by elation when I got it to upload. I'm not at all convinced it's the software, but your questions are good- I will post it as soon as I can.

Drew
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

Something that could perhaps give rise to the same or similar behaviour are bad motor phase connections - check those. Is there any smell of burning printed circuit board when you've ridden it hard? If so, stop. The reason I say this is because you mention the gearbox being ' Today when tried to do that I almost ran out of power- the gears kept meshing badly which has happened once or twice in the past and I had little power- was barely able to get home going only 1 mile.

I don't think it's the gearbox - it might be your motor controller.

Inspect it carefully and let us know if you find anything.

Drew

BDI Drew

Kocho
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

EDIT: I just noticed that your CP target voltage is 146V on the photos. Is that with the Li charger software from the Laird? He would not say to me what his target voltages were so I don't know if that is indeed normal or not. However, 146V was for the NiMh bikes if I recall. Make sure you actually got the right charger and MC software loaded. If you somehow got mismatched versions, your fuel gauge will most likely behave erratically or not work at all.

Also, avoid discharging the 18 cell pack to as low as you did - that's almost "empty" and not good for the cells if done too many times. And if you got some cells of lower capacity, you risk them being over discharged even deeper than the average cell in your pack and get damaged. This tells me you likely got the wrong MC software - per the Laird's instructions, it should not let your battery discharge below 130V or whatever the number was. Somehow you managed to go down to 116V, which means you either have the wrong MC software installed or it does not work as advertised.

From my own experience, 118-116V is the cutoff for the later versions of the OEM MC software. Mine cuts-off around that value, decreasing power a few volts above it and fully killing the bike at around 116-118V. The Laird's was not supposed to allow this, per the instructions that were posted with his "team's" software upload thread a few weeks back (I have no idea what version you got and if it is supposed to behave like those publicly uploaded in that thread, I don't even know if/how they work since I'm not using them - only going by the info posted there)...

Original message below ===========

Is there a way to set the battery capacity with the Laird's firmware you have? On my version, from David at www.vectrixsupport.com, I can set the battery capacity in Ah to whatever I want. And that determines the fuel gauge behavior. I have mine set at 40Ah - this means that the gauge will fill fully during a charge from "empty" and will go down to 1 bar or 0 over the course of about 60 miles of mixed riding. If the capacity is set to say 20 Ah, the gauge would fill quicker and empty quicker. The set capacity has no impact on the actual range you would get, just counting how much is used/put in the bike and reflected on the gauge. It can be set also via ScooterDiag but I think it requires some Hex values to be precisely entered (and may be dependent on the version of ScooterDiag you got). I suggest using an Ah number that through trial and error will reflect your actual battery use between SoC that you consider full and empty: for me that's 40Ah so that the gauge reflects when I'm "full" (146V) or empty (around 130V+);

As far as I know, whether you have that functionality to set the Ah through the bike depends mainly on what version of MC firmware the Laird customized for you - that ability comes with the latest OEM firmwares. I forget if it matters whether you got the ESD or Runke charger. Try this. On my bike I can use the "magic sequence" to set the battery capacity (as well as charge delay and charge power level): power the bile; push and hold the "S" button (I think that's the one - the left button of the two buttons on the right) until the display on the left changes; release the button; squeeze and let go off the left brake once to cycle through each of the settings (delay, charging power, capacity); once you are at the Ah setting (capacity), turn the throttle forward or back to decrease/increase the Ah setting; when done, press and hold the S button again until you get out of that screen.

Also, I am not sure I understand what range are you getting. What is "fully charged" for you? 150V? And how do you ride (highway or not)? From 150V down to 130V you should get a solid 30-40 miles of highway only range at around 55-65mph with smooth riding (less at top speed all the time). Or around 50-60miles in mixed riding (50/50 highway at 60+ mph/secondary roads at 30-50mph). Are you getting that? If you are getting your range as expected, there is something wrong with how your gauge is working - either because of incorrect Ah setting or for other reasons - either way, if that is the only issue, then your battery is probably fine.

And yes, having the BMS connectors under the seat so you can measure the individual cell voltages is very convenient - do it during charge or immediately after a ride to see differences in cells.

I would suggest that you *do not* load individual cells with a bulb, unless you have a way to balance-charge them after that. The cells should have come from Hybrid Auto balanced and stay this way unless something is wrong with a cell or you discharge a cell differently from the rest. The slight ding I see in your photo should not have any impact IMO - that's just the external case and that little indentation is probably not touching the cell pouches inside.

kinchip
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

The 118-116 v was after I got the MC software to work and before I ever charged it. Yes, it was stupid, but I was so excited to have a working scooter I had to go for a ride. Then the battery software would not load and the headlamp was on in order to get the scooter connected to the laptop, so the voltage just kept dropping until I was able to get the battery controller software loaded....

Having said all that, I will post the version on the scooter when I get them.

Kocho
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

You can turn off the light while the scooter remains on. With the bike on press and hold the button that flashes the high beam light (not the switch, the button) - that will turn on the high-beam. Keep pressing it for a couple of seconds until you hear one and then a second beep from the horn. Let go - your headlight should be off now, while the bike is still on.

...and the headlamp was on in order to get the scooter connected to the laptop...

kinchip
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

Thanks, Drew-

There is no bad or burning smell.
The meshing is similar to what I have seen others report when the scooter is under high load (a steep hill) or sometimes when the regen braking is in use.

Today I took it back out after charging again (only to 145v) and it ran fine- but only had 6 bars to start at that 145v and round trip of 9 miles brought it down to 4 bars and 143v.

Going to try to get that software info...
Here we go...

One (probably dangerous) thought that crosses my mind is to set fuel gauge or restart battery capacity.

I also wonder if I should checkmark the Faults section for Low Bus Voltage, CANbus or any of those other things???

Anything apparent based on this??

Kocho
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

9 miles from 145V to 143V of mixed-conditions riding seems consistent with what I am getting. I also lose about 2-3bars for about 10 miles of mixed conditions riding.

Don't mess with ScooterDiag's capacity and reset functions yet. You need to start a charge below a certain voltage for the gauge to get zeroed-down by the charger software. Check with Laird's readme what that voltage is. As soon as the charge starts at a voltage below that, it should reset your gauge to 0 for you. Then you should keep charging until the end of the charge to get your gauge full, if the capacity of your pack and how the charger tracks charging are working correctly. Once you have a full charge and a full gauge, it should track fairly correctly, if the MC measures it so. Mine is very accurate and consistent with the actual SoC of my pack and the voltage thresholds that I have chosen as "full" and "empty".

Today I took it back out after charging again (only to 145v) and it ran fine- but only had 6 bars to start at that 145v and round trip of 9 miles brought it down to 4 bars and 143v.

One (probably dangerous) thought that crosses my mind is to set fuel gauge or restart battery capacity.

I also wonder if I should checkmark the Faults section for Low Bus Voltage, CANbus or any of those other things???

Anything apparent based on this??

kinchip
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

Thanks for the input, Kocho.

I don't think I can run it down to the 130v necessary to reset the gauge. I get a big drop in performance by the time I am at 139v, so unless I could drain the battery with the headlamp, I don't think can get the voltage that low.
Since the software looks like the correct files, I am leaning towards the thought that the connections or possibly one cell under load, neither of which I get the necessary time to address for the next few weeks. .

MEroller
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

I don't think I can run it down to the 130v necessary to reset the gauge. I get a big drop in performance by the time I am at 139v, so unless I could drain the battery with the headlamp, I don't think can get the voltage that low.

Why, do you live by the side of a highway? If not just ride around your neighborhood until you get the batttery low enough. Then you don't have to worry about the diminished performance ;-)

My rides:
2017 Zero S ZF6.5 11kW, erider Thunder 5kW

BLUESTREAK
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

If he is loosing performance at (139 volt) there is something very-very wrong, these leaf cells are the best thing that ever happened to VECTRIX owners. one reason they are the simplest to install and keep track of voltage better than any other cells.

and can be used without a (BMS). the next best thing to do is install a (CYCLE ANLYST) and forget about battery bars and all the other thing that show in the dash.

Kocho
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

EDIT: kinchip, did you by chance use the controller file for the 19 modules instead of the 18? Check the file path of what you actually loaded - can't tell from the name alone in the screenshot above. The MC file for the 19 cells will begin to throttle down power sooner, flash red light at 132V and shut off the bike at 130V (per Laird's readme). Since you are using 18 cells in your bike, make sure you got the 18 cell MC file loaded.

Original message below ================*

I suspect the 139V is the threshold the MC is imposing to start reducing max current. It is supposed to cut off completely at 123V - see here (go to the download page and see the readme.txt files for the Li MC downloads) : http://visforvoltage.org/forum/14072-lairds-team-files-vx1. But 139V seems too high for the initial throttle down in power.

Don't think is the cells - at 139V I expect to have full power. My bet is it's something else.

If he is loosing performance at (139 volt) there is something very-very wrong, these leaf cells are the best thing that ever happened to VECTRIX owners. one reason they are the simplest to install and keep track of voltage better than any other cells.

and can be used without a (BMS). the next best thing to do is install a (CYCLE ANLYST) and forget about battery bars and all the other thing that show in the dash.

Sandy
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

Hi Kinchip,

Email the laird - the_laird at manx dot net and ask his help.

kinchip
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

Kocho, I have the right software- at least it stops at 146v, which is the 18cell number.
I'm off for a little trip and will look into the cycle analyst when I return.
It runs great when I charge and have the full 146v.

Any suggestions out there for which cycle analyst to order?

Kocho
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

So the problem is that around 139V it starts to "severely" decrease power? But above that it runs fine? And your voltage while riding as shown on the bike display does not actually go below high-130 Volts and when if does power is diminished greatly?

If the above is correct, check the MC software, not the Charger software for what I am saying. The MC software controls the power when riding, not the charger. If you somehow got the 19 cell MC software loaded, there is a chance it begins to limit power in the mid to upper 130 volts. One other sign of that being the case could be if you have near full regeneration when fully charged to 146V (regen is also controlled by the MC and is supposed to be very weak until you drop the voltage in use a few volts below 145V). Did you get that software from the Laird, or from the download page? If the former, perhaps ask him to double-check what he sent you and if he's got ideas.

Also, BLUESTREAK, what will a cycle analyst do in this case? I have not used one, so I could be missing something, but isn't it just a glorified Amp and Volt meter? He's not going to be able to see with it if one particular cell is bad (which I still don't think is the case). Before buying an analyst (unless he wants it for some reason), he might start with recording the log of voltage and current usage while riding - if he's got a laptop he can connect with the ScooterDoag software - that might show some anomalies in V/A at certain points...

BLUESTREAK
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

IT'S a lot more than a glorified amp & volt meter. I will post photos of it tomorrow. no it won't help identify each cell voltage he will have to do what you and I did and use the BMS harness that came withe the batterys or make his on harness and run it back to the trunk or run it up under the seat. I ran mine back to the trunk but found it hard to lean over into the trunk (bad back) to check the cells so I moved it up under the seat, its much easier there.

R
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

I suspect kocho is right, it must be MC firmware issue, between 19 and 18 config there's 7.2 v of difference!
Low volt is 19*2*3=114v, but the laird firmware is intended to apply huge safety margins to keep the cells safe (3.4v per cell?).

kinchip, did you find out what firm did you use?

kinchip
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

Hi All-

I haven't had the block of time to deal with my battery issues and the drive is so short that I've been driving to work with what i have.

However, things are taking a turn for the worse....

Here are pictures before going to work, after charging up to 147 volts (it reached 147 on the later phase after the regular charge) and a photo 4 miles later after I made it to work. 'The acceleration at 147 was fantastic and by the time I get to work it is noticably less. I was too afraid to try to get home on 2 bars and so had to charge at work- it took all of 20 minutes.

I am ordering the cycle analyst- it seems V2 is sufficient- is there a benefit to getting the newer V3?

Before my 4miles drive to work @147v
Before trip

I don't understand why I am seeing declining performance- I could get 7 bars easily at the beginning and now it's down to 4 when fully charged. Snce the voltage is 146-147 fully charged, I don't understand how a battery problem would do such a thing and I don't understand why the MC software would influence it either.

I'm hoping the cycle analyst is going to help. At this point, I'm reluctant to charge it at work, especially since the Leaf fire thread started!!!
Any other thoughts appreciated. I will submit cycle analyst results after purchase (and suggested re: V2 or V3 appreciated)

After 4 miles drive @ 143-144v (est)
After drive to work.

Drew
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

If you change the odometer display to read in Km, doesn't it give you a live read-out of the battery voltage if you're using the Laird's firmware in the 'EST RANGE' field? I keep half an eye on mine whilst riding.

Your 'EST RANGE' display shows 91 'miles' to start (trip meter reading 8.8 miles) and 90 'miles' at the end of your journey (trip meter reading 12.9 miles). Therefore the length of your journey is 4.1miles.

If you take the EST RANGE and multiply it by the same ratio as miles:kilometers you'll find it produces the same battery voltage...

so at the start 91 x 1.61 = 146.5V

and at the end 90 x 1.61 = 144.9V.

That's a 1.6v drop over 4.1 miles (resting voltages)

That seems ok to me. It's bad news if you see a big drop in voltage whilst riding hard that then recovers when you release the throttle, especially with low internal resistance cells like these.

Drew

BDI Drew

Kocho
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

Exactly as Drew says (and as I've posted earlier): Change the odometer to km/h and that will show you the battery voltage in the left display in the EST range correctly.

Ignore that battery gauge bars display for now! Until you sync it up as explained earlier, it will not reflect your actual battery state of charge!

What do you mean by decreased performance? You should not feel much different in performance between just a couple of volts drop in charge near fully charged. Can you explain what you felt?

And do read post #19 -;)

The Cycle Analyst will not help you much with this "enigma", which seems pretty clear to me is not that mysterious.

JimmyB
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

+1 - MC firmware has to be the first place to look.

MEroller
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

CA V3 has a battery meter and calculates the Ohm-resistance / Impedance of your battery and main electrical circuit. Those are the two most obvious improvements over CA 2 in opinion...

My rides:
2017 Zero S ZF6.5 11kW, erider Thunder 5kW

kinchip
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

Thank you folks for the Km voltage suggestion and the comments on the Cycle Analyst. I will order the new one.

Will try the Km setting and give some voltage measures this weekend. I did not appreciate that option earlier.

kinchip
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

Took the scooter out tonight for a few miles. Going uphill at speed (30-40MPH) the voltage dropped 5-6 volts transiently from 145 to 139. When I stopped it went back up to 145. Is that normal?

I have to say I had a great deal less range anxiety knowing the voltage!

Off to order the cycle analyst/

Hall9000
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

Not only is normal , it's a sign that is a great battery.A drop in 4-5 volts is really a good mark kinchip.Try to do the same with nimh , or gp lithium , and then told us your experience ( I assure you that the voltage sag coul be even 15-20 v.

Drew
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

I did just that with my NiMH; 135V start, gentle acceleration to 35mph. Voltage dropped to about 124V (11V drop) then rose to a steady state of 127V (8 Volt drop). If I accelerated hard it dropped to 113V (22V drop), hence why I don't do that that often - all it does is serve to heat the battery! Your voltage drops look just fine to me.

BDI Drew

Archi13
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

Hello Kinchip
Have you try to change the value of the set fuel gauge with ScooterDiag,
I use scooterdiag 2.1 and you can set the fuel gauge to 0 when the battery are empty with the tab MC/Charger write 0 in a scare[set fuel gauge] and send and when the battery are full you write 255 and send.

kinchip
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Re: A (battery?) riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

And so it goes....

I haven't posted for some time because I tried the km setting and found it does show the voltage (which is brilliant, really) and so I rode to work several times, comforted by the voltage and tried to drop the voltage below 130 so the gauge would reset. I've gone about 50 miles on the one charge and today, while heading to a meeting it just crapped out- disengaged the motor, partially grabbing and such. I think the red light came on. I was at 133v. I limped and coughed and sputtered to the meeting and found an outlet. I charged for 2 hours, went home and could not make it up the last hill (110 feet high) while I was at 139 volts! I made an audio of the sound from a complete stop trying to go forward.

That sound file is here: http://vocaroo.com/i/s1ACVAt8Qa8p

I managed to walk the scooter up the hill using the scooter power and at the top of the hill the red light came on. Below 139v, it says "HS hot"

So now, after thinking I was just being paranoid with range anxiety I am freaked out that I will lose power even at 139 v.

As always, your thoughts are welcome.

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