Trouble updating motor controller firmware

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Kevin_in_VA
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Trouble updating motor controller firmware

Apologies in advance for being long-winded, but I figure I'm not the only one who will experience these same issues as the Vectrix software programs keep getting older...

The other night, I tried to update the firmware on my 2007 Vectrix. I had already used the 64-bit Vectrix Diagnostics GUI software (circa 2013) via Windows 10 to install The Laird's NiMH firmware a couple of months ago. I have since installed 19 gen2 Nissan Leaf lithium modules into my bike, confirmed that the motor operates (though the temperature and battery warning lights flash as would be expected with the NiMH firmware and no temp sensors installed), and am trying to update the motor controller (and then will update the ESD charger) firmware.

Using the exact same computer, software setup, and Peak IPEH-002021 166440 USB cable, I got a "DownLoad to VX1Li Motor Controller Failed..." message when trying to install The Laird's 38s lithium MC firmware. The box containing the MC firmware version number was empty and turned from green to red, to me seemingly indicating that it had been cleared but not reprogrammed. With the kill switch in the run position, I had the Ready display on the dash but could not get GO to appear. Fearing the worst, I kept the ignition switch on, tried restarting my laptop and rerunning the firmware install to no avail.

I already had ScooterDiag v2.1 and v1.1 on my computer but they were not functional, so after copying some dll files around, I was able to get each to connect to the CANBUS on my scooter. I may have actually had to uninstall Vectrix Diagnostics GUI before they started working correctly, or maybe I had re-run the PEAK driver setup utility. On the firmware update tab of both v2.1 and v1.1 programs, the text on the lower half of the window was a bit distorted (I assumed some sort of Windows compatibility issue). If I browsed for the motor controller hex file on my computer and clicked the Program button, the program would crash suddenly, the window disappearing.

Many thanks to antiscab who told me I could save a copy of the firmware directly to my C: directory and manually type/ paste in the file location. Doing that, clicking the Program button in either ScooterDiag v2.1 or v1.1 would then prompt me for CLR24_X1.hex, ERA24_X1.hex, and PRG24_X1.hex, which I found in a ScooterDiag v1.1 sub-folder. Unfortunately, I got the same "No response to Clear... Please try again" message with both versions of the program. By that point, my laptop battery was getting ready to die. Antiscab also verified that I could recharge my computer while connected to the scooter (so long as the scooter charger was not plugged in at the same time).

It got to a point in the night where I had to sleep and needed to shut the scooter off, so I was somewhat relieved when I stumbled upon this post: https://visforvoltage.org/comment/63084#comment-63084. I turned off my key, waited the longest 10 or 20 seconds of my life, then turned it back on. The motor was operable again, and ScooterDiag v2.1 and v1.1 showed the current (NiMH) firmware again. That was a major relief, but I still cannot successfully install the motor controller firmware no matter how many times I try.

Has anyone else had similar issues with the motor controller firmware not clearing/ installing correctly using Windows 10? The fact that it never clears the current firmware in the first place makes me believe it could be a CANBUS communication issue, but nothing with my computer setup had changed since the last time I updated the firmware successfully and all three programs showed an active/ green CANBUS connection with the scooter. I don't want to update the charger firmware to The Laird's 38s ESD file until I successfully update the motor controller, but uninstalling and reinstalling the software on my Windows 10 machine repeatedly doesn't seem to do the trick. Next I might try using the 32-bit version instead of 64-bit, or seeing if any friends have an old Windows XP laptop in their closet...

pyjohnson
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Joined: Thursday, March 20, 2008 - 13:53
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Re: Trouble updating motor controller firmware

Hi Kevin,

I'm glad you were relieved when you found my original post, it was a truly nerve wracking experience at the time.

If you are still navigating to those files, something is still wrong with the set up, I found the files require to be in a folder called "flash" in the same directory as scooterdiag.exe, then it all worked. I was running windows 7 when it worked, but I don't think that's the issue.

Let us know how you get on.

Regards,
Peter

-----------------------------------------------------------
Central Scotland

Kevin_in_VA
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Last seen: 1 week 1 day ago
Joined: Monday, August 19, 2019 - 05:37
Points: 11
Re: Trouble updating motor controller firmware

Thanks for the response and for posting your original experience, Peter. It looks like my ScooterDiag v1.1 had the flash folder in the correct location, though v2.1 did not. Still not sure why v1.1 wouldn't work or find the files in the correct place. I suppose the problem is that I downloaded all of this software from random online file sharing folders, and the files are already organized (or not) however I've found them. I'll keep you posted, though I am approaching it all with even greater caution than I was before.

______________________________________________
2007 Vectrix VX-1 (19 gen2 Leaf modules, ESD charger)
2009 Miles ZX40S-AD

Kevin_in_VA
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Last seen: 1 week 1 day ago
Joined: Monday, August 19, 2019 - 05:37
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Re: Trouble updating motor controller firmware

Good news: I was finally able to install The Laird's 38S motor controller and charger firmware!

The issue was resolved with one of two things (the first of which makes me feel completely silly if it was the source of my issues):
-I activated the red kill switch so the scooter was NOT in "Ready" mode
-There may have been a communication error with the USB CAN adapter. I first discovered the possibility of this issue when I stumbled upon this German message board discussion (5th post): https://www.twizy-forum.de/werkstatt/64657-fragen-zur-vectrix-diagnose?start=0. It suggests using Peak's PCAN-View software (https://www.peak-system.com/PCAN-View.242.0.html?&L=1#) to change the bit rate to 250kb.

After doing the above two things, I was able to use VectrixDiagnosticsGUI_64 on my Windows 10 laptop to install the firmware. That process ended up going really quickly. Now all I need to do is take the scooter for a test ride tomorrow, then I can enjoy the added range of lithium batteries!

______________________________________________
2007 Vectrix VX-1 (19 gen2 Leaf modules, ESD charger)
2009 Miles ZX40S-AD

pyjohnson
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Re: Trouble updating motor controller firmware

That great news.....how did the test ride go?

Regards,
Peter

-----------------------------------------------------------
Central Scotland

Kevin_in_VA
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Joined: Monday, August 19, 2019 - 05:37
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Re: Trouble updating motor controller firmware

Test went as well as I could have hoped! I went on an 10.8 mile/ 17.4 km test ride (with the last third on the highway). No hiccups, and easy twist-and-go power even on the highway! I believe I started my trip at about 149v at rest and ended with about 144v. Temperatures were cold but above freezing.

I will probably take some more test rides, then manually equalize the Leaf modules before using the built-in charger to top off the batteries. My hope is to ride to work so long as ambient temperatures are above freezing. If I recall correctly, lithium modules can be damaged if attempting to charge in below-freezing temps. And I believe winter storage should be with a partially drained battery?

______________________________________________
2007 Vectrix VX-1 (19 gen2 Leaf modules, ESD charger)
2009 Miles ZX40S-AD

israndy
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Re: Trouble updating motor controller firmware

Correct, don't forget to bottom balance the batteries. bring the charge low by riding around and try to get it to a low voltage, but not so low that the lithium batts are in trouble, check the voltage on each of the batts and if they are close just connect them in parallel to balance them together, if they are farther apart you may need to manually balance by connecting resistors to the batteries to burn off some power, or even a cheap incandescent light bulb. The point is to balance them w/o drawing more than the batteries are comfortable with. Typically something around 1C. Once they are bottom balanced you could go a long time w/o doing it again, there are also lots of battery balancers on the market that will do this slowly in the background.

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

Kevin_in_VA
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Re: Trouble updating motor controller firmware

Thanks for the message, Randy. I took the bike for another spin today to get the battery down a little lower. Frustratingly, the low battery light came on when I was still about a mile from home, so it was a slow and careful crawl home from there. Now the individual modules range from 6.62v to 7.34v each (3.31-3.75v per cell), for a total pack voltage of 132.55v.

Please pardon my ignorance, but what do you mean by "typically something around 1C?" I will probably hook up a 12v halogen motorcycle or car headlight to drain the individual modules. I added some terminal blocks under the seat so I can check the voltage and balance manually (wiring still in progress when this picture was taken).

If I were balancing manually in parallel, would I be able to use these terminal blocks even though they are connected directly to the positive and negative terminals of each of the modules, which are then all connected in series in the battery compartment?

______________________________________________
2007 Vectrix VX-1 (19 gen2 Leaf modules, ESD charger)
2009 Miles ZX40S-AD

antiscab
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Re: Trouble updating motor controller firmware

connecting the modules in both series and parrallel (ie 36s1p and 1s36p simultaneously) will result in fireworks

if leaving the modules in place, to bottom balance you will need to either manually charge or discharge individual modules to get their voltages to all be the same, at low state of charge

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst 2 x TC Charger & MC
conversion

Kevin_in_VA
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Last seen: 1 week 1 day ago
Joined: Monday, August 19, 2019 - 05:37
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Re: Trouble updating motor controller firmware

That's what I figured, but wasn't sure if I was missing something. At some point, I may just install a BMS. Will see how balanced the batteries stay after some charge cycles.

______________________________________________
2007 Vectrix VX-1 (19 gen2 Leaf modules, ESD charger)
2009 Miles ZX40S-AD

israndy
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Re: Trouble updating motor controller firmware

I was suggesting that the batteries could be connected in parallel to balance against one another when they are w/i a very tiny percentage difference. Using the lights would be a good load to bring them close to each other. Then you could calculate how much current there would be if you connect them together.

The 1C reference was a rating the multiple of which is provided by the manufacturer. Say if you had a 100ah battery than the 1C charge or discharge rate is 100 amps, which it would do for an hour and be empty. This is typically a HIGH rate of discharge, but some batteries will do much higher. The LiFePo4s that I got for the RV will do 3C or in the example above, 300 amps, you lose some capacity when you draw that fast, power is converted into heat. Mine will actually allow pulsed draws at 10C, so I imagine that means just a second or two and then time to rest. Typically batteries are measured at .2C to get their capacity. My batteries are actually 180ah, so I can draw a max of 540 amps, but that won't help with the battery life.

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

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