Los Angeles Vectrix Owner with questions

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lavectrix
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Los Angeles Vectrix Owner with questions

I took delivery of the scooter two weeks ago, and have enjoyed it thoroughly. I ran it through 3 discharge cycles myself (the dealer had done 3 before delivery) and I'm getting about 40 miles per charge. I deal with a lot of hills and drive it hard, but that is satisfactory range for me since I'm planning to use it for a 20-mile-each-way commute to Santa Monica. My only complaint so far is the anemic output of the headlight. I almost ate it on Mulholland the other night because I didn't see a gravel spill on a sharp bend. My right knee is still aching like crazy from putting my foot down hard to keep the bike upright...

Anyway, my quest is for a way to upgrade the output from the headlight and I was wondering if anyone had any technical thoughts/expertise on how to do this. The current lamp is a dual 35W Phillips HS1 which I think is also spec'd as a 472B and also appears to be comparable to an H4. I can get a dual 65W lamp in halogen, but am curious if going bi-xenon is an option (I know it requires a ballast). Any thoughts? At this point I'm wondering how to tackle simply removing the bulb from the headlight since the manual is useless...

Mik
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Re: Los Angeles Vectrix Owner with questions

Hi lavectrix,

You manage to get much better mileage than I do, I'm still trying to work out why.
Would you mind letting us know your height and weight?
I am 187cm, 90kg, so my head and part of shoulders are in the wind when riding, maybe thats all it is.

I have been sent a map from a Vectrix rider in Tasmania who also gets better mileage than myself. The map has south at the top in case you are trying to work out where it is:

GoogleEarth_Image.jpg
It's a bit hard to see his marks and writing on the map in the reduced size version on this forum, so here is what it says on the map;
"Sheffield Ride, 68klm @50kph, 1000ft return"
"Wilmot Ride 70klm return, 1200ft climbs, 70klms"
"Caprona Rd 65klms @ normal town speeds, flat return"

He wrote to me later:
"I get 100k/p/h to the last Klm, I regularly go to the last klm.....I fully discharge occasionally......I am 5'7" and 70kg..... am a speed freak still and ride the bike hammer down as much as any one and regularly get 55klm distance...."

.
.
.

About the headlamp output:
It's definitively less bright than car headlights, but then there is only one.
Have you ridden other bikes at night? And are their headlamps different?

The headlamp removal involves removal of the right front fairing, apparently you'll need a long phillips head screwdriver to reach a screw deep inside the fairing. Your dealer might let you have a look at the on-line repair manual that is now available to dealers, it would explain the details.

I've only replaced the rear light personally so far, check the Vectrix reports forum for details if you like.

It would be nice to have a brighter light for night driving if it does not reduce the range too much. The Australian Vectrix has the lights switched permanently on, so a large increase in power consumption for the lights would be a big issue. Ideal would be some sort of boost to the light output to be added only when driving at night.

Please let us know if you find a way to improve the lights!

I have also posted this reply to your post at:
http://visforvoltage.org/forum/2547-vectrix-reports to keep my Vectrix reports in one place.

Cheers,

Mr Mik

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

JDELUNA
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Re: Los Angeles Vectrix Owner with questions

Try doing a google search for scooter HID or motorcycle HID. I believe you will find some sources. You may have to do *some* modding to make it work, but I believe these systems are rated at 35watts also like your stock bulbs, but have 3 times more light output, so you will get more light at the same wattage. If you do try putting some HID's, please try and document what you did so that others can follow your example. I hope this helps. God Bless :)

miro13car
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Re: Los Angeles Vectrix Owner with questions

Do you want bright?
For less than 100dol you can buy motocycle HID conversion kit on e-Buy , theres planty to choose from. All of them use 35W bulb/typical on moto HID/, actual bulbs
can be order whichever type you have on Vectrix. HID uses very high voltage to ignate HID bulb, but only on start up. Is important to hide ballast and wiring from rain.
I am surprised for over 10000dol Vctrix is not equipped with one.
Be the first to do conversion , first serious mode for this fine scooter.
I am thinking about such kit for my TF bicycle. But actual size of reflector assembly is a problem.
Miroslaw

CM

lavectrix
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Re: Los Angeles Vectrix Owner with questions

Thanks for the reply, Mr Mik!

As for my personal stats, I'm just over 5'10" and I weigh 180 lbs. I like long walks on the beach, and a good book by a crackling fire... (Convert the first two...)

I borrowed a Vectrix in order to do the roundtrip from work to home before deciding on my purchase, and I got almost the exact same range on the loaner as I get now. Both bikes were conditioned properly before doing the partial discharge/then full recharge that's necessary for commuting. My commute is 20 miles one-way, but considerably hillier on the way home. I live at about 1000 feet ASL and work is at sea level. I'm not a racer, but I don't ride with a range conscious approach. It takes me half a charge to get to work, and three-quarters of a charge to get home. That range works for me... so far.

What sort of range are you getting? Has Vectrix addressed this issue for you?

As for the headlight --- I just replaced the stock 35/35W lamp with a PIAA H4 Star White lamp that's rated at 60/55W, but claims an output of 110/100W. The light is much brighter, and that makes me happy. What doesn't make me happy is the fact that now my headlight icon is blinking (both high and low beam) and my taillight/brakelight doesn't work at all. I have no idea what is going on. Maybe I blew a fuse, or maybe the controller is freaked by the extra wattage. Anyone have any thoughts?

BTW, has anyone looked inside their fairing? Or under any other area of the bike that's covered by sexy plastic? When I opened up the front end to get to the headlight, I was confronted with a warren of cardboard shims and jury-rigged parts and screws that looked like it was engineered by a drywall installer. I understand we're forging new ground in transportation, and there are pains inherent with pioneering, but I'm actually wondering if this is a revolutionary vehicle or some sort of semi-scam. As for the owner's manual, it's pointless. I know this is a new product, but for eleven-grand, it'd be nice to be able to say the fit-and-finish is pretty good. Right now, I'm starting to wonder...

Has anyone invited a Vectrix representative to participate in this forum?

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TangentStar
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Re: Los Angeles Vectrix Owner with questions

From What I heard from Andrew, The Vec-Tech who worked on my bike, on of his counter parts was down in San Fran working on a bike.
He said that the owner replaced the main bulb with a 65 or 75 watt and that the excess draw blew out his rear brake light assembly. He said that wasn't covered under warrenty needless to say. Just the rear light assembly has to be expensive... All those ultra bright LEDS.

I quized him a bit, and he said you could push past the 35 watt a tiny bit but he wouldn't too much. I am fine with the light out put, works for me but I was looking at getting Sylvannia Silver Stars for, cooler colour and better light at same wattage... haven't done much research on it.

andrew
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Re: Los Angeles Vectrix Owner with questions

As for the headlight --- I just replaced the stock 35/35W lamp with a PIAA H4 Star White lamp that's rated at 60/55W, but claims an output of 110/100W. The light is much brighter, and that makes me happy. What doesn't make me happy is the fact that now my headlight icon is blinking (both high and low beam) and my taillight/brakelight doesn't work at all. I have no idea what is going on. Maybe I blew a fuse, or maybe the controller is freaked by the extra wattage. Anyone have any thoughts?

Try removing the new bulb, put the stock one back in, and see if that fixes the problem.

[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/587-my-kz750-electric-motorcycle-project]KZ750 Motorcycle Conversion[/url]
[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/588-fixing-my-chinese-scooter]900 watt scooter[/url]
Pic from http://www.electri

lavectrix
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Re: Los Angeles Vectrix Owner with questions

Here's an update on what's been going on for the last two months. First of all, I need to commend Vectrix technical support for everything they've done. Their response has been sort of sporadic and spontaneous, but all in all they've been great.

The higher wattage bulb had indeed blown out the taillight. Some sort of current surge due to the increased power. So two techs from RI came out and replaced the entire unit. Took them about 2 hours total - it's incredibly complicated to get at. They had to essentially dismantle the bike from the seat back. This took place about a month ago. Before they showed up, I had been talking to one of the head engineers at Vectrix (in RI) venting my concerns about the weak headlight output on dark, curvy roads. He suggested he could create a module in the software that would allow both the high and low beams to be on at the same time by holding down the high beam flasher for two seconds. They would stay on until either the high or low beam switch was changed, or the bike came to a standstill for a period of time (so as not to overheat the headlamp lens). I thought it was a great idea, but the guys who came to replace the taillight couldn't download the module, and left saying they would get back to me. Then radio silence for a month even though I had been leaving messages trying to follow up. Out of the blue, a tech calls saying he's in town and wants to come by. We meet and he installs a software update. I bring up the notion of the headlight module and he's heard nothing about it, so I get a little bummed. But after the update, I start messing with the flasher lever and notice that if I pull the lever in and hold it, after about 2 seconds there's a tiny chirp from the horn. If I continue to hold it, the headlight goes out altogether. Not good. (I think someone has brought this up before). But here's the good part - with more messing around, I found that: 1. I had to be moving. 2. I had to let off the lever right after the chirp. 3. I then had to flick the switch from low to high beam. Then, presto, both beams are on and stay on as long as the bike is moving or I don't switch beams. If it resets, I just do the same steps over again when I'm under way. The only caveat is the killing of the headlight altogether if the lever is held down too long. That would not be cool while riding in the dark...

So, if you've had a recent software update, and you would like both high and low beam lighting, try this out. It'd be interesting to see how many of us have gotten this new "feature".

rgx
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Re: Los Angeles Vectrix Owner with questions

That's one timely implemented easter egg.

But seriously, I'm not sure I like all of those "stand on left foot, scratch your back clockwise, bark like a dog, hit the horn and left brake and voilà, the odometer will show miles instead of km". Or something.

It's also not very comforting that the new function was implemented in only a few weeks time, apparently on the request/suggestion/approval of one guy - the engineer himself. This suggests change management is poor and the new software module has not undergone very rigorous testing. Ever heard the words "This was such a small change that it shouldn't affect other things, so no testing was needed"? I hear that a lot, always when things have already gone wrong.

Besides, there's a reason why you normally don't want low beam to be on together with high beam. Low beam will light up the surface right in front of the vehicle, and the reflecting light makes your eyes less sensitive, so objects far away will actually be more difficult to spot.

Happy easter to all of you. (I'm still buying a Vectrix, don't worry.)

Mik
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Re: Los Angeles Vectrix Owner with questions

Here's an update on what's been going on for the last two months. First of all, I need to commend Vectrix technical support for everything they've done. Their response has been sort of sporadic and spontaneous, but all in all they've been great.

The higher wattage bulb had indeed blown out the taillight. Some sort of current surge due to the increased power. So two techs from RI came out and replaced the entire unit. Took them about 2 hours total - it's incredibly complicated to get at. They had to essentially dismantle the bike from the seat back. This took place about a month ago. Before they showed up, I had been talking to one of the head engineers at Vectrix (in RI) venting my concerns about the weak headlight output on dark, curvy roads. He suggested he could create a module in the software that would allow both the high and low beams to be on at the same time by holding down the high beam flasher for two seconds. They would stay on until either the high or low beam switch was changed, or the bike came to a standstill for a period of time (so as not to overheat the headlamp lens). I thought it was a great idea, but the guys who came to replace the taillight couldn't download the module, and left saying they would get back to me. Then radio silence for a month even though I had been leaving messages trying to follow up. Out of the blue, a tech calls saying he's in town and wants to come by. We meet and he installs a software update. I bring up the notion of the headlight module and he's heard nothing about it, so I get a little bummed. But after the update, I start messing with the flasher lever and notice that if I pull the lever in and hold it, after about 2 seconds there's a tiny chirp from the horn. If I continue to hold it, the headlight goes out altogether. Not good. (I think someone has brought this up before). But here's the good part - with more messing around, I found that: 1. I had to be moving. 2. I had to let off the lever right after the chirp. 3. I then had to flick the switch from low to high beam. Then, presto, both beams are on and stay on as long as the bike is moving or I don't switch beams. If it resets, I just do the same steps over again when I'm under way. The only caveat is the killing of the headlight altogether if the lever is held down too long. That would not be cool while riding in the dark...

So, if you've had a recent software update, and you would like both high and low beam lighting, try this out. It'd be interesting to see how many of us have gotten this new "feature".

Well done!

I noticed this feature by "accident" whilst using the flasher button to get both lights going at the same time. Because it turns the lights off after a while I tried it out whilst stopped.
But the dual light only works whilst moving.

Both lights together are much better than either of them alone.

Mr. Mik

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

martinwinlow
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Re: Los Angeles Vectrix Owner with questions

Hmmm... If using an HID or a 60W+/whatever bulb instead of the original 35W/35W one causes the tail light to fail due to 'a current surge' why doesn't the same thing happen when the new 'Easter egg' facility of having both headlight filaments on the standard bulb on at the same time cause the tail light to fail? 35+35 = 70W....?! Maybe because they never come on together?

Perhaps the voltage surge/dip could be remedied by connecting 12V of AA LiPo cells to the 12V system whenever the ignition is on (or something)? I suppose a suitable sized capacitor would do the same thing... What size and voltage? Anyone?

I gather most (all?) HID conversion kits use a relay to switch in the ballast thereby avoiding taking the ballast start-up current through the light switch (or relay) directly. Would there be a way of fooling the Vectrix using the relay into thinking is was actually switching a load that doesn't upset its sensors and cause the warning flashing light issue?

Has anyone done an HID/Xenon conversion on a Vectrix and NOT had any issues?

MW

Regards, Martin Winlow
Isle of Colonsay, Scotland
evalbum.com/2092

jamesengland
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Re: Los Angeles Vectrix Owner with questions

You'd be better off reading the handbook on this forum . I have a complete service manual for the vx1. I suspect that the body side of things will be very similar. You should find it quite simple to remove the headlamp bulb.

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