Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

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Brock
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Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

Does anyone have or have experience with the charger electric bike?

http://abc.eznettools.net/D300013/X300109/eBike1.html

It is impossible to search for with the name "Charger". On another forum a while ago someone had one and really liked it. I think I might give up on my Z-20, it was larger then I thought it would be anyway. Or at least use it for a different task and use the “charger” to go to and from work. I am moving to about 1 mile from my work, but our new home is about 500 feet above here.

reikiman
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

Yes, I have one. I have modified mine. What do you want to know?

kringle777
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

I have one too. Actually, unfortunately I'm going to have to sell it soon, not because I don't like it, but because my job is moving further away and I bought it primarily as a commute bike.

It's a great bike. I rode it quite a bit last year--about 500 miles. It's very subtle...you think you're a strong rider because it's easy and you're going fast, but it's really just assisting you all the way. Very trippy. And it's sturdy and well built. I was able to ride 8 miles to work on it without barely breaking a sweat. And I've taken it up to 29 miles an hour.

I bought mine from Sam Wonderly in San Francisco. He's a nice guy, very thoughtful and into the environment. Apparently when the Aeroenvironment founder died in an accident, the assets of the company had to be auctioned off. Something like that. And he bought the remaining couple thousand bikes to assemble and sell.

So, yeah, along with Reikiman, ask away.

kringle777
Red XM-2000
Moss Green "Charger" ebike
Sacramento, CA

Brock
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

Well I am glad to see at least they are not really uncommon. And it sounds like at least Kringle likes his. I read that you could pretty easily get rid of the top end limit on the power assist speed. Any other thoughts on the bike? Should I look at something else that is similar? If I got one is there anything I should for sure get right away like fenders or no fenders or ???

reikiman
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

If you get one, be very careful ..if you take the battery box apart.. be very careful in handling the controller board. I pulled mine out for some reason, while installing wiring to allow externally accessing the battery pack, and then the bike wouldn't function afterward. That is what led me to rebuilding mine because I had to replace the controller board, then later the bottom bracket, etc.

There is no way to replace the controller board because nobody is making new ones. Sam Wonderly has a bunch of them installed on bicycles and that's it. There are many controllers available if you do want to replace it.

But the bike itself is very solid and works really well. Two thumbs up.

kringle777
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

I added a bunch of stuff to mine to make it easier for my commute: A rear rack, fenders, headlight, taillight, horn, mirror, radio, speedometer, air pump, deluxe seat, cargo bags, tool kit, tire liners, slimed innertubes, and Armadillo street tires. Whoooh! I loaded that sucker up. But it's such a tank that with all that stuff and 210 lbs of me, I still got it up to 29 MPH. Who knows how fast it would go without all that stuff and a skinnier me riding it.

I haven't had any issues like Reikiman with the controller, but from what I've read, it's supposedly well built. The motor is apparently a fan motor from an 18 wheeler truck. They're designed to run pretty much continuously and are pretty hardy. Plus they're replaceable if needed.

I also like the way it goes uphill. Contrary to what you might want to do, you're supposed to lay off the pedals a bit and let the motor do the work for you. You'd think that you'd have to pedal harder, but you're not supposed to. Works for me!

The speed governor was easily overridden with a magnet placed in a different location. The controller never recognizes that you're hitting the 20 MPH limit, so it just keeps working away--usually to about 24 or 25 MPH.

kringle777
Red XM-2000
Moss Green "Charger" ebike
Sacramento, CA

drivingblindwv
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

I own two Charger 'Human power assist" type bikes that I bought from a company called Electroportal and the other one off of e-Bay. I love the bikes. The power modeule that control the bikes propulsion are now not functioning. The original company has been sold and the new owners cannot repiar them. I need an electric bike to get around mostly city conditions but be able to go off the beaten path on occasions. Distance and speen are more important to me than off road capability. I paid about $1250.00 a piece for the bike I have now. What bike do you recommend or what conversion kit to you recommend?

Or if possible, do you know where I can buy another Charger or have them repaired?

drivingblindwv
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

I have two Chargers. To get around the upper speed limit all you hve to do is remove the magnet attached to the spokes and add a small one on the inside of the pedal. the magnet rotates around to a sensor on the frame to determine speed. If spoke magnet is removed and one is placed on the inside of the pedal, the upper limit for speed is removed to unlimited.

drivingblindwv
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

I have done some research and I found that I paid less than $1250.00 for the bike brand new. I am not sure how much they are going for brand new but I feel it was definitely worth it. Again, the bikes are solid and the mechanism works great. The problem is that if something goes wrong you will probably be left drifting in space. I have had one email discussion with Sam Wonderly of Electro-portal since my last post. I expressed to him a willingness to try again to have the controllers serviced. If it is not viable to do so in a reasonably timely fashion, then I really need to find a way to just apply power to these motors manually. Any thoughts?

drivingblindwv
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

I wrecked mine about a month ago and now the controller will not come on. Usually I punch in a code on the touch pad but now it won't respond and I cannot get anyone at electric porthole to help me. he just wants to send me emails trying to get me to buy a whole new one. Think if you boucht a car and had a small engine problem and the only suggestion from the dealer was to buy a whole new car? I may be force into doing just that. Then I will have three, count them, three Chargers with only one functioning controller. It is looking like a new Crystalite style deal is the way to go. Anyone want to buy these remaining two Chargers? I will let them go at a fraction of the cost to off set the cost of a new more upgraded type that exist now! The last time I sent a controller to the porthole I lost an entire year of riding time. I sent it to him in May of last year and he gave me one excuse after another as to why it could not be fixed. There was a none to subtle pressure to buy a new bike. I finally had to demand for it to be sent back at the end of November. Whole year lost.

andrew
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

drivingblindwv,
It sounds like those controllers will continue be problematic. You could do a simple analysis. I would take the housing apart and just look over the electronics closely. Look for anything burnt, any broken connections, or any blown fuses. It is a common problem for large capacitors to break off at the connecting joint due to vibration. Also use your sense of smell to try and detect any "magic smoke" remnants.

If you can't find anything, then clean all of the components and the board on both sides with isopropyl alcohol (same as rubbing alcohol). I like to use both a toothbrush and a small paintbrush. Use the toothbrush for the back side of the board, and the paintbrush for the component side to get everything well. Remove any connectors and clean them, and check for chips or other components that are removable without de-soldering. Gently pry these up and clean the contacts with alcohol them push them back down.

Wait for it to dry and then give it a test. If it still doesn't work then check the power to it. Energize it, and try to check if it has power input. It may be that a switch on your bicycle is just bad or corroded, or a fuse is blown. Also, check over all of the high-power wiring and connections real closely. The connections on the batteries can become weak or corroded. Try and clean any switches, and remove any connectors and clean them with alcohol. Check over all of the inputs to the controller down to the last switch. Clean all of them and test them if possible.

If it still doesn't work, then the next step would be to have some components on the board tested. Try and find someone that knows how do to this. Or, you could begin replacing components. The most likely component to fail would be the mosfets. These are power transistors that will be mounted to a heat sink or thermally coupled to the edge of the controller. Replace them and see what happens.

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Pic from http://www.electri

drivingblindwv
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

Thanks for the great tips. I figure with the two controllers down I might be able to scavenge parts from both to make one good one. I am a noive when it comes to electronics. I have a good friend who is a solder head that is willing to take up the task. I would gladly pay to get this whole thing expedited, any takers?

drivingblindwv
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

I will sell both of these bikes and controllers. Someone who has a good rapport with Electro-portal might have a chance to salvage these two bikes to their former glory. They are quality built bicycles. Without functioning controllers these fine bikes are dead in the water and taking up space.

perivision
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

Hmm.. that could explain the problem with mine.

Basically its acting like it cannot tell if I can 12v going to the board or not. Typically when I start to pedded, it takes 3 or 4 sec before enough charge builds up that the board will trip over to powering the motor. Sometimes, I will not recharge, and I have to take it apart and manually clear all the caps by connecting to ground. The last straw was riding home the think will power up, and then cut out (error under voltage) after a min or two of peddeling. When I plug it in, no reaction.

So mosfets could be it. Where can I by a few of these to try for a fix? And does it sound like mosfets will fix this?

Ta

Christopher

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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

Hi, I see that some of you have Charger bikes with broken Aerovironment boxes. I am looking to buy Charger brand bikes without the electronics/without the batteries...even without the chain tension gauge. Please advise if you want to sell yours, and let me know the model/condition/color info. JPEG photos would be welcomed. Shipment would be to my 81147 biz address, & my company has a UPS account number, so...instead of you having to guess the shipping charge you can just shoot me a price FOB wherever you are. If I buy them you can get boxes from a local bike shop, box them up and carry them into your nearest UPS terminal...then ship them to my account number on a "recipient will pay" basis. Thanks, Mick Abraham, Proprietor www.abrahamsolar.com, Colorado Voice (970) 731-4675
P.S. I'm not a frequent visitor to this forum so you might do best to contact me off list: mick [at] abrahamsolar.com

Mick Abraham
www.abrahamsolar.com

drivingblindwv
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

I have since got back in touch with Sam Wonderly after a hiatus. i read into the story about Aero-virnoment back when I bought the bikes and assumed the company would continue this as an on going product line. This is not so, Sam can and does strive very hard to find a way to repair or even sell "modification" kits to help even the gonners designated for the dust bin. He can bring them back to life many times. But I have recently acquired the mean to repair both of them to their original glory. Stay tuned for an update.

reikiman
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

I had a contact from Sam earlier today and he was concerned about some incorrectness above. He does have on hand parts for the charger bicycles as well as complete bicycles. It's possible to restore a charger bicycle with parts from Sam @ electroportal.com.

FWIW with my charger bicycle I did not do that. And in retrospect because I didn't do so, restoring my bicycle so it functioned took a long time, involved serious hackery, etc. Even though I learned a lot along the way it wasn't the most effective route.

drivingblindwv
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

News Flash!

I am please to announce the I have two fully restored Charger BIkes. I recently bought two "extra capacity" batteries from Electroportal. These are 12V 15AH and I am replacing my old 12V 12AH units. They haven't arrived yet but I will be giving them a road test at the beach in North Carolina for a week soon. I will report my observations later. But for now I just put the final touch on the repairs and just took a night stroll with both bikes. New slicks on the front and back and new controllers with new batteries. I had a local bike shop give them a 'tune up' with new brakes and cables. These things rock!

I may be purchasing yet a third bike soon from Electroportal soon also. I wanted to add that Electroportal has an "on-demand kit" for $250, including instructions as to how to gut and modify the Charger bikes so they're operable for years to come with other off-the-shelf controllers as well. The kit includes the controller, speed regulator with state of charge indicators, cut-off "kill switch", 24V charger, plugs, wire connectors, and freewheeling bottom bracket / crank set. This is a reasonable price for all these components. They will do the work, with of course, a charge $100 labor for the approximately 2-3 hours of labor. Entirely worth it! I have been all through this model and would opt for this method over the 'do it yourself' approach. But if I have little resources or no other option, I think I could pull off a DIY project. But you are correct in saying any 'hackery' is ill advised.

There is rumor of some new products coming from China that rivals:
-EV Global (Iacocca's company that left thousands of customers without access to even batteries, that were custom made)
-Merida (same story as EV Global)
-Giant (though they've followed the LaFree with the Lite that was much improved with a Japanese motor that caused far less problems, they now offer a hub motor that's clearly not powerfull enough for hilly areas and it's questionable as to whether the electronic parts and batteries are going to be available in a couple of years)
-Wave Crest's Tidal Force (bikes that were in the $1500 to 2000+ range that were not designed for practicality, and the unsprung weight in both wheels was in many cases unsafe as wheels were in constant need of truing. After a brief attempt at dumping their bikes through CostCo, they went back to independent shops only to pull out of the biz a few months later. They had a bike that wasn't in production and they weren't telling anyone...at least that's the information I was told.
-ZAP...everyone knows that story...and a company that still relies on sucker investors to bolster the stock value so the principals can continue paying themselves 6 figure incomes. They certainly left many e-bike customers in the lurch, and their EV's are about 3 times as expensive as they should be given what they pay for them in China.
-Total EV...a division of a public utility in Dallas, TX that set out to be the king pin of e-bike distribution. Had all kinds of brands, then dumped them all for pennies as they got bought into by another public utility from the S.East. A sad story as hundreds of bikes flowed into Ebay selling for peanuts...with no support whatsoever (many were Meridas, and European bikes no one could ever get parts or batteries for).
-Currie...both bikes and kits that had problems with motors overheating. More than 50% of the units sold in Santa Cruz county failed...what their dealer in this area told me. They've now got a redesigned motor/controller, both low and high end bikes, so let's hope these do people better. They still don't run the motor through gears, unless you go with their over $2K bike.
-Bionix...try over a thousand for a wheel motor kit that hasn't held up as well as everyone would think. Maybe they've made the needed improvements, but one of our Charger dealers stopped carrying them because of the failures and poor customer support. Furthermore, they were underpowered until they came out with their more recent 500W+ versions (and this still isn't enough for those in steeper hill areas)
-Yamaha, Honda, even Panasonic bikes that weren't supported properly in this country. Same for Mercedes Benz, Estelle, Prima, Aprilla...to name a few european bikes (many of which were distributed by Total EV mentioned above...) My choice has been the tried and true Charger bike. Great for the various hilly terrain of even urbans areas in WV.

-Now there are the Ohm bikes...$2K or more for a bike that's no better than the Charger...with a Bionix kit. No internal gearing...aluminum frame (not as good as cro-moly...with a motor system that doesn't work as well up hills).
-The A couple of 5 to 10K dollar ebikes made in the USA for the very rich. I am told they don't really do much better than the Charger...not as good in some respects).

He is working on a "mid-drive" taking advantage of a bike's gears allows for a higher power to weight ratio without the heavy wheel issues. It also allows for a cooler motor since the frame can act as a heat sink (hub motors can only release heat through the axle and very minimally through the outer caps that have been designed at times with cooling fins). Besides not being able to take advantage of gears, the gear-less Crystallyte motors don't provide power until they reach a certain wheel speed...in other words, when you need power the most on start-up and steep hills, you don't have it. A high speed frame mounted motor on the other hand allows us to get much higher power from the get go...and if it's run through a low granny gear, it'll climb most any hill.

But overall, I have a complete turnaround with my 'soon to be' fleet of Chargers.
Tom
DrivingblindWV

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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

:) Looking at buying "Charger" Have you solved some of the problems posted here? Any othe links to sites that provide more information on specs, repairs etc. of the "Charger" Thanks

reikiman
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

:) Looking at buying "Charger" Have you solved some of the problems posted here? Any othe links to sites that provide more information on specs, repairs etc. of the "Charger" Thanks

Problems? If your Charger has a working controller etc then what problem is there? Where there's problems is if your controller dies. Electroportal can supply replacement controllers.. In my case I ignored Electroportal and went my own way and had a year long struggle before my Charger bike ran again.

gSPIN
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

-Wave Crest's Tidal Force (bikes that were in the $1500 to 2000+ range that were not designed for practicality, and the unsprung weight in both wheels was in many cases unsafe as wheels were in constant need of truing.

WTF u talkin bout Willis?
with both the battery, motor & controller neatly tucked out of the way inside the wheels it don't get more practical than that.

also i haven't done a lick of truing on the wheels of my TF in over 8000 miles since new, so i went to check.
sure enuf there was a single spoke that went 'thunk' instead of 'plink' on the rear wheel, took all of a half turn of tightening.
real unsafe that was, dodged a bullet there.
this constant truing every 8k miles is gonna wear me out.

o_O

not intimately familiar with all the other ebike makes u mention.
but from reading up over the past 4 years since joining the ebike ranks, i'll simply say that ur equally waay off in ur heavily biased assessment on most of those as you are with the TF.

Justvern2
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

I just bought an older Charger bike (dated 1/98) and I need any manuals or maintenance info available. I'm trying to open the battery case to check the batteries and charging system but the back of the case (near the plug the connects to the bike) just won't open. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

reikiman
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Re: Experiences with "Charger" electric bike?

Please start a new thread rather than tack your questions on the end of someone elses thread...

In any case I don't remember any trouble at that end of the case. My charger bike is heavily modified at this point however. There are screws holding the two halves together, and a pair of allen-headed screws holding the handle onto the box. Once removing all those the box comes apart fairly easily but might need a bit of prying and grunting.

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