Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

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Faris
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Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

Hi guys,
I need help getting my Li Lacocca’s e-bike alive again. It’s the 24 v type. The motor is not running now and I suspect it might be that the battery is dead (it has been ignored for more than 1.5 years). So I am thinking that since I am at it, I might as well try to upgrade it to 36 volts for faster speed. I need help figuring out where to buy the missing parts:
1- I need the 36 volt batteries that can fit in the existing battery compartment. I prefer non SLA unless they are too expensive. I would appreciate a web link to where I could order them from
2- I need front wheel and tire
3- I need rear tire
4- I need chain (the old one is rusry)

I have actually been debating whether I should just forget about it and buy a new different model, but all the new ones I have seen are very expensive. I would appreciate any advice in this regard.

Thanks
Faris

LinkOfHyrule
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

If that's all that's wrong, no way should you get a new one.

You have loads of choice with batteries. I tend to recommend lithium. A123s are the cream of the crop, but are expensive and you have to deal with working out how to make a pack of them. Not many else are available. There is a seller (PingPing) on eBay who sells cheap packs of decent quality. You have to work out a case for them though, as they come in nothing but duct tape. Nickle based chemistries are also an option.

If the old batteries were SLA, upgrading will require a different chemistry. For a 36V 10Ah pack, expect to pay between $300 and $500 depending on chemistry and pedigree.

Your controller may or may not require an upgrade. A lot of controllers can take an extra battery, but you'll have to check the MOSFETs and caps to make sure. If they can't handle the voltage, an upgrade is in order. Brushed controllers are very cheap (my 36V 30A controller only cost me like $30). Brushless ones are much more expensive. Crystalyte ones run for like $200. Those have more power than you need, though.

Everything else you need can be found in one trip to literally any bike shop. You should be able to get the normal bike parts for less than $100.

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Faris
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

Thanks LinkofHyrule,
I don't want to spend that much on battery. Would I be able to find a 36 V SLA that would fit in the existing battery compartment? How much increase in speed would I be looking for in a 36 v versus the 24 v?

I have been debating whether I should buy an IZIP HG 1000 instead. What do you think?

LinkOfHyrule
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

In all probability, yes. There are all sorts of sizes to find SLAs in. However, you would likely have to go with smaller batteries suffering a decrease in range.

A change from 24-36V would theoretcally make it 50% faster. So, if it went 20mph, it would go 30mph. In reality, you won't see exactly that, but it should be close. Acceleration will also improve.

Well, if your current bike works well, I'd say no. Like I said, the bike parts would probably cost you at most $100. 36V worth of, say 7Ah SLA will run you about the same.

However, if you change your mind about the upgrade, you could get Ping to build you a lithium pack. Considering your batteries are likely to be the typical 12Ah ones, these will give you greater range. A 24V 10Ah one will run you about $200 including shipping. That's assuming your motor doesn't draw too many amps; Ping's batteries ARE cheap, so they can't take high rate discharge very well.

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chas_stevenson
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

I have to disagree with one thing that LinkOfHyrule has to say. I took a 24-volt bike to 36-volts and did not get a 50% increase in speed because at the higher rpm the gear ratio was too high for the motor to reach its top RPM. The bike I did was a Merida with a 400-watt motor. This small motor turns a lot more RPM now at 36-volts but I did not double the amperage so I would not burn up the motor. This caused me to have to change the gear ratio so the top speed only increased by 3 MPH over the old top speed of 20 MPH. There is a point when the motor windings are saturated and adding more amps just makes more heat and nothing else. I increased the amps from 20 to 25. The motor only get a little warmer with the reduced gear ratio. With the stock ratio the motor was getting too hot. I did however reach 40 MPH but only for a short time. As soon as the battery started to discharge, about 1/4 of a mile, it could not hold that speed. So in a manner of speaking what LinkOfHyrule says is true but it really doesn't work too well. I am much happier with the 36-volt version because it does accerlerate faster and climb better than it did as a 24-volt bike. If you go to this post it explains what I did to the Merida. Both bikes are similar so you may be able to adapt what I did to the Charger bike. I am also changing to DeWalt batteries. If you can afford to I would at least switch to NiMh, adding lead will be a problem with the configuration of the Charger battery box. One thing you could do is remove the controller from the battery box to get more battery space. The 36-volt controller I used is very small and would fit under the seat in a cell phone bag.

Grandpa Chas S.

Ian
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

Hey Faris
I have the same bike and went through the same process of wondering if it was worth sinking any money into. My answer is sure it is but what you plans. what money you got, how fast you want to go, how far. $150 to $300 gets you a decent reliable bike for local errands and short cruises on the promenades.

Remember that the hub will handle 36v no problem but the electrics might fail at some point at this voltage and replacements for the stock controller with all its features will frakkin hard to find. So that is your main choice for starters. do you want to get involved with the electrical upgrade process.

like I already posted, I have a 36v 13ah nimh pack from batteryspace in the main bay. check out batteryspace packs if only to get some ideas on options and prices.
http://www.batteryspace.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=2105

Plus I have 9.6V (8 of the their same nimh 13ah cells) in the chamber where the evg bike has its original controller.

You could consider their 36v10ah pack and save a couple hundred that way. It would still make more sense than the SLA.
http://www.batteryspace.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=2866

Or even...stick to 24v and save even more, the electrics will probably keep going indefinitely, so savings there, and the weight of the bike will be easier to pedal around to make up for mediocre performance. Faris, even the lowly 24v10ah nimh at $250 will perform same if not slightly better than 24v12ah SLA, for less than half the weight and double the cycle life.
http://www.batteryspace.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=2870

Like other forum members indicate, ping lifepo look good for the money and he could make you a pack to fit the bay, when I was looking for batteries he was just coming online and it seemed a bit too early to chance it on China, there wasn't any feedback around. Even if they are only good for running peak to 2c you are good to go. so what is that, $400 for a 36v 12ah? - plus worse case $40 for a new controller/throttle.

oh yeah Get a watts up meter on the handlebars for monitoring everything - vital if you spend any kind of $ on batteries and want to maximize their life, as well as the fact you are overvolting a elderly brush motor.

If you really really really need for economical reasons to stick to SLA, I wouldn't bother with a 36v sla pack that will fit in the bay unless all you need is MAX 5ah in real terms. 10 miles or so? so sure they are cheep but they are not exactly cheerful and you can trash em in no time, so its false economy.
http://www.robotmarketplace.com/store_batteries_wp.html

This is a big factor why iococca failed in the marketplace with these models. At the time, he had the bike and motor, but not the battery. at 24v where was the fun factor. nowhere was where. at 36v you get a bit of a smile, but its all over by the time you are warming up. so, you were on a par with disabled 4-wheelers like you find in walmart. where was ping, he was still growing up that's where.

For budget SLA, sure you can do it for $100 or less. get 2 x decent 12 12ah for the bay such as b&b and add another on the rear. I did this for a year it was ok, you have 9 pounds of battery on the rear pannier so not ideal, but still, much better than just 24V 12ah and you don't break the bank. With 36v12ah you have in reality around 8ah at your disposal, so you can go say 18 miles if you are careful.
http://www.powerstream.com/BB.htm

as for the rest, a bike shop will do it. I have bontrager comfort hardcase tires 26 x 1.95 at 65psi. better than the stock replacements that you can still get.

Faris
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

Hi Folks,
Thank you all so much. I took the bike to the bike shop today to take care of all the normal parts and tune it up. It turned out that it needs some brakes and back gear as well (they were pretty much corroded). I should be getting it back in 7-10 days.

I will be shopping for the battery meanwhile. I will most likely go with Ian's suggestion for the 36 V 13 A, or maybe the 10 A. The price is a factor.

So my understanding is that the 10 A versus the 13 A will only affect the climbing power, but not the speed. Is that right?

Thanks,
Faris

LinkOfHyrule
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

(Hmm, I really need a new chain and sprocket cassette, too...)

Anyway, there won't be a difference (unnoticeable technical ones aside) in speed or climbing power between the two batts. However, the 13Ah one will give you 30% more range.

However, if you're really going to pay that much for a pack, I'd get a lithium. A 36V 20Ah pack from Ping will be cheaper than the 13Ah pack, and you'd have a substantial increase in range.

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Ian
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

that's great.

yes the voltage is basically your top end speed. If you compare these 2 36v packs or most nimh cells (?), aside from range difference, Voltage sag is the other factor. in my estimation, your top speed on the iacocca evg will be around the same with either pack, but only when you are cruising on the flat with pedal assist or maybe even on a gentle slope with no wind and you pedalling, as you only will pull 5 to 10 amps probably. so around 17mph with good high psi tires. I haven't tried the 10Ah pack of theirs but I would guess that once you start pulling over 9 or 10amps, say into a headwind or a gradient, there would be your $200 difference right there, due to voltage sag. ie at 13amps the 36v13ah pack will be fairly steady around 35/36volts for 80% of its capacity. At 15 thru 18amps which is keeping a decent clip up a gentle hill, it sags to around 33V and at 20 plus amps which is a steep hill, it goes to 31V. So figure the 10ah pack has to be a notch below all of that so at 13amps it will probably sag to 31 or 32V I would think.

either way its much better than the 24v sla original - the main thing is how many miles your average trip will be, and how hilly your area. if you lived in mainly flat area and needed just 10 or 15 miles the 10A would be fine.

Mauibuck
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

This is all great info and I am heading down the 36V SLA path for my 24V Iaccoca bike....primarily a cost consideration till I determine if I'm really going to get that much use out of it. I bought 12V 12AH batteries here for much less than I could buy locally. http://www.batteriesasap.com/658.html

But what other modifications are necessary to protect the head and tail lights and horn from 36V? I'm going to increase ventilation to the controller because I fear it will get significantly hotter and I live in a warm area. Heat is death to electronics.

Mauibuck

115% home PV, eGO scooter w/ PV charge, EVG eBike
Considering 4 wheel EV purchase or conversion of Spitfire

LinkOfHyrule
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

If the lights and such are running off of the controller, check if they are rated for less than the pack voltage (e.g. 5V or something). If they are, then the controller is acting as a voltage regulator to them. Assuming the controller can take 36V, it will keep the voltage to the lights the same.

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Faris
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

Thanks again guys,
While waiting for Ping, I saw these on ebay
2 Pack - Battery 12 Volt 12AH Lead Acid.

seems really tempting for the price. I am contemplating now having 3 SLA since they are so cheap I can't go wrong with them until the prices level down a little bit with the other two types.

Does any one know of a nice enclosure for the third battery?

Thanks,
Faris

Mauibuck
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

WOW, that is the lowest price I have ever seen on 12V 12AH batteries. It is so far below others I have to wonder about quality. Seems like there has to be something wrong somewhere. Tis also good to note that shipping, at $17, means they are using USPS flat rate boxes which is spectacular. Sellers rating is 98.9 which is OK. Anything below 97% indicates humongous problems because many people won't report negatives due to retribution. So, somebody buy these and then report back.

LinkOfHyrule, thanks for the thought. Question, and applicable to other situations; if the controller is set to supply power at lower voltages, would it be an absolute value, e.g. 5V or would it be a percentage of the primary power? So if we change a 24V system to 36 will it produce an absolute 5 V or 5/24 X 36 = 7.5V

This is not particularly significant for this application but might be very significant if dealing with a much higher power system for a car, 72V, 144V or more.

As to an enclosure for the third battery, I wouldn't bother. The battery is tolerable in appearance and sufficiently strong. The wires to the terminals should have plastic covers on the spade connectors but if not, electrical tape should work just fine. Unless there is some need to regularly remove the battery from the bike, I wouldn't bother with an additional enclosure.

CHARGING. I plan on using the installed charger for the 2 batteries in the bike and a separate charger for the third battery. This means I have to disconnect and reconnect wires every time I charge the batteries but I don't see any way around it. The built in ebike charger is only going to do 24V and will not recognize three batteries at 36V. Thoughts?

Mauibuck

115% home PV, eGO scooter w/ PV charge, EVG eBike
Considering 4 wheel EV purchase or conversion of Spitfire

LinkOfHyrule
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

It should be a set value. That way the lights won't dim when the batts get low. The one on my skateboard outputs a constant voltage, even after the 36V modding I did to it. Some crappy controllers might use a simpler circuit that ends up spitting out a fraction of the pack's voltage, though.

How built in is the charger? Like is it part of the controller or something? If not, I'd just get a 36V charger. They're not that pricey, and you won't have to deal with the hassle of two chargers and multiple plugs. Balance them every so often, remember.

I'd be wary of batts you can't test or come from a reputable site. I got two off eBay that looked like a good deal, but ended up being just crap since one was sulphated so badly it dropped to 6V with a mere 4A load, and I'm suspicious of the other one, since it's only 12.5V off the charger (should be around 13V).

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Mauibuck
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

The charger is an integral part of the batter encasement, all screwed together. Using a 36V charger could work but would require adding two connections at the ends of the battery string. No biggie but think I'll try the two charger route for awhile.

I just received my 3 batteries from http://www.batteriesasap.com/658.html All 3 read 13.00V out of the box. I bought the MK brand because the folks at BatteryASP said they have virtually zero problems with this brand.

Mauibuck

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Considering 4 wheel EV purchase or conversion of Spitfire

andrew
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

Anyone know if the MK are actually made in the USA?

[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

Ian
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

yeah I did the two charger for sla, it worked fine. would recommend a meter though like the watts-up if you start doing longer rides. its kind of handy, I wished I had gotten one earlier. also if you not going to use the bike too much, you could put just a 6v sla on the back, save some weight back there and also the controller/lights might last that way. good luck

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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

Got the three batteries installed and did a short test run. Doesn't seem to affect the speed much but it sure adds power on the hills which is exactly what I wanted. Go fast on the level is leg power. I disconnected the brake light till I get that worked out for 36 volts.

I have folding wire baskets on my eBike and I mounted the battery under the basket on the high side of the kickstand. This leave me all the room in the baskets for whatever and keeps the weight down low. I'm using two separate nylon straps to hold the battery but think I'll add two more. I do NOT want to drop the battery while riding. I ran the wires through the door that supposedly holds the charging cord but I had to remove a bit of the side of the door to get the wires to pass through.
//img205.imageshack.us/img205/5499/ebikefh0.jpg)

The MK battery is made in Viet Nam. I would imagine all the less expensive batteries would come from somewhere in Asia. Even the Panasonic are probably not made in Japan.

Mauibuck

115% home PV, eGO scooter w/ PV charge, EVG eBike
Considering 4 wheel EV purchase or conversion of Spitfire

Faris
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

Hi guys,
I just got the LifePO4 battery from Ping. It cost about $300 including shipping.

Now I have questions about connecting it. The battery comes with plain wires that weren't easy to hook even to the charger. This made me wonder whether I am supposed to buy some sort of clips or something to hook them to the charger and/or the bike terminals. Am I missing something?

Also, do I need any sort of fuse between the battery and the bike? I have never done this before and I don't want to mess things up.

Thanks a lot.

Faris

Faris
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

Help!

I connected the battery and used the bike for about two days. It ran well, but the power went out every time I went into a very steep grade. It worked again when I disconnected the battery and reconnected it. I notices a big spark every time I did this, but it worked.

Now the battery power disconnects in just few feet/seconds from the time I start it. I even noticed that it will immediately disconnect if I were standing by the bike and trying to run the motor while holding the bike in place (i.e., very small resistance would disconnects power). Every time I reconnects i see spark that actually turns the connectors black.

Please help me out. What's going on here? And why the sparks? And how does it get reset again when I disconnect and reconnect?

Thanks,
Faris

reikiman
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

Um sparks are normal.. at least little sparkly crackly sparks (and I do mean LITTLE) are normal. However sparks big enough to make the connectors turn black, that's too big. Way too big.

The ping batteries (to my experience) have a battery management system (BMS) inside the pack. They encase the BMS in a sleeve of a color other than the duct tape. The BMS watches the state of the batteries and will turn off the battery pack in case the batteries or current draw goes outside certain parameters. One of which is if the current draw goes above the max discharge rate.

In the ping package there will have been a sheet of data and instructions. One if the items it lists is the maximum rated discharge in amps.

Your earlier question was about connecting the pack -- and that the pack ships with bare wires. The instruction sheet tells how to connect the pack.

Connecting the charger leads will require soldering wires to the provided connector. It's possible to do the rest with crimp connections.

Faris
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

Hi Reikiman,
This the information on the sheet that Ping sent:

Specification of BMS (Battery Management System)
 Charging Voltage: 46 Volts (Max)
 Charging Current: 5 Amps (Max)
 Rated Discharging Current: 10 Amps
 Max Continuous Discharging Current: 20 Amps
 Cut-off Current (Max Current): 35±5 Amps

What could be drawing more than the max for the cut off to occur? and what could be causing the spark?

The charger output is a circle with three protruding ends: positive, negative, and neutral. I don't know what to soldier. I used crimped male/female ends for the connection to the bike and haven't needed to recharge yet to deal with the charger problem. I figured I might remove the end that came with it and have matching crimped ends instead.

Faris
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

Guys, it just occurred to me:

When I connected the battery to the EVG ebike, there were red and black wires from the motor that I connected to positive and discharging negative; there was only a red wire from the controller that I connected to positive. How come there is no black wire from the controller? Ian and others who did thin on the EVG ebike, is the negative controller wire connected internally somehow that I am missing it? Could this be the cause of the spark?

Thanks,
Faris

Faris
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

I might have got the whole thing wrong.

There are 5 wires in the bike's empty battery compartment that used to be connected to a terminal block (I removed the terminal block and connected the wires to the battery directly): two thick red and black wires, one medium red wire, and two thin red and black wire. I figured the thick wires are providing power to the controller; the thin wires must be for the horn circuit (going to the controller). What is the medium red wire, and why doesn't it have a paired black wire? The throttle didn't work until I connected this wire to the red battery wire.

I now have the three red wires connected to the battery red wire and the two black to the battery discharge negative.

Could the terminal block be providing some sort of common ground that I am not having now by connecting the wires to the battery directly ? Ian and co, since you went through this, please help: How did you connect these wires from the terminal block?

Thanks,
Faris

LinkOfHyrule
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Re: Reviving and upgrading a Lacocca ebike

Pics would be helpful.

Brushed controllers don't actually pass the negative side; they only use it as a ground for the logic. The FETs only PWM the high side of the system. The thin wire/s probably are an extra tap for the brain of the controller.

Anyway, I don't know what the meduim wires are for. Usually the controller takes the battery's power and does all the converting for the various lower-voltage elecronics on the bike.

The author of this post isn't responsible for any injury, disability or dismemberment, death, financial loss, illness, addiction, hereditary disease, or any other undesirable consequence or general misfortune resulting from use of the "information" contai

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