Kelly controller into a Z-20b

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pchilds
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

From the pictures I have seen (here on V) of a burnt EVTA controller, it would not be repairable. The circuit board was burnt, once the board is burnt, it becomes conductive and is junk.

It may be that the FETs are poor quality, the only way to know for sure, would be to get a working controller (Preferable one that was never used, a used controller may, have damage that may not have caused it to fail yet.) and replace the FETs. You would also want to beef up the high current circuit board traces. After you have done all of this, the controller still may fail.

Your money would be better spent buying a good quality controller and trash the EVTA junk.

Philip

Philip
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astar
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

I agree with pchilds. Nothing in the controller I saw was high enough quality to want to retain, including the case. Sounds to me like EVTA had an amateur making their controllers, and are finally wising up and going with a higher quality supplier (Kelly). Here are some pictures of my burnt controller:
InsideCtrlr.jpg
Underside of board:
CtrlrUnderside.jpg

ZEV 7100 Alpine
Fort Collins, CO

pchilds
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

EVTA had an amateur making their controllers, and are finally wising up and going with a higher quality supplier (Kelly).

Andy said they were going to better FETs in February, the controllers kept failing and then he said they were going to better FETs again in April, the controllers kept failing and in June he says they are going to Kelly controllers.

These are not my opinions these are the facts, it is all documented here, just read all the EVTA Z/R20 threads and you will see the whole picture.

Philip

Philip
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Once again, thank you all for this great thread and information.

I sent a note to Kelly controllers and have gotten some information on what to order. I plan to place my order soon, but would like to see EVT work out some kind of EVT customer discount in lieu of a non-Kelly replacement controller.

I will no doubt have questions once I get my Kelly!

I am very glad I found this forum or I would be totally in the dark about what is going on at EVT. I have not heard word one from them. I am sure they are overwhelmed with issues and are trying to find a solution before replying to customers, but I wish they would at least send me an "I'm sorry we are working on a solution" reply.

Scott - Z-20a
Lombard, IL

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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Scott,

I've been extremely frustrated in my communications with EVTA because they will NOT keep their customers updated on what's going on. This has been the story with them for years. On the positive side, when you get a hold of them on the phone, they are always very helpful and honest (although they are optimistic to a fault on their schedule projections).

I just got off the phone with Andy. They are now shipping the new revised controllers with the "better" FETS. Even Optimistic Andy sounds doubtful that they will solve the problem. But they come free because they are under warranty.

The new Kelly controllers are designed to go with the new/next z20 model. They are very close to going into production. He is offering to let the existing z20 owners retrofit their bikes with this new controller for about $200. He says these controllers will be designed and wired to fit specifically to the z20.

So, for those who are willing to wait, you can save yourself about $200 and wait for the EVT version to become available. Andy thinks this will be in 2 or 3 weeks. To me that means about the end of the summer sometime.

Fred
Blue Z20b
Dallas, TX

Overload
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

The new Kelly controllers are designed to go with the new/next z20 model. They are very close to going into production. He is offering to let the existing z20 owners retrofit their bikes with this new controller for about $200. He says these controllers will be designed and wired to fit specifically to the z20.

I wonder what the speed, range and performance will be with this controller.
Overload in CO

Overload in CO

astar
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

I did a range test on my Z20b with the Kelly controller. I only went until the battery indicator was at the 1/2 mark, and this was 17 miles as verified with a car odometer. This was with a lot of top speed time somewhere near 40 mph. I'm not sure how linear the battery indicator is, but I'm guessing the usable range is somehere near 30 miles, with the performance dropping toward the end.

ZEV 7100 Alpine
Fort Collins, CO

astar
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

UPDATE: I was on a ride last weekend, and about 5 miles in the controller stopped working. I'm not sure what was wrong, and the LEDs (green and red) were both dark, so no error codes. I e-mailed Kelly, and by Monday morning I had a tracking number on a replacement, which arrived Wednesday. I installed it Wednesday evening, and my bike is working again. They replaced it with a KEB72601. Performance seems the same as the previous Kelly. I had put about 250 Km on the previous Kelly before it failed; it may have been a one off version because I had to wait for them to finish development before they could ship it. Hopefully the replacement will fair better. I could not have had better responsiveness from Kelly though.

ZEV 7100 Alpine
Fort Collins, CO

rksparks
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Why do some have so many multiple controller failures and now with a Kelly controller???

Just had a conversation with a friend of mine who is an electrical engineer. He is currently fixing and updating my Soneil string charger for my Z-20. Charger fried about 2 weeks ago. He said they had 200 volt rated capacitors in a location in the circuit with voltages of 230. I.E. the fab shop cheaped out on the components. This guy spent two years designing motor control circuits at a major appliance manufacturer, so I tossed him this question:

Is there any way that a short or winding problem in the motor for the Z-20 could be creating a flyback autotransformer effect or such, so that the motor was causing controllers to burn up?

He answered: Yes. Also any intermittent short from the windings to case ground would fry controllers very effectively.

I have noticed that several of the people with repeatedly frying controllers are also experiencing low top speeds when things do "work". This could also be a sign of winding troubles.

I have been very lucky so far, I have had a horn failure and a charger barbeque. Currently doing bank charging with marine saltwater rated bank chargers bought (when on sale) from Cabelas.
I have just rolled over 3000 Z units (3017.1) on the odometer. My earlier GPS calibration gave 1 Z unit = .5432 miles so I have 1639 actual miles on the bike. I weigh 220 lbs. in my riding gear and routinely achieve top speeds right around 40 mph. (a little head or tail wind makes a difference) and the top speed that I have GPS measured is 42.5 mph. Still with original controller and DC converter. I have ridden in temps down just below 40 F and just above 100 F. The charger croaked during very hot temps. Anyway, the bike is a lot of fun and very useful, so don't give up. My bike was shipped in box no. 35 if I recall, so that probably makes it an early one.

Anyway it doesn't make statistical sense for a few individuals to have multiple controller failures while many others have no trouble. I am sure a few have had one bad controller but should be doing OK with the replacement. Multiple failures indicate that something that didn't get fixed during the controller changeout is killing the controllers. Especially now that a Kelly has died, because it would have no design relationship to the OEM controllers. Batteries are not going to do anything remarkable that I can think of that could blow controllers. That leaves possible shorts in the wiring between the motor and controller and some types of faults within the motor itself. Hope these thoughts help people get their bikes on the road.

Randy Sparks

astar
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Randy, That's an interesting theory. I'm not sure how much weight I would put into the Kelly failing. I don't know why it failed, and the symptoms of its failure don't seem to match the symptoms when the OEM failure occurred. When the OEM controller fried, I could hear the shorts taking place inside the controller, and it happened under power. The Kelly was working fine, and then after coming to a stop, it just did not start up afterward. There were no "frying" sounds coming from the controller.

Additionally, the Kelly I had was the first of its type (KEB72451), and I could see from the marks on the power terminals that it was hooked up and tested. It was not supposed to have the J1 connector, but when it arrived, there WAS a J1 connector. This leads me to believe that it was really a modified version of one of their other controllers, and not made to production standards. I also note that they replaced it with a different model. I'm hoping that Kelly does a failure analysis. Given my own inexperience, the failure could be due to an intermittent short in the connector I made . . .

I'm not saying your theory is wrong, but I'm not comfortable reaching the conclusion that my motor is the real cause the controller failure. It would be interesting to have your EE friend take a look at the pictures of the inside of the OEM controller to see what he thinks. At least one other EE on this forum has looked at it and concluded that the design was not adequate. Also, my top speed is about the same as yours.

A very high percentage of Z/R-20 owners on this forum seemed to have controller problems. If you listen to EVTA, the percentage is actually small. I wonder if it could be the way the scooter is used. My theory is that some are easy on the throttle and cruise around mostly below 25 mph, while others ride it hard, accelerating as fast as possible and riding as fast as it will go. I'm much closer to the later in my riding style, but I have learned to roll on the throttle, keeping the throttle opening close to the speed and increasing throttle as the speed increases; it doesn't seem to slow down the acceleration. Maybe it's the ride hard people that are having controller failures. I've owned 6 motorcycles and currently ride a Honda Interceptor (100 Hp), so I'm used to a bike that rockets from a stop and have had to adjust my riding style on a scooter.

One more point. Having ridden the scooter with both the OEM controller and the Kelly, I can say that when both are working, the Kelly seems to be smoother and give an impression of higher quality. It also produces a higher top speed on my bike. So even if the motor is causing a failure, there still seems to be a quality problem in the old controller. Even EVTA is no longer using their old supplier and is now using Kelly.

Congratulations on getting so many miles on your scooter!
-= Alan

ZEV 7100 Alpine
Fort Collins, CO

Simpletech
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Alan,

I see we're almost neighbors. I'm in Arvada, CO.

I've been away from this forum all summer, just checked in again because I, too, have had my fill of false starts and broken promises from Andy and Fernando. My Z-20a ran great for about 10 days in May, but has been sitting idle since then -- basically the same story as everyone else on this forum, so I won't bore you with the details.

I'd be willing to forget about the warranty and pay for a substitute controller if there was a drop-in replacement available, but it seems the Pruna brain trust are just far enough ahead of the curve that we plug-and-play types (those without an EE degree and a bunch of diagnostic equipment) have no way to get back on the road until they solve their supply problem. It's really a shame.

Anybody want to make a fast $1,000? Send me a bulletproof controller, throttle and DC/DC converter that will fit this thing. Otherwise I'll be spending that much on a bicycle retrofit kit from Electric Rider in Kansas ... at least if that fails, I'll be able to pedal it home!!

Duane

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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Hi Duane,

Sorry about your Z. It's not too hard to replace the controller with a Kelly, and a lot less than $1000. I never had any problems with my DC/DC converter or my throttle; Based on your description on the other thread, it does not seem like you have either. So for less than $400 you can be back on the road. Mine is still working great. I have 525 km showing on the odo, which is about 304 miles actual. I've ridden it almost every day since I replaced the controller, but mostly short trips around town. Better hurry, winter's on it's way. I can give you some support if you decide to go that route. Too bad EVTA doesn't get their act together and provide the Kelly as a drop in replacement. They've earned so much bad press on VifV, I don't see how they can recover.
-= Alan

ZEV 7100 Alpine
Fort Collins, CO

Simpletech
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Goodness, how time flies. I bought a Kelly 72601, intending to wire it up with the connectors myself and program it according to the helpful hints on this thread. But soon after that, EVTA began offering the Kelly as a replacement, all programmed and wired, so I made a deal with Andy that included him sending me all the connectors and pigtails (instead of me returning the controller to Kelly, then ordering one through Andy).

Well, that was nice in theory, but now that I have it all wired up, I can't get it to talk to my computer. The manual is pretty sketchy about where to connect the power leads -- turns out it's NOT the big, main power leads where you'd connect to the battery if the controller were installed in the bike -- but now that I have it hooked up, all I get is the red LED flashing "low voltage" (which it isn't; I have 24V hooked up and the manual says 18V will be enough) and "hall sensor signal error", which according to the manual means "120 degree hall motor produce the coding belonging to 60 degree hall motor, or 60 degree hall motor produce the coding belonging to 120 degree. Needing user to set the hall angle to correct type through calibration software." (???)

My specific questions:

1. How is it possible that you can program the controller without having it installed in the bike, if it finds an error in a motor sensor that isn't even connected?

2. WTF is the "calibration software"? My computer isn't detecting new hardware, and I don't get a screen display like what I see posted here. There is only one serial port that the controller cable fits on, and it's securely plugged in. The controller didn't come with a software disk. There is a notation in the manual of an LED code meaning "software is upgrading", but the LED is not displaying that code.

I cannot tell you how frustrating this all is. ANY help would be greatly appreciated!

Duane
Arvada, CO

astar
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Hi Duane,

My laptop is an apple which does not have RS-232, so I had to use my desktop computer to program it, which is in an upstairs office; not really practical to bring the scooter to the computer, or the reverse either. So I took out two batteries and wired them in series to power the controller. Sounds like you have already figured out how to get 24v to the controller. You're right that it is not the big power leads that you need to supply the 24v to. It should be connected up to J2, pin 1 (24v) and the other side to J2, pin 14 (Ground). Make sure these pin values (1, 14) match your manual in case there was a change. Also, be really careful not to short the 24v and ground together. I used covered aligator clips and connected one end to the controller pins, and only attached to the battery after these were securely placed. 24v may not sound like a lot but when shorted batteries can produce a LOT of current. (not sure where you're getting your 24v.)

The software to program the controller is downloadable from the Kelly Web site; scroll down to "Download Kelly KBL Controllers Configuration Program V3.1". Once you have the program downloaded, just connect the RS-232 cable between your computer and the controller, and run the program.

I hope this answers your questions. If not, let me know and I'd be happy to help further.

-= Alan

ZEV 7100 Alpine
Fort Collins, CO

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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Alan,

You could get a USB-Serial converter to add a serial port to your laptop. That would let you do the programming w/o removing controller from bike. However I just downloaded the program and it's a Windows .exe (ick) so your Mac laptop might have some problem running it unless you were to set up BootCamp or VMWARE or Parallels or VirtualBox to run Windows inside your Mac.

- David Herron, The Long Tail Pipe, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
- Electrified Electra To

astar
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Thanks David. I did look into that months ago when I was doing the installation. I found a bluetooth adaptor that seemed like it would work, but I was not patient enought to wait for it to be shipped, and I was not sure it would work anyway. So I did it the brute force way. It's academic for me at this point since I have no plans to reprogram the controller again. Taking out two batteries was not that big of a deal either since the bike was torn apart. If I ever get serious about trying to read the data off of my PakTrakr I will need to figure out a way however.
-= Alan

ZEV 7100 Alpine
Fort Collins, CO

QandElf
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Hello all! Relatively new owner, here, and I must say, so far I need to knock on wood. No issues on mine, and only a broken seat latch on my wife's R-30 (believe it was related to the temperatures dipping below 0 for two weeks). I am interested in hooking up a Serial to USB cable to my Controller to tweak in some settings, but overall I'd have to say I've been satisfied (I know, everyone was satisfied when they first got them).

I do feel I need to comment on the Speedo/Odo issue many seem to have (and I think new owners will, too). On the R/Z-20, the Speedo is in kilometers, not miles (I'm basing this on the description on the EVTAmerica website, since I do not own a Z-20). On the R/Z-30, it is in both miles and kilometers, while the Odo is still only in kilometers. Using the Euro standard (strict) vice the US standard (slack), and based on the GPS configurations/speeds I've seen posted, the Speedo was actually pretty darn accurate (more so than the car you drive, if it's from the "Big Three").

But back to the original issue of the controllers. I'm personally happy with the performance (so far) and my 280 lbs butt has gotten up to 40/41 mph on a straight, level stretch. Of course, the R/Z-30 has the Kelly controller, so that could be a contributing factor. I'm also performing a range/distance test, but I'm basing it on kilometers, not miles, since the ODO reads only in km.

Mine:
1984 Honda 500 [Green] - Long Gone (17+ years)
2009 EVTA Z-30 [Blue]
Wife's:
2009 EVTA R-30 [Red]

Simpletech
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Alan,

OK, now we're getting somewhere! I can't believe the manual says nothing about downloading software. Hope to get some quality time with it tonight -- I'll post the results here.

Duane

Simpletech
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

After spending a full hour carefully soldering up a special 2-lead J2 connector just for the purpose, I have the program installed, RS232 cable connected, two freshly charged 12V batteries connected in series, and the green LED is steady on. The red LED is flashing with the same two signals as before ("low voltage", "hall sensor error") and when I initiate the program all I get is a little warning box in the middle of my screen: "Can't locate controller! Check: 1. Power connected to PWR 2. RS 232 cable connected correctly / Retry / Cancel."

I'm about ready to start throwing stuff.

Simpletech
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Hmmm, it seems I've been edited. That last post began with a couple of choice cuss words. But, no matter. Faced with the decision whether to send the thing back to Kelly to figure out why it wouldn't talk to me and simply trusting to luck that the factory settings would work, I went ahead & installed it. Well, luck was on my side for once; I just got back from a little moonlight ride.

The regenerative braking isn't functional, but I didn't have any before so no great loss there. I agree with whoever posted here saying the Kelly is smoother and a bit stronger than the OEM controller. Even though the batteries have sat idle for months, the launch is fantastic -- great torque, no hesitation.

Regarding the programming, I suspect an RS232 cable problem. Now that the controller is installed in the bike, I'll not only need to borrow a replacement cable, but also talk my daughter out of her laptop for a few minutes. And since she's now on MySpace 24/7, there's no telling how long it'll be before that happens. :)

astar
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Glad to hear it Duane! And there's some good weather the next few days in Colorado too. Happy riding!
-= Alan

ZEV 7100 Alpine
Fort Collins, CO

airdelroy
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

I bought a kelly controller to put into my Z-20. The controller came with a resistor that is suppose to go across the breaker in order to pre-charge the controller. I dont feel good about putting this resistor in because the DC-to-DC converter will also be "pre-charged" by this resistor. Has anyone else recently gotten this controller? What did you do about this issue?

astar
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

I did not install the resistor, and have no problems as a result. If still in doubt, contact Steven at Kelly and he can verify it's not needed. -= Alan

ZEV 7100 Alpine
Fort Collins, CO

antiscab
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

the resistor prevents the current rush (used to charge the input caps) when you first close the contactor/breaker.

If there is no resistor 2 things will happen:
1) your contactor/breaker will wear out faster
2) the ripple caps will see additional stress, and thus reduced service life.

any failure wont be immediate (in fact it the controller may still outlast the rest of the bike).
however, overtime the caps internal resistance (ESR) will increase until they no longer suppress ripple on the battery side adequately (and depending on your batteries, your batteries may suffer with increased ripple.
when a cap eventually fails, it tends to be short circuit, rather than open.

everytime you attach a un-charged capacitor to a solid DC bus, with no effective current limit, theres a small chance it will go bang.
the higher the voltage, the greater the bang (which is why for car level controllers, pre-charge is mandatory)
the higher the ESR, the closer you run to the caps voltage rating and the higher the temperature, the more likely it will go bang.

at 48v and low power controller, you will probably get away with not using a pre-charge resistor.

with regard to the dc-dc always on problem, usually the pre-charge resistor is switched on/off, rather than running *all* the time.
pre-charge time varies, though 5 sec is usually sufficient.

Matt

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

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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

airdelroy,

Based on recommendations in other posts, I had previously installed a contactor between the breaker and the OEM controller. When I got the Kelly controller, I just had to install the pre-charge resistor across the poles of the contactor. With this method, I can still use the breaker to disconnect all the electronics from the batteries.

Jon Stibal

Jon Stibal
2008 EVT America Z-20A
2011 CMC C130 - my daily driver:

FrankenstienEV
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Thanks for all the great info Matt (antiscab). That's what this forum is all about! I installed my Kelly controller several months ago w/o the resistor too because I only have a basic knowledge of electronics and knew nothing about pre-charging the capacitors. Also because the Kelly wiring diagram shows the resistor being used with a contactor, not a circuit breaker and I'm still using the breaker, so I didn't pay that part too much attention, and finally since the EVT controller didn't have a precharge resistor...maybe that's why so many of them failed! From the wiring diagram in the Kelly manual it appears that when the contactor or circuit breaker is open with the resistor installed, you will still have a hot B+ terminal on the controller, but without sufficient current to operate the scooter, is that correct? If yes then I'm assuming that you are suggesting we put a small toggle switch between the battery and the resistor for when we want to completely power down the scooter, and when we want to power it up again, turn on the small switch to precharge the capacitors...wait 5 seconds and then turn on the breaker or contactor? You really got my attention with the word "BANG". I never want to hear a bang come from my controller! Really appreciate your help Bro! Frank

antiscab
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Hi Frank,

your welcome.

There are many other design flaws in most original scooter controllers that can cause failures, though lack of precahrge is a possibility. (i know all the new emax scooters have pre-charge).

with the resistor installed, you are correct, the controller is always live.
i do suggest the use of a toggle switch on the resistor, you got that correct.
im a bit lazy, so i only every completely shut down the controller when im actually going to dismantle something on the scooter.
the caps will last longer if you power down the controller completely after every ride, but the difference in service life is rather trivial (when compared to the service life of the rest of the scooter).

as for time to power up, it really depends on the capacitance of the input caps, and the resistor you choose.
id suggest using a multimeter to to measure the voltage at the controller, and try different resistor values to see the difference in pre-charge time.
the lower the resistance, the faster the pre-charge.
I usually take within 10% as close enough before closing the contactor/breaker.
the last few volts take a long time.
id suggest using at least a 3w resistor, particularly if precharging faster than say 5 sec.

a longer per-charge time is easier to do, especially if you aren't going to be completely shutting down the controller very often (as is the case with my setup).

Matt

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

airdelroy
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Thank you for the info about the resistor. This is what I assumed, but I had not seen anyone else talking about putting it in and the problems it fixes/creates. I guess I will try and find a contactor and place it between the breaker and the controller. Then place the resistor across that. Is there a thread that describes doing this? Or at least a part number for the recommended contactor?

Also I have talked with EVTA about this resistor. They are not putting it in currently, but are recommending placing a 300ohm resistor in series with the PWR ON line. Anyone else doing this as well? I had put a 1kohm inline, but that causes problems when applying the throttle. There must be some current consumption on this line when the motor is running.

thanks,
Aaron

antiscab
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

Hi Aaron,

the contactors i have used have just came with the bike(s). I dont actually know of a source of them.
you only need to add a pre-charge resistor if you already have a contactor.
If you have a breaker (that i assume only opens in an overload condition, not when you turn the bike on/off) then id suggest adding a contactor and pre-charge setup might be a tad over-kill.

I have not heard of any reason to put a resistor in the power-line to the logic side of the controller.
The logic power line (PWR ON) powers the internal controller dc-dc, which powers the processor, throttle and a few other things.
adding resistance will cause the dc-dc to drop out.

This dc-dc in the controller is of course separate to the dc-dc that runs your lights and such.

Matt

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

Iccarus
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Re: Kelly controller into a Z-20b

I installed my precharge resistor across the breaker with a toggle switch. I rarely use the toggle switch. I leave the breaker closed and just use the key. I don't have a contactor. Does this seem ok?

2008 XM3500li Mods/Kelly KBL12251/84v 28cell 40AH pack/ Variable regen brake trigger on left brake handle/Givi/Cycle Analyst/Homemade BMS

KMX Typhoon Home build (recumbent pedelec) with two Astro Brushless 3220motors/twin castle Phoenix ICEHV 160/ Cycl

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