Charging timer

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undead
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Charging timer

Is it safe to use a standard on/off timer switch on the mains plug when charging a vectrix?

My knowledge on electrics is not that good these days!

I know they state on all timing plugs never to use electric heaters or lights through them.

After reading through the posts (especially Mr Mik - now that guy is in depth! :) ), it would seem wise to cap the charge time at 4 hours. As I will be generally plugging it in the garage just before I go to bed, I would rather it shut off automatically rather than waste electricity acting as a small heater hehe...

Your thoughts?

rontivo
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Re: Charging timer

I'm still a newbie (I've had my bike less than a week now), but it seems to me that my bike does turn off after it's fully charged. I haven't gone so far as to hook up a meter to verify that it isn't drawing any power, but I wonder if they've fixed the problem with the Vectrix continuing to draw power after a full charge as part of the recall to fix problems with the batteries. Hopefully someone with more experience with the bike than I have can add their thoughts on this.

DaveD
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Re: Charging timer

I've got a whole-house electric power consumption monitor, and it's reporting a 60W consumption of my Vectrix when it's sitting idle after completing a charging cycle (I pull the Vectrix's plug and the monitor drops by 60W).

Mr. Mik, who is the most prolific poster of this Vectrix forum uses a timer to limit the total consumption of his Vectrix. I've got one of these timers on order, http://www.smarthome.com/2046.html, which seems to have the load capacity and features (including a countdown timer) that I think will work well for my needs. I'll report back how it works once I've received it and tried it out. I've also ordered one of the Kill-A-Watt EZ units (http://www.smarthome.com/9034ez.html) to allow me to monitor the Vectrix's power consumption more easily and accurately.

knabo
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Re: Charging timer

That is the timer I have on order as well.

I have a UPM energy meter to monitor power. I have been using it on my Motard. Just for the record, the standby power for my motard is about 1 watt

I wrote about the UPM power meter here: http://bestgreenliving.com/2008/04/07/upm-energy-meter-review/

Luther Burrell, Mesa, Arizona, USA
Rides: ZuumCraft from zuumcraft.com
Previous Rides: Blue Vectrix Maxi scooter

DaveD
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Re: Charging timer

That seems like a nice power monitor. I missed that one when I was looking around on smarthome.com. I'll just have to buy one of those, too! One can never have too many power monitors. :-)

Buzby
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Re: Charging timer

I limit my recharging too - my supply company provides power at a 50% discount between the hours of 0000-0830 every night. I have some sockets that ONLY go 'live' during these hours, because the circuit is energized by a changeover switch in the meter itself (no user timer required). Of course all OTHER electricity consumed round the house during these hours is also charged at the lower rate, as the meter has TWO number ranges, switching between the two automatically do the correct tariff is billed on each.

Unfortunately, I don't have this off-peak circuit in my garage, so I use a standard domestic timer that mimics the meter, all I had to ensure I was capable of supporting a draw of 13amps, which it does. Next to this I have a plug in consumption next to this I have a plug-in consumption meter that monitors the consumption from this power point ONLY. so the connection sequence is; Wall Socket Consumption Monitor Timer Vectrix

The Vectrix is therefore recharged for a maximum of 8hours & 30 minutes but of course it will have stopped drawing the full rate as the main batteries have been recharged. The energy monitor shows an average recharge cycle draws 4.25Kw of power but never more than 5.25Kw. This also means I can actually work out the equivalent MPG based on the miles covered versus the power supplied to recharge the Vectrix. Yes, it is also recording the consumption of the timer, but this has been negligible and has been discounted.

So far, it's been a win-win situation, and I can highly recommend it!

- Raymond

Mik
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Re: Charging timer

I've got a whole-house electric power consumption monitor, and it's reporting a 60W consumption of my Vectrix when it's sitting idle after completing a charging cycle (I pull the Vectrix's plug and the monitor drops by 60W).

....
I've also ordered one of the Kill-A-Watt EZ units (http://www.smarthome.com/9034ez.html) to allow me to monitor the Vectrix's power consumption more easily and accurately.

Check here for more details:
http://visforvoltage.org/forum/2547-vectrix-reports

The 60W consumption number you report is very interesting, because it is about half of the 114-120W I get.

Maybe this can help to figure out which part of the charger is actually responsible for the power draw.

I wonder if the amps drawn are the same, that would explain the 60W on the half voltage you have in the USA. Is it 110V or 120V you got?

To test the power consumption without a meter you can just feel the charger with your hand after an hour of apparently doing nothing - don't get burned, it's HOT.
AND UNPLUG IT FIRST, JUST IN CASE!
When it is charging you can feel the airflow from it's cooling fan between the front forks. As long as the fan runs it stays cool.

I'm looking forward for the results of your measurements with the "Killawatt".

Mr. Mik

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

Jrlk2005
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Re: Charging timer

I was acctually wondering when the charger shuts off for the xb 600? I've had it plugged in for about 8 hours and it hasn't turned green. Maybe I missed a step?

Please help!

Mik
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Re: Charging timer

.... it would seem wise to cap the charge time at 4 hours. As I will be generally plugging it in the garage just before I go to bed, I would rather it shut off automatically rather than waste electricity acting as a small heater hehe...

This could be a problem on occasions when the charger for some reason repeatedly goes into "tr" mode, to either cool the battery or to allow time for equalization between cells.

4 hrs is usually plenty for my Vectux, but I had the timer set for 5.5hrs to allow for unexpected delays for many weeks. And then I checked the charging process several times during almost each charge, nevertheless.
Your Vectrix might behave differently - watch it for a while on the 110V supply before assuming that the Australian results are representative for the USA...
One Vectrix can be quite different from another - I have had two, so I know this from first hand experience.
Taking photos of the instruments is extremely useful to figure out what is happening.
Set the camera to time stamp them and keep them.

Mr. Mik

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

DaveD
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Re: Charging timer

The 60W consumption number you report is very interesting, because it is about half of the 114-120W I get.

Maybe this can help to figure out which part of the charger is actually responsible for the power draw.

I wonder if the amps drawn are the same, that would explain the 60W on the half voltage you have in the USA. Is it 110V or 120V you got?

I've got a line voltage monitor sitting around the house that I'll have to plug into to get the exact value. It's in that range, as opposed to the 220-240V that you use.

To test the power consumption without a meter you can just feel the charger with your hand after an hour of apparently doing nothing - don't get burned, it's HOT.
AND UNPLUG IT FIRST, JUST IN CASE!
When it is charging you can feel the airflow from it's cooling fan between the front forks. As long as the fan runs it stays cool.

I was in a bit of a rush this morning, so I didn't put my hand up through the bottom of the fairing to take the charger's temp, but I did place my hand on the fairing vent above the charger and noted that it was warm. I may use this as an excuse to buy one of those nifty remote (Infrared) temperature gadgets that many of my friends have. They just use theirs to measure the temperature of their outdoor grills or fireplaces. Hah! I have "legitimate" use for one now.

I'm looking forward for the results of your measurements with the "Killawatt".

Will do. I'll report back once I have one in hand.

Mik
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Re: Charging timer

I may use this as an excuse to buy one of those nifty remote (Infrared) temperature gadgets that many of my friends have. They just use theirs to measure the temperature of their outdoor grills or fireplaces. Hah! I have "legitimate" use for one now.

Sorry to squash your excuse, but the IR thermometers do not work for that purpose because the charger surface is polished metal.

At least the one I have gives wrong readings, but it works better for the engine and gear box surfaces, they are more "matte".

Mr. Mik

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

knabo
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Re: Charging timer

On a reflective surface like that we use a flat black spot of paint. Then the IR thermometers work fine.

Luther Burrell, Mesa, Arizona, USA
Rides: ZuumCraft from zuumcraft.com
Previous Rides: Blue Vectrix Maxi scooter

DaveD
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Re: Charging timer

I'm looking forward for the results of your measurements with the "Killawatt".

Will do. I'll report back once I have one in hand.

I took delivery of a Kill-A-Watt EZ device today, and I can report that it displayed a voltage of 120-121 Volts and a power consumption of 55 Watts after the Vectrix completes a charging cycle.

The charger's metal enclosure was very warm, if not hot, to the touch when I applied the (human) digit test to it this morning after having sat overnight plugged in.

retrodog
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Re: Charging timer

I'm looking forward for the results of your measurements with the "Killawatt".

Will do. I'll report back once I have one in hand.

I took delivery of a Kill-A-Watt EZ device today, and I can report that it displayed a voltage of 120-121 Volts and a power consumption of 55 Watts after the Vectrix completes a charging cycle.

The charger's metal enclosure was very warm, if not hot, to the touch when I applied the (human) digit test to it this morning after having sat overnight plugged in.

Are you still using the timer that you got from Smarthome? Is it working well?

DaveD
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Re: Charging timer

Yes, every day. No problems with it at all. I know that Morrison that posts on here also has one and uses it. As far as I know, he's been using it and having no issues with it either.

queensland
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Re: Charging timer

I keep reptiles and use infrared non-contact thermometers all the time. If you've been aching for an excuse to get one of these cool things but don't want to spend a lot, here's a source for inexpensive ones. ProExotics is an upscale reptile supply place in Denver CO that markets and sells lots of them. Go to http://www.proexotics.com and follow the link to tempguns. They run about $25, some less or more depending on features. They measure the SURFACE temp of whatever you are aiming it at and a shiny reflective surface messes them up. I don't have that problem taking the body temp of my herps (unless its a really wet frog). You'll have a blast measuring the surface temp of your forehead, a wet dog, walls, floors, appliances.

"Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt." Abraham Lincoln

kito
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Cheap Wall Timers

I bought an old style analog timer $10 wall timer from a local HW store. It's made by Intermatic model TN311C. It is rated at 15A. This is a 110V US model. You can get this from amazon online.

http://www.intermatic.com/images/misc/TN311C.pdf

Its old style, but it works fine. Its easy enough just to turn the dial to use as a count down timer. Usually I just come home and plug it in to start at stop at night when the bike has cooled down and I'm asleep.

Galago
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Re: Charging timer

Do you know about the internal circuits of this timer? Is it mechanical or electronic? In the end I guess it is all about what the owner is comfortable using to control the charging process. It would be so easy and convenient for Vectrix to include a timer function with their clock, but I redundantly digress...
anyway....
I have used the Intermatic timers listed elsewhere in this thread for lights and really only recommend those for household appliances as they are 'mechanical' timers. They rely upon a small electric motor to drive a few nylon or plastic gears----they tend to wear out after about 9 to 12 months of continuous use (the MOTOR BEARINGS and the little gears too - I suppose it is possible that I got a few bad ones out of a batch but I still dont like them for charging my bike). I dont know about you but I prefer not to make repeat visits to the store for these things. So, I chose to build my own 'electronic charge scheduler'
(personal preference)
but would recommend an electronic timer with Solid State Relay vs/instead of a contactor or mechanical contacts (w/ SSR no contact arcing/sparking or carbon buildup, which leads to other problems in continual use). I dunno maybe they build the contacts better these days to address this issue. Whatever you are comfortable with...to each his own.
CHEERS!

moccasin
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Re: Charging timer

I have used the Intermatic timers----they tend to wear out after about 9 to 12 months of continuous use

Seriously?

We have an Intermatic timer at work that I installed in 1978! Maybe they just don't build them as good as they used to? I installed one for my Vectrix soon after I got the bike.

Perhaps if they wear out a bit, they just need "correcting" the time of day more often? I don't know, but I can't see why they'd be any less useful for off peak charging than for light control.

I will admit though, that the one I installed cost around $40 US, so maybe there are different build grades out there?

Wotnopetrol
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Re: Charging timer
I have used the Intermatic timers----they tend to wear out after about 9 to 12 months of continuous use

Seriously?

We have an Intermatic timer at work that I installed in 1978! Maybe they just don't build them as good as they used to? I installed one for my Vectrix soon after I got the bike.

Perhaps if they wear out a bit, they just need "correcting" the time of day more often? I don't know, but I can't see why they'd be any less useful for off peak charging than for light control.

I will admit though, that the one I installed cost around $40 US, so maybe there are different build grades out there?

Well I've had two break recently and I only use them for timing charges, they were never even plugged in all the time, ONLY when timing a battery charge, be it car/bike battery or a AA/AAA charger, very little power going through them, so no heating up. I will have to get a digital one I think.

Simon

retrodog
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Re: Charging timer

Well I was at Lowe's yesterday, picking up a heavy duty extension cable for my new ride and I ran across this:

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=170427-251-HB800RCL&lpage=none

So I picked it up and will try it out soon.

I connected my Vectrix up tonight through a Kill-A-Volt module. It's reading 14.44 amps right now and counting up the cost as I write this. It's one of the deluxe models that allows setting the current cost rate and then it will show you the cumulative cost over time.

The new power cable is a YellowJacket which is 12 awg and doesn't even heat up a bit when charging through it. I had another one that I thought was heavy duty but it got very hot around the plugs.

Wotnopetrol
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Re: Charging timer

Well I was at Lowe's yesterday, picking up a heavy duty extension cable for my new ride and I ran across this:

Nice looking unit, for out door use too. I'll do a search to see if I can find a UK version.

Simon

retrodog
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Re: Charging timer
I have used the Intermatic timers----they tend to wear out after about 9 to 12 months of continuous use

Seriously?

We have an Intermatic timer at work that I installed in 1978! Maybe they just don't build them as good as they used to? I installed one for my Vectrix soon after I got the bike.

Perhaps if they wear out a bit, they just need "correcting" the time of day more often? I don't know, but I can't see why they'd be any less useful for off peak charging than for light control.

I will admit though, that the one I installed cost around $40 US, so maybe there are different build grades out there?

Well I've had two break recently and I only use them for timing charges, they were never even plugged in all the time, ONLY when timing a battery charge, be it car/bike battery or a AA/AAA charger, very little power going through them, so no heating up. I will have to get a digital one I think.

It really depends on which part of the mechanism broke. Electrical loading has little-to-nothing to do with the mechanical drive and the reliability of gears and the timer. If the timer is left plugged in and running, even with no electrical load, it will still put wear and tear on the mechanical parts.

I have a heavy duty intermatic timer that runs my pool pump. The first one lasted about 10 years. It had metal gears in it. As far as I could tell, the timer motor burned out. I haven't attempted to disassemble it and debug the problem, but just replaced it with a new one.

I'm sure the smaller ones are built quite differently from my pool timer though, as it costs about $100 and seems to be quite rugged.

Wotnopetrol
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Re: Charging timer

It really depends on which part of the mechanism broke. Electrical loading has little-to-nothing to do with the mechanical drive and the reliability of gears and the timer. If the timer is left plugged in and running, even with no electrical load, it will still put wear and tear on the mechanical parts.

Electrical loading can be a factor.

A 3Kw rated timer that I once used many years ago for a 2Kw heater failed because it got warm when passing current. When it failed, I opened it up and part of the mechanism's plastic parts had turned brown and had broken as they had become very brittle due to either the heat or maybe the spark when it made and broke contact. Like everything, it just depends on the design and quality I suppose.

Simon

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