Vectrix low battery blues

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myocardia
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

4. My firmware upgrade sheet specifies that it runs off the batteries on its precooling cycle.

Well, everything on a battery powered vehicle draws its power from the batteries at all times. If you're putting more current into the batteries than you're using, though, you're actually using AC power to power them, even though the power is passing through the batteries.

5. That's what the manual says. While the above is true for LiPO, is it true for NiMH?

I don't believe so. Lithium batteries have a very low self-discharge rate. LiIon has a 10% per month self-discharge rate, and LiPo is 5% per month. NiMh have an extremely high self-discharge rate of 30% per month @ 68-70°F.*

* edit: The lower the storage temp, the slower the discharge rate, the higher the storage temp, the faster it will self-discharge.

AndY1
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues
Now here(above posts) is some good information about our batteries we needed. That's what we've been missing for all this time. If we sum it all up:

1. 5 initial deep discharges: 4 discharges only to below 25% discharged, 5th discharge to red battery telltale so the OS syncs with the battery
- Do not start with the initial deep-discharge immediately, but do some (2-3) 75% battery-full discharges and recharges so the cells balance
- 5 initial deep-discharges do not need do be done one after another (maybe one per week)

This is basically right, but the red battery telltale illuminating does not resynchronise battery and display.(Nothing does if there are damaged cells!) For a BaLPoR to occur you need to hold the throttle wide open for several seconds whilst the battery telltale and "buSVLt" is displayed. And hope that the reserve capacity of your weakest cells is not being used up completely in the process whilst they are being charged in reverse....

So Mik, what does reset the SW's and charger's battery low point? Only red battery telltale, or do you also have to open throttle fully for at least 10 seconds at the red battery telltale to occur?
I ask because you write somewhere that the reset occurs at red battery telltale and now you say that it occurs at red battery telltale + 10 second fully opened throttle.

Mik
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

So Mik, what does reset the SW's and charger's battery low point? Only red battery telltale, or do you also have to open throttle fully for at least 10 seconds at the red battery telltale to occur?
I ask because you write somewhere that the reset occurs at red battery telltale and now you say that it occurs at red battery telltale + 10 second fully opened throttle.

It happens when it happens - sometimes even without full throttle. But earlier at full throttle. If you want to make it happen, give it full throttle. Not recommended, though! Except maybe if your battery is already empty with 12bars displayed, like my replacement Vectrix did! Unfortunately I did not know this back then and I was extremely cautious, letting go of the throttle whenever the battery telltale came on, because my first Vectrix had failed inexplicably with a blown main fuse.
http://visforvoltage.org/forum/2707-how-best-break-vectrix-anyone039s-guess#comment-28016

Disappearing bars syndrome = BALPOR = Battery Low POint Reset.

Now finally to the video of the BaLPoR which occurred despite my best efforts at 77.3km into the ride.
The video starts after returning over the bridge, shows turning around on the road and then gently accelerating over the bridge again. It finishes with two still shots of the instruments.

AndY: This is when it resets the zero point! The throttle does not need to be fully open etc. to cause a BaLPoR.

All described as part of my (very short lived) world record ride at: http://visforvoltage.org/forum/4657-vectrix-range-real-world-record

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

AndY1
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

I understand now. When red battery telltale lights AND all remaining bars disappear AND Est Range drops to 0, that's when the RESET occurs. Am I correct?

moccasin
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

When red battery telltale lights AND all remaining bars disappear AND Est Range drops to 0, that's when the RESET occurs. Am I correct?

I believe that's what the owner's manual says.

AndY1
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Edit: New info directly from GP (instead of Panasonic from before):

16. What is memory effect?

Memory effect occurs when the battery is charged before its energy is fully consumed. The battery will remember its last residual capacity before it is recharged. Hence if you keep on charging the batteries before you have used up the energy, the service time of each cycle will get shorter and shorter.

17. Does NiMH batteries have memory effect?

The present day technology enables NiMH to have either no or negligible memory effect.

18. What is the self-discharge rate of NiMH batteries?

If a NiMH battery is left idle after being fully charged, it will gradually loses its energy. This is called self-discharge. In general, the rate of self-discharge ranges from 15% to 20% per month at room temperature.

19. What is cycle life?

Cycle life is the number of charge and discharge cycles a battery can achieve before the discharged capacity drops to end of life. The cycle life is generally considered to terminate when the capacity is less than 60 - 80% of the nominal capacity, depending on the specific charge / discharge conditions.

20. What affects cycle life performance?

The following factors may affect a battery's cycle life:
1) Charge:
#
You are recommended to charge the batteries with appropriate chargers equipped with correct charge termination methods (such as timer, negative delta voltage and temperature cut-off), so as to avoid the possibility of shortened cycle life resulted from overcharging. Generally speaking, slow charging would lead to longer cycle life than high rate charging.

2) Discharge:
#
The dominant variable affecting cycle life is the depth of discharge. The deeper the depth of discharge, the shorter the cycle life. By decreasing the depth of discharge, the cycle life of a battery will be significantly increased. For this reason, it is necessary to avoid over-discharging of batteries to a very low voltage. Depending on different discharge currents, 0.8-1.0V per cell is the generally acceptable end point voltage.
#
Discharging battery at high temperatures will reduce the cycle life.
#
Batteries can sometimes be drained excessively by small residual currents in idle equipment left for extended periods, if the design of the equipment does not shut down all currents completely.
#
Using battery with different capacities, chemistries, charge levels or using old and new batteries together can also cause over-discharge.

3) Storage:
#
If a battery is stored for a long time at a high temperature, the electrode will deteriorate, reducing the cycle life.
#
Avoid leaving a battery in a charger for an extended period.

21. How do we maximize battery service life?

To maximize the cycle life of batteries, the user should:
#
Store the battery in a cool, dry and well ventilated place out of direct sunlight. The ambient temperature should be kept below 30degC for long-term storage. Prevent charging or using batteries in extreme temperatures.
#
Charge the batteries with correct chargers to minimize the chance of overcharging. Choose charger with appropriate charge control. It is recommended to purchase batteries plus charger bundle packs.
#
Charge and discharge the battery occasionally to prevent the battery voltage from dropping down to 0.8V.
#
Remove batteries from an equipment or turn off the equipment if it is not to be used for a period of time.
#
Avoid overcharging the battery by exceeding the predetermined charging period specified by battery manufacturer.
#
Avoid mixing batteries of different chemistries, capacities and state of charge in the same devices.

22. How should we store NiMH batteries?

In general, the higher the storage temperature, the worse the capacity retention of NiMH batteries.

23. Do warm and cold temperatures affect batteries?

Extreme heat or cold reduces battery performance. Avoid putting battery-powered devices in very warm places. In addition, refrigeration is not necessary or recommended. Store batteries at room temperature in dry environment.

http://www.gpbatteries.com/html/faq/index.html

AndY1
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Korean geniuses invent lithium batteries with eight times the juice

Oh, what wondrous things come from the land of Korea -- dancing emotional robot humanoids, oxygen-emitting robot plants, and multiple 24-hour StarCraft channels. It's all good, and we dig robotics and televised gaming, but this latest invention could be our favorite if it pans out. Professor Cho Jae-Phil and his team at Hanyang University have replaced the graphite in lithium batteries with a certain kind of silicon, which we're told can store eight times the power. No word on what the batteries have actually been used for yet, but it stands to reason they could eventually make it to consumer electronics. Now you see why we're willing to say this might be better than 24-hour StarCraft. Say it with us: 48-hour StarCraft.

oobflyer
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Thanks for the info on the NiMH batteries, AndY1. Since I last posted - I tried to find more information about the memory effect and couldn't find much on the NiMH. It appears that the memory effect applied mostly to the NiCad batteries. So, I'll quit worrying about it!

UPDATE on the firmware upgrade (my experience of it anyway): After completing 2 full charges since the upgrade I was riding last night with 4 bars left...watching the gauge carefully to see what happens. At that point (4 bars/9 miles) the red battery light came on and there was a drop in power, but not as bad as before the upgrade. I could still ride at 40 MPH for the next few miles. Then, at 2 bars/5 miles, the battery light came on again, as well as the "busult" error message. The last two bars disappeared, the miles remaining disappeared and the power dropped again, this time significantly. I limped home the last mile at about 20 MPH. Although this is the same pattern as before, it happened at 2 bars, rather than 4 or 5; a significant improvement. I'll see what happens next time I get down to a few bars.

Happy riding!

Mik
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

UPDATE on the firmware upgrade (my experience of it anyway): After completing 2 full charges since the upgrade I was riding last night with 4 bars left...watching the gauge carefully to see what happens. At that point (4 bars/9 miles) the red battery light came on and there was a drop in power, but not as bad as before the upgrade. I could still ride at 40 MPH for the next few miles. Then, at 2 bars/5 miles, the battery light came on again, as well as the "busult" error message. The last two bars disappeared, the miles remaining disappeared and the power dropped again, this time significantly. I limped home the last mile at about 20 MPH. Although this is the same pattern as before, it happened at 2 bars, rather than 4 or 5; a significant improvement. I'll see what happens next time I get down to a few bars.

Happy riding!

Could you comment on the total range at which all this happens, please?

In order to develop an understanding of what the SW update does it is crucial to know if the range / distance at which the bars disappear (or not) has changed.

As a hypotheical illustration:

If the SW-update has adjusted the expected capacity of the pack down after measuring it once, but the weak cells have become even weaker whilst being over-discharged yet again during the calibration-deep-discharge, then this could have caused the re-occurrence of (only 2) disappearing bars.

The SW will presumably adjust the fuel-gauge calibration each time that a BALPOR occurs and the number of disappearing bars will therefore be relatively few.
But it represents capacity loss in the weaker cells, which are being discharged deeply each time you take the scooter down to empty.

Only the total range and it's gradual or sudden reduction will tell if this is happening.

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

oobflyer
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

I decided to just quit worrying and enjoy the Electric Ride...
After 3 full charges/discharges - it is clear that Vectrix is having trouble with their battery, "fuel gauge". At the end of the 3rd discharge, after the SW-upgrade, the same thing happened. This time I had 5 bars/11 miles range, just like before the upgrade. I experienced the same sudden drop in power and the disappearing bars/range on the gauge.
As far as the overall range - I haven't noticed a difference; I didn't expect it. So, I'll just do like Mik and use a black marker to cross-out the bottom 1/3 of the gauge. Meanwhile - when I get down to 1/2 charge I just top it off each time. No worries - keep riding!

Morrison
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

I decided to just quit worrying and enjoy the Electric Ride...

Me too. I just consider my Vectrix to be VERY reliable for 25 to 30 miles and I don't even try for anything more.
I like to ride my Vectrix in an agressive manner with full acceleration and full speed whenever road conditions permit.

I accept the Vectrix for what it is. It is a first generation product that has room for improvement.
Battery technology will improve over time. Range and speed will increase.
But it won't be happening for this version of the Vectrix.

It is an urban commuter that is very reliable for 25 miles at any speed.
And it has the advantage of recharging very quickly on a regular outlet.

undead
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues
I decided to just quit worrying and enjoy the Electric Ride...

Me too. I just consider my Vectrix to be VERY reliable for 25 to 30 miles and I don't even try for anything more.
I like to ride my Vectrix in an agressive manner with full acceleration and full speed whenever road conditions permit.

I accept the Vectrix for what it is. It is a first generation product that has room for improvement.
Battery technology will improve over time. Range and speed will increase.
But it won't be happening for this version of the Vectrix.

It is an urban commuter that is very reliable for 25 miles at any speed.
And it has the advantage of recharging very quickly on a regular outlet.

Same here, if I know I am going to the gym or somewhere else other than my daily commute, i charge it for a couple of hours when i get home - does the trick nicely.

I really like this vehicle, its fun and it costs bugger all to run.

jethro
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

the new software will synchronise the battery guage to be better than it was, but just as fuel guages in ice are all different the vectrix one is likely to be the same - some going to zero when others will have a few bars left. just because vectrix are electric does not mean they will all be the same, mobile phones are a good example of this.
I do a 40 mile commute on my vectrix and know this is about the limit based on my riding style so I tend to ignore the battery level and go by the distance I have travelled when riding for fun.

oobflyer
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

I talked to Jon Twombly from Vectrix today - apparently there was supposed to be some documentation that accompanied the firmware upgrade. The dealer (Marin BMW, San Rafael, CA) said nothing about it to me, nor gave me anything... they just plugged in their laptop, did the upgrade, and handed me the key, "all done!"
Anyway - Jon said he'd send me the info and also call the dealer about protocol. I haven't received it yet, but I'll post it here, unless prohibited by copyright laws!
AtSakura.jpg

12-16-08 Update: I received the update yesterday, but the Webmaster has asked me not to post the update (copyright laws) - but I see that someone else has already posted it under the heading, "The new firmware and the consumer responsibility".

chas_stevenson
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Just a quick clarification. V is for Voltage would like to be notified before you post items like this because of copy write laws. We have checked this information and have permission to post it on V is for Voltage. You can find the information in the EV DownLoad Library.

Grandpa Chas S.

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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

1200 kms later...
No problems to report, except, perhaps due to cold weather the range is GREATLY reduced. My worst range was 46kms the other day. I have noticedhowever that it is imperative to have a full cycle once a month:Set delay, charge, treacle and equalize (about 4 and half hours). Otherwise the range lessens noticebly whatever the temperature...

undead
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

1200 kms later...
No problems to report, except, perhaps due to cold weather the range is GREATLY reduced. My worst range was 46kms the other day. I have noticedhowever that it is imperative to have a full cycle once a month:Set delay, charge, treacle and equalize (about 4 and half hours). Otherwise the range lessens noticebly whatever the temperature...

I noticed this, not to the same extreme but I am definately getting a couple of bars less on my daily commute and the performance is not so good for the first few miles, even on a full charge.

tom5007
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

I noticed the same, range is reduced at cold weather. Over the last couple of days I carefully checked battery temp and range. Lowest recorded batt temperature was 2Celsius. This was after letting the bike parked outside without overnight charging. When riding temperature came up to about 6-8degrees celsius. All this at exterior temps of about 0-2 degrees.

Charging such cold batteries did not really increase temperature a lot. Usually after an early mornings charge at freezing exterior temperatures batteries are at about 6degrees celsius.

Only when riding batteries to low voltage (119Volts) batt temperature got higher to a max of 16degrees.

With winterly conditions (unbeliveably for the UK) like this, range is reduced to about 30-35 miles. This is with a mix of about 30% motorway and 70% in town.

I really think that measures proposed by Mik to reduce cooling of the battery pack during winter times would make a lot of sense and could increase range. Perhaps a firmware upgrade to cut off battery cooling when charging cold batteries would be nice and should be possible without any change on hardware.

Norman

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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

My regime has been to put the Vectrix on charge immediately at each end of the journey and not invoke any of the pre-charge delays. This is in a bid to get the bike charging while the batteries still have some warmth in them. Cold NiMH have a higher internal resistance we read on here - and that is going to limit the charge capability, no? Mik? Your thoughts on this please?

Before putting the bike on charge I check the battery temperatures, the highest I have seen at the end of a journey in the UK south east (Kent and London) is 28C the other night. At the beginning of the journey, even with freezing temperatures (heavy frost on ground and vehicles), the Vectrix is reporting a minimum battery plenum temperature of 2C (??!!). My Vectrix is kept garaged under cover, but with no additional heating in the garage.

The only problem I have found has been where I have not used the Vectrix for a commute for several days - the longest was five days - and the 26 mile journey to work was very scary at the London end where I rode the final 3 miles with 0 range and no charge bars showing. The Vectrix easily reached 30mph, so I'm guessing that the battery meter calibration had gone off whack rather than the battery range drop that remarkably!! Two full charges later and the Vectrix was reading normal for its commuter journey again, a residual 3 to 5 bars at journey's end (the higher number on the milder of these days).

I can't see me using the pre-charge delay much before Spring time!!

Mik
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

My regime has been to put the Vectrix on charge immediately at each end of the journey and not invoke any of the pre-charge delays. This is in a bid to get the bike charging while the batteries still have some warmth in them. Cold NiMH have a higher internal resistance we read on here - and that is going to limit the charge capability, no? Mik? Your thoughts on this please?

Sorry, I don't know the answer and have not particularly deeply thought about cold issues.

Without practical testing it's difficult to be certain about these issues, and it just does not get cold a lot where I live. Occasionally it gets down to freezing temps for a few hours, but that is in the early morning hours. When I ride off to work it is usually at least 8 to 10 deg Celsius.
I have never seen a reported battery temperature below 19degC, I think.

Next Winter I might try to leave the Vectux outside one night when it looks like it will get cold and see what happens. I might run the ABCool all night to get the battery really cold.
....................................

I am now able to measure the temperature at all 12 original battery temp sensors as well as on two inter-cell-connectors, below the batteries, on top of each battery and in the intake air stream.

And I can also measure the voltage of each of the 12 Modules individually, the first 27 and last 27 cells, and the single-cell voltage of 19 cells in the string (and various sub-strings of cells).

Photobucket

I just hope the Vectux fires up when I put it all back inside....

Then there will probably be more insights into what goes on (and what goes wrong) inside the Vectrix battery pack!

It has taken almost 4 months to get to this stage (from when I took the battery out to analyze it), but I believe it has been worth it. I am certain that my battery would be dead by now if I had not done this. Not a good option without a warranty.

Buying a new battery is not an option either, the Vectrix is in my opinion just a bottomless pit for money without a warranty. (And a bottomless pit for Vectrix Corp with a warranty...)

Hopefully they will get it sorted out.

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

AndY1
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

/crosses fingers

dvdaudio
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Hope this thread still alive. Don't see any posts for some time, and I'm definitely experiencing limited battery range.

Looking at temperature sensitivity in this blog; I'm guessing that's why I'm now down to about a 15-18 mile range. Riding home from work tonight I got a battery telltale with buSVLt message while indicator showing 9/17 bars, at about 2/3 throttle. I ride to work at about 45 to 50 mph - only about 4 miles each way. Tonight, when I plugged in, with 9/17 bars showing, charger indicated 127 volts at the beginning. Even plugging in a second time after a complete charge, I cannot get much over 138 volts.

However, I'm now riding in 40-45 degree C (100-106F) Arizona Summer. Charging in my garage after a 3 hour wait; indicator still in the 36-40 degree range. Sorry, that's a cool night this time of year.

Not sure what to do; probably call my Arizona dealer; but he's up in the mountains where it's much cooler. Any ideas from you more experienced owners? (bought Vectrix last December. have about 1800 miles to date)

Glen O'Hara
Phoenix, AZ

AndY1
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Considering, that you bought it in December, I assume, that you have the latest software installed.

In my opinion, your charger and your battery need to be synced. Your discharge cut-off Voltage should be 125V, which is much better than previous software, which had it at 108V. Your standing voltage after a full charge should be around 144V, so IMO, your full charge is not really a full charge, because it's not synced and charger thinks, that the battery is more charged that it actually is.
My Vectrix still has the old software, but from what I've read from the other users, you should do a full battery discharge every other week. That means, that you drive until suddenly all remaining battery bars disappear. You do that as close to your home as possible.
Then, put your Vectrix to as cool locations as possible and set your precharge cooling timer at as much as possible, so that battery pack gets as cool as possible before it starts charging. Leave it charging for a full recharge.

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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

So, there must be some advantages of living on this cold damp island we call Britain.

My battery temp has never been much above 30c and I always do a 5 hour charge delay.

Up to now, my range is a very stable 35+ miles, I just set the delay, plug it in and let the smarts sort it all out. I don't do a big discharge every 2 weeks nor do I interrupt the charge ever.

I just hope this regime of trusting the designers and living in a cool country will give me great V longevity.

The other day, after a two up longer than normal ride, I did notice that the charge stopped, the fans kept turning and then after a while the charge started again, so it seems the software even looks after the battery temperature during charging. The batt temp was up around 27c. This is heartening.

Does anyone know why the fans start momentarily when you start off even when the batt temp is low? I notice some PCs/laptops do the same thing, even though the processor is obviously cool. Is it a test of some kind?

Simon

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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Did you get any instruction manual for the new software? I'm asking this, because my Vectrix will receive a new software in a few weeks and I'd like to have the instruction manual (for the delayed charge setting,...). Do they provide one to the old buyers, when upgrade is done?

moccasin
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Andy,
If you don't get any paperwork with your software update, you can download and print this one:
http://www.moccsplace.com/vectrix/Oct_08_Software.pdf

That is for the October 08 update. Those newer than that have not changed user input data, but just cleared up a few bugs, so the file is fine regardless of what later version you have.

AndY1
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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Thank you!

Edit: Ok, one question: On page 1 it says that left break lever is for selectable delay and right break lever is for fixed 30 minuted delay. On page 3 it says the opposite. Which one is right?

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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Thank you!

Edit: Ok, one question: On page 1 it says that left break lever is for selectable delay and right break lever is for fixed 30 minuted delay. On page 3 it says the opposite. Which one is right?

Yes Andy, the ratbags did get it wrong. Left is programmable, right is fixed 30 min. Took a few minutes to sort that one out when I got the upgrade as the dealer told me something different still!

Hold the desired lever in, turn off the ignition. Plug it in and the instruments will self check as normal then power down and wait for the delay to cut in. During the self check you will see voltage and batt temp briefly before it powers down to wait.

Simon

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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Thank you! That's great!

I can't wait to get a new battery and a new software. By charging the bike at night, I will be able to give it a long pre-charging delay. And since the bike is parked in an underground garage, the temperature there (19'C-22'C in the summer) is lower than the outside.

So, if you confirm if I understood correctly the manual:
1. When I get the bike, I have to make a discharge until the red battery telltale (BUSULT and all battery bars disappear not necessary anymore?) no matter at what condition the battery is.
2. Full recharge (how long does it take? The manual says, that the equalization part of charge lasts 4 hours. Add another hour for cooling period before equalization and that alone takes 5 hours)
3. Full discharge (as 1.) within 24 hours without any partial recharge
4. Full charge and I'm set.

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Re: Vectrix low battery blues

Thank you! That's great!

I can't wait to get a new battery and a new software. By charging the bike at night, I will be able to give it a long pre-charging delay. And since the bike is parked in an underground garage, the temperature there (19'C-22'C in the summer) is lower than the outside.

So, if you confirm if I understood correctly the manual:
1. When I get the bike, I have to make a discharge until the red battery telltale (BUSULT and all battery bars disappear not necessary anymore?) no matter at what condition the battery is.
2. Full recharge (how long does it take? The manual says, that the equalization part of charge lasts 4 hours. Add another hour for cooling period before equalization and that alone takes 5 hours)
3. Full discharge (as 1.) within 24 hours without any partial recharge
4. Full charge and I'm set.

Well, I was a bit concerned about the discharge part, but I just ran it until the red light came on and then programmed a 5 hour delay (which I still use) then I've just let the smarts deal with it ever since.

What I get now is 32 miles roughly of "considerate" riding until the bars all go, then I have about 5 miles on reduced power. It does me for now and I rarely take it that low anyway. I usually only do 25 miles or less per charge.

I just remember what someone here said about the Toyota Prius, that it doesn't allow the battery to charge more than 80% nor discharge less than 20%. Toyota may have a point, but at least the Prius can always get home, even with a flat battery!

P.S. My garage is always about 5c cooler than outside. Good!

Simon

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