The main focus of the MC SW release xxxx is on better battery management and better fuel gauge accuracy. The SW was designed to acclimate to the various states of health of the batteries already in the field and to better protect from damage all new packs. The new SW incorporates better pre-charge cooling along with continuous battery capacity measurements to prevent over charging and to accurately scale the fuel gauge. The occurrence of the hot battery warning should decrease significantly.
The most obvious change a user will see is the addition of a programmable delay, during which time the fans run off the batteries while cooling the batteries. The advantage to this is that it eliminates the extra charge that was dumped into the batteries when the fans ran off the AC power, allowing for much better cooling. Cooler batteries accept a charge much more efficiently and allow for more complete charges. The “delay” function utilizes the instrument cluster LCD and the four IC button as a user interface. The use of the delay is vital to maintaining a healthy battery pack. In addition, the delay can be used to start the charge when electricity rates are lower.
The SW also measures the actual battery capacity during a full discharge cycle immediately following a full charge cycle. This capacity is then shared with the charger so that the charging profile can be matched to the battery pack. In addition the charger uses this value to accurately scale the fuel gauge. Although the SW performs this measurement on an ongoing basis it is critical to follow the initialization procedure to insure that the SW learns the pack capacity in the first few charge cycles.
The low battery measurement and management is much more controlled and does not require the battery to be dangerously discharged to synchronize to the gauge as before. The SW looks for a low power output when the pack is under a certain voltage. That is, when the pack voltage is less than a predetermined value, the current output must meet certain minimum requirements. If it does not then the battery is deemed discharged to a certain value. At this point the battery icon will illuminate, warning the user that the remaining range is limited. In addition the minimum allowed pack voltage has been raised significantly, preventing over discharging.
Once the SW is installed and initialized, the user will notice several differences. During discharge the fuel gauge will no longer drop out at the end of the discharge. The user should consistently have between 1 and 2 bars showing when the battery icon appears. The last bars will have useful charge remaining. During charging, provided the delay is used regularly, the temperature of the battery should be acceptable to allow a full charge and to prevent over heating of the pack during the end of a charge.
The pre-charge delay is programmed by pressing and holding the SELECT button on the IC until the left LCD displays the delay info. The HOUR and MIN button are used to set the delay in 15 minute increments. The delay value is limited to 9hrs and rolls over to zero at this point. Finish setting the delay by again pressing and holding the SELECT button until the delay info is replaced by the normal display. At this point the delay is set, stored in memory and enabled. The key switch must be turned off before plugging in the charger otherwise no delay will be implemented. Once a delay has been programmed, it can be enabled by simply holding the right brake lever while powering down. A delay with the pre-programmed duration will be implemented. A fixed 30 minute delay can also be enabled by holding the left brake lever during power down. The fans will run during this delay until either the temperature is within 3 degrees of ambient or the temperature reaches 24 degrees C. The delay will continue even if the fans turn off. Once the delay expires the charge will start.
The SW will keep track of riding time. Every 8 hrs, an equalization command will be sent to the charger.
For information purposes, when the kill switch is in the off position and the left lever is pulled, the battery voltage is displayed in the estimated range field and the highest battery temperature is displayed in the trip field (similar to when charging).
The motor controller fan will no longer come on immediately when the scooter is enabled, unless the controller is above a threshold temperature. As soon as the scooter begins to move or draws a minimum amount of current, the fan will come on at a default low speed as it did with previous SW. When the scoot comes to a stop the fan will turn off, again, unless the controller is above a threshold temperature. This basically masks any fan noise when the fan is not needed.