Newest Vectrix firmware updates

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volts76
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Newest Vectrix firmware updates

SW Changes
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.

DaveD
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

Is there a way to get the s/w version identifier (number of some other sort of code) to be displayed on the Vectrix display(s)? It sure would be useful to know that.

Mik
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

Impressive!

Where did you get all those good ideas from? [/sarcasm]

How about you guys re-instate my warranty, now that you have finally acknowledged the existence of most of the problems which I have been experiencing and reporting since Dec 2007?

Especially since the most important changes to the SW follow the rationale and resemble exactly the functionality of the ABCool 12V power supply which I developed and described in detail...

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: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

Nice software upgrade :-) It's always nice to see new improvements being made.

But it's true, that Mik (probably) thought of and (certainly) implemented the idea (of pre-charge cooling) first and made extensive reports about that; in fact, he was a good beta-tester and he invested a lot of time and money. In my opinion, he should be rewarded for that (maybe a new battery pack?). It would also make it a good PR move ;-)

I have one question about the subject in topic; You mentioned, that with the new software, the cut-off voltage, at discharge, is higher than in the current software. Is it possible then, that when we did 5 deep-discharge cycles, as said in the manual, that we over-discharged our batteries because of the to low cut-off voltage in the software?
I ask because nowhere in the manual says, what a deep-discharge actually is. We could only speculate and did deep-discharges as what we thought a real deep-discharge is, but we actually damaged the batteries because of to low cut-off?
My guestimate of the deep-discharge was to ride the bike until it wouldn't move anymore my itself. Did I discharge it to deeply?

duca
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

Further I'm under the impression that a higher cut-off voltage means less range... or not?

moccasin
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

My guestimate of the deep-discharge was to ride the bike until it wouldn't move anymore my itself. Did I discharge it to deeply?

Hoping to see an official answer to that, but my gut feeling is that since the book suggests five DEEP discharges rather than five COMPLETE discharges, that a "deep discharge" is simply riding until the power/speed limitation goes into effect.

I rode mine down to no power/crawl speed twice, and on the third shot, I rode it so far it would just sit there and bump but not move. I won't do either again. I've experienced no gain in range and don't need it anyway. It just doesn't feel right running them that low. Toyota Prius battery pack never gets below 80% discharge and is never completely topped off either, which may be a factor in why they are warranted for 10 years.

Vectrix-NH
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

Mik can get a new Battery any way . they recalled the battery . it has not a thing to do with . Waranty.

Wotnopetrol
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

The DEEP discharge thing is too vague. I was told to do 5 in the first month. I did 4 really deep ones, back to back and then left it a couple of weeks before I could do the last one.

On my way to work I had been "playing" a game to see at what point the 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc. bars went out and they were very close to within a few yards, then the distance started to decline slightly. I thought it was because of the dropping air temperature affecting the battery performance.

Anyway I did the last DEEP discharge and I gained a few hundred yards per bar afterwards.

Now I'm back to what I was at before the 5th discharge.

The best mileage I have got however is 49.9 miles, strangely enough, twice. I just couldn't get to 50 miles no matter what I did. It wouldn't drag itself another inch. The battery warning indicator only came on for a few seconds during this very deep abuse, and then went out again, so do I hope I've ended up with a balanced pack.

Am I getting myself at it, or is the regen braking effect stronger when the battery is low?

Also, is a nice (long downhill) slight, speed moderating regen putting more into the battery than a fast coast down the same hill, then wacking all the braking on at the end? Even when at the top of this hill, which coincides with one of my bars going out, with the long downhill regen, the bar never comes back, even though it must be on the cusp of doing so if the battery meter is to be believed.

Has anyone done a serious long fast mountain descent and seen a bar "come back"?

Simon

Mik
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

Has anyone done a serious long fast mountain descent and seen a bar "come back"?

Yes, it happens on looong rides down a mountain. 1 bar increase max is what I have seen.
I think I posted it somewhere on V.

Most current goes into the battery when least kinetic energy is converted into turbulence - meaning if you decelerate earlier you will possibly recover more battery capacity.

Whilst the RETAMPI shows me the proportional amps going into the battery, it can of course not tell me how much of that energy is converted to heat and damage to the battery.

The recharging rate during fast (80km/h - 100km/h) regen braking might be in the order of 3 to 4 C = 90A to 120A.

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

moccasin
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

I occasionally add a bar on my half mile descent downhill to the highway (although most of the trip down is just coasting). I figure I was just barely beneath that bar when I started, so it don't take much to add it back on.

AndY1
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

Mik can get a new Battery any way . they recalled the battery . it has not a thing to do with . Waranty.

Mik, have you read that?

Mik
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates
Mik can get a new Battery any way . they recalled the battery . it has not a thing to do with . Waranty.

Mik, have you read that?

Of course I read it!

They do not replace the battery, they rework it in Australia. You get to keep your damaged cells, plus the stripped threadings and whatever other problem they manage to introduce in the process.

The offer I had was for an incompetent Vectrix Australia staff member to "rework" = mess up my battery, like s/he did for others. That staff member does not work there any more now.

There is a serious low-capacity battery issue in Australia, and some batteries were replaced with ones that give even less range than the originals.

Apparently a number of Australian riders have been promised and are waiting for replacement batteries for a long time now.

They are keeping quiet to not give Vectrix bad publicity and / or endanger their warranty. Hearsay, of course, but I for one believe the person who told me!

In other words, it would just be worse if I let Vectrix do the battery rework.

Each time they worked on my scooters they damaged something, I am not letting them do this without a warranty because I will just have more trouble cleaning up after them than by doing it myself in the first place.

Of course, if they were offering me a truly new and capacity tested battery, they could have the old one, including the data I collected on which cells are good or not so good any more.

Once I have completed the battery analysis I might approach Vectrix Australia to find out if they are willing to sell me a used, "broken" battery pack from the bikes in which they replaced them. I have not tried to contact them again since my still unanswered email from May, 2008: http://visforvoltage.org/forum/3462-vectrix-warranty-voided#comment-19866

I do not know if they rework the batteries or not; it is likely though that they are learning from my posts how to do it!

Nevertheless, it is tricky and labour and time intensive to recondition used cells.

Thanks for batting for me, but this is really off-topic here, we should try to stick to the software issues.


Someone (Volts76) has gone to the trouble of posting this detailed insight into the coming SW update, I wonder if it was with official sanctioning from Vectrix Corp.

I doubt we will ever hear from Volts76 again, at least under this name!

But it would be nice!

At least someone in Vectrix seems to listen / read these forums and pick up ideas, so who cares where they get their ideas from as long as it improves the product and the chances to turn things around for humanity.

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: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

Interesting and detailed post. Can you - volts76 - please confirm that this is an official post from Vectrix. Thanks.
My question is about the pre-charge delay. It sounds as if each owner needs to manually set the amount of delay, but I didn't see any criteria for how much time to set. Is it based on temperature only? Is there a chart available that could indicate the appropriate delay based on the temperature of the batteries? This, of course, brings the next question - how can we find out the current battery temperature. I only see the battery temperature while the charging is taking place; it seems we need to know the temperature before we plug it in - so we can set the appropriate delay.
Also - what happens if a manual delay is not set? Is there an automatic delay? When I charged my bike today (1st charge after installation of the new firmware) it took almost 5 hours to charge. Obviously there was a delay, but how much? How was it determined?
Thanks!

jmap
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

Impressive!

Where did you get all those good ideas from? [/sarcasm]

How about you guys re-instate my warranty, now that you have finally acknowledged the existence of most of the problems which I have been experiencing and reporting since Dec 2007?

Especially since the most important changes to the SW follow the rationale and resemble exactly the functionality of the ABCool 12V power supply which I developed and described in detail...

This is a serious accusation. Are they stealing your work? Maybe a legal sue would make them think twice...

jmap
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

Nice software upgrade :-) It's always nice to see new improvements being made.

But it's true, that Mik (probably) thought of and (certainly) implemented the idea (of pre-charge cooling) first and made extensive reports about that; in fact, he was a good beta-tester and he invested a lot of time and money. In my opinion, he should be rewarded for that (maybe a new battery pack?). It would also make it a good PR move ;-)

I have one question about the subject in topic; You mentioned, that with the new software, the cut-off voltage, at discharge, is higher than in the current software. Is it possible then, that when we did 5 deep-discharge cycles, as said in the manual, that we over-discharged our batteries because of the to low cut-off voltage in the software?
I ask because nowhere in the manual says, what a deep-discharge actually is. We could only speculate and did deep-discharges as what we thought a real deep-discharge is, but we actually damaged the batteries because of to low cut-off?
My guestimate of the deep-discharge was to ride the bike until it wouldn't move anymore my itself. Did I discharge it to deeply?

If the idea is from Mik, Vectrix should give him a new bike and pay him the work that he have done by developing and being a beta tester.

Mik
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

This is a serious accusation. Are they stealing your work? Maybe a legal sue would make them think twice...

It's not just my work, and it has not been stolen.

I would consider it stolen if someone tried to patent it. But I would still not sue anyone, I have better things to do!

I hope that by publishing inventions they are placed in the public domain and can be used by anyone free of charge.

If someone patented the ABCool, then another manufacturer could maybe challenge this in court later on.

Someone with more clout than Mr. Mik....like Toyota or Daimler-Chrysler, Honda or Yamaha!

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: Newest Vectrix firmware updates
Impressive!

Where did you get all those good ideas from? [/sarcasm]

How about you guys re-instate my warranty, now that you have finally acknowledged the existence of most of the problems which I have been experiencing and reporting since Dec 2007?

Especially since the most important changes to the SW follow the rationale and resemble exactly the functionality of the ABCool 12V power supply which I developed and described in detail...

This is a serious accusation. Are they stealing your work? Maybe a legal sue would make them think twice...

I think you're overreacting a bit ;-)

He's not the first one to think of the idea. The Remote Control community (electric RC helicopters, planes,...) have been cooling batteries, before another recharge, after the flight, for a long time. Our LiPo chargers are connected to the car battery and so are the 80mm computer fans, which cool our batteries prior to recharging.

It's nothing new to patent, since it's been used before and I can only thank Mik for implementing it first and thank Vectrix for implementing it via a software update for the rest of the Vectrix owners.

I also think it's a wrong thing to attack the one poster here, that gave us valuable information and has exposed himself to attacks from us. If I were him, I'd never post here again. I'd completely understand him if he never posts here again.
I think we should treat the poster more nicely ;-)

Let me be the first to welcome volts76 to this forum and thank you for the information. I'm looking forward to future upgrades and any information you can share with us :-)

jmap
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates
This is a serious accusation. Are they stealing your work? Maybe a legal sue would make them think twice...

It's not just my work, and it has not been stolen.

I would consider it stolen if someone tried to patent it. But I would still not sue anyone, I have better things to do!

I hope that by publishing inventions they are placed in the public domain and can be used by anyone free of charge.

If someone patented the ABCool, then another manufacturer could maybe challenge this in court later on.

Someone with more clout than Mr. Mik....like Toyota or Daimler-Chrysler, Honda or Yamaha!

Then we must deeply thank you for your posture, as it should Vectrix Corp.

jmap
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates
Impressive!

Where did you get all those good ideas from? [/sarcasm]

How about you guys re-instate my warranty, now that you have finally acknowledged the existence of most of the problems which I have been experiencing and reporting since Dec 2007?

Especially since the most important changes to the SW follow the rationale and resemble exactly the functionality of the ABCool 12V power supply which I developed and described in detail...

This is a serious accusation. Are they stealing your work? Maybe a legal sue would make them think twice...

I think you're overreacting a bit ;-)

He's not the first one to think of the idea. The Remote Control community (electric RC helicopters, planes,...) have been cooling batteries, before another recharge, after the flight, for a long time. Our LiPo chargers are connected to the car battery and so are the 80mm computer fans, which cool our batteries prior to recharging.

It's nothing new to patent, since it's been used before and I can only thank Mik for implementing it first and thank Vectrix for implementing it via a software update for the rest of the Vectrix owners.

I also think it's a wrong thing to attack the one poster here, that gave us valuable information and has exposed himself to attacks from us. If I were him, I'd never post here again. I'd completely understand him if he never posts here again.
I think we should treat the poster more nicely ;-)

Let me be the first to welcome volts76 to this forum and thank you for the information. I'm looking forward to future upgrades and any information you can share with us :-)

Ok, ok, I’ve got the idea. I apologize for overreacting and I thank volts76 that surely is welcomed.

AndY1
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

No problem ;-)

Volt76, you're most welcome to post any information in the future.

volts76
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

If you take your "V" to an authorized Vectrix dealer (US), they can visit the Vectrix portal to download the latest firmware. They have the knowlage and software to properly update your "V".

jmap
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

If you take your "V" to an authorized Vectrix dealer (US), they can visit the Vectrix portal to download the latest firmware. They have the knowlage and software to properly update your "V".

I think that in a near future all brands of electric vehicles must publish their firmware and allow clients to apply it like they do the update of the hardware drivers on the home computer. The market will not like the need to go to the workshop every time a firmware is released.

That's my opinion, anyway...

volts76
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

I agree!!!

moccasin
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

"....The market will not like the need to go to the workshop every time a firmware is released....."

Especially if the shop is a full day's drive away! However, like home computers, MOST updates are just tweaks, and are not really necessary, as the unit runs just fine like the day it was bought.

Still, one of the major kudo points to the Vectrix is LACK of need for maintenance, so the ability to plug it into your own laptop for updates would be nice. However, that might also open up a lot of doors of opportunity for home users to hack the system and do damage to a bike that would otherwise be under warranty. At least in a shop, there's a controlled and restricted enviroment.

I would not haul my perfectly good running bike 500 miles to a dealer just for a firmware update, but if it needed repair work or warranty service, I would ask for the update while it was there.

jmap
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

Especially if the shop is a full day's drive away! However, like home computers, MOST updates are just tweaks, and are not really necessary, as the unit runs just fine like the day it was bought.

Unfortunately mine don't and the support says that the new firmware will fix the temperature warning that is triggered when ambient temperature drops bellow 20º.

Still, one of the major kudo points to the Vectrix is LACK of need for maintenance, so the ability to plug it into your own laptop for updates would be nice. However, that might also open up a lot of doors of opportunity for home users to hack the system and do damage to a bike that would otherwise be under warranty. At least in a shop, there's a controlled and restricted enviroment.

That's another issue. Hacking must break warranty. You also break your warranty if you open your bike and modify some things… and you can tell them that you didn't. They must have a process to identify who's telling the truth.

I would not haul my perfectly good running bike 500 miles to a dealer just for a firmware update, but if it needed repair work or warranty service, I would ask for the update while it was there.

Applying the firmware can solve some hidden issues that you don't know of and may appear later. So it is always good to apply the latest version.

undead
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

Hang on, was my problem with the temp sensor flashing perhaps caused by this - the ambient temp was well below 20c and it seems to have gone away now the temp has gone up slightly after our cold snap - having delt with sensors in servers for many years, the problem rarely goes away by itself once a sensor starts to fail.

Still will be getting it tomorrow so will update then...

jmap
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

Hang on, was my problem with the temp sensor flashing perhaps caused by this - the ambient temp was well below 20c and it seems to have gone away now the temp has gone up slightly after our cold snap - having delt with sensors in servers for many years, the problem rarely goes away by itself once a sensor starts to fail.

Still will be getting it tomorrow so will update then...

It seems tha you have the same problem that I have. The question is: If it is a software problem, why the others on't have the same problem?

undead
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

Fault Still has not come back yet so will monitor once he has done firmware upgrade.

Hands0n
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates
Hang on, was my problem with the temp sensor flashing perhaps caused by this - the ambient temp was well below 20c and it seems to have gone away now the temp has gone up slightly after our cold snap - having delt with sensors in servers for many years, the problem rarely goes away by itself once a sensor starts to fail.

Still will be getting it tomorrow so will update then...

It seems tha you have the same problem that I have. The question is: If it is a software problem, why the others on't have the same problem?

A good question - I've ridden mine throughout since July. Our recent cold snap where the Norwegian winds brought 0C temperatures saw the Vectrix happily delivering its usual performance and range. It does have the "new technology" batteries that were being shipped from at least July in the UK. In August I witnessed the shop's demo model having the new tech batteries installed.

I'm due the new software on Wednesday, but won't be in a position to activate it until the weekend that follows.

tom5007
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

It does have the "new technology" batteries that were being shipped from at least July in the UK. In August I witnessed the shop's demo model having the new tech batteries installed.

Do you say that Vectrix changed their batteries this summer? Do you have any more details about this?

Norman

Hands0n
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Re: Newest Vectrix firmware updates

Do you say that Vectrix changed their batteries this summer? Do you have any more details about this?

Norman

Sorry Norman, I don't have any links or such that I can tell you about. When I took my Vectrix in for its first service in late August the engineer had stripped down the shop's 2007 Vectrix and was replacing the GP battery packs. I asked why and he said that it was being done to all Vectrix using "new technology" NiMH battery packs from GP. I have to guess these were in some way more advanced NiMH than the orginal packs. Mine was a 2008 model and he said that the new pack was already fitted at the factory.

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