Cold weather and batteries.

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Buzzer
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Cold weather and batteries.

As winter approaches here in Maine, I assume cold weather will affect the charge in the batteries of my XB-600, which I need to keep outdoors or in an unheated shed when it's at home. In order to ride my bike as late in the season as possible (until ice patches form on the streets), my plan is to bring my battery pack indoors to keep it warm, and then put it back into the bike in the morning just in time for my daily commute, then keep the bike inside at work until my commute home. My question is, at what temperatures should I start bring my battery pack inside in order to keep a full charge?

antiscab
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

a cold battery wont lose charge per se, rather it will become harder to access (more voltage sag) the colder it gets

how much range can you afford to lose before you cant make the journey?

Id bring the pack indoors before the temperature goes below 0 deg C, 32F, as freezing a battery damages it.

as for bringing it in above that temperature, it very much depends on how much range you can afford to lose

Matt

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2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
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myocardia
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

As winter approaches here in Maine

WOW, we still have 5 more months of air conditioning weather here in Texas.:) As for a specific answer to your question, expect to start losing a significant amount of range below 40°F, losing more the lower the temps (of the pack) go. 40-45°F is a good point to start bringing them inside, in my opinion, although @ 45° you'll hardly have lost any range at all. By 35°, though, you'll have lost huge amounts of range.

mf70
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

The PowerSonic website has a lot of useful technical data, such as this graph:
//i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa122/mf70/Capacityversustemperature.jpg)(Temp is in Centigrade)

You can decide how much capacity you need to retain; you'll be discharging around 1C to .5C (Note that you only have 100% of capacity when discharging at .05C at 20 degC; that's the point where battery capacity is determined.)

You can get battery warmers (110V) to use while the bike is resting, though the XB-600 makes it easy to bring the pack inside - it won't lose much heat while running because of the compact box construction; that's the flip side of the thermal runaway that Arizona users have seen.

Buzzer
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

I charge the bike at the end of every day, and I ride a total of about 7 miles each day, commuting back and forth to work. We live in the "tropical" southern part of Maine, along the coast, so winter temperatures usually stay above zero degrees F, and more typically, stay in the 20 to 30 degrees (above zero) range. The northern part of Maine gets down to -20 to -40 without too much trouble, but I'm not riding the bike up there. Of course, if it gets below freezing, I probably wouldn't ride the bike anyway, due to the possibility of ice on the roads.

Buzzer

There are three kinds of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.

Rocky Romero
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

I've made a newbie mistake with my XB-600!

I've just had the bike for about two weeks and it was running wonderfully.

Now I have a bike that is not starting. I checked the batteries and they are bulging.

I just order a complete replacement pack. It had been charging for a couple of days. Obviously, there is no cutoff from the charger. I opened the case and the batteries were bulging. Should I have known about this? I read the manual and scanned this forum and there was nothing to alert me about this.

Lesson learned, $200 later, some disappointment, and somewhat battery wiser.

I'm thinking of getting a shutoff timer to control the charging.

Wondering if anyone has thoughts on this?

sixpax2k9
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

Many here do just that, use a timer to make sure to shut off the charger. I am, after monitoring the charger for several charges, am fairly confident my charger works fine and can go un-monitored. If it is a new bike perhaps the charger is covered under waranty, thus making the battery pack a replacement due to the malfunctioning charger???

Dave ; Tennessee
XB-600.

mf70
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

If it's operating correctly, the charger should not do this, obviously. It is very much too bad you had to discover the charger fault by losing the pack.

As I've said in other posts, a Kill-a-Watt is a cheap and easy way to monitor the charge profile. You'd need a volt meter as well.

The timer ain't a bad idea either as a backup.

Rocky Romero
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

Thanks for the feedback on this.

I'll call www.x-tremescooters.com to get their thoughts on this.

I was unaware that it may be a faulty charger that should regulate the juice going to the battery.

Rocky Romero
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

It seems that I may need a new charger from what you said.

I will also look into the Kill A Watt Power Monitor.

I'm not clear what value the volt meter may bring?

I wasn't prepared to get this involved with the components of the XB-600 this soon.

It was challenging enough to find a spot with an outlet in a high rise building. When it ran, I loved the feeling of ease and freedom in the city, especially for solving the parking issue. Fast forward ten years and I can see that this will revolutionize downtown living. Already, I keep looking for an electrical outlet wherever I park. They don't exist downtown. Some enterprising person (maybe me) will solve the recharging issue as demand surges.

For now, I'm gritting my teeth through this learning lesson.

Thanks to everyone that contributes on this Forum.

mf70
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

The volt meter will let you look at what is getting pumped into your batteries.

If you are charging the string in series (the stock method), Voltage will slowly climb (with constant current) to 14.6 x 4, or 58.4. It should then start to taper the amps. When the battery pack will no longer accept more charge without going above 58.4, it will drop back to 53.2V and shut itself off.

One manufacturer's description of this is here.

captainslug
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

I charge the bike at the end of every day, and I ride a total of about 7 miles each day.

Unless your pack has been used for more than 1,500 miles you won't have any issues with such a short distance in cold weather.

I checked the batteries and they are bulging.

I just order a complete replacement pack. It had been charging for a couple of days. Obviously, there is no cutoff from the charger. I opened the case and the batteries were bulging. Should I have known about this? I read the manual and scanned this forum and there was nothing to alert me about this.

bulging is a result of overcharging and can happen as a result of either a faulty charger, or an unbalanced pack (with individual batteries at voltages more than half of a volt or more difference from eachother.)

Rocky Romero
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

Yup, found out the hard way on overcharging.

I have ordered a new set of batteries, and a timer, and saddlebags (which have nothing to do with the batteries issue).

Now if the weather could just stay pleasant for riding on the weekend.

Rocky Romero
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

I found a further discussion on batteries at this link:

http://visforvoltage.org/forum/7074-howwhen-recharge-batteries

Rocky Romero
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

I received and installed my newly purchased batteries..and all is well.

It does take patience with the people at X-treme Scooters, and they likewise, are courteous.

I'm satisfied with my learning experience on the battery overcharging.

My new strategy is to just charge the bike a few hours before using it. This way, I will ensure not to overcharge it. Additionally, I do have a timer for disconnecting the power, as an added precaution.

tilt2468
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

I could not find a reference to your batery chemistry, but everything I read about sla batteries indicates that they must be charged as soon as possible after a ride-- delaying the recharge even a few times has a significant negative impact on the lifespan and performance of the batteries-- the advice I got is that it is a matter of minutes before damage occurs in the form of sulfation.

tilt

marylandbob
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

If you have lead-acid batteries, NEVER allow them to be exposed to below freezing temperatures in a "dead" condition! A discharged lead-acid battery is susceptible to freezing and internal damage, but a fully charged lead-acid battery will not easily freeze, unless temperatures are colder than 30 degrees below zero F. A fully charged battery will remain fully charged in very cold weather for weeks, but it will not deliver full operating performance until it warms up!(when very cold, the fully charged battery will not operate the device as long, unless the battery is warmed up)--Do not leave the battery without charging it,especially if storing it in a very cold space! Always store lead-acid batteries in a CHARGED condition.-Bob

Robert M. Curry

Rocky Romero
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

I could not find a reference to your batery chemistry, but everything I read about sla batteries indicates that they must be charged as soon as possible after a ride-- delaying the recharge even a few times has a significant negative impact on the lifespan and performance of the batteries-- the advice I got is that it is a matter of minutes before damage occurs in the form of sulfation.

Thanks for this thought. I don't know enough about these batteries yet to determine what is an optimum procedure. I'll develop some habits based on what I'm experiencing. So far, my experience has been to figure a way to keep the batteries from an overcharging situation. I do have the bike in an indoor environment so that the weather is a non factor.

tilt2468
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

If they are sla (sealed lead acid) don't delay the charging because the damage of sulfation can't be reversed.

In terms of winter riding and bike storage, I belong to a yahoo electric assist group where multiple people recommended not taking the bicycle indoors during the winter between rides because going from the warmth of indoors to cold temperatures damages the tire and tube, which leads to premature wearout and a greater risk of tube failure.

tilt

sixpax2k9
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

My best suggestion and what I will be doing on my bike is this.....
Using Anderson Powerpole connectors so that the battery pack can be easily and quickly changed from series to parallel. Charging the batteries in parallel pretty much eliminates the possibility of overcharging batteries because of ONE that is undercharged. A great 12V charger can be bought from Walmart for about $25 that will charge at 2,4, or 6 amps. If you want further protection and better battery performance and life, install some battery balancers/optimizers in the series chain. I am not sure of the price of them, but I have seen a few posts on here about them and what they do.

Dave ; Tennessee
XB-600.

Rocky Romero
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

If they are sla (sealed lead acid) don't delay the charging because the damage of sulfation can't be reversed.

Yes, they are lead acid batteries. I'll take your suggestion on this.

In terms of winter riding and bike storage, I belong to a yahoo electric assist group where multiple people recommended not taking the bicycle indoors during the winter between rides because going from the warmth of indoors to cold temperatures damages the tire and tube, which leads to premature wearout and a greater risk of tube failure.

I can only store the XB600 indoors.

This will be interesting to note, if and when I can ride the bike in a Chicago winter. I suspect that I will not ride it from December to April.

I am enjoying the mobility that it provides me in the city.

It's a great alternate to trains, buses, and cars.

Rocky Romero
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

Using Anderson Powerpole connectors so that the battery pack can be easily and quickly changed from series to parallel. Charging the batteries in parallel pretty much eliminates the possibility of overcharging batteries because of ONE that is undercharged. A great 12V charger can be bought from Walmart for about $25 that will charge at 2,4, or 6 amps. If you want further protection and better battery performance and life, install some battery balancers/optimizers in the series chain. I am not sure of the price of them, but I have seen a few posts on here about them and what they do.

This is new to me and I'll have to research this to determine how to do this.

The thought I have is weighing the effort to do this vs the risk of battery deterioration.

I'm considering getting another set of batteries as a standby. This way I can be assured of always having battery power ready to go.

So far the battery is the only SPF (Single Point of Failure) that I've encountered.

I would like to increase the torque, however, from the posts here, I'm too intimated and time pressed to take this on yet.

mf70
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

Series / Parallel plug wiring is fairly straightforward. I've used it for two years on two different scoots. Pack balance is very important in a series pack, and if one battery gets "out of synch" beyond the fairly small recombination tolerance of the batteries, it will mislead a 48V charger about the state of charge of the entire pack, with dramatic (and expensive) results. In a series charger, the limit is the SUM of the voltages of the pack, and a single battery's voltage can wander quite far from the average without affecting the pack's total voltage much.

With parallel charging, an out of capacity battery takes only what it needs to recharge, and the others do the same. The limit here is the basic chemistry (I would NEVER charge two different chemistries in parallel!)

BTW: I wouldn't worry much about freeze-thaw cycles shortening the life of your tires. A bigger concern would be protecting the various plugs from damp (SALT?) and corrosion. I've replaced the heavy power connectors to the controller with Anderson PowerPole, but the actual lines to the motor are the light, and non-waterproof stock connectors still. I've thought about a sealed junction box, but haven't implemented it yet.

Mark

tilt2468
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

Good point somebody made about the cold and the rubber-- I think maybe the warnings provided to me may have been a bit theoretical; however, my only blowout did occur on the coldest day I tried to ride last year.

In terms of a spare set of batteries-- pay attention to the calendar lifespan as well as the number of charge cycles. Two sets swapped may not last as long as one set being used up then a fresh set being purchased. It is important to charge sla's every 6-8 weeks in the winter, so they do not run down and sit.

I have been riding an e-bike for a bit over a year. I started out with a pair of 12v 12ah from Interstate batteries wired in series. My Interstate shop was extremely helpful with the initial wiring and creating a plug-in system for easy removal and charging. This spring my sla's (bought the previous August, but kept charged during the winter [central Illinois]) still performed, but were noticeably weaker in their output power and endurance. This summer I bit the bullet and ordered a 24 lithium battery for about triple the cost of new sla's from China. After about 20 cycles, the performance is night and day better in terms of power and endurance than the sla's at their peak, but I have no idea how long they will last (claim is 1000+ charge cycles over multiple years.) I do have enough spare ah that I am trying to wire up led head and tail lights powered by the lithium battery.

Possible lesson: ride out the sla's you have and then figure out whether you still have an interest in the assist and whether it might be worth the cost of switching chemistries.

tilt

Rocky Romero
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

This summer I bit the bullet and ordered a 24 lithium battery for about triple the cost of new sla's from China. After about 20 cycles, the performance is night and day better in terms of power and endurance than the sla's at their peak, but I have no idea how long they will last (claim is 1000+ charge cycles over multiple years.) I do have enough spare ah that I am trying to wire up led head and tail lights powered by the lithium battery.

I have an XB-600 and would be interested in replacing the SLA's with a lithium battery.

I was unaware that I could do this with an XB-600, although that's probably how the XB-700li came about.

What's involved in upgrading to lithium batteries?

bionicjay
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

i've been running ping batteries on my bike for about 4 months now, daily 10 mile commute.

I live in canada so i wanted a battery that could handle the cold, and these are rated at -20 f ..

http://www.pingbattery.com/servlet/the-2/lifepo4-lithium-ion-phosphate/Detail

Rocky Romero
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

i've been running ping batteries on my bike for about 4 months now, daily 10 mile commute.

I live in canada so i wanted a battery that could handle the cold, and these are rated at -20 f ..

http://www.pingbattery.com/servlet/the-2/lifepo4-lithium-ion-phosphate/Detail

I read that the ping batteries (lithium iron phosphate as cathode) are even better than lithium batteries.

Since you have used these for 4 months, would you have any other advantages, other than the resiliency to cold weather?

bionicjay
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

my ping batteries are much lighter than my sla, and have about 15% more range in the same a/h, i also got a 6am charger for them so i can charge in less than 2 hours...

tilt2468
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

The biggest upfront difference is the cost. In terms of application, the working temperature range is wider than sla and the performance for a similar sla battery (steady voltage and ah) should also be improved.

If you are going through pingbattery.com, you are better off using their website rather than an e-bay auction-- you will most likely save money by custom ordering the battery direct and you can get the precise size you need. The company was extremely patient and helpful in response to my pre-purchase questions (ah and size options and they were very willing to try to match the size I needed-- what it came down to in the end was I provided them with the maximum size possible for my case (length, width, and height) and they let me know what was the biggest battery they could build to fit the case (for my case it was 24v - 15ah). It should be noted that a lithium battery will have a battery management system hardwired to the battery that will also need some space in the case. The bms has led indicators on it, so I created a plexiglass window in my case to monitor the led's, but the company did not think that was necessary.

The wiring was a little different for the new battery compared to the factory sla setup. The new battery has separate charge and discharge leads unlike an sla that only has a single pair of leads from the battery. It was fairly easy to figure out how to wire my (Merida) case so that the charging plug on the case connected to the charging leads on the battery and the discharge leads went to the bicycle.

Here is a link to several related pictures (battery installations) I was putting together for somebody else: http://picasaweb.google.com/wetzelb/2009MeridaImages# .

tilt

Rocky Romero
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Re: Cold weather and batteries.

I'm considering getting another set of batteries as a standby. This way I can be assured of always having battery power ready to go.

So far the battery is the only SPF (Single Point of Failure) that I've encountered.

Electric Scooter to get around

Now with an extra battery pack on top of the built in battery pack, I've been able to extend my driving distance twice as far.

I've noticed that it doesn't impede my driving and I barely notice it.

In my round trip drive of about 28 miles, the extra battery doesn't even shift around.  This is probably because of it's weight. I'll strap it down just to make sure it stays in place. I know it's not a revolutionary concept, however, I've doubled my driving distance with minimal effort.

For short trips, there is no need to take the extra battery.

With this approach, I'll always have a charged battery waiting for me, in the event that I need to use the bike sooner than expected.

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