Advice for newbie

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eraserbones
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Advice for newbie

After coveting an electric scooter for quite a while, I impulse-bought a Vectrix from a dealer who was liquidating their inventory. I've been poring over these forums and the collaborative handbook, but quite a bit of the information is over my head. I have a few basic questions... if these are already answered someplace else, feel free to direct me!

1) Memory effect:

I'll be using the scooter mostly for short runs (which I can only hope will be well within the range of even a partially-worn-out battery pack.) My work commute, for example, is about 6 miles on the freeway or about 5 on 35 mph surface streets. Should I be worried about training my batteries to only take 10 mile's worth of charge? Is it better to run them all the way down before recharging, or is it equally fine for me to plug in every night?

2) Firmware:

The dealer says that the bike has the latest firmware installed. Is there any way for me to verify that?

3) Spare parts:

Other than the batteries (which are sure to wear out but are too expensive to keep a spare set around), are there any other parts that are so likely to crap out in the first few years that I should just snap them up while they're still available? (I don't have the budget to buy an entire back-up cycle, alas :) )

4) Break-in:

Should I adopt any specific riding habits during the Vectrix's early days? Avoiding high speeds, for instance?

5) Winter storage:

It's best to store the scooter with mostly-discharged battery, right? And, will excessive cold damage anything?

6) Anything else that I really need to know:

?

Thanks!

R
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Re: Advice for newbie

1)Plug in every night. There's no memory effect. If you don't do deep discharges you avoid stressing the battery, therefore it will last longer. Every month it is suggested to do a full discharge to let the electronics recheck the battery level. I don't do them.
2)turn on, switch the red kill engine button on the right, and pull the right brake lever. If the left display shows temp and voltage, it is last soft.
3)It seems that Vectrix will keep operating in Europe, I won't buy any replacement. The gear planetary never craps, but depending on the bike it gets unbalanced and makes a lot of noise. It can be a real nightmare! Keed an ear on it, if it gets louddly ask for a replacement. I suggest you buy the sport windshield, it is beautiful!
4)You should adopt permanent new habits. Drive efficiently. Avoid fast accelerations as a rule. Avoid stressing the battery. Although it can perform like a gas scooter, it is not the same. The less you stress the battery, the longer it will last. If it gets very hot, avoid parking in the sun, and avoid recharging with the battery sensor saying a temp over 30 degrees celcius
5) Under no circumstance! you must not store the bike with discharged batteries. This is imperative. The brain is always consuming energy, and the battery has an intense selfdischrarge rate. After the winter you'll discover that the battery is dead.
Store it with half charge. And check the level every month. Do a partial recharge if needed.
6) It is the best electric scooter in the world. Congrats for the purchase! It is a blast to ride: Keep the mind cool when you ride it....

rewski
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Re: Advice for newbie

1)Plug in every night. There's no memory effect. If you don't do deep discharges you avoid stressing the battery, therefore it will last longer. Every month it is suggested to do a full discharge to let the electronics recheck the battery level. I don't do them.
2)turn on, switch the red kill engine button on the right, and pull the right brake lever. If the left display shows temp and voltage, it is last soft.

Just to clarify #1 and #2. Re: #1: there is no memory effect but if you constantly "top off" your charge without doing the occasional discharge you range will begin to suffer. Not because the battery capacity is decreasing, but simply because the software will not charge the battery completely. When this happened a discharge until the battery light comes on should fix things. It is recommended that every month or so you do a complete discharge. Before anyone jumps on me for saying this, THIS DEPENDS ON IF YOU HAVE THE NEWEST FIRMWARE! The new firmware raised the lower cutoff voltage to protect the pack. The previous firmware would allow the voltage to get down to 105 V, but the newest firmware only allows my bike to get down to 119V even when I ride it until it can't go over 15-20 mph, so the batteries should be protected.
#2: To correct the above post, if you have the newest (Oct 2008) firmware, turn on the bike, hit the red kill switch and hold the LEFT brake handle. The left display will show the current voltage and average temp of the battery sensors.

Have fun and ride safe!

Adam - Denver, CO
2007 Vectrix VX-1 charged with the power of the sun = zero carbon footprint

marylandbob
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Re: Advice for newbie

store the battery CHARGED!(at least 130 volts) Also, never allow it to fully discharge,(below 85 volts) as recharge will fail! During storage, recharge it every month or so, to prevent total discharge.-Bob Curry

Robert M. Curry

tom5007
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Re: Advice for newbie

store the battery CHARGED!(at least 130 volts) Also, never allow it to fully discharge,(below 85 volts) as recharge will fail! During storage, recharge it every month or so, to prevent total discharge.-Bob Curry

If I would be Mik I would know how to put this thread into the Vectrix online handbook thingy.

This is very interesting, so 85Volts is when the charger wont be able to initiate a charging sequence. We had a couple of messages here from owner with dead batteries. I guess they all had batteries with 85Volts or less.

Norman

eraserbones
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Re: Advice for newbie

Thank you for all your responses! This is very useful and reassuring.

I have a tuck-under garage, so the bike will have a nice cool home for charging. I'll scout around my office for a tree to park under during the day.

marylandbob
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Re: Advice for newbie

Be aware that exessive cold or heat can damage some LCD displays. Also beware of allowing leaves or animals to get inside the battery/controller area. Leaves and similar debris will collect and hold moisture, bad for electronics! Leaving a vehicle idle/unused for long invites animal nesting-wasps, mice, squirrells, rats, etc-a friend found out the HARD way, that MICE love the WIRES in his Honda Insight car! They crawled up underneath the car, and chewed happily away at the wiring, doing about $2,000.00 damage!--good luck, Bob Curry

Robert M. Curry

R
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Re: Advice for newbie

Certainly rewski, it is the left brake Handle. I apologise.. This is what happens when I answer quickly using a foreign language....

Mik
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Re: Advice for newbie

...

If I would be Mik I would know how to put this thread into the Vectrix online handbook thingy.

...
Norman

Not everyone can move pages around, but everyone can create new book pages!

And that is much more useful than just moving pages around, because the initial post can be endlessly edited. That means that if you want to, you could copy and paste the information from other threads into a book page.
Other people can then comment, and you can update the initial post on that page until it is next to perfect!

I just don't have the time to do it, so for now I just drop stuff into the "Handbook", but it gets more and more cluttered that way.

If a handful of people "adopt" or rather create a book page and work on it for a while, then the handbook will soon be an excellent resource!

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

Mik
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Re: Advice for newbie

Be aware that exessive cold or heat can damage some LCD displays. Also beware of allowing leaves or animals to get inside the battery/controller area. Leaves and similar debris will collect and hold moisture, bad for electronics! Leaving a vehicle idle/unused for long invites animal nesting-wasps, mice, squirrells, rats, etc-a friend found out the HARD way, that MICE love the WIRES in his Honda Insight car! They crawled up underneath the car, and chewed happily away at the wiring, doing about $2,000.00 damage!--good luck, Bob Curry

Here is how to fix the animal invasion problem:
http://visforvoltage.org/book/ev-collaborative-hand-books/7054

http://s281.photobucket.com/albums/kk217/Mr_Mik/Vectux/Battery/Battery%20rework%205%20BMS/?action=view&current=DSC06228.jpg

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

eraserbones
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Re: Advice for newbie

I've been giving the batteries an 8-hour pre-charge rest, and letting it sit for more than 12 hours on average. That's been working fine for the most part, and generally in the mornings the bike is cold, off, and charged. Yesterday morning, though, I arrived to find the fans still running and the battery at 39C. I thought, OK, probably it's equalizing, and I unplugged it and rode off.

Last night, I changed the rest time to 6 hours so it could continue its EQ. This morning, again the fans were running and this time the bathot indicator was on, battery light blinking, and the temp at 49C. I needed to go to work, so I did, light lashing all the while. Questions:

1) Was it really really bad for me to ride the bike when it was that hot?

2) Am I right that I'm probably just seeing an EQ cycle?

3) Is it 'normal' to get that hot during EQ? The weather was cool last night.

4) Is the firmware /really/ so stupid that the bike will cheerfully self-immolate rather than shutting down when a charge cycle runs too hot?

Mik
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Re: Advice for newbie

..
...

Last night, I changed the rest time to 6 hours so it could continue its EQ. This morning, again the fans were running and this time the bathot indicator was on, battery light blinking, and the temp at 49C. I needed to go to work, so I did, light lashing all the while. Questions:

1) Was it really really bad for me to ride the bike when it was that hot?

2) Am I right that I'm probably just seeing an EQ cycle?

3) Is it 'normal' to get that hot during EQ? The weather was cool last night.

4) Is the firmware /really/ so stupid that the bike will cheerfully self-immolate rather than shutting down when a charge cycle runs too hot?

Something is very wrong. If you are still away at work, I would try to get someone to unplug the charger, it sound as though you maybe left it standing to continue overheating the battery.

It might just be a faulty reading, but even then, better safe than sorry.

I would not charge again unless I had time to actually observe what happens.

Sounds like you probably have no warranty, so you do want to be nice to your battery etc!

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

R
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Re: Advice for newbie

Was it really really bad for me to ride the bike when it was that hot?

As mik points out, it is really bad. Something is wrong with your battery (sensor or cells). I've never seen 49C on a bike before... If that was by bike, I wouldn't ride it until I sort out what is going on.

Am I right that I'm probably just seeing an EQ cycle?

Yes, equalising by using a low intensity overcharge requieres all excedential energy in fully charged cells to be transformed into heat... but usually never exceeds 40C...

Is the firmware /really/ so stupid that the bike will cheerfully self-immolate rather than shutting down when a charge cycle runs too hot?

The firmare is just an order executor. If there is no order in the software to shut down in case of overheat, don't expect a miracle... We all know this charging software needs an improvement...
eraserbones
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Re: Advice for newbie

Something is very wrong. If you are still away at work, I would try to get someone to unplug the charger, it sound as though you maybe left it standing to continue overheating the battery.

It might just be a faulty reading, but even then, better safe than sorry.

I would not charge again unless I had time to actually observe what happens.

Sounds like you probably have no warranty, so you do want to be nice to your battery etc!

I definitely did not leave it charging -- it's been sitting out in the cool all day. I'm going to ride it home (a short, low-speed trip) and then I'll be in a good position to watch it charge... but I don't really know what I'm watching for. How do I know the difference between charging and equalizing?

jmap
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Re: Advice for newbie

I've been giving the batteries an 8-hour pre-charge rest, and letting it sit for more than 12 hours on average. That's been working fine for the most part, and generally in the mornings the bike is cold, off, and charged. Yesterday morning, though, I arrived to find the fans still running and the battery at 39C. I thought, OK, probably it's equalizing, and I unplugged it and rode off.

Last night, I changed the rest time to 6 hours so it could continue its EQ. This morning, again the fans were running and this time the bathot indicator was on, battery light blinking, and the temp at 49C. I needed to go to work, so I did, light lashing all the while. Questions:

1) Was it really really bad for me to ride the bike when it was that hot?

2) Am I right that I'm probably just seeing an EQ cycle?

3) Is it 'normal' to get that hot during EQ? The weather was cool last night.

4) Is the firmware /really/ so stupid that the bike will cheerfully self-immolate rather than shutting down when a charge cycle runs too hot?

By the way, what was the ambient temperature? With 30ºC of ambient temperature the battery goes above 40ºC for sure when doing the long equalization. That happens every 10 hours of driving (assuming that you have the latest firmware).

I recomend that you do (if possible) a Refrigerated Charge.

Mik
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Re: Advice for newbie

...
..
I'm going to ride it home (a short, low-speed trip) and then I'll be in a good position to watch it charge... but I don't really know what I'm watching for. How do I know the difference between charging and equalizing?

I don't know either, no-one has bothered to write up a detailed description of what happens; my Vectux still runs good old firmware with more power. I've never seen what a Vectrix with newer firmware does during charging.

But anyway, just check that both impellers are starting up, not just one. Otherwise one battery will slowly overheat. That might well be your problem.
You check this by listening carefully whenthe impellers start to run about 10sec after plugging the charger in. Usually one impeller starts before the other, so that the starting of the second impeller can be heard.

Much easier is to remove the two bolts holding down the front seat and feeling for the impeller vibrations. You'll see where each one is because of the screws on top of the cover. One has only two screws on top, the other 4 screws. The vibrations are strong between those screws, if one impeller is not running then you will feel the difference. The air flow in front of the rear wheel can also be used to assess if both impellers are running, but it is difficult if you have not tried it out when it was still working OK. There should be airflow on both sides, not just one side.

If the impellers are both running, then continue to charge but watch what the voltage and temperatures do.
If only one impeller is running, then fix the broken one (or make sure it gets power if it is not broken).
It the temperature keeps going up and up past 40degC, stop charging!

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

eraserbones
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Re: Advice for newbie

Tonight I gave the bike a several hour rest, let it charge for a couple of hours and checked in. It was reading 33C and the battery was marked as completely full. I unplugged, set it for a 30-minute delay, and re-plugged (figuring that it was bound and determined to equalize and I'd best let it do that while I was watching.)

A couple hours later, I switched the bike on to get a status report, and was still reading 33C. Fans were running (all of them, I'm pretty sure), the odometer panel read 'co 152' and the left display was counting down seconds with just 9 minutes and change to go. I watched it count down to zero... then it reset the clock to 7 minutes and started counting down again, at which point the speedometer needle swung around to 100kph and sat there jittering. Then, at about 1:52 suddenly everything shut down -- fans, lights, display, and all.

Switched to 'on' again, and it said, 'EC 0000' (error code 0? probably good news) "1:52" (presumably the time left when it suddenly stopped counting down, although I have no idea why it would tell me that) and 33C.

So... I guess all is well, but I am /very/ curious what the various stages and messages in that final ritual signify :)

Mik
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Re: Advice for newbie

...
...

A couple hours later, I switched the bike on to get a status report, and was still reading 33C. Fans were running (all of them, I'm pretty sure), the odometer panel read 'co 152' and the left display was counting down seconds with just 9 minutes and change to go. I watched it count down to zero... then it reset the clock to 7 minutes and started counting down again, at which point the speedometer needle swung around to 100kph and sat there jittering. Then, at about 1:52 suddenly everything shut down -- fans, lights, display, and all.

Most peculiar that it goes to "100"; usually that means about 10A DC charging current, which is way too high when the battery is full. That would indeed make the battery very hot, even cause it to vent is gas contents.

I wonder if this is a malfunction, but only people who have experience with the new firmware can really tell you.

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

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