Welp, ran out of charge for the first time

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memecode
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Welp, ran out of charge for the first time

Post by memecode » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 05:12

I decided to go a little further yesterday than I had before to see what it could handle. Basically two trips into the city and back (22km each way) with a bit of a charge in between - 40mins, which brought it back up to 3/4ths full according to the gauge. I was still 6km from home on the final leg and the battery was on 4 to 5 bars... and it just went without warning to zero. Because I couldn't really stop there I kept going looking for a side street to park. And it lost a lot of power quickly. This was at 11:30p so I got a friend to just drop me home.

Now I have the fun job of trying to find someone to help charge it up enough to get home. And I really hope the cells are still ok.

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jonescg
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Re: Welp, ran out of charge for the first time

Post by jonescg » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 10:22

I've done that with my petrol powered motorcycle, so don't feel alone in that sense :)
AEVA National Secretary, WA branch chair.

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brendon_m
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Re: Welp, ran out of charge for the first time

Post by brendon_m » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 10:36

I once ran out of fuel while idling, waiting in line at the servo :oops:
But at least it was probably the most convenient place to run out of juice.

memecode
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Re: Welp, ran out of charge for the first time

Post by memecode » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 11:00

brendon_m wrote:
Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 10:36
I once ran out of fuel while idling, waiting in line at the servo :oops:
But at least it was probably the most convenient place to run out of juice.
Similar... pulled up to the pump. Before I reach for the key the engine cuts out... well then.. lol.

So I asked the Chiro place across the street for a power point, which they happily agreed to provide. So I charged for a few hours this morning, giving them a coupla bucks for some kWh. And then came back to pick it up and ride home. Seems ok. It's now charging off my solar.

All in all I covered 87km with an extra 40mins of charging in the middle. So I suspect the safe range is something like 65km? Ish...

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Richo
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Re: Welp, ran out of charge for the first time

Post by Richo » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 12:27

I ran out of fuel ON the road but had enough speed to roll into the servo.
Rolled up to the pump only to find out the servo was closed.
Then another person pulled in, on the other side of the pump, put the pump nozzle into their car and stood there looking more stupid than me.
"ah the servo is closed"
So the short answer is NO but the long answer is YES.
Help prevent road rage - get outta my way!

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Re: Welp, ran out of charge for the first time

Post by antiscab » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 15:02

I once ran out on my vectrix just up the road from a building site (after hours)
I charged from the site power box and left some coins in the box
Matt
2017 Renault zoe - 25'000km
2007 vectrix - 156'000km
1998 prius - needs Batt
1999 Prius - needs batt
2000 prius - has 200 x headway 38120 cells

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Re: Welp, ran out of charge for the first time

Post by wovenrovings » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 16:01

I was testing the range of mine. Ran out 1km from home. They are heavy things to push.
A kind motorcyclist stopped to see if he could give me some petrol....
Sounds like everyone gets caught at least once.

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Re: Welp, ran out of charge for the first time

Post by memecode » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 16:18

So I didn't come away unscathed. The bike won't charge beyond 3/4 on the gauge. Just starts charging and then beeps and switches to ready flashing. I don't know what to do to "fix" that.

The est range area shows 146(V) at the start of charging, and the ODO shows CP 152(V). The pack voltage quickly goes up to 160 and then charging stops after 10-15 seconds. I never paid attention to those numbers before this. So I don't know what's normal.

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Re: Welp, ran out of charge for the first time

Post by antiscab » Thu, 17 Oct 2019, 22:31

yeah, that's normal in that your battery is full.

what's happened is the battery is down on capacity. the full scale of the fuel guage (at least on the old nimh firmware) is 30Ah.
you likely only have 20Ah of capacity

the weakest and strongest cells must be pretty close to each other in both capacity and state of charge to have avoided reversing the weakest cell when riding until pack low voltage limit (~110v or 102v depending on firmware version, across 42 cells)
Matt
2017 Renault zoe - 25'000km
2007 vectrix - 156'000km
1998 prius - needs Batt
1999 Prius - needs batt
2000 prius - has 200 x headway 38120 cells

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Re: Welp, ran out of charge for the first time

Post by bladecar » Fri, 18 Oct 2019, 05:24

When those batteries were first installed, I was advised to run them down so that the range would reset to the new battery total voltage. That thing took forever to get to a low reading.

Many months later, it did a 'blade' and went to 'no charge' when I had left it for some days with, say, 3/4 bars showing and turned it on to go somewhere. This is behaviour similar to the original nimh behaviour, or 'blade' behaviour. A battery pack that didn't have the quality control of the major manufacturers.

So from that point on, I decided to charge it every night before going anywhere, or to charge it, for sure, the night before going anywhere, so that I left not only with all bars showing, but that it had been charged until it turned itself off.

This is one reason why I am so impressed with the imiev battery. The idea of only having the pack charged above 20% minimum and below 80% maximum for supposedly longer battery capacity life cannot work if the battery becomes unstable when not balanced at full charge as the home-made packs seem to. I have two minds as to whether to charge the imiev fully more often or less often (talking about cell capacity equality) but am doing the 30% - 80/90% thing lately.

Re the vectrix,do not treat it like a bought one, unless it is carefully reset up, always charge fully and ride it to a comfortable range. Then fully charge it again. What's the longest time to charge fully. Maybe 3.5 hrs. Not certain any more. I would hope that the Zero behaves better in this way

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Re: Welp, ran out of charge for the first time

Post by memecode » Fri, 18 Oct 2019, 07:30

The burning question for me is "has the packs capacity changed at all?". If I assume that the bottom 5 bars weren't really there, then I have the same(ish) number of bars now? Have they all just shifted down to be aligned with the bottom? If my range is the same (big if) then I should be able to get to work and back (45km) without issue. But if I get half way home and there are 5 bars remaining and then it does the 5->0 instantly thing again I'll be very unhappy.

I think I need to look at 2 things, getting the dugas firmware on there (which cable do I need exactly?)

And getting a cycle analyst installed so I can get more visibility into the pack's state. But I don't know which one to buy. Happy to go used if the correct one is available somewhere local.

Maybe there are other things as well that I should be doing at this point? Resetting stuff?

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Re: Welp, ran out of charge for the first time

Post by antiscab » Fri, 18 Oct 2019, 09:36

This is the pcan adapater you need: https://www.peak-system.com/PCAN-USB.199.0.html?&L=1

This is probably the easiest cycle analyst to use: https://www.ebikes.ca/shop/electric-bic ... ca-hc.html
I normally use a 75mV 100A shunt ($9 or so off ebay or aliexpress)
pretty sure they spec as being able to do 0 - 150v. The upper voltage limit is actually a heat dissipation thing, it's internal powersupply is just a linear reg. it can go higher voltage for a short period without issue.

on the fuel gauge losing sync with the battery actual state of charge, aside from any difference in actual capacity, there's also the difference in self discharge rate.
The original firmware assumes there's only the 7mA from the motor controller (of which you almost certainly have the old version which drew 7mA continuous whilst off)
The BMS adds 3-5mA for the cell modules and the box with the relays add from memory 50-100mA

The BMS was reasonable for it's day, but better hardware is available now. That BMS isn't really integrated into the rest of the bike, all it does is disconnects the charger from the AC supply if any cell voltage goes above 4v or below 2.5v.
probably the cheapest work around would be to make the on/off switch accessible and to turn it off unless charging.

In the years since, others have put more effort into integrating a BMS more fully, so that the motor controller will shut down on a low cell voltage (not just a low pack voltage) among other things:
http://www.shop.vectrixparts.com/vx1-bms-board.html

I have one of those in my shed, though haven't got around to using it. The lack of cable protection would need addressing.
I'm also not sure what firmware is needed for the charger and motorcontroller. (none of my vectrix have the original charger anymore)
Matt
2017 Renault zoe - 25'000km
2007 vectrix - 156'000km
1998 prius - needs Batt
1999 Prius - needs batt
2000 prius - has 200 x headway 38120 cells

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Re: Welp, ran out of charge for the first time

Post by memecode » Sun, 20 Oct 2019, 04:50

So in my desire to figure out what it can really do I decided to do a test ride yesterday. I reset the trip meter and rode around in circles, towards the end I made sure to decrease distance from home in case I ran out of power. As I approached zero bars I stayed uphill from home. I managed 63km on varied terrain and speed limits before hitting zero bars, but I didn't get a battery warning light. Then when I plugged in the est distance showed 131V at the start of charging. Which leads me to believe the pack wasn't empty, cause that's like 110V right? (So I read somewhere)

I've ordered the PCAN-USB cable. My plan is to flash some better firmware on it. Not sure of all the details just yet but I've got some time while the cable is in transit to sort that out. It seems like it's really confused about the difference in pack size. And firmware is the only way to "fix" that.

I will probably get the cycle analyst as well. Or something equivalent. I wonder if there are open source solutions though? I like stuff to be hackable... as I'm an [software mostly] engineer.

Antiscab: so you don't have the original charger anymore? What does replacing the charger get you in terms of functionality? And what do you lose in terms of integration? Being able to charge faster than 2400w would be interesting to me, but not something I really need.

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Re: Welp, ran out of charge for the first time

Post by antiscab » Sun, 20 Oct 2019, 09:19

you are right 131v isn't empty.

be aware though that the 110v lower limit is whilst riding, the pack voltage recovers some when it's sitting at rest.
you won't ever see less than 115v or so after a ride due to this

I use a TC charger with the enable function.
The main improvement with the old EV Power BMS is that for a pack that isn't top balanced, when the first cell reaches full, the charger cycles on and off until the total pack voltage reaches the target.

With the original charger, the BMS just disconnects the charger when the first cell gets full.

You do lose the original fuel gauge though.
I've used a cycle analyst ever since, though keeping the original charger is certainly neater.
Essentially the TC charger integrates better with the BMS, and less well with the rest of the bike.

unfortunately the smallest TC Charger that can deliver enough voltage for the Vectrix is now 3300W or 16A AC (the original charger and also the old TC Charger were 1500W and only drew 7.5A AC)
The enable function is basically on or off. The CAN option is adjustable, but then you are looking at getting a new BMS that can compatible.

I do have a copy of the source code for the Vectrix somewhere.
PM me your email address and I'll send them to you

The Laird put a lot of effort into making new firmware - that's documented on visforvoltage
The Dugas firmware is presently the best, though I don't like how regen is weaker than other firmware versions

To be honest, if I still had an original charger, I wouldn't bother with a cycle analyst.
Both Dugas and The Laird firmware shows you pack voltage whilst riding.
from memory, dugas also shows amps and est range (cycles through at the est range position)

Both are programable as to what voltage to reset the fuel gauge to full at, and what voltage to reset it to empty at.
More importantly, they don't stop charging just because the gauge is full. This is important if the battery has less charge than the gauge is showing
The original firmware resets the gauge to empty when the motor controller has been at low voltage limit for 10 or 30 seconds (I forget which). It doesn't reset to full, though always puts in around 3Ah more after the top of the fuel gauge is reached whilst charging.
Matt
2017 Renault zoe - 25'000km
2007 vectrix - 156'000km
1998 prius - needs Batt
1999 Prius - needs batt
2000 prius - has 200 x headway 38120 cells

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