Long story short: I am TEH BOMB!
(but you know that)
My controller took a sh!t
On my way to pick up my son after school, I hopped off a curb and knocked something loose, one phase wire wasn't firing. The motor was running but slower and cogging. It persisted even after I :
- switched front and rear motors back and forth, so that eliminated the possibility of motor damage
- checked the phase wire and sensor wire connections, cleaned them out
- checked my homemade switch box
I didn't want to chance damaging the controller so I turned the battery off and pedaled all the way to school on a sweltering humid evening. It's only a mile and a half but too many stop and go traffic so it's not easy for a semi-recumbent with the weight of two motors and a battery pack. I was worried even more if I wasn't able fix the problem at the school because I'd have to carry my son and his two school bags!
After picking up my son we pedaled to a nearby 7/11 and got him some pudding and water, then we rode to a park where I had him eat and play while I took my switch apart using nothing but a nail file off my nail clipper. I really should invest on a good multi-tool.
My switches and its connections seemed ok so I detached the controller and plugged directly to the motor.
Still NO GO grrrrr . . .
It had to be the controller but didn't have tools to open it up so I smacked it like a redheaded step child and . . . AND . . . IT WORKED!
I didn't want to ride slow on my NiMH pack and chance the controller acting up again so I jumped hyper-space with my A123 pack and zoomed all the way home, wee hoo!
My son loved it too.
The next day I bought 10 gauge wires to replace the controller's phase wires as this was something I'd been planning to do whenever the next time I needed to open up the controller. So mote it be! DONE! Unfortunately, after several hours of phase wire work and inspecting the controller (no obvious damage) I was still running on two (and what seemed like *a half*) phases.
Did some searches on ES and didn't find any posts with similar problems.
Checked the voltage on the sensor wires, and then ran the motor while monitoring the voltage (if I remember correctly) :
Yellow 14.6v - 7v
Green 1.2v - 0v
Blue 14.6v - 7v
Disconnected the sensor connector from the board and measured directly off the connector pins: same readings. The problem was obviously ON the board but nothing was burnt so it seemed to be some kind of defective chip. But I have no full understanding of how controllers actually work!
Man, I was sh!t out of luck. Karma is in full swing the opposite direction.
I looked at some schematics to get a general idea of what could possibly go wrong, at this point I was burning out so I took a few hours break, ate and chilled on the sofa . . . I was thinking it would be easier for me to see the board closer if I took a macro photo of it and zoom in on it with the laptop but my wife took the camera to my son's classmate's farewell party.
After my break, with refreshed eyes, I traced the connector pins and noticed at least two surface mounted (micro) resistor with a dull gray solder on one end and a shiny solder on the other end.
There were about 5 of these resistors located along side the connector pins and most of their solder were shiny. Both dull solder seemed ok until I noticed *upon closer inspection* a CRACK on the dull solder, thinner than human hair!
Fnck me, I thought . . .
That's gotta be the problem. With surgical precision I was in there with a soldering pen and fixed them up. Fixed the other resistors as well just to be sure and
~ WHAAAAAAA ~ I was up a running again!
I heard birds chirping. I stepped out into the veranda and saw the clouds parting and the sun was shining once again. I folded my arms, heaved my chest and took a sigh of contentment. I looked off into the horizon with beaming eyes, nostrils flaring and thought . . .
"Gosh, I love Me . . ."
No seriously though, Lessons Learned:
- Take breaks.
- Must have: Magnification
- Must have: Bright White Light (like my bike's LED lights) to SEE clearly to find problems on these boards.
- Must have: A multi-tool!
- Must have: A positive attitude. Narcism works too!
- Dare I say, "Crystalyte controllers are not bullet proof"? Duh...
- A spare controller would be nice if you can afford one