Did I get ripped off?

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Benumb   1 mW

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Did I get ripped off?

Post by Benumb » Oct 06 2013 12:01pm

Payed $600
This is what`s happening with my `new`bike, it's a 48 Volt Raptor up-volted to a 60 Volt. I got it last night, the test drive went well, got it home, took it out for an hour drive, and then it started dying on me. My throttle was all out, and it`s like I let off it completely. It would stay dead for about ten seconds or so, then come back on and do this over and over until I decided this can`t be good for the bike, and walked it home for a couple hours, where I plugged it in and let it charge to full. So I called the guy who sold it to me this morning and he said ``It has to be the 5th battery`` and went on to explain how it was probably dead and he would be over with spares. He came over with a voltmeter, and a load tester thing for the batteries. We continued to disconnect all batteries, test them with the voltmeter, then test them with the load test thing individually. The ``5th battery`` tested in the yellow range for the load test, didn't look great, so we changed it out for one that passed. The original 4 batteries had also been replaced not long ago, but they tested fine. The guy assures me that was the problem and leaves. So, I get the bike back together and take it out, instantly I notice there is quite a bit less power than my test drive, or the first 45 mins of my drive last night, I get about 3 minutes away, and I lose motor power, same thing as last night, it starts kicking out, then coming back, but this time much longer than 10 second intervals, and I walk the bike home again. Call the guy who sold it to me again, and he insists that it`s simply because they batteries are not "sync'd" as the original 4 batteries are now fully charged and the controller isn't getting the proper voltage. His suggestion to me was to leave the lights on and drain the batteries that way, so they would all be equally dead, then recharge the bike, and this problem would be gone.

My question is, how much of that is plausible? If none of it could be the issue, what would be some things I could look into? He assures me there is a 1500 watt controller in the bike to compensate for the "upgrades" to the bike. I will be happy to test what I can with a voltmeter, and take pictures of any components that would help solve this issue. I should point out that none of these batteries are expanded or bubbled out.

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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by arkmundi » Oct 06 2013 12:13pm

You can easily rule out whether its the battery or the rest of your setup with an alternative power supply. Like an AC-to-DC PSU commonly available. Its most likely, as you surmise, a battery issue. You should also post additional information here of the makeup of your battery, the underlying cells in use, sourcing, etc.

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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by Benumb » Oct 06 2013 12:22pm

I suppose I should clarify I have no idea what I'm talking about, this is all very new to me. I'm not sure I would know how to identify the underlying cells in use or sourcing. Can you clarify what I would be looking for and I will gladly go look?

Edit: Also, any comment to the batteries not being at the same level and causing this issue? Is that even a possibility, and if so, is draining them like I'm attempting to do now leaving the lights on a good idea?

Edit: added picture of battery

Edit again for Update: So I've been trying to kill my battery on the bike, to test this theory of making them all dead, then charging them and hoping for the best, so it's in my kitchen with high beams on, and every so often i go hit the throttle until it kicks out. So I go to do that, and the throttle does nothing, so I turn the key off, and back on again, hit the throttle, and it works, for a moment, then dies again, and it will do that 100% of the time if I turn the key off then on again, but if I leave it on, the throttle never comes back, like, won't make the back tire move. That help the investigation?
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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by dogman dan » Oct 06 2013 2:00pm

Before you read, don't take it personal. I started out just as blissfully ignorant, and wrecked my lead in a few weeks.



Hmm, I suppose I could have come up with a worse way to get a battery pack back in balance, but I'm not sure how.

Well, the damage is done now, ideally you never discharge a lead acid battery that deeply.

Put it on the charger, and leave it charging for a really long time. Hopefully you end up with a working setup.

Ripped off? Depends on how much you paid. My rule of thumb is all used batteries are worth $0. But that's pretty harsh. I got that way by ruining several perfectly good batteries pretty fast. So I figure others can do it that easy too. Just do stuff like discharging them 100% by leaving the headlights on overnight.

If you get it up and going again, figure on going on rides about a half as long as the one you took the other day. That was a
100% discharge that time too.

All that bit about it would run for a few seconds, then shutting off. That's the controllers low voltage cutoff kicking in. It's trying to protect the batteries from people who insist on trying to ruin them with deep discharges.

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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by John in CR » Oct 06 2013 2:08pm

What leads you to expect to ride for more than an hour with used lead anchors as your battery? If you have a 12V charger around the house I wouldn't go with the run it dead recommendation. Instead charge them and if one battery still needs topping off, then do it with your 12V charger. Running lead batteries all the way down leads to an early demise just like when you forget the lights on with a car and deplete the battery it's never the same afterward. Deep cycle EV batts handle it a little better, but it's still not recommended to go below 80% DOD. Combine that with Peukert's effect and you only get about 9 or 10 amp hours out of an 18ah lead battery.

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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by Benumb » Oct 06 2013 3:10pm

dogman wrote: Put it on the charger, and leave it charging for a really long time. Hopefully you end up with a working setup.
.
The charger won't overcharge the batteries, it kicks off when it's "full" Then i'll get the same deal that happened today, go 3 minutes then die, are you suggesting I do that over and over until the batteries finally level out?

As for discharging the batteries completely via lights,I haven't killed the batteries yet doing this, the bike is still on, with lights on. I assume I should stop that? I don't have a 12 volt charger to charge a single battery unfortunately.

I guess the question here is, is it salvageable and how? The guy says he has the warranty on the 4 batteries in the case which can be replaced Tuesday, the 5th battery, the one I posted a picture of, is under the seat.

Would my next step be to buy 1 more battery, and replace the one under the seat?

And the one question that really is getting me here, is this typical behavior for the problem at hand? Or should I be looking at other things, like the motor?
By typical behavior I mean, right now, I can go to the bike, turn the throttle one time, the controllers low voltage cutoff kicks in once, and doesn't allow the action to happen again until i turn the key off, and on again. As in, it won't move the tire again after 1 cut off

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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by wesnewell » Oct 06 2013 3:34pm

If you put 5 12V batteries in series on a 48V controller and run them down until the LVC (Low Voltage Cutoff) of the controller shuts you down, you've just damaged 5 batteries. LVC for a 48V controller is 42V. That's 10.5V per battery. By putting 5 batteries (60V) on that controller and runing them down to 42V, you've just run them down to 8.4V each. Now if you used the 48V charger to charge them back up, it's probably limited to 60V max output, maybe less. IOW's they'll never get fully charged. And a 60V SLA battery systems charger should be ~70V. If you're charging the batteries individually, they should charge to over 13V each.
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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by friendly1uk » Oct 06 2013 4:26pm

So you went too far on it, hitting the unsuitable lvc, before going home and charging it. Then what? You rang him, but why. Did it not work? I can't figure out what reason he had to come and see you.

It sounds like you have a bike with no charge level indication, and no effective battery protection. It is not usable. The fact the previous owner is carrying used lead around and a 3 colour tester is not reassuring either.

The bike is not fit for purpose it would seem. Your looking at a refund ideally.
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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by el_walto » Oct 06 2013 5:03pm

Check the voltage of your charger, should be about 72V, not 57.6V

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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by Rassy » Oct 06 2013 5:32pm

Everything mentioned above is good advice. Here is my simple explanation of what I would do, assuming you like the bike and want to keep it.

First, get a digital voltmeter, less than $10 at places like Harbor Freight.

Check the charger's output, which should be around 70V, as stated above.

Get a small 12V charger, also less than $10 at places like Harbor Freight.

Charge each battery individually until they are all around 13V. You don't need to remove or disconnect the batteries to do this one at a time.

Take a ride and see how it works.

If your charger puts out the correct voltage, recharge with it, but double check that all five batteries are at about the same voltage, which should be a little over 13V right after charging.

If your main charger is bad, use the 12V charger until you get a good nominal 60V charger, which is really about 70V, so you can bulk charge all five batteries at once.

Good luck with your ebike.
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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by pdf » Oct 06 2013 5:48pm

+1 for Rassy's advice. On the bright side, lead acid batteries are the least expensive kind so even if they are wrecked, it could be much worse! Do as Rassy suggests and welcome to the game! If the controller had the right low voltage cutoff for your battery, then it was cutting off to keep you from completely draining the battery, as was stated above. The controller's lvc is set by the manufacturer usually and since the controller does not know what kind of battery it is connected to, you have to be careful if you switch battery types. Each battery type will have a different ideal lvc. When it hits the lvc (assuming it is set correctly for your battery), you might be able to get away with being easy on the throttle if it hit the lvc at a high demand (like a very steep, short hill). However, generally speaking, when the controller cuts off due to hitting the lvc, you are essentially out of battery and further draining the battery is not advised.

Also, I am not sure what your bike is. If it was worth $600 without the batteries, you might have gotten a deal anyway. What dogman says is true; used batteries with an unknown history are pretty worthless, in terms of resale. However, sometimes you can get a "used" battery that is a deal. I sold one here that had less than, probably, 10 miles use on it for less than half price. That was a true deal for the buyer and I was glad to have it sold. It was completely wrong for my application and right for his.
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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by dogman dan » Oct 06 2013 6:19pm

Follow rassy's advice, starting with get a voltmeter at the car parts store. Check each battery, see if they get charged at all.

Two possibilities exist, one is you don't have the right voltage charger. The other is you really killed those batteries. But my bet is on something wrong with the charger, like it's for 4 batteries and you have 5.

If the batteries check out good, then its the problem that is the cause 90% of the time. One plug is not connecting right.

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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by Benumb » Oct 06 2013 7:49pm

Rassy wrote:Everything mentioned above is good advice. Here is my simple explanation of what I would do, assuming you like the bike and want to keep it.

First, get a digital voltmeter, less than $10 at places like Harbor Freight.

Check the charger's output, which should be around 70V, as stated above.

Get a small 12V charger, also less than $10 at places like Harbor Freight.

Charge each battery individually until they are all around 13V. You don't need to remove or disconnect the batteries to do this one at a time.

Take a ride and see how it works.

If your charger puts out the correct voltage, recharge with it, but double check that all five batteries are at about the same voltage, which should be a little over 13V right after charging.

If your main charger is bad, use the 12V charger until you get a good nominal 60V charger, which is really about 70V, so you can bulk charge all five batteries at once.

Good luck with your ebike.
Thank you to everyone involved in this, I truly appreciate the help.

A voltmeter was acquired from my father earlier today, and the 12 volt charger from my brother in law just a few moments ago. We did test the batteries earlier today and all of which we're in the 13 volt range. To be certain we were testing that specific battery, we disconnected each of them and tested individually. He also had a load tester type tool, and all batteries in the bike at this time passed the load test.

I will charge the batteries individually, like you suggest. The 12 volt charger I have is an automatic type one that will kick off when it's full.

The only question I have is how do I test the charger? Would I shove the voltmeter prongs in the end that plugs into my bike? Also while on the subject, I have a 60 volt bike in my kitchen for a 5 battery 60 volt bike and its native charger, would you suggest I attempt charging the bike with that charger?

Also here's a picture of the bike, all I know for the name is what I see on the bike. Raptor. Sorry about the horrible angle, there are now 2 bikes in my kitchen : /
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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by Benumb » Oct 06 2013 7:58pm

pdf wrote: Also, I am not sure what your bike is. If it was worth $600 without the batteries, you might have gotten a deal anyway. What dogman says is true; used batteries with an unknown history are pretty worthless, in terms of resale. However, sometimes you can get a "used" battery that is a deal. I sold one here that had less than, probably, 10 miles use on it for less than half price. That was a true deal for the buyer and I was glad to have it sold. It was completely wrong for my application and right for his.
Yeah I can understand your point, this bike was advertised as brand new warrantied batteries, working condition bike. The guy was grumbling when he was here, and quite clearly just wants to wash his hands of it, but keep my money. I'm just trying desperately to spend as little money now as possible to get it in running condition.

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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by Rassy » Oct 06 2013 8:21pm

The good news is your batteries are fully charged and the charger seems to be the correct one and working properly.

The bad news is there must be something else wrong.

Since it sort of wants to run it might not be too hard to isolate the problem. I would expect a bad connector some place. My suggestion is to raise the wheel off the ground, hold the throttle on, and start wiggling wires around. See if it takes off when you give the wheel a spin, which would indicate a phase or halls wire connection.

Let us know how your testing goes.
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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by dogman dan » Oct 07 2013 9:28am

Very good. That looks like you got the correct charger. And if the batteries pass a load test, they are at least moderately ok. Yeah, stuff the probes into the plug to see if you really get full voltage from that charger. It could be as simple as a broken plug on the charger if it took the 12v charger to bring up the batteries to 13v.

That leaves the most likely issue, and one that is so common it's the problem 90% of the time. Loose contacts at the plug.

The most common culprit is that the tiny tab on the contact does not snap into the housing right. When you plug in the housing, the contact backs up and makes no contact, or very poor contact. Start digging, and inspect every plug. If you find a loose one, remove the contact and bend the little tab out enough to snap in and stay.

Look also, for any evidence that a contact is not crimped properly to the wire. Particularly hard to track down, is bad connections to the motor itself. If the dash won't light up, then you know to look at other places, like the on off switch, or battery fuses.

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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by Dauntless » Oct 08 2013 12:38am

http://www.mobilityunlimited.ca/raptor_ ... _specs.htm

I suspect I'd like this thing if I had a working model.
Benumb wrote:. . . . he insists that it`s simply because they batteries are not "sync'd" as the original 4 batteries are now fully charged and the controller isn't getting the proper voltage. His suggestion to me was to leave the lights on and drain the batteries that way, so they would all be equally dead, then recharge the bike, and this problem would be gone.
HUH???? I'm sort of guessing that people here sort of glossed over before they got to that part. I'm not an expert really, I just did all sorts of things with batteries to make Television, and I'd expect this guy to be a battery destroyer. These guys make their own batteries at home, they want the production to rent them from him, they don't work/destroy equipment, etc. And they say the sorts of things your boy says, no clue where they get their ideas. If you have batteries with varying charges and use them together, they don't simply balance themselves out. They're just not that cooperative.

I'm reading that this is a $900 bike new, with the batteries, tires, internals not supposed to be in question. You paid $600 and it's yet to prove roadworthy. I don't think there's any question you've been burned. You probably would have been happier with this: http://toronto.kijiji.ca/c-cars-vehicle ... Z522608339

First, see if you can identify that controller for yourself and figure out if it IS 1500 watts, what the voltage and amperage would be, etc. Do you really feel any faith in what he says at this point?

Without being a real expert, I can tell you this: a 500watt, 48 volt draws say 10ish amps. To run 1500 watts through the same motor at 60 volts requires 25 amps, assuming the 1500 watts is really coursing through it. And you want to ride long range with it? You're asking for trouble. I'll let one of the real experts tell you how bad this could get.
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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by lbz5mc12 » Oct 08 2013 3:18am

Maybe the 48V controller has a high voltage cut-off. Also on some controllers if you leave the bike on for too long without actually using it, the controller will turn itself off so you're not losing power.

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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by dogman dan » Oct 08 2013 7:39am

It's nearly always the plugs, if it's not the batteries, or something obvious like torn wires at the hub.

There are other possibilities, but if the controller has voltage, then start looking at plugs.

I do tend to agree, you pay too much. But I'm a bastard when buying used stuff. The rule of thumb is everything second hand has a max price of 50% of retail. You should have paid $450.

Like new, is not new.

Now that you are collecting semi or non functional e scooters, you will love getting a 30 buck motor/controller/ throttle tester. Should find one easy on ebay. A major time saver to know it's not the controller or motor or battery. That pretty much narrows it down to the plugs.

Once you get these bikes fixed, you will have learned a lot.

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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by Benumb » Oct 08 2013 8:00am

Thanks guys. I really do appreciate all the info. I called a technician at a bike shop here in town and he seems adamant that the batteries are the issue. Only thing that really sucks is biting five new batteries on a hope that that's the problem. But as most of you here assumed batteries, and the tech also assumed batteries, I fell it's a safe bet to say it's the batteries.

On that note, any suggestions on what type to get and where the best deal to get then from would be?

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by torker » Oct 08 2013 8:31am

I am confused. The batteries passed a load test. They all show 13 volts. I would start checking all connectors. Pull each connector apart and make sure no terminals have backed out of the connector.

If you could splice into the power goes to the motor/controller and hook up a voltmeter so you could watch voltage when you run. See how much it sags.
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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by Rassy » Oct 08 2013 10:54am

I'm confused too. We may have assumed the batteries were bad, but your tests have confirmed that the batteries are all in good working order. Now based on one phone call with a tech you plan to buy new batteries?

Some real experts are watching this thread and trying to help you. Read their advice again. Get out that voltmeter and see how much it shows at critical points, such as where the battery leads connect to the controller, and report back with the results. All external wires and connections are the easiest to check and then you have to determine if the problem is the throttle, controller, or motor.

You said you had another 60V bike. Put the batteries on that bike to satisfy yourself that it isn't the batteries that are the problem before wasting your time and money on new ones. Then you can start swapping out other components until you find the real problem.

Good luck getting it sorted out.
Last edited by Rassy on Oct 08 2013 6:03pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by dogman dan » Oct 08 2013 5:58pm

YOU DO check batteries first. You DID confirm that they are OK. So now I'm assuming they are good enough to run the bike. Maybe not that far,,,,, but it should run. IF the plugs on the bike are connected.


Start checking plugs, starting with the connectors on the battery itself, then the fuse, etc, on down the line.

Bad contacts on the hall sensor wires is the next most likely place, or the plug to the throttle.

Those china scooters, ebikes, motor kits, etc all use the same cheap connectors that often get pushed back in the housing.

Soon you will be the local expert.

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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by arkmundi » Oct 08 2013 6:39pm

Went looking for more spec on the "Raptor" electric scooter and found http://www.mobilityunlimited.ca/raptor_500w+_specs.htm. Looks like a China import. The essential information:
  • its a 500 watt hub motor, meant to run off a 48 volt SLA
  • you say it was "upgraded" to a 1500 watt controller and 60 volts of battery
  • your purchase is from a person, not a company; warranty would be invalidated in any case because of the upgrades
  • since the motor powers on, its likely not the motor
  • the batteries have tested OK and are apparently charging and discharging
That means your fault is between the battery & motor. Dogman has suggested a possible connection problem. But again, since you do get juice from battery to motor, albeit for a short time, that seems unlikely to me. That leaves only one component - the controller. The original controller was replaced for some reason. One scenario is that the person you bought it from wanted more speed and decided to up its voltage from 48V to 60V. Probably then discovered that he needed to replace the controller too and did so without any fore knowledge of what s/he was doing. I certainly question having a 1500 watt controller in the mix. It may be as simple as the delivered amps in that mix is triggering a thermistor protecting the motor.

I would go back to the person you bought it from and ask for the original controller. I'd then go back to factory default with just 48V of battery. See if that fixes your problem. If it does, then you've got your answer. You'd then need to question whether you want/need the purported upgrade and if you did, do it yourself, with advise here at ES. I'd start with a properly spec'd controller for a 500 watt motor. Best!

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Re: Did I get ripped off?

Post by Benumb » Oct 09 2013 7:47pm

Thanks again to all,

Sorry I'm strapped for time with school and such, but I will do my best this weekend to get the specs of the controller out here, and I will also check all connectors and start more tests.

The reason I jumped to a battery assumption is because the guy on the phone had told me that when it cuts out, to plug the bike in like I was charging it, and run the throttle again to see if it kicks off. I did that. The results of that were something to this effect. Let's say I was able to hold the throttle for 3 seconds before it kicked out, immediately plugged in the bike, and it would run for 20 seconds before kicking out. That and what the guy was saying on the phone made me think batteries. He also told me that when he sends his batteries out to get tested it takes overnight to do, I was assuming that the cheap load tester from crappy tire maybe wasn't sufficient as I know nothing of this stuff, maybe a true test runs for a longer amount of time? I don't know.

But you guys are right, they did test fine, and I shouldn't jump to such an expensive conclusion. I will do more investigating this coming weekend based on all suggestions, I would really like to find out if my batteries "sag" and if so how much, and post results.

Thanks again to everyone involved, and I apologize for my ignorance in the matter, I truly have no clue what I'm doing.

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