Help debugging a Crystalyte immediate start 20 amp board controller

Get all your technical information about electric bikes here.
Post Reply
User avatar
DrInnovation   100 W

100 W
Posts: 110
Joined: Jul 28 2014 7:27pm
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Help debugging a Crystalyte immediate start 20 amp board controller

Post by DrInnovation » Apr 22 2018 6:25pm

I've been reading multiple thread but could not find one that suggests anything I have not already tried.
I have a Crystalyte 4012/409 hub and a controller for it. As a dual winding hub, the controller has a switch to determine which of the two windings it will use so its not built into the controller. There is a button for "reverse" that goes onto the board. Otherwise it looks like a relatively standard controllers (pics below) with 8 FETs, caps are 160v, looks like 5 Hall/phase wires (cyan, green yellow black red), 2 three-wire brake connectors, one throttle, reverse button and on/off switch connector. I'm hoping someone will have some ideas why its not working or tell me what type of controller I'll need to replace it.

Here are my observations:
When I hook up power from battery (53v input), the connectors do their normal little sparking as I connect and it light ups normally, but the the LED dies out over 1-2 seconds and by the time I grab a meter and measure the voltage its ~2.5 or 3v. I measured both inside where the power connects to the main board, and the connector from the BMS. This made me think it might be trying to draw to much current.

I've Tried bypassing the BMS and it lights up does not dim, Voltage stays at 53v inside where it connects to main board, and at the battery connector. However, when I turn the throttle, the motor does not engage. I've tried disconnecting the brake connectors, no difference.

If you have ideas I'm quit capable of measuring things inside the controller, but don't know enough about designs to know what I should be trying to do. Place to read more also appreciated.

Pics of controllers.
20180422_170332.jpg
20180422_170332.jpg (132.89 KiB) Viewed 239 times
20180422_170338.jpg
20180422_170338.jpg (161.78 KiB) Viewed 239 times
20180422_170346.jpg
20180422_170346.jpg (161.62 KiB) Viewed 239 times
20180422_170324.jpg
20180422_170324.jpg (193.8 KiB) Viewed 239 times
Last edited by DrInnovation on Apr 29 2018 11:09pm, edited 2 times in total.
Owner of a Crystalyte 4012/409 with 10aH 16s Headway on a old huffy frame. Its not fast but it climbs my daily commute up 8% and 10% grades nicely. Washout frame with a "e-bike" front-drive hub with a home-built 18650-based 20ah-36v. My bigger "E-ride" is a chevy volt.

User avatar
DrInnovation   100 W

100 W
Posts: 110
Joined: Jul 28 2014 7:27pm
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Re: Help debugging a controller (or saying what I need as a replacement)

Post by DrInnovation » Apr 29 2018 8:26pm

Well, I've been working through the trouble shooting from the very helpful thread
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 4&start=25

In that thread there a picture that matches by board
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/posti ... =2&p=93844
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/downl ... p?id=13145

I did not find it with my searching until today.. but have not had a lot of time to address this as end of term is the crazy time. But testing today following that did not provide any insights

If it helps for diagnosis, here are few more observations.
When I plug it the charger + battery controller lights up and the heat sink gets quite warm even with zero throttle. when its plugged in to just the battery the controller lights for a second then goes dim, but I think that is probably because the BMS is limiting current something from a short circuit that is warming up the heat sink. So I though I must have blow a MOSFET and it is sorted.

But rolling resistance is high when powered and nothing when going forward.

Next I tested the MOSFETs. When I test between negative lead and the phase wires I get 9+Mohms on neg and 2+Mhoms on positive lead when the controller is not connected/power. So it does not sounds like a blown FET from the page but am hoping for conformation.

I tested the Halls, and when I'm hooked to the charger+batter they read either -1.67 or 11.63 for each of them. Red, however, reads about 4v. When I remove the charger (i.e. just batter through the BMS), the red is 2v and the halls read 0 or .86v depending on position. Any ideas what could cause this?

Later in the thread it talks about hall sensors or blow gate drivers potentially causing a short, but says nothing about where that short would be or how to test it. It says
fechter wrote:
May 18 2007 10:15am
If the gate resistors blew, there's a 50% or so chance that the gate driver chip or the two transistors on the high side drive also blew. These are difficult to test without connecting a motor.

In the absence of hall signals, the controller will not produce any output, so the only way to test is to connect a motor. If you want to probe the gate signals, you will have to power up the controller with the cover off and have the motor connected. This is a PITA. I found a tiny brushless motor that I use for bench testing, but the full sized motor will work.

Any faults in the hall signals or gate drives might result in shorts to the battery, so testing should be done with a current limited power supply. If you don't have a bench supply, use a small fuse (5 amp?) or something like a car headlight bulb in series with the battery to prevent overcurrent.

I replaced a blown gate driver chip by using solder wick and a razor blade to remove the old chip. Soldering tiny smd chips is challenging. I wrap a small piece of solid copper wire around the tip of my soldering iron to make a 'stinger' small enough to heat one leg at a time. After flowing the solder, drag the tip away from the chip, parallel to the legs to prevent bridging adjacent legs. If you bridge them badly, you'll need to use solderwick again to clean them.
Any hints on how to test that? what parts would overheat?
Owner of a Crystalyte 4012/409 with 10aH 16s Headway on a old huffy frame. Its not fast but it climbs my daily commute up 8% and 10% grades nicely. Washout frame with a "e-bike" front-drive hub with a home-built 18650-based 20ah-36v. My bigger "E-ride" is a chevy volt.

Post Reply