Winterizing your ebike

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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wasp   10 kW

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winter riding

Post by wasp » Oct 02 2008 1:23pm

any tips or gear or mods suited for winter riding?
just ordered some 268 stud inova's to start with
bikes are schwinn izip and fs kranked(being modded now)
thx

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Re: winter riding

Post by Zoot Katz » Oct 02 2008 1:51pm


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Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by smithinparis » Nov 05 2008 12:50pm

With winter fast approaching, I was hoping people could share their experiences with ebike winter riding, and how they went about preparing their setups. With respect to winter bike riding, there are some really great sites like icebiking.org that offer really detailed discriptions of things that need to be taken into account. But what about the electric setup?
Is there a good way to seal off a Crystalyte (406 in my case) rear hub?
Any advice on lubricants?
Protection of the connectors from salt and and crud?
Battery protection ... how cold has somebody run their batteries (and with what chemistry)? Is the self heating from the battery good enough to keep it warm in -20C?

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by Duracutter » Nov 05 2008 11:02pm

smithinparis wrote:With winter fast approaching, I was hoping people could share their experiences with ebike winter riding, and how they went about preparing their setups. With respect to winter bike riding, there are some really great sites like icebiking.org that offer really detailed discriptions of things that need to be taken into account. But what about the electric setup?
Is there a good way to seal off a Crystalyte (406 in my case) rear hub?
Any advice on lubricants?
Protection of the connectors from salt and and crud?
Battery protection ... how cold has somebody run their batteries (and with what chemistry)? Is the self heating from the battery good enough to keep it warm in -20C?
Keep the batteries and controller in a panier bag. Duct tape the connections to the hub motor. Install metal or carbide studded tires.

Otherwise, don't leave the bike out at night or in the day for that matter.

:)

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by swbluto » Nov 05 2008 11:16pm

I would definitely insulate your batteries. The warmer the batteries, the better(assuming it's not too hot.). I'd even go so far as to add a big piece of thermal mass in there(possibly hot water or hot pieces of metal or whatever you can think of.).

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by smithinparis » Nov 06 2008 8:29am

Hey thanks for the replies!
In my case, at the office I can't bring the bike in, however the batteries would come in with me (I have to charge them at my desk - there is no plug outside).
I've heard that the Crystalyte (406 in my case) really aren't weatherproof ... has anyone had any luck sealing it with anything (I'm thinking caulking, ductape, pipe wrap ...)
Also (of course depending on the conditions) does anyone have a feel for how much more energy is needed to ride in the winter? Assuming a fresh dusting of 1 or 2 inches of snow on the ground can we expect rather than 15 Wh/km we might get 1/3 less mileage or 20 Wh/km?

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by swade » Nov 07 2008 11:10am

I've noticed that snow on the ground does make for more ah consumed. On my 5ah ride home - about 12km with 300ft elevation gained, with 1-4inches of snow it works out to 5.5ah consumed. I usually don't ride on days where the snow is deeper than that which is very few where I live. Studded tires a must. This site has decent reviews of tires: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp
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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by smithinparis » Nov 10 2008 10:30am

Swade,
Thanks for that. So a 10% increase or so, great info.
I don't have the studded tires yet, but I'm looking into them. Maybe you haven't had any problems yet, but I've heard that studded tires can lose their studs if ridden on bare ashfault for too long. Have you noticed anything like that (I'm thinking a much heavier bike might be worst that way).

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by nomad85 » Nov 10 2008 10:59am

I have my winter bike setup with a rear motor with a maxxis hookworm tire, same on the front, but I keep a spare wheel with a Nokian studded tire for the front, so I can swap it out and only use it when I need it, that should keep the studs from being damaged.
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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by rkosiorek » Nov 11 2008 9:28am

I have used Nokkian and Schwalabe studded tires without losing any of the studs on the ashphalt. the only time i lost studs is when i used some cheap chinese knock offs. of course my conservative riding style may not stress the studs enough to losten them either.

as far as connectors go i dislike coating them with tape and duct tape in particular. the glue backing leaves a guey messy residue. instead i use some stuff called Dielectric grase or Tune-up Grease from the auto parts store. just smear a big glob of it over the contacts before making the connection. wipe off the stuff that oozes out. much neater.

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by swade » Nov 13 2008 12:03am

smithinparis wrote:Swade,
Thanks for that. So a 10% increase or so, great info.
I don't have the studded tires yet, but I'm looking into them. Maybe you haven't had any problems yet, but I've heard that studded tires can lose their studs if ridden on bare ashfault for too long. Have you noticed anything like that (I'm thinking a much heavier bike might be worst that way).
Yeah and today with a massive 50km/hr headwind, I probably sucked back 6ah on dry pavement. As for the studded tires, comming home from work that last Friday night, I got about two feet and realized my front tire was totally shredded. The Nokian Extreme 294 had about six inches of its sidewall ripped away and the tube was shot too. I think the failure was my fault, I was running them at 95psi -- probably should have only put about 65psi in them, the max they are rated for.

I picked up Schwalbe Ice Spiker pros and replaced both the front and back tires this past weekend. I must say that the Schwalbes handle quite a bit better on dry pavement than the Nokian's did. I ride about a km on ice each way and the Shcwalbes handle the ice just fine too -- it feels like you are on dirt. I'm not afraid to lean the bike over on corners, whereas this was sketchy at best with the nokians. The rolling resistance seems less too. The Nokian's did fine last winter, probably logged about 2500km on them but the Schwalbe Ice Spikers will be my first choice from now on.

I did lose about 8 studs out of each tire on the nokians. Nothing noticeable and I ride on dry pavement quite a bit. Apparently with the Schwalbes and probalby the Nokians too, you need to ride passively on dry pavement for 50km or so to break them in and seat the studs. I've been doing this with the Schwalbes this week and haven't lost any yet with 80km or so.
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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by smithinparis » Nov 13 2008 8:09am

I think the failure was my fault, I was running them at 95psi -- probably should have only put about 65psi in them, the max they are rated for.
Doh! I've always been curious as to how far you can push the pressure beyond the rated value! :shock:

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by nutsandvolts » Nov 27 2008 7:45am

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Last edited by nutsandvolts on Oct 17 2009 4:00am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by swbluto » Nov 27 2008 7:17pm

I wouldn't think that a lot of RAM would be used up to begin with, but I suppose they're probably not using ASM. I vote Flash or some sort of non-volatile memory is being run out.

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by Doctorbass » Nov 27 2008 10:08pm

This post about battery storage for couples of months period may interest some of you :wink:

http://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/vi ... =14&t=7637

Doc
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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by Doctorbass » Nov 27 2008 10:17pm

Also, everybody here should know that the charging rate of your battery when they are cold must be changed!

EVERY lithium battery manufacturs ALWAYS notice that they MUST NOT BE COLD OR TOO HOT.

The reason is that as the temp of the lithium battery is colder as their internal resistance will increase, creating a waste in heat during the charging process, when a current travel them.

for sure, you will guess that this heat should become a positive action to your battery and then reduce the internal resistance because of this heat created... YES.. totally true!.. but that will reduce theyr life anyway...

In fact, charging a cell when it is cold have the same negative effect than the use of the lasts AH of an nearly empty cell.

Because again it's a question of internal resistance.. discharged cell have a higher internal resistance and cold cell have that too.

That's one of the reason that many charger will begin the charging process with a lower current.

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by nutsandvolts » Nov 28 2008 1:52am

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Last edited by nutsandvolts on Oct 17 2009 4:00am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by smithinparis » Nov 28 2008 8:36am

Thanks Doc!
I'm running NiCd batteries right now, and will be looking to get a Lithium pack next. For NiCd, while they are being used generate enough heat that they don't have a chance to drop ... say ... below room temperature. I've never measured the temperature and I don't have a CA to measure the current flow, but my after my 30 km ride into work, my 36 volt pack (on a Crystalyte V1 20 A controller) will be pretty warm to the touch - I'd guess between 40°C to 50°C - but it's been a while since I've calibrated my nerves. :D
What about Lithium pack ... regardless of what type ... is there enough self heating to keep them warm in say -10°C or -20°C temperatures during regular use? Or are you mostly just concerned if they are left in a cold environment without being used.

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by philf » Nov 28 2008 9:22am

nutsandvolts wrote:
swbluto wrote:I wouldn't think that a lot of RAM would be used up to begin with, but I suppose they're probably not using ASM. I vote Flash or some sort of non-volatile memory is being run out.
When he was here, Justin told me he has literally ran out of code space, there is no more room, it's a tiny microcontroller, and I he is using assember. The whole thing fits in 4KB or something like that. He showed me what the code looks like, and also I saw how the flashing works ...
Holding a flag to enable or disable a feature won't take much fiddling - it's the additional code (and text) required to provide a menu option to set the parameter which will run away with the most memory. In situations like that, and for really off-the-wall settings, I use a single dialogue which allows you to set/reset individual bits of a flag byte. But you have to refer to external documentation to now what each bit does. Gets away from having a lot of user-friendly ASCII text using up your memory, though.

I'm blown away that he's used all 4K of the codespace! Actual (voltatile) memory is always the thing I run out of on PIC projects - I write in ASM to allow myself the best ability to optimize...

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by smithinparis » Nov 28 2008 10:11am

Programming RISC micros like the PIC in assembly really lets you get down to the nitty gritty and optimize the code to a really amazing extent. You can do alot with 4k on a PIC.
But I've found the three things that really kill you are:
- Math, beyond the add, subtract, mutiply/divide by 2.
- ASCII text for human interfacing - which is super important a device like the CA. Reading blinking LEDs gets to be a real pain sometimes.
- Communication outside the builtin features
And philf, your absolutely right, the flag is simple. All the branches, decisions, and calculations around the flag can take up a surprising amount of space.

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by nutsandvolts » Nov 28 2008 3:18pm

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Last edited by nutsandvolts on Oct 17 2009 4:00am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by The Stig » Dec 03 2008 8:16pm

Duracutter wrote:
smithinparis wrote:With winter fast approaching, I was hoping people could share their experiences with ebike winter riding, and how they went about preparing their setups. With respect to winter bike riding, there are some really great sites like icebiking.org that offer really detailed discriptions of things that need to be taken into account. But what about the electric setup?
Is there a good way to seal off a Crystalyte (406 in my case) rear hub?
Any advice on lubricants?
Protection of the connectors from salt and and crud?
Battery protection ... how cold has somebody run their batteries (and with what chemistry)? Is the self heating from the battery good enough to keep it warm in -20C?
Keep the batteries and controller in a panier bag. Duct tape the connections to the hub motor. Install metal or carbide studded tires.

Otherwise, don't leave the bike out at night or in the day for that matter.

:)
Can A waterproof controller really not stay outside in the winter? More importantly will my new 500w stay be alright outside in the snow and rain? I hope it's just the wires going into the motor that I have to waterproof.

I would put the controller in my battery box if there was any single quick connect plug for all the wires that go from the bike to the controller.

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by nutsandvolts » Dec 03 2008 9:21pm

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Last edited by nutsandvolts on Oct 17 2009 4:00am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by The Stig » Dec 03 2008 10:52pm

nutsandvolts wrote: Waterproof controller? They have holes where the wires go in, with just rubber grommets, I don't think they are waterproof. I have my controller inside a nylon travel bag, along with ALL connections, I'm at the point now where no amount of wet is affecting my bike...
...
I plan to ride in the rain and wet weather, how do I waterproof the hub motor?

...We would suggest it is better to leave the motor alone, but ensure that it has a chance to thoroughly dry out between wet weather trips so that corrosion cannot build up and accumulate.

You should also always store your Crystalyte motor indoors if you are in a wet climate. Crystalyte motors that are stored outdoors over a winter here can get so rusted that they will completely seize up with corrosion.
If water can't drain out that's a problem ... what worries me is the salt that they will start to put on roads soon ...
I just don't see "letting water out of the motor" as a solution to waterproofing the motor. Unless my BMC needs airflow to cool the windings, which I do not think is the case. There must be some way to long term waterproof it... Sealed bearings, anything. I'm not too worried about the engineering challenge of waterproofing the wires going into the motor.

As for the controller, it's said to be waterproof, but I will probably help those rubber grommets keep the water out. However, I would rather keep it in my battery box IF I can find a nice quick way to disconnect the battery box from the bike for charging.

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Re: Winterizing your Crystalyte bike - for the northern climates

Post by smithinparis » Dec 04 2008 8:18am

nutsandvolts wrote:
The Stig wrote:Can A waterproof controller really not stay outside in the winter? More importantly will my new 500w stay be alright outside in the snow and rain? I hope it's just the wires going into the motor that I have to waterproof. I would put the controller in my battery box if there was any single quick connect plug for all the wires that go from the bike to the controller.
Waterproof controller? They have holes where the wires go in, with just rubber grommets, I don't think they are waterproof. I have my controller inside a nylon travel bag, along with ALL connections, I'm at the point now where no amount of wet is affecting my bike. Regarding the "sealing of wires going into hub motor" ... ebike.ca recommends
I plan to ride in the rain and wet weather, how do I waterproof the hub motor?

There are many suggestions on the web that you should thoroughly seal where the wire enters the axle slot using silicone or something similar in an attempt to keep water out of the Crystalyte wheels. But after having serviced numerous water-damaged hub motors that had been supposedly 'waterproofed', there is no evidence that this helps at all, and it may even make matters worse by keeping water trapped inside the hub. We would suggest it is better to leave the motor alone, but ensure that it has a chance to thoroughly dry out between wet weather trips so that corrosion cannot build up and accumulate.

You should also always store your Crystalyte motor indoors if you are in a wet climate. Crystalyte motors that are stored outdoors over a winter here can get so rusted that they will completely seize up with corrosion.
If water can't drain out that's a problem ... what worries me is the salt that they will start to put on roads soon ...
Regarding the rubber grommets, not all controllers use them. I had a Crystalyte 36V 20A start immediate V1 controller which just had a rectangular slot for that let the cables hang out. I knew that this hole was there, and was planning on sealing it up somehow (hadn't decided to put it in a bag or caulk it), but in the meantime only took it out on dry days. It turned out the weather forcast was wrong one day and fried the controller by turning on two inline FETs shorting out one of the phases.

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