Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
Jestronix   10 kW

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Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by Jestronix » Oct 14 2015 3:54am

Now that Im looking at commuting i want to start looking at how to water proof my beast. What do i need to do motorwise (mxus 3000v2) controller (will silicone seal) , throttle ?

I wanna still be able to ride happily , 75v up to 100v , i need to think about being shocked ! ?

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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by bowlofsalad » Oct 14 2015 4:09am

In the upper right corner there is a search box, just beneath it there is a 'Using google search?" check box, be sure to do searches both with and without this check box checked as the results will be considerably different but both potentially interesting. Before starting threads I recommend always doing 10 minutes minimum of searching on a subject, I promise you your question isn't a new one. A lot of questions come up repeatedly on this forum so I am hoping that by saying this enough the hijacking/derailing as well as redundant threads slows down a bit.

Fenders, dielectric grease, boeshield T-9, drip loops and vented hub motors.
i need to think about being shocked ! ?
Try to keep the connectors out of your mouth and I think you'll be just fine.

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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by d8veh » Oct 14 2015 4:16am

If you get a cycle cape, it'll protect all the upper electrics while you ride. Everybody in China uses a cape in the rain:

Image

Most motors aren't wateproof. Make sure that the cable exits downwards before going up to the controller. Water can find its way down the 6 disk brake fixing screws. Seal them with thread-lock.

Proper mudguards/fenders stop the water spraying all over the lower part of the bike.

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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by dogman dan » Oct 14 2015 6:59am

Step one is don't mount your controller in the wettest place on the bike. even if you have fenders, under your ass is drier than right behind the front wheel. Rolling forward, your body creates a rain shadow. Only in very cool climates can you get away with bagging a controller, but you can mount them where less rain or wheel spray hits it, then seal it up good.

And yeah, you do need fenders for sure. On a full suspension bike, a nice rear fender can be home made, to extend from a rear rack down towards the crank. I like to use dense foam like backpack sleeping pad or floor cushion mats.

Sealants. Silicone is silly, it's just not that sticky. Hot glue even worse. Use a sealant made specifically for rain gutters. That stuff will reallllllly stick, and remain a bit flexy too.

Ride with your palm half over the top of the throttle, covering the crack that lets water in. Cover the throttle when parked, if not the entire bike.

Rain resistant battery bag or box is fairly easy. Same with plugs, they can be sealed, then wrapped in something to shed 90% of the water.

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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by Jestronix » Oct 14 2015 7:15am

Thanks Dan,

Makes sense and the rain shadow I'd never really thought of. I'll use some of that gutter sealant too, perhaps a nice rubber type glove to go over the accelerator during rain could work too.

Totally sealing things up for torrential rain will take a lot of effort.

Cheers Jesse

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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by Jestronix » Oct 14 2015 7:18am

D8veh I can see that rain cape getting stuck in my wheels and ripping me off the bike, but looks darn effective. Ah yeah the disc brake screws too, I would have skipped that.

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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by Jestronix » Oct 14 2015 7:22am

Thanks for the search tip salad, I did do a search but came up with lots of stories of riding in the rain but no specifics. U seem to be offering this search tip a lot , I thought u were a mod at first glance.

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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by spinningmagnets » Oct 14 2015 7:28am

Go to any automotive parts store, and in the electrical section you can find various tube sizes of "dielectric grease". This does NOT conduct electricity, which can be proven very easily and cheaply by sticking DMM probes in it. I say that because while I was researching it, I found various youtubes, some which proved it does not conduct, and some that repeated a misconception about dielectric grease by saying it improves conduction of electricity.

Car engines sometimes get water splashed on them when driving in the rain. Also, oxygen and humidity in the air work together to create corrosion on electrical connectors, especially on anything near salt-water (boats often use components similar or identical to cars).

Because of these things, something needed to be developed that could protect the metal prongs and sockets from corrosion (which creates high resistance) and also mild splashes of water. The "old skool" poor-boy method was to spread Vaseline / generic petroleum jelly all over the prongs and sockets. 99.99% of the time, it does not conduct any electricity, but who knows? since it isn't formulated to be insulative and non conductive, one batch can vary from the next. If the label says that the grease inside is dielectric, it is specifically formulated to be an insulator.

Boat guys who do electrical work insisted that smearing dielectric grease onto electrical connections is absolutely vital, so some car guys misunderstood and thought it improved conduction. It prevents corrosion due to exposure to oxygen and humidity in the air, and it helps prevent shorts during mild splashing.

The next product you need is either clear nail polish from the dollar store, or a $6 can of "liquid tape". I just bought some from a large big box hardware store, found in the electrician supply section. It can be found in black/red/green/and several other colors.

Nail polish is made from nitro-cellulose, the same plastic that is used to make billiard balls and piano keys. It is dissolved in acetone, which evaporates. Although it can be found in many colors, some pigments do not conduct electricity, and others do (even if its just a trickle drain). Its the sparklies in the fancy nail polish that I suspect are the worst, but I'll never know because I only use clear nail polish on electrical stuff. If you have some free red nail polish handy and you want to mark something (as +positive), use clear nail polish first to seal it, then a dab of red.

There are many useful youtubes on waterproofing RC models like boats. Don't put water-proofing goo on heat sinks, or over LEDs.

The pic below is Justins BAC controller, which has been fully potted inside clear resin. You could literally dunk this in a bowl of water and it will work just fine. I will be buying one. Other controllers need airfins, and to be mounted outside in the air-flow...this one has a thick aluminum baseplate that is a heat-sink, and attaches to a frame member. With most bike frames being aluminum, the frame becomes the thermal mass that sheds heat (and can be splashed with water), but...the most important design choice was to use the most efficient components (instead of the cheapest) so excess waste-heat is not produced in the first place.

Image

edit: I still use the dirt cheap Hobby King heat-shrink insulation when soldering different connectors onto something that works indoors, like a charger, but...for the ebike, use "marine" grade hat-shrink which has adhesive inside the heat-shrink. This will make the wires more pull-resistant, and also more water-proof. It is so cheap, I would never take a chance on using indoor heat-shrink on an outdoor part. If you want to color-code something at the tips of the wires and connector, perhaps use colored indoor heat-shrink first, and then clear maring grade outdoor heat-shrink afterwards.

http://www.bestboatwire.com/marine-elec ... rink-clear

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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by spinningmagnets » Oct 14 2015 7:32am

I notice you mentioned that you are looking at 75V-100V...I would recommend staying at 52V (14S), and going to high-current cells. Are you wanting a 40-MPH rear hub motor?

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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by Ypedal » Oct 14 2015 9:02am

Also.

Get a big watering can !!
clean-bike.jpg
clean-bike.jpg (222.82 KiB) Viewed 1414 times
When you get home, wash down the bike with clean water before the road grime dries to a solid.. works wonders in winter ( bring bike inside to dry before storage )
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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by d8veh » Oct 14 2015 7:50pm

Jestronix wrote:D8veh I can see that rain cape getting stuck in my wheels and ripping me off the bike, but looks darn effective. Ah yeah the disc brake screws too, I would have skipped that.
They don't get stuck in the wheels, otherwise 50 million Chinese people and myself wouldn't use them.

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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by BahamasBiker » Oct 15 2015 12:40am

Jestronix wrote:Now that Im looking at commuting i want to start looking at how to water proof my beast. What do i need to do motorwise (mxus 3000v2) controller (will silicone seal) , throttle ?

I wanna still be able to ride happily , 75v up to 100v , i need to think about being shocked ! ?


Here are tips, from real-world experience:

- Railway tracks are very slippery when wet.

- Wet fallen leaves are deadly, when braking.

- On scooters, add some plastic splash guards, tied with zip ties to the frame, to block water/mud from tires.

- Spray lubricant on the inside of all brake cables, to prevent rusting.

- Use bathtub silicone on all screws, nuts, ends of wires.

- Over 60V DC, you could get killed from electrocution.

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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by BahamasBiker » Oct 15 2015 12:44am

d8veh wrote:
Jestronix wrote:D8veh I can see that rain cape getting stuck in my wheels and ripping me off the bike, but looks darn effective. Ah yeah the disc brake screws too, I would have skipped that.
They don't get stuck in the wheels, otherwise 50 million Chinese people and myself wouldn't use them.

I've used many rain capes.

There are shorter rain capes, too, not from China. (Easy to make.)

The China rain capes for China electric scooters have a clear section for the headlight, and openings for side mirrors. To prevent the front of the cape from flapping upwards at high speed, you'll need a tiny clamp to hold them down, to the cowling.

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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by BahamasBiker » Oct 15 2015 12:45am

spinningmagnets wrote:Go to any automotive parts store, and in the electrical section you can find various tube sizes of "dielectric grease". This does NOT conduct electricity, which can be proven very easily and cheaply by sticking DMM orobes in it. I say that because in researching it, I found various youtubes, some which proved it does not conduct, and some that repeated a misconception about dielectric grease by saying it improves conduction of electricity.

Car engines sometimes get water splashed on them when driving in the rain. Also, oxygen and humidity in the air work together to create corrosion on electrical connectors, especially on anything near salt-water (boats often use components similar or identical to cars).

Because of these things, something needed to be developed that could protect the metal prongs and sockets from corrosion (which creates high resistance) and also mild splashes of water. The "old skool" poor-boy method was to spread Vaseline / generic petroleum jelly all over the prongs and sockets. 99.99% of the time, it does not conduct any electricity, but who knows? since it isn't formulated to be insulative and non conductive, one batch can vary from the next. If the label says that the grease inside is dielectric, it is specifically formulated to be an insulator.

Boat guys who do electrical work insisted that smearing dielectric grease onto electrical connections is absolutely vital, so some car guys misunderstood and thought it improved conduction. It prevents corrosion due to exposure to oxygen and humidity in the air, and it helps prevent shorts during mild splashing.

The next product you need is either clear nail polish from the dollar store, or a $6 can of "liquid tape". I just bought some from a large big box hardware store, found in the electrician supply section. It can be found in black/red/green/and several other colors.

Nail polish is made from nitro-cellulose, the same plastic that is used to make billiard balls and piano keys. It is dissolved in acetone, which evaporates. Although it can be found in many colors, some pigments do not conduct electricity, and others do (even if its just a trickle drain). Its the sparklies in the fancy nail polish that I suspect are the worst, but I'll never know because I only use clear nail polish on electrical stuff. If you have some free red nail polish handy and you want to mark something (as +positive), use clear nail polish first to seal it, then a dab of red.

There are many useful youtubes on waterproofing RC models like boats. Don't put water-proofing goo on heat sinks, or over LEDs.

The pic below is Justins BAC controller, which has been fully potted inside clear resin. You could literally dunk this in a bowl of water and it will work just fine. I will be buying one. Other controllers need airfins, and to be mounted outside in the air-flow...this one has a thick aluminum baseplate that is a heat-sink, and attaches to a frame member. With most bike frames being aluminum, the frame becomes the thermal mass that sheds heat (and can be splashed with water), but...the most important design choice was to use the most efficient components (instead of the cheapest) so excess waste-heat is not produced in the first place.

Image


Thank you for this excellent information!

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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by cwah » Oct 15 2015 5:59am

Too expensive. You can get an adaptto for this price
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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by Jestronix » Oct 15 2015 6:42am

Magnets that's fantastic info! Just what I was looking for, dielectric sounds impressive, I'll have pick some up.

Liquid tape, something I'll be sure to check out.

60v ? I was thinking its Amps and AC that does real damage ?

5T mxus isn't a high speed motor, I get 50kmh or so at 66v, @ 75 vI was getting around 58kmh at 100v I would get 75 kmh maybe. So these aren't insane speeds and taper off as voltage sag and battery capacity drop. Most probably I'll go 18s @ 80amps.

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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by Voltron » Oct 15 2015 9:07am

While DC tend to be safer, getting above 50 volts is considered dangerous in the boat world at least. The real danger one is creating a current path from one arm and out the other, or one arm to anywhere in your chest by leaning against something and wrenching something hot by accident, stunning your heart.

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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by ddk » Oct 15 2015 10:35am

-whos riding in the rain?
still no window.jpg
like a cape, only different
still no window.jpg (50.06 KiB) Viewed 4676 times
I'm riding in the rain. :lol:
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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by Ykick » Oct 15 2015 10:57am

DC tends to be safer? Really? AC/DC any low voltage tends to be safer and why NEC publishes much lower wiring standards for 50V under.

But I can share a quote of wisdom by many old and ALIVE electricians: “AC tingles, DC kills!”

AC crosses zero volts frequently enough that a person might have a chance and be able to release whatever conductor they’ve inadvertently grabbed. But high voltage DC can grab you and will not let go until the circuit is opened and/or you’re dead.

OMT - do you know the difference between 250V fuse and 600V fuse, same amperage rating? About 2 inches. This because higher voltage can jump larger gaps of air.

As far as rain/wet - I use tire inner tubes with tie wraps to help seal (dielectric or Vaseline) grease filled connectors. Those bike ponchos seem like a good idea, might have to try one of those?

Don't forget your reduced visibility. A small chunk of Chamois is very handy for wiping glasses, goggles, screens on moto helmets, etc. I had a pair of moto riding gloves with a chunk of Suede/Chamois sewed on each glove. Easy to reach up and wipe away drops of water.
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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by montyp » Oct 15 2015 11:53am

I have been using a camping dry bag or just regular bike bags for the last 5 years with very few issues. Don't worry about the motor, you will only make things worse by preventing moisture from getting out of the motor. Just make sure wires exit the motor and controller facing down.

But looking at your build - you are are going to have a hell of a time keeping the controller dry. Where your wires exit (at the bottom bracket) is the wettest part of the bike. You might consider moving the controller to a back rack.

Also get fenders, especially for the front -

Good luck!!!
+10K miles, rides through whatever Minnesota weather can dish out.
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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by ddk » Oct 17 2015 7:46am

someone might find this stuff useful
flex seal.jpg
flex seal.jpg (52.7 KiB) Viewed 4588 times
caveat: I don't watch TV and I've never seen/used it before
The skylight over my bathtub started leaking during the last rain, which is not the worst place to have a leaky ceiling.
But I digress...
I couldn't see any problems with the sealant around the skylight.
My neighbor handed me a partial can of this spray-on sealant, flex seal- said he's been using the stuff for about 5 years with good results.
So yesterday I sprayed the edges of the skylight with two coats of this cr*p- smelled like nail polish. The roof was still wet when I applied it. I blotted up most the standing puddles but didn't exactly dry the area (following neighbors' advice here)
result: not just good, just good enough
Today it's been raining for a couple of hours with no more leaky skylight.

Seems like an easy way to seal larger thingys
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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by MadRhino » Oct 17 2015 10:00am

Mix of rain and snow falling today. The dirty season first warning. I'll prepare the mule, my V-10 had been the winter bike for the last 2 yrs and proved vey reliable riding extreme conditions. All connectors are replaced every year on this bike, with springtime full maintenance. Daily winter riding salty slush in the city does corrode everything, even when the bike is given all waterproofing care before the season. Big mudguards and splash guards are the most important addition to make a bike reliable to ride those conditions. You need to limit the water entry, that is obvious, but you also need to give an easy exit to the water that could get inside despite all precautions, and that is the part that most neglect.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by montyp » Oct 19 2015 10:19am

I'm surprised you have to replace all the connectors every 2 years. Cars basically have the same exposure as ebikes with about 50 times more connectors and maybe the first connector will fail at about 10 years.

Winter prep is typically not too hard, a little coverage (bags, fenders, etc), some electrolytic gel and the bike is good to go.
+10K miles, rides through whatever Minnesota weather can dish out.
Software engineers don't have to worry about ESD, we are software engineers because we have no potential.

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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by Deafcat » Oct 20 2015 3:30pm

ehh just replace all your connectors with platinum and iridium, problem solved :P

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Re: Rain proofing your ebike - whos riding in the rain ?

Post by MadRhino » Oct 21 2015 9:25am

Cars don't feed 200A in 8ga wire. The connector itself is not the problem. It is the part of the wire that is soldered to it that corrodes.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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