The end of BionX?

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
B-side   1 µW

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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by B-side » Mar 10 2018 9:59pm

Just created an account here so I can be part of this special discussion.

Any interest in a custom interface device that would let you use any non BionX battery on any BionX motor?
I am not too sure how you guys would use a standalone BionX motor that can operate without any CAN communications (or CAN handshake it). How assist levels would be changed? Brake? Throttle? It looks like an interface board is a requirement...

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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by Syonyk » Mar 10 2018 10:44pm

B-side wrote:
Mar 10 2018 9:59pm
Any interest in a custom interface device that would let you use any non BionX battery on any BionX motor?
Do you have such a thing, or are you intending to create such a thing? And by "any," do you mean Canbus only, or both Canbus and I2C?

Such a device would certainly be useful, though I suspect some are already under development.
I am not too sure how you guys would use a standalone BionX motor that can operate without any CAN communications (or CAN handshake it). How assist levels would be changed? Brake? Throttle? It looks like an interface board is a requirement...
The console is non-optional for the BionX system - it does most of the brains of translating torque to assist. You can create a workaround, and there's code for one around these forums, but it's not nearly as good. The battery doesn't have to talk on the bus, but you don't get battery state of charge (and it shows error codes) if it won't talk to the battery.
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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by Raisedeyebrows » Mar 11 2018 12:21am

Syonyk wrote:
Mar 10 2018 7:48pm
As far as gutting the controller, the vast majority of BionX owners, at least that I deal with, are older and use the assist to let them continue bicycling even if they have a weak knee or hip ("that one hill" comes up a lot if I ask). They're not hotrod systems, and that's not the market for their systems. Though I will say, their "250W" motors seem to put out an awful lot more than 250W...
I see a lot of them on Xtracycles, women riding their kids around even going up hills, I always wondered how such a supposedly low output system could push those heavy bikes around. Bionix systems were the most common ones I used to see and a lot of people still seem to think they can't afford an Ebike because they saw the price on Bionix equipped bikes.
Yuba Mundo w/BBSHD
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Above all run on 14s4p 52v li-ion
Ecobike folder 36v
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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by marty » Mar 11 2018 9:59am

Syonyk wrote:
Mar 10 2018 7:48pm
You can't get the service manuals,
https://service.teslamotors.com/
WELCOME TO TESLA MOTORS SERVICE
Access to all service information requires a subscription account. You can register for an account or contact us for more information.
Service information includes repair manuals, service documents, wiring diagrams, and part information.

PRICE BREAKDOWN
General Access accounts for individuals and businesses are available in four subscription types. Register and choose the program that is right for you.
Quoted prices do not include applicable local sales tax. Applicable taxes may be added during the subscription process.

1 HR. SUBSCRIPTION $30.00
24 HR. SUBSCRIPTION $100.00
MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION $350.00
ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION $3000.00

$3000.00 per year to look at a service manual :shock:
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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by marty » Mar 11 2018 10:09am

From 2005
EPS050414Consoleconfigurationguide.pdf
(441.99 KiB) Downloaded 210 times
BIONX SYSTEM CONSOLE CONFIGURATION GUIDE
MARTY
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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by amberwolf » Mar 11 2018 3:07pm

marty wrote:
Mar 11 2018 9:59am
$3000.00 per year to look at a service manual :shock:
Thanks--I'll wait for the Haynes book. ;)

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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by marty » Mar 11 2018 3:19pm

From 2007
BIONX SYSTEM CONSOLE CONFIGURATION GUIDE - new

To enter the access section you push on MODE and CHRONO in same time.

2001: KM or Miles
2002: Generative Breaking
2003: Time last with the battery
2004: Clock
2005: Wheel size
2006: Programming brake sensor
2007: Polarity throttle (0-5volt or 5-0volt)

3771: wheel size
3772: diagnostic mode
3773: max speed
3775: throttle max speed
3776: Speed that motor will start
5000: Full reset
1976: motor direction
1234: sensor speed signal; 1= slow 5= fast
1970: Configuration activation backlight ad DCDC automatic
0007: Sensor signal gain, 0.1 to 4.0
0008: Configuration of extra assistance 1.0 to 4.0
0041: activation of the I2C

Error Code
SMC_ERROR_VCTRL 20
SMC_ERROR_VPRCH 21
SMC_ERROR_RELAY 22
SMC_ERROR_BMS 23
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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by Cephalotus » Mar 11 2018 4:11pm

B-side wrote:
Mar 10 2018 9:59pm

Any interest in a custom interface device that would let you use any non BionX battery on any BionX motor?
I am not too sure how you guys would use a standalone BionX motor that can operate without any CAN communications (or CAN handshake it). How assist levels would be changed? Brake? Throttle? It looks like an interface board is a requirement...
Oh there is demand for 3rd Party battery systems compatible with the BionX CAN system for 10 years, from at last hundreds, more likely thousands of users worldwide.
So far I know one who claimed to have made their own electronic, but I have never seen one for myself.

You can "hot plug" the old 36V BionX BMS which can be used on slightly different voltages, too (i.e. 41V systems in Trek/Diamant bikes with BionX) and you can bypass the voltage directly to the motor (stay below 60V), but you still need to feed a BionX BMS with the voltage it likes to see. You always need one for communication with the CAN.

The rest of the BionX system is just fine. Display, throttle, sensor and controller is hardly to be improved at least for a EU streat legal system. If you want maximum power ad maximum heat you woul use a external controller and in such a situation you would only use the motor itself without any BionX electronics anyway.

Reality is, since more than 10 years hundredthousands of BionX bikes have been sold and afaik noone came up with a 3rd party solution.

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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by Cephalotus » Mar 11 2018 4:32pm

marty wrote:
Mar 11 2018 3:19pm


To enter the access section you push on MODE and CHRONO in same time.

2001: KM or Miles
2002: Generative Breaking
2003: Time last with the battery
2004: Clock
2005: Wheel size
2006: Programming brake sensor
2007: Polarity throttle (0-5volt or 5-0volt)

3771: wheel size
3772: diagnostic mode
3773: max speed
3775: throttle max speed
3776: Speed that motor will start
5000: Full reset
1976: motor direction
1234: sensor speed signal; 1= slow 5= fast
1970: Configuration activation backlight ad DCDC automatic
0007: Sensor signal gain, 0.1 to 4.0
0008: Configuration of extra assistance 1.0 to 4.0
0041: activation of the I2C
add:

0001: serial# console
0002: serial# battery
0003: serial# motor
0006: speed gain
0008a: extra gain and 0008b: speed up to extra gain
0009: gauge knee
0010: strength of mountain mode (1..64) 0: off (software 6.0? or higher). In fact its a rather high support mode but with a maxium current limiter, it also applies to the throttle and can turn a throttle to a walking assist system. You with to mountain mode when long pressing (+)

2003: not available in recent software versions

2008: voltage DC DC converter (available from 5.0V to 12,0V, 1,5A max. Usually 2008 only shows the voltage, for changing it you need CAN bus tools, but I hade one or two console where I was able to toggle between 6V and 12V)
2009: switch console (only G2)
3774: Overload protection (use 1 for yes, software 6.0? or higher)
3777: Cap sense (sensitivity of the finger sensor for SOC on 48V batteries)
3779: Boost

---

This is what you can do with the G2 console.

If you have the hacked CAN tools you can do much more connected to a PC:

- maximum speed motor / console
- strength of each power and regen mode
- maximum battery A in regen
- maximum battery A in power
- activate the option to show motor temperature in display
- configure throttle mode (i.e. boost mode for EU legal throttle is possible)
- change capacity of battery (of course only for correct SOC display, if you build your own battery packs)
- change voltage of DC/DC output for lights
- use "endurance mode" for battery (don't know what it does exactly, limits battery A in power mode to 20A)
- change time when battery enters deep sleep mode
- change calibration of BMS single cell voltage measurement (sounds better than it is, usualy it's a hardware problem and there is little to fix with software)
and stuff I forgot
and you can read lots of statistics and logged data...

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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by Cephalotus » Mar 11 2018 4:40pm

Syonyk wrote:
Mar 10 2018 6:07pm

As much as I make good money providing aftermarket support for their systems, I really wish they would support the systems directly. A $2k "sustainable transportation" device that's scrap in 5 years is pretty bad. Probably worse than just putting miles on a car, once you figure that they source all their stuff from China now.
Which consumer tool do you know where the manufacturer ecourages consumers to replace the Li-Ion cells in the large batteries?

i don't know any such products, neither power tool nor consumer electronics nor e-bike.

At least with BionX you can change the battery itself. There a some ebike where this is not possible (Go Cycle for example)

And their BMS are quite tolerant to replacing the cells (be aware of software 112 which is much more restrictive and will deactivate = destroy the BMS if it detects that a cell was below a certain voltage level once!)

Problem with BionX 48V BMS is their general rather low quality. It's real shit if your electronics quit after 30 charging cycles and the only solution is to buy a new battery.

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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by Syonyk » Mar 11 2018 5:27pm

Cephalotus wrote:
Mar 11 2018 4:40pm
Which consumer tool do you know where the manufacturer ecourages consumers to replace the Li-Ion cells in the large batteries?
For most tool packs I've pulled apart, the cells are the vast majority of the cost of the pack, and packs are easily obtained. I literally can't buy cells for the cost of a tool pack, so I have no real complaints there. They also have minimal BMS (nearly none), so that's unlikely to fail on a tool battery.
At least with BionX you can change the battery itself. There a some ebike where this is not possible (Go Cycle for example)
Yes, and I am similarly annoyed with those designs...
And their BMS are quite tolerant to replacing the cells (be aware of software 112 which is much more restrictive and will deactivate = destroy the BMS if it detects that a cell was below a certain voltage level once!)
Do you have a source on that? I've heard rumors that some BionX BMS boards will permanently latch a failure condition and refuse to work again, and that's certainly consistent with the behavior you describe.
Problem with BionX 48V BMS is their general rather low quality. It's real shit if your electronics quit after 30 charging cycles and the only solution is to buy a new battery.
Right. The other problem I have is that the 48V pack is a thing of beauty inside in terms of being modular (everything on it is modular), but BionX won't sell the parts. They should offer, to certified dealers at least, replacement BMS boards, replacement cell packs, replacement touch sensors, etc. But they don't. They simply offer an entire new pack, which is terribly wasteful (and if it's not under warranty, it's around $900 for a pack). It's absurd.
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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by LockH » Mar 11 2018 7:16pm

Hey... Lord Justin? Just noticed the report from Mark has been "updated"... including:
Canadian maker of retrofittable electric bike drive systems BionX has gone into receivership. The European subsidiaries BionX GmbH and BionX Europe GmbH, as well as the sister company Elby Bike Europe GmbH are continuing their business.

An answering machine message with the Ontario, Canada business points to Grant Thornton Limited, a receivership specialist, which has now confirmed the sale of the business.
`Case yer bank loans officer wants to help "kick things to the next level"? I'd be telling GM I want $1500 per Bionx+ motor.

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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by Cephalotus » Mar 12 2018 7:15am

Syonyk wrote:
Mar 11 2018 5:27pm

Do you have a source on that?


None I like to quote.
I've heard rumors that some BionX BMS boards will permanently latch a failure condition and refuse to work again, and that's certainly consistent with the behavior you describe.
This happens when you update your battery to the actual Software version 112. The update killed two of my BMS that I saved from deep charged batteries. I assume BionX did that because there is lots of advise in internet massage boards how to reactivate their deep discharged batteries.
But this is critical, especially if cells have been below 1V level for longer time copper could have dissolved and form dendrites after recharging. Also the first recharging has to been done very slowly and you have to check for internal shorts (self discharge) bevore charging them full. Otherwise this is a clear security risk and potential for a battery fire. I can understand BionX that they have zero interest in DIYler setting their Bionx battery on fire.

So before(!) updating to 112 you have to check every register for problems. If you muss one you end up with a dead BMS.
Or you just stay with Software 111.
Right. The other problem I have is that the 48V pack is a thing of beauty inside in terms of being modular (everything on it is modular), but BionX won't sell the parts. They should offer, to certified dealers at least, replacement BMS boards, replacement cell packs, replacement touch sensors, etc. But they don't. They simply offer an entire new pack, which is terribly wasteful (and if it's not under warranty, it's around $900 for a pack). It's absurd.
A 550Wh (13s4p) BionX battery with 3 year warranty costs 600 Euro in Germany (This includes 19% VAT)

This is not ultra cheap, but in line or even cheaper compared to what other companies like Bosch, Yamahe, Shimano, Stromer, etc aks for their batteries.

Not anybody sells replacement BMS.

Replacing the battery pack is quite easy if you know what you do. Other parts rarely fail or are easily available as the SUB-D power connector. The main problem is the BMS. I once bought two handfuls of them as defective and tried to fix some, so now I own some active BionX batteries and around 5-6 working 48V batteries and another handful of their older working 22V to 41V BMS.

I hope this lasts me for another 15 years.

If you are a professional for battery replacements and repair of BionX batteries you may like some contact to German companies. We have many that replace cells and some have lots of experience with the electronics, too.

Those claim to have built their own (and better) 48V BionX BMS, but sadly do not sell them without the entire battery:
https://www.akkudiagnose.de/e-bike-akku ... e-kontakt/

Those have lots of know how about all BionX BMS:
http://www.liofit.com/kontakt/

I don't know if they are interested in a contact, especially overseas, but asking is for free ;-)

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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by B-side » Mar 12 2018 8:39am

I've heard rumors that some BionX BMS boards will permanently latch a failure condition and refuse to work again, and that's certainly consistent with the behavior you describe.
Yes and no: Bionx can remotely kill batteries in case of waranties and replacement, generally when cells are dead (under 1v). Once the BMS is killed, there is nothing to do with the Bionx tools but the microtroller on the BMS can still be reprogrammed with a Mircochip programmer.

So before(!) updating to 112 you have to check every register for problems. If you muss one you end up with a dead BMS.
Or you just stay with Software 111.
The BMS firmware won't do anything like this by itself. And 111 revision is not 'as safe' as 112 in regards to cell monitoring / charging. So you better upgrade.

Which consumer tool do you know where the manufacturer ecourages consumers to replace the Li-Ion cells in the large batteries?
Guys this is all about money and safety. Battery pack manufacturers get their cells for ~2$. The cost for transporting batteries + time it takes to do the actual repair is higher than the battery cost itself. It's also easier/cheaper to design a battery pack that is not supposed to be serviced. And as lithium cells are dangerous material, manufacturer does not want anybody replacing the cells resulting in venting/fire/explosions of a battery pack with their name on it.

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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by wturber » Mar 12 2018 10:59am

B-side wrote:
Mar 12 2018 8:39am

Guys this is all about money and safety. Battery pack manufacturers get their cells for ~2$. The cost for transporting batteries + time it takes to do the actual repair is higher than the battery cost itself. It's also easier/cheaper to design a battery pack that is not supposed to be serviced. And as lithium cells are dangerous material, manufacturer does not want anybody replacing the cells resulting in venting/fire/explosions of a battery pack with their name on it.
I agree that battery repair probably does not make sense for a company who charges $675 for an 11.5a 48v battery (555 wh) when similar generic batteries sell for about $400. It just does not make economic sense from a margins on investment standpoint. As was pointed out by others, who else offers service on their own Lion battery packs. I can't think of a single major manufacturer who does.

It is also industry practice to create proprietary packs. It is nice to theorize about modular standardized systems. but I think that is unlikely given the apparent markups that proprietary systems enjoy. I've seen it in the camera world. Of course, the manufacturers argue safety and performance, but that's a fairly hollow argument IMO. Lion technology isn't exactly black magic. In fact, I think the proprietary systems increase the incentive for people to buy batteries that are too cheap because the incentive to save "half the price" is awfully attractive.

It is going to be up to consumers to push back on the practice of selling expensive proprietary non-modular battery systems. Until they do, things will remain the same essentially because buyers are saying in effect that, "This deal is OK with me" when they buy into these systems. And frankly, if that deal is OK with them, that's fine with me. It isn't OK with me and I appreciate the fact that I have decent alternatives ranging from the less expensive to the much less expensive.
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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by eCue » Mar 12 2018 12:26pm

In my opinion Bionx is like Ford , to big to fail as far as electric bike companies go.
They make a good product the Management is the problem more so their business decisions are the problem. The wheel should be on more bikes. I see it as a opportunity for poor folk to buy stock cheap.
If the Canadian Stock was on the Market :arrow: I checked to see how much a stock $$ cost instead found it was not listed (on the Toronto stock market)
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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by Cephalotus » Mar 14 2018 3:21pm

B-side wrote:
Mar 12 2018 8:39am

The BMS firmware won't do anything like this by itself. And 111 revision is not 'as safe' as 112 in regards to cell monitoring / charging. So you better upgrade.
Please explain, what is "not as safe" in version 111 compared to 112.

Deactivation of the BMS happens during the update process t software 112.

This happend to one of my BionX BMS. I couldn't believe it and tried another one. So I had a 2nd BMS deactivated. :-O
Reason has been a register set for undervolatage in the history of some cells (not in the actual cell pack, this was fine)

I see the reason why they do that, but obviously it's not something you like for DIY.

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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by madin88 » Mar 15 2018 6:24am

Cephalotus wrote:
Mar 14 2018 3:21pm
B-side wrote:
Mar 12 2018 8:39am

The BMS firmware won't do anything like this by itself. And 111 revision is not 'as safe' as 112 in regards to cell monitoring / charging. So you better upgrade.
Please explain, what is "not as safe" in version 111 compared to 112.

Deactivation of the BMS happens during the update process t software 112.

This happend to one of my BionX BMS. I couldn't believe it and tried another one. So I had a 2nd BMS deactivated. :-O
Reason has been a register set for undervolatage in the history of some cells (not in the actual cell pack, this was fine)

I see the reason why they do that, but obviously it's not something you like for DIY.
What do you mean with deactivation?
I had some BMS which had very strange behaviour like they stopped charging already at 3,9V (without any reason), or they brought a perfectly balanced pack out of balance, or wrong soc information on the displays..
I have wondered if those are real engineering issuses, or if it was planned obsolescence.

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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by Cephalotus » Mar 15 2018 7:34am

madin88 wrote:
Mar 15 2018 6:24am

What do you mean with deactivation?
This happens if you want to update from SW 111 to SW 112 with a BionX battery that was once below a certain voltage limit :-(
BionX_Ladefunktion_deaktiviert3.jpg
BionX_Ladefunktion_deaktiviert3.jpg (97.49 KiB) Viewed 1502 times
I had some BMS which had very strange behaviour like they stopped charging already at 3,9V (without any reason), or they brought a perfectly balanced pack out of balance, or wrong soc information on the displays..
I have wondered if those are real engineering issuses, or if it was planned obsolescence.
Could be a problem with voltage measurement of one cell block. Sometimes those things sadly go crazy.

Have you checked how the BionX system reads the single cell voltages and how they are in real? Could be possible that BionX thinks that one cell is already way above 4.2V and stops charging.

Sometimes a software recalibration of the cell voltages does the trick. You need the CAN tools for that. Sometimes (rarely) the BMS can "heal" itself if detached from the battery for some weeks.

If you have an older BMS (hardware 6.2 or lower, software 111 or lower) you can try to cut the balancer cables #2 to #13. You only need to attach +13s and (-) and the 6 cables for the temperature sensors. The Bionx BMS will than assume that each cell has the same voltage.
Obviously this is flying blindly and you do that on your own risk. Newer versions will not allow that.

Regards

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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by B-side » Mar 15 2018 8:59am

Cephalotus wrote:
Mar 15 2018 7:34am
This happens if you want to update from SW 111 to SW 112 with a BionX battery that was once below a certain voltage limit :-(
The reason is that a dead pack revive test (TS0005; when battery won't charge by itself because cells are below 0.5v) was once attempted on this battery and failed. For safety reasons, BBI then programmed battery 111.99 that disable the charger.

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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by madin88 » Mar 15 2018 11:28am

Thank you Cephalotus for the explanations.
B-side wrote:
Mar 15 2018 8:59am
Cephalotus wrote:
Mar 15 2018 7:34am
This happens if you want to update from SW 111 to SW 112 with a BionX battery that was once below a certain voltage limit :-(
The reason is that a dead pack revive test (TS0005; when battery won't charge by itself because cells are below 0.5v) was once attempted on this battery and failed. For safety reasons, BBI then programmed battery 111.99 that disable the charger.
I guess this error is still present if you swap out the dead battery for a new one, or does it disappear than?

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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by amberwolf » Mar 15 2018 12:52pm

Since BionX doesn't do battery repairs, they didn't make any allowances for cell replacements in the firmware, so it doens't have a way to reset those errors. The pack disabling is permanent. You'd have to replace the BMS with a new one (not available, unless you have one from a pack dead from a different reason) to fix it.


Or reverse-engineer the firmware itself, to see exactly what it does and then undo that (assuming it's not a one-time-write area).

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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by B-side » Mar 15 2018 1:09pm

amberwolf wrote:
Mar 15 2018 12:52pm
Since BionX doesn't do battery repairs, they didn't make any allowances for cell replacements in the firmware, so it doens't have a way to reset those errors. The pack disabling is permanent. You'd have to replace the BMS with a new one (not available, unless you have one from a pack dead from a different reason) to fix it.
Or reverse-engineer the firmware itself, to see exactly what it does and then undo that (assuming it's not a one-time-write area).
The BMS is still OK but needs to be reprogrammed. Can be done using BBI if you have access to "recover" functions...

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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by Cephalotus » Mar 15 2018 1:45pm

B-side wrote:
Mar 15 2018 1:09pm

The BMS is still OK but needs to be reprogrammed. Can be done using BBI if you have access to "recover" functions...
Recover function never worked for me in case of a deactivated BionX BMS.

BionX wants to kill their batteries when cells have been deeply discharged (sometime sin the life of the BMS). Sad ting is that this prevents DIY cell replacements.

This is understandable from the companies point of view (not anybody wants to see a picture of a burning battery with your companies name on it), but of course this is quite shitty for the DIYer, who wants to replace the aging cells.

It's worse because the BionX BMS fails more often than the cell packs, so there is a large demand for functional BionX BMS but no supply.

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Chalo   100 GW

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Joined: Apr 29 2009 11:29pm
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Re: The end of BionX?

Post by Chalo » Mar 15 2018 2:09pm

I can't help but think that their commitment to a closed system was partly what put them out of business. And in due course, it will be what makes the remaining kits disappear ahead of schedule.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

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