What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

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ClintBX   1 kW

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What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by ClintBX » Nov 08 2020 2:33pm

Hi ESFMs,

I've been using a few packs from Unit Pack Power (UPP) lately and I've been having some bad experiences.

I do Uber eats with my ebike, so I need a lot of energy to get me through the day. I have a 35 Ah pack (not UPP), a 14Ah pack (from UPP) and more recently a 7 Ah pack (also UPP). I've been able to work all day without having to schedule charging sessions between shifts.

I was pretty happy with my set up that I went to buy a second 14 Ah pack as a spare.

Prior to my second purchase of the 14 Ah pack, I did have the nickel strip that connected the red positive along with the first bms wire to the pack snap on me. I managed to patch that to get it working again but upon examination and research, I discovered that the strips used are nickel plated steel and susceptible to corrosion. There are definitely some rust marks that I'll probably have to deal with in the future. I've had this pack since January and used it everyday from full to empty through to October.

After receiving the spare pack, I decided to swap out the 10 month old one. It performed well up until today, when I discovered the bms burned out on me. When I started my day, it didn't quite fully charge and when I came home the charger wouldn't work at all. It wasn't until I was about to change my charging connector that I noticed a hole burnt through the bottom of the bag and some tiny sparks happening. There was also some dampness on the cardboard insulator. And yes it had the blue heat shrink over it. And this pack was inside a seemingly strong water proof bag.

I just reinstalled the previous pack but now I'm nervous of having to rely on it for the long term, so I'll be searching for a reputable brand that also meets the form factor requirements of my frame. I have this pack strapped on the down tube. This is a full suspension frame, so there is a little more clearance from the front wheel.

I'll be attaching several pics in the next posts.

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by ClintBX » Nov 08 2020 2:39pm

Here's some images of the fried bms.
As you can see, it just totally cooked on the left.
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Tommm   100 kW

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by Tommm » Nov 08 2020 2:52pm

ClintBX wrote:
Nov 08 2020 2:39pm
Here's some images of the fried bms.
As you can see, it just totally cooked on the left.
If it was damp it was damp. Most of this china stuff aren't waterproof even if they claim it to be. Double bag it or something next time.

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tomjasz   10 GW

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by tomjasz » Nov 08 2020 3:15pm

Thanks Justin_le we're here thanks to you. All the best to the mods for their tireless work keeping it on an even keel.

ClintBX   1 kW

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by ClintBX » Nov 09 2020 3:32am

Tommm wrote:
Nov 08 2020 2:52pm
ClintBX wrote:
Nov 08 2020 2:39pm
Here's some images of the fried bms.
As you can see, it just totally cooked on the left.
If it was damp it was damp. Most of this china stuff aren't waterproof even if they claim it to be. Double bag it or something next time.
I'd agree with you except, I've had a pretty good experience with keeping water out with various packs. And I ride through some potent rains.

No, I have a different theory. I think that the hole burned through first and then I rode through some sprinklers and puddles recently that may have flicked up into that opening. As I said, I have this pack strapped on the downtube. The front wheel probably flicked some of that moisture.

ClintBX   1 kW

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by ClintBX » Nov 09 2020 3:41am

Yeah, I saw that video.

ClintBX   1 kW

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by ClintBX » Nov 09 2020 3:51am

Wouldn't you know it. My 10 month old pack that I swapped in last night wouldn't work today. When I plugged her in, my throttle indicator had it sitting on 4.3v. which happened to me a couple of days ago with the recently fried pack but I assumed it was my connector. It was back to normal when I ensured proper contact them. I had no such luck this time. Wouldn't resume charging either.

When I opened her up, nothing looked physically damaged (except for the corrosion on the strips). However, when I went to volt test each series, the first one was at 0.2v while the rest were at a healthy 41.v. I'll post more pics when I get home.

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by ClintBX » Nov 09 2020 12:33pm

Here are some pics of the 10 month old pack. I checked each series' voltage. There all around 4.1v except for that first one by the court wire bodging. It is on 0.33v

The month old pack is around 3.6v with the first series at 1.36v
Attachments
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You'll see that I had to bodge a copper wire attached by spade connectors
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Here is a hole in the strip from an earlier wire that I didn't strip the whole way. It concentrated all the best there
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IMG20201110011213_compressed.jpg
Here's a shot from the other side with sing of that corrosion I was talking about
IMG20201110011213_compressed.jpg (149.46 KiB) Viewed 1445 times

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by ClintBX » Nov 09 2020 12:38pm

Here's a shot of the "new" pack after I ripped open the packaging.

I suspect that the cardboard insulator used acts as a sponge and only serves to spread any moisture that happens to get in. I prefer it when they use the hard plastic like insulator.
Attachments
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Corrosion set in fast this time
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ClintBX   1 kW

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by ClintBX » Nov 09 2020 12:57pm

The autopsy continues. Here a shot the bms that didn't burn. Well I guess it did.
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From the underneath. It's quite scorched at the ground discharge wire.
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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by ClintBX » Nov 09 2020 1:03pm

And on the top side of the bms, I noticed 5 modules with the first 3 looking singed at the back. What are those things? This is my first bms autopsy.
Attachments
IMG20201110020056_compressed.jpg
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www.recumbents.com   10 kW

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by www.recumbents.com » Nov 09 2020 4:00pm

Those are the power FETs. It looks like you are putting a higher continuous load on the BMS than the FETs can handle without overheating. Sometime you can add a heat sink to resolve that but the better resolution is to use a higher power BMS. What amperage is the pack rated at?

ClintBX   1 kW

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by ClintBX » Nov 09 2020 5:05pm

www.recumbents.com wrote:
Nov 09 2020 4:00pm
Those are the power FETs. It looks like you are putting a higher continuous load on the BMS than the FETs can handle without overheating. Sometime you can add a heat sink to resolve that but the better resolution is to use a higher power BMS. What amperage is the pack rated at?
I was wondering about that but I'm using a 35A max controller with a 17A continuous. The bms is supposed to be fit for 30A continuous and 90A max.

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by goatman » Nov 09 2020 9:20pm

looks like you get to try and salvage some cells and make a new pack. i use cell holders and plasti-dip to waterproof

ClintBX   1 kW

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by ClintBX » Nov 10 2020 11:13am

goatman wrote:
Nov 09 2020 9:20pm
looks like you get to try and salvage some cells and make a new pack. i use cell holders and plasti-dip to waterproof
I like that idea. How do you recommend I should approach the dismantling process? How do I break the spot welds?

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by goatman » Nov 10 2020 8:55pm

i usually roll the nickel strip off the cells, kind of like how you open a can of spam. on the negative end some batteries have weak metal and it rips a hole in the bottom where the spot welds are, try rolling the strip off the dead cells to see.

you might be able to cut the packs in half and connect the two good halves together in series to get up and going right away

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by ClintBX » Nov 14 2020 4:25am

I have a question about the UPP's BMS compatibility with my controller/motor setup.

The BMS in these 14Ah packs are rated at 30A continuous and 90A peak.

My controller is rated at 17A continuous and 35A peak.

And my motor is 500 watts. I don't know what that means in terms of how many amps it can take or whether it pulls any additional itself (I had an experience with a1200 watt motor pulling my controller's peak as continuous for some reason, still can't wrap my head around that one)

My question is, even though the continuous ratings of 30A of the BMS exceeds that of my controller's continuous 17A, is it still likely that the fewer times I might hit peak (30-35A) can lead to the type of failure I experienced here?

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by kcuf » Nov 14 2020 9:31am

motor wattage continuous

not peak rating


never seen 30a bms peak 90a

more like 40-50a if that


multiple problems here

overloading is bad as evidenced here

water only makes things worse
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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by HK12K » Nov 22 2020 12:22am

Saw this not too long ago which completely turned me off to UPP, not that I wasn't already skeptical.

https://youtu.be/JCaDz_2YcGQ

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by ClintBX » Dec 29 2020 2:28am

A quick update on my experience. The vendor for one of the packs sent me a replacement. This was the pack that started sparking up and burning a hole through its bag. I've been riding with it for only 20 days and already, it just started to not get a full charge. It stops charging at 53v, whereas it normally charges fully to 54.6. I've even been extra careful to avoid draining it right down to the bottom this time.

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by Tommm » Dec 29 2020 4:07am

ClintBX wrote:
Dec 29 2020 2:28am
A quick update on my experience. The vendor for one of the packs sent me a replacement. This was the pack that started sparking up and burning a hole through its bag. I've been riding with it for only 20 days and already, it just started to not get a full charge. It stops charging at 53v, whereas it normally charges fully to 54.6. I've even been extra careful to avoid draining it right down to the bottom this time.
Bank out of balance and shiit bms not doing its job, just the regular.

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by powrtrip » Feb 22 2021 6:06pm

Just email them.. they'll send a new one out.... I've had 6 packs from them all awesome...

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tomjasz   10 GW

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by tomjasz » Feb 22 2021 6:29pm

UPP sucks. Very poor quality builds, using nickel-coated steel connections rather than pure nickel. And low ball cheap featureless BMS.
Thanks Justin_le we're here thanks to you. All the best to the mods for their tireless work keeping it on an even keel.

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Re: What the heck is wrong with UPP packs!?

Post by senorgeneral » Mar 19 2021 1:23am

ClintBX wrote:
Nov 14 2020 4:25am
I have a question about the UPP's BMS compatibility with my controller/motor setup.

The BMS in these 14Ah packs are rated at 30A continuous and 90A peak.

My controller is rated at 17A continuous and 35A peak.

And my motor is 500 watts. I don't know what that means in terms of how many amps it can take or whether it pulls any additional itself (I had an experience with a1200 watt motor pulling my controller's peak as continuous for some reason, still can't wrap my head around that one)

My question is, even though the continuous ratings of 30A of the BMS exceeds that of my controller's continuous 17A, is it still likely that the fewer times I might hit peak (30-35A) can lead to the type of failure I experienced here?
The BMS on a Unit Pack Power battery won't protect you unless you go over 90A. It will fry the internal wiring before the BMS shuts off. I accidentally reversed the red and black wires from my controller. Afterwards, the controller was stressed and smelled a little, but worked perfectly once I corrected the wiring and connected it to a different battery. The UPP battery was smoking and the wires melted. Most stories on the net involving the same mistake result in the controller frying, but in this case the battery stopped functioning. To Unit Pack Power's credit they asked me to return the battery to their US location and sent me a replacement at no cost. This was all done thru Alliexpress.

From then on I won't use a controller that is rated at a higher max amps, than the battery's continuous amp rating. You just can't depend on the BMS for protection.

My controller is a 48v 20amp controller and I've seen it use 850+ watts with full throttle going up hill. That is about 18 amps through the entire uphill run. If I were to use a battery that has a continuous amp rating of 15amps or 10amps, then i would be doing a ton of damage every-time I pushed the limits of the bike uphill.

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