Anyone hacked the Freway VR-01 Battery and/or electrical system?

Feb 5, 2016
The Freway company is log gone and parts (like the battery) are no longer available. I posted about this a few years ago but nobody had and good data on the batter and electrical system at that time. Just wondering if anyone has more recently hacked the system to keep the bike running.

You can't just replace the battery with another 36V li-ion because the battery controller is built into the battery holder and connects to it via multiple pins. There are pins for the battery terminals, but also 3 pins which seem to exchange some sort of data with the battery, and if these pins are not connected to the original battery, the control system (and LED display) don't work, so nothing runs. The battery is pretty much sealed and to get at whatever else in in there it would have to be pulled apart (all the heat shrink tubing and adhesive cut away) I have not yet got to that point!

I'm wondering if anyone has torn out the battery, controller and control panel and replaced them with an aftermarket system that uses a simple 36v battery?

While it is possible to connect up an external battery to the original battery output terminals you have to be very careful in using this system. The battery terminals are only live after the power switch on the battery holder is turned on. You can connect a second battery, but if you do, the controller and LCD are powered up all the time. So to charge the two in parallel you have to have the main power switch on, and after charging you have to disconnect the 2nd batter (reconnecting it just before use). You have to make sure both batteries are equally charged (same voltage) or connecting them together can result is high current draw as the battery with higher charge will attempt to charge the battery with lower charge - without any current control. This could be bad news!

Completely replacing the controller, battery and LCD control box might be the safest route, though there's an issue that the hydraulic brakes don't use brake levers with a sensor, so you can't cutoff the motor via the brakes. I don't know if the cadence sensor on the VR-01 would be compatible with an aftermarket controller. Fitting a thumb throttle shouldn't be difficult. Figuring out what to wire to what could be a nightmare. I've hooked up a controler system before, but the components were designed for and had the correct cables for to the controller.

The hub motor seems to be a (Bafang) 8FUN 250w with a small 9 pin connector. I assume this is a standard connector with standard pinout. I've no idea what the cadence sensor output is.

It's not a great bike, but it's not bad and you don't see many 27 speed eBikes around. The power assist is useful for steep hills, while the added weight of the e-system isn't too bad. It would be a shame if the lack of battery support killed the bike. Mine is still running, though I use use a small 36v 4AH added battery. So far I have not blown anything up with the intricate charging routine that you need, but sooner of later I'm bound to do something wrong.

Someone must have hacked one of these e-bikes. Maybe people just peddle them manually when the battery (or other electronics) fail. If anyone has any info on keeping them going, I'd be interested to hear it.