At LAST! A Spare Battery, and my old one is a donor for experimenting.

In my last post I considered a new battery because mine is getting a little weak, and this week I ordered a new battery and have just had it delivered.

With the battery came a leaflet from the manufacturer, Phylion in China. Jinshajiang Road, New District, Suzhou, P.R. China. Postcode 215153

Tel +86-512-6832-0283

Model Number: JCEB360-11

36v 11.6AH

So that’s the company and battery details, my question is… are you someone who knows about electronics and BMS, do you know how to read and reprogramme said systems?
Can it go faster than 16mph? Can the cells be replaced with bigger amp hour cells?  Can a barrel connector be made to charge the battery on the fly (while cycling)?

JCEB360-11

JCEB360-11

JCEB360-11

JCEB360-11

JCEB360-11

JCEB360-11

 

Ebike Range Anxiety

My bike and battery are now well over 2 years old, and my battery is begining to lose its capacity. I didn’t follow my own instructions on battery care and left it charged to 100% for a few months, and on more than one occasion. Plus when I did my 45 mile ride I dropped the charge all the way down to 2%… VERY NAUGHTY I know.

So as a result I’m now developing range anxiety, and instead of riding 25-30 miles in one go, I’m dropping this to 15 miles. So I’m worried and I need a new battery, but Halfords are currently out of stock of spare batteries. Then I started wondering if it’s possible to charge the battery with a power bank phone charger.
I’ve fired off an email to SR-Suntour to see if they can help, this is the email.

Hello to who ever reads this email.

Just over 2 years ago I bought the Carrera Crossfire-E from Halfords, and it’s been a blast riding this bike, your battery and motor make this bike awesome. I even made a website to share my thoughts and opinions https://the-bionic-cyclist.co.uk

Lately I’ve had a reduction in battery life, probably because I left it fully charged for too long, but hey this is England and the weather is totally unpredictable. The reduction is only around 10%, so even though I’ve not charged it the stated 500 times, I understand how Li-Ion batteries work and their limitations.

This brings me onto a couple of ways you the manufacturer could fix this in future.

1. Have the USB output stay on even when the LCD is off, this way I could easily discharge the battery and keep it around the 30%-40% mark for long term storage. Dendrites are the enemy after all.

2. The ability to charge the battery on the go, without mains power…. Wait whut? Yes, there’s now a metric tonne of power banks, some with 3, 4, 5, or even upto 20 18650 batteries installed. Sure they’re a little heavy, but so is a spare battery. So why not add another USB port that allows a rider to charge the battery while on the road. I realise there are limitations on powerbanks, mainly that they run only at 5v and a maximum of 5 amps. But a trickle charge still adds a few miles to a ride. Or you could manufacture a powerbank that outputs 36v and a socket to the main battery and charge a little faster.

The benefit of number 2 is simple, you could sell your own rechargeable power bank just for your battery packs (watch out for the input socket, it could get damaged, you could then have the spare power bank charged by another power bank… and so on,) and they would work with all your batteries out there now. It’s lighter than a spare battery and it should be a lot cheaper too. An extra 5-10 miles is still miles ahead of the competition.

The alternative is to add a USB INPUT to future products, but this leaves all current and future batteries limited to their initial state.

Personally I prefer number option 2, it’s flexible and adds a little more distance to all past present and future batteries.

Now on to a couple of questions I’d like an answer to please.

1. Where do I buy a new battery from? Halfords haven’t had the stock in a long time and mine is now giving me a huge amount of range anxiety.

2. Do you have a publicly available schematic for the battery? If I bought a new one then I’d like to teardown the old one and replace the 18650’s with improved new ones… thus giving me 2 batteries and preserving the old one to make it last another 2 years or more.

Please let me know what you think, personally I like the idea of charging on the fly, and I’m amazed that no one has yet thought of it. But if I’m wrong and it cannot be done or it would be impractical then just a quick reply will do.

 

What do you think, do the ideas have merit?

 

Cycling videos with Data!

I recently bought a Garmin Virb and shorlty after I bought a GoPro hero 6, these let me show speed, inclination and distance data amongst other things. I found the video to be far too compressed with the Garmin, though it does store a huge amount of data, the video from the Gopro is far better but it contains less data. But all the important stuff is there.

 

 

  •  This is the GoPro at 1440P, though it can do 4K 60, but even my monster PC struggles at that high a resolution, 4K 30 is excellent, but I find 2.7P 60 to be really nice and hardly a downgrade on clarity.

  • This is the Garmin Virb, the video is nowhere near as crisp and clear, but man it’s easy to use and has incredibly well rounded software.

  • And this one again from a GoPro hero 6

How using an E-Bike changes you

As you no doubt know, I’ve had an electric bike for over two years now, and it’s left a fantastic impression on me physically and mentally too.

About me, I’m 47 years old, I’ve smoked for over 30 years, I live in Halifax West Yorkshire (a VERY hilly town), I also suffer with depression and have done for 20 years. I bought this bike because I’d started cycling again the year before I tore my knee cartilage, and I struggled getting any power through my knees.

A few months after buying the Carrera Crossfire-E I had my knees fixed, and soon after I was back to normal.

So now you know I’m a prime candidate for using an e-bike, and so far I’ve done 2,000 miles on it. But how has it changed me?

  1. I now get out of the house more than ever and it’s all cycling,
  2. I have lost a significant amount of weight, and it’s stayed off (mostly),
  3. My mood improves every time I go out, and I look forward to going out too,
  4. Instead of getting in the car to go to town or Asda for a few bits, I jump on the bike,
  5. I can also keep up and even beat the wanna-be pro’s, especially uphill,
  6. If I did have a job I’d almost certainly commute,
  7. Hills are not an issue anymore.
  8. If you ride instead of driving then you get all this and save money on fuel too.

There’s also the issue of distance. Previously when I owned a non E-Bike (Specialized Myka) I could manage 15 miles and only with nearly a full year of prep, now I can manage as much as 45 miles. That is what e-biking is about, freedom, it’s this that makes such a positive change from driving the car, all the benefits of cycling without the stress and strain of normal bike riding.

You don’t need to be like me to benefit from an e-bike, anyone can and will benefit from using an electric bike, even commuting to and from work would be an improvement, both in speed and sweat. If you already commute on a bike then an e-bike would be faster and a lot less sweaty.

So if it’s something you’ve considered and would like to try, then pop into a local bike shop and try one out.

 

(True story). I went to PedalSport https://pedalsportshop.com/ for a new bike light and a few bits just after buying the Crossfire-E, and while they did sell me what I wanted they scoffed at the thought of an e-bike and one person even laughed in my face. I haven’t since been back and never will because of the sheer snobbery and arrogance of the staff. But look at them now.

Finally some good weather and Telemetry data

The last good day was way back in January, and while I did go for a ride, it was just to discharge the battery for the upcoming cold months, I didn’t want it sat there with a full charge, after all, that kills Lithium Ion batteries fast!

I’ve also got a new camera, a Garmin Virb X, this records 1080p and GPS data from a ride, so I can now show you my speed, distance, pitch, roll, g-force, gradient and a whole hell of a lot more.

The layout I’ve used is…

  1. Bottom left = Distance traveled
  2. Middle = Pace in minutes per mile
  3. Time taken
  4. And oviously speed

The camera is not the best, the video is captured at 1080P, but it’s very poor quality and suffers from a lot of compression, then the video editor compresses it further and finally youtube does it’s thing too, so the final output is crap compared to a gopro. But at least I now have telemetry data to show you. Personally I’d have gone for the Virb X Ultra 4K, but that was too rich for my blood. Though I might get a Hero 5 Session and use that video instead. To save on youtube’s compression I’ve uploaded it locally.

Cycling tips

These are all good points, be seen, use lights and hi-vis clothing, ride sensibly etc… but the fact that so many riders don’t give a shit about other road users shows why cyclists are hated.

My advice, never ever pass a HGV on the left, I have a class one licence and I’ve seen it so many times and nearly hit a few riders myself, the left hand side is called “The Blind Side” for a damn good reason, you can’t see shit in a car, bus and expecially a HGV… so don’t do it unless you want to die.

Lastly, ride a bike like you drive a car, don’t filter or filter as little as possible, don’t ride on the pavement, don’t be selfish, and you should be around for many more years.

 

The dreaded crossfire-e power cut – FIXED!

I’ve held off updating the blog with the fix for the power cut-out on the Carrera Crossfire-E, I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t just fooling myself and to make sure it stays fixed. 300 miles later and I’ve had zero cut outs.  

Way way back in April 2016 when I got this bike and experienced my first power cut I noticed that a zip-tie was around the cable and the frame. But just before going on my holiday to Fort William I gave my baby a damn good clean and service. During the service I removed the rear wheel and chain for a really deep clean, then reattached everything and put on a new zip-tie, a green one.

Continue reading

Thank you Halfords

Just before my holiday to Fort William I emailed SR Suntour and asked if they have an update for 2016 and earlier bikes, to swap the display from KM to Miles, they didn’t and stopped working on updating the firmware some time ago. They did suggest that I contact Halfords and ask if they’ll swap the display to a 2017 model for me as it’s compatible with earlier bikes.

So I went to my local store and they didn’t hesitate to order one, unfortunately they only ordered the display and not the LCD holder, and while the display arrived in time for my hols, the holder didn’t.

But by the time I came back they had arrived and I’ve now got the display and buttons for a 2017 bike and they work perfectly, man it’s so nice to have miles per hour and miles total instead of KM.

So a big thank you to Halfords (Halifax)  for sorting this out for me, and free of charge too.

 

Looking after Lithium Batteries

Battery care.

To be honest I’ve learned over the years that batteries perform better at room temperature, this actually isn’t the case with Li-ion batteries, they like to be really cold, especially when you store them for a few months. So seeing as a new battery pack can cost hundreds of pounds I did some quick research and this is what it boils down to.

1. You should only charge a lithium battery to 100% when you need to use the battery for extended periods that day or the day after. Try to keep the charge between 20% and 80%
2. NEVER NEVER NEVER let the battery drain below 10%.
3. Around the 30 cycles, (one cycle is 80%-20% of battery power) discharge the battery as low as you dare. So at the 5% mark give it a good long charge.
4. Store the battery at 40%, DO NOT charge it to 100% and store it. Storing the battery is for 3 months or more.
5. Freeze the battery! I know right, it doesn’t make sense. Freeze the battery at roughly 30% charge in a carrier bag so it can breath a little.

To summarise.
Keep the battery level between 80% and 20% for normal every day use. Discharge the battery every 30 charges, and store it for long periods at 40% charge. If you can freeze it when you store it then even better.

Li-ion should last for 300-500 charges, and if you follow the above then it should last nearer the 500 charges.
Source: http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_prolong_lithium_based_batteries