Monday, August 29, 2011

CBA Screenshot

The application that comes with the CBA is fairly straightforward, but has a bunch of neat features under the hood. First off is the basic testing screen. I captured this screen on my work computer so it doesn't show the CBA connected nor does it show the voltages of the connected battery on the right. However, it gives you a wealth of information as you would imagine: A picture is worth a thousand words...

You can tell that the voltage of the Bosch Fat Pack started at right around 40V and went down to 28V at the end of the test. It was able to deliver approximately 2.1AH. I used a 1A drain rate. You can see the dog leg for the battery happens right around 2.0AH. The application can stack data for multiple batteries and it can also export all of the captured data in either CSV (comma separated values) or Excel format. It can also print out labels so that you can label your batteries with it's test results. Handy!

More later,

Connecting a Cycle Analyst SA to a Tidalforce iO

This is actually a DrainBrain model power analyzer from, however, it is identical to the basic functions of the Cycle Analyst. The model I'm using is the "Stand-alone" unit which has a calibrated shunt (resistor) connected at the end of a long cable so that the LCD can be placed near your line-of-sight and the shunt placed near the battery and controller.

I decided to mount my spare DB/CA to my Tidalforce iO bike since it was just sitting around. I found a very convenient connecting point near the rear dropout. TF conveniently connected the front hub battery to the rear motor through an Anderson Powerpole (APP) connector. I simply disconnected the Anderson and inserted the shunt into this location. The shunt has two pairs of APPs. One marked "Battery" and the other marked "Controller." It couldn't be much simpler. The DB/CA also has a speed sensor which is a magneto pickup and magnet that you attach to the front wheel. This allows the DB/CA to calculate your power usage per mile. Very handy.

Here's the DB mounted on the iO handlebar.

Here's the connection point and the very nice neoprene velcro cover that TF supplied with the bike.

More later,

West Mountain CBA 1.0 Testing Video

Here's a video of the West Mountain CBA testing one of my Bosch Fat Pack batteries. It's as easy as you can imagine. You first install the software on your PC. Then connect the CBA to your USB port. Finally, you plug in the test battery via it's Anderson Powerpole connectors to the CBA. There are adapters available for other types, but the APPs are standard.

Most of my packs did very well, some producing more than the expected 2.2AH. I need to analyse the data for all 14 packs.

More later,

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

48V A123 Pack Arrives!

I arrived home to find that Phil over on ES had shipped the 48V A123 pack and that it had arrived. I unwrapped the pack from the duct tape wrapping and found a solidly built 48V 7.5AH battery with a 16S Signalab BMS.

 Unwrapped and with plenty of voltage! 56.2V

 The Signalab 16S BMS

 The pack as it arrived from Phil.

 The bottom of the pack as it came.

 The side of the pack as it came.

 The side of the pack as it came.

 The unveiling.

Fully revealed!

My plans right now are to either build it up with additional A123 cells to make it a 48V 10AH pack or to add more cells and make it a 96V 5AH pack!

More later,

Topeak MTX Rear Rack Mounted with B Battery!

I picked up a couple of M5-15 metric threaded hexagon cap screws at the hardware store on the way home and mounted the nice Topeak MTX rear rack on my iO last night. I then mounted the Wavecrest B battery on it which slides on like butter!

It looks great and clicks in very solidly.

More later,

Sunday, August 21, 2011

West Mountain CBA Arrives!

I found a used original West Mountain CBA for an irresistible price on the web so grabbed it before it was gone! It arrived today. I've wanted one for a long time. This will replace my YPedal inspired LBD (light bulb discharger). The CBA is a computer based device that allows you to visually capture the capabilities of your batteries. It doesn't matter what chemistry or power rating. It has a built-in fan and large heatsink as well as a USB port to interface with the Windows XP based computer. I'm mostly Mac based at home, but do have a small XP based Sony VAIO Netbook as well. I will try this out some other time, but have it on hand in case I need it!

The USB port side

The LED side. As you can probably guess. It's a fairly chunky, but small unit.

The top mounted small boxer fan.

The Deans connector (I think).

 The Anderson Powerpole to Deans connector (I think) connection. Of course, you can remove the Deans connector (I.T.) and just plug it straight into the APPs.

The heat sink is ventilated through to both sides.

More later.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Placement of the Wavecrest B Battery

I wanted to move my battery setup from it's current location on the rear rack to a lower and more balanced position closer to the center of gravity (CoG) of the bike. I've always felt that my current setup was a bit front light and back heavy. In fact, if I'm not careful with the throttle, I can almost pop wheelies if I gun it.

I plan on using the Wavecrest B battery on my bike and I strapped it on to see how it looks. It doesn't look too bad!

I used the Velcro Velstrap bands that I use to hold my Topeak MTX rear bag to strap the B battery in place temporarily. It's great that the B battery is fairly waterproof. The cable coming out of the case has a waterproof grommet that it goes through and the other connector at the top end here also has a waterproof cover. The two plastic halves need to have some sort of water resistant material placed between it and the case, but that should be too challenging. Here's the B battery closeup.

Here's how the power output would be routed through the frame. The bottom bracket area has an opening that's just right for the cable. I may shorten the cable so it isn't so long. I need to measure the interior cavity to see if it's possible to load it up with LiPO batteries instead of the much bulkier NiMH packs.

More later,

Wavecrest Labs Tidalforce B Battery Disassembled

With Narayan's help, I was able to finally open the Tidalforce Wavecrest B Battery. The BMS circuit was already unscrewed which is what those 4 holes on the top of the case were for. It simply needed to be pushed out of the tight space that it resided in. I used a dowel rod that I had and was able to get it out!

The next job was to remove the actual cells for inspection. After careful examination, it appears that the two round objects in between the cells are silicone tubes. These act as shock absorbers and position retainers for the packs. They keep the cells in place and apart from each other and firmly against the walls of the container. Pretty neat idea! I used leverage and a long screwdriver to extract the retainers.

There are actual metals springs fully contained in the silicone! Now on to the cells themselves.

The Ni-MH cells are made by SAFT, I believe they are a French company. The package states they are made in the European Union. They are rated at 6V 9.5AH. The model number is 5 VH DL 803681. They are funny in stating that it would take a charge at 900mA for 16 hours! That would be recharging at a 1/10C rate!

I was then able to remove the cells from the pack by judiciously loosening up the silicone type goop that was holding the cells in place. I used a precision tool called my fingers!

The cells are connected via tabs that are spot welded to the + and - terminals of the battery.

The pack voltages were all over the place.


The last pack is probably shot, but the others may be salvageable. I need to recharge them individually.

I placed a call in to Astroflight yesterday asking for help in repairing the 112D that I have with the intermittent start button. They will hopefully call me back!

More later,

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wavecrest Labs Tidalforce B Battery Arrived!

I received the Wavecrest Labs B battery from Narayan yesterday. It is a thing of beauty! It fits onto a standard Topeak MTX rack which I happen to use with my Tidalforce S-750 frame to hold my Bosch Fat Pack 74V battery now! This is what it looks like on the bike. Very nice!

There is the standard Topeak catch on the front of the battery that latches on to the rack.

The B wasn't working (0V on the outputs) so I decided to open it up to take a look inside. Here's a shot of inside from the back.

You can see the NiMH cells inside. They are grouped into sixes which are glued into the case. There's a shelf on the inside where the BMS is located. It's a tight fit!

Here's the other end of the battery with the output leads. There's a hole in the case, but that can be easily patched.

While I had it open, I tried to give the battery a charge directly, bypassing the BMS. The battery had a voltage of 17.1V!

My Astroflight 112D NiMH charger didn't like it. It kept turning off showing a "no battery" status. I am having a problem with the "Start" button though. It's very intermittant and may need to be replaced soon. I'm going to give AF a call to find out how much it costs. It may also be that the Wavecrest BMS inside the battery is acting up. I need to figure out how to remove it from the circuitry. Here's a shot of the tight space where the BMS is located.

There are four holes in the top of the case that look as if something was attached there at one point, however, when you look through the holes, you can see directly to the wires and batteries inside. Strange!

Here are shots of all four sides of the case.

Finally, here are some more shots of the case.

I expect to receive a TF A front hub battery shortly so photos and a take-apart of that shortly!