Motor problems with Schwinn Campus Electric Protanium Motor.
I have had consistent problems with the Protanium motors.
I'm wondering if anyone else has had similar problems.
I purchased a Schwinn Campus Electric bicycle (with an extra battery pack) in September of 2008.
As of today, Sunday, June 7th, 2009 (almost 9 months) I have 2,954 miles on the bicycle. During that period of time I have had 3 motors fail. I am currently awaiting a 4th motor from the dealer, who has been very supportive.
The details are noted below.
The first motor lasted 560 miles. I was about 5 miles from home, when the motor all at once, abruptly ceased pulling. The motor was still turning, and you could hear the wirring sound that the motor makes when it's powered and rotating, but it was slipping, and there was almost no pulling force being applied to the front wheel.
For approximately 150 miles before it quit, the motor made increasing gear noises.
That is the whirring sound that the motor makes when it's running, increased from barely audible when it was brand-new, to quite noticeable over the course of the 560 miles.
The dealer replaced the motor-front-wheel and the 2nd motor lasted about 2,100 miles before it also quit. The gear noises increased from barely audible when I first got the 2nd motor from the dealer, to quite loud, bordering on obnoxious just prior to it's quitting. To my ear the noise sounds like a grinding, or bearings that are approaching catastrophic failure. in the latter stages just prior to failure, you were going up a hill and you pushed the "thrust thumb lever" on the left side of the handlebars, you would hear a significantly louder grinding noise. Obviously the motor was slipping rather than pulling. There was very little if any felt increase in pull.
This is markedly different from when the motor was new.
The dealer sent me a 3rd motor-front-wheel which I had the local bike shop install. The 3rd motor lasted only 180 miles. That motor also started out running very quietly, and within the space of 180 miles became very noisy, started to slip, and produce the same grinding gears sound that the other prior motors did.
These are the symptoms that the motor seems to display prior to failing. All of the motors start out very quiet, when they first arrive. If you elevate the front wheel and gently rotate the front wheel backwards slowly, you can feel "coging" -- an almost ratchet like mild resistance to the wheel rotating in the backwards direction. As the motor continues to wear in, that ratcheting becomes much more pronounced, and actually almost noisy.
When the motor is on the verge of failing, rotating the elevated frontwheel gently backwards produces a markedly rough and somewhat noisy ratcheting-grinding sound to my ears, reminiscent of either grinding gears, or metal on metal imminent bearing failure.
I have never had any of the 3 motors heat up during usage, although I have gotten off the bicycle from time to time to make certain that they were not getting warm. I have never felt anything other than very, very mild tepid temperatures on the hub motor, and I have never felt any warmth at all around the controller. None of the handlebar controls heat up at all.
My bicycle is never-ever ridden off road, I use it strictly on the local roads.
The batteries are the ones that came with the bicycle. I ordered 2 batteries when I first purchased the bicycle so that I could cover between 25 and 40 miles on a trip.
The area that I live in the is rolling hills, the roads are in reasonably good repair, and the bicycle has never been subjected to anything similar to off-road conditions or excessive jarring.
I realize that the mileage I have accumulated on the bicycle is on the high side, but at an average speed of 13 miles an hour, I would expect the motor to be able to last a minimum of 6,500 miles, which is really only about 500 hours. Presumably it is a brushless motor with internal planetary gears.
Has anybody else experienced any problems with the Protanium front wheel-hub-motor?