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Old 06-27-09, 04:43 PM   #1
tcman
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Battery 101 - LiFePo4

Hi,

I recently bought a Specialized comfort bike and want to electrify it.
I am planning on using the 500W or 650W Cyclone motor, but don't have enough info on how to choose the proper battery.
The Cyclone-TW.com site is rather confusing and doesn't give any real guidelines on how to pick the battery.
I would like to ride the 10 miles (one way) to work on mostly electric power to prevent breaking a major sweat. If I could go around 30 mph that would be nice. Going home, I'm planning on doing mostly pedaling with electric assist when necessary. My ride is fairly flat.

It would be nice to know how the different battery ratings affect their performance. For example, what will a 20Ah 24V battery do for me that a 10Ah 24V battery won't? How will choosing the 36V version of these batteries change performance? More generally, how does amps and voltage affect acceleration and range? There seems to be a huge jump in price going from a 10Ah to a 20Ah ($398 to $738) so I'm guessing there is some added benefit of the 20Ah?

I'm surprised about how little specs there are on these expensive batteries, even from the vendors providing them. You would think they would at least provide very general guidelines for the common non-scientific person, but I'm not seeing much of that.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 06-27-09, 08:27 PM   #2
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What sort of "general guidelines" are you seeking? Voltage, Current, Energy and their relationship are somewhat technical in nature but not unapproachable for a non-scientific person. Try doing a web search about basic electricity, you will need to understand it sooner or later if you really want to roll your own eBike.
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Old 06-28-09, 12:23 AM   #3
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More Voltage = higher speed
More Amp/Hrs = farther range
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Old 06-28-09, 02:02 AM   #4
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What I mean by "general guidelines"

Quote:
Originally Posted by misslexi View Post
What sort of "general guidelines" are you seeking? Voltage, Current, Energy and their relationship are somewhat technical in nature but not unapproachable for a non-scientific person. Try doing a web search about basic electricity, you will need to understand it sooner or later if you really want to roll your own eBike.
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When you go purchase a new vehicle like a car, motorcycle, boat, or airplane, you can get all the info on the vehicle usually in a nice little brochure or online. Information such as top speed, engine size and cylinders, horse power, engine torque, miles/km per gallon, turbo charge stats, and so much more. In comparison, a look at a typical store or site selling electric motors and batteries, or even fully assembled e-bikes, will tell you much less. I understand there are lots of variables that affect bottom line numbers, but this is true of the auto, motorcycle, boat, and airplanes as well, but still they give you much more information to help you make a more educated decision. I just think it's a bit counter intuitive to try to sell someone something and not tell them hardly anything about the product, expecting them to know everything about it in advance.

I'm not talking about anything fancy, just something similar to "labs test with rider weighing 180 lbs and the kit installed on a Trek ABC mountain bike, motor A with battery 1 will have these stats. Motor A with battery 2 will have these stats, etc." Of course add clause that variables will change numbers. Maybe also throw in information like...if your commute is 50% hilly we recommend motor B with battery 3 because....if not we recommend motor A with battery 2." As it stands, it seems to be a total crap shoot unless you are well versed in motor mechanics and physics, and battery chemistry. Or do a lot of reading on forums like this to see what others have experienced from these products. It would be less intimidating to more consumers and more people would be willing to buy the products.
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Old 06-28-09, 02:05 AM   #5
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More Voltage = higher speed
More Amp/Hrs = farther range
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thank you. This is helpful info.
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Old 06-28-09, 06:55 AM   #6
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The industry is in relative infancy, you may want to wait for version 2.0, I'm sure by then they'll be able to distill the technical bent of the sales literature into something more consumer friendly. Or some standards body will appear to ensure consistency.

BTW, relating voltage to speed and AH to range is only accurate when all other factors are held equal. If the two bikes being compared have significantly different weights for example, that may confound the relationship. Dissimilar motor efficiency will do the same.
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Old 06-28-09, 08:29 AM   #7
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tcman

I think misslexi described the situation well. Only people who are slightly techie AND willing to take a chance buy LiFePO batteries. Buying a LiFePO is like buying a Stanley Steamer back before auto's had ICEngines.
The best source of info, I think, is sites like this one and endless_sphere where people who have taken the chance discuss results.
My bike has a 450 watt brushed motor, weighs ~75 lbs, I weigh 220 lbs and I can make 30 mile trips, with active pedaling with the power of my Ping Ver 2, 25.7 V, (nominal 24), 15 Amp Hour LiFePO.

I think, at this point, choosing the vendor is one of the most important decisions required by a potential buyer. I've been completely satisfied with Ping.
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Old 06-28-09, 09:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misslexi View Post
The industry is in relative infancy, you may want to wait for version 2.0, I'm sure by then they'll be able to distill the technical bent of the sales literature into something more consumer friendly. Or some standards body will appear to ensure consistency.

BTW, relating voltage to speed and AH to range is only accurate when all other factors are held equal. If the two bikes being compared have significantly different weights for example, that may confound the relationship. Dissimilar motor efficiency will do the same.
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Thanks for the caveat on the stats.

tcman
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Old 06-28-09, 10:00 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by donob08 View Post
tcman

I think misslexi described the situation well. Only people who are slightly techie AND willing to take a chance buy LiFePO batteries. Buying a LiFePO is like buying a Stanley Steamer back before auto's had ICEngines.
The best source of info, I think, is sites like this one and endless_sphere where people who have taken the chance discuss results.
My bike has a 450 watt brushed motor, weighs ~75 lbs, I weigh 220 lbs and I can make 30 mile trips, with active pedaling with the power of my Ping Ver 2, 25.7 V, (nominal 24), 15 Amp Hour LiFePO.

I think, at this point, choosing the vendor is one of the most important decisions required by a potential buyer. I've been completely satisfied with Ping.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yes, finding a reputable vendor is my top priority. I'd rather pay a bit more but have the peace of mind that they will stand behind their product, especially when things go bad or I simply need technical assistance. I've had issue in the past where the vendor would not accept a return even though it was clearly evident their product was shipped defective.

Thanks for your e-bike stats. That gives me a baseline to compare with.

tcman
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Old 06-28-09, 11:58 AM   #10
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I have found that a good rule of thumb is you'll need about 1 amp worth of battery capacity (for NiMiH), at 36 volts, for 300 lbs of bike and rider, with 750 watt motor, at 20 mph....per mile traveled on fairly level ground, little to no pedaling.

36v15amp battery with 750 watt motor at steady 20mph = about 15 miles.
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Old 06-28-09, 02:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I have found that a good rule of thumb is you'll need about 1 amp worth of battery capacity (for NiMiH), at 36 volts, for 300 lbs of bike and rider, with 750 watt motor, at 20 mph....per mile traveled on fairly level ground, little to no pedaling.

36v15amp battery with 750 watt motor at steady 20mph = about 15 miles.
wernmax has said he's talking about rides with little or no pedal input. I have 2,300 miles on hilly hilly roads, on Currie eZip which say something like 0.5 AmpHours, at 24 volts gets the job done if you are willing to put energy from your legs in the mix. eZip and a 230 lbs rider top 300 lbs by a bit. The battery in this case is LiFePO. The motor is 450 watts and the speed was not a steady 20 mph. It was 30 on the downhills and as low as 12 mph uphill.

A LOT has to do with how much you want to work. Since you just bought your comfort bike, wernmax's numbers may be right for you. For someone who has been biking, 36V and 1AmpHr = 36 WattHrs is a pretty big cushion for one mile. The five trips for which I found records with both Catseye mileage readings and Watt's Up WattHour readings average 14.8 WattHrs per mile. These were real hilly rides. I did get warm, but not out of breath.

Again your results may vary..... But it's good to have two data points to guess between.

Last edited by donob08; 06-28-09 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 06-28-09, 05:47 PM   #12
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tcman,
if you want to electrfy your bike you are expected to have some knowledge how to work with tools.
batteries are not drive -ready cars so your comparison is wrong.
Try to buy elec. bike and you will get all specs.
many web -based businesses provide FAQ section on their sites.
don`t choose web site which does't explain product enough.
ebikes.ca has long been known for comprehensive web site and customer service is excellent.
MC
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Old 06-29-09, 10:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donob08 View Post
wernmax has said he's talking about rides with little or no pedal input. I have 2,300 miles on hilly hilly roads, on Currie eZip which say something like 0.5 AmpHours, at 24 volts gets the job done if you are willing to put energy from your legs in the mix. eZip and a 230 lbs rider top 300 lbs by a bit. The battery in this case is LiFePO. The motor is 450 watts and the speed was not a steady 20 mph. It was 30 on the downhills and as low as 12 mph uphill.

A LOT has to do with how much you want to work. Since you just bought your comfort bike, wernmax's numbers may be right for you. For someone who has been biking, 36V and 1AmpHr = 36 WattHrs is a pretty big cushion for one mile. The five trips for which I found records with both Catseye mileage readings and Watt's Up WattHour readings average 14.8 WattHrs per mile. These were real hilly rides. I did get warm, but not out of breath.

Again your results may vary..... But it's good to have two data points to guess between.
Hi wernmax and donob08,

thanks for the stats. It's been a while since I've ridden consistently, but I'm not in terrible shape.
I plan on offering some pedal assistance to work and a lot more going home from work. So hopefully that combo will help the battery give the range I need of about 16 miles round trip per day.
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Old 06-29-09, 10:31 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by miro13car View Post
tcman,
if you want to electrfy your bike you are expected to have some knowledge how to work with tools.
batteries are not drive -ready cars so your comparison is wrong.
Try to buy elec. bike and you will get all specs.
many web -based businesses provide FAQ section on their sites.
don`t choose web site which does't explain product enough.
ebikes.ca has long been known for comprehensive web site and customer service is excellent.
MC
Hi micro13car,

I'm fairly handy with tools and mechanical stuff. My challenge is educating myself on what combo of battery/motor/bms to buy with how I want to ride it. I've looked into pre-built ebikes, but so far I haven't seen any with the specs I want. So I'll just keep plugging away at it and hopefully get all the info peace meal. Thanks for the info.
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Old 06-29-09, 10:38 PM   #15
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I'm not sure if I should start a new thread or make this a continuation of my original....let me know.

As I mentioned in my original post, I'd like to purchase my motor and battery from Cyclone. Has anyone dealt with Cyclone-tw or Cyclone-usa motors and/or batteries? I'm mostly concerned with the quality of their stuff and if they back up their products if they fail prematurely. Also technical assistance if I need it.

Thanks!
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Old 06-29-09, 11:30 PM   #16
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Go on and feel free to start a new thread.
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Old 06-30-09, 12:34 AM   #17
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There's quite about of info about cyclone on the endless-sphere forum.

Good kit in concept, but leaves much to be desired in terms of reliability.

Positives: ability to use bike's drive train and gearing for optimal torque and top speed.

Negatives: ability to use bike's drive train leads to accelerated chain, cassette wear, motor pulls a lot of amps (requires high performance battery), motor controller unreliable (according to some reviews), freewheel wears down quickly, noisy, chain suck.

For all the trouble putting together this kind of kit, much of the kit's torque advantage can probably gained through a geared hub motor.
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Old 06-30-09, 12:43 AM   #18
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There's quite about of info about cyclone on the endless-sphere forum.

Good kit in concept, but leaves much to be desired in terms of reliability.

Positives: ability to use bike's drive train and gearing for optimal torque and top speed.

Negatives: ability to use bike's drive train leads to accelerated chain, cassette wear, motor pulls a lot of amps (requires high performance battery), motor controller unreliable (according to some reviews), freewheel wears down quickly, noisy, chain suck.

For all the trouble putting together this kind of kit, much of the kit's torque advantage can probably gained through a geared hub motor.
Ok, I'll go check out endless-sphere forum. Can you recommend a decent geared hub motor?
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Old 06-30-09, 12:47 AM   #19
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Battery 101 site

I came across this site tonight and it provides lots of details on batteries. They are a battery consulting firm so they talk about batteries in a more general term that just for e-bikes, but info is still very useful.

http://www.mpoweruk.com/index.htm
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Old 06-30-09, 01:06 AM   #20
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Okay from less durable to more durable:

bafang/8fun
ezee or 400 watt BMC
600 watt BMC

amped bikes geared (still under development)
1000 watt BMC (still unproven)
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Old 07-01-09, 09:11 AM   #21
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When it comes to batteries, you must also know the 'C' rating so you know how much current you can draw. If you have a low C rating, you will have to increase amp/hour. There is a fair amount to learn. 30 mph for 10 miles is unrealistic. You will need a motorcycle. When you get to those speeds, wind resistance becomes the major factor- about 90% of your energy will go towards fighting the wind resistance. How much you pedal makes a huge difference in your distance so it is close to impossible to give ratings.
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Old 07-02-09, 10:10 PM   #22
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consider ping batteries[china of course] proven reliable,honest supplier... i bought a battery from him ..had a bad bms...he replaced it immediately.... he is well known on endless sphere[more info on ebikes there than anyplace else].... for a speed of 30mph you will probabl need 48volt 15 or 20 amp battery
Yes, I've been reading articles and forums and Ping comes up a lot and so far all good reviews. Other companies haven't faired as well. Ping is definitely in my top 3. Thanks for the recommendation.
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Old 07-02-09, 10:24 PM   #23
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When it comes to batteries, you must also know the 'C' rating so you know how much current you can draw. If you have a low C rating, you will have to increase amp/hour. There is a fair amount to learn. 30 mph for 10 miles is unrealistic. You will need a motorcycle. When you get to those speeds, wind resistance becomes the major factor- about 90% of your energy will go towards fighting the wind resistance. How much you pedal makes a huge difference in your distance so it is close to impossible to give ratings.
crackerdog,

Yes, there's a lot to learn. I found a site 2 nights ago which just went on and on about batteries (I posted the link above). It was basically a "light" thesis on batteries. I currently ride a Yamaha C3 gas scooter to work and it can maintain about 40+ mph. I don't know exactly since the speedometer only goes to 40. My guess it is about 43 mph max. So I have to reset my expectations with an electric bike on speed, range, and acceleration. Environmentally I don't feel too bad riding it since it is getting about 120 mpg. Plus, if I set up my eBike with a lower power rated motor, that will give me incentive to pedal and get more of a workout.
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Old 07-02-09, 10:34 PM   #24
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Here's another interesting site on batteries. The name says it all.

http://www.batteryuniversity.com/index.htm
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Old 07-03-09, 03:36 PM   #25
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Cyclone

Cyclone does not give you the advice reg the battery pack because it's entirely up to you how big the battery you want to have. Cyclone is more sort of DIY kit for the inventors who love to adapt the electric light weight electric vehicles, not only electric bicycles
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