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  1. #1
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    Fed up with SLA batteries

    I've used an Electrec for the past 3.5 years and 5000 miles. Overall, after many mods and accessories, I'm happy with the bike. What I'm not happy with is that it keeps destroying SLA batteries. I'm on my fourth set and that one is now dying. I always end up with on battery strong and the other very weak. After the first year or so, I bought a Soneil charger thinking that might help (it didn't, in fact it seems to make it worse because it doesn't have a trickle charge to help equalize the cells).

    I'm thinking of going lithium. I need to be able to easily detach the batteries for charging at work and home. The Electrec has a nice quick disconnect battery box already.

    I can't find any LiFePo battery packs sufficient for a 600W motor that will fit in the Electrec battery box. Anyone have any ideas?

    My other option is to just retrofit a Bionx system. Aside from the cost, any thoughts on that?

  2. #2
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    How about giving us a link t osee the pack you have that includes the pack size. And maybe a pick of your setup along with the pack size again.

    Bob

    PS... a little info on what you think your capasity need is would help a lot too.
    Last edited by dumbass; 02-06-12 at 03:02 PM.

  3. #3
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    You might want to have a look at the Shorai site.

  4. #4
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    Since this ebike is commercially available, there are lots of web links to it. Here's one with a decent photo: http://www.electric-bikes.com/bikes/electrec.html. (Note: it is currently called the "Rayos.")

    The internal space in the battery box is the size of two 12V 12Ah batteries end to end, or about 12" x 3.75" x 4".

    As an update, I contacted the helpful folks at Electric Rider since I noticed they finally found a good lithium battery for their systems. They do not currently have a fit for my bike, but may consider such in the near future. Based on what they are selling, I'm guessing mine would be no cheaper than $1000. They are using LiMn rated at 800 cycles. I would hit 800 cycles in about 4 years. I could buy a new set of SLA batteries every year, whether I needed them or not, and spend less money. Am I missing something, or does it seem like lithium is not quite worth it for a 24V system?

    How much capacity do I need? Based on my worst case scenario, I think I would be safe with 24V 10Ah.

  5. #5
    Senior Member DarthSensate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RLSchell View Post
    After the first year or so, I bought a Soneil charger thinking that might help (it didn't, in fact it seems to make it worse because it doesn't have a trickle charge to help equalize the cells).
    I looked at the Soneil chargers, but went with a Granite Digital Save-A-Battery. Packs have been in use on the ebike for 4 years now. Batteries in the packs were used to begin with, so they are something like 6-7 years old now. Still runs great and no current issues. I ride 11 miles each direction every day. and carry the charger to work to charge there. Two other owners on the forum I moderate have also purchased the SAB units and have seen a return to full capacity on their SLA packs.

    What model Soneil did you buy? I was looking at the SRF ( If I remember correctly) series first because they had a full conditioning cycle like the SAB's.

    I have checked my cells individually after charging with the SAB and found them all to be at same float charge and, after running them a short distance, still equal voltage levels. I have don this with several dozen recycled SLA cells at varying states of discharge.

    The SAB is a bit cheaper than the Soneil as well, so I went with them. They are also very light and easy to carry on the bike. I have my packs in the garage on the bench for the winter now and continuously hooked up to the SAB for the duration.

    -DS
    Electric Bikes: 90's GT All Terra Tiberline; 2010 Schwinn S-25
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  6. #6
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    The dimentions are not shown on these packs but I'm guessing one of them will fall into your size range. The Golden packs come with a BMS but the stand alone do not so I would recommend contacting the suppler and ask for the dimentions as well as how they are protecting the cells (BMS or ??).

    Bob

    http://store.peakbattery.com/12lfpba.html
    http://www.businesswire.com/portal/s...63&newsLang=en

    http://www.goldenmotor.ca/categories/Batteries/

  7. #7
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    So you can easily fit 2 of Shori's LFX14L2-BS12 or LFX14A2-BS12 batteries in there and tie them to give 24V. They're 12V batteries, and dimensions for the type 2 case are (WxLxH) 58mm x 113mm x 89mm. They run around $160 each and come with a 2 year warranty. And those models are rated for 14Ah.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarthSensate View Post
    What model Soneil did you buy? -DS
    Mine is the Soneil model 2408CBA. As you may already be aware, when it finishes bulk charging it switches over to a mode where it delivers short pulses of charging voltage. As the battery voltage levels off, the pulses get further apart. When in maintenance status, it may only deliver a tiny zap to the battery for a fraction of a second only a couple times per minute. I've had several sets of batteries die while sitting for extended periods on this charger. Something is not quite right.

  9. #9
    Senior Member DarthSensate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RLSchell View Post
    Mine is the Soneil model 2408CBA. As you may already be aware, when it finishes bulk charging it switches over to a mode where it delivers short pulses of charging voltage. As the battery voltage levels off, the pulses get further apart. When in maintenance status, it may only deliver a tiny zap to the battery for a fraction of a second only a couple times per minute. I've had several sets of batteries die while sitting for extended periods on this charger. Something is not quite right.
    That may well be your issue there. The Soneil 2408CBA is not a conditioning battery charger. It does not appear to have a desulfation cycle. (Assuming I am reading the specs from Soneil correctly.) The pulse you are seeing may not be a desulfation pulse but the float charge test to to see if the battery needs to switch into a power charge cycle. SLA's NEED the desulfation/conditioning treatment all the time to counter the continuous sulfation of the lead plates that occurs with normal usage and especially under heavy usage near the current capacity of the cells.

    I've never understood why so many SLA powered devices don't come with a charger that de-sulfates through the entire cycle. Any charger that doesn't do this leads to premature end of life of all lead acid cells. I just assume it's planned obsolescence. Perhaps a conspiracy?!!!

    You need the Soneil SRF series, possibly the SR series as well, that will provide completely unattended charging and continuous desulfation. I looked at the 3610SRF myself but decided to go with the Granite Digital Save-A-Battery 36V. I have had zero issues with my batteries since. I went with the SAB just because it was a bit cheaper and appeared to be a lighter housing and well ventilated for carrying on the bike with me.

    The 12v, 24v, 36v and 48v SAB's are available on Amazon for around $80 or direct from Granite Digital.
    My review is on Amazon as well! :>

    If you are still getting some miles out of your SLA packs, a de-sulfating, full automatic charger will clear a good percentage of the build up on the plates over a period of weeks. The longer you leave one on the closer you'll get to full capacity on the cells.

    Optimate III is another model I have used for 12v cells and testing. Battery-Tender or Battery-Minder makes one too but I don't know the model.




    Best wishes. Keep riding! :>
    -DS
    Electric Bikes: 90's GT All Terra Tiberline; 2010 Schwinn S-25
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  10. #10
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    You all miss the point here that SLA should be decent quality tostart with either.
    Lot of shoddy SLA brands which sag like hell and no charger will help here
    B&B is the SLA brand the best with minimum volt sag under load, because it uses quality lead plates and it lasts.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by powell View Post
    B&B is the SLA brand the best with minimum volt sag under load, because it uses quality lead plates and it lasts.
    Well that's what I always read too. Two of the sets that went bad on me were B&B. One set was suspect from the start because the resting voltages did not match. The second set was provided by a vendor specializing in high power ebikes and they gave me factory fresh, perfectly matched, batteries. That set ran great, until they sat over the winter on the Soneil charger. Everyone tells me Soneil makes THE BEST chargers too. At this point, you can understand my questionable faith in either brand!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarthSensate View Post
    SLA's NEED the desulfation/conditioning treatment all the time to counter the continuous sulfation of the lead plates that occurs with normal usage and especially under heavy usage near the current capacity of the cells. I've never understood why so many SLA powered devices don't come with a charger that de-sulfates through the entire cycle. Any charger that doesn't do this leads to premature end of life of all lead acid cells.-DS
    Based on my experience over the last few years, I totally agree. At this point I'm going to salvage what I can from the best remaining batteries that I have and keep them on the Ideation OEM charger which provides a continuous charge (the OEM Kung Long batteries lived a long useful life on it).

    I have a 12V Battery Minder solar charger that I use to trickle charge and desulphate batteries over time, but that wouldn't work for the bike. It seems like a good product and does appear to recover ill batteries however.

  13. #13
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    My experience with 12Ah B&B is quite different. I bought locally HAZE brand of 12Ah SLA and it was mistake.
    B&B has low voltage sag , never trip LVCut off on my Merida on the same hill even at 50% DOD.
    nO DOUBT you have to take care of your pack - rearly if at all discharging to the end , best use only 80% at most.
    I don't use my B&B at winter also and would never keep on on charger long, no need for that once is fully charged, in winter put on charger every like 30 days for say 10 minutes,

  14. #14
    Senior Member DarthSensate's Avatar
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    I pealed the APC label off of a bunch of the 12v 7ah cells that I have been using. Almost all of them are Panasonics re-labeled for the APC UPS I salvaged them out of. I have no experience with the B&B brand but I would have to say the Panasonics are holding up very well.

    -DS
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  15. #15
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    Hello. I have done around 8600 miles and counting on a total of 11 BB brand sla batteries. I am pedal assisting though lightly. Here's what I have learned:

    1. No 2 batteries remain the same capacity throughout their life.
    2. Some sla batteries loose cells for no reason. (warranty issues)
    3. Be ready to parallel smaller sla's to your main sla's to extend life if one gets weak.
    4. Have a voltmeter on each battery to find the weak one.

    My stats:

    BB BP 12ah - 5400 miles - one battery was replaced at 3000 miles.
    BB Hr 9ah - 3200 miles and counting ( 2 weak batts being paralled with 5ah's, one replaced on warranty.

    Chargers used - Soneil

  16. #16
    Senior Member DarthSensate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dman-ebike View Post
    Chargers used - Soneil
    What model Soneil??
    -DS
    Electric Bikes: 90's GT All Terra Tiberline; 2010 Schwinn S-25
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  17. #17
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    I use the 3605S and 1205SRD. When I get the green light, I leave it on till charger gets cold, then disconnect.

  18. #18
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    Actually, the batteries in parallel are ub brand and I used a powersonic to replace a BB battery to keep costs down. No sense buying BB for a cheap fix.

  19. #19
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    The BB HR batteries seem to be having more problems the BP's. I kind of knew they would but I wanted to try them anyway beings they were only 6lbs a battery. The BP's 12ah are 8lbs and the EVP 12 or EB 12 are a whopping 9lbs a battery. Ouch, thats heavy.

  20. #20
    Senior Member DarthSensate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dman-ebike View Post
    I use the 3605S and 1205SRD. When I get the green light, I leave it on till charger gets cold, then disconnect.
    This one Dman?:
    http://www.monsterscooterparts.com/so36voxlrbac.html
    http://www.electricscooterparts.com/...chargers.html#

    If so do you have reputable link for the purchase?
    That site, monster scooter parts, has them for $44!!

    Thanks,
    -DS
    Electric Bikes: 90's GT All Terra Tiberline; 2010 Schwinn S-25
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  21. #21
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    The 12v charger is a 2.5amp and the 36v is a 2.0 amp.

  22. #22
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    The 12v charger is a ripoff. I got mine used. I can go back to 36v if I want by doing it this way. (2) 24v chargers actually would work better but I already have the 36v. Electricrider sells the chargers also.
    Last edited by dman-ebike; 03-12-12 at 07:11 PM.

  23. #23
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    I'm now back on 36 volts. I've paralled the first 2 batteries in line due to another weak sla.

    So I have 6 batteries/36v for a total of:
    12v18ah
    12v14ah
    12v14ah

  24. #24
    Senior Member Ypedal's Avatar
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    First thing you MUST do with any pack made of more than a single 12v brick.. charge each one seperately with a 12v charger, then assemble and bulk charge and monitor the end of charge voltage of each brick for the first few cycles to make sure none of them are runts or duds.

    SLA should NEVER be drained flat ( like all battery packs, any chemistry ) .. this is a sure fire way to a quick death of one or more cells.

    All that said.. lithium is by far the way to go, extra cash aside, the weight and size factor are way better, on a bicycle, every lbs counts and spending a bit more money on a lithium pack is well worth it imo.. but get the right pack for your application.

    what electric rider is selling looks like allcell packs, made from 18650 format laptop cells, they are ok but pricey..

    Soneil makes good chargers, and i've used many, i even have soneil lithium chargers that work awsome.... 90% of the time it's the battery at fault, not the charger.

  25. #25
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    I've got 9500+ miles on sla's.

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