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  1. #1
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    7 year old BionX PL350

    After 7 years my LiIon battery pack finally gave up. Everything else works perfectly. I called the bike shop I bought the system from and said that they think I may need a new system, as the new batteries may not be compatable with my older system. I understand the new versions may have slightly better performance, and possibly (can not get a confirmation) smaller battery pack, but I am not really prepared to cough up 1500.00 USD.

    Any thoughts on replacing/rebuilding the battery pack?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member knurly's Avatar
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    Go for it! Open it up and tell us whats inside.

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    Senior Member kalliergo's Avatar
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    The systems were significantly changed in 2009 to use CAN-BUS communications between the components. The new batteries aren't compatible with the old systems, because the motor-controller-battery all "talk" to each other and need to use the same language and comm channels.

    However, replacement parts for the older systems should still be available. Check with Electric Cyclery and BionX itself. Your LBS may not know this (most don't really know much about electric bikes) and, of course, they'll make more money if you buy a new system from them.

    Good luck, and please keep us posted.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by nipperdawg View Post
    After 7 years my LiIon battery pack finally gave up. Everything else works perfectly. I called the bike shop I bought the system from and said that they think I may need a new system, as the new batteries may not be compatable with my older system. I understand the new versions may have slightly better performance, and possibly (can not get a confirmation) smaller battery pack, but I am not really prepared to cough up 1500.00 USD.

    Any thoughts on replacing/rebuilding the battery pack?

    Thanks

    This would be a perfect opportunity to upgrade to the newer hub motors and battery packs (LiFePO4) and you could easily do it for $1500.

    What about seeing if someone has a working battery but their BionX PL350 bike itself is broken. You could sell your bike and investment the money into something new.

  5. #5
    Senior Member kalliergo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EBikeFL View Post
    This would be a perfect opportunity to upgrade to the newer hub motors and battery packs (LiFePO4) and you could easily do it for $1500.
    Yes, but the OP says that "[e]verything else works perfectly," and s/he could replace the battery for between one-third (24V) and one-half (36V) the cost of a new system. With a lot less work.
    "What if we fail to stop the erosion of cities by automobiles?. . . In that case, we Americans will hardly need to ponder a mystery that has troubled men for millennia: What is the purpose of life? For us, the answer will be clear, established and for all practical purposes indisputable: The purpose of life is to produce and consume automobiles."

    ~Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalliergo View Post
    Yes, but the OP says that "[e]verything else works perfectly," and s/he could replace the battery for between one-third (24V) and one-half (36V) the cost of a new system. With a lot less work.
    I meant selling everything that does work and going with a newer model or a DIY kit. A lot has changed in seven years. If you get things to work for another seven years. You'll be more than a decade behind in the improvements that have been made to e-bikes. Take for instance my attempts to get my 10+ year old Trek 820 converted to allow disc brakes and ready for my e-bike conversion. The total upgrade amount came to over $400; it was cheaper in the long run to just sell it and get a new bike. I'm glad I did, the frame on my new Kona is just as strong and twice as light as the old Trek. It also has disc brakes.

    I don't see the battery pack failing as a problem but an opportunity to make an upgrade.

  7. #7
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EBikeFL View Post
    This would be a perfect opportunity to upgrade to the newer hub motors and battery packs (LiFePO4) and you could easily do it for $1500.

    What about seeing if someone has a working battery but their BionX PL350 bike itself is broken. You could sell your bike and investment the money into something new.
    So why is newer always better and how come this system would be OK for soneone else but not for the OP when they've been perfectly happy with it up to this point? Maybe it would actually make sense to soend a little money on new cells, kill another 7 years and avoid paying for a bunch of 'new' technology that will also be 'obsolete' within a couple years. The 2020 model might be worth waiting for!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    So why is newer always better and how come this system would be OK for soneone else but not for the OP when they've been perfectly happy with it up to this point? Maybe it would actually make sense to soend a little money on new cells, kill another 7 years and avoid paying for a bunch of 'new' technology that will also be 'obsolete' within a couple years. The 2020 model might be worth waiting for!
    If the gap in time had been less than say five years upgrading wouldn't be an issue the original OP could use the BionX for another five years but as I learned the hard way via my old Trek 820 more than 50% of the bike needed to be upgraded. I was looking at changing the front fork, changing the brakes. I hadn't even looked at accessories that I would need such as a bike rack...would that even fit my old Trek.

    The OP owner could save money now and just try to fix what's broken and squeeze another few years out but like me will soon find out that the e-bike industry has changed so much since they first purchased their BionX that when it comes time to get another e-bike they won't get anything for their BionX no matter how great a condition it's in.

    I'm speaking from personal experience here. I wish I had sold my Trek sooner. I wasn't riding it and I could have easily gotten twice the amount I received if I had sold it sooner.

    Coincidentally, this is what will happen and has happened before when gas prices go up. All the cars not getting 40+ mpg won't be worth much. You can try to add parts to get better gas mileage but the new 40+ mpg cars have been radically changed (i.e. their internal engine parts have changed).

    We will be looking at a serious oil crisis within the next five years and near zero oil production by 2031. Here, watch the last 10 minutes of this YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7h4VjZhe_w

    Here's a conversation with the "Dean of Oil Analysts" (http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/...n-seven-years/) in which Maxwell forecasts the same time frame.

    The top five oil exporting countries together will not be able to supply the United States daily oil demand (~ 2017-2018).

    You'll have no other option but to scrap your 14 year old BionX and sub 30 mpg car because no one will want either. Guess what will happen to all our e-bike parts and batteries? Supply and demand...everyone will be looking for alternate transportation and e-bike sales will go through the roof as well as the prices.

    Anyways...my personal recommendation, sell the BionX and get the most efficient, most powerful e-bike you can afford because by 2017 it will be your major transportation.
    Last edited by EBikeFL; 05-15-12 at 09:32 PM.

  9. #9
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    Well my bike is a Gaint "comfort (aka hybrid with a purty name) bike. i like it so it isnt going anywhere, and i do update it as things catch my eye. Basically i was always happy with the slight vibration, good range good power. Now alas my trusty stead needs a new heart. The battery pack is NiMh which is no longer produced. The original range was 36 miles. In reality my baseline was 5-6 miles in full electric around town, and now it is down to 2 miles. Yes i was (and still am) perfectfully happy with the system.

    The new system has a smoother motor, more power, lighter battery (7lbs vs 14). I was forced into the Ni batteries because the Li at the time was way above my budget. I am on a disability income so money is always tight but this wont break me. The downside is 1500.00 for the new system, the PL350. The 250 can be had for 1000 but in my gut that feels too weak for me. At least i can upgrade my lights when i pull the trigger on this.

  10. #10
    Senior Member knurly's Avatar
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    Wait what? I thought you were going to open up the battery to see if there isn't just a pile of AA batteries in there> Did you buy something new, and swap the old?

  11. #11
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    Its 32 unlabled D cell batteries. Havent done a thing yet. Did some research, these batteries were made by Sony, thats about all I could find out.

  12. #12
    Senior Member kalliergo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nipperdawg View Post
    Its 32 unlabled D cell batteries. Havent done a thing yet. Did some research, these batteries were made by Sony, thats about all I could find out.
    Well, then. . . we can probably figure this out. Are they actually the same dimensions as normal D-cells?

    Or, do they look more like this:

    sony-18650.jpg ???

    Also, any chance we could see a photo?
    Last edited by kalliergo; 05-16-12 at 10:54 PM. Reason: Add picture for clarity.
    "What if we fail to stop the erosion of cities by automobiles?. . . In that case, we Americans will hardly need to ponder a mystery that has troubled men for millennia: What is the purpose of life? For us, the answer will be clear, established and for all practical purposes indisputable: The purpose of life is to produce and consume automobiles."

    ~Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

  13. #13
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EBikeFL View Post
    If the gap in time had been less than say five years upgrading wouldn't be an issue the original OP could use the BionX for another five years but as I learned the hard way via my old Trek 820 more than 50% of the bike needed to be upgraded. I was looking at changing the front fork, changing the brakes. I hadn't even looked at accessories that I would need such as a bike rack...would that even fit my old Trek.

    The OP owner could save money now and just try to fix what's broken and squeeze another few years out but like me will soon find out that the e-bike industry has changed so much since they first purchased their BionX that when it comes time to get another e-bike they won't get anything for their BionX no matter how great a condition it's in.

    I'm speaking from personal experience here. I wish I had sold my Trek sooner. I wasn't riding it and I could have easily gotten twice the amount I received if I had sold it sooner.

    Coincidentally, this is what will happen and has happened before when gas prices go up. All the cars not getting 40+ mpg won't be worth much. You can try to add parts to get better gas mileage but the new 40+ mpg cars have been radically changed (i.e. their internal engine parts have changed).

    We will be looking at a serious oil crisis within the next five years and near zero oil production by 2031. Here, watch the last 10 minutes of this YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7h4VjZhe_w

    Here's a conversation with the "Dean of Oil Analysts" (http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/...n-seven-years/) in which Maxwell forecasts the same time frame.

    The top five oil exporting countries together will not be able to supply the United States daily oil demand (~ 2017-2018).

    You'll have no other option but to scrap your 14 year old BionX and sub 30 mpg car because no one will want either. Guess what will happen to all our e-bike parts and batteries? Supply and demand...everyone will be looking for alternate transportation and e-bike sales will go through the roof as well as the prices.

    Anyways...my personal recommendation, sell the BionX and get the most efficient, most powerful e-bike you can afford because by 2017 it will be your major transportation.
    Sorry to hear about your own personal experience, but its not necessarily representative. I work in a shop that sells BionX and older models are regularly serviced. As well as older models of other brands - some 15 years old and still running perfectly fine. Some of the newer stuff on the market is lighter - its ALL a lot more expensive. And since they all have a limited range of less than a couple hours on battery anyway - I can't see them ever being anything more than extremely local casual transportation. Most clients here are older retirees or have mobility issues that prevents them from using a regular bicycle - which is both lighter and has no range limitations.

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