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Freezing garage. Batteries OK?

Old 10-13-20, 06:53 AM
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Cornfield
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Freezing garage. Batteries OK?

Winter is coming to Illinois soon. Some folks ride their bikes year round but not us. Our E-Bikes will sit in the garage all Winter. Itís not a heated garage so itís been known to spend 1-2 months in sub freezing weather. Are the batteries OK or do they need to be brought in the house?
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Old 10-13-20, 07:31 AM
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Maybe a car battery heater, or some sort of insulated bag or fire-safe with the pack wrapped in some attic insulation and add some dessicant sachets to absorb moisture, and bring the battery pack inside to warm to room temperature for at least an hour before you plug in to charge.

Last edited by Dewey101; 10-13-20 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 10-13-20, 07:50 AM
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Good question. Definitely do not charge the battery when the temperature is below about 5 C. Room temperature is better. From what I have read, Lithium batteries are less affected by cold than most other battery chemistries, and they wont freeze until about -40C. So you should be okay storing the battery in the garage as long as you warm it up before you charge it or use it. I still wouldn't do it, and I bring my battery inside the house for the winter. Batteries should be stored partially charged.
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Old 10-13-20, 08:01 AM
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I bring mine in. Its not gonna help the battery thats for sure.
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Old 10-13-20, 10:53 AM
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Nothing I've read states that cold temperatures (below 40 - 50 F) are benign to batteries. Not a problem in socal. Insulate well or store inside.
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Old 10-13-20, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Cornfield View Post
Winter is coming to Illinois soon. Some folks ride their bikes year round but not us. Our E-Bikes will sit in the garage all Winter. It’s not a heated garage so it’s been known to spend 1-2 months in sub freezing weather. Are the batteries OK or do they need to be brought in the house?
NOOO! Not OK!
I've done this with a couple of batteries (at your latitude). They lasted 2-3 years. So, ya know - if you are OK with that. This year I'm keeping them inside in the winter.

(insulating something for a couple of months below freezing isn't gonna keep it warm guys).
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Old 10-14-20, 06:33 AM
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Thought I read something about never storing in the cold, but these guys say just make sure it is a certain level of charge (and to check it once a month)

https://electricbike.com/forum/forum...li-ion-battery
https://electricbike.com/forum/forum...-ion-batteries

An insulated bag will do nothing since the batteries don't develop internal heat when sitting still. A bag does help when riding.
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Old 10-14-20, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Pop N Wood View Post
Thought I read something about never storing in the cold, but these guys say just make sure it is a certain level of charge (and to check it once a month)

https://electricbike.com/forum/forum...li-ion-battery
https://electricbike.com/forum/forum...-ion-batteries

An insulated bag will do nothing since the batteries don't develop internal heat when sitting still. A bag does help when riding.
Good info in those links, thanks.
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Old 10-14-20, 11:27 AM
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Li polymer batteries may not all use the same polymer electrolyte secret sauce, so contact the manufacturer! All batteries loose capacity when they get cold, but the point of damage depends on the chemistry of the battery.

My electric mower manufacturer is OK down to -40C. I contacted Campagnolo and was told that for my version EPS battery, storage below -20C can cause damage. That may not be the limit for other generations of EPS. Same thing for your E-Assist device. Read the manual or contact the manufacturer.

Charging some Li polymer batteries when they are below a temperature point may damage them. Same thing for prolonged storage at cold temperatures. Similarly, exposure to temperatures above some limit (often 70 to 90C so very hot) will damage them.

https://www.electronicdesign.com/pow...iion-batteries
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Old 10-14-20, 02:25 PM
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Years ago when I started my own tomato plants from seed, the garden places had a plug-in cord that kept seedlings warm even facing a cold window. About 10W worth of heating, IIRC. I wonder if you could wrap your batteries with something like that and leave it plugged in over the winter.
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Old 10-14-20, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Years ago when I started my own tomato plants from seed, the garden places had a plug-in cord that kept seedlings warm even facing a cold window. About 10W worth of heating, IIRC. I wonder if you could wrap your batteries with something like that and leave it plugged in over the winter.
I tried turning an old refrigerator into a paint locker. Something I could put in the back yard full of half full paint cans than heat with a couple of incandescent bulbs hooked to a house thermostat. Condensation turned that into a mold pit. Got the idea of installing an old window AC unit in there, both to heat and dehumidify, before deciding I just wasn't that much of a redneck.

But shouldn't be hard to build some type of insulated box/cooler and heat that with something equally simple. Don't have to keep it warm, just keep it from freezing. One could download a controller from an Arduino site or repurpose an aftermarket radiator fan controller from a car catalog.

Whatever you do I wouldn't wrap heat tape on a battery and would definitely include some sort of over temp cut off.

My $600 Luna battery is coming in the house with me. Let the wife sleep in the paint locker.
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Old 10-14-20, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by skookum View Post
Good info in those links, thanks.
This should be required reading for anyone with an ebike

https://electricbike.com/forum/forum...ter-repository
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Old 10-15-20, 07:20 AM
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This should be required reading for anyone with an ebike
https://electricbike.com/forum/forum...ter-repository
Great link, but a lot to read all at once. More of a reference library.

Or for this thread:
  • Do not store in temperature extremes of hot or cold. If you must, then cold is better than hot.
  • VERY important: Unplug your battery from the controller and the charger even if not plugged to the wall outlet.
  • Check the state of charger every month or so.
  • IF you leave the battery go empty for too long the battery will likely need to be replaced (and that is not covered under any warranty.)
  • When you are ready to use it, make sure it's at room temperature and slowly charge it fully!
I would even go so far as to encourage anyone with an ebike to put their battery onto a smart-charger once a month to a 50% charge to ensure it doesn't get low. Or at a minimum check your voltage to be sure it's still over 20%... if it's low, just bring slowly the temperature over 50F (10C) and charge it a little ...
Someone should just sell a cheap 50% charger.
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Old 10-15-20, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Great link, but a lot to read all at once. More of a reference library.

Or for this thread:


Someone should just sell a cheap 50% charger.
any charger is a 50% charger. Just use a cheap volt meter. Just keep a eye on charge.
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Old 10-19-20, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by sloppy12 View Post
any charger is a 50% charger. Just use a cheap volt meter. Just keep a eye on charge.
How do you put a volt meter on a battery that is charging?
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Old 10-19-20, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
How do you put a volt meter on a battery that is charging?
You can make a plug up pretty easy that goes in line.
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Old 10-19-20, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Pop N Wood View Post
This should be required reading for anyone with an ebike

https://electricbike.com/forum/forum...ter-repository
Another good source is Battery University
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Old 10-19-20, 07:06 PM
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Bring your battery indoors. The bikes can stay in the garage.
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Old 10-21-20, 07:49 AM
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Bosch has a battery guide with good tips that can be found here:

https://www.bosch-ebike.com/fileadmi...f?_=1597732627


Here are Bosch tips for optimum service life:

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Old 10-21-20, 08:15 AM
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It would be nice to have a storage charge option for batteries. RC chargers have that
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Old 10-23-20, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
It would be nice to have a storage charge option for batteries. RC chargers have that
Yes, I put my R/C airplane and car batteries at ďStorage levelĒ if I wonít be using them for a few weeks. My lipos last a long time that way. I wish chargers for electric devices like bikes and snow blowers had a discharge feature like this.
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Old 10-23-20, 11:11 AM
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Just an idea. If you are going to store the ebikes in a cold garage for long periods and not use the bikes this will help preserve the battery. ( best to store at less than a full charge ). Now if you plan on riding the bikes every day I would recommend bringing the battery inside the house. You do not want to charge the Li-ion cells at freezing temps . Now if it's too much trouble to remove the battery from the bike you can go out to CVS and buy a cheap heat pad , wrap it around the battery and set it on low. This should be enough to keep the battery at ambient room temp and allow for charging while in the garage if that is the way you want to go. Personally my ebike battery is very easy to remove so I'd just take it in the house every night. That said I store all my bikes inside the house where it is warm so condensation doesn't form on the metal parts and speed up any oxidation processes. Anyway, if you ride in freezing temps and want to recharge the battery, it would be best to let the battery acclimate to ambient room temp before recharging. ( give it at least 2hrs to warm up before charging. )
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Old 10-29-20, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
Just an idea. If you are going to store the ebikes in a cold garage for long periods and not use the bikes this will help preserve the battery. ( best to store at less than a full charge ). Now if you plan on riding the bikes every day I would recommend bringing the battery inside the house. You do not want to charge the Li-ion cells at freezing temps . Now if it's too much trouble to remove the battery from the bike you can go out to CVS and buy a cheap heat pad , wrap it around the battery and set it on low. This should be enough to keep the battery at ambient room temp and allow for charging while in the garage if that is the way you want to go. Personally my ebike battery is very easy to remove so I'd just take it in the house every night. That said I store all my bikes inside the house where it is warm so condensation doesn't form on the metal parts and speed up any oxidation processes. Anyway, if you ride in freezing temps and want to recharge the battery, it would be best to let the battery acclimate to ambient room temp before recharging. ( give it at least 2hrs to warm up before charging. )
Heating pad is exactly what I have done for years with all power tool batteries. I got a curb side igloo cooler, toss batteries and chargers inside set a 110v wall stat up in a metal box with a outlet and set stat to 65. the heating pad goes on and off as needed. the igloo is always a nice temp...

Heck you good find a old steel igloo and use it as a fire box and add the heating pad.
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Old 10-30-20, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
It would be nice to have a storage charge option for batteries. RC chargers have that
I know, right? ebikes.ca has one, but it costs about 2 times what my batteries cost. I've used a trickle charge on my old cars for years.
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