Faulty eCarrera Crossfire

NewtSoup

Pedelecer
Jan 18, 2018
30
15
47
Leicester UK
Hello there,

I'm NewtSoup ( Ruth ) and new to the forums. The reason I've joined up is for general information and to see if you guys can help me get to the source of a problem.

I bought an eCarerra which I use a LOT, pretty much every single day and I have logged over 2000 miles so far since I bought it in October ( annoyingly they've dropped the price by over £200 now! )

http://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/electric-bikes/carrera-crossfire-e-womens-electric-bike-16-18-frames

The bike has had an issue since day one. What it does it is it will power down at random. The battery indicator on the display will suddenly go to zero and the bike will not power up until the button on the battery is pressed. At which point it will simply power down again in around 10-15 second.

Removing and replacing the display doesn't solve anything
Removing and replacing the battery doesn't solve anything

Suntour Insist that it's a connection issue on the display. However Halfords have replaced the display and the display holder.

While the bike is behaving I have tried to replicate the problem my simply removing the display and putting it back on. If you do this then the system will power up with no problem. Same with pulling the wiring to the display or removing replacing the battery.

Suntour still insist it's a connection problem and say it can't be anything else.

So I took the bike back to Halfords for repair and they replaced the battery. The bike still turns itself off at random intervals and will do so continuously for around 2 to 5 minutes before returning to normal use for hours.

Then the bearings in the bottom bracket went and I took the bike in to be repaired again and asked them to replace the ECU - which they did.

After replacing the ECU the motor burned out in the workshop so they gave me an entirely new bike under warranty.

The new bike is fantastic in all respects except that it has the same issue as the original bike. I have mentioned this to Suntour but they are now stonewalling me and refuse to answer my emails. They also refuse to give me any kind of servicing documentation so I can have a look at it myself ( I'm quite clever, programmer by training with a background in electronics)

With the second bike I have been able to capture video of the bike doing it's think and upload it to youtube! Again Suntour have declined to comment on this and are still stonewalling me (they've not even looked at the video as the view counter has not changed ).

Here's the video for anyone who's interested in taking a look. Sorry it was dark at the time, I did try to move the bike into the light to see better:


Does anyone here have clues as to what might be the cause of this behaviour?

Has anyone had similar experiences with the Suntour HECS on their electric bike?

Hope I've not made a TLDR post as my first

I'm disinclined to ask Halfords to try and fix the issue because if it's happening with a second brand new bike then it's quite possibly a fault with the design of the bike.

Kind regards

Me
 

Wheel-E

Pedelecer
Jul 14, 2017
97
25
Brighton
Hi NewtSoup, welcome to the forum. The Suntour Halfords bikes are well known for cutting out in different ways that are well documented on here.
Have a search for Crossfire and you'll find many posts about their unreliability. I honestly can't believe that Halfords are still selling them. I remember someone saying that they managed to reduce cutouts by securing the motor cable with a cable tie but I've not heard of anyone who's completely managed to fix the issue.

With so many problems, Halford's inability to rectify, and the seemingly random nature of cutouts I can't help but wonder if there are mutiple points of failure on these. I'd take it back and ask for a refund if you can, after all you've had two of these now.
 

NewtSoup

Pedelecer
Jan 18, 2018
30
15
47
Leicester UK
Hi Wheel-E

I think I'm going to have to just live with it. I can't go for a refund, I use the bike for work, but I'm a really good Deliveroo Rider, one that waits at traffic lights, has full lights going, uses signals and sticks to the highway code.

It's my only transport since I got burgled and I can't afford to be without it for any length of time right now.

What I do plan on doing though is a battery hack to extend the capacity - not the power. I really don't need to go faster. Just longer.

I'll struggle on and when it's out of warranty I'll start modding and maybe to the point of replacing the whole power system. There's nothing mechanically wrong with the bike.
 

Benjahmin

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 10, 2014
1,368
852
65
West Wales
Hi Ruth,
As said many people are reporting similar problems. As well as the motor cable, I think a couple of guys secured the battery with bungees with some success. The bike really is not for for purpose, maybe you could use this thread, and others on the site (there are a few), as part of some sort of action against the manufacturer's? It is unbelievable that Halfrauds continue to sell them. In the mean time, take this one back for replacement, after all you have documented evidence of its crapness. I'd have been swearing at the bloody thing:eek:o_O
It sounds like you have the technical capability, could you start to accumulate what's needed to do your own conversion? There's one guy on here who did a lovely job on a bike he got from a skip. You often see unloved mountain and hybrid bikes left to die ignominiously in peoples front gardens. You'd get all the help you need here.
You have my sympathies.
 

Amoto65

Pedelecer
Jul 2, 2017
188
128
56
Cheshire
Go and get your money back, it is still under warranty, be polite and firm and inform them it is not fit for purpose ask to see the manager and refuse to leave the store until they refund you, if they are awkward make sure you raise your voice enough for other customers to become aware also make sure you take everything with you ie all the keys, receipts charger etc that way they cant fob you off, It worked for me and various others on this site, Good luck. Steve W....
 

anotherkiwi

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 26, 2015
7,643
5,710
The European Union
An attic bike (8 years unloved by previous owner), rear hub motor kit, I added tyres, mudguards, front brake, grips, seat and lock, everything else is stock. 3600km on this one in 12 months:
bike2.jpg

A skip bike found by a mate on his way back from a caté at 2 a.m., mid-motor kit from Woosh, it has over 2000 km on the clock so far. The cables are tidier now and it has a suspension seat post, it was silver and fuchsia ( :eek: ) so it got a matt black spray can paint job. The frame, the front fork and the front wheel are stock, everything else is new or from the other bike:
other-front-view.png
 

cyclebuddy

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 2, 2016
262
194
Beds & Norfolk
Does anyone here have clues as to what might be the cause of this behaviour?
When others have reported this problem with this e-bike, the sudden power loss is most often attributed to either the battery jiggling around and losing connection, or the riders foot possibly catching the motor feed wire and/or vibration disturbing it - hence why tying both down seems a popular remedy (but it doesn't seem to work for everyone).

What I find really interesting about your video is that EVERY time you reset the power the LCD lights up and the battery indicator shows FULL - momentarily - and the battery indicator then shows EMPTY for a split second before the bike's power then does actually cut out totally... and yet you've physically disturbed nothing on the bike in-between.

My limited experience with electronics would suggest to me a faulty component in the bms or controller powering up briefly before overloading/heating/tripping/failing?

Just a thought.

EDIT: I have repaired cracked surface-mount resistors and boards with dry joints that caused these symptoms. It's a shame the controller is potted in resin on these e-bikes making it impossible to check.
 
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mike killay

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 17, 2011
2,519
1,212
Seeing that the battery has to be switched on after every failure, it suggests to me that the problem lies in the battery
 

NewtSoup

Pedelecer
Jan 18, 2018
30
15
47
Leicester UK
@mike killay - the battery was replaced on the first bike, the problem persisted with the second battery, the replacement bike has the same problem so technically this is my third battery. However:

@cyclebuddy yeah, because of the behaviour I'm inclined to think it's nothing to do with wiring either. My gut feeling is that there's a logic error somewhere.

My limited experience with electronics would suggest to me a faulty component in the bms or controller powering up briefly before overloading/heating/tripping/failing?"
These are my thoughts exactly! I don't understand why it might be an overheat as it can do this as soon as I power the bike up before I've ridden. My instincts say a bad cap somewhere in whatever monitors the battery power. Because I have to press the battery check button I feel this is probably in some circuitry in the battery itself.

The bikes user manual says that if you leave the battery disconnected for a while it will power down to prevent harm - in this case you must press the battery button to turn it back on!

My tentative conclusion being that the entire range of batteries may have bad boards or poorly designed ones.
 
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cyclebuddy

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 2, 2016
262
194
Beds & Norfolk
My tentative conclusion being that the entire range of batteries may have bad boards or poorly designed ones.
My e-bike uses the same Phylion battery, but with a different (standard) BMS board and only the 36v power rails connected (the two outer pins). That board is very nicely/tidily made, and isn't too hard to take out/examine Your battery differs in that the three centre pins of the battery ARE also connected to the controller - what their purpose is no one here has said/discovered, but I suspect if the battery is shutting down it's the controller telling it to (my battery doesn't have that shut-down feature - it's permanently "on").

Your controller (motor burnout) "incident", plus another very recent and unresolved report here where (several) batteries wouldn't charge fully resulted in Halfords replacing the controller too. If there's something shoddy here (logic, component failure, design), my suspicion is it's likely the controller - which is impossible to examine/test properly because of the potting.

This isn't helping you though, and other than returning the bike as "unfit for purpose", I wouldn't know what to suggest given your dependence on it for your livelihood.
 

NewtSoup

Pedelecer
Jan 18, 2018
30
15
47
Leicester UK
Thanks for your support guys, it's appreciated :)

Fun fact:

I just went back to Halfords, Putney Road, Leicester where I bought the bike to show the mechanic the video that I tool.

Turns out that a Suntour Rep will be visiting Halfords, Abbey Lane, Leicester on Monday 22 Jan, 9AM to 12PM specifically to talk about issues with Suntour HECS and other systems.​

Guess where I'm going to be Monday morning 9AM? Anyone else in Leicester, or within say an hour's drive that has a faulty Carrera want to come along?

Fun Fact 2:
Having shown my video to one of the mechanics, he said "Oh, I was thinking of buying one of our eBikes. I don't think I will now."​
 
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NewtSoup

Pedelecer
Jan 18, 2018
30
15
47
Leicester UK
( I said he should wait and see what Suntour have to say - I they roll out a fix then it's actually a fair bike for the price tag of £960 )
 
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Big Malky

Pedelecer
Jan 10, 2015
46
34
Hi newtsoup,
I have a Carrera Vulcan with the same problem.
Will be interested to hear about your experiences on Monday.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

NewtSoup

Pedelecer
Jan 18, 2018
30
15
47
Leicester UK
Hi newtsoup,
I have a Carrera Vulcan with the same problem.
Will be interested to hear about your experiences on Monday.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
I will certainly post my experiences. Hopefully he will have some useful information. He's coming all the way from Germany by the way so he may actually be the guy I spoke to via email at Suntour.
 
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Mikeb78

Finding my (electric) wheels
Dec 13, 2017
5
3
41
Teesside
I have the Vulcan-e and also have the cut outs. I have noticed something....
Mine only happens once per battery charge.
Meaning I fully charge the battery and once it dips to between 80-70% it cuts out, I power back up, cut out, over and over up to about 10 times. When it finally stays on it will never cut out again for the rest of that charge.
But upon charging again and getting to 80-70% bam! Cut outs.

Just my experience. Is any body else’s similar to this?
 

NewtSoup

Pedelecer
Jan 18, 2018
30
15
47
Leicester UK
<ProfessorFarnham>Good News Everybody!</ProfessorFarnham>

I should have a fully repaired and functional Carrera Crossfire eBike by this afternoon.

Suntour Make the Electronics, Phyllion make the batteries and the MOTOR is made by a third party whom I can't remember the name of right now but will update later.

The specific issue my bike is having - and also why the motor burned out in the workshop is that the problem lies neither with the battery or the ECU.

Those are in fact working properly to save the battery and said ECU.

There is a known fault with some of the motors which causes and over-current through the battery and THIS is what causes the battery to shut down. It's the over current protection cutting in. I was just unlucky to get it two bikes in a row.

For those interested in the battery itself - The battery has six pins. The outer pins are the positive and negative. The inner four pins do nothing. They are there but not connected inside the battery holder. However when the battery is placed in a battery testing jig they provide information such as the number of partial charges, energy used, number of deep cycles, age of the battery, suspect cells / banks and so forth.

I will make a second post this afternoon after my bike is repaired and I've had another chat with the eBike Specialist Team.

A member of Halfords Staff said "Thank you so much for bringing your bike in today - it's good to see what's actually going on" the video was appreciated too.


Extra Note:
There is another cause of the battery powering down - overheat - if you leave the battery charging overnight, then put it straight on your bike and ride off. Some batteries don't like that and go into thermal shutdown.
 
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Mikeb78

Finding my (electric) wheels
Dec 13, 2017
5
3
41
Teesside
Interesting information.....

So if we take our bikes in due to the problem, Will they replace our faulty motors for all of us with the cut outs?
Or will they still say they don’t know what is wrong and fob us off over and over?
 
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NewtSoup

Pedelecer
Jan 18, 2018
30
15
47
Leicester UK
I, obviously, can't guarantee that but my guess is if you've had the problem since new and the bike is in warranty or just out of warranty then it's certainly worth a try!

Also, I don't think a lot of the staff know how to fix the problem. This is what the training session at Abbey Lane Halfords was about today. The specialist knew exactly what was wrong as soon as I described the issue. I would not have expected the motor but it makes sense now he explained. Others on the forum here with more experience also suspected both the ECU and the Battery and it's apparently neither of those.
 
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NewtSoup

Pedelecer
Jan 18, 2018
30
15
47
Leicester UK
I don't have any further update. When I got back to collect my bike with it's brand new motor in the back wheel the engineer said it was Suntour that make the motors. I'm pretty sure the specialist said someone else was the manufacturer but that's not really important.

I will now test the bike for a week and see what happens!
 
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Mikeb78

Finding my (electric) wheels
Dec 13, 2017
5
3
41
Teesside
Good luck. Hopefully no cut outs for you.

You would think they would of done something like a recall or a redesign of the motor by now as this issue has been going on for over a year at least by my count.

If mine keeps doing it I will take it in. It’s due it’s free 6 week check soon anyway.
 
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