Obvious pitfalls of battery replacement

rog_london

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 3, 2009
764
2
Harrow, Middlesex
Here's a little conundrum for the trade members:

If one has owned an e-bike for long enough for the battery to be getting past its best (maybe WELL past its best) and one wanted to obtain a replacement, probably not much of a problem - but:

(1) If the bike is a few years old, how can one tell if the 'new' battery purchased at great expense has not been sitting on a dealer's shelf for a year or so?

(2) Even if it was stocked for six months or less, has the battery been topped up with a suitable charger during that time?

Presumably manufacturers/wholesalers keep track of serial numbers and in theory it ought to be possible to check out the provenance of a new battery, but I've not seen anything about that being mentioned on here.

I'd be more inclined to deal with someone who says that a replacement can be obtained in a few days rather than proclaiming that it's in stock - though that's no absolute guarantee either.

I'm not looking for 'helpful' suggestions that one could rebuild one's own battery - let's keep it really simple and assume the owner would much rather ride the thing than tinker with it and doesn't resent the official replacement cost too much. Possibly such an owner might not even think of asking Questions 1 and 2 above.

Rog.
 
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Old_Dave

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 15, 2012
1,211
2
Dumfries & Galloway
One point is that battery 'life' is affected to a lesser degree by age and a major part by number of charge / discharge cycles (assuming of course that the storage charge has been maintained)

I'd be more inclined to deal with someone who says that a replacement can be obtained in a few days rather than proclaiming that it's in stock - though that's no absolute guarantee either.
True :rolleyes:

I think that choosing a battery supplier requires reading and relying upon the experiences of others
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
50,676
28,509
Pending any trade entry, some makes such as Phylion incorporate a simply coded exact day and date of actual manufacture.

Panasonic batteries for their crank unit have a sleep mode which they start life in and which kicks in at any time they are unused for around two weeks. With this the BMS drain is disconnected and the cell decay rate is very low then, especially when new and as yet unused. Since lithium cells do not self-discharge, regular charging isn't necesary in this case

Since those Panasonic batteries have been reaching well into their fourth year of active service with very little loss of capacity, I have the impression that the best lithium cells now have very low quiescent decay rates and that it's probably no longer much of an issue.
 
D

Deleted member 4366

Guest
The time to replace your battery is either when it starts cutting out at the power you need, which is normally when going up hills, or when you can't go as far as you need to go. If you're in one of these situations, you don't really have a choice about replacing it. You only have a choice from where to get it from. Fortunately, there are often alternatives to going back to the shop where you bought the bike. If you have a rack, bottle, frog or silver-fish type battery, there's loads of alternatives, and often it gives the chance to upgrade to better one, e.g. longer range, higher discharge rate or higher voltage withot having to make any adjustments to your bike. Naturally, if you're able to wire, solder, etc, it opens up better possibiities. If you have a bike-specific battery, you can still often change to a much better value rack or bottle battery. Having made your choice of type, to avoid one that's been sitting around for a while, you could source it from a high volume supplier - like direct from China or for Panasonic type batteries, German Ebay.
 
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Storcker

Pedelecer
Nov 24, 2012
46
0
As the numbers of battery bikes climbs here in the UK there are going to be many owners seeking battery replacements in the coming years.
As I understand it all the Lithium battery packs are made up of mass produced individual cells all of 3.7 volts nominal voltage with Sanyo, part of Panasonic, and Samsung being the most well known brands but mostly made in China.
When your battery appears to be declining do you have to buy, if they are still made, a new battery from your original supplier or is there any other source or replacement. Bear in mind most will not want a cobbled together different battery case but desire a direct replacement identical to that supplied originally with their bike.
How do the Germans/Dutch, the biggest users of battery bikes outside China obtain replacement or indeed spare batteries?
Are there any businesses that refurbish batteries in the UK by the fitting of new cells into an existing battery pack?
Surely some forum members can share their experiences of battery replacement and can some trade members add their views.
 

JuicyBike

Trade Member
Jan 26, 2009
1,671
527
Derbyshire
As the numbers of battery bikes climbs here in the UK there are going to be many owners seeking battery replacements in the coming years.
As I understand it all the Lithium battery packs are made up of mass produced individual cells all of 3.7 volts nominal voltage with Sanyo, part of Panasonic, and Samsung being the most well known brands but mostly made in China.
When your battery appears to be declining do you have to buy, if they are still made, a new battery from your original supplier or is there any other source or replacement. Bear in mind most will not want a cobbled together different battery case but desire a direct replacement identical to that supplied originally with their bike.
How do the Germans/Dutch, the biggest users of battery bikes outside China obtain replacement or indeed spare batteries?
Are there any businesses that refurbish batteries in the UK by the fitting of new cells into an existing battery pack?
Surely some forum members can share their experiences of battery replacement and can some trade members add their views.
Good point to make.
After we had tried a variety of battery types we chose the most popular case and most widely used technology and then made all our bike frames share that case. So now we use one popular, standard battery case across all our bikes giving us much better supplier options and allows us to keep lower stocks of batteries, meaning customers get a fresher battery with their bike.

If we had continued with a variety of battery case types, not interchangeable between our frame types, we would have paid a premium for supply of smaller quantities and held on to stock for longer. This helps keep our costs low and our prices competitive.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
50,676
28,509
Very sensible, same policy as eZee who have used the same in-frame case mounting for all models over some eight years now.
 

rog_london

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 3, 2009
764
2
Harrow, Middlesex
One point is that battery 'life' is affected to a lesser degree by age and a major part by number of charge / discharge cycles (assuming of course that the storage charge has been maintained)
Age does come into it - to a greater or lesser extent depending on the technology and how it's set up (Flecc's note elsewhere about Panasonic batteries would be relevant). While cycle life is what most perceive as being the most important thing, age is certainly a consideration for most technologies, and maintaining the state of charge is perhaps even more so.

Would you knowingly buy a 'new' battery which was already two years old? If it had merely sat on the shelf for that length of time in many cases (not all) it would be totally dead if it had not been topped up at the appropriate intervals.

In the 'real' world as opposed to that of e-bikes with large lithium batteries lead-acid is still king - and the technology has advanced to the point where 'fresh' batteries are a given - most new lead-acid batteries are supplied 'dry' so the internal age clock doesn't run until such a battery is about to enter service and the acid is added.

An exception would be the 'dry-fit' gel battery but even these have a shelf life in excess of a year with no maintenance whatsoever.

Take a look at the customer handbook which comes with your e-bike - most of them indicate that regular maintenance (i.e. top-up charging) of the battery if it's not in use is essential. There are exceptions but I would suggest they are not in the majority.

Rog.
 

rog_london

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 3, 2009
764
2
Harrow, Middlesex
The time to replace your battery is either when it starts cutting out at the power you need, which is normally when going up hills, or when you can't go as far as you need to go. If you're in one of these situations, you don't really have a choice about replacing it. You only have a choice from where to get it from. Fortunately, there are often alternatives to going back to the shop where you bought the bike. If you have a rack, bottle, frog or silver-fish type battery, there's loads of alternatives, and often it gives the chance to upgrade to better one, e.g. longer range, higher discharge rate or higher voltage withot having to make any adjustments to your bike. Naturally, if you're able to wire, solder, etc, it opens up better possibiities. If you have a bike-specific battery, you can still often change to a much better value rack or bottle battery. Having made your choice of type, to avoid one that's been sitting around for a while, you could source it from a high volume supplier - like direct from China or for Panasonic type batteries, German Ebay.
Those choices might be relevant to you - but there will be many owners who haven't the knowledge or the engineering skill to choose and fit an alternative. That's my final point in the last paragraph. Most will go to the dealer who supplied the bike and order a replacement.

Rog.
 

Synthman

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 31, 2010
417
0
Oxford
My bike came with a battery that was over 2 years old despite it being new. I found out from the serial number. Last year I bought a newish one to replace it with, it had been in storage for a year. The performance and range is now much better than the battery it replaced.
 

rog_london

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 3, 2009
764
2
Harrow, Middlesex
My bike came with a battery that was over 2 years old despite it being new. I found out from the serial number. Last year I bought a newish one to replace it with, it had been in storage for a year. The performance and range is now much better than the battery it replaced.
Thanks for that - it perfectly illustrates the point I was trying to make.

Rog.
 

Synthman

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 31, 2010
417
0
Oxford
Thanks for that - it perfectly illustrates the point I was trying to make.

Rog.
Of course if I knew about e-bikes and batteries beforehand I wouldn't have paid the £200 extra for the lithium version, especially if I knew the battery would be so old. I would have got it with SLAs instead and then maybe upgrade to lithium when the SLAs declined.

I will be much more careful in future if I get another bike.
 

mountainsport

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 6, 2012
1,419
298
Here's a little conundrum for the trade members:

If one has owned an e-bike for long enough for the battery to be getting past its best (maybe WELL past its best) and one wanted to obtain a replacement, probably not much of a problem - but:

(1) If the bike is a few years old, how can one tell if the 'new' battery purchased at great expense has not been sitting on a dealer's shelf for a year or so?

(2) Even if it was stocked for six months or less, has the battery been topped up with a suitable charger during that time?

Presumably manufacturers/wholesalers keep track of serial numbers and in theory it ought to be possible to check out the provenance of a new battery, but I've not seen anything about that being mentioned on here.

I'd be more inclined to deal with someone who says that a replacement can be obtained in a few days rather than proclaiming that it's in stock - though that's no absolute guarantee either.

I'm not looking for 'helpful' suggestions that one could rebuild one's own battery - let's keep it really simple and assume the owner would much rather ride the thing than tinker with it and doesn't resent the official replacement cost too much. Possibly such an owner might not even think of asking Questions 1 and 2 above.

Rog.
Rog i like that, about 3-4 days ago i did mention something simular to this ,you just do not know what you are getting and again i really like that one because i truly believe in fairness. I take all types of situations very seriously when it comes down to parting with your honest hard working cash.

I HATE! SCAMMERS AND DISHONEST PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY KNOWING THAT I'M NOT ONE OF THEM.:
Sorry guys for going into one.:)

Mountainsport.
 
D

Deleted member 4366

Guest
Those choices might be relevant to you - but there will be many owners who haven't the knowledge or the engineering skill to choose and fit an alternative. That's my final point in the last paragraph. Most will go to the dealer who supplied the bike and order a replacement.

Rog.
You don't need any special knowledge or skill to slide out one silver-fish battery and slide in another one. The same for unclipping a frog battery and clipping on a new one. I would have also thought that most people know how to use Ebay, and if they don't, I'm sure that they'd know someone that could do it for them.
 

Wanderer

Pedelecer
Oct 27, 2016
36
2
68
Stafford
You don't need any special knowledge or skill to slide out one silver-fish battery and slide in another one. The same for unclipping a frog battery and clipping on a new one. I would have also thought that most people know how to use Ebay, and if they don't, I'm sure that they'd know someone that could do it for them.
I agree but where do you buy the cells from ? There is an enormousr amount out there also I have a 24v 10ah battery I don't think I can increase to a a higher voltage but could I increase to a higher ah ? Cheers
 
D

Deleted member 4366

Guest
I agree but where do you buy the cells from ? There is an enormousr amount out there also I have a 24v 10ah battery I don't think I can increase to a a higher voltage but could I increase to a higher ah ? Cheers
Yes. 10Ah and 12Ah can fit in the same case. If it's using modern cells you could get 14Ah in the same case. After that, the case is the same but longer. It still fits on a Cyclamatic, but you need the longer aluminium strip that often comes with the battery. The strip is the guide that the battery slides down with a hole in the top for the lock. It's that hole that you need.

If you get a bigger battery, you can solder 25% of the length of the shunt in the controller, which will give a lot more power. No harm will come to the motor or controller.
 

Wanderer

Pedelecer
Oct 27, 2016
36
2
68
Stafford
Yes. 10Ah and 12Ah can fit in the same case. If it's using modern cells you could get 14Ah in the same case. After that, the case is the same but longer. It still fits on a Cyclamatic, but you need the longer aluminium strip that often comes with the battery. The strip is the guide that the battery slides down with a hole in the top for the lock. It's that hole that you need.

If you get a bigger battery, you can solder 25% of the length of the shunt in the controller, which will give a lot more power. No harm will come to the motor or controller.
Ok thanks for that so the volts has to stay the same but the ah can increase ?
 

Crockers

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 19, 2014
820
688
68
I get what a bottle battery is.....and if course a rack battery

But what's a frog, silver fish ?
 
D

Deleted member 4366

Guest
Frog is the type that clamps to the seat-post - looks like a little pod. Silver fish is a Cyclamatic type battery that goes behind the seat-post. then we can add Dolphin (also called 09 case), which is the pod shaped down-tube battery, and Shark (also called 08 case) is the lower profile version of the Dolphin. Finally, just come to the market is the Whale or Killer whale, which is a bigger version of the Dolphin.