ZEV Tips and Troubleshooting

TROUBLESHOOTING CASE STUDIES

SQUAWK CASE 1 | SQUAWK CASE 2


HOW TO READ THE BATTERY GAUGE

WARNING – YOU CAN AND WILL CAUSE SERIOUS DAMAGE AND AN EXPENSIVE REPAIR BILL NOT COVERED BY WARRANTY IF YOU IGNORE THESE INSTRUCTIONS.

The Operating Manual specifically states that the battery gauge found on the right side of your instrument panel IS NOT TO BE READ LIKE A FUEL GAUGE IN A CAR.  When there is no load on the bike you will not get battery level capacity – only the floating level. 

IF YOU RUN THE BIKE USING THE GAUGE LIKE AN AUTO FUEL GAUGE -- YOU WILL DAMAGE THE BIKE.

In the manual it states that to read the battery gauge, and to see how much capacity you have, you must roll the throttle on hard and watch where the needle dips to.  The needle will drop sharply when you roll on the throttle.  Where it stops dropping is the amount of capacity left.  When you roll on the throttle when the bike is ½ discharged, the needle will drop to the middle of the gauge markings – NOT INCLUDING THE RED BAND AND THE BAR ABOVE IT.

If you do roll on the throttle to find the reading, you will still see the needle setting at the first red line at the top of the gauge when the battery is ½ empty.

STOP DRIVING WHEN YOU ARE AT THIS LINE JUST ABOVE THE RED BAR as shown below if setting still, or if the needle drops this low in a hard throttle roll-on.

THE RED BAR IS ON THE TRAIL MODEL BIKE GAUGE  ALSO.   IT MEANS EXACTLY THE SAME THING. NEVER OPERATE IN THE RED.


This bar is the end of the gauge reading.  Anything below will cause damage.

The Red Band on the gauge is a level indicator. 

  • It is not a reserve mark so you can keep on driving.
  • It is not a low battery indicator that means you have any margin for error.

DAMAGE WILL OCCUR if you run the battery down so that when the bike is setting or running on level ground at steady speed the needle reaches the bar just above the RED Band.  Stop.

Red is dead

The manual states:
WARNING.  DO NOT RUN THE BIKE UNTIL IT DIES.  WHEN YOU FEEL IT GETTING WEAK FROM THE LOW BATTERY, GET TO A CHARGER, OR PARK IT.  IF YOU TRICK THE CONTROLLER BY PUSHING WITH YOUR FEET TO GET THE BIKE ROLLING OR CONTINUE TO GRIND ALONG IN LOW GEAR UNTIL THE BIKE STOPS YOU RUN THE HIGH RISK OF RUINING THE BATTERY AND THE CONTROLLER AND MAYBE THE CHARGER 
Once the batteries have been drained below the safety cutoff point, the charger will not charge the bike again.   A special charging procedure must then be used on each battery cell group of 4 which means taking the bike apart.  DO NOT IGNORE THE WARNING SIGNS.  WHEN THE BIKE CANNOT RUN IN 3RD GEAR AT SPEED AND SHIFTS TO 2ND , FIND A CHARGING POINT.

POWER LEVEL GAUGE
On the right side of your instrument panel is a power level gauge to give you some idea of the amount of battery capacity left in the battery. 

On your car, the amount of fuel left in the tank is not a direct mileage obtainable indication due to the fact that different driving conditions consumes the fuel left and radically different rates. 

Equally, on your car, you cannot trust the computer that tells you how many miles you can go on the gasoline left in the car.  The reason is that it has an averaging factor in it.  If you drove 10 miles in stop and go traffic before you pulled onto the Interstate and looked at your range, the calculation would be radically less than the car can really go as the computer has only seen very bad fuel consumption.  Conversely, range calculated at steady highway speeds will be wrong if entering a city.  Far greater distortions occur if the vehicle has been coming down a long grade.  The computer will see you are using virtually no fuel and will calculate you can “drive around the world” on the gas left.

In the same manner, the battery capacity gauge will read very optimistically if read when sitting still or driving at a steady less than maximum speed.  It is the equivalent of drifting down hill.  To read the gauge, roll the throttle on to the maximum briefly (2-3 seconds) and look at the needle position.  At this point, while under acceleration, the gauge will be correct.

A dead battery pack cannot come from anything but driver indifference or negligence.  There is no failure mode in the bike or any system that will cause the bike to run down.  It is immediately identifiable as driver caused and not part of the usual and normal operations of the vehicle.

  • If you run the bike dead into the red and try to charge, there is an 80% chance you will burn out the chips in the charger.
  • If you run the battery dead you can damage the batteries causing the need to replace them.
  • You run a high risk of damaging the controller as well.


DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO INFREQUENTLY CHARGE THE BIKE.

  • The life of your expensive battery pack is primarily determined by how often you charge it. 
  • The more often you charge it, the longer it lasts. 
  • The more often that you charge it from a less than full discharge, the longer it lasts.
  • Never run the power gauge down to the red band or the last line before the red.
  • Do not think of the gauge as a fuel gauge in a car.  Think of it as the fuel gauge in an airplane.  Red is dead.

Consider that the vast number of motorcycles have no fuel level indicator.  The engine just starts to die.  You can then turn on the reserve and hopefully find a gas station.  You have a lot more warning with your gauge, but no reserve.