“lithium bike battery +batteries for electric bicycles”

Yes, I’ve seen this problem. Homes that have only a 10A circuit breaker are often not enough for these welders. The room I wanted to use mine in had a 10A, so I switched it for a 20A breaker at the breaker box and now it works fine.

Hello Micah: Thanks for this most interesting and useful article! I want to build a battery in a 39mm x 520mm seatpost for fueling a 250W motor that normally uses a 7.2 Ah – 25 V bottle-shaped battery. The new seatpost battery should only have an autonomy of 7 miles of steep hills (40%) between each daily charge. What are your recommendations? Happy day! Fred

3. Lastly, I assume if the BMS & battery were able to produce the 50A X 24V watts of 1200W that my electric motor would only ever use the 500W it is rated for? As in the E bikes controller would only draw around 500W?

When you buy a Hobby King pack, it will have a number of these large cell LiPo’s strung together like this 6 cell in-series (6S) pack. The big downsides of this pack is that it will only last you in best case maybe 300 charges and it is volatile, and susceptible to possible fire if not well managed and cared for.  When using cobalt-based LiPo, it is best to use some kind of BMS, and also you should charge it in a safe location.

Regarding the soldering of cells: generally it is not recommended as no matter how you do it, a soldering iron will still transfer more heat than a spot welder. That being said, I have seen packs that have been welded using both solid or braided copper wire. I’ve also seen someone use copper wick soldered to the cells terminals. It’s impossible to know exactly how much of an effect that the heat transfer had on the cells but if you don’t mind taking a risk of some level of deterioration of the cells performance, then it technically is possible to solder the cells together.

I’m mostly kidding, but if you use cells that are rated for more current than you’re trying to pull from them, you’ll create a lot less waste heat and both options will be perfectly fine and healthy for the battery.

Used PL-350 electric bike kit, The battery does not charge. Charger is fine but only shows a red light. It sat dead for about a year. Then the controller showed about 80% after charging. Everything wo…

The high C-rate is not the only reason LiPo is adored by the high performance crowd, the addition of Cobalt to the cathode meant that more power would fit in a smaller package. This was driven by the boom in Radio-Controlled (RC) models in the late 1990’s (RC airplanes, cars, helicopters, etc). When that market suddenly expanded, an Australian enthusiast started a company to supply RC parts from factories in China. Hobby King.com was born. Last year, due to popular demand, HK has opened warehouses in The USA and in Germany (edit: even more countries have HK warehouses now).

Linear packing, on the other hand, will result in a narrower pack that ends up a bit longer than offset packing. Some people say offset packing is more efficient because you can fit more cells in a smaller area by taking advantage of the space between cells. However, offset packing creates wasted space on the ends of parallel group rows where gaps form between the edge of the pack and the ‘shorter’ rows. The larger the battery pack, the less wasted space is taken up compared to the overall pack size, but the difference is negligible for most packs. For my battery, I decided to go with offset packing to make the pack shorter and fit easier into a small triangle bag.

Its low C-rate of 1C means you need a large pack if you want higher amps. Justin at ebikes.ca was an early adopter of LiMn for his E-bikes because his customers wanted a trouble-free product that wasn’t fussy and lasted a long time. Makita cordless tools use LiMn, as do many laptop computers. Last year Zero E-motorcycles were using LiMnO2, but this year they moved up to NMC (found listed below). [edit: Due to customer desires and safety concerns, LiMn has been improved and now in 2014, there are high current LiMn]

Wear safety goggles. Seriously. Don’t skip this one. During the process of spot welding it is not at all uncommon for sparks to fly. Skip the safety glasses and head for chemistry lab style goggles if you have them – you’ll want the wrap around protection when the sparks start bouncing. You’ve only got two eyes; protect them. I’d rather lose an arm than an eye. Oh, speaking of arms, I’d recommend long sleeves. Those sparks hurt when they come to rest on your wrists and forearms.

I hope not to have to replace the whole battery pack and wondering if it can be salvaged by replacing the just the dead cells and burnt connectors, or do you think the damage is too extensive to be worth repairing it?

LiMn/LiMnO2-Lithium Manganese Oxide. Adding manganese to the cathode made this chemistry more stable and less sensitive to individual cell balancing issues. If you were using LiFePO4, and one cell began losing its amp-hour capacity, the rest of the pack would get dragged down to the weakest cells level. Demanding high amps with one weak cell in the pack would cause the entire pack to wear out much earlier than it should have.  With LiMn, the packs just seems to stay in balance, with all the individual cells aging equally.

Actually I have ran into a problem – a few days ago I was riding it up a hill on a hot day when the power cut off and it wouldn’t start again. When I tried to charge it, the light on the charger just flickered from green to orange. I took out the battery and found that one of the cells had corroded from what looks like overheating. I think that the battery pack failure was most likely caused by too much of a load applied to the battery pack.

I use white 2mm thick craft foam and cut out a shape slightly larger than my pack. I wrap it up and seal it with electrical tape. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to cover the pack. Your next step will hide the foam from view.

Some of the NMC sellers are advertising their chemistry as 5C, but real-world use by E-bike builders has them calling NMC a solid reliable 3C chemistry, which can provide a continuous 30A from an affordable and compact 10-Ah battery (temporary peak amp-draws can be higher, as it is with any of these chemistries). This may sound only as good as the most recent LiFePO4, but NMC is smaller, and is not as fussy about keeping the individual cells balanced.

Your battery pack size is based on voltage and amp-hours. The higher the voltage and the higher the amp hours of your battery, the more range your battery will give you. A 48V 10-Ah pack gives you 480 watt hour (48 X 10). This gives you an easy way to determine exactly how much battery you are buying. The wattage of a battery is the only accurate determinant to judge what range your finished ebike will have.

For this tutorial, I’ll be using the green Panasonic 18650PF cells shown above. Lately though I’ve been using 18650GA cells like these, which are a little bit more energy dense, meaning more battery in less space.

Alternately, you can separate the batteries and charge each with its own charger, but then you have some small risk of reconnected the batteries when one is charged and the other is flat, if for some reason one of the batteries didn’t get charged up properly. We usually recommend leaving the packs parallel connected at all times.

Next, regarding your question of paralleling the batteries. Yes, you can parallel them, and you can do it even before connecting to the controller. The biggest safety issue (and damage issue) though is to always be sure they are at the exact same voltage when you connect the two batteries in parallel. The easiest way to do this is only to connect them in parallel when you’re sure they are both fully charged.

3. i saw 18650 and 26650 li ion batteries which are more powerful such as 6000 – 8000 mah. i think they are fake??? i need 48v 10ah or 20ah minimum i guess as a pack ??? your advices are important. thanks for all…

This is the old technology for e-bikes that is heavy as bricks and does not have longevity. Lead acid will double the weight of your electric bike. Unless you have to because of money restraints, batteries for e bikes advise to steer way clear of lead acid batteries.  Your bike will have a completely different feel and range if you spend the money on one of the new lithium technologies.

Remember, if a battery with a certain chemistry can “survive” at 2C, it may actually last much longer if it is sized so that the amp-draw from the controller/motor is only 1C. If it can actually be run at 2C, but it dies in a month with daily use…and yet if sized to run at 1C it lasts a year? Legally the manufacturer is not lying by calling it a 2C battery. There is nothing wrong with that, but…we here want E-bike customers to be aware of the real-world results so they can make an informed decision, and avoid the disappointment that could turn off a lot of potential E-bikers to a wonderful sport and hobby.

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