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My electric bicycle is not working, now what?

By July 8, 2018 Repair Tips, Shop 26 Comments

What happens when my E-Bike is not working?

 

If your e-bike does not power on or start up then there is a fault somewhere in the system.  E-bike systems only work when all of the components are functioning so there is no quick & easy evaluation.  Often the fault is caused by a loose connection and power can be restore by disconnecting and reconnecting each point. If the system still does not work then there is a problem with one of the components of your e-bike.  To repair the system we must perform a detailed diagnostic to determine which of the components needs to be replaced. The cost is $80 for a system diagnosis, where we will disassemble the portions necessary to test all aspects of the electrical system, motor, controller, battery, charger, connections, sensors, and keys(if applicable).  After completing the test we will consult with the product manufacturer to confirm diagnosis of the problem and check pricing/availability of the necessary replacement parts. Once completed we will send a report (via email) of our findings. If additional parts and labor are required to solve the problem we will send you a separate estimate with the costs to do so.  Remember to bring your keys and charger with you when dropping your bike off for a diagnosis. We will want to test the charger to make sure it is putting out the correct voltage to charge your battery.

 

What are some of the common repairs on E-bikes?

 

The most common source of e-bike problems is caused by failure of a sensor.  In this instance, the battery charges and indicates it is at full capacity, the lights and/or display all work, but the throttle has no effect nor does the pedal assist.  For safety reasons most e-bikes are equipped with a cut-off switch that disengages the motor when the brakes are actuated to protect motor. Mid-drive motors will often have an additional cut-off switch linked to the shifters to protect the drivetrain from damage that could be caused by changing gears under full power.  An initial test/inspection you can perform at home is to unplug these sensors and see if your motor regains power. If so, adjustment or replacement of the sensor, lever, or shifter would be the repair option. If there is no change to the system, we then move on to investigating the rest of the bike.

 

The controller is the next most vital component in your e-bike system.  The controller is the “brain” of your e-bike. It takes input signals from the controls and sensors, interprets them and decides how to best transfer the energy stored in your battery to forward motion through the motor.  These are often proprietary and must match the specifications of the bike manufacturer or power requirements. Some of them can be removed and independently tested, but more often than not the rest of the system must be tested to confirm that the problem is in the controller.  Those that can be removed and tested typically use a generic controller that is found in a variety of electric motor applications. For the aspiring electrical engineer, this a great time to break out the digital voltmeter and soldering iron to test each element inside the controller and replace any of the ones that are out of spec.  This method of repair will only require a few inexpensive parts, but it will be very time consuming and has little guarantee of long-term success. The most time efficient method of repair is to replace the entire controller.

 

If the range of your e-bike has been diminishing rapidly there could be a problem with your battery or charger.  Each battery has a limited lifespan whose length is determined by a combination of age, number of charge cycles, and storage/charging habits.  There are a couple of key habits when it comes to maintaining your battery. One good habit is to charge it when it is mostly discharged (like 75%-85%).  Completely discharging modern batteries will shorten their usable lifespan. Storing and charging the battery at room temperature is another important habit. Here in San Diego you will want to avoid leaving the battery inside a hot car during the warm weather.  Elsewhere in the country you may want to look into insulation for your battery when riding outside in the winter. If you know you will not be riding your e-bike for several months, discharging the battery to about half way is recommended. If your battery has reached the end of its life-cycle, it may be possible to rebuild your battery with new cells and sometimes upgrade it to a higher capacity or more exotic materials.  Upgrading a NiMh battery to Lithium Ion will require replacing the charger too but you will be rewarded with a lighter battery that last much longer.

 

In conclusion, e-bike’s are no more complicated than any other bicycles out there, just a different system of components working together to keep you riding.  Most of the electrical components are subject to very little wear and tear and do not need to be serviced or replaced anywhere near as frequently as the traditional bicycle components like chains, tires, and brake pads.  Older e-bikes may have some difficulty sourcing the appropriate replacement parts, meaning the entire system may need to be upgraded, but the industry as a whole has been moving towards more reliable universal components with more companies joining the mix everyday.  Whatever the problem may be, Anywhere Bicycle Repair is equipped to restore the function of your electric bicycle.

 

Do you need more help with your Ebike?!

We service all Ebikes at our shop!  If you can not make it into our shop we offer video consultations!  Click here to check it out!

Then do not hesitate to shoot us an email to [email protected] or call us at 619-227-8646.

26 Comments

  • Sean says:

    I have a goplus electric bicycle and if the battery is plugged into the charger everything works, when charger light is green and I unplug charger everything is dead. Battery tests at 37.4v but could the battery be bad?

    • stu says:

      It is most likely the battery is dead. Check the output of the battery when plugged into the charger. If the voltage is around 40v-42v while plugged in and then goes right down to 37v when you remove the battery from the charger, that means the battery is dead. We have a 36v battery in stock as a replacement and we can install it for you.

      Check it out here: https://anywherebicyclerepair.com/product/36v-15ah-shark-battery/

    • Jada says:

      I have a juiced bike. After a couple rainy days (with my bike outside, covered of course) I plugged in my battery after having charged it inside. Initially when I powered on the bike it briefly started before quickly shutting off completely. I brought it to my bike shop where after running diagnostics I was told that the motor might have some water damage to it. Could it be just the motor that’s causing my bike to not power on completely or could it also be something happening with the controller

      • stu says:

        I would suspect the controller has been compromised as well. A controller is cheap compared to a new motor, so it would not be a bad idea to invest in a new controller to see if that works first, if it doesn’t at least you have the same controller for problem solving in the future.

  • Dennis Brackins says:

    I have a 1999 evg Global Motors ebike, 24 volt. The brake and headlights work fine. But, when I turn the key to turn the bike on, there are no beeps like there should be. And the three lights on the Handlebar battery indicator, full, half, low, all light up. The only like that should be lit is the full light. Is there a short some place? Would appreciate some help or some ideas. Thank you.

    • stu says:

      Wow, that is an old system. It is likely the battery is not charged enough to power on the entire system. First step is to test the voltage coming out of the battery. Do you have a volt meter?

  • Matei says:

    I have a Phrophete E bike with 11.6Ah battery since 2013.
    Even if the battery is full charged, the engine does not operate at optimal parameters (when the load is high, the engine stops suddenly)

    • stu says:

      What is the voltage of the battery when fully charged? What is the voltage of the battery when the motor cuts out? Will the system turn back on after the motor cuts out?

  • Kevin Dempsey says:

    My lcd does not light nor does anything work on my bike ….no throttle…its 48volt/1000 watt front wheel brushless DC motor….battery reads 54volts on volt meter….dont know what to do

    • stu says:

      Hi Kevin. Sounds like the battery is ok. I would suggest buying a replacement controller and trying that. It is inexpensive part and at some point you will need it. Try that and let me know how it goes!

  • Brendan says:

    Hi there I have a voilamart 1500w rear wheel hud motor (without the lcd screen) I recently brought a lcd screen and tried connecting it to the wire on the controller, i connected it to the red and black wires in their own connector and the 3 phase wires the wheel doesn’t go round when I pull the throttle after connecting the wires to those wires has power as normal but doesn’t move. what do you suggest I should do because I have brought a new controller and it does the same with that controller has power but doesn’t move

    • stu says:

      Hi Brendan. You motor may not be compatible. Is your motor a brushless or brushed motor?

      You can tell if there are only 3 wires coming from the motor it is brushed. But if there are 3 wires along with a 5 or 6 harness plug… or if you have just one plug that has 9 pins in it then it is a brushless motor.

  • Julian Irinyi says:

    Hi, I have a smartmotion e urban that I ride in all weather. I recently gave it a good wash using detergent and standard trigger hose then sprayed some break cleaner on the really dirty sections around the cogs gave it a brush then hosed off quite quickly. I then lubricated every moving part very thoroughly. The bike was positioned upside down during the whole process. When I next road it the pedal assist stopped working momentarily after applying the brakes quite hard coming to an intersection then was fine for a day and a half then after sitting for a few hours during the day has completely stopped working. Dash, headlight, tail light are all working and battery is fully charged. First issue in over a year of daily riding.

    • stu says:

      Hi Julian. The water hose is not an ideal way to wash an ebike. Yes, the smart motion uses waterproof connectors and has an integrated electrical system that looks water resistant but it does not quite work that way. My best guess is that you got water in the connectors. I would go through the bike and remove all the connectors and inspect them. Try to use dialectic grease for all the connectors. Then take out the battery and clean the contacts on the connections. Smartmotion has an issue with their battery connector. They chose to set up their system with a battery connector that does not actually connect, but simply touches each other. Try these things and let me know what you come up with.

  • Dan Ballard says:

    I have a voilamart 1000W (rear) I put the battery in and the screen flashes on then disappears and nothing works. This has been my first issue with the bike and have had it just under a year.
    Thanks

    • stu says:

      Hi Dan. First step is to test the battery with a volt meter. Your 48v battery fully charged should be around 52v. If that is ok, then I would replace the controller. The controller is inexpensive and a good thing to have an extra of if the problem is not solved with a new controller. Next step would be to get a new displey. Those are also cheap. So between the battery, controller and display, I think you can figure out which of these components it is. Good luck!

  • Mahesh says:

    I have yo drift e bike my bike char belink red and green light continue when I charge it . When I eccelerate bike not run ,and battery signal low. And after sometime bike run and battery signal full

  • Max says:

    Hi,

    I was riding my bike the other day and I bumped into a metal pole. Bike is physically fineness but afterwards the electric part of the bike stopped working. The battery seems fine it still lights up as usual but when I use the throttle nothing happens. Occasionally it’ll kick in for a brief moment but nothing more than that. What can I do!?

    • stu says:

      Hi Max. Sorry to hear you crashed. I would first follow each wire and check for abrasion or tears in the wires. Since you crashed a crash inspection is good to do so look over the entire bike and see if you can find anything that does not look right. Take pictures of the potential issues and email them to us and we can help you out further with your project.

  • Lee says:

    Took my crystalite Phoenix racer out of mothballs powered up and it worked for 2 short no load bursts…. then nothing. Any ideas?

    • stu says:

      Hi Lee. How old is the battery. Sounds like the battery lost its capacity. Can you check voltage on the battery now and when it is fully charged?

  • Reymark says:

    Hello sr can i ask u a question my ebike wont start . The controls are open but it wont start i test the battery using multimeter . The battry is 48v but I have read 4ov . Only . Did my battry damage ??

    • stu says:

      Hi Reymark. It does sound like you have an old battery. A 48v battery has a safe cut off around 47v and fully charged at 54v. So if the battery voltage is at 40v, then that means you have a bad battery.

  • Diogo says:

    Hi there! I built a e-bike with 1000w Volimart kit and recently I got problems. When I plug the battery and turn on the system it starts. But even if the battery is powered up it’ll indicate low level battery on the battery display. Is it the controller or the throttle?

    • stu says:

      Ok, this sounds like we need a little more info. Please check voltage with a volt meter of the battery now, and then check it after a full charge. Also, how many times have you charged the battery? And lastly, has it every worked? Send all this info and I can tell you the next step to get this issue solved.

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