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Thread: ZX1 lithium ion battery retrofit

  1. #1

    ZX1 lithium ion battery retrofit

    Just had the lithium ion battery retrofit done on my ZX1 and there are certainly positives but there are certainly negatives.


    The positives include the internal BMS within the lithium ion batteries not cutting out under load. I don't know if anybody else has experienced this but basically going up a steep hill would draw more amperage from the batteries and they would shut themselves down. The solution was to pull the plug out of the powerpack and then reconnect which reset the batteries. Otherwise you are absolutely stuck. Now I'm certainly not getting stuck anymore but the new software connected with the Spinergy BMS insert is set very conservatively. So even under minor load it goes into safe mode which is not as slow as safe mode when the clamshell is completely raised but I would estimate it is about speed level 2.


    I'm happy in the respect that I know I can't be stuck out anywhere and the range of the lithium ion batteries (fusion) is certainly fantastic in comparison to the lead acid. The advantage of lead acid batteries is that you can basically set your ZX 1 to go as fast as you like but of course the batteries would drain quicker. In my opinion the range was just completely unacceptable unless just travelling very short distances.


    I will contact Spinergy and see if the software can be altered and not so conservatively protect the batteries from cutting out. I would actually like to have that particular piece of software so I could play around with it myself.


    Just thought I would share.

  2. #2
    You've done good upgrading to lithium. Do some research on charging and storage if you will be an infrequent user. The most credible I've read is that they like to be stored in cool places at 60 percent charge.

    The BMS is included inside the battery pack, balances voltages between cells of the battery pack and may have a thermister to monitor temperature.

    The controller which is mounted outside the battery pack somewhere manages input from the throttle, battery and directs appropriate voltage to the motor, or accepts regeneration in the case of bicycles. It is the controller that decides to *turn off* the battery if the voltage gets too low. And you do not want to run down a Lithium battery like you can a lead acid battery. The cutout on a 24 volt is around 19 volts, but the good news is a fully charged 24 Lithium peaks out around 29. I think it’s 29. I can’t find my charger and I have a brand new 24 volt lithium set here that I’d like to charge up.

    I don’t know about the safe mode of the zx1, but that sounds like a programming switchover that someone failed to perform correctly. Lithium provides more power and they may have overcompensated.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by takenaback View Post
    The positives include the internal BMS within the lithium ion batteries not cutting out under load. I don't know if anybody else has experienced this but basically going up a steep hill would draw more amperage from the batteries and they would shut themselves down. The solution was to pull the plug out of the powerpack and then reconnect which reset the batteries. ...

    This is what I really wanted to comment on, it‘s not the BMS. I have been through this problem with my trike. It is a case of too weak a battery pack. What happens is the motor overheats and either it shuts off or tells the controller to shut off. Rebooting as you did is not in your best interest. It is better to let it cool off.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  4. #4
    Thanks for the posts. I'm awaiting Lithium batteries for my ZX1.
    Do you know if the batteries come with a new, different charger?

  5. #5
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback Takenaback.

    It is probably worth finding out if your settings are correct. Ours were not, and you can only know what they are or change them by having a programmer. We needed to do this through a dealer or you can try to get your hands on a PG Drives Technology DTT programmer (Diagnostic Test Tool) PC Programmer (PCPb) or PP1 Programmer. Check with Spinergy about that because I don't know if it is the same with the Lithium batteries and the BMS. You may also want to ask them to send you what the settings should be.
    Keep us posted on what you learn from Spinergy.

    We are meeting with a dealer next week, and I'll ask if they have any information about it too.
    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

  6. #6
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    There are a lot of guys & gals who are wheelies and have or are experimenting with LiFePO4 batteries. Most I have communicated with have discarded the BMS and use a different Battery charger. I am not going to try to explain "my" take on their work, it is better you read those theories and what they have shared "yourself" make up your own opinion. It sufficies to say LiFePO4's may well be the future of stored power. Or perhaps something will be found to even better. I have read the theories and use of stored power on sites like Battery University, and how one paralized user on "WheelChairDriver" a Brit, and former Dragster engineer. This guy's site is well worth reading and at least visiting the Forum on that site preferably to join in and ask questions is very well worth your time.


    LiFePO4 batteries are lighter, and when y'all know more about this kind of battery you will realize there is much more to be gained from the extra usable power that can be gotten from an equal Amp Hour Rating than the absolute best Lead/acid batteroes. Size wise you can realize 24Dcv - 107 Usable Amp hours in the same size space as a size code24 -- 24Vdc - 70Amp hour deep cell lead acid battery. In your application similar Power can be realized without the draw back of "cut out" from high draw rates without the BMS.


    I will readily admit many of the folks who comment there are far smarter than I am. This stuff is second nature for them. Unfortunately these guys are DIY people but anyone with a list of friends who are clever with their head and hands can help anyone here to use the technology they are playing with. They are not only a DIY group, but a share the idea's and knowledge with everyone, so you too can do it. They are not a do every thing you can to make a $buck, but truly sharing their knowledge. However, for the most part, no one will do it for you. They are not a business. They will only tell you "HOW" to do things to do with handicapped transport. How you actually do your project is absolutely up to you. Good Luck and enjoy.

  7. #7
    I am wondering if the loss of the lead-acid battery weight causes traction problems.
    You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @
    http://www.rstce.pitt.edu/RSTCE_Reso...imb_Injury.pdf

    See my personal webpage @
    http://cccforum55.freehostia.com/

  8. #8
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    I have programmed my Action Controller with "their" = Action controller's Programmer. Each manufacturer makes their own including theis different models as well. Some Chair Manufacturers have their own programmer that excludes individuals from programming their specialized controller. You only program the Controller, (Computer controller) not the batteries or the Motors.

    The controller tells the Motors what to do and you tell the controller through the programmer what you want them to do, it is that simple. Manufacturers make all this unnecessarily complicated so individuals often cannot change the settings themselves.

    Individual Lithium cells operate in the 3.2Vdc with each series of cells connected together. So 3.2Vdc X 8 individual cells equals 25.4 Vdc. Then each series of cells are connected in parallel to give you the Amp Hours (AH) you require. The Controllers sold to Power Wheel chair manufacturers have a maximum and minimum operating range they will accept, I have that info somewhere but would have to look it up. Their operating range is within this 25.4Vdc or higher for the few minutes after taking the battery system off the charger.

    Go to the sites I have suggested if you are interested in learning about these things. You are not obligated to agree with all the opinions you read there. But if you at least read the Home Page and use the index provided to learn so much more about Power Wheelchairs of all sorts. The electronic and actually the mechhanical basics are all the same and all based in Physics .

    Good Luck and enjoy.

  9. #9
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    SCI 55,

    It is very easy to add weight if you feel this is a problem for you. Most Battery systems are located under the seat and are the lowest point of the frame A steel plate could be easily added if you choose to do so.

    The way you balance your chair, "and I prefer a rear wheeled Power Chair", that controls your relationship with the earth and weight exerted on a given point.
    Last edited by Bob Sullivan; 10-25-2014 at 11:04 AM. Reason: clarity

  10. #10
    LiFePO4 is only one type of Lithium battery and may not be what Spinergy is using: http://www.ebikes.ca/learn/batteries.html


    Last edited by nonoise; 10-25-2014 at 02:30 PM.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

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