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Thread: ZX1 lithium ion battery retrofit

  1. #21
    So the history is first bought one of these or two of these I should say roughly one year ago and they are lead acid drop in replacements lithium ion batteries.

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/12v-15ah-...-/290988285563

    I returned the first ones I purchased because they would cut out under load and was told by a company called "Super Start Batteries" here in Australia that they would work on fixing the problem and would probably take about six months. Well six months later they came back with a drop in replacement 12 V 15 amp hour with a new internal BMS but unfortunately the dimensions of the batteries had to change which I was unaware of. So they were completely useless as they wouldn't fit in the ZX1 which is only limited to the 12 V 15 amp hour lead acid battery size. There is basically no more room as it is a very compact little device.

    So I have been over to "wheelchairdriver.com" and to be frank those guys are smart, not all people are born equal unfortunately and I am just a layman. I basically want my ZX1 to go with out learning all about battery technology which I would need a hand with from someone much smarter than me perhaps with an engineering background. I will try to find that person but I am a quadriplegic who physically can't perform the tasks involved in making one of these batteries without BMS installed. I know this is the way to go and I am still charging these drop in batteries with a dumb lead acid battery charger. It's convenient though.

    It is true that these drop in replacement's are too small or have too little capacity but again it's convenient. I have PG controller software (8.0.16) access level C manufacturing and a USB cord courtesy of the information found over at wheelchairdriver.com to do the programming and I can adjust many parameters but there is certainly nothing that I can see within the particular software I have that has any control over the ZX1 retrofit. I examined the software before it went away and it was exactly the same when it came back. So I possibly need a higher level programmer.

    Have noticed the batteries are certainly charging better after the retrofit allowing me to go a greater distance. One of the problems is safe mode can kick in when crossing roads or anything like that so I'm going to stick to crossings and lights for the moment. I use it every day and in the end I want to get from a to B safely. Nothing was worse than watching the lights drop down with the lead acid batteries wondering if you are going to get home, I had some very close calls. One doesn't want to be stuck out on a cold winters night. I was going through a set of lead acid batteries every three months. Not getting near the range Spinergy say.

    I can't really get into the technical side of lithium ion batteries because I'm clueless, well to a degree.


    This was information I received from Spinergy for your interest.

    Overview
    Over the past several months we have tested a number of different Lithium Batteries from different suppliers. Based upon the current packaging space for the Lead Batteries on the ZX-1, we have decided to pursue a “Drop In” Replacement Battery that is the same size as the current Lead Gel Mat Battery. This will make the transition much easier for our Dealers. The New components consist of three cables including a BMS that plugs into the back of the VR2 Controller. (See Attached Photo). There is a New software program that is downloaded to the VR2 controller that adjusts the Battery Charge Indicator Lights for the Lithium Batteries. This way the user will get a gradual reduction in the charge indicator lights as the unit is discharged. This software mod can be downloaded to a unit at our Factory, or in the field using one of the PG Drives Hand Held controllers. The Drop In replacement Batteries must be a 12V 15Amp Hour Battery with an Internal BMS that cuts off Voltage at or Below 10.4 Volts.

    The following two Batteries have been tested so far and are deemed usable with our device:

    Fusion Batteries 12V 15 Ah
    Powerizer 12V 15 Ah

    The range will in essence double the range that your customers are getting from the Lead Gel Mat batteries with a warranty on the batteries that extends from 6 months to two years!

    Battery Management System (BMS)
    Our new BMS is a customized PC Board that is enclosed in a plastic housing and runs in between the batteries and the VR2 Controller. This BMS will prevent from Overcharging the batteries and act as a cell balancing device. In addition to cell balancing, the BMs will cutoff the voltage at 10.4 volts and issue a Warning when the batteries get to 11 Volts. When the Warning is initiated, the BMS will send a signal to the controller for the ZX-1 to go into crawl mode. This is the first notification to the user that their batteries are getting low. At the same time, the BMS will signal an audible beeping sound with 5 beeps! These beeps will stop and start again in two minutes if the user continues to deplete the Batteries. After this two minute period, the BMS will signal with another 5 beeps. If the user continues to deplete the batteries further, the BMS will issue it’s last 5 beep warning and the system will shut down. It is important for the user to start charging the batteries once the ZX-1 first goes into crawl mode. To relate this scenario to distance, once the ZX-1 goes into crawl mode the user can drive the ZX-1 for about 1km or .6 miles before completely shutting down.

  2. #22
    I don't know about prism vs cell other than what I've seen today. It is misleading to call these deep cycle though if their cutout is 10.4 since that is about where the cell type would be to prevent them from brown burnout.
    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. #23
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    Thanks for the detailed information Takenaback. I'll be following this closely, because we also want the retrofit, but not if we have to be concerned about crawl mode and having 1km or .6 miles before completely shutting down.

    BTW, it appears you have the highest level programmer there is: Mobility PC Programmer PCPc Manufacturing Version. Our dealer had the handheld DTT Programmer, but there were some settings that we could not see, for example, Motor Settings.
    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).

  4. #24
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    OK thesecond writing of this post, I lost the first one to cyber space when I triedto refer to another page!
    What I saidin the first post #6 I believe is ?you cannot correct your cut out problem withthe ZX-1 controller and joy stick control. It has to be fixed in the BMS settings or software in the BMS as Takenaback said.
    The ZX-1 isnot designed to be an all day every day power wheelchair unless you are veryinactive. It is simply an add on boosterfor a manual wheelchair and the way I read it uses one 12VDC battery with astorage of 15 AH which is a very small amount. It is like you are trying to get a gallon of milk out of a quartbottle.
    However,having said that there are Lipo batteries available that can supply hugeamounts of stored power and quickly. BUT, they can be very dangerous if misused, and can explode or at bestgo into flames under some conditions. Abattery you can hold in your hand and turn an automobile engine for severalminutes with power to spare. And yesthey can be recharged, but strictly following the manufacturer?sdirections. Which you say you areunwilling to learn and understand. Thegood thing is your ZX-1 is removable and is charged away from your bedside, Ihope.
    Also thebattery can be removed for charging it is L 6? x W 3-3/4? x H 3-3/4?+ a bithigh. Really small when it comes to astored power source to move a human being about, probably 300# + including thechair. That is asking a lot for smallmotors and a smaller battery. My grandchildren have an electric car that isabout its equal, to put it in some perspective.
    Attention;Seriously the very reason the super starter kindof Lipo batteries are not being used in our wheelchairs is because they are notentirely safe to use when you are sitting right on top of them, or charge thembeside your bed.
    Clarifyingthis; LiFePO4 batteries are not included in this last statement, they are by far the safest of allthe lithium batteries I have looked at so far. I just wanted to make that clear. There are new battery chemistries being designed almost daily, so whatis said today may not be applicable tomorrow.
    Any programmer has to have the ability to talk with your controller. But as I said from what "you" have said, I believe you cannot correct your problem with the ZX-1's controller, or joy stick control. There are no short cuts in physics. Sorry about my discouraging remarks.
    Last edited by Bob Sullivan; 10-26-2014 at 11:35 AM. Reason: sixe of print

  5. #25
    Great posts. The ZX uses 2 12vt x 15ah sla's.

  6. #26
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    Thanks Patrick the ads seemed to indicate one according to the way I mistakenly read it.

    So it is a 24VDC system, still fairly comparitive to a Kids electric car. So it has a usable rectangular space of 12" x 7-1/2" x 3.85" high into which you can configure a set of cells to increase the AH available for use in this power unit.

  7. #27
    Are there different qualitiy SLA's? I have Rhinos on my Powerpod that have lasted three years while on my ZX, I'm using Universal batteries that just don't seem to cut it. Both use 12vlt x 15ah SLA.

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Madsen View Post
    Are there different qualitiy SLA's? I have Rhinos on my Powerpod that have lasted three years while on my ZX, I'm using Universal batteries that just don't seem to cut it. Both use 12vlt x 15ah SLA.
    Yes, just like car batteries, there are different quality SLA's for our stuff. But consider that your power pod is a brushless motor and I believe the zx-1 uses the older brushed technology. Watch this video put out by Hitachi comparing the difference between brushed and brushless hammer drills using lithium batteries. The brushless uses considerably less juice. I think I know the major reason why, but that is another topic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk_CV10Z8nY
    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.

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Sullivan View Post
    So it has a usable rectangular space of 12" x 7-1/2" x 3.85" high into which you can configure a set of cells to increase the AH available for use in this power unit.
    Not really Bob as it has supporting stainless steel framework running between the batteries. So it has 2 usable spaces of 151 mm x 100 mm x 100 mm. I believe the buckets could be this size but I have no idea what you can fit in there battery wise. So to be clear it's not just one big rectangular area because of this essential framework running down the centre.

    Just to address a common theme which is "why would you play around with these underpowered power assist devices and not just get a real electric chair?" Everybody's different and at my level of C5 C6 I need the manoeuvrability of a manual chair in and around the home with the assistance of E-Motion wheels and have found the ZX1 excellent for getting out when I can't transfer from chair to chair. I have little function so I would like to keep exercising a little. So I can see the rationale of others but everybody is different, believe me if I was capable I would just transfer from chair to chair. A decent manual chair around the house because of the manoeuvrability in comparison with a cumbersome power chair, then use a kick arse decent power chair when out and about. My ZX1 is not used all day every day but it is used almost every day. Let's face it there is no more than two hours straight driving time in it but it does get me to the bus stop, on the bus and in and around town. Anyway that's a debate that could go on and on but I just wanted to point out there are very real reasons why quads of my level need to be seated in a manual chair, the technology is not quite there to have the best of both worlds perfectly but it is working "in a way".

    I find the lithium ion battery technology conversations quite complex and to be quite honest the other forum we have been referring to at times don't suffer fools. I appreciate the information you have provided and would like to know if anything could be done with two buckets of the dimensions mentioned above.

    Cheers
    Steve

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by nonoise View Post
    Yes, just like car batteries, there are different quality SLA's for our stuff. But consider that your power pod is a brushless motor and I believe the zx-1 uses the older brushed technology. Watch this video put out by Hitachi comparing the difference between brushed and brushless hammer drills using lithium batteries. The brushless uses considerably less juice. I think I know the major reason why, but that is another topic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk_CV10Z8nY
    Thanks for the video. Is there a place where we can find the better quality SLA 12x15ah? It's time to buy new ones for the powerpod. Will probably just go with Rhinos again; 4 of them.

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