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Ev trike beginner.

matt030301

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Jan 15, 2024
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Location
Manta, Manabí
I asked this on reddit, but was told this might be a better place...

I live in Ecuador, & I recently purchased an Aima cargo trike made in China that has a thousand watt electric motor & 5 12 volt 52ah seal lead acid (sla) batteries a controller and no pedal assist.


I had a degree in electronics about 25 years ago so I understand the basics that the batteries are connected in series creating a 60 volt system and they are 52 amp hour batteries. I remember Ohm's law and power law and can do basic calculations for most of that stuff.

I am looking for a good resource where I can learn about the best ways to charge and care for my batteries in order to maintain their life as long as possible. I know that sealed us acid batteries are not the best technology but they are what came with the bike.

I would like to educate myself before I ask questions here that other people may have asked a hundred times and I would like to find a resource with the basic information about ebikes and charging and any other information that I don't even know that I need to understand.

Questions like the best way to care for my sla batteries? I was told it is bad to let them get below 12v...is that right? Is it safe to tap into one battery to charge my cell phone? Etc.

Thank you in advance for your kind assistance.
 

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Lead-acid batteries are easy to understand, but less easy to live with. They want to be charging, discharging, or fully charged at all times; sitting around in a partially discharged state is bad for them. Discharging them below 50% is bad for them. Charging them fast is usually bad for them, though some versions are better than others in this regard. The more you ask of them, the fewer charge/discharge cycles you get before they wear out and lose both capacity and performance.

True sealed batteries like gel cells or absorbed glass mat cells can't easily be replenished with water or electrolyte if they get low, so for maximum longevity you should limit both the amount of time and the amount of current used to trickle charge them and keep them topped up. A timer can help with this, turning a trickle charger on for a short while each day during hours when the battery is idle and full.

When your battery pack eventually wears out, you can substitute a higher performance chemistry like lithium iron phosphate that will increase range, performance, and battery lifespan while reducing weight. It would be more tolerant of low state of charge-- partial charge is healthy for lithium cells even though it's bad for lead batteries. If such a battery is salvaged from an electric car, it could also be cheaper than a new lead pack.
 
Last edited:
Lead-acid batteries are easy to understand, but less easy to live with. They want to be charging, discharging, or fully charged at all times; sitting around in a partially discharged state is bad for them. Discharging them below 50% is bad for them. Charging them fast is usually bad for them, though some versions are better than others in this regard. The more you ask of them, the fewer charge/discharge cycles you get before they wear out and lose both capacity and performance.

True sealed batteries like gel cells or absorbed glass mat cells can't easily be replenished with water or electrolyte if they get low, so for maximum longevity you should limit both the amount of time and the amount of current used to trickle charge them and keep them topped up. A timer can help with this, turning a trickle charger on for a short while each day during hours when the battery is idle and full.

When your battery pack eventually wears out, you can substitute a higher performance chemistry like lithium iron phosphate that will increase range, performance, and battery lifespan while reducing weight. It would be more tolerant of low state of charge-- partial charge is healthy for lithium cells even though it's bad for lead batteries. If such a battery is salvaged from an electric car, it could also be cheaper than a new lead pack.
Thanks! 50% is best measured how? It can't be by voltage...? 🤷
 
Thanks! 50% is best measured how? It can't be by voltage...? 🤷
Resting voltage is probably the best method for assessing state of charge.

state-of-charge-chart-for-agm-battery.png
 
Chalo's spot on. Depth of discharge, DOD, affects the life of lead acid batts.
Discharge to 80% / 12.50v per battery & they'll last roughly 500 to 600 cycles, depending on type, AGM, GEL or wet.
Discharge to 20% / 11.66v you can expect about half that.
If you're not going to use the trike for a while, remember to keep the batts charged coz lead acid self discharges at about 5% per month & can starve to death.

AussieRider
 
Discharge to 80% / 12.50v per battery & they'll last roughly 500 to 600 cycles
..true but,… be aware, 80% limit (12.5v) will significantly reduce your driving time/range…..
and remember because they are in series (12 x 5) , you need to check the voltage of each battery individually to be sure one or more of them do not go out of ballance.
 
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