Author Topic: First time stranded, B55  (Read 782 times)

00049 (AKA SopFu)

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First time stranded, B55
« on: December 06, 2013, 06:55:02 PM »
First, I'm sitting in a jimmy johns with the bike plugged in outside, and have nothing better to do than write a novel while waiting for mall security to kick me out.

We are in the middle of a cold snap here in Chicagoland. It has been in the teens all day. I road into work on the interstate, taking it easy because I knew today was going to be a long day mileage wise. 17.7 miles on arrival, 67% remaining. I brought me EVSE with, too, just in case. I am lucky I did! I had an appointment at lunch, and find a plug that works. 52%. This is my "halfway point" for the day. Come out and the charger is off. Must have blown the building's fuse. Leave quickly....

That's a good excuse to use the new Blink chargers just installed at the local Ikea. Charge for 30 minutes, only half of that charging. The rest heating the battery.  Get back to the office with 40% remaining and about 31 miles on the clock.

My 17 mile trip home via highway normally takes about 30%, but since it's cold and I wasn't preheating because I was afraid of running out of juice I decide to take side streets. 10 miles later as I am going 50mph on a four lane mediated highway with no shoulder, the bike goes from 25% and 18 miles to empty and 0s and flashing "recharge required" on the dash, and power is cut. Luckily I'm able to coast into a side street. I cycle the ignition and kill switch a few times. Still 0s. But I get power back. I limp across the street and find a working plug at jimmy johns. Only got 3 amps for the first 20 minutes, but it's now displaying B55 and drawing 10 amps. That code means SOC mismatch more than 30%. Can't wait to get home and pull the log.

To top things off, oil started leaking out of the breather tube over lunch. The plug is still in, but there is oil all over the foot peg bracket and side stand.

I'm at 10% now and am going to try and limp to a L2 three miles away. If it stops again, I may get to try Brammo's roadside assistance. Wish me luck!
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Wheaton, IL

protomech

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Re: First time stranded, B55
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2013, 07:28:03 PM »
Yikes. It's in the low 30s here, will be down to mid 20s overnight.

Not sure what SOC mismatch means. Maybe it's a cell mismatch? Or maybe the pack voltage dropped off enough in the cold that the bike thought SOC dropped from >30% to 0%?

I've had a couple of rides on the Zero in the cold where the battery voltage dropped enough to cause the energy gauge to give up - when there was still significant energy available. In one case the energy gauge gave up while I was 20 miles on surface streets from home, with the temp in the mid 20s .. was able to get home without any trouble, but there was some serious pucker involved. Don't know if that's what's going on, but be safe.

Wonder if Gavin has seen a B55 error.. since he seems to enjoy his nippy rides.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2013, 07:29:39 PM by protomech »
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00049 (AKA SopFu)

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Re: First time stranded, B55
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2013, 08:15:44 PM »
The L2 didn't exist. Home now after getting rescued by my girlfriend. The bike is plugged into a Sherwin Williams about 4 miles from home. Had a nice talk with the kid at the counter while I waited about the drug deals that go down in the back of the lot where the bike is plugged in.  :o

B55 is still displayed.

I might have been able to make it home - the bike did show 5% remaining when I pulled into Sherwin. But after having power cut with 25% displayed, I wasn't willing to risk the ride. I would have been on some bigger roads with no place to bail out if something were to happen. Not to mention I don't think the bike will go faster than 35mph. I was literally doing 25 mph and little old ladies with walkers were pulling away from me at stoplights the whole way from Jimmy Johns to Sherwin, and the three miles used an indicated 8% of SOC.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2013, 08:19:03 PM by 00049 (AKA SopFu) »
'03 SV650
'13 Empulse #49
Wheaton, IL

00049 (AKA SopFu)

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Re: First time stranded, B55
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2013, 10:05:00 PM »
It looks like Module 7 was the culprit. It went from 24.7 to 0 SOC.  Looks like I was going 52 mph with throttle position between 70 and 80, and then the bike faulted off. Log file attached for anyone interested.

The post-incident charge files have module 7 20 to 30 points less than the other 6 modules. I'll fully charge it over night and take a peak at the full charge file tomorrow morning.

Brammo has all of the logs from today, so hopefully they will see something.

I think this has happened once before. I was at 5% and closing in on my destination so I pinned it. The bike went to 0 and I ended up coasting to the finish line. I never bothered to look at that log file since I thought it was just me abusing the bike. I might have to dig that up...

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Wheaton, IL

BrammoBrian

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Re: First time stranded, B55
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2013, 10:11:39 PM »
Dang.  Sounds like a tough day.  The B55 will almost certainly go away once your battery is fully charged.  Low SOC, low temperature, and high discharge can create a temporary cell imbalance in the battery pack. 

We'll need to see the log files to determine why the SOC dropped so quickly on you, but I'm certain the temperature had a lot to do with it. 

I'm not sure I understand the comment about only spending half the time at IKEA charging and half heating the battery.  The cell heaters are active whenever the bike is "on" - meaning the control system is "awake" - so it will heat the battery while on charge.  In fact, the algorithm targets a higher temperature for the pack on the charger than it does if the vehicle is just on in drive mode and not charging. 

00049 (AKA SopFu)

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Re: First time stranded, B55
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2013, 11:21:26 PM »
Today was definitely close to if not the coldest I've ever ridden the bike. Temps were below 20, and may have been as cold as 13F. IMO, I wasn't doing high discharge, despite the throttle position. Accelerating I might have been hitting 15kw, and cruising I was floating between 8 and 10. This was just keeping up with car traffic. I was consciously taking it easy (I suppose that's relative to how I normally ride....which has multiple and multi-second-long WOT and cruising between 15 and 25kw, and blowing away car traffic). I think the bike accelerates faster with a light hand than with a heavy hand when it's cold.

I definitely did not have any problems when temps were higher.

Looking at the log file, it does appear data stopped being recorded two log entries before the SOC dropped. In other words, it went from 25% and normal to off and 0% is 3 seconds.

Comment on Ikea charging was that when I walked away from the bike the dash was only showing like 3 or 5 amps. When I got back it was showing 21 amps. I only gained 4% SOC over the 28 minutes or so I was charging at L2. I assumed the bike was limiting charge due to the the battery temp. Adam has the log file, so please correct me if I'm mistaken.

Can you clarify if the the control system is awake when the parking lights are on? I have been turning the parking lights on prior to my cold rides home so that I get full power from the time I throw my leg over. I hope that practice isn't causing the issues that happened today. Ironically, I didn't pre-heat the bike at all today in an effort to conserve SOC...

I am using the log reader that someone on the forum posted. While it's way better than reading the logs in a text reader, and I am very appreciative that he shared it with us, I'm sure it's not displaying all the info that is being stored.
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Wheaton, IL

Gavin

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Re: First time stranded, B55
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2013, 12:06:25 AM »
Dang...not fun.

I do a fair amount of riding at low temps...but I admit I don't do highway riding when it's cold like that. 15 degrees and going 45mph through town is enough for me...going 60 or 70 on the highway would be rough.

I haven't seen that log code...will keep an eye out...but, again, I ride when it's super cold, but only for my commute or around town...never a long trip...usually 10 miles, 20 at most, when it's real cold (below 20 degrees)

G

00049 (AKA SopFu)

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Re: First time stranded, B55
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2013, 10:51:37 AM »
Charge file is not reassuring.

All the modules charged at the same rate...or in other words, the slopes of the SOC on the graph are all roughly the same. However, Modules 6 and 7 reached 100% first. Module 7 jumped from 68% to 100%. That has me worried. Module 6 jumped from 91% to 100%. The rest of the modules are sitting between 89% and 91%. A minute later module 4 jumps from 91% to 100%. Another minute later module 5 goes from 93% to 100%. Then closely after modules 2 and 3 jump from 91 and 93%. Module 1 is last, about 3 minutes after 2 and 3, and jumps from 90% to 100%. Dash was displaying 4 amps when I unplugged this morning, which is not unusual.

I went back and looked at some charge files from when it was warmer. The jumps happened in different order, and usually went from 96%. All modules made the jump within about 90 seconds of the first, however. I pulled a "cold charge" log from last March, the jumps were from the 93 to 96%, and took a touch over 25 minutes for the remaining modules to hit 100%. So colder temps definitely make reading SOC more difficult, but the computer may also be more conservative. Expect bigger jumps, and for the modules to be spread out further.
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BrammoBrian

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Re: First time stranded, B55
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2013, 11:27:50 AM »
Today was definitely close to if not the coldest I've ever ridden the bike. Temps were below 20, and may have been as cold as 13F.

First of all - I'm impressed you were willing to ride in temperatures this cold! 

However, this temperature is the main issue here.  This may not be what you wanted to hear, but 13F is just below the recommended operating temperature for the bike (-10C).  We'll take a look at the log files in detail, but the behavior you've described is somewhat expected when it is this cold.  At these temperatures, the 300W heaters in the pack just can't contend with the (excellent for when it's hot outside) thermal conductivity of the battery pack pulling the cold in (as thermal conductivity works both directions). I recommend reviewing page 31 in the owner's manual for a little more information on what's going on here.

The best option in these conditions is to start with a fully charged, warmed battery back and stay away from SOCs below about 30% .  The sudden changes in SOC you see during discharge and charge in the log files is due to the SOC calculation trying to "keep up" with changing impedance and thus voltage sag in the battery pack.   We have made some firmware improvements on the behavior of the heaters, so we'll also need to check that you're up to date on the latest BMC firmware release. 

I would assume that the heaters are active in Park mode.  I will confirm with our electrical group on Monday. 

At IKEA, it is possible that the bike was regulating the charge current, but I would be a little surprised.  I wouldn't worry so much about the charge logs, I don't think this indicates any improper behavior or inherent problem with the bike.  Just the SOC algorithm doing it's thing.

BrammoBrian

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Re: First time stranded, B55
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2013, 07:10:03 PM »
I have confirmed that the heaters are, in fact, on (if needed) in Park mode.  The target temperature is lower than if the bike is actually on or charging by a few degrees, but would still provide a substantial benefit if this was the only option available in cold conditions.  Because of this lower target temperature, you will still see "Regen Off, Battery Cold" displayed on the dash, but it should go away after the battery heats itself through discharge.  For reference, although we don't think of 50 F as being "cold" per se, this is the point where you start seeing the temperature impact the performance of the battery.  So... consider 14F - 50F ambient as the temperature range where you are likely to see the heaters being active and should take some extra precautions, if possible, to try to keep the pack either in the upper SOC range or heated, preferably both.  Since the heaters are active during charge, this is probably the easiest way to avoid the problem.

I have also confirmed that your throttle application was appropriate and in no way were you abusing the bike or riding too aggressively.  You just encountered all of the safety measures put in place to protect your battery system - regen off, low-rate charging during heating, motor controller current cutback to prevent voltage sag, and eventually cut out of the main contactor.

It looks like the blown fuse and lack of charging at your first stop was the event that caused a snowball effect.  During that period, the battery cold soaked and was never able to fully recover. Had the bike stayed on charge during that period with heaters active, I don't think you would have had any problem getting home that evening.  Again - very sorry for the bad experience.  Totally sucks, and I hope it hasn't hurt your confidence in your trusty(?) steed too much... 

00049 (AKA SopFu)

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Re: First time stranded, B55
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2013, 09:27:59 PM »
I appreciate the response, Brian. I really appreciate the confirmation of the heaters when the parking lights are on. I was slightly worried I was doing more damage than good.

Ironically, I work for the Department of Energy and we do not allow employees to charge at work. Even after lunch the bike sat for a good 4 hours in the parking lot. The contractor we oversee is allowed to have employees charge if costs of doing so are reimbursed; but since us feds aren't on the contractor's payroll, we can't use the contractor's system since there is no way to collect our money. I imagine this will be resolved eventually, but probably not within the next couple of years. Even more ironic - I am the one that is supposed to enforce this rule on behalf of all you taxpayers  :'(

In other words, charging at work ain't going to happen any time soon, but that isn't going to stop me from riding. Flipping the parking lights on 30 minutes prior to departure seems to work just fine down into the 20s. Usually the cold batt cutback message goes off before I'm out the gate.

One more question/suggestion. While I was going home on Friday the red battery light and warning light were intermittently flashing in the tachometer during the ride. I have seen this before (usually on the highway at 70+mph), but didn't pay it any mind. I assume I was supposed to recognize that this meant I was straining the battery too much? Any chance Brammo can make that message a bit more clear on the dot-matrix side of the dash so I would know to slow down? I assume that the bike won't let me break it...but I still want the bike to let know what I need to do to get home :)

And it is nice to know where the limits are. Fortunately my Friday was only supposed to consist of ballroom dancing with my girlfriend, so nothing lost  ;D
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BrammoBrian

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Re: First time stranded, B55
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2013, 12:16:17 AM »
It looks like those warnings were flashing to indicate that the motor controller was cutting back on peak current delivery and reducing power in order to attempt to prevent the battery voltage from sagging too much and cutting out.  It looks like it went into this protection mode about 4 times on your ride home.  The heaters were doing their job - the minimum temperature started at -6C and rose to 4C over the 10 mile ride, even though the ambient temp was -7C at that point - it just wasn't quite enough.   

We will certainly keep your suggestions and this experience in mind as we continue to improve the cold weather performance of the bike.  I know it's only a consolation prize, but we are currently using this cold snap to test some improved algorithms and controls policies in Engineering test bikes, with positive results.  One of our test engineers was just (jokingly) lamenting last week that he was doing "boundary case" testing that was so extreme that no customer would benefit from it... thanks for proving him wrong!   

Well... if you ever need to skip ballroom again... you know the perfect excuse!   ;)

Gavin

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Re: First time stranded, B55
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2013, 12:58:31 AM »
I also park in a cold garage at work. I am always in the No Regen cut back for my ride home. Well at least recently with all the 20 degree days.
Ride in is fine with normal Regen as I charge the bike for 30 minutes each mornng before leaving.
I will try the parking light procedure....

My question: at what temp should I skip riding in and take the truck? You know me, I'll ride at negative 5 fahrenheit, but that---thankfully--is dang rare here. Still, we do get a few single digit mornings every winter. does Brammo want testing data, or would they prefer I pretend to be sane and take a heated, enclosed vehicle instead?

Gavin

Shinysideup

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Re: First time stranded, B55
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2013, 01:37:32 AM »
From my perspective as a cold weather wuss, I'd agree that riding in 15F is "boundary case". (Actually, for me, it's a "no frickin' way case"!)

That said, for those who DO want to play at the boundaries, a solution is calling out.

I remember many years ago I owned a humpback Volvo PV544 Sport, a gem of a car that, originating in Sweden where the winters are severe and long, had a great feature: There was a long ball chain that threaded through a keyhole opening in the bottom of the sheet metal dash.

When very cold, the driver could pull the chain through the large portion of the hole and then lock it in the smaller portion. This would raise a window shade (really!) up over the front of the radiator to block incoming air, so the engine would warm up much faster. It worked very well, but required the driver to be vigilant and lower the blind to prevent boiling away the coolant and cooking the engine. (This was back when vehicle manufacturers actually expected their customers to think and to be responsible.)

http://www.ipdusa.com/uploads/images_blog/181.jpg

The Empulse battery case design understandably favors hot weather and is efficient at cooling the pack. This is a good thing! But wouldn't it be possible to design a temporary measure to lessen the cooling efficiency for those who wish to ride in very cold conditions?

Now wait: I'm not suggesting window shades on either side of the bike, but perhaps something like add-on panels to block the wind stream's access to the battery pack. The top panels would rough out at 4.5 x 16 inches and the bottom panels at 4.5 x 14 inches. An threaded button-head rod with Nylok nuts (or a skewer with a quick-release lever) could run through the slot in the battery pack and clamp left and ride panels to each other, with some plastic projections molded into the panels to align them into the other slots of between the batteries. So, 4 panels, 2 rods, and 2 nuts and you'd be good for the winter season.

Of course some testing would be needed to see at what ambient temperatures and under what riding conditions the panels would have to be removed. Maybe even a sensor to create a readout on the dash telling the rider that it's time to remove the panels (or slide open some vents?) and not fry the battery pack, unlike Volvo which relied on the driver to watch the rapidly climbing engine temperature gauge!

I'm sure there's some more elegant way to defeat the efficient cooling of the pack, but that's what we have Brammo designers for!

Shinysideup

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Re: First time stranded, B55
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2013, 01:44:29 AM »
Gavin - I'm pretty sure NOBODY on here would want you to pretend to be sane! ;)