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Fixed a Zero XU

Discussion in 'Electric Motorcycles' started by Mattbastard, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

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    Last fall I bought a 2011 Zero XU for cheap because it didn't run. There was a bunch of wonky stuff happening; random beeps, lights flickering, wouldn't charge, etc... I tried a few things but ultimately gutted everything on the 48VDC side of the equation along with the controls system. I attributed the weirdness to the MBB being a glitchy piece of shit and since the BMS was so integrated that went too. So, I converted it to a conventional E-motorcycle conversion with an Alltrax SR48300 controller and a GPS speedometer. The only thing I don't have now is a "gas gauge", but a voltmeter on the dash will remedy that as long as I know 42VDC is "empty". The key powers the solenoid and turns on the DC converter. Everything on the 12VDC side is the same, fed from a Sevcon DC-DC converter.

    I'd put up pics but it looks exactly like any other Zero XU.
    #1
    RedRocket, Cromoth, zundappuk and 3 others like this.
  2. ex250mike

    ex250mike Long timer

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    I'll need a new set of skills to buy cheap "ran when it was parked" e-bikes.
    #2
  3. dbarale

    dbarale Squiddly slow

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    MBB? Marvelous Bacon Bit?
    BMS? Bring Me Scotch?
    Sorry, I am new to this side of things. What does it stand for?
    #3
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  4. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

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    I do know BMS means Battery Management System

    Fuck if I'd know what MBB stands for but it is (was...) the brain of the whole system. Almost everything wired into it and out of it, and it was shit.
    #4
  5. dbarale

    dbarale Squiddly slow

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    So what kind of perf/range do you know get?
    #5
  6. BrianTRice

    BrianTRice Nerdy adventurer

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  7. TALLGUY

    TALLGUY Been here awhile

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    Wow, I didn't understand a word you just said.

    So, basically, just switching over to synthetic did not fix the issue? :-)



    If i get a sweet deal on a non-moving Zero (which i would love) I will be giving you a call.

    I hope you enjoy the heck out of yours.
    TG
    #7
    panhead_dan and Mattbastard like this.
  8. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

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    No idea, but one of these days I'm just gonna do some laps around the quarry until she croaks.

    The XU's weren't known for huge range. They only come from the factory with a 1.7kWh battery pack. I'll be lucky if I get 25 miles. It's only good for 50mph too but it gets there kinda quick.
    #8
  9. voltsxamps

    voltsxamps Advolturer

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    #9
  10. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

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    Cool man, thanks.

    That must have been one of the later year XU's, it's got the newer BLDC motor with the left side drive, and the dual packs with the smaller charger. I've also got that Motenergy ME1507 waiting for transplant but now I'm waffling about even putting it in this bike. I'd like at least 8kWh from 100V using 18650's but to get serious amp draw I'll need like 50 of them in parallel across 24 packs to get enough current for anything hooliganistic and I'm not sure where I could even fit that many cells on it. Or I could splurge on some Samsung 25R (which has a reliable 20A max draw from the Manganese/Nickel chemistry). My Tesla's don't have that.
    #10
  11. WKUWIZ

    WKUWIZ Riding the Highway Supporter

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    Interesting Thread. I picked up a 2011 XU for free from a friend who'd left it in the barn. Getting a battery built for it now. The two batteries he gave me were shot. Once I get the battery back the real 'cross your fingers and hope it works' part will be done. I am hoping everything else will come back to life!

    Hoping to find some old plastics for the front if any inmates have any hanging around...
    #11
  12. dentvet

    dentvet Long timer

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    I'd buy your second junk battery if you don't need it:deal
    #12
  13. WKUWIZ

    WKUWIZ Riding the Highway Supporter

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    Dentvet: I sold it to the engineer at Best Hybrid Batteries in IL. Sorry.

    However, I have a new battery pack but still can’t get it to run. Searching for help.
    #13
  14. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

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    Curious how someone rebuilt your battery? The OEM Molicel have a terrible energy density compared to more modern cells like the 18650:

    http://www.molicel.com/ca/pdf/IMR26700.pdf

    But they do have a good max current draw, which is why I ended up abandoning the Tesla 18650 design. Yes, those Tesla packs are good for like 1300A draw, but there's also 74 of them in parallel with a cooling system.
    #14
  15. ridenm

    ridenm Missing my emotional support squirrel Supporter

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    Hey, @Mattbastard and @WKUWIZ - I just had Best Hybrid Batteries rebuild a dead unit for a 2012 I'm trying to bring back from the dead. Got the battery back today, put it in and hooked it up. All is well EXCEPT...

    The headlight, taillight, and dash stay on even with the key off.

    Back when the bike was alive the first time, my older daughter was using to get back and forth to/from school. But she neglected to keep it plugged in regularly, it got blown over in a storm while parked, and the battery croaked. I don't know if it had the headlight problem before it got knocked over, or if perhaps I don't know all the details like maybe someone molested the ignition switch.

    I've been searching for a schematic for the bike but not having any luck. I have some stupid questions you may be able to answer.

    Is there a main relay operated by the key switch? All the lights function normally, there are no weird icons on the dash, and the bike is rideable.

    Back when the bike worked, I replaced the taillight assembly with an LED unit for a DR350. The wiring seemed straightforward and the swap worked fine, but did I disturb some sort of CANBUS controls? Could that have caused a malfunction over time?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. Matt, I've been following your postings from Antarctica. Awesome stuff, really amazing life experience you have going on there.
    #15
  16. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

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    That headlight/key thing ain't right. I think somebody fucked with the wiring on that bike before you bought it. OR that main brain thing is crapping out like it was on mine. That's why I abandoned it in the beginning and wired it custom.

    Good luck with Zero. I had absolutely zero luck (pun intended) getting them to support anything older than 2014. That's why I completely rewired the one I had. Once the 12VDC side gets its 12VDC from the converter it's just like any other motorcycle wiring. Also, what makes you think that bike has CANbus?

    I'd still really like to know how they rebuild the battery pack. What's the new capacity of the pack once it's done? What cells did they use?
    #16
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  17. ridenm

    ridenm Missing my emotional support squirrel Supporter

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    Thanks for the reply. Yeah, first order of business will be to prove ign switch operation one way or another. More I think about it, I suspect one of my daughter's classmates tried to bypass the keyswitch but couldn't get it to work because the battery was already tango.

    I was considering contacting Best Hybrid to find out exactly what they did. Don't know if they'll talk to me now that they've been paid. :lol3
    #17
  18. ridenm

    ridenm Missing my emotional support squirrel Supporter

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    I wondered about the CANBUS thing since I put a LED taillight on instead of the incandescent. I hear that LED swap outs can mess up CANBUS bikes, but I was guessing the Xu didn't have anything that fancy being a low-budget beastie.
    #18
  19. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

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    I sent them an email back a couple years ago asking him this and all I got was a boilerplate explanation with a quote to do it. Nothing specific about the rebuild at all.

    My question for you would be, when you get it up and running, how many miles do you get out of a charge? The OEM battery only had 1.7 kWh, which was good for about 20 miles brand new. My rebuild plans would triple that but it consisted of 18650 cells giving me a calculated 4.5 kWh.
    #19
  20. ridenm

    ridenm Missing my emotional support squirrel Supporter

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    Well, I didn't get lucky. That was wishful thinking on my part. After some digging and tracing, found the connector labeled 'KEY MBB' and disconnected it. Plugged the battery back in and the lights and cluster lit up. So that tells me the trouble is most likely a short or glitchy flag set in the MBB, not a problem local to the key switch.

    I found your old post on the electric motorcycle forum about stripping yours down. How far did you get?

    Before having all this trouble with the bike, my daughter rode it to school and back, a distance of 22 miles at up to 50-55 mph including uphills on the return trip, with no issues. One time she tried to add a side trip and the bike ran out of juice.

    Did you ever try connecting to the OBDII port and running a TTY session? I found a how-to on the other forum and figured that might be worth pursuing to do a reset.
    #20