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Old 01-26-2019, 02:30 PM   #1
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Charging an Electric Bike

Wondering how members with electric bikes manage to keep them charged when off the grid. We camp at many campgrounds without electricity to individual camp sites. We recently purchased a 2.0 Specialized Como. We expect app. 60 miles on a charge depending on a variety of factors such as speed, terrain (hills), temperature, etc. We expect a full charge to take 4-6 hours. Clearly, when we do have electricity to our camp site we will take advantage and hopefully fully charge the bike's battery; however, in the past we have camped without electricity for up to 10 days (although there may have been electrical outlets at bathrooms or pavilions). We have 160 watt solar panels, but no inverter. We would rather not deal with a gas powered generator.
Thanks in advance for any ideas, suggestions, etc.
Bob
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Old 01-26-2019, 02:40 PM   #2
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Usually we will go for a drive to explore further destinations from camp. This is when we plug our iPads into a heavy duty 12 to 5 volt charger and plug the bike charger into the 120 volt plug in the truck.
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Old 01-26-2019, 03:33 PM   #3
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In your case you need to know your bike charger requirements. In my case I contacted RAD about the subject. I wanted to use my 300W modified sine wave inverter ( about $30). They recommended using a 400W Pure wave inverter ($75+) they are also a permanent mount inverters but you can get cables to clip onto your battery for the 400W inverter.
My RAD battery charger only calls for 120w A/C input and the output is 48V 2A. I think the attached inverter would fit my need and let me plug into a cig lighter. I have 300W of solar panels to support my 220 A trailer batteries.
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https://www.amazon.com/BESTEK-Power-...+wave+inverter
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Old 01-26-2019, 03:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bob in Bend View Post
Wondering how members with electric bikes manage to keep them charged when off the grid. We camp at many campgrounds without electricity to individual camp sites. We recently purchased a 2.0 Specialized Como. We expect app. 60 miles on a charge depending on a variety of factors such as speed, terrain (hills), temperature, etc. We expect a full charge to take 4-6 hours. Clearly, when we do have electricity to our camp site we will take advantage and hopefully fully charge the bike's battery; however, in the past we have camped without electricity for up to 10 days (although there may have been electrical outlets at bathrooms or pavilions). We have 160 watt solar panels, but no inverter. We would rather not deal with a gas powered generator.
Thanks in advance for any ideas, suggestions, etc.
Bob
If it was me, I would retrofit the trailer with a 1500 W inverter and twin 6v batteries. I did that on our 2013 19" and it wasn't too hard. The retrofit was not wired into the panel, instead powers a dedicated outlet. Retrofitting to the panel to power the whole trailer is a whole other level of complexity.

Or another approach would to buy extra batteries for the bikes. Then you would have spares to extend your range.
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Old 01-26-2019, 03:43 PM   #5
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Charging an Electric Bike

Look at your bike charger itself to see what it says under “output”. It is probably DC at a higher than 12V output. If it were me, I would find a 12V to whatevervoltyourbikechargeris boost converter, making sure the converter puts out sufficient amps (as listed on the stock charger), then wire up a dedicated outlet with a fuse somewhere near your batteries. This would save energy by avoiding the DC to AC then back to DC conversions, which use and lose more energy in the conversion process.
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Old 01-26-2019, 03:55 PM   #6
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Look at your bike charger itself to see what it says under “output”. It is probably DC at a higher than 12V output. If it were me, I would find a 12V to whatevervoltyourbikechargeris boost converter, making sure the converter puts out sufficient amps (as listed on the stock charger), then wire up a dedicated outlet with a fuse somewhere near your batteries. This would save energy by avoiding the DC to AC then back to DC conversions, which use and lose more energy in the conversion process.
Good idea!
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Old 01-26-2019, 04:10 PM   #7
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I take one of these with me camping and can generally get at least one full charge on an ebike battery with it (and/or multiple charges of many other doohickeys).

Jackery Portable Power Station Generator Explorer 240

But I also carry a 2kw inverter generator
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Old 01-26-2019, 04:27 PM   #8
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Specialized says...
  • BATTERY Specialized U1-460, On/Off button, state of charge display, 460Wh
  • CHARGER Custom Specialized 42V2A Charger w/ Rosenberger plug, AC power cord included

soooo.... its a 42V 2 amp charger, so thats 84 watts, so a 150-200W inverter would be fine (and MUCH less wasteful than a 1500W inverter).

the Como owners manual says 7 hours to fully charge with the supplied 2A charger, there's an optional 4A charger that would be 160 watts (best to use a 300W inverter) and will charge in half the time.

assuming the inverter + 84 watt charger draws effectively 100 watts, thats about 8 amps at 12V, so 7 hours would be about 50AH off your RV battery. thats pretty much all a single marine/rv 12V is good for safely (~50% of its ~100AH total capacity), and about half the usable capacity of a dual golf cart setup

so, solar panel charging your RV battery, and RV battery powering inverter, and inverter powering bike charger.
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Old 01-26-2019, 06:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by sclifrickson View Post
Look at your bike charger itself to see what it says under “output”. It is probably DC at a higher than 12V output. If it were me, I would find a 12V to whatevervoltyourbikechargeris boost converter, making sure the converter puts out sufficient amps (as listed on the stock charger), then wire up a dedicated outlet with a fuse somewhere near your batteries.
Okay, but just don't bypass whatever controls charging in the bike, including stopping when any cell reaches the maximum permitted voltage. Overcharged batteries are bad; overcharged lithium ion batteries can be very bad.
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Old 01-26-2019, 06:50 PM   #10
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I see from this closeup picture of an unobtanium car charger for these bikes that the connector has at least 3 pins, +, -, and T ... so a simple DC-DC supply won't cut it.
https://www.emtbforums.com/community...1c1-jpeg.1954/

thats from this thread, https://www.emtbforums.com/community...-bmw-levo.766/ the Levo is compatible with the Como, and apparently BMW announced a special package of a car with a BMW branded Specialized Levo and this car charger, but as of that thread hasn't actually delivered it, nor can it be ordered from either Specialized or BMW.

edit: ah, that uses a "Rosenberg" RoPD power-and-data connector. the charger talks to the battery pack, and doesn't power up til it passes self tests. so yeah, using a generic DC-DC would not be a good idea.
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:41 PM   #11
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A couple of years ago when I was in Glacier National Park, a couple on electric bikes went around the barrier on the closed Going to the Sun highway. Pretty soon they came scurrying back after encountering a grizzly. You don't want those bikes to run out of juice, nosireebub. You don't want to become Meals on Wheels, as the stickers say in Canada. Carry a generator as a last resort.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:14 PM   #12
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I will be trying an experiment next month with charging our two eBikes. I plan to use the inverter and simply plug into the inverter's 120 volt outlet and see what sort of drain I see on my dual 6 volt batteries. Using my TriMetric battery monitor I should get a pretty good idea of how much it takes. The variable of course is how drained the bike batteries are before starting the charge. Once I determine that I can use the dual 6 volts and still recover usage via my portable solar I should be good to go.

If I cannot successfully charge the eBike batteries or recover the house batteries with solar I plan to purchase this solar controller/charger and connect to my existing or a secondary solar panel and attempt to charge off it.

eBike Solar Controller - Amazon

This charger is different than most, it is often referred to as a buck charger. In this the case the charger steps up the input voltages, this is just the opposite of our current solar controllers that step down the voltages.
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File Type: jpg eBike Solar Controller.jpg (94.2 KB, 5 views)
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Old 01-27-2019, 02:13 AM   #13
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Okay, but just don't bypass whatever controls charging in the bike, including stopping when any cell reaches the maximum permitted voltage. Overcharged batteries are bad; overcharged lithium ion batteries can be very bad.


Ooh, I didn’t think about that. I foolishly assumed that the charging brick would just feed straight DC to an onboard charge controller on the bike. Back to the drawing board.
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:50 AM   #14
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My understanding is, most eBike battery systems have built in controls to prevent the battery from being over charged. That is not to say that it can't be done or that all systems have it.
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Old 01-27-2019, 04:16 PM   #15
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My understanding is, most eBike battery systems have built in controls to prevent the battery from being over charged. That is not to say that it can't be done or that all systems have it.
again, see post #10 ... this specific ebike family uses a data link between the charger brick and the battery pack, so jury rigging is likely not going to work.
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:23 PM   #16
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I foolishly assumed that the charging brick would just feed straight DC to an onboard charge controller on the bike.
In some cases (apparently not this one) that's probably true.
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Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
My understanding is, most eBike battery systems have built in controls to prevent the battery from being over charged. That is not to say that it can't be done or that all systems have it.
In that case (again, apparently not applicable to the Como), I think the key would just be to connect the charging power to the input side of those controls, not directly to the battery.
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:08 PM   #17
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Get an Inverter. Plus a faster charger if necessary. You should be able to do the deed in 1-2 hours.

You can then travel from the trailer or the truck while driving.

Mine charges much more quickly (1-2 hr), but it's a homemade jobber.
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Old 01-27-2019, 11:27 PM   #18
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Hey Fudge, I would be very interested in hearing the results of your test for charging your e bikes using your inverter.
I can use the pick up inverter when riding around but it would be nice to be able to charge it in camp.
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Old 01-28-2019, 01:32 PM   #19
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I have a 300 inverter built into my truck I'm guessing i could charge it when driving?
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Old 01-30-2019, 06:27 PM   #20
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I have a 300 inverter built into my truck I'm guessing i could charge it when driving?
yes, but 7 hours to fully charge, thats a lotta driving.

again, see my post #8 for an analysis of charging power requirements ...
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