Vectrix FINALLY Works!

by Ben N on March 2, 2015

Yesterday, after filming the TRANSPORT EVOLVED episode, I headed back over to my Dad’s garage to work on the Vectrix. Unlike the day before, I had my CANBUS adapter with, so I could connect the cycle to the computer. One nice thing was that I let the cycle charge overnight, so I FINALLY had MORE than half a charge according to the battery display. Estimated range was 35 miles. (No idea how true that actually is or not, but it’s the highest estimate I have had so far!)

IMG_2303 IMG_2305With the Vectrix plugged-in to the computer, I didn’t see any faults. I used the graphing feature, and set that to display anything with “fault” as part of the description, and still didn’t see any faults. Next, I set the graph to just show throttle, motor controller voltage, and motor controller current. I could see a correlation between throttle and current, but only the tiniest amount of current. The controller was getting throttle signal, but just wasn’t pushing power through for some reason.

The problem occurred sometime between having the cycle all apart on the shop floor and being put back together. So, I reasoned that I should just take it back apart.
Sure enough, after I took it apart, the cycle worked again.

IMG_2312I still haven’t pinpointed the problem, but here’s what I THINK it was. There is very little room inside the bike back at the motor controller. Something as simple as one cable crossing another can make it “too thick” and when the battery cover goes back on, it can press against the cables, possibly pulling one enough to make a back connection. Also, when torn back apart again, I realized that I had missed a spacer that holds the motor controller cover on. The cover is aluminum (a conductor), very light-weight, and rather flexible. I think that without that one spacer in there, with the battery cover back on, it may have pushed against the motor controller cover and flexed enough to contact some component coming up from the controller board, and grounded the connection.

I took out the rear battery, took off the motor controller cover and reassembled it. Is there any trick to getting and holding those spacers in there?


Man, was that a pain!!!!!! There’s no room to work, no way to get your hand in there to hold the spacer, get the cover in the right position, and the screw through. And there’s THREE screws and spacers! I finally realized that the screw and spacer are both steel, and almost everything else is aluminum, so I put small magnets on the spacer, screw, and my screw-driver to magically hold everything together while I got the motor controller cover back on.

I put the battery back in and re-cabled it up, including using the light bulb as a resistor before making the main quick connection in the middle of the pack.

After I got the battery cover on (and it did feel like it fit better this time, although it’s never easy to get on,) I tested the cycle and it was working. Only after that did I reinstall the trunk release bracket, trim, seat, etc.

IMG_2319FINALLY, the Vectrix is working under its own power, with its original batteries inside and the whole thing put together. Of course, by the time I was done with it, it was cold, dark, and late. No time for a maiden run, and I have NO idea of the quality of the batteries, but I hope to shoot some riding video soon.


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