Introduction: DC Motor Controller for Electric Bicycle
I designed this controller for my Crystalite Sparrow 48V electric bicycle hub motor. The core function of a DC motor controller is to periodically read the throttle setting and adjust the current being supplied to the motor. It does this with a technique called pulse-width modulation or PWM (more on this later). Other functions of the controller include: 1) low-voltage cutoff. monitor the battery voltage and shut down the motor if the battery voltage is too low. this protects the battery from over-discharge. 2) over-temperature cutoff. monitor the temperature of the FET power transistors and shut down the motor if they become too hot. this protects the FET power transistors. 3) over-current cutoff. reduce the current to the motor if too much current is being supplied. this protects both the motor and the the FET power transistors. 4) brake cutoff. shut down the motor when the brake is applied. this is a safety feature. if the user applies brake and throttle, the brakes win.
Note1: This is a relatively advanced instructable. Don’t attempt it if you don’t have experience with power electronics. The voltages and currents used in this project can be dangerous and appropriate safety precautions must be used. This instructable outlines what I did to make this project, but it is not a substitute for proper safety training in power electronics. Check with your local community college for availability of classes in your area.
Note2: In addition to the 48V battery voltage, this controller requires a 12V power supply. If your battery pack consists of 12V cells, then you can just tap 12V from the pack. This was not possible for my battery pack, so I used a separate DC-to-DC converter to supply the 12V power. See my other instructable on constructing this DC-to-DC converter.
Note3: This controller is over-designed for this application. The IRFP4468 FETs are rated for a maximum of 195 Amps (each) at 100V. This application will typically use less than 10 Amps at 50V. I have been commuting (10 mile round trip) almost every day for the past 2 months using this controller and it has been trouble free (knock-on-wood 🙂
Step 1: Parts List
Here is the parts list (with Digikey part numbers) for all the electronic parts.
You will also need: a) a prototype circuit board (the one I used is from a local electronics surplus store) b) wire. I used 30AWG wire for the low current connections and 14, 12 and 10AWG wire for higher current connections. c) 1/8 heat shrink tubing (about 2 in length) d) two 6-32 x 1 screws e) 4 x insulating pads for the FETs and power diodes (these can be salvaged from a broken PC power supply) f) a heat sink for the power section. (this can be salvaged from a broken PC power supply) g) an enclosure. (this can be salvaged from a broken PC power supply)
The following tools are required: a) a programmer for the microcontroller. I used an AVR ISP programmer (check EBay) b) a soldering iron (and solder of course)
The following tools are recommended for debugging: a) a digital multimetter (DMM) for checking connections, etc. b) an oscilloscope is handy for checking the PWM waveform, etc.
Step 2: Schematic Drawings
Here are the schematic drawings. Sheet 1 is the digital section and sheet 2 is the power section.
How to add 12V lights to your ebike without a DC-DC converter
Anyone who rides an electric bicycle at night knows the importance of good ebike lights. Not only do they help you see obstacles in the road, but they make you more visible to distracted drivers. In addition to the obvious safety feature of electric bicycle lights, they can also add some fun style and customization to your ebike.
Fortunately for ebike riders everywhere, there are thousands of bright yet inexpensive LED lights out there. Unfortunately, most of them either require their own batteries or run on 12V DC.
Common bicycle lights that are powered by AA batteries aren’t a great option for ebikes. They require replacing batteries every few weeks or months, they are rarely sealed well which often leads to corroded batteries, and they often come with cheap mounts that break off when they become aged and brittle. They are also almost always “be seen” lights instead of “seeing” lights, meaning they are better for letting cars see you than for lighting up the road in front of you.
I hate these cheap bicycle lights
Some bicycle or ebike lights come with their own small rechargeable batteries and are powerful enough to be “seeing” lights, actually illuminating the road and obstacles in the distance. However, the convenience of not replacing batteries is negated by the frustration of remembering to recharge the light’s battery with a separate charger every few days. This is more of a hassle for some people than others. I once reviewed a pretty good one, but I simply don’t use those types of lights anymore because they have so many disadvantages.
I much prefer lights that are powered by the main battery pack on my ebike. The only cheap, button-cell battery light I regularly use is this one, mounted on the back of my helmet, and usually only when riding on faster roads with lots of car traffic. For less than 1.50, I can put up with my helmet tail light occasionally dying on me.
The back of my helmet – the only place I want a clicky light
When it comes to my main ebike lights though, I only use lights that are powered by my ebike’s battery. Ebike lights that are powered by the main battery have a ton of advantages:
- No batteries to change out
- No separate charger required
- As long as your ebike has battery left, your lights will always work
- They are usually cheaper (I’ll show you some great cheap ones below)
- MANY more options; you’re not limited to dinky little bicycle lights
- Higher quality and brighter lights meant for automotive use
To be fair, there is one central disadvantage of ebike lights that are powered by the ebike battery: namely that they consume some of your battery and thus cut into your range. For most lights though, this will cause a tiny impact that you’ll never actually feel. My bike uses about 700W to cruise at top speed, yet all of my powerful lights together pull less than 20W. That means my lights consume about 2.8% of my battery. In other words, my total ebike range will be 2.8% less with all of my lights on. I’m rarely cutting it that close, but if I ever did, I have my lights on multiple switches so I can power just my front and rear running lights (less than about 1W) and not my giant headlight (about 18W) if I needed to conserve power while remaining visible. on that below, including pictures and diagrams.
I recommend that every ebike rider use main battery powered ebike lights for the simple reason that you’ll never be caught in the scenario where your lights are dead and you’re forced to ride with cars in the darkness. For me this is simply a safety issue.
Ebike lights – three main options
There are three ways to power your ebike lights from your battery:
- Ebike lights with a built in DC-DC converter
- Use a separate 12V DC-DC converter and then use 12V automotive lights
- Use 12V automotive lights directly from your battery, in series to achieve proper voltage
The first two options require some form of voltage converter, either in the lights themselves (making them more expensive and less reliable) or as a separate unit. That’s why I much prefer the third option, which allows you to simply use 12V lights without any other electronics involved. I’ll show you how to do all three options below though, and you can choose the method that’s best for you.
Option 1 – Ebike lights with a built in DC-DC converter
This option is probably the simplest, but not the cheapest or most reliable. Ebike lights with a built in DC-DC converter are designed to mount on an ebike and receive power from a range of battery voltages, usually something like 12-80V, but you should check each light to confirm your battery is within its range.
My absolute favorite ebike lights with DC-DC converters come from Grin Technology (commonly known as ebikes.ca) in Canada. They designed their Electrolights line in-house and manufacture the lights themselves to very high standards. They are 100% waterproof, super rugged (they claim that you can run it over with a car or beat it with a hammer, though I don’t plan to test that on my mine) and can accept any voltage from 15-100V DC. Grin Technologies has a front light for 70 and rear light for 60. Grin also sells their CycleLumenator which is a super bright 1,000 lumen headlight, but at 145 I haven’t tested that one yet.
Grin Technologies has the best quality ebike lights, though as you’ve seen, that high quality and top notch service comes at a cost. I believe it’s worth the cost, but if you’re on a tight budget or want a cheaper DC-DC converter light to play around with before you start upgrading in the future, there are some other options.
I’ve been using this 18W ebike light that runs on anything from 12-80V (I run it at 52V). This is a bright light and is definitely a “seeing” light, not just a “be seen” light. I originally mounted it with the angle a bit too high and was apparently blinding drivers for a few hours until someone yelled at me. Oops.
My main front ebike headlight
I simply mounted mine on my handlebar stem using cable ties, but you could screw it into any part of your frame using a self tapping sheet metal screw, or bolt it to the fender mount on your fork.
At just over 7, this has proven to be a great main headlight.
For a main tail light I don’t need something so bright, so I went with this “be seen” style 12-80V tail light. It pulls less than 2W but is very bright and visible from at least a few hundred meters, the farthest I could find a flat, straight path to test it.
The housing snaps together at the lens and made be a bit worried that water might eventually sneak inside, so I added a bead of silicone at the parting line and sealed it up. It’s been working great so far, though I’ve only been testing it for a couple months. But at 2.50, it’s already exceeded my expectations.
Option 2 – A standalone DC-DC converter and 12V lights
There are thousands of 12V LED lights that come in every shape and size imaginable. These are great for ebike lights because they allow you the most flexibility to customize your ebike. The problem is that you can’t run them straight off your battery because the voltage of your pack is too high. Most people use an ebike battery between 24-48V, with some people using higher voltage in the 70V and 80V range.
The solution? A standalone DC-DC converter. I’ve used this converter which has worked very well for me. It’s sealed so you shouldn’t have any water issues and accepts any voltage from 24V-80V which should fit most ebike batteries.
A DC-DC converter like this will step down your battery voltage on a separate circuit and provides an output of 12VDC. It won’t affect your regular battery voltage; it just creates a separate “tap”, so to speak, that outputs 12V for accessories like lights, horns, alarms, etc.
From that 12V you can run all sorts of 12V lights meant for cars and trucks. While this option works well, it requires an extra component, the DC-DC converter, which I don’t like. I try to keep my ebikes as simple as possible with as few parts as necessary. Every extra piece is something else that can fail and a new problem to search for. That’s why I use a combination of option 1 above (lights with built in DC-DC converter) and option 3 below, where I’ll show you what lights I use.
Option 3 – Using 12V lights in series straight from the battery
This is my favorite method because it uses the least amount of parts and is the most reliable. You don’t need any DC-DC converters, not even in the lights themselves. That means it’s also the cheapest option, since all you need are the lights (and maybe a fuse added in line for extra protection just in case.).
As you recall, those 12V lights can’t run off the higher voltage ebike battery directly because the voltage doesn’t match, but we can solve this by running a few 12V lights in series.
Here is how the process works: series connections in electrical circuits are made when components are connected end to end (positive to negative). A voltage drop occurs across each component individually. 12V automotive lights require 12V DC, and so by stringing together a few in series, we can get a total voltage drop equal to the voltage of the battery.
We can wire four 12V lights together in series and the voltage required for the string is 48V, which is perfect for a 48V battery! The same thing can be done with three 12V lights for a 36V battery, or two 12V lights for a 24V battery, etc.
How to wire 12V light intervals to reach the total battery voltage
In actuality, the 12V LED lights can take a decent range of voltages, usually between 10-16V will work, which is good for us because the voltage of an ebike battery decreases over time but stays within this range (per light, that is).
On my ebike, I use four 12V LED strips connected to my 52V battery, which gives something between 11-14V per light, depending on my battery’s level of charge.
The four 12V light strips I use work great as ebike running lights. They are meant for automotive purposes so they are already waterproof. The specific ones I use are fairly short pieces, about 12″ long, but you can buy strips by the roll if you wanted to go nuts and cover your bike in them.
The LED strips I use – they come in lots of colors
I have two white light LED strips mounted on the front on the fork and two red light LED strips on the rear of the bike that I purchased here. The lights themselves mount with double sided tape that comes mounted to the rear of the light strip. I went ahead and added a couple cable ties over the strip just to make sure the tape stayed in place.
The white lights on the front are mostly for being seen by other cars, though they do illuminate the road a little bit too. The red strips on the rear of the bike shine upwards at about a 45 degree angle due to the angle of my frame, but are still quite visible from a distance. The effect is something like a Tron bike riding around at night, making me super visible to cars from all angles.
A view of my running lights – this is without my main head and tail lights
And that’s just my running lights – when I turn on my main head and tail light then I’m even more visible and can light up the road in front of me.
Don’t forget that I’ve got all of that light without one single standalone DC-DC converter. My running lights are those LED strips that are running in series straight from the battery, and my head and tail lights have their own built in DC-DC converter. This is a combination of options 1 and 3 from above.
In the future, I’d actually like to replace my DC-DC converter lights with simple 12V lights. I can put two 12V motorcycle headlights in the front and two 12V tail lights in the rear, which in series requires 48V, perfect for my 52V battery. Piece of cake!
Until then, this combination has worked well for me. Good luck on your own ebike lighting project, and let me know how it goes!
Micah is a mechanical engineer, tinkerer and husband. He’s spent the better part of a decade working in the electric bicycle industry, and is the author of The Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide. Micah can usually be found riding his electric bicycles around Florida, Tel Aviv, and anywhere else his ebikes wind up.
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Hello Micah. i am working on te E bike of my wife and i am hitting a problem. she has a dutch Gazelle bike with a 37 volt battery pack. There is a small front light what you can turn on and of using a button on the controll display. now this light died suddenly and that gave me the idea to give her a decent light with a decent beam. I am a night mountainbiker and i have a couple of lights on my bike and she might use a good like like i do. so i checked the broken headlight and its a 6-36 volt lamp. so i bought a motor light just like you did. from 12-80 volts. this should do the job. now i tried the new motorlight on a computer power unit and with 12.4 volts the light is bright with a great beam. now connected to the 2 wires from the bike the light goes on without turning it on on the control display but the amount of light is low…. than i tested the light again on the computer power unit and it was bright again …. I used a multi meter and there is 37 volt on the 2 wires for the light. even when the controll is on OFF. the bike is “dead ” but there is still 37 volt on the light wires ! so now i am curious how this system works. how can the small light be turned on and off and why is the motor light not shining bright ? even better ,, how can i get this to work ? any ideas ?
Hmm, the switch issue sounds like maybe the switch in the control display has failed in the ‘always on’ position. If you want to make sure you can turn the light off (to save battery, though its probably only a small amount of power) you could install a small switch somewhere else on the bike and just wire it in series. You could even glue a little toggle switch right onto the side of the headlight and wire that in series. Regarding the amount of light, the only thing I can think of is that the light should be pulling less current (amps) with 37V than from your 12V power supply. Theoretically I would assume the wattage would be the same (less amps but more volts) so maybe the lower the lower current is the issue? I’m sorry I can’t be more help on that front.
On the light that you run at 52V, do you use the switch you recommended that has the horn, light and turn signal buttons? Have you had any issues running these switches at 52V instead of 12V?
No issues so far. Everything is very low current so the switches don’t seem to be stressed too much. Of course all that stuff is sealed where I can’t see it so they could be one arc away from crapping out on me… but for about a year now they’ve been going strong!
The 2.90 tail lights don’t appear to be available anymore, any chance you’ve come across some alternatives? Thanks!
Hi! Excellent article. I’ve always just used a 9v battery case, got excited, used up the battery on the first run and then called it quits. Hooking it up directly to the battery will be awesome. I assume you have some sort of switch. Can you run by how that would hooked up? Similar how you’ve hooked up your motorcycle electric horn? Does it matter where in the “series” the switch is hooked up? I’m guessing not. What type of switch do you normally use for the light? Same as the one with the green horn button?
I don’t think it really matters where in the series the switch is. But I’m a mechanical engineer and not an electrical engineer. They’d probably tell you it matters and have some useful theory behind it. For me, if it breaks the circuit then it’s doing its job. I use a general purpose ebike button console. Mine has a horn switch (momentary contact), a lights switch (on/off clicky style) and a turn signal switch. There are a pile on ebay and aliexpress. Here’s an example: http://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/nEeiiMfeu
It is possible to find a 12v converter for supporting over 108v work for 118v max e-bike, they’re hard to find! Higher voltage support becomes commercially expensive is not 30. lights are great require 12v convert, just make sure its neat, tidy, and waterproof. A box will help hide all the wires. Please, i dont recommend drilling holes into your bike frame to mount any light!, Thiers always a better way, take your time to strategize. Im a E-bike wiring expert. Any light is possible including down glow!
Here’s a handy tip: try a 110V power adapter, like for a laptop charger or any other 110VAC to 12VDC adapter. Plug the end that goes into the wall into your battery instead and measure the output, you’ll get your 12VDC on most. The bridge rectifier that converts AC to DC is just skipped (since your battery is already DC) and the converter will drop the voltage to 12V. I’ve tested some 110VAC to 12VDC converters that have worked down to 48VDC!
I have an Enzo ebike, 20 inch with 10 amp Samsung battery and it has a digital computer. It comes with a headlight that turns on when you turn through the computer. Im assuming its running off the battery. Its a cheesy light. I want to get a real bright led light from amazon and just use the light and ditch the big battery pack. Is it possible to replace my reg headlight and just splice it into the wire the old headlight is in and have it run off the battery? Help please
Yes it’s absolutely possible, you just want to make sure you match the voltage. If the light is running of a DC-DC converter somewhere, then it’s likely powered by 5V or 12V DC, and you’ll want to buy a headlight to match. If it’s running off the battery voltage, you’ll need a light that can take that higher voltage, which usually means it has a DC-DC converter built into it.
Thanks Micah! I am going to copy your 12v lights in series (tail lights 36v) and built in DC-DC converter headlight. I am building this into my BH neocross and was wondering if you recommend a swith to turn them on/off.
Good luck on your project! I like this switch because it has a few extra switches I can use for more lights, a horn, regen brakes, etc.
Haha, well when I find good parts for cheap, I like to share. Hopefully you enjoy it. Let me know if you find anything good too!
Increase the power of your electric bicycle
There are many quick, easy, and cheap ways to boost the speed and power of an ebike. Ebike power can be boosted by simply turning a ‘pot’ screw, disconnecting the power smoother plug or simply fitting a higher voltage battery. Alternatively, on high spec ebikes where battery and controller are inaccessible, you can fit performance chips.
It is far easier to boost the speed of an ebike than it is to improve the power of gas powered engine. We step through ebike tuning options one by one starting with the simplest and cheapest ways to increase the power of your electric bike.
Remove power smoothing
Poor travel distance is a major limiting factor to the sale of electric bicycles. Many ebike manufacturers include power smoothing circuits in their controllers. Power smoothing extends the range of the battery by managing the delivery of power to the electric motor when under load.
Ebike motors draw more power when the bicycle is pulling away from a standing start. The power smoothing circuit reduces the power that is supplied to the engine when pulling away from the sidewalk. This electric circuit limits the amount of throttle that can be applied on take off to reduce the current draw from the battery.
Although power smoothing extends distance that the ebike can travel, it severely reduces the power available to the rider. Personally, I find these circuits very frustrating as I prefer to have the electric motor to provide most power when I first start riding.
The good news is that this circuit can be quickly identified and easily disabled. All that is required is to disconnect a plug.First, unscrew the controller housing to access your controller unit. Remove the controller unit from the housing so that you can inspect all the wires. Look for a single wire from the controller that loops back into the unit. Most controllers have this wire looped back through a connector which can be easily unplugged. If you have a wire that loops back into the controller, this will be the power smoothing circuit.
To boost power, simply unplug the connectors. If extended travel is more important to you, make sure the plugs are connected.
Uncouple the power smoothing connector
When the wire is disconnected, replace the controller in its housing and take the bike for a ride. You will notice a marked improvement in acceleration. Travel distance will, of course, be reduced by a few miles.
power means more heat
I would like to point out that if you increase the power supplied by the controller, you increase the heat of the unit. Although adjusting the pot or removing power smoothing will not exceed electrical tolerance of the components, heat dissipation is a major factor in reliability.
Experience has shown that the controller is the Achilles heal of ebikes. You should, therefore, seek additional methods to cool the controller and motor.
Ensure good air flow around the systems and, if possible, attach additional heat sinks.
Increasing power to an electric motor is as simple as turning a screw
Power to the electric motor is supplied by the controller. Most ebike controllers have a variable potentiometer, or ‘pot’ that is used to adjust the power supplied by the controller.
External ‘power POT’
Some controllers have an easily accessible pot outside the controller casing. Check your controller for a wire extending on the outside of the controller unit that terminates with a screw head rather than a connector. This will be the pot.
Internal ‘power POT’
In most units, there the pot is not visible outside the controller but is available on the circuit board inside. If you have no external pot, you will have to open the controller casing to look for the component with a small adjuster screw. The pot can be identified easily as it will be the only electronic part with a screw head.
Simply turn up the power
The direction of turn the pot screw for increased power varies with each model of controller. You may have to turn the pot screw either clockwise or anti-clockwise to increase power. The power increase requires a little bit of trial and error. Turn the screw ¼ turn clockwise, reassemble the controller and take your ebike for a ride. Hopefully, more power will be available. If not, try turning the pot back ½ a turn and try again.
Can I put a bigger battery on my ebike?
Increasing battery voltage is the most effective way of increasing the power of your ebike. Increasing the battery voltage increases the power exponentially. You can increase the power of your ebike by adding a small additional “booster” battery or swap out your battery pack for a higher voltage battery. Before you upgrade your battery, there are a few things you should be aware of:
A higher voltage battery increases power
The first misconception is that a bigger battery will increase power. To be clear, battery power is rated in Ampere Hours (AH) for a specific Voltage. For 250 Watt ebikes, a 36 Volt 8AH battery is typically supplied on low cost bikes and a 36 Volt, 12AH battery is provided on more expensive models. Higher battery ratings are available but not common due to their weight and cost.
When you swap for a higher voltage battery, it can supply more power to the motor and provide significant increase in speed and acceleration. A more powerful battery (larger AH rating of the same voltage) will extend the range of ebike travel but will supply an insignificant amount of additional power to the motor.
Electric bike power calculator
For a given load, the resistance of an electric motor does not vary wildly. Simplifying the technicalities of an electric motor, we can view it as a large resistor. Ohms law, from high school physics, tells us that Power = Voltage 2 /Resistance. This means that when we double the voltage, we quadruple the power.
In reality, engine resistivity does increase slightly as more load is applied (more acceleration or speed = greater load) and a fully charged battery is around 25% higher than the rated voltage.
In real world applications, a 36 Volt 250 watt controller will supply around 350 Watts when a 48 volt battery is connected.
How to connect a booster battery
If you have a Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) battery pack, it is straight forward to add a power booster battery. 12 Volt SLA batteries are readily available and additional 12Volt units should be connected in series to increase the voltage.
Refer to the diagram as a visual guide of how to connect the batteries.
Li-ION battery replacement
Although the same concept applies to Li-ION batteries, adding power booster batteries to Li-ION is not recommended. The problem with Li-ION battery packs is that they are made by connecting a multitude of smaller power cells. Li-ION batteries can be damaged easily or alternatively, present a fire hazard. Li-ION batteries are, therefore, fitted with protective management systems that ensure that the batteries are not over charged and are protected from being drained of charge. Managing Li-ION battery charging reduces fire hazard while limiting battery drain extends battery life.
Adding a booster pack to Li-ION would complicate the system, compromise the management circuitry, and risk the integrity of the original battery pack. With Li-ION batteries you should replace the entire battery pack or, change the power management system if you are adding additional battery cells.
Verify that the controller can cope
There are a few items that you should check before you connect a higher voltage battery to your bicycle motor.
First, you should be aware that using a higher voltage battery will negate any warranty that you may have with the electric motor kit or ebike.
It is essential that you verify the power rating of the controller on your ebike. Most controllers are rated for one step up in voltage. For example, 36 Volt controllers are usually rated to run on 48 volts and 48 volt systems to run on 56 volt batteries, however, this is not always the case.
If your controller is not rated to accept a higher voltage battery, then you risk burning out the controller very quickly.
Checking the controller rating
Controller voltage and power ratings are usually marked in an obvious location. Typically, specs are listed on the side or the back of the casing. If manufacturers fail to provide any specs on the casing, look for the model number of the controller. A Google search on the model number should provide the required information.
Increasing ebike power
Most controllers automatically adjust to one step up in battery voltage. For example, a 36 Volt, 250 Watt ebike will automatically become a 350 Watt system when a 48 volt battery is attached.
Multi voltage controllers
If the controller is rated for multiple battery voltages (e.g. 36, 48, 56 and 72 Volts), these systems often have manual switch on the outside of the controller casing in order to manually set the battery voltage.
As controllers are the most fragile component of electric bikes, it is essential that the battery voltage remains within the rated limits of the system. Also, if you increase the power output the bicycle engine, it will increase the heat in the motor winding’s and the supply wires. The additional heat places more strain on the electric motor.
Can bicycle motors accept more power?
Electric motors themselves cope with the additional power well. We have never had any major issue with stepping up from 36 to 48 volt systems. Wherever possible, we improve air circulation and fit additional heat sinks to help the reliability of the ebike motor.
We have rarely encountered any issues with putting extra power through the electric motor itself. We have, however, seen many cases where a voltage upgrade has produced sufficient heat to melt the power wires supplying the engine.
To assist with heat dissipation, we always try to increase air flow around the controller, power wires and motor. If heat sinks can be added to electric components, this also helps to increase the reliability of the bicycle motor. In the occasions that we have discovered wires with melted insulation, we strip the controller back and solder higher rated wire to the power lines.
Check electrical connectors regularly. It is important to ensure that the connectors between the electric motor and the controller are kept clean, free from corrosion, and have good contact area. Similarly, check the power cables leading from the battery to the controller. Poor contacts increase resistance which reduces power supply. important than the small loss of power is the additional heat produced in the connectors.
We would also suggest that you be mindful when taking long trips. If you are planning a long journey, back off the throttle a little or stop for short periods to allow the electrics to cool down.
Higher rated controller for bicycle motor kits
If the controller on your ebike conversion kit is not rated for higher voltage then it is possible to purchase a more powerful unit. Controllers can be purchased on Amazon for around 70 and can be simply fitted in 2 minutes using the same connectors.There is a huge selection of up-rated to choose from. Finding a replacement controller for a bicycle motor kit is relatively straight forward as most of the fundamental connectors are standardized. The throttle interface is usually the only non standard part. Depending on the throttle design, these connectors can be as simple as 3 wire plugs but we have seen throttle’s as complex at 6 wire plug plus a 2 wire side coupling. Be careful to select the correct throttle connector when you are purchasing a replacement controller.
Higher rated ebike controllers
It can be complicated to swap for a higher rated controller on an ebike. Purpose built ebikes have a number of additional wires to service proprietary features. Ebikes often have ignition switches, lights, speedometers, battery level indicators and LED displays.
These additional features have no standard couplings. Unless you want to discard all, or most, of the additional features on your electric bike, you are locked into the manufacturer. Check with your ebike manufacturer to ask if they can supply a higher rated controller that is compatible with your model of ebike.
Steve Baillie holds a degree in electronics and electrical engineering and has over 20 years working in the ebike industry
Canyon Spectral: ON CF 7 – Features at a Glance Infographic
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Be aware that a 48 volt battery will present over 52 volts when fully charged. To use a higher voltage battery, you will need to ensure the controller is rated for the increased voltage. (The controller is usually the weak point in electric bikes). Most controllers are, however, built with a 25% margin, so should be OK if you want to push the controller a little, you will have to increase cooling. (Note: there is always a risk if you push beyond the manufacturer’s rated specifications, you risk destroying the system). Assuming the controller is rated for higher voltage, you will likely encounter heat issues. Adding heat sinks to the controller and wiring, and improving ventilation, are crucial for heat dissipation. Alternatively, you could keep journeys short. If you install the higher voltage battery, use it in short spurts initially and check how hot the controller and wires are becoming. I have seen a lot of melted high-rated wire.
Hi Finch, Check the rating on your controller. You will most likely be good with up-rating to 52 Volt as long as the controller is rated for this. I would also advise caution on long runs as power wires to the motor will be pushing a lot more power through. Temperature will ramp up quickly in the wires. Try a short run and feel how hot the power wires to the motor are. If they are cool then that will give confidence to push a little further and harder. Be cautious until you have confidence that the wires to the motor are not going to melt.
I have read that the number of hall wires are usually 5. But then sometimes there is a 6th wire. A white wire. And it is a speed sensor to control the speed of the bike. Or Could you please help me with this?
Hi An, Unfortunately, there is no standardization for throttle wires. Different manufacturers use different colors. Most manufacturers do, however, use three colors for the throttle control blue, red and white. It isn’t a hard and fast rule, but these three colors normally operate the throttle control. Additional wires are usually for accessories such as speedometer, battery level, switch connections, illumination. Dependant on your bike, pedal sensors serve different functions. The pedal sensors on mid drive motors can be complex. On mid drive motors, the sensors allow differing power assist dependant on pedal force, pedal speed, incline of the terrain, etc. There isn’t a lot that can be done with these sensors as they are integrated into the motor electronics. Pedal sensors for hub motors are usually far more straightforward. The pedal sensor monitors the riders pedal speed and is simply to provide Pedelec compliance. The sensor allows power to be supplied to the hub motor. If you have a throttle control, you shold be able to disconnect the pedal sensor. The sensor does not limit the top speed of the e-bike (assuming you can pedal fast enough). Speed is a limit of the design of controller and hub motor. Most brushless ebike controllers pump out a square wave pulse. As the motor speeds up, the wave pulse becomes faster (and duration of the pulse has to be shorter). Once the ebike is travelling at 25 MPH, the controller-wheel speed is maxed out. You can’t go far over 25 MPH on most hub motors unless the motor controller pair are designed for higher speeds.
Hi Henri, I am not familiar with the Tenways ebike specifically but most ebike controllers have a potentiometer (some are external to the controller and others are hidden inside). Turning the potentiometer can usually add around 5 kmh. Another, higher risk, strategy is to bump up the battery voltage – If you have a 36V battery you could try using a 48V rated battery. Before you opt for a higher voltage battery, you need to check the controller rating will handle it. Most controllers can accept higher voltage batteries. Even if the controller is rated for a higher voltage, the problem will be heat dissipation. power will be pumping through the wiring so you may melt some cables. The bottom line is that raising battery voltage will increase speed but don’t go their unless you are prepared for the worst. I hope that someone with knowledge of modifying a Tenwyas ebike will add some advice here.
Hi John, Most electric trike motors will be 36 volt or above, so I am fairly sure that your 3x12AH batteries are wired in series. Three 12 Volt batteries wired in series make a 36 Volt battery pack. If you are looking for a Lithium Ion battery pack of a similar power, then 36V, 12ah will provide an equivalent replacement. I hope that I have understood your question correctly, if you would like more detail, there is a lot more information in my ebike battery article https://power-bicycle.com/ebike-battery/ I hope that this is helpful
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hello, i am planning on buying a new ebike but due to 2 things i may need to upgrade the motor and battery. i am a heavy dude and i live in a place with lots of hills. how should i calculate the battery specs needed for a specific motor? lets say if i get 5kw motor, what should be the battery specs? thank you.
Hi Burak. If you go halfway down this article, you will find a link to a battery distance calculator. Best of luck
20 MPH on throttle pedal assist. Additional class modes speeds.
Powerful 750w sustained geared hub motor with 95nm torque
30-60 miles depending on battery, rider weight, terrain, incline, level of assist, etc.
Durable Alloy Frame with internal protected locked electronics
Frame geometry components built for a comfortable upright position
MULTI-CLASS SPEED SYSTEM
The Revv 1 ships pre-programmed as a class 2 (pedelec) ebike which enables speeds of up to 20 MPH on pedal assist and throttle. The multi-class speed system gives riders the ability to configure the settings and switch between Class 2, Class 3, and ‘Off-Road’ mode which unlocks speeds of 28 MPH for private road use only. Learn more.
Seasoned Bike Mechanics Offer Expert Technical Support and Friendly Customer Service.
Every Ride1UP eBike Comes With a Warranty Against Manufacturing Defects. Terms Apply
On All Bikes to Contiguous 48 States. 400 Direct Shipping to Canada. Exclusions Apply.
DIMENSIONS AND SIZING
- FS Frame Dimensions:
- Total Weight 93lbs
- Handlebar Height 40.5”
- Handlebar Reach 14.75”
- Seat Height 32.5
- Stand-Over Height 32.5”
- Wheel Base 49
- Total Length 72
- HT Frame Dimensions:
- Total Weight 83lbs
- Handlebar Height 40.5”
- Handlebar Reach 14.75”
- Seat Height 32.5”
- Stand-over Height 32.5
- Wheel Base 44”
- Total Length 69
Powerful integrated moto-style headlight and brake taillight. FS frame shown includes turn signals. (Signals not included on HT Frame)
Handlebar-Mounted, Two-Tone LCD Display. Customizable Pedal Assist (PAS) Settings and Advanced Metrics for Intelligent Riding Feedback.
All-terrain 20×4 e-moped fat tires for cruising comfort and advanced cornering traction. High performing and reliable –– perfect for variable terrain.
Heavy-duty, adjustable chainstay kickstand. High-load capacity for extra support and stability.
52V 4 Amp (FS) charger and cable 52V 3 Amp (HT) charger and cable LED indicator provides real-time charging status.
Two keys for the removable battery system. Theft protection design –– battery anxiety begone!
In-stock Revv 1 models will ship out in the next 2-3 business days. Refer to each respective model for expected shipping times.
The bike will arrive 90% assembled (electronics are pre-assembled). Basic assembly is required.
The Revv 1 shipping dimensions vary by frame type:
FS (Full Suspension) – 62.5″ x 12.5″ x 34″ (L x W x H)
HT (Hardtail) – 58.5″ x 13″ x 34″ (L x W x H)
When will the Revv 1 ship out?
In-stock Revv 1 electric bike models require extra processing time and will ship out within 2-3 business days of placing your order.
Can I test ride an electric bicycle?
We are a direct-to-consumer electric bike company both in pricing and strategy. You will generally pay a premium for the ability to test ride an electric bike through a dealer. However, our electric bikes have been thoroughly tested by top reviewers such as Electric Bike Review, Electric Bike Report, Cycling Weekly, Clean Technica, Electrek, and many others who have published their reviews on YouTube. You can read electric bike reviews on any of those sites. Additionally, we are now supporting an independent network of owners offering their bikes for demos. Learn more about electric bicycle demos here Locations
What is the Return Policy for Revv 1?
We only accept returns on unopened and unused electric bike shipments for this model that have been reported within 14 days of delivery. You must provide photo documentation to verify the ebike was not opened or used. After approval by Ride1Up, return is subject to a 350 restocking fee per bicycle.
Once the bike has been received and passes inspection, Ride1Up will issue the refund less the 350 restocking fee. Learn more
What can I expect ordering a bike from Ride1UP?
This article will explain all about what to expect when ordering an electric bike from us. Ordering With Us
Can I upgrade the Revv 1’s battery?
If you purchase the Hardtail (HT) frame type, which comes with a 15ah battery, you can purchase the 20ah battery if it is in stock as an add-on. We cannot replace the 15ah battery with the 20ah battery before shipping out the hardtail bike.
Can I switch the handlebars to another electric bike model?
No, you cannot switch the handlebars on the Revv1. The variations you see on the site are the only options we have for our electric bike models.
Can you ship to _?
We only ship our electric bikes within North America. The Continental United States is FREE. Shipping electric bicycles to Canada is 400. Currently, not shipping to Hawaii. We are not responsible for any additional tariffs charged by your local government which are often-times applied after importing electric bikes. Unfortunately, we are not able to ship our electric bikes directly to Europe or Alaska at this time. You can use a shipping forwarder like ShopUsa.com to reach your country.
Are the bikes water-proof?
The electric bikes are not water-proof, they are water-resistant, rated IP-65. While we do not recommend leaving the bikes out in the rain or riding in the rain or other hazardous conditions due to personal safety, our electric bikes can handle water exposure. Leaving your ebike in the rain or other hazardous conditions could shorten the lifespan of the electric bike.
What Is a Moped-style eBike?
The difference between an ebike and a moped-style ebike is all in design and top speed. Typically, moped electric bikes have programming and motor capabilities that allow for a higher top speed than class 3 ebike regulations allow. This is more than 28 mph, but designed for private property and technically not legal to ride on public roads at these speeds. Additionally, moped-style electric bikes are typically designed with wide tires, classic moto-inspired styling and have a retro look, akin to cafe racer motorcycles.
Our Revv1, available in Graphite Gray and Moss Green, is pre-programmed as a Class 2 e-bike, so you can ride most anywhere at twenty miles-per-hour with throttle and pedal assist. However, you can unlock the programming to reach speeds north of 28 mph. This is intended for private property only.
This agile and robust bike is tough enough to cope with the most demanding of rides. However, with its practical and sturdy design, it remains suited to any rider with a comfortable saddle, upright riding position and throttle forward use-case that provides a boost up to twenty-eight MPH or more when unlocked for “Off-Road Mode”
What Is the Difference Between a Moped eBike and Electric Moped?
A regular electric moped works on a twist-and-go basis. Akin to a motorcycle, they do not have pedals, require insurance and registration and are heavier than an electric bike because of a larger battery and frame build. An electric moped ebike incorporates a motor, does not require insurance or registration and has pedals so in theory, the rider is intended to power the bike by pedaling. This design bypasses the regulatory needs of a moped, has a smaller, lighter battery and incorporates an element of exercise that you do not get with an electric moped or electric motorcycle.
Ride1Up’s electric moped bike takes all the best bits from both types of vehicles and blends them to create something different. The Revv1 is a moped-style e-bike engineered with a café racer, moto-inspired design, giving our riders the best of both worlds.
What Are the Benefits of a Moped Ebike?
There are tons of reasons to consider an electric moped bike, commonly referred to as a moped-style ebike, whether you’re looking for a next-gen e-bike upgrade or an electric moped experience capable of more than a typical commute.
The Revv1 suits every environment, from stop-start city travel to off-road adrenaline-fueled rides and everything in between. Variable settings allow you to ride safely anywhere, releasing higher speeds for weekend off-roading or sticking to permitted top speeds on public roads. An electric moped ebike provides great energy-efficiency, where you can rely on the pedal assist to extend your range or use the throttle when you’re looking for a more thrilling, faster pace experience.
You’ll find the quiet motor, and lack of fumes a literal breath of fresh air, whether you’re navigating through heavy traffic or enjoying the feeling of cruising confidently for a superior ebiking experience.
How Is the Revv1 Different From a Traditional Electric Moped?
The Revv1 is a full-spec moped-style ebike with the safety features and functionality you’d expect from any premium-quality ebike–but the comparisons stop there! This exceptional electric moped acts like a hybrid between the two, with the capacity and build to cope with high-speed, rough multi-terrain off-road rides, with a super-stylish frame, rugged wide-profile tires, and a powerful motor.
Riders can commute in style, with an ergonomic frame created for comfort, and let loose on private land, by switching to Off-Road mode and unlocking speeds of twenty-eight MPH and above. If you’re after a fantastic moped-style ebike that looks incredible and adds exhilaration to your off-road adventures, the Revv1 is the only bike for you.
This is not an electric scooter, but like some of the fastest electric mopeds, we’ve added some extra-special features to boost your riding experience, with superb traction tires, a two-tone mounted display, and moto-style headlights, turn signals, horn and bright braking lights as a finishing touch.