HARGING YOUR E-BIKE BATTERY WITH A CAMPER VANHERE’S HOW
E-bikes are very much in vogue – something that has long been true of camping holidays, where e-bikes are becoming an increasingly popular piece of equipment. But how do things work out if an e-bike battery has to be charged on the camper van tour? In this blog post, we will show you how to charge your pedelec en route, what you have to bear in mind and what other equipment you will need.
OUT AND ABOUT IN A CAMPER VAN AND ON AN E-BIKE
and more people are taking their e-bikes on holiday so that they can discover their holiday destination on two wheels. It is no coincidence that numerous tourist destinations now specialize in e-bikers as a potential target group, offering specially marked routes and tour suggestions, for example.
Which is why more and more camping enthusiasts are taking their own electric bikes with them. And no wonder: your own pedelec offers a safer ride than renting a local bike. It can be easily transported in either the camper van or on its own bicycle rack. Once you have reached your destination, it noticeably broadens the range of action at your holiday spot.
HOW DO I CHARGE MY E-BIKE EN ROUTE?
But what happens when you run out of juice and need to charge the battery? In principle, there are several options with a camper van. The most obvious is certainly the pitch on the respective campsite: the local infrastructure is easy to use and – just like in a garage at home – you hardly have to worry about the charging infrastructure.
Things become a little more complicated if you want to charge your e-bike through your camper van. Since e-bike battery chargers almost always require a voltage of 230 V, the standard 12 V connection for charging a mobile phone or laptop in a camper van, for example, is no longer sufficient. The camper has to be prepared for charging e-bikes. The magic word here is “inverter” or voltage transformer.
CHARGING AN E-BIKE WITH AN INVERTER
In principle, an inverter is a device that can convert the DC voltage from car batteries into the AC voltage that comes out of domestic power sockets. In a camper van, it transforms the 12 V battery voltage into 230 V AC voltage. Since larger electrical appliances can also be operated or charged in this way, inverters are now part of the standard equipment in many campers. Anyone planning to purchase such a device will find a number of different current transformers in a various price ranges and output levels on the market.
Charging an e-bike with an inverter requires a high-quality, pure sine wave inverter and not a device that only works with a modified sine wave. This is because the domestic mains voltage usually has a sinusoidal voltage curve and chargers – in this case for the e-bike – are prepared appropriately. Cheaper AC inverters, however, work with so-called modified sine waves, that only simulate the classical sine wave to a greater or lesser extent. Chargers may develop a lot of heat here. In the worst case, the battery may even be damaged.
In addition to the sine curve, the output of an AC inverter also plays a role: An inverter that can always provide the charger’s nominal power without reaching its power limit is recommended for e-bikes. If you want to charge two e-bikes, for example, the device should be able to deliver 500 watts with allowed reserves.
EXAMPLE CHARGING FIT E-BIKE BATTERIES WITH YOUR CAMPER CAMPER VAN
The FIT e-bike battery is an example of how you can charge an e-bike with an inverter in a camper van. The FIT BASIC CHARGER charges the FIT battery in the shortest possible time with its 4 A charging current, so that you can continue to enjoy the ride on your e-bike. If you have the appropriate infrastructure, the FIT FAST CHARGER even offers a 6 A fast charge option, which makes charging even quicker. The average charging time for a 500 Wh battery is about 3 hours, for a 630 Wh battery 3.8 hours and for a 750 Wh battery 4.5 hours.
Two formulas can be used to calculate the required capacity of the on-board battery and the required inverter power. If you want to charge two e-bike batteries with 500 Wh, for example, you should divide this by the 12 V battery voltage, include a loss of 15 % in your calculation, and thus arrive at 96 Ah. But watch out: since the battery should never be fully discharged, a reserve of around 50 % must also be factored in.
The inverter power required for our example is calculated in turn by multiplying the 4 A of the charging current by the 36 V voltage of the e-bike battery. Once again, you should allow for a loss of 15 %, resulting in a minimum output of 166 W in this case. If we assume two batteries, the inverter should be able to consistently deliver 332 watts. With calculated reserves, a 500 watt voltage transformer would be a good choice.
Required battery capacity: 1000 Wh / 12 V 15 % loss = 96 Ah
Required inverter output:4 A x 36 V 15 % loss = 166 W
TIPS FOR CHARGING E-BIKE BATTERIES EN ROUTE
Lithium-ion batteries should not be constantly discharged and fully recharged. In principle, a charging status of between 20 and 80 % is recommended if you want to preserve the battery. 2. If you want to charge the e-bike battery with the camper van’s own 12 V DC current, you will need an inverter to operate the e-bike battery charger at 230 V. 3. The inverter should be of high quality and be able to provide a true sine wave. It should also meet the minimum battery charging capacity. 4. You can charge more while driving because the alternator, ideally in combination with a charge booster, provides extra power. In this way, even large amounts of electricity can be generated from the car battery. 4. Solar power helps give you more energy reserves. You can also compensate losses from the on-board battery in this way. An output of at least 200 Wp is recommended.
You are often on the road with the e-bike? In the following blog post you will get tips on how to increase the battery range: 10 Tips for longer tours
How to Choose a Charger for E-bike?
One of the essential components of an electric bike is the charger. Without power, your e-bike will not be able to function. Choosing a charger for your e-bike can be difficult because there are so many available different types.
In this blog post, we will help you understand what type of charger you need and then review some popular options to make it easier for you to choose one for yourself!
What is a charger for an e-bike?
An e-bike charger is an electronic device that transfers electrical energy to a battery from an external source. Using the correct e-bike charger for your e-bike batteries is very important.
An e-bike comes with extra power, which helps you when the riding gets tough. The energy derived from the battery relieves the strain on your muscles so that you can travel a long distance without being exhausted.
In order to make the most of this vehicle, it’s good to consider not only the battery itself but also the charger. Learn the key rules to follow when buying one!
In this article you will find out the following:
- why a working battery and a good charger are so important for an electric bike？
- what to look out for when choosing a new e-bike charger？
- how to extend the e-bike battery life with a properly chosen charger？
E-bike battery chargers and batteries – why are they so important?
A battery is the key element of an electric bike. The capacity of such batteries affects the distance you can travel with extra power and the longer the battery’s life, the less frequently you will have to replace them.
If you choose batteries with better parameters, you can reduce the cost related to using the bike and maximize satisfaction with every trip. But even the best batteries won’t do the job without battery chargers.
The advanced Smart battery charger has stable parameters and protects the batteries while charging. It offers ample protection from overcharging and automatically switches off once the battery is fully charged. As a result, it boosts battery life.
Good chargers also allow connecting the electric bicycle at any time and anywhere. Since it’s small and compact, you can easily tuck it in your sports backpack when heading for the road.
Charger safety tips
Now that you know how to choose an e-bike charger, it’s time to learn how to use it. The following are some basic tips for charging your electric bike:
- Charging e-bike batteries overnight is not recommended as it can reduce their lifespan. Try to charge them during the day instead.
- Make sure the battery is completely dry before charging. Water and electricity don’t mix!
- Only use chargers approved by the manufacturer. Using a non-approved charger could damage your e-bike battery or even start a fire.
Charging your e-bike is easy once you know what to do. Just follow these simple tips and you’ll be on your way to enjoying a full-battery awesome ride.
TRITEK is your one-stop partner for high-quality lev batteries for electric bikes. cargo bikes. scooters, motorcycles. etc. We are dedicated to turning customers ’ideas into perfect products, from prototyping to mass production. Need your lev batteries to be intelligent, high quality, and cost-effective? Let Tritek help you achieve business success.
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All ebikes come with a battery charger, only purchase if you want an extra charger or need a replacement.
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Review: Cycle Satiator – A better ebike charger
It’s been a long time since I’ve been excited by an electric bicycle charger. In fact, my ebike charger is usually my last thought – just something I use at the end of the day to top up my battery. But that was until I bought a Cycle Satiator from Grin Technologies, an innovative Canadian ebike component company.
I’ll start with a quick summary of my thoughts on the Cycle Satiator. For me, it was a must-buy because it allows me to charge many different ebike batteries, replacing a pile of chargers. It also allows me to dial in the charging power and time I want based on different situations – no more waiting for my battery to slowly charge when I’m in a rush to get going. The charger is a bit expensive at 295, but below I’ll show you how this is actually quite a deal and can even save you more money over the life of your battery. So if you want to learn about a great quality charger that can pay for itself, keep reading!
Grin Technologies – ebike innovators
You guys might remember Grin (or better known as ebikes.ca) from my article on the Cycle Analyst – one of their first ebike inventions. They’ve developed all sorts of new ebike technologies in-house at their headquarters in Vancouver. From watt meters to cycle lights, they’ve lent their ingenuity to a number of different ebike developments, and now they’ve set their sights on redefining the conventional ebike charger.
Grin Technologies hits gold again with the Cycle Satiator
The Cycle Analyst represents years of RD aimed at correcting all the frustrating problems associated with cheap Chinese ebike chargers, namely:
- Poor quality
- Low reliability
- Loud noise
- Limited voltage range
- Lack of adjustability
Let’s take a look at how the Cycle Satiator improved upon all of these areas, below.
Ebike chargers – quality matters!
Today’s lithium batteries are usually very safe, but it is important to remember that these batteries contain a lot of energy in a small package. Charging of these batteries has to be done is a safe way to ensure that the process occurs without malfunctions. Although ebike fires are incredibly rare considering the huge number of ebikes out there, those rare fires almost always occur during charging. The fault: usually a cheap charger. Here’s an interesting story from a guy whose charger burned up, convincing him to get a Cycle Satiator.
A typical cheap electric bicycle charger
The Cycle Satiator has been developed from the ground up with safety in mind. The design is highly efficient, generating much less waste heat than cheaper electric bicycle chargers. The Cycle Satiator is also 100% sealed, meaning no water or foreign objects can get into the charger. The charger has made it through all the testing, legal and regulatory hurdles to ensure that it meets all major international electronic standardizations, something that most cheap Chinese chargers can’t claim. All of that regulatory testing is expensive, and has helped contribute to the higher price of the Cycle Satiator, but this is a case of “you get what you pay for”. When you spend a bit more, you get a better, safer charger.
The regulatory logos on the Cycle Satiator make the charger safer and reliable – something you won’t find on most cheap overseas chargers!
An electric bicycle charger you can count on
That attention to quality has helped make the Cycle Satiator one of the most reliable ebike chargers out there. The charger initially rolled out a limited beta-test run, giving Grin Technologies time to work with users and ensure the Cycle Satiator performed well in diverse real-world environments and uses. I got my charger over a year ago for testing and I haven’t had one single issue yet.
I’ve used dozens of other ebike chargers over the years, and I’d say that perhaps a third to one half of all cheap ebike chargers I’ve used have failed on me at one point or another. Of course my only one year with the Cycle Satiator isn’t enough to speak about its long term reliability, but I’ve had many other ebike chargers fail in less than a year. Wire joints break, cases become brittle, electronics burn out, connectors corrode or fail, etc.
Cycle Satiator’s waterproof Singatron connector
So far I haven’t had any of those issues with the Cycle Satiator. The case is beautifully machined out of high quality aluminum – not plastic. The connectors are genuine (and expensive) German manufactured Neutrix connectors and waterproof Singatron connectors. Every detail has been considered to make sure the Cycle Satiator will continue working strong for years to come.
The Cycle Satiator – eerily silent power
I like powerful ebike chargers, meaning a high current charger that can pump a whole pile of electrons through my batteries in a short period of time. The only problem with high power chargers is that they generate a lot of heat, which means they need powerful cooling fans.
Before I bought a Cycle Satiator I was using a medium power 48V 4A charger (about 200 watts). It worked pretty well, but the cooling fan could be heard from any room in the apartment and drove my wife crazy. It left me trying to schedule my charging for when I had the place all to myself.
The Cycle Satiator is even more powerful, giving you the option to charge at up to 8A, about 350 watts. Despite this, it has absolutely no cooling fan. Instead, the designers aimed for high efficiency to reduce waste heat and used a well designed heat sink allowing the Cycle Satiator to passively cool itself, no noisy fan needed. At 95% efficiency, the Cycle Satiator is the most efficient ebike charger out there and leaves very few excess watts to escape as heat.
The Cycle Satiator – silent and beautiful
Now that doesn’t mean the charger won’t get hot. Sometimes I’m surprised at how warm the case feels during charging, but that’s a sign that it is working well, as the case is built into the heat sink and helps transfer the heat from the charger out through the case for passive air cooling. It certainly doesn’t get too warm to hold, and I just make sure to not leave the charger under anything that would obstruct the airflow around the case. Basically, don’t stack a pile of jackets on it then charge at 8A.
Ironically, I used to know my battery had stopped charging when the white noise of my ebike charger’s cooling fan in the background suddenly cut out. Now, I actually have to check the Cycle Satiator’s screen to see if the charge cycle has ended. It’s the same volume when it’s charging as when it’s unplugged – silent.
Charge every ebike battery you own
One of my favorite features of the Cycle Satiator, and the reason it’s the only charge I use now, is the fact that it can charge batteries of different voltages. My daily driver ebike has a 52V battery. I also use a 48V ebike on occasion. My wife’s ebike is 24V, though I have a 36V battery that I sometimes put on her bike when we go cruising and she wants a bit more power.
I used to have four different chargers for these batteries, but now I only have one – the Cycle Satiator.
The Cycle Satiator’s high quality Neutrix adapter (unfortunately sold separately)
To charge all of these different types of batteries, the Satiator can come with an optional adapter, shown above. The adapter works for a few of my batteries with the same type of connector (anderson powerpoles), but I made a few more adapters to charge the other batteries in my collection.
The process of making a custom adapter is very simple – you just need to solder the connector that matches your battery to a short piece of wire connected to an XLR connector that matches the Cycle Satiator’s DC output. Grin Technology has pre-made adapters that you can buy (I have the one pictured above, it’s great) but I’ll also be writing up a how-to article showing how to make your own custom adapters as well.
The many adapters I’ve made for my Cycle Satiator
The Cycle Satiator also allows you to create profiles for each of your batteries so you can quickly choose which battery you want to charge and adapt the charger for any pack. And you’re not just limited to lithium batteries either. Sure, Li-ion packs are the majority of the market, but you can also charge a lead acid and NiMH packs as well!
Cycle Satiator’s profile setup page
The first version of the Cycle Satiator only went up to 60V, meaning you could charge a battery up to 52V (14 cells, which charge up to 58.8V). That covers almost all of the ebike community. However, some custom ebike builders like to push the envelope of power and speed, meaning they use higher voltage batteries, from 72V and higher. Grin Technology has recently released a second version of the Cycle Satiator that can charge up to 103V, though the original version should be enough for most ‘normal’ ebikers out there.
“Satiate” your battery for longer life
The Cycle Satiator admittedly has an odd name. The “satiate” part comes from the unique ability to dial in an exact battery charge voltage and undercharge your battery as much as you’d like.
Why would someone want to undercharge their battery? Recent research in lithium batteries has found that charging a battery to a point less than 100% can increase the cycle life (the number of recharges you get before the pack dies) of the battery.
The chemistry here is fairly complicated, but the simplified version is that the higher the charge level of a lithium cell, the faster a non-reversible reaction occurs on the electricity conducting material inside the cell that inhibits its transfer capacity over time. So basically, the longer a battery is at 100% charge, the worse it is for the health of the battery. Charging to just 90% means the battery doesn’t sit around all day in that fully charged state that slowly degrades the battery.
According to Grin Technologies, charging to 90% instead of 100% capacity can increase the life of the battery 1.5x, and charging to 80% capacity can double the life of the battery. Obviously the downside here is that you have less range due to not fully charging the battery, but the added lifespan of the battery is worth it for many ebike riders.
Charging your battery to only 80% or 90% makes it last much longer!
If you plan on having your ebike and/or battery for many years, the cost savings of doubling your ebike battery’s lifespan can more than cover the cost of the Cycle Satiator. For me, I tend to go through batteries fairly quickly, building new ones and selling my current ones. That means I don’t benefit as much from the added cycle life of undercharging. But for most people that have a battery for its entire useful life, this could be a big deal.
Make it an on-board ebike charger
Due to its 100% sealed design, you can mount it directly to your ebike and turn it into an on-board ebike charger. I’ve tried this with other ebike chargers and it’s always failed due to cheap components and an inability to completely seal off the charger. But the weatherproof and shockproof design of the Cycle Satiator finally makes an on-board charger a reality. You no longer have to remember to bring your charger with you on a long trip. Simply charge anywhere you can find an extension cord!
Personally I never mounted my Cycle Satiator on my bike, partly because then I couldn’t use it to charge all the other batteries I have for other bikes. I did use the convenient mounting holes to screw it to the leg of my desk though, which kept it out of the way but accessible as well. A charger with mounting holes, what an idea!
Do you ever look at your ebike charger, sitting in the corner humming away, and wonder how far its charged your ebike? It’s hard to know until it stops — it’s either charging or it’s done. But with the Cycle Satiator, you always know exactly how far along your battery is thanks to the digital readout on the charger. Not only can you see the instantaneous voltage of your battery, but you can also see exactly how much energy has been pumped into it, showing you exactly how depleted your battery was.
The Cycle Satiator pumped 4.39 AH into my battery in about 2 hours.
The two-button interface can be a bit confusing at first, but you quickly master it. There aren’t that many options anyways, so it’s hard to get lost in the interface.
Cycle Satiator’s force start feature
One aspect of the Cycle Satiator that caught me off guard was related to its force start feature. Basically, if the charger detects that a battery’s voltage is below the minimum voltage for the battery profile selected (for instance, you try to charge a 24V battery using the 36V or 48V profile) it will not start the charging process. This is an important safety feature, but it can occasionally cause a problem. Some BMS units will actually cutoff the discharge leads from the circuit when the battery reaches its minimum safe charge level. This means the Cycle Satiator will actually see a low voltage, usually between 0-10V.
Hold the bottom button to force start charging
To force the Cycle Satiator to start charging the battery (once you’ve confirmed that your battery really is the proper voltage for the selected profile), simply hold down the lower button while the battery is plugged in and the Cycle Satiator is stalled on the “Please connect battery” screen. That’s it! Your Cycle Satiator will now start charging, which immediately gets your BMS to click back on once it senses a voltage above its minimum safe level.
Always up to date
Another great feature of the Cycle Satiator is that you get free updates for life. Grin Technologies has already released a few updates to the firmware to improve the functionality and add features.
You might be thinking, “What do I need to update a charger for?” Consider this: battery technology is always developing and improving. One year from today we could have an entirely new type of battery that requires a different charging profile. Any other charger would be obslete, forcing you to buy a new charger. But not the Cycle Satiator, it’s ready for the future!
For that matter, updating and programming the Cycle Satiator is quite simple. You can make all of your profiles on the device itself, though the two button interface makes this process a bit slow and uncomfortable. In addition, you can do all the setup and profile creation you need on a simple computer program available from the Ebikes.ca Cycle Satiator page in the “Downloads” section. The program runs on Windows, Linux and Macintosh, so you’ve got all your bases covered.
Cycle Satiator programming software – “Satiator Suite”
Grin Technologies also developed a really cool charge simulator that is available for free on their website, even if you don’t have a Cycle Satiator. It allows you to test charging profiles on different batteries and customize everything. This can give you a good idea of how your charging times and performances will look in different conditions. Once you have a profile the way you like it, you can even download it and add it to your own Cycle Satiator.
Cycle Satiator charge simulator available at www.Ebikes.ca
To summarize, I’ve been very happy with my Cycle Satiator. I’ve been using it for over a year now and it is working flawlessly. It’s every bit as good as the day I bought it.
The construction and quality is top-notch. It’s got a small form factor and it’s absolutely silent.
Sure it’s a bit pricy, but as I pointed out above, I believe this price is well worth it. The Cycle Satiator has the capability of a box full of other chargers, all in a small package. Not only that, but it can actually help your battery last up to twice as long, easily paying for itself over the life of your battery.
If you’re going to pick up your own Cycle Satiator, I recommend purchasing it directly from Ebikes.ca here. There are some resellers online but I like to give my money to the company that invested the dollars and brain equity into developing good products. Plus by buying directly from Ebikes.ca, I always know that they’ll have my back if I ever have a problem – their service is the best in the industry.
Do you have your own Cycle Satiator or want to learn more? Let me know in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев below!
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.
Комментарии и мнения владельцев
Absolutely the best charger purchase and one of the best eBike tools purchased. I use it nearly daily and have for over a year. 12V SLA and 24v,36v,48v and 52V LiOn. All at the rate I choose and the level I select. I spent 150 on junk chargers and this will outlast many of those cheap Kingpans!
By all means I recommend any one to get this charger also if it works for your battery setup. You can also have displays mounted to your battery case to monitor voltage, but on the other hand nothing beats that built in BMS that this charger has to balance the cells or stop charging to whole battery when a cell is full enough. Me I use two high quality 600 watt chargers, so its like a big 1200 watt microwave that has loud cooling fans!, and boy they get hot enough to burn you!, but have a auto shutdown feature. I’ll have to stick to charging out side in the cool shade to reach my full charge of 117.5v
Just FYI, this charger does NOT have a BMS built in. It has some protection features, like not charging past a certain voltage or not beginning charging if it sense that the battery it is connected to is not in the voltage range that you’ve set it to charge at, but it does NOT monitor the individual cells and CAN overcharge your battery if you don’t have a BMS and use the wrong settings on this charger for an unprotected battery. It’s still an amazing charger, but you’ve got to use it correctly.
My Current Favorite Battery Source
My favorite source for batteries right now is Battery Hookup. They’ve also generously offered all of my readers a 5% discount if you use the discount code EBIKE.
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All the help and knowledge I’ve provided here on EbikeSchool.com is 100% free If you want to support this site and help me keep it free, consider checking out my ebook and video course on building ebikes.
Ebikeschool.com has a lot of great info, but I’ve spent countless hours putting even more info, examples, how to’s, reviews, maintenance steps and buying guides into my book and video course. They are some of the most fact-dense and info-rich ebike resources available today. So check them out to see if they can help you with your own ebike!
If you want to learn more in-depth about building your own lithium battery, you’ll want to check out my book “DIY Lithium Batteries: How To Build Your Own Battery Packs” which is an Amazon #1 Bestseller in multiple categories! You can get it here on Amazon.
And if you don’t want to purchase my book (or you already have a lot of ebike knowledge), you can still support this site by simply clicking on this link before you shop on Aliexpress. Basically, that’s an affiliate link that shows Aliexpress that you came to them via my site. It doesn’t effect you at all, but if you make a purchase, this site will get a small percentage of the profit that Aliexpress makes. It’s a simple way to help support this site so I can pay the hosting and keep providing more free info (and to keep this site free of annoying ads). I have some of those affiliate links on a limited number of articles on my site. When I personally buy and test products that I find to be a combination of great quality and great prices, like these batteries, for example, I like to share them through those affiliate links. Again, it costs you nothing, but it allows me to keep cranking out more info and content for you guys!
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