For your electric bicycle to perform optimally, you need to know how to test the battery health to ensure you undertake the various maintenance techniques for it to last longer.
The most common way of testing your e-bike’s battery health is through the use of a multimeter. We will take you through the process of using one and the precautions to consider during the procedure.
The below article will also cover a wide range of techniques that you can use to help your battery last longer, like reducing weight, riding smoothly, effectively using pedal-assist, making use of the right tires, and so much more.
Read on and get enlightened.
Checking My E-Bike Battery Health
As earlier stated, using a digital multimeter is the most effective way of monitoring your battery health.
What Is A Multimeter?
It is a tool that is used for testing and diagnosing electric components and devices. The inaugural digital multimeter was developed in the late 1970s. Since then, it has proved to be more effective and accurate than the analog meter.
A multimeter measures load, voltage, resistance, and current. Using one is relatively easy and requires a maximum of ten minutes to perform the whole operation.
The Process of Testing
Ensure you have a well-maintained multimeter to ensure your garner accurate results. Follow the below procedure to test the overall health of your battery.
Connect Your Multimeter
Your battery needs to get fully charged for this process. Six to eight hours will do. If you cannot charge the battery separately, park your electric bicycle and connect the multimeter with the adapter port or connector. Take extra precautions when connecting, and do not apply excessive force to prevent damaging either device.
Test the Voltage
Undertake the battery voltage test by switching the multimeter to voltage function. Refer to the manufacturer manual to know the voltage range of your battery brand. If it has been charged for some time, countercheck. Ensure the reading on the multimeter matches the ones on the manual.
If the battery voltage drops below a certain level, it automatically shuts off and thus prevents battery damage. Consequently, you receive a notification to recharge. If the voltage drops below the recommended value and the battery is still functioning, you need to check the Bike Monitoring System for errors.
Test the Current
Let us take a look at the process of testing current. Current is how much charges and energy the e-bike battery can hold and the power output per hour. The current test allows you to approximate how long the battery can last after a full charge.
Compare the multimeter reading with the manufacturer’s values. If you realize your battery gets drained rather too quickly when riding, your device is having excessive discharge.
The multimeter also tests the battery resistance. Resistance is the restriction within the battery, and it directly affects the current. If your multimeter records high resistance, it could be the reason behind overheating issues.
Test Battery Load
Contemporary multimeters consist of both the test load feature and an AC/DC readout function. For this procedure, set it to DC. Using AC may overload your battery and cause damage. The load allows the battery to turn on. It also has the energy density that necessitates communication with the e-bikes conversion kit.
A multimeter also has the capability of taking temperature readings. Switch to temperature mode by rotating the meter dial and then use the select button to change the reading from Fahrenheit to Celsius for easy evaluation.
Plug the thermocouple into the multimeter and observe your battery temperature. If the temperature is abnormally high, it is wise to let it cool down before riding.
High temperatures are also an indication that there is an underlying problem with your battery – most probably overcharging.
Signs That May Prompt You to Check Your Battery Health
The most common signs of a depreciating battery include:
- Hold charge for a small period
- Weak connection with the motor
- Excessive fluid discharge
The above signs prompt you to perform the relevant maintenance practices, which we will cover in this article.
Safety Measures When Working With a Voltmeter
- Keep your fingers on the plastic and rubber parts. You get to avoid contact with energized metal surfaces.
- If your multimeter stops working and is not broken, check the fuse to see if it has blown. Read the manufacturer manual on how to replace the fuse. Additionally, ensure you replace it with one of the same size, if not the exact one.
- Know your multimeter. Familiarize yourself with symbols and know their meaning, and have a clear understanding of what you are looking at.
- Test the extension cord and inspect it visually for areas that might be cut or abraded.
- Wear safety glasses when performing all tests to guard yourself against electrical flashes.
How Do I Make My E-Bike Battery Last Longer?
Without a well-working battery, your conversion kit is as good as useless. It is, therefore, crucial to keep your battery in good condition if you want to enjoy riding for a long time.
The following tips will help your battery last longer while riding. Additionally, we have incorporated maintenance techniques that will help your battery have a longer lifespan. Read on to get a detailed insight.
How to Ensure Your Battery Lasts Longer While Riding
Machine and rider weight significantly affects how long you can ride your e-bike while using throttle only. While you can do much about both weights, removing unnecessary things in your backpack helps.
While climbing hills, the motor, and battery work hard to drive both the rider and the bike uphill, consuming a lot of charge in the process.
Lighter riders achieve more range than heavier riders. Work on your weight reduction techniques if you wish to ride for longer distances.
Make Use of the Pedal Assist Feature
The most efficient way of achieving a longer distance is using the pedal-assist feature. If you are riding on a flat surface, indulge in a smooth pedaling technique to prolong your battery charge.
Additionally, choose appropriate gears. For example, use low gears while making steep climbs. You get to put less load on the motor and therefore preserve battery charge.
Use the Right Tires
The range you get from your battery also depends on the rolling resistance. It is affected by:
- tire pressure
- tire compound
- tread pattern
- tire width
While you should pick tires that complement your riding technique, it is wise to experiment with different pressures to achieve a comfortable balance.
High pressure reduce rolling resistance but affects your control of the electric bicycle. Low pressure, on the other hand, increases rolling resistance, maximizing the battery power output. You consequently reduce range. Betting the right balance is crucial.
Ensure You Chain and Gears Are Properly Lubed
Friction undermines range, especially if we are talking gears. Why take the risk of losing battery power just because your chain does not get proper lubrication? A well-oiled and clean drivetrain is crucial for effective power transmission.
Ride a Variety of Terrain
Indulging in lots of steep climbs and off-road terrains is a sure way of depleting your battery fast.
The balance between such kinds of terrains with flowing turns and gentle gradients. If you plan to ride the bike for a short duration, you can use turbo mode. If not the case, ride slowly while on climbs to preserve power.
Tune in your riding technique such that you flow through turns. Hammering in, decelerating, and then accelerating puts a significant workload on the bike battery. You, therefore, lose power fast.
Increasing the Lifespan Of Your Battery
Read the Manufacturer Manual
The best way of getting accustomed to proper battery maintenance tips is by reading the manufacturer’s manual. The manual enlightens you on the estimated number of cycles you can recharge your battery before it wears out.
Most electric bicycles have lithium-ion batteries. They have a lifecycle of up to 1000 charges and can hold power for 30 miles. After this period, expect below-par performance. It is recommended you replace the battery.
Do Not Jet Wash Your Battery.
As with any electrical device, jet washing is unwise. Do not point the jet wash towards the motor or battery as it is a sure way of letting moisture into the system.
Instead, spraying with an electrical contact cleaner is wise as it reduces the risk of corrosion and maintains proper energy transfer.
Avoid Using Fast Charging.
Manufacturers recommend you use the charger they provide if you want your battery to realize its lifespan. There is an emergence of fast chargers that charge a battery to capacity within a short duration.
They are effective when you suddenly run out of charge or when you are making long trips. However, don’t make it a habit because it significantly reduces your battery lifespan.
Fully Charge Your Electric Bicycle Battery before Riding
Before you start your routine, ensure your battery is full-charged if you want it to last longer. It is also the case for new electric bicycles. Manufacturers recommend you first make sure the battery gets an optimum charge.
Plugging and unplugging before it is full reduces its capacity and consequently lifespan.
Avoid Fully Discharging Your Battery Regularly.
Do not let your battery run dry as it is harmful. Shallow discharges and discharges tend to be better because they do not stress the battery. It makes it last longer.
Complement partial discharges with scheduled top-ups to enhance battery life.
It is alright if your battery runs out of charge once in a while, but not always.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures
Extreme cold and hot temperatures adversely affect your battery performance. Lithium batteries should get stored at cool temperatures. Do not let your battery get too hot while riding because it reduces its charge holding capabilities.
The recommended storage temperature is between 320 F-770 F. High temperatures make the lithium powder in the cells lose resistance, enhancing discharge rate.
Keep The Battery Dry.
Park your electric bicycle in a dry place without humidity as it is not good for all electrical devices. Check the battery connections after some duration to make sure they are all dry and clean.
If you notice some corrosion, remove it with a dry cloth.
Long-Term E-Bike Battery Storage
If you are going away for some time, you must store your e-bike and battery safely. First, lithium batteries self-discharge over time when not in use.
If you leave it at 100%, the rate of discharge is fast. Therefore, leave it at around 40-80%. You reduce capacity loss and also preserve the battery.
If you cannot remove the e-bike battery, make sure you store the bike in a dry place to prevent moisture penetration.
Do Not Open The Battery.
Avoid opening your e-bike battery even when it is not performing as expected. Do not try to examine or repair it. It is because the lithium powder within the cells gets flammable when it comes into contact with oxygen.
If you suspect the battery needs repair, hire a professional to examine it.
Seek Advice from Experts
You now have a general idea of the ways of maintaining your battery and proper storage techniques. A well-maintained battery should serve you for at least three to five years.
Here is one final tip. The only way you can ensure you buy a quality battery is by ensuring you get it from someone you trust. Seek the services of an expert, and they will recommend you the best battery manufacturers.
Like we have seen above, checking on your battery health is not enough. You have to complement it with proper maintenance techniques for it to achieve the recommended lifespan. In a recap, here are six things that limit your batteries lifespan:
- high temperature
- low temperature
- a low state of charge
- high charging current
- high discharging current
- a high state of charge