Sunday, 29 March 2020

do charger sparks harm the scooter?

Some time back I did an article about sparks between the charger plug and the battery (usually heard as a distinct "TICK" on plugging in the scooter) when plugging the battery in (see this blog post) which makes me wonder if this is actually related to an issue that manifests for a number of Wide Wheel owners.

The issue is that often settings are lost (almost randomly) (in my case) it seems when the scooter is powered down. I may have had the mode set to Power but when powering it back up its soon clear (from the lack of acceleration) that its in Eco mode. Also sometimes the Cruise Control randomly goes to off as well. Now my dual has never done this but my single has done it from pretty early on.

Today in a testing run I powered my Widewheel dual up and it was in Eco mode. Interestingly after a run yesterday I goofed with the power supply and didn't turn it on first, there was a loud snap and I cursed lightly.

My theory is this. The massive surge (which is big enough to cause an electrical arc) may be enough to damage something on the control board.


nothing is visible on mine, but the damage may be something inside a component.

I don't know if this is something on the new Widewheel Pro ... which has a different circuit board.

Let me know if you'rs goes from "no problems" to "randomly losing settings" after an accidental charger spark.

Off the mark drag race

I've been of the view that off the line the MX60 is no faster (indeed feels a little less snappy) than the Widewheel. I've put this down to the larger diameter wheels (just over 11" vs just under 8") it has the same diameter armature and magnet rotor, which will essentially gear it higher (because leverage right). This will assist its top speed which is unquestioned (because bigger battery Voltage and higher diameter wheels).

I did some quick runs first and found that the speed limiter kicked in on the Wide Wheel earlier than the end of the run (which was about 100 meters) confusing the issues, so I turned off speed restrictions on the Widewheel for this test.

So first some data from my GPS app:


The dip in the middle is a turn around point, which my App didn't log neatly, so lets just work with take off. To me it looks like the initial hit of the Widewheel is a little steeper. Overlaying them we can see it is perhaps a little, but its close.


But this app isn't ideal for such comparisons, so I thought (in case) I'd video it and compare side by side. This is that:


This seems to show that the Wide wheel does get that initial  kick going and leads by a nose for a short time, until the MX60 starts hauling it in. Which translates to "it feels stronger" off the mark. This is not unexpected when you consider the way electric motors deliver power and the effect of the effective lower gearing of the Widewheel (discussed above).


As you can see from this figure above the motive force of the motor is strongest when its stopped and gets to a point where it starts falling off in torque soon after take off. Of course since torque is the strength to do work and power is how quickly that work can be done, the more the RPM increases the more that power increases even though torque falls away.

Eventually however the electric motor spins fast enough that back EMF overpowers the foward voltage provided by the battery and you end up with nothing.

Conclusion

So as I've been saying in my ride dialog / blabbering, the MX60 is really a great "cross town" blaster, especially if you've got a number of nice long "bicycle paths" to reduce the stop starting. In theory you should not be riding at over 25kmh anyway, and so the Widewheel will keep up with all but the most serious Lycra Cyclists.

For those not restricted by (or not interested in obeying) such laws then the MX60 will outpace everything else around you except cars.

As I found on my recent video comparison between my Widewheel and MX60 the MX60 uses more juice than the Widewheel on the same trip as a percentage of the battery. Given how much more power that is in Watts it translates to much longer charging times and or much more powerful chargers.

I've got a 4Amp charger for the Widewheel, which nicely charges it (s 13Ah) battery up from 50% in less than 2 hours. To do the same on the 20Ah battery on the MX60 you'd need more than 6A and to be comfortable with such a flow you'd really need to be confident that the charging wires are up to task.

I personally thermally checked my Widewheel for signs of problems when I first bought that 4A charger. I'd need to do the same with the MX60.

As always more power comes with more costs (both time and money).

HTH

Sunday, 22 March 2020

MX60 goes to Carrs

One of the nice places in my region is Carrs lookout, and its a place I like to take the motorbike up to now and then (especially in summer when its bloody hot). I wanted to see if the new scooter would make it there and back, so this morning with a full battery I headed up to find out.


Its pretty steep mountain road and a more or less continuous climb there and a more or less continuous down hill back home. GPS on the phone reports the return trip is about 38km


So basically because there is some up and down the total climb up that the scooter had to do is 1,317 meters (or 4,317 feet for those people still using feet, inches, fingers and when insufficient toes too).

The basic data shows that for a good portion of the time the scooter was doing just over 24kmh, but because of some long downhills gravity assist brought the average speeds up :-)

Its interesting to note also that the cruising speed (gear mode 2) changed from 27 on the way out (with a fresh battery) to noticeably slower on the way back (on basically flat ground with no significant winds).


Which is in keeping with the knowledge that power is Volts x Amps and as Volts sag you loose power or you have to pump in more amps (which I'm willing to bet the cruise contrller does not do) which will flatten the battery even faster. Recall the discharge curve at constant amps:


In the graph above I've chosen to compare an LG S3  2.2Ah cell with what I believe are the batteries in my Widewheel (and thus likely too those in the MX60) which shows that at first the cells in my MX60 give me over 3.8V per cell but at 3.5V you're getting steady loss of power that then falls off a cliff at either 3.3 or 3.1V

Because the MX60 is an 16S configuration thats 62.4V, 56V and 52.8V respectively

My MX60 left the building with 67.2V showing on the battery and 57V (or about 3.5V per cell) while on the road still under power in Gear Mode 2. Combined with the battery reporting a State of Charge of 43 ~ 42% with a short rest.

So assuming those curves are what indeed my battery was following (which seems a reasonable first order approximation) I would expect it didn't have many more kilometers up its sleeve. Perhaps 9 or 10km more on a flat less if there were hills. 38 + 10 = 48 which means that I'd feel comfortable doing 50km on this using gear mode 2 most of the time in "typical gentle urban terrain" without significant apprehension that you'd be doing the "Dead Battery Walking" routine...

For the interested, here's some video notes from the trip.


HTH

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Wide wheel swing arm cover fix


The bases of the plastic side covers on the Widewheel just seem to break all the time, no matter how I've tried they just destroy the base of the plastic. Until now I've used a variously some Silicon and lately the Gaffa tape solution (which is pretty good but falls off after a while).

The covers are more than just decoration they  protect the motor interior from water ingress along the wires when its wet. So I've made what I believe to be a good fix with M3 nylon bolts (screws??).  I think it looks neat and I hope its durable.



I've used duct tape (which is different to gaffer tape) to cover the heads of the screws (which are clear but have white washers) and hopefully stop any vibration loosening.



In that video I used two lengths of screw:

  • 12mm and 
  • 25mm.
  • washers: M3 
  • and M4 (as spacers if needed, used 2)

In the video I show fitting the first but I fitted all without too much hassle. I just needed to clear the thread on one of the swing-arm fitment points from old permatex and I needed to trim a few mm off one of the bolts on another. I also needed to retighten  (and or course re-permatex) one of the swingarm bolts (as per here)

HTH

Sunday, 15 March 2020

MX60 up and down the mountain

The ride up an down the mountain is something I do with my scoots  not just because its a lovely ride but because its a repeatable and testing route, a combination of urban, roads, hills and mountain roads.


I basically had two reasons to go up there:

  1. I wanted to see how well this new scoot (with great suspension and chassis) performed
  2. I wanted to get an understanding of its power uses
So since that road is good for both purposes (see this blog post) I went there.

Summary for the TLDR crowd

  • scoot handles fantastic at speed
  • the design of the cockpit (platform and stem) is annoying on flats, an obstacle on climbs but good on down hills
  • uses more power per 100km
  • with greater power comes greater demands on energy, greater costs (battery as well as motors) and increased charging times
  • physics is a harsh mistress

Doin it

Basically I'm a pragmatic guy but one who likes to have fun, but be around to have fun tomorrow (unlike some of my dead or badly injured mates of yore). So lets get into some of the pragmatic first. This is the results of my run on the MX60:


Which is very interesting to contrast with the previous run I did back on boxing day on the Widewheel:



So lets just look at the figures:

  • Time to complete the run:43min vs just over an hour;
  • Speed: max speed on the downhill 64kmh vs 44 on the widewheel;
  • Average speed moving: 32kmh vs 24 on the widewheel
Looking closely the MX60 kept a slightly higher speed on the way to, and the crawl up the mountain while the Widewheel dropped down on each successively steeper hill in much clearer ways. The MX60 also maintained a much better downhill speed, and I can say felt more sure footed on the way down. However me myself I have no intention of making this sort of thing a habit, becuse (to be totally frank) my motocycle is far more fun, feels far more shore footed even at the same speeds and I can go faster legally too.

If I was in a rush to get somewhere then the MX60 would be the race winner. If I'm after an afternoon of some enjoyable riding then what difference does it make that one gets me back home faster?

So in some ways I sort of shake my head at wanting to buy a scooter for high speed blasts. Still I guess its like most modern cars, they'll do 160kmh but its illegal and most people aren't ever going to do that anyway.

Power needs

To get and safely use more power one needs bigger motors, bigger batteries, stronger chassis, better suspension and better brakes. All  this comes at costs; not just monetary ones either.

Bigger batteries require longer charging OR higher Volt and Amp outputs, the standard MX60 charger takes 13 hours to fully charge the battery, while standard one for the Widewheel takes 6 hours.
Of course you can upgrade the chargers (if you know what you're doing, if you don't then think explosive fire potentials) and for about US$40 I upgraded the charger on my Widewheel and got a really significant and practical charge time without pushing the limits (see here). Typically I can come home and charge for an hour and its nearly 100% again (say from down to 60%). The battery on the Widewheel is 13.2Ah, so 4A is pretty  decent and only double the Amp rating of the original.

For the MX60 however that's 20Ah and so to approach that (which is 0.3C) I'd need a 6A charger. This now starts to step into serious realms because the MX60 is a 60V system while the Widewheel is a 48V system. A MX60 60V 6A charger means its supplying 360Watt/hours to the battery (which is no small amount of energy as there are common bathroom bar heaters which are 500W) while the charging of the Widewheel (4x48) is only 192Wh and that's just two old light bulbs.

So we need more than double to go from a 1000W dual motor scooter to go to a 1600W scooter ... which is only a bit faster in practice. Recall that average speed moving (which is a reflection of trip time) went from 32kmh to 24kmh ... not double is it.

Meaning I have pay double to get 33% more overall speed.

If you're commuting, it just may be that I catch you (on the MX60) at the next intersection (on my Widewheel).

A last point (which probably doesnt' matter to most) is how much power I needed for my trip. The MX60 needed 708Wh put into it when I got home, while the Widewheel 410Wh. Meaning that my kwh/100km is worse at

  • 3.2kwh/100km for the MX60
  • 1.9kwh/100km
A Nissan leaf (with a few people and groceries) will use about 10kwh/100kmh cruising at about 90kmh. Meaning the MX60  is not as sustainable there too. I mean if one of your arguments is sustainable transport I mean.

Comparing decks

One thing which really immediately becomes obvious when you hit the power on the MX60 is that you've got nowhere to step back to and brace for that power (but hey,  just yank on the bars like a bob weight right? The stem is infinitely strong isn't it?)

Firstly lets look at the length differences:


So the Widewheel (which has a bit less power at take off) has much more board length (700mm), and its got a kickup at the right where its useful. Meanwhile the MX60, because of the stem angle you just really can't get to use that little bit more deck at the front of the MX60, except on down hills. But you'd better hope your feet aren't in any way damp ... because that rubber is friction-less with rubber soled shoes, but the grip is fantastic on the grip-tape covered surface Widewheel. If your front foot slipped off on the MX on a down hill you'd be smashing your nuts into the post then going down like a sack of broken bones. I'll be thinking about adding something to prevent that.


Its like whoever thought of the Widewheel was a agressive rider and whoever thought of the MX60 was a couch potato in need of a transport scooter over rough roads.

Speaking or rough roads, keep an eye on those bolts on the swingarm sides on the MX60, they undo. I put permatex on mine and I'll be adding this to my "keep an eye on it" list.

Lastly I'll finish off with a quick video of some of the other parts of my ride where I reflected on a number of points (not just the down hill-madness-run


If you are one to need a safe space, don't watch that, it contains "toxic masculinity" type language and you may feel afraid.

I did a ride this morning around my usual "gorge run" and got this:


which apart from a few quick "see what it'll do" squirts was not significantly different to the Widewheel either:


Which brings me to my last point, which is:

Safety

There is no doubt in my mind that the MX60 is very stable around corners and can be ridden with little skill around the same corner at the same speed more safely than the Widewheel.

The brakes are very nice (some might whinge about them not being hydraulic) but them being dual moving piston (not single sided) makes them feel fantastic. That you're forced back, by that stem, you don't have to shift your weight back with footwork, just lean back into braking and you're 90% in the right position for braking (well because you're pretty much stuck there anyway). Basically for anyone (I feel thats most people actually) who has poor riding technique that the engineering of the MX60 makes up for so much.

I feel that I won't be parting with my Widewheel any time soon, however I'm not so confident about the MX60 being with me for long.

So that about rounds it up, hope this helps someone.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Mercane MX60 my settings

The MX60 has a bunch of (in my view pretty  obscure) but important P Settings which really do need to be customised to:

  • get it out of pussy mode
  • make the speedo even faintly accurate
  • enable cruise control (up to you)
  • remove kick 2 go (which I fully understand why its needed for dickheads)
This post is by no means a comprehensive look at the settings (and I've uncovered a few things I just plain don't understand). So the control input looks like this:



To get into the user P settings you first press long the power button (e) to turn it on, then press power and mode together until ---- shows on the display. You then need to enter the code (tedious) of 6666 and then long press (e) and you'll see it showing P01 ... so you're in. This is the default codes:


I've put red around the ones I changed (shown is defaults), and below is a list of my changes

P01  =  2
P05  =  001
P06  =  10.6 - this will effect the speedo
P08  =  090  -  changing this made the difference (I don't understand 090)
P09  =  000  -  I don't want kick to go, so its off
P16  =  41km -  I didn't change this but it is the odo reading
P17  =  001  - because I want it on
P18  =  100  - simply a multiplier of P06


So after these changes my speedo reports the same speed as my GPS and my GPS tracking log shows speeds like this:


After the brief run at 47 I decided to select a lower "gear" and see what it would "cruise on"


  1. is basically nanny speed, or suitable for a pensioner with a seat using it in the supermarket
  2. nicely complies with Australian regulations and sits comfortably on 25kmh, which is nice when cruising and you want to just sight see and have a relaxed ride with the cruise control active
  3. gets up to mid 30's
  4. gets to 48kmh
  5. I can't see a difference so this "zone" must work if I was to raise the speed more (which doesn't interest me)
So there it is ... those settings worked for me, I'll be interested to hear from others if they do or don't

Thursday, 12 March 2020

First day with the Mercane MX60

So I got my MX 60 back home last night and charged it over night.Considering that I deliberated over this for some time and I put a little over AU$3000 down (got the carry rack) I really want the MX60 to come out on top.

But I'm a data and experience driven guy ... not a pictures on advertisers websites guy.


To photograph it I had to stand back further than I normally do, so its actually much bigger than it looks. Indeed looking at my wall there you can get a feel for that.


so my dual is leaving an amount of room on the mat, while the MX60 takes it up entirely.

The weights will also tell you that story too, as indeed will the price. Initially in australia it was nearly $4000 for the MX60 at a local dealer and now that its down to just under $3000 I thought I'd give it a go. Why not right?

The Adventure

What follows are  my initial thoughts and explorations of this in the first day of ownership. So first things first lets look at the video I made as I first turned it on after charging. I'd pre-read the manual but it took a few goes to get it where I wanted it ... and even then its not.



Here are some thoughts I had on it which I also put on reddit earlier today

Well out of the box it performed like a pussy, even in higher "Gears".

Its pretty much exactly what I thought it would be (but less in a few ways) but interestingly things I observed turned out to be worse in practice.

The Good



  • build quality, very classy. Battery box, handle bars, solid stem all of it, first rate.
  • All screws were tight and appeared to be thread locked
  • suspension soaks up road abberations and its like a hover craft, so very suited to longer commutes over scruffy and irregular surfaces because the pneumatic tyres absorb small things (like pebbles and cracks) so you barely notice them
  • the good suspension and tubeless tyres mean you'll need to be a maniac to get a pinch flat
  • steering is stable and yet the scoot is flickable
  • steering stem is very rigid feeling
  • it does not feel heavy on the road and under power


The not so Good


  • feels gutless out of the crate, digging through the menus I was able to tweak some settings:
  1. P09: "Kick and go" was set to 0 (disabling it) 
  2. P17: Curise mode was set to 1 (thank god) enabling it 
  3. P18: speed setting (default = 100) was set to 150 (its max I found)


  • deck width is better suited to a statue who stands feet together and pulls and pushes on the bar for their support. This is not my style (nor good style IMO). Accordingly (as I expected, perhaps more than I expected) this influenced stablity if you were not standing "on axis" between the wheels.
  • steering stem comes back at a steep angle (probably good for helping dopes not crowd the stem) so when you lean into the power you've got it right in the solar plexus ... not my bag
  • speedo is drastically out (GPS=23kmh while speedo shows 36), probably the P06 setting would allow me to dial that in, but its set for 11.3 and that's correct, but there must be some sort of mismatch. Like I said, I could dial it in but its going back so there's no point. If you own one then check P06 setting and dial it in based on your phone because this will make your ODO look like its done more distance and perhaps reduce your sale price 
  • folding the steering stem is tedious but that's only a minor downer for me because I normally store it under the house "unfolded". It makes the stem feel very sturdy
  • even though the power is higher, the larger diameter of the wheels essentially gears this scoot up, meaning it has less hit off the mark than the Widewheel does, so it feels less "nippy"
  • yet despite this I can't get more speed out of it ... 
  • the lack of a comfortable rear foot rest for "power take offs" at the back and the back tilt of the bars makes "agressive" riding harder


So for double the money of the Widewheel 1000W my personal call is "its not my bag baby"

However for others who have different needs maybe its ideal. I reckon that if you put the seat option on it and the carry rack (which I bought but haven't mounted yet) it would be a great pensioner scooter.

NOTE:

I have discovered (thanks MisteryWarrior) that by setting my P08 value to an obscure high  number I'm able to get speeds like this:



I just did some speed testing in my area, up to (and slightly past) my mates place. The GPS (and the Widewheel has no speedo anyway) tells the story of both:

the data below is now obsolete but I will leave it here for reference. Please consult this post for how I got it out of pussy mode and into a usable mode. Further look at this post of better operation.



The Widewheel




The MX60


So the Widewheel has:

  1. higher max recorded speed
  2. higher average speed
  3. higher average speed moving
meaning if it was a race it would beat the MX60


Lets do a quick look at a couple of the details on that when I zoom in on the data in the app:



I've got to keep it for the weekend, I'll see if it grows on me. But I'm not holding my breath right now as its already feeling like this thing is more aimed at this sort of rider than me.


and honestly it probably suits a pensioner pretty well ... I mean the first 3 "gear" modes sure would, with 1 being "shopping mall"