E-Bike Battery Basics
Understanding how your battery works and how to care for it is much less complicated than you might think. With a few simple tricks and some basic tools you can keep your battery charging and your bike whirring for two to three years. But without proper care, your battery could be toast in a matter of months.
The most important thing is to have your battery ready to go, so you can ride your bike. Right? We recommend plugging your battery in when you get home from your commute. We like to check the cycle analyst after a few hours and unplug when the battery has a 90% charge. This is less stressful on the battery.
When you know you’re not going to use your battery for a month or more, it’s important to charge it to the nominal voltage. The most common e-bike battery is 36V nominal. Unused, your battery will slowly discharge, so you can even charge just above nominal voltage, knowing that after a few months of storage, it will drop to just below nominal.
How to Use a MultiMeter
The easiest way to check the voltage of your battery is to use a multimeter. These tools are simple, affordable, and easy to find – even at your local e-bike store.
- Set your MutliMeter to DCV 200
- Put each of the probes into a separate hole in the battery’s charging plug or into the receptors on the bottom of the battery. (You don’t need to worry about connecting red to positive and black to negative. If you have it backwards, the multimeter will read a negative number, but the number is the same as it would be if you connected it correctly.)
Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries are ideal for electric bikes because are much lighter and have higher energy density than other rechargeable batteries. For example, a 2 lb Li-Ion battery stores 150 watt-hours of electricity, while the same sized, nickel-metal hydride battery (NiMH) perhaps typically stores 60 to 70 watt-hours. And a lead-acid battery only stores 25 watt-hours.
Li-Ion batteries have other benefits. They hold their charge - only losing about 5 percent of its charge per month. They have no memory effect - meaning you do not have to completely discharge them before recharging, and they can handle hundreds of charge/discharge cycles.
There are some things to watch for. Keep your Li-Ion battery away from high temperatures; heat degrades the battery. Do not charge your battery in temperatures below freezing and you should never completely discharge a lithium-ion battery. [Source: howstuffworks.com]
*Find out how you can retrofit your bike with and E-bike conversion kits.
*Come in and talk to our knowledgeable staff. We’re always happy to help.