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Mike Ritchie

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  1. Over the last several years SONDORS has evolved the electrical systems of their bikes from open/generic Bafang to several different proprietary set-ups. The purpose of this document is to briefly explain each generation of bike and explore the issue of parts compatibility for upgrades and repairs. The original "Original" (Generation 1) In 2015 the SONDORS e-bike was born after backers on crowd-funding site Indiegogo waited for up to half a year for the first $499 e-bike. There was only one bike, and it came in a few different color combinations. The bike was single speed and there was no LCD available until months later, and shipping was $174 extra. It used an 8.7Ah bottle battery and there were no extended batteries available except from third party vendors months later. All of the bikes used the standard 3-LED, 6 pin throttle still in use today on single speed bikes. Identification: These bikes are easily identified from a few visual clues: The words “e-bike” printed on the battery box under the original SONDORS logo (see pic) The etched controller serial number does NOT have the letter “U” at the end They came in only a few colors that were never produced again – Yellow with orange anodized aluminum wheels, Black with red wheels and printing, and Black with yellow wheels and printing Compatibility: These bikes used a generic controller, which makes them the only SONDORS bike where you can add an aftermarket generic LCD (like the KT-LCD3) without replacing the controller. It also easy takes a 20A or 25A controller upgrade, which again will work with the stock throttle and any aftermarket or SONDORS LCD (available later in the year) that works with the SONDORS controller. When SONDORS started shipping an LCD, it said SONDORS on it even though it used generic protocol. This is why you can’t tell what bike you have based on whether or not it says SONDORS on it. The Kickstarter Generation (Generation 2) Following a successful and disruptive IGG campaign, SONDORS did a follow-up campaign through Kickstarter. These bikes were mostly sold and distributed in 2016 and into early 2017, and came in a wide range of unique colors (Caribbean blue, gray, pink, and others), and new options. They still used the bottle battery, but you could now get an aluminum frame bike, an extended range battery, 4.0in tires, and even first-generation front shocks. They were still single speed, but they abandoned the generic controller for a proprietary one, which started the complicated path of compatibility. Identification: A lot of bikes fall into this generation, and again there are some visual clues No more “e-bike” printed on the battery box The etched controller serial number now contains the letter “U” at the end, signifying a new, proprietary controller. The bike will also have a bottle battery and not a newer triangle battery The bike on the right is a 2nd generation SONDORS fat bike with optional shocks, 4.0 inch tires, and an aftermarket black trim kit and Ibera RA5 rear rack. Compatibility: This is the beginning of SONDORS using a proprietary protocol for their controllers. If you have one of these bikes and want to keep the stock 15A controller, the only place you can get an LCD is from SONDORS. Your bike will run using an aftermarket LCD like the KT-LCD3, but the display will be wonky. It may not show speed, the PAS controls might not work, and the battery level display won’t be right. Most owners with these bikes wanting an LCD (it wasn’t included) choose to swap out their controllers for an aftermarket 20A or 25A version (around $55-$65) and add a generic LCD for around the same price. The 3-LED throttle works fine with these aftermarket controllers. Because these bikes have a 350W motor with the smaller plug, going above 25A will usually require a motor swap and usually an upgraded battery at no small cost. Many people do 48v or 52v upgrades using huge, aftermarket triangle batteries for higher top end speed and more range than the average butt can handle. The first SONDORS direct generation (Generation 3) This could actually be 2 or 3 generations with all of the changes happening, but from a compatibility standpoint I’ll lump them all together. Following the IGG and KS crowdfunding campaigns, SONDORS took ordering in-house. They started with a bike that looked just like the KS bikes but with some new colors (including red and royal blue) and also included a bottle battery. For ease, I’m going to include those bottle battery bikes sold direct into the Generation 2 bucket because technically they’re similar. However, as 2016 turned into 2017 SONDORS started introducing triangle batteries, gears, the Thin, Fold, and even the X bikes. This generation used the proprietary KT-LCD3 LCD with SONDORS printed on it, and maintained the proprietary 15A controller with the “U” in the serial number. However, this new controller now had different plugs for the new triangle and fold batteries which added some complexity. This is also when SONDORS introduced 7 speed bikes, which also introduced a proprietary 3 pin throttle. These 3 pin throttles look similar to the Bafang BBSHD throttle, BUT the pins are male instead of female. This is to keep owners from plugging the throttle into the PAS plug on the controller. These throttles are only available from SONDORS, although you can sometimes find them for sale by owners that have swapped theirs out. Identification: There are so many bikes that fall into this generation you are better off using process of elimination. If your bike has a bottle battery, it’s either Generation 1 or Generation 2. If your bike has a triangle battery AND a rectangular LCD based on the KT-LCD3, you fall into this generation. The picture on the right is a SONDORS-KT LCD3 LCD. Compatibility: This is where compatibility gets “fun”. Like with previous SONDORS bikes that are not “Generation 1”, aftermarket LCDs will not work with the stock 15A controller. The bike will run, but the display will be messed up. Here are some key points: If you want to keep the stock controller, you will need to get the replacement LCD from SONDORS If you want to upgrade your controller to 20A or 25A, you will need a new, aftermarket LCD. You can get the tried and true KT-LCD3, but one of the known vendors is now selling a compatible color LCD for around $20 more. If you upgrade the controller, you will need to get one with the correct battery connector, OR transplant the connector from your old controller to your new one. Most generic controllers are just 2 wire If you have a 7 speed bike, you will also need to replace the throttle if you upgrade the controller. This is because the aftermarket controllers use the 6 pin throttle and not the SONDORS 3 pin version If you need a new throttle for a single speed bike, you can get a generic 6 pin throttle from known vendors. If you need a new throttle for a 7 speed bike, you have only a couple of choices – buy one from SONDORS, or swap out the controller, LCD and throttle to something generic and not proprietary Another option is a brand new upgrade kit available form SONDORS. This includes an upgraded controller and color LCD for around $200. If you get the right kit the LCD will be set correctly and it will be compatible with the throttle Easy, right? Current mid-2018 Generation (Generation 4) In mid-2018 SONDORS switched out the controller and LCD for a new square version called the KD51C-KDS (aka KD51). This new display is completely different under the hood, and it’s gotten mixed reviews. People like that you can adjust PAS power levels, but many dislike that you can no longer see voltage on the display. All bikes during this generation were changed. They all still have triangle batteries, but the controllers and LCD for the “Original” (yes, the name is confusing), Thin, Fold, X, Sport and Mini are all changed. Identification: This one is easy. If you have a KD51 LCD, you have what we’re calling a Generation 4 bike. The picture on the right is the KD51. Compatibility: All of the compatibility notes from Generation 3 still apply, but it’s also important to note that none of the previous generation controllers are compatible with this LCD, and none of the previous generation LCDs (or generics) are compatible with the Generation 4 controller. You still need to be aware of the single speed versus 7 speed throttle compatibility with this new controller While Generation 2 and 3 LCDs and controllers are interchangeable with each other, neither are interchangeable with Generation 4 This is why many with LCD, controller or throttle issues choose to go towards generic again unless covered under warranty by SONDORS. Like with previous generations, SONDORS now sells an upgrade kit for around $200 that contains a new color LCD and either a 20A or 25A controller depending on the bike. These kits will also not be compatible with aftermarket parts, but it will maintain compatibility with your throttle if you get the right kit. November 2018 1.0.0 - Mike Ritchie
  2. Mike Ritchie

    Fold X - 20A Controller Upgrade

    Velomobileshop, electrobikeworld, luna cycle, pasion ebike
  3. Mike Ritchie

    Fold X - 20A Controller Upgrade

    You're probably jumpering the blue and yellow switch control wires by doing this. Nice job.
  4. Mike Ritchie

    Fold X - 20A Controller Upgrade

    This is good information, but let me complete the picture. The green wire controls the throttle lights. The yellow and blue are switched power for the 6 pin throttle. If you want to keep the three pin throttle that comes with 7 speed bikes but attach it to an aftermarket controller, you cut off the connectors and do the following: 1) Attach the blue and yellow wires from the controller to each other. This means the throttle is "always on" and doesn't require the switch that doesn't exist with the 3 pin throttle 2) Attach the white, black and red wires from the controller cable to the same color wires on the 3 pin throttle. They color match 3) Tape off the green wire because there are no lights on the three pin throttles that Sondors uses Hope that helps
  5. Mike Ritchie

    Fold X - 20A Controller Upgrade

    Mine is single speed. You have 2 choices with the 7 speed: get a 6 wire throttle from Sierra ebike, or rewire your controller throttle cable. Phil Hillis posted in our FB group how to do this
  6. Mike Ritchie

    Fold X - 20A Controller Upgrade

    Thanks for posting, Andreas. Here's are updated settings for the LCD. Ignore the one above.
  7. Mike Ritchie

    Fold X - 20A Controller Upgrade

    I installed a 20A controller and LCD from Sierra ebike (formerly velomobileshop). I will add commentary to the pictures, but here are a few things to note. First, the positives: 1) The bike runs like a scalded cat! The 48v battery with the 20A controller on the smaller wheels (and lighter frame) feels like it pulls stronger than my 36V 25A fat bike. I also hit a throttle-only speed of around 26mph. My son took it for a test drive and said "holy crap what did you do to this bike?!" after he rode it. :) 2) The install was fairly straightforward and can likely be done by anyone that's even marginally handy Here are a couple of challenges and/or things you should know: 1) The LCD cable doesn't reach if you run it through the guides. It reaches to program it and even ride with it running in the wrong location, but it needs a 14" or so extension. Kyle Chittock at Sierra is aware of this. If you want to do this upgrade, talk with him about getting a cable as well (I'm not sure they're on his site still) 2) The LCD settings need to change. I posted a picture of the stock Fold X settings and what the generic LCD ships with. You're also going to want to set the bike for a 22" or 24" wheel because the generic controller doesn't have 23" as an option. With the 22" I got 24mph reading, and with the 24" setting I got a 26mph reading. Your choice in which way to go. 3) The PAS cable on the Sondors controller is a few inches longer than on the generic controller. This makes it tricky to connect, but it can be done. You just have to run the PAS wire into the frame, grab it from inside the frame (the hard part), and plug it in. It reaches fine once connected and the controller is inserted. 4) I'm still not sure a 25A controller will fit due to the depth of the tube. I show some additional measurements in the pictures. Also, we don't know what kind of fuse the Fold battery has since it's not accessible from the outside. My guess is 20A, which would make running at 25A quite risky. That's it for now. Check the pictures for more info. Click images to enlarge. I recommend coffee and a bowl to hold screws and nuts This is inside the frame with the controller removed. You can't tell easily in the picture, but that V down in the frame is how far you can go with any aftermarket controller This is the depth of frame where the controller goes. You would have 5 7/8 inches from the bottom of the frame to the mounting plate Just shows the measuring device (I used a level) up against the bottom of the frame 20A controller is the same physical size as the stock 15A controller. However, the power wires run out the other side. This does not cause ANY issues with installation Top end of the stock (left) and 20A (right) controllers. You need to do a plate/mount transplant from the stock to the upgrade. Just the inside of the stock controller with the power wires running out the opposite end. Here is the stock mounting bracket lined up on the new controller. It's a perfect fit. I will pirate the rubber grommet from the stock mount as well The mounting plate transplanted onto the new 20A controller,. You can see I made small cuts on the grommet to get the wires out so I can re-use it. New controller mounted and ready to go. You can see that the power wires on the new controller reach just fine. Issue #1. The PAS cable on the stock controller is a few inches longer than on the 20A upgrade. This made mounting a bit of a pain, but it DOES reach. If you look into the frame you can see the PAS cable connected. The "pain" is getting your hand in there to do it since the PAS cable on the bike only reaches that point and it's hard to reach The PAS connection All buttoned up. You can see that I have not tucked the wires up into the frame yet. Also, it's easier to do this with the bike folded and the battery/controller compartments pointing UP for easy access Aftermarket LCD works, although at this point it's not been calibrated yet Issue #2. The LCD cable will not reach the controller if you run it correctly. It's around 14" short. You will need an extension cable. Kyle at Sierra is working on a solution. However, I was still able to ride it with the LCD cable run like this. Not pretty, but it works in a pinch. I might also cap the connector, coil up the LCD cable and ride without it for a bit.
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