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Mike Ritchie

Fold X - 20A Controller Upgrade

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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 :) 

20776745_10211624803073161_8725283956304591637_o.thumb.jpg.76410690ed92bd8f157ec46156e01f35.jpg

 

 

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 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
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

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
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 installationJust another view of the mounting

 

 

Top end of the stock (left) and 20A (right) controllers. You need to do a plate/mount transplant from the stock to the upgrade.
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.
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

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.

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.
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.

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 reachIf 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

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

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

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.
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.
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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Thank you for posting this.  Can't wait to get my Fold X's.  I ordered a BLACK/RED and WHITE/BLUE.  Hopefully the cable length will be solved by then.  If not, then I'll just have to make one but I'm definitely making that upgrade.  Again thank you for the instructions and LCD setup.

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Awesome thanks fro the post.  I just ordered all the gear from Kyle to do the same.  Next week I hope to get my FoldX up to speed....pun.

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Thanks for the great post and pics.  My only comment is about the fitment of a 25A controller.  I just finished installing one and it fits just fine.  It might burn out the motor . . . only time will tell.  But fitment is not an issue.

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On ‎10‎/‎5‎/‎2017 at 7:36 PM, Rob88 said:

Thanks for the great post and pics.  My only comment is about the fitment of a 25A controller.  I just finished installing one and it fits just fine.  It might burn out the motor . . . only time will tell.  But fitment is not an issue.

I don't think we need to worry about burning up the motor. I couldn't burn up the stock 350w, 36v motor, even with 48v and a 25 amp controller. 

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@Rob88, I used a 52v Battery and the 25Amp with quality Panisonic 18650 NCRB high capacity discharge Cells (10% more power than 48V packs) on my Fat, for over 2,000miles before upgrading to the 750watt Bafang. I was cautious because there are reports of burning out the 350Watt Bafangs.   Houshmand  Moarefi did just that on his original Fat but he contributes the failure to riding up the highest road in Colorango..Mount Evans. The good news is, that pushed him to create his 750w, 25amp controller with 7 speed Mountain Climbing Monster, featured here on the Forum, posted by our forum owner Andi. Continuous high power levels can result in more current delivery than can be turned into motive force by the 350Watt Bafang. The result is excessive heat...that's the destructive element. Just be careful if you use Only Throttle or MAX PAS settings all the time. Your nose is a early warning system.

image.jpeg.b8bec3ed6d409c68a55f5c983611290d.jpeg

Reddy

Edited by Reddy Kilowatt

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@Reddy . . . Re "the nose as early warning system", I fiddled around with C8 "motor operating temperature display mode" but didn't have much luck.  

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There is no temperature sensor in the Bafang Geared Hub Motors. The LCD is Reddy )) for those  motors that have them. Matt Robertson installed a digital temp sensor on his Controller with a display on his handle bar but it put his worries to rest. Matt was using 35amp Controllers with the 750watt Bafang. I think you can find his post in the 2wheel Drive thread. Go to his User Page to review all his posts and find the 2 Wheel Drive or Dual 750watt, something like that and review his posts. I didn't mean to push an alarm bell. The 350 Bafangs are called bulletproof. There are exceptions to the rule though and I always ride to conserve battery capacity. Any you don't use will be that which you don't need to replace and not only increase distance ridden but battery longevity. 

Dont worry, you have to push LONG and HARD before you can do damage. Just keep that in mind. For instance, just jamming full throttle from a stop (full current/watt delivery)  won't accelerate Any faster than a careful application of the throttle. You'll use less current and won't turn the excess into heat. One thing that makes the Fold more vulnerable to controller heat build up is the confined space compared to the Original Fat or Thin. That may or not be a consideration when installing the 25amp controller.

There are great technical articles at electricbike.com that cover all aspects on batteries, controllers  and motors. It's very competent for those interested in eBikes in depth. Keep it as a reference. 

image.jpeg.b8bec3ed6d409c68a55f5c983611290d.jpeg

Reddy

Edited by Reddy Kilowatt

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