Electric Bike Battery Repair & Repacking

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hi guys!

In recent years, I have discovered a couple of good resources for getting help with refilling and repacking batteries for electric bikes, electric scooters, electric skateboards, hoverboards, neighborhood electric vehicles, and other products that use higher watt hour battery packs (often with Lithium-ion, Lithium-polymer, or Lithium iron phosphate LiPo or LiFePO4 cells).

It sounds like some of the fancier battery packs (Bosch, BionX, Stromer etc.) are more proprietary in design, and if the battery management system (BMS) is damaged or loses power for a moment, the internal memory will be erased and the battery becomes permanently useless or "bricked". For this reason, it seems wise to get help before a battery completely goes dead if possible.

The first resource I discovered was called Rechargeable Power Energy (RPE), and this was back in 2016. I believe that they are based in Las Vegas and part of a larger battery company that also sells kits. In recent years, they updated their website and seem to be operating as the EBike Marketplace. I created a short article with some pictures and an interview with Sam, from the Electric Bicycle Center in Fullerton California, where he talks about working with this company. You can reach their main landing page for battery repairs here. They advertised on EBR for a short period in late 2017/2018 and then I was told that they were restructuring or having some business changes and needed to pause. I welcome your feedback about them and my goal here is to guide people towards the best resource so they don't have to throw batteries away or end up in a frustrating, time consuming business exchange.

The second, more recent, resource I discovered was called Hi-C Battery. This happened when I was in Denver, Colorado filming reviews for Electric Bike Outfitters. The founder of Hi-C is Patrick Duggan, a former automobile mechanic who lots of shops in Denver know and have worked with for their own battery needs. Patrick is a high-speed kit guy who not only repacks and repairs batteries, but also tries to upgrade them to offer more capacity. He and I spent some time talking on camera and that is included in the EBO tour video here. Patrick has been super friendly and responsive in sharing what services he is working on offering and asking for feedback about his website, which looks pretty good.

hi-c-battery-patrick-duggan.jpg

In my experience, Patrick has been the most responsive and seems to offer the widest range of services for ebike battery repair and repacking. He strikes me as an expert and my goal in sharing with you here is to help reduce waste by recycling and re-using existing ebikes vs. having to buy a new one. Many companies, including Bosch, seem to have their own programs and replacement packs available, but many older or smaller companies may not provide this level of support or simply may have gone out of business. I welcome your feedback and links to other great service providers and programs for recycling old packs, tips on shipping with hazmat hazardous materials, and your experience actually working with these companies.


Here are a few closing notes from a text exchange that Patrick and I had recently. He said that he has been studying reviews on EBR to determine which battery pack designs to stock and sell. He believes that Hi-C will be able to cover 75% of the batteries being sold with his replacements, about 15% of bikes will have to recycle the original case and rebuild the cell insert which is more expensive. Most of the cells he uses are high drain Lithium-manganese (INR) chemistry. The final 10% of batteries use the proprietary BMS and may be rebuildable... but only if the power has not shut out completely and reset the software. He is also able to rebuild custom packs for electric rides which I review sometimes on ElectricRideReview.com. He told me that one of the main reasons he has chosen to offer rebuild services is that he hates to see useable items wind up in the landfill. He's not into planned obsolescence... and I agree with him there :)
 
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Asher

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the post.

It's kinda strange to me when all these DIYers say "oh it's so easy anyone can repack batteries" and yet it's difficult to find people locally in major cities.

Anyone know of one in the LA area?
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Anyone who is very interested in the science of deep sleep mode of batteries, they can hear from the world's foremost battery scientist in this video. He talks about how some of the cells he has had from 1997 still show original capacity.


The number one killer of battery is high temperature and second comes the amount of time spent at high voltage.

If you did not know who this guys is, he is so good that Tesla hired this professor on a exclusive contract basis for 5 years.

http://fortune.com/2015/06/17/meet-teslas-new-weapon-a-battery-scientist/

Prof Dahn.JPG
 

Scooteretti

Active Member
@Asher repacking lithium-ion batteries is not as easy as it looks. It requires training and tooling along with the assurance that the cells being used are actually what they say they are (way too many fakes in the market currently).

Due to the potential safety issues and liabilities associated with repacking many shops are not interested in doing the work. With the minimal difference in price between the original batteries (if available) and a repack most people just go with new from the manufacturer.

If the batteries must be shipped then the issue of shipping the batteries correctly comes into play (meaning they must be shipped by a certified Dangerous Goods shipper both ways).



Will
shop.scooteretti.com
 

Burton

New Member
I’m not quite sure what everyone considers ‘rebuilding’ a battery to mean.

Regardless of battery chemistry - cells need to be carefully matched for both capacity and discharge rates to deliver any reliable long term performance. Which means just replacing a couple defective cells in a battery that’s already a year or more old really isn’t an option.

The best I’ve managed myself under those circumstances is to remove the defective cells and repurpose the good ones as a lower voltage battery or batteries.

I have swapped battery packaging ie put new packs complete with BMS units in old battery sleeves where there was a proprietary power connection but that’s pretty much the same price as a new battery anyway.

Am I missing something ?
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
On a side note, batterys like these can cost you your life if something goes wrong, so I wont fiddle around with them, period.
It's a skill within reach with access to excellent tools. The biggest problem IME is legally shipping a battery for repair.
Micah Toll's book is a very good primer. If not to actually repair then to have a clearer understanding. I have the skills, tools and test equipment but refuse to take responsibility for someone's battery. I can't afford the fines for shipping improperly.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtnvtrU4OI4v8YeLTVWGgiw
 

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