Aaarghhhhh!!!! Bought a bike directly off of Alibaba !!! Heeeelllllp!!!

adamskiinasia

New Member
Region
Asia
I bought a cargo bike for my children 6 years ago. It was lovely but I needed a new one as the old one had an accident (someone set it on fire but the police got him) . Anyway so I decided to try out the much cheaper (and closer) bikes in China (I live in Japan). So they seemed nice and I thought I was protected by Alibaba but I wasnt. Nobody told me that Alibaba held the funds until the buyer was happy. So the seller stalled me and when the bike didnt work, they kept saying "ok ok we will send another battery" but they never did. Funds were released and I fumed. So, I figured it WAS the battery. The old one had a few problems , I suppose I shouldve replaced the charger first. Anyway, the original problem was when I turned on the power on the LCD the battery light blinked like it was low. Well, after 6 months of scouring the damn globe to find another battery it arrived and after going to all the trouble of hooking up a new one.... the LCD once again blinked "low battery" and then powered off and now it wont turn on. I have yet to get any power from the motor. I did ride it a little like 10 m at a time but still no power so I doubt its the sensors..... I thought it might be the LCD ? Could something brand new have a dud battery already ?? This is a rear hub 500W - 36V-14A. Though Japan is a bike country it is definitely NOT an electric bike country. Though they are catching on, servicing tends to be mostly the big 3 brands. Bridgestone, Yamaha and Panasonic. They would shake their head at me if I rode in so its a nightmare re: I MUST learn whats wrong on my own. (sob sob) - Adam
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
You have two batteries now? What do they look like? Not many generic battery makers bother to put in blinkenlights. What's the output voltage? Same question for the charger.
 

adamskiinasia

New Member
Region
Asia
Well, the original was the rack at the back type. The new one is actually made for a mountain bike but I adapted it to fit at the back. Its a heavy bugger anyway so I cant imagine it on a mountain bike. The LCD display, when I pressed the power button would come on and the battery power indicator in the bottom right corner blinks with only 1 bar. However, it shows 41.2V or something like that. I have no reason to think the battery isnt charged. It charged the same as I have always charged. Red light when I started the charge then by morning its green. Side indicator shows FULL. I will get a voltmeter to eliminate the low battery possibility. But Im starting to think thats not the problem.
 

adamskiinasia

New Member
Region
Asia
I should add that the maker was a real prick and the moment they got their money became sarcastic and rude. There may have been nothing wrong with the original battery. What are the odds it happens on 2 batteries from different makers ??
 

ki11a

Well-Known Member
Sounds like there could be a issue with the controller since both batteries are having the same issues, it points to the culprit being the controller or loose connection somewhere.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I bought two bad batteries. One from Amazon Btrbattery, I figured it out in < 31 days and got my money back. Would drop to 7 v if I drew more than 50 watts. The other from ebay sunebike Baldwin City warehouse, I thought it might be the power wheel or controller since the display would stay on when it quit riding. It wasn't. When I loaded the battery with 15 ohms 750 watt resistors, (3 amps) voltage collapsed to 11. I didn't get my $330 back from that one. I had to haul the battery to town to collect all the test setup. When I bought a battery for $630 everything was fine for the next 4500 mlles, where I wore out the gears on the $221 power wheel.
You need to measure battery voltage with a dvm, not rely on the display to measure it for you. Guessing is a good way to burn money on a bike that won't run.
I bought one thing from alibaba, a 8" diameter shrink wrap tube for rewrapping the dead batteries. Haven't tried to repair one, though.
Note shipping is lower on power wheels than on whole bicycles. Convert something local, lots of used bikes in Japan. I did. Use insulated crimp terminals from Taiwan or USA, they won't melt out at 40 A. What was that former ebay power wheel vendor that retreated to alibaba, leaf? Lots of reputation. And em3ev in HK has a great reputation. I bought a Mac12 last year from a US vendor, so I wouldn't have to send my debit card # off to the land of hackers. They've already sold my unlisted phone # to every scammer in the world. Got it off the Anthem health insurance site, the newspapers said.
 
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rich c

Well-Known Member
Sounds like you got what you paid for. I've read about these kind of support issues from laser engravers to eBikes. Personally it seems like a solid known issue about a lot of Alibaba sellers and the exact reason I wouldn't buy directly. All electrical troubleshooting requires numbers from a multimeter to know exactly what and where the issue is. Just assuming a battery is the problem hardly ever works out. Measure some voltages and find out where the malfunction is. I agree with ki11a, sounds like the controller.
 

adamskiinasia

New Member
Region
Asia
Ok.... now I have to expose my thorough ignorance.....Whats a controller ?? Is that the small square thing where the battery wires go into then it splits power all over the bike in a barf of colorful wires ?? Its amazing how much you learn by just opening up something and tracing the power. I will first get a voltmeter to make sure the battery is charged. How do I know if the controller is the culprit ? I am not great with diagnostics. I often miss stuff and cant be sure I am doing the right thing.
 

adamskiinasia

New Member
Region
Asia
Sounds like you got what you paid for. I've read about these kind of support issues from laser engravers to eBikes. Personally it seems like a solid known issue about a lot of Alibaba sellers and the exact reason I wouldn't buy directly. All electrical troubleshooting requires numbers from a multimeter to know exactly what and where the issue is. Just assuming a battery is the problem hardly ever works out. Measure some voltages and find out where the malfunction is. I agree with ki11a, sounds like the controller.
Yes, the lure of cheap prices is powerful. I paid over 4000$ for a Nihola Cargo bike from Denmark. It was well made and I didnt have many issues with it except for it not being able to be serviced here. I think 1500$ of that was customs and shipping. Alibaba act like Amazon but definitely are NOT. Im sure there are thousands of merchants but if they even let 1% do that then ... I mean to be fair, I did get the bike and its not like the battery case was empty. Seems like a nice bike.... just doesnt work !!! he he
 

adamskiinasia

New Member
Region
Asia
I bought two bad batteries. One from Amazon Btrbattery, I figured it out in < 31 days and got my money back. Would drop to 7 v if I drew more than 50 watts. The other from ebay sunebike Baldwin City warehouse, I thought it might be the power wheel or controller since the display would stay on when it quit riding. It wasn't. When I loaded the battery with 15 ohms 750 watt resistors, (3 amps) voltage collapsed to 11. I didn't get my $330 back from that one. I had to haul the battery to town to collect all the test setup. When I bought a battery for $630 everything was fine for the next 4500 mlles, where I wore out the gears on the $221 power wheel.
You need to measure battery voltage with a dvm, not rely on the display to measure it for you. Guessing is a good way to burn money on a bike that won't run.
I bought one thing from alibaba, a 8" diameter shrink wrap tube for rewrapping the dead batteries. Haven't tried to repair one, though.
Note shipping is lower on power wheels than on whole bicycles. Convert something local, lots of used bikes in Japan. I did. Use insulated crimp terminals from Taiwan or USA, they won't melt out at 40 A. What was that former ebay power wheel vendor that retreated to alibaba, leaf? Lots of reputation. And em3ev in HK has a great reputation. I bought a Mac12 last year from a US vendor, so I wouldn't have to send my debit card # off to the land of hackers. They've already sold my unlisted phone # to every scammer in the world. Got it off the Anthem health insurance site, the newspapers said.
DVM is a ... Digital Volt Meter ?? I had one and my Lab chewed it but I will get another and do some probing. Mind you Im not sure what I would be probing .....
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member

Ok.... now I have to expose my thorough ignorance.....Whats a controller ?? Is that the small square thing where the battery wires go into then it splits power all over the bike in a barf of colorful wires ?? Its amazing how much you learn by just opening up something and tracing the power. I will first get a voltmeter to make sure the battery is charged. How do I know if the controller is the culprit ?
Yes. The red & black wires going in the controller should show the battery voltage. You haven't said if the bike is 36 v or 48 v so 41.2 might be okay for 36. 41.2 is almost dead for a 48 v battery. 48 fully charged goes to 53.6. My bad batteries had bad welds, would collapse to 7 v or 11 v when I tried to draw more than 50 W. One would stay there, I got my money back from Amazon for that one. The other would bounce back to full charge as soon as I turned the motor off. I didn't get my money back on the second one. It took me months to assemble a test jig. I had to load the 2nd battery with resistors to draw 3 A on my back step to catch the battery failing. 15 ohm 1150 W resistors. Three 5 ohm 450 watt resistors in series. For a 36 v battery you would use 10 ohms to check a 3.6 A load. You may need alligator clip leads to probe voltages, and if you're going to load check you need to make up 5 amp capable test leads.
If both batteries are bad, there you are. If the batteries aren't bad and the wiring isn't blocking the voltage from getting to the controller, then the next most likely cause of non-function is the controller.
The best way to get a controller matching to a power wheel is to buy a new one as a set. I bought an extra power wheel/controller/throttle/brake handles kit for $189. It was a DD and I didn't like the torque curve & the high watthour consumption on hills, but it would move and proved my 3rd battery was good.
 

adamskiinasia

New Member
Region
Asia
Not sure which I'd be cheering for in that case. If my batteries are ok then it's probably the controller? If it's the controller the hub motor would need changing? Yeesh. I doubt I could change a spoke. A rear wheel motor by myself AND expect it to work??!!!!
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
You match the colors of the wires. The battery wire you can crimp on insulated .250 flag terminals 14 ga, taiwan or US. (****ese are garbage). Put male on + and female on - so as to not plug them in backwards. Use a Klein or Ideal crimp tool, and pull test after crimping. Or Andersn connectors are not hard to put on, but hard to find for sale.
If you buy a $189 power wheel kit, from a reputable vendor, the controller should match the motor should match the throttle. Ones in post 7.
Some extremely experienced people can match controllers to motors by part numbers. I don't work in the industry 50 hours a week. The specifications of bicycle parts are non-existant. A maximum amps number, a nominal voltage. I couldn't even get dimensions of sprocket clusters off the shimano or SRAM websites. You're supposed to buy the ones that don't fit and throw them away and buy another, 6 or 10 times.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Not sure which I'd be cheering for in that case. If my batteries are ok then it's probably the controller? If it's the controller the hub motor would need changing? Yeesh. I doubt I could change a spoke. A rear wheel motor by myself AND expect it to work??!!!!
To get better direct answers post as much info about the bike as you can.

•Drive system manufacturer
•Watt rating of drive
•Volts and amps of battery pack
•Amp rating of controller (box between battery and drive.
•Pictures of drive motor, controller (including specifications label), display, battery, wiring harness, bike.
•Link to the bike

I don't know if anyone can help troubleshoot this on a forum. Asking and answering questions about this one by one will take forever.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
I guess your folly was buying from alibaba, instead of aliexpress. The former is intended for exporters selling a boat load of bike, while the latter is set up for the guy that is trying to make money selling one bike, as well as as estaablishing some kind of reputation. The first guy isn't going to care about one bike. working or not, plus he made his money on the shipping. Not that the last guy cares, but aliexpress comes down quickly in your favor if you have a video showing a box with a bike broken into two pieces.

If you're trying to bring the world into a online reality show about ali-biking, you're doing a good job, but if you want a question answered, I think J.R. is to the point.
 

adamskiinasia

New Member
Region
Asia
Not at all. I came here because I know there's a lot of knowledge here. My bad for only posting basics. I wasn't sure when to do that. As well I was hoping to get " that happened on my bike" answers. So I'll definitely try to get the info I can see. The problem also is there's no owners manual. I vaguely remember that it's a 500w rear hub motor with torque sensors. Other than that I'd be guessing unless there's a number on it but I'll take detailed pics too. All I can do with the controller is inspect for a number, same with hub motor. I have 1 pic of the controller I'll try to attach. Thx again everyone. I don't mind criticism too. This is Japan so space is a premium. This has been sitting in my garage taking up a chunk of space since last July.