How To Downgrade/Reprogram RadRover Controller Firmware?

Duane

New Member
Anyone out there know how to downgrade/reprogram RadRover controller firmware? I had Rad Power bikes upgrade my Rad Rover controller to the same version of firmware as my wife's bike. The preset speeds for each of the power levels on her bike was different than mine, making it hard to maintain speeds when we ride together. Unfortunately when the controller firmware was upgraded, instead of upgrading to my wife's version, it was upgraded to the latest version which is significantly different. Instead of each power level being related to a speed, it's now related to a wattage. That means now my speed varies wildly based on if I'm going up or down a grade.

I talked to several people at at Rad Power bikes and they all say they can't downgrade the firmware. I can't believe they can't, since as a software developer I've updated and downgraded lots of firmware, including on electric bikes. It's not that hard. You hook up the right software to the right ports and follow the instructions. My guess is they have other reasons.
 

Pa1adin

Member
I just got my bike so am no expert but have you tried adjusting the PAS/speed settings at all? Maybe that would help.
Just a thought.
 
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mrgold35

Well-Known Member
Can you just upgrade so both bikes have the newer programming?

I have two (his/her) Radrovers since Sept/2016. I started out with the old programming on both ebikes and had warranty issues with both controllers and they were replaced with the new programming a few months apart. I had the old and new programming for a while to compare side-by-side (with the wife and I riding together, me trading off bikes for my weekly 40-60 mile work commute).

What I really didn't like about the old programming was:
- abrupt engagement of power when you start pedaling. Almost rode into a full irrigation culvert doing a slow U-turn on a narrow path and wrecked on tight turn on a slight muddy trail when the motor engaged with full power both occasions.
- jerky feeling of on/off power when your mph is around the PAS mph cutoff speed
- limitation of only PAS 2 when riding up hills
- more adjustment of PAS level as the terrain changes and you need more speed
- couldn't find the "sweet spot" for comfortable single track riding in PAS 1 (too slow) or PAS 2 (too fast and too much full power jerkiness) or PAS 3 (way too fast)
- I had to use old programming at PAS 4 or 5 to keep up with my wife with the new programming on PAS 3 (reduced my range a lot)

All the above issues I've had were gone when upgraded to the new programming. It took some time to get use to it; but, I like it the more I ride. It is much more smoother at lower PAS level, less PAS level changes since the power levels are good until 20 mph motor cutoff, and with zero jerkiness like before. I can maintain a comfortable speed when trail riding in PAS 1, 2 or 3. I haven't had the need to work commute in PAS 5 because I can still reach my top speed of 19-22 mph in PAS 4 at 550 watts max (saving power for more range). Another big bonus is I can now ride up inclines in PAS 4 since the wattage is limited to 550.

I rode home yesterday after work with a +20 mph headwind. The old controller would only do PAS 2 because the inclines+wind would put the watts too high for the 6 miles one way home and mph would max out around 8 mph. I can now do the same headwind in PAS 4 and get home sooner (mph between 12-15 with +20 headwind).
 
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Duane

New Member
I just got my bike so am no expert buy have you tried adjusting the PAS/speed settings at all? Maybe that would help.
Just a thought.
What I'm really looking for is how to update the firmware. What software to use, where to get it and the process to update it.

My goal is to adjust the PAS/speed settings. You can change the PAS level using the buttons on the handlebar to level 1, 2, 3, etc. The problem is after they updated my firmware, the way the levels worked changed. It used to be something like this: 1 = 5mph, 2 = 15 mph, 3 = 17 mpg, etc.. Now they are like this: 1 = 100 watts, 2 = 200 watts, 3 = 300 watts. The old way you set a level, it kept the bike going at a constant speed. Now the level puts out a steady power, meaning if it's level 3, it constantly put out 300 watts if your on flat land, going up a hill or down hill. What happens is on flat land, you go about 15mph, up hill you go 6 mph and downhill it goes all the way to 25mph.

To change those levels requires updating the firmware. Usually the process is something like taking the USB cable from the controller, plug into a laptop running the right software. Tell the software to send the update to the controller. What I'm looking for is what software to use, where to get it and the process to update it.
 

Duane

New Member
Can you just upgrade so both bikes have the newer programming?

I have two (his/her) Radrovers since Sept/2016. I started out with the old programming on both ebikes and had warranty issues with both controllers and they were replaced with the new programming a few months apart. I had the old and new programming for a while to compare side-by-side (with the wife and I riding together, me trading off bikes for my weekly 40-60 mile work commute).

What I really didn't like about the old programming was:
- abrupt engagement of power when you start pedaling. Almost rode into a full irrigation culvert doing a slow U-turn on a narrow path and wrecked on tight turn on a slight muddy trail when the motor engaged with full power both occasions.
- jerky feeling of on/off power when your mph is around the PAS mph cutoff speed
- limitation of only PAS 2 when riding up hills
- more adjustment of PAS level as the terrain changes and you need more speed
- couldn't find the "sweet spot" for comfortable single track riding in PAS 1 (too slow) or PAS 2 (too fast and too much full power jerkiness) or PAS 3 (way too fast)
- I had to use old programming at PAS 4 or 5 to keep up with my wife with the new programming on PAS 3 (reduced my range a lot)

All the above issues I've had were gone when upgraded to the new programming. It took some time to get use to it; but, I like it the more I ride. It is much more smoother at lower PAS level, less PAS level changes since the power levels are good until 20 mph motor cutoff, and with zero jerkiness like before. I can maintain a comfortable speed when trail riding in PAS 1, 2 or 3. I haven't had the need to work commute in PAS 5 because I can still reach my top speed of 19-22 mph in PAS 4 at 550 watts max (saving power for more range). Another big bonus is I can now ride up inclines in PAS 4 since the wattage is limited to 550.

I rode home yesterday after work with a +20 mph headwind. The old controller would only do PAS 2 because the inclines+wind would put the watts too high for the 6 miles one way and mph to to around 8 mph. I can now do the same headwind in PAS 4 and get home sooner (mph between 12-15 with +20 headwind).
That's interesting to know about your settings. I think I had older firmware because I never experienced the cutoffs. PAS 2 (maybe 3) gave me a steady 15 mph. I did have the jack rabbit starts you describe, but I prefer the steady speed. I've done over 300 miles on the new firmware and where I used to set the level, forget about it and enjoy the ride, I now have to keep watching the speed, changing gears and PAS levels. It really takes away the enjoyment of the ride.
 

Pa1adin

Member
To change those levels requires updating the firmware. Usually the process is something like taking the USB cable from the controller, plug into a laptop running the right software. Tell the software to send the update to the controller. What I'm looking for is what software to use, where to get it and the process to update it.

I understand, I am a Systems Analyst myself, but maybe the firmware is proprietary to Rad. They don't have to make the software or firmware available to the consumer. I can understand that from the legal side. You could alter it and make the bike do something it was not intended to. Of course I am not saying you would, but they can't ever be sure you know. I am sure they don't want people raising the max speed for example, it violates US law and could damage the motor running at a higher wattage than it was designed to. Just speculation on my side of course.

I think your best bet would be trying to buy a used controller off of someone at this point.

Good luck man. I have not even had a chance to ride my bike so I have no idea how it even behaves. :)
 
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RonDog1957

New Member
I follow any of these threads on controller configuration with interest. I am a 59 yo male (Mechanical Engineer) living in Western Massachusetts. I ride my April/May 2016 vintage RadRover primarily on 2 lane paved and dirt country roads - lots of rolling hills with some reasonably long/steep inclines on every ride. I am not commuting so overall speed has little value to me - I ride for recreation and my love of the RadRover is that it takes at lot of the effort/pain out my frequent uphills without necessitating constant adjustment of the PAS level.

There seem to have been several versions of the controller since I got my bike. Mine is the speed controlled version with PAS 1 being 10 mph cutoff, etc. Mine limits applied power to 500 Watts in PAS 1. Even though the manual says otherwise, PAS 2 and above use the full 750 Watts - I just find anything over PAS 1 more than I need/want. I believe the next version controller after mine was still speed controlled but lowered the speed values of the PAS settings (for more versatility) and of course the current version is power based. I fully appreciate the surge effect that others mention with the speed controlled version - it can get your goat. I have learned to be careful that I am headed straight when I start pedaling so I am not unpleasantly surprised when the assist kicks in - and best to have the brakes on slightly when doing a U-turn to shut the assist system down.

To me personally, I like the speed controlled version - a lot. I ride almost exclusively in PAS 1 and hardly ever touch it. I never have to worry about overloading the motor, and the assist comes and goes as I need it without constantly fiddling with the PAS level. I have not experienced "jerkiness" around the PAS cut in/cut out speed (in fact I'm impressed by how smooth it is, but maybe that's just my particular bike) and the start pedaling "surge" doesn't bother me (but I can see how others object).

Where I am going with all this is that I have seriously considered buying another RadRover, but I really don't think the new controller configuration is right for my style of riding (and a smaller frame size for my 5' 3" wife would be attractive as well). I want the assist to come and go as needed and I don't want to be constantly selecting a different PAS level to get me up a hill or prevent me from getting assist when I just don't want it (level/downhill). It sounds like Duane has the same preference bias that I have. I wonder how many of us there are out there.

I am sitting back seeing if a future version allows for selecting speed or power mode (ultimately with user define setpoints for each). Perhaps this level of complexity would allow/require a user interface via laptop as Duane suggests. Rad is such a young company I expect it will take them awhile to come up with a (near) perfect solution.
 

Lost

Active Member
I am a huge fan of the newest firmware. The power level just adjusts the wind at your back so to speak. Maintaining any specific speed is not an issue for me. I look at it as adjusting how much of a workout you are getting to maintain that speed.
 

RonDog1957

New Member
I can fully understand your point. But for my type of riding with pretty much constantly changing incline/decline, I want the "wind at my back" to be changing constantly to reflect the terrain. I am not after a constant speed but am also looking for a level of workout. Constant power isn't going to do that for me. I can see myself with power based PAS constantly having to adjust PAS level to get the oomph I want going uphill and to make the assist go away on the downhills. I think what the rider wants is going to vary with riding style and terrain. Just my thinking. But I admit I have not ridden a bike with the newest firmware. Maybe I will try to visit Rad in Seattle and take a test spin. I may be totally wrong - it has happened before (once or twice).
 

Lost

Active Member
I can fully understand your point. But for my type of riding with pretty much constantly changing incline/decline, I want the "wind at my back" to be changing constantly to reflect the terrain. I am not after a constant speed but am also looking for a level of workout. Constant power isn't going to do that for me. I can see myself with power based PAS constantly having to adjust PAS level to get the oomph I want going uphill and to make the assist go away on the downhills. I think what the rider wants is going to vary with riding style and terrain. Just my thinking. But I admit I have not ridden a bike with the newest firmware. Maybe I will try to visit Rad in Seattle and take a test spin. I may be totally wrong - it has happened before (once or twice).
I think a torque based system is what you're after maybe. Bike riding by it's very nature is going to be variable.
 

Lost

Active Member
All the above said, pretty sure you can get a programing cable and program it yourself. Be sure to copy the original in case you muck it up. Cable is available at luncycle, and walk through are on line.
https://lunacycle.com/parts/bafang-parts/bbshd-parts/bafang-bbs02-and-bbshd-programming-cable/
I've not done it or tried though.

EDIT: On reflection, I don't think the cable will work as it is not a Bafang controller. Someone had a link to the controller used and from that maybe you could source your own programing. Maybe something along the lines of this: https://lunacycle.com/60-amp-36-72v-ebike-bluetooth-programmable-controller/
 
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RonDog1957

New Member
I would agree a torque based controller would likely suit me best. I haven't done the research, but am guessing that technology is priced beyond the very reasonable price of the RadRover.
 

Duane

New Member
All the above said, pretty sure you can get a programing cable and program it yourself. Be sure to copy the original in case you muck it up. Cable is available at luncycle, and walk through are on line.
https://lunacycle.com/parts/bafang-parts/bbshd-parts/bafang-bbs02-and-bbshd-programming-cable/
I've not done it or tried though.

EDIT: On reflection, I don't think the cable will work as it is not a Bafang controller. Someone had a link to the controller used and from that maybe you could source your own programing. Maybe something along the lines of this: https://lunacycle.com/60-amp-36-72v-ebike-bluetooth-programmable-controller/
I like your thinking. I was hoping there was an easier solution.
 

Stan Wilson

New Member
Anyone out there know how to downgrade/reprogram RadRover controller firmware? I had Rad Power bikes upgrade my Rad Rover controller to the same version of firmware as my wife's bike. The preset speeds for each of the power levels on her bike was different than mine, making it hard to maintain speeds when we ride together. Unfortunately when the controller firmware was upgraded, instead of upgrading to my wife's version, it was upgraded to the latest version which is significantly different. Instead of each power level being related to a speed, it's now related to a wattage. That means now my speed varies wildly based on if I'm going up or down a grade.

I talked to several people at at Rad Power bikes and they all say they can't downgrade the firmware. I can't believe they can't, since as a software developer I've updated and downgraded lots of firmware, including on electric bikes. It's not that hard. You hook up the right software to the right ports and follow the instructions. My guess is they have other reasons.
I would also like to be able to adjust the controller. I just bought (6/20/2017) my 16 inch Rad City Commuter. I like it very much, but the 5 pas settings seem to be off. They come in about 65, 170, 350, 450, 550. For my usual relaxed ride, I like to ride about 10 to 12 mph and I want to "feel" the pedals, rather than getting a "freeride". This is so I can get a little exercise and lower the power consumption by"helping" the motor a little. Power 1 at 65 carries the bike to about 12 mph, and after that, I'm spinning my legs madly, but not helping the motor. Ideally, I would like the controller to go to about 50 which would let me "help" starting at about 10 mph. I've sent several notes to Rad Power Bikes. Apparently, the controller is not user adjustable (darned) But, Scott Vandivort offered a suggestion which may be helping. He suggested "lowering" the maximum speed from something like 35 kph to 20 kph. I've experiemented and found that 23 gives me a cut off at about 10 mph. This way, I can "help" for anything above 10 mph since the motor simply stops increasing. By switching gears, I can "cruise" at about 12 mph while "helping" a little. This also seems to be lowering my power consumption as I rode 12 miles and the power bar just dropped one bar. It used to drop one bar at about 7 miles. The only problem is that if I want to go faster than 12 mph, I have to do it all!

The next "easiest" fix seems to be switching from a 48 to 53 (or so) chainring. The only problem is that this will change all of my gear ratios and lower my "hi" so that it will be harder to crank when I face those inevitable steep inclines.

Thanks,
Stan Wilson
Dodge City, Kansas
 

RandyCPU

New Member
To summarize this thread:
- There are several versions of firmware with radically different PAS algorithms (not just settings)
- There is at least a moderate degree of unhappiness amongst owners with the varying firmware / algorithms
- Some of the unhappiness is at least partially related to safety concerns with those algorithms
- There are no known methods for a bike owner to change or upgrade firmware versions
- The vendor (RadPower) does not offer firmware changes either for a fee or for free
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
<<<"The vendor (RadPower) does not offer firmware changes either for a fee or for free ">>>

This, and my previous experience with 2 conversions I've done myself previously, is what has led me to replacing ALL the electrical and electronics on my 10 day old City. Conversion kits (from Amazon and E-Bay) using KT LCD3 displays and KT series controllers ARE user customizable, easily, using only the LCD display! They also include extended features, like cruise control.

I am about 99% sure though, that this kind of thing will likely never make it on to a production bike as the level of factory support required for all of this adjustability would place extreme demands on the factory techs. It would lend itself well to being totally screwed up by those not wanting to take the time to educate themselves regarding settings they are changing.

My point is, for those that are a little more demanding when considering what is "just right" for them, and they are willing to come up to speed regarding what it takes, there is an option, but you are going to have to get your hands dirty. Careful shopping will result in a much more potent bike, with motors of 1000 and 1500 watts available, priced very reasonably (in my mind anyway). You do need to be mechanically inclined, but there's no rocket science or heavy duty electronics involved. All that has been done for you.

Sonders user groups have come up with a "kit" for their bikes that appear to be pretty much plug and play. They include the LCD3 display and KT controller only - at an awesome cost - giving them the kind of control I'm suggesting. I can see, with enough demand, something like that becoming available for Rad bikes someplace down the line.

Last, a link to a user manual for the LCD3 display. Remember, this display can be used ONLY with a KT series controller.

https://880b28d3d003e6b1c176-ee9159...ec87.ssl.cf4.rackcdn.com/other/en_KT-LCD3.pdf

Last Last, one last point, it should be pretty clear this kind of thing is going to void your warranty, and I doubt seriously Rad is going to come to your aid with any help you might need with something like this. For that reason, I suggest you get a feel for the responsiveness of the seller you are buying from. I've found some that are very easy to speak with.....
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
After pondering this for a couple of hours, I wanted to add 2 points. First, though the bike is "much more potent" with these mods, it's not just about speed. My bike's 20mph speed limit is still in place. This is much more about things like getting across a busy street safely (more confidence inspiring, doing so with some authority!). Or climbing a hill without stressing out the components.

Too, regarding the manual in the link above, to save you some time, you're likely most interested in seeing the P and C parameters that are listed in the index on pages 4 and 5, and the multiple choice options for those parameters starting on page 16. The pages prior to 16 go over LCD and controller functions you might want to know more about given the time. -Al
 

spmckinnon

Member
Has anyone made any progress on manipulating the controller yet? Or even replacing it?

I own a 2018 Radrover in Canada, the motor is labeled 500W with a sticker and likely held back by the controller to be compliant in Canada. I suspect it was cheaper for them to just buy 1 motor and program it for different Country standards, rather than maintain inventory of multiple speed motors. SOOOOOOO I'm sitting on a 750W motor and I really want to figure out how to get it to function at 750W.

This version of the bike has a white female usb plug sticking out of the controller, likely for debug and programming. I'm hoping I can interface with the controller through here but am not sure what software I would need.

Alternatively I'm willing to buy a different controller but am unsure on compatibility.
 

Calicoskies

Active Member
This is more for advanced user so people be careful.

If RadRover is using the same Lishui LSW1106-58-10F Controller you can try Nanjing Lishui Electronics Research Institute Co., Ltd. You can try to email them at scheftlein@lsdzs.com and see if they can help you. I emailed to ask about real specs because the label seemed a little low and received the following back, I received a reply back from Nanjing Lishui Electronics "the controller can take 25Amps peak and around 12amp continuous".

This could be the correct software , http://www.lsdzs.com/en.php/download/index/id/66.html . The software is free but I am not sure if you need the special USB connector they show on the page or just a standard COM Port type connection.

I have the KT Display and controller on two of my bikes and is nice to have control for us that understand the settings.

Let the rest of us know if you make any progress.

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