Specialized Turbo VADO battery failure

JmNBoulder

New Member
Region
USA
This seems to be pretty common way to break your battery. That is by shorting out the terminals on the battery
In my case charger magnetic plug picked up a staple off the garage floor and when I plugged in the charge the staple crossed the pins on the batttery.
Others have accidentally placed the key into the socket.

The battery is a 2021 model.
Apparently it has some fuses, that I circle in the photo. The large one is a fuse, the smaller one is a guess. Are there more?
Both have continuity, so they did not blow.

The actual batteries are fine and test at 36 volts.

So the board is "fried", until I can identify the blow electrical component(s).

It should not be this easy to kill a $1000 battery. There should be better circuitry to to deal with a short like this, or maybe not have pins sticking out of the battery.

If anyone has any suggestions on what else to check/try it would be greatly appreciated.
 

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dollarbin

Member
I wish this didn't come up so often. Maybe the mods can make a brief post about this a sticky at the top of the forum.

 

JmNBoulder

New Member
Region
USA
Update.
Turns out I was able to get a new battery under warranty.
However, now my ebike does not turn on. All I get is a blinking bar on the computer.
This is a 2017 VADO with the older bick computer.

I think more damage was done than to just the battery.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Mazovia, Poland
Jim, the BLOKS system was a failure in itself. Do you know how to reset the BLOKS?
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Mazovia, Poland
I do not know how. I have been searching the web for some type reset option for these older VADO bikes.
Remove the display (requires removing a single screw from the display mount). At the back of the BLOKS display, you will find a tiny silver spot. Depress it with the smallest hex key or with a ball-pen. That will reset the display. You might want to replace the display battery as well. (Do not re-insert the anti-theft screw; you might want to reset the display later, too).

I rode the same e-bike for 7 months until Specialized has upgraded me to the new TCD-w display, so I know you cannot ride your Vado before the display works properly.
 

JmNBoulder

New Member
Region
USA
I do not know how. I have been searching the web for some type reset option for these older VADO bikes.
Also, this computer/display is the hard wire one. The only thing display is a blinkling single battery indicator.
 

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JmNBoulder

New Member
Region
USA
Remove the display (requires removing a single screw from the display mount). At the back of the BLOKS display, you will find a tiny silver spot. Depress it with the smallest hex key or with a ball-pen. That will reset the display. You might want to replace the display battery as well. (Do not re-insert the anti-theft screw; you might want to reset the display later, too).

I rode the same e-bike for 7 months until Specialized has upgraded me to the new TCD-w display, so I know you cannot ride your Vado before the display works properly.
OK, thanks. I will give it a try and report back. Cheers
 

JmNBoulder

New Member
Region
USA
OK, thanks. I will give it a try and report back. Cheers
My display is slightly different. There is not an internal battery. I can power up the unit with a USB cable, but still get the blinking power level icon. I tried the reset button and no luck.
When the battery got fried I wonder if it took out this display...
 

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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Mazovia, Poland
My display is slightly different. There is not an internal battery. I can power up the unit with a USB cable, but still get the blinking power level icon. I tried the reset button and no luck.
When the battery got fried I wonder if it took out this display...
Yes it is slighty different. The USB port is for diagnostic not for powering it. The silver dot is there. No chance to find the internal button battery hidden inside?
 

gpburdell

Active Member
Region
USA
This seems to be pretty common way to break your battery. That is by shorting out the terminals on the battery
In my case charger magnetic plug picked up a staple off the garage floor and when I plugged in the charge the staple crossed the pins on the batttery.
Others have accidentally placed the key into the socket. [...]

It should not be this easy to kill a $1000 battery. There should be better circuitry to to deal with a short like this, or maybe not have pins sticking out of the battery.

Agreed. Apparently whomever designed this never heard of Poka Yoke concept from the Toyota Production System nearly 60 years ago.

The term translates to "mistake-proofing" or "error-proofing" and in a production environment it entails identifying potential human errors that may cause defects or damage in the production line, then engineering ways to ensure the human error either can't occur or doesn't cause an issue. The connector used shows an example of this - notches prevent you from connecting it backwards; the connector only attaches in one specific orientation.

Unfortunately whomever designed the BMS electronics didn't think that the connector magnets might pick up a piece of metal from a garage floor, and the frame designer(s) didn't think that placing the key cylinder next to the charger port might possibly result in the owner inadvertently placing their key into the charger port. Both seem to be not-uncommon issues, and a little bit of protective circuitry in the BMS board might've prevented any issues.
 

Allan47.7339

Well-Known Member
Agreed. Apparently whomever designed this never heard of Poka Yoke concept from the Toyota Production System nearly 60 years ago.

We don't really know what the design parameters for the engineers were. I am sure they were under very tight cost controls and had to use generally use e-bike industry off the shelf items with some customization and they don't unlimited space. A few dollars here and there and they've blown by their price point.
 

JmNBoulder

New Member
Region
USA
We don't really know what the design parameters for the engineers were. I am sure they were under very tight cost controls and had to use generally use e-bike industry off the shelf items with some customization and they don't unlimited space. A few dollars here and there and they've blown by their price point.
True, and it seems they figured it out with the VADO SL chargers and ports. So that is an improvement.
 

gpburdell

Active Member
Region
USA
We don't really know what the design parameters for the engineers were. I am sure they were under very tight cost controls and had to use generally use e-bike industry off the shelf items with some customization and they don't unlimited space. A few dollars here and there and they've blown by their price point.
Yes, it’s possible the bean counters might’ve overridden a savvy engineer over a few cents despite the engineer’s pleas to the product manager.

But that’s not really the point - whether someone did know TPS and was overridden / chose not to follow the concepts is immaterial. We have a poor design that’s cost multiple people here a bunch of money.

No matter how careful people are in general, we’re all imperfect and sometimes screw up. Reaching around to the other side of the bike due to how it’s parked with left side to the wall and accidentally putting the key in the wrong opening is an easily predictable possibility. A magnetic charger plug picking up debris from a garage floor and carrying it to the battery in a dimly lit garage is another easily predictable possibility.

For those predicable and avoidable scenarios to then cost the owner a new battery is appalling.

Particularly when other bikes, at substantially lower price points, have those solved. My wife’s Bosch based Trek Verve+ 2 has the battery lock at the opposite end of the battery from the the charger port, and the charger plug is non-magnetic so it is much less likely to pick up metallic debris.
 

Allan47.7339

Well-Known Member
I didn't know TPS was the only quality, design and production system. There may have been other design considerations. My Turbo S had the magnetic plug at the top and the key at the bottom. The wire bundle that needed to go from the motor to the top tube was a problem. It's hard to know if you weren't the one looking at a blank sheet of paper. It's always easy with 40/40 hindsight.
 

gpburdell

Active Member
Region
USA
I'm curious - as an engineer, @Allan47.7339, what are some example design considerations where the ability to easily fry a $1000 battery with a moment's inattention is considered to be a well-designed system?

'cuz from the consumer's perspective, so easily destroying such an expensive battery looks like a pretty bad design.
 

Allan47.7339

Well-Known Member
You can also get severely injured on a bicycle with a moment's inattention. It is the number one cause of riding accidents. I agree it would be better if there is/was/were a fuse to protect the battery but if you were an engineer/industrial designer you would know not everything is obvious and occasionally you may have something you would like to change but it's too expensive at the late release stage or as a product revision for Specialized. The op stated it's common issue but do we really know that? A google search didn't show up complaints other than this forum.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Minnesnowta
Hundreds of battery sales in my years of support, devoid of any goof using their key in a charge port. You can’t fix innate carelessness.