Used Batteries and Recycling Issues

George S.

Well-Known Member
Everyone seems to understand that batteries are the future. The main thing that drives battery power is cost. People are buying some electric cars, BEV’s, but they are buying a lot of ebikes. I don’t know how much people know about battery power as it pertains to an ebike. There are grades of fuel, but not very many. With a battery you deal with voltage sags, life cycles, peak amps, optimal charge voltages, and other complications.

It’s a good idea to recycle batteries. If we have huge fleets of BEV’s, we have to have solutions for the packs as they age. Over the past few years, Jehu Garcia has been an advocate for practical recycling. His store and the Battery Hookup store both offer used battery packs. It used to be that used packs were the bottom level of battery, stuff like failed hoverboard packs. These days, the stuff that is recycled is often from Medical devices or high end back up packs for computer systems. Medical devices may have a date where they have to be pulled, even with few cycles. Plus they are the quality cells.

If you can find a 48v pack, it may be possible to just use it. Of course, most ebikes are locked down with a special battery. Even standard packs can have small differences. But a 48v pack is fairly standard. If you build a DIY bike, you probably put a standard and relatively generic connector on the power cables. One example is the XT60 that is common in the hobby market, scale model stuff.

The styling on an ebike has become a key marketing tool. The ebike is supposed to be stealth or just clean. If you put a battery in a highly engineered slot, it is going to be a proprietary battery. You are locked into the company’s price. Or, worst case, they disappear. The other side of the coin, for a DIY bike, is the used market. A decent pack can last. The basic test is to run the pack down and see how it performs versus the new specs.

This is a good example of a very low cost battery pack that came from server farms, basically fancy UPS batteries. It’s not a small pack. How do you carry it? I have a basket on the back of my ebike. It’s a cheap rack and a $15 basket from Amazon that holds a kitchen size trash bag. It’s a great basket and I wire it to the rack. It holds any battery I have. But I also have a top tube bag that looks nice and holds my Liito Kala hundred dollar pack.

https://batteryhookup.com/products/panasonic-48v-power-module-13s-6-4a-300wh

David Poz has a popular YT site that deals with a lot of alternative energy stuff. Battery Hookup sent him one of these packs and he did a professional job of mounting it. He covers some of the background on the packs. He removed the circuit board that covers the pack. One reason for the low price is the lack of a BMS protection board. Poz added an almost ludicrously robust board in his case. He may have spent around what the pack costs. But adding a BMS is where people need some knowledge and skill. The basic BMS boards that feature in most ebike packs can be found on Ebay. You can go lower with Alibaba. You look for an amperage rating. The US limit is around 15 amps, so a 30 amp BMS has room to spare. You can get US stock or shift to China. You can go Ebay or Ali. And then you have to know how to wire it. Poz really explains this for this pack, which is extremely helpful. This is basic soldering. You can use batteries without a BMS, if you monitor them and charge carefully.

There is an ebb and flow to DIY. Right now, the people coming in to ebikes are Nooby Plus in terms of experience. At some point people will be more comfortable, maybe more curious. They may see some DIY stuff or they may see the battery options. A few years ago people built bikes and they built battery packs. Ebikes may get more expensive, but battery packs may get quite cheap. So the incentive to build battery packs from harvested cells is disappearing. But the recycled stuff that is already built and ‘plug and play’ is going to be very cheap. The idea is to keep it out of the landfill.

Jehu (JAG35) and Tom (Hookup) are pretty creative. They may find ways to harvest cells and make packs. They could make generic 48v packs. The inverter pack, Bluetti and all, is very hot. People may come to see that the all in one nature of the inverter pack is expensive. Jag35 has offered a clever way to increase the capacity of the Bluetti with used packs that are just plugged in. You really need to know enough about this stuff to have a good idea what you are doing. Right now, buying an ebike doesn’t mean people learn about electric motors, controllers, and batteries. This could change. The more you know, the more options you have.

Certainly an ebike battery can be a great emergency power pack, if you can set it up. There is a great little solar charge controller for ebike packs. Plug and Play, once you set the voltage. So, with a solar panel and an ebike battery, you have an emergency battery system with a lot of options- chargers, 48v inverters, etc. Actually, this is what Bluetti and Jackery are selling, in a Swiss Army knife package. If you have an ebike battery, you have a potential piece of that system. Can you even tap into your battery? After the Texas power fiasco this winter, people probably should consider how they can stay warm or stay cool, power things that use electricity, etc.
 

kmccune

Active Member
Everyone seems to understand that batteries are the future. The main thing that drives battery power is cost. People are buying some electric cars, BEV’s, but they are buying a lot of ebikes. I don’t know how much people know about battery power as it pertains to an ebike. There are grades of fuel, but not very many. With a battery you deal with voltage sags, life cycles, peak amps, optimal charge voltages, and other complications.

It’s a good idea to recycle batteries. If we have huge fleets of BEV’s, we have to have solutions for the packs as they age. Over the past few years, Jehu Garcia has been an advocate for practical recycling. His store and the Battery Hookup store both offer used battery packs. It used to be that used packs were the bottom level of battery, stuff like failed hoverboard packs. These days, the stuff that is recycled is often from Medical devices or high end back up packs for computer systems. Medical devices may have a date where they have to be pulled, even with few cycles. Plus they are the quality cells.

If you can find a 48v pack, it may be possible to just use it. Of course, most ebikes are locked down with a special battery. Even standard packs can have small differences. But a 48v pack is fairly standard. If you build a DIY bike, you probably put a standard and relatively generic connector on the power cables. One example is the XT60 that is common in the hobby market, scale model stuff.

The styling on an ebike has become a key marketing tool. The ebike is supposed to be stealth or just clean. If you put a battery in a highly engineered slot, it is going to be a proprietary battery. You are locked into the company’s price. Or, worst case, they disappear. The other side of the coin, for a DIY bike, is the used market. A decent pack can last. The basic test is to run the pack down and see how it performs versus the new specs.

This is a good example of a very low cost battery pack that came from server farms, basically fancy UPS batteries. It’s not a small pack. How do you carry it? I have a basket on the back of my ebike. It’s a cheap rack and a $15 basket from Amazon that holds a kitchen size trash bag. It’s a great basket and I wire it to the rack. It holds any battery I have. But I also have a top tube bag that looks nice and holds my Liito Kala hundred dollar pack.

https://batteryhookup.com/products/panasonic-48v-power-module-13s-6-4a-300wh

David Poz has a popular YT site that deals with a lot of alternative energy stuff. Battery Hookup sent him one of these packs and he did a professional job of mounting it. He covers some of the background on the packs. He removed the circuit board that covers the pack. One reason for the low price is the lack of a BMS protection board. Poz added an almost ludicrously robust board in his case. He may have spent around what the pack costs. But adding a BMS is where people need some knowledge and skill. The basic BMS boards that feature in most ebike packs can be found on Ebay. You can go lower with Alibaba. You look for an amperage rating. The US limit is around 15 amps, so a 30 amp BMS has room to spare. You can get US stock or shift to China. You can go Ebay or Ali. And then you have to know how to wire it. Poz really explains this for this pack, which is extremely helpful. This is basic soldering. You can use batteries without a BMS, if you monitor them and charge carefully.

There is an ebb and flow to DIY. Right now, the people coming in to ebikes are Nooby Plus in terms of experience. At some point people will be more comfortable, maybe more curious. They may see some DIY stuff or they may see the battery options. A few years ago people built bikes and they built battery packs. Ebikes may get more expensive, but battery packs may get quite cheap. So the incentive to build battery packs from harvested cells is disappearing. But the recycled stuff that is already built and ‘plug and play’ is going to be very cheap. The idea is to keep it out of the landfill.

Jehu (JAG35) and Tom (Hookup) are pretty creative. They may find ways to harvest cells and make packs. They could make generic 48v packs. The inverter pack, Bluetti and all, is very hot. People may come to see that the all in one nature of the inverter pack is expensive. Jag35 has offered a clever way to increase the capacity of the Bluetti with used packs that are just plugged in. You really need to know enough about this stuff to have a good idea what you are doing. Right now, buying an ebike doesn’t mean people learn about electric motors, controllers, and batteries. This could change. The more you know, the more options you have.

Certainly an ebike battery can be a great emergency power pack, if you can set it up. There is a great little solar charge controller for ebike packs. Plug and Play, once you set the voltage. So, with a solar panel and an ebike battery, you have an emergency battery system with a lot of options- chargers, 48v inverters, etc. Actually, this is what Bluetti and Jackery are selling, in a Swiss Army knife package. If you have an ebike battery, you have a potential piece of that system. Can you even tap into your battery? After the Texas power fiasco this winter, people probably should consider how they can stay warm or stay cool, power things that use electricity, etc.
I happen to like XT connectors, you can even get an antispark one.