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Old 10-16-2021, 05:19 PM   #1
snout
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Default Bad experience with Alibaba battery provider -- can this battery be saved?

Hello Segway people!

In another thread here (about someone else's experience with a good Chinese aftermarket battery supplier), I mentioned my experiences with a bad supplier, but I think my story needs its own thread (as a warning).

Here's the company: Shenzhen UNC Battery Company

my contact was "Pascal Hu", aka "Jack Hu", or "MouHai Hu"

The story: A couple of years ago, I was looking for replacement Segway batteries, so I checked on Aliexpress, where several companies were advertising their aftermarket batteries. I can't remember what finally led me to choose Shenzhen UNC...I think it's because they claimed they were OEMs for Segway, because they had a 1-year warranty, and also because "Pascal" was very responsive to my emails.

In addition to asserting they were an OEM for Segway, they also promised that they had a new and improved BMS (battery management system) in their batteries, that the BMS worked via Bluetooth to communicate with your phone, and that you could choose from several chemistries, including ternary cells that offered ridiculous range.

I opted for some cells that were supposed to have the standard chemistry with slightly improved range over the originals.

When the batteries arrived, they were obviously screwed shut with caulk around the edges for extra sealing. The batteries were held shut with zip ties while the caulk/glue cured on the trip here. I asked about the bluetooth app -- "oh, it's buggy and doesn't work". Hmm.

I installed my batteries and charged them for 24 hours, then took the Segway for a ride. All seemed fine.
I parked the Segway for ~10 days unplugged, and when I plugged in the Segway 10 days later, I got a red light from one of the battery packs.
I tried to contact Pascal. He did not reply to my emails. Eventually, I wrote the WeChat number on the website as an interested customer, and he got back to me right away.
When I explained the problem, he explained that the type I'd chosen was very finicky and was prone to failure. When I asked him for a replacement, he explained that this model was no longer made (because it was prone to failure) but that he'd give me $525 credit toward some new-and-improved batteries instead. And then he said "they're $1600 a pair, so you get them for $1075", but I checked online and the batteries were selling for around $1200, so he was actually offering me about $ld paste in the conversation here.
Anyway, he'd already taken ~$1000 of my money for a product that he admitted later was "not stable". I was not eager to send him another $1000 hoping to get a battery that would actually work. I ended up buying some nearly-new genuine Segway batteries from eBay instead.

So there's my story. If you go to the website linked above, you'll see that they still offer battery "refills" -- the cells, but I don't see the BMS or the case. They still assert that they use the OEM batteries.

My advice: stay away from Shenzhen UNC battery company!
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Old 10-16-2021, 05:21 PM   #2
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Default couldn't add the url

SegwayChat made me remove the URL because it asserts I've only made one post in the past and it suspects I'm a spammer. But I'll bet you can figure out the url for uncbattery.
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Old 10-16-2021, 05:37 PM   #3
snout
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Default Can it be saved?

Oh right -- the 2nd point of my post. Can the pack be salvaged? Because it's held together with screws, I took it apart to peek inside. I'd upload photos, but it won't let me because I still haven't posted five times.

I am looking back at my original notes to Pascal Hu. I told him that I'd gone on vacation and left the Segway (it's an i167, btw) unplugged. When I came back and plugged in the Segway, one pack charged normally, dropping back to the occasional green blink when the battery was charged, but the other one stayed solidly green, even when I'd charged it for 24 hours. When I then unplugged the Segway and plugged it back in, I got a red light from that pack. I pulled it from the Segway and checked its voltage, and it had full voltage. I tried reinstalling, but still got the red light. I let it sit for a month and still got the red light. I let it sit for a few more months, and the voltage dropped to nearly zero -- I am guessing that the bluetooth module on the BMS draws current? I tried bringing the voltage up to 60v by charging at 100ma (as someone else has outlined on this forum) and then put it back on the Segway to charge. I can't remember what happened then -- I think I got the green "charging" light on the Segway, but then eventually it turned red. Anyway, it's currently showing full voltage, so the Segway recognized it enough to charge it, but it's still giving me a red light.

On another thread here (about a supplier who's apparently providing decent aftermarket batteries), I was given the link for the bluetooth BMS software for that company's battery. I haven't tried it yet, but I am hoping that it will work with my batteries.

So:

-- Anyone here with the tech skills to speculate why the battery is showing full voltage, but the Segway is giving me a red light?

--This is on my i167. I also have an i2...if I install the bum battery on the i2, would the i2 give me any more feedback about what's wrong with the battery than the not-very-helpful red LED?

--I took the battery pack apart (it's easy! It's screwed together!) I took many pictures, but I need to post more before I can upload them.

--I had thought that maybe the BMS had frozen/locked up, and I had speculated that letting the battery's voltage drain down would reset the BMS, but that apparently didn't work

--now that I have the battery apart, can I simply find the shady cell(s) within the pack and replace them individually? Is there some way to tell with a voltmeter (preferably without de-soldering the whole pack) which "clump" of batteries is bad?
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Old 10-16-2021, 05:40 PM   #4
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Default Someone in Texas who loves the batteries?

Also, as a side note, Pascal told me that he had many happy customers in the US and in Europe, and he forwarded texts from happy customers, including someone in Texas who had bought many (presumably for a rental or retail business). This would have been several years ago....let me see if I can find the message, but I figured there's probably a good chance that person is on this forum.
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Old 10-18-2021, 10:07 AM   #5
airdale
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With your experinace you may worried about those batteries having problems?

I wouldnt be charging them inside or even storing them were they might catch fire.....Just a thought
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Old 10-19-2021, 11:04 PM   #6
P99Guy
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Snout,

The batteries I have seen with that issue all had defective BMS boards.
The batteries check fine at 68+ volts but still get red lights.

I have a diagnostic tool to test the BMS boards so I am slowly going through dead batteries to test before cutting the units open.

I have about 20 dead Original Segway batteries to play with.

I was NOT the person from Texas mentioned in your post.

David

FYI the Chinese batteries I purchased from Amy are still going strong.
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Old 11-15-2021, 02:39 AM   #7
rvphilip
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Default I wouldn't even bother

The best thing you can do is get rid of it. I have been in the product manufacturing domain for over a decade now and have worked on several IDC chipsets and image thermal scanners. But I have never tried to fix up a battery. Batteries are things that have to be safe and reliable or It can end up ruining your entire device or system. Are you sure that after fixing it up it will still work properly and won't blow up?
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