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Old 01-03-2019, 05:14 AM   #1
Segbyte
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Default Recently bought an Ninebot Elite+ in Ninebot's sale - concerns about the battery

Hi,

First post. After a bit of advice, thanks.

I'm not sure if there was a sale in every country, but I recently bought a new Ninebot Elite+ relatively cheap in Ninebot/Segway's recent pre-Christmas sale, direct from their website.

But I have some concerns, mainly about the battery, how long it's been in storage, and it's current state because of this.

So my concern started when I first got the box delivered. On the side there was a date hand-written with permanent marker, in Asian format, i.e. YYYY-MM-DD..The date written is...June 2016. There's printed writing next to date in Chinese, and as my Chinese isn't so hot (i.e. non-existent), I don't know what it says, but I can't believe this date can be anything other than the manufacturing date Ė there were white boxes provided for the YYYY/MM/DD fields, so it wasnít just graffiti'ed on. I can only assume Ninebot can't have sold as many Elite+'s as they were expecting to?

Anyway, this naturally worried me, as although opinions seem to vary on this, I've googled and some websites say the shelf life of lithium-ion batteries is only 2-3 years. And as I'm sure anyone knows, and I know from personal experience, devices powered by lithium-ion batteries tend do reduce in battery life as you use them.

Personally, if I'm buying a product that's new, I'm really expecting it to be somewhere around 6 to to 9 months after manufacture at most, maybe a little over 12 months if it's on sale, but assuming this date is correct, June 2016 is a whopping 30 months / two and half years ago. Is this acceptable for a product with a lithium-ion battery?

In the hope this date was wrong, I've tried to verify it by checking elsewhere on the product. I checked the silver label on the E+, but strangely there's no date Ė at least in a standard numerical format I can recognise. I think there was also a similar silver label on the battery, but I carelessly failed to take note before unwrapping and installing it Ė although if there'd been a date printed, I suspect I would have spotted it when installing it.

So, anyway, after some misgivings, I decided to take the plunge and assemble it and charge it.

I obeyed the instructions to the letter and fully charged the E+ and waited for the charging light to turn green before even turning the E+ on. Took around 5 hours, as expected.

And everything went well, it's worked reliably and was good fun...except how long the E+ actually ran for. Because I had concerns about the battery age, I decided to test what distance I could get before 10 bars went to zero. It came in at just under 11 kilometres to the last bar ran out and alarm sounded, which is obviously a lot less than I was expecting. Ninebotís website states up to 30km - although Iíve heard a YouTube reviewer specify itís more like 12 miles/20km.

For this test, for most part Iíd decided to test the E+ on grass with some occasional slight mud (no puddles or water), because I was worried about trying the E+ on hard surfaces, for falling off until I got used to it. I also decided to test it going up and down a fairly steep, grassy road where I live, which is close to the 20% gradient limit specified for the E+. I figured maybe these two factors might be a plausible the reason for the poor distance performance (although obviously I was also suspecting the aged battery).

So I decided to recharge fully and go again. This time, I decided to avoid hills and just try and stay on the level Ė still on the grass, so I was hoping for better results, as although I know the E+ recharges when going downhill, I very much doubt itís less taxing on the battery overall than staying on the level. This time, though, as I was a more confident rider, Iíd taken off the speed limiter, occasionally getting up to about 15km/h.

The result? Instead of more distance, I got even worse again, less than 10km! So unless going faster on the E+ causes a significantly greater inefficiency/battery drain, Iím now worried that not only is the battery reduced in capacity, but also potentially rapidly degrading each charge cycle. Possible?

Something that alarmed me more, this 2nd charge cycle, was that this time, Iíd decided not to go down to zero bars, but just to 1, as I figured always going down to zero would be bad the batteryís longevity (although I figure even at zero bars, they must keep 5%+ in reserve to stop the battery being damaged).

So this time I was diligent, and when I got down to one bar, I quickly noticed Ė literally 30 seconds earlier it was on two bars. At this point I decided to check the bar again after getting off (I noticed it sometimes has a habit of going back up when you dismount), it stayed at one bar, so decided to ride a small distance, then put the E+ back in the garage for charging. So I rode the E+ about 40 yards, maximum, then dismounted and use the powered walking mode (not sure what itís exactly called) to get the E+ to climb a very small step into the garage. In the process of climbing this small step, the Ninebot then suddenly went from one to zero bars and the alarm goes off again! What I tried to avoid this time round by being very conservative with my usage on one bar, happened again.

So clearly the battery reading of one bar was too optimistic, this second charge cycle. The first charge cycle, one bar had lasted a fair while and Iím sure I was able to ride for good 5 minutes at least. Again, another indicator of battery degradation, perhaps? Itís a little worrying that the battery meter seems less accurate on the second charge than the first. I would have thought it would be improving accuracy with each charge cycle.

So, what I really want to do is work out whatís going on with the battery, particularly with itís capacity, maybe a reading in kw/h, mA/h or the like? Is it possible to somehow get an accurate reading of the batteryís capacity after a full charge and compare it to what it should be? And also to check if itís not degrading / reducing capacity rapidly each charge cycle?

Unfortunately I havenít managed to get the bluetooth connectivity and app working, yet. Can the Ninebot app give me this sort of information, or do they not reveal such raw data to owners?

Also, have you any thoughts on the E+ and itís battery being in storage for 30 months before it was sold to me? Is it inevitable that the battery is significantly degraded after this length of time, or do E+ batteries keep better than I thought?

Also, any thoughts/advice on what my next course of action should be, if the battery is on itís last legs, would be appreciated. Just ask Ninebot to replace the battery with a new one? Hopefully they are still making them.

Thanks in advance for any help, opinions or advice.

To help with the picture, here are a few product details:
Ninebot Elite+
620W battery
Firmware ver: 1-4-4


P.S. Apologies if Iíve gone into too much detail and this is an overly long read.
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Old 01-03-2019, 01:33 PM   #2
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Most of these wheeled vehicles that get less and less mileage in a rapid manner tend to be just low tire pressures. Low tire pressure requires a lot of energy to roll on. That will be the most likely thing to cause a battery to go dead early. You can't eyeball the tire pressure. You need a tire gauge and a pump.

I don't think a lithium battery in storage for two years is an issue as long as the battery was near 50% charged when you got it. The batteries only get damaged if they discharge to zero voltage while in storage. Normally that is because the device they are attached to will constantly drain it. Like the old Segway's (i2?) do.

Two years of expected use is because there is a limited amount of charge/discharge cycles available for any battery chemistry. In two years, the average user would have put enough cycles on the lithium battery that it should be replaced.
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Old 01-03-2019, 07:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pescador12 View Post
Most of these wheeled vehicles that get less and less mileage in a rapid manner tend to be just low tire pressures. Low tire pressure requires a lot of energy to roll on. That will be the most likely thing to cause a battery to go dead early. You can't eyeball the tire pressure. You need a tire gauge and a pump.

I don't think a lithium battery in storage for two years is an issue as long as the battery was near 50% charged when you got it. The batteries only get damaged if they discharge to zero voltage while in storage. Normally that is because the device they are attached to will constantly drain it. Like the old Segway's (i2?) do.

Two years of expected use is because there is a limited amount of charge/discharge cycles available for any battery chemistry. In two years, the average user would have put enough cycles on the lithium battery that it should be replaced.

I confess I haven't paid much attention to the tires, and actually thought they might even be solid tires on the E+. I haven't spotted valves for inflation, but I'll look in the morning, thanks.

With regards to 2 years use of the battery, yes, I don't actually know what's going on with the E+ as far as it's product lifecycles concerned. I half thought I might be buying a discontinued product, and that's why it was cheap. As Ninebot seem to be focusing more on smaller models and scooters.

My rationale was, if I did get the hang of using the E+, and did find it useful, I assumed Iíd be getting a newly manufactured battery, and Iíd get at least a couple of years of use out of the E+ before the battery needed replacing. So if new batteries werenít available at that point, or only availabe at a prohibtably high cost, I could live with that and retire it, as Iíd got the E+ for a good price and got some good use out of it for a couple of years.

(Does anyone know if Ninebot will be still making the E+ and new batteries for it?)

If the battery is suspect and is to blame though, and I'm not going to get those 2 years, that really completely changes that equation. It would be really handy to measure the battery's output, to put my mind at rest that it's not the battery to blame.

Anyway, I'll check the tires in the morning. Thanks for your reply.
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Old 01-04-2019, 06:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pescador12 View Post
Most of these wheeled vehicles that get less and less mileage in a rapid manner tend to be just low tire pressures. Low tire pressure requires a lot of energy to roll on. That will be the most likely thing to cause a battery to go dead early. You can't eyeball the tire pressure. You need a tire gauge and a pump.

I don't think a lithium battery in storage for two years is an issue as long as the battery was near 50% charged when you got it. The batteries only get damaged if they discharge to zero voltage while in storage. Normally that is because the device they are attached to will constantly drain it. Like the old Segway's (i2?) do.

Two years of expected use is because there is a limited amount of charge/discharge cycles available for any battery chemistry. In two years, the average user would have put enough cycles on the lithium battery that it should be replaced.
Did post a reply to this last night, but it hasn't appeared. Perhaps awaiting moderation. But it seems the restrictions on my posts have been lifted, so here it is:

I confess I haven't paid much attention to the tires, and actually thought they might even be solid tires on the E+. I haven't spotted valves for inflation, but I'll look in the morning, thanks.

With regards to 2 years use of the battery, yes, I don't actually know what's going on with the E+ as far as it's product lifecycles concerned. I half thought I might be buying a discontinued product, and that's why it was relatively cheap. As Ninebot seem to be focusing more on smaller models and scooters.

My rationale was, if I did get the hang of using the E+, and did find it useful, I assumed I’d be getting a newly manufactured battery, and I’d get at least a couple of years of use out of the E+ before the battery needed replacing. So if new batteries weren’t available at that point, or only available at a prohibitively high cost, I could live with that and retire it, as I’d got the E+ for a good price and got some good use out of it for a couple of years.

(Does anyone know if Ninebot will be still making the E+ and new batteries for it?)

If the battery is suspect and is to blame though, and I'm not going to get those 2 years, that really completely changes that equation. It would be really handy to measure the battery's output, to put my mind at rest that it's not the battery to blame.

I maybe made a mistake in charging the battery fully before making any attempt to turn the E+ on, because I'll now never know what charge level it was at when I installed it. It did take around 5 hours to charge. Which I think suggests it was pretty low, not still near 50%.

Anyway, I'll check the tires in the morning (will now check them this evening). Thanks for your reply.

Last edited by Segbyte; 01-04-2019 at 06:49 AM..
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Old 01-04-2019, 11:46 AM   #5
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The Ninebot products use the common 16850 Lithium batteries found in laptops. If you grow to love your E+, the batteries can be replaced by any of the aftermarket battery repair/rebuild places. They just arc weld nickle strips to the batteries and then solder the pack inside Ninebot's battery case. Then the batteries are brand new again.

It has a lot of batteries in it so they will cost $200ish just for the batteries. That is what I will do (arc weld the batteries myself) when my MiniPro batteries need replacement. I will always have my MiniPro's and constantly monitor their tire pressures (45psi).
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Old 01-06-2019, 09:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pescador12 View Post
The Ninebot products use the common 16850 Lithium batteries found in laptops. If you grow to love your E+, the batteries can be replaced by any of the aftermarket battery repair/rebuild places. They just arc weld nickle strips to the batteries and then solder the pack inside Ninebot's battery case. Then the batteries are brand new again.

It has a lot of batteries in it so they will cost $200ish just for the batteries. That is what I will do (arc weld the batteries myself) when my MiniPro batteries need replacement. I will always have my MiniPro's and constantly monitor their tire pressures (45psi).
$200 sounds decent. Although the arc welding part sounds a bit scary, considering the reputation lithium ion batteries have for fire and explosion.

Looking through the manual, I eventually found a reference to tire pressures on just about the last page of the manual, one paragraph, with no reference or explanation on how to access the valves. But I found this on YouTube



Looking at the comments below, it turns out to access the valves on an Elite+, you need to either to take the wheels or the battery off, and on finding the valves on the wheels on mine, I can confirm they are highly inaccessible. so regular checking is probably going to be unlikely, sadly.

I get the impression from the way Ninebot have buried reference to the tires in the manual, that they're slightly embarrassed by this design feature.

Thanks.

P.S. The link seems to be messing up on my browser. I'll try again, below:


Last edited by Segbyte; 01-06-2019 at 09:23 AM..
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Old 01-06-2019, 09:08 AM   #7
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Old 01-06-2019, 09:33 AM   #8
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Try posting the link but put a space or two in it to break it. We can then copy and paste and remove the spaces to get a working link.
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:26 PM   #9
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If I am reading this right, your segway Elite has not had its tire pressure checked in over two and a half years. And, you are experiencing reduced range.

The Elite owner's assembly video does show it being pretty tight in there. The battery had to be installed by the owner so it shouldn't be too crazy to remove. Hopefully, a tire gauge with a hose and chuck can reach in there without battery removal. Plus, they make air chucks with a gun trigger, air gauge on top, and a hose with small chucks for reaching into narrow places.

The gun shaped air gauge/filler is how I add air to my MiniPro.
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