Testing the Busettii 2014 Triker: break in

This is a continuation of the discussion started in the posts, Off-road Power Wheelchair (OPW), OPW — Clarifications and Design Plans and Testing the Busettii 2014 Triker: Notes.

As mentioned in the Notes post:

According to Busettii, 5 charge cycles are required for the cells within the battery to balance themselves for maximal use/output.  For optimal charging in this initial break-in period, we were advised to use the battery to 70% discharge before charging.

The first 5-charge cycles is what I’m calling the “break in” period.

Mounted on the handle bar of the Triker is a power indicator and gear controller:

Power and gear controls for the Busettii Triker 2014

Power and gear controls for the Busettii Triker 2014

Fortunately, my husband and I live about 4 miles from our warehouse and Julia lives about 2 miles away.  Several of these trips brought the discharge level of the battery to about 75% discharge (down to the last quarter — red level) for our first charge.

At this time, this gauge seems to be the only way to know the charge/discharge level of the battery.  As with all rechargeable electronics, I did learn not to trust this gauge entirely.  For this first charging of the Lithium Tri-metal battery however, this gauge was all I had.

I added a speedometer/odometer to the trike.  The odometer seems to be a better gauge of the battery than the power indicator.  This is because during the break in period, I learned the average distance the battery will actually take me on different terrain.  Often when I am going up a very steep slope — drawing high amperage — the power indicator lights will drop from 3 to 1 very quickly.  If I immediately, let go of the throttle, the power indicator lights will return to 3!  So knowing how far I’ve already traveled on a charge and the gradient of my path — experience — is a better power indicator.  These were (sometimes) difficult lessons as I pedal the heavy (~50 lbs with baskets) trike back home on the Tramway Recreation Trail!  Of course, this rarely happened when I was the more level  Paseo del Bosque Trail.  (I guess a little exercise never hurts anyone.  😉 )

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