An e-battery on your recumbent trike, or e-bike, can make a world of difference to your riding! Here's all you need to know about how to maintain your e-trike battery.
There are many reasons people use battery assistance when riding … but that’s a topic for another post. For now, let’s talk about how to care for and maintain your e-battery.
Beginning Life with a New e-Battery
As soon as you get your new battery home, charge it. There’s no way of knowing when the battery was last charged or how full it really is. Lithium batteries need to be kept charged in order to maintain their maximum performance.
Installing an e-battery on Your Trike
Your trike will come complete with a specially designed bracket to hold your battery in place. Make sure that when you put your battery onto your trike that it is securely installed and connected. The obvious reason for this is that you don’t want the battery to fall off your trike.
If the battery drops and cracks, it’s highly possible that will be the end of your battery. This would prove frustrating and expensive.
It is best to keep your lithium battery fully charged. This means charging your battery after each use.
However, never charge a battery as soon as you get home from your ride. Give your battery about 30 minutes to sit between its last use and charging it. This allows the battery to adjust from ‘discharge’ mode to ‘charge’ mode.
There are two ways to charge your battery:
- You can charge the battery while it is still on your recumbent trike. This may mean running an extension power cord to your trike.
- Alternately, you can remove the battery from the battery holder on your trike and take it with you to a convenient power plug. Use the key to unlock the battery from the bracket.
Avoid letting your battery completely drain of power. A battery that is continually allowed to go flat will struggle to maintain full power. So, to improve the life of your battery, keep it topped up.
Charge your battery for approximately 4 or 5 hours. Don’t leave the battery on charge for hours and hours at a time. If there is a problem with the battery charging system, and the battery is left on charge for longer periods of time, the battery could overheat.
Easy Safety Tip
Put a timer into the power point and then plug the battery charger into the timer. Set the timer for 4 to 5 hours. When the timer turns off, the power will no longer flow into the battery. This will prevent the battery from overheating.
Shimano batteries have been designed to turn off from 'charging mode' once they are full. However, a timer is a fantastic safety backup device. It will take the worry out of charging your battery. If you get distracted or forget about turning your charger off, the timer will take care of it for you. In other words, a timer makes the charging process efficient, safe and easy.
Charge your battery at room temperature. This is especially important in winter or in temperatures below freezing. Very cold batteries may not charge as well or even at all.
If you are riding in cold temperatures, a battery cover will help give you more range out of your battery. Fortunately, this is not something we need to worry about too much in Queensland!
Cleaning Your Battery
While your battery is waterproof, never submerge your battery in water! Electricity and water never mix well so it’s best not to tempt fate and give your battery a ‘bath’!
Instead, use a damp cloth to wipe over your battery.
Keep the contact points on your battery clean and dry. Use a damp cloth to wipe the contact points and dry them thoroughly. If need be, use an electrical contact cleaner to make sure the contact points are clean.
Transporting your Battery
To be on the safe side, remove your battery from the bracket when transporting your trike. There are two reasons for doing this:
- Firstly, the trike will be a little lighter to move without the battery.
- Secondly, there’s less chance of the battery being dropped or damaged as your trike is jiggling around in the back of your vehicle.
Wrap your battery in a towel and stow it on the floor of your car or under your seat. Never transport your battery up near the back window, or any other place. The batteries are heavy and the last thing you’ll need is to have a flying battery hit you in the back of the head in the event of you having to slam on the car brakes.
The other reason for stowing the battery on the floor of your car is that it will be protected there from falling and being damaged.
Never Ever Tamper with the Battery
Never try to open your battery. Lithium powder is extremely flammable and is not something to play with. If you are concerned about your battery, contact the battery manufacturers as they know the battery inside and out and will know how to deal with it.
If you have knocked your battery badly, get it checked out. If one cell is damaged, this will lead to the adjacent cell becoming damaged which will lead to the next cell becoming damage … and so the process continues. As a result, the battery may overheat dangerously. So, if in doubt, get your battery checked at your local dealer.
Lithium batteries are best stored in a cool place. Avoid storing your battery in places of extreme temperature …. anything outside of -10◦ and 60◦ celsius. As humans, we don’t do well in extreme temperatures either … so if you’re comfortable in the ambient temperature, your battery will be too!
If you are not going to be using your battery for an extended time, store your battery with a charge of between 60 – 80%. Then every couple of weeks, top of your battery with a little more charge. By doing this, the capacity levels in your battery will be optimally maintained.
Like all things, your recumbent trike battery needs a little tender care in order to prolong its life. By knowing how to care for and maintain your battery, you will get more enjoyment and cycling time out of your battery … which means you can cycle up more of those hills with less pain and effort.