ZX-1 Batteries

WheelChairDriver.com is the go to site for information about batteries in general.

ZX-1 Standard SLA Batteries and Charger 2014

On the ZX-1 shipped in 2014 we received two Universal Power Group (UPG) UB12150 12V 15Ah AGM batteries with a MK Charger LS 24/4.

ZX-1 Standard SLA Batteries and Charger 2013

On the ZX-1 shipped in 2013 we received two MK Battery ES12-12 12V 15Ah AGM batteroes with a MK Charger LS 24/4. we also bought an extra set because it was easier for funding in advance.

ZX-1 Lithium Batteries (Retrofit)

The information below is from the CareCure post: ZX1 lithium ion battery retrofit by takenaback. It is important to note that he is using the ZX-1 with e-Motion wheels, which are very heavy and when he is on a steep incline the BMS goes into into safe mode. Because Rob and his chair are not so heavy, and also because we do not have a lot of hills, I don't think we would run into the same issue.

Just had the lithium ion battery retrofit done on my ZX1 and there are certainly positives but there are certainly negatives.

The positives include the internal BMS within the lithium ion batteries not cutting out under load. I don't know if anybody else has experienced this but basically going up a steep hill would draw more amperage from the batteries and they would shut themselves down. The solution was to pull the plug out of the powerpack and then reconnect which reset the batteries. Otherwise you are absolutely stuck. Now I'm certainly not getting stuck anymore but the new software connected with the Spinergy BMS insert is set very conservatively. So even under minor load it goes into safe mode which is not as slow as safe mode when the clamshell is completely raised but I would estimate it is about speed level 2.

I'm happy in the respect that I know I can't be stuck out anywhere and the range of the lithium ion batteries (fusion) is certainly fantastic in comparison to the lead acid. The advantage of lead acid batteries is that you can basically set your ZX 1 to go as fast as you like but of course the batteries would drain quicker. In my opinion the range was just completely unacceptable unless just travelling very short distances.

I will contact Spinergy and see if the software can be altered and not so conservatively protect the batteries from cutting out. I would actually like to have that particular piece of software so I could play around with it myself.

This is his follow-up with more information:

So the history is first bought one of these or two of these I should say roughly one year ago and they are lead acid drop in replacements lithium ion batteries.

I returned the first ones I purchased because they would cut out under load and was told by a company called "Super Start Batteries" here in Australia that they would work on fixing the problem and would probably take about six months. Well six months later they came back with a drop in replacement 12 V 15 amp hour with a new internal BMS but unfortunately the dimensions of the batteries had to change which I was unaware of. So they were completely useless as they wouldn't fit in the ZX1 which is only limited to the 12 V 15 amp hour lead acid battery size. There is basically no more room as it is a very compact little device.

So I have been over to "wheelchairdriver.com" and to be frank those guys are smart, not all people are born equal unfortunately and I am just a layman. I basically want my ZX1 to go with out learning all about battery technology which I would need a hand with from someone much smarter than me perhaps with an engineering background. I will try to find that person but I am a quadriplegic who physically can't perform the tasks involved in making one of these batteries without BMS installed. I know this is the way to go and I am still charging these drop in batteries with a dumb lead acid battery charger. It's convenient though.

It is true that these drop in replacement's are too small or have too little capacity but again it's convenient. I have PG controller software (8.0.16) access level C manufacturing and a USB cord courtesy of the information found over at wheelchairdriver.com to do the programming and I can adjust many parameters but there is certainly nothing that I can see within the particular software I have that has any control over the ZX1 retrofit. I examined the software before it went away and it was exactly the same when it came back. So I possibly need a higher level programmer.

Have noticed the batteries are certainly charging better after the retrofit allowing me to go a greater distance. One of the problems is safe mode can kick in when crossing roads or anything like that so I'm going to stick to crossings and lights for the moment. I use it every day and in the end I want to get from a to B safely. Nothing was worse than watching the lights drop down with the lead acid batteries wondering if you are going to get home, I had some very close calls. One doesn't want to be stuck out on a cold winters night. I was going through a set of lead acid batteries every three months. Not getting near the range Spinergy say.

I can't really get into the technical side of lithium ion batteries because I'm clueless, well to a degree.

This was information I received from Spinergy for your interest.

Over the past several months we have tested a number of different Lithium Batteries from different suppliers. Based upon the current packaging space for the Lead Batteries on the ZX-1, we have decided to pursue a “Drop In” Replacement Battery that is the same size as the current Lead Gel Mat Battery. This will make the transition much easier for our Dealers. The New components consist of three cables including a BMS that plugs into the back of the VR2 Controller. (See Attached Photo). There is a New software program that is downloaded to the VR2 controller that adjusts the Battery Charge Indicator Lights for the Lithium Batteries. This way the user will get a gradual reduction in the charge indicator lights as the unit is discharged. This software mod can be downloaded to a unit at our Factory, or in the field using one of the PG Drives Hand Held controllers. The Drop In replacement Batteries must be a 12V 15Amp Hour Battery with an Internal BMS that cuts off Voltage at or Below 10.4 Volts.

The following two Batteries have been tested so far and are deemed usable with our device:

Fusion Batteries 12V 15 Ah
Powerizer 12V 15 Ah

The range will in essence double the range that your customers are getting from the Lead Gel Mat batteries with a warranty on the batteries that extends from 6 months to two years!

Battery Management System (BMS)
Our new BMS is a customized PC Board that is enclosed in a plastic housing and runs in between the batteries and the VR2 Controller. This BMS will prevent from Overcharging the batteries and act as a cell balancing device. In addition to cell balancing, the BMs will cutoff the voltage at 10.4 volts and issue a Warning when the batteries get to 11 Volts. When the Warning is initiated, the BMS will send a signal to the controller for the ZX-1 to go into crawl mode. This is the first notification to the user that their batteries are getting low. At the same time, the BMS will signal an audible beeping sound with 5 beeps! These beeps will stop and start again in two minutes if the user continues to deplete the Batteries. After this two minute period, the BMS will signal with another 5 beeps. If the user continues to deplete the batteries further, the BMS will issue it’s last 5 beep warning and the system will shut down. It is important for the user to start charging the batteries once the ZX-1 first goes into crawl mode. To relate this scenario to distance, once the ZX-1 goes into crawl mode the user can drive the ZX-1 for about 1km or .6 miles before completely shutting down.

LIthium battery upgrade information

We are waiting for the shipment on the LIthium batteries from our distributor. I sure hope they know about this and how to handle it.

ZX-1 Power Add-on owners thread post #390

It included 2 attachements, currently stored in Options - Power Add-on\Components):
ZX-1 Software Update Procedure.pdf, Parameter Settings.xls


I have a Lithium version and had the same problem. Your dealer needs to install a new internal program in your controller from a USB, not just profiles for speeds.
I weigh 90kg and have speed 5 at 100% but it is really only for on the flat. Going up a hill, mine used to shut down VIOLENTLY, but after update it now goes into 'crawl' mode instead, without the abrupt stop and having to reset by plugging in charger or even easier, unplug one battery terminal and replug it back on. I only trip that 'crawl' mode if I go too fast up a hill in speed 5 and the violent one when I've been really pushing it on dirt going up hill and trying to get out of a rut!

It rarely goes into 'crawl' mode now whereas it used to violently shut down very easily before. When it does go into 'crawl' mode, you'll find it is soft and just won't go fast, but allows you power to undock too. Just switching off then on the control gets you out of 'crawl' unless there is an electrical fault, so easy to get back to driving normally. "Crawl' made also comes on when battery voltage drops to very low but will still let you undock or drive a short safe distance to undock and recharge.

Your dealer will need to get the program from Spynergy to install as it is specific to the Lithium upgrade (or so I'm told) and needs a programmer with a USB input - the standard PP-1 doesn't have that function.

Attached are the instructions to pass onto your dealer. As you can see in the instructions, it is called ZX-1 LITHIUM REV 4.PRG . This overwrites your whole programer settings and changes voltages for LEDs and sets 'crawl' mode settings. You'll then need to go into each program to alter parameters separately. I have included a spreadsheet showing the original settings in the program from Spynergy and my altered settings (Note: these are my preferences that still need further refinements but are to only be used at YOUR OWN RISK, I will not be held responsible for their use). By using different profiles, your display will only show one LED at the position for each profile too. Be very aware that 100% speed is only for use in flat smooth surfaces with plenty of manoeuvring space. In all others, I generally drive in program 3 for best control and that is only 60% speed. Remember that the drive wheels are much closer together than a normal power chair, so control over rough surfaces is compromissed.

I hope you can arrange it with your dealer and Spynergy as it changed my unit from risky to go out alone, to easy and confident to go out and push it. Made all the difference to me being not happy with the ZX-1 to finding it great to use. Hope it works for you.