Author Topic: My 35A controller-upgrade settings (Bolton / Area 13 or Electro Bike World)  (Read 962 times)

JimInPT

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I originally posted this in the original thread over in the RadWagon section, but thought some Mini owners might find it useful and not notice it over there.

Update 25 Apr 2022 - revised a couple of controller settings for mo-better smoothness etc - see below
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Mine has been sitting in its box since late last year, but I finally got it installed for testing today on my 2021 Mini ST2 (did the Area 13 hydraulic brake calipers this week too; they work great), leaving all the stock equipment in place, but disconnected, just to make sure the new setup works.

And man, does it ever seem to work!  Connecting all the cables under the crank was a little finicky due to the short length of some of the factory cables on the frame and stiffness of some, but it all hooked up with a little patience and a pair of pliers to firmly hold one side of the connector in a couple cases.  All the right cables you'll need on the controller are there and the pinouts correct, so just be careful to align them properly before pushing them together and it should be fine.  The current kit includes a tail/brake light connector that functions just like the factory controller, so everything back there works normally.

I have attached below a screenshot of my initial settings (far right column), derived from the kindly-provided spreadsheet from Ray StDenis here on this forum; I started with these and it works great, but I might tweak things here and there as I gain experience with it.  Note my tire diameter of 23" for the 20"-wheel bikes and the CST Big Boat tires - I still need to compare against my GPS speed to see if this needs tweaking for accuracy within the limits of update rate and data input, this is the correct size; my GPS matches the display, but note that P1 needs to be set to 103 as well for best accuracy.  Both DIM and P1 values will change with different size wheels/tires and motor design, but these work great with the Big Boats on a Mini with the stock Rad motor.

There are several new features included with the new controller, including ambient air temp (which matches my Thermoworks calibrated thermometer), cruise control which I haven't tried yet, trip timer and a GIGANTIC feature that Rad has never yet implemented - the Trip Time and Trip Distance do NOT zero out when the display is turned off!  That was one of the first things I checked because it always pissed me off to have them clear when stopping for lunch on a ride when the display timed out; now they don't zero unless/until done manually and intentionally, although the display still times out and shuts down after 5 minutes of inactivity, which is great.  Even turning on the headlight is easier; long-press the PAS-up button instead of the two buttons needed by the Rad display.  This controller has an option to display motor temperature as well, but the stock Rad motor doesn't provide that data - if you activate the setting, you'll just see a constant 59F reading, so best to just keep this setting at zero.

And holy crap, this performs as advertised - like a booster rocket's been added under my butt.  As expected without a voltage change, top speed still maxes out at around 25 mph with the motor only (the controller's limit setting is about 42 mph), but that's fine - I wanted acceleration and uphill grunt torque, not more speed.  Have only ridden a couple miles, but ran through all gears and PAS settings, taking it up to a little over 1,500w without any complaints, and it was still climbing when I ran out of road.  Such a great improvement to my bike, just what I was expecting and hoping to see.

A word of caution: this new controller pulls immediately and strongly like a farm tractor with factory parameter settings, so don't blip the throttle unless you're on the bike, the rear wheel's off the ground or you're prepared to let off the gas and hit the brakes immediately - it literally felt like it could pull right out of my hands if I hadn't been prepared to stop it.  It seems that out of the box, the controller disables the throttle in PAS 0, but that may be just when not pedaling for safety, not sure yet, and I need to review the settings to see if this is changeable.  In PAS 1 or above, it leaps instantly when standing alongside the bike at a stop.  Update: I have set C3 (power-up PAS setting) to 0, so that throttle is not available at startup, for safety.

There is a "walking mode" just like Rad's controller, activated by holding the PAS-down button for at least 3 seconds; I tried it with the rear wheel off the ground to confirm it works, but haven't tried it on pavement yet to see if it's faster or slower than Rad's (which everybody seems to think is too fast, including me).

Aside from the display being fairly dim, but still readable in direct sunlight, I have no complaints (although playing with the C6 parameter might help that - UPDATE: it did, although just slightly, and it's now 4 instead of 3) and now have a project to remove the old display and controller from the bike and get the new stuff laced up properly for the long term.  Will probably apply Flex Shot to seal the controller seams just in case, although I avoid riding in wet weather and the Mini ST has a pretty-protected controller mount location.  The box seems to have a gasket in the seam, but Bolton / Area 13 states that it is NOT advertised as waterproof.

Overall, definitely and highly recommended on first impression.

New brakes, new rocket boost, new riding season - good to go!

UPDATE
: the chart below is revised - I left my initial settings from 23 April in there, so you can see the few changes I made today.  C5 is confusing, because as near as I can tell it does different things from 0-2 as it does from 3-10.  I changed it from 10 to 0, and this solved the problem I had of the throttle lighting off 100% immediately and a jumpy start; now it ramps up fairly smoothly and works a lot better from a full stop, more like a Rad controller.  It does NOT limit the power to the motor as settings 3 through 10 do - it still ramps up to 100%, just more gradually.  Setting it to 1 or 2 instead of 0 seems to ramp up faster.

I also tried messing with C14 (PAS tuning) which regulates how much "oomph" the motor will provide during pedaling.  Default is 1 (low) and I tried 2 (medium) and 3 (high), ending up leaving it at 1 to let me put some effort into it.  For those with weak legs or other problem who want to rely on the motor more, try increasing it to 2 or 3.

The full manual where I found these extra details can be found here:
https://ebikeescape.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Bolton_Controller_Manual_Rad_Power_Bikes.pdf

This is linked in Part 2 of the controller-upgrade vids from forum owner Ryan and his brother.... worth watching over at https://youtu.be/fsbcY91alf0

Eric7

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Thank you.  I read it with interest.

So basically it is a direct replacement and everything continues to work.  I mean all the Rad functions are still there like front light, back light etc.  Plug, program, and play?  Just confirming.

How do you plan to permanently mount it to your Mini ST?  I heard that it is does not fit in the controller box (or am I wrong) and you have to fabricate something.  Or does it just drop into the Rad controller box?  Thanks.

Nice.  I am looking forward to your longer-term update since I still have 6 months left in my 1-year warranty.

Happy Riding.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2022, 11:13:38 AM by Eric7 »

JimInPT

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Thank you.  I read it with interest.

So basically it is a direct replacement and everything continues to work.  I mean all the Rad functions are still there like front light, back light etc.  Plug, program, and play?  Just confirming.

How do you plan to permanently mount it to your Mini ST?  I heard that it is does not fit in the controller box (or am I wrong) and you have to fabricate something.  Or does it just drop into the Rad controller box?  Thanks.

You're welcome.  Yes, it IS a direct replacement, plug-and-play, all connectors match and are even colored the same inside - just be careful when plugging back together, some of the molded alignment keys are small and hard to see - a head-mounted flashlight is tremendously helpful here.  The one front wiring-harness connector is inside the downtube; pull the grommet aside from the frame hole (a hairdryer to soften it up helps if it's cold), turn the front wheel all the way to the right for maximum cable pull, push that cable into the downtube up front as far as you can, and then carefully fish it out at the bottom enough to unplug it.  Not hard, but you don't want it disconnecting inside the downtube, so fish it out intact first.  If the new controller's wiring-harness connector was an inch longer, this one would be a lot easier, but it's just barely long enough and the others are no sweat. 

I was NOT able to push the wiring-harness connector back into the downtube because the new controller's wire is a bit too short, but I've moved the handlebars lock-to-lock and it doesn't disturb the connection .... however, I have not tested folding, which might be an issue, but I never fold my bike.  More dextrous people might be able to finagle it. 

If somebody could please identify that wiring-harness cable connection (pic added below) and a source for an extension cable, I'd be much obliged and would probably order/install one, because my slight touch of OCD won't leave me alone about stuff like that.  Update: looking closely at the photos of the connectors on the Bolton website, I think it's the 10-pin cable, which I can't find yet but I've sent an email to Bolton support to see if they can sell me one or point me to a supplier  ..... nope, they replied that they have no source for Rad cabling and that most people cut/splice additional wire to achieve a longer result - not easy to do for this one.

All Rad functions are retained in this latest version, including the taillight (which still flashes as a brake light and can still be set to flashing mode with the button on the bottom of the lens) and headlight, except that the lights are turned on now with a long-press of the PAS-Up button, instead of a 2-button press, which is nice.

There are new features too, such as battery voltage, ambient air temperture, a trip odometer that doesn't clear to zero if the display times out; the values stick until you clear them manually  ..... AND you get a cruise-control too!  That's nice for tooling along a long straight stretch; just push and hold the down-PAS button until it kicks in (it automatically shuts off with throttle, brake and I think PAS change too).

My mounting is crude, but it works; pics attached below.  I used UV-resistant heavy-duty zipties with self-adhesive heavy-duty velcro between the controller and the frame to keep it from shifting.  The contact patch is narrow on the round tube, about 1/2" x 6", but plenty strong anyway.  The schmutz you see on the controller is Flex Shot sealant I applied to the gasket seams before fastening down.  When it's fully cured in a day or so I'll rub off as much of it as I can.

As you can see, my dashboard is crowded, but everything fits.  The new controller mounts are spread apart a bit more than factory, probably about 1/2" across their full width.  Not much, but enough that I had to slightly bend out the mounts for my accessory bar, which couldn't quite fit on the bar in between the new controller and the handlebar mount.  But, it works!

Let me know if you have any more questions, and I'll update my post at the top if I tweak anything else.

Cheers!
« Last Edit: April 28, 2022, 09:13:22 AM by JimInPT »

JimInPT

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On my first cycle of a fairly-deep battery drain since installation, my indicator bars dropped suddenly from 3 down to 1 (out of 4, less than the 5-bars for stock display) when climbing a hill on the way home yesterday, and the displayed voltage was 44v (it's a little over 52v fully charged standing still).

When I arrived home, the second bar was back, and voltage displayed 47v, which didn't surprise me too much because under load the factory display also read pretty low also.  However, the bike spent no time at all in the 2-bar range, diving from 3 down to 1 on that climb.

So I just changed P5 (power monitoring) from 11 to 15, in line with EBW and Bolton recommendations, but higher than Sideburn, Ben and Ray here on the forum - I think, but not sure, that this setting adjusts how many bars are displayed for a given battery voltage, but that might be simplistic.

I'll try out this new setting to see what happens; the goal is a smoother display drawdown more like the gradual decline on the stock setup.

I welcome any feedback on this, and it occurs to me that a little group project to research and define all the setting parameters in detail and clear English, in a reference pamphlet for download, would be of benefit to many folks on the forum who are interested in this upgrade.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2022, 10:23:03 AM by JimInPT »

reggy

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Hi got the KT-LCD8H, and I have a 500 watt canadian version of the radmini4. Which settings are critical so I don't burn our my motor?

Also don't want all the power, like to improve power but not kill the range.

reggy

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There anyway to have headlight turn on everytime the ebike is tuned on?

FortunatelyTheMilk

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@reggy you can dial the power output up or down by adjusting the C5 setting.
There's no Always On function for the light, though you could in theory swap wires to get the same results if you were handy with a wirecutters and a soldering iron.

reggy

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@reggy you can dial the power output up or down by adjusting the C5 setting.
There's no Always On function for the light, though you could in theory swap wires to get the same results if you were handy with a wirecutters and a soldering iron.
Yea currently have C5 set to 4, as I have a canadian version, 500 watt motor.

Thinking of buying a datex2 down the road, which could only take 30 amps. How would I know what the amps is being drawn with C5 set to 4?

Darrine90

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I am thinking of doing this upgrade.  Do you notice a big difference in range with the 35 amps controller over the stock?

JimInPT

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I am thinking of doing this upgrade.  Do you notice a big difference in range with the 35 amps controller over the stock?

I don't have enough miles and charge cycles on my upgrade (around 100 mi so far) to have a good feel for it, but yes I've noticed a bit of reduced range, probably 3-4 miles or so.  But I've also been riding up steep hills I couldn't manage before and have read (from Altema, maybe?) that this controller is a little less efficient than the Rad stock design.  It's a no-brainer upgrade IMHO, unless you ride on flat land only.  And remember, it buys you torque/acceleration, not more top speed.  With the smaller 20" wheels on the MiniST2, the result is that she pulls like a farm tractor now and steep hills are not an issue anymore.

Doesn't really impact me much since I don't commute on it and my rides vary but are rarely more than 15 miles in a single day, so although I've taken it down to 1 bar for testing, I haven't run it to empty and don't plan to do so on purpose.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2022, 07:39:25 AM by JimInPT »

Darrine90

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Great thanks! I thinks its no brainer for me as I live in a hilly area and like going fast. My rad Mini is currently limited to 20 MPH so this controller should increase speed a bit to 25mph from what I read. What is your max speed?

JimInPT

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Great thanks! I thinks its no brainer for me as I live in a hilly area and like going fast. My rad Mini is currently limited to 20 MPH so this controller should increase speed a bit to 25mph from what I read. What is your max speed?

I unlocked max speed of about 25 mph with the stock controller via the hidden menu soon after I got it (it's easy to find YouTube vids with step-by-step if you need it).  That maximum is the same for the upgraded controller - there is speed-limiting circuitry built into the motor itself, so you'll need a motor swap as well as the upgrade controller if you want to go faster under power.  For my needs 25 is plenty, although I hit 35 today downhill coasting.  That's pretty fast for a little bike - whee.

Darrine90

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yeah 25 mph is plenty fast! I can't wait for the more torque. I tried adjusting the max speed with the stock rad controller to 25 MPH but only goes max 21 -22 mph. I am pretty sure Rad nerfed it from what I read :(

JimInPT

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yeah 25 mph is plenty fast! I can't wait for the more torque. I tried adjusting the max speed with the stock rad controller to 25 MPH but only goes max 21 -22 mph. I am pretty sure Rad nerfed it from what I read :(

I've heard stuff about that in the later builds (mine is from March 2021), but don't recall if that's confirmed.  When in the 'secret' menu, you should have had an option for a max of 40 kph, which equates to a little over 24 mph.  Did you have that option on your bike?

On the 35A controller, I think the upper limit is 70 kph (!), but the motor circuit still limits it to 40 no matter how much higher you set the controller.