A controller is an important part of your eBike. This is what makes choosing the right controller for your eBike a daunting task. There are a few things you need to consider when embarking on this task.
Factor in the current and voltage requirements, and whether the controller on your electric bike can handle them. If you run too many amps through a controller, you can overheat it.
Speed Controller Types for Different Motors
Choosing a motor controller that matches the power of your motor and the voltage of your electric pack is very important. To drive a 26-volt motor, you will need six batteries and a 24-volt controller. However, the speed of the motor will be limited and won’t reach its full power output. Controllers running at a lower voltage than the battery and motor are at risk of burnout and overheating.
Choosing a Speed Controller for Your Motor
You need to match your controller and the motor type. Brushless motors need brushless controllers. Some controllers need motors that have hall sensors.
A switch reluctance motor has the best effect when it is used in combination with complex sine wave controllers. Brushless controllers might cost extra, but they also offer smoother acceleration.
Brushed Motor Controller
A 500W brush controller is easier to use than a brushless speed controller. A rheostat can control a brushed DC motor’s speed, which depends on the input voltage. Therefore, a controller is not necessary.
Oftentimes, a brushed motor has low efficiency. Therefore, a brushed motor eBike cannot achieve the same range as a 36-48 volt battery pack. This is why many eBike manufacturers have switched to brushless motor options.
Brushless Motor Controller
These motors need brushless motor controllers. They depend on internal motor sensors to understand the motor’s speed or operation depending on the feedback in the power cord.
Sensor and Sensorless Controller
Sometimes, the conversion kit in an electric bike has a hall sensor. If such is the case with your bike, you can choose a sensor or sensorless controller. Also, make sure to check the product description of the motor beforehand.
If the product description doesn’t answer your question, pay attention to the number of wires on your motor. Motors with sensors usually have three to five extra wires and a wire throttle connector.
Gear Motor and Direct Drive Motor
Unlike a gear motor that provides peak output, a direct drive motor needs high current controllers. The reason is that the direct drive motor utilizes high starting torque. This means that a higher ampere peak controller is needed to prevent controller damage. However, a gear motor will function at a higher voltage.
Current and Voltage
Besides matching the controller with the motor type used in the bike’s conversion kit, you must also ensure the brushless motor controller can meet the power and ampere needs of the motor and the battery system. A 500-watt, 36-volt motor needs a 14-amp capacity controller.
Extra Motor Speed Controller Options
The most common 500-watt, 36-volt eBike controllers have connectors for the throttle, as well as speed sensor wires. These wires offer smooth acceleration and multiple pedal assist modes. If you want to show options like voltage, speed, and assist level displays, ensure the motor speed controller has the right wiring and connections.
Some eBikes help you set up a speed limit using a throttle assist. You can easily achieve this by programming the speed controller. Some sophisticated controllers can provide CAN bus data, allowing you to use the power display to show the power level, speed, battery voltage, and estimated remaining mileage.
Regeneration of Brake Energy and Throttle
If the drive and motor allow it, some eBike speed controllers and controller systems can make the motor work like a generator when you slow the pace or go downhill. This can expand the range in some areas by up to 10%.
How to Best Utilize Rated Power
Even if it’s not 100% accurate, the rated power is an important motor performance guide. Make sure you check the specifications very carefully. Some motors list input power while others list current and rated voltage. The output in watts is usually 70-80% of the input. The continuous 500W rated power is an intermediate motor, which is suitable for electric bikes.
How Fast Is a 500W eBike?
Depending on the bike’s design and the rider’s weight, a 500-watt eBike can go up to 20 miles per hour. However, some riders can go even faster using a combination of the right motor and pedals.
Can 36V Controllers Handle 48V Voltage?
Most 36V controllers come with protection circuits, and they can limit the voltage. It means that most of the time, there won’t be a problem. However, make sure not to use a controller with a lower voltage on a higher-voltage battery pack. It will result in overheating, which may damage the controller. Moreover, the motor might not reach the rated output.
An eBike controller connects all the components together. Once the accelerator is pulled, or you start pedaling using the pedal assist, you will connect an electrical switch to create a complete circuit from your battery to your motor and also the LCD, provided your eBike has a screen.
Some Warnings for DIYers
As far as eBike controllers are concerned, it is important to understand that the controller’s rated voltage must match the battery. This is important information for DIY eBike manufacturers or those planning to upgrade their bikes.
The quality of the controller varies significantly, but there aren’t too many reputable brand names. Therefore, it is difficult to determine trustworthy eBike controllers.
It is worth mentioning that most eBike controllers for 24-28v for eBikes below 500W are made with the best quality standards in mind. As a result, they can keep electric bikes running for many years.
Therefore, it is important to be very careful when buying a custom bike exceeding specifications, because a high-quality controller is needed to handle the extra wattage and voltage that passes through the controller.
Between the battery and the motor, there are two important electrical components, which are as follows.
LCD Display and Battery Indicator
Most eBikes come with a full-fledged LCD system, which enables you to measure the performance of an eBike. These are usually found in eBikes that cost $1000 and above. Conversely, eBikes costing less than $1000 don’t have an LCD.
However, there is a battery indicator on the battery or handlebars, which allows you to measure battery life and the remaining distance or time.
Switch: PAS and Throttle
Each eBike comes with a switch to turn the motor on or off. There are two common types of switches in eBikes, i.e., throttle and pedal assist systems. The switch type on every electric bike is mentioned in the specification section within the product description.
The best you can do is to buy an eBike with PAS and throttle systems, so you can use them accordingly.
The controller is an essential component of an eBike. Without this small component, the bike won’t function. The controller should support more energy capacity than the motor, thus making the system increasingly reliable.
When buying a controller, make sure to conduct in-depth research. Also, when using a controller, don’t make the mistake of using a controller weaker than the battery itself. It can result in overheating and overcharging, which can also result in a fire.
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