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dmethvin

Firewheel F260, good news and really bad news

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dmethvin    1,530

My Firewheel F260 arrived from China on Thursday. Unboxed it, and got a couple of good long rides on it on Friday and Saturday. I really like the feel of the wheel in Sport mode. It gets excellent battery life and speed compared to my older 14-inch no-name wheel, but I think it does so at the expense of a little bit of torque. I am okay with that however. I love the flat-pedal ride position and the pedals are very comfortable. I could ride this thing all day.

 

The problems started on Sunday. I took it out for another ride at a local park, after doing a full charge. Started the wheel and heard the "Welcome to Firewheel, Sport Mode" voice greeting. Got on the wheel and rode about 5 feet, then it just cut out. Fortunately I just ran off since I wasn't going fast yet.

 

The thing is totally dead, won't show any signs of life. I opened up the case to see if there was any obvious damage like blown components or burnt wires, everything looks fine to me. The battery reads 67 volts at the yellow connector, which you'd expect from a battery that was fully charged and ridden for 5 seconds. I tried connecting the charger and it makes a popping sound so I disconnected it immediately. (I have two official Firewheel chargers and tried them both.)

 

I've contacted Firewheel to see what they'll do to make this work. It's a real shame because the design of the wheel itself is awesome. While I'm in here I'm definitely going to seal a bunch of stuff with silicone, this is not a very waterproof or dirtproof interior and it's all exposed to the wheel. 

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antberz    27

That sounds most unfortunate

 

I have been riding an F260 for a few months now

No issues at all- ride it to work every day- mostly averaging 20-25kmph

 

I hear you re the torque component- it feels like torque (or rather current connection between wheel and rider) is sacrificed for speed, which I am also ok with - mostly means that when travelling fast it is advisable to keep an eye on the road surface, as if you hit a dip or a bump when travelling fast, it is possible to loose traction with the wheel and wipe out

 

Hope you come ritht with getting your wheel up and running again soon!

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EUC Extreme    961
This is unfortunate.
I really hope that it will soon get into shape.
I also think that, Firewheel design is a class of its own.
Even when the electricity would receive the same level, it would be an excellent product.
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Planetpapi    365

What a disappointment. Just died in days after waiting for long time to arrive? I can imagine the frustration. Does Firewheel have customer support or something sounds like that at all? I hope they will replace it with their own expense.

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dmethvin    1,530

I still have it taken apart on my workbench, waiting for instructions from the Firewheel guys. I didn't want to silicone it if I had to send it back. I can take some pics of the internal compartments so you can see they're not sealed. 

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dmethvin    1,530

Just an update, they asked me to check a specific spot on the controller board and it does seem to be fried. Waiting for an update to find out how much they'll need to send me. Looks like I will become an expert on fixing these things. If I ever need a job I can go to China and work for Firewheel.

mXXT1kY.jpg

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dmethvin    1,530

Nope, no detail but I will be asking them more questions to find out if the new board might have the same problem in the future. The fact that they pointed me to this spot on the board tells me that they have seen it before. It was hidden behind one of the big capacitors and I had to pry that up to get a good look.

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Planetpapi    365

Dmethvin,

Somehow that image you posted is not opening? Is it just me or other have same problems too?

Edited by PlanetPapi

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Gimlet    906

It's opening fine for me. There is a heat stain between two chips 42V4/S81B & NK/1414.

Edited by Gimlet

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hobby16    267

Did they tell you what kind of chip/IC the damaged part is? Looks like a DC/DC step up IC

Marking = S81B means it's the LM5007 http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/lm5007.pdf

a DC/DC converter indeed, but step down, for powering the low voltage circuitry, including the spotlight (!)

It's possible that the copper track is simply too narrow to handle the current and has fried, and rewiring it may solve the problem.

 

You can always try that fix once FW has sent you a replacement board, they have sent at least 2 of them to French Firewheelers I know.

On other wheels, the step down converter is made with 2 transistors & one inductance circuitry. Old scheme but reliable.

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Planetpapi    365

post-170-0-71402100-1430342289_thumb.jpg

 

This is for Firewheelers. Can you ride your Firewheel on both directions with same ease? Because the ergonomic leg/shin padding design seems it's good for one direction (slightly diagonal) only. So my question is, if you switch the sides, will it be still good for the shins?

 

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hobby16    267

attachicon.giffirewheel-f779-779wh-singal-wheel-or-one.jpg

 

This is for Firewheelers. Can you ride your Firewheel on both directions with same ease? Because the ergonomic leg/shin padding design seems it's good for one direction (slightly diagonal) only. So my question is, if you switch the sides, will it be still good for the shins?

Yes and yes, but what a strange idea!

The Firewheel has a powerfull brake light at its rear, it would be a waste to have it as front light.

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dmethvin    1,530

Update: The Firewheel maker is waiting until they get an updated controller board before they send me a part. I will be traveling for a week so it will probably be mid-May before I can ride again.

 

In reply regarding the sealing of the Firewheel internals: A lot of wheels have their battery and controller boards in external square compartments next to your legs. That lets them put all the seams on the outside, where there is less likely to be mud or water. With the Firewheel though, the external parts are contoured and the compartments are on the inside exposed to whatever the wheel is throwing around.
 
c2RNvMf.jpgI've attached a picture of the battery-compartment side of the shell. The areas I circled in white show places where the battery compartment and wiring are greatly exposed to mud or water. Actually the whole compartment cover is just screwed in with no gasket or sealant so there are plenty of places for water to get in. It can easily run down the battery cable and back into the battery pack. There really should be a shield or cover there as well, and there seem to be two screw sockets to hold one in place, but I didn't have one. That goop on the wiring is hot-melt glue to hold it in place.

 

Before I put this back together I will take more pictures to show what I am doing to fix this.

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Planetpapi    365

Dmethvin,

Sorry to bug you but I just couldn't open the images. I tried with 3 different browsers. Can you attach them instead of putting them inline please? I would like to see how bad internal craftsmanship of Firewheel is. Thanks :)

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