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Nikola 84V new board fan issue

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There was some rumor that eWheels had some problem with the new boards, and wasn't it Marty's new board that had a broken fan.  I don't think we heard from eWheels what their issue was, but it's starting to look like the new fan controller/connection might have a wide spread issue.  Ian's board he pulled out of his machine didn't have the glue issue either.

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44 minutes ago, FreeRide said:

There was some rumor that eWheels had some problem with the new boards, and wasn't it Marty's new board that had a broken fan.  I don't think we heard from eWheels what their issue was, but it's starting to look like the new fan controller/connection might have a wide spread issue.  Ian's board he pulled out of his machine didn't have the glue issue either.

Yeah, @Marty Backe had an issue with the fan on the replacement board he received, and it's fresh in my mind as well. Still, it's hard to draw any long reaching conclusions from that, even though I long to make a connection. At this point, not having opened the wheel up again I'm all speculation: Is the fan bad? It started up again though multiple times, at what seems like lower temperatures. Unless I see some bad connectors/connections I'm tempted to just shove the old board in the wheel again, since that has proven itself over a long time.

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18 hours ago, Nils said:

Yeah, @Marty Backe had an issue with the fan on the replacement board he received, and it's fresh in my mind as well. Still, it's hard to draw any long reaching conclusions from that, even though I long to make a connection. At this point, not having opened the wheel up again I'm all speculation: Is the fan bad? It started up again though multiple times, at what seems like lower temperatures. Unless I see some bad connectors/connections I'm tempted to just shove the old board in the wheel again, since that has proven itself over a long time.

When you look at the quality of the electronics inside the fan, you can see that Gotway spared no expense in sourcing this component ;)

Edited by Marty Backe

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3 hours ago, FreeRide said:

There was some rumor that eWheels had some problem with the new boards, and wasn't it Marty's new board that had a broken fan.  I don't think we heard from eWheels what their issue was, but it's starting to look like the new fan controller/connection might have a wide spread issue.  Ian's board he pulled out of his machine didn't have the glue issue either.

This is the case, I ordered a Nikola this week, Jason is delaying shipment until he receives a 3rd gen board and installs. Not gonna lie @Nils @Marty Backe, getting a little worried about this purchase... it's not too late for me to switch orders to a 16x lol! Please advise

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Video of yesterday's ride is here (the fun fan-stopped-working segment starts at around 4:30):

 

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7 hours ago, an5vf said:

This is the case, I ordered a Nikola this week, Jason is delaying shipment until he receives a 3rd gen board and installs. Not gonna lie @Nils @Marty Backe, getting a little worried about this purchase... it's not too late for me to switch orders to a 16x lol! Please advise

You should always do what you feel comfortable with. However, I wouldn't worry too much about it, as Jason should take care of you should there be any issue, and unless some new widespread issue pops up there's nothing so far indicating that you'll have an issue. Also, I'll be opening this wheel up for the third time now, and still I love it, so that says something for how great the wheel is.

I would be very interested to hear from @Jason McNeil specifically what the issue was with the boards he received though. Fan related? :ph34r:

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3 hours ago, Nils said:

You should always do what you feel comfortable with. However, I wouldn't worry too much about it, as Jason should take care of you should there be any issue, and unless some new widespread issue pops up there's nothing so far indicating that you'll have an issue. Also, I'll be opening this wheel up for the third time now, and still I love it, so that says something for how great the wheel is.

I would be very interested to hear from @Jason McNeil specifically what the issue was with the boards he received though. Fan related? :ph34r:

He didn't mention it in our correspondence, I will ask and find out!

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Interesting development.  I utilized the original fan on the 2nd round of boards and mine seems to be working fine after 220 miles.  Hopefully it’s an easy fix but glad you at least have one working board. 

You did end up getting the overheat tiltback at 65 degrees Celsius which is consistent with my recent experience on the mountain.  I’ve got my warning set at 60 now. 

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8 hours ago, Nils said:

Video of yesterday's ride is here (the fun fan-stopped-working segment starts at around 4:30):

 

Love this video :thumbup:

Nothing beats the MSX for single-track and/or rock strewn paths. The high pedals plus the extreme dihedral angle is hard to beat.

I really don't think that there's an issue with your new board. It has to be the fan. I peaked inside my broken fan and the physical condition of the electronics looks horrible - it's a very low quality build fan. Once again, Gotway spared no expense :facepalm:

While I was waiting for my third control board I installed an aftermarket fan, tapped into the 5-volt supply that goes into the sound module. On all the time, but it added ~10-degrees of cooling. I removed it when I got a working Gotway fan installed. But if this fails again I'll probably re-install my hacked fan, but one with twice the air flow.

The Gotway fan adds about 20-degrees of cooling and is critical to maintain the nominal ~40 to 50 degree operating temperature.

It's very odd that the Nikola overheats at 65-degrees. All other Gotway, KingSong, Ninebot, etc. overheat at 79-degrees.

 

The MCM5 would have raced up that last hill :)

 

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44 minutes ago, Marty Backe said:

Love this video :thumbup:

Nothing beats the MSX for single-track and/or rock strewn paths. The high pedals plus the extreme dihedral angle is hard to beat.

I really don't think that there's an issue with your new board. It has to be the fan. I peaked inside my broken fan and the physical condition of the electronics looks horrible - it's a very low quality build fan. Once again, Gotway spared no expense :facepalm:

While I was waiting for my third control board I installed an aftermarket fan, tapped into the 5-volt supply that goes into the sound module. On all the time, but it added ~10-degrees of cooling. I removed it when I got a working Gotway fan installed. But if this fails again I'll probably re-install my hacked fan, but one with twice the air flow.

The Gotway fan adds about 20-degrees of cooling and is critical to maintain the nominal ~40 to 50 degree operating temperature.

It's very odd that the Nikola overheats at 65-degrees. All other Gotway, KingSong, Ninebot, etc. overheat at 79-degrees.

The MCM5 would have raced up that last hill :)

Yeah people keeps talking about the MCM5.. hmm perhaps one is needed, eh for the kids and everything ;)

Yes, the fan.. I opened up the wheel again earlier today. No signs of anything amiss with regards to the connectors. I wasn't really sure what to, but decided I'll move the fan from the first gen board over to start with. Then realized the first gen fan had two connectors and the new board fan one. Was thinking of either adapting the first board fan by combining the cables in the two-pin connector or re-soldering the connector from the new board fan unto the original one. In the end though I wasn't sure whether the fan really is the culprit, it seems slightly strange that the fan would come back as the temperature drops.. Could very well be the fan though, but if not I'd have a butchered first gen board and just have a lot of more work in front of me before getting the while up an running again. So, for now I went with the proven solution and installed the original board again. Go team TO-220!

For the new board I'll rather look at getting a good quality fan and try using that instead of messing around with my working setup. Out of interest, why did you tap into the speaker feed by the way? I'm thinking a 12V fan with the same connector used connected to the same board connector? And while I'm at it, anyone know the name of the two pin connector used? I've seen it earlier, but alas I don't have photographic memory.

 

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11 minutes ago, Nils said:

Yeah people keeps talking about the MCM5.. hmm perhaps one is needed, eh for the kids and everything ;)

Yes, the fan.. I opened up the wheel again earlier today. No signs of anything amiss with regards to the connectors. I wasn't really sure what to, but decided I'll move the fan from the first gen board over to start with. Then realized the first gen fan had two connectors and the new board fan one. Was thinking of either adapting the first board fan by combining the cables in the two-pin connector or re-soldering the connector from the new board fan unto the original one. In the end though I wasn't sure whether the fan really is the culprit, it seems slightly strange that the fan would come back as the temperature drops.. Could very well be the fan though, but if not I'd have a butchered first gen board and just have a lot of more work in front of me before getting the while up an running again. So, for now I went with the proven solution and installed the original board again. Go team TO-220!

For the new board I'll rather look at getting a good quality fan and try using that instead of messing around with my working setup. Out of interest, why did you tap into the speaker feed by the way? I'm thinking a 12V fan with the same connector used connected to the same board connector? And while I'm at it, anyone know the name of the two pin connector used? I've seen it earlier, but alas I don't have photographic memory.

 

I can totally believe that the marginal electronics/wiring inside the fan is temperature sensitive. Next time you have the fan by itself, look where the two wires enter the fan (you may have to peel back a paper covering). It doesn't inspire confidence.

The working fan in my Nikola came from the original board. I cut off the two separate connectors and soldered them onto the new/bad fan cabling.

When I was installing the aftermarket CPU fan, at the time I was under the mistaken impression that the daughterboard that feeds the fan was defective and that's why the fan wouldn't work. So I went with a 5-volt always-on solution.

I still think your new board is good. But I guess you have a backup now. It's very likely that your original board will last the life of your wheel.

Here's hoping that neither of us have to open the Nikola again :cheers:

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19 minutes ago, Marty Backe said:

I can totally believe that the marginal electronics/wiring inside the fan is temperature sensitive. Next time you have the fan by itself, look where the two wires enter the fan (you may have to peel back a paper covering). It doesn't inspire confidence.

The working fan in my Nikola came from the original board. I cut off the two separate connectors and soldered them onto the new/bad fan cabling.

When I was installing the aftermarket CPU fan, at the time I was under the mistaken impression that the daughterboard that feeds the fan was defective and that's why the fan wouldn't work. So I went with a 5-volt always-on solution.

I still think your new board is good. But I guess you have a backup now. It's very likely that your original board will last the life of your wheel.

Ah, right, that makes sense then with the power supply, thanks! Yes, good idea about just soldering it together. I've just bought some cable lugs today for other purposes, so that would work as well if need be. For the fan I'm also thinking that it should be possible to not only get something with better quality but also something quieter;  that fan is rather loud after all.

Yeah, I quite like my original board, and think it will serve me well so I'm not sure I'll bother with re-installing the new one again. In a perverse way I'm also actually interested in the real performance limits of the original MOSFETs and board design, and am not convinced that I'll hit any bottlenecks with the MOSFETs (famous last words..).

 

19 minutes ago, Marty Backe said:

Here's hoping that neither of us have to open the Nikola again :cheers:

Ha ha, I'll cheer to that! :cheers:

 

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13 minutes ago, Austin Baez said:

I have 3 smaller 5v fans always on cooling the main board. I have a video detailing things I can post later.

Oh, please do if you can, would be very interesting to see how you solved it! So, your sound module is dead then? A shame about the speaker if so, but getting rid of the startup beep at least accounts for something :P

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15 minutes ago, Austin Baez said:

Thanks, gave you a thumbs up there :D For embedding videos just add the youtube link in your post and continue typing and it should auto-embed.

In other news, I'm not really following the board changes here. First board fans are powered via the sound module and at 5V? And with the new board at 12V from the motherboard?And people should just switch the fans over from the original board? I wished I taken a better look at the original fan earlier when I was replacing the board to see it's rating.

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2 minutes ago, Nils said:

Thanks, gave you a thumbs up there :D For embedding videos just add the youtube link in your post and continue typing and it should auto-embed.

In other news, I'm not really following the board changes here. First board fans are powered via the sound module and at 5V? And with the new board at 12V from the motherboard?And people should just switch the fans over from the original board? I wished I taken a better look at the original fan earlier when I was replacing the board to see it's rating.

The main board has a 5v header that goes into a little splitter board off to the side which has 3 outputs. These outputs typically go to the front USB port for usb charging, and to the rear GW light, which itself is split between the light and another header going into the speaker board. The third output on the splitter was unused(unless i missed something). The speaker board itself has a direct battery connection as well as the 5v spliced off the rear light connection. Both of which can be seen here: a72922be05.png

The speaker board itself has a bluetooth module(white chip), the input for the 5v(top right) and 84v(bottom right) headers, the output for the speakers(middle two headers), and then that wire that comes through the hole and to the fan, which is soldered directly to a through-hole capacitor. 4b1d4f9975.png

2657027e1d.png

 

My solution was to just cut that erroneous wire and use the 5v outputs from the splitter board to power a few fans(described in the video)

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10 minutes ago, Phil McLaughlin said:

@Nils, so sorry to hear that your new board setup is failing! The old fan can be connected directly to the new board without cutting wires or crimping on new connectors. The old board did not have a 5V supply for the fan on the control board and instead used 5V from the Bluetooth speaker module. The ground wire from the fan connected to the control board and the fan was controlled by the board selectively grounding the fan negative connection when the board was too hot. The wire and connector from the BT module only carried +5V but no ground. The header on the old control board only had a switched ground pin. The new board has a new daughter board that makes a +5V for the fan so that the BT speaker module +5V does not need to be used. On the new board the +5V and Ground wires from the fan are connected to a 2 pin JST connector on the control board. a jumper wire is connected from the daughter board to the header next to the fan connection header to connect the 5V to the fan connection. You can use the original fan on a new board by connecting the +5V to the BT speaker module just as before and connecting the ground cable from the original fan to the fan header on the new board just as before. In this case the jumper wire to the daughter board should be removed. All you need to do is bolt on the old fan and connect the wires with original cables and connectors.

Using the old fan on your new board will solve two potential problems. In case your new fan is bad you will be using your original working fan. Also, if the +5V daughter board supply is intermittent you will have removed it from the equation by using +5V from the speaker module as with your original board. If the fan is still intermittent after this change you will know that the problem is with the thermal control of the switched ground on the control board header.

Thanks! Indeed you're right, I could have just connected the old fan in the same manner (as an aside, this is why I love this forum, knowledgeable folks like yourself - wish I could double-up-vote :D). My confusion stems from the schematics posted by GW that indicates that the connector on the new board supplies 12V. It was originally posted by GW I believe but can be seen in the eWheels document here as well: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oSCz_JBK7ZAp6hASQN1-fLLUq7vrULVo/view.  The original schematics doesn't specify the feeding voltage as that's outside of the board, so it seemed like there would be a discrepancy here. So, do we know that it's actually a 5V current we're getting here? I had a look earlier today at the fan on the new board, and as I recalled it was rated for 12V.

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I didn't know that Gotway has a new $2000 figure it out yourself electric unicycle for sale. Where can I get one of these "bad" wheels?

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1 minute ago, Infermata said:

I didn't know that Gotway has a new $2000 figure it out yourself electric unicycle for sale. Where can I get one of these "bad" wheels?

Seriously. I'm annoyed, but also the type to value learning experiences. So I've enjoyed the repair process for the value of the knowledge it's brought me. But if i was looking for something plug and play, I would be fucking livid.

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2 minutes ago, Austin Baez said:

Seriously. I'm annoyed, but also the type to value learning experiences. So I've enjoyed the repair process for the value of the knowledge it's brought me. But if i was looking for something plug and play, I would be fucking livid.

Don't feed the trolls. Truth be told, there really isn't any guaranteed plug and play wheel to be had as far as I'm aware. Most wheels will work just fine, but for the ones that doesn't you're either at the mercy of the sellers/manufacturers or yourself. Not saying it's a good thing, but it is what it is. Your attitude will serve you well :)

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39 minutes ago, Phil McLaughlin said:

@Nils, so sorry to hear that your new board setup is failing! The old fan can be connected directly to the new board without cutting wires or crimping on new connectors. The old board did not have a 5V supply for the fan on the control board and instead used 5V from the Bluetooth speaker module. The ground wire from the fan connected to the control board and the fan was controlled by the board selectively grounding the fan negative connection when the board was too hot. The wire and connector from the BT module only carried +5V but no ground. The header on the old control board only had a switched ground pin. The new board has a new daughter board that makes a +5V for the fan so that the BT speaker module +5V does not need to be used. On the new board the +5V and Ground wires from the fan are connected to a 2 pin JST connector on the control board. a jumper wire is connected from the daughter board to the header next to the fan connection header to connect the 5V to the fan connection. You can use the original fan on a new board by connecting the +5V to the BT speaker module just as before and connecting the ground cable from the original fan to the fan header on the new board just as before. In this case the jumper wire to the daughter board should be removed. All you need to do is bolt on the old fan and connect the wires with original cables and connectors.

Using the old fan on your new board will solve two potential problems. In case your new fan is bad you will be using your original working fan. Also, if the +5V daughter board supply is intermittent you will have removed it from the equation by using +5V from the speaker module as with your original board. If the fan is still intermittent after this change you will know that the problem is with the thermal control of the switched ground on the control board header.

In your professional opinion, why would this design decision be made? There's an open 5v connection right next to the main board. Why run a wire all the way from the daughter board? And on top of that, why have that wire soldered directly into a capacitor?

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