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Nils

Nikola 84V new board fan issue

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Seeing all this GW wiring makes me want to wince tbh. Looks like its been knocked up on home jigs with old skool home brewed copper etched pcb's. Surface mounted components? Not here it seems! GW likes old school legged capacitors, resistors and diodes! I'm surpised theres not an old 3 legged tranny in there for good measure. And then intermittant/oddly wired fans? You really couldnt make it up. This is not to be expected of a £2k wheel.

At least I can be thankful for this forum - theres no way GW will be seeing a penny off me until they up their game and bring their internal wheel design out of the dark ages. The packaging alone is shocking, with what appears to be zero consideration to cad/cam everything into a minimal size and instead make it look passable on the outside with sleek lines and fancy led's.

Sorry for the rant, I just hate to see fellow euc'ers spending serious money on this. Reminds me of TVR's - look nice and can go nice (when working) but peel back the shell and you find build quality waay behind what you expected.

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1 hour ago, Nils said:

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 :)

It's not trolling if it's true.

You pay $2000.00 for a wheel you cant ride because the parts from the bin slapped together and glued motherboards. It is true that not all eucs are plug and play but the Nikola takes the cake. Its a shame you still have troubles with you $2000 wheel after receiving a replacement motherboard.

Edited by Infermata

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On 7/25/2019 at 4:48 PM, Austin Baez said:

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?

I am guessing that they determined the control board 12V power budget did not support the fan on the original board but they had additional amperage available on the BT speaker board 12V supply. I agree that the decision seems a little odd. This was one of the first things I noticed when I opened up my Nikola for glue inspection but I decided not to comment on it because it was not really a problem and would draw attention away from the very real and serious MOSFET surface contamination issue.

As a designer there are things that I would never personally do that are not necessarily "errors". For example the high voltage capacitors on the Nikola are rated at 100V and must support 84V DC and regenerative braking spikes in typical use. I would have specified 150V caps for this application. This does not necessarily mean Gotway was wrong but clearly there is not a lot of margin in this design. But we must also understand that these wheels are consumer items and component cost matters.

Edited by Phil McLaughlin
Incorrect references to 5V should have been to 12V

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2 hours ago, Nils said:

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.

Oh good catch on that... I do not remember actually measuring the fan supply voltage but the new fan and old fan are the same. eWheels are now shipping the new boards without fans and provide instructions to connect the old fan up to the old BT speaker connection as I described. My new board which was shipped early came with a fan installed so I just used it as-is although I had to make my own jumper wire.

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17 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:

I've asked Jason in two separate emails today and he won't give me an answer. His first reply was that it was just Marty that had the fan issue, I replied that you @Nils also had a fan issue and I asked again  about the issue with the "2nd gen" board that he was waiting to replace. His response is below: 

"Part of the board swap process is to test the fan by raising the controller's temperature beyond the set point where it is activated. 

Have a good evening,
 
Jason"
 
A little strange that he won't say what is wrong with the "2nd gen" board that is on my wheel... maybe he doesn't know what the issue is, just knows that something isn't right. Hopefully the new board is solid. He said he would ship it out to me tomorrow 

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11 hours 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.

Wait, I'm really getting confused with all this talk about 5-volt fans. The original board/fan and the new board/fan both used 12-volt cage fans. The old board looks like it uses a transformer to generate the 12-volts whereas the new control board implements a daughter board that generates the 12-volts sans the large transformer. I obviously don't have a schematic of the designs, but that's my impression.

Bottom line: the Nikola uses a 12-volt fan.

Edited by Marty Backe

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4 hours ago, an5vf said:

I've asked Jason in two separate emails today and he won't give me an answer. His first reply was that it was just Marty that had the fan issue, I replied that you @Nils also had a fan issue and I asked again  about the issue with the "2nd gen" board that he was waiting to replace. His response is below: 

"Part of the board swap process is to test the fan by raising the controller's temperature beyond the set point where it is activated. 

Have a good evening,
 
Jason"
 
A little strange that he won't say what is wrong with the "2nd gen" board that is on my wheel... maybe he doesn't know what the issue is, just knows that something isn't right. Hopefully the new board is solid. He said he would ship it out to me tomorrow 

I'm heartened to hear that EWheels is testing for the fan activation.

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32 minutes ago, Marty Backe said:

Wait, I'm really getting confused with all this talk about 5-volt fans. The original board/fan and the new board/fan both both used 12-volt cage fans. The old board looks like it uses a transformer to generate the 12-volts whereas the new control board implements a daughter board that generates the 12-volts sans the large transformer. I obviously don't have a schematic of the designs, but that's my impression.

Bottom line: the Nikola uses a 12-volt fan.

Glad to hear I'm not the only one then, and thanks for the info :P

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14 hours ago, Phil McLaughlin said:

I am guessing that they determined the control board 5V power budget did not support the fan on the original board but they had additional amperage available on the BT speaker board 5V supply. I agree that the decision seems a little odd. This was one of the first things I noticed when I opened up my Nikola for glue inspection but I decided not to comment on it because it was not really a problem and would draw attention away from the very real and serious MOSFET surface contamination issue.

As a designer there are things that I would never personally do that are not necessarily "errors". For example the high voltage capacitors on the Nikola are rated at 100V and must support 84V DC and regenerative braking spikes in typical use. I would have specified 150V caps for this application. This does not necessarily mean Gotway was wrong but clearly there is not a lot of margin in this design. But we must also understand that these wheels are consumer items and component cost matters.

any insight into why the BT board would have both a 5v and 84v power header? seems a bit overkill.

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On 7/26/2019 at 2:09 AM, Marty Backe said:

Wait, I'm really getting confused with all this talk about 5-volt fans. The original board/fan and the new board/fan both used 12-volt cage fans. The old board looks like it uses a transformer to generate the 12-volts whereas the new control board implements a daughter board that generates the 12-volts sans the large transformer. I obviously don't have a schematic of the designs, but that's my impression.

Bottom line: the Nikola uses a 12-volt fan.

My apologies to all for incorrectly referring to the Nikola fan supply voltage as 5V; it is 12V. My post on fan connection was meant to point out that the new control board can be connected to the original fan wiring without cutting wires or crimping on new connectors. This is something useful to try for anyone with a Nikola fan problem (and two fans) since it eliminates both the potentially defective fan and the voltage supply from the new daughter board. I have corrected the post to clean up the record on this.

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On 7/26/2019 at 9:39 AM, Austin Baez said:

any insight into why the BT board would have both a 5v and 84v power header? seems a bit overkill.

In previous posts I have incorrectly referred to the supply coming from the BT speaker board as being 5V; it is a 12V supply. The 84V power connection to the BT speaker module supplies the power to this module from the battery. The 12V positive lead from the BT speaker module is a supply voltage made on the BT board by regulating down the 84V. This is an output from the BT speaker module that was used to power the fan when using the original Nikola board.

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What's the manufacturer name and model on the stock fan?   I'd like to research a good substitute, and if I can figure out the specs, I should be able to find something that exceeds them.

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On 7/27/2019 at 7:38 PM, neurokinetik said:

What's the manufacturer name and model on the stock fan?   I'd like to research a good substitute, and if I can figure out the specs, I should be able to find something that exceeds them.

I believe the electrical spec on the fan was 12v .43a. I don't have the fan anymore to reference, but I looked it up and had a hard time finding the actual manufacturer. I assume some generic Shenzhen clone.

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1 hour ago, Austin Baez said:

I believe the electrical spec on the fan was 12v .43a. I don't have the fan anymore to reference, but I looked it up and had a hard time finding the actual manufacturer. I assume some generic Shenzhen clone.

Yep, that's what's in my memory as well. Can have a look later. Most interesting part apart from the above would be the capacity (and also dBa level) of the old fan.

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6 minutes ago, Nils said:

Yep, that's what's in my memory as well. Can have a look later. Most interesting part apart from the above would be the capacity (and also dBa level) of the old fan.

I can say that the temporary fan that I put in my Nikola that was probably only half as effective as it needed to be, put out 9.5 CFM of air. I was going to replace it with something that generated ~20 CFM of air.

The advantage to this fan was it only consumed 0.9 watts at produced 25dBA of noise.

I don't know what the CFM of the stock fan is, but it consumes 5 watts of power and generates 90dBA of noise :lol:

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1 hour ago, Marty Backe said:

I can say that the temporary fan that I put in my Nikola that was probably only half as effective as it needed to be, put out 9.5 CFM of air. I was going to replace it with something that generated ~20 CFM of air.

The advantage to this fan was it only consumed 0.9 watts at produced 25dBA of noise.

I don't know what the CFM of the stock fan is, but it consumes 5 watts of power and generates 90dBA of noise :lol:

I saw a bunch of blower style fans on DigiKey that were pushing 30cfm+.  Once my Nikola arrives, I'll dig in and see what I can come up with.  From what I'm seeing, a quality fan is going to run between $16-30.  I noticed in your comparison pictures that there really isn't much room to work with, though. 

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9 hours ago, Marty Backe said:

I was going to replace it with something that generated ~20 CFM of air.

That's typical of you Americans... Using up more than your share of the good air that is left, further contributing to global warming!   ;)

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Back to my troublesome board/fan again. I just put back the original board back in the wheel after I got the issues, but today took out the new board again to check the fan. I'm sad so say it seems A-OK so far. I'm using a lab power supply, and the fan just seem to work as it should unfortunately. As said before I've previously checked the connectors on the board, both fan power and the control connector and all seemed well. I'm simulating a hopefully somewhat hot working environment using a heat gun. It's been running over 40 minutes non-stop now as I write this so it's time to admit defeat I think. I'll try some additional shaking of the fan as well to simulate wheel movement, but it doesn't seem like the fan is the issue alas. Damnit! Well, fortunately I can ride anyway with the old board, but it irks me.

fan.thumb.jpg.56a1a61cb3c99627b794ce9ba67068fd.jpg

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2 hours ago, Nils said:

Back to my troublesome board/fan again. I just put back the original board back in the wheel after I got the issues, but today took out the new board again to check the fan. I'm sad so say it seems A-OK so far. I'm using a lab power supply, and the fan just seem to work as it should unfortunately. As said before I've previously checked the connectors on the board, both fan power and the control connector and all seemed well. I'm simulating a hopefully somewhat hot working environment using a heat gun. It's been running over 40 minutes non-stop now as I write this so it's time to admit defeat I think. I'll try some additional shaking of the fan as well to simulate wheel movement, but it doesn't seem like the fan is the issue alas. Damnit! Well, fortunately I can ride anyway with the old board, but it irks me.

fan.thumb.jpg.56a1a61cb3c99627b794ce9ba67068fd.jpg

I've re-read this a couple of times and I'm confused. You imply (disappointing for some reason) that the fan works great but at the end you say the fan is the issue :confused1: :confused1:

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13 minutes ago, Marty Backe said:

I've re-read this a couple of times and I'm confused. You imply (disappointing for some reason) that the fan works great but at the end you say the fan is the issue :confused1: :confused1:

No, I'm consistently disappointed that the fan works; note that the last statement reads "but it doesn't seem like the fan is the issue alas". I really hoped for the fan to be the culprit, that would have been very easy to solve. As it is, the next steps would be much more cumbersome (checking the board's fan voltage during operation, checking the board's fan control signals, etc.). I don't think I'll go that route unless my current board fails (which I don't expect it to), as I then need to put the new board in again in order to get some readings. Keeping the new board for a rainy day now, or for desperate times.

Edited by Nils

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so i got 2 beeps / 2 seconds, but my wheel is functioning normally. bad fan? the solder points on the fan look burnt. Looks to be a 60/15mm turbine fan.

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