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IPS I5 spring cleaning


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I thought I'd share some images I took during my I5 cleaning process and some thoughts related to them.

I've been using IPS I5 for covering short walking parts of my commute for little less than a year now. This spring, after about half a year of owning the wheel, I thought I'd open my I5 up and do a bit of cleaning as I had read and seen in teardown pictures of others that the weatherproofing might be on the questionable side. I will let pictures do most of the talking.

To give some context of my use case: I use this wheel for covering quite literally the first mile (kilometer really) and last mile of my commute. I travel between cities by train five days a week to my workplace and back home. All together my wheel gets around 5 km (3.1 miles) worth of riding each working day. The roads on the way are mostly paved.

I have pushed the assumed lack of weatherproofing a bit in a sense that I have ridden the wheel during rain and during snow. However, I try to treat the wheel nicely and for example always place the wheel upright after riding it in wet conditions so that the water can dribble down without messing up the electronics.



Sight right after opening the wheel. Separating the halves was easy and only a screwdriver with two sizes of hex heads was needed. A lot of dust had gone in as can be expected.



Wheel close up.



More dust. This is the left side of the wheel.



The separator plate tries to keep the dust away from the electronics. There is no rubber sealing or anything of that sort. Separator is hard plastic.



Three battery connectors and two going to the power switch. Some phase connectors(?) seen there as well. Connectors had held together just fine. 



Battery detached. The black plastic plate on right side in the picture was covering the cable connectors and keeping them in place.



A bit of dust had gotten into the electronics side. No sign of water damage.



Tire pulled off and separator removed. There is dust inside the motor.



Motor coil winding. The enamel coated wires seem to be secured (and maybe protected a little) by a glue of some sort. I had feared that at some point some of the enamel coating would wear off and cause trouble but so far so good. To be honest, after only half a year of use that would have been a little disappointing. 



Dust, dust everywhere.



Motors cables are held against the right half of the EUC by a plastic cover. I did not remove this part so no idea whats underneath.



Inside of the wheel assembly / another side of motor was equally dusty. Here I've cleaned away some of the dust just by washing with soapy water.



Most of the dust cleaned off the left half of the I5.


This is where my pictures of this particular cleaning session end. I ended up cleaning away all the lubricant in the bearing holes as well and applying some new general purpose bearing grease. Putting the I5 back together was just about doing everything in reverse order. Pulling the tire off the wheel required a fair amount of force as the magnets are quite strong. To me this was the most unnerving step of the whole process as the tire suddenly pops up. :)

After about a week of my cleaning session I noticed that the iamips-app could not detect my wheel anymore. It took me some time to notice this as I don't use the app that often. I usually just charge and go. However I would like to be able to check the battery level at times.

My first thought was to open the wheel again to see that I had not damaged anything. At this point I had however started to suspect the app too, as I had recently updated my phone OS to newer Android version. I tried out an older version of the app too that can still be found on eWheels.com website. Neither of the apps could locate any ble devices in their vicinity anymore. I think previously the apps showed all the devices they could find, not just the I5. After that I tried out an app called nRF Connect, which was able to locate the wheel. Despite that, I decided to reopen the wheel for inspection. The next three pictures are from that session.



After about a week worth of driving after the cleaning session.



Inside of the motor with some fresh lubricant and magnets cleaned.



Another side of the tire-motor assembly. There is a nasty circular scratch about half a millimeter deep around the rim as the wheel had picked up a small rock that got stuck between the cover and the rim.


I could not see any cables that I would have forgotten to connect or any other obvious fault so I closed the wheel. In the end the problem did turn out to be an incompatibility issue with the app and current version of Android. I later put together a small app for checking the battery level.


All in all I feel the I5 has served me well so far. The lack of weatherproofing is something that I suggest that one would have to keep in mind when handling the wheel. As the wheel is thin, its very tempting to lay it flat on the floor under the seat in a train. I would however only do that if the wheel was completely dry. I noticed that during winter snow tends to clog the inside of the wheel so bad that the wheel will be unable to spin at all. It goes without saying that melting the snow away should be done in upright position as well.. I feel that taking good care of the wheel is especially important now as it seems that I5 might not be sold on eBay and Aliexpress anymore and spare parts are probably non-existent. Maybe other IPS wheels too?


(A random curiosity that I had not seen mentioned here before is the 288Wh capacity model of the battery. The marking on the battery housing and the capacity that iamips-app used to report (when it worked) seemed to indicate so, but I guess one can't be sure without opening up the battery cover and inspecting what is inside.)

Edited by harmitonkana
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Good write-up, useful pictures. I use an i5 as a backup wheel and am reassured as to it's reliability. I'm impressed you ride your's in anything other than dry, sunny weather, I'm paranoid enough about the exposed motor.

Would you happen to know how many total miles ridden the wheel reports? ~3 miles per day is very impressive for an i5, mine still only has ~100 on it. 

Interesting about the 288wh battery, mine was sold marked 245, and I think the only other size option on my pack was the 18650-powered 167wh version.

 I wonder if your's a more recent model from when they'd begun producing the s5; I believe it uses two identical packs, but with slightly higher-capacity cells. When did you get your's?

I can get the iamips app to work as-is on an older android phone.

It's really too bad you can't buy them anymore, it was years ahead of the competition in 2017, gliding around when other wheels still had noticeable cogging and whiny PMW, and nobody else has tried an "axle-less" form factor.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi and my apologies for a late reply.

I'll have to check the total mileage when I get back to my wheel.

I ordered my wheel from 'weunicycle' store on eBay on 24th of July 2019. I remember it took almost a month to arrive so I've been riding it since August - September of 2019.

I too feel more at ease when riding the wheel on dry sunny weather. Both for the wheel's sake and mine. But it seems to have held ok in worse conditions too, for now. I found I quickly got more miles on it than on my 16X, as it's so much more comfortable to lug around on public transport. At work people don't even notice it even though I have it visible right under my desk. :)

How often do you have to charge your wheel? I feel that during working days, I have to charge my wheel every second day. After two days there is still about 50% of the battery left but at that point I feel the speed is reduced too much to my liking already.

I have to agree it's a bit of shame you can't buy them anymore. It's not a wheel I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone today (if it would still be available that is), as it has it's small flaws and is best suited for short commutes or backup, like in your case. But overall it's just a joy to ride.

I kind of wish there would be more small wheels available. I would gladly sacrifice the "world's thinnest" form factor in favor of more conventional motor assembly and maybe even hotswappable battery pack. Next best option seems to be the Mten3, which I might end up getting.

I got a bit sidetracked here but whatever.. :)  

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