How do you troubleshoot an electric bike? Some people don’t live near an electric bike service shop and or maybe you just want to try to fix it yourself. In this article, we’ll go over some common ways to troubleshoot electric bike problems.
CHECK THE BATTERY VOLTAGE
This question is often asked and the first thing people are often told to do is to check the battery voltage. The LEDs should light up and the bike LCD computer should light up. Maybe the battery hasn’t been charged or maybe there has been a blown fuse.
If you have a voltmeter, you can check the voltage of an electric bike by hooking up the prongs to the positive and negative sides of the prongs on the battery. You can also stick the voltmeter right into the charger connection on the battery to get a reading as well.
CHECK THE BATTERY PRONGS
Sometimes, the prongs on the battery aren’t lining up properly, so the electrical circuit can’t be completed. This can be easily fixed using a wrench to bend them slightly and realign them. You also need to check the battery charger port. If the battery charger is plugged into the wall then unplug it. Plug the battery charger into the battery charger port on the electric bicycle and look for an illuminated indicator light on the battery charger. If the indicator light on the battery charger lights up when the charger is plugged into the electric bicycle, then the wiring and the wiring connectors going to the charger port are good and the charger port itself is good.
CHECK THE BRAKE MOTOR INHIBITOR (CUTOFF SWITCH) WIRES
If you dropped your e-bike, most likely a part of the handlebars may have been damaged. This can easily be diagnosed if there is any cosmetic damage to your brake levers or handlebars. If the brakes happen to be pulled back because of damage and aren’t being let free, then the motor inhibitor switch is always turned on. You’ll need to fix your brake levers before you can get your e-bike working again. Sometimes the switch itself needs to be replaced.
This would take the knowledge and expertise of an electric bike mechanic to do. Alternatively, you can locate your controller and figure out which wires are for the brake inhibitor and disconnect them completely to get rid of this issue, however, this can be dangerous while riding and we don’t suggest it.
CHECK THE THROTTLE
If you have an e-bike with a twist throttle, you may have the tendency to pull it back and let it go without a slow release. If you do this all the time, you can damage the throttle and eventually it will break. Proper use of a twist throttle is to pull it back and when you are done, don’t just let it go, but put it back in its place slowly and softly.
If your throttle feels loose, then this may be the issue and you may need a new throttle for your e-bike. Thankfully, these are easy and inexpensive to replace. You can buy a new throttle at your local e-bike shop or you can contact the manufacturer to get a new throttle shipped directly to you.
CHECK THE PEDAL ASSIST
If you having issues with your pedal assist mode on your e-bike, then this is something to check out. Every e-bike has a different pedal assist system, some are built into the bottom bracket while others are a ring of magnets built into the front sprocket chainring.
If you have issues with the bike pulsating or the torque sensor being out of alignment, you will need to reconnect and readjust the sensor.
CHECK THE CONTROLLER
Check your controller for any wires that are disconnected or not connected properly. If there is a disconnected wire, check to make sure it goes into the correct outlet by matching up the color of the wire with the color of the outlet, and reconnect it. If the wire isn’t color coded, then you’ll need to use trial and error to check which slot the wire should go into.
CHECK THE REAR AXLE MOTOR CONNECTION
Check the wires that connect to the rear hub motor (if your e-bike has one) check that the connection isn’t frayed or damaged in some way. If the wires are cut, then you’ll need to re-wire your e-bike and an electric bike specialist shop will be able to help you with this.
CHECK THE CHAINSTAY MOTOR CONNECTION
To ensure the issue with your e-bike not working properly isn’t simply a wire being disconnected, first check the motor connection on the chainstay, which is the part of the frame where you chain is. This is a simple connection that all rear-hub motor mount e-bikes share and is an easy fix if it is the issue.
If you are still having issues with your e-bike even after checking all of these systems, give your local bike shop a call and ask them if they work on electric bikes. More and more bike shops are transitioning to electric bike service due to their growing popularity.