Last week was a momentous occasion for Grin Technologies, as our innovative LiGo battery modules got ready for primetime. I'll let the video do the talking!
February 21, 2017 1:21:11 AM PST
February 10, 2017 11:39:32 AM PST
Our product update and video for this week relates to something close to our hearts, the seemingly timeless Cycle Analyst. While the Version 3.0 CA firmware has been stabilized for some time, our partner Teklektik has been quietly working very hard towards a 3.1 release that fully realizes all of the features we had originally envisioned for this device. One of the best of these is a dual button control input, making on the fly adjustments easier than ever before. Have a look:
Using this requires first updating your Cycle Analyst firmware. The V3.1 beta releases have been published on endless-sphere since last spring, but the latest CA3.1B13 code is getting very close to the final release, and we think it's time fo a wider swath of users to check check it out. You can download it from ES or our CA3 info page, just keep in mind that an upgrade from a 3.0 device will overwrite all of your settings and statistics, so make sure to record those first before reflashing.
We have the inexpensive dual buttons in stock to ship to anyone wanting to get a head start on this upgrade path for their CA devices. Then in March/April we expect to make the 3.1 firmware our new standard that is preloaded on all the CA3 devices, and we will have a number of video tutorials covering the many other new features.
February 2, 2017 8:56:37 PM PST
We quietly started carrying Hailong downtube mount battery packs last fall, but didn't announce anything as they lacked UN38.3 certification and so were available for local pickup only. Well, that's all changed and we now have a 52V 13Ah downtube battery with UN38.3 documents that we can ship over the world. These battery packs are using the Panasonic GA cells, nominally 3.5Ah each but we'll rate them more conservatively at 3.3Ah.
These are great low center of gravity batteries for ebikes running 20-25A motor controllers. The BMS circuit is capable of 40A continuous but usage at these levels isn't recommended for cell longevity. For bikes that don't have suitable waterbottle eyelets on the downtube, we also have sourced a nice Banjo Brothers frame bag that holds them neatly from the toptube, and helps your conversion look less like an ebike with the obvious battery exposed.
Not sure how to pick a battery?
We've also recently rewritten our battery kits info page, updating it to reflect our 2017 battery options with summary explanation on choosing the best pack for your setup.
This updated page also includes tips on parallel or series wiring for connecting batteries and other tidbits that you may find useful when considering a new battery purchase.
January 27, 2017 1:37:21 AM PST
This time last year we were deep in the throes of converting and renovating a giant warehouse go become a new home for Grin, in preparation for a lengthy business move we didn't really ask for. And now that we're settled in, it's payoff time and are ready to rock like never before. For the foreseeable future we'll have a new product and/or video announcement to share with you every single week.
We'll start things off by announcing the TripWire, a new product for those looking for an ebrake cutoff solution that tacks onto existing brake levers rather than replacing them. We had tried developing devices based on magnets and reed switches, touch sensitive pads, and other technologies over the years, never quite coming up with a scheme we were happy with. Then out of the blue, one of our customers Tim O'Brien approached us with a solution that was truly great. I'll let Tim explain it himself here:
We've been working with Tim to iron out design details and hare happy to have received his first production batch over the holidays. They're available both with a short cable for plugging into a V3 Cycle Analyst device to enable proportional regen, and with a long cable length to go directly to the controller ebrake input if you don't have a CA3 in your setup.
December 21, 2016 5:07:30 PM PST
We wish everyone a splendid holiday season and we'll be busy as usual fulfilling orders and answering questions during the next few weeks, being closed just for the statutory holidays on Christmas and New Years.
Plus for any real last minute shoppers we've decided to open our doors on Saturday Dec 24th from 11am to 4pm. We just received a fresh stock of beginner unicycles and have tons of Grin goodies to stuff under the tree.
December 15, 2016 1:30:00 PM PST
The 72V Satiators have now passed UL and CSA regulatory testing and are in full production in time for every ebike enthusiast's Christmas wish list. Thank you to all those who participated in the beta/pilot run earlier this year while we sorted out details. We've got them listed not only on our store site but also stocked at amazon.com so that our American friends can get free domestic shipping.
As well, we've greatly increased the number of adapter cables available for making the Satiator more plug and play compatible with 3rd party batteries and ebikes. This includes XT60 connectors used RC batteries, 5.5 x 2.5mm DC Barrel connectors used in most frame batteries, Rosenberger plugs on high-end European setups, and 4-pin XLR plugs for the Juiced bikes, along with our previous Anderson and RCA adapters.
All of these cables are available from the drop-down selector on the Satiator store pages and they all include the TRS jack for computer communications with the USB->TTL cable.
November 20, 2016 11:29:31 AM PST
In April we had changes with the Stokemonkey kit including clampset options and a new SAW motor from Crystalyte. Well now we've got two more great updates. The first is a an option now to use a geared rather than direct drive motor. After a lot of testing we settled on the G02 Bafang hub as the perfect candidate, being 33% lighter and yet having 10-15% more torque with the same controller. With these motors, we use a simple fixed cog bolted on the disk mount and take advantage of the motor's intrinsic freewheel rather than using an external freewheel.
That said the geared motor can make a small audible buzz when running, so for those who prefer the silence and intrinsic rugged simplicity of the heavier direct drive motor we continue to offer both choices.
The second update is that we're offering the gearsensor.com shift cutoffs as an option with both the classic Stokemonkey and Cycle Stoker kits. This Czech made device goes inline with your shift cable and senses when you are changing gears to automatically cut motor power for a moment so that you have a smooth transition. We've had them in stock for a while, but only recently have had all of our CA3 devices updated to provide 5V power on the ebrake connector allowing for plug and play compatibility. These make the mid-drive motor operation seamless.
November 17, 2016 3:40:00 PM PST
We're calling our Statorade ferrofluid experiment that started last year a wild success. We've had fleet cargo ebike users (like Shift Delivery) see their average motor temperature drop from in the ~100-110°C range to ~70 degrees. It's enabled people to push the continuous power limits of their direct drive motors up a significant margin, and there's been no evidence at all of compatibility problems with glues, varnishes, and enamels inside the motors. Our recently updated Statorade product info page has the details.
In order to make the Statorade easier to inject, we've updated the standard package to a Luer Lock style syringe with both a twist lock cap and a small diameter plastic needle. This allows you to drill just a tiny 2mm hole for precise injection with less risk of mess. And, as a plus for people in the US, we've got it stocked on Amazon for cheap shipping. Have a look.
Finally for those with lots of ebike motors in their garage, we've also started offering larger 50mL and 100mL bulk bottles of Statorade. They are on special price now until mid-December. Our goal was to make all of our direct drive hub motors (Crystalyte, Nine Continent, TDCM, and Grin) statorade compatible in 2016 and we are happy to have succeeded in that.
November 12, 2016 1:29:43 AM PST
The custom line of Grinfineon motor controllers has undergone a big update this fall with the switch to a new control chip. It now runs in silent sine wave mode when the hall sensors are plugged in.
So with direct drive motors the assist is almost as silky smooth as the phaserunners, and in sensorless mode it can run motors up to 28,000 eRPM, making it compatible with even high pole count geared motors like the eZee, BMC, and MAC hubs at conventional cruising speeds. We really can call it universally compatible with any ebike motor in the catalog.
These controllers are all in stock in the 20A, 25A, 35A, and 40A models, and available with the purchase of most of our conversion kits too. We have completed a draft of an updated Grinfineon 2.0 user manual that details this new feature set.
On the downside, we did have to drop a few features that were present in the previous Grinfineon controller circuits:
- 1) The input voltage range is no longer compatible with 24V packs due to the use of a switching rather than linear regulator, so it is only for 36V and higher setups (LVC of 27V).
- 2) The automatic hall mapping feature is not available with this sine wave mode. So if you are running sensored, it is necessary to ensure you have the correct hall and phase pinout. Our current version is colour for colour matched with eZee and Crystalyte motors, but other hubs (Bafang, MXUS etc.) may require experimenting with the connections.
- 3) While we still have proportional / variable regen from a 0.0 to 0.7V throttle signal for use with a V3 Cycle Analyst, the regen from an external ebrake input is fixed at 50% of max. It does not change with application of the throttle voltage.
Very few people these days are using 24V setups and most customers using proportional regen feature have a V3 CA device, so the only real loss here was the automatic hall mapping. However, we found that this feature was causing complications with the trend to higher eRPM motors and decided in the interest of working with fast geared hubs it was best to stick with a fixed hall map. On the whole though, a very nice upgrade that we think you will like. We have remaining inventory of our trapezoidal Grinfineon 40A Devices (for 36-72V setups) with automatic hall mapping available at a special discount for those looking for a great controller deal.
October 24, 2016 1:39:42 AM PDT
There are some new items in the rear hub motor department in stock here at Grin. First is a fast (395rpm) version of the 5 speed Internal Gear Hub (IGH) motor from TDCM. This high speed winding choice is perfect for folding and recumbent bikes with 20" wheels which can benefit from the internal hub gears, and is also great for people who want a fast ebike setup in a normal 26" wheel without resorting to high voltage batteries.
In something of a Grin exclusive we've also had both the standard (300rpm) and fast (395rpm) motors in our latest batch made with 0.35mm laminations for reduced core loss, and using our custom high-flex 12 gauge phase cable for the motor lead wires. These Taiwanese made motors are in a different quality league than any of the direct drive hubs we're used to seeing from china and make for very clean derailleur-free ebike builds. The performance details of this new hub are already live on our simulator.
The second update is that we've now got a rear version of the 9C+ motor series in 3 different windings. Like the front 9C+ motors from Grin, this one features 0.35mm laminations for minimal drag when pedaling, and has a thermistor and fully sealed side covers with a statorade injection port in the disk holes. At just $185 it's a great value motor with impressive performance for those who don't mind if the mechanical details like disk rotor alignment, flange wobble etc. are at Chinese standards.
October 14, 2016 1:53:42 PM PDT
It's with a somewhat sad heart that we had to discontinue our popular Lumenator ebike lights earlier this year due to sourcing difficulties on some key parts. While a Lumenator 2.0 is still in the future, we have two new 3rd party front bike lights which we are happy to offer in the meantime. Both the Benex200 and the RoximX4 have StVZ0 compliant optics, which means that they can provide plenty of light on the road without causing blinding glare to oncoming traffic and fellow cyclists. Have a look at the image below to see the firm optical cutoff above the horizon.
The Benex200 has a 12-75V input range and features both light and motion sensors for automatic control. You can leave the light plugged in and it will automatically turn on whenever you are riding in the dark, and shut itself off after it is parked still for a while or the sun comes out.
The larger RoximX4 light works over an impressive 6V-85V range, meaning that you can power it from a 6V dyno hub right up to a 72V nominal ebike pack. We have custom wired our Roxim light to include a handle mounted push switch for easy on/off control.
Both models have been terminated with the DC 5.5x2.1mm barrel jack so that they can plug in directly to a Cycle Analyst or Anderson Tap. While neither option is quite as bright as our Lumenator, they still work great as a primary ebike headlight for almost all road and trail riding during the upcoming winter season.
September 30, 2016 10:18:00 AM PDT
Our August shipment of Crystalyte hub motors has some nice upgrades, so much so that we're ready to call it the H+ motor series:
- Solid Aluminum Stator Core, rather than pressed steel. Better heat absorption and less likely to bend during disassembly
- 0.35mm Stator Laminations for reduced eddie current drag torque, and best of all
- Injection Hole and fully sealed side plates for Statorade compatibility
That makes our line of Crystalyte direct drive hub motors ripe and ready for high performance applications that can benefit from improved thermal dissipation and efficiency. To select one of these newer motors during checkout, just use the new Statorade Uprade option available on each of the kits.
For the smaller Crysatlyte SAW and NSM motors, as there is no disk brake we've had a small threaded hole put in the side plate that can be closed off with an M3 screw. So those using the brompton and folding bike kits in hilly conditions can also run the motors longer without overheating by adding a small does of Statorade.
July 31, 2016 8:40:53 PM PDT
More details to come later, but we thought you might like a peak at what Justin and some Grin Staff have been burning the midnight oil on for the past several weeks, a project making full use of current and future Grin products.
Complete build details with pictures of the internal parts and construction are on the unicyclist.com forum
Justin is currently at the 18th International Unicon event in Spain testing this out among the world's elite unicycle riders, but as a result we've slipped behind in our timeliness with technical support emails in the past few weeks and apologize for all who have been let down by that. We'll get caught up again as soon as possible and hope otherwise you continue to have a great summer of ebike building and riding, and a happy BC Day to boot.
June 20, 2016 10:43:50 PM PDT
We had an agenda this year to tackle product documentation and make it easier for people to find thorough setup guidance and usage notes on their ebike hardware. In fact, we even have a little known section on our website that has a compilation of all the reference docs and user manuals we’ve produced over the years, and should probably call attention to it:
Go to the header LEARN -> DOCUMENTS
There are two significant additions that we completed in the last week. First is our complete user manual for the Grinfineon controller series, which goes into great detail on all the features and limitations of these almost universal motor controllers.
And secondly, we completed a Quickstart guide for the V2.4 Cycle Analyst. This covers all the information and key settings needed to get 95% of users up and running, without delving too much into techno talk. We’re hoping that it strikes the right balance of information vs. intimidation and look forwards to any feedback that you have.
Based on your response, we’ll be doing a series of similar Quickstart guides on setting up the V3 Cycle Analyst for various functions too. And not just print guides but video tutorials as well!
Above is our first stab at that, with a youtube tutorial on how to setup and configure V3 Cycle Analyst to use a magnet ring PAS sensor. If Zuckerberg says that very soon almost all web content will be video, we figure he might be right (again). So it’s time we get with the program. Still no Grin Facebook page though!
June 9, 2016 7:10:33 PM PDT
Although we are still staunchly a conversion kit / retrofit company, we've been largely perplexed at the lack of shops in Vancouver offering electric cargo bikes and want to address that. So for this summer at least we are offering two ready to roll turn-key cargo ebikes based on open/hackable drive systems that we think are of great quality and value; the eZee Expedir and the Juiced Riders ODK U500.
Both of these cargo ebikes have high capacity (>700 watt-hour) stock batteries, hydraulic disk brakes, and torquey geared hub motors well adept at moving heavy loads up steep hills. The Juiced ODK has 20" front and rear wheels with a simple 3 speed internal hub and is meant as a lower barrier and simple to use ebike, with battery options going up to 32Ah for phenominal range. We've worked closely with Tora, founder of Juiced, for many years now and have been ever impressed with his energy and accomplishments and building his accessible utility bike vision into reality. Below is a great recent video review of the U500 bike from electricbikereports:
The Expedir meanwhile is eZee's foray into the cargo bike territory and is a complete bicycle running a more sophisticated hardware set: with 9 speed shimano Alvio RD drivechain, Magura disk brakes, and a sturdy center stand. It uses a 26" front wheel and 24" rear, giving a somewhat lower cargo deck height than say the Yuba Mundo, but not so low that adult passengers have to lift their feet off the ground.
Other New Stuff?
We've added a "new items" category to our website to make it easier for people who check in frequently to see view more recently added goods that are new since the last visit. In addition to these cargo ebikes, you'll see many small items that haven't been announced on our blog, like eZee motor extension cables, handlebar mounted potentiometer for the CA3, connector boxes, the gear sensor cutoff for mid-drives and even the BEAMts chain tension torque sensor.
Plus, the observant may have noticed that the Phaserunner controllers and Satiator chargers are available to purchase again with a back order, meaning we are confident of their near term pending availability.
June 2, 2016 2:11:17 PM PDT
First of all, a big thanks to everyone who came by to meet us at the bay area Maker Faire at the end of last month, and to all the shops and people we visited on the road trip coming back up. It was fun to have a formal booth presence again to educate people about electric bike and skateboard technology, even in a space awash with drones and 3D printers.
We had a pretty mad couple weeks cramming in the projects on exhibit, including a novel take on a mid-drive system and a revival of our first pedalable e-uni. Unfortunately that meant our order queue and email responses got backlogged by up to a week and we apologize to those affected. As of now at least things are all caught up and we are back to snappy order fulfillment and responses.
Although we won't have a booth presence at the local Vancouver Mini Maker Faire on June 11th-12th, we do recommend anyone interested in DIY projects to attend if they can make it.
May 15, 2016 4:57:06 PM PDT
Things are finally rolling smoothly across the board at our new shop space on Powell St., and that means we can get back to new product engineering, and also properly communicate what is going on with our inventory plans. Some products have run their course, some are due for improvements, and others are getting revamped from scratch.
New eZee Flat Batteries 33% more range
First, we've had our next batch of eZee flat rack batteries updated to use 2.9Ah Panasonic PF cells rather than the 2.2Ah Sony V3 cells. That provides 33% more capacity but at the same size, weight, and cost as the previous packs. The 36V 15Ah battery is now 36V 20Ah, and the 48V 10.5Ah pack is now 14 Ah. We loved the incredible cycle and calendar life of the Sony V3 cells but the improved capacity at the same price from Panasonic is too hard to pass up.
Lumenator Light 1.0 Retired
Secondly, we've fully retired the 1000 Lumen Cycle Lumenator light. For the 6 years we've been producing it, this device has helped many people light up the streets with their ebikes but at the same time has been the source of some consternation to oncoming traffic. We are working to have the original Lumenator re-engineered with a similarly powerful headlight that has purely reflective optics which meet the German StVZO requirement for minimal brightness above the horizon, and should have it ready before the start of summer.
48V and 72V Satiator Models, Limited Supply
A few weeks ago we ran out our last fully QC passed Satiator devices and started listing at a discount those that were perfectly fine but didn't quite pass our 1PSI air leakage test. That means that we can't guarantee against water ingress if used extensively in the rain with water exposure. There are only a handful of these remaining.
Similarly, our pilot launch of 72V Satiator devices is on hold while we re-design some aspects of the power circuit after having several field failures, and we thank the Pilot testers for helping us iron this out.
Both the standard 48V and revised 72V Satiators should be in full supply again in early June. The positive user feedback for Satiators has been awesome and we really look forwards to getting this nailed for 2016 and available to all who want one.
eZee Rear Motor with Cassette Freehub
Finally, eZee is now manufacturing a rear motor with a high-end cassette freehub system which we've got available in standard 250 rpm and fast 350 rpm winding options. They cost a fair bit more than the screw-on freewheel version so for the stock laced kits we are sticking with freewheels. But for those who want a kit using all modern bike hardware standards for 9 or 10 speed cassettes, these make a great choice.
What about the Phaserunner, LiGo Batteries, and Thru-Axle Grin Motors?
Stay tuned for our next homepage updates for all of those exciting things coming out of Grin, as well as new documentation, video tutorials, torque sensor options, and a serious overhaul of the CycleStoker system.
April 18, 2016 8:16:25 AM PDT
We're often in the midst of evaluating and revising our product offerings and figured it was a good idea to shed some light on our plans for 2016. In addition to the Thru-Axle motor discussed in the last blog post, we’ve got some other items that are actually available now.
9C+ Front Motors with Statorade:
Our plan for 2016 is to have Statorade and 0.35mm laminations by default in all of our direct drive hub motors, reducing the rolling drag and increasing the heat dissipation capabilities across the board. We're starting this off by introducing what we call the 9C+ hub motor series which we quietly slipped on our website last month.
Outwardly this looks like a generic 205mm DD hub. But internally it has the 0.35mm core, a drilled through disk hole for injecting fluid, a thorough silicone sealant on the side plate to prevent fluid leakage, an embedded thermistor for temperature sensing, and is already pre-loaded with 5mL of Statorade. And at just $175 for the hub it's probably the best value drive option we've ever offered.
The 9C+ motors are available in front drives in a 5,6, and 7 turn winding, either as a bare hub, hand-built into a wheel, or as part of a complete conversion kit. They are also modeled on our simulator as the 9C+ 27XX option.
Mini Geared Hubs, from Outrider to Bafang:
We've stopped carrying the small geared motors from Outrider, and are replacing these with a similar sized G01 series hub from Bafang. This particular motor is much easier to service, has cables exiting from the side plate rather the end of the axle, has better disk brake compatibility, and is customized for us with an internal thermistor for motor temperature sensing.
It should be a dandy option for the light weight lower power (250-500 watt) conversion systems, and we've got both fast (10rpm/V) and standard (8rpm/V) winding options for to suit different wheel diameters and pack voltages. The hub is already on our simulator, spoke calculator, and is available either as a bare hub, laced into a rim, or as part of a complete conversion kit.
Stokemonkeys Back with Options
And finally, we've largely finished setting up our CNC machine center and welding stations in our new space, allowing us to resume fabricating the stokemonkey kit hardware which was out of stock for a little while. We're now now offering the stokemonkey clampset with specific ID's to match several common tube diameter for an ideal clamping fit, and even have a custom option where we will CNC it to your specific tube size.
We've also switched the motor source back to Crystalyte just like the very original SM motors were based, but using their newer SAW40X motor line instead of the 400 series.
March 21, 2016 4:46:20 AM PDT
Well that was quite the whirlwind tour through Taiwan and China, Justin and Robbie would like to thank all of those we met up with at the Taipei Bike Show and tour visits afterwords. Benjamin, Tora, Ching, Britt, Harry, Paul, and all the AU and NZ folks it was great to hang out and share our interests and visions for the ebike movement.
There are a lot of good things that will be coming from this trip, and we're looking forwards to closer relationships and some joint endeavors this year with Juiced Riders, EM3EV, TDCM and other companies doing innovative product developments. We feel strongly that some collaborative efforts can help bring signifcant ebike tech advances to a larger audience. And on that front, we also brought along 3 of our own projects that are at the end of their long development cycle and are ready to show:
The Thru-Axle Motor, 2nd Gen Phaserunner Controller, and Potted LiGo battery packs have all sub-components in place and are ready for production, if only we hadn't just lost our production facility when we moved shop this past month! So we are still busy doing all the electrical wiring, machine installation, and related manufacturing infrastructure at the Powell St. address before we can make these available. We should be ready well in time for the 2016 bike season so please stay tuned to our homepage or newsletter if you want to be first in line during the rollout.
February 25, 2016 4:20:57 PM PST
Well this is it. Our last outgoing shipments from 4th Ave have been picked up and the big tear-down is taking place in earnest. We’ll be fully closed on Friday as we peel back the 5 years spent making this place into our home and pack everything over to the new digs. It’s an exciting expansion and we’ve really appreciated all the words of encouragement that many of you have sent our way.
Business as usual should be able to resume after the weekend on Tuesday, but do expect delays before all normal operations are up to speed. As well, Justin and others from the engineering team will be the Taipei bike show next week and so technical inquires and conversations may be deferred until their return in mid-march.