Friday, September 30, 2022

Repairing And Rebuilding Electric Bike Batteries (Refurbishing Guide)

Electric bike batteries are one of the most expensive parts of the bike. Unfortunately, they don’t last forever and battery failure will occur eventually. This leaves e-bike riders wondering if their batteries can be rebuilt or repaired safely?

Electric bike batteries can be repaired and rebuilt. Repairing the battery means replacing broken parts, while rebuilding is replacing worn parts before they fail entirely. Refurbishing an old e-bike battery is better than replacing it as it is significantly cheaper and can improve the battery to its former level of function.

An important part of owning an electric bike is properly maintaining and caring for the battery. Without a functioning battery, an e-bike is really just a heavy bicycle!

If your e-bike battery no longer recharges, a full charge cycle doesn’t hold, or you have a damaged battery, there are some viable options available to help you get it running again. Let’s take a closer look at refurbishing electric bicycle batteries by rebuilding or repairing them.

Repairing And Rebuilding Electric Bike Batteries

Can E-Bike Batteries Be Rebuilt? 

Electric bike batteries are one of the most critical parts of the bike. Without it, there’s nothing to supply power to the motor and other electrical components of the e-bike.

Unfortunately, the battery is usually the first component to wear out or fail on electric bicycles, although newer lithium-ion batteries tend to last longer than the old Nickle or Lead batteries.

Fortunately, a broken or worn-out electric bike battery can be repaired or rebuilt. The process of refurbishing includes installing new battery cells and repairing any worn-out or damaged components such as the battery management system (BMS), wiring, or even the casing or mountings of the battery.

Battery Refurbishment

Refurbishing old e-bike batteries may be a simple repair (like fixing a loose connection) or a complete rebuild. It may be done on its own or accompany an e-bike conversion.

Learn about electric bike conversion here!

Rebuilding the battery will entail completely overhauling it and installing new cells, wiring, battery management system, connectors, and any other components that are likely to wear out or cause the battery to fail.

A repair will simply involve repairing or replacing the primary cause of the fault or break in the battery. This usually entails replacing one or two battery components before returning them to the customer. 

This is typically only done if it’s still in good working condition in every regard other than the fault; otherwise, the entire battery will require refurbishing.

All e-bike battery rebuilds, repairs, and refurbishing must be done by a qualified technician with experience and access to high-quality components.

This type of work can do more harm than good to an ebike battery if it’s not completed to a high standard.

multiple battery cells in a battery pack

Can All E-Bike Batteries Be Rebuilt or Repaired?

Electric bike batteries have been around for a good number of years now and there are many brands and manufacturers that produce them. This means that there is a large variety of e-bike batteries.

However, the trouble that comes with such a wide range of batteries is that some are so old and used that they can no longer be repaired, and other batteries are so advanced that they are almost impossible to repair without causing harm to the battery.

However, there are batteries that can be refurbished well and even drastically improved. The trick is knowing which brands and types of these higher-energy batteries are eligible for rebuilding.

Find out if your e-bike’s lithium battery is interchangeable!

Not all bike batteries can be refurbished. 

Very old batteries are sometimes irreparable depending on the technology; if a battery pack is too damaged, it cannot be repaired and should rather be replaced. And there are some batteries that have battery management systems that are too advanced for refurbishment. Bike shop repair technicians won’t work on these ones.

Further, now that lithium-ion batteries are commonplace among the best electric bikes, it’s important to know that, although they can be rebuilt, they may be difficult.

The main two brands of batteries that repairers tend to turn down are Bosch and Panasonic. This is due to the advanced intelligent lithium battery management systems that these batteries are equipped with.

List of E-Bike Battery Brands That Can Typically Be Refurbished

Here is a list of the most common battery brands for e-bikes that can be easily repaired, refurbished, and rebuilt by experienced bike technicians:

  • A2B
  • Alpine Sports
  • Bionix
  • Busettii
  • Currie / i-Zip / TransX
  • Cyclamatic
  • E-moto
  • Easy Motion by BH
  • Evelo
  • eZee / Hebb
  • FLX
  • Gazelle
  • Giant
  • Ital Jet
  • Jetson
  • Juiced Riders
  • Lee laCocca / EV Global
  • Lyric
  • LPX
  • Pedego
  • Prodeco
  • Protanium / Torker
  • Raleigh
  • Schwinn
  • Silver Fish
  • Smarta
  • Stromer
  • Trikke
  • Urban Mover
  • Wisper
RadMini Electric Bikes side by side
It’s a good idea to keep sand and other particles out of the battery connection points!

How Are Electric Bike Batteries Refurbished?

Refurbishing an electric bicycle battery is the best way to bring new life into an old one that’s no longer performing as well as it should be.

Old batteries require refurbishing when the time between each full charge is drastically diminished (even when the battery is low on power). Or if the battery’s performance is poor… thus if the battery is not charging well or is taking a very long time to charge.

The Process of Refurbishing an E-Bike Battery Includes:

  • Checking the exterior casing and mountings for damage.
  • Opening the housing of the battery pack to access internal components.
  • Identifying any damage or faults with the internal workings.
  • Detaching all pre-existing dead cells in preparation for new or upgraded cells.
  • Cleaning the battery pack.
  • Checking all connectors and wiring.
  • Repairing or re-soldering wiring and connectors where necessary.
  • Replacing any faulty, damaged, or old wiring and connectors.
  • Installing new or upgraded battery cells.
  • Checking the Battery Management System (BMS) functionality.
  • Performing BMS diagnostics.
  • Replacing BMS if necessary.
  • Testing all components.
  • Closing and re-securing casing.
  • Testing new battery components with the existing charger.
  • Testing refurbished battery with the bike’s motor to ensure proper function.

Watch this YouTube video to learn how to troubleshoot your battery and repair it:

Keep your motor in as good of shape as your battery with these 5 essential motor care tips.

How Are Electric Bike Batteries Repaired?

The repair process for an ebike battery is different from that of a refurbishment.

Repairing is more focused on replacing components that have been damaged or broken, rather than restoring an old or worn-out battery to full working condition.

3 Steps to Repairing the Battery

  1. This process involves performing diagnostics to identify the broken or faulty components.
  2. The next step in the process is disconnecting and removing the culprit parts.
  3. Once the parts have been removed, replacement parts can be installed to return the battery to full working order. 

If a component of the battery can be repaired rather than replaced, this may be a viable option, depending on how severe the damage to the component is.

The process of repairing an eBike battery is different in every instance, as different components may need to be replaced or repaired depending upon the damage.

Repairing one is usually only done for batteries that are relatively new and thus don’t need to be completely refurbished. Typically, the repair is for newer batteries that have been damaged or misused, rather than those that are worn out. In this case, the repair cost is cheaper than replacing your e-bike’s battery.

Removing Battery From E-Bike

Pros and Cons of Refurbished or Repaired E-Bike Batteries 

E-bike batteries don’t last forever and will require some repairs or refurbishment eventually. Even this won’t extend the battery life for the entire existence of the bike itself.

That being said, there are some advantages and some disadvantages to repairing and refurbishing bike batteries that you may not have considered.

Let’s take the time to go over the pros and cons of refurbishing and repairing them.

Pros and Cons of Repairing an E-Bike Battery 

There are a lot of things to consider before deciding to repair your battery. First, if your electric bike itself is worn down and/or outdated, you may wish to buy a new one, which will already include a brand new battery.

But if you’re sure you want to keep riding your current electric bike, then take a look at the list of pros and cons I’ve put together to help you decide whether to repair or replace your old battery.

Pros:

  • Any faulty or broken parts are replaced safely.
  • The battery will function normally after repairs.
  • Repairs safety concerns and removes the possibility of hazards such as fires.
  • The battery will not need to be rebuilt if repairs are made quickly and properly.
  • Repairs are a good deal less expensive than buying a new battery.

Cons:

  • Battery repairs can be costly depending on the type and severity of the damage.
  • Repairs may take a long time to complete.
  • Finding the right bike shop or repair technician can be difficult.
  • If the battery is irreparable, the repairer may still charge you for the assessment even if the battery is not repaired.
  • Repairing a broken part is risky, especially if there are underlying issues causing the fault.
  • If the technician is inexperienced or unqualified, they may ruin the battery.
  • Opening the battery may void the warranty.

Pros and Cons of Refurbishing an E-Bike Battery

As mentioned above, make sure you are happy with your current e-bike before you decide to refurbish it.

Some of the pros and cons of refurbishing an ebike battery are:

Pros:

  • The battery will function well or even better than when it was new.
  • Refurbishments often include upgrading battery capacity and performance.
  • Less expensive than buying a new battery pack.
  • It will reinstall easily with the original battery case.
  • Using a good repairer will ensure high-quality components.
  • Refurbishing will significantly extend the battery’s lifespan.
  • Refurbishments often come with a 12-month warranty.

Cons:

  • Refurbishments can be expensive, even more so than repairs.
  • Working on high-voltage batteries can take a very long time.
  • Opening the battery casing may void the warranty.
  • Poor quality work may worsen the condition of the battery pack.
  • Not all battery types, models, and brands can be refurbished.

Learn more about typical ebike battery problems and solutions BEFORE you need to refurbish your battery.

Back of an electric bike showing a close-up of the battery

How Long Do Repaired or Refurbished eBike Batteries Last?

E-bike batteries typically last for 2 – 4 years, depending on how well the battery is cared for and maintained. But can repaired or refurbished batteries last for the same length of time and use?

Refurbished batteries will last as long or longer than new e-bike batteries. This is due to advancements in technology, meaning that the new components may last longer than the original parts. 

Repaired batteries may not last as long, depending on the type and severity of the damage that had to be repaired.

The lifespan of a repaired, refurbished, or rebuilt battery is entirely dependent on the quality of the new components that are installed, the quality of the workmanship, and the type of battery. Lithium-ion batteries generally last for about 1000 charge cycles, while Nickle batteries and Lead batteries only last for about 500 and 300 charges respectively.

A lithium battery that has been worked on or installed by a bike repairer with experience, and who used high-quality hardware, will last for as long or longer than a brand new electric bike battery pack.

If the components and workmanship are not of good quality, the battery may not last at all, and it may well wear out or break significantly sooner than a new battery would.

For this reason, it’s critical to be sure that you use a qualified bike repair shop to work on your battery issues, regardless of the work that must be done.

Get these e-bike battery charging tips to help your battery last longer!

Why Refurbish an E-Bike Battery Rather Than Replace It? 

If the option is available to purchase a new battery to replace the worn-out or damaged one, why would you rather rebuild or repair the battery?

Refurbishing a battery is significantly less expensive than purchasing a replacement. Refurbishing one may include upgrading it or replacing the old battery cells with more efficient modern technology that will serve the bike better.

One of the best reasons to refurbish an old battery is to convert a lead or Ni-based battery to a lithium-ion battery. This will significantly improve the power, performance, and battery life. It’s also far better for the environment and less likely to cause fires or other hazards.

Refurbishing a battery rather than replacing it may come with upgrades. This will bring it up to the same specifications as a brand new battery without the higher costs of purchasing a newer, modern battery.

When an old one is refurbished, the original case is maintained, which ensures that it will fit onto the bike properly. There is no such guarantee with buying a new battery.

However, a defective battery should be replaced if it is too severely damaged or if it’s too old to be fitted with new components.

Conclusion 

Electric bike batteries are not designed to last for more than 4 years or so. After this time, they will have deteriorated significantly enough to warrant a replacement battery or a complete rebuild. 

These batteries are quite rugged, but they can be damaged if they are knocked hard enough or treated incorrectly, such as attempting to use a car battery to charge it incorrectly. Then they will either need to be replaced or repaired.

Both refurbishing and repairing them are viable options for a battery that isn’t working properly, has been damaged, or has started to wear out.

These processes will return it to full working condition and may even produce an upgraded battery, making it even better than when it was before!

So, the good news is that if your electric bike battery is broken or if the full charge isn’t lasting as long as it used to, you might not need to purchase a replacement. Rather, a qualified bike shop may be able to fix it for significantly less cost than buying a new one.

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