Multimeters aren’t only for measuring the volts or current on wires, cables, circuits, and so on. The handy electronic device is also used on an e-bike battery. Yes, e-bikes need batteries. Ebike owners or even those who are planning to buy an e-bike are wondering what battery to use. Well, don’t be confused.
I’m going to show what batteries are suited for your bike and how to use a multimeter on an e-bike battery in this article. Before that, let’s first talk about bike batteries.
Types of Ebike Batteries
One of the most important components of an e-bike is e-bike batteries. The electric bike would weigh or how long it works depends on the bike battery. In using an electric bike, the battery is an essential component you need to consider.
An excellent battery determines the distance your bike can travel or the bike’s efficiency. Ebike batteries work differently depending on its structure and type. Also, batteries have the following characteristics:
- Capacity refers to the energy stored in the battery. Capacity is measured in ampere-hour (Ah). The number of fixed amps the battery sustains for an hour is the value of ampere-hour. Also, the measurement could be half the amps in two hours.
Take note: An e-bike battery has specific numbers of discharge-charge cycles. For example, you discharged the battery by 10% and recharged. You spent one cycle. The cycles determine the battery life and depend on the battery’s operating conditions. Less possible cycles are expected from the battery if the battery is discharged longer.
- Voltage – There is a specific voltage range for most bike kits. For example, a 36V bike requires a 42V to 30V battery. The battery is fully charged on a 42V, but in 36V, it shuts down to prevent damage to the electrical bike. The 36V is referred to as the nominal voltage. (We’ll talk about this later.)
Now, we proceed to the types of e-bike batteries:
Most e-bikes today use Li-on battery. Total capacity and weight combinations are under Lithium batteries. The main advantage of Li-on battery is its high capacity, among other batteries. Li-ion batteries don’t have the memory effect.
But here are a few drawbacks using a lithium battery. First, the battery is sensitive to temperature conditions and doesn’t support a quick charge. Also, the Li-on battery is sensitive to overheating and needs discharge mode control. The battery cycles are 400. That’s 2 and a half more than a lead-acid battery.
Lead (Gel) Batteries
Lead batteries are the oldest variant of batteries for e-bikes. Each year, people use this less and less due to its low capacity. A Gel battery weighs more than other e-bike batteries. Hence, you can expect an additional weight to the bike. The battery charging process takes about 8 to 10 hours. Also, the Gel battery’s short life (about 150 to 200 cycles) makes it the least favorite.
A new type of battery but already popular for e-bike users. One of the awesome features of this battery is frost resistance. (That means the battery can still work even in -30 degrees without losing capacity.) LifePo4 batteries can also charge quickly. With this type of battery, you expect large cycles (1000). Unlike the Li-on, this battery is less susceptible to aging. The battery doesn’t have a memory effect and is quite expensive.
Now that you have an idea of the different e-bike batteries, let’s talk a little about a multimeter. For most electronic devices, a multimeter is important. The handy tool integrates three vital functions such as an ohmmeter, voltmeter, and continuity.
You can check if there’s electrical energy on a cable or wire using a multimeter. If you have advanced models, these can measure electrical components such as resistors or capacitors. Also, you can use a multimeter to check the power of your e-bike batteries. Hence, the question of how to use a multimeter on an e-bike battery comes to your mind.
Using a Multimeter on an Ebike Battery
A multimeter is a helpful tool for you to check the voltage of your e-bike battery. Most multimeters are affordable, and you can buy them from hardware and auto parts stores. It’s advisable you use a digital multimeter or DMM because it’s easy to use and gives precision voltage readings.
Here are the following steps on how to use a multimeter on an e-bike battery:
If the bike battery isn’t recharged for the past 30 days, charge the battery for 6 up to 8 hours.
You place the front wheel of your bike against the wall to steady it in place. (In this way, the bike wouldn’t move as you use the multimeter.)
Set the digital multimeter function to DC Volts or VDC.
Power off the bike, then you touch the DMM probes to the terminals of the battery. Then, you read the voltage.
Ask a friend or family member to sit on the bike so that the wheel doesn’t spin. Now, you can turn the bike’s power on and read the voltage reading for the second time.
The battery’s voltage should be higher than a few volts from the bike’s voltage rating. If the battery’s voltage (while the bike is off) is below the bike’s voltage, the battery should be replaced.
Keep in mind: An e-bike’s battery when its power is on shouldn’t drop higher than 1 to 2 volts. Also, the battery’s voltage shouldn’t drop under the bike’s rated voltage. For example, if the bike’s battery drops under the bike’s voltage, the load testing failed. You should replace the battery immediately to experience the excellent use of your bike.
If you can’t use a multimeter, you call an auto part store expert. The technician can use the multimeter for you and test the bike battery. Don’t forget to check what battery your bike has before you use a multimeter. Why? In doing so, you don’t experience hassles or delays in using the multimeter. Always follow the instructions on the multimeter’s manual for your safety. Lastly, don’t be shy to ask help from the pros if you need assistance!