Electric Bikes – electronics and water!

Sounds like a bad combination doesn’t it? Yet after nearly 18 months of using two bikes in all weathers, we have never had an issue with electronics affected by water. Heat? Yes. Water? No.

Until yesterday that is, but it wasn’t the weather that caused the problem. Porirua City has a shared cycleway/footpath that runs along side the Porirua Stream and the Porirua Harbour, and is really convenient for missing out a lot of chaotic lunch time traffic and pedestrians when getting around town. So yesterday lunchtime I went in to get some masking tape for some signage I was working on, and as usual, as I entered the town, took a couple of sharp lefts to join the path. At this point the path drops down quite steeply to go under the “Ramp” – a major road into Porirua that crosses the motorway, railway, Porirua Stream and the cycleway in that order, descending as it does so (hence its name I suppose). However, when the tide is high, there is only about 170cm between the water and the bridge at the lowest end, and rather than have people bumping their heads as they walk or ride underneath, the pathway dips beneath the water! Only at high tide, the rest of the time it is fine.

As the alternative is turning round and crossing a major road right next to a busy roundabout, I decided that only my wheels would get wet, so went for it. Not having ridden through deepish water for a few decades, I was quite surprised when my feet got very wet as I went through, mainly from the water thrown up by the wheel. Nothing else untoward happened, so as my feet were already wet, I repeated the act of silliness on the way back too. Using the throttle to get around the sharp bends back onto the Ramp was fine, but when I backed off the throttle and let the pedelec start doing its work – nothing! And nothing for the rest of the day either. I limped home on the throttle, which gives significantly less power than the pedelec, but does have cruise control. If I hold the throttle fully open for 6 seconds, then I can let go of the throttle and I will have full throttle until next time I brake.

The pedelec sensor is down next to the bottom bracket, and because of our slightly unusual bikes and electronics, the pedelec bracket and the hall sensor module are  customised somewhat. The hall sensor module had some silicon in it when I started to customise it, but probably a lot less by the time I reassembled it and got the bike working. My bad!

Last night before I went to bed, I sprayed the sensor with WD40, hoping it would penetrate and repel the water, and after about 1km or so this morning the air movement must have forced the WD40 into the sensor, and everything was fine again. When I get a quiet hour or so I will remove the sensor and reseal it with silicon, and take a look at the other bike too.

I have just replaced the rear tyre again, third in 4500km. At $50 each its worse than replacing a car tyre cost wise! When the tyre gets low on tread, the antipuncture strip seems to stop working, and once again I got a series of punctures, last time it was a piece of glass, this time it was a piece of wire. Anyway, one new puncture proof tyre, along with a thorn proof tube, and I should be good for another couple of thousand kms!


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