The battery is an important component to an electric bike. Modern e-bikes generally use lithium batteries, with others opt for the heavier lead battery. Regardless of the type of battery your e-bike uses, regularly testing is necessary to maintain your bike.
E-bike batteries can be tested by measuring their voltage, current, and resistance. To take precise measurements, a multimeter should be used. The multimeter needs to be connected to the battery. Once the multimeter is connected, the user will need to choose the function they wish to perform and proceed with the test.
Knowing how to test an e-bike battery is an important part of owning an e-bike. The overall function of the bike depends on the battery, so testing the battery’s capacity regularly will help gauge how much “life” it has left.
Of course, this also depends on the kind of battery that the e-bike uses.
Before you begin testing, ensure that your e-bike battery is fully charged and, if possible, removed from the bike frame. Once the battery is removed from the frame, run diagnostics on the battery using a multimeter. Most multimeters will have a “test load battery” option; this should be the first test that is run.
Next, check the voltage of the battery. After the voltage has been tested, make sure the voltage displayed on the multimeter matches the voltage in the bike’s specifications.
Then, check the current. The reading that the multimeter gives will indicate the capacity of the battery.
Finally, use the multimeter to check the battery’s resistance. The higher the resistance, the weaker the flow of electricity is within the battery.
Compare your final readings with the ones provided in the user manual.
How to Use A Multimeter On An E-bike Battery
When testing an e-bike battery, using a digital multimeter is recommended for precise measurements.
To use a multimeter on an e-bike battery, the multimeter must be connected to the battery. How the multimeter is connected will depend on the type of battery that the e-bike uses. Hardback batteries have terminals on the back where a multimeter can be plugged in and other batteries generally require an adapter.
When administering tests, it is extremely important to know how to use a multimeter on an e-bike battery. Some e-bike batteries are more delicate than others, but short-circuiting is always a possibility if the multimeter is used incorrectly. This is especially true when testing the charging ports of hardback batteries.
The general process of using a multimeter on an e-bike battery is fairly simple.
First, make sure the battery is fully charged.
Then, connect the multimeter to the battery. Hardback batteries will have connections in the back or underneath the top and most other batteries will use an adapter, usually an XT-60. If prongs are being used instead and the batter’s charging port is being tested, simply insert the red prong into the battery’s charging port.
Once the multimeter is connected, tests can be run on the battery. Make sure that both the red prong and the black prong are connected properly when using an adapter and when connecting to the ports provided on hardback batteries.
Digital multimeters vary in what they can do, but most of them have options for test load battery and AC/DC. When testing an e-bike battery, use DC instead of AC. Using AC on an e-bike battery may result in overloading your battery, causing detrimental damage to the battery.
However, even when using DC, there is still the risk of overloading the battery. A crucial part of using a multimeter on an e-bike battery is to not test it for more volts than it has. Check the ebike’s user guide for the specific voltage that the e-bike’s battery has/is supposed to have to avoid overloading the battery and potentially causing permanent damage.
What Are The Best Multimeters For An Electric Bike?
We’ve narrowed down our top picks to the Fluke 117 and the Klein Tools MM600 HVAC Multimeter.
The Fluke 117 provides its users with a reliable experience that is resistant to humidity, damage from being dropped, shocks, and more. For e-bike riders, the Fluke 117 is an optimal choice for a multimeter because in addition to its small size (only 6.6 x 3.3 x 1.8 inches!). It offers features that optimize its usage on e-bike batteries.
Among its most appealing features is AutoVolt, a feature that automatically detects whether to use AC or DC settings helping to avoid permanent damage to your e-bike’s battery. Additionally, it has a large LED blacklight that allows the readings to be seen even when there is not sufficient lighting and has a CAT III 600 V safety rating, ensuring that it is safe to use on most e-bike batteries.
With its easy-to-use interface, the Fluke 117 helps the job get done quickly so you can get back on the road. It is one of the most convenient multimeters on the market at this time for e-bike riders who need accurate, precise measurements of their e-bike battery’s statistics.
The Klein Tools MM600 HVAC Multimeter is designed to endure the toughest of challenges, withstanding drops up to 6.6 feet. It holds a CAT IV 600V/CAT III 100V safety rating, making it ideal for use on e-bike batteries. Additionally, this model includes accessories that make it easier to carry for use when needed.
The entire package includes the MM600 HVAC Multimeter, alligator clips, a carrying pouch, test leads, thermocouple with adapter, and batteries. It measures in at 10 x 5.6 x 2.7 inches and contains a long-lasting alkaline battery. This multimeter can measure temperature, capacitance, frequency, duty-cycle, test diodes, and continuity. This multimeter packs a punch and, for the e-bike rider, it is an excellent option for making sure that their battery is in great shape and stays that way.
When To Use An E-bike Battery Monitor
Most pre-built e-bikes typically come with some sort of battery monitoring system and a display that gives you information about the battery in its current condition, however they do not always go in-depth about the specifics of its capacity and voltage.
Electric bike batter monitors are useful tools that evaluate voltage and current and regulate the battery’s components from being affected by temperature, charge and discharge, and so on. E-bike battery monitors are recommended for any part of a battery’s lifetime because they extend the lifetime of the battery by managing its reactionary elements.
There is no specific timeframe for when to use an e-bike battery monitor. Battery monitors allow riders to have an optimized riding experience by giving them the peace of mind that comes with knowing your battery’s capacity. While it is beneficial to use a battery monitor, it is worth mentioning that the monitors can take up some space on the handlebars. Some monitors feature a display. However, e-bike battery monitors can be convenient if they do not take up much space and make it easy for the user to access the data.
Even so, there is the overlying issue of battery monitors not delivering the accuracy that multimeters can give. E-bike battery monitors are also not capable of all that many other multimeters are able to do and can be expensive. All things considered, e-bike battery monitors may not be the best option if there is no cause for concern or if your battery is brand new.
If your e-bike’s battery is getting old or is nearing its total cycle count that is allotted for its use, it is a good idea to invest in one after using a multimeter to determine the need for it.
Another unappealing aspect of e-bike battery monitors is that they are not universal. Battery monitors are specific to each type of battery because of the variances in design, dimension, and parts used. This is part of what makes them expensive and nearly impossible to find on short notice. If an e-bike is already equipped with a battery monitoring system, then it is a great way to get general statistics about the condition of your battery.
To sum it all up, multimeters are the first line of defense when an e-bike battery is beginning to reach the end of its expected life, it begins to misbehave, or if there is any cause for concern about its functionality. Before investing in a bike battery monitor, check the battery with a multimeter first.
Multimeters can to give more accurate readings than electric bike battery monitors and do not take up space on the bike’s frame. If a battery monitor operates through an app, there is concern for reliability of connection. Unfortunately, e-bike battery monitors have not been around for very long and do not have set standards to make them reliable for consistent usage as a sole indicator of a battery’s health.
Using a multimeter on an e-bike is an ideal alternative and addition to battery monitors and enables riders precise, accurate measurements to help them identify their bike’s battery’s issues.