Pedego E-bike Up-grade to 2015 Electrical Specifications.
When the Pedego City Commuter came out in August of 2012 (2013 model), I was pleased to be one of the first to report on it. There was so much to like, yet I felt there was one thing about the control system that needed just a minor tweak.
Then with the 2014 year, they added the new display and pedelec features to their Interceptor model too. Yet, they didn’t take my advice and add the needed throttle override I knew was necessary for a better E-bike experience. Then with the 2015, voila, success. Now I feel they have covered all the bases for E-bike safety, control and convenience.
One other cool thing to make the grade with the electrical controls for 2015 is the USB power port on the back of the display unit. Although it is a dumb USB port, meaning it allows power output for charging and supplying power to devices, it doesn’t allow interaction electrically with the bike. So now you can power your phone or audio devices (bike light charging too) right from the large on-board motor battery. Even though it is a dumb USB port, I think Pedego was pretty smart to include it.
If you have a 2013, 2014 City Commuter or a 2014 Interceptor you too can have these features included on your E-bike. Your local friendly neighborhood Pedego dealer can do the swap in a jiff. It is also something that most any knowledgeable E-bike shop can do for you. It is really just a matter of getting the correct ECU (electronic control unit) and display from Pedego, then having them installed and set by the right person. Let’s look into the how’s and whys.
Why a throttle override? With dual control the motor will activate from the hand throttle or the automatic pedelec circuit. Although each E-bike maker may set their system differently, here is the basics. The hand throttle will allow you to chose your motor power level and vary it as you ride. A application of the throttle should net up to full power when you need it (in tight traffic situations as one example). Plus that throttle should be active for starting out to help achieve your initial balance.
You probably know that the pedelec part allows the motor to come on automatically while you are pedaling, and turn it off when you stop pedaling. The display lets you chose one of 5 power levels it will go to when you pedal. This is a great thing letting the power flow without having to hold the throttle all the time to get electric-assist. As you ride you can toggle through the power levels to match each situation and speed need you encounter.
The 2013 and 2014 Pedego system had both, yet the issue was (and still is if you haven’t up-graded), that the motor is set to work from one or the other, but not both at the same time. So, if you were in one of the 5 pedelec power levels (not 0), than the hand throttle was de-activated. To use the throttle you need to toggle to the 0 level on the display to allow the throttle to work, but then the pedelec was de-activated. This meant if you were in a pedelec mode (other then the max, #5) and felt you needed full power for any reason, you couldn’t get it without some quick toggling.
So with the new throttle override, both are fully active whenever the bike is switched on. This makes so much sense, I feel every E-bike with dual control must work in this manner. The way control systems work is important to me, and I feel this throttle override is very necessary. If you feel the same, then go for the up-grade on your Pedego. Remember this only works with Pedegos that came with the display and the pedelec feature.
Pedego would rather you didn’t do it yourself, but I do believe that option is open to you. They let me upgrade the 2104 Interceptor that I have on loan from them. Installing the display is the easy part, with just one Allen screw and one connector to deal with. They do use different connectors on some models so that part needs to be a match (specify the name on the connector when ordering). In fact when ordering, they need to know the model, year and voltage too. The screw holds the unit to the handlebars with a circular clamp. The connector is just 6 inches from the display unit under the easy to deal with plastic wrap.
The ECU is a bit more complicated. Once again, the maker wants a E-bike tech to do the whole swap for you. The ECU is mounted in front of the battery behind a cover plate with 4 screws. The battery should be removed at this point (minimum turned off), so no jolt of unexpected power ruins the new parts or the bike. Each connector is either color coded or uses a different style connector. Do one at a time carefully and use a rag on the painted frame to prevent scratches.
The ECU has 2 pairs of extra wires that could (but shouldn’t be) connected together. They set internal parameters that aren’t needed (or wanted) in the U.S. Make sure the heat sink of the ECU is towards the front of the bike and gently stuff the wiring behind the ECU as you reinstall the cover and screws. If any of those 4 screws were missing make sure to order them with the other parts (and maybe a spare just in case). They do tend to loosen up over time, so some Loctite or occasional checking of their tightness is recommended. The lower ones are best dealt with a offset screwdriver, yet a small bladed regular screwdriver held at an angle can do the trick.
The last part is to make sure the new display is set correctly and test out the bike and the new functions. The 2015 owner’s manual outlines the procedure on page 15. Here is the skinny. With the bike on, hold the set button until the display goes into that mode (a couple seconds). The first one will allow you to reset the trip odometer. You can do that by pressing the – button. Remember that, as you might want to use this before each long ride.
Next up is the max speed. You get to that by pressing the set again. Make sure to set that to 20 (more on this in a minute). Hit the set again and you can chose the wheel size of your bike (this calibrates the speedometer). One last set hit and you can choose MPH or KPH, your preference. Hold the set at any time during this, and all is remembered by the display and it will go to the normal readout.
To get the USB port to the ready to use mode, you hold the + and set buttons at the same time for a couple seconds. Doing the same again will turn it off. When it is on, an icon will light up on the display. Every time the bike is turned off, this is reset to off, so you need to go through this procedure every time you turn on your bike and want to use the USB port. And also, the bike will go to sleep in 5 minutes if not used, that will also require you reactivate the USB power when you power the bike back up. So the USB port really only works while you are riding.
Now that 20 MPH thing. Your bike and display are set to that by default when you receive it. That is the legal maximum, so please don’t increase it. It will only net a couple more digits of speed, but will take your bike out of compliance and drain your battery fast if you take advantage of those extra digits. You do have the option of setting it lower if you lend your E-bike to a friend or relative. Keep in mind that it will still do about 18-19 MPH max in the pedelec mode #5 no matter how that setting is chosen. For everyone’s sake, chose 20 and stick with it, please.
There you go, 2015 specs for small money. I have friends that have spent more than this just to get that USB port generically installed on their E-bikes. Modern USB power, safer cycling and peace of mind are the benefits of this up-grade.
Ride that Pedego, Turbo Bob.
“If constellations had been named in the 20th century, I suppose we would see bicycles.”—Carl Sagan.
Here is a video I took right after the up-grade