eBike Controller: The Brain Of An eBike

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Introduction

E-bikes are a recent trend in the field of transportation. They owe their introduction to the field of technology. They are different from traditional bikes because they don’t require a sophisticated Mechanical arrangement to operate as the traditional bikes require. Their function is dependent on the motor and the battery only.

Usually, it is thought to be as simple as that. But in reality, there are other accessories in an e-bike as well. Of these accessories, the microcontroller is the most important one. We’ll present an overview of the ebike controller in the lines below.

What is an e-bike controller?

An e-bike controller is an electronic device that regulates the flow of input i.e. the amount of electric current or voltage that is to be provided by the battery to the motor.

It is a critical component of an ebike which determines how much amount of current or voltage is to be supplied to the motor for smooth functioning. In simple words, its function is to regulate the electrical input to the motor.

Types of e-bike controller

There are two main types of e-bike controllers which are available in the market.

Brushless controllers

These controllers are simple as compared to those with the brush. If we talk about the prices, these cost more than the brushed ones. These have a longer useful life i.e. these brushes last longer.

Brushed controllers

These controllers are cheaper than the ones mentioned above but their useful life is also lesser due to wear and tear.

Functions of an eBike controller

The functions of an e-bike controller may vary from one controller to another. We are enlisting some of them in the lines below :

  1. The most important function of an e-bike controller is to control the maximum speed of the bike. This is important as this aspect related to e-bikes is the one having the most legal consequences. Overspeeding might get the rider a challan, for example. Also, the laws related to safety in different states mostly depend upon the maximum allowable speed, either directly or indirectly. An e-bike controller controls the speed by regulating either the amount of current supplied to the motor or the voltage.
  1. Another feature of e-bike controllers is to enable or disable the pedal assist mode in hybrid e-bikes. This is a mechanism related to the top speed (i.e. maximum allowable speed of the bike). As soon as the speed of the bike exceeds that specified by the manufacturer as the top speed, the controller sends an input to the motor to disengage and the bike runs solely on the pedal so as to retain the speed of the bike below the maximum allowable speed limit. When the speed falls a certain level below the maximum speed, it engages the motor once again (depending upon the rider’s requirement).

This is how the pedal assist mode is dependent upon the microcontrollers.

  1. Another function of microcontrollers is throttling. The term is commonly used by manual e-bike users as well but the concept is different when we refer to it in the domain of ebikes. Throttling in manual e-bikes refers to an increase in the speed by allowing more air to pass through the carburetor, to enhance the internal combustion process. In e-bikes, the throttling is a direct process. Micro-controller governs throttling by controlling the voltage or power supply to the motor.
  1. Another feature that is quite important with regard to the microcontrollers is regenerative braking. This is a concept where the energy consumed by the e-bike for the application of brakes is converted back into electrical signals and stored in the battery. In practice, this is achieved with the help of specific devices called transducers. Transducers convert one form of energy into the other. Microcontrollers act as governing devices in this process.

Regenerative braking is seen as a good idea on an overall basis because a careful estimate is that the application of this system extends the life of an e-bike’s brakes by approximately 10%. This eventually produces a net positive impact on the environment.

Also, the generation of electricity by the application of brakes directly promotes concepts like green energy and a clean environment since the amount of energy produced by the application of brakes is equivalent to that which would be produced by burning some amount of fossil fuels or hydrocarbons.

Things to watch when buying a controller

The purchase of an ebike controller seems a simple task and it indeed is one. However, there are certain things which must be kept in mind. We are enlisting them below :

  1. One must ensure the compatibility of the controller with the battery. This can be done by comparing the requirement of the controller’s current and voltage parameters with that of the battery. This is necessary because a mismatch in the specifications may lead to a current over-run which may essentially burn the Electric circuit.
  1. Microcontrollers are different for brushless motors and brushed ones. Compatibility in this regard must be checked.
  1. If you are looking for any specific features in your e-bike such as direct throttle or regenerative braking system etc. make sure while buying that the one you are buying has all the desired features and specifications.

Summary

An e-bike controller is a critical component of an e-bike. It has different functions, all centered around the regulation of electrical parameters mainly. There are certain things that must be kept in mind while buying the controller. We have enlisted them above and expect this information to be helpful for our readers.

Karan

Karan

Karan, an eBike specialist, brings a unique blend of technical expertise and passion for sustainable transport. He boasts three years in the electric mobility sphere, with hands-on experience in various eBike brands. Beyond his work, he loves embarking on outdoor adventures riding his eBike.

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