Updated: May 31
Below is a summary, history and resolution of the electrical issues I had with the Shimano STEPS EP8 system. Unfortunately this began happening only days after receiving my AZUB Ti-FLY 20" ☹️. I do not see this as an AZUB quality issue rather a Shimano defect.
The motor loses power, the onboard computer will beep and display an error E020 (communication error)
This will happen 1-3 times before it progresses to the following:
The motor loses power, and the onboard computer restarts without error.
The motor loses power, and the onboard computer flashes on and off rapidly.
The onboard computer will cycle on/off w/o error (as if a batter is not connected)
If you press against the side of the battery the computer will turn on. However not far into a ride, issue 1-2 happens.
---------- Original Message ---------- From: AZUB sales <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: 08/23/2022 11:25 PM PDT Subject: RE: Fwd: AZUB/STEPS E020 - Error Hello Robert, It seems like the battery-motor connection issue follows (not very often) all motors from Shimano. As Shimano has no official help on this, we must use some user forums: https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/shimano-steps-problem-e20-e10-error.13588/page-3 Bits of Advice: -Adjust the battery position on the rail (better contact with the battery base). If the trike is new, don´t do this step. -Clean the contacts on the battery rail and adjust them -Use some electric grease on the contacts I hope this will help, and sorry for the issues. All the best! Jan Herberk International sales AZUB BIKE s.r.o. www.azub.eu email@example.com +420 774 298 232
Confirmed that the battery is snug in the cradle.
Cleaned the connectors multiple times with dielectric grease. Note: This yields a trouble-free ride for only 100-200 miles before the errors occur again.
During cleaning I notice the lower negative (-) battery connector appears to have the most build-up on the underside. Upon further inspection of the battery, it looks like the plastic in the battery's negative (-) connection is melting onto the connector.
Trike ordered: 12/14/2021
Trike received: 6/15/2022
Original outage: 6/22/2022
The first time the unit would not start was reported on June 22nd. However at the time it was believed to be in deep sleep. I now suspect that the battery was actually malfunctioning
Email from 07/07/2022:
This series of 630WH batteries is possible to switch to the deep sleep mode again. If the charging is 100% complete and the charger is still connected to the battery, it will switch to the deep sleep mode. It´s necessary to reconnect it to the charger again.
The following video is from June 22 2022. The first outage.
Due to the heat and melting plastic on just the negative terminal, I suspect there is resistance either in the cable and/or battery. [UPDATE: Actual cause is dirty connectors that causes the resistance and heat.]
Steps taken to resolve:
I shared this information on this page with AZUB and my local dealer.
We agreed that there is likely resistance in the battery and/or cradle. AZUB agreed that I should take the trike into an authorized Shimano dealer for diagnostic testing.
I went ahead and ordered a second battery for backup use and to help isolate the issue.
Received new battery and tested.
The new battery did not exhibit any of the behaviors or signs of heat from resistance. [UPDATE: I believe the new battery worked without error for so long because there wasn't any buildup (yet) on the internal connectors of the battery.]
SHIMANO STEPS BT-E8016 Battery Test:
Unfortunately I have to report that the same issue is back with 300 mile put on the new battery. Looks like the plastic around the negative terminal of the battery is beginning to melt again. I think it's time to take it into an authorized Shimano dealer for a full diagnostics.
Final Update - Issue Resolved!
At this point I can definitively say that the root cause is the terminals getting dirty resulting in heat and resistance that can lead to damage to wiring and possible the battery itself. AZUB's recommendation to clean the terminals with light sanding of the terminals and Dialectric grease is the correct solution.
I am now cleaning the terminals weekly using a swab with a light coating of the Dioxit. It's not difficult nor does it take much time. However, it is a disappointment that for a trike that, by design, is otherwise incredibly low maintenance, now requires some TLC weekly. [5/31/23 Update: I am know cleaning the terminals every time I take the battery off for charging.] 🤨
[5/31/23 Update and final thoughts: The build up on the terminals is clearly from the internal plastic within the battery. I believe this to be a design flaw from Shimano and is present in both batteries. Disappointing but otherwise a great system. Special thanks to AZUB for their excellent communication & support. Much appreciated!]
Below are the products I am using and some before and after pictures:
For a deeper cleaning of the surface, I am using thin sheets of Magic Eraser type product: