Controllers are the sole thing that makes e-bike different from regular bikes. It controls every function of your e-bike the way our brain controls us. Our body starts malfunctioning if any nerves become inactive or the neuron stops receiving information. Similarly, if you fail to connect any of the connecting wires to its right joint, your e-bike will not function. In some cases, if you make any mistakes, especially when it comes to connecting the battery, it will be an irreparable one.
So, how to connect an E-bike controller? Well, there are no shortcuts. As I said, it’s all about understanding the wiring; you need a complete understanding of the terminals. Some controllers come with connecting wires that are marked with names based on the role they play. Therefore, you can easily understand which is for what and where to connect. Also, understanding the controller type based on the motor voltage is a must in connecting your E-bike controller.
However, there is much more to explore to connect your e-bike controller practically apart from the narratives and advice you’ve found here and there. Unlike them, this is a step-by-step guide that not only answers how to connect E-bike controllers but also includes all the aspects you need to know about e-bike controllers. Let’s jump in!
What is an E-bike Controller
If you tend to connect your E-bike controller even before knowing what it is, you will end up with a burned battery or motor. The controller is simply what its name implies. It is a component that comes with different connecting wires to integrate all the electric parts to control all the aspects of your E-bike. There is a circuit board inside the controller that controls and manages power, speed, voltage, amperage, and other input and output through sensors and firmware. The battery supplies power to the controllers to make it operational.
Once the controller receives power from the battery, it distributes the required power among different sources to function in various aspects. For example, the controller determines what power your motor needs and calculates the intervals to avoid any over-voltage or low voltage issues. Besides, since the battery is the power source of the controller, you must be vigilant while understanding how to connect the battery to the controller. The summary is, the controller takes power from the battery, and it distributes the power to the respective sources to let them perform different aspects to function and control your e-bike.
How To Connect E-Bike Controller
Hope you are now pretty clear about what an e-bike controller is and what its functions are. Now, the most crucial part is how you can set it up or connect all the components in the right way. I don’t prefer beating around the bush when it comes to explaining things that are the focus of the discussion. So, let us do it following the below steps.
Step-1: Connecting the Battery
The battery is the power source of the e-bike. So properly connecting the battery is the key.
Most of the controller includes around eight different connecting compartments combined with a single or more than one wire that come in different colors. The different colors act as indicators of their right adjustment. Among these eight sections, there are two major parts that are comparatively bigger than the rest sixes. One of these two is for battery connection and usually comes with two different wires colored in red and black. The red color indicates the positive charge, and the black is negative. You are not allowed to make any mistake while connecting the battery as there is a high risk of damaging the entire controller.
Use connectors or ports (XT 90OR XT 60 is recommended) and be vigilant regarding the plus/minus or negative/positive charge. Remove the connector and match the color of the wires. Make sure you connect the red one with the red and the black one with the black. As simple as that, but again, no mistake is allowed.
At a glance
- Identify the battery connectors by the color if it is not marked
- Remove the connector given with the controller and add a connector to the battery wires
- Use heavy wires and be vigilant regarding the negative/positive charges
- Connect the wires by matching the colors.
Step-2: Connecting the Motor
Once you successfully connect the battery and the motor with the controller, you have done ninety-nine percent of your controller setup. You have connected your battery, and now it’s the turn for the motor. Connecting a motor is not as risky as a battery. So no worries at all.
The motor compartment is combined with two wires, and one of them is blue, and the other one is yellow. The wires to be connected with the controller also have different colors, but there is no risk of positive and negative charges. So just connect the wires through the connectors, and you are done. Lastly, all you need to do is check whether the motor moves in the right order.
If it moves in reverse order, then something may have gone wrong there. But it might not be the motor connection. Instead, it can be your throttle connection that is not done properly. Therefore, if you find your motor is not moving properly, check your throttle connection, whether you connect the wires properly. Also, to avoid any overheating issues, use thick or heavy wires when it comes to connecting motors.
At a glance
- Detect the compartment by the color if it is not marked
- Connect the wires through the connectors.
- Check whether the motor moves in the right order
- If the motor moves in reverse order, check the throttle or pick-up connection.
Step-3: Connecting the Rest Six Components
Actually, there are five other major connections left to set up once you are done with the battery and motor connection. I exclude the charger connector from my list because I demotivate you to charge your battery, creating pressure on the controller. It would be better to charge your battery using a separate charger instead of the one in the controller.
Now the rest set up is just about wiring the parts by identifying their right terminals.
Let’s see what are they at a glance
Power lock :
Power lock blocks the flow of electricity to the controller. In other words, it is a switch that turns on and off your e-bike. Connect it to the terminal through the connectors. You can identify it either by its name marked on the connector or by the color usually red and blue. Since there are no plus/minus issues, you just need to connect it to the right terminal.
Accelerator controls speed and power through a throttle. A high-quality throttle comes waterproof and includes a metal bar inside it, whereas most of the low-quality throttle comes with plastic. Connecting it to the right terminal is important as it controls the motor. If you make any mistake in wiring the throttle, the motor will move in reverse order. Therefore, make sure you match the wires and connect them properly.
Safety brake blocks the connection instantly when it matters. So, connecting it to the controller is a must to confirm your safety when you are on the run. There is a switch inside the brake port, and when you trigger the brake, the switch goes on to send signals to the controller, and the power goes off.
Indicator wiring is as simple as you think. The terminal comes with two different wires colored in red and black. To connect the wires properly, match the colors and connect the terminals. The indicator flashes bright amber to indicate your movement. Hence it confirms your safety on a busy road or while taking a big turn.
Connecting the LED display to the controller is comparatively a bit more complex than the others in this list. The terminals often come with multi-colored wires, whereas sometimes, it seems that there is a shortage of corresponding wires. Therefore, users often become confused about how many wires they need to connect or whether they should avoid the spare wires! Moreover, they also have questions on the display type, such as should they go with the display with three wires instead of five?
Well, there are a lot of queries, but the answer is very precise. It‘s all about having the right display model based on the type of controller. Some controllers are to connect to a 5-wire display, whereas there are displays with three wires to connect with a specific type of controller. So, make sure you have the right controller based on your display version or model.
How to Choose an E-bike Controller
To choose the right type of controller for your e-bike, it is important to know the type of controller available. Once you know how each of the controllers is different from each other in terms of functionality, you will automatically find the one you need.
Based on the motor type, e-bike controllers come in several varieties. The most common and popular controller types are:
- Brushed DC Motor Controller
- Brushless DC Motor Controller
- BLDC Motor Controller with Hall Sensors
Let’s know them in a simpler way.
1. Brushed DC Motor Controller
The Brushed DC Motor controller features stators with permanent magnets and rotors with windings like the brushless design. But what sets the BDC motor controller apart is the two commutators connected to a set of brushes that easily control the current flow to the rotating parts in a motor.
BDC motor controllers are commonly seen on smaller electric-powered vehicles like e-bikes and scooters. But due to the comparatively higher energy loss, maintenance, and electrical noise, now their use is limited to DIY hobbyists.
2. Brushless DC Motor Controller
A Brushless DC motor controller comes with stators, permanent magnets, and rotors, but it doesn’t feature any commutator or brush. Therefore, they are compact, lightweight, and often the perfect choice for EVs, UAVs, robots, and home electronics.
Here, the e-bike controller holds full power over the BLDC motor electric flow. So, this reliable controller offers higher torque and control over speed than the BDC design.
3. BLDC Motor Controller with Hall Sensors
Hall sensors can detect the presence of a magnetic field and measure its power accordingly. So, a BLDC controller with hall sensors is more stable and allows the motor to consume less energy overall.
How Do I Test My E-bike Controller?
If you’re having issues with your e-bike controller, you can detect the problem using two simple methods. Both these methods aim to measure the resistance of the MOSFETs, which work as power converters or switching mechanisms in modern electric vehicles. If there’s a short, the controller fails to function properly. And you can find out the issues using either a multimeter or an e-bike tester.
Here’s a brief intro to both of these methods.
1. Multimeter Testing
A typical multimeter is also known as a volt-ohm-milliammeter, and it can measure multiple electric properties such as voltage, resistance, and current. So, you can use a multimeter to measure the resistance and electric current between the battery lines and the MOSFETs to see if there’s any short.
3. E-bike Testing
E-bike tester is a versatile device that can test almost all parts of an e-bike, including the controller. So, you can test the controller’s hall signal wires and other connections, motor coils, and the throttle. Moreover, these devices are available inline, and you can follow the manufacturers=;s instructions for easy maneuver.
Does the E-bike Controller Get Hot?
Overheating of the controller is not an unfamiliar issue. While riding remote distances the controller might get some heat based on its power and location. Some High-quality controllers have great heat resistance, but you can easily fix the issue if your controller gets overheated even after a quick ride. Measures you can take if your controller gets overheated are:
- Inspect the wiring whether there are any wrong or loose connections.
- Disassemble the controller if it is mounted on a stuffy location and transfer it to an open place.
- Check the cooling system whether there is any block or not.
How do I Reset My E-bike Controller?
Resetting your ebike controller is an excellent way to troubleshoot a lot of common issues. In most cases, you need to set the C5 and C10 parameters to default (1\Y) to perform this action. Here, the C5 parameter regulates the maximum current flow, whereas c10 is basically the factory reset.
However, the resetting procedure is a bit tricky because many foreign manufacturers use different parameters. So, it’s best just to follow the manufacturer’s guide to rest your e-bike properly.
Where is the Controller Located on an E-Bike?
Since the e-bike controller is directly connected to the battery and motor, manufacturers find it easier to mount the device on the frame. Besides, is it pretty much the safest place considering the controller is a vital part of the ebike.
For added convenience, most ebikes come with the controller display sitting on top of the handlebars. However, if you’re planning on a customized model, you can actually put it anywhere you want.
E-bike controller connection is nothing but a process of connecting all the terminals to their right correspondence. The setup may seem complex on your very first try, but if you recheck over and over,you will find the fixes yourself. The only risk is connecting the battery, where you need to be vigilant about the positive/negative charge. Apart from this, there is almost no risk in connecting other terminals.
Hello, this is Evan Larry. The chief editor of this site, “eBikeBuster.” After completing my graduation in mechanical engineering, I worked for a renowned e-bike manufacturing company as a technician. I had worked there for almost six years, and later I quit the job and started my own business where I sell different types of e-bike and their tools and accessories. I created this site, eBikeBuster, to guide people, who are new to an e-bike and don’t have proper knowledge about its tools, accessories, and maintenance.