Hi everyone, guest poster DB here. As I’ve ridden my Turbo Levo more and more, I’ve gotten excited about the ability to ride further and do trips in remote locations combined with car camping. I went on a car camping trip with family and friends recently and was hoping that the battery would last over 2-3 days if I managed it well, but between a couple of strenuous rides and all my friends wanting to try the bike, the battery was exhausted on the second day.
My friend had an inverter that worked off of a marine battery and solar panel, so I plugged my Levo into it hoping the battery would charge. It seemed to at first, but after a couple of hours in full sun it became clear that it was not charging well. And then unfortunately, my Levo started behaving very strangely. The battery indicator and app showed that I still had a 20% charge left, but when I would ride for 30 seconds or so the indicator would beep 3 times and the motor would cut out. I tried turning the bike off and back on, only to have the motor cut out again and again, sometimes with 3 beeps and flashing green lights, and sometimes with rapid beeping and red lights that would not stop unless I powered it off. The app said the battery health was fine, and the battery was not hot to the touch, but clearly something was very wrong. I tried to look online and find help there, but nothing described the problem or a solution, so unfortunately my ride was over, making me question my decision to charge from a less than credible source.
So naturally I’ve been wondering, is there an effective way to charge the Levo remotely? The Levo certainly has a very sophisticated battery and should be treated as such. I would think you could use a good quality gas powered generator/inverter, but I rarely take one with me car camping as they are bulky and I really don’t need it for anything else. There are lots of inverters out there that plug into a car charger outlet, but the quality of the sine wave output varies greatly and the wattage is usually too low (typically around 50, and per the 80/20 post at least 200 is needed) as they are primarily meant for charging small devices like phones, ipads, etc.
My Turbo Levo battery continued to have problems when I got home, and my local bike shop was unable to even connect to the battery to diagnose the issue, so Specialized was kind enough to send me a new battery as it was still under warranty. Although there is no way to know if the problem was truly caused by my friend’s charging system, the question remains – how can I safely and effectively charge my Levo battery remotely? More to come on this topic…