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Cycle Satiator Ebike Charger Review

November 17, 2015
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 Multiple Voltage chargers in one unit

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As an electric bike enthusiast, chargers have been somewhat of a nightmare for me.  I have chargers of different voltages everywhere with different output plugs, and I never can seem to find the right charger for the right pack. For a guy like me with multiple electric bikes around with different types of charge adapters, the Satiator is a saving grace. Lithium ebike chargers are expensive, and I could easily sell all my old 48V, 52 volt, 36 volt chargers on ebay, pay for a better more powerful charger, and get rid of the rats nest of chargers I have around my house. The Satiator is capable of charging any voltage battery 10-60 volts of almost any chemistry. Basically almost any ebike battery I can think of except for large voltage batteries that are for maniacs anyway.

One caveat is the Cycle Analyst comes with only one charge plug which is for an xlr connector. So to charge other battery packs you have to make your own battery connectors (read our article on connectors) which might require soldering. The folks at ebikes.ca expect that everyone loves to solder and knows how to solder, but…in reality most people don’t.

 

The Satiator…Above all else it has quality construction:

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It is really refreshing when some new product comes out for ebikes and it is not engineered in China and it is not made of the cheapest components possible to get the price as low as possible. The Satiator is expensive because it is made with very high quality components.

What this  accomplishes is you get a really powerful charger in a small package. And  because the internal parts are such high quality it does not need a fan to run cool.  The fact that the Satiator is the first silent high amperage ebike charger I have seen is already a big accomplishment.

To top off this achievement in ebike hardware, the Satiator uses top notch software created by the ebike.ca team.

Reducing the Rats Nest

The ebike world currently is being overrun by too many wires (read our story).  The chinese can’t help but making there ebike products with tons of wires. The Satiator brilliantly cuts back on wires, by elminating the need for more than one charger per household. You no longer need a box of chargers for your various ebikes or batteries…one charger, and one set of wires can do it all. The Satiator in that way really reduces ebike clutter. I can tell you as an ebike enthusiast it gets tiresome trying to keep track of all the different chargers for all the different vehicles.

Charging  at different Amperages

The Satiator promises to charge any ebike battery up to 60V no matter what its chemistry is, how large it is, who makes it etc. You will need to make adapter cables to fit all your different batteries. (we recommend you change all your batteries to use the same charge connector) So once you have adapter cables for every charger you own the next step is what amperage do you want to charge at. When I first got into ebiking I thought the faster more powerful charger the better. For example a 6-amp 48 volt charger can charge a 48 volt 10-Ah pack in less than 2 hours. However charging this fast to full charge definitely has one giant draw back, it drastically reduced your battery life. When you charge at 7 amps you can feel the battery get warm or sometimes even hot to the touch…this is a sign you are charging too fast. After this realization is made most ebike enthusiasts such as myself end up having both fast and slow chargers around for each voltage.

Sometimes you are in not such a rush and don’t need to charge this fast, and if all you have is a 6-amp charger you are stuck charging fast anyway. The Satiator has the incredible feature of being able to vary from 1 to 7 amps to control how fast you charge…so its like having multiple chargers around in one tight neat package.

Charge to 80 percent

We learned a lot from electric automobile manufacturers and the nature of lithium batteries. We now know that it is not good to charge your batteries to maximum capacity and doing that every time you charge will greatly hurt your batteries life expectancy.  The engineers at Ebike.ca noticed that no ebike chargers on the market were doing partial charges and decided they would make the ultimate charger with this as the key feature.

The Satiator gives you a choice to charge them to 80 percent or whatever percent you choose for that matter. The Satiator senses how many amp hours are left in the battery based on the battery profile that you have entered in, and it then charges it to roughly 80 perecent. This feature along can double the life of your battery if you use it at times you do not need a full charge on your next ride.

When you are planning a long ride you can go ahead and charge to 100 percent.

Also if you plan to store your battery for a long time, or ship your battery across the country, it is best if it is 50 percent charged. You can easily set your Satiator to do this.

 

 A big charger in a little package

A 7-amp charger is a big charger in power…this one fits in a very tight form of package. This feature in itself is awesome. The Cycle Satiator is designed so that you can pack it in your bike on long rides and do guerrilla charges on the go (“opportunity charging”). It has a nice look to it… its the best looking ebike charger I have every seen. Looking at it in my hand I would guess its a 3-amp charger. This baby is a 7-amp full featured powerhouse.

Built To Be Taken On Board

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Because of its small size and its slim profile the Satiator is designed to be easily carried in a pack or even mounted on a bike. The first time I saw the Satiator was when Justin and one of his engineers Robby rode all the way from Vancouver Canada to San Francisco on their ebikes with giant ebike batteries on tow. They had two Satiator chargers which did not take much space that did all their charging for them. Of course with an epic trip like that you also need your Satiator to be reliable and it does seem to be that.

 

 

Amp hour meter

 

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This is one of my favorite features of the  Cycle Satiator. After a ride and you are charging your battery , the charger will tell you exactly how many amp hours the battery is taking in, and at the end of the charge let you know how many amp hours your battery took total. This feature is a blessing if you don’t have the Cycle Analyst (made by the same maker of the Satiator) or some other watt meter that tells you exactly how much juice your battery is putting out.

Most important you will know right away if you are gettting the amp hours that you paid for in your ebike battery or commercial ebike. You can also see how quickly the battery life degrades.

In our shop we use this feature to test batteries. We run them down to empty using a long string of light bulbs (crude but it works) and then plug it into the Satiator and see how many amp hours it holds. The Satiator is an excellent tool for testing batteries.

As an owner of just a few batteries you will be blessed with keeping up with how many cycles your battery has had, and how many total amp hours it has held in its life span. This is a super neat feature which really allows you to monitor the health of your battery.

Time to check up on your Ebike Manufacture Claims

No big ebike company offers an amp hour guage on their bike even though it would be easy for them to do so. That is because they don’t want an amp hour gauge on their probably low quality battery pack because the customer would know immediately how many amp hours their battery was putting out, and if that capacity was degrading before the warranty.

The Satiator allows you to charge any commercial ebike without tampering with any of the ebikes wiring (maybe voiding your warranty).  Once you have the Satiator plugged into your commercial bike you will know exactly how many amp hours your battery is sucking in. This Charger is an absolute no brainer for people who have invested big in a big money ebike such as the Optibike. The Satiator is a perfect gauge to make sure you are getting all the  precious amp hours you paid for. The ebike battery is the most expensive component on your commercial bike, and montioring its health with the Satiator is not a bad idea.

And with an amp hour guage such as this one, you will be able to make a warranty claim if you battery degrades by more than 60 percent of its amp hours while still under warranty.

For people who spent thousands on their commercial ebikes the Cycle Satiator is an awesome investment. Not only will it probably double your batteries life span as described above, but it will also make sure your investment is holding up, and make  sure the ebike’s battery is living up to the warranty you paid so dearly for.

Future Proof

The Satiator has easily upgradeable firmware….annoying that you have to buy a 20 dollar programming cable and 10 dollar connector to update it but you can. This mean that the Satiator can always be improved with time and it is unlikely it will ever become outdated.

That being said if you are into ultra high voltage batteries (over 60 volts) on super fast ebikes, Grin Technologies is expected to release a Satiator for higher voltages later this year. So if you see a high voltage pack in your future you should wait for the new high voltage Satiator before jumping on this one.

Annoying Extras

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For a $300 charger I was hoping this baby would come with everything you need. It doesn’t. If  you want a programming cable, you will have to buy a $10 proprietary cable plus a $10 connector.

The Satiator comes only with a xlr connector, which is not a very common plug for US users to use for charging, so you will have to buy or solder your own adapter to make it work with your ebike battery.  For an extra $10 you can buy an adapter so that you can charge both xlr and andersons.

What would have been nice is if the Satiator came with a nifty charge converter harness, with the most common ebike connectors on it. Even as this would have been very cheap for the folks at ebikes.ca to provide and would make the charger super convenient. I know the folks at ebikes.ca and they expect every ebke user to know how to solder, and making a connector should be no problem…but I really feel they should have done the right thing and provided a multi-connector with this charger. Because I think most Americans hate the idea of spending $300, and then still having to solder.

As is be prepared to build your own connectors if you buy this charger. To help facilitate this I suggest you get a source of xlr female plugs preferably with pig tails. Pig tails will make wiring your own connectors less painless.

Also consider changing all your connectors on your ebike batteries to the same one. I suggest the XT60 for the charging connection.

Requires an Instruction manual to operate

The Satiator is not as intuitive to program as I would prefer. It is bit easier if you invest in the programming cable because at-least then you can use your computer keyboard and screen instead of the awkward interface built into the Satiator. You will not be able to get this charger to work with your battery intuitively. This is one of the few ebike products ever that really requires an instruction manual to figure out. We wish it was a bit easier to set up and use.

Read the instruction manual here.

 

Alternatives

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There are alternatives if you don’t want to spend $300 on a charger.

The  $99  Luna Charger is a less featured charger which offers some of the critical functions of the Satiator at a 3rd of the price.

It is variable amperage..it can charge at 3 amps or 5amps and it has a 3 position toggle switch so you can go 80, 90 or 100 percent charge.  The swtiches make it easy to set up…no instruction manual for this one. The Luna Charger is hassle free to operate.

The big drawback of the Luna Charger is you have to pick your voltage. Its available in 36, 48 and 72 volt versions.  But if you only have one voltage of battery the Luna is an awesome choice.

Conclusion

The Satiator is a breath of fresh air in an industry full of cheap chinese innovation that is getting better and cheaper but nobody is thinking out of the box and making something completely different. Here we see Canadian ebike engineers take a simple component, a charger and make it as good as it can possibly be. Of course this comes at a price $300 which is the downside. But I would argue it’s worth every penny, and is going to a good company who is at the forefront of ebike promotion and innovation.

 

Pros

  • The most versatile highest quality ebike charger ever
  • Can charge almost any battery between 12-60 volts of any chemistry.
  • Totally Silent
  • Can charge at different amp levels, being a slow charger or a fast charger, 1-amp to 7-amp
  • Very compact for a charger capable of charging at 7 amps
  • Can automatically determine how much juice is in your battery and charge you to 80 percent, which will lengthen the lifespan of your battery.
  • Can connect to your pc via programming cable for even more powerful features such as email notification when your battery is done charging. ($20 extra for programming cable)
  • Amp hour meter tells you exactly how much charge you used on your last ride.

Cons

  • way over price at $300 
  • Geeky interface
  • Hard to use and program
  • NO balancing fature
  • can be quirky and frustrating to use at times
  • To get the added benefit of computer connectivity you have to buy a proprietary  cable
  • Only comes with one xlr connector. To connect to other types of batteries you will need to buy or solder your own adapter.

 

 

 

Eric has been involved in the electric bike industry since 2002 when he started a 6000 square foot brick and mortar Electric Bike store in downtown San Francisco. He is a true believer that small electric vehicles can change the way we operate and the way we think.

  • Curt Welch

    The Satiator is certainly my favorite charger. It’s the one I use the most without question. Well worth the cost for me because I want a charger where I can easily pick from different voltages and currents depending on what battery I’m charging and under what situations (such as a fast charge through the discharge ports at a lower voltage to protect against potential cell balance problems), or a slow charge at max voltage for the battery to balance it overnight. For those with a single bike and single battery, a fixed configuration brick will probably give you most of what you need for far less, but for anyone wanting more control over the charging process, and who has multiple types of batteries to charge, the Satiator is a must have.

  • Dennis Horning

    $300 for a charger with a high of only 60 volts i.e. max = 60.00v? Some of us have batteries of 72v, 60v,48v, 52v, 36v and 24v which are all nominal voltages to power our fleet of ebikes. It is not practical to wait on one Satiator nor buy 6 of these chargers to charge these packs to be ready to ride in 3 h. For people who run the same nominal voltage packs of different chemistries there will often be a slightly different max charge voltage allowed.

    There is a much cheaper fix to monitoring the max charging voltage adjustments that allows safe use of your existing chargers for about $30. Simplly get a Programmable Digital Dual Display 90V 50A Combo Meter Voltage Amp Power Ah Hour. They can be found on ebay. The charger used must have a higher voltage than the max you set and the pack’s current low voltage must be more than the threshold low voltage the charger deems the proper battery voltage range to begin charging.

  • Matt

    I bought the Lunagizer from Lunacycles and found that (of course) once it arrived, it was 110V (US only), and didn’t operate on 220V (European standard). 99USD and 20USD on postage later, I’ve still got an uncharged battery. The Satiator looks great and I’m definitely going to look into this unless I can get some support form the lunacycles team (no answer yet…). What other alternatives are out there? I’m in Sweden and the ebike scene here is only just starting so the number of retailers is pretty slim where you can pick up alternative gear. I really wish I’d been able to check the site’s spec’s before I invested. Note to others doing the same as me; I bought a complete kit – mid drive, battery, charger etc. and clearly stated I was running this in Sweden. The Lunacycles site doesn’t clearly tell you the charger is unsuitable for non US voltages – but to be fair they do give out the specifications pretty clearly on the _individual_ product pages. So, don’t be like me, make sure you check EVERY single part is what you’re after before ordering an ebike kit (from any site). I’m sure the Luna team are doing their best, fingers crossed they’ll be able to help me find a solution…

  • Thomas Jaszewski

    This reads like a review designed to sell a charger. Not a review by a user. Or a review that I would expect from the high caliber folks at Luna. Known for fairness and expertise. If I have several sizes of batteries and want charge options I need to by 3 Luna chargers and have non of the latitude the Satiator gives me. The “geeky” interface is less complex then the Bafang color display so frequently raved about. None f the alternative chargers offered are able to charge for storage and are glitchy at best. One Lunagizer has a bad did play, another a bad fan. Neither are replaceable according to Luna. The Satiator warranty is unconditional and at least 3 times as long. I can charge at variable rates and levels and charge all 4 battery voltages in my group with a single charger.

    Cons listed
    Luna wrote, Expensive $300 retail

    TJ says, 4 chargers from Luna would cost me $320 and have only some of the features

    Luna wrote, Geeky interface can be hard to program etc.

    TJ says, What eBike builder isn’t geeky? Seriously?

    Luna wrote, Requires some time with an instruction manual.

    TJ says, Oh no, I have to read a manual? That’s an improvement over a non existent manual.
    It has PDFs and easily searchable on my iPad. Where’s the Luna manuals?
    My last Luna charge was out for weeks before tha manual.

    Luna wrote, To get the added benefit of computer connectivity you have to buy a proprietary cable.

    TJ says, Yup I need a cable just like my BBS series motors. So does my phone, scanner, and half my devices.

    Luna wrote, Only comes with one xlr connector. To connect to other types of batteries you will need to buy or solder your own adapter.

    Connectors? Luna sends batteries without connectors. How is this a con?

    Come on guys, give a great product a fair review. The Luna charger has a audience that it fits, but so does the Satiator. If we’re gonna critic lets at least be fair.