How to Salvage / Hack a BionX Hub Motor for External Controller and 3rd Party Batteries

How to Salvage / Hack a BionX Hub Motor for External Controller and 3rd Party Batteries

In this video we demonstrate how you can remove the guts from a BionX PL350 hub hub motor and wire it up to use an external motor controller, allowing the use of any battery pack and any liberating it from the proprietary and discontinued BionX controls.

As you’ll see from watching this clip, it’s a fairly long and complex job which is only suitable for the more hardcore DIYer. We never worked with BionX kits ourselves and were recently gifted this motor from a customer after his BionX battery wore out and he switched over to a Grin system. It was our first time working on a BionX this way and we decided to film and document the process of converting it over to open standards so that others could see what the process entails!

If you are curious to see about how much power you could get from a BionX motor with an external controller and Statorade, we have the PL350 on our motor simulator
and did an early study on the thermals with and without statorade here:

Readers Comments (40)

  1. Hi , Are the p250 and 350 motors the same ? Was wondering if the only difference was the controller and battery..I want to rip out the internal controller on a p250 or wondering if I should find a 350 for more power handling.

  2. What tool do you need for the freewheel? I understand there’s a lot of different ones.

  3. The low drag is not an understatement the wheel spins 3 spins less than a normal rear wheel when testing the free spin and mine is 8 years old amazing motor actually and with some extra sealing like some flex seal on controllers etc it’s even ready for winter riding

  4. Hi Team Grin! I got my hands on a bionx bike that would charge. After opening the battery i noticed the fuse was broken so i replaced it. The battery works fine now and the bike turns on. However after turning it on it start beeping and never stops. By going into diagnostic mode it says: error code 22. Do you have any idea what the issue could be? After looking it up the sparse results on google say it’s an SMC_BAD_RELAY error. It would help me out a lot (because bionx is gone)…

  5. Thanks for the info

  6. Can you do my motor look like cable got jammed. MOTOR IS NOT RUNNING FREELY 1500:W

  7. If I wanted to upgrade a sensor-less motor with hall sensors and Temperature Sensor Bead, do I need a phaserunner controller, or could I do autotuning and automatic mapping with the Baserunner Z9?

  8. Richard Lindgren December 2, 2020 @ 8:14 pm

    This is a good idea for the older iZip/Curries as well.

  9. Thanks how much power can we push these ?

  10. Excellent – now I can use my bionix wheel for something other than garage corner filler. – I see a project in the works. Tx

  11. This Guy knows his stuff, thumbs up mate

  12. Got one for free and will be remove the components…thanks. Do i have plug it in a computer to set it up

  13. Good Job. Similar video here:

  14. Any path to take so that the sensation of torque is similar to that of bionx?

  15. Hi! I’m currently using this video as inspiration to build a DD hub motor setup for a 10" knobby tired scooter. I managed to break both of the cast "hub" that attaches the teeth portion of the stator to the axle. Very upsetting bc it looks like a promising motor to hotrod and that’s not common amongst scooter motors. Any idea where I can find diy parts or any ideas on replacing these? Thanks for always presenting informative fact based tests and reports. As mentioned, you’re definitely a major source of inspiration as I walk a similar path as you currently, only in the world of scooter hacking.

  16. why can’t you just buy 2 12 volt liquid sealed batteries and hook them into the bionx battery holder i mean 24 volts is 24 volts what ever batteries can the system tell where the 24 volts are coming from ni-cad,lithium,and or acid sealed? like the one i have is 20 d size 10000 mah i mean C size are 1.2volts with 1000mah or aa size 1.2 volts what 1800mah won’t they all work just less mah’s and just hook the up before the senser’s i wonder?

  17. Hi Justin, I currently have this Setup on my bike with 72v battery. Do you have any idea how many amps can I push to this motor before it fries? I am not concerned at all if It does fry because I got this very cheap already converted even with temp sensor. I just want to test the limit but I don’t want damage other parts as well. Thanks!

  18. AWSOME idea!!!!!! Thanks Grin team for helping these BionX customers!! i had so many request for BionX battery repair.. This will certainly help solving the problem now!!! You guys are awsome !!

  19. I just purchased a Grace Easy with Bionx system. But, it has an intermittent fault. It sometimes delivers power ok and sometimes it does not. I think the motor is 350. The transmission is belt drive. It has G2 display and everything seems perfectly fine with the readout. I wonder if you could possibly offer me some idea of where I should start to try and fix this issue. I wonder if it is the controller that is at fault. The display + it’s cradle, and the battery have been replaced to no noticeable effect. I need some expert advice 🙂

  20. My bionx was a joke. I could not go more than 5 miles on the second assist level. Level 1 just eliminates the drag and counters the weight. I guess I weigh to much for these. I gave it away was not of any use to me rather just ride a quality bike instead of a 50 plus pound set up.

  21. Joe The Eurosquatter December 2, 2020 @ 8:29 pm

    My BionX electronics outlived the stupid hub, which cracked along the cast-in "rings". If you see Frank Stronach, kick him in the knackers for me, would ya?

  22. seriously i cant find shrink wrap to fit so i used electrical tape on the axle but for the most part i got the wires through without any ripping sounds didnt bother gluing the hall sensors in place as there already glued and since the stator is stationary with this motor seems to be perfect the way it is …. how many volts and watts can this motor take max im just going to run it at 36v 500w but i would like to see top speed the motor has super little resistance when rolling feels like normal wheel hub

  23. Superb demo, thanks

  24. Hallo.
    Können Sie mir Helfen?
    Ich haibike SDURO Trekking 6.0
    250W Yamaha PW-SE Motor.
    Und ich möchte Daumengas auf bauen.
    Hat das System Taste für laufn, kann mann bearbeiten in das System schneller machen?
    Viele Grüße

  25. I still have my complete bionX setup sitting in a box in my garage from when I did my conversion.
    I have been trying to figure out what to do with it, not worth anything, can’t sell it.
    But now…

  26. Can I send my motor to have this done?

  27. My friend gave me his Bionx bike because he lost the charger. The battery and motor works fine.. I took apart the Bionx battery and use my own BMS for my other ebike. For the motor, I guess I’ll have to learn how to re-lace the wheel and rewire the motor. All I need to buy is a gear puller.

  28. I have like this motor one mgnet are broken where can find the same !!!?

  29. As always, great content (also just watched Pete and the cable replacement vid), thanks! I’ve got a BionX hubbie sitting on my workbench, half-way through the de-proprietarization process, having gotten there with lots of help from you and ES ( I am working on saving/using the original strain gauge in the motor and adding the custom instrumentation amplifier which will live inside the hub, drawing it’s power from the 5V Vcc from the Hall supply. The output signal from the amp will go out from the motor and be fed into the PAS input on a CAv3. I’m hoping that by doing the amplification inside the motor I’ll get a more usable output signal (volts vs millivolts). Since I just got a Grin all-axle motor kit from you guys, I’m officially now part of the transition to the L10 connector system. It has the wires I need in the bundle to complete my BionX conversion … so where/how can I get some of the male and female overmolded L10 connectors to work with going forward? I’ll want to also make L10 to/from Anderson PowerPole and JST-SM adapters as well, since I have a ton of ‘now-legacy’ ebike systems to keep running as well.

  30. Thank you Justin.
    I have just re-celled my 22v bionx and it was doing fine until the controller blew this morning, (the main plug disconnected while going over a bump at high speed on full regen)
    Now I will be able to get it going again, very pleased indeed!

  31. This was extremely helpful. I just salvaged one of these Bionx hub motors and want to use it for some other projects (not in a bike or vehicle) but wasn’t sure if it’s doable without massive complexity. If I understand you correctly I can just remove the PCB, feed the three phase wires out, forget about the Hall sensors (I just want to make the motor spin for a machine I’m making) and stick on basically any sensorless ESC >=22V (6S) maybe 20A (not sure of amps but it’s 250W and 22V so presumably 20A would cover it?) controller, like

  32. I started this project with a gifted full bionx system and upgraded the battery already. Thanks for all the info!! It bas been a fun project indeed

  33. boring

  34. So would it be possible to only bring out the positive and negative and run them through a switch instead of a controller for a steady run speed?

  35. Alberto M. LeGresley December 2, 2020 @ 8:46 pm

    I am working on a trike(95% made from discarded materials) that will be about 80 pounds and will carry 350 pounds I need it to travel 150 kilometers. Can I use a motor like this?

  36. another solution is to reverse engineer the communications and use arduino or raspberry pi to talk to the controller.

    you may say what about the dmca?

    1 bionx is out of business so there is no one to sue or even threaten a lawsuit.

    2. even their lawyers got jobs with other companies thereby have no jurisdiction over bionx systems

    3. you are in canada so unless canada has a similar dmca you are free to reverse engineer the communications and just make sure to post the programming files to a site like thepiratebay where they will not remove anything over copyrights

  37. Nurmukhammed Orunbaev December 2, 2020 @ 8:47 pm

    О можно транслит. Перевести на русский язык?

  38. Damn love the honesty, you could have rewired it after you discovered the bearing is in the way but you didn’t. Thanks for sharing!

  39. The Great Grin wiring series – Part 2: don’t forget the lid.
    The master himself makes a newbee mistake and forgets that the cable needs to go through the lid before assembly.
    Two things here:
    1 – write and follow a script, and

    2 – use a better microphone.

  40. Thanks, nice additional repurpose to spend and temp sensor and outwire the strain sensor. There is also a previous transformation here:

    It seems to me that the transformation work effort done local would exceed the amount of buying a new direct drive. So it is only for hobby or educational reasons. You refer that the Bionx show significant less drag than other DD. Do you know the reason? Is this because of the stator pole shaping or material selection for the magnetic back short?
    Another option to free the system is to reprogramm the motor controller. The main downside which I found by reusing the Bionx motor controler board is that is lacking DC bus shunts and an accurate battery voltage detection for motor regulation. This is provided in the orginal system by the BMC but makes decoupling difficult. The battery temp is anyway lost in a decoupled system and therefore the Bionx approach is technical best but coupled.
    Because the first patents expire next year my guess is that strain and controler integrated DD will start and give much cheaper and easier to handle Kit solutions in the future. Obviously they need a coupled display but only DC battery connector. Getting central PAS of either type is a significant burden because of hassle and cost. A decoupled Bionx kind of DD will the ideal kit solution. What do you think?

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