If your Electric Bike won’t turn on, these are all of the solutions that worked for us. We’ve also got some tips to make sure the problem doesn’t happen again.
There are normally two main symptoms of an E-Bike not powering up: –
- The display or head unit doesn’t show anything – Normally battery related
- The display shows up and the battery shows as full but there is an error or the throttle doesn’t work – Connector, motor, or sensor problems
Take a look below for the solution that works for you.
Have You Tried Turning It Off And On Again?
We had to. Any errors or problems are normally cleared with a quick reset of your E-Bike or simply turning it off and on again. Sometimes taking the battery out and putting it back in does the same.
I’ve definitely wasted 15 minutes of my life trying to diagnose a problem that was fixed with the recorded message left on most tech support’s phone lines.
Battery Didn’t Charge
This is probably the most common cause of Electric Bikes not turning on. It’s easy to forget to charge your E-Bike, not plug in the socket or the charger, or just not connect the charger properly.
Plug your bike back in and see what the charge level is. You may just need to wait or switch to a spare battery in the meantime. It could be that the charger isn’t set to the right mode or it’s faulty.
Battery Not Connected Properly
Every brand of Electric Bike seems to have an entirely different way of attaching to the battery compartment. Make sure the battery is fully seated and “clicked” in properly. Some batteries need one edge to be slid in first, then pushed into place.
Check the prongs/connections from the battery and on the battery. If they are bent or out of place, the battery can’t provide power to anything. You can bend prongs back into place
Some batteries also have a dial or lock that needs to be in place before the battery will connect to the motor and head unit. Double check everything is seated properly and try again.
Diagnosing Electric Bike Battery Problems
Sometimes a fuse within the battery blows. You can check the voltage on your battery with a voltmeter if you know how. Just find the negative and positive connectors, hook them up and read the voltage.
- If there is no readout from anything – It’s likely a fuse or internal fault. You could open up the battery to check or replace the fuse, or get an E-Bike shop to do it for you
- If you have a low voltage i.e. your 36V battery is showing 18V – It’s likely a charging issue
- If you’ve fully charged the battery and still get a low voltage – Some of the battery cells may have died or become disconnected. Take it to a shop or electrician to check
- If you have a high readout, the battery connects properly, and there is nothing from the motor – It’s probably wiring from the battery to the motor, a motor problem, or the sensor issue described later on
Check wires are snug and connected properly. Disconnect any quick connector plugs and check for dirt, water, or corrosion. Most of the connectors are around the handlebars but there are normally more by the motor.
It could be that your E-Bike is actually still working, but it’s just the display that’s faulty. You might still be able to ride around – though in most areas E-Bike laws say you need a working display. Your E-Bike insurance may not cover you if the display wasn’t working in a crash.
Check the connectors as this is normally the problem if it’s just a display. Most displays or head units also have their own internal clock batteries (the flat disc ones). Take a look inside and try replacing it.
Don’t Touch Anything
When you power on the bike make sure you aren’t sitting on the seat, don’t have your feet on the pedal, and aren’t holding the brake or accelerator – nothing at all! Electric Bikes have sensors and want everything to be zeroed out when they start up.
Also, check your throttle and brake/acceleration levers aren’t slightly pulled back or stuck in one place. Check underneath the levers to see if the sensors are also connected. These problems also generally come with an error code on the display.
The Best E-Bikes are also often ones with safety precautions. Without these checks, you could end up damaging the bike.
Check Spoke Magnet / Speed Sensor
Speed sensor problems commonly block power to the motor and cause your Electric Bike to not turn on or power up. Any error that mentions speed sensor or magnet issues are likely caused by the below.
E-Bikes need to know how much power you are applying to the pedals to know how much extra power to add from the motor. A really common way to do this is to have a magnet on one of the spokes of the wheel (usually the back) and a magnet sensor on the seat stay of the frame.
When the magnet and the sensor align, the bike’s head unit can figure out how fast you are going and show you on the display. If the magnet and sensor don’t line up, the head unit may not allow you to use the motor and the whole bike won’t turn on.
This normally happens when the magnet slides down the spoke a little too much or gets flipped over. Sometimes the sensor gets dislodged or you lose the magnet entirely. It can also be caused by the wire from the sensor being disconnected.
Check all of these and make sure the magnet lines up with the sensor. You can do this by rotating the wheel until they line up, then using a screwdriver to move the magnet holder into place.
The video below shows a great example of the lineup and where to align the magnet to. You’re looking for the sensor, not the screw that holds the sensor in place. You can also get most E-Bike shops to do this. You may also need a replacement magnet from the original manufacturer.