My LiveWire is Due for Its 1K Service

It’s an electric motorcycle… but it still needs an oil change 🙂

The spiral bevel gear primary drive (that rotates the motor output through 90 degrees to the belt drive) gets a special gear oil replacement after the first 1000 miles. Here’s a cool video of what my LiveWire, “ELVIRA” will be getting done next week:

ELVIRA” – see what I did there? 🙂

Snohomish PUD FlexTime Pilot, a ChargePoint Home Flex, a Mach-E and a LiveWire

We’re one of 100 households participating in a energy conservation pilot program by our local utility – the Snohomish PUD. It’s called “FlexTime.” We qualified by agreeing to install a ChargePoint Home Flex charging station for our electric vehicles – one that allows for charging to be delayed to overnight to reduce demand on the grid.


“Devices enrolled in the FlexTime pilot will help customers save money. Customers with eligible smart devices or taking part in the Customer Choice program can also reduce energy use (turning down the lights, delaying the dishwasher, clothes washer or dryer, etc.) during the peak rate periods (weekdays 7 to 10 a.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.) to save money.”

“Customers will receive a 20% discount during nights, weekends and federal holidays, while being charged a peak rate during three-hour periods in the morning (7 to 10 a.m.) and evening (5 to 8 p.m.) on weekdays in the winter (November through February). Discount and peak hours are already defined, making it easy to make little tweaks in your day that add up to big annual savings. After the 20% discount, the nights and weekend rate will be 7.99 cents/kWh and the peak rate will be 21.37 cents/kWh. All other hours will be billed at the PUD’s standard rate of 10.4 cents/kWh.”

And here’s what our new meter looks like that records time-of-use (also known as TOU rating):

And one of the two electric vehicles (a Harley-Davidson LiveWire) plugged in and charging.

Our 2021 Ford Mach-E is a Standard Range model with a 75.7 kWh battery pack (of which 68 kWh are usable.) It can accept Level 2 charging at a maximum power of 10.5 kW, but on a NEMA 14-50 circuit like we have our ChargePoint Home Flex connected to, continuous draw is limited to 40A, or 9.6 kW (240V x 40A), so the Mach-E would take roughly 8 hours to charge from empty to full. (Charging from empty to full has yet to be needed.) By delaying charging to 10pm, a full charge can completely use Discount Rate power – the maximum charge would cost 75.7 * 0.08 or $6.06 – not bad 🙂

Our 2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire can accept Level 2 charging at a much slower maximum power of about 1.4 kW. It has 15.5 kWh battery pack (of which 13.5 kWh are usable.) An empty to full charge of the LiveWire takes about 11 hours, which is longer than the Discount Rate power window, but – again – empty to full charges have yet to be needed. The maximum charge would be at most about $1.50, assuming most the charge happened during the Discount Rate period.

And, of course, the icing on the cake is the ChargePoint iOS app. With graphs!

Debugging Harley LiveWire Bluetooth and iPhone Issues, Part 1

TLDR: If at first you don’t connect, try, try and sometimes try again. I found my LiveWire would only connect to my phone roughly half the time, and waiting beyond 30 seconds for it to connect is unlikely to help.

I’m determined to uncover as much as I can as to what is undermining the Bluetooth connection between my new iPhone 12 Pro Max and my new Harley Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle. It’s my thing – iOS and hardware, after all.

For this post, I decided to focus on a simple experiment. How often (and how quickly) does the phone connect to the bike when I power on the bike?

The results were kinda shocking honestly.

For the experiment, I placed my iPhone 12 Pro Max running iOS 14.7.1 on the seat of the bike. My Harley is running software version 01.02.00-02. My security fob was nearby, although not super close – it was in my thigh bag about 2m from the bike.

The only other devices connected to my phone were a Ford Mach-E and my Apple Watch.

I turned on the bike and started a stopwatch and waited to see how long until the Bluetooth indicator on the Harley turned from gray (not connected, see below) to blue (connected, see below.) If 90 seconds had passed, I gave up waiting and turned off the bike. If it did connect, I’d note the time, turn off the bike, and wait for the iPhone Settings > Bluetooth screen to also show it “Not Connected.”

Bluetooth Not Connected (Gray Icon, Top Left)
Bluetooth Connected (Icon Turns Blue)

If the bike didn’t connect, I’d wait until I heard the last relay click inside before during it back on, about 10 seconds or so (I didn’t measure this exactly.)

I repeated this 20 times.

9 out of 20 times it never connected. 11 times it did, but the time it took to connect varied quite a bit.

8 times out of 20 it connected in 24 seconds or less – the other three times it took 30, 35 and 44 seconds

And it isn’t as simple as waiting for 90 seconds turning it off and then getting it to connect. Twice it failed to connect 3 times back to back. Oooof.

So, the Traction Control and ABS lights toggle on, off and on again about every two second. They appear about 10 seconds after turning on the bike. One thing I’ll probably do until I sort this out is count 7-8 blinks and, if the Bluetooth hasn’t connected by then, turn off the bike and try again. Meh.

Boot Up H-D Shield. If Bluetooth doesn’t turn connect within about 15 seconds after this disappears, chances are it won’t.

And something else peculiar came up during the experiment. Multiple instances of my LiveWire in Other Devices (see screenshot below). I’ll probably throw together a little app to see why that’s happening. iOS Settings > Bluetooth just shows the device name there.

Stay tuned!

H-D Connect on a LiveWire, Part 3

Parts 1 and 2 of this short series are available here and here.

Featured photo: Dinner ride! First time riding in a group, much less eating dinner with other riders since the pandemic began.

So, with a ride under her belt, let’s see what we can see in the H-D iPhone app. I’ve embedded a gallery below with screenshots. Overall it works ok, once you get used to counting to about 12 for updates to complete (it really needs an indicator that it is retrieving updates.)

It shows my bike’s battery status and range and notifies me when it is fully charged. These are the most important things and they appear to work. There are some obvious bugs (like showing me my current location is in Berlin – it isn’t… signing up for maintenance reminders didn’t “take”… and the riding activity bar graph sometimes shows data and sometimes doesn’t.

I haven’t tried the suspension calculator next, but will soon. Glad the app is up and running now. Hoping Harley Davidson addresses the bugs – I know mobile apps are hard, but getting them right makes a world of difference to users and their confidence in your work.

H-D Connect on a LiveWire, Part 2

Activated! OK, so here’s what happened since Part 1. I took it to my dealer, Emerald City Harley in Lynnwood, Washington and repeated what the H-D support engineer said – that the TCU and cellular needed to be activated on the bike – five minutes later and that was done and I was able to get past the “There appears to be a problem…” screen on the activation website.

In the parking lot I now saw (on my iPhone using Safari – and that turns out to be a problem too – stay tuned):

I tapped on Yes, This is My Bike and got to step 2 of 3 – where it asked me to verify my location:

I then got to the Terms of Service page, which requires you to scroll to the bottom of the terms before it will let you accept them (LOL):

Now that is where things got a little odd. After tapping on “Complete Sign Up” the button would gray out and then after a few seconds the whole page would reload as if I didn’t accept the terms. I did it again and still no dice.

But I’m also an iOS engineer and I know that mobile Safari can be a stickler when it comes to cookies and cross domain things and such. I suspected it was mobile Safari gumming up the works and sure enough, after switching to Chrome for iPhone all was well and I was able to get to the next page:

Shouted thanks are the best thanks 🙂

I waited a minute or two for the email but none came, so I hopped on the bike and rode home to finish this there. Still no email when I got to home, but the H-D app was showing something different now:

Yay! I tapped the Activate H-D connect button, which led to this:

I had to look up what was flash-to-pass and then I tapped the Begin Activation button. I think I forgot to grab a screen here – it had me turn on the bike, hold the flash-to-pass for at least five seconds, and then start the bike. I did this all in my garage which has not great but not terrible cell coverage. After I did that I got this:

And then, five minutes later, sad trombone, this:

I tapped Retry to try again and got the same result. I called H-D and got the same wonderful support engineer I had before. She verified that the H-D Connect was activated even though the app didn’t think so. She wasn’t sure why the app didn’t think it was activated. I do iOS engineering for a living so I suspected the application might be caching state (and not showing fetches in progress) so I exited and restarted the app and while I was still on the phone. A minute or so later I noticed the screen suddenly reported activation complete!

I’ll post Part 3 to show what I see after my next ride 🙂 Hopefully this helps any of y’all having trouble connecting H-D Connect!

H-D Connect on a LiveWire, Part 1

I’m in the process of setting up H-D Connect on my new LiveWire. It’s a cool service that uses a cellular connection directly to the motorcycle to retrieve motorcycle status (like how much longer until the battery is charged), tamper alerts (like it the motorcycle is being jostled) and service-needed notifications.

The service was available on a wide variety of bikes, both gas powered and LiveWires, but Harley ended it for all but LiveWires. Not all dealerships are aware that the service is still very much alive and supported for LiveWires.

I went to sign up, but the sign-up website wouldn’t accept my VIN:

I called Customer Service this morning and learned why. Looks like my bike missed a “pre-delivery” step and the “TCU” was not activated. I’ll swing by my dealer today to have them use “Tech Link 3” to “activate the TCU and cellular”

I was excited to learn a new LiveWire acronym 🙂 TCU stands for “Telematics Control Unit” – it’s made by Panasonic Automotive and you can learn more about it in this press release from 2019 – it uses a 3G, 4G or LTE connection to the bike.

In a future update, we’ll all find out what happens next 🙂

LiveWire: So Many Things to Try

This is going to keep me busy for a while, and that’s wonderfully OK – even exciting. I wanted to take the bike further and faster today and I also wanted to try out a fast charger. The club is doing a ride from Lynnwood, Washington to Leavenworth, Washington – a 110+ mile trip with a 4100′ mountain pass in-between – which means my new LiveWire might make it, but might not, so I wanted to see how the bike managed its battery with highway speeds.

I ran the bike in Road mode the entire time. Next time I might try Eco. I made it from Bothell to Sultan with 77% or 92 miles of range left – mostly 40 mph backroads but with about 10 miles of US 2 at proper speeds.

From Sultan back to Monroe saw the battery drop just a bit to 69%. I tried out the fast ElectrifyAmerica charger and it brought the battery back up to 75% before stopping (not sure why it stopped yet.)

And then I was back to Bothell with 57% or 69 miles of range left.

From Sultan to the top of Stevens Pass is 42 highway miles (with that elevation gain too) and unfortunately there are a few Level 1/2 chargers along the way but no fast chargers. Seems like it might be possible (since I can charge a fair bit on the mostly downhill from the pass to Leavenworth — 35 miles — but will it be enough – and how much will the highway speeds and elevation gain eat into that?)

Net net: clearly more experimentation is called for 🙂

I Got a LiveWire!

It’s a dream come true! I picked up “Elvira” last weekend at Emerald City Harley. She’s a brand new black Harley Davidson LiveWire and a thrill to ride.

Meet Elvira, My Harley Davidson LiveWire

So quiet, so fast, so responsive. With elements from all my beloved bikes of the past, from the Honda Nighthawk, to the Yamaha Midnight Warrior, to the Harley Street Bob. The best of each of them in an electric superbike. This bike perfectly matches my personality, and it scratches itches that only EV enthusiasts, Electrical Engineers and Mobile Embedded Device Developers have!

I’ll be posting plenty on this bike and our adventures. Zoom zoom!

PS: I’ve updated my previous post on the LiveWire with a gallery from the demo rides. Enjoy!

Embedded LiveWire

The e-moto has five processors to manage performance and app-based connectivity, according to HD’s chief engineer for EV Technology, Sean Stanley.

TechCrunch, “Inside Harley-Davidson’s EV shift with a ride on its LiveWire

I would very much like to 1) own a LiveWire (had the pure joy of a demo ride back in August) and 2) learn more about these five processors. 🙂

My own photo, taken during the Harley LiveWire Demo Event in August in Seattle at the Wick.