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Tongsheng TSDZ2 on older Cannondale commuter

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    Tongsheng TSDZ2 on older Cannondale commuter

    I have an older Cannondale commuter bike that I wanted to upgrade to electric, so installed a Tongsheng TSDZ2 motor. It's a sweet setup that's a lot of fun to ride. But its definitely an involved DIY project, that took a lot of research to figure everything out. There's a lot of confusing information out there, so adding my own install notes.

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    My bike
    • Older Cannondale commuter
    • 67mm wide bottom bracket
    • Rim brakes
    • Shifter cables running outside the frame

    Picked the Tongsheng TSDZ2 motor. Why?
    It really came down to the Bafang BBS02 and Tongsheng TSDZ2. The Bafang seems more powerful, and more hackable, but uses cadence to activate. The Tongsheng has a torque sensor, so the harder you pedal, the more it contributes.
    • Thought that the torque sensors would give a more integrated feeling when riding
    • Can push it right to the limits of street legal
    • Can replace the firmware with an open-source version
    Purchased from Eco Cycles.
    • Wanted a US-based company that I could get support from
    • Could order everything in one kit that would work together
    • Their "build your own" option is super customizable.
    • They pre-install the open-source software, and apparently contribute heavily to the source

    Mostly their defaults, with a larger battery for some distance rides.
    • Motor: 48V
    • Cranks: 170mm
    • Bottom Bracket: 68-73mm
    • Gear: plastic
    • Chain Ring: 42T w/guard
    • Wiring Harness: 1T4 wiring harness
    • Throttle: Universal thumb throttle
    • E-brakes: Mechanical e-brake levers
    • Gear shifting sensor, w/splitter cable
    • Dual front/rear lights, with wiring harness
    • 52v 15ah 21700 Cell Hailong Shark Battery
    • Open-source firmware, with programming cables
    More details about the battery.
    • 52v 15ah 21700 Cell Hailong Shark Battery
    • Capacity: 52v (58.8v Fully Charged) 15ah
    • Cells: Samsung 50E 21700 5000mAh
    • Cycle Life: 500-1500+ Cycles @ =/> 80%
    • Output: 40a Continuous Discharge (30a Recommended)
    • Input: 5a Charging Max
    • Low Voltage Cutoff: 42v
    • Approx 775 watt hours (average 20-25 watt hours per mile). 35-70 miles range
    Apparently, you have to become battery knowledgable to make the most of it. You don't want to keep the battery near 100% or 0% for long periods of time, somewhere between 20-80% is best.

    What I should have done
    Pull out the motor, battery, display, and control from the box. Connect them on the floor, with a crank arm. Turn it all on and test it.

    What I did
    Stripped the bike down to the frame, spending a couple of weeks ordering bike tools I didn't know I needed. Then install it, only to spend an evening thinking I had a defective unit until I figured out how to turn it on.

    Essential tools
    I had a decent bike maintenance setup already, with a repair stand and basic tools. I'd never upgraded anything so needed more tools.
    • Park Tool CWP-7 crank arm puller
    • Hex wrenches going up to 8mm
    Stripping the bike
    A mid-engine setup replaces the front derailleur, so removed that, along with the shifter and cable. It also replaces both brake levers, so removed those. Ended up removing the other shifter cable, and the plastic guide running under the bottom bracket. Removed the chain. Gave everything a good cleaning while I was there.

    Removing the pedals, crank arms, and bottom bracket was a pain, cause I didn't have the tools. And I didn't know which tool I needed to pull the crank arms off. The Park Tools videos were awesome.

    Bottom Bracket Identification | Park Tool
    Bottom Bracket Removal & Installation: Threaded | Park Tool

    Finally, the kickstand had to go. The motor bolts onto the same middle bracket.

    Motor installation
    The installation video was really helpful. And in Chinese. The kit did come with the bracket wrench needed to install.


    I found a couple of other install links useful.

    Manuals & Resources - ELECTRIFY BIKE
    Woosh Bikes TSDZ2

    Battery installation
    The instructions say to mount the battery in place of the water bottle holder. They lie. With both screws in the battery bracket, the battery wont fit. Luckily, I found an offset bracket that let me mount the battery a bit higher up.

    Wolf Tooth Components B-RAD Mounting Base

    It's not quite rated for the weight of the battery, but seems sturdy enough.

    Wiring Madness
    The kit came with a lot of bits, and not much in the way of diagrams to wire them together. Here's what I did.

    Has three cables coming out of it.
    • to battery
    • to rear wheel speed sensor
    • to wiring harness
    Wiring harness
    I got the 1T4 cable. The 8-pin male connector goes to the motor. The other end with the 4 connectors go to:
    • display (green connector)
    • throttle
    • brakes (two of them)
    The display connects to the wiring harness. It has another cable attached to the control buttons. Here are additional instructions for it - Electrify Bike Co - 860C Color Display.pdf - Google Drive

    Cadence sensor
    This was a Y-splitter as well. The attached wire at one end goes to the cadence sensor magnet on the rear wheel. The connectors go to:
    • the motor wire
    • long splitter cable powering the front and rear lights
    Gear sensor
    I haven't installed this yet, but it looks like you put a splitter on one of the brake cables, to the brakes, and the gear sensor.

    All the connectors have interlocking rubber gaskets that seem water resistant.

    Brake levers
    These looked the same as my old ones, but with a sensor built in to turn off the motor when braking. Connected the sensor to the wiring harness. The brake cable attaches the same way. Tested, and the motor turns off when either brake is pressed.

    Riding it
    Powering it on
    After installing everything, it did exactly nothing. No sign of life. Cranking the pedals did nothing. Thought I had a bum unit.

    No. You have to turn on the display for it to do anything, using the power button on the display controls. In hindsight, *Duh*.

    At assist level 0, the motor doesn't activate. But bump it to level 1 or higher, crank the pedals, and the motor hummed to life. Woot!

    Test ride
    Upgrading a bike in the dead of winter with days of almost-freezing rain was probably not the smartest move. But who cares. Had to try it anyway.

    At level 1 assist, it almost imperceptibly helped out. Basically, it offsets the added weight everything adds, and feels about like riding the bike before I installed anything.

    At the max level 20 assist, feel like the Six Million Dollar Man |YouTube with bionic legs. Even on a straight, flat road, could reach speeds I'd only gotten on long downhills before. Pretty incredible.

    The motor does add noise, though it's far louder on the repair stand than out actually riding it. More like a low hum than anything annoying. That's one of the reasons I stayed with the plastic gear, reading online that the sturdier metal replacement is louder.

    The default settings in the open-source firmware are metric measurements, and very conservative on battery power. I went into the settings on the display to tune these.

    Features and configurations on display · OpenSourceEBike/TSDZ2_wiki Wiki · GitHub

    Wheel circumference: 86.5" or 2197.1mm (in 10mm increments so 2200mm)
    Units: Imperial
    Max current: 16 amp
    Motor max current: 16 amp

    The TSDZ2 seems to have a maximum 18amp power draw. The battery can provide 40amp max, 30amps recommended. The firmware was set to 10 amps. Bumped it to 16, and might take it to 18 later on.

    The motor and battery take away the kickstand and water bottle holder, so I had to order new ones that attached to alternate locations.

    BV Alloy Adjustable Height Rear Side Bicycle Kick Stand
    TwoFish Quick Cage Adapter

    Riding until battery depleted
    I had three beautiful rides, then the battery gave out on the fourth (at the bottom of a massive hill, of course). The display had shown the battery levels going down over the rides, but seemed to hang at 65% on the third and fourth rides. Was still there when it gave out. Guessing the display doesn't have the right settings for the battery somewhere.

    I measured the battery at ~43V. Settings cutoff is 42V to protect the battery from over-discharging. Think I had initially charged the battery to 80-90%. That got me 27-28 miles, right inline with the estimated 35 miles. When I recharged, the charger was set to 90%, which translates to 52V. Gonna try going to 100% charge right before the next ride (which should take the battery to 58V).

    Thanks for reading. This is also documented on my Github site.

    I find it easier to set the display to read battery voltage rather than percentage. Voltage is always relatively accurate.


      Snap!! Also got an old - about 1998 vintage Cannondale which I've converted.
      The only problem I'm having is getting the cranks to stay tight. Weird, I've changed a few bottom brackets in my time and never had a problem with cranks not staying tight
      Otherwise all good


      • Retrorockit
        Retrorockit commented
        Editing a comment
        Tong Sheng changed the shaft on those. I think to add wider bearings. They made the tapers a little shorter than usual on some of them. The cranks may be bottoming out before the taper seats properly.

      On this page ( scroll down for it) is a photo of a heatsink mod I made for the TSDZ2. The instructions are there also.
      The TSDZ2 was designed to be a 350W world market motor. At 52V. 750W it's cooling is not up to the task. Basically it doesn't have any.
      This can be made with a sabre saw, and a Dremel tool in a few minutes if your suppliers cuts the tubing to length for you.

      Since you're running rim brakes I would talk to some bicycle racers and get the very best high speed brake pads you can find that match your rim material.

      The biggest difference between the BBSxx motors and the TSDZ2 is they were designed to be 1000-1500W motors from the start.
      Realistically when cruising around at 20mph to get decent range there shouldn't be much difference.
      But long climbs, hard launches at stop lights, and running for your life in traffic at 30mph+ there is a big difference.
      Last edited by Retrorockit; 09-07-2021, 10:02 AM.


        drappleyea - Awesome overview of your installation. What kind of handlebar do you have on your Cannondale?
        Retrorockit - Do you know of any forum threads where people discuss keeping the crank tight on a TSDZ2? This has been a problem for me with both ebikes I've built.


          Endless Sphere has an almost 400 page TSDZ2 forum. Everything is in there some where.
          Hi, I was made aware of a new offering over at BMSBattery today: "SDZ2 Torque Sensor Central Motor". Seems like a an attractive alternative to the Bafang BBS, $50 cheaper, with torque sensor, better installation guide etc...

          They changes the bearing configuration, and the length of the shaft to make it a little narrower.. They made the length of the taper shorter. The crank bottoms out on the shaft before it's tight on the taper. if you push the crank onto the taper by hand with no bolt it shouldn't wiggle on the taper without the bolt. if it's only touching at the back it will still flop around and the bolt will work loose.
          if that's the problem I would try drilling the back of the crank taper at the OD of the shaft, or a little bigger so the crank can sit all the way down on the taper. Not very deep just enough to make it work.
          Standing on the cranks or doing jumps or bunny hops, with the cranks level MTB style is not a good idea with a TSDZ2. The soft shaft can break at the snap ring groove next to the bearing.


            I can confirm that my problems with the loose crank deteriorate at a much faster pace when I take my bike out for gravel rides.

            I will take a closer look at the crank to see if it bottoms out before it sits tight on the tapered shaft.