A Hacker’s Guide To Programming The BBS02 & BBSHD - E Smart Way

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A Hacker’s Guide To Programming The BBS02 & BBSHD

Posted by Tom Lee on

BBS01 Controller1-500x500

One way that the BBS02 middrive unit shines over other competition like the Bosch is the ability to program the controller yourself. Although the process of programming the controller will void any warranty that you got with the unit, to many people the risk of voiding their warranty is outweighed by the possibility of getting more performance or having the PAS settings more to their liking. There are 3 settings that most reputable resellers of the BBS02 will set for you.

  • Low Voltage Shutoff (in Volts)
  • Limited Current (in Amps)
  • Speed Limit


Update: The BBSHD is programmed the exact same way as the BBS02 with the exception of the Limited Current (Amps) which should be set to 30 not 25.

Many US vendors will be resistant to remove the 20mph speed limit as that may make them liable for any accident you are in with their motor. The BBS02 at 750Watts is really only powerful enough for about 25mph or so on level ground, although with a 52T chainring on a downhill stretch I have reached 40mph. At higher speeds your batteries get used up very fast.

It can be somewhat confusing as many of the settings on the drive controller have a setting of ‘By Display’s Command‘ which means the controller on the drive until will defer that setting to whatever the display is set to. There are 3 different displays which all have different settings on them and ways to set different variables like wheel diameter, speed limit and PAS levels. For instruction manuals for all three display types look here. The C965 and C963 are generally set to 5 PAS levels, although the C961 is easily set to 9. You can also adjust the C965 PAS levels up to 9. The last page after the Password has been entered is the PAS page, it can be adjusted up to setting “0-9”.

Your controller will have silicone all over the connectors and will be far less pretty than this one.

Your controller will have silicone all over the connectors and will be far less pretty than this one (notice I didn’t say ugly, I hated being called ugly when I was a kid).

Before you start programming your controller, here are some important quotes from Paul at em3ev.

  • “The PAS functions like a switch, it either assists at a certain speed and current percentage or it doesn’t. It is on or off. The motor does not know how hard or how soft you are pedaling, it is not assisting you, it is not reacting to your behavior. It only knows that you are pedaling or you are not. The only change in the so-called assistance, is because the motor has been moved to a different point on the motors power curve and that is not a programmable parameter, it is just a case of pedaling that bit closer to the no load speed of the motor/controller combination, where the motor will deliver less torque and therefore less power. That is why the PAS settings are best left pretty much like they come from the factory, with gradually increasing speed and corresponding increases in current values too, as you go from steps 1 through to 9”
  • “Users can change the LVC, change the current level (reduce it preferably)”
  • “Users can also change the speed limit to be controlled by the display (but that does leave the kit more liable to blow).”
  • “Setting the throttle to 100% and without speed limit is what everyone wants, but is also a good way to blow the controller.”
  • “Once anything is increased, or the response is made faster, the controller is more liable to blow. Setting every PAS level to 100% is a terrible idea.”
Comes in a wide variety of colors, I recommend black for stealth. You don't want to draw attention to the drive unit.

A smaller chainring is critical for singletrack riding controller conservation. I prefer the 34T Raceface narrow\wide ring.

The biggest problem with the BBS02 is when it is turning under too much load at too low of a speed. The best way to keep the motor spinning fast is to get a smaller chain-ring and to make sure you are in the right gear for any hills you want to climb. The surest way to blow your controller is to use full throttle in too high of a gear on a hill where the pedals are turning too slowly. If you use a large chain-ring on your commuter (mine is a 52T because I like to go fast) make sure you shift down into a lower gear before coming to a stop even on level ground so you are not repeatedly trying to start moving in too low of a gear. Your pedaling cadence should always feel normal to fast, especially on hills.

Another strong recommendation for not frying your controller is to install a temperature probe. Instructions on how to do this are here and it takes about 7 minutes to do and costs $2 shipped.


A $2 temp probe can save your $80 controller and a lot of headaches.

In order to program your BBS02 you will need a windows PC with a USB port, a programming cable (from Empowered Cycles) and the software. More info on those three items can be found in this article.

Clicking READ FLASH or WRITE FLASH buttons changes or reads values from all 3 tabs at the same time. You should always click READ FLASH, then FILE->SAVE as a .el to make a back up copy before making any changes to your current settings.

There are 3 pages of programming variables. You can click READ for each page but it will only load the current settings on the controller on that page before you change them. Sometimes the serial connection is unreliable and a variable will have a totally wrong setting or garbage in it. I suggest clicking the READ button twice before you start changing the settings to make sure it read the controller settings correctly. I’ve never had garbage persist through 2 READ clicks, it always seems to get it right on the 2nd try. When you edit the variables you want you will then need to click the WRITE button for each page you change or WRITE FLASH for all pages. I would click the READ button again on each page after waiting a few seconds to make sure that the settings you changed were actually written to the controller firmware when you clicked WRITE.

Looks Ghetto and is oh-so-short but it works every time.

Programming cable that plugs into the display port of the BBS02 from Matt at EMPowered Cycles

Variables are color coded based on how safe they are to modify

  • Green variables are safe to change
  • Orange variables can be changed but there is some risk
  • Red variables should never be changed unless you know something that I don’t

The color of the variables are what defaults from various drive units as well as the .el configuration file for each vendor. You must save the file to your drive then rename it from .doc to .el then FILE->LOAD it directly into the Bafang program. All variables will be automatically set on all three pages and you need only to WRITE FLASH to write it to the controller.

  • Black is for em3ev settings. .el File is here
  • Blue is for Lectric Cycles e-RAD settings.
  • Brown variables and text is EMPowered Cycles settings & quotes. .el File is here
  • Purple variables and text is Kepler from Endless-sphere’s settings & quotes. .el File is here
  • Aqua variables and text is Karl’s special sauce, which are pretty much the only settings I ever use. The .el file for the BBS02 is located here and the BBSHD is located here.

These .el files are designed for the BBS02 but work just as well for the BBSHD. If you use them with a BBSHD make sure to change the Limited Current(A) on the first page to 30 amps. You do not need to lower the amps on the BBSHD, it can do 30 amps all day long without breaking a sweat.


Special Sauce Basic Settings

Special Sauce Basic Settings for the BBS02, the BBSHD would want 30 Amps

Listed below are the settings and what little we’ve learned about them. This article will be updates as we experiment more.

Low Battery Protect(Volts): 41/41/41/41 to 43/41 – This number will change based on the pack size and configuration. Most likely your battery will have a BMS that will shut off power when it gets too low. This setting is mostly useful when you are running a battery setup without a BMS which is not advised. Kepler notes,

“I use 43V on my 14S 4P 18650 pack setup”

If you are running a 48v nominal pack you’ll want to set this a lot lower (like 38v) to keep the drive from shutting off when the pack still has a little juice in it.

Limited Current(Amps): 25/25/18/18 to 20/25 This sets the power level that the drive unit will pull from the battery pack. Be aware that just because it is set lower, does not mean that it will not draw more amps for brief periods. If you don’t want to stress the BMS you may want to set this number lower than you think it should be by 2-3 amps then slowly increase it over time if your $15 watt meter shows that it is not pulling too much power on a regular basis. This variable will be set lower than 25 if you have a BBS01 or a BBS02 with a lower power level rating than 750W. If this is set lower than 25 from the factory you CANNOT RAISE it safely unless you are sure it is a 750 Watt unit & controller and your battery can handle the draw (it should say on the bottom of the unit). Matt from Empowered Cycles has this to say:

 “I recommend 18 amps in most cases.  You still get amazing performance, prolonged controller life, more charge cycles from your pack, more range on your rides. If you have an internally geared hub, I recommend 15 amps and changing the “start current” on pedal assist and throttle all the way down to the lowest setting of 1. Even at 18 amps the 750 watt motor keeps up with an 8T geared MAC hub motor that is pulling 1500 watts. You do not need 25 amps for this motor to perform.”

Kepler has this to say

“ I agree that 18 amps is a good all-round setting.  I then rely on the Limit Current Assist level to fine tune the max power best suited to bike.”

If you have a BBSHD make sure that this is set to 30 and no lower.

Asst0 Limit Current(%): 1/0/0/100/1 – This is the setting for the PAS at level 0. The throttle might not work in PAS 0 unless this is set to 1 on more recent controllers. You must set limit speed to 1 as well as well as setting the Designated Assist to 9 on the throttle page.

Asst0 Limit Spd(%): 1/0/0/1/1 – At power level 0 causes the controller to lower current gently to maintain motor rpm when 44% of speed limit is hit. Speed limiting is done based on motor RPMs not road speed. The throttle might not work in PAS 0 unless this is set to at least 1, it is really nice to have a hand throttle setting without any PAS intervention.

Asst1 Limit Current(%): 52/20/52/10/52 – Power cut based on road speed at power level 1.

Asst1 Limit Spd(%): 44/44/36/100/44 – Power cut based on motor RPM speed at power level 1.

Asst2 Limit Current(%): 58/20/58/20/58 – Power cut based on road speed at power level 2 if set to 9 power levels.

Asst2 Limit Spd(%): 51/51/44/100/51 – Power cut based on motor RPM speed at power level 2 if set to 9 power levels.

Asst3 Limit Current(%): 64/30/64/30/64 – Power cut based on road speed at power level 3 if set to 9 power levels.

Asst3 Limit Spd(%): 58/58/52/100/58 -Power cut based on motor RPM speed at power level 3 if set to 9 power levels.

Asst4 Limit Current(%): 70/40/70/40/70 – Power cut based on road speed at power level 4 if set to 9 power levels.

Asst4 Limit Spd(%): 65/65/60/100/65 -Power cut based on motor RPM speed at power level 4 if set to 9 power levels.

Asst5 Limit Current(%): 76/50/76/50/76 – Power cut based on road speed at power level 5 if set to 9 power levels.

Asst5 Limit Spd(%): 72/72/68/100/72 -Power cut based on motor RPM speed at power level 5 if set to 9 power levels.

Asst6 Limit Current(%): 82/60/82/60/82 – Power cut based on road speed at power level 6 if set to 9 power levels.

Asst6 Limit Spd(%): 79/79/76/100/79– Power cut based on motor RPM speed at power level 6 if set to 9 power levels.

Asst7 Limit Current(%): 88/70/88/70/88 – Power cut based on road speed at power level 7 if set to 9 power levels.

Asst7 Limit Spd(%): 86/86/84/100/86 – Power cut based on motor RPM speed at power level 7 if set to 9 power levels.

Asst8 Limit Current(%): 94/80/94/85/94 – Power cut based on road speed at power level 8 if set to 9 power levels.

Asst8 Limit Spd(%): 93/93/92/100/93– Power cut based on motor RPM speed at power level 8 if set to 9 power levels.

Asst9 Limit Current(%): 100/100/100/100/100– Power cut based on road speed at power level 9 if set to 9 power levels.

Asst9 Limit Spd(%): 100/100/100/100/100– Power cut based on motor RPM speed at power level 9 if set to 9 power levels.

A quick note on power levels. If your display is set to only use 3 power levels then the controller uses settings for Asst1, Asst5 and Asst9 and ignores all the rest. If it is set to 5 levels than it ignores every other power level setting (but uses Asst1\3\5\7\9). On the C963 display I have still not figured out how to set the display to 9 power levels, so you may be stuck with only 5 PAS power levels with that unit.

Wheel Diamter(Inch): 26/26/26/26/18 – Set this to whatever your wheel diameter is. I always set this number so that if the display is set to show kph that it really shows mph instead. For a 26″ fatbike tire that is about 18″.

Speed Meter Model: ExternalWheelMeter / ExternalWheelMeter  ExternalWheelMeter / ExternalWheelMeter / ExternalWheelMeter – As far as I know this is the only speed sensor that is set up for the BBS02

SpdMeter Signal: 1/1/1/1/1



passpecial sauce

Special Sauce PAS settings, the Bafang factory settings are unusable & dangerous


This page is for the Pedal Assist Settings. Change conservatively, make small incremental changes and test rather than large ones.

Pedal Type: DoubleSignal-24 \ DoubleSignal-24 \ DoubleSignal-24 DoubleSignal-24 \ DoubleSignal-24 – Unknown

Disignated Assist: By Display’s Command \ By Display’s Command \ By Display’s Command By Display’s Command \ By Display’s Command – This setting if set will override the Limit Speed setting on the Basic Tab and also overrides the speed limited on the Basic Tab.

Speed Limited: By Display’s Command \ By Display’s Command \ By Display’s Command By Display’s Command By Display’s Command  Cuts power when the road speed from the mag sensor hits the number set here. If set to By Display’s Command then it uses the Display’s set speed limit.

Start Current (%): 10\50\40\30\10 -This variable is vital for not killing the controller. The lower the Start Current is set the less power is directed to the PAS system upon startup, this will create less strain on the controller when starting from a standstill, especially if you are in a gear that is too high. 100% Start Current will peak at well over 1kW draw. With Kepler’s settings this should be set to 30% or less. This can be set all the way down to 1, very useful for IGH bikes and for people wanting a more gentle start

Slow-Start Mode(1-8): 3\4\5\6\4 -Controls how quickly the power ramps and how much it overshoots. If this variable is set too high the PAS start will be jerky, if set too low you risk blowing the controller as with Start Current above. If you are in too low of a gear to start and this variable is set too low it can blow the controller.

Startup Dgree(Signal No.): 4\4\4\4\2 – The number of sensor steps before the start up commences. The maximum accepted is 20. 24 is a full pedal revolution. Too few makes start-up occur with too slight a pedal movement. Lower number is less pedal movement to start the motor. Does not work properly with 1 or 0.

Work Mode (angular Speed of Pedal/wheel*10): Undeterminated \ Undeterminated \10\10 \ Undeterminated — Adjusts the amount of power that can be applied to each pedal rotation. The higher the number the greater the power applied to each rotation. This might affect at what rpm peak power sits in PAS operation, changing it doesn’t seem to be noticeable so we advise to leave it alone.

Time of Stop(x10ms): 25\25\25\25\10 This affects how quickly the drive stops after you stop pedaling. Some people report that setting this lower (as low as 5) may affect the startup delay on the throttle. If you set it to 0 the PAS system ceases to work. 25 is probably too high. This setting disables the PAS if it is set less than 5. I strongly recommend setting this to 5, especially if you want to use the PAS system without using ebrakes. If you set this less than 10 on the v2 of the BBS02 controllers then your PAS will not work properly at all. On the older BBS02v1 controllers and the BBSHD controllers you can set this as low as 5 before you start having issues with the PAS.

Current Decay(1-8): 4\8\6\8\8 – Determines how high up the pedal cadence rpm range it starts to reduce power, 8 being the highest. There is no detail on actual rpm speeds for the Current Decay setting. The lower this setting is the sooner the drive unit will start cutting back on the power as you pedal faster.

Stop Decay(x10ms): 0\0\0\20\0 – The amount of time the system takes to cut after pedaling stops. Lower is faster. Kepler says, 

“I prefer a smooth stop transition.  It is still quite quick to shut the drive down when you stop pedaling”

Current Decay settings mapped vs Power. Image from Ken Taylor on ES

Current Decay settings mapped vs Power. Image from Ken Taylor on Endless Sphere

Keep Current(%): 60\60\60\60\80– What this setting does when set at 60% is ramp the current down to 60% of the PAS level selected based on pedal cadence rpm, so at low pedal cadence you get 100% of the level selected but as your pedal cadence increases the power is reduced down to 60%. As you pedal faster the motor does less work down to whatever this number is set to (60% of max current or 15 amps on 25 Amp system).


Special Sauce Throttle Settings. Kid tested, mother approved.

Special Sauce Throttle Settings. Kid tested, mother approved.

Start Voltage(x100mv): 11\11\11\11\11 – The is the throttle input starting voltage, the point at which the controller responds to input is at 1.1 volts, so set value to 11 which = 1.1 volts. As you begin to roll on the throttle the voltage moves up from zero and when it reaches 1.1v the motor begins to turn. Best to leave between 10 and 15. Too low and the display will throw an error as the motor will want to run continuously. If you change the throttle you will need to find the new lowest setting.

End Voltage(x100mV): 35\35\42\35\35 – You can set the max range to 42 which is the max input the controller accepts from throttle input 4.2v. If you set lower than this value your throttle response is not as linear or smooth as it could be. Matt suggests you set start voltage to 11 and end voltage to 4.2 for a wider range of throttle response and smoother control of motor output. If you use an aftermarket throttle you will need to test to see what voltage the hall sensor throttle is giving off at full throttle and set this number slightly lower than that voltage shown on the meter (times 10).

Mode: Current\Speed\Speed\Current\Speed – Switching this to Current Mode (instead of Speed mode) has an improvement in the throttle response smoothness. If you change this then set the Start Current % on this page to 10 or less. Personally I prefer the intensity of the speed setting, although setting this to Current will be much easier on your controller. Some users of the newer BBS02’s say that the CURRENT setting can cause jerkyness with the throttle, in which case you should set it to SPEED mode.

Designated Assist: 9\9\9\9\9 – If you disable the PAS system (step 5 here) then this will give you the same number of levels of throttle power as PAS settings. If you don’t disable the PAS system then you should probably set this to 9. If your bike is in a rental fleet and don’t want to deal with fried controllers then you should set it to something much lower like 6. This setting if set will override the Limit Speed setting on the Basic Tab and also overrides the speed limited on the Basic Tab. If you set this to 9 be aware that you can and will fry your controller if you are in too high of a gear on too steep of a hill and you peg the throttle.

Speed Limited: By Display’s Command\40KmH\40KmH\40KmH\40KmH – Cuts power when the road speed from the mag sensor hits the number set here. If set to By Display’s Command then it uses the Display’s set speed limit. However this setting can sometimes cause severe Throttle lag in PAS0 so if you set it to 40km/hr the 2-3 second throttle lag should disappear.

The speed limit only applies to the PAS and in ignored by throttle input, so in other words, if you want to go past the speed limit, just use the throttle. This is a setting that allows the rider to set a pace or cadence when using pedal assist for a comfortable steady pace. Almost like cruise control, when you begin to go past the speed, the motor cuts out to maintain a lower speed.  It is a useful way to extend range. The max speed limit of the display is 45 mph.

Start Current(%) : 10\10\10\10 to 20\10 – Percentage current of available when throttle initially applied. Unwise to raise beyond 20, but fine to lower, however motor will give less power when the throttle is engaged. If you set the throttle Mode to Current (which I think you should) you will want to lower this number substantially or it will be very jerky on startup. 5-10 gives a much smoother startup. This can be set all the way down to 1, great for IGH bikes and smoothing out power delivery.

So what do you recommend?

For smooth throttle control and less delay the Current Mode on the Throttle Handle Tab is the way to go, but you should keep the Start Current % low (below 10 is safe) otherwise the throttle is far too jerky and wheelie prone. If you want max power and torque then set the Throttle Handle to Speed Mode.

I have 8 BBS02 controllers from various manufacturers and I’ve only had one controller failure from the first one I bought from elifebike. The two I have bought from Lectric Cycles and all the ones I have bought from Paul and Doug at California-Ebikes (which both use em3ev’s settings) have given my absolutely no problems. The Lectric Cycles settings has a jumpy throttle and a little throttle delay which could be corrected by switching the Throttle Mode to Current. I have hundreds of hours beating the living piss out of my drive units with em3ev’s and Lectric Cycles settings with no complaints and no controller failures. At this point I’ve set all my drive units to the “Karl’s Special Sauce” settings which is the only way to fly if you want max throttle power without blowing your controller and PAS that actually is usable.

There are plenty of people who say Kelper’s settings are very reliable, but I have not tried them yet so I cannot say. I would not advise using Kepler’s settings at a full 25 Amps, as you are asking for trouble. 100% Limit Speed at every PAS level at is going to put a serious load on the cheap-ass controller mosfets.

In some ways it’s great that we can get into the software and change so many of the settings for the BBS02. Along with this flexibility comes taking responsibility for the controllers and drive units we end up destroying by tweaking the settings. This guide is a way to share information that others have discovered the hard way, but by no means is definitive. All the information here could be wildly inaccurate as no one that I know of has gotten any real technical guidance from Bafang on how to program these units at all.


It broke, I fixed it with mosfets that didn’t totally suck. You can too if you visit here and are good at following instructions and soldering.

Program at your own risk. Don’t program your controller, fry it, then try to get it replaced under warranty pleading innocence. If you fry your own controller then have the common decency to spend the time and energy to fix it yourself or just suck it up and buy another one. Paul has had so many problems with people ripping him off by custom programming and frying their controllers and then trying to get free warranty replacements that he no longer warranties the individual controllers. Can you really blame him?

This article is the culmination of many hours of work and was contributed to by Paul(cellman) from em3ev, Matt from Empowered Cycles, kepler and drprox from Endless-Sphere and this insanely long 37+ page thread on ES. Many thanks to everyone who contributed. I could have done it without you but the results would have been really laughable.

Ride On.

UPDATE: A hacker from Norway named Penoff used the source code and completely rewrote the Bafang programming software. All the settings are the same but the software that Penoff has written fixes a lot of the annoying bugs (like the com ports not showing up properly) and works the way the original Bafang software SHOULD have worked. I’ve tested it pretty extensively and emailed back and forth with Penoff who seems to be a stand up guy. If you want to download his application you can do it through his website here. You won’t be disappointed.




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