Magnificent Machines Maintanence TSDZ2 Motor projects

Experimenting with the TongSheng TSDZ2 Mid drive system Part 2

Part 1

So it’s been a little over a week getting used to the TSDZ2, and already there is a new beta version of the open source firmware to play with.

Having read through the new documentation there are two new features that stand out .Walk assist and Cruise control.

So let’s have a look at both of these features and why I think they are potentially so useful to all types of riders.

Walk Assist

This is by no means a new feature, and is quite common to see on alot of ebike control systems. Usually this feature works by simply pressing and holding the down button which applys a small amount of power to the motor.

The goal of Walk assist is as the name suggests is to gently power the heavy E-bike along when the rider is walking beside it. Especially useful up slopes but also sandy or very slippery terrain.


What the open source firmware brings new to the table are multiple levels of assist , I haven’t seen this on any off the shelves ebike control.

The goal is to help you pick the perfect walk assist level to match your walking speed.

For me this actually has additional use for our empowered riders. I’m thinking more so for riders on various types of e-trikes and specifically when trying to navigate gates and tight spaces. It can be difficult to quickly get into low gears in order to slowly work your way around obsticals, often require other support riders assistance. Being able to add a little power as these very low speeds can really help.

Second to that I can see that being able to simply press a button to add power from a standstill almost like a gental launch control.

This would benefit many disabled riders who find it difficult to get the crank position correct from the off, and need a few rotations before they can apply power

(for example stating with hand cranks on a slight hill!)

Or needing just a little push if you stall on the hill..

Cruise Control

Now I have to admit the first time I read that this was being added I was a little skeptical, I guess that was mainly due to how I thought the feature would work comparing it to how it works in my car. However in the default mode it’s not the same it’s actually more similar to Walk Assist.

To ctivate cruise control you have to press and hold the down button to apply power. But unlike the WalkAssist that only works between a standstill and 4.5mph, cruise only works above 4.5mph.

So once moving along if you press and hold down. The motor aims to keep he current speed but no more.

In operation this is very useful when trying to navigate tricky sections where you naturaly want to keep both pedals high and level. But still need to maintain a steady pace.

Personally I do this allot on my daily commute on a canal path, there are multiple water run off sections over cobbles that can be quite bumpy and slippy. I would not usually pedal through them however at slower speeds they quickly bring you to a stop especially at lower speeds when towing!

So having the ability to maintain a steady speed but still have a good posture to balance is really useful indeed.

I can also imagine it being useful to give riders a welcome short brake from pedaling , in the same way a throttle does but without the need for a separate control. Something along of our riders prefer and miss on most modern ebike systems!

Again I really must congratulate the developers and community who are working on this firmware. I have been very impressed with not only the options available but the sheer speed of development, and progress is fantastic!

Keep it up guys awesome work!

25 comments on “Experimenting with the TongSheng TSDZ2 Mid drive system Part 2

  1. Pingback: Experimenting with the TongSheng TSDZ2 Mid drive system Part 1 – Empowered People

  2. I am really happy to see that our efforts for sharing knowledge and develop technology for ebike motors, specifically for TSDZ2, are of importance for this group of users with special needs. This really drives me!! Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Neil Perry @ Empowered People

      No Thank you Casainho for all your hard work reverse engineering and developing the open-source software! We have a new trike rebuild project happing soon that we plan to use a TSDZ2 motor (running the opensource firmware) This will be an interesting build to bring a well loved and well used trike up to date.

      If you are ever in the UK your always welcome to join us on a ride, just get in touch 🙂

      For those who don’t know Casainho is the main developer behind the excellent opensource firmware for the Tongsheng TSDZ2 mid motor
      and has put in many hours to fully understand how these drives work, sharing everything he has found out with the bike community. This is invaluable to ebike diy’ers and ebike builders like ourselves who need to build things somewhat out of the ordinary!



    Good morning.
    I’ve just bought two 36v 250w kits .do you know the benefits I would see with using different firmware and upgrade cost thank you 😊.


    • Neil Perry @ Empowered People

      Hi Lee, Cost wise it depends on whether you want to stick with the screen that comes with the kit ‘VLCD5’ there is a customer firmware branch that uses this but Personally I prefer the additional data and flexibility of the new screen KT-LCD3 and the main development thead, so you will need to purchase on of those. These retail for arround £20 – £40 depending on whether you purchase in the UK or ship direct from china. last one I got was from here.

      You will need to be happy chopping the cable of the existing screen and splicing it with the new screen following the guide, Its not pulg and play i’m afraid. You will also need a programming cable and be happy to open up the new screen to program it, so expect to spend about another £20 in parts to do that and you will need good soldering skills heat shrink etc.

      So to be honest unless your happy tinkering with wiring and soldering ect its maybe best to stick with the original screen as there are less steps involved.

      Benefits wise, if you go the full hog and use the customer firmware, the main benefits are…

      1) Much more power, There is only two versions a 36v motor and 48v motor the different power is just the firmware loaded so even on that 250W kit you could get up to 750W out of it, personally I run mine at max 400W with the boost option up to 750w for a few seconds, that really helps you get up to speed
      2) More efficient control of the motor, so extends range maybe 10-20%?
      3) visibility of real-time power usage ( KT-LCD3 screen) also makes you more aware of power used and you tend to manage the range better as a result.
      4) Latest beta firmware can estimate range left
      5) Multiple level Walk Assist levels
      6) Cruise control ( I kid you not!)
      7) flexibility to set assist levels and choose the number of levels 5 to 9
      8) Option to use any battery voltage on either motor, 24V – 54V , I run a 36V motor on a 48V battery and it runs less current so runs cooler for same power
      9) Customisable low battery cut off to help protect battery life
      10) Generally Runs quieter and smoother than stock
      11) You can run the motor at a higher cadence, original firmware forces you to pedal at a lower cadence which is annoying for riders who like to pedal faster, you physically cannot push past this with the motor enabled!

      to give you an example I am getting 45-50miles range using a 12aH 48V battery on the red mountain bike and relatively flat ground, but averaging 15Mph

      A third option is to simply upload the 500W stock firmware if you just want the stock setup but more power but you still need the programming cable so you may as well goto the opensource firmware at that point 🙂


      • Hi Neil, First, want to say thank you, great job all around. My Journey of E bike has started with this page, I have got all the information I needed thanks to all the links and infos.
        I am about to order TSDZ2 but Just can’t get my head around one thing.
        1- The difference between TSDZ2 36v and TSDZ2 48v?
        A- My understanding is there is no difference except firmware restriction, that right?

        B- I am going to use casainho open source ( I must say thank you to casainho for the great job and all the updates, specially with LCD 850C) so it shouldn’t make a different, is that right?

        Cant find TSDZ2 48v 250w in uk/EU with out battery, there is plenty 36v 250w around.


      • Neil Perry @ Empowered People

        Hi Nass,

        So sorry I missed your comment.

        to answer your questions
        1- The difference between TSDZ2 36v and TSDZ2 48v?
        A- My understanding is there is no difference except firmware restriction, that right?

        no the 36V motor and 48V motors are physically different both are designed to rotate at 400rpm (at the motor not the crank) at the corresponding voltage. so if you put a 36V motor on a 48v battery the motor will rotate quicker but with less torque that the 48V motor at 48V.

        B- I am going to use casainho open source ( I must say thank you to casainho for the great job and all the updates, specially with LCD 850C) so it shouldn’t make a different, is that right?

        You can use the 850c display on either motor as the display works from 26-56v I think. so yes its fine.

        I actually use the 36V motor on a 48V battery ( 54.6v max) and have used the 850c without issues, personally I now use the sw102 as I like the small form factor of that screen.

        Personally I would stick with the 36V motor I think it give more options and plenty of power!.

        B- I am going to use casainho open source ( I must say thank you to casainho for the great job and all the updates, specially with LCD 850C) so it shouldn’t make a different, is that right?

        Cant find TSDZ2 48v 250w in uk/EU with out battery, there is plenty 36v 250w around.

        Yes personally I would use the 36 Motor if you are going to use casainho open source firmware as this will allow you to use either 36v or 48v batteries like I have.




  4. Hi there and thanks for the post. I wonder if anybody has experience of connecting a throttle to the motor. I’ve bought one labeled for this motor and connected it to the middle port at the back of the vlcd5 but it doesn’t work. Any ideas on what I could be missing? I don’t have brakes switches connected at all if in conflict.
    Thanks in advance.


    • Neil Perry @ Empowered People

      Hi Antonio,

      yes I have a throttle connected on the trike, and this works well with the original firmware like you say with it plugged into the middle port on the VLCD5 screen. that port is very easy to damage though so I would suggest you first unplug it and check carefully if the three pins are straight. I did manage to put that plug in backwards once and bent a pin, it looked connected but was not.
      also if the plug is in the wrong way it will not work.


      • Hi Neil, unless I am mistaken, the throttle version of this motor has a 8 wire controller vs the 6 wire controller for the non-throttle version. I believe the only way to add a throttle is to change the controller before installing the throttle.


      • Neil Perry @ Empowered People

        Sorry missed this comment. You can add a throttle to a 6 wire version but it does involve opening up the motor and accessing spare pins on the controller by exposing the potting compound. It’s doable but a little tricky. The pins are shown here and used by the open source firmware to provide a temperature sensor but you can use them as a throttle if wired up using stock firmware or the OSF with the temperature feature disabled.


  5. mi2tere

    Hi Neil

    This is 100% the best article on this motor online!

    Thanks for helping my knowledge grow. I’m 48, 82kg ride a Kona Caldera 19’ Frame and eventually will need a total knee replacement. Let’s just say at present I am managing this and nerve pain in the lower tailbone (Yep I am genuinely now a pain in the rump!) Anyhoots the days of cycling steep hills pain free, especially the next day, are now over. So I’m going e-bike.

    I’ve read up on after market kits and don’t think the Bafang is for me, and I’m defo more into a Torque set up. Literally all I want is an assist uphill so I’m thinking Tongsheng TSDZ2. I live in South Wales so change hill to mountains haha. I sadly intend to stay legal ie 250w but open to the open source firmware. Any help on the below would be great.

    1. My bottom bracket is 73mm is there anything else on my bike that I should be aware off. I don’t want a throttle so I guess I don’t need brake sensors? (pics
    2. Will this make the steep hills manageable? IE feel like you’re on flat or slight incline?
    3. Will this go up grass hills, probably not as steep as the trail tarmac ones I will be going on (Namely the Garth mountain 5.10mins)
    4. Can I go 48V with a 250W TSDZ2?
    5. What is a great battery to pair with this?
    6. What is it like to pedal with the motor off or out of battery?
    7. Where is the best place to purchase?
    8. Any addon’s I should consider?

    My days of slamming downhill are over and to be honest I much preferred it old skool with no suspension, foot straps, let the handlebars wobble in your hands and gun it haha. Slow on the clock but super fast in the head! Now I’d be happy to get up the mountains, enjoy the view and plod back down on some trails (Weekends) In the week just plod along cycle paths and ease out the hills. I still want to build muscle strength in the knee. However, like most managing a hiccup in the body gone are the days when that can be done fast. I really miss my squash I don’t want to have to give up the bike too! 4 months bed ridden taught me why I love the outdoors so much! Any advice, tips etc I would be extremely grateful.


    • Neil Perry @ Empowered People

      Hi Mi2tere,

      Glad to hear yo are still planning on still riding with your knee conditions, as you may have picked up from the website as a charity we work with many different people will all sorts of medical conditions and disability’s so hopefully I can share some experience here that will help you, both technically on the different motors and adaptations available but also my own experience on how different motors behave for people with different requirements.

      One thing I would start with is that if you do find that you are only able to push mainly with one leg the torque sensing ebike kits can be a bit of a pain as they tend to respond very quickly and as a result you find the motors hunt a lot as you push with the ‘Good’ leg. so you get into a sort of FAST-slow_FAST-Slow momentum for each turn of the pedals. This is where the PAS bafang setups work better as they work from the rotation not torque we have this exact issue ast the moment with a rider who has one prosthetic leg and as a result pushing mostly on the other leg.

      I think its best to go through your questions one at a time…

      1. My bottom bracket is 73mm is there anything else on my bike that I should be aware off.

      N should hopefully be fine the Tongsheng kit says its suitable for 67-73mm Bottom bracket sizes, I have to say personally I have only fitted them to 67mm BB but there was several threads left on the end cap that screws on after slotting it through the BB so I can say there should be enough room for a few extra mm there. What I would say is that there are two small spacers that separate the motor mount plate to the motor and these look to be only suitable for some 67mm BB even on my red bike I had to use some longer ones. ( TIP i used the head nuts found on many Mountain bike V bake pads as they were just the right length. you may also need some longer M5 Alan bolts. ( I am planning a part 3 to this post so i will try and add this point)

      1.5 I don’t want a throttle so I guess I don’t need brake sensors? (pics

      Yes and No, Personally I don’t use them on the Red Mountain bike, but at times I do wish I had them. especially when its ridden by someone who is not used to an ebike. Basically you can find that when stopped if you rotate the pedals slightly you can sometimes trigger it to lurch. This is now much better with the very latest opensource firmware I am using V 0.19.0 Release, and almost un-noticeable. Last week my son rode that bike over 200 miles on the Isle of man ride we did with the charity and he did not have an issue.

      2. Will this make the steep hills manageable? IE feel like you’re on flat or slight incline?

      Oh YES! big time. I live in the south Pennies so no stranger to hills!, depending on the battery combination and wattage you run you can really get up the hills with ease. You will find you will still need to put some effort in and can tune this to how good you feel but hills feel much more manageable and as a result longer rides become a true option.

      3. Will this go up grass hills, probably not as steep as the trail tarmac ones I will be going on (Namely the Garth mountain 5.10mins)

      If you bike is setup with good tyres for grip grass is no issue. I have ridden this motor and bike on mud, gravel tight single track routes. Having a mid drive motor really makes all mountain biking really possible for everyone.

      4. Can I go 48V with a 250W TSDZ2?

      Yes and I recommend it if you plan to run the opensource firmware, ou can keen everything stock and run 48V but you HAVE to upload the stock 48V firmware files so its not just plug and play. That’s really you main choice, do you want to stick to a stock setup or not. If you do want to keep it simple and keep to stock than stick to 36V battery, then it is just plug and play

      However you you do like to tinker then switching to 48V is the thing that really makes the big difference on this motor, by running 48V you are running at a lower amps for the same power which generates less heat in the motor, so it runs more efficiently and gets a better range. It also is less likely to overheat on long steep hills when running more than 250W. also if you are a rider that has a high pedal cadence ( more than 60rpm) then you will find the standard tongsheng kit with factory firmware is limiting as you physically cannot push past the 60rpm mark ( or there about). I really noticed this when i first got the motor, cruise speeds were fine but come to a steep hill, drop down the gears and try to pedal a little faster and it wont let you. For some people they prefer to pedal slowly and hard and never notice, but I tend to ride at a high cadence up to 100 rpm and it makes huge difference for me.

      This was the main reason I looked into the opensource firmware route for the tongsheng as it has a ‘High Cadence mode’ for both 36v and 48v battery options.

      Also its worth nothing that all tongsheng motors are capable of running at 24-52v its the firmware that restricts it. The 250W stock firmware simply reduced the amps to keep the power lowwer (However ts a bit of a cheek as even in 250w mode its often more like 350W when you measure it).

      Personally I run mine at up to 450W max for the hills offroad but on the flatter ground its usually pulling 50-150w most of the time

      (note the Opensource firmware has a street mode to help you switch quickly on the bike between 250W 15.5mph limits and unlimited for offroad.)

      5. What is a great battery to pair with this?

      If you are sticking to stock firmware and screen then the easy option is a 36V battery for sure. (just plug and play) as I said before you can run the 48V stock firmware on these motors as well if you want to get a 48v battery but you need to make a programming cable and download some specific software, its not easy for the average Joe. If however you are happy to do some learning and like tinkering then the opensource route is the way to go. It really turns this motor into a gem and directly comparable to much more high end offerings from Bosch and Shimano.

      Personally I run this 48V Battery
      Its low cost for the power you get and PSWPower deliver from Germany so its arrives quickly. Also I have to say they have been good to purchase from and send you a reliable tracking link for UPS or DHL. I have no affiliation with them but they are the supplier allot of the riders on the opensource firmware forums also use.

      But they also offer 36V batteries

      6. What is it like to pedal with the motor off or out of battery?

      If the unit is switched off its actually not that bad, what you have to remember is that the motor and battery adds quite a lot of weight to the average bike so without the extra power any hill is harder without any power. but downhill is actually easier due to the added momentum. Tip 2 The best thing you ca do is make sure the bike is set for the surface your riding, so if you plan to do more road/gravel track go for some road/cross tyres ( eg Schwalbe Marathon plus is a good choice) this will dramatically reduce the rolling resistance and makes the bike feel much easier to ride with less power/ no power. however if you want to ride the slippy muddy stuff, use some good knobbly tyres (kenda/Maxxis etc) as you will want the grip or you will get wheel spin!

      7. Where is the best place to purchase?

      Personally I would always check there first price wise that are usually very good and like I say they have a German warehouse so you can get them quicker for a little more. ( also no issues with custom import tax if you buy via the German warehouse as that’s already been paid for ( hence the slightly higher price)

      8. Any addon’s I should consider?

      I’m not sure f you have read up on the OpenSource Firmware yet of not, but if not have a look here..

      Switching to this honestly makes the biggest difference. There is a lot of ongoing development at the moment with this motor, and some very good things on the horizon! I hope to cover some of the options in future articles

      As a charity Empowered People is all about helping people get back into cycling, whether they are disabled, or recovering from ill health, or indeed, just getting on in life!. We are actually in the latter stages of building our ‘All ability Cycling Centre’ that includes an Ebike workshop where we hope to run workshop days for sharing experience like this and indeed helping people work on there bikes/ebikes by providing all the tools that should be needed. We are not a Bike shop, and don’t offer paid for services i’m afraid, but instead want to build a community ‘Maker space’ specifically for cyclists of all abilities to visit and learn more for themselves. Maybe a trip over might be worth it in the future once its all up and running?

      We also intend to run Ebike taster days so people can try out some adapted bikes and ebikes we have in the centre
      (watch this space for more details when we are fully up and running)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey mi2tere, I am in South Wales also and have been looking at getting an ebike for similar reasons – the numerous hills, many of which can be very steep.

      I looked at Bosch e-bikes but I can’t afford them. Nor do I like many of the hybrid bikes that they are attached to so this Tongsheng, or the Bafang, appeals. I am still not really sure what the difference is between this Tongsheng and the Bafang but I need the best for the hills. So looking along similar lines as yourself, trying to work out which is the one to go with.

      Sorry to hear about your knee. I have COPD and long hills on my journey home. Just got to the point where I need some help.

      Oh, and not sure about this 250w versus 500w thing. 250w is the legal limit in the UK but every ebike review I have read says that 250w is not good enough to get you up hills. I have read that the big names like Bosch, Yamaha, etc, label their engines as 250w nominal but that they actually output closer to 500w when needed. I don’t think the 250w Bafang or Tongsheng do this hence why people are buying the 500w version apparently. But then that is a grey area legally.

      I really would like something that I can pedal on the flat but then have some motor assistance when cycling into wind and when going up hills. I think with the Bafang it allows you to use a throttle to go up hill without pedalling whereas this Tongsheng uses the throttle but you still have to pedal. It would be awful to buy one and then discover that it is not giving you the help to get up hills.



      • Colin Campbell

        Hi bob, did you go for the tsdz2?
        I got one a few weeks ago and luvin’ it?
        I have only climbed about 300 feet on it. It was still quite hard work. 60yr old ex smoker.


      • Hi Colin, sorry for the delay in replying but I just saw a notification in my spam folder. Doh!

        No, I did not get round to buying one. I had some health issues so decided to put things on hold for a few months. Darn, in that time I missed out on some good price reductions in a Giant Roam and a Giant Escape – two bikes I was considering as possible ebike conversions with the Tong. Anyhow, I will get on with things soon I hope.

        Glad to hear that you are enjoying it. It will do tremendous good for your health getting out on it and you should slowly begin to improve healthwise. You might not need a motor 12 months from now – ha, ha, ha!



      • Neil Perry @ Empowered People

        Hi Bob, Sorry missed your comment from before. I can confirm the Tongsheng throttle does override the pedal torque sensor. so when you use the throttle you can stop pedalling, but for steep hills you may find you need both, even a little human power helps keep the motor happy. Always make sure you are in a low gear for the hills as the motor power is most efficient at a higher cadence, if you let it bog down it really does get warm and uses up way more battery.

        Also with the opensource firmware you can really get a lot more out of the torque sensor and to be honest you very rarely need a throttle at all just set a mode where pedal power is so sensitive it requires almost no human input to give you plenty of pull.


  6. Hi,
    I am recovering from one op (colitis)and hoping to get fitter/thinner for another. I am getting a hase kettweisel trike next weekend and intend to use for daily 6 mile round trip commute, and recreational rides.

    I would like to fit a tsdz2, but so far have have only seen a picture of a bafang fitted to one

    Any thoughts on the viability of thhis conversion? Any pictures, links you may be aware of



    • Neil Perry @ Empowered People

      Hi Graham, Sorry totally missed this comment apologies for the late reply. I have not yes seen a Bafang or TongSheng motor fitter to a kettweisel. I know as my wife rides one, and I have considered it myself. however there is no room under the main boom to fit, I think it may just be possible if fitted upside down as ther ‘bottom bracket’ mount on the kettweisel is of centre and close to the top. but that would result in a odd cable route. worth a try mind. If we do try it I will post some details.


  7. Hi Neil,
    I eventually got a tsdz2 for the Hase Ketweissel Recumbent Trike and retained the legal limits for simplicity. Best discovery – using a pipe bender to route the steering rod above the crank. Lots of travails – details and pictures at Going ok now and happy with the result – it lets me commute to work in comfort without showering being needed. It lets me keep up with younger, thinner, fitter colleagues on a 2 mile ride. Thanks again for your superb site.


  8. Pingback: Experimenting with the TongSheng TSDZ2 Mid drive system Part 3 – Empowered People

  9. Thanks Neil for the info.


  10. Pandu Surya

    Its nice to read the comments here 🙂

    Hello, i planned to buy tsdz2. But i see many option on online store, eg AliExpress. I planned to use 48v, but the choice of power rating is so vary (250w 350w 500w 750w) that the prices are variating too. Do 48v350w and 48v750w option have same motor? Since it is cheaper to buy lower power rating option, i will be happy to choose it.

    Thanks, sorry for my bad English 🙂


    • Neil Perry @ Empowered People

      Hi Pandu,

      Yes there are only two types of TSDZ2 motors 36V motor and 48v motor all power differnces are done in firmware by limiting the max current.

      Also if using opensource firmware you can run 36V motor on 48v battery , this is my preferred option as this gives a higher cadence which suites my personal riding style.

      if sticking to original firmware 48V motor with 48V battery will give more torque than 36V motor.




  11. Pingback: DIY eBike Adventures: Part 2 (Techie Specs to Build Your Own) - PLANT - Tayport Community Garden

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