Log #1 Hardware Research

A project log for Hoverboards for Assistive Devices

Want to motorize a wheeled assistive device? What better than a hacked hoverboard with brushless motors, electronics and power.

Phil MalonePhil Malone 04/16/2020 at 13:560 Comments

I decided I wanted to experiment with a Hoverboard drive system.  I knew they were brushless but that was about it.  I've been working with small robot drives and software for 15 years, as part of my involvement with FIRST Robotic teams.  

Step one was to get a little smarter about what people had already done.  I'd looked several years back, but couldn't find much.

Now I found several projects and Github repos that had code for hoverboards.

So, I decided to go and buy a hoverboard to play with.  My problem was that I couldn't find a great list off specific manufacturer's, who's boards contained a controller that was compatible with the code that was out there.   I found it hard to believe that all boards were similar enough to use the same firmware.

Anyway, I decided to locate a hoverboard supplier that seemed to be be large enough and recognizable enough to provide a consistent product line over time.  I settled on HOVER-1 since they had several models and were also available online, and in brick & mortar stores like Best-Buy and WalMart.

I ordered the HOVER-1 ULTRA which was a middle of the road product which sold for $154 online.

Note: I have just found that HOVER-1 is selling reconditioned ULTRA units on EBAY for just $99.

When I opened up the unit I was in for a surprize, because the controller board was NOTHING like what I had found in all the hoverboard Hacking projects.  Sigh....  In fact, it was two separate controller boards, located where the gyro boards were in most hoverboards.

Before I just threw my hands up in dismay, I searched further, and found a few code repos that apparently worked with this type of controller board.  So rather than try another brand, I decided that smaller independent controller boards might actually be an asset.  It meant I could have one board for each motor, which meant I could separate the motors more easily, and one controller failure would not take out both motors.

Here are some pics of the two controller boards.

Master Controller (No battery)

Slave Controller (Battery Side)