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Over-powered, Over-priced Electric Longboard

It's another Electric Longboard Project, except harder, more expensive, way too powerful, but just how I want it.

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Everybody want's to make their own. Boosted is too expensive, some DIY solutions look pretty shabby, and kits are over-rated, right? This is my adventure of learning just how hard it is to "do it yourself", from scratch. Nothing special here folks.

So, just like the description says, this is my adventure to make my overpriced, overpowered electric longboard. None of this was the plan, but it did happen that way. I hope if you're building your own electric longboard, you can use this project to learn what I did, why I did it, and what not to do. 

MAIN GOALS:

What's a project without some goals right? 

  1. DESIGN: I wanted something that looked a lot better that the tupperware bin or duct taped wires approach. With the little time and money I have, I know that I'll never get to Boosted Board status, but I can try right? I want to actually like looking at this thing. If I get the questions "where did you buy that?" not ""did you make it?", I think I have succeeded. 
  2. POWER: I want to get at least 20 mph. I'm a light guy, so hopefully that shouldn't be too hard. If I do it right, I should reach about 30. We'll see. Battery run time took a seat second to design, so the battery pack is a bit smaller than most. However, if things go to plan, I'll have two battery packs for those extra long runs. 
  3. FUNCTION: Hobby stuff is fun, but if  I'm dropping this much into this project; it better work. I want to get from my house, to the train station, to work, and back again. I don't want to take my board apart every time I want to charge it. I don't want to fix it every day. (however, maybe every other day)
  4. DOCUMENTATION: This isn't an instructables, but a lot of the other electric longboard projects out there have 4 pictures and a description. I'm going to try and bash you over the head with information. It won't be a roadmap, but I'll make the mistakes for you. 

PROJECT BREAKDOWN:

This project breaks down into three main parts, all of which happen at the same time. Click on the section to learn more. 

  • MECHANICAL SYSTEM 
    • This is how the motor attaches to the trucks, how the pulleys mount to the wheel, and everything in between. 
    • Discussing: Motors, Gear Ratios, Belt Drives, 3d Printing, Machining, Rapid Prototyping, CAD
  • ELECTRONICS
    • Basically everything that makes this board go. I'll cover what I used, how I put it together, and probably it's pitfalls. 
    • Discussing: Battery Welding, ESCs, BMS, Motors, BLDC Tool, Remote
  • CASE
    • It started as my favorite categories, but it's proven to be much more difficult with Boosted Board's industrial design teasing me, and running out of space every direction I go. 
    • Discussing: Metal Bending, 3d Printing, CAD, Rapid Prototyping, Aesthetics

View all 12 components

  • Electronics Update.

    forrest.thelucas09/20/2017 at 04:30 0 comments

    Pre-cursor: I don't know electronics very well. It blew my mind a couple years ago when I kind of learned how microcontrollers work. I'm learning all of this as I do it. It's one of the reasons I wanted to do this project. I'm still in the "connect a light bulb to the plus and the minus, and you get light!". Bare with me. 

    I wanted no compromises when it came to power. I thought I added a bit more from what people have built, but that's not the case. It's actually almost all compromises. I've divided it into a couple sections so I can understand it: Motors, ESCs, Batteries, BMS, Remote, and All Those Things I Forgot.

    MOTORS:

    After tons and tons of research, trying to match randomly sourced motors to what Boosted uses, I settled on safe choice. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, like torque, speed, and voltage... and how that pushes/ pulls gear ratio, motor size, amperage pulled, and many other things. I decided that I don't have to do everything from scratch, so I looked at what others were using, and compared that to my own needs. This is what I decided upon. 

    x2 Torqueboards 6355/190KV 

    PROS

    • I think 190kv is a mid-ground in torque, with e-board motors ranging from 140kv - 260kv. General rule of thumb says that the lower the number, the more torque you have, but the slower you go. 
    • My 12s battery meets the maximum possible voltage.
    • It's just skinny enough to fit two of these suckers on one truck.
    • Long enough shaft to fit a 16mm wide belt
    • SENSORED!! (more starting-from-stop torque)

    CONS

    • The 8mm shaft diameter is harder to find low teeth count gears for. Might have to drill some out.
    • It's pretty large in diameter. I'm having to move quite a bit around to fit them.
    • Expensive

    ELECTRONIC SPEED CONTROLLERS:

    The natural choice when surfing every e-board website, forum, or blog was any derivative of Benjamin Vedder's ESC. This guy built the thing just for us fools who want to kill ourselves on a motorized piece of wood. Plus they had em on sale when I bought the motors

    x2 Torqueboards VESC

    PROS

    • Start from stop capability 
    • Sensored motor compatability
    • High amperage limit
    • Regenerative braking
    • Customization of every setting imaginable 
    • UART Communication when my programming skills improve

    CONS

    • Expensive 
    • Not perfect, 100% reliable, or plug and play,
    • Customization of every setting imaginable 
    • Terrible GUI at best

    BATTERIES

    I wanted to learn everything from this project.. so why not learn how to weld batteries? Only if it was that easy. This was quite a struggle, balancing the capacity, max amperage draw,and manufacturer... and how that effected the places I could buy them, the amount I needed, who to trust, and how to charge them. I can only wish that I got this right. 

    x2 12s2p 18650 Battery Packs

    Yeah, let me explain. 12s2p isn't nearly enough for TWO 190kv motors, but I was dumb and didn't calculate it all out. Basically, its 24 18650 cells in 2 parallel; meaning every two cells acts as one in voltage, but double it's capacity. Multiply that cell by 12, and you get the combined nominal voltage of 43.2 volts. Or, that's how I calculated it anyway. 

    I bought 50 LG Chem HD2 18650 cells, with the intention of making two 24 cell packs. I know,  that means 2 BMS. My wallet knows that now.  These cells have a nominal voltage of  3.6v with a 2000mAh capacity. What make these so expensive is their 25A continuous discharge. I hope that's enough.  These are supposedly A-bin batteries, and only 6 months old, but we'll see. 

    BATTERY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM 

    So, until I started this project,  I only knew that you had to use a special charger to charge lipo batteries. I've learned a lot about different batteries and chemistry,  form factors, different voltages per state, and balancing. I still don't understand most of it, but this is what I've got.

    x2 BesTech D166 12s BMS

    I'm not really sure how I found these guys, but I was impressed with their catalog...

    Read more »

  • All About the Case.

    forrest.thelucas09/20/2017 at 03:44 0 comments

    Here's a little more detail on the case. I've been designing the whole thing in Autodesk Inventor, and exporting parts to the appropriate program/ method for fabrication. Man, I'm so happy to grow up in an age where I have access to a 3d printer, laser cutter, mill, and 3d modeling software. 

    The case consists of four major parts. 

    Front and Rear Vents, Shell, Battery Sled, and ESC Sled.

    FRONT/ REAR VENTS

    The front and rear vents are where most of the interface with the board actually happen. Button in the front, plugs in the back. It also hold the board together: I've melted threadserts into the top and sides to mount to the board and shell.  These are also responsible for half of the board's aesthetics. It's not perfect, but it's a start. 





    SHELL

    The shell is the protector from the ground, flying 25+ mph past it. Originally, I was going to 3d print the whole thing, but needed a material that was abrasive resistant, and could take a couple smacks. 3d prints like to catch, rip, and crack, if say, rough asphalt kissed the surface. I've designed it in Inventor Sheet Metal, and am planning to bend those 3/4" radii by hand... somehow. Right now it's mocked up with cardboard of a similar thickness. 

    BATTERY SLED

    The battery sled has keep all those 18650s from floating around. Hot-Gluing heat-shrunk batteries to the curved desk didn't seem right to me, so I built this over-engineered battery sled. It allows for the batteries to be removed from the sled, leaves room for tabs when I weld them together, and mounts the BMS to the top to make the whole unit hot-swap-able. It too mounts to both the shell and the deck, to hopefully keep it all together. Or, fail harder.

    ESC SLED

    Same idea as the battery sled, but for the ESCs. This is actually pretty unnecessary, but I really like the idea of a board just as beautiful inside as out. It keeps things tidy, and also adds to the mounting system. 

  • Off the shelf once again.

    forrest.thelucas09/20/2017 at 03:17 0 comments

    It's been almost a year since I started this project. After doing quite a bit of research, buying everything, making initial designs, and hooking it all together for the first time, I finally got back to it-- finally. This will be my first post here, but certainly not the first pile of work that's been done on it.

    Here's where I'm at. 

    CASE DESIGN:

    This has been a task that I've been sitting on for a while. I finally think I settled on a method of encasement. After multiple prototypes, I think a bent aluminum case with 3d printed sleds and caps will result in the slimmest, most custom mounting solution possible. With the tools at hand, I think this will result in a case with aesthetics that are acceptable with enough room for future upgrade-ability and retrofitting once I realize I've forgotten something. 

    ELECTRONICS:

    I've had motors, ESCs, batteries, BMS modules, and the remote for a while now, but haven't thought about connecting them together until now. I've found motor connectors, sensor plugs, on/off switch, and wire; I have yet to weld the battery together (or find a way to weld the batteries for that matter), finish building Vedder's no spark switch, or purchase a charger for the skateboard. 

    MOTOR MOUNT: 

    I think I've finally settled on a first-draft for the motor mount. Well, metal first-draft that is. I'm on version 9 right now, but this one's ready to get cut. This is when it's nice to work for a start-up: open access to the tormach. I had to put the trucks on 1/2" risers to get the motor low enough, which isn't ideal, but it will have to do for now. Hopefully there won't be any sag in the mount, because it's pretty tight to the board. 

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