Category Archives: Electric Skateboards

My Carvon EVO Electric Skateboard Prototype Hit 31mph!


The new V3 Dual Direct Drive pulls the motor out of the hub and slides it next to the wheel

As Spring approaches, so does my infatuation with electric skateboarding. This year, one of the most anticipated complete boards birthed from the DIY ESK8 scene – the Carvon EVO and REVO 4WD is ready to launch on Kickstarter.


A test ride with the new Carvon EVO featuring the V3 Direct Drive motor system

As one of the earliest vendors in the game, Jerry Palacio, Carvon’s founder – has been in the hub motor business for quite some time and it shows. From his unparalleled customer service to his patience with even the most demanding users, Jerry’s passion for ESK8 is reflected in his constant hub motor innovations, birthed from his workshop in California.


The street configuration has 97mm rotatable wheels, an estimated top speed of 30 mph (48 km/h), hill climbing capability of 15 percent, and up to 14 miles (22.5 km) of range

The Carvon V2 and V2.5 hub motor kits have been a prominent mainstay in my local electric skateboard group for the simple fact that they can take a major and I mean MAJOR beating.

From single digit weather and truly harsh road conditions (gaping potholes, salt, gravel) in and around Michigan, our Carvon motors have never failed. As our experience grew, we began building our own VESCs (Vedder Electronic Speed Controllers) and battery packs but the one constant for drive train systems are Carvon hubs. They just never fail.


The arched “drop down” shape of the deck is meant to position the rider close to the ground for better feel and performance


With the V3 Dual Direct Drive – the motors are no longer sitting inside of the wheel.

With the Carvon EVO featuring the new V3 Dual Direct Drive – the motors are no longer sitting inside of the wheel. This direct drive layout eliminates the need to bore into the wheel which allows thicker urethane for smoother rides and also reduces stress on the motors. Best of all – and this is such a sleeper feature – the wheels can be replaced! From authentic ABEC11 Street Wheels to MBS All Terrain Wheels to Pneumatic Wheels, the range of options for a drive train system that isn’t a belt drive is incredible.


The Carvon EVO is truly a work of art

Carvon’s Kickstarter campaign is very close to its $49,000 goal, which means that cheaper pledge/reward options like the $999 EVO and $1,499 REVO 4WD have all been reserved. The $499 V3 motors are still available, as are the $1,099 EVO and $1,599 REVO 4WD. With our help, V3 shipments will start in May, EVO shipments in July and REVO 4WD shipments in October. Retail prices are estimated at $599 for the V3 motor kit, $1,499 for the EVO and $1,999 for the REVO 4WD.


Carvon EVO and REVO 4WD Kickstarter

I Made A Futuristic DIY LED Commuter Backpack

Here’s a fun little project for anyone who would like to be a little more visible at night when commuting on a bike, skateboard or personal electrical vehicle. With the help of my friend Landon, we put together a super affordable, DIY LED Backpack kit that can be applied to just about any backpack that you may already own. Please note, you’ll need some basic tools and electrical skills to put something like this together.

I chose to use my classic Lowepro 650 camera backpack. It is extremely comfortable to wear with plenty of storage room for camera gear, a laptop and other miscellaneous items. It’s also my favorite pack to wear when cycling or skating because it feels very balanced across my back.

For the LED lights, we went with these super bright COB LED lights that measure about 7″ x 1″. They are extremely lightweight, waterproof and have a clean design that doesn’t scream cheap LED’s. They are also aggressively bright at full power but can be tamed using a dimmer which I’ll get to in a moment. To attach the lights to the bag, I used standard adhesive velcro strips along with fabric glue to reinforce the bond.


2x Super Bright White COB Car LED Lights 12V

We used four 18650 Li-Ion cells to power the lights which might seem like overkill, but provide some serious long lasting work life. Additionally, I’m using the Nitecore i2 smart charger which is an affordable but high quality charger that’s compatible with a wide array of Li-Ion bateries.


LG HE4 2500MAH High Drain 35A IMR 18650 Battery


Nitecore New i2 Intellicharge Universal Smart Battery Charger for 18650 Li-Ion

The batteries are connected in series using a generic 18650 cell case to output about 16.8v. That may seem like too many volts to push to the 12v lights which is why I opted to use a dimmer control with a 12v regulator.


Battery Holder Storage Box Case For 4x 18650

The best part of this build is the ability to control the lights wirelessly using a small RF controller. Since it’s an RF signal, it’s able to pass through the bag easily and has a long controlling distance. Other features include custom brightness levels, dynamic modes and speed adjustment for dynamic modes.


12V Mini Wireless RF Remote Controller Dimmer Control

I just ordered another set of lights but this time with red LED’s which I’ll wire to the back of the bag as a rear stoplight. It’s really easy to get creative by combining a wide variety of backpacks and COB LED colors while also remaining safe and visible when riding at night. If you have any questions or suggestions for this build, hit me in the comments below.

“Session Error” World Premiere & Live Stream Q&A Panel

“Session Error: The Rise & Risk of Electric Skateboarding” details the emerging popularity of high performance, electric skateboarding and the misconceptions about eboarding risk and safety. On Thursday, September 15th at 7:00pm EST, we launched the World Premiere and Live Stream Q&A panel with the filmmakers at Duo Security’s tech event space in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Session Error: The Rise & Risk of Electric Skateboarding Trailer

On Thursday September 15th, I’ll be live streaming my latest short documentary “Session Error: The Rise & Risk of Electric Skateboarding” followed by a Q&A. For those in the Michigan area who would like to attend the screening you can RSVP for FREE here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/session-error-the-rise-risk-of-electric-skateboarding-tickets-27339475106

Synopsis
On June 2, 2016, software engineer Robbie Small suffered a traumatic brain injury while riding an electric skateboard. This is his story.

“Session Error: The Rise & Risk of Electric Skateboarding” is a short documentary film that details the emerging popularity of high performance, electric skateboarding and the misconceptions about e-boarding risk and safety.

Total Running Time: 25 min.
Produced by Rik Cordero & Robbie Small
Directed, Shot & Edited by Rik Cordero
Produced by Arbor Day Pictures & A2ESK8
Doors open at 6:00pm
Screening begins at 7:00pm sharp followed by Q&A with the filmmakers
Food and refreshments will be served

Our Electric Skateboards Got Mobbed at Maker Faire Detroit

This past weekend, our local electric skateboarding crew A2ESK8 participated at Maker Faire Detroit, a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker Movement.

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Makers ranged from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers. About 25,000 people attended the event to check out ordinary individuals rolling up their sleeves to create inventive solutions for everyday needs.

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Sometime last year I began to search for other DIY ESK8 builders so I created a Facebook group to draw others in which birthed A2ESK8 – Michigan’s largest social hub dedicated to the building of DIY electric skateboards. Our booth was graciously sponsored by our friends at Carvon Skates and Polar Pro whose products are seamlessly integrated into our local ESK8 culture of building and filming.

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Attendees were able to get hands on with some of our boards as they were able to throttle and brake using our realtime display bench rig to test RPM, temperature and current.

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For those were interested in the tech, we had live demos of VESC (Vedder Electronic Speed Control) and LiFePO4 battery assembly. We also provided insight on the open source community and the emergence of ESK8 as a major player in the personal electric vehicle movement.

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We took turns riding the boards around The Henry Ford which provided a glimpse at what ESK8 feels like. Many of our riders describe ESK8 as an alternative to snowboarding and longboarding where you get a similar feeling of “flying” on the ground.

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All around us roads are changing, structures go up and having a “spotter” who you are communicating with through Bluetooth intercoms creates a sense of gamified exploration. Every turn we make can be something new and its all about living in that moment with zero distractions. Essentially it’s meditative and can relieve any stress that’s built up throughout the day.

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Who knows what the future holds for A2ESK8 but one thing will always remain clear – our mission is to combine safety, reliability, art and design to inspire others to be part of a growing DIY community that will innovate the electric skateboard industry.

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product information button runplayback Carvon EMC2 Dual Hub Motor Electric Mini Cruiser

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product information button runplayback Polar Pro GoPro Frame 2.0 Professional Filter 6 Pack

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product information button runplayback Polar Pro DJI Phantom 4 / Phantom 3 Filter 6-Pack

Why I Built a Carbon Fiber Electric Skateboard Mini Cruiser


Shot exclusively with the LanParte LA3D Action Gimbal, DJI Phantom 3 and Polar Pro Filters

My original DIY Electric Mini Cruiser Skateboard still holds up quite nicely even after 6 months of hard riding and natural wear and tear. But as with all things DIY, parts can always be upgraded. One key feature that I wanted to improve upon was weight, so once again, I researched the right combination of components to make an already awesome commute even better. I’ve nicknamed this build – the A2ESK8 Mini Cruiser.

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My original 29″ mini cruiser was the perfect size thanks to the unique design of the now discontinued Jet Spud deck. But I wanted to do something different, which is why I chose the Hi5ber Ion 30 mini cruiser deck. Hi5ber has built a great reputation for manufacturing the best carbon fiber longboard decks available. They are lighter and stronger than typical wooden longboards which create a more controlled, responsive experience for the rider.

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The Ion 30’s design is the definition of stealth with it’s ultra thin rails that gradually curve thicker towards the wheelbase. The added benefit is an enhanced wheel clearance that looks so damn futuristic. Other than the low weight, the characteristics of the Ion 30 include high rigidity, high tensile strength, corrosion resistance and fatigue resistance. And unlike wood, carbon fiber doesn’t warp when exposed to water.

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product information button runplayback Hi5ber Carbon Fiber Ion 30

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Before electricfying the Ion 30, I tested it out with Gullwing Sidewinder II trucks alongside 72mm ABEC11 Freerides and it was a blast. That combination of an ultra lightweight carbon fiber deck and double kingpins was so much fun I was a little hesitant to throw electronics on there. But my curiousity got the best of me so I got to work.

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The next step in weight reduction was the battery. My original build contained the 10s3p Enertion Space Cell, a wonderful battery pack, but 30 cells demand a lot of real estate in the wheelbase for a small mini cruiser deck. With a wheelbase of 16.25″ on the Hi5ber, I knew I had to figure out another power solution.

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I ended up creating a custom 12s1p LiFePO4 battery pack with the help of my friend Landon who is an electronics wizard. LiFePO4 batteries are the safest type of lithium batteries as they will not overheat, and even if punctured they will not catch on fire. The cathode material in LiFePO4 batteries is not hazardous, and poses no negative health or environmental hazards. Due to the oxygen being bonded tightly to the molecule, there is no danger of the battery erupting into flames like there is with lithium-ion. We used 12 cells in series for a total voltage of about 36v. Paired with a BMS, voltage display, charge port and power button, the pack ended up having a more compact size – perfect for the Hi5ber deck.

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Once again I designed a custom 1/8″ ABS enclosure using my homemade vacuum former. This time I wanted the buttons to be located on the side of the enclosure as flush as possible. This created a more pleasing appearance that complimented the look of the carbon fiber. The length of the enclosure came out to 11″ and width at 5″. This meant plenty of room to spare on the Ion 30 wheelbase.

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product information button runplayback A2ESK8 Apone V1 Electric Skateboard Enclosure

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Another big upgrade I made was swapping my original Torqueboards 2.4ghz Mini Remote with an even smaller 2.4ghz Nano Remote that features a thumb throttle instead of a trigger throttle. As far as how it feels in my hand, it’s pretty awesome. Granted, I’m not a big guy but it’s the right size for stealth in the city. It’s as if they took the best features of the Yuneec EGO and Boosted Boards remote and put it into a no frills casing. I like the short throw, knob throttle which is a much better design than Boosted’s long throw thumb dial and trigger button. Shout out to Kaly over at ESK8 builders for the hookup on this remote.

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The only components I ported over from my original build are the Ollin Board VESC and the Carvon V2 Single Hub Motor. Because of months of wear and tear and a few moisture issues, Landon and I decided it was best to clean the VESC up with some gentle scrubbing and a coating of anti-corrosion spray. Even so, the VESC is still going strong with no issues or errors – a testament to Ollin Board’s high quality manufacturing practices.

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My Carvon V2 Single Hub Motor was upgraded with authentic 90mm ABEC11 Flywheels and is really the backbone of my entire mini cruiser build. I’ve put the hub motor through the ringer in every harsh road condition imaginable and it continues to perform flawlessly. Carvon continues to push the boundaries of eboard drive trains and I look forward to seeing what they do next with their V3 hub motor design and EVO series.

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Dialing in the VESC settings is critical for creating a safe and fun mini cruiser. My original build was capable of hitting 31 mph but the sweet spot for a board this small is around 15-18 mph – more than enough for carving through a dense city filled with intersections and pedestrians. Also, the 12s LiFePO4 battery delivers a stronger punch than my 10s lithium ion with a more stable discharge and minimal voltage sag. As much as I enjoy releasing the full power and speed from a DIY eboard, there’s something quite satisfying about taming a mini cruiser eboard that has the ability to hurl you but won’t because you’re keeping it on a leash. More importantly, this build never feels like it’s struggling or straining and that kind of confidence transfers into longer range and fun, safer rides.

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Skating the A2ESK8 Mini Cruiser around the city proved to be a blast. On FOC mode with the Carvon V2 hub motor, the sound is nearly silent. The ultra light Hi5ber Ion 30 board makes acceleration from standstill fantastic and it really feels like your riding on some kind of space age material because of how responsive it is. Carbon fiber handles bumps slightly differently than wooden decks but in a good way because vibrations don’t transfer as much harsh energy to your body. Oh and did I mention how light this thing is? Seriously I’ll take carbon decks over wood any day of the week.

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DIY electric skateboard builds have been getting better and better in just a few months yet there are still just a handful of 30″ and under DIY mini cruiser builds. Perhaps it’s a bit of a stigma to purposely limit your top speed on a smaller deck but I feel like it’s our responsibility to be ambassadors of this technology everytime we step on a board. I’ve already seen friends who’ve hurt themselves on eboards and in almost all cases, the problem was either an inexperienced rider or a road obstacle and not a board failure. Going over 25 mph instead of 13 mph on a non electric board meant crashes that have caused broken bones and serious concussions. Believe me, I’ve had first hand experience with this and it’s made me a very visible advocate for eboard helmet safety.

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This mini cruiser was not designed to be a land missile and it shows. It’s become the ultimate conversation starter whenever I ride in the city because I’m seriously just having fun. The weight reduction made a huge difference and carrying it on public transportation is even easier. If you’re in the Detroit area at the end of July, check out this mini cruiser build in person at the Detroit Maker Faire where will have an A2ESK8 booth and demonstrations. For more information on the products I used to create the video above, please check out the links below.

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product information button runplayback Lanparte LA3D Detachable 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal

polarpro
product information button runplayback Polar Pro GoPro Frame 2.0 Professional Filter 6 Pack

Lanparte LA3D 3-Axis Action Gimbal First Impressions

Action gimbals are all the rage these days, especially at this year’s NAB Show, yet the one that really stood out to me was the Lanparte LA3D gimbal for the GoPro. Cosmetically, it’s similar to the Came TV Action and the Ikan Fly X3-Go but if you look further, it has some really well thought out design features that make it the best action gimbal out right now.

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The most standout feature on the LA3D is the detachable mounting system. With my previous Came TV electric longboarding rig, weight distribution was often a problem as mounting the entire gimbal to the end of a painter’s pole created a very front heavy rig that would be tricky to handle especially when traveling at high speeds. With the LA3D you can mount only the gimbal on the top of a boom pole via a 1/4-20 thread and hold the battery/control stick in another hand via a wire control cable. For electric longboarding where you need have one hand on the transmitter, I’d recommend keeping the control stick in your pocket or strapping it to your boom pole with some velcro straps. It would have been nice if Lanparte had added a 1/4-20 thread on the controller side as well to keep things even more modular. Some other interesting ways to mount the LA3D are using a Polar Pro Trippler Grip Pole or a standard GoPro chest mount and head mount to keep things centered.

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The LA3D holds two 18350 Li-Ion batteries but you can attach a 2″ tube extender and use two larger 18650 Li-Ion batteries for up to 8 hours of power. The three modes are pretty standard – follow mode that pans and tilts to your wrist direction, semi-follow mode where tilt is locked but can be adjusted using the control pad and locked mode where tilt and pan adjustments are made manually on the control pad. The best integrated mode feature is probably inverted mode which enables you to turn the gimbal completely upside down. This makes booming from high angle to low angle action shots super seamless. Stay tuned for Part 2 where I’ll demonstrate some LA3D footage. If you have any questions hit me up in the comments.

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product information button runplayback Lanparte LA3D Detachable 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal

trippler
product information button runplayback Polar Pro Trippler 3-in-1 Tripod/Grip/Pole

My Homie Jeff Made A 45 MPH Electric Longboard!

Just wanted to share a new video series I’m developing titled “Duo Meet Your Maker” which profiles local hackers, tinkerers, hobbyists, and the tech-savvy makers to learn about their processes and highlight the things they create. My goal with this series to look beyond the gadgets themselves to explore the people behind them and what makes them tick. My first subject is Jeff Plott, a local mechanical engineer, who built a 45 mph electric longboard! Yikes! If you’d like to know more about how I shot those action shots check out my electric longboarding action rig here.

I Made an Action Cam Rig for Electric Longboarding

After racking up hours of DIY electric longboarding videos, I’d like to share some of the tools that I use for capturing high speed action. If you recall from my original DIY Electric Longboard build article, I was initially inspired to use an eboard as a dolly when paired with my camera gimbal. As I got into high speed riding with eboards I needed a way to capture the action and feel of a ride through inventive, hard to reach camera angles. Here’s a very compact setup that’s easy to handle while in the midst of all the action.

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ACTION CAM
The Xiaomi Yi has been my main action camera for quite some time. At around $80 you get a wi-fi action cam that records 2k videos with natural colors, definition and solid low light ability. The quality is comparable to the GoPro Hero3+ and the best feature is the 1/4-20 female thread on the bottom which allows better compatibility for clamps and rigs instead of GoPro’s proprietary mounting system. The Wi-Fi app is super easy to use for live preview and remote recording. You could pick up three Xiaomi Yi’s for the price of one GoPro Hero3+ which is a value that’s really hard to beat.

Price: $78

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Xiaomi Yi Action Camera with Wi-Fi

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ACTION CAMERA GIMBAL
The Came-TV 3-Axis Action Gimbal is a 32-bit gimbal that features brushless motors with Encoders. Encoders are often used in Robotics for highly accurate monitoring of motor position. This helps prevent motors from losing synchronization and skipping steps, provides important information about frame and camera angles, increases battery life, increases torque and the precision of stabilization.​ The gimbal is constructed from aluminum alloy, weighs in at a very light 300 grams, has a 1/4-20 female thread and is compatible with the Xiaomi Yi.

Price: $300

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product information button runplayback CAME-TV CAME-Action 3-Axis Gimbal

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PAINTER POLE ADAPTER
This DIY Painter Pole Adapter is designed to connect to the top of a standard paint pole and turn it into a very long monopod. It’s made of CNC machined aluminum with an anodized black finish and has a 1/4-20 male stud to fit perfectly with the Came Action Gimbal. Alternately, you can use this with a small ball head for accessories or even as a microphone boom pole.

Price: $15

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DIY Boom Painter Extension Pole Adapter

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PAINTER POLE
The Shur-Line Easy Reach 60″ Adjustable Extension Pole extends from 30″ to 60″ with almost no flex. It also features an ergonomic handle and is great for capturing hard-to-reach shots. With a painter’s pole I’m able to get the camera as close to the action as possible. One shot I like to do is having a rider cut in front of me as I raise the pole from bottom to top to create a booming effect.

Price: $18

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Shur-Line 60 in. Adjustable Extension Pole

TECHNIQUE
Mileage may vary depending on your stance on the eboard but since I ride goofy and use the eboard trigger remote on my right hand – I keep the painter pole tucked under my left shoulder while balancing the whole rig on my left hand. This position lets me use my whole body to maneuver the camera while still being able to lean and carve on the road.

For safety, I’d advise wearing full safety protection (helmet, pads, etc) and always keep your eye on the road through peripheral vision. Communication is also key so be sure to direct the rider and let them know if you see something cool. You’ll know that you’re nailing your technique when you forget that you’re filming and are focused on composition.

CONCLUSION
Electric longboards are super fun to ride and combine the feeling of longboarding and snowboarding except you can eboard anywhere with large, smooth pavement. With speeds that hover around 30mph and over, having a compact, lightweight rig is essential to capturing the rush of excitement that comes from eboarding. Also get creative – shoot some drone shots, capture B-Roll of your homies or clamp the action cam on the board itself. If you have any questions or suggestions hit me up in the comments below!

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Carvon Electric Mini Cruiser (Pre-Order)

I Built Another DIY Electric Longboard With More Power

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My original DIY Electric Skateboard is quite possibly one of my favorite things I’ve built so far and the feedback has been phenomenal. Every ride is an opportunity to discover inventive ways to capture the board on video. However, the communal experience of riding with other people is where the real fun begins. The performance gap between my DIY Single Hub Eboard and my Yuneec EGO is too wide so the only solution was to build another board. Do I really NEED more than one? Absolutely not. But the shared experience of riding with others is priceless.

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DOING THE DUAL

I had the option to either replicate my original DIY Single Hub or go for something a little different. Perhaps a single belt drive or a dual setup. I ended up choosing a dual hub motor system. There’s a bit of a perpetual debate on belt drive vs. hub motors and it always comes down to personal preference. The stealth and coasting ability of the Carvon Single Hub is incredible. But the best feature to me is that it can withstand some of the harshest conditions imaginable. Harsh conditions during a Michigan Winter include rock salt, potholes, uneven pavement, snow, black ice, etc. Once I decided on using Carvon Dual Hubs for my next build, choosing the rest of my parts was fairly simple.

CHOOSING THE PARTS

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JET TOMAHAWK “PEACE OUT” DECK
I knew this build would not be a mini cruiser like my last one, but I loved the quality of my Jet deck so I wanted to find something similar but with a longer wheelbase. I ended up going for the Jet Tomahawk because of it’s freeride design and variable wheelbase from 23.75″ to 28.25″. The Tomahawk shares similar wheel wells like my Jet Spud but has more of an aerodynamic, missle-like shape. When it comes to choosing a deck, Muirskate is a great resource for all things longboards. Shout out to Scott!

Price: $79.95

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Jet Tomahawk “Peace Out” Deck

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CARVON V2 DUAL HUB MOTOR + MATCHING TRUCKS + WHEELS SET
As I mentioned, the durability of the Carvon Hub is what did it for me. Jerry at Carvon knew how much fun I was having on a single hub but said a dual would be even more of a blast. Since I pretty much committed to a big boy board, I ended up going with massive 97mm wheels which is recommended for 10s-12s Li-Po packs. Like last time, the Carvons arrived on time with a clean, professional build all around – heavy duty 2250W brushless outrunner motors, 10″ black trucks with matching black anodized motor sleeves and ceramic bearings. There’s been some questions about why the motor isn’t completely hidden inside of the urethane and I would assume it’s to create the actual feel of riding on a wheel as opposed to riding on a motor. I haven’t tried the thin urethane hubs on an Inboard or Stary but I’d be hesitant about riding those anywhere but pristine, paved roads in California. Where I’m from, the roads are tough and I have no hesitation blasting through them with Carvons.

Price: $599

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Carvon V2 Dual Hub Motors + Matching Trucks + Wheels Set

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ENERTION 10S SPACE CELL BATTERY
The Enertion 10S Space Cell has been so reliable and convenient that getting another one was no question. I haven’t had the chance to perform any range tests yet but it’s more than enough juice for a full day of riding on single hub and it will be interesting to compare the duration with a dual hub. The new version of the Space Cell also features an improved power switch and Jason’s customer service is top notch.

Price: $343.38

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Enertion 10S Space Cell Battery

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OLLIN BOARD COMPANY VESC – OPEN SOURCE ESC SPEED CONTROLLER
I doubled down on the Ollin Board Company’s VESC, still the best electronic speed controller created specifically for electric skateboards by Benjamin Vedder. Like I said, I’ve been riding hard in single digit Michigan weather in some of the most adverse conditions ever and have had no problems with the VESC at all. Honestly I don’t even think about it, which is a testament to the quality (heavy duty wiring, clean soldering, military grade, gold plated PCB’s, firmware testing) and is also coated for moisture and corrosion protection. The price on the Ollin Board VESC has gone up a bit but with the warranty and repair guarantee, it’s well worth it. Also be sure to pick up a CANBUS Connector to power the VESC’s together.

Price: $165

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VESC – Open Source ESC Speed Controller

Price: $5

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CANBUS Connector for VESC

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FLITE TEST XT60 POWER Y-HARNESS
This 14AWG Y-Harness comes with presoldered XT60 connectors and is used to connect the dual VESC’s to the Space Cell.

Price: $7

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Flite Test XT60 Power Y-Harness

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TORQUEBOARDS 2.4GHZ MINI REMOTE CONTROLLER
Once again, I went with TorqueBoards 2.4Ghz Mini Remote from DIY Electric Skateboard. I’ve dropped it a few times and it’s still going strong. And it really does seem to last forever on only 2 double A batteries.

Price: $50

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TorqueBoards 2.4Ghz Mini Remote Controller

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MISCELLANEOUS
Some odds and ends that I needed to complete my build.

$4.95 – Khiro 1/4″ Shock Pad Large Skateboard Risers

$4.95 – DBS Dank Bolts 1.25″

$6.19 – CCNS Neoprene Sheet 1/4” 12″x12″ Self-Adhesive

2 x $1.18 – 2 x #8-32 x 1 in. Phillips Flat-Head Machine Screws (5-Pack)

2 x $1.18 – 2 x #8-32 Stainless Steel Machine Screw Nut (4 per Pack)

$1.18 – #8 Zinc-Plated Steel Flat Washer (30-Pack)

THE ASSEMBLY

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Like last time, I prepped the Jet Tomahawk deck by sanding away the paint job and spray painting it with glossy black. Covering those raw wooden wheel wells also looks a little better in my opinion.

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Once the VESC’s arrived I programmed it with the BLDC Tool here and tweaked some of the settings based on my previous build. A few things changed when switching over to a dual configuration. Here’s my settings that I used for each VESC.

MOTOR CONFIGURATION
Motor Max: 60.00
Motor Min: -30.00
Bat Max: 15.00
Batt Min (Regen): -12.00
Absolute Max: 130.00

CURRENT CONTROL
Startup Boost: 0.030

APP CONFIGURATION – GENERAL
Controller ID: Input “0” for VESC 1 and “1” for VESC 2
Enable Send status over CAN
Enable PPM

APP CONFIGURATION – PPM
Enable Multiple ESCs over CAN
Enable Traction Control

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Then, I binded the TorqueBoards remote to the receiver. Be sure to bind it properly to enable fail safe. If not, the board will go full throttle when you turn off the remote which is a major safety hazard. Next I added a JST cable to VESC 1 and the CANBUS Connector to connect VESC 1 and VESC 2. I also added some hotglue to all the connectors to prevent the connection from coming loose. Finally I added some velcro on the bottom of the VESC’s and the receiver. This will keep things secure inside of the enclosure.

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Next I prepped the Enertion Space Cell battery by adding velcro to the top. I found three strips placed equally across the length of the battery was enough.

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On the other side I added weatherstripping as a cushion. This side faces the skateboard deck so it’s important to have a little bit of cushioning to guard against vibrations.

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Next I prepped the RunPlayBack enclosure with corresponding velcro strips for the battery, VESC and receiver. I’m really happy with the size of this enclosure and the two piece design. Everything fits like a glove, especially the VESC’s.

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I carefully placed the Space Cell into the enclosure, making sure to align the power button, charge port and voltage display with the corresponding holes and connected the VESC’s with the Y-Harness. I also added a small flap of rubber as a cover.

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The Carvon Hub Motor and wheels were next. I picked up some 1/4″ Khiro shock pads and 1.24″ DBS Dank Bolts to mount the trucks to the deck. Finally, with everything in place I secured the enclosure using #8-32 machine screws, washers and nuts from Home Depot.

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CONCLUSION

Although my original DIY single hub eboard gave me the confidence to attempt another build, moving up to a dual build was no simple task. By doubling the major components, everything had to be bigger and beefier – from the choice of my deck to wheelsize to the enclosure. Once complete, I realized I created a beast – a literal land missle that dwarfs the nimbleness of my single hub board. I’m not quite sure I could use this as a daily cruiser but for the times when I have a lot of open road to let loose, this is the perfect build, especially as a weekend warrior.

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However, no matter how you slice it, moving up to a dual build isn’t cheap. Doubling the price of a VESC and hub motor presents a challenging value for those who are looking to get into DIY. Starting on a single hub build is more affordable and will definitely give you the confidence to move into a dual build if you crave more power.

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In my first article, I said that building a DIY electric board made me a better person and I still believe it. In only 2 months I’ve been able organize a local DIY eskate group called A2ESK8, engage in interesting conversations with the online DIY community as well as local tech and maker folks who find electric longboards fascinating. Right now the big barrier of entry is the price. But like drones and other electric vehicles, once manufacturing costs go down and battery technology improves, eboards will become more accessible. Until then, pushing the limits of emerging technologies is a blast and now that I have a second board, it will make that experience even better. So whose ready to ride? #A2ESK8

Warm Weather Means DIY Electric Skateboard Cruising

When it hits 57 degrees in February in MICHIGAN, you must take full advantage. 🙂

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Carvon V2 Single Hub Motor + Matching Trucks + Wheels Set

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Enertion 10S Space Cell Battery

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VESC – Open Source ESC Speed Controller

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RunPlayBack Sulaco V1 Enclosure

Here’s a Manual on a DIY Electric Skateboard

Took another ride with my DIY Electric Skateboard and my buddy Robbie did a manual on the Carvon V2 Single Hub Motor. I had no idea it could do that. 🙂

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Carvon V2 Single Hub Motor + Matching Trucks + Wheels Set

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Enertion 10S Space Cell Battery

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VESC – Open Source ESC Speed Controller

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RunPlayBack Sulaco V1 Enclosure

My DIY Electric Skateboard Hit 31mph!

Here’s another cruising video with my DIY Electric Skateboard. This time we hit 31mph on the Carvon V2 Single Hub Motor. Pretty sure that once we find some paved asphalt we can go even faster. Till then, stay tuned!

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Carvon V2 Single Hub Motor + Matching Trucks + Wheels Set

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Enertion 10S Space Cell Battery

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VESC – Open Source ESC Speed Controller

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RunPlayBack Sulaco V1 Enclosure

Here’s What 28mph on an Electric Skateboard Feels Like

My obsession with DIY Electric Skateboards is at an all time high at the moment and as promised, here’s a follow up video of my DIY build cruising through a college campus parking lot courtesy of my boy Patrick. After a few weeks of optimizing my VESC based on the Carvon V2 Single Hub Motor and Enertion 10S Space Cell, I came up with the best all purpose BLDC Tool setting for this configuration:

Motor Max: 60.00
Motor Min: -30.00
Bat Max: 30.00
Batt Min (Regen): -12.00
Absolute Max: 130.00

In BLDC mode, we hit a top speed of 28mph despite the rock salt, pot holes snow puddles and rough terrain on these Michigan roads. My RunPlayBack Sulaco V1 Enclosure was definitely put the test but held it’s own and protected the electronics from the elements. Check out the video above to get some more insight on how I make these things.

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I was able to film Patrick while riding the Yuneec E-GO but it was nearly impossible to keep up with him. The torque of the E-GO’s belt drive has a bit more throttle snap than a VESC + hub motor combo but it’s simply no match when it comes to the top speed and coasting ability of the Carvon. Once you taste the speed of a DIY Electric Skateboard, it’s really hard to go back. I will conduct some range tests when the weather gets better but for now, I may need to build another electric board just to film this one. Stay tuned!

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Carvon V2 Single Hub Motor + Matching Trucks + Wheels Set

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Enertion 10S Space Cell Battery

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VESC – Open Source ESC Speed Controller

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RunPlayBack Sulaco V1 Enclosure

How I Built a DIY Electric Skateboard and Became a Better Person

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Full disclosure – as a kid, I’ve always enjoyed cruising around on a skateboard, mainly because I was terrible at doing tricks and too worried about getting hurt. Naturally, I gravitated towards computers and electronic hobbies from RC cars to drones and eventually Miniquad FPV racing. Fast forward to present day – the popularity of personal electronic vehicles has grown and with it – the electric skateboarding community which combines the gratification of DIY tinkering with a broader communal experience.

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My earliest memories of electric skateboards were of metal behemoths fitted with lead batteries like something out of a science fiction movie. These days, parts have gotten smaller and slimmer which have allowed manufacturers such as Boosted and Yuneec to carve a out a very unique market of consumers who are not just skaters or tech nerds but those who are looking for alternate modes of transportation. To be fair, someone using an electric skateboard for the first time looks pretty ridiculous but those who fully embrace the technology make it look they are having more fun in life than everyone else.

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YUNEEC EGO

I was first introduced to the Yuneec E-GO by Emm from Cheesycam. Paired with a gimbal, we used it as a camera dolly for super smooth tracking shots. While the experience was fun, I didn’t have an immediate gut reaction to purchase, which is what typically happens when Emm shows off some new gear. I was intrigued, but the price point kept me at a distance. It felt a little gimmicky, like a big boy toy for guys my age who don’t like to hurt themselves.

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Yuneec E-GO

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After about a year, I started seeing electric vehicles crop up around town and I began to feel left out. I was compelled to get my own big boy toy. And since I live about 2 1/2 miles away from my office, I figured an eboard would be the perfect way to commute. So with a little money saved I bought a used Yuneec E-GO display unit from eBay and immediately customized it with a new paint job and lights.

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The E-GO is a rock solid entry level board, perfect for those who want to get their feet wet with electric skateboarding with little maintenance. Ask any hardcore DIY eboard builder and the Yuneec is not really a part of the conversation. But compared to a Boosted board, the E-GO has a very pleasant price tag for it’s components – nothing more, nothing less. It maxes out at 13mph which is slow for most but very reasonable for downtown city commuting where there’s more obstacles, unpredictable terrain and limited straightaways.

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DIY ELECTRIC SKATEBOARDING COMMUNITY

Initially I thought about upgrading the E-GO to push it’s performance but after some research, it felt a little risky to modify a board whose only fault was being reliable. Like I never felt “cheated” by the E-GO if that makes sense. Plus having a production board to study for design research is always a good thing. Next, I started lurking in the Endless Sphere and ESK8 Builders forums, a cornucopia of knowledge for all things related to electric skateboarding. One thing that stood out to me was the pleasant attitude exhibited by many of the stakeholders in the community. Compared to some of the guys in Miniquad FPV groups, this was like a breath of fresh air. This is how I took my first plunge into DIY eboards.

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FINDING THE PARTS

Every DIY eboard currently relies on components developed by many companies springing up to serve the market. These companies are developing batteries, writing code, engineering motor systems and figuring out pieces of technology at every point in between. This is a constantly evolving scene with DIY’ers providing some valuable nugget of R&D research hidden in posts across two major forums. It’s deep, but not alienating if you dedicate the time. With about a month of lurking, I felt I was caught up with the technology to make informed purchases. One thing to keep in mind is that many of these products are built by DIY’ers for DIY’ers which means its best to do your homework before hitting them with a barrage of questions. This isn’t like shopping for a sweater at Macy’s. Like all communities, it pays to play.

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Supporting these guys with a purchase or two puts your skin in the game and as a customer they will give you personal attention and support for your build. You’ll need to have patience as products are made to order. My expected delivery times were off by about a week or two but since I placed my orders before Christmas and New Year, it was understandable. Waiting is hard. Really hard. But on the flipside, having something made to order feels special. Essentially, having a good customer attitude can mean the difference between someone going through the motions, versus someone really giving that extra attention to detail and a once over for quality control. I won’t get too wrapped up in specific components as parts will evolve way past what this article can provide but I can detail what informed my purchases which are entirely shaped by my personal needs.

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CHOOSING THE PARTS

JET RADAR SERIES SPUD NIPS LIP DECK
I found this board through posts by Torqueboards and Siggs from ESK8 Builders. It’s 29″ length with a 21.25″ wheelbase seemed like the perfect size for my body dimensions and commuting distance. The nearly 40″ length of the Yuneec E-GO was comfortable but definitely a hassle for taking it on a bus or other form of public transportation. One thing that worried me was the rather large wheel wells and extreme concave but more on that later.

Price: $65.95

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Jet Radar Series Spud Nips Lip Deck

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CARVON V2 SINGLE HUB MOTOR + MATCHING TRUCKS + WHEELS SET
To stay within my parameters of a stealthy, low key look, I went with a single hub motor from Jerry at Carvon. Carvon’s website FAQ answered all of my questions in regards to the advantages of hub motors and up to date photos of customer builds. Jerry was really helpful with shipping times and let me know that mounting the Carvon on the 29″ Jet Spud deck was possible but challenging due to the short wheelbase. Not one to shy from a challenge, I placed my order a week later and when it arrived, the product looked even better in person than the pictures. This may seem like common sense but being on the fence or wishy washy can only go so far when it comes to DIY. Once you soft commit to a purchase, be honest and follow through. It goes a long way to establishing a solid customer relationship.

Price: $299.00

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Carvon V2 Single Hub Motor + Matching Trucks + Wheels Set

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ENERTION 10S SPACE CELL BATTERY
Jason at Enertion Boards has been developing and innovating within the electric skateboard scene for quite some time and it shows. From complete builds to individual components, Enertion is proof of concept that DIY and ready to run solutions can co-exist peacefully. So when it came time to choose a power solution, I knew the Enertion Space Cell was the best bang for the buck hands down. Without getting too deep into battery comparisons, the 10S Space Cell is a self contained unit with a battery management system, power button, charging port and voltage display. Jason was also kind enough to give me advice on my components, measurement specs for my enclosure and overall encouragement to see my build through. It’s almost like he’s on a personal mission to outfit every man, woman and child on earth with an electric skateboard and I look forward to where he takes Enertion by next year.

Price: $314.87

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Enertion 10S Space Cell Battery

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OLLIN BOARD COMPANY VESC – OPEN SOURCE ESC SPEED CONTROLLER
The VESC is currently the best electronic speed controller created specifically for electric skateboards by Benjamin Vedder. Jeramiah at Ollin Board Company was another helpful resource for providing recommended settings on my build and constant updates on the VESC’s features. Once it arrived, the VESC quality was top notch with heavy duty wiring and clean soldering all around. Like a master chef preparing an expensive meal, Jeramiah uses military grade, gold plated PCB’s along with a re-flow oven for soldering components and various stages of firmware testing to ensure maximum efficiency.

Price: $120.00

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VESC – Open Source ESC Speed Controller

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TORQUEBOARDS 2.4GHZ MINI REMOTE CONTROLLER
I wanted an affordable, reliable, small remote so I went with this TorqueBoards 2.4Ghz Mini Remote from DIY Electric Skateboard. It isn’t fancy and is not really in the same league as slick production board remotes but it seems to last forever on 2 double A batteries and well – it just works like hell. With it’s small compact receiver, zero dropouts and transmission errors, this remote had my attention but now has my confidence. TorqueBoards is also very active on social media so sharing your build with him there is a quick and easy way to get immediate feedback.

Price: $50.00

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TorqueBoards 2.4Ghz Mini Remote Controller

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RUNPLAYBACK SULACO V1 ENCLOSURE
To house all of these electronics I created my own DIY vacuum former oven that was inspired by Psychotiller from Endless Sphere and James Bruton from XRobots. Using feedback from Jason at Enertion and Jeramiah at Ollin Board Company, I created an enclosure code named the Sulaco V1 that is designed to house the Enertion 10S Space Cell, a single VESC and a standard 2.4ghz receiver. No more, no less. The specs are L: 20″ W: 8″ H: 2″ and features 1/8″ thick ABS plastic for lightweight performance, flexiblity high impact resistance, and added durability. Since I live right next door to a major ABS plastic supplier I can provide these at a good cost.

Price: $40

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A2ESK8 Sulaco V1 Enclosure

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MISCELLANEOUS
Here’s a few odds and ends that I needed to complete my build.

$4.95 – Khiro 1/4″ Shock Pad Large Skateboard Risers

$4.95 – DBS Dank Bolts 1.25″

$13.79 – MOB Grip Super Coarse Longboard 30 Grit 11″x40″ Griptape

$7.99 – 180 pc Rubber Grommet Assortment Set Firewall Wiring Electrical Wire Gasket Kit

$5.95 – 5 Pairs XT60 Male & Female Bullet Connectors Plugs For RC Hobby Lipo Battery

$6.49 – 127pc Heat Shrink Wire Tubing Assortment Wrap Electrical Connection Cable Sleeve

$6.19 – CCNS Neoprene Sheet 1/4” 12″x12″ Self-Adhesive

$4.70 -Small 13 X 23 X 1/16 Mechanics Shop Non Slip Black Rubber Tool Box Drawer Liner

$11.99 – Cowles Products/Black StyleGuard edge trim

2 x $1.18 – 2 x #8-32 x 1 in. Phillips Flat-Head Machine Screws (5-Pack)

2 x $1.18 – 2 x #8-32 Stainless Steel Machine Screw Nut (4 per Pack)

$1.18 – #8 Zinc-Plated Steel Flat Washer (30-Pack)

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THE ASSEMBLY

As I waited for parts I decided to prep my deck by sanding away the sweet Jet Spud Lips design and spray painting it with glossy black. I figured the artwork would be covered with my enclosure so I didn’t feel too bad.

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Next I added the MOB grip tape which is super coarse and probably too extreme for most folks. My hand actually started bleeding laying this stuff down so I threw on some work gloves. Ouch.

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Once the VESC arrived I programmed it with the BLDC Tool here and tweaked some of the settings based on the VESC FAQ found on ESK8.

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Once that was done, I binded the TorqueBoards remote to the receiver, then connected it to the VESC with a JST cable that was provided by Ollin Board Company. I added a ziptie as a cable lock to prevent the connection from coming loose and squeezed some hotglue to both the VESC and receiver for extra safety. Loose connections are a safety hazard so be sure to test the strength of every wire. If it can be pulled out with little force, it’s best to start over and do it right. Also adding some velcro on the bottom of the VESC and receiver will help keep things in place once you house it in the enclosure.

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Next I prepped the Enertion Space Cell battery by adding velcro to the top. I found three strips placed equally across the length of the battery was enough.

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On the other side I added a few strips of 1/4″ Neoprene as a cushion. This side faces the skateboard deck so it’s important to have a little bit of cushioning to guard against vibrations.

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Next I prepped the RunPlayBack enclosure with corresponding velcro strips for the battery, VESC and receiver. I can’t stress how important it is to have an enclosure that fits your electronics like a glove. Everything should be firmly enclosed and not swishing around like loose change in a jar.

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I carefully placed the Space Cell into the enclosure, making sure to align the power button, charge port and voltage display with the corresponding holes.

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Next I added the VESC and receiver by first pulling the motor wires through the holes and securing everything into the velcro. Once I was satisfied with the fit, I connected the VESC to the battery and added a small flap of rubber as a cover.

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You can get creative here and add an entire sheet of neoprene and rubber across the whole enclosure like the Yuneec E-GO battery system. Mileage will vary depending on your deck design and weather proofing needs. I highly doubt I’ll be riding mine through inclement weather so I didn’t go too crazy.

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The Carvon Hub Motor and wheels were next. I picked up some 1/4″ Khiro shock pads and 1.24″ DBS Dank Bolts to mount the trucks to the deck. Similar to the Yuneec E-GO design, the rubber shock pads are great for added flexibility and a smoother ride.

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I then mounted it all to the board, ensuring that each screw was tightened equally. I didn’t go crazy here, just wanted to get the tension secure.

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Finally, with everything in place I secured the enclosure using #8-32 machine screws, washers and nuts from Home Depot. There’s many different ways to mount an enclosure to a deck. Most folks like using tee-nuts for a cleaner finish and as a faster way to pop the enclosure on and off. I personally don’t mind the extra time using nuts and washers and with the crazy curvature of the Jet deck, I needed a little more play in the mounting holes.

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CONCLUSION

From my initial DIY product inquiries on 12/7/15 to 1/18/16, it took me approximately 41 days to complete the build. Slap on the downtime during holiday season and the process took much longer than expected. Yet the results were well worth it. There were a few times when I hit some speed bumps, particularly in the vacuum forming process where each failed pull felt like I got the wind knocked out of me. Like my brief time spent with Miniquad FPV’s, there were moments that zapped my creative energy. I wondered why was I spending all of my time on a glorified big boy toy while everyone else around me was living in the moment. It’s like, why didn’t I just buy a Boosted Board Dual Plus and call it a day?

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Fortunately, with the help of a loving supportive family and encouragement from friends, this build became more than just some kind of self serving prophecy. With DIY electric skateboards, there’s an immediate gut reaction when you see one. Like the kid inside all of us suddenly leaps through the soul in our eyes and peeks through smiling. Once I tapped back into that emotion, everything made sense. Sharing each technical step with my 6 year old daughter and seeing her wide eyed reaction brought me back to reality. I didn’t make this build for me. I made it for anyone who ever felt weird in school. Who felt more comfortable tinkering on their computers and in their garage than on the football field. The minute you understand you can build something, however you get there, you’ll want to improve it and share it with the world. Once you DIY, you’ll never be the same again. Hit me up in the comments if you’d like to discuss and stay tuned for part 2 where I actually take this thing on the streets.