DIY Electric Skateboard guide. How to build your own electric skateboard?

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    How does the electric skateboard work?

    If you want to build something, you must first understand how it works.
    The electronic skateboard is just a normal skateboard with some additional components added. You will have a motor, including a belt motor or a hub motor (the difference will be described in more detail later), a battery that powers the motor, an electronic speed controller, and a remote control for the throttle / brake.
    You can control the speed with the remote control. The remote control (usually a Bluetooth device) tells the electronic speed controller (ESC) to start the motor and how fast you want to go, and then the motor turns the wheel. You manipulate it as if you were on a regular Board: tilt left or right.


    Building your own board allows you to really customize the board as needed and determine which components are more important to you. For example, a larger motor will drain the battery faster, but it will also provide more torque, which is very helpful for climbing. Torque also affects speed, so if you want to make the board faster, you need to consider this. On the contrary, if you want to use a circuit board for commuting, you can get the fastest speed to extend battery life than using a circuit board, and smaller motors may be more suitable for you. You can also install a large motor and a large battery, which will only cost more. If that’s what you want, go ahead. You may be able to save money on other parts.
    If you want to buy a complete board from the manufacturer, there are no options. You are tied to the motor and battery they want, which means you may have to pay for a bigger motor than you need, or you have to pay much more than you want to make sure there is enough battery life on the motherboard.

    What is the best motor for electric skateboard?

    As mentioned earlier, there are two types of motors for distribution boards: hub motors and belt motors. There was a time when belt drive was the only option. Hub drive is a relatively new technology.
    The belt drive is basically a pulley system. There is a small gear on the motor and a big gear on the wheel, which is connected by a belt. The motor turns the pinion, which in turn pulls the belt, which turns the wheel. You can see how it works in the image below.
    The hub drive or direct drive connects the motor directly to the wheel. Generally, this means that the motor is embedded in the wheel itself, although some manufacturers only use metal gears in direct contact with each other to connect the motor to the wheel.
    There are many factors to consider when choosing the drive to purchase.
    If the battery is dead, it will be difficult for the belt driver to use foot power to move the circuit board. If the battery is dead, the hub driver can use it like a normal skateboard.
    The belt drive also has more moving parts, which means there is a greater possibility of fracture. However, in the event of a failure, the hub drive is much more difficult to maintain.
    The belt drive has more torque, so it has better acceleration and better climbing ability on the hillside. At the same time, the braking efficiency of belt drive is low.
    Hub drives have more restrictions on the selection of pulleys than belt drives, because most hub drives are embedded in wheels and you can only buy wheels made by motor manufacturers.

    Hub drives are also more prone to overheating, which in turn makes them less durable than belt drives. In other words, hub drives are lighter, quieter and more efficient.
    Belt drives are difficult to assemble and install. You need to mount the motor to the motor mount, mount the mount to the truck, and secure the belt to the gear. Then you need to connect another larger gear to the wheel. This will require you to drill into the wheel so that a set of bolts can be used to secure the gear to the wheel as firmly as possible. After installing the gear on the wheel, slide it onto the truck and connect the belt to the larger gear. Now, you still have to make sure that the gears on the motor and the gears on the wheels are correctly aligned so that the belt does not fall off the gears.
    Hub drives are much simpler. Since the motor is embedded in the wheel, you just need to put the wheel on the truck. Many hub drives even come with their own trucks, so there is no risk of truck and wheel mismatch.
    If you want a quiet motor to maintain battery life and easy to install, hub drive is the best choice.
    If you don’t want to mount the extra drives in hilly areas, then feel afraid if you need to install extra things in hilly areas.


    What kind of electric skateboard battery should you use?

    Once you decide which motor to buy, you need to look at the battery to power it. No matter how good the motor is, you won’t get a lot of performance if you buy a poor quality electric skateboard battery pack. Poor quality batteries can suffer severe voltage dips, which can slow you down or even stop you completely if you go up the hill.
    Every battery experiences a voltage dip, but for low quality batteries, the problem is particularly serious, especially when the charge is low. Better batteries will last longer before they need to be replaced, so even if they have higher upfront costs, they can save you money in the long run.
    When you buy batteries, you should pay attention to the following:
    Voltage. The industry standard is 36V. Higher voltages are not always better. Your motor can only handle a certain amount.
    Amperes. This is a measure of the current that the battery can discharge continuously. 30A is the typical minimum current.
    Ampere hours. This is the amount of power that the battery holds. It’s measured by how much power the battery consumes when it runs out of power in an hour. You will see this metric highlighted for each battery in the ad. This is the most reliable measurement of battery life.
    There are also different types of batteries. Lithium polymer batteries or lithium polymer batteries are cheaper and have lower voltage dips than most batteries. However, they are more likely to catch fire, and they must be drained to a certain power level for storage, which is troublesome and dangerous. Buying lithium polymer batteries may not be worth saving. This is another reason to build yourself. Many manufacturers use lithium polymer batteries to save money. High end motherboards don’t usually do this, but if you want to save money by buying cheap prefabricated panels, you are likely to end up with a LiPo battery.

    Lithium ion batteries are more common. They are more prone to voltage dips than LiPo batteries, but they are safer. They also have a longer service life, so even though they may be more expensive at first, you can replace them much less often.

    There are other batteries, but these are the two most common. You are extremely unlikely to encounter other types of batteries, or you are willing to pay for them. It is generally recommended that you purchase lithium-ion batteries.

    What deck should you choose?

    If you plan to convert your skateboard to an electronic one, you don’t need to buy a deck. If you want to build a board from scratch, you need to consider the wheelbase, panel flexibility, and panel shape.
    The wheelbase is the space for all the parts on the bottom side of the circuit board: the motor, the electric regulator, the battery and any other parts you want to connect. This includes all the cabling you need and takes up more space than most people think.
    A bent card holder can be a problem with the battery. You don’t want to install solid parts at deck bends, but bending is also essential for smooth driving. It’s a balancing act; you want to be flexible enough to keep the ride comfortable, but you don’t want to damage the battery or the motor. You can mitigate potential bending problems by installing batteries and motors closer to the wheels, as the middle of the deck is the most curved area.
    Remember that the more flexible the platform, the less responsive the board will be at high speed. Your electronic skateboard will move much faster than the normal skateboard. You may not want too much bending on the deck.
    The shape of the deck affects how you install the parts and how the board rides. Concave decks are useful for improving foot stability, but they make installation of motors and batteries more difficult due to bending. Decks with large cambers (upward bending between trucks) will face the same problems as flexible decks, because decks with cambers are flexible in nature.
    A deck with a warped shape is one that bends downward between trucks. This is not feasible for electronic boards because it drags your expensive electronic parts.


    Wheels and trucks

    If you are buying hub motors, you may not buy separate wheels and trucks as they will become part of the motor.
    When using a belt drive, you need to make sure you buy wheels that are compatible with the motor. This means checking the gears on the wheels as well as the size / height of the wheels and trucks to make sure there is enough clearance for the motors.

    What is electric skateboard ESC (electronic speed control)?

    This part is the factor that controls the speed of the circuit board. It’s actually a receiver that is connected to an electric motor and adjusts its power output based on the signal received from your remote control. This is the brain of whiteboard.
    Be careful when buying electric tunes; most of the ESC on the market are designed for remote controlled cars and other toys, not for skateboards carrying people. Cheap ESC’s that you can buy in any amateur store are dangerous for you and your board of directors: they can’t withstand the high current and heat generated by motors. Make sure you buy a high quality ESC for skateboarding. Look at shops like this that specialize in DIY electric skateboards.
    Ben Vedder’s VESC is a popular choice for many DIY skateboard builders. This is an ESC designed specifically for DIY build, and the goal of Vedder is to make the best ESC as open source as possible so that anyone can create updates for it. This does mean some programming. It is not a plug and play option for most controllers that you can purchase. Vedder claims that programming is simple, so new users should not be intimidated. Whether this is a good choice for you depends on why you build your own boards. If you do this because you like the natural DIY style of this project, then using VESC may bring you extra fun. If you do this just to save yourself money, you may not like the hassle of having to program the controller.

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