This isn’t just my first DIY electronic skateboard - this is probably the first major DIY project I’ve undertaken and I honestly thought I’d bitten off more than I could chew for a while there. I mean, in the end I probably could have bought a Boosted board for not that much more, but I’m pretty fucking stoked with the result anyway. Pictures, specs and settings at the end.
I’m an Aussie which is generally a pretty dope thing to be, but it turns out the DIY scene here sucks. I was really limited in what parts were affordably available here, so the parts chosen are actually less my choice and more “that’s what you can get.” My main concern was the VESC: I was worried about it being under-spec’d (not many reviews on the Vanda on here), and I definitely wanted to avoid Chinese manufactured ones (too many bad reviews) so the Vanda looked like the best of a budget bunch. So far, it’s working great!
Most of the build came together pretty simply. The batteries have a couple of layers of electrical tape for insulation, and are then held together with duct tape. They’re mounted onto the board with heavy duty Velcro and an aluminium bar - Velcro keeps it from sliding and does most of the holding work, and the bar just makes sure the Velcro maintains contact. I couldn’t find a good cheap enclosure and don’t have the tools to make one, so I’m just using a 3mm rubber sheet. With plenty of ground clearance, this seems like a good enough option for my purposes and it doesn’t look too bad.
Originally I was planning on using the the board’s stock trucks, but there were no available mounting options due to it’s shitty design, so that is the only reason I got Caliber II’s and the Boardnamics mount. Both are great. Some Chinese pulley kit fit the MBS wheels perfectly.
I couldn’t be arsed to have a switch. They’re expensive. The XT90’s that came with the VESC were pretty stiff so I fucked them off and went with Anderson plugs. They work so well. That pretty much wraps it up, although I do have a couple of little tweaks I need to do (better clips to hold the wires to the board, some heatshrink and/or braided wrap for aesthetics on the wires, and a layer of Velcro between the rubber and the aluminium to hold it together).
- Board: https://www.nanaskateboards.com/shop/42-night-forest/ (upgraded to 50 degree Caliber II trucks, and MBS 100mm all terrain wheels)
- Motor: Turnigy Aerodrive SK3 - 6374 - 192KV
- ESC: Vanda VESC https://vandaelectronics.myshopify.com/
- Batteries: 12S1P Headway 38120S (30A continuous, 10Ah, these were a rare score at $20.15AUD each; I decided on these over 18650 cells because they were more cost efficient than accessing a spot welder, and the built in screw heads made building the pack simple)
- Charging: A BMS honestly seemed like a bit of a waste of money, so I just bought an IMAX B6 and plan on charging the cells individually to keep them balanced.
- Mount: Boardnamics Caliber II Kit
- Remote: Cheapest small form factor remote I could find on eBay that was stocked locally https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Ultra-Mini-2-4Ghz-CH2-Wireless-Remote-Control-Receiver-For-Electric-Skateboard/202074456495
- Max Speed: calculators put it at around 40-45km/h when loaded, and so far I’ve hit about 35km/h comfortably and it feels like there’s more in the tank. When I max it out, I’ll update the thread (might be a while, it’s scary at those speeds)!
- Range: again, calculators estimate approx 40km of range. Once I’ve actually fully charged and fully run down the board, I’ll update this post. I’d be pretty happy with 30km I think.
- Charging: apparently 60 minutes at 10A. This sounds pretty fucking quick, so we’ll see.
VESC Settings - Ackmaniac ESC Tool
- BLDC Sensorless Motor
- Motor Current Max: 70A (motor is rated to 80A, so staying below this for safety)
- Motor Current Max Brake: -30A (I think I’d rather have this at -40A, but, given my teething issues, I’m playing it safe for now and -30A still feels reasonably strong for me)
- Absolute Maximum Current: 130A (VESC default and saw no reason to change)
- Battery Current Max: 30A (the maximum continuous current my Headways are rated at and this seems reasonably safe to maxout)
- Battery Current Max Regen: -10A (1C is recommended for charging, and it seems like having this higher is both outside of the battery’s specs and contributing to the braking issues I originally experienced)
- Battery Voltage Cutoff Start/End: 35.00V/34.00V (I’ve only charged these batteries once, to almost-but-not-quite-full, and haven’t run them down to these cutoff voltages yet; as such, these numbers are currently set to conservatively safe levels based on the information I could find online, but if someone has a better suggestion, I’d be happy to hear it)
- Max ERPM/Max ERPM Reverse: 55000/-55000 ( 🤷, really not sure how important this is, but it’s close enough I feel)
- Control Type: Current (with Ackmaniac’s tool, this allows forward, braking, AND reverse, which so far has worked flawlessly)