Motorized Longboard


What were you building in your junior year of highschool? Well, for [Aaron Cofield], he built a motorized longboard.

He started with a plain longboard in the design he liked, gave it a nice paint coat (aesthetics over functionality people!) and then started looking into motorizing it. As it turns out there’s actually a pretty handy blog dedicated to converting longboards to electric. After many hours of research he settled on a 2400W RC prop motor and a 150A high performance RC car ESC unit. Who knew it was that simple!

A few metal brackets, some belts, sprockets, an idler and a whole ton of lithium-ion batteries later and the build is complete! He’s currently controlling it with an RC car remote, but had plans to control it using a Wii nunchuck and Arduino. The test runs this past summer got the board going about 20mph!

It looks done for now, but we’re sure he’s going to be continuing to refine it next summer — stick around after the break to see one of its first test drives!

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A longboard speed and distance computer


Why should cyclists have all of the fancy toys? Bicycle computers are very common these days but you won’t find similar hardware for skateboards and longboards. [KobraX22] isn’t taking it lying down. He built this speed and distance computer for his longboard. It doesn’t use very many components and should be easy to install.

The device monitors the rotation of one of the wheels by mounting a reflectance sensor on one of the trucks. It points toward the inside of a wheel which has a piece of black tape on it. Every time the tape passes it prevents the IR led from reflecting back at its paired receiver. This lets the Arduino count the revolutions, which are then paired with the wheel diameter to calculate speed as well as distance traveled. Of course the wheels wear down over time to so frequent riders will have to take new measurements at regular intervals.

[KobraX22] went with a QRB1114 sensor. It costs less than $2 and doesn’t require him to embed a magnet in the wheel like a hall effect sensor setup would have. It also shouldn’t interfere with any other fancy wheel hacks you’ve done, like adding a POV display.

[via Reddit]

POV wheels for a longboard

If you don’t mind working with really small components this POV wheel project for a longboard will certainly attract some attention.

The name of the game here is small and cheap. Small because the wheels are only 72mm in diameter (about 2.8 inches). Cheap because [Ch00f] wants to produce and sell them locally. He went with an ATtiny24 microcontroller driving fifteen LEDs. Obviously this will present a problem as the uC uses a 14-pin SOIC package and that’s just not enough I/O to drive the LEDs individually. Add to that the issue of storing patterns to be displayed and you start to run out of program memory very quickly.

But obvious he pulled it off. The image above shows the wheel displaying the CT logo (for and there are several other patterns shown off in the clip after the break. The LEDs are multiplexed, but the wheel spins fast enough that this turns out to be okay. The rotation is measured by an IR reflectance sensor aimed at the stationary axle. A CR2032 powers the device, with some counterweights added to keep the wheel balanced.

Our only concern is the fragility of the exposed electronics. But if you hit the right BOM price we guess you can just replace the board as needed.

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Building an electric-powered longboard for under $100

[Alan] doesn’t have to kick to get around town because he added a removable electric motor to his longboard. It looks great, and works just as well because he didn’t reinvent the wheel. The idea is a mashup of an electric Razor scooter and his long board.

The majority of the project revolved around mounting everything he needed to the board. When it comes to the drive wheel he designed a tension system. When a rider is not on the board the back wheels of the long board are off the ground by about an inch. The springs in the suspension system make it so when you do mount the board all wheels are touching, with the main drive wheel held tight to the pavement even while turning.

Unlike some electric skateboard builds [Alan] didn’t need to raise the board off the ground as the battery compartment is mounted on top of the deck. He added cooling fans for the hot summer days, and even used velcro to attach the charger so that he can juice it up when away from home. Check out his three minute show and tell embedded after the break.

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