Hybrid 50cc Ultracapacitor Scooter

We’re all familiar with hybrid gas-electric cars these days, but how about a hybrid scooter that uses supercapacitors instead of batteries? Our hats are off to [Alex] from Labs Bell for the almost entirely-DIY conversion.

The hybrid idea is to drive the vehicle’s wheels with electric motors, but generate the electricity with a normal gasoline engine. This allows the hybrid to control the engine speed almost independently of the wheel motors’ demand for power, allowing the gas engine to run at its most efficient speed and charge up batteries with the extra energy. As an extra bonus, many hybrids also use regenerative braking to recoup some of the energy normally wasted as heat in your brake pads.

[Alex]’s hybrid scooter does all of the above and more. Since the stock vehicle is a 50cc scooter, any increase in acceleration is doubtless welcome. We’d love to see the scooter starting from stop with a full charge. Using supercapacitors as storage instead of batteries is a win for charging efficiency. In urban stop-and-go traffic, the natural habitat of the 50cc scooter, the regenerative braking should help further with gas consumption.

What’s most impressive to us is the completely DIY hybrid control unit that takes some simple inputs (wheel speed and throttle position) and controls regenerative braking, the gas engine’s throttle, etc. Since the hybrid control system is currently under development, there’s even a button to switch between different trial algorithms on the fly. Very cool!

Oh yeah, and [Alex] points out the fire extinguisher on-board. He had occasion to use it for his hybrid motorcycle V1. Safety first!

Fail of the Week: Commute-Shortening Electric Scooter

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Please don’t judge [Alan] on his choice of vests. This project is from 1999 when it was common to see people rockin’ these threads. Anyone who has ever spent time on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis, Minnesota will know that parking is at a premium. [Alan] had a 12-15 minute walk from his parking garage to his office and was considering a cheaper parking location that would balloon that to 20-25 minutes. But engineers don’t see problems, they see project ideas. He started work on a tiny electric scooter that could slim down his commute. Obviously he did find some success, but it was interspersed with failures that make his scooter the Fail of the Week.

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Scooterputer, the all-in-one scooter computer

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We’ve seen a fair share of carputer builds involving a Raspberry Pi in the last few months, but even the power of a Raspi can’t compete with the awesomeness of this Arduino-powered scooterputer.

Like all awesome projects, this build is the product of a massive case of feature creep. Initially, [Kurt] only wanted a voltage monitor for his battery. With an  Arduino Duemilanove, a voltage divider, and an evening of coding, [Kurt] whipped up a simple device with three LEDs to indicate the status of the batter: either low, good, or charging.

The project was complete until he ran across an awesome OLED screen. Using a touch screen display for just battery monitoring is a bit overkill, so [Kurt] made a trip over to Sparkfun and got his hands on a temperature sensor, real-time clock, accelerometer, GPS sensor, and even a cellular shield.

The resulting scooterputer is a masterpiece of in-vehicle displays: there’s a digital speedometer and GPS unit, and the cellular shield works as a tracking device and a way to download real-time maps of the scooter’s current location with itouchmap.

While the majority of the electronics are hidden under the hood of the scooter, the display of course needed to be out in the weather. To do this, [Kurt] found a nice enclosure with a rubber boot that perfectly fit the OLED display. The display is connected to the Arduino with a cat5 cable, and everything should hold up pretty well as long as [Kurt] doesn’t drive through a hurricane.

You can check out a video of the scooterputuer below.

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Summer travel is a breeze with this scooter trunk

Travel backpacks are so passé. All the cool kids, like [Niklas Roy] are using scooter trunks for easy travel. Think of it, not only does it remove the need to carry your heavy baggage, but you get to coast along for the ride as well. We wonder what the officials at air, train, and bus travel hubs are going to think?

The idea came from seeing a similar build with a flight case (plywood box with metal edges and hardware). In that project the flight case folded out to be something of an impromptu street kiosk. But [Niklas] knew the aluminum camera trunk he uses for travel was going to work great in the project. He designed a bracket to replace the steering column on his kick scooter. It holds the case securely in place, but still allows the scooter to fold down to be stowed in the train overhead bin.

At first we thought this would have been better if integrated into the trunk itself. Keeping the two parts separate means you can leave the case wherever you’re staying and take just the scooter for day trips.

All-terrain electric scooter build

This all-terrain electric scooter can destroy the speed limit in a school zone without even trying. [Ben Katz] built from the ground-up and did an amazing job of documenting the journey.

He strated by redesigning the suspension of a plain old kick-scooter to use these large inflatable wheels. This includes a suspension system that helps cushion the rider from the bumps of an uneven driving surface. The increased deck height leaves plenty of room for the locomotive parts. You can see the three cylinders mounted near the rear wheel. Those are the motors, connected to a single drive shaft with a gear box which [Ben] built. The drive shaft powers the rear wheel via chain drive. Batteries are housed in the rectangular enclosure in front of the motors.

Don’t miss the video after the break. [Ben] takes the thing on and off-road, averaging 15 MPH while topping out at 24!

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Shake phone to start scooter

This scooter starts right up with a shake of your Android device. This shake must be done from front-to-back, because a side-to-side shake is reserved for unlocking the saddle ([Brad] stores his helmet within).

Connectivity is facilitated over Bluetooth, with a rocker switch near the left handle bar to disable the receiver so that you don’t run down the battery. You can see the locking panel hanging open on the front portion of the scooter. Inside he installed the driver board which patches into the ignition system and drives a solenoid for the seat latch. It sounds like the latching mechanism used a bowden cable whose handle was inside that locking panel. By adding a solenoid and generously lubricating the cable he  managed to get it functioning from the driver board.

Check out the video after the break for a proper demonstration. The phone is running a Python script via SL4A, which takes care of the user interface.

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Pimp my scooter

[Glen] built this shiny party machine out of a pretty sad-looking scooter. We’d bet you’re wondering why we think it’s a party machine when it looks so common? The only real giveaway in this photo is the custom exhaust, but hidden in the body of the beast is 720 Watts of party power plus a whole bunch of extras.

When he gets where he’s going, [Glen] parks his ride and lifts up the seat to unfold the entertainment. Attached to the underside of the saddle is a 720 Watt audio amplifier. It drives one big speaker under the seat, as well as two tweeters and two mid-range speakers that were fitted into the front console. But these days a party isn’t a party without some video, and that’s why you’ll also find a 7-inch LCD screen suspended from the upright seat. Tunes and videos are supplied by an iPod touch up front, or the PC he built into the ride. All it’s missing is a gaming console!

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