A few years ago, Toyota was in the news for a major safety issue with a number of their passenger vehicles. Seemingly at random, certain cars were accelerating without concern for driver input, causing many crashes and at least 37 confirmed deaths. They issued recalls both for the floor mats which were reported to have slid forward to jam the accelerator pedal, but this didn’t explain all of these crashes. There was another recall for stuck throttles, which [Colin O’Flynn] demonstrates a possible cause for on his test bench.
While most passenger vehicles older than about 15-20 years controlled the throttle with a cable connected directly from the throttle body to the accelerator pedal, most manufacturers have switched to a fly-by-wire system which takes sensor input from the accelerator pedal and sends that position information to the vehicle’s computer which in turn adjusts the throttle position. This might be slightly cheaper to manufacture, but introduces a much larger number of failure modes to a critical system. Continue reading “Recreating The “Stuck Throttle” Problem On A Toyota”→
The story of how [Tony]’s three-wheeled electric scooter came to be has a beginning that may sound familiar. One day, he was browsing overseas resellers and came across a new part, followed immediately by a visit from the Good Ideas Fairy. That’s what led him to upgrade his DIY electric scooter to three wheels last year, giving it a nice speed boost in the process!
The part [Tony] ran across was a dual brushless drive unit for motorizing a mountain board. Mountain boards are a type of off-road skateboard, and this unit provided two powered wheels in a single handy package. [Tony] ended up removing the rear wheel from his electric scooter and replacing it with the powered mountain board assembly.
He also made his own Arduino-based interface to the controller that provides separate throttle and braking inputs, because the traditional twist-throttle of a scooter wasn’t really keeping up with what the new (and more powerful) scooter could do. After wiring everything up with a battery, the three-wheeled electric scooter was born. It’s even got headlights!
This bike build starts with a mountain bike frame and the parts from the hoverboard are added to it piece by piece. The two motors are mounted to the frame and drive the front chain ring of the bike, allowing it to still take advantage of the bike’s geared drivetrain. Battery packs from two hoverboards were combined into a single battery which give the bike a modest 6-10 km of range depending on use. But the real gem of this build is taking the gyroscopic controller board from the hoverboards and converting it, with the help of an Arduino Due, to an ebike controller.
Eventually a battery pack will be added to give the bike a more comfortable range, but for now we appreciate the ingenuity that it took to adapt the controller from the hoverboard into an ebike controller complete with throttle and pedal assist. For other household objects turned into ebikes, be sure to check out one of our favorites based on a washing machine motor: the Spin Cycle.
If you’re looking to add a little more sci-fi authenticity to your gaming setup, you could do much worse than this functional control lever replica that [ZapWizard] has entered into the Hackaday.io Sci-Fi Contest.
Taking inspiration from Disney’s The Mandalorian, this functional prop is almost identical to the throttle seen on the bridge of the Razor Crest gunship, piloted by the television show’s eponymous bounty hunter. The electronic heart of this build is relatively straightforward – a Trinket M0 measures the resistance of an ultra-thin potentiometer, and masquerades as a typical one-axis USB throttle.
The mechanical components and aesthetically pleasing housing is where this project really shines. Helical 3D printed gears smooth out the movement of the solid aluminum throttle shaft, and a simple detent mechanism ‘catches’ the throttle at the middle point. The ballast and baseplate are cut from stainless steel, giving the throttle considerable heft, aiding in its stability on a tabletop (it’s also possible to secure it down using screws or powerful magnets). The throttle case is 3D printed and covered in aluminum foil tape, which is then chemically blackened and aged for that well-loved appearance.
Of course, the most iconic part of this build is the spherical knob, which screws onto the aluminum shaft for Grogu’s convenience. [ZapWizard] put in an order for one over at Custom 3D Stuff, and it absolutely ties the entire build together.
Cruise control is a common feature on automobiles, though less so in the motorcycle market. Given that continual throttle application on long rides can be a real pain in the wrist, many riders long for such a convenience. As a cheat solution, bolt-on locks that hold the throttle at a set position are available, though quality varies and generally they need to be activated by the throttle hand anyway. [Nixie] wanted a solution that would leave the right hand entirely free, and held, rather than locked, the throttle.
The device [Nixie] came up with is essentially a brake that fits inside the throttle handle and holds it in position. This is achieved with a mechanism that presses a pair of small brake shoes into the inside of the throttle, holding it from rotating back to neutral when the rider lets go. The brake is activated by a control on the left handlebar via a Bowden cable, allowing [Nixie] to activate the throttle hold on the highway and use the right hand to check pockets or simply rest.
It’s a tidy build, and [Nixie] does a great job of explaining the various design choices and the intricacies of the Bowden cable actuated mechanism. It’s anything but a one-size-fits-all build, but other enterprising machinists could certainly duplicate the design for other motorcycles without too many problems.
People making DIY controls to enhance flight simulators is a vibrant niche of engineering and hackery, and it sure looks like Microsoft Flight Simulator is doing its part to keep the scene lively. [Akaki Kuumeri]’s latest project turns an Xbox One gamepad into a throttle-and-stick combo that consists entirely of 3D printed parts that snap together without a screw in sight. Bummed out by sold-out joysticks, or just curious? The slick-looking HOTAS (hands on throttle and stick) assembly is only a 3D printer and an afternoon away. There’s even a provision to add elastic to increase spring tension if desired.
The design looks great, and the linkages in particular look very well thought-out. Ball and socket joints smoothly transfer motion from one joystick to the other, and [Akaki] says the linkages accurately transmit motion with very little slop.
There is a video to go with the design (YouTube link, embedded below) and it may seem like it’s wrapping up near the 9 minute mark, but do not stop watching because that’s when [Akaki] begins to go into hacker-salient details about of how he designed the device and what kinds of issues he ran into while doing so. For example, he says Fusion 360 doesn’t simulate ball and socket joints well, so he had to resort to printing a bunch of prototypes to iterate until he found the right ones. Also, the cradle that holds the Xbox controller was far more difficult to design than expected, because while Valve might provide accurate CAD models of their controllers, there was no such resource for the Xbox ones. You can watch the whole video, embedded below.
We have seen quite a few DIY joystick designs that use Hall effect sensors, but [Akaki Kuumeri]’s controller designs (YouTube video, embedded below) really make the most of 3D printing to avoid the need for any other type of fabrication. He’s been busy using them to enhance his Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 experience, and shares not just his joystick design, but makes it a three-pack with designs for throttle and pedals as well.
Hall effect sensors output a voltage that varies in proportion to the presence of a magnetic field, which is typically provided by a nearby magnet. By mounting sensors and magnets in a way that varies the distance between them depending on how a control is moved, position can be sensed and communicated to a host computer.
In [Akaki]’s case, that communication is done with an Arduino Pro Micro (with ATmega32U4) whose built-in USB support allows it to be configured and recognized as a USB input device. The rest is just tweaking the physical layouts and getting spring or elastic tension right. You can see it all work in the video below.