Electric Skateboards

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dasada122
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Electric Skateboards

Postby dasada122 » Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:51 pm UTC

After re-re-re-reading the electric skateboard race story, I thought it might be nice to get one of these things. Is the ability to use an analog skateboard a pre-requisite?

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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby Titch » Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:01 pm UTC

dasada122 wrote:After re-re-re-reading the electric skateboard race story, I thought it might be nice to get one of these things. Is the ability to use an analog skateboard a pre-requisite?


No. And it doesn't help much. For balance, mabye-but otherwise, electrics are a completley different world.
I use a "real" skateboard, and have for many years-and I though I'd quite like to try an electric one.
It was like learning all over again! Having to realise that you no longer need to push, it confuses you to start with, and I gave up-but I can see why people like them, 'cause it was great fun when I tried it-I just sucked at it :P
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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby rubber314chicken » Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:33 pm UTC

http://www.greenspeed.us/electric_skate ... errain.htm



Oh man, that would be so bad ass. I think we need to invent a new sport here: "Electric Skateboard Off-Roading"
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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby Zapheod » Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:14 pm UTC

When I purchased my power-board I had never riden a skateboard. My reccomendations are as follows:

Find somewhere where the roads are flat, smooth and there is little traffic and try to put in a good 20 miles before you try to ride anywhere there is traffic.
When you decelerate do so slowly as most boards tend to develop a significant wobble if you jam on the breaks.
Create an emergency kit you can carry when you board. My kit includes a battery charger, tire pump, basic tools and a piece of rope.
Rope is to tow the thing if it runs out of juice. My board weighs around 50 lbs and is a pain in the ass to move if it dies.
Wear pads and learn how to bail. It is better to jump off the board and control your falls than it is to be thown. 2 significant spills on my board. Controlled fall(about 25 mph) ended up with some vicious road rash and brutal scars. Un-controlled fall(about 20 mph) ended up with a broken collar bone.
Accelerate slowly. Powerboards have a ton of torque and you can easily throw yourself off the back of the board.
be prepared to talk to lots of people. Everyone will stop you to ask about your powerboard

I bought http://www.rokitscience.co.uk/online_store/boom_borda_2_chainsaw_pro.cfm and it is a great board. Can go anywhere paved or unpaved. It is a beast. The customer service was crap but I would definitly reccomend the product.

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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby dasada122 » Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:25 pm UTC

I've had my eye on this one: http://www.extrememotorsales.com/xcart/product.php?productid=16305&cat=260&page=1, mainly for the price. Any opinions?

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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby Zapheod » Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:39 pm UTC

Ya get what you pay for I guess... Cheap controls(foot break), slow speed, tiny range(5 miles is best case on flat ground so actual is probably 3-4 miles).

It really depends on what you are planning on using it for. I was using my board as an alternate transport to work, supermarket, visit friends etc.. The board you linked seems like it could really only be used to go around the block a couple times before you need to recharge it.

An alternate option could be to check out junk yards and work on building your own. You can use a motor from an electric scooter(try for a 24v or 36v and make sure to check the power draw so you know how much power you need), Mountain board or skateboard for a base(http://www.mbs.com/, Montainboard trucks(since they have suspension options) and batteries that came with the electric scooter. Might take you a while to get it built but it would be a good project and give you a board with greater range and versatility.

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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby dasada122 » Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:48 pm UTC

I only have to go from the dorm to the CS building, about 0.5 miles, on flat terrain; this is not a concern. My main reservation was the 2-wheeled setup. Seemed like it might be a trick to balance on.

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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby altair4 » Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:26 am UTC

Hi, balance should be easy on that one but 120watt is not that much power.
I have one by them and weigh too much for it, by quite a lot, which drains the batts fast.
I can't believe it's designed for kids as it is sereiously heavy, lead acid batts always are.

I'd make one, bolt the back of a 300watt scooter to the front of a skateboard / mountain board and you have something much cooler with the same layout.
An angle grinder and soldering iron would be usefull.

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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby dasada122 » Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:37 am UTC

Well, if I had a scooter, I'd use that.

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rubber314chicken
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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby rubber314chicken » Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:32 am UTC

altair4 wrote:Hi, balance should be easy on that one but 120watt is not that much power.
I have one by them and weigh too much for it, by quite a lot, which drains the batts fast.
I can't believe it's designed for kids as it is sereiously heavy, lead acid batts always are.

I'd make one, bolt the back of a 300watt scooter to the front of a skateboard / mountain board and you have something much cooler with the same layout.
An angle grinder and soldering iron would be usefull.


Dude, I'm putting a big block on mine. 460ci of American muscle powering my entire 185 lbs over anything.
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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby Zapheod » Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:05 pm UTC

I got into power boarding because a guy I know put a 50 hp gas motor onto a customer long board. He put 12 inch wheels, disk breaks and full set of shocks. The board had a range of about 40 miles and could hit 55 mph.

It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. I wish I had a picture of it.

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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby dasada122 » Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:14 pm UTC

Another thing: how does one steer?

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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby antonfire » Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:45 pm UTC

Presumably the same way as on a regular skateboard: tilting the board one way or the other turns the wheels which makes the board turn.

I'm curious, do these things have/need differentials?
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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby Hawknc » Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:57 pm UTC

I don't know if they'd need one - electric motors have phenomental torque right from 0 RPM but a diff would probably help with steering. Either way, I want one of those damn skateboards. If I had one, I'd probably just catch the train to work instead of driving and use it to get between the station and my office.

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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby Zapheod » Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:31 pm UTC

Steering is done by leaning just like on a regular skateboard. That is actually one of the main engineering issues. Since the back and front wheels move slightly when you turn you can't have the motor fixed to the board. You actually need to have it fixed relative to the rear trucks. That is why the cheaper boards go with a three wheel design. If you only have one wheel in back then you can fix the motor to the board.

My electric skateboard has no gears. The guy with the gas board did have gears with an automatic gear shifter.

Hawk, if you are looking to buy a board I am actually looking to sell mine. I recently moved out of the city and now live in suburbia where the board is of limited use. Paid 1000, looking for 500. Not sure where you live or how much shipping would cost but I would be happy to discuss it via private message.

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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby Hawknc » Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:34 pm UTC

They're out of my price range for the moment unfortunately. Doesn't stop me from wanting one, though. :P

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Reality Czech
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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby Reality Czech » Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:20 pm UTC

Hey all, I'm looking at buying an electric skateboard and I can't find product reviews on most of them. That being the case, the best place I could think of to find meaningful feedback was the xkcd boards, naturally.

I have a simple (sounding) question- I'm looking at this board and am wondering if any of you know of any reason I should get a different one. Thanks in advance.

http://www.overstock.com/Sports-Toys/Ur ... oduct.html

-RC
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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby Zapheod » Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:16 pm UTC

Looks very similar to the board I have, with the only difference being the actual board itself. Seems like a very good price as well. I would definitly say that is a powerboard worth buying.

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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby Fossa » Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:36 pm UTC

Reality Czech, be warned, the batteries on that thing suck.

My sister and her boyfriend are co-owners of a company that rents out electric leisure craft in Newport Beach. They deal in everything from kayaks and boats to bicycles and skateboards. They even have an electric car. While my knowledge is mostly about the bikes (I bought a $1,300 electric bike from her) I do know that with those batteries you're going to run into major issues down the road.

That kind of lead acid battery is notorious for memory and generally don't do well in rechargeable vehicles. To get the most out of it you also have to be careful when you charge it, how much you charge it, etc. Major pain in the ass. My bike has a Lithium ion battery which alleviates these problems a good deal. It's more expensive (About a third of the cost of the bike) but worth every penny when you realize the savings in the long run.

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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby Reality Czech » Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:58 pm UTC

Thanks for the LI-Ion feedback/reccomendation... are there any boards that jump out at you as comparable but with a lithium? I'd prefer not to sacrifice speed, offroad ability or maximum range, and I do weigh 220 pounds... so the power of the motor might be more of a factor with me than most guys.

I'm laughing at myself now because I feel compelled to assure people I'm not overweight, just a big guy... as if any of you are concerned with my cardiovascular fitness or dietary habits ><

-RC
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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby Zapheod » Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:18 pm UTC

http://www.rokitscience.co.uk/online_store/boom_borda_2_chainsaw_pro.cfm

RC,

Above is a link to the company from whom I purchased my powerboard. Slightly higher top speed, Lithium batteries, longer range and significantly lighter. It has a great built in suspension system that let me travel over anything with little problem. The only problems I had was going off of curbs. The price is 400 more though.

I am currently looking to sell my board and will gladly take 500 for it. I will mention that it has tasted blood and ,if horror movie vehicle theory is correct then, it will hunger for more.

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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby Fossa » Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:33 pm UTC

Even new that one would still be worth it. Lithium battery is an absolute must for an electric vehicle.

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Re: Electric Skateboards

Postby 2.71828183 » Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:43 am UTC

Fossa wrote:Lithium battery is an absolute must for an electric vehicle.

Well, for an electric skateboard, maybe so. But lead-acids have their place in electric cars and such.

There are three major types of lead-acid battery: gel cells, AGM, and flooded. The first two are sealed, the third is not. The gel cells are the type that's finicky about charging and has all the other associated problems: they're only really useful for things like motorcycle starting batteries or something comparable that doesn't require fast charging or deep discharge but does need to be portable and sealed. AGMs are expensive (well, expensive for lead-acids--Li-ions are in a whole world of their own when it comes to cost), but they're not quite so finicky. The reason for the trouble with gel cells is that the gelled electrolyte can't move around much, so if overcharging makes bubbles of hydrogen, or if quick discharging "uses up" the electrolyte in contact with the cell plates, it takes a long time to move around and expose the plates to fresh electrolyte. AGM batteries use liquid electrolyte in fiberglass, and they don't do this as much. Gross overcharging can still damage the cell, though, because they are sealed, but that's true of just about every battery chemistry.

Flooded batteries obviously wouldn't work for an electric skateboard (because they would dump acid everywhere if you flipped the board upside-down!), but they can be built for very long life, and are difficult to damage by overcharging. Even severe overcharging can usually be remedied by refilling the electrolyte with distilled water. They're great for electric cars, though, even despite their size and weight, because they're so cheap and readily available in high-current, high-power deep cycle configurations that are designed for traction use (electric forklifts, golf carts, and so on).

All lead-acid batteries suffer from sulfation, which is easy to prevent--keep the batteries fully charged whenever they're not being used. Flooded batteries are particularly easy to do this with--since overcharging doesn't hurt anything, it's possible to periodically run a leveling charge until every cell is fully charged. With many other chemistries, failing cells have to either be ignored, or be pulled out and charged separately or replaced--and usually that means replacing the good cells attached to them, if the cell is part of a battery.

Now, before I get too far off topic: It doesn't say specifically, but I'd bet that skateboard above uses gel cells. AGMs will still not have the performance of Li-ions, but they're an alternative to consider. Another intermediate, if such a thing is commonly available for electric skateboards, would be NiMH batteries. These are cheaper than Li-ions and have better energy density than lead-acids, and are generally reasonably tolerant of weird charging schedules.

I don't know how well my figures will apply for an electric skateboard, because I was looking at bulk prices, but when I priced out batteries for the electric car I'm building, here's what I came up with:

A full pack (in the neighborhood of 120V and 220 Ah) of flooded lead-acids will cost about $2000 and last for approx. 1000 (full) cycles. Weight would be about 1500 lbs. (This is what I'm going with, by the way. I can get the exact cost and weight if anyone's interested.)
A full pack of AGM batteries will cost about $3500 and last about 1000 cycles. Weight would be about 1200 lbs.
A full pack of LiFePO4 batteries would cost about $11,000 and last for approx. 5000 cycles. Weight would be about 600 lbs.
I never priced Li-ions seriously, but the price would be above $20,000 for a pack (maybe well above, it's hard to find bulk sources), and lifetime would probably be about 1500-2000 cycles. They would weigh about 400 lbs.

Note that LiFePO4 batteries are surprisingly cost-competitive over their lifetime. I doubt you can get a commercial electric skateboard that comes with them--they're relatively new technology (discovered in 1996, only commercialized in the last few years), but if you wanted to DIY a really good battery pack, this is what you'd use. Of course, I'd love to have an electric-car-sized set of them, but I don't have the money for that kind of investment right now.

. . . Okay, this is probably more about batteries than anybody ever wanted to know. Hopefully there's something useful in there.


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