Electric Skateboard [V1] – Simple build Tutorial & Parts

PEX Electric Skateboard

This is the most simple open source DIY electric skateboard/longboard project. Easy to build and fun to ride! Check version 2 here.

The purpose of this page is to detail all the required parts and steps to build your own electric longboard.

  • Budget for mechanical parts and electric components: $220 to $300 (USD)
  • Budget for a longboard with adapted wheels, trucks and deck: $80 (USD)
  • Overall budget: $300 to $380 (USD)
  • Build time: 4 hours to one weekend
  • Theoric speed of my current setup: 30km/h – Effective speed with my settings: 25km/h, I was able to reach 35km/h by tweaking the ESC but It was too aggressive and the motor was getting hot.
  • Theoric range of my current setup: 20km / Effective range: I can ride it for 15-20km

This page is detailed and aims to popularize the concepts and use of each component for beginners. For advanced makers, please use the short version with the components and a basic wiring diagram.

Read this section before to start

Check the conditions of use of this website and particularly the disclaimer

Learn how to ride a skateboard first, it’s very important to learn skateboard basics before to start this project. This will prevent you from injuring yourself by taming the engine’s propulsion in addition to attempting to manage your balance and steering.

This project requires tools and specific equipment. I personally add to use a soldering station because my batteries’ connectors were not standard and I had to use a hot glue gun, a hex key set, an electric screwdriver, my rotary tool to adapt my truck to my motor mount and to create a handle in my deck. These tools could be totally optional and I will detail one setup below that require just some tapes, screws, hex keys and sockets. In addition, you can check the list of tool that I would suggest to any hobbyist. I would like to recommend to buy a skateboard tool as it brings together all the socket sizes needed to set your trucks and wheels and a screwdriver

Check the Basics of a diagram of an electric skateboard

Electric skateboard parts

My current setup is composed by 2x 3s 8000mAh Batteries, a 280KV motor, a 120A ESC. These batteries have a huge capacity and are pretty small but they come with a custom connector that you will need to remove. I chose to use XT60 connectors for this project for the ESC, the serial cable and the batteries as I already had some of these connectors at home. A set of 8000mAh batteries require a charger with higher specifications (with min charge capacity of 8A)  and if you want to make the most with it, a powerful power supply. This build will cost approximatively 380 USD.

You could have an alternative setup composed by 2 x 3s 5000mAh Batteries instead of 8000mAh. It’s cheaper as the batteries cost less and you need a simple charger (charge capacity up to 5A). This build will cost approximatively 320 USD.

You are free to source similar parts on your own, but note that I have tested this part list and it works well. Using any other parts is your own responsibility: check the specifications of the suggested parts to be sure that it matches your locally sourced part.

Please check my quick guides for choosing your deck, trucks, and wheels.

If you do not want to read everything, and want a versatile and bullet-proof setup, here is my recommendation: grab any bamboo or maple deck between 33″ and 40″, a pair of caliber II 210mm trucks and 4 flywheels clones between 83mm and 107mm.

Finally, you will find all the 3D model I used for my prototypes, including the wheel pulley that I found on Thingiverse (credits: Brent Yi).

Tools and misc.
Optional parts
  • Print the ESC enclosure + 4 Wood 6-8mm screws (or equivalent) to fix the ESC enclosure to the deck
  • Print the motor mount and use one M4-25mmm screw with locknut
  • Print the fasteners for the battery enclosure and use 2 x M3 10mm + 2 x M3 lock nuts (or equivalent) to fix the fastener to the battery enclosure
  • 2 x Straps if your plastic box does not have claspsAll 3D printed parts are available on Thingiverse on https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2474716
    Please note that these files are under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada (CC BY-NC-SA 2.5 CA) license
Alternative parts

3D printed parts

All parts are available on Thingiverse under https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2474716

Please note that these files are under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada (CC BY-NC-SA 2.5 CA) license.

Build

Wiring schemas and connector settings

Electric-Longboard-Wiring schema
Batterie setup

THIS SECTION IS APPLICABLE IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A XT60 or XT90 CONNECTOR, the tutorial is updated with better batteries and you don’t have to solder a new connector if you choose the batteries recommended in my part list.

This section is aimed at an experienced public. The objective is to remove the connector and to solder a new XT60 connector. This step can be dangerous and you can damage your batteries and hurt yourself. If you have never used a soldering iron and you are not sure about getting into the conversion of your battery connector, do not do it and turn to the build B.

Electric Skateboard [V1] - Simple build Tutorial & Parts

Requirements

  • Soldering station
  • Solder
  • XT60 Female connector
  • Heat shrink tube

Steps:

  1. Cut the black wire as close as possible to the connector
  2. Strip about 5mm of the end of the black wire
  3. Insert the black wire into a piece of heat shrink tube
  4. Electric Skateboard [V1] - Simple build Tutorial & Parts
    Step 7

    Insulate the end of the wire with some electrician tape (or any tape).

  5. Cut the red wire as close as possible to the connector
  6. Strip about 5mm of the end of the red wire
  7. Insert the red wire into a small piece of heat shrink tube (at this point, it should look like the picture attached)
  8. Solder the red wire to the + side of the XT60 connector
  9. Insulate the solder with the heat shrink tube
  10. Remove the tape from the black wire and solder the black wire to the – side of the XT60 connector
  11. Insulate the solder with the heat shrink tube
ESC connector Setup

This section is related is aimed at an experienced public. The objective is to remove the T-Plug connector and to solder a new XT60 connector. This step is not as dangerous as the battery conversion.  You could only hurt yourself. If you have never used a soldering iron and you are not sure about getting into the conversion of the connector, do not do it and turn to the build B.

Requirements

  • Electric Skateboard [V1] - Simple build Tutorial & PartsSoldering station
  • Solder
  • XT60 male connector
  • Heat shrink tube

Steps:

  1. Cut the black wire as close as possible to the T-Plug connector
  2. Strip about 5mm of the end of the black wire
  3. Insert the black wire into a piece of heat shrink tube
  4. Cut the red wire as close as possible to the connector
  5. Strip about 5mm of the end of the red wire
  6. Insert the red wire into a small piece of heat shrink tube (at this point, it should look like the picture attached)
  7. Solder the red wire to the + side of the XT60 MALE connector
  8. Insulate the solder with the heat shrink tube
  9. Solder the black wire to the – side of the XT60 MALE connector
  10. Insulate the solder with the heat shrink tube

ESC Programming

In this section, I will explain how to calibrate the ESC, install the programming application on your computer, update the FVT 120A ESC (Favourite Car ESC 120A) firmware and program the ESC settings.

Electric Skateboard [V1] - Simple build Tutorial & Parts

Throttle Calibration

  1. Plug your batteries to the ESC
  2. Press the Calibration button and while you are pressing it, turn on your ESC
  3. You should be hearing the ESC beeping
  4. Press the calibration button again, the beeping should stop
  5. Verify that all your transmitter commands are in neutral position. Turn on your transmitter
  6. Use the throttle command to reach the maximum position for acceleration and hold the position
  7. Press the calibration button, you should hear 2 beeps
  8. Release the throttle to the middle position
  9. Use the throttle command to reach the maximum position for braking and hold the position
  10. Press the calibration button, you should hear 3 beeps
  11. Release the throttle to the middle position
  12. Wait for two seconds and test the throttle.
Firmware update and Settings
  1. Electric Skateboard [V1] - Simple build Tutorial & PartsGo to your computer
  2. Download and install the programming application
  3. Download the ESC firmware for electric longboard (please check the last version of the Linear brake “BrakeLine” firmware)
  4. On your computer, open the programming application
  5. Go back to you ESC: verify that your ESC power button is in the OFF position
  6. Connect the ESC to your batteries (Use the Wiring scheme)
  7. Plug the JST connector into the USB programming interface
  8. Connect the USB interface to a Micro USB cable
  9. Push the power button of the ESC to ON position
  10. You should see that the link status for ESB Device and ESC device are both green
  11. Click on Update Software and follow the procedure until you hear a beep and you can see the ESC settings
  12. Change the settings as follows:
    1. Electric Skateboard [V1] - Simple build Tutorial & PartsMotor timing: High (Increasing timing increases rpm and motor temps but decreases torque, efficiency and run time.)
    2. Initial acceleration: Soft (allow to accelerate gradually instead of being ejected right away)
    3. Running mode: Forward w/o Reverse (it means that the motor will only for forward and never backward)
    4. Percentage braking: 30% ( I AM still experimenting braking by playing with both drag brake and brake percentage, I will update this section each time I improve my results)
    5. Percentage Drag brake: 7%
    6. Cut-off voltage: 3.2V
    7. Throttle limit: 100% (if you are a beginner I recommend to set the limit to 60% or 80% to limit top speed)
    8. Throttle percent reverse: irrelevant for me as I will not use the reverse so I am using the original value
    9. Motor rotation: Reverse in my case but you might have to use the other value if your motor is not rotating in the correct direction)
    10. Neutral range: 9%
    11. Batt type: Lipo
    12. Start power: 40 (level of power applied to the motor when starting. The more power the more quickly the startup will be. I wanted a smooth start-up in order to stay in my board)
  13. Click on Send settings, you should hear a beep
  14. Shut down your ESC and disconnect the programming interface, you are good to go!

For more details, please check the FVT 120A ESC manual

Transmitter + Receiver setup

Electric Skateboard [V1] - Simple build Tutorial & Parts

Assembly

Motor mount

ESC + Radio receiver

Battery enclosure

Overview

Issues and feedbacks

Vibrations

I had a lot of issues in my first test with the bad conditions of the street in Ottawa and Montreal (Canada). I have to use Aluminium Motor mount instead of my 3D printed files because the roads are so bad that I had some cracks on the motor mount (violent vibrations). Also, I lost one screw from the motor mount during my first ride and the screws on the wheels were all loose after a few minutes. I resolved this with some Thread locker and I also have reinforced my motor mount on the truck with JB Steel reinforced Epoxy glue.

Carrying the board

A DIY electric longboard is not very light and I move every week to another city where I work so I wanted to carry my board more easily. I designed a Handle Bar in the deck to carry the board with a Dremel tool and then I wrapped the handle with a Tennis racket overgrip to make it comfortable.

Upgrades

Update #1 – Cable enclosure and ESC enclosure upgrade

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