Read Me First: The State of the Longboard Project

Written 2019-01-13

Because this longboard project was one of the first that I posted here and I was eager to build, my posts haven’t synchronized well with the work I’ve done. In this post, I explain what I’ve done so far, my current problems, and what my next moves are. I will break these things up in terms of the electronics, hardware, and programming. Understanding past and future posts should be much easer after reading this.

Electronics

I’ve gotten to wire up all of the electronics except for the horn and solar components. The electronic speed controller (ESC) makes a lot of noise, so I might forego the horn, and the solar panel is going to take a lot of work, so I don’t have any immediate plans to use it. I have been able to control both the motor and lights though - here is a GIF of the lights working:

Unfortunately, after weeks of things going just fine, power would cut out if I went over a bump - I believe this is due to a bad solder joint on a buck converter I bought. Additionally, I killed one of my batteries, and one time I hooked up the lights backwards - I haven’t tested them since then.

I bought two buck converters - if the second one works without problems, there won’t be any more mention of the issue. If not, I will find a different brand or design my own buck converter. If the lights are permanently damaged, it may be some time untli I can buy another set. I should be fine with a damaged battery (I know, dangerous) for now.

Hardware

As I have mentioned before, my friend Shihao did most of the work to get the motor mounted on my longboard. I did the work of mounting the lights underneath and creating an enclosure. The enclosure was ugly and bulky though - it also doesn’t work with my newest system for attaching lights. So I scrapped it. I plan to create a CAD for a new one, make a mold with styrofoam, and then make the new enclosure with carbon fiber.

Programming

I think the android app and arduino code are mostly done - they support control of the lights and motor just fine. I will however spend time cleaning up the code. I will also spend some time writing comments and a post or two for better documentation.

The Order of Things

My first order of action is to fix the buck converter issue. I will tape everything down under the board to test that new converter works. Next, I’ll get new lights, and then document the code that I’ve written so far. I need the board working to refactor code - otherwise I won’t know if changes break things. The next step will be to create a new enclosure. After all of these steps, I should be in great shape to consider further upgrades to the board.

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