10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Lightweight / Folding / Portable EVs - seats optional
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austindavid   100 W

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10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by austindavid » Sep 25 2014 1:26am

Hi all- torqueboards funded development of the nunchuck-based receiver, and you've seen how that turned out. Now we're spinning up some work to build an ESC:
- brushless -- designed for standard outrunners
- sensorless -- sensored performance at low speed, but no sensors required. Seriously. Start cold on a single motor, no cogging.
- power: 10S, high power, high efficiency design.
- regenerative braking
- quiet
- fully configurable. We'll tune it for a few specific motors, but it's as adjustable as wiiceiver or the flier/Alien ESCs
- all open source and hackable.

We'll make as many as needed and will sell them as cheap as we can, same as we've done for wiiceiver. Funding goes to cover development costs. All software, designs, part lists, etc will be shared freely. Unfortunately it will have to be an SMD-based design with pretty tight tolerances, to keep size comparable with other ESCs -- but not accessible in kit form, sorry :(

Basically we want to make the perfect ESC and give it away. Once we get a design we may do a kickstarter or something kickstarter-like, to know how many we should build in the first run.

This post is a few things:
1) thanks for the support for wiiceiver. Enthusiasm, ideas, and contribution help make this stuff happen. Ongoing sales are funding this ESC work
2) an informal survey: how much would you pay for the perfect ESC?
3) a teaser :)

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by torqueboards » Sep 25 2014 1:43am

Can't wait.. too excited! :mrgreen: Are you guys excited too?
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made_in_the_alps_legacy   10 kW

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by made_in_the_alps_legacy » Sep 25 2014 2:15am

can't get out of my head a "receiver + ESC" combo like the good old old tamiya CPR
I know you guys could do a "Wii receiver + ESC" combo :mrgreen:

quite excited for sure :twisted:

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by lone_deranger » Sep 25 2014 2:50am

Now you've got me excited! I'm still struggling with cogging on startup with my Alien 150A ESCs on my 4x4 e-MTB. I'd hoped that a motor (6374) per wheel on 10s would deal with the issue but it still remains. Granted, it isn't designed for onroad use (much less inertia to overcome) but I wouldn't mind more low speed offroad control.
Please make my dreams happen :D

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by viper » Sep 25 2014 5:58am

amazing, so excited! subscribed!
will you make a dual one?
price should be parts + labor + x% for your development and some profit.
I can tell you that I paid over 200$ for a dual 8s esc.

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by torqueboards » Sep 25 2014 8:08am

We are focusing on creating a single ESC and you can tie in multiple single esc's to plug into the Wiiceiver. Austin also has a nice display unit that shows battery life, amperage, miles per hour and much more......... If all goes as planned, these components alone will make a great quality "boosted board" perhaps without the appeal for now... Although, I do know some people on here are pretty talented with the aesthetics aspect.

I've been waiting for something like this for so long.. Hopefully, we don't wait too long.
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nieles   10 kW

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by nieles » Sep 25 2014 8:57am

have you thought about going with a controller chip from lebowski? (a member here)

he has developed a sophisticated control algorithm and sells pre programmed microcontrollers. (now also smd)

this way you would only need to develop the power stage and drastically cut your development time.

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by austindavid » Sep 25 2014 10:22am

nieles wrote:have you thought about going with a controller chip from lebowski? (a member here)

he has developed a sophisticated control algorithm and sells pre programmed microcontrollers. (now also smd)

this way you would only need to develop the power stage and drastically cut your development time.
I'll check in with him to see what he's got. We're not exactly starting from scratch here, but more help is always welcome. Thanks for the tip!

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by psychotiller » Sep 25 2014 10:29am

I'm in! I would think $200 would be fair for an ESC of this caliber.
Last edited by psychotiller on Sep 25 2014 4:44pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by Silenthunter » Sep 25 2014 12:46pm

Sing me in.......in my dual mountain board set up one of the mamba xl2 died for no reason. I am covering daily @15-20 miles so I can test your product and eventually buy couple if they hold up the test.

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by vedder » Sep 25 2014 1:08pm

Nice that there is so much interest!
I'm the one working on the ESC. I'm sure I have spent more than 1000 hours the past two years on this project in my spare time, so I'm glad that people are interested. Here is a summary of what I have done so far:

This is a post where I published the design the first time:
http://vedder.se/2014/01/a-custom-bldc- ... ontroller/

Here I describe some techniques I used to get good sensorless startup and low-speed performance with full load:
http://vedder.se/2014/08/startup-torque ... dc-motors/

The latest source code for the firmware:
https://github.com/vedderb/bldc

A Qt GUI tool I have created for configuration and debugging:
http://home.vedder.se/public/BLDC_Tool_2014-09-25/

The sourcecode for the GUI:
https://github.com/vedderb/bldc-tool

The design files for the latest hardware version I have ordered for testing:
https://github.com/vedderb/bldc-hardware

A PDF-version of the schematic for the hardware above:
https://github.com/vedderb/bldc-hardwar ... f?raw=true

Changes I did in the past weeks (not described in my long blog post above yet) are to make the configuration user friendly using the GUI. With the first version I released of the software, you really had to know how to program to use the ESC to get a motor running at all. Now, the most important things can be configured from the GUI, so the ESC can be used without any code compilation and programming. I plan to add much more to the GUI such as CAN bus configuration and several new applications.

Finally, here is a link to a video where I demonstrate sensorless startup and low speed on an electric longboard:


As you can see, every detail regarding hardware and software of this ESC is open source. Before Austin contacted me I have done almost everything by myself in my spare time. I would really enjoy continuing working on this project and see how far we can take it.
Some of my projects: http://vedder.se
Support my open source ESC development with a small donation

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by torqueboards » Sep 25 2014 1:51pm

Great to have you on the forum Vedder :) - Thanks for posting. Your video definitely shows the ability of the ESC.
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nieles   10 kW

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by nieles » Sep 25 2014 2:21pm

thats awesome!!really like your project. missed the part where you were asking for testers..
i like how smooth your startup routine is.

are you using speed control or current/power control?
do you have synchronous rectification implemented? (less heat generated in the fets)

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by beto_pty » Sep 25 2014 2:33pm

As usual count me in...
Please make it work with the 5060 ntm (8s max)..love those motors.. and they are smallish...
Welcome vedder.. Are you here to bring balance to the Forum? :D

Ideal dream Specs
Price under $100 bucks (as compared to the hv Sentilion ESC I use on the destroyer)+Austins wiiceiver
breaking/usefull regen
Included/powered austins wiiceiver on board
waterproof (burned 2 sentilions this way)
10s-5s capable.. so if a bettery burns down in your 10s system you can hobble back home on a single 5s
on/off switch
12v output for leds
Antispark xt90 connectors
Make it PURDDY
:D

tons of edits cause i kept thinking of stuff...
Last edited by beto_pty on Sep 25 2014 2:47pm, edited 2 times in total.
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vedder   100 W

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by vedder » Sep 25 2014 2:45pm

There is almost no startup routine, the controller just goes to closed loop operation in one or two commutations. I can also stand still ang give full throttle - which results in me falling off the board :-)

I have implemented current control, duty-cycle control and speed control, everything working in 4 quadrants. I prefer to run on current control since it feels more natural because the position on the stick represents how much torque I command, regardless of speed. Regenerative braking with current control is also fully smooth.

Yes, there is synchronous rectification. There are three different PWM modes that can be used.
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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by vedder » Sep 25 2014 2:48pm

I will make it work with any motor I can test and also make a video tutorial about how to do that - it is quite easy. I'm just here to join the discussions :-)
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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by dirkdiggler » Sep 25 2014 3:26pm

Looks great! I remember reading your blog a while back. Good to see you making something for those of us who don't understand half of what you are saying! Your sensorless startup looks awesome. That will be nice for first timers on eboards. Everyone either jams the throttle and falls off or not enough and the motor cogs. I think 10s is plenty for eboards, but on your blog you stated 60v. Are you planning on a few different versions?
Also, I would recommend you also focus on the ebike community. They are in need of a cheaper solution than the Castle Creations. As you know HV RC ESCs are expensive. More so than a cheap chinese ebike controller that you can pick up for $50 and does 72 volts. I started a thread in the mid-drive forum that might interest you. http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 8&start=75 Most ebikers have blown up their expensive rc controllers and not many use them anymore. If you can figure out how to do current limiting and HV, you could sell a lot of these. Plenty of great uses for these cheap sensorless RC motors if we can get the controller aspect setup correctly. RC ESCs have a huge weight and size advantage over standard bike controllers.
Your 1/8 scale truggy looked smooth with this ESC, so keep going with that. What model was that?
It would be great if you could keep it in the $100 range, obviously the cheaper the better. You get much higher than the 150a car ESC and you are going to have a harder time selling them. I have no idea how much the parts are to get these made. I would definitely like to test these out. I've got enough e-projects that I could try it out on.

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by verruckt » Sep 25 2014 3:40pm

Is the amp draw really high at startup?

Would it be possible to make sure the capacitors can be easily swapped out?

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by austindavid » Sep 26 2014 2:41am

dirkdiggler wrote: It would be great if you could keep it in the $100 range, obviously the cheaper the better.
We're focusing on quality first. Two blown cheap ESCs are more expensive than one awesome one. Given our low overhead I think we can keep it reasonable, but we haven't actually built any yet.

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by vedder » Sep 26 2014 4:26am

I think 10s is plenty for eboards, but on your blog you stated 60v. Are you planning on a few different versions?
The PCBs I have now work for 12s, so that will probably be the rating (I didn't write the title :-) ). One option would be to use 40V FETs, which are available in the same package, to get a bit lower ON-resistance; but then the maximum rating would be 8s or 9s. I have not seen any 50V FETs in the same package yet, so if we are going to use the 60V ones for 10s it will also work for 12s. The lowest voltage by the way is around 8V, so it will always work down to 3s.
It would be great if you could keep it in the $100 range, obviously the cheaper the better
As austin mentioned, making the cheapest ESC has never been our goal. When I started development my goal was to make the best possible ESC with as small size as possible, so I chose the best components that I could find. When I buy components and PCBs for just 2 ESCs, the price is about 80€ for every ESC when I solder everything by myself. Buying larger quantities and maybe making the CAN-transceiver an option can probably make the final PCB cost about 100$ readily assembled, but I haven't been involved in any larger production yet. I have only ordered PCBs, components and assembled them by myself. Adding heatsinks, making it water-proof etc. will also add some cost, but I don't have enough experience to estimate how much that will be. I will use the bare PCBs as they are and put them in a sealed box. During my tests I didn't need heatsinks at all, but we'll see how warm it gets with just one motor to handle all the load.
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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by made_in_the_alps_legacy » Sep 26 2014 6:33am

vedder wrote: the price is about 80€ for every ESC when I solder everything by myself. .
Would you start selling "soldier your own / bag of parts" ESC kit for 80E ? seems fine to me :wink:

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by benj » Sep 26 2014 8:18am

So excited for this project! Go for it guys, and if you need a beta tester then count me in 8) I have a longboard and mountainboard I can test on.

Beto's list looked awesome for a wishlist. I would be happy up to about $200 for something like that.

Most of all, I think reliability and failsafe are the 2 most important things. We are stupid enough to stand on a plank of wood and travel at 20+mph so the most we can do to protect ourselves is welcome :lol:

Good luck with it. Looks awesome so far in the video.

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by austindavid » Sep 26 2014 9:40am

made_in_the_alps_legacy wrote:
vedder wrote: the price is about 80€ for every ESC when I solder everything by myself. .
Would you start selling "soldier your own / bag of parts" ESC kit for 80E ? seems fine to me :wink:
Surface mount. If you seriously want to save like $20 of $100 or so I'm sure we could help you, but quality is much harder to control for that. Very easy to screw up on accident.

Really we need to get the first few made and see how it goes.

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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by torqueboards » Sep 26 2014 10:22am

austindavid wrote:
made_in_the_alps_legacy wrote:
vedder wrote: the price is about 80€ for every ESC when I solder everything by myself. .
Would you start selling "soldier your own / bag of parts" ESC kit for 80E ? seems fine to me :wink:
Surface mount. If you seriously want to save like $20 of $100 or so I'm sure we could help you, but quality is much harder to control for that. Very easy to screw up on accident.

Really we need to get the first few made and see how it goes.
We are practically giving it away to benefit everyone. Making it as simple as possible with as much documentation as we can is ideal. Specifically, helping individual issues and trouble shooting when things go wrong is going to eat up a lot of time - it could sometimes end up taking hours for a single person's issue. This is much more components than the Wiiceiver. I'm sure, there are countless hours gone into trouble shooting Wiiceiver's that Austin and I never anticipated. However, we still wanted everyone to use and test it.

If you also want the smaller form factor and "cheaper cost" - surface mount is definitely the way to go. Which I'm sure - everyone is looking forward too. Being surface mount and with a decent bulk buy we can get the price down considerably with the "soldering labor" included and the additional benefits.

Soldering your own ESC could possibly take hours... Is your $20-50 worth 2-4 hours of your time? The board being much bigger?

Anyhow, I'm sure you won't be disappointed either way.
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Re: 10S custom skate ESC: testers wanted!

Post by chuttney1 » Sep 26 2014 10:35am

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