Hacking a Boosted Board

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Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby agraham » Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:24 pm

Previously I took my Boosted Board to the Grin Technologies office nearby for Justin and Robbie to check out:
http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=67586
I was complaining to Justin about the dismal range and he said to hack it.
So I did!
I bought three of these prototype packs of 10s 18650 packs with bms and stuck them in hollowed out ethernet switches:
Image
I hacked into the discharge wires and plugged them into the Boosted Board:
Image
I also bought a Grin Tech Cycle Satiator to charge the blue packs to 42V plus as a bonus I can use the Satiator to work as a second charger for my boosted, charging at 2.7A to 43.2V through the charging port, or I can charge the Boosted through the discharge wires at 8A! This allows me to get an 80% charge in ten minutes which is totally wild (A123 cells are famous for their ability to accept and dump out charge at a high rate).
And here's the money shot:
Image
15 miles on one charge!
I probably could have gone further too, I terminated the charge at the end of the constant-amperage phase instead of waiting for the constant-voltage-decreasing-amperage phase to run because I was excited to go for a bomb around Stanley Park.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby CSN » Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:30 pm

What does it weigh now?

How does it handle with the extra batteries?

I saw some video where a Boosted rep at a trade show was claiming a few new products like removable batteries and drive systems without boards was coming.

The short range was why I passed on the Boosted.

Otherwise its pretty awesome product.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby agraham » Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:57 pm

Each pack is 500g
Image
So this adds 1.5kg
Dont really notice the difference when riding, the board just feels more planted.
It does mean I can't drop off curbs anymore because it would scrape them up.
I do notice its about an extra third heavier if I have to carry it.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby okp » Sun Jun 14, 2015 1:29 pm

Great stuff; IMHO If I buy a boosted board, I buy it for the sleek look knowing its distance limitation. The genuine board (Loaded) and the enclosures are really beautiful.

Even if you have more miles coverage by adding new DIY battery packs, I think the board sleek/stealth look is now totally destroyed and lack the charm of having such a beautiful job done by Boosted.
Last edited by okp on Sun Jun 14, 2015 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total. View post history.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby kimboviper » Sun Jun 14, 2015 3:24 pm

thats really cool. Can you still charge everything all together with the stock boosted charger? Do you just tap into the large black and red discharge wires? Can I increase the range by just adding a few lifepo4 a123 cells to the stock battery pack and get more range?

I also heard charging the packs at 8a would decrease the lifespan of the cells. Is that true?
Last edited by kimboviper on Sun Jun 14, 2015 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total. View post history.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby agraham » Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:18 pm

okp wrote:Great stuff; IMHO If I buy a boosted board, I buy it for the sleek look knowing its distance limitation. The genuine board (Loaded) and the enclosures are really beautiful.

Even if you have more miles coverage by adding new DIY battery packs, I think the board sleek/stealth look is now totally destroyed and lack the charm of having such a beautiful job done by Boosted.


I can take off the packs and tuck the tap back under the stock battery pack and it's back to stock again as far as anyone can tell.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby CSN » Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:24 pm

Could probably get the additional batteries in a slick enclosure to match the theme of the Boosted.

Why doesn't Boosted sell something like that and call it the Camel pack or something?
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby agraham » Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:43 pm

kimboviper wrote:thats really cool. Can you still charge everything all together with the stock boosted charger?


I can charge everything together with the Satiator set to 43.2V - the blue pack bms will automatically stop charging when they hit 42V and then the Boosted will finish charging.
Theoretically I could charge it all together with the stock charger, but it would take a few hours to charge all those batteries at 2.7A. Also the Boosted bms does not energize the discharge wires when charging so the external packs would not charge unless I a) plug the stock charger into the discharge wires or b) split the stock charger output to both the Boosted's port and the external pack.

kimboviper wrote:Do you just tap into the large black and red discharge wires?


Precisely.

kimboviper wrote:Can I increase the range by just adding a few lifepo4 a123 cells to the stock battery pack and get more range?


Yes but as noted the BMS will only charge the stock pack so you need to use method a or b above for charging the external cells, or c charge first one and then the other. The voltage of LiFePO4 is lower so you need a multiple of 12 cells instead of 10.

kimboviper wrote:I also heard charging the packs at 8a would decrease the lifespan of the cells. Is that true?


Maybe. Here's the datasheet.
The recommended fast charge is at 4C which is 10A so I'm still under the recommendation. They don't mention any decreased lifespan.
If I don't specifically need a fast charge I charge through the charging port a 2.7A - that way the Boosted bms can balance and calibrate if it wants to.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby agraham » Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:44 pm

CSN wrote:Could probably get the additional batteries in a slick enclosure to match the theme of the Boosted.

Why doesn't Boosted sell something like that and call it the Camel pack or something?


Totally agree.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby kimboviper » Sun Jun 14, 2015 10:39 pm

Agraham,

So basically I can run this turnigy pack:

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/stor ... _Pack.html

parallel to the stock boosted battery and charge it separately with a icharger or whatever and it should work? Or will the differences in the voltage make it not work?

I wonder how many miles i can get from the 8400mah and also if it will work with the battery indicator on the boosted remote....

Thanks for your help and keep up the good work!
Last edited by kimboviper on Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:13 am, edited 3 times in total. View post history.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby agraham » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:38 am

kimboviper wrote:Agraham,

So basically I can run this turnigy pack:

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/stor ... _Pack.html

parallel to the stock boosted battery and charge it separately with a icharger or whatever and it should work?


No that is a 2P pack - 6.6V which is way too low - you need 10S, 36V. It would be instantly destroyed by the higher voltage Boosted and if you were unlucky it would catch fire. You could put 5 of those in series to get the correct voltage tho. It would be a bit big and heavy tho and you'd have to have five balance chargers to get the charging done in a reasonable time. the resulting range would be ridiculous - ten or fifteen times as much - something like 40 or 50 miles.

Here's a 10S pack you could use:

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/stor ... _Pack.html

The stock battery is about 3000mAh so this will give you triple the range. You would have to get a 10S balance charger if you go this way.

Make sure when you plug it in to the board that it is turned on so both wires are energized and the voltages are within one volt of each other. You need a multimeter so you can confirm this before you connect it.

The battery indicator doesn't really work with extra batteries plugged in. The indicator goes down to one light in the same time as before and just sticks there. As I understand it this is because A123 batteries have a very flat discharge curve so the Boosted uses "coulomb counting" to gauge how many amps have been pulled from the battery instead of checking the voltage.

You will know when your charge is getting low because instead of suddenly stopping as the A123s go flat, your speed will slowly drop off as the extra pack's discharge curve is less flat.
Last edited by agraham on Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:49 am, edited 1 time in total. View post history.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby kimboviper » Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:30 am

awesome i think i might try that! I hope I dont blow it up! Thanks again.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby longhairedboy » Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:21 am

agraham wrote:
CSN wrote:Could probably get the additional batteries in a slick enclosure to match the theme of the Boosted.

Why doesn't Boosted sell something like that and call it the Camel pack or something?


Totally agree.


well.. there's this... by that generic company that seems to make some or all of the parts for those Bench Wheel boards...
http://www.amazon.com/Generic-Electric-Skateboard-Rechargable-Batteries/dp/B00WQP68UI/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1434378000&sr=8-1&keywords=generic+battery+pack+electric+skateboard
Last edited by longhairedboy on Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total. View post history.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby agraham » Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:12 pm

I got some questions by PM so I thought I would answer them here in case they are helpful for others:

I saw in the pictures 12,2 mph. Is that the average speed or you like to ride at low speeds?

I like to ride fast but at times I was on a bicycle path with families around and at other times I was grinding up a hill. Since the Boosted never seems to go above 21mph the average for the whole ride was low.
Now, did you connected all 3 of 18650 packs in parallel and then directly into the boosted wires (the positive and negative). If yes, why didn't use 10 AWG wire?

The blue packs came with 16 gauge wires on them. I would have preferred a slightly thicker gauge but the draw will be split between the stock pack and the three paralleled new packs so 16 AWG is more than ample thickness and 10 AWG would actually be overkill at this point.
Keep in mind that the Boosted discharge wires run in a small channel under the battery box. There isn't enough room for two thick wires. If I could do it over again I would not tap the wires in the middle of their length under the battery box - that was a mistake. Because the solder joint is a bit fat, the battery box doesn't sit perfectly flush anymore. Instead i would tap the wires at the point where they enter the battery box - the is a depression in the underside of the battery box at that point that the joint can sit in. Then I would tape the two wires together for their run under the box.
Is the BMS really necessary for the blue packs (18650)? I do not have any bms that small...where did you purchase the packs? Would they sell just the BMS...?

Many people operate without a BMS but for me I feel that it's important. It allows simple charging: just parallel them and plug them into just about any charger you have around - the BMS automatically disconnects the packs when they are full. You don't have the risk of over-discharging - the BMS protects you. I just want to ride - not worry about what my voltage is. I'm not interested in balance charging - just one plug and done.
I bought them from Grin Technologies (ebikes.ca) they referred to the packs as "prototypes" so I don't know how many they have to sell. I don't know if they can bring in the the bms separately to sell to you, but if not they may be able to tell you where to buy them if you want them. Be aware that they are spot welded to the cells with tabs so you would need a spot welder to build your own if you can get them.
I am concern that I will have to deal with big sparks every time I connect/disconnect. If I charge the BB with the stock charger and the external pack with my charger do I connect them together when the board is ON or OFF?


When the board is off the discharge wires are not energized therefore you will get a spark as the external pack's energy floods into the ESC. Also the board will refuse to turn on with the external pack already connected - this was scary for me as I was afraid the spark had damaged something!
You must connect the external pack with the board turned ON and you should first check with your multimeter that the difference between the two wires is less than one volt before you connect them - otherwise there will be an inrush current from one to the other in addition to possibly a spark.
I get no spark whatsoever as long as I have the board ON when I connect them.
You must also remember to unplug the pack when you turn off the board, otherwise the energized ESC will slowly draw down the external pack. I'm not sure how much of a draw the ESC is with the board off - probably not much. Sometime I will use my multimeter to figure out exactly.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby Silenthunter » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:55 am

Thanks Angus, I will start building my 10S pack now. I will connect it without BMS. I can charge quickly the external pack with my Icharge 3010B to the exact voltage in order to match it with the BB pack. The 18650 can be discharged up to 2.0V with no problems. I think once you feel the decline in performance/speed which is around 2.8V - 2.5V I will stop and charge both packs. Once you figure out the range it will be easy. The remote voltage indicator may help too...
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby Silenthunter » Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:32 pm

I think placing a 9.3 amp pack (30 cells, or 20 cells - 6.8 amps) will give so much range that I think you will never discharge the cells beyond 3.0V. I don't think the bms is really needed.

I HOPE now BB removes the speed limit.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby rev.cresci » Sat Jul 25, 2015 7:39 pm

I just ordered 4 of these lifepo4 packs (http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/stor ... _Pack.html) and wired them up in series to match the 12 cell already inside the boosted board. Since both packs are the same chemistry and thus ame voltage and discharge curve my battery gauge on the remote works accurately without calibration when I have the extended battery hooked up (14+ miles in pro) and when I have it disconnected and am running stock (4 miles in pro) I live in a super hilly area and never kick start. I mounted my 4 packs underneath the deck with clear scotch extreme velcro so its not too visable when the pack is off and holds over 10lbs easily. I spliced into the power leads in the rear of the board by the esc and ran a pigtail with an EC5 connector out the back of the cover with the motor lead so I didnt have to cut or modify the board in any way sans the 2 solder joints. Right now I am not running a bms on the aux pack but since the bat gauge is working I just keep an eye on it, I also remove the pack and charge it with a 4 port hobby charger ( hitec x4 ac plus) and am able to charge the aux packs up in 45 mins. Ill post some pics if people are interested, just wanted to let everyone know that it is way easier and cheaper to use batteries of all the same chemistry. Only downside is I still have to turn the board on then plug in the aux bat and the same when turning off. If anyone is in the bay area Ca let me know if you want to meet up and cruise sometime, I can even help add batteries to yours if you need help.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby kimboviper » Sat Jul 25, 2015 9:47 pm

rev cresci,

thats awesome post up some pix. i will probably modding my boosted also.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby LEVer » Sun Jul 26, 2015 3:31 am

That sounds really amazing rev. Yeah, as kimboviper said, please post some pics, maybe make your own thread about it. Have you considered offering this as an after-market add on? It definitely solves the BB range-anxiety problem. BTW, welcome.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby rev.cresci » Sun Jul 26, 2015 8:17 pm

All my pictures were too big to upload and to be honest Im too busy riding the hell out of this board to resize them so I uploaded them to my dropbox.
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/35c6chl10z9k ... nD_Fa?dl=0
Please excuse the hack job power wires running around the outside of the rear esc box and the super fancy duct tape job on the outside of the batteries (had to keep the balance leads from dragging on the ground) Im going to make a small aluminum shield to replace the tape as soon as I find a metal brake. Its still a proof of concept that was put together in about an hour and now that its working perfectly Im going to refine my work a bit as I find time. Im going to start by making a battery shield to protect the batts even though they sit higher than the stock battery and are far from the ground even with 220lbs of badass on the board, I still worry about hitting them going up driveways and such. If you are located in the bay area and want to check it out or need more details/help if you choose to do the same just let me know. All the credit goes to the brave soul to crack his board open first!!!! Thanks for the welcome, Ill post updates during battery charges and as often as my A.D.D. will allow. ********Im not trying to make any cash by doing this for others/ take responsibility for anything that may go wrong, merely showing what Ive done to get more range and offer help. I have no intention of producing this for others, though If you're local I can help with soldering if need be and talk to you in person but the rest is all peel and stick. Sorry, already getting requests **********
Last edited by rev.cresci on Sun Jul 26, 2015 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total. View post history.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby kimboviper » Mon Jul 27, 2015 5:56 pm

hey brandon,

good ideas and great pix... all my stuff is on order so when i get it done we should go cruising with our Boosted Boards-R... i am in san jose :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Last edited by kimboviper on Mon Jul 27, 2015 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total. View post history.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby rev.cresci » Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:39 pm

Sounds good, let me know when you want to meet up. With proper range these things are amazing to just cruise around on. Now that Im not worried about always trying to save power to get home I now hope that they raise the top speed a bit to 25mph. I routinely ride like a banshee for 13-16 miles and make it back home with 1 1/2 lights on the remote. Cant wait to see other extended range boosteds running around and what others come up with!
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby agraham » Sat Aug 01, 2015 11:33 am

Nice one rev. Your hack is simpler than mine. Using the same chemistry is the right answer for most people so that will be my advice to others from now on. Also tapping the wires on the esc side where there is more room is a stroke of genius. I'm going to edit my original post to mention that.
I'm going to be in Santa Barbara for a week starting August 15th. If you guys have a hacked Boosted meetup during that time I might be able to come up.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby okp » Sat Aug 01, 2015 12:08 pm

hey brandon, impressive hack. Really nailed it.
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Re: Hacking a Boosted Board

Postby Silenthunter » Sat Aug 15, 2015 7:15 am

I finished my 10S 2.5 amp 18650 pack and connected it from the ESC. Did a circle in Central park and the entire ride 8.3 miles, speed between 15-21 mph. When I checked with my klein MM2000 voltmeter the BB pack was 37.33V and the 18650 pack 37.95V. The remote was showing empty battery.
I guess I had enough juice to cover couple more miles. I connected the additional pack without BMS and it works well. The 18650 pack was cold. I think later when its time to replace the A123 cells I will swap with 20 of the 3.1amp 18650 cells.
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