Aileron + H3

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Finally got round to putting the Teamgee H3 unit on to the 121c Aileron deck and boy does it look good.

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I really like this 31″carbon-fiber deck (it is one of my favorites), which has a nice concave top and big aggressive kick-tail. It feels more like a rigid downhill board but still carves really nicely.

Although the H3 unit is slow uphills (single low power motor) it is still surprisingly fun on flat ground carving under power. This is the same deck that is being used on the new Arc Board Aileron, with the Arc Board fusion drive; which should make for one hell of a board – I am looking forward to testing one.

Aileron-Dimensions

Fitting the H3 was easy, as it is meant to be. I used two half-risers (a riser bad cut in half) to cover a gap between the rear of the motor unit and the foam on the front of the unit.

SkateMetric DIY build spec

The excellent folks are SkateMetric (who do really good reviews) have done a blueprint and set of instructions for an excellent self-build they call their ‘Foosted’. It is using easily sourced components such as the Loaded Vanguard deck (but could use something else), Caliber II trucks, Wowgo battery and various components from Torque Boards.

parts

I estimate for us to build this (to the same spec and parts list), sourcing as much as possible from European suppliers would cost us around £1200 (€1350). At that cost, you are getting better specification (motors and battery) than something like a Boosted Dual; however, a less informative remote (the LED display) and obviously no company to support you. It is not a clear call, IMO; I guess you build it because you want the fun of the project.

The Skate Metrics instructions are here: Foosted Build

Teamgee H3 finally mounted

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Finally got to mount the H3 unit (this is an advance/pilot unit) to our 32″ custom made Hecs Deck. It took longer than I thought because I lost the remote, which has now thankfully turned up.

H3-1

Fitting the unit was relatively easy; I used one 2.5mm riser pad and half of another to build up the gap the trucks had with my deck curving quickly away for the kick-tail.

This is effectively a slightly smaller battery (2200mah) and single motor version of the H6 – it rides virtually the same, with nice progressive control, sharp braking (be careful) and the odd reverse button.

Our reference V2 next to it for scale.

H3-4

Full review to come.

The H3 arrived

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The Teamgee H3 finally arrived today – finally, once again UPS took their time and got the delivery wrong (why are you so bad UPS?).

This is a low-cost unit (more on pricing to come, as this is not yet officially sold in Europe right now) – and for the record, I paid for this with my own money. Bit of information on it: 85 cm wheels, 2200mah battery, single hub-motor (left-side drive). Published specs: 12km range and 25 km top – not as far, or as quick, as the H6 (and certainly not a competitor to Mellow), but then it is significantly cheaper than the H6 and I suspect aimed at a different customer and market.

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The motor unit (battery, truck and motor) comes with: screws for mounting, remote, charger, front truck and wheels and T-tool. The remote, pictured above, is the cheaper and simpler remote (compared to the H6 unit). Speed and Power switches on the side, the usual thumb-lever (with click4cruise) and the quirky shift button to reverse the board.

The plan was to temporarily fit this to our 32″ Hecs Decks custom Fish, even though it would cover a good part of the wood-burning artwork I did on the board, however, it really needs a riser pad for the trucks, so that the battery unit mounts flush to the deck.

A bit of a pain to not have it immediately up and running,  but easy to fix – riser pad on order… full review to come.

The VESC Project – the game changer for e-skates

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Much as I like the look of the various direct-drives and gear-drives coming to market, the real e-skate game changer for me the new open-source electronic speed-controller (ESCs) that are born from the VESC Project.

If you are not aware of the VESC open-source project, let me explain: the VESC project is an open-source project for programmable motor controllers, for anything that uses electric motors: e-skate, e-scooter, drone, robot lawn-mowers, anything. Off the back of the great work the project has done, companies like the innovative Australian company Enertion with their FOCBOX, are now using the specification and starting to sell component ESCs for self-building electric skateboards.

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The Enertion FOCBOX

This is a massive game changer, as until now there has only really been proprietary controllers available, which made self-builds difficult if not using a complete kit, with a matched proprietary controller, or someone’s complete blueprint. E-skates are relatively simple things when you break them down, there is a deck, a battery, wheels, trucks, drive-unit or hub-motors, remote and the ESC. Assembling them should be like building lego, but until now it has been difficult, even hit or miss, matching the ESC to the motors, battery and the remote-control.

Now, with VESC based ESCs, you can tune/program your controller to match your battery and motors. Upgrading your battery or motors is just a re-program; swapping from hub-motors to belt-drive, just a re-program. Plus I expect to see lots of people publishing their custom profiles, making it even easier. The outcome of this may not be more self-build parts, that will still come down to demand as this will still be a niche pastime, but I would expect to see more people self-building (including me) their future rides, plus start-ups and small e-skate companies selling better products. The outcome will be that we all benefit, those who want to self-build and those that just want to buy a complete e-skate.

VESC software
Benjamin’s Robotics

To read more:

E-Board: Bolt Motion

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Bolt Motion, a new company in Bergamo Italy, has launched a really small motorized board, just 23″ (60cm) long. Looks very cute and I really like the simplicity. personally, I am not a fan of e-skates with small wheelbases – I get the advantage of portability but prefer to have the greater stability at speed of longer wheelbases.

They quote a 14km (8.5 miles) range and a top speed of 30km/h (18.5mp/h), which is easily fast enough for me, on such a small wheelbase.

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Teamgee Adaptor Unit

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Video link: Teamgee Factory

A nice little video from Daniel Kwan who visited the Teamgee offices in Shenzhen; however, what is really interesting (at 1:58 in the video) is you see their adaptor unit which apparently is already sold in China. Competition for LandWheel, Onan, Ride Unlimited and the crazily expensive Mellow.

I am really interested to see how good this unit is, as we have a big stable of longboard decks that could work with such a unit.

Teamgee on its way

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Being an old-time (or older-timer!) longboard fan, I am a sucker for a retro pintail (owning two conventional pintails already); so I was immediately interested when I saw Teamgee’s new stylish electric ‘stealth’ pintail announced, with its hub-motors, hidden in-board battery and twin-stripe grip-tape.
Having talked to the company (thumbs up for their initial responsiveness) about importing one, a nice new one is now heading our way (at my cost) to join the stable. I will post comments and a review, once it is here and we have taken it out a few times.

UPDATE: Here is a link to a good video Ronnie Sarmiento did on the Teamgee board.

Norwegian Goveernment adds e-boards to e-bike laws

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The Norwegian Government announced last week that they are bringing e-boards and other electrical vehicles into line with cycles/e-bikes and their use on public roads and pavements.

This is in-line with the EU recommendations on personal electric vehicles and on the face of it this looks good, with headlines such as: ‘e-boards legal on public roads in Norway‘…. however, it is not that simple or in my view that welcoming, when you go into the detail and understand the objectives behind it.

Press Release. Date: 10.04.2018
Source: https://www.regjeringen.no/no/aktuelt/sma-elektriske-kjoretoy-blir-likestilt-med-sykkel/id2596831/

(Translation) Simpler rules, less bureaucracy and more fun in everyday life. Now we simplify the regulations for small electric vehicles, such as electric bicycles and castors. They are very similar to the bicycle in terms of use. Therefore, we are now equating such vehicles. They should now be able to be used in the same areas and under the same conditions. This makes it easier for both users and authorities, “said Minister of Transport, Ketil Solvik-Olsen.

The government has today set new regulations for small electric vehicles.
“This government will simplify regulations and remove unnecessary prohibitions. In 2014, the government made use of self-balancing vehicles legally in Norway. Now we take new steps and change the regulations so that other small electric vehicles are also allowed, and it will be the same rules for all such vehicles as for bicycles. There will be no age limit, and you can use the same areas as cycling and walking, ” says Solvik-Olsen.

Classification as a bike will mean that there is no obligation of approval, nor any registration duty or insurance obligation. The user is responsible for ensuring that the vehicle meets the terms of use as a bicycle.

Same care requirements as cyclists

The rules of particular care against other road users when using the vehicle for example on sidewalks or walkways shall also apply to users of small electric vehicles.

For road safety reasons, the weight of such vehicles is limited to 70 kilograms, including battery. The width should not be more than 85 cm, the length not more than 120 cm, and the maximum speed does not exceed 20 km per hour. The technical requirements correspond mainly to those that have been applicable to self-balancing vehicles

The vehicle shall be equipped with headlamps, tail lights and reflectors. There is also a requirement for braking power. In addition, the vehicle must have a signal horn or a signal bell, similar to that of a bicycle. However, exceptions to these requirements may be granted where such equipment cannot be fitted. There is no requirement for helmet or mandatory training.

“Although there is no requirement for helmet use, I would urge anyone who travels on both bicycles and small electric vehicles to use a helmet, drive carefully and pay attention to other road users, especially towards walking,” says Solvik-Olsen.

The objective of this law is to bring the increasing plethora of personal electric vehicles, scooters, e-boards, one-wheels, hover-boards etc. in line with existing restrictions on e-bikes and, here is the crux of it all, their physical restriction to a max of 20km/h (12mp/h).  Note, importantly, this must be a physical restriction of the transport, it is not a speed limit. It will be illegal, with penalties, to use on the public road or pavement any personal electrical transport that can exceed 20km/h. It does not matter if you are only doing 5km/h, if the board can do more than 20km/h, which virtually all non-toy boards can, you are not allowed on the public road or pavement and will be prosecuted.

So, all current mainstream e-boards – *Boosted, Evolve, Meepo*, all – will now be illegal on the public roads and pavements in Norway.  We do, however, need to recognize that they already were illegal: as in most countries, only vehicles specifically approved for the road are allowed on the road. Most of us, around the world, ride illegally on public roads and pavements because we are not approved for the road.

So why do I still see this Norwegian law as a bad thing? You could argue that at least it is allowing boards, even if restricted to 12mph, on the roads? For me, it is that this law is purely setting a threshold of 12mph, to match a previous judgment on e-bikes, not in any way to help reduce urban congestion, fossil-burning pollution or even encourage e-boards. It is just set at 12mph because they did not want challenge what had already been implemented for cycles years ago. The law-makers did not look at how the technology has advanced and will advance, it just pushed e-boards and scooters back to when cycles and e-bikes first entered the market.

Finally, I am also very disappointed that it did not address the actual main safety concern with riding – the wearing or not of a helmet. If an accident is at 10km/h, 20km/h or 22km/h, it is highly likely that it is the lack of a helmet that will be the major contributing factor to the seriousness of the injury. I would happily see laws, like with seat-belts in cars, making helmets compulsory on public roads.

Norway, sorry don’t celebrate just yet, I think you actually just took a step backward. It will be interesting to see now if the board makers actually consider it a market now worth selling to. In the end, this law could not actually encourage e-boarding in Norway, it might actually kill it.

 

Sad to see Yuneec Boards no longer made

 

Yuneec gen1
Yuneec E-Go gen-1

 

Sadly it looks like Yuneec has stopped making e-boards (although I have found no official statement). They are still making their other products, drones etc., it seems that they have just stopped selling their e-boards. I say “sad” as we have had one of the first-gen boards and it is still going strong, it has been bomb-proof, and now used very happily by my 8-year-old.

Its single belt-motor is now a little slow compared to most current modern 20mph+ boards, but now perfect for my youngest getting used to real e-boards (and not toys). It has excellent real 90cm wheels, a progressive remote control, and a nice flexing deck; plus, as said, ours has had great reliability and with minimal battery age sag after 2 years!

You can still buy them from some independent retailers, some of them now significantly discounting them, however, I imagine getting support and things fixed will not be so easy going forward unless you can pick up cheap salvage units to strip for the parts.

I can understand why they stopped, it is still a niche market that is overcrowded with options and now a flood of budget hub-motor boards, some of them really good. Tough competition and not really the market demand to scale up manufacturing and make a good profit – the same reason most of the crowd-funded struggle and sadly will disappear.

Virtually all of the budget boards are now hub-motors; not my favorite technology for our crappy old victorian pavements, but they are significantly cheaper to make than belt-drives – just basically fewer parts and assembly. Hence, it was good to see Riptide and Jed Boards launch recently belt and gear-drive options, I hope they do well and make it to some form of sustainable scale.

 

Sad to see the E-Go be no more.
Been great; thanks, Yuneec for the excellent work and all the fun.

Yuneec gen2
Yuneec E-Go gen2