Teamgee H3 finally mounted

H3-2

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 VESC Project – the game changer for e-skates

gold_vesc_tool

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.

focbox
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:

Teamgee H6 arrives

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The eagerly awaited Teamgee H6 finally arrived after UPS messed around for a week (my experiences lately with UPS have been universally not good). Unpacked and straight out on the road ūüôā – why do people make dull unpacking videos on youtube, even worse with music overlay?

First impressions from the weekend are really good. It’s big selling point obviously is the board’s looks and it does not disappoint – it looks great and is a real stealth board, apart from the big red “Electrical Skateboard” stickers on the underside, which did make me laugh (they will no doubt be taken off quickly).

The power delivery with the remote and ESC is sharp, but nice and progressive. This is a board easy to get confident on quickly. The remote wheel is nice and smooth, although the overall weight of the remote is a little light and feels a bit cheap; but it does not impact the control and ride experience.

The L1 and L2 settings are via a simple hard-switch on the side of the remote, rather than a soft programme control, which is good. The speed-range between L1 and L2 seems nicely spread, so that L1 does not carry you at warp speed, but it is also not boring so you are forced to go full speed. In fact, the board spent most of its time over the weekend on L1 being tested and used by my neighbours’ young teenage kids Рand got the big thumbs up from them.

Next, oldest son has to take it on some speed tests. Will do a full write-up shortly. Nice one Teamgee {thumbs up}.

Teamgee Adaptor Unit

teamgee2

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.

Helmet: Giro Switchblade

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A few notes on the Giro Switchblade downhill MTB helmet, which I now use most of the time when out on the e-boards. In summary, I really like it, have no issues with it and very happy to recommend it.

I looked at the Switchblade, the Bell Super 3r and DH, some of the Fox Racing ones and the Met Parachute; in the end, I chose the Switchblade primarily for the:
  • Graphics/colors scheme (my Red and White).
  • Detachable chin guard (the Parachute does not detach).
  • Half-shell having more coverage (over some of the others).
  • Reasonable cost.

They all fitted well, which surprised me, and they all had the MIPS safety system, so my choice was really about just color, style, and cost. The cost new, after a bit of hunting around, was £160; which I was pleased with. I could not find discounted deals on the Foxes or the Bell DH, but the 3r Super and Met Parachute were available with deals at roughly the same price.

The Switchblade with chin-guard weighs 985g, which is a bit heavier than the very-light Met Parachute at 700g (but it has no metal chin lock mechanism, as the guard is not removable), but not an issue for me – I am used to much heavier motorcycle helmets. The foam padding is excellent and really¬†comfortable. It has the RocLoc¬ģ Air DH¬†system, where you just twist the wheel at the back of the head, to tighten or loosen the fit.

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The detachable chin guard is nice, but given I bought this primarily for the extra protection over my normal skate helmet, I could have lived easily with it being none-removable, like with the Met Parachute. Removing and fitting the chin-guard is easy, needing two hands. The fitting is snug and secure.
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What, however, does differentiate some of the helmets with removable chin-guards is what kind of half-shell is left when the chin-guard is removed. This is very noticeable between the Bell Super 3r and the Switchblade, with the Giro having more jaw-side cover/protection when used without the chin-guard. Not that one is better than the other, it is really just a preference thing.

 

I went with the downhill MTB style of helmet, over a full-cover motorcycle style, like the popular TSG Pass, for the extra ventilation and, being honest, it felt less conspicuous – a kind of a dumb rationale in some ways, but that is vanity for you.

It comes with alternative foam inserts, a nice carry/storage bag, and a spare visor.

Some review videos:

Hot-cast & cold-cast Urathane

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I have learned something new and interesting – the difference between hot-casting and cold-casting of polyurethane wheels (I did not even know there were two processes for making polyurethane wheels).

There have been a growing and significant¬†number of posts on various e-board forums about how the polyurethane¬†of hub-motors is cracking and breaking up far too quickly; and not just the usual budget companies, top end boards like¬†Entertion’s Raptor seem to also have batches with the issue (Entertion¬†aparently identified a bad batch). A few companies, inc. Backfire, Entertion and¬†Verreal, offer replacement polyurethane for the motor; however, there is¬†a concern, which I share, that there is a fundamental¬†problem here with a lot of the hub-motors in the market right now.

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https://www.reddit.com/r/ElectricSkateboarding/comments/88ttji/raptor_new_97mm_already_cracking/

Part of the challenge, and why hub-motors require high-quality and not cheap low-quality polyurethane, is that the polyurethane unlike with a real wheel is effectively just a wrap or sleeve around the hub-motor. Not only this the amount of polyurethane much less than a real wheel (why there is more vibration to the ride), but the hub-motor will also be getting hot and heating up the core of the wheel.

One of the posts on /r/electricskateboarding¬†highlighted (thanks Predator Boards) that the potential biggest issue is how the sleeve is made,¬†namely if the polyurethane¬†has been cold-cast or hot-cast. In summary (and I am far from being an expert here): hot-cast, where the wheels are baked in an oven, is more expensive but produces high-quality polyurethane wheels (all duros); as opposed to cold-cast, where it is set in a mold at room temperature. In addition, cheap cold-cast wheel often don’t¬†use a vacuum as part of the process, to¬†take the air (micro-bubbles) out of the wheel.

And, in response to “how do we spot if a wheel has been cold cast or hot cast?”:

This isn’t a guarantee, but hot-casted thane usually goes through a vacuum/compression process. You can inspect the inner edge of the wheel and see if there are any air bubbles. If there are, then it’s likely cold-casted. If there aren’t any,¬†then it may still be cold-casted and vacuumed.

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I have not 100% understood all of this, and I need to do more reading, but it has first-off helped me with the question: “why don’t I just buy those cheap wheels from Ebay?“. As for hub-motors on e-boards, I just think that you have to accept it as part of the downsides (against their upsides), especially if you are buying a budget board which will almost certainly use cold-cast urethane sleeves. Having replacement¬†sleeves is a distinct advantage with some makes, although there is an argument that just replacing the whole hub motor is actually the right/safer option. I think it all just reinforces the recommendation to only buy an e-board where you can fix and¬†replace¬†the parts easily. Cold-cast wheels are just going to damage easily and need replacing.

 

 

 

 

 

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 Рthe 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

Bearing Grease

breaing greeese

Found this interesting and very helpful video on bearing grease from the excellent guys at Longboard Technology (OuterPlanet).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsXhSao7EEw

Youtube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsXhSao7EEw

Summary of their recommendations:

  • Schaeffer 274 Moly Extreme Pressure – most waterproof, Nano MOLY Anti-Friction, very cheap.
  • SuperLube High Temp Extreme Pressure – waterproof, PTFE Anti-friction, a little expensive.
  • Archoil AR8300 Severe Duty Nanoceramic – very high water resistance, nano ceramic anti-friction, VERY expensive.
  • Bones Speed Cream – gold standard conventional bearing lubricant. Low water resistance, no anti-friction additives, extremely good ease of use, widely available, cheap.

Lots of other interesting videos of there, especially on truck design.

outerplanet2