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Design and development of an intuitively controlled personal transport device based on a skateboard platform

A REPORT Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Master of Technology (Automotive Engineering) and Bachelor of Technology (Engineering Design)

By

Alex J Vazhatharayil
Under the guidance of

Dr. Sandipan Bandyopadhyay

Department of Engineering Design Indian Institute of Technology Madras June 2012

THESIS CERTIFICATE

This is to certify that the report titled Design and development of an intuitively controlled personal transport device based on a skateboard platform submitted by Alex J Vazhatharayil, to the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai for the award of the degree of Bachelor of Technology and Master of Technology, is a bona fide record of the research work done by him under my supervision. The contents of this report, in full or in parts, have not been submitted to any other Institute or University for the award of any degree or diploma.

Dr. Sandipan Bandyopadhyay Assistant Professor Department of Engineering Design Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Place: Chennai Date: 21st June, 2012

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I am very thankful to my guide Dr. Sandipan Bandyopadhyay who believed in me and encouraged me to pick up a product design project as my M.Tech project. I am also grateful to him for having provided support whenever necessary while giving me the freedom to innovate. I am extremely grateful to IC&SR for having funded this project under Student Innovative Project. This level of work could not have been possible without the financial support. I would like to thank the people at the institute workshop who helped fabricate the truck. I am extremely thankful to Mr. Ranganathan who did the mechanical fabrication of most of the components of the final prototype. His superior understanding and work quality has helped speedup the project. I am ever grateful to the creators of Arduino which made writing microcontroller codes insanely simple. I thank the developers of open source software-Processing. I thank Eagle for providing a free version of their circuit building software for hobby use, which was extensively used in this project. Last but not the least I would like to thank my parents for all the support they have provided.

ABSTRACT

In this project, an attempt was made to make a practical product that a user would want to use. The product attempted to build is meant to address the problem of personal transport for short distances of approximately 5km to 10km. In a country like India with a large population, transportation from point to point is a major problem. With almost always crowded roads and the risks/tension involved in driving to work, people are increasingly tending to use the well established public transport system. The problem with public transport is that they are crowded at many times, but with limited space that we have in our cities, when more people use public transport, less is the traffic on road and more will be the space for improving public transport. One major factor that prevents people from using the public transport is the walk involved to and from a public transport station. The intention of this project is to create a device that saves the user from short distance walks(less than 5km) which can also be carried by the user on a public transport system. If successfully deployed this device is to promote the usage of public transport and enhance user travel experience.

This product is to be first deployed in a controlled environment like IIT Madras campus where the travel within the campus is less 5 km but needs to be made on a daily basis. This new innovative product with electric batteries will be far more efficient that gas based twowheelers and four-wheelers. It can also be used in large housing colonies to commute within the housing colonies. Once the roads are made better, soon they should be usable on any pothole free commutable roads.

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1.1: The three most common use-case of the device ..................................................... 2 Figure 1.2: Segway the human transporter (reprinted from www.segway.com/) ..................... 3 Figure 1.3 A typical electric skateboard available in the market (reprinted from www.altered.com) ..................................................................................................................... 3 Figure 1.4: Uno dicycle (reprinted from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uno_(dicycle)) ..................... 4 Figure 1.5: Honda UX-3 (reprinted from world.honda.com/U3-X/) ........................................ 5 Figure 1.6: Left - 250W electric skateboard, right 800W electric skateboard (reprinted from www.alteredelectricskateboards.com) ...................................................................................... 6 Figure 1.7 : Zboard (reprinted from zboardshop.com) ............................................................. 6 Figure 1.8: Different kinds of decks (reprinted from www.texaslongboards.com/) ............... 12 Figure 1.9: A typical skateboard truck (reprinted from www.skaterevolution.com/)............. 13 Figure 1.10: Drop-deck longboard (reprinted from www.muirskate.com/) ........................... 13 Figure 1.11: Typical electric skateboard trucks (reprinted from

fastestelectricskateboard.co.uk/) ............................................................................................. 13 Figure 1.12: 10 inches wheels used in an electric skateboard (reprinted from www.brolive.org/) ................................................................................................................... 14 Figure 1.13: Model of the user standing on the deck .............................................................. 15 Figure 1.14: Model of the rider and device when going up a ramp ........................................ 16 Figure 2.1: The completed deck with trucks and wheels attached. The arch shape of the deck is noticeable in this figure. ...................................................................................................... 19 Figure 2.2: Sandpaper stuck on the top to increase friction on the top of the deck ................ 20 Figure 2.3: Painting the deck to prevent the deck from decay due to moisture ................... 20 Figure 2.4: The underside of the deck after paint job ............................................................. 21 Figure 3.1: Parts of a truck (reprinted from skaterevolution.com) ......................................... 24 Figure 3.2: Side view of the truck model when the tilt angle b is equal to 0 ........................ 25 Figure 3.3: Front view of the truck showing angle b ............................................................. 26 Figure 3.4: The top view of the truck showing the angle t ................................................... 27 Figure 3.5: Axial view of the truck showing angle r ............................................................ 28 Figure 3.6: Plot of b with r ................................................................................................... 30 Figure 3.7: Plot of t with r ................................................................................................... 31

Figure 3.8: Plot of t with b ................................................................................................... 31 Figure 3.9: Plot of height of deck CG with r when l1/l2 is 0.1 .............................................. 32 Figure 3.10: A solid model of the truck developed ................................................................ 34 Figure 3.11: The truck prototype mounted to deck version 2 ................................................. 35 Figure 4.1: FSR-Force Sensing Resistor (reprinted from www.sparkfun.com/) .................... 37 Figure 4.2: Loadcell sensor used in digital bathroom scale (reprinted from sparkfun.com) .. 38 Figure 4.3: Two loadcells used in parallel to create the bridge .............................................. 40 Figure 4.4: Two loadcells used in anti-parallel to create the bridge ....................................... 41 Figure 4.5: 1000 ohm resistors and a trimpot used to balance the bridge with one loadcell .. 42 Figure 4.6: Schematic of the loadcell board. .......................................................................... 43 Figure 4.7: Gain trimpot and bridge trimpot on the loadcell circuit ....................................... 44 Figure 5.1: Joystick - used for testing and simulations ........................................................... 50 Figure 5.2: Data from the device being plotted live as it is tested .......................................... 53 Figure 5.3: Schematic circuit for adjusting Vref ...................................................................... 54 Figure 6.1: 250W motor and 500W motor.............................................................................. 57 Figure 6.2: Plot of torque output at the motor shaft vs. RPM of 500W motor at 24V ........... 58 Figure 6.3: Plot of power output with RPM of 500W motor at 24V ...................................... 59 Figure 6.4: Plot of efficiency of the 500W motor at different RPM at 24V ........................... 59 Figure 6.5: Transmission system where the motor is connected to a gear box which connected to the wheel ............................................................................................................ 60 Figure 6.6: Minimum torque required at the wheel at various speeds .................................... 63 Figure 6.7: Torque available at 24V (thick) and torque required (dashed) at motor with sprocket ratio of 3:1. ............................................................................................................... 64 Figure 6.8: Fullymax 4900 mAh and 2700mAh battery ......................................................... 65 Figure 6.9: Sabertooth motor driver (left) and electric scooter driver (right) ......................... 68 Figure 6.10: Analog accelerometer (left) and digital accelerometer (right) (reprinted from rhydolabz.com) ....................................................................................................................... 69 Figure 7.1: Acrylic loadcell mount used for testing, with all 4 loadcells in place.................. 71 Figure 7.2: Complete test assembly with the glass placed over 4 loadcell on the acrylic mount connected to the circuit implemented on breadboard ............................................................. 71 Figure 7.3: load cell mount ..................................................................................................... 72 Figure 7.4: Loadcell, loadcell mount and loadcell circuit board ............................................ 73

Figure 7.5 : Exploded view of double layered deck assembly ............................................... 74 Figure 7.6: Exploded view of the wheel assembly ................................................................. 75 Figure 7.7: Free wheel hub ..................................................................................................... 76 Figure 7.8: Powered wheel hub .............................................................................................. 76 Figure 7.9: Motor mount attached to the motor ...................................................................... 77 Figure 7.10: Exploded view of the motor mount .................................................................... 78 Figure 7.11: Basic device diagram, showing the longitudinal axis(X) and lateral axis(Y) and the four loadcell mount points ................................................................................................ 79 Figure 7.12: Control strategy version 1 .................................................................................. 80 Figure 7.13: Control strategy version 2 .................................................................................. 81 Figure 7.14 : Control strategy version 3 ................................................................................. 83 Figure 7.15: Modified control strategy version 3 ................................................................... 84 Figure 7.16: The completed prototype to test intuitive control .............................................. 85

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ....................................................................................................... i ABSTRACT ............................................................................................................................ ii LIST OF FIGURES ................................................................................................................ iii TABLE OF CONTENT ......................................................................................................... vi CHAPTER 1 Establishing project goals and specification ....................................................... 1 1.1 Introduction ..................................................................................................................... 1 1.2 Objectives and motivation ............................................................................................... 1 1.3 Survey of similar products in the market ........................................................................ 3 1.3.1. Devices based on inverted pendulum platform ....................................................... 3 1.3.2. Devices based on skateboard platform .................................................................... 5 1.4 Projects goals and specifications ..................................................................................... 6 1.4.1. Mission statement .................................................................................................... 6 1.4.2. Product description .................................................................................................. 6 1.4.3. Key business or humanitarian goals ........................................................................ 7 1.4.4. Primary market ........................................................................................................ 7 1.4.5. Secondary market .................................................................................................... 7 1.4.6. Assumptions ............................................................................................................ 7 1.4.7. Avenues for creative design .................................................................................... 7 1.4.8. Scope limitations: .................................................................................................... 7 1.4.9. Technical Questioning ............................................................................................. 8 1.4.10. The product/solution Intuitively controlled electric skateboard. ......................... 9 1.4.11. Identification of potential Customers .................................................................... 9 1.4.12. Anticipated Customer Requirements ..................................................................... 9 1.4.13. Functional requirements ...................................................................................... 11 1.5 System description ........................................................................................................ 11 1.5.1. Deck ....................................................................................................................... 11 1.5.2. Truck ...................................................................................................................... 12 1.5.3. Wheels ................................................................................................................... 14 1.6 Mathematical Model ..................................................................................................... 14

1.6.1. Using the mathematical model .............................................................................. 17 1.7 Conclusion..................................................................................................................... 18 CHAPTER 2 Designing the deck ............................................................................................ 19 2.1 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 19 2.2 Building skateboard deck version 1 .............................................................................. 19 2.3 Building Skateboard deck version 2.............................................................................. 21 2.4 Conclusion..................................................................................................................... 22 CHAPTER 3 Designing the truck ........................................................................................... 23 3.1 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 23 3.2 Building Skateboard Truck ........................................................................................... 23 3.3 Parameters of the new truck design............................................................................... 24 3.4 Modeling the truck ........................................................................................................ 28 3.5 Parametric study of the new truck design ..................................................................... 30 3.5.1. Variation of height of the deck with various parameters ....................................... 32 3.6 Prototyping the new design ........................................................................................... 34 3.7 Conclusion..................................................................................................................... 35 CHAPTER 4 Designing and prototyping the CG sensor ........................................................ 36 4.1 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 36 4.2 Concept selection .......................................................................................................... 36 4.2.1. Concept 1 Pressure pads ..................................................................................... 36 4.2.2. Concept 2 Loadcells ........................................................................................... 36 4.2.3. Concept 3 Force sensing resistors ...................................................................... 37 4.2.4. Concept selected Loadcells ................................................................................ 37 4.3 Designing and building the load cell sensor.................................................................. 38 4.3.1. Selection of Loadcell ............................................................................................. 38 4.3.2. Designing the Loadcell Circuit board .................................................................... 39 4.3.3. Concept Selection .................................................................................................. 39 4.4 Adjusting gain and balancing the bridge ....................................................................... 44 4.5 Designing the Loadcell Filter Board ............................................................................. 45 4.6 Conclusion..................................................................................................................... 45 CHAPTER 5 Designing the Main Controller ......................................................................... 46

5.1 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 46 5.2 Design Requirements of the Controller ......................................................................... 46 5.3 Design Constraints ........................................................................................................ 47 5.4 Designing the Main Board ............................................................................................ 48 5.4.1. Tilt Sensor.............................................................................................................. 48 5.4.2. Motor controller output ......................................................................................... 48 5.4.3. Joystick .................................................................................................................. 49 5.4.4. SD Card ................................................................................................................. 50 5.4.5. Live piling of data on a remote computer.............................................................. 50 5.4.6. Using the live data ................................................................................................. 52 5.4.7. Communication with secondary controller boards ................................................ 53 5.4.8. Adjusting loadcell reference voltage ..................................................................... 54 5.5 Conclusion..................................................................................................................... 54 CHAPTER 6 Component Selection and Specification ........................................................... 55 6.1 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 55 6.2 Motor ............................................................................................................................. 55 6.2.1. Motor 250W .......................................................................................................... 57 6.2.2. Motor 500W .......................................................................................................... 57 6.2.3. Chosen motor ......................................................................................................... 58 6.3 Transmission ................................................................................................................. 60 6.3.1. Option 1- Using a Gear box ................................................................................... 60 6.3.2. Option 2 Use chains or belts ............................................................................... 61 6.3.3. Selecting the chain ................................................................................................. 61 6.3.4. Calculating minimum torque requirement of the device ....................................... 62 6.3.5. Selecting and manufacturing the Sprocket ............................................................ 63 6.4 Batteries ......................................................................................................................... 64 6.5 Wheels ........................................................................................................................... 66 6.6 Motor Controller ........................................................................................................... 66 6.6.1. Cheap motor controllers that are used in electric scooters .................................... 66 6.6.2. Sabertooth motor controller ................................................................................... 67 6.6.3. Choosing motor driver ........................................................................................... 68

6.7 Accelerometer ............................................................................................................... 68 6.8 Conclusion..................................................................................................................... 69 CHAPTER 7 Prototyping to test intuitive control .................................................................. 70 7.1 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 70 7.2 Testing the loadcell interface ........................................................................................ 70 7.3 Designing the loadcell mount used in the prototype ..................................................... 72 7.4 Designing the deck ........................................................................................................ 73 7.5 Designing the wheel mounts ......................................................................................... 74 7.6 Designing the Wheel Hub ............................................................................................. 75 7.7 Designing the sprocket .................................................................................................. 76 7.8 Designing the motor mounts ......................................................................................... 77 7.9 Design of Control Algorithm ........................................................................................ 78 7.9.1. Testing the loadcell and motor .............................................................................. 79 7.9.2. Evolution of the control algorithm ........................................................................ 80 7.9.3. Control algorithm version 1 ................................................................................... 80 7.9.4. Control strategy version 2...................................................................................... 81 7.9.5. Control strategy version 3...................................................................................... 81 7.10 Field testing and Results ............................................................................................. 84 7.10.1. Going over bumps and ramps .............................................................................. 85 7.11 Conclusion ................................................................................................................... 86 CHAPTER 8 Conclusion ........................................................................................................ 87 8.1 Summary ....................................................................................................................... 87 8.2 Future Work .................................................................................................................. 88 8.2.1. To make the full featured prototype ...................................................................... 88 8.2.2. To convert the full featured prototype to a product ............................................... 89 CHAPTER 9 References ......................................................................................................... 90

CHAPTER 1 ESTABLISHING PROJECT GOALS AND SPECIFICATION


1.1 Introduction
People always need to move from one place to another. The means of transportation depends on the distance of travel and the infrastructure that is available. Single person transport i.e., a personal transport device was never given much of a priority since designing a vehicle for one person would not make economical sense. However in the past decade, more and more personal transport devices are being made. Two of the most popular personal transportation devices are Segway [1] and skateboard. Segway is a standing platform on two coaxial wheels. The rider standing on Segway acts as an inverted pendulum [2] and Segway actively balances the user. Skateboard on the other hand is manually powered and is a device which has four wheels. Over a period of time skateboarding has become a sport where the skateboarder does stunts with the skateboard. While skateboards are rarely used for transport, rather another variation of a skateboard called the longboard [4] is used to take a user from point to point. Longboards are specifically designed to for personal transport. There have been many personal transport devices that have been inspired by Segway and skateboards. Segway has inspired many devices because they are very intuitive to control, while skateboards have inspired many devices because it is a stable and fun device to ride on. Many personal transportation devices can either be linked to a Segway or to a skateboard.

1.2 Objectives and motivation


When a person wants to travel, there are a lot of ways this can be done depending on what is available and the distance to be covered. The person can choose to use his private vehicle to travel the entire distance or could choose to travel via public transport or could choose a combination of public transport and private transport. There are many

advantages/disadvantages for either private or public transport. In this case we are considering a typical urban commute and the important points to be noted are: Private transportation is always available at owners disposal It takes effort to use private transport(learn to use, exhausting to use) Public transport is cheaper and cleaner for the environment

Private transport usually requires additional facilities like car parking etc.

The motivation of this project is to promote more usage of public transport in a typical daily urban commute, so that we have a cleaner and greener city. The objective of this project is to come up with product which is a solution that will enable more usage of public transport ore while being more convenient to the traveler. Figure 1.1 shows the most common urban travelers use case scenario

Figure 1.1: The three most common use-case of the device : case Case 1 is when the user uses public transport (bus) to get to office. Case 2 is when the user uses private transport (car) to get to office, but has to park his car somewhere else because there is no parking space close to the office. Case 3 is when the user walks/cycles to office. In all the cases the user needs to commute small distance mostly by walking the distanc e.g., distance distance, Case 1 the commute from home to bus stop and from bus stop to office the user needs to he office, walk. Case 2 the commute from parking space to office, the user walks. Case 3 the user mmute walks all the way from home to office. Particularly in case 1 the thought of having to walk to the bus stop from home or from bus stop to office can deter someone from using the public transport. The product designed in this project is an attempt to provide a very intuitive safe to use intuitive, personal transportation device that can be used to travel short distances (5km) and is also portable. Intuitive control of the device was give a lot of importance because if the device is given intuitive, the learning barrier to use the product is drastically reduced. Also intuitive control makes the ride more fun and less effort. The product being intuitive, safe and being portable was give utmost importance. It was desired that the new product has the intuitive control of a Segway but is based on a skateboard platform. The product being on skateboard platform 2

gives significant advantage as the skateboard platform on 4 wheels is by itself stable and far cheaper than Segway.

Figure 1.2: Segway the human transporter (reprinted from www.segway.com/)

Figure 1.3 A typical electric skateboard available in the market (reprinted from www.altered.com)

1.3 Survey of similar products in the market


Although an intuitively controlled skateboard is a unique product that has not been made before, there are many products that are very close in functionality. Most intuitively controlled devices are designed on two platforms- inverted pendulum and skateboard. Majority of the devices in the market are based on inverted pendulum platform. Few of the products are mentioned here. 1.3.1. Devices based on inverted pendulum platform These devices are modeled as an inverted pendulum where the rider and the device form the inverted pendulum. The device actively balances the invented pendulum to stay stable. In this process of stabilizing the rider, the device moves. Hence if the rider can create appropriate

disturbances in the system then the device moves in the necessary direction. It so happens that intuitive motions of the user are the right disturbance to the inverted pendulum system. 1.3.1.1 Segway Segway is the first commercial personal transportation device based on an inverted pendulum mechanism. Segway has inspired the development of a number of devices. It is the leader of intuitively controlled devices. However Segway has a fundamental problem. Inverted pendulum has to be actively stabilized since it is a naturally unstable device. This has lead to the use of expensive sensors and redundancies that make it expensive (cheapest model for $5000). Figure 1.2 shows a Segway. 1.3.1.2 Uno This is also a single person transportation device. Uno is a dicycle [4] and it works exactly like a Segway. In a Segway the rider stands on the device but on Uno the rider sits on the device like on a bike. Uno is also an intuitively controlled device that is based on an inverted pendulum mechanism. It has all the features and disadvantages of a Segway. Latest version of this device is a transformer where the device can alter between a normal bike and a dicycle.

Figure 1.4: Uno dicycle (reprinted from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uno_(dicycle))

1.3.1.3 Honda UX-3 Honda UX-3 is also based on inverted pendulum concept. Like in Uno the rider sits on UX-3. While Uno is primarily designed for outdoor use, UX-3 is designed for indoor use and hence it is compact. Unlike the other inverted pendulum devices UX-3 is designed as an inverted pendulum along two axes. Hence the device can move sideways also. 4

Figure 1.5: Honda UX-3 (reprinted from world.honda.com/U3-X/) 1.3.2. Devices based on skateboard platform Although skateboards are not powered, there are considered as a very intuitive transportation device. Intuitive in skateboards refer to how turns are made. However in order to use a skateboard, the rider needs learn how to balance on a skateboard. Following are some examples of devices build on skateboard platform. 1.3.2.1 Electric skateboard Electric skateboards were in the market for a long time. They are basically a skateboard / longboard with a motor attached to them. The motor is controlled using a hand held controller that is either wireless or wired. Electric skateboards are rated based on the power of the motor they use. Presently electric skateboards are available from 100W to 800W. Typically low power electric skateboards are designed to be light and portable while the high power versions are designed for speed, acceleration and to be used off-road. Figure 1.6 shows a medium powered skateboard and a high powered skateboard.

Figure 1.6: Left - 250W electric skateboard, right 800W electric skateboard (reprinted from www.alteredelectricskateboards.com) 1.3.2.2 Zboard This is an intuitive controlled electric skateboard. This product was launched in 2012 after this project was started. Zboard [5] is functionally same as the objective of this project. However Zboard used front and read pressure pads to collect controller information from the user. This is not completely intuitive. Zboard is like a controller with buttons that the user needs to step on to accelerate / decelerate. The pressure pads cannot be used to measure weights. They can only be used to detect weight.

Figure 1.7 : Zboard (reprinted from zboardshop.com)

1.4 Projects goals and specifications


1.4.1. Mission statement The mission of this project is to design a personal transportation device that is to be used for short distances and is portable (can be carried around, taken in a car or a bus). 1.4.2. Product description A device that will help users commute small distances of the order of 1-5km to be built on an electric skateboard platform that is intuitively controlled by the user 6

1.4.3. Key business or humanitarian goals Six months development of beta prototype Help users commute short distances with ease A new fun ride

1.4.4. Primary market Teenagers and young adults up to the age of 30 who are willing to experiment with this new form of transportation 1.4.5. Secondary market People from all age groups, who needs to travel short distances. People who uses cycles or commutes on a share auto or walk short distances of the order of 1-5 km 1.4.6. Assumptions Should work in an environment like IIT Madras campus The device should be made cheap- cheaper than a bike

1.4.7. Avenues for creative design The truck design Selection of wheel (pneumatic or polyurethane) Design of the deck (to accommodate the user and to isolate road vibrations to the user) Mount design (vibration isolation) Battery pack design (partially swappable battery) Intuitive control design (how to control the device intuitively by shifting weight on the device) Control Strategy (strategies to avoid bad situation based on control input)

1.4.8. Scope limitations: Limited user experience of a skateboard Time and money involved in rapid prototyping the new truck design. Availability of components Limited funding

1.4.9. Technical Questioning Technical questioning is a set of questions that needs to be answered to understand the system/product being developed. It also acts as a reminder for the designer to stay on target. 1. What is the problem really about? a. A low cost, personal transportation device for short distances that is also portable in convention modes of transport like a bus or car. 2. What implicit expectations and desires are involved? a. It has to small and light enough to be portable in a bus or a car b. It has to be cheap enough to adopted by the target customers c. It has to be a fun device at the minimum. d. It has to be based on a skateboard platform 3. Are the stated customer needs, functional requirements, and constraints

truly appropriate? a. This is a device that is a variant design where intuitive control is added to an electric skateboard b. Local customers are not used to a skateboard as such, so customer needs and functional requirements generated is meaning less 4. What avenues are open for creative design and inventive problem solving? a. The truck design b. Selection of wheel( pneumatic or polyurethane) c. Design of the deck(to accommodate the user and to isolate road vibrations to the user) d. Mount design (vibration isolation) e. Battery pack design (partially swappable battery) f. Intuitive control design( how to control the device intuitively by shifting weight on the device ) g. Control Strategy (strategies to avoid bad situation based on control input) 5. What avenues are limited or not open for creative design? Limitations on scope? a. Restriction on importing and using high end components. Limited exposure to a skateboard or a longboard 6. What characteristics/properties must the product have? a. Indoor and outdoor use b. Easy to drive 8

c. Deployable in a campus like IIT Madras d. Fun device to use e. Adequate safety features 7. What characteristics/properties must the product not have? a. Should not be bulky or too heavy b. Should not be too expensive 8. What aspects of the design task can and should be quantified now? a. Average size and weight of a driver b. Dimension of the user 9. What are the technical and technological conflicts inherent in the design task a. Cost vs. battery performance b. Battery performance vs. weight c. Redundancy 1.4.10. The product/solution Intuitively controlled electric skateboard. This product will be electric powered. This device will not have a controller. The user himself standing on the device will be the controller. The user is to control the direction of travel of the device by shifting his weight in the corresponding direction. For example if the user wishes to accelerate, he needs to lean forward and to brake, he needs to lean backward. 1.4.11. Identification of potential Customers The potential customers for this device will be Cyclist Bus commuters People who drive a car just because the walk to the bus stop or train station is too much For those who love skateboarding and wants to take it to the next level

1.4.12. Anticipated Customer Requirements These requirements identified are the anticipated customer requirements because the local customers/ target market does not understand the new product under development. The customer segment considered is residents of IIT Madras campus. Almost none have actually tried riding a skateboard. The number of people who have tried an electric skateboard can be safely assumed to be zero for practical purpose. And the product that we are designing is a variant design of an electric skateboard, or a concept that does not exist. So extracting useful 9

data from a customer study in India would be impractical. This customer requirement was later validated by students who started picking up skateboarding skills while the project was running. 1.4.12.1 Mandatory requirement Usable on IIT Madras campus Should easily fit into the trunk of a small car Should be portable on a train Should be safe to ride - has to be safer than a skateboard User controlled emergency hand brakes On-Off switch for the skateboard When the device is switched off, the device should be capable of working as a normal longboard Braking mechanism o No physical breaks o The motors will be used for braking Range of 5kms to 20km Speeds of around 30kmph Maximum speed - within the safe speed of a normal skateboard Sensors o To detect the CG of the user on the skateboard 1.4.12.2 Preferred requirements Should work for normal paved roads and streets in India Should also be portable on buses Either two wheel drive or four wheel drive Sensor o To detect the acceleration of the device o To detect velocity of the device Wheel speed sensor(preferably motors with encoders) Separate wheel speed sensors on non powered wheels for more accurate measurements o Angle of incline of a slope o To detect drag 10

1.4.12.3 Nice to have requirements Should work off-road - as in on unpaved almost flat terrains Reflectors for night usage

1.4.13. Functional requirements 1. Detect the user input/intention 2. Identify necessary actions to balance the user 3. Drive the motor 4. Display the battery status, speed and acceleration 5. Emergency override

1.5 System description


This project was decided to be implemented on a skateboard platform. Typically a skateboard consists of the following parts: Deck Truck Wheels

1.5.1. Deck Deck is the platform on which the rider stands on. Decks are usually made of wood but are available in fiberglass etc. There are many variant for deck design. Depending on the use of the deck, the flexibility and the shape of the deck vary. Decks of skateboards which are used primary in skate rings for tricks and stunts are hard, light and rigid. These decks are also curved upwards. While in longboards the decks are designed for comfort riding. Longboard decks are longer for comfort, heavier for stability, and flexible for suspension properties. Even within longboards, the decks vary based on what they are used for. Longboards used for curving has different decks from longboards used for riding downhill.

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Figure 1.8: Different kinds of decks (reprinted from www.texaslongboards.com/) 1.5.2. Truck Truck is the part of the skateboard on to which the wheels are mounted. The geometry of the truck is what helps the skateboard turn. The truck consists of two major parts the hanger and the base plate. The hanger forms the axle to mount the wheels. The base plate is attached to the deck. The hanger is attached to the base plate with a rotary joint. A typical skateboard truck assembly is shown in Figure 1.9. There is a special variant of truck called drop-deck truck. In this kind of truck, the truck goes through the deck and the truck is attached to the top surface of the deck. The primary reason to use such trucks is to lower the CG of the board. Drop-deck longboards are easier to push since they are closer to ground. Since the truck has to pass though the deck, it weakens the deck.

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Figure 1.9: A typical skateboard truck : (reprinted from www.skaterevolution.com/ www.skaterevolution.com/)

Figure 1.10: Drop-deck longboard (reprinted deck from www.muirskate.com/ www.muirskate.com/)

In electric skateboards, the motor is attached to one of the trucks. Specifically the motors are attached to hanger of the truck. A typical electric skateboard truck set is shown in Figure 1.11.

Figure 1.11 Typical electric skateboard trucks (reprinted from 11: reprinted fastestelectricskateboard.co.uk/)

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1.5.3. Wheels Skateboard wheels come in a wide variety. Tricks and stunts skateboards use small, hard and light wheels while longboards use larger, wider and softer wheels for smoother ride. Mostly the wheels are made of polyurethane. The density of polyurethane is varied to achieve different hardness for the wheels. Typically the diameter of a longboard wheel is around 70mm, while skateboard wheels are around 50mm. Low powered electric skateboard wheels use 70mm longboard wheels, while 800W electric skateboards use 10 inches pneumatic wheels.

Figure 1.12: 10 inches wheels used in an electric skateboard (reprinted from www.brolive.org/)

1.6 Mathematical Model


In order to detect the user inputs, a parameter that reflects the intuitive motions of the rider on the deck was required. Since Center of Gravity (CG) location of the user reflects the motion of the user on the deck it was chosen as a parameter to measure, to identify user input to the device. A mathematical model was developed to understand how the CG locations depended on external forces. The following is the mathematical model that is assumed to represent the user on the skateboard as closely as possible. 14

Figure 1.13: Model of the user standing on the deck The user standing on the deck is modeled as a mass kept on top a table which is in turn placed on top of the deck of the skateboard. The Center of Gravity (CG) of the user is what the mass in Figure 1.13 represents. The legs of the table represent the legs of the user and are assumed to be massless. The front 2 legs of the table combined represent one leg of the user and the back 2 legs of the table represent the other leg of the user. This model is chosen over standard human models because the way human behaves on a skateboard is different from his/her actions elsewhere. This model allows the user to stand on the skateboard in any manner he sees fit as long as he has one leg in the front and one leg toward the rear of the deck.

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Figure 1.14: Model of the rider and device when going up a ramp On a standard skateboard there are 3 parameters that the user controls in order to balance on a skateboard. Position of legs both front and rear Height of the CG from the ground Weight distribution Shifting the CG to different position on a skateboard

The above mentioned parameters can be modeled as follows Position of legs of user- position of legs of the table (d1 and d2) Height of CG from ground (h) by varying the lengths of the legs of the table Weight Distribution - by shifting the location of the mass on the table 16

Center of mass of a standing person is located just below the belly button. Any standing posture that the user takes is represented as motion of the mass on the table top. The model also shows that in the absence of aerodynamic force (FA) and pseudo force (ma) the user can only lean so much, such that the users CG stays within his base area. In this case it means that the mass on that table cannot be taken beyond the legs in the absence of aerodynamic force (FA) and pseudo force (ma). When the user bends his knees while on the board, the situation is modeled by decreasing the height of the table. Ultimately the objective is to give the user as much freedom to do whatever he/she pleases on the board but at the same time measure one parameter that can be used to control the device. The user can achieve the same parameter reading in multiple body configurations. 1.6.1. Using the mathematical model Based on the above model in Figure 1.14, a mathematical simulation was done on Mathematica. There are only three forces that the user experiences while on a skateboard inertial force, gravitational force and the aerodynamic force. These forces were estimated and F1 and F2 were calculated by force and moment balance. CG location along longitudinal axis was calculated from F1 and F2. A positive CG reading means the projection of CG along the longitudinal axis is on the front side of the board. CG reading increases when the user leans forward and decreases when the user leans backwards. The following observations were made: Drag and inertial acceleration has similar effects on the CG location. Both of them shift the CG location backwards. The force on the front foot decreases and the force on the back foot increase. Force exerted by the legs of the user can never be negative (i.e., if that happens the user will topple over). Given this condition, when there is no drag force the center of mass of the user has to be in the base area (between legs). In the presence of drag force the user can lean far more such that the CG position is ahead of the front leg.

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The presence of an aerodynamic force or inertial force reflects in the reading as a proportional decrease in the CG reading. That means more the acceleration or drag less is the reading, meaning the system gets a feed back to decelerate.

With a positive (climbing up a ramp) the force on the front leg becomes less than the force on the back leg. With a negative (coming down a ramp) the force on the front leg becomes more than the force on the back leg. Since the force F1 and F2 are normal forces their magnitude is mostly the highest when is zero.

On a positive slope the CG reading shifts backwards and just like drag force and acceleration it adds a linear shift to the CG location. The presence of linear shift is advantageous because in the presence of drag or acceleration or positive slope the CG reading increases. i.e., if the user wants to maintain constant speed he will need to lean forward. Leaning forward is also necessary for the user to not topple over. Hence the CG reading supports and mimics the natural position of a user.

Based on the above observations, CG of the rider along the longitudinal axis was selected as the parameter to measure in order to build an intuitive control for the electric skateboard.

1.7 Conclusion
Since skateboards were a device that is not common in India, a skateboard was purchased from abroad to understand the mechanism and the working principles. Once the mechanisms and the working principles of the skateboard were understood, stages for development of the device were planned. Since most of the parts of the skateboard are not available in India, it was decided that each part of the skateboard be independently prototyped to test for manufacturability. Deck and trucks was prototyped. Wheels were bought off the shelf. Since deck, truck, CG sensor and the main controller were the main parts of this device the next four chapters are dedicated to describing how they were designed and prototyped. Chapter 6 is dedicated to component selection and Chapter 7 is about bringing it all together and building the intuitive controlled prototype to test intuitive control.

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CHAPTER 2 DESIGNING THE DECK


2.1 Introduction
Deck is the platform on which the rider stands on while skating. Since a skateboard/ longboard were something that was not familiar to Indian context, and since skateboard/longboard decks were not available in India, custom build deck was made. A deck can be designed depending on their usage. Skateboard decks are designed to be used for tricks and stunts- Hence they are light, rigid and have curved edges due to which tricks can be performed. Longboard decks on the other hand does not have curved edges, they are flexible to give a more comfortable ride and are usually heavier. Longboards are designed for cruising.

2.2 Building skateboard deck version 1


Four layers of 6mm plywood of the dimension 1 foot x 4 feet was stacked together and stuck with fevicol wood glue. This created a single deck of thickness 24mm and of the dimension 1 foot x 4 feet. The glue was given 2 days to dry. While the glue was drying a perpendicular load was applied on the surface of the deck in order to pre-stress the deck. Because of this when the glue hardened, the deck was pre-stressed and had a nice arch shape.

Figure 2.1: The completed deck with trucks and wheels attached. The arch shape of the deck is noticeable in this figure. 19

Trucks and wheels of a longboard were attached to the newly created deck as shown in Figure 2.1 and test run. The deck was found to be acceptable. The arch was noticed to give added strength to the deck. The deck has been used and rigorously tested for more than a year and it still retains its integrity. Lessons learned from building skateboard deck version 1: Four layers of 6mm plywood were not necessary as it makes the board too thick, rigid and heavy The deck needs to flex to give an even smoother comfortable ride. A rough surface was needed on the top to increase friction sandpaper with the course side up was glued to the deck - See Figure 2.2. Making the deck hence forth was no longer a problem. All the fine details in making a deck were understood.

Figure 2.2: Sandpaper stuck on the top to increase friction on the top of the deck

Figure 2.3: Painting the deck to prevent the deck from decay due to moisture

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Figure 2.4: The underside of the deck after paint job

2.3 Building Skateboard deck version 2


The first version of the skateboard deck was designed such that the trucks were mounted to the bottom. The second skateboard deck was designed to be used as a drop deck. Drop deck is a deck used for longboards where the truck goes through the deck and is fasted with the top surface of the deck as shown in Figure 1.10. On a normal deck, the truck is attached to the bottom surface of the deck. The first deck was designed to be a normal deck. The second deck was designed to be a drop deck. While the second deck was build, it was also decided to decrease the thickness and weight of the deck and to experiment with new materials. The new deck was build with three layers of 4mm plywood. In comparison with the previous deck the second deck is 1 layer less and is 2 mm less per layer. This resulted in significant reduction in weight and thickness of the deck. The weight was reduced by 25% and the thickness was reduced from 24mm to 14mm. But this also made the deck substantially weaker particularly at the place where the truck was mounted. Three layers of fiberglass mesh were added to the top and the bottom surface of the deck. In addition to this, extra layers of fiberglass mesh were added to the region where the truck was to be mounted. The resin used was LY556 and hardener used was Araldite HY951.

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The new deck was substantially thinner and lighter than the first deck. Also the new deck was flexible. The deck could flex but not break. This is due to the presence of fiberglass. This flex resulted in better ride comfort. Lessons learned building skateboard deck version 2: Fiberglass allows the deck to flex Flex deck are more comfortable to ride on

2.4 Conclusion
In this chapter we presented the evolution of the deck design. Deck version 1 was built to be hard and rigid but was designed with an arch. Deck version 2 was built to be flexible and new materials were experimented. Having done two prototypes of the deck, the concepts involved in deck design has been completed tested and understood.

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CHAPTER 3 DESIGNING THE TRUCK


3.1 Introduction
An off-the-shelf truck and wheel were used with skateboard deck version 1. To build an intuitively controlled skateboard, a motor needs to be mounted on the skateboard to power it. The motor can only be mounted on the truck because otherwise transmission is not possible. Hence the skateboard truck had to be custom designed.

3.2 Building the Skateboard Truck


A skateboard truck was reverse engineered and a model was developed and implemented in Mathematica. The truck was designed in such a fashion that the geometry of the design enabled the wheel axle to turn when the deck is tilted with respect to ground. Although the geometry of the truck made it compact and turned the axle when the deck tilted, the design was inherently unstable. When the user stands on the deck without tilting his deck he was at the highest position possible. If the deck was tilted in any direction the CG of the user will lower. Hence the deck will never return to center. In order to return the tilt of the deck back to center a bushing was used in commercial skateboard, which exerts force in the opposite direction bringing the deck to level position. This gave the deck a sense of stability. The custom build truck was designed to be inherently stable. That is when the rider tilts the deck, the truck turns the wheel axles in the appropriate direction but in addition to that, it also raises the users CG. This way the rising CG will automatically bring the deck back to center where the CG of the rider is at the lowest. This new design involved change is dimension of certain parts of the truck- length l1 and l2 as marked in Figure 3.2. In standard trucks the length l2 is always lesser than l1 and in most cases l2 is zero. This reduces the mass of the truck. In the modified design, the truck was designed such that the ratio l1/l2 is always less than 1. Also in the new design a rotary joint is used instead of a pin joint. These design changes increase mass and decrease the strength of the truck but it allows for natural return to center mechanism.

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Figure 3.1: Parts of a truck (reprinted from skaterevolution.com)

3.3 Parameters of the new truck design


Angle of the truck , length l1 and length l2 is marked in Figure 3.2. These are the 3 important design dimensions of the skateboard. The angle is as shown in the Figure 3.2 as if the truck is mounted to a perfectly horizontal deck. If truck is mounted at an angle, then the angle is measured with the horizontal. In this new design, it is the ration of l1/l2 that makes the truck self center.

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Figure 3.2: Side view of the truck model when the tilt angle b is equal to 0 Angle b is the angle the deck makes with the horizontal. This is the input that the user controls to turn the skateboard. It is marked in Figure 3.3.

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Figure 3.3: Front view of the truck showing angle b The angle t is the angle by which the truck turns with the vertical. This is the output angle of the truck. The rider by changing the angle of the deck b, controls t .It is this angle t that forms the turn geometry of the skateboard. The angle t is marked in Figure 3.4.

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Figure 3.4: The top view of the truck showing the angle t The truck consists of two parts that move with respect to each other- one that attaches to the deck and the other part to which the wheels are mounted. The motion of these two parts with respect to each other is purely rotational in nature. Angle r is a measure of this angle of rotation between these two parts. This angle does not hold any physical significant but it is used to parametrically represent other angles.

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Figure 3.5: Axial view of the truck showing angle r

3.4 Modeling the truck


In a truck there are four parts that can move with respect to each other. They are: 1. Base plate 2. Hanger 3. Wheel one 4. Wheel two In a real skateboard truck, both the wheels are attached to the hanger and are free to rotate about their axis. The motion of the wheels is irrelevant in this model and hence the rotary degree of freedom of the wheels is ignored. Both the wheels are considered to be part of the hanger. Therefore in this model there are only two parts that can move with respect to each other the base plate and the hanger. The hanger is attached to the base plate with a rotary joint. See Error! Reference source not found.. 28

The hanger consists of a strut of length l2, the wheel axle and the wheels. Since the hanger was modeled as a single rigid body in a plane, if any two points were known, every other point on the hanger could be derived. The geometry of the hanger can be seen in Figure 3.2 Figure 3.5. Similarly the base plate was also modeled as a single rigid body consisting of a rectangular plate and a triangular plate placed perpendicular to each other. The rectangular plate attaches the truck to the deck. One side of the plate forms the rotary axis of the hanger. The geometry of the base plate can also be seen in Figure 3.2 -Figure 3.5. Both the hanger and the truck have been defined in their own reference frames. The hanger was translated such that the free end of the strut now coincides with the side of the triangular plane of the base plate. The hanger was also rotated about the same free end such that the strut was perpendicular to a side of the triangular plate. This side of the triangular plate was defined as the axis of rotation of the hanger with respect to the base plate angle r, which is zero when the strut is in the same plane as that of the triangular plate. Angle r is shown in Figure 3.5. The base plate and the hanger are in the same reference frame and any point on either the base plate or the hanger can now be calculated. Since the hanger can be rotated with respect to the base plate, any point on the hanger is dependent on the angle r. The current reference frame has the truck completely stationary and the hanger in pure rotary motion. This reference frame is not of much interest to us. Ground reference frame is defined in such a way that the Z coordinate of the lower most point of the wheels are zero. Also in an actual skateboard any longitudinal line drawn on the deck / base plate will always remain parallel to the ground. It means that, the longitudinal sides of the rectangular plate of the base plate needs to be parallel to the ground. Therefore ground reference frame was defined by incorporating these constraints. Since the lower most point of the wheels was dependant on r, the ground reference frame is also dependant on r. Therefore with respect to the new reference frame any point on the base plate or the hanger was dependant on r. In the ground reference frame, the tilt of the deck was defined as the angle that the lateral sides of the base plate make with the horizontal angle b, and the turn of the truck was defined as the angle that the axle turns about the vertical axis angle t. 29

3.5 Parametric study of the new truck design


A geometric model for the truck was simulated. The truck primarily consists of two parts the base plate and the hanger and the joint between them is a rotary joint. The relationship of each point with respect to each other was defined and using translation and rotation matrixes the model was created. The relationship of certain variable was plotted. In order to understand the importance and function that each variable play in the design of the truck, a parametric study was done. The following observations were made.

Figure 3.6: Plot of b with r The variation of deck slant angle b with r is almost linear in nature. We also notice that as we increase the characteristic angle of the truck , the slope of the graph decreases.

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Figure 3.7: Plot of t with r The variation of wheels turn angle t with r is almost linear in nature. Also we notice that as we increase the characteristic angle of the truck , the slope of the graph increases.

Figure 3.8: Plot of t with b Plotting t (turning angle) vs. b (deck slant angle) we again get an almost linear plot. And as we increase the characteristic angle of the truck , the slope of the graph keeps on increasing. 31

3.5.1. Variation of height of the deck with various parameters The variation in height of the CG of the deck determines whether the truck will self center or not. If the CG of the deck raises when the deck is tilted, then the truck will self center since the only way to bring the CG down is to center-align the deck. Experimenting with values on the skateboard truck model, it was noticed that when the l1 was smaller than l2, the plot of the height of the deck with the angle of tilt of the deck r was cup shaped. This means that when the l1 was smaller than l2, CG of the deck is at the lowest position when the tilt of the deck is equal to zero. This can be seen in Figure 3.9.

Figure 3.9: Plot of height of deck CG with r when l1/l2 is 0.1 It can be seen in Figure 3.9 that even when l1 is one by tenth of l2 the variation in height of the deck CG is only marginal - 3mm. This height difference is not noticeable by human eye. In order to make this variation in height substantial either l1 should be very small or l2 should be very large. Due to constraints in mounting mechanism l1 cannot be to too small. The length l2 cannot be made too long as it affects the strength the truck and also obstructs with the deck. Typically a ratio of 0.1 to 0.3 is achievable. The thickness of the deck adds to l1. In order to prevent the thickness of the deck adding to l1 the truck has to be mounted as a drop deck. Trucks specs chosen to prototype Characteristic angle of the truck : 45degrees 32

Length l1 : 10mm(drop deck) Length l2 : 50mm

Deck and other specs Deck length : 920mm to 1000mm Deck width : 280mm Wheel diameter : 65mm to 75mm Wheel width :50mm Wheel material : Polyurethane

In this new design, the trucks are so designed such that the CG of the deck is at the highest position at the extremes. This means that without the bushes or centering mechanism, the skateboard self centers. But when a person stands on top of the deck, the CG of person is so high that it shifts the entire system CG to the skaters CG. Due to this extra height, the self centering property of the skateboard is lost. This is on the assumption that the rider tilts to the same degree as the board does, but in practice it can be noted that although the rider tilts, he does not tilt as much as the deck but uses his ankle to tilt the deck. If we approximate the tilt angle of the rider to be zero, the self-centering of the deck is not lost. So this was to be tested in a real use case scenario. With this mechanism the center of the deck rises as the deck tilts. So the deck by itself is stable. The deck + human is considered statically unstable if we assume that the human also tilts by the same angle the deck tilts there by reducing the CG of the human by a larger degree than the rise in CG because of rise of the deck. Although thats the preliminary assumption, human body is a really complex system and it is possible for us to shift our weights to the toes or to the heals while still maintaining upright position. That being the case if we assume that the CG of human does not tilt with the deck then we do have a static stable equilibrium. When board is in motion, it appears that we can compare a skateboard to a cycle where there is dynamic stability (because ultimately the skateboard is suspended on 2 points even though it has 4 wheels). 33

With the above assumptions, the design proposed(without centering mechanism) should be superior to existing designs (with centering mechanism)

3.6 Prototyping the new design


In order to test the new truck design, a prototype was made. This prototype was made as per calculations. The prototype was made1 out of mild steel. Ideally the truck should be cast but in order to save time and since it was to be a prototype to test the design, the truck was made as an assembly. An assembly for the truck would not be ideal because when the truck is used, due to vibrations the assembly could come loose.

Figure 3.10: A solid model of the truck developed

The prototype was at the Central Workshop, IIT Madras.

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Figure 3.11: The truck prototype mounted to deck version 2 The truck was fabricated and mounted to the deck version 2. The truck was tested and it was clearly visible that the truck could self center. However there was one problem deck version 2 could flex. Due to this the angle of the truck with the horizontal changes as the deck flexes. It was noticed that when the deck flexes the self centering of the truck was lost. As the deck and truck was tested extensively, the deck began to sag a little. This resulted in few degrees variation in the angle of the truck with the horizontal due to which the natural self centering was not observable anymore. From using the prototype it was clear that relying on the self centering was not a good idea since it was affected by slight changes in parameters and the effect was lost when the deck flexes. So the self centering is not a viable option. However it was noticed that the dynamic stability was available. Just like a cycle is dynamically stable, the skateboard truck is also dynamically stable. The truck would self center when in motion. Since the truck was noticed to be dynamically self centering, the truck design was not abandoned. This dynamical self centering coupled with electric differential would be ideal for the final device.

3.7 Conclusion
In this chapter we presented the design evolution of the truck. A model to understand the parameters was created and it was noticed from the parameter study that keeping l1/l2 less than one, gave some advantages to the truck. This truck was prototyped and the new design was verified. 35

CHAPTER 4 DESIGNING AND PROTOTYPING THE CG SENSOR


4.1 Introduction
In order to implement intuitive control, a sensor mechanism that can detect the users input was required. The most intuitive motion to control a skateboard is to lean forward to accelerate and to lean backward to decelerate. A sensor mechanism that can detect the riders lean was required and the following concepts were explored. Other concepts considered were more intrusive and not practical to use from a user perspective, hence was dropped.

4.2 Concept selection


In order to create a CG sensor, the following 3 concepts was considered. 4.2.1. Concept 1 Pressure pads Use pressure pads that detect a split of weight. This would be simple to use but the pressure pads are usually used to detect pressure or force rather than to measure it. Without measuring the pressure, user posture cannot be detected. 4.2.2. Concept 2 Loadcells Use loadcells this will mean that the deck will have two layers with the loadcells in between the layers. That or the trucks have to be designed in such a way so as to accommodate the loadcells in them. Loadcells can give accurate reading which can be used to estimate the users posture but mounting loadcells will be a problem. Advantages Accurate Loads within range

Disadvantage Pretty bulky Need to make the skateboard 2 layers to accommodate the loadcells Or the trucks have to be redesigned to keep the boards single layered

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4.2.3. Concept 3 Force sensing resistors Use force sensing resistors (FSR) This comes as thin layers whose resistance changes with force applied. They are really compact and can be stuck to the top surface of the board. Multiple sheets can be placed adjacent to each other to measure the load and also measure approximate position. Advantages Simple and compact The design of the skateboard will be straight forward without much of changes

Disadvantages The small sheet does not give information on point of application of force. It will have to be approximated as the geometric center of the sheet. Multiple sheets laid out adjacent to each other can give a significant understanding of position. They creep over time They are not designed to continuously measure load in the order of magnitude of a human body. Typical measurement rages are up to 1-5kg.

Figure 4.1: FSR-Force Sensing Resistor (reprinted from www.sparkfun.com/) 4.2.4. Concept selected Loadcells Concept 1 was dropped because it can only be used to detect weight and not measure. Concept 3 was the least intrusive and easiest to setup but FSR do not give accurate reading. FSR are typically used to detect weight and not to measure it. Hence measuring the split of weight was difficult. Concept 3 was tested out and since measurements were difficult it was dropped. Concept 2 of the other hand was much difficult to implement since the loadcells needs to be embedded into the deck. A double layered deck was necessary for this. The measurements from the loadcells were accurate and split of weight could be quantified with 37

significant resolution and accuracy. Hence concept 3 was chosen as a mean to measure the user input to the device.

4.3 Designing and building the load cell sensor


Loadcells are used to measure the force/weight. In order to detect weight shift of the user the projection of CG of the rider along at least one axis (along the longitudinal direction) is required. The projection of the CG of the rider along the lateral direction is an optional input. It could be used as an input for steering if electrical differential drive was to be used. Since at least 3 points are required to perfectly balance a body it was decided that the load will be transferred via 4 loadcells placed on the extremities of the deck. These 4 load points will form the base area for rider to stand on. 4.3.1. Selection of Loadcell A loadcell that has a measurement range of 100kg with a resolution of at least 0.1kg was preferred. After searching on the internet for loadcells, many manufacturers and distributors were found with the above specification. Upon enquiring for price, it was found that all these loadcells were above Rs 8,000. These loadcells had well defined mount mechanisms to attach top surface and the bottom surface. But the mount mechanisms make the loadcells tall by at least 50mm. While searching for cheaper alternatives, it was noticed that there were cheap digital scales that used a simple half bridge loadcell to measure weight. Sparkfun was selling the same for Rs 500 per piece. Since an inexpensive digital scale costs Rs 500 and contained 4 loadcells in them, it was purchased and the loadcells were extracted from it.

` Figure 4.2: Loadcell sensor used in digital bathroom scale (reprinted from sparkfun.com)

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4.3.2. Designing the Loadcell Circuit board Very little documentation was available about the loadcell. Since there are 3 wires from the loadcell, the loadcell is a half bridge loadcell. The specifications of the loadcell are as shown in Table 4.1. Table 4.1: Specifications of the loadcell used.
Property Capacity Comprehensive Error Output Sensitivity Nonlinearity Repeatability Hysteresis Creep Zero Drift Temp. Effect on Zero Temp. Effect on Output Zero Output Input Resistance Output Resistance Insulation Resistance Excitation Voltage Operation Temp Range Overload Capacity Units Kg mV/V mV/V %FS %FS %FS (3min) %FS (1min) %FS %FS/10 %FS/10 mV/V M V

Value 40-50 0.05 1.00.1 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.03 1 0.05 0.1 100020 100020 5000 10 0--+50 150

%FS

4.3.3. Concept Selection The following concepts were considered for building the loadcell circuit 4.3.3.1 Concept 1 Two loadcells used in parallel to form a complete bridge [6], where only one loadcell is loaded while the other once is kept as a dummy. In this configuration the both the white wires are connected together and the both the black wires are connected together. In this configuration the effective output of the bridge is a linear function of load on loadcell1 minus load on loadcell2. This means that if each loadcell is equally loaded the effective output will 39

be zero. The only way to get a useful reading will be to keep one loadcell as a dummy. The configuration is as shown in Figure 4.3.

Figure 4.3: Two loadcells used in parallel to create the bridge 3:

4.3.3.2 Concept 2
Two loadcells used in anti parallel configuration to form a complete bridge. In this anti-parallel configuration the white wire of loadcell 1 is connected to black wire of loadcell 2. Similarly black wire of loadcell 1 is connected to white wire of loadcell 2 In this configuration the ire 2. effective output of the bridge is a linear function of load on loadcell1 plus load on loadcell2. linea oad In this configuration the output is the function of the sum of loads on both the loadcells. b Hence both the loadcells can take the load. Although this might seem as ideal, practically when tested, in this configuration, the full bridge formed was not perfectly balanced. This configuration zero error when converted to kg values was a significant error, approximately 20kg, when the , full scale was 50kg. This was not acceptable unless the zero error can be rectified. This configuration is as shown in Figure 4.4.

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Figure 4.4: Two loadcells used in anti parallel to create the bridge : anti-parallel

4.3.3.3 Concept 3
Use only one loadcell per full bridge. In this case instead of using another loadcell to balance the bridge a couple of resistors and a trim pot was used to balance the bridge. If two resistors of exact 1000 ohms were available it would have sufficed to build an external bridge. Since commonly available resistors have a 10% error, they cannot be used directly to balance the bridge. Alternatively one trim pot alone can be used to balance the bridge. Theoretically this the is possible but practically, perfectly balancing this bridge would be difficult because the practically resolution of the trim pot will not suffice. It would be possible to approximately balance the bridge but a better balancing was desired. The solution was to use two resistors and a trim pot desir in series with the trim pot in between the resistors. If a trim pot of 100 ohms (10% of 1000ohms) was used the bridge could be very accurately balanced. This configuration is shown in Figure 4.5.

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Figure 4.5: 1000 ohm resistors and a trimpot used to balance the bridge with one loadcell :

4.3.3.4 Finalizing concept


There are four load points. To implement this with the first concept would mean that a total concept of eight loadcell will be required where four of them are mounted at these load points and oadcell unted four of them placed as dummy. Hence concept 1 was rejected. If concept 2 was implemented with each loadcell mounted at each load point it can give only point, two load reading. This means that only the projection of CG along one axis can be obtained. This will work but the projection of CG along the lateral axis is also desired So this concept the desired. is acceptable but a better solution was desired. With four load point and mounting the loadcells at these load points using concept 3 will give four load reading. Th means that the projection of CG along the longitudinal as well as This lateral direction can be obtained. Since balancing the bridge using resistors and trim pot was successfully tested, concept 3 was chosen as it was superior to concept 1 and concept 2. The maximum voltage that can be applied to the bridge is 10V. There are 2 power voltages available 5V used in micro-controller board and 22.2 V from the battery. Since only 5V from micro the micro-controller board was less than 10 volts, 5V was used as the voltage applied to the controller bridge. The loadcell gives an output of 1mV/V at full scale. Since 5V was the voltage 42

applied, 5mV is the full scale output. This means that when 50 kg was applied to a load cell the load cell bridge would output 5mV. This was far too low a voltage to be directly read by Analog to Digital Converter (ADC). This output from the bridge had to be amplified by 500-1000 times to be used in a standard 5V ADC. Amplification of this magnitude can only be done using an instrumentation amplifier. Instrumentation Amplifier AD620 and INI114 were considered. These amplifiers were shortlisted based on availability and ease of use. Both these amplifiers have identical pinout and can be interchanged in a circuit that is designed for one of them. INI114 cost Rs 490 and AD620 costs Rs 140. Although INI114 claims better performance, in practice no difference was noticed between AD620 and INI114. Due to the significant cost advantage AD620 was chosen. At any point it can be swapped with INI114 if a better performance is required.

Figure 4.6: Schematic of the loadcell board.

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4.4 Adjusting gain and balancing the bridge


Determining the gain required- A gain of 1000 will convert the full scale reading of 5mv to 5V, while a gain of 500 will amplify a full scale reading of 5mV to 2.5V. Instrumentation amplifier has a reference voltage which can be set by the user. The amplifier provides the output with respect to this reference voltage. It means that if the reference voltage is 1V then with a 500 gain the output will range from 1V to 3.5V, 1V when there is no load and 3.5V when there is a 50kg load (full scale load). After testing the instrumentation amplifier it was observed that, for a bridge voltage of 5V, the operation range of the output of the amplifier would be 0.5V to 4V. So given this condition, the reference voltage was set to 1V and the gain set to 500 such that the operational range of the load cell will result in an output from 1V to 3.5V. The reference voltage was set to 1V because the reference voltage is used to software correct zero error every time the program is run. The zero error correction software corrects minor in-balances in the bridge. If the zero error exceeds 0.3V a manual balancing of the bridge is required. Adjusting the gain is done by turning the gain trimpot. In order to correctly set the gain the two jumpers close to the gain trimpot needs to be removed and the resistance across the pins next to the trimpot needs to be checked. Set the gain resistor to the value needed.

Figure 4.7: Gain trimpot and bridge trimpot on the loadcell circuit Balancing the bridge is a much simpler process. On the software, check for the reading from the loadcell and turn the trimpot in appropriate direction until the voltage reading of the output is equal to the reference voltage. 44

4.5 Designing the Loadcell Filter Board


The loadcell filter board is designed as a hardware filter to remove noise from the loadcell reading. Since the loadcells are to be used to judge human interactions, a sampling frequency of 100Hz is more than sufficient. The filter was designed to remove all frequency above 100Hz. The original loadcell filter circuit board was designed as an active filter using operational amplifier. Each signal was passed through two inverting amplifier with unity gain tuned for 100Hz. This circuit however failed because the operational amplifier used was single supply due to which inverting amplification was not possible. Instead a passive low pass filter for 100Hz was used. The loadcell filter circuit board was designed for another additional functionality. The main controller was designed for eight loadcells, but did not have the space to accommodate ports for eight loadcells. Hence loadcell filter circuit board was also designed to aggregate the signals from all the loadcells and send them to the main controller circuit board using one single port.

4.6 Conclusion
In this chapter we presented the how the CG sensor was developed. Loadcells from digital scales due to their precision and height advantage was chosen to develop CG sensors. Circuit boards were designed to convert the sensor to a plug and play module.

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CHAPTER 5 DESIGNING THE MAIN CONTROLLER


5.1 Introduction
The main controller is the brain of the device. All the inputs from the user are fed into the controller and the controller decides the voltage that is applied to the motor. The primary function is to read the CG sensor readings and appropriately control the motor. On top of this the main controller board also does secondary user interface functions and data dump functions.

5.2 Design Requirements of the Controller


A full design requirement from the controller was populated with future requirements in mind. They are as follows: For prototyping should be easy to get started Cheap and easily available Minimum of 8 ADC channels for loadcell Tilt detector to measure tilt of the deck Accelerometer o Digital o Analog SDcard Bluetooth Xbee [7] Joystick Ability to set Reference voltage for loadcells o Voltage follower with an opamp o Read the reference value from one analog channel ADC15 Motor controller output o PWM - anolog Recommended PWM frequency above 1000hz o Serial communication 46

With slave select Communication between the micros o Use SPI o Use TWI o Use spare serial if available Make hardware interrupts available LEDs as an indicator to user Secondary processors separately powered

The most widely used controllers for prototyping is Arduino [8] Uno and Arduino Mega 2560. They are popular because they are powerful, open source and easy to use. In order to measure loadcell input, each loadcell requires a dedicated ADC channel. Since the loadcell filter circuit board was designed to handle up to eight loadcells a minimum of eight ADC pins were required from the controller. Arduino Uno has six ADC channels while Arduino Mega 2560 has sixteen ADC channels. Arduino Mega 2560 with sixteen ADC channels was chosen as the main controller. Arduino mega was chosen as the controller of choice for prototyping. The above design requirements need to be met with the following features/constraints of Arduino Mega.

5.3 Design Constraints


7-12Vregulator power supply recommended (extreme- 6V 20V) All pins work at 5V Each input/output pin can give 40mA of current Each input/output pin has an internal pull up of 20k-50k (disconnected by default) Four serial ports. Serial zero is connected to USB and is also available o Serial 0 -Pin 0(rx), Pin 1(tx) o Serial 1 - Pin 19(rx), Pin 18(tx) o Serial 2 - Pin 17(rx), Pin 16(tx) o Serial 3 - Pin 15(rx), Pin 14(tx) TWI o SDA(Pin 20) 47

o SCL(Pin 21) Six external interrupt o Pin 2 (interrupt 0) o Pin 3 (interrupt 1) o Pin 18 (interrupt 5) pin clash with serial 1 tx o Pin 19 (interrupt 4) pin clash with serial 1 rx o Pin 20 (interrupt 3) pin clash with serial TWI capitalized SDA o Pin 21 (interrupt 2) pin clash with serial 12c SCL Interrupts are interfering with TWI and serial 1 16 ADC channels available 8 bit PWM available on 14 pins - digital pin 0 - 13 An led on digital pin 13 SPI: 50 (MISO), 51 (MOSI), 52 (SCK), 53 (SS)

5.4 Designing the Main Board


The following features where build into the main controller board.

5.4.1. Tilt Sensor


Tilt sensor is to measure the angle r. This is to be implemented with potentiometers mounted on the rotary joint such that when the truck turns it turns the potentiometer also. This reading is to be fed back to the controller. This sensor reading shall be used to control the electrical differential. This will require a minimum of one potentiometer per truck. Therefore a minimum of two potentiometers are required per board. This reading is read via an ADC. Since spare ADC channels were available, provision for up to four tilt detectors were provided on the main controller board.

5.4.2. Motor controller output


The controller should be capable of interfacing with multiple motor controllers in case the motor controller is changed in the future. Most motor controllers use a potentiometer output as its input. This means that such controllers would need a smooth analog signal usually between 0-5V (upper limit could be higher). This output is created by using PWM and using capacitors to smoothen the wave. The main controller board was designed to accommodate four such PWM controllers. 48

Sabertooth 25A motor driver was chosen as the preferred motor controller. The easiest way to control the Sabertooth motor driver is to use simplified serial protocol. In order to control the Sabertooth in this fashion one serial port of the Arduino Mega has to be used. Provision for two such ports was designed into the board. These serial ports could also be used for serial communication with other boards if necessary. Alternatively Sabertooth can also be controlled using RC servo control. Since no servo was needed in the design no separate port to control the Sabertooth motor drive using servo motor protocol was incorporated in the design. This is also because Sabertooth motor driver can easily be controlled using simplified serial protocol or using PWM.

5.4.3. Joystick
A port to connect a joystick has been provided to the main controller board. The joystick is an important feature that was very useful during testing and calibration stages. In the early stages of the code the joystick was used as means to test run the motor and take it to its limits. The input from the joystick was used as a substitute for input from the loadcell and hence could simulate the inputs from the loadcell assembly. In the early stages of controller algorithm testing this simulated input was used instead of actual loadcell reading. This way the need to step on to an untested machine was eliminated.

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Figure 5.1: Joystick - used for testing and simulations

5.4.4. SD Card
In order to improve the device over time, it is necessary to know exactly what the device is doing and why the device is doing so. This information needs to be processed out of available sensor data. This long term debugging cannot be done on board because this kind of data mining to figure out what went wrong needs to be done on larger processor and usually requires human interference. The device can be improved only if a history of data from onboard sensors is available. This is done by periodically storing sensor data on a non volatile medium. In this case Micro SD card was chosen as the medium to store long term data. The controller algorithm is designed in such a fashion that every activity of the controller is logged on the Micro SD card. Micro SD is implemented using standard open source SD card library.

5.4.5. Live piling of data on a remote computer


Although Micro SD card stores all the sensory data, this information can only be access after the run time of the device. In some situation it is necessary to have live sensor data. Debugging becomes simpler if live data is available. This live data acts as instantaneous

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feedback to the programmer as to how his algorithm responds while SD data is long term feedback to the programmer. Live data can be implemented by two methods: Some kind of onboard feedback, like warning led lights, and beeps. Sensor data made available on a remote computer, where every detail is available to detect the problem. On board feedbacks like led lights and beeps can only alert the user of the occurrence of a specific event. The user cannot figure out why it happened. For example this is useful for situations like battery low voltage where the user needs only be alerted and the user need not know why that happened. But in situations where all of the sudden the device responded unexpectedly it can only be detected on the remote computer. Two methods were tried to relay information to a remote computer. Bluetooth Xbee

5.4.5.1 Bluetooth
This method involves a Bluelink - Bluetooth module worth Rs 1850 and a Bluetooth dongle worth Rs 350 purchased from rhydolabz.com [9]. The Bluetooth module needs to be configured as a serial port. Advantages of using Bluetooth Serial communication 9600 -115200 bits per sec Absolutely no interference once paired Cheaper compared to Xbee

Disadvantages of using Bluetooth Difficult to setup Proprietary software which limits usage 51

5.4.5.2 Xbee
This method involves two Xbee modules worth Rs 1250 each plus Xbee Explorer dongle (helps connect the Xbee to computer) worth Rs 1250 and Xbee Explorer Regulated (helps connect the Xbee to the controller) worth Rs 500. The total cost of equipment used for this method is Rs 3000. Advantages of using this method Xbee is a plug and play device. Connect to computer and controller, communication serial link is instantaneously established Disadvantages of using Xbee Xbee uses RF communications, where interference is more common as compared to Bluetooth Also all Xbee work at same frequency. If there is any other Xbee used in the vicinity it could interfere with the communication Since the advantage of Xbee that it being a plug and play device is a significant advantage, interference being a rare occurrence, and the data communicated is not critical data, Xbee was preferred over Bluetooth. Eventually for further prototypes it is recommended to migrate to transmitting data over Bluetooth modules.

5.4.6. Using the live data


Once the live data is received on the serial port using the Xbee module it was processed on an open source software-Processing [10]. Processing was the software of choice as it was open source and the Arduino code development environment was based on Processing. This means that for the entire project, there was uniformity in software environment and will be beneficial later when this product is launched for public use. The data was collected and plotted using Processing graphical user interface. The plots were updated live. Figure 5.2 shows the live data being plotted while the device is being used. The device can be seen in the background.

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Figure 5.2: Data from the device being plotted live as it is tested

5.4.7. Communication with secondary controller boards


The feature to communication with other secondary board was provided for two reasons 1. To multi thread- To run small processing on the secondary controllers so that main controller can focus on the main control loop that controls the interface to the user. All secondary tasks that might slow down the main thread can be outsourced on secondary controllers. 2. To gather sensor data from secondary controller to which the sensor is attached.

5.4.7.1 Two Wire Interface (TWI)


On the main controller board the TWI interface is used for interfacing to the speed sensor circuit board to the main controller. As and when the main controller needs an updated speed reading, it polls for the speed data from the speed sensor circuit. A digital accelerometer using TWI protocol can also be interfaced with the main controller. Ports necessary for such an arrangement has been designed into the controller board.

5.4.7.2 Serial communication


Arduino Mega 2560 has 4 serial ports. One of them is used by the USB, one to pile live data to a remote computer via Bluetooth/Xbee. The other two available serial channels have been given an individual port on the main controller board. These ports can be used to establish 53

link with secondary controllers to run multiple threads on, if need arises in future. Currently no secondary boards are used for running parallel threads. Also currently one of these serial ports is used as Sabertooth motor driver port.

5.4.8. Adjusting loadcell reference voltage


Vref is the reference voltage for the loadcell circuit. This reference voltage needs to be set for all the loadcell circuits. Instead of setting this Vref voltage individually on each circuit it was preferred to set the Vref for all the loadcell simultaneously at one place. One trimpot to set the Vref voltage was hence designed on the main controller circuit board. The set voltage was also passed though a voltage-follower build using an opamp, so that the set voltage is not affected by connecting many loadcell circuit boards.

Figure 5.3: Schematic circuit for adjusting Vref

5.5 Conclusion
In this chapter we presented the design and development of the main control circuit board. We started by identifying the requirements of the board. The board was carefully designed to meet the requirements.

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CHAPTER 6 COMPONENT SELECTION AND SPECIFICATION


6.1 Introduction
Other than the parts mentioned in the previous chapters, certain off-the-shelf components were also required for this project. In this chapter we discuss about how these components were selected.

6.2 Motor
Electric Skateboards in the market comes with varying configurations. The most important rating for an electric Skateboard is its motor rating. Skateboard motor rating varies from as low as 100W to 800W. All the motors will do the job but depending on the power of the motor, the feel and the ride of the Electric Skateboard differs. 100W electric skateboards are the cheapest and lightest. The maximum speed and acceleration that they can provide are small. They function as a means of transport that can be carried around and works only on small gradients and smooth surface. Mean while 800W electric skateboards are the most powerful. They are heavy and usually come with big wheels. The can run off-road and can attack steep gradients. For this product being build, it was required that the device be light, cheap and powerful. Since these parameters are contradicting, a motor in between 100W and 800W is what would be preferred. Since the product under construction does not require active balancing, choice of motor power is purely a choice based on how much acceleration and top speed was required. Comparing to other electric skateboard the top speed was set to 27kmph and acceleration set to 0-27kmph in 4 seconds. For these specs the motors used in the corresponding electric skateboard was 500W. Hence 500W was chosen as the power requirement for the product. It was also necessary that these motors are cheap and easy to procure. Easy to procure and locally made brushless DC motors used in electric motors were considered. But they were rejected because firstly they were expensive and secondly they were designed to be hub motors which fit into a 10inch wheel. Brushed DC motors were discovered to be more cost 55

effective. The disadvantage with brushed motors is that periodically the brushes needs to be replaced. DC motors sold in India were designed to be industrial motors which are designed to be run for long durations in a static location. These motors have cooling fins, cooling fans and hence were bulky. These DC motors were unsuitable because of their dimensions. DC motors designed for use in vehicles are designed to be compact and is designed without fans and fins. Upon research it was noticed such motors were available from powered wheel chair manufacturers. The problem with these motors was that it was coupled with a worm gear. Worm gear does not allow coasting. This would be ideal in a Segway style design but not in a skateboard style design. Also if the worm gear is removed the shaft available was very small. The DC motors used in electric skateboard was an option but it was not available readily. It was noticed that DC motors used in electric scooters were readily available. Although they were not available in India it could be bought as an individual part from online shop- TNCScooters [11] in US. A total power of 500W power was desired for the product it did not matter whether it could be achieved as 500W in one motor or as two number of 250W motors. If only one motor was used then only one wheel can be power without a mechanical differential. Building a mechanical differential would not be possible on a skateboard truck because of space constraints. So on the final product two 250W motors working together as an electrical differential powering two wheels was preferred. Also for initial prototyping a single 500W motor was desired since it could be used for proof of concept. Hence two 250W and one 500W motors were procured.

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Figure 6.1: 250W motor and 500W motor

6.2.1. Motor 250W


voltage : 24V rated rpm - 2650 rated current - 13.7A rated torque 0.9 Nm output 250W weight - 1.87kg efficiency - 78% No load speed/rpm - 3350 No load current - <1.6A

6.2.2. Motor 500W


No load current - <2.5A No load speed/rpm - 3150 Rated torque/N.m - 1.90 efficiency - 78% 57

voltage : 24V rated rpm - 2500 rated current - 27.4A output 500W OD - 107mm Length - 134 mm

6.2.3. Chosen motor


For the first prototype of the device it was decided to use only one motor as there will be no complications related to differential drive. Only one wheel needs to be driven. The 500W motor was chosen for this purpose. Based on the specifications of the motor, the motor was simulated on Mathematica. Figure 6.2 shows the variation of Torque at the motor. From the graph it can be seen that the motor can deliver a starting torque of 8.2Nm at the motor shaft.

Torque Output Hat motor L


Nm 8

500

1000

1500

2000

2500

3000

RPM

Figure 6.2: Plot of torque output at the motor shaft vs. RPM of 500W motor at 24V

The power output and efficieny of the motor at different RPM when powered by a 24 volt supply is plotted in the Figure 6.3 and Figure 6.4 respectively. Like in any DC motor it can 58

be clearly seen that the motor delivered maximum mechanical power at 1580 rpm which is lesser than rated RPM(2500 rpm). Maximum Efficiency is obtained if the motor is run at 2750 rpm which is slightly higher than the rated RPM.
Power Output
Watt 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 RPM

500

1000

1500

2000

2500

3000

Figure 6.3: Plot of power output with RPM of 500W motor at 24V
Efficiency
%

70 60 50 40 30 20 10 RPM

500

1000

1500

2000

2500

3000

Figure 6.4: Plot of efficiency of the 500W motor at different RPM at 24V

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6.3 Transmission
In order to transmit power from the motor to the wheels some kind of transmission system transmi was required. The following options were considered: re

6.3.1. Option 1- Using a Gear box


In this option a motor is connected to a gear box and a wheel is connected to the gearbox as shown in Figure 6.5.

Figure 6.5: Transmission system where the motor is connected to a gear box which : connected to the wheel This kind of transmission system is the easiest to use. The problem with this system is that the system as a whole should be ready available. The motor with gearbox should be directly usable. Designing the gearbox is an option but it is not very practical in prototyping stage. This kind of system is used in most commercially available wheel chairs where a worm gearbox is used with the motor to prevent the wheels from driving the motor. This is a th necessary feature for disabled people since if for some reason they are not able to control the device, it should stop moving. Since most transmission system of this kind comes with a gearbox this transmission system was not a viable option. opt There is another reason why this transmission system was rejected. On a skateboard there are four wheels out of which only one or two wheels are meant to be powered. This means that 60

there are at least two free wheels which are identical to the powered wheels. So the design of the system should be such that the powered wheels and the free wheels should be easily swappable. If this transmission system is adopted, then the mount for the powered wheels and the free wheels will be different. Also the entire load of on the wheel is directly transmitted to the motor as a cantilever load via the gearbox. This is undesirable. Due to all these reasons this transmission system was not chosen.

6.3.2. Option 2 Use chains or belts


The second option was to use chains or belts as means to transmit power from the motor to the powered wheels. The advantage of using either chain or belt in comparison to gears were The free wheel and the powered wheel can be identical and can be swapped The reduction in speed from the motor to the wheels can be easily altered by swapping the sprocket The sprockets can be custom manufactured

Due to the above reasons it was decided to use either chain or belts as means of transmission of power from the motor to the wheel. To choose between chain and belt drive- belts are less noisy and less messy while chains are capable of taking more loads. Chain drive was picked due to two reasons: Sprockets for chains are less expensive and easier to make compared to sprockets for belts Chain sprockets occupy lesser space than belt sprockets

It is to be noted that although chain drive was chosen as the means of transmission of power from the motor to the wheels in this current device, if less noise is a priority for further versions of the device belt drive can be used.

6.3.3. Selecting the chain


The smallest chains available in the market are #25 chain (6.35mm pitch), 8mm chain (8mm pitch) and 9.35 mm chain (9.35mm pitch). Out of these chains based on requirement #25 61

chains is the ideal chain to be used in the device, as it is the smallest and is strong enough for the power being transmitted. If #25 chains were used, sprockets of smaller diameter can be used. #25 chain are also the standard chain used in commercial electric skateboards. However #25 chains were not used for the prototype since #25 chains and 8mm chain are not frequently used chains and hence are very expensive as compared to 9.35mm chain. Also sprockets for #25 chains and 8mm chain are not readily available. Hence even though 9.35 is an over design for the prototype it was chosen over #25 chain and 8mm chain due to significant cost and time advantage. For further versions of the device it is advised to choose #25 chains due to their significant space and weight advantage if chain drive is still preferred.

6.3.4. Calculating minimum torque requirement of the device


The minimum torque requirement of the device is required to estimate and select sprocket ratio. Minimum torque is the amount of torque that the motor needs to deliver in order to maintain speed. This is calculated from aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance. Since the rider stands sideways to the wind, the drag coefficient and projected area are lower than when the rider is facing the wind [12]. Aerodynamic force at various speeds was calculated with drag coefficient of 1.1 and projected area of 0.38m2. The rolling resistance for the device at various speeds was calculated with weight of the human equal to 68Kg, weight of the device equal to 40Kg, wheel diameter equal to 10inches. The minimum torque required at the wheel to maintain speed at various speeds is the sum of torque needed to counter rolling and aerodynamic force. A plot of minimum torque requirement is shown in Figure 6.6.

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Figure 6.6: Minimum torque required at the wheel at various speeds

6.3.5. Selecting and manufacturing the Sprocket


In order to select gear ratio for sprocket there are two stategies. One strategy is to design the sprocket ratio for max efficiecy and the other strategy is to design the sprocket ratio for max power. Its a matter of choice and since 500W motor is a significantly powerful motor and because batteries are costly, designing the sprocket for maximum efficiency was desired. These strategies will work only when the motor is to be run at a constant rpm. Since a personal transportation device can never run at a fixed rpm, in order to achieve maximum efficiency or maximum power, a gear box with multiple gear selection is required. If only one gear ratio for sprocket is to be chosen, then maximum efficiency strategy or maximum power strategy does not make sense. So the gear ratio was selected based on the desired top speed and the required torque. Higher gear ratio gives lower top speed and higher acceleration/torque and vice versa. A desirable top speed of 40kmph and the capability to climb an incline of 1:5 gradient was required.A sprocker gear down ratio of 3:1 was found to satisfy the requirents.

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Figure 6.7: Torque available at 24V (thick) and torque required (dashed) at motor with sprocket ratio of 3:1. Speed and power control is controlled by the PWM. If the torque required to run the device at a constand speed equal to the power from the motor, then the device will maintain speed.It can be seen that at 24V(motors rated voltage) this happens only at 2400rpm which corresponds to a speed of 39 kmph.If 24V is applied to the motor at any RPM less than 2400rpm, the avaialable power is more the the power needed for maintaining speed. Therefore the device will accelerate. RPM greater than 2400rpm cannot be achieved with the gear ratio since the power available at those RPM is not sufficent to maintain speed. The Figure 6.7 shows the torque available at the motor and the torque that is needed to maintain speed. For a sprocket ratio of 3:1 gear down, a maximum speed of 39 kmph can be achieved accourding to calculation.

6.4 Batteries
The motors, either used in one 500W mode or as two 250W motor both require a total of 500W from the battery as the peak power needed at 24Volts . 500W peak output power at 24v with 78% efficiency demands a peak current of 27.77A. The batteries to be used should be rated around 24volts and needs to be capable of supplying a continuous current of 27.77A. Lithium-ion polymer batteries (LiPo) batteries are the batteries of choice for a transport device because they are lighter and smaller for a specific 64

power requirement. Although they are much expensive in comparison to lead acid batteries, using lead acid batteries is not an option. Lead acid battery of 17Ah 12volts will weigh 2.4kg. For a 24 volt pack it would weigh 4.8kg. LiPo Batteries on the other hand are 22.2V 6 cell 4900mAh battery weighs only 700gm. These batteries are also rated 25C meaning 25 times 4.9A = 122.5 A of continuous current can be drawn from these batteries. A maximum continuous current required is only 27.7A. Since the battery is rated for 4.9Ah, it means that the battery can give a continuous current of 4.9A for duration of 1 hour before is runs out of charge. When drawing a current of 27.7A the battery will last for 11 min. 27.7A is the peak current that the motor demands and this situation happens only when the motor is running on full throttle. So it can be claimed with certainty that the battery will last for 10-15 min if not more. The range of battery needs to be estimated from field testing. Two number of the 22.2v 6 cell 4900mAh battery was bought. In order to fully utilize a LiPo battery an even smaller battery pack was chosen. Four number of 22.2v 6 cell 2700mAh battery was also bought. Each of these batteries2 at full throttle will last for 6-9 min. The range needs to be estimated from field testing.

Figure 6.8: Fullymax 4900 mAh and 2700mAh battery


2

The batteries are manufactured by FullyMax and purchased from www.aeroworks.co.in

[13]

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6.5 Wheels
Wheels play a critical role in the usefulness of the device. In order to be compact the wheels needs to be as small as possible. Mean while for the device to work on rough roads (to be practical in Indian road conditions), the wheel needs to be as big as possible. There are two types of wheels used in electric skateboards - urethane wheels as used in normal skateboards or pneumatic rubber wheels. Urethane wheels are used for low powered electric skateboards (<400W) and pneumatic wheels are used for high powered electric skateboards (>400W). Pneumatic wheels were the wheel of choice for this device since the device needed to work in Indian road conditions where potholes road is very common. Pneumatic wheels were hard to get. The smallest pneumatic wheel used in scooters has 16 inch outer diameter. This is totally not acceptable as the device does not become portable anymore. Electric skateboards in market use 10 inch wheels. 10 inch wheel was hard to find but eventually 10 inch pneumatic wheels used in wheel barrows was obtained. 6 number of this wheel was purchased. The hubs of these wheels were not perfect as they were designed to be used as free wheels in trolleys. The bearing in them were also of low quality. The wheels were used after the hub was modified and the bearings replaced.

6.6 Motor Controller


In order to power the motor, a motor controller is required. Motor controllers take signals from microcontroller/user as input and convert the signals to appropriate voltage/power to be sent to the motor to control the speed of the motor. Two motor controllers were considered.

6.6.1. Cheap motor controllers that are used in electric scooters


These motor controllers are used in electric scooters and they work based on a throttle input. The throttle input is a potentiometer. Based on this voltage from the potentiometer the motor controller controls the speed. To interface this motor controller to the microcontroller, it required the microcontroller to produce PWM signals which was then passed through a capacitor to smoothen the waveform. This was tested and the driver was found to be satisfactory. These motor drivers are very cheap. The motor controller was not tested for long 66

durations of operation but if they are found lasting, then these motor drivers would be a viable option for large scale production as they are cheap and functional.

6.6.2. Sabertooth motor controller


Sabertooth motor driver is a well designed prototyping motor driver. This motor driver is dual channel, meaning it can control two motors separately at the same time. Sabertooth motor driver can work with a variety of inputs. They can work with simplified serial input, packetized serial input, analog input (filtered PWM) and RC servo input. It is the most versatile dual channel motor driver. It can take a maximum of 25A continuous current and 50A burst current per channel. Sabertooth motor drivers are also regenerative in nature. They are built to last and built primarily for prototyping purpose. In order to control the motor, Sabertooth in simplified serial mode was used. In this mode only the serial transmission line (tx) was needed from the main controller. Only one character needed to be transmitted to control both motors in this mode. This means that 8 bits are available to control 2 motor, meaning 7 bits are available to control each motor. 1to 127 controls the first motor and 128 to 255 controls the second motor. The 500W motor was connected to the second motor channel of the driver. Therefore characters of value from 128 to 255 were used to control the motor. 192 correspond to stopping the motor, 128 correspond to full reverse and 255 correspond to full forward. These values send to the Sabertooth driver controls the in-build PWM generator of the driver. The pulse width of the PWM varies linearly to the input provided to the Sabertooth driver. Since PWM controls the voltage provided to the motor, the input to the motor driver controls the voltage as well. Power is proportional to square of the voltage. The exact power available to the motor is a function of voltage applied to the motor and the current RPM of the motor. This means that when the input to the motor driver is varied linearly with time the power to the motor varies nonlinearly (approximately square function) with time. The acceleration available and the steady state speed are dependent on power available. Since power is non linear for a linear input both acceleration and steady state speed is non linear for a linear input to the motor driver. For a small change in input to the drive the steady stage velocity increases, acceleration spikes at the point when the change was initiated and drops gradually to zero.

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Figure 6.9: Sabertooth motor driver (left) and electric scooter driver (right)

6.6.3. Choosing motor driver


Sabertooth 25A motor driver was decided to be used in the prototype stage because of their robust nature and their ease of use. When the device needs to be mass produced in large numbers, the cheap electric scooter motor drivers would be preferred.

6.7 Accelerometer
Accelerometers are not critical in this design. They are not an essential component that is required for the functioning of the device. They are used in the prototype stage as means to monitor the device. The data from the accelerometers is only meant to be logged for debugging if need arises. In future the accelerometers may be used to fine tune the electric differential and the control algorithm. The main controller circuit board is designed to connect to an analog accelerometer or a TWI digital accelerometer. Analog accelerometer uses three ADC channels, one each for each axis and one interrupt to alert if the accelerometer is falling. Both accelerometers where purchased from www.rhydolabz.com

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Figure 6.10: Analog accelerometer (left) and digital accelerometer (right) (reprinted from rhydolabz.com)

6.8 Conclusion
In this chapter we presented how all the off-the-shelf components were selected to meet the requirement. Introducing intuitive control and electrifying a skateboard introduced a lot of extra components.

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CHAPTER 7 PROTOTYPING TO TEST INTUITIVE CONTROL


7.1 Introduction
This prototype did not include turning mechanism and was designed solely to test intuitive control. Before this prototype was made, multiple iterations of deck and truck prototype was made, tested and understood. Therefore turning mechanism was not implemented in this prototype. Also deck design was made as simple as possible, making it with just enough functionality to test intuitive control. This is also the first powered prototype.

7.2 Testing the loadcell interface


The loadcell interface is the most important part of this prototype. Hence a proof of concept for using loadcells to detect shift of weight was carried out. It was decided that the rider stands on a platform supported on four loadcells and they provide the largest base area possible to the rider. Due to the geometry of the loadcells, they cannot be just placed on ground and load applied on them. Hence a mount for all the loadcells combined was designed. It was cut out from multiple layers of acrylic using the laser cutting machine at the Department of Engineering Design Workshop and stuck together. To create a surface for the weight to be placed on the top, hardened glass from the digital weighing machine from which the loadcell were salvaged, was used.

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Figure 7.1: Acrylic loadcell mount used for testing, with all 4 loadcells in place

Figure 7.2: Complete test assembly with the glass placed over 4 loadcell on the acrylic mount connected to the circuit implemented on breadboard

The output from the circuit was read on an oscilloscope where reading on the oscilloscope corresponded to the weight applied on the deck. Weights were placed on the deck at various positions and it was observed that the reading on the oscilloscope was related to the position of the object. Further it was also human tested and it was observed that the reading on the oscilloscope varied predictably as the user leaned forward or backwards. Hence the loadcell interface for intuitive control was successfully tested.

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7.3 Designing the loadcell mount used in the prototype


For testing the loadcell interface a mount was made for all the four loadcells together using acrylic. On the prototype, mounts for individual loadcells was desired as it would be convenient to change their positions if dimensions of deck was altered. Acrylic mount was capable of taking vertical loads but in the prototype the mount would also have to take horizontal loads. Although not desirable, a part of the horizontal force needed to accelerate/decelerate the rider will pass through these mounts. Hence the mounts were made of steel. Each mount consists of two plates. The loadcell is sandwiched between these two plates. Two dowel pins were provided to ensure that the plates can only move in the vertical direction with respect to each other. These dowels pins ensure that the vertical load is passed on to the loadcell housed inside the mount.

Figure 7.3: load cell mount

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Figure 7.4: Loadcell, loadcell mount and loadcell circuit board

7.4 Designing the deck


In this prototype the deck needs to be weight sensing. The loadcell mounts needs to be incorporated into the deck. In order to make the deck weight sensing two options were considered. One was to make a double layered deck where the loadcells are in between the two decks. Or the second option was to have only one deck but place the loadcells between the deck and the truck. Second option was not feasible since the truck has to be rigidly attached to the deck. Placing a loadcell in between will either loosen the attachment of the truck to the deck or the rigidly attached truck would add stray loads to the loadcell. Double layered deck was chosen as the better solution. One major disadvantage with double layered deck was that, it increased the thickness of the deck by more than double. Building a curved deck, or a deck with fiberglass reinforcements were not considered necessary for testing intuitive control as it was already achieved before. The top and the bottom decks were built out of a single inch plywood measuring 4 feet by 1 foot. The deck assembly involved sandwiching the loadcells between the decks. This is a press fit arrangement. Four 8mm bolt at each corner of the deck was used to keep the assembly in place. The bolt was loosely fasted so that it does not preload the loadcells. The bolt assembly was sealed with hot glue to prevent the bolts from coming loose due to vibrations. These 73

bolts also have another function; they also aid the dowel pins used in the loadcell assembly to ensure that the top deck can move only vertically with respect to the bottom deck. The force that is necessary for accelerating / decelerating the rider which needs to be transferred from the bottom deck to the top deck is transferred via these four bolts. The wheel mounts and the motor mounts are attached to the lower side of the bottom deck, while the circuits, motor driver and batteries are placed on the top of the top deck for easy accessibility.

Figure 7.5 : Exploded view of double layered deck assembly

7.5 Designing the wheel mounts


In this prototype turning was not considered as it was already implemented and tested. Also to test intuitive control turn was not necessary. This simplified the prototype a lot because if turn was to be implemented the motor can only be mounted on the truck. This would mean the truck will have to be redesigned for new dimensions with provisions for motor mount. This would mean a lot of time would be spent on designing the truck to accommodate the motor. This was simplified by attaching the motor directly to the deck and skipping the turn mechanism all together. 74

The wheels mounts were to be identical for powered and non powered wheels. Powered wheels had an extra sprockets attached to it and was assembled to the wheel mount the same way the free wheels were mounted. Due to this design, no special parts were necessary and the wheel mount was kept as simple as possible with minimal machining. The Figure 7.6 shows an exploded view of the wheel mount assembly with one powered wheel and a free wheel.

Figure 7.6: Exploded view of the wheel assembly

7.6 Designing the Wheel Hub


The wheel hub of the 10 inch wheel bought off the shelf was not satisfactory. The bearings used in those wheels were low quality and had bad dimensional tolerances. The rest of the hub was found to be satisfactory. The bearing used in those motors where replaced with fresh high quality 6003 bearing (17mm ID and 35mm OD).

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Figure 7.7: Free wheel hub The Powered wheel has a sprocket attached to it as shown in Figure 7.8. The small bolts used in free wheel hub were replaced with long bolts to attach the sprocket.

Figure 7.8: Powered wheel hub

7.7 Designing the sprocket


In order to achieve a gear ratio of three, a 45 tooth sprocket (9.35mm pitch) and a 15 tooth sprocket (9.35mm pitch) was used. The larger sprocket was attached to the wheel and the smaller sprocket to the motor. Both the sprockets came with a hub. The hub of both the sprocket was removed and made flat. 76

The large sprocket was to be used in the inside of the powered wheel. On the inside, the shaft of the wheel assembly is obstructing the sprocket. Hence a 50mm hole was made in the larger sprocket and it was attached to the wheel hub using four bushing and long 6mm bolts.

7.8 Designing the motor mounts


The 500W motor came with a flange mount. This means that the motor cannot be attached to the deck directly as the motor axis will be perpendicular to the surface of the deck. The motor axle needed to be parallel to the deck. Hence a motor mount was needed. In order to make the motor mount compatible with future designs where the motor needs to be mount on a truck, the foot print of the motor mount needed to be as small as possible. The mount was designed as two identical parts each attaching to both the faces of the motor. Each flange has a base and motor can now be attached to the deck in the desired fashion using the base of the flange. Additionally a protective cage was provided for the motor using 6mm studs. This is done so because, in this motor any impact load to the sides of the motor will crack the magnets inside rendering the motor useless.

Figure 7.9: Motor mount attached to the motor

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Figure 7.10: Exploded view of the motor mount

7.9 Design of the control algorithm


The control algorithm defines how the machine responds to the user input. The loadcell data needs to be processed by the main controller and the appropriate output needs to be supplied to the motor. On a skateboard, unless the user does not crash into something, the only way he can fall of the board is either forward or backward. This is because the wheels roll only forward or backward and removes the friction along front-back direction. If one wheel of the skateboard is stopped, then the entire skateboard will not move. If the skateboard does not move, then essentially the user is standing on a stationary platform with legs (skateboard deck with legs as the mount points of wheels) As long as the CG of the user is above the base area of the board, the user cannot fall. Even when the board is in motion (i.e., none of the wheels is locked) if the CG of the user is above the base area of the board the user will not fall. On a normal skateboard, a user falls from it when his CG is not above the base area. This happens when the skateboard is unexpectedly jerked from underneath the user so fast that the user cannot adjust his CG fast enough. The sole reason for this happening is because the wheels of the skateboard are very free to move. When a motor is attached to the wheel, the motor inertia comes into play. Also while we electrify the board we add a lot of inertia to the board due to the weight of the battery, motor and other accessories. This inertia both rotary and linear prevents the board from suddenly accelerating /decelerating from underneath the user. Due to this, the user feels much more 78

stable standing on an electric skateboard than on a normal skateboard. This inertia or lack of responsiveness was a blessing in disguise as the control algorithm does not have to balance the user. The device is stable enough that the user can balance as long as the acceleration from the motor is controlled. 7.9.1. Testing the loadcell and motor Before developing the control algorithm, the loadcell data and the motor where tested in isolation. The loadcell was tested by placing weights on the deck at various locations. The weight applied on each of the loadcell could be obtained separately. The weight of the rider is passed through these four loadcells. Since there are four loadcells being used, the projection of CG location of the rider on the deck plane could be easily obtained by calculating the split of weight on each cell. Figure 7.11 shows the four loadcells mount positions and the longitudinal and lateral axis. CG on the deck plane is equal to the sum of product of magnitude of load on each loadcell and the vector distance of the loadcell from the origin.

Loadcell mount

Figure 7.11: Basic device diagram, showing the longitudinal axis(X) and lateral axis(Y) and the four loadcell mount points As discussed in Sabertooth motor controller 6.6.2, neither the velocity nor the acceleration to the motor responds linearly with linearly varying input. However it is known that when higher values are send to the motor, higher is the RPM of the motor and that it varies nonlinearly. The motor was connected to the Sabertooth driver and the Sabertooth driver to the main controller circuit board. In order to let the user control the motor, a joystick was 79

interfaced with the main controller and the input from one axis of the controller was scaled and used as input to the Sabertooth driver. This setup was qualitatively tested and it was observed that the available acceleration was high at low speeds and low at high speeds as expected. The device was tested with a rider on top of the deck. This time the loadcell inputs were not used to control the motor driver but rather the joystick was used. It was noticed that if the joystick was operated quickly the motor would accelerate so much that it could throw the rider off balance. 7.9.2. Evolution of the control algorithm Having tested the loadcell and the motor separately, they were combined together using the control algorithm. Since active balancing of the person was not required, it was possible to experiment with multiple control strategies. It was noticed that as long as the acceleration was small, the rider could comfortably balance on the skateboard. 7.9.3. Control algorithm version 1 The first version of the control algorithm was designed as simple as possible. If the CG along X axis crosses a positive threshold, the motor voltage would be set to a fixed value. If it drops below a negative threshold, the motor voltage would be set to a fixed negative value. For CG reading in between this positive and negative threshold, the motor voltage was set to zero. This is depicted in Figure 7.12.

Figure 7.12: Control strategy version 1 80

In this strategy the motor voltages were set to a very low value. This was necessary because if higher values were used, whenever the CG along X crosses the positive or negative threshold the device would accelerate/decelerate so hard that the user would be thrown off balance. If the motor voltage was kept low, the acceleration/deceleration was not noticeable. This strategy was tested with a rider and it was observed that the rider instantaneously felt the device to be intuitive, since the rider could now control the device but leaning forward/backward. 7.9.4. Control strategy version 2 It was desired that the device be taken to larger speeds. In order to do that while keeping the acceleration under check, more number of steps was introduced. The CG along X reading was segmented into 10 segments (5 in the positive region and 5 in the negative region). Each segment was assigned a voltage that was increasing as the CG increased. Two segments close to the origin were used for zero speed. This is depicted in Figure 7.13.

Figure 7.13: Control strategy version 2

Using this strategy, higher speeds could be achieved without throwing the rider off balance. 7.9.5. Control strategy version 3 On top of control strategy version 2 a few features were desired:

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Smaller voltage steps Voltage ramped up rather than in steps CG controlling rate of change of voltage Decelerate faster

7.9.5.1 Smaller voltage steps In control strategy version 2, the voltage was increased / decreased in steps. The size of the steps determines the jerk that the rider experiences. In order to keep the jerk as low as possible the step size needed to be decreased to the minimum. In control strategy version 2 the maximum voltage attainable was set to of what was possible. This was because the step size needed to be small and only 5 steps to accelerate was used in control strategy version 2. This problem was solved in control strategy version 3 by decreasing the step size to the smallest size allowed by the Sabertooth driver. 7.9.5.2 Voltage ramped up rather than in steps Even if smaller step voltage method was implemented in control strategy version 2, it can be noticed that if the rider leans forward rapidly, then voltage reading changes from a small value to a large value rapidly. This rapid change in voltage to the motor will make the device accelerate fast which throws the user backwards. This condition is ideal and necessary for intuitive control. However a problem arises in this case. If the voltage ramps up to the new higher value, the device will not jerk, although acceleration will be felt by the user. In control strategy version 2, if the rider CG along X changes too fast, the controller being slow will miss some voltages in between and go directly to the higher value. This is felt by the rider as a sudden jerk that is felt after the rider has leaned forward. The code was redesigned to save time and ramp control was achieved in control strategy version 3. With version 3 the rider feels higher pseudo acceleration the more he leans forward but there are no jerks. 7.9.5.3 CG controlling rate of change of voltage In control strategy version 2, CG was controlling the voltage to the motor. This was an acceptable strategy but was not intuitive enough. According to control strategy if the rider leans forward it increases his speed and if he relaxes brings his CG back to center, then the speed of the device comes back to zero. Instead of this it was more intuitive that when the rider leans forward it should control the acceleration and when he relaxes and brings his CG 82

back to center the device should coast and maintain speed. If the rider needs to decrease speed he needs to lean backwards. This was implemented in control strategy version 3 and tested with a few riders. The feedback from the riders claimed the new control strategy to be much more intuitive than before. 7.9.5.4 Decelerate faster From the feedbacks from the users it was noticed that the rider needs to decelerate at a rate that is faster than the acceleration rate. User feedback states that it is okay if the acceleration is moderate and comfortable but the deceleration has to be in two stages. Stage 1 when the user wants to slightly decrease the speed. In this case the user usually leans back by a small amount. Stage 2 when the user wants to stop immediately because there is some danger ahead of him. In this case the user leans back to a large extend and is perfectly fine even if the device decelerates fast as long as the device stops quickly. All the modifications were implemented and are shown in Figure 7.14.

Figure 7.14 : Control strategy version 3 7.9.5.5 Offsetting the no acceleration region forward Control strategy version 3 was found to be very intuitive to the rider. In addition to this the control strategy version 3 was slightly modified. The modification was to slightly offset the 83

no acceleration region toward the front. This is because, it is found out from user testing that in order to balance the force applied by wind resistance, the rider leans forward a little. Therefore the natural relaxed position of the rider is not at the center but slightly offset towards the front. Hence the modified control strategy version 3 was used as shown in Figure 7.15.

Figure 7.15: Modified control strategy version 3

7.10 Field testing and Results


The device was tested indoors first and the controls were perfected. After control strategy version 3 was implemented, the prototype was road tested on institute roads. From the test the following qualitative observations were made

The controls were very intuitive The learning curve to use this device was minimal. It was so intuitive that the rider could quickly start taking the device to its full capabilities. It works perfectly fine on bumps and ramps. It is intuitive on ramps and bumps as well

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Figure 7.16: The completed prototype to test intuitive control 7.10.1. Going over bumps and ramps The device was tested over bumps and it was found that the bumps were hardly noticed by the rider. On close observation, the follow was noticed. When the rider approaches the bump the natural reaction of the rider is to slow down by leaning backwards. Once the device hits the beginning of the bump, the device is slightly slowed down as more torque is required to climb the slope of the bump, this slightly throws the user forwards which pushes the CG forward there by increasing the power to the motor which helps the motor climb the bump at its initial speed of approach. Similar events happen while coming down the bump. In short the natural motions of the riders body ensure that the device goes smoothly over the bump. When a rider wants to climb a ramp, the natural thing that a rider does is to accelerate while approaching the ramp so that he will have sufficient kinetic energy to easily climb the ramp. As soon as the rider hits the ramp, suddenly more force is required by the motor to climb the motor at the same pace. This means that the device gets a deceleration as soon as it hits the ramp and the rider feels that he is thrown forward. When the user is thrown forward his CG shifts forward and hence the power to the motor increases enabling the motor to climb the ramp with more ease. Similar events happen while coming down the ramp as well. User reviews for going over a bump or a ramp has been that, as long as the speeds are not too high, the bumps and ramps are hardly noticeable. However at higher speeds, the bumps and ramp was noticeable. The user response was that at higher speeds, the user feels like he/she is being thrown out of the board. This is because at higher speeds the DC motor gives lesser 85

acceleration. When the motor cannot provide necessary acceleration, the user feels like he is going to fall forward. This problem can be rectified by increasing the power of the motor or by not allowing the motor to go to its top speed. At top speed, the motor cannot provide further acceleration and it is likely that the user might fall forward when going over a bump or a ramp. The following variables were logged during field testing

CG along X axis CG along Y axis Motor voltage Acceleration along X axis Speed of the driven wheel Speed of one free wheel

These data has been logged for further refinement of the control strategy.

7.11 Conclusion
In this chapter we presented how all the components designed and selected off-the-shelf were brought together to build the intuitively controlled prototype. Certain components were designed for the requirement of the prototype. The control strategy used to control the device was also discussed. We also discussed about the testing of the device and its response over a ramp or a bump.

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CHAPTER 8 CONCLUSION
The objective of this project was to undergo a systematic product design process to develop an intuitively controlled personal transport device based on a skateboard platform. All the concepts involved in making this device as a finished product that is actually used by people has been implemented.

8.1 Summary
Following is the summary of the project:

Decks were first prototyped A new variation in truck design was introduced that makes the skateboard self center by itself without the requirement for a separate spring/ bushing. This variant design was prototyped and proved to work

A method to detect intuitive motions of the rider was designed A method was identified and implemented to detect this intuitive motion of the user The intuitive control was implemented on a moving platform and proved useful The motion of the rider was mapped and appropriate control algorithm was developed

All the technology needed to build the final product is prototyped and tested. One more prototype will be needed. This new prototype will have the turn mechanism implemented. This new prototype will be fully functional. After the final fully functional prototype is build it will need to be converted to a product by optimizing all components for commercial use. Specifications of the current prototype are as follow

Weight 22 kg without battery Weight of 4700mAh battery 700gm Wheel base 39 inches Track width 14 inches Height of deck from ground 11.5 inches Top Speed 40 kmph (estimated) Acceleration 0 40kmph in 6 sec (estimated) 87

Range - 5 -10 km (estimated) Estimated cost of production of the device Rs 30,000

Top speed and acceleration was estimated based on calculations and comparing to similar products. Range was estimated by running the prototype from Department of Engineering Design to Gajendra Circle and measuring the change in voltage of the battery. These values need to be tested on the next prototype (with turn mechanism). In the current prototype since turn mechanism was not available, top speed, acceleration, and range could not be tested as the device can only go in a straight line and such segments of road was of length less than 100 meters. With this project it is evident that a commercial product based on intuitive control on a skateboard is possible. A patent needs to be filed for this new concept. This product will be far superior to Segway, since this product does not need to actively balance the user. Due to the same reason this product will be far cheaper than Segway. Cost of Segway in India is four lakhs while the maximum cost of this product will be Rs 50,000. This device will be a direct competitor to Segway if commercialized.

8.2 Future Work


In the future major work will be in two parts:

To make the full-featured prototype To convert the full-featured prototype to a product

8.2.1. To make the full featured prototype


A new truck needs to be designed based in the truck prototype manufactured earlier. The design needs to scaled to mount the motor. Battery mount needs to be designed An electronics mount needs to be designed Wheel size needs to be reduced to 8 inches Two 250W motors to used instead of a single 500W motor Electrical differential to be used to control turn Self-centering using electrical differential CG along Y axis to be used to control electric differential 88

#25 chain and sprocket to be used.

8.2.2. To convert the full featured prototype to a product Once the fully featured prototype is build, the prototype needs to be converted to a product. Few of the activities involved will be

More efforts on the aesthetics Making the deck thinner Transferring horizontal force between the decks to be optimized Defining the specifications of the product more precisely Reducing the weight as much as possible

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CHAPTER 9 REFERENCES
1. Segway. http://www.segway.com. 2. Inverted Pendulum. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_pendulum. 3. Loadboards. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longboard_(skateboard). 4. Uno - dicycle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uno_(dicycle). 5. Zboard. http://www.zboardshop.com/. 6. Wheel stone bridge. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheatstone_bridge. 7. Xbee. http://www.digi.com/xbee/. 8. Arduino. http://arduino.cc. 9. Rhydolabz.com. http://www.rhydolabz.com. 10. Processing. http://processing.org/. 11. TNC Scooters. http://tncscooters.com/. 12. Zatsiorsky, Vladimir. Kinetics of Human Motion. 13. Aeroworks. http://aeroworks.co.in/.

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